Seek Yahweh: Who Was, Who Is, and Who Is to Come

Revelation is the last book of the New Testament canon. This book, written by the Apostle John, could have been written as late as 90 AD. There are no known Hebrew versions of it from the first 1,500 years of the Christian church; yet, Hebraic understanding of the name of God, Yahweh, can be seen throughout this apocalyptic revelation.

 

In the Hebrew New Testament written in 1861 by Franz Delitzch,1 there are 17 uses in Revelation where these Hebrew scholars chose to translate the Greek word kurios (English word “Lord”) as the name of God, YHWH, rather than keep the generic title, Lord (or adonai in Hebrew). Many of these usages are very dramatic and emphatic regarding God’s name.

 

Also, the book of Revelation contains the only New Testament usage of the word “hallelujah” (Rev 19:1, 3, 4, and 6). “Hallelujah” is a Greek word, transliterated directly from Hebrew, meaning “praise Yah” or “praise Yahweh.”

 

However, perhaps the greatest epithet for God’s name in the book of Revelation is presented in the first chapter of the book.

 

Revelation 1:4

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,

 

This phrase and certain variations of it occur only in this last book of the Bible. It is a direct reflection of the meaning of God’s name given Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). The English words “I am that I am,” or in the Hebrew “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyheh” mean that God was, that He is, and that He will be. He is the existing one. Here, in the very last book of the biblical canon, the meaning of God’s name is again gloriously proclaimed!

This appellation is not presented just once but several times throughout the book, and this term is used only regarding Yahweh, the one true God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

Revelation 4:8

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”

 

Revelation 11:17

saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.

 

Revelation 16:5

And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things;”

 

In Revelation, God is referred to also as the one “who lives forever and ever,” yet another expression of the existing one, the eternal God, Yahweh.

 

Revelation 4:10

the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

 

Revelation 10:6

and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer,

 

The book of Revelation, if it be true that it was penned after 90 AD, was written at a time when many changes were taking place in both Judaism and Christianity. As Christian churches were spreading into the more Greek and Hellenized world, Judaism was in upheaval after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The name of God was being lost in the confusion. Yet, even in the midst of it all, the Apostle John laced the writing of this last book with Hebraic understanding of God’s glorious name.

 

In the revised version of his doctoral thesis “YHWH at Patmos,” Sean McDonough presents a thorough and scholarly examination of this phrase used by the Apostle John in Revelation. He writes, “While it is sometimes suggested that the name fell into more or less total oblivion in the second temple era, in fact it continued to have a rich underground existence, and it occasionally made a dramatic public appearance.” This is true in the book of Revelation where the Almighty God, Yahweh, is brilliantly presented as He who was, who is, and who is to come. He is the existing one and is worthy to receive the glory due His name.

Revelation 4:8-11

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”

And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,

the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

 

  1. See Glad Tidings Article Seek Yahweh: The Hebrew New Testament, May/June Edition, Vol 18, issue 3,

page 4.

  1. See Glad Tidings Article Seek Yahweh: Praise YAH, September/October Edition, Vol 17, issue 4, page 4.
  2. See Glad Tidings Article Seek Yahweh: Is God’s Name I Am?, September/October Edition, Vol 18, issue 5, page 6.
  3. Sean M. McDonough, YHWH at Patmos: Rev 1:4 in its Hellenistic and early Jewish setting (J.C. B. Mohr, Germany, Copyright © 1999), Chapter 1: Introduction, pg 1.

 

 

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