Proverbs 30:4 asks, “What is His name?” These words reflect our need to know. Josephus, a Jewish historian at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, gives us a major clue. He describes the high priest’s golden crown, “in which was engraven the sacred name [of God]...It consists of four vowels” Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapter 5, Section 7.
- The yod is the first letter of God’s name. It is the smallest Hebrew letter and it looks like an apostrophe. As a vowel it has the sound of “i” in Gloria and it means hand as in giving, receiving or ownership.
- The second letter of God’s name is the hay which sounds like “ah” and it represents light or rain.
- The third letter is the vav and as a vowel sounds like “oo” in tooth. It looks like a concrete nail and has the meaning of nail or hook.
The best of Hebrew transliterates Josephus’ statement of God’s name (“four vowels”) as IAUA. “I” has the international “I” sound as in Gloria. [Phonetically IAUA is ee’-ah-oo”-ah.]
This may be one reason the Jews “profaned” it--to avoid the heathen mocking it or laughing at them because it is so different. But you wouldn’t want God to have a name like Tom, Dick or Harry; His name must be different. The reason you might see it written as YHWH, or YAHWEH, is because phonetically, they sound very much the same.
Consonants [like b, d, k, or m] are made by obstruction of air flow. God’s name has no obstruction like our names or characters have. His name and His character are all flow and melody. And the vowel tones are pure [not diphthongs like ah-ee = I. This reminds us of His apocalyptic promise—“then will I turn the people to a pure language [margin says lip] that they may all call upon the name of IAUA.” Zephaniah 3:9.
The first two letters (IA= ee-ah) were part of many Hebrew names—the prophets often came in God’s name like JeremIA or ZecharIA, and we should pronounce the “i” like “ee” as they do in most countries. Elijah was pronounced “el-ee-ah,” because there is no J in Hebrew. So Elia means El [short form of Elohim, meaning God] is IA. Women named Maria or Gloria have the short poetic form of God’s name (IA) as part of their name. Countries like SyrIA or SamarIA also have God’s name as part of theirs.
HalleluIA is an international word meaning “Praise IA” in most languages. You can read this short form of God’s name in Psalm 68:4, except translators supplanted the Hebrew yod with “J” making it “Jah,” where it should be IA [ee-ah].
Before the second coming, “Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” Matthew 17:11. Since God’s name means salvation, it stands to reason that His name will also be restored to it’s rightful place in the end time. It is our privilege to share in this work of Elijah.