Yo’el. That’s the Hebrew Joel, according to Wikipedia.

I’ve known for quite some time that Joel means, in one form or another, “Jehova is God.” Some say “Jehovah is Lord”, or “Yahweh is God”… “God is willing” is rolled in there in some descriptions as well.

But it all comes down to two elements: yo and el. And those are pretty much the two names of God: Yahweh (Yo) and Elohim (El). So, stripped of it’s Jehovah-GOD-God-LORD-Lord complexities, it means: “Yahweh is Elohim.” (Interestingly enough, Elijah means the inverse: Elohim is Yahweh.)

This works quite nicely with the writings of the prophet Joel himself. He writes in 2:23:

Be glad (8798) then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice (8798) in the LORD your God: for he hath given (8804) you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down (8686) for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

The LORD and God are Yahweh and Elohim, respectively.

Now, apparently there is some struggle going on in seminary-circles about if Jehovah or Yahweh is more proper. If you click on LORD in the passage above, you’ll see that Studylight.org translates it as “Jehovah = the existent one; the proper name for the one true God”. You should also see that there are four characters that make up this Hebrew name for God. Translated into English, they are YHWH–Yahweh without the consonants vowels. Hebrew scribes wrote without consonants vowels.

It of course isn’t that simple. The graphic to the right is a visual of the translational mess the Wikipedia article discusses. It involves all sorts of things I don’t have a clue about, including the Jews avoidance of speaking the proper name of God, lest they “take the LORD’s name in vain” and be struck dead. I guess Adonai developed as a result.

Jehovah’s Witnesses even have a say in the matter and have their own interpretation that some consider blasphemous. I had no idea this was such an issue.

But when you think about it, names are pretty darn important. Less so now than they were then, but still quite important. Names carry meaning. And if we take into account that our words have power as scripture says, when we repeatedly address a person by his or her name, and that name carries meaning, then we shape that person’s reality and our relationship with him or her.

There was a reason God changed people’s names, such as Abraham and Paul. And it wasn’t because He was bored. It meant something. And there is a reason that He has a unique name for each of us He will reveal in heaven. Because it means something. Name changes represent self-change and relationship-with-God change.

So, in summary, I’d kinda like to know what God’s real name is. You know how annoying it is for someone to repeatedly get your name wrong (my last name isn’t Mowst! …and Sherry’s name isn’t Sharron! …and Krista isn’t Crystal, or Kristen!)

Yahweh ElohimAnd lastly… if I were to get a tattoo, it would be this: Yahweh Elohim, the meaning of my name, written in Hebrew:

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.