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.”