The Hidden Name of God Bible Study—Part 5

We have reached the final chapter of the Hidden Name of God Bible Study. I must admit, it is bittersweet to reach the end. I hope that the close of this study will be the beginning of a life long journey of discovery for you and will deepen your relationship with Yehovah—our heavenly Father and Creator of the universe.

In this final session, I want to look more closely at a passage that I touched on briefly in prior chapters—the Priestly Blessing.

The Priestly Blessing
Birkat Kohanim — ברכת כוהנים

One of my favorite passages from the Old Testament is found in Numbers 6:22-27. It was not until I discovered Yehovah’s name that this passage took on a deeper meaning for me. Below is the version you will see in most English Bibles:

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ”Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”’
“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
Numbers 6:22-27 NKJV

If you read the above passage without the knowledge you now have of what is hidden behind LORD, would it have the same impact on you? We often read, or hear, or sing verses 24-26, but we can easily miss verse 27–So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them. If the priests used the title Adonai (Lord) when speaking this blessing over the people, would they have actually placed His name on them, so that Yehovah would bless them? Sadly, the answer is no. The priestly blessing loses its meaning and its power to bless when Yehovah’s name is missing from the blessing!

Before the prohibitions against speaking the Tetragrammaton were instituted, Aaron and his descendants did place the Shem HaMeforash upon the people. While the Second Temple was standing, it was still placed upon the people. There is a report in the Babylonian Talmud from 1st century A.D. Rabbi Tarfon who said he heard the high priest ”swallowing” the name during the chanting of the Priestly Blessing shortly before the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. According to this account, only the high priest pronounced the Tetragrammaton but did so under his breath to keep the people from actually hearing it (Babylonian Talmud, Kidushin 71a). After the destruction of the Temple, the secret pronunciation of the Name was transmitted by sages to their disciples once every seven years (Babylonian Talmud, Kidushin 71a). Therefore, since the late 1st century A.D., the pronunciation of YHVH became lost to all but a very small number of Jewish rabbis.

We know from previous lessons that during biblical times, even the common people spoke Yehovah’s name regularly, in blessings and greetings and oaths, and they would have frequently heard the priests proclaim the priestly blessing over them using God’s unique name.


Below is the Priestly Blessing using the YHVH which appears in the Torah:

And Yehovah spoke to Moses, saying: ”Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:
Yehovah bless you and keep you; Yehovah make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; Yehovah lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”’
“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
Numbers 6:22-27 NKJV (emphasis mine)

The blessing of Yehovah followed the placing of His Name upon the children of Israel. This is a very important detail that cannot be overlooked or underestimated.

“… In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you.“
Exodus 20:24b NKJV

Before Jesus went to the cross, when He was praying for His disciples (and you and me) in the upper room, He told His Father that He had declared the Father’s name to His disciples and would declare it. He also said that He and the Father are one. The Father’s name is found in the Old Testament/Tanakh nearly 7,000 times. The name of the Messiah, Yeshua/Yehoshua (Jesus) contains the name of the Father. Their oneness of name and purpose is found in Their names. Yehovah, the one who was and is and is to come, saves us as Yeshua (Yehovah is salvation) who has always existed with the Father and He will come again to finish what He started!

“And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 17:26 NKJV

“… Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one.”
John 17:11b ESV

Your Turn

For your final bit of homework let me encourage you to watch/listen to this video which gives the Hebrew pronunciation of the Priestly Blessing along with the translation.

To hear a hauntingly beautiful version of the blessing sung by Joshua Aaron, click here. He replaces the Tetragrammaton with Adonai, which (as we have learned during this study) is the way the Jewish people commonly pronounce God’s name.

Below is the English version, Hebrew version and transliteration.

Yehovah bless you and keep you;
Yehovah make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
Yehovah lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהֹוָה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
יָאֵר יְהֹוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָ
יִשָּׂא יְהֹוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

ye-va-re-khe-kha ye-ho-vah ve-yish-me-re-kha
ya-eir ye-ho-vah pa-nav e-ley-kha vi-chun-ne-ka
yis-sa ye-ho-vah pa-nav e-ley-kha ve-ya-seim le-kha sha-lom

If you would like to delve further into this subject, I recommend Nehemiah Gordon’s book, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, the Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed.1


Thank you for participating in this Bible study! My prayer for you is that learning and knowing and speaking God’s name, Yehovah, will bring you into a closeness with the Father that you have not known before and bring unexpected blessings into your life! Hallelu Yah!

Shalom, my friends!


If this post has touched you or resonated with you, please consider liking, commenting, and sharing it with a friend.


Footnotes

1Gordon, Nehemia, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, the Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed, (Hilkiah Press, 2012).


Featured image background by titoOns via CanvaPro; Scripture photography by Lisa Urbani.

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