My friend Athol Dickson recently shared something fascinating with me. He’s blogging about it over on his blog, too, but here’s the note he shared . . . and that blew me away.

A friend sent me a devotional today, written by a Messianic Jew named Aaron Rabin. In it, Mr. Rabin refers to the tetragrammaton, YHVH or (in Hebrew letters) Yud Hey Vav Hey, which is the most holy name of God, given to Moses at the burning bush, the one that most English translations render as “I AM”. As many of you may know, YHVH is also the “forgotten” name of God, which Jews say is incomplete and which has a meaning that was lost because their ancestors refused to speak it aloud for so many generations. Today YHVH is most often rendered as “Yahweh” when spoken. “Jehovah” is an older, less accurate rendition. It’s also the name most often printed as the LORD (all caps) in English Bibles. (Sometimes “Adonai” is translated that way as well.)

Anyway, Mr. Rabin refers to the “ideographic” meaning of the Hebrew letters Yud Hey Vav Hey. An ideogram is a symbol that represents an idea, like those little male and female symbols you see on the outside of public restroom doors. This is similar–but not identical–to the Chinese written system, or ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. I knew Hebrew letters had ideographic meanings, but I never thought to check the tetragrammaton against those meanings as Mr. Rabin did. When I verified his assertion at three different sources, I was amazed. Using the ideographic meanings of Yud Hey Vav Hey most commonly accepted by Jewish scholars throughout the centuries, I found they absolutely match Rabin’s translation of the most holy name of God.

Symbolically speaking, YHVH can indeed be translated as “Behold, the hand. Behold, the nail.”



  1. Anonymous

    *jaw drops*
    NO WAY! That is too cool!
    ~Jenn H.

  2. Kay

    I think it is just amazing. I linked to his post today.

  3. The Preacher's Wife

    Of all the commentaries I’ve read about The Name I’ve never heard anything anywhere close to this…Amazing!

  4. Leslie

    Wow, indeed.

    I had to pass this one on to my friends who once showed me a passage in the Old Testament (and I can’t even remember where it is!) where the people were instructed to mark the righteous with a mark on the forhead (I believe a battle was about to ensure to clean out the unrighteous). The word used is also the term for one of the letters of the Hebrew language. Then they showed me a book with the pre-Babylonian captivity and post-Babylonian written language – I believe it was the pre-Babylonian version – I was shocked to see that the letter had a very striking resemblance to a cross.

    I have got to find out where that verse was! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this!


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