The Tetragramation being Active
The “Tetragramation” is the Greek word for the four-letter word often written as “YHWH” before the added vowels formed the word YAHWEH. Although some see it as “JHWH”, alternatively, some scholars used “JHVH”. This four-letter is the transliterated word used (by the Greek)) for the name (Hebrew theonym) of Moses deity. According to the Book of Moses, his deity revealed His name as “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh”. This, when translated in English reads as “I am that I am”(Exodus 3:14) or “I am what I shall be,” but the Greek refers to its meaning as “YHWH”.
History shows that the Hebrews did not list the vowels of the four consonants because they did not use vowels until the second half of the first millennium (C.E.). The missing consonants could be one of the reasons of the confusion in the early era of the translated version of the Tetragramation.
One needs to understand that the Glory that the Heavenly Father expected from His people was for them to honor Him as their deity (Elohim), and not only that, but to keep this honor in Israel. For this reason, Moses gave the Commandment reading as, “thou shall have no other Elohim (God) but me” (Exodus 20). Actually, it was for this same reason, the Prophet (Patriarch) Moses received the name of his deity, thus separating Him from all other deities.
The Hebrew, on pronouncing the name (i.e. the Hebrew theonym) of their deity, suggested superstitiously that the name must keep from the ears of the pagans, and from the exercises of witchcraft. On that note, the word “Elohim” or “Adonai” was as a substitution for the Hebrew theonym (not the Greek four-letter word (YHWH).
This would be a natural thing to do, seeing that the word (“Adonai” or “Elohim”) used would just be a title for someone’s deity. As it seems, the pagan also threatened the title, thus, the name of the Hebrew theonym would only used in spiritual ceremonies by the High Priest.
Actually, some theologians recognized that the superstition took hold after the Babylonian captivity (607-537 BC). The reaction (against this recognition) was that Malachi, which is the last Book of the Hebrew “Old Testament”, gives prominence to the divine name in the latter part of the fifth century BC. However, during such time, this does not mean that the Jews were not curious about the usage of the “Hebrew Theonym”, which gives point that the superstitious actions were not in effect, until after the fifth century.
The Substitution of the Tetragramation
As said, by Wilhelm Gesenius [1786–1842], during the editing of the Torah in the sixth century BC, the mentioning of the Tetragramation would most likely be “יַהְוֶה” (YHWH). However, some historians, scholars and theologians believed that it was not so. The reason for this objection is that in the third and second century BC the pronunciation shown in the Torah was the substituted form shown as meaning the word “Adonai” (“my lord”). Nevertheless, that does not say that the Tetragramation could not have been active even at the latter part of the fifth century BC.
It is quite possible that the Hebrew dialect changed somewhat during the Captivity of the Babylonians, and Medes and Persians. This could be a result of the combine languages. Thus, the crossover of languages helped formed the substituted word (Adonai).
The Septuagint in Action
There is scepticism about the Greek Septuagint using the Hebrew word from the Tetragramation, as far as from 280 BC. However, there are some truth that the later copies of the Greek Septuagint, dated back as far as the fourth and fifth century C.E. (Common Era), had the Tetragramation completely placed with “Kyrios” (Lord) and “Theos” (God). On the other hand, many scholars including Origon, Jerome and Aquila’s, suggested that the Septuagint was not originally the first that uses the translated form of the word Kyrios and Theos. Instead, it was the Christian after the apostasy (New Age of Rome by Emperor Constantine) did it, who were Greek Christians” during the fourth and fifth century AD.
As time went by, some Christians found it necessary to include this title (Kyrios) as sovereignty to the Messiah’s name in account of His sacred values.
In recent times, during the fifth century AD, the word “Kyrios” (Greek word meaning Lord) or “Theos” (Greek word meaning God) were an active word used as a title addressing one as a sovereign or a deity. Especially in the Book of the New Testament, the word Kyrios became a central point for addressing the Messiah. The early Christians of the fifth century AD expounded on the sacred influence and sovereignty of the Messiah, which result in the Christological point of view.
The Necessity of a Celestial Title (Christology Perspectives)
The title “Christ”, which represents a “savior”, “leader”, “Messiah” and in extension a type of “god”, was the title originally added to the name of Yeshua (Jesus). The need for a more celestial honor was then suggested, which He earned by proving Himself a remarkable being, and on top of it, a fully devoted shepherd and divine spiritual leader.
In addition, adoption of the title Kyrios was also common, seeing that earthly persons and sovereigns of the state were earnings of that title. It was so, because a king in his domain was as a “Kyrios” (lord) as well. Such kings as with the Caesars and the Pharaohs were praise as supreme above all other deities.
The fathers of the Church then acknowledged it as the right thing to give reverence, but not in similarity and equal to other deity. In so doing, they believed that the Messiah’s title must include and show His pre-existence and “oneness” from the beginning with “YHWH”. It is also clear that the fathers of the Church along with Christian theologians, with intention to prove Christ’s “oneness” with YHWH, included the act of beautifying The Virgin Mary as the “Theotokos” (giving birth to God).
“Don’t say obscure”! It is quite clear, that by hailing Him with the title Kyrios would declare Him as a deity. However, viewed as “a god”, with the word or letters in lower-case would make the Messiah seem inferior. However, being born of a virgin, and more so “The Virgin Mary” in the perspective of her pregnancy and lineage should allot Him as wholesome Son of “YHWH” (God) and heir to the “Throne of Grace”. Therefore, according to that aspiration of the title, and his mother as the Theotokos, He would be the only true “God” written in uppercase Shown as “G-o-d”.
Now, to prove this, the Christological point of view declared the pre-existence of Christ a main cause. In addition, a few points were of interest to many:
- The Theophany
- The “Logo” (word) as in the Book of Saint John
- Details of His Christophany
- Theotokos versus the Christokos
All of these are good points to look at, but more importantly, the past existence of Moses could be of high interest to collaborate as one of the pre-existence of the Messiah. Yes, Moses in all his glory manifested the power and the shadow of the good things to come, which is Christ.