Where is the “o”?
This question is asked of Messianic Believers all of the time, some times with good responses and some times with not so good responses from either side. So what I would like to do is first share a page from my colleagues site;
The following text is copied directly off of http://www.nehemiah-center.org/html/no_o___oh_no_.html
owned and operated by Nehemiah Center in Bangor PA. MRo’eh George Cook holds Smicha as a Messianic Ro’eh with FLMILW.
What happened to the ‘o’?
I see that you took notice to the fact that when I write the name of Adonai that I leave out the
‘o’ and replace it with a dash. G-d or L-rd! Why is that you wonder and I am glad that you asked! Lets look at the Bible:
Deu 5:11 “You shall not take the name of the L-RD your G-d in vain: for the L-RD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
We are all very familiar with that passage and recognize it as the third commandment. But what does it mean to us today? For most of us it means we should not use foul language or use G-d’s name as a curse. But the true meaning goes much further indeed!
You probably also have heard the name Yahweh and might have wondered where that came from. Well the Israelites to whom G-d gave the commandments and the Law took that third commandment VERY seriously. To take something in vain means to take it in a casual way. How much do your pay attention to what is written down on a piece of paper? Not much usually. In fact every day we throw away in the garbage lots of paper with writing on it. Labels and things that we write that are not quite right and of course advertising and newspapers.
So what if G-d’s holy name was on that paper? Are we to take it so frivolously as to just discard it? Is his name not precious? Are we being vain just tossing it out? Well the Isrealite’s came up with a solution to the problem! They did not write his name out. Instead they left out the vowels. And wrote the Hebrew letters Yod He Vod He. Or in English YHVH – which we translated into the word Yahweh and later Jehovah. Interestingly enough the Hebrew pronunciation for YHVH is Adonai.
So today many of us who would like to try to keep that commandment in a more perfect way so as to honor Jesus (Y’shua) leave out the ‘o’ It’s a way of saying “I LOVE YOU L-RD!”
So that’s why I leave the ‘o’ out of G-d – Because I love Him!
No O? Oh NO!|
Copyright 2007 Nehemiah Center Ministries. All rights reserved..
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The following study is not meant to take away from Pastor George’s page, it was written as a simple explanation for the casual reader. What follows is an in depth study for those who want to go deeper and fully understand this custom. Pastor George Cook and My self take great steps to provide the most accurate and accountable teachings we can.
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A very good brief exposition from one persons perspective. Lets look at some of the comments on the topic:
** I do it out of respect and utmost love for the Most High G-d.
** I personally find saying G-d is the same as spelling God. Over time people associate the – with an o so it becomes a recognized symbol, and thus you are back to finding a replacement for the – … [partial quote]
** There are many reasons I use G-d, L-rd etc…. many have been mentioned here either in a post or by reference to PG’s answer on his site.
In addition to those, for me this is the most compelling:
I use G-d etc because I want to signify that I am not speaking about just ANY god, but the One True Living Creator and Redeemer of the Universe, The G-d of Avraham Yitzkhak and Ya’akov. THAT unique G-d.
In the world there are many who claim the title/label of god – some even capitalize their “god.” I chose to make a visible, clear and undeniable distinction in the venue of internet communication, and in other graphic media, between the plethora of “gods” in this world and THE G-d. THIS is also one way of “sanctifying the Name.” imho Thus I use G-d.
** It had been my habit to spell G-d in this way, but because it appeared to hinder communication I got out of the habit when on the net. It has become more comfortable for me to use Elohim for G-d because the majority of the time the English word G-d is translating the Hebrew word Elohim.
** it is interesting how our experiences shape our response for me the use of G-d has opened communication because when people ask I am able to explain and this opens dialogue. At least it does with those who don’t get all ugly angry and defensive about it. That HAS happened but very rarely
** I drop the ‘o’ to distinguish Whom I speak of in the same fashion that Henaynei does. Our G-d isn’t just any god.
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Now I have an unfair advantage, besides electronic versions of the TaNaKh (First Testament/Old Testament) I have at least 10 different copies in print format, so I can just open one up and compare. And I did.
Now understand the question is not actually just about the “o” in the word God. But the substitution of a letter or word out of respect for the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now I know your going to say it’s not that way in my bible! Well I hate to be the bearer of disturbing news, but it is.
90% of the people that are going to read or hear this teaching have little or no Hebrew knowledge, and even less than that have any language teaching outside of their native language. Including the Arabic alphabet or English speakers. All you have known is what is written in your Bibles printed in your own language. What you need to remember the WORD of G-d was NOT originally written in English, Latin, German, but in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. It was translated from Hebrew and Aramaic to Greek to Latin etc, and so on until you have the Bible you use today. Even the oldest copies of the TaNaKh (scrolls) show the substitution of ???? yod hey vav hey for the name of G-d.
Over 6500 times in the scriptures (old testament alone) and another 300 plus times in the new. G-d’s name was disguised. Intentionally altered. Not to keep us from knowing it but to keep it from becoming common place.
Unfortunately over the centuries the actual pronunciation was lost, what was verbally passed on and spoken with all reverence and honor, turned to whispers and later lost, with much thanks going to the Romans and the Greeks and the Turks for their constant assault on the Jews and the Messianic’s. And later on by the Roman Catholic Church for their centuries long battle to remove anything Jewish (in their opinion) from the face of the Earth.
But with all of the attempts to completely wipe out G-d and His Word the only things that were accomplished were to scatter His chosen people, and basically steal the faith system that G-d Himself instituted. /rant.
Now by the time of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD the pronunciation of the name of G-d was lost. There have been dozens of attempts to restore the use of the Name and it’s an insult at best to G-d. We do not know the proper Name and all we have is the Tetragrammaton, and the attempts even back at the earliest printing of the WORD to use the Name.
YHVH or YHWH are the Arabic letter equivalents to and Most people say that as yahweh or yahveh which is admirable BUT what everone is trying to do is use the Arabic sound for a Hebrew letter which does not always work phonetically.
???? Yod ? hey ? vav ?? hey ? the Hebrew letter yod makes a basic y or ya sound, the hey makes an h, ha or he sound like in hey, and the Holem vav makes an o sound not a v sound. Those not knowing the vowel point, would not know that the Holem-Vav made the ‘ o ‘ sound so they would assume that the vav made the ‘ v ‘ sound. 11 out of 13 copies of Torah in my possession have vowel points and they ALL showed the vav to be Holem-Vav. So the assumption of Jehovah or Yehovah or Jahweh or Yahweh are incorrect. So more aptly we are looking at Yehuah, or similar variant. This is because when the yod is at the beginning of word with the sheva ‘ : ‘ vowel point the yod takes the sound of the next letter the hey. Like this = ???? this gives us ?? yod hey = yehu + ?? vav hey = oah so we have Yehuah. That is the closest literal pronunciation with the current knowledge of the spoken Hebrew (in my attempt anyway). [Strongs shows the Holem or dot over the vav to be over the Hey in many cases but this is INCORRECT, the Hebrew texts all show it over the vav.]
And since in scripture the Tetragrammaton [ ?????? ] is represented in speech as Adonai HaShem [the Name], Most High or translated as Lord or God we see that the use of a hyphen in place of the ‘ o ‘ is not as outrageous an idea as we would like to think. So
since it’s done in scripture to keep from possibly profaning the name of G-d, which we no longer know the proper spelling or pronunciation, respect and honor would seem to be in order.
So you see there are too many variables concerning the use and pronunciation of G-d’s name to say that Jews or Messianic’s or any group is being legalistic in their use of
G-d, because scripture itself has used the Tetragrammaton since before 600 B.C.E/B.C
The word god was first penned in the 6th century Codex Argenteus by Bishop Ulfilas, basically Germanic tribal origin.1 From the root’s gudis in Gothic, gud in Scandinavian,
1 Watkins, Calvert, ed., The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000
God in Dutch, Gott in modern German (from gudian), later the Greek theos, Latin Deus/dyeus. Now mind you the word god as represented in our bibles today NEVER appeared in scripture. It had since the 6th century become the common usage to represent the name of G-d.
In the Greek
???? is rendered God, ?????? Lord, ??????, Jesus, and ???????, Christ
So as indicated by several persons my self included using G-d to display the respect we personally feel is due to Elohim is not totally unwarranted. Over the ages G-d’s name is truly not known, and out of respect many of us use a hyphen ‘ – ‘ or some use an underscore ‘ _ ‘ to protect from making the use of the representation of the name.
Whether or not YOU chose do omit or replace a letter, or use Elohim, Eloah, HaShem, or Adonai or Most High, do it because it is what you feel G-d has placed on your heart. Do not do it because I do or some one else does.
It is a very personal form of worship. For me I do not want G-d’s name to ever become ‘common’. Whether in it’s representative form of G-d, or Elohim, Eloah, HaShem, or Adonai or Most High, I want it to hold a special place for me.
The main focus by anyone should not be whether or not some one chooses to extend their worship of Adonai into their writing or text. But the fact that they chose to honor Him at all should indicate to others that there is a special relationship between them and G-d. Each of us in our own way has a personal relationship with Y’shua
HaMashiach/Jesus the Messiah, and we each are convicted by the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit differently. Each of us that surrenders to the leading and love of G-d will have and cherish that walk and relationship.
So as we can see here it is not a case of legalistic actions, or trying to attain salvation by works, but just Believers wanting to show Honor and respect to G-d.
Copyright © 2007 FLMILW/Nehemiah Center
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