Titles are given to persons to identify a position, which often may be held by many different people. There is confusion over the Name of God. Since the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into the Greek Septuagint during the third and second centuries B. C., a title has been traditionally used in place of His name. Consequently, many have taught that we no longer need to know His name. However, the Word of God itself tells us to call upon Him through His name and to praise Him by His name.
The Greek King of Egypt, Ptolemy II, had the available books of the law translated from Hebrew into Greek in about 275 BC. Josephus, who was a renowned first century Jewish historian in the Roman Empire, considered some of the background behind the new Greek translation of the Hebrew biblical books. He wrote that Aristeus, who was a close friend and advisor of Ptolemy II, said of the Jews:
"...for both these people and we also worship the same God, the framer of all things. We call him, and that truly, by the name of Ζηνα, [Zena, or life, or Jupiter,] because he breathes life into all men."(Ref:The Genuine Works of Flavius Josephus, William Whiston, trans., Vol. II, Book XII, Chap II, Glasgow: Printed by Edward Khull, and Co. for W. Somerville, et al, 1818, p. 137.)
Josephus called Zeus, which was the chief Greek god, by his Roman name, Jupiter. Thus, based on the rationale of Aristeus, Zeus, Jupiter, and Yahweh were all names of the same god. Consequently, the translators of the Greek Septuagint dispensed with the Hebrew proper name of God, (YHWH) Yahweh, and replaced it with a Greek title, , (kurios), which means Lord. Thus, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was no longer called Yahweh in the Greek Bible. Instead, He was simply known by a generic title.
Fulfilling the prophesy that Jeremiah had made many years earlier, the name of Yahweh, the living God, was removed from the mouths of the people of Judah living in Egypt:
"Therefore hear you the word of Yahweh, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says Yahweh, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord Yahweh lives." (Jeremiah 44:26)
Tradition keeps His name hidden.
The tradition established by the Greeks with the title (kurios) was continued by the translators that brought the Bible into the Latin and English languages. The Romans called Yahweh by the Latin title, Dominus, and the English called Him by the English titles, LORD or GOD. Consequently, His name has been lost for centuries to many readers of the Bible.
The name of Yahweh is exclusive, meaning He is the only God that exists. By changing it into a title, that meaning was lost. It was made vain, or empty and without meaning, even though Yahweh gave the clear commandment forbidding such a practice.
"You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain." (Exodus 20:7)
Nevertheless, tradition has prevailed for centuries over the commandment of God. It has been as Yahshua had said,
"And he said unto them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:9)
The Scriptures are clear:
"Let them praise your great and awesome name; for it is holy." (Psalms 99:3)
"And in that day shall you say, Praise Yahweh, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted." (Isaiah 12:4)
"Because I will publish the name of Yahweh: ascribe you greatness unto our God." (Deuteronomy 32:3)
The Hebrew and Greek titles, such as “adown” () , “adonay” , “kurios” (), and “baal” () all translate into the English word, “Lord,” which means a person having authority over others. While "adonay" often refers to Yahweh, "adown" is less emphatic and usually refers to another person. However, "adonay" was used in the Bible to refer to Ezra, the priest and scribe of Judah. (see Ezra 10:3) In a vision seen by Isaiah, the watchman called him "adonay". (see Isaiah 21:8) "Kurios" may mean Yahweh or another person, such as the master of a servant. (see Matthew 10:24) "Baal," or "Baalim," usually refers to false gods that are worshipped as images or idols.
The original languages of each of these titles might offer greater precision that may be preferred by some. However, original language titles are less understood by English readers. Furthermore, they are not exclusive to Yahweh and should not be used to imply the holiness for them that only belongs to His name.
While some suggest that the title, “God,” should be discarded in favor of original language titles, such as the Hebrew or Aramaic titles El (), Elohiym (), or Elowahh () and the Greek title Theos (), these words are also used in the Bible to refer to false gods as well as to Yahweh.
El is frequently used in the Scriptures in reference to Yahweh.
"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God (, el)." (Genesis 14:18)
"You shall not be frightened by them: for Yahweh your God is among you, a mighty God (, el) and fearful." (Deuteronomy 7:21)
However, El is also used in the Scriptures to designate false gods.
"Who is like unto you, O Yahweh, among the gods (, el)? who is like you, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (Exodus 15:11)
"Who has formed a god (, el), or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?" (Isaiah 44:10)
El was also the historical name of a false god.
In addition to biblical evidence that the title El also refers to false gods, archeological evidence demonstrates that El was also used as a name for false gods. For example, El is recorded as the name of the supreme god in Ugarit, which is a coastal city of northern Syria. The Ugaritic texts (1600-1200 BC) record El as the chief god of the local pantheon of gods, which included Baal, Anat, Asherah, and Yamm.
(see Victor H. Matthews, Judges and Ruth: The New Cambridge Bible Commentary, Cambridge, U. K.: Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 79.)
Elowahh is used as a title for Yahweh.
"They sacrificed unto devils, not to God (, elowahh); to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not." (Deuteronomy 32:17)
However, Elowahh is also used to designate false gods.
"Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god (, elowahh), whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain." (Daniel 11:39)
Elohiym is used as a title for Yahweh.
The first verse of the Bible begins by using Elohiym, which is also written as Elohim, as a title for Yahweh, who is the creator of all things.
"In the beginning God (, elohiym) created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
However, Elohiym is also used as a title for other designations besides Yahweh.
While this is used more than 2000 times used thoughout the Bible to designate Yahweh, it is also used as a title for angels, judges, false gods, and false goddesses.
Elohiym is a title given to angels.
"For you have made him a little lower than the angels (, elohiym), and have crowned him with glory and honor." (Psalms 8:5)
Elohiym is a title for the judges that judge criminal acts.
"If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges (, elohiym), to see whether he has put his hand to his neighbor’s goods." (Exodus 22:8)
Elohiym are the newly created demonic gods to which the children of Israel disobediently sacrificed.
"They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods (, elohiym) whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not." (Deuteronomy 32:17)
Elohiym is the title given to the Zidonian goddess, Ashtoreth, which Solomon disobediently “went after.”
"For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess (, elohiym) of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites." (1 Kings 11:5)
Such false gods included “Gad” and “Meniy” that were worshipped by those that forsook Yahweh.
"But you are they that forsake Yahweh, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for fortune (, gad), and that furnish the drink offering unto the god of fate (, meniy)." (Isaiah 65:11)
Some have suggested that “Gad,” the god of fate or fortune, is the basis for the English title, “God,” Therefore, they conclude, “God” should not be used as a title of Yahweh, but should be replaced by a title, such as (el) or (elohiym), even though they are also used as names and/or titles of false gods.
Gad is also the name of the prophet that spoke to David, the king of Israel.
"For when David was up in the morning, the word of Yahweh came to the prophet Gad (, Gad), David’s seer, saying," (2 Samuel 24:11)
The name Gad is introduced in the Bible as one of Jacob's sons.
Gad, which means “good fortune,” is first introduced in the Bible as the name given by Leah to Jacob’s seventh son.
"And Leah said, Good fortune (, gad) comes: and she called his name Gad (, Gad)." (Genesis 30:11)
When Jacob, as “Israel,” called his sons together to tell them what “shall befall” them “in the last days,” he gave revealing prophecies concerning each son. He chose his seventh son, Gad, for his eighth prophecy, which is about overcoming unto salvation. He introduced it by saying that he had waited for the salvation of Yahweh.
"I have waited for your salvation, O Yahweh. Gad (, Gad), a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last." (Genesis 49:18-19)
Jacob uses the word, “overcome,” twice. First, he says that a “troop,” as in an army, shall overcome Gad. However, he says Gad “shall overcome at the last.” Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “overcome” is (guwd), which is pronounced as “goode.” Whether or not “guwd” is the basis for the English title, “God,” we can only speculate.