Do We Honor Yahweh by Referring to Him as "Our God"?
By Larry & June Acheson
Part I: Does the "Paganizing" of Yahweh’s Titles Give Us a License To Appropriate Already-Corrupt Titles to Him?
f you’re like me, you began referring to our Heavenly Father by His name Yahweh only after diligently researching this issue on your own, or perhaps you were introduced to the belief by a friend, family member or acquaintance. At first June and I wanted to dismiss the concept of rejecting the name we had been taught (“God”) in favor of “Yahweh” as somewhat cultic, but our familiarity with a verse in the book of I Thessalonians stirred in us a desire to at least check it out together, prayerfully and diligently. In I Thessalonians 5:21 we are told, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
We all have our own stories of how we checked and double-checked information, went to various libraries, etc., in our efforts to uncover the truth about Yahweh’s name. The result: Our minds were changed. Many of us were shocked to learn that “God” is not the Creator’s name at all, despite its common appearance in most English Bibles. Not only do Bibles insert “God” where our Creator’s TITLE (Elohim) appears, but they wrongly insert a TITLE (the LORD) where His NAME appears. If ever anything smelled of a conspiracy, this was indeed prime evidence for one! You see, I am one of the many who, while growing up, was taught that our Creator’s name is “God.” In fact, over two years ago, I conducted a poll in the office where I work and discovered that nearly everyone there believes the Creator’s name is “God.” Of the ten people surveyed, only one person listed a different name for the Creator, listing it as “Jesus.” Thus, the fact that I was wrongly taught our Creator’s name as being “God” is not a singular, isolated incident. It is widespread.
Once I learned that His name is not and never was “God,” other truths began to surface. I learned the truth regarding a Babylonian/Canaanite deity of fortune named “God,” and of how this idol is mentioned in Scripture, but translators cleverly concealed its name. Isn’t it interesting that the name we are taught as belonging to the Creator of the universe turns out to be the name of a Canaanite deity worshipped by those who “forsake Yahweh” (Isaiah 65:11)? Not only this, but translators "hid" Yahweh’s name and replaced it with “the LORD,” then “hid” the name of the Canaanite deity of fortune, apparently to justify inserting it as a “proper translation” of the Hebrew title “Elohim.” Having thus effectively covered their tracks, the stage was set for what is perhaps one of the greatest deceptions of all time: The masking of Yahweh’s name. They had to hide Yahweh’s name, then present the name “God” in a positive light in order for it to become the accepted name and title that it is today. After all, who, upon discovering the truth about the name of the pagan deity of fortune, would desire to refer to the true Creator with that same name, only now as a “title”?
Yahweh is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33), but what translators have done to Yahweh’s name is enough to make most peoples’ heads spin! Think about it! They took out His name (Yahweh), replaced it with a title (the LORD), then took the name of a false idol (God) and inserted that name as a title for Yahweh, but most people in our society commonly regard that title as actually being His name, because they know the title that has been substituted for His name (the LORD) is clearly just that: a title! Is your head spinning yet? When most people read the words “the LORD God” in their Bibles, they perceive “the LORD” as being simply a title, not recognizing it as being a substitution of His name, and the word "God" to them represents His name, even though “God” is rendered as a translation of the Hebrew title “Elohim.” To make their cover-up complete, the translators removed all evidence of there having been a heathen deity named “God.” The result: Millions of people today sincerely, yet wrongly, believe our Creator’s name is “God.” Confusion abounds!
The Separation Created by Rejecting the Name "God":
Deliberate Separation or a Quest for Truth?
Having been raised in a household wherein our Creator’s name was taught as being “God,” combined with the fact that my wife and I plainly recognized the unpleasant separation that would occur if we chose to abandon that concept, we did not readily embrace the new truth about His name when it was first revealed to us. Our previous experience with sharing the message about the truth of Yahweh’s Sabbath day (versus Sunday observance) taught us an important lesson about humanity: Many people are not open to new truths and are not interested in making lifestyle changes of this magnitude. Thus, as we began our study regarding Yahweh’s name, we knew in the back of our minds that, if the teaching regarding Yahweh’s name were indeed true, we would most likely go through a separation similar to the one we experienced when we discontinued worshipping on Sunday. We did not want to go through that again! Our decision to observe the Sabbath served to sever the fellowship of over 120 people in our home town, and led us to a city over 30 miles away, where we met with some fifteen individuals on a weekly basis. Were we about to be “on our own” by accepting the new teaching regarding Yahweh’s name? This was what weighed so heavily on our minds, for we did not and do not desire to worship alone on the Sabbath, especially if there is no valid justification for doing so! Despite our desire to fellowship with others on the Sabbath, you by now know the result: We were on our own.
If there is a purpose to this lengthy introduction, it is to share with you the fact that my wife and I, though choosing to be alone rather than worship with those whom we feel dishonor our Creator by referring to Him with a name that is not and never was His, did all we could to prevent those separations. We at first tried to dismiss the truth about His name, saying, “If you want to speak Hebrew, then call Him Yahweh! I speak English, so I call Him God!” We later tried without success to actually prove that “God” is an acceptable name for our Creator. In the end, truth must prevail over continued associations with groups who reject that truth. We thus chose to sacrifice our association with an assembly that was not open to investigating the matter rather than sacrifice what we knew to be truth. Our continued presence in such an assembly could only have been construed as our acceptance of their position.
A New Teaching Emerges ... Or is it an Old One Resurfacing?
The separation created by the decision to reject the name “God” has been painful to many, and understandably so when one considers the fact that Yahweh created us to be social beings, needing the acceptance, approval and fellowship of others to make our lives more complete. Partly as a result of this desire to fellowship with more people, and largely due to the well-intentioned desire to bring more converts to the faith, a relatively new teaching has emerged that has been embraced by many in the Yahwist Movement. Perhaps more accurately, though, this teaching should be described as an old teaching that has resurfaced. Some individuals, while recognizing the Creator’s name as rightly being Yahweh, maintain that "God" is nevertheless an acceptable TITLE for Him. We believe the main reason for believing this way is the desire to not only attract more people into the Yahwist Movement, but also to retain others who might eventually become discouraged upon discovering how "separate" we become upon rejecting the name/title “God.” As one individual wrote:
I still say the whole [Yahwist] movement is far too hung up on this topic [rejecting “God” as a proper title for Yahweh] and expending energy they could better use to tell a lost and dying world about a Saviour named Yahushua the Messiah. This kind of theorizing only leads us to run off otherwise sincere and seeking individuals.
We sincerely appreciate this man’s desire to bring people to the saving knowledge of our Heavenly Father and His Son. Certainly we do not support the promotion of any teachings that “run off otherwise sincere and seeking individuals” UNLESS those teachings represent TRUTH. We earnestly desire for ALL to come to the Messiah, but not at the expense of truth! Truth must prevail over bringing in numbers of converts to the faith; we must not compromise truth for the sake of numbers.
The conclusion reached by the above individual is largely based on an article originally written in 1997 in which the authors themselves establish their concern that those who teach the rejection of the title “God” have “cost” the Yahwist Movement members:
If we honestly evaluate -- without prejudice or bias -- the growth and development of the Sacred-Name Movement, we would have to admit our erroneous linguistic principles have cost the Movement dearly. Little has been gained by challenging Christianity for employing the terms god and lord. Instead, our most valiant efforts have only resulted in the fragmentation of our Movement and in the development of some very radical organizations.
The admonition as stated above comes from a widely circulated article entitled “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles.” In this article we are also told, “We ought to be willing to admit that the Hebrew titles elohim and adonay can be translated into English as god and lord.” Elsewhere the authors of the treatise write, “Therefore, if we truly wish to be honest with the facts, admitting that god and lord are perfectly acceptable English translations is a linguistic necessity.” It is our purpose to demonstrate that if we truly wish to be honest with the facts, god is not a “perfectly acceptable English translation” of the Hebrew word Elohim. Furthermore, we maintain that those who refer to Yahweh with such a title dishonor Him, whether it be inadvertently or on purpose. Please allow us to demonstrate why we believe as we do.
As alluded to earlier, in Isaiah 65:11 we are introduced to the heathen idol named "God." The King James Version translators erroneously rendered the Hebrew word pronounced “Gawd” in that verse as “that troop.” The translators of other versions, at least recognizing "God" as the deity of fortune, simply rendered the Hebrew word as "Fortune," thus perpetrating the error of not transliterating the name of this idol. The name of this deity remains cloaked to most worshippers. Had the King James Version translators properly transliterated all proper names that appear in Isaiah 65:11, here is how that verse would read:
But ye are they that forsake Yahweh, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for God, and that furnish the drink offering unto Meni.
Once we establish that "God" is indeed the name of a deity worshipped by those who "forsake Yahweh," we are ready to ask the question, “Is it proper to refer to our Creator with a title (such as "God") that matches the name of a heathen deity?” Does this honor Him? How does referring to Yahweh with a title that matches the name of a heathen deity honor Him?
Did Yahweh Refer to Himself as a "Baal"?
Some who are of the persuasion that "God" is an acceptable title for Yahweh answer that Yahweh was referred to as a baal in Scripture, and in fact refers to Himself as a baal. Moreover, Yahweh also calls Himself a molech in Scripture. Since both baal and molech are also the names of heathen deities, coupled with the fact that Yahweh refers to Himself with titles such as these – this, in their opinion, “proves” that it is also acceptable and even honorable to refer to Yahweh as our “God.” Is this true?
First of all, it is indeed true that Yahweh does refer to Himself as a baal and as a molech. Notice what Yahweh says in Jeremiah 31:31-32:
31 Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will
make a new covenant with the house of
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband [Heb. baal] unto them, saith Yahweh.
that the word translated “husband” is actually the Hebrew word “baal.” Thus
Yahweh identified Himself as having been a baal
to the children of
With the understanding that Yahweh identified Himself as a baal, combined with the knowledge that there was indeed a pagan deity named Baal, does this mean we can in similar fashion honorably refer to Yahweh as our God, since it might be construed that He is indifferent towards the titles we attribute to Him? Certainly, it might appear, upon conducting a cursory examination, that we can properly refer to Yahweh as our “God,” even if God was the name of a heathen idol, for Yahweh referred to Himself as a "baal," even though there was a heathen deity named "Baal." Is there something missing here that needs to be explained? Yes.
What we need to consider is the possibility and likelihood that Yahweh was referred to as a baal (husband) long before apostate men began calling upon an idol named Baal. If this is true, the word baal was a perfectly legitimate title for Yahweh long before it was transformed into a proper noun. Since no one can go back to the beginning to listen to the words early believers employed in reference to Yahweh, no one can say for certain that anyone ever referred to Yahweh as baal prior to the emergence of the deity named Baal. Thus, if it is indeed true that the deity named Baal pre-dates anyone ever referring to Yahweh with the title Baal, then indeed a legitimate case can be made in favor of referring to Yahweh as God. However, it is prudent to note that baal was in ancient times a common Hebrew term meaning “husband” or “master,” demonstrating that from its inception this is exactly what this word meant, not that it was originally the name of a false deity. As early as Genesis 20:3, this term was used to represent a "husband." This is the account of Abraham’s telling Abimelech, King of Gerar, that Sarah was his sister:
But the Almighty came to Abimelech in dream by night and said to him, Behold, you are about to die because of the woman you have taken, she being married to a husband [baal].
As this verse demonstrates, the earliest usage of the Hebrew word baal implies that it simply meant "husband" or "master." There are no allusions to an original application to any heathen idols. Certainly, in the beginning, there were no false believers, no heathens who worshipped any mighty one other than Yahweh. From all appearances, baal was simply a generic word with no negative connotations or associations with heathen worship. With the commonly accepted meaning of "husband" or "master," it is understandable that Yahweh was from time to time referred to as baal by His people. Once men branched out after the Flood and began to repopulate the earth, though, corrupted worship began to creep in. Perhaps innocently, certain individuals may have begun to refer to Yahweh as their baal on a much more exclusive basis than before. Gradually, they may have drifted into referring to Him more as baal than by His name. As worship became more and more corrupt, it is quite possible that they eventually lost Yahweh’s identity completely, ascribing His characteristics to Baal as their now completely separate religion emerged, with Baal as the name of the deity they worshipped. Is this possible? Indeed it is. Thus, all available evidence supports the common term baal evolving into a corrupted name for a heathen idol, not vice-versa.
The same can
be said for such titles as Elohim and
Adonai. Many in the Yahwist Movement wouldn’t dream of referring to Yahweh as their Baal, yet they refer to Him as their Elohim on a regular basis. Elohim
is a title that was commonly used in reference to both Yahweh and false
deities, but what many tend to overlook is the fact that Elohim was also the name of a heathen idol. According to The International Bible Commentary, “Elohim is clearly derived from
El, the name given to the king of the gods by the Canaanites, with Eloah,
surviving mainly in poetry, as the connecting link.” In addition, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary provides the following
information: “Baal was the son of El,
the father of the gods and the head of the Canaanite pantheon, according to the
With nothing else to go on but the preceding information, one would be left to believe that Elohim, in its original form, is corrupt. However, once again, we must pause and recognize that, in the beginning, there was no corrupted worship. Was Elohim a part of the pure worship that pre-dated the corrupt worship? All available evidence supports believing that it was. Otherwise, what became of the pure title that was originally used? How did a corrupted title come to completely replace an originally pure one? With no existing evidence to support substitution of Elohim for an earlier title, we are left to believe that, indeed, Elohim was originally ascribed only to Yahweh as an honorable title. As time progressed and man became more and more corrupt, Elohim was later applied to heathen idols as well as to Yahweh, and a deity named El became known as the "father of the gods."
This same historical pattern is characteristic of the title molech. In I Samuel 12:12 we read,
And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, ‘Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when Yahweh your Almighty was your king.
The spelling of the Hebrew word translated "king" (|elem) in the above verse is identical to the spelling of the name of the Ammonites’ chief deity, Molech (|elom). The only notable difference between these two words lies in the vowel pointings, which weren’t added until the seventh century CE. Thus, if we were to transliterate the Hebrew word translated “king” in the above verse, it could read “...Yahweh your Almighty was your molech.”
This pattern is also evident with regard to the title adonai. All available evidence supports these titles as having been originally ascribed to Yahweh before later becoming corrupted. Does the corruption of an originally-pure word or title make it unusable? No, it does not. Consider, for example, the very name of Yahweh. As we are about to see, this name was brutally misappropriated and perverted by heathen men. According to French epigrapher André Lemaire in his article “Who or What was Yahweh’s Asherah?,” published in the Nov.-Dec. 1984 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, an inscription found at Kuntillet ‘Ajrud (dated between 850 and 750 BCE) states the following:
I bless you through Yahweh of Samaria, and through his Asherah!
Another inscription, found at ‘El Qom, from the same time period, reads:
Uriyahu, the king, has written this. Blessed be Uriyahu through Yahweh, and his enemies have been conquered through Yahweh’s Asherah.
Asherah is the name of the Canaanite mother-goddess whose worship is expressly forbidden in such Biblical passages as Deuteronomy 16:21 (consistently rendered "grove" in the King James Version). Clearly, Yahweh’s name was misappropriated and corrupted by heathen worshippers.
Not only did apostate believers inanely associate Yahweh’s name with a “goddess,” but His name was also incorporated into the name of an Egyptian moon idol! According to Encyclopedia of Gods, one of the many idols worshipped by ancient Egyptians was one named Yah:
Egyptian. Yah may have been an
We can certainly see that the adversary has had his hand in virtually everything having to do with pure worship, including the very name of our Heavenly Father. Thus mishandled, shall we now discontinue calling upon that name? Do we discard the name of the Creator simply because it becomes misused? No. If this were the answer, we would find ourselves constantly changing the Creator’s name in response to all the subsequent abuses each "clean" name would incur. Yahweh is still Yahweh, no matter how men attempt to make Him fit into their own image of what He should be. Yahweh is His name forever (Exodus 3:15), no matter what other plans man may have in mind. Similarly, any titles originally ascribed to Yahweh do not become "unclean" just because they are later conferred upon heathen idols. Just because apostate men “paganized” Yahweh’s Hebrew titles, naming deities after “elohim,” “baal,” “adonai,” and even “molech,” does not mean that man can now honorably take any already pagan-to-the-core name or title and apply it to Yahweh as a “perfectly acceptable translation” of the original Hebrew title. Does the wrongful “paganizing” of the titles that Yahweh gave to Himself give mankind a license to apply “just any old pagan name or title” to the Creator? No, it does not. This is a classic case of the proverbial “Two wrongs don’t make a right” expression.
Once we establish the fact that any title originally ascribed to Yahweh cannot ever properly become disassociated from Him in spite of its having become tainted with heathen worship during the course of history, we are then poised to ask the pivotal question around which this article centers: Is it appropriate to take an already-corrupt name and apply it to the Creator as a title? The answer, again, is no. For example, what sincere truth seeker and servant of Yahweh would ever consider referring to Him as “our Zeus” or “our Apollo”? Each of the preceding two names represents the names of pagan deities, the worship of which is clearly outlawed by Yahweh. Yahweh commands His people to have “no other” deities before Him (Ex. 20:3). He later adds, “I am YAHWEH, and there is none else, there is no mighty one beside Me. I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am Yahweh, and there is NONE ELSE!” (Isaiah 45:5-6).
If Yahweh doesn’t even recognize any deities other than Himself, then why would anyone professing to follow Him willfully choose to refer to Him with a title emanating from heathen worship, specifically from the NAME of a heathen idol? Would doing such a thing bring honor to Yahweh? Would we honor Yahweh if we referred to Him as “Yahweh our Zeus” or “Yahweh our Apollo”? We could expand this to include such idols as Nisroch, an Assyrian deity mentioned in II Kings 19:37. Should it be considered appropriate to refer to our Creator as “Yahweh our Nisroch”? And what about the deity mentioned in Isaiah 65:11 -- the idol whose name is “GOD”? Should it be considered appropriate to refer to our Creator as “Yahweh our God”? Remember, Yahweh Himself identifies this deity as one worshipped by those who FORSAKE Him. Shall we therefore take the name of an idol worshipped by those who forsake Yahweh and apply that name to Yahweh as a title for Him? Would doing such a thing convey honor to our Creator? The answer, again, is no. If our ultimate goal as truth seekers and servants is to live our lives striving to bring honor to Yahweh, then we should earnestly seek to refer to Him with titles that bring Him the most honor! Does “God” pass the test? No, it does not.
We would like to believe the information thus far presented serves to close the case in favor of not referring to Yahweh as “our God.” However, many individuals are not persuaded of this, and they present various arguments in an attempt to defend their use of the title “God” in reference to Yahweh. In the next section, we will examine seven arguments we have heard in support of referring to Yahweh as “our God,” and determine if any of them have any substance.
Before we present those arguments, though, we need to address a misunderstanding that surfaced when the preceding portion of this study was published in the January – February 2001 issue of Frank Brown’s Search the Scriptures newsletter.
Clarification of Part One: Let’s Make One Thing Perfectly Clear!
ne of the great challenges an author is faced with when writing to his audience is that of clearly communicating his thoughts - his very perspective - in such a manner that he is not misunderstood. Upon reading Part One of this study, at least one person misunderstood our intent regarding the translation of titles from one language to another, and we would like to clarify that now.
Titles may be translated from one language to another. This is a fact that is so widely recognized that we won’t even attempt to explain its validity. Names, on the other hand, are not translated. Instead, they are transliterated, which means their pronunciation is carried over from one language to the next with little variation. Although we have been subtly taught that names may be translated from one language to another, the truth of the matter is, they cannot, unless you want to say something like, “The name Daniel means ‘Elohim is Judge.’” Despite this Hebrew to English translation, no one is going to argue that we should be referring to this Hebrew prophet as Elohim is Judge when we speak English. Instead, we refer to him as Daniel, without altering his name from the original (at least not intentionally). Conversely, no one is going to attempt to translate into English names such as Adolf Hitler, Mao-Tse-Tung, Osama bin Ladin, or Pocahontas. Titles, however, are a different matter. For example, a cook is called a cocinero in Spanish, and a fireman is termed a bombero. A nurse is considered an enfermera. The Spanish translations of these titles in no way resembles the English counterpart! Sometimes, though, a title can be spelled the same (or nearly the same) from one language to the next. For example, a doctor is un doctor in Spanish. Policeman is policia. President is presidente. When it comes to Yahweh’s titles, the most common ones employed in the Hebrew language are adonai and elohim. We do not deny that these titles can rightfully be translated into the English language if one so chooses, and in fact this is what June and I normally do. We usually refer to Yahweh as our Almighty, our Mighty One, or our Sovereign, all of which are considered accurate translations of the Hebrew title elohim.
As indicated by the title of our study, a controversy exists with regard to the limits to which we can go when it comes to translating elohim from Hebrew into English. We know that a proper translation must take into consideration the original intent of that Hebrew word, conveying strength, might, and power. All one has to do to learn the original, intended meaning of elohim is to look it up in a Strong’s Concordance. This Hebrew word is most commonly translated “god” in English, and is word #430 in Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary. It is traced to word #410 in Strong’s (el), which literally means strength and mighty. Equipped with the knowledge of the original meaning of elohim, we come face to face with the question regarding the validity of the translation that was arbitrarily chosen by the translators of such versions as the King James Version. Does the translation “god” most accurately and properly reflect the intended meaning of the Hebrew word elohim? From where does the word “god” hail? Should the word “god” be considered a “translation” of elohim or a "transliteration" of the name of an idol? Do we honor Yahweh by referring to Him as “our God”?
Review of Part One: If We Can Properly Refer to Yahweh as "Our God," Then Can’t We Also Refer to Him as "Our Zeus"?
n part one of our study, we shared how we, like many others, diligently researched the issue pertaining to the name we should call our Heavenly Father, and contrary to what we had been taught, we concluded that indeed His name is Yahweh, not God. The end result, of course, was that we rejected the error and accepted the truth. We then mentioned that a recent trend within the Yahwist Movement has been to accept a new teaching that has spread through our ranks, a teaching that is actually an old one resurfacing. This teaching involves recognizing "God" as an acceptable title for Yahweh. We addressed one of the chief arguments used in support of this belief, which is as follows: Since titles originally ascribed to Yahweh (such as baal, elohim and adonai) were eventually converted into names of heathen deities, some believers deduce that this "paganization" of an originally pure title justifies converting an already-heathen name of a false idol (God) into a legitimate English translation of the Hebrew title "Elohim." As presented in part one, Yahweh identifies a false deity named God as an idol worshipped by those who forsake Him (Isaiah 65:11). We countered the argument listed above by stating that if we are at liberty to apply the name of this heathen idol as a title for Yahweh, then we must be equally free to apply the names of other deities as titles as well. We would thus be free to refer to Yahweh as “our Zeus,” “our Artemis,” “our Apollo,” and even as “our Satan.” We live in a free country. We are free to worship our Creator however we see fit, with only a few exceptions. We can pretty much obey Him however we want and we can even call Him whatever we choose. The question begging an answer, though, is, “Does referring to Yahweh as ‘our God’ HONOR Him?”
If you read part one, you know that our answer to the above question is an emphatic, “No!” Let us now proceed with part two, as we critically examine seven objections that have been presented in opposition to our conclusion.
Objection #1: Is God connected to God?
n defense of his position, an acquaintance within the Yahwist Movement wrote, “I still do not believe the Baal God of Isaiah 65:11 has anything to do with the titles used in English of Lord and God. I do not believe you have proven ‘Gad’ of this passage is the ‘gott’ of the Teutonic tribes, which influenced the English to use the title ‘God.’ ... I don’t believe you can make such a connection and successfully prove your point beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Our response: What this man’s short commentary amounts to, in a nutshell, is saying, “I don’t believe God is in any way connected to God.” Does this make any sense? My dad has a saying that seems to apply to this situation: “If you can’t tell the difference, there isn’t any!” We maintain that it is unwise, and even confusing, to take a word that is pronounced a certain way, then take another word that is pronounced identically, then arbitrarily declare, “They aren’t connected in any way!” Consider the absurdity of this situation. The man quoted above might as well say, “I know Yahweh detests God, but Yahweh is my God!” Would this remark make sense? No, it would not.
The man quoted above stated that he doesn’t believe one can “make such a connection” and successfully prove it “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Our contention, however, is that a truth seeker bent on serving Yahweh will not gamble on offending Him in any way. If there is any conscious recognition of the risk that referring to Yahweh as “our God” might offend Him, the truth seeker will avoid doing so. Thus, the burden of proof for “making connections” versus proving “beyond the shadow of doubt” that no connection can be made falls upon the man making the statement above. Instead of promoting the title God as a valid title because an irrefutable connection with the Canaanite deity of fortune  has not yet been established by etymologists, we suggest not accepting the legitimacy of that title until it can be proven that there definitely isn’t a connecting link. First and foremost, though, it is our contention that we don’t need to make the connection, for Yahweh has already made it for us! Yahweh says that God is the name of a false idol. This sufficiently demonstrates that He would not appreciate anyone converting that name to a title, then applying it to Him! The man making the statement above needs to somehow prove that there definitely isn’t a connection between the English “God” and the Hebrew “God.” Instead of applying “reasonable doubt” to taking the “sure way,” however, he is applying the term to go the “unsure way.” We support applying the man’s “reasonable doubt” principle towards referring to Yahweh with a title only if the preponderance of evidence supports its having an honorable origin. In other words, the title “Almighty,” for example, has no apparent ties to heathen worship; we therefore conclude that such a title is honorably applied to Yahweh, unless someone can produce “reasonable doubt.” Can the same be said with regard to the title God? No, it cannot.
Some individuals rely on the conclusions of etymologists to form their conclusions as to the origin of the word God, even though, as stated above, Yahweh has already told us that God is the name of a false deity worshipped by those who “forsake Him.” We believe Yahweh is right, no matter what conclusions the etymologists reach! Relying on etymologists’ conclusions as to the origin of the word God poses a serious problem, for even the etymologists have to admit that they are uncertain of their own conclusions. Note the following, as taken from The New Dictionary of Theology:
The etymology of the English word “God,” as well as of the equivalent words in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, is much disputed.
The Oxford English Dictionary, Volume VI, item “god,” validates the information above. Wilfred Funk, in his book Word Origins and Their Romantic Stories, even more dramatically underscores the etymologists’ dilemma in tracing the origin of this word:
The central word of all faiths is God, and the history of the title God is a tangle of guesses. The word God itself is related to similar words in Danish, Saxon, Old High German, Scandinavian, and other languages, and may even be related to an ancient Lithuanian word that referred to someone who practiced magic.
Since even the etymologists are uncertain of the validity of their own conclusions, why should we feel more inclined to accept their “findings” above Yahweh’s? Does a “tangle of guesses” have preeminence over the very words of Almighty Yahweh? Again, Yahweh has already told us that God is the name of a false idol worshipped by those who “forsake Him.” Is Yahweh’s own Word not sufficient?
Objection #2: Did Yahweh Inspire the
Germanic Title Gott at
gentleman, in his objection to our claim that applying the name/title “God” to
Yahweh dishonors Him, proposed that Yahweh inspired God to be an acceptable, generic title when the Germanic languages
were given at
Who, when the languages were confounded at
Perhaps, as the man quoted above stated, it is true that God is not the only word employed in modern English worship that sounds like the name of a pagan deity in another language. However, so far as we know, God is the only title applied to Yahweh that not only sounds exactly like the name of a pagan deity in another language, but it originated with the name of a pagan deity in another language. To make matters worse, that “other language” just happens to be Hebrew, the very language of Scripture! As if to seal the matter, Yahweh Himself identifies this deity named God as a deity worshipped by those who forsake Him (Isaiah 65:11)! There are certainly other words besides “god” that sound like the names of pagan deities in other languages. We would have to scrap the entire English language if we were to disassociate each one. Out of respect for our great and majestic Heavenly Father, we do make every attempt to remove from Him titles with origins as patently heathen as the word “god.”
Of course, the
logic employed by the man quoted above is this:
Since Yahweh confounded the languages, and since He inspired god to be the word used in reference to
Germanic deities, He therefore
“must” approve of our referring to Him as “our God” in English or in German. Is it true, though, that the Germanic
language can be traced all the way to
We thus see that even the network of Germanic languages has experienced substantial evolutionary changes, with its Gothic base having been pronounced “extinct.” Given this understanding, does it seem likely or even remotely possible that Yahweh ordained the Germanic language at Babel along with its generic title for deity, god/gott? No, it does not.
But let’s go
back to the dead Gothic language, from which the Germanic languages hail. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI, Online Edition, 1999, item
“Etymology of the Word ‘God,’” this word is derived from the Gothic root
“gheu.” The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology traces the word god to the Indo-European ghut, then ultimately to the Sanskrit hu, which means “to invoke the gods.” This same reference, by the way, admits to
this word’s formation being “of uncertain origin,” providing yet another
admission from the etymologists themselves that they really cannot be certain
how to trace the origin of the word
“god.” Note, though, that even
the best etymological sleuth can only succeed in tracing this word to a root
(such as hu or gheu) that sounds nothing like “god”! This being the case, we can safely conclude
that Yahweh definitely did not inspire “God” or even “Gott”
as a generic title in any language when He confounded the languages at
Equipped with the understanding that there really isn’t much of a match between those two words, one should be able to safely conclude that, indeed, Yahweh is right! You see, there is a match between the English name/title “God” and the Hebrew name “God”! Yahweh identifies “God” as a false idol worshipped by those who forsake Him. None of the ancients ever applied this term to Yahweh. Much later, though, a group of heathen Germanic (Teutonic) people known as the Druids were indeed found worshipping and invoking their many deities, referring to them as “gods.” Note the commentary on the origin of the word “God” as found in the Encyclopedia International:
The word “God” and its cognates existed in the Germanic family of languages (German Gott, Danish Gud) in pre-Christian times, and referred to that which is worshipped or invoked in sacrificial offerings. With the conversion of the Teutonic peoples to Christianity, its pre-Christian meanings were largely reshaped and absorbed into the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Truly, even if Yahweh had not Himself spoken against the idol God, we would still be faced with the sobering realization that even by etymologists’ admissions, this word hails from heathen roots.
What if Yahweh Had Not Spoken Against "God"?
Although we have just demonstrated the pronunciation “mismatch” between the words god and gheu, coupled with the fact that a perfect match exists with the Canaanite deity of fortune, we would like to pause for a moment to insert a brief concession: If all we had to go on was the etymologists’ (in)conclusions, we would be willing to acknowledge (albeit somewhat reluctantly) that “god” is an acceptable title for Yahweh, as even the Apostle Paul referred to Yahweh with the generic title theos in such passages as Acts 17:23 (see Objection #6 for an in-depth commentary on this Greek title). Paul evidently employed the title theos, even though its established association by Greeks had been directed toward the idols they worshipped. In the same way, the etymologists do not trace the English term god to the name of any deity, but rather to expressions and epithets used in reference to idols worshipped by Indo-European peoples. The dilemma we are faced with regarding god, however, is that an alternate etymology is in question. We maintain that it is more than just “sheer coincidence” that our English term god “just happens” to share the same pronunciation as the name of the Canaanite deity of fortune. We further maintain that the relationship between those two words has to be either etymological in nature or the result of a fiendish plot on the part of the great deceiver to cause otherwise sincere believers to unwittingly give honor to a false idol. Perhaps it is both.
Any Yahwist believer should be able to recognize that Satan does not want anyone to call upon the Creator with the name that He gave to Himself. Satan would much prefer that we call upon the Creator with the name of a false idol, which, as the Apostle Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 10:19-20, is not really an “idol” anyway, but a demon! Notice what he wrote:
What do I imply, then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they offer to demons and not to Yahweh! (RSV)
Obviously, then, if sacrifices offered to idols are in actual fact offered to demons, then if we call upon the names of idols we are in actual fact calling upon demons! We believe that most Yahwists are willing to acknowledge this, as well as the fact that Satan would prefer that we call upon those demons than to call upon the Creator by His true name. These same Yahwists, we would like to think, should similarly recognize that Satan would be willing to settle for applying the name of that false idol as a title for Yahweh. After all, Satan is known as the master of compromise, and as we will see in Objection #4, God was considered to be the name of a demon by post-Messianic Jews!
Even if etymology truly had nothing to do with the relationship of the English “god” to the Hebrew name "God," we are nonetheless faced with a very colorful, yet adverse history of this word as outlined by the etymologists themselves. Consider the following background on the word "god" as found in the book The Private Lives of English Words:
English preserves no more spectacular example of what etymologists call “ameliorization” than the etymological development of this word, which goes back to an ancient Proto-Indo-European phrase meaning “enjoyer or consumer of that which ahs been poured forth” (presumably wine or blood, as a sacrifice). The full phrase survives in Sanskrit as huta-bhug, where it was one of the epithets of Agni, the god of fire, whose name is cognate with the Latin stem from which English gets the word ignite. The Sanskrit huta ‘that which has been poured forth, the sacrifice’ is the exact cognate of the English word God, following localization in which the full meaning of the phrase centered in its first element, which occurred in the early Germanic ancestor of English. The Slavic branch of Indo-European reversed this choice, localizing the meaning in the second element of the phrase, and leaving the Slavic bog “God” as the survivor.
With what linguists call “connotative extension,” the meaning became “Deity who enjoys the sacrifice,” but as sacrificial offerings vanished from religious practice, that part of the meaning which had once been primary faded, leaving only the sense in use today, “Deity.”
We thus see that either way one “links” this name/title, it is stained with the impurity of heathen worship. In addition, according to the above reference, god is derived from the word huta, two words that in no way resemble each other: another pronunciation mismatch! Anyone wishing to apply such a term to Yahweh, knowing what we have just shown to be true about the word, must simultaneously ignore or otherwise accept this title’s former association, not to mention the unlikely evolution of the word huta (or gheu) into the word god. Let’s not speculate with the etymologists and their “tangled guesses” regarding the origin of the word god, though! Trust in Yahweh, Who uses this word to identify a FALSE IDOL.
Objection #3: Should a Culture Redefine a Word Borrowed From Another Language?
mong the reasons listed in the article “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles” offering support for referring to Yahweh as “our God” is the belief that an individual can morally utter vulgar or otherwise culturally unacceptable words, so long as he or she doesn’t have unethical motives. Note the following:
Languages, on the other hand, depend on the INTENTION and CONCEPT of the user to make them a moral issue. A word, phrase, dialect, or language can only be ‘pagan’ if the user intends to convey a “pagan” idea or concept! And, even then, it would only be immoral because of the manner the user intended to use it and NOT due to its very existence! Therefore, another individual could employ the same words, phrases, dialect, or language and not suffer any divine condemnation for his actions because his INTENTIONS are more noble!
The authors go on to say, in the next paragraph of their article, “There is no such thing as a sinful sound.”
Is it true that “there is no such thing as a sinful sound”? Is this teaching found in the pages of Scripture? No, it is not. The Apostle Paul recognized the fact that there are “sinful sounds,” which is why he wrote the following in Colossians 3:8:
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (NIV)
Exhorting us to rid ourselves of filthy language is another way of directing us to get rid of the “sinful sounds” that might come out of our mouths. Thus, the teaching that there is no such thing as a sinful sound did not originate from the pages of Scripture. It came from men attempting to apply their own understanding to the will of the Father.
Let’s turn our attention back to the paragraph above as quoted from the article “The Truth Regarding Divine Titles.” Is it true, as they wrote, that “languages depend on the INTENTION and CONCEPT of the user to make them a moral issue”? Again, this is simply not true. While intention and concept are very important aspects within the expression of words in any language, there is more to consider. I’d much rather not have to ask this, but think, if you will, of a word considered a “bad word” in our culture. Can you imagine anyone familiar with the protocols of our culture who would willfully, yet innocently, express such a word? Can you picture such an adult sweetly voicing a “four-letter word” without having the slightest clue as to what he or she is saying? Can you then imagine how that person would react if you were to respond, “I BEG YOUR PARDON!”?
Would he or she say, “Oh, I’m sorry, but that word doesn’t have any negative implications for me”? No, such a response would not be acceptable. Rather, when one discovers that a particular word or expression is not culturally acceptable, the conscientious person takes steps to discontinue speaking it. On a much higher level, it is not appropriate, much less honorable, for us to borrow the proper noun belonging to a heathen idol from another language, then incorporate that proper noun into our language as a common noun and redefine it as an “acceptable title” to apply to our Heavenly Father -- especially when we know how Yahweh feels about the idol represented by such a word. When a culture takes a word -- a NAME -- that is already spoken against by Yahweh, then redefines that proper noun as a “perfectly acceptable title,” that culture risks undermining Yahweh’s original intent. Yahweh’s original intent was to identify by name a deity named “God” who is worshipped by those who forsake Him. The original intent of how Yahweh meant for His people to understand “God” has become obscured and distorted, all under the guise of the belief that “our culture allows it” or that the user can otherwise redefine that proper noun however he or she wants. We recommend abiding by the “Yahweh defined” principle instead of the “culturally defined” practice that is so widespread today.
In October 2000 June and I wrote a critique of the article “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles,” in which I went into quite a bit of detail regarding “user defined” words, as promoted by the authors of that article. I related a personal experience to demonstrate how their concept of “user definition” cannot work in any society. This experience went back to my former school teaching days, when a student exhibited a proclivity for uttering aloud a certain four-letter word when things didn’t go her way. Despite my not allowing such language in my classroom, she protested, insisting (by her “user definition”) that there is nothing wrong with the word in question. Eventually the school principal became involved, who contacted the girl’s mother. At length, both the principal and the mother agreed that there is really nothing wrong with speaking the word in question, but they did at least support admonishing the girl to comply with the standards of my classroom. If you would like to know the word in question, please request a copy of our critique! Our point is this: One man’s “user definition” of what is acceptable versus what is not acceptable is bound to clash with another man’s “user definition”! It’s always best to “play it safe.” In the case of Yahweh, He has already identified, defined and established God as the name of a false deity worshipped by those who forsake Him. His “definition” of God is all we really need. To “top it off,” it is prudent to remember that if God is such an appropriate term, then why didn’t any writers of Scripture ever apply it to Yahweh?
Objection #4: If God is Such a Bad Title, Then Why did Leah Give That Name to Her Son?
lthough we are listing this as the fourth objection in
this series of “answers to objections,” the question asked in the above title
usually serves as the first reproach we hear from those who object to the
position we take on this issue. Those
who support use of the title god for
the Creator of the universe are often quick to justify it as not being entirely bad, as it is, after all, the
name given to one of Yahweh’s prophets, not to mention one of the twelve tribes
Ø Regardless of whether or not “God” was the name of a son of Jacob prior to its being known as the name of a false deity, the fact remains that it was indeed the name of a false deity long before the mind of man contrived it as an acceptable name/title for the Creator of the universe. Unlike the titles “baal,” “adonai,” and “elohim,” the title “God” does not originate with the worship of Yahweh. It was never a title ascribed to Him by those inspired to write what we recognize as the original Hebrew Scriptures. In fact, as we are about to see, post-Messianic Jews used this name as that of a demon.
Ø Leah, who gave Zilpah’s son the name “God,” was herself born and raised in the very pagan household of Laban, who himself worshipped many idols (Gen. 31:19, 30). In giving Zilpah’s son his name, Leah uttered the Hebrew equivalent of “Good fortune!” (cf. Gen. 30:11, NIV, NRSV). Could it be that she was raised believing in God, the deity of fortune, in addition to many other such idols? Yes, this is possible, and the fact that Israelites returning to the Promised Land discovered a Canaanite city named "Baal-God" (Lord God) at the foot of Mount Hermon (Josh. 11:17) demonstrates that a deity by this name was indeed worshipped well before the Israelites’ return from Egypt, and very likely well before the days of Abraham. The reference works we have consulted in our research support this premise. According to A Dictionary of the Bible, the word Gad (pronounced gawd) “would seem to have been a native Canaanite word, retained by the Israelites in consequence of the tendency to polytheism which existed among them as late as the time of the Babylonian captivity...” (see end note #27 for more details). The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge includes the following pertinent information regarding this Canaanite idol:
Gad-melek, “Gad is king,” is an inscription on a stone
although the deity of fortune Gad (pronounced gawd in Hebrew) isn’t mentioned
by name until Isaiah 65:11, this does not mean that it was not worshipped by
Laban and his household, and it is thus quite likely that Leah chose to employ this idol’s name as the name for
Zilpah’s son in consequence to her having been reared in a heathen
household. It is noteworthy that the
above reference mentions a goddess named Gadlat, who coincidentally was
suppose, though, that despite all the evidence to the contrary, this name was noble from its inception. The fact
would still remain that it later
became corrupted before anyone so
much as dreamed of using it in reference to Yahweh. Would we thus honor Yahweh
by referring to Him with a title that squares with the name of one of the
we have thus far shown to be true, some will grasp at what we believe are some
unorthodox attempts to justify their desire to refer to Yahweh as their
“God.” One man wrote, “I do not feel the
argument that the word God is referring to the idol of fortune is based upon good etymological
reasoning. One of the tribes of
Answering this man’s claim will serve to adequately summarize what we have covered in this section: 1) Leah was certainly raised in a heathen household, where her father worshipped many idols. Was one of those idols named God? Well, please consider the following: If Leah’s son was not named after the heathen deity God, then exactly when did people begin to worship this deity?
might believe that the deity God’s name
was derived from the tribe of
2) Regarding the man’s comment from above about Leah not receiving any rebuke from Yahweh for naming her son God, it was apparently a culturally accepted practice for women to name their children, and never is there a record of any rebuke for any of the names selected, although certain names were indeed changed for various reasons. Perhaps a classic example of a believer whose name was never changed, even though he was clearly named after the Roman deity Apollo, was the man named Apollos, of whom we read in certain New Testament passages (Acts 18:24-19:1, I Cor. 3:5-6, etc.). Another example is a disciple named Hermes (Romans 16:14). Hermes is widely recognized as the Greek “messenger of the gods.” Although the disciple mentioned in Romans 16:14 was clearly named after a heathen idol, no one suggested that he change his name upon converting to the Faith. Thus we see that there is no evidence linking any Biblical personages to reproval for having named their offspring after a heathen deity, nor is there record of any special attempt to change anyone’s name upon conversion.
Does this apparent freedom to name offspring any name one so chooses imply that we can take similar liberties with regard to the name or title we reserve for Yahweh? Furthermore, is there any Scriptural implication that we can pick and choose the name of any Biblical character, then appropriately render that name as a “translation” of the Hebrew title elohim? Finally, if this were truly a practice acceptable in the eyes of Yahweh, why would anyone want to “settle” for a name as tainted as the name God? Isn’t it interesting that, of the individuals who mention a preference for the title “God” because it happens to be the name of one of Jacob’s sons, none of them selected any of the other twelve tribes in their quest for an appropriate title for Yahweh? We again ask, “Why aren’t there folks out there calling upon ‘Yahweh our Dan’ or ‘Yahweh our Reuben’?” As stated earlier, we know why and so do they. Only the tribe that goes by the pronunciation "gawd" has a name whose pronunciation squares perfectly with the name/title by which the majority of English-speaking peoples today refer to the Creator, and by referring to Yahweh as “our God,” this will bring about more acceptance and consequently, more converts. The fact that “God” also just happens to be the name of a false Canaanite idol seems to be just a minor blip on their radar screens. It is amazing what impact the art of compromise has on bringing in converts, all under the guise of, “It can’t be wrong if Yahweh didn’t smite Jacob for allowing one of his sons to have that name!”
Objection #5: But the Name ‘God’ Will be Inscribed on One of the Twelve Gates of the New Jerusalem!"
ollowing closely on the heels of the man’s logic that God must be an acceptable title for Yahweh due to the fact that Yahweh did not rebuke Leah for giving Zilpah’s son that name is another spin based on this same line of reasoning: As depicted in Revelation 21:12, the name God will be inscribed on one of the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem. Certainly, as those espousing this rationale insist, the fact that this name will be found inscribed on one of those twelve gates “proves” that Yahweh doesn’t mind if we refer to Him as “our God.” Again, we respond with essentially the same answer as given above: Why is it that, out of ALL those twelve tribes, certain individuals select the name “God” as an acceptable title for Yahweh? Why not “Dan” or “Zebulun”? As stated earlier, we believe we know the answer! It is because they want to “go along with the crowd” (the wrong crowd, by the way). Thus, our point is as follows: This is a case of honor versus compromise. The English-speaking peoples of this world recognize “God” as the name/title of the Creator, despite its less-than-honorable origin. Certainly, if we go along with their custom, we will have more in common with them and we will offend fewer people. If one is thus more interested in attracting converts to the Faith than in outright pleasing and honoring the Heavenly Father, we can see why such an individual would pursue the promotion of “God” as an acceptable title for Yahweh.
The very fact that “God” has been identified by Yahweh Himself as an idol worshipped by those who forsake Him demonstrates the dishonor appropriated to Him by those who willfully choose to refer to Him with that title. Thus, despite the fact that “God” will appear on one of the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem, Yahweh has not identified it as a “clean” Hebrew word. He identifies it with the name of a Canaanite idol. We believe the designation given by Yahweh is sufficient.
Some individuals apparently believe that the appearance of the name “God” on one of the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem somehow supersedes Yahweh’s identifying it as the name of a deity worshipped by those who forsake Him. As for us, we can accept “God” as the name of two MEN found in Scripture. We can accept "God" as the name of a FALSE IDOL. This, however, is where we “draw the line.” We cannot accept it as an appropriate title for our Almighty Heavenly Father. When it comes to titles appropriated to Yahweh, is God REALLY the best we can do? Is it the best we can offer up to Yahweh? To those who answer, “Yes” to that question, we can only reply that, based on all the available evidence, we beg to differ!
As we ponder the name “God” appearing on one of those twelve gates of the New Jerusalem, we need to likewise ponder all those other tribes whose names appear there, as well as the honor associated with each one. Indeed, it is honorable to each tribe’s founding father to have his name inscribed on one of those famous gates. Yet, despite whatever honor those names may hold for the tribes they represent, at the same time we should consider a lesson from their history. Each of those twelve tribes dishonored Yahweh by abandoning Him, rebelling against His laws, and even causing most of mankind to either forget or otherwise trivialize His name. Whether they were from the tribe of God or from the tribe of Zebulun, they rejected Yahweh’s leadership and authority. When it comes right down to it, none of those names represented by those twelve tribes comes even halfway close to deserving the designation as one of Yahweh’s titles. If the best title for Yahweh we can come up with is the name of one of those twelve tribes, despite whatever wondrous magnificence they may appear to have while affixed to those twelve gates of the New Jerusalem, then we are definitely “hard up” for honorable titles! It simply escapes us as to how or why a culture could equate a man’s name, no matter who he is, as being “important” enough to justify applying it as a title for the Creator of the universe.
We say this especially in reference to the title “God.”
Objection #6: If the Greeks referred to Yahweh as their “Theos,” then why can’t we refer to Him as “our God”?
any believe that there was a Greek deity named
“Theos,” even though no one has really ever been able to produce the necessary
evidence to justify such a belief.
Indeed, if there had been a Greek deity named Theos, AND if early
believers such as the Apostle Paul really referred to Yahweh as “our Theos,”
then one could make a legitimate case for referring to Yahweh as “our God,”
based on the obvious parallel. Since we
only have Greek manuscripts to serve as our guide, it does appear that the Apostle
Paul and other believers did indeed refer to Yahweh as “our Theos.” But is Theos
derived from the name of a Greek deity?
In the article “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles,” the authors
presented their case under the presumption that there was a Greek deity named Theos, although they did not produce any
evidence in support of their claim.
Their argument centered around the Apostle Paul’s famous sermon on Mars’
Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god (theos).” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you! (New Revised Standard Version)
In the authors' commentary on this passage they astutely wrote,
This would mean that Paul was not troubled by an inscription
that employed the Greek word “theos,” a translation of the Hebrew title
“elohim.” Since it is only logical that as he proceeded to preach
the message of
salvation to the people of
Our comment: We totally agree with the above commentary, for the authors at that point are correctly operating from the perspective that “theos” is nothing more than a Greek title. Unfortunately, however, they proceed to make reference to the word “theos” also being a proper noun, which so far as we have ever known, is simply not the case. Shown below is their commentary as it appears on pages 42-43 of their article:
The Apostle's choice of words becomes even more revealing when one considers that in verse 16 we are told that Paul was distressed because the city was full of idols. Shouldn't this fact have caused the Apostle to become even more determined not to employ the Greek term “theos”? Was Paul compromising the integrity of the evangel or the reputation of Yahweh by referring to Him by the Greek title “theos”? Hardly! Was he then taking a big gamble and risking the possibility of being misunderstood and of having Yahweh confused with “Theos,” the name (proper noun) of an idol that some of these people served? Obviously, Paul did not think so! (Emphasis ours).
Please notice that although the authors mention a Greek idol by the name of Theos “that some of these people served,” they do not list the resource from which they gleaned their information. It is true that for years we, too, tried and tried to prove that there was a Greek deity named “Theos.” Unfortunately, however, we always came up empty-handed! The closest we ever came to proving “Theos” as having originally been the name of a Greek deity came from the book The Final Reformation, by C. J. Koster, which was republished in 1996 under the title Come Out of Her My People. On page 50 of this book (page 45 of the new edition), we read the following:
And the word “Theos”? Donaldson in his “New Cratylus” points out that “th” is frequently pronounced as “Dh” in Greek, thus “Theos” and “Dheos” could be the same, if only in pronunciation. Further, B.C. Dietrich, The Origin of Greek Religion, p. 288, reveals to us a pair of deities, “Theos” and “Thea.” This proves that “Theos” is not only a title, but also the name of a Greek idol.
The information from Koster’s book seems credible on the surface, and would seem to prove that “Theos” was originally the name of a deity. However, in our drive to personally examine the resource he cited, we visited the library and checked out a copy of the book listed by Koster as his reference: The Origin of Greek Religion by B.C. Dietrich. To our disappointed amazement, we discovered that C.J. Koster liberally extrapolated from page 288 that which he wanted to use in order to justify what he wanted to prove, despite the fact that the book in no way infers that “Theos” and “Thea” were the names of two idols! Let's read the actual quotation from the book, and you decide if it reveals a deity by the name of “Theos”:
In Eleusinian myth, which one may assume to reflect Bronze Age belief, beside the Two Goddesses another pair “Theos” and “Thea,” that is Pluton and Persephone, enjoyed equal prominence.
As one can discern from the above quotation, “Theos” and “Thea” are listed not as names, but as titles for Pluton and Persephone. We thus have yet to see any solid evidence that “Theos” was ever (in its original form) anything more than a generic title for any deity, much like the Hebrew “Elohim.” Therefore, any attempt to infuse anyone with the idea that Paul may have been confusing Yahweh with a pagan deity's name in Acts 17 is not only unsubstantiated, but unfounded.
Objection #7: There is no record of Yahweh ever rebuking anyone for referring to Him with a title that was originally the name of a heathen deity!
hile engaged in an otherwise pleasant conversation with a fellow Yahwist, the conversation took an abrupt turn for the worse when I explained my concern regarding the decision of several within the Yahwist Movement to regard the name/title God as an appropriate title for Yahweh. To my surprise, I quickly discovered that my Yahwist friend is one of those embracing this belief! In the very limited time we had to speak, I summarized most, if not all, the reasons for why we feel this title actually dishonors Yahweh, but I could tell my words were falling on “deaf ears.” For reasons that he was apparently not willing to divulge, he was obviously not willing to abandon the title God. We feel that anyone who has read the history of this name (now mysteriously transformed into a title) should understand its less-than-illustrious origin and meaning, so this man’s adamant stand in favor of its use led me to believe he has underlying reasons for not wishing to give it up, but I did not pursue them. Instead, I simply asked, “Can you show me how referring to Yahweh as ‘our God’ honors Him?”
He replied, “Well, I just can’t see how it dishonors Him ....”
I felt I had already explained to him exactly “how” referring to our Creator as “our God” does dishonor Him, so obviously he either wasn’t listening to me or else he has no problem with referring to our Creator with a title that is pronounced the same as the name of the Canaanite deity of fortune ... a deity worshipped by those who forsake Yahweh (Isaiah 65:11). The man I spoke to obviously does not have a problem with taking that same Hebrew name, converting it to a title, then appropriating it to Yahweh. Clearly, he and I have very different understandings of the meaning of the word “honor.” I attempted to explain my reasoning to him by using a human analogy. “Consider the English word ‘friend,’” I told him. “How would you like it if, instead of referring to you as my ‘friend,’ I were to henceforth refer to you as my ‘hitler’? Would this be considered an appropriate way to enhance our relationship?” Consider the analogy: Just as many folks are insisting that there is nothing wrong with employing the name of a detestable idol as a translation of “Elohim,” a similar case could be made for translating the Hebrew word reya (friend) as “hitler.” Would such a translation in any way demonstrate respect for a person with whom I would like to cultivate a relationship? We need to give Yahweh the same consideration, only on a much higher level!
It was at this point in our conversation when my Yahwist friend mentioned something that, at the time, threw me completely off guard. Have you ever found yourself in a disagreement wherein your opponent said something that, at the time, you were unable to answer because it “threw you for a loop”? Only later does the proper response come to you, usually long after the conversation has ended! This is what happened to me. Here is in essence what he said: “I’ll believe you if you can show me any Scriptural examples of anyone ever being rebuked for mixing or incorporating other languages, then referring to Yahweh with words or titles that were originally the names of deities that those foreigners worshipped.”
As it turned out, I couldn’t think of any Scriptural examples of anyone ever being rebuked for referring to Yahweh with any foreign titles that emanated from the names of heathen deities! I didn’t have an answer for him. Later, however, well after our conversation had ended, the answer hit me like a freight train plowing through a brick wall! The reason there is no record of anyone ever being rebuked for referring to Yahweh with a title that emanates from the name of a heathen idol is because there are no precedents of such incidents ever occurring! In other words, there is no record of anyone in all of Scripture referring to Yahweh with a title that can be traced to the name of a heathen deity. Since there is no record of anyone committing such an offense, there can likewise be no record of anyone ever being reproved for doing such a thing! Since there is no Scriptural record of such an “offense” ever having occurred, would it not be overly presumptuous of us to gamble on the “hunch” that Yahweh doesn’t mind? It thus appears that modern man has chosen to do that which none of the ancients ever imagined doing: Taking the name of a heathen idol, converting it to a title, then dubbing that title “a perfectly acceptable English translation of the Hebrew word elohim.” To even insinuate that this act is not dishonorable is, in our estimation, an insult to Almighty Yahweh.
The next morning, by the way, I gave my Yahwist friend my written response to his “challenge.” We have not heard from him since. A line from an old Simon & Garfunkel song comes to mind: “All lies and jests, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Or as the Messiah said in Matthew 13:14-15, “You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for Me to heal them.” When we are presented with a belief that conflicts with our current understanding, it is incumbent on us to carefully, thoroughly and prayerfully investigate that belief, either proving it wrong or admitting to its truthfulness. As we alluded in our introduction to this study, we are to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” The opposite of this is to not prove all things, and hold fast to that which we want to believe regardless of whether or not it is truthful or even honorable to Yahweh. Which do we choose to do?
Part III: More Disturbing Connections
Evidence of Serpentine Connections From Russian and Irish Cultures
e have already shared the historical and Scriptural
fact that “God” is the name of an idol worshipped in ancient
We recommend checking out page 23 of the Transliterated Dictionary of the Russian Language, online edition, by Eugene Garfield, editor. It can be found online at http://garfield.library.upenn.edu/rd/rd1.pdf. You will notice that the word spelled “gad” means “reptile” in the Russian language. If you consult a pronunciation guide, such as the one located at www.masterrussian.com, you will notice that the word spelled “gad” is pronounced “gawd.” Curiously, on that same page (page 23) there are a total of five words that are either pronounced “God” in Russian or have a form of “God” as a prefix. We are displaying those five words below for your review. Notice that each of those words has a very negative connotation:
gad (n.m.) reptile
gadalka (n.f.) fortune-teller <-------------------------------------------
gadit (v. impf.) foul
gadkii (adj.) nasty
gadyuka (n.f.) adder
For those who might choose to dismiss any possible connection that the Russian word pronounced God may have with the Hebrew word God, we can only ask if they can explain how a Russian word that has God as its prefix came to mean “FORTUNE TELLER” in that language. In view of the fact that the Canaanite deity named GOD is the “deity of fortune,” how did this word make it into the Russian language to form the prefix of the word meaning “fortune teller”? Is it just a coincidence?
Some folks, upon reviewing the above words, are bound to comment something to the effect, “But those words aren’t pronounced with the ‘gawd’ sound! They would be pronounced with the short ‘a’ sound, as in ‘sad’!” Again, for those willing to check out a Russian pronunciation guide, such as the one found at www.masterrussian.com, it will be obvious that these words are all pronounced with the “gawd” sound. As the pronunciation guide reveals, the vowel “a” in Russian is pronounced “ah” when it is stressed. Since “Gad” is a one-syllable word, the “a” must be stressed, thus giving the word the same pronunciation as “God.”
Again, this word, in Russian, can mean either “serpent” or “reptile.” Not being experts on how the Slavic languages developed, neither June nor I are able to explain how a word pronounced “god” happened to become incorporated into the Russian language, nor can we demonstrate how such a word came to mean “reptile.” Nor can we explain how the Russian prefix “GOD,” when referring to a FORTUNE-TELLER (gadalka), just happens to mean “fortune” in that language, knowing that GOD is the deity of FORTUNE in the Hebrew language. If this is “just a coincidence,” it is one of the strangest coincidences we have ever encountered.
One thing we
do know is that the heathen idol God was also known as Baal-God,
and one of Baal’s symbols was the serpent. While this information does not prove
anything, it certainly
arouses some suspicion. Furthermore,
according to J. G. R. Forlong, in his book Rivers
of Life, volume one, which he authored in 1883, an idol named Gad–el-Glas
was worshipped in
Mr. Marcus Keane tells us that although the Kelts of Ireland rejected the phallic worship of their predecessors the Tuath-de-Danaans, they yet retained their names and customs. May day continued to be called La-Baal-Thinna, and was always connected with the worship of Baal as "the green god" —a very ancient term for Mercury, whose hue was green; and being so, we here see him in dress of suitable shape and colour, and with his Caduceus in hand. "Gad-el-glas or the Green-god-Snake," was an important Irish deity, and the name seems to correspond with "the green god," or "Primeval Boodh," which Coleman treats of in his Indian Mythology, but which I take the liberty of calling Primeval Goad; I do not think there is any connection whatever between him and Boodha.
Is it just a coincidence that the word pronounced “God” not only made its way into the Russian language with the meaning of “reptile” or “serpent,” but this same word is found in heathen worship in Ireland in reference to “the Green-god-Snake”? Is it just a coincidence that his worship is connected to Baal worship and that one of Baal’s symbols was a serpent? And where did the term “el” originate?
The fact that God is a name identified with serpent worship should, in our opinion, alarm any serious student of the Word. The connection of an ancient idol of “fortune” to a similar Russian word meaning “fortune-teller” (gadalka) and the transliteration of the very name God into a word meaning “reptile” in itself reveals an indelible link that June and I find difficult to deny. However, when combined with the information we have just given you, unveiling yet another idol named God who is literally known as the “Green-god-Snake,” the association only seems deniable by those unwilling to see it. Is God connected to the worship of the True Mighty One … or is God connected to serpent worship? Based upon all available historical evidence, God is most certainly not associated with the worship of our Heavenly Father Yahweh. As for the destiny of any idols identified with serpent worship, we can only remind you of the information offered in Revelation 12:9:
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
We don’t know about you, but this is just too many “coincidences” for June and me. Back in 2001, while still engaged in the group e-mail discussion regarding whether or not we honor Yahweh by referring to Him as “our God,” one of the participants insisted that I have not proven my position “beyond a reasonable doubt.” One of my responses was to let him know that, instead of putting the burden of proof on MY shoulders, I consider the burden of proof to be on HIS SHOULDERS! In our quest to serve Yahweh and give Him the pure worship He is so deserving of, should the burden of proof rest upon those of my persuasion to prove that the title “God” is an affront to Yahweh? Or should the burden of proof be upon those who believe it’s honorable to prove that it’s honorable?
me to give you an analogy to illustrate the point I’m trying to make. I work in a branch office of a company whose
corporate office is in
Unknown to the receptionist, Howard does not in any way, shape, or fashion appreciate being addressed as “Howie.” In fact, he was so displeased that he gave our manager instructions to find a new receptionist.
What mistake did the receptionist make? I believe she failed to research the matter before taking it upon herself to call our vice-president “Howie.” Certainly, she knew his name is Howard, and certainly she should have known that many people simply do not appreciate it when people play around with their names. It is regarded as disrespectful to do such a thing with a person’s name without their prior consent.
Maybe, just maybe, she should have reasoned things out a little before acting on her impulse. She should have told herself something like, “I should check with other office personnel before I address him as ‘Howie.’” Did she ask anyone, though? Did she check this out before taking it upon herself to do what she did? No, she did not.
The same principle applies to our Creator’s name. June and I believe it’s a “given” that we have no business changing or substituting another name for Yahweh’s name. We believe we can all at least agree on that point. But on another level, we believe we should consider the title that we reserve for our Heavenly Father. Over the years, we keep finding more and more evidence that the name and title “God” is not only of heathen origin insofar as the Hebrew word is concerned, but it’s a word that traces to heathen worship insofar as etymologists have traced the English word. No matter how you “slice it,” this word comes to us with “negative connotations,” a point that even our opponents are willing to admit.
Nevertheless, many believe they honor Yahweh by referring to Him with such a title. I have to regard these people in the same light that I regard the receptionist I just told you about. Have these people really done their homework and examined whether or not Yahweh approves of the title “God”? Did anyone really even bother to check this out before taking it upon themselves to apply this title to Yahweh? Does it make sense for Yahweh to condemn an idol named “God” and then give His approval to be addressed with that same name, only as a “title”? Does it make sense to, on the one hand, acknowledge that Yahweh condemns God, and then on the other hand say, “Yahweh is my God”?
June and I take our worship very seriously. We didn’t come this far only to compromise our worship or give half an ounce of our worship to someone (or something) other than Yahweh. Nor are we interested in gambling as to whether or not Yahweh approves of the title “God.” We prefer to err on the side of safety, and we urge all fellow truth seekers to do the same.
A Case for the Ulterior Etymology of GOD Being Traced to Hebrew
n spite of what we believe is overwhelming evidence of
the relationship between the English “God” and the Canaanite idol of fortune
whose name is pronounced identically, the opposition continues to deny any such
connection. This was evidenced in yet
another group discussion I participated in between the months of December 2004
and January 2005. Towards the end of
that discussion, June and I came across a dictionary that we believe adds yet more
weight to our conviction that the English name/title "God" is
ultimately traced to the Hebrew root word GD (pronounced “God”). The name of
this dictionary is The Word: The
Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Source of English, published by SPI
Although Mozeson doesn’t offer a separate listing under the heading “God” in his dictionary, he does mention it under the heading of “Good.” What follows is a reproduction of Isaac Mozeson’s listing under the heading “GOOD/GUD," as found on page 80 of his dictionary:
ROOTS: Anglo-Saxon god and German got go back to the IE root ghedh (to unite, join, fit). The IE root echoes dg / (O)GUD (to unite, fit together), but dg / GUD (fortune, success — Genesis 30:11) fits the common use of GOOD well enough. Good in Arabic is gayid.
BRANCHES: That GOD is GOOD (and really TOGETHER) ought to be implied by the similarity of these Germanic terms. The same dg / GUD (good fortune) above is the name of a deity mentioned in Isaiah 65:11. The given IE root for GOD is Gheu(a) (to call, invoke).
As shown in Isaac Mozeson's dictionary, both "good" and "God" are very likely traced to the Hebrew GD, which is the name of an idol whose worship YHWH condemns, a point that we have made repeatedly in this study … and a point that we believe cannot be over-emphasized. We can also see that down through history, this same word evolved into a word meaning "reptile" in Russian and "snake" in ancient Gaelic.
Elsewhere in Mozeson’s dictionary, he addresses the fact that Noah Webster’s etymologies were full of English words traced to "Shemitic" sources.
Putting it all together
f you have read everything we have written to this point on the subject of the title “god,” you most likely understand our basis for rejecting its use as a title for our Heavenly Father Yahweh. No matter how you trace or otherwise make any linguistic connection with this word, it is undeniably rooted in heathen worship and is therefore dishonoring to Yahweh as a title. The authors of the treatise “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles” attempt to lump ”god” in with titles such as the Aramaic “mare” (pronounced mahr-ay) and “elah,” the Greek “theos” and “kyrios,” as well as the Hebrew “elohim,” “baal,” and “adonai.” Is there a significant characteristic that separates the title “god” from the aforementioned titles? Why do June and I meticulously avoid referring to Yahweh as “our God,” while simultaneously supporting the position taken by those who feel led to refer to Him as “our Elohim” or even “our Mare”? What is the “big deal” that makes us believe it is dishonorable to refer to Yahweh as “our God,” yet acceptable to refer to Him as “our Mare” or even “our Theos”?
The “big deal” lies in the precedents established by Yahweh in His Word. The precedents established in Scripture: The mistake that many have made, including the authors of “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles,” involves the belief that titles such as “theos” and “mare” were originally names of heathen idols before being assigned to the true Elohim, Yahweh. As mentioned earlier in this study, there is absolutely no evidence of there ever having been a deity named “Theos,” at least not before the time of the Apostles. The same goes for the Aramaic “mare.” There is no record of there having been a deity with this name, at least not prior to its use as a title in the book of Daniel.
Can the same
be said for the title “god”? No, it
cannot. We have successfully
demonstrated that this is the name of a heathen idol that Yahweh Himself
literally names as being worshipped by those who forsake Him. We have further demonstrated that the
preponderance of the evidence indicates that this heathen deity was worshipped prior
to the birth of one of its namesakes, Gad, identified as one of
the “twelve tribes of
The point in all this is, there is no Scriptural precedent wherein the Creator is ever referred to with a title that was originally the name of a heathen idol. Instead, the reverse is true: Titles originally ascribed to Yahweh were allowed by apostate man to degenerate into names of heathen idols. Since there is no Scriptural precedent or authorization for anyone to ever refer to Yahweh with a title that was originally the name of a heathen idol, by whose authorization do we do so now?
For those who insist that we cannot demonstrate a connection between the English “God” and the Hebrew “God,” especially in view of what has just been presented, all we can think to ask is, “What more do you need?” We have a Russian word pronounced “God” that means “reptile,” as well as an ancient Irish snake deity whose name was pronounced “God-el-Gloss.” Not only does this deity’s name contain the Hebrew word “el,” but it was worshipped alongside an idol named Baal-Tin-Glas. In spite of all these “coincidences,” the opposition insists the Hebrew connection isn’t there … even when a Jewish scholar himself makes a strong case for a connection between the English “God” and the Canaanite idol of fortune. The attempts I have made to persuade these individuals of how this evidence serves to establish a connection to the Canaanite idol of fortune remind me of the attempts I have made to persuade some atheists that there is a Creator. Sometimes the delusion is so strong that the mind is not able (or willing) to accept any evidence that would refute what the individual wants to believe and is not willing to let go of.
ver since this topic became an issue within the Yahwist Movement, we have maintained that it boils down to honor versus compromise. Given the sordid history of the word pronounced “gawd,” we believe sincere, truth-seeking individuals should seriously question why they would choose to refer to the Creator of heaven and earth with such a title. We ask them, “Is this the best title you can come up with for our Heavenly Father?” In light of the fact that Yahweh Himself identifies and names a heathen deity named God that is worshipped by those who “forsake” Him, it is clear that appropriating any word in reference to Him that is pronounced the same as this heathen idol’s name cannot be construed as being “honorable.” As for compromise, the only reason we can find to explain why Yahwists would wish to retain the title God is to appease, attract and/or retain individuals who might otherwise not associate with the Yahwist Movement. Compromising our faith will undoubtedly result in larger numbers within our ranks, as can be demonstrated by some early believers’ willingness to adopt and otherwise transform the pagan Saturnalia into what is now known as Christmas. The number of believers swelled, no doubt about that! Does such compromise really benefit anyone, though, when all is said and done? No, it does not.
Some are not willing to regard their desire to refer to Yahweh as “our God” as being a matter of honor versus compromise. Note the following comment we received from a man after having reviewed our position on this subject:
For me this is not an issue of honor versus compromise, but an issue of whether or not we will get hung up on an issue which has no importance to Yahueh versus being fence building Pharisees to the point we don’t ever go out there in the sinful world to persuade the lost and dying world of the validity of the third commandment, by placing this stumblingblock in front of them.
Despite the above individual’s refusal to view this topic as being one of honor versus compromise, we maintain that he is either in “denial” or simply does not understand the seriousness of this issue. We have already explained in detail our position regarding the “honor” and the “compromise.” Unless someone can demonstrate how we are blowing things out of proportion, we stand by our claim. Any insistence to the contrary, unless it can be backed up with substantial evidence, cannot be seriously considered as valid. It is one thing to say, “For me this is not an issue of honor versus compromise,” but it is entirely another to demonstrate the veracity of his personal conviction. The above individual furthermore states that this issue has “no importance” to Yahweh. Anyone claiming that Yahweh doesn’t care what titles we reserve for Him, in our estimation, simply does not understand what it means to honor Yahweh. Indeed, then, this truly is an issue of honor versus compromise. Let us choose to honor Yahweh in word, in deed, and even with the titles we use in reference to Him!
As we conclude this study, we do not feel we can adequately bring this topic to a close without admonishing everyone to thoroughly investigate the claims presented here before arriving at a conclusion. Investigate the origin of the word God. Investigate the original pronunciation of the original Hebrew word that today is commonly pronounced “gad” (as in “dad”). Finally, one would do well to conduct an in-depth study on the meaning of this word. This Hebrew word, according to Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, is derived from word #1464 (guwd), which means “to crowd upon, i.e., attack: - invade, overcome.” This is the Hebrew origin of this word. Does this really sound like a word descriptive of Yahweh? Furthermore, Strong’s lists word #1464 as being "akin to" word #1413 (gadad), which means “to crowd; also to gash (as if by pressing into).” Would our critics consider this to be an honorable origin of the word they apply as a title for our Creator? Once again, we implore our readers: Let us choose to honor Yahweh in word, in deed, and with the titles we use in reference to Him! When it comes to honoring YHWH, we don't believe it is proper to gamble on what may or may not please Him. As the expression goes, we should "err on the side of safety" for the sake of making certain His name is honored.
 We prefer not to release the name of the individual who wrote this comment, which was sent via e-mail on October 10, 2000 in response to the critique we presented on the article "The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles."
 From the article "The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles," 1997, by Dale George and Silvio Soto, p. 46.
 Ibid, p. 45.
 Ibid, p. 45.
 In the interest of conserving space, we are focusing our attention solely on the title god in this article. As for the title lord, we personally shun this title, not necessarily because of its questionable origin, but because this is the word that translators of most English versions of the Bible chose to substitute in place of Yahweh’s name. Out of protest for what they did, June and I personally avoid applying this title to our Heavenly Father.
 Most Bible dictionaries and commentaries provide
corroborating agreement that the name "God" (usually spelled out as Gad in English, but pronounced
"Gawd" in Hebrew) was in the original Hebrew text of Isaiah 65:11.
For example, note the following from The
New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, by Merrill F. Unger, 1988, Moody Press,
 This rendering is taken from The Interlinear Bible: Hebrew-Greek-English, Jay P. Green, Sr.,
General Editor and Translator, Hendrickson Publishers,
 From The International Bible Commentary, F. F. Bruce, General Editor, Marshall Pickering/Zondervan Publishers, 1986, page 57.
 From The New
Unger’s Bible Dictionary, by Merrill F. Unger, 1988, Moody Press,
 Compare the two Hebrew spellings for yourself, using a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. The Hebrew word for “king” is word #4428 (|elem), and the name of the Ammonite deity, Molech (|elom), is word #4432. Both words contain the same, exact Hebrew spelling (mem, lamed, kaph).
 This information comes from the New Bible Dictionary, 2nd ed., J. D. Douglas, Organizing Editor, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, article “Texts and Versions,” p. 1,178, where we read, “It was not until about the 7th century of our era that the Massoretes introduced a complete system of vowel-signs.”
 From Encyclopedia of Gods, by Michael Jordan, Facts on File, Inc., 1993, p. 291.
 We address three additional arguments in our full-length version of this study.
 From the same e-mailed letter as mentioned in footnote #1 (see Part I). Again, this e-mail was sent after June and I presented our critique of the article “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles,” by Dale George and Silvio Soto, 1997.
 Many people, ourselves included, had been more inclined to refer to the deity of Isaiah 65:11 (God) as being a Babylonian deity. Indeed, this is how it is presented in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, where the word appears as word #1408 in the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary. Other reputable references, however, such as The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, refer to this idol as a Canaanite deity. Information gleaned from A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, M.A., D.D., Volume II, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1899, article “Gad,” p. 76, offers the following evidence that God was originally the name of a Canaanite idol: “As the name of Gad is not met with in Babylonian literature, it would seem to have been a native Canaanite word, retained by the Israelites in consequence of the tendency to polytheism which existed among them as late as the time of the Babylonian captivity....”
 Regarding those who rely on etymologists’ conclusions, reference is made to the following quotation, taken from pp. 44-45 of “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles,” by Dale George and Silvio Soto, 1997: “Linguistically speaking, it should be noted that we cannot definitely PROVE a pagan connection for either word [god or lord]. That has been tried and it has failed, as linguistic authorities which exist do not agree with our traditional contention (most linguistic scholars trace our English word God to the Teutonic language and not to the Babylonian deity Gad, and also trace Lord to an Old English word that meant, ‘the keeper of the loaf’).” Based upon the above quotation, June and I maintain that the authors of “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles,” as well as those who promote such reasoning, evidently place more faith in the inconclusive findings of etymologists than in the evidence provided in Yahweh’s Word. Furthermore, as we will demonstrate later in this study, a Jewish scholar has expressed agreement that, indeed, there is a connection between the English “God” and the Canaanite idol of fortune.
 From The New
Dictionary of Theology, Joseph A. Komonchak, Mary Collins and
 Reference is made to the following: “The ulterior
etymology is disputed.” Quoted from The
Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, Volume VI, prepared by J. A.
Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner, Clarendon Press,
 From Word
Origins and Their Romantic Stories, Wilfred Funk, Litt. D.,
 The commentary displayed here was taken from two separate e-mails, sent by another fellow Yahwist on October 10 and October 12, 2000. As with the previous individual mentioned, we choose to leave this man’s name anonymous.
 From the Encyclopedia
International, Volume 7, 1972, by Grolier, Incorporated,
 From The Oxford
Dictionary of English Etymology, edited by C. T. Onions,
 From the Encyclopedia
International, Volume 8, 1972, by Grolier, Incorporated,
 From The Private
Lives of English Words, First Edition, by Louis G. Heller, Alexander Humez
and Malcah Dror, Gale Research Company,
 From the article "The Truth Regarding Divine Titles," 1997, by Dale George and Silvio Soto, p. 37.
 Ibid, p. 37.
 The reference works we consulted agree that the deity
God (rendered Gad in English translations) was most likely worshipped in
 From The New
Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume IV, Funk and
 From an e-mail we received on July 16, 2000 from the same individual mentioned in footnotes #1 and #14.
 From The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon, by Francis Brown, D.D., D.Litt., 1979, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, page 151b, word #1408, 1409.
 From the article “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles,” 1997, by Dale George and Silvio Soto, page 42.
 Ibid, pp. 42-43.
 From The Final Reformation, by C. J. Koster, 1986, Institute For Scripture Research, Republic of South Africa, p. 50.
 From The Origin
of Greek Religion by B.C. Dietrich, Walter De Gruyter, publisher,
 From Transliterated Dictionary of the Russian Language, online edition, by Eugene Garfield, editor. The above page (p. 23) can be viewed by accessing the following URL: http://www.garfield.library.upenn.edu/rd/rusg.pdf.
 According to G. F. Taylor, in his book The Second Coming of Jesus, The Falcon Publishing Company, Falcon, N.C., 1916, p. 161, God is another name for Baal: “The city Baal‑Gad (Josh. 11: 17) derived its name from ‘Baal’; and from ‘Gad,’ the Babylonian god of fortune, Bel, standing for the planet Jupiter. The Arabs called it ‘the greater good fortune;’ and ‘Meni,’ the planet Venus, stood for ‘the lesser good fortune.’ ‘But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that god, and that furnish the drink offering unto that Meni.’—Isa. 65: 11. (Margin.) In this verse the idea of the male and the female antichrist is mentioned. Gad is only another name for Baal, the male god; while Meni stands for Venus, the female goddess.”
 That the Irish word “Gad” is pronounced “God” can be established by checking out the pronunciation of the word “glas,” which is the Irish word for “green.” According to an Irish informational web site (http://www.ireland-information.com/irishphrases.htm), the word “glas” is pronounced “gloss.”
 From Rivers of
Life or Sources and Streams of the Faiths of Man in All Lands,
Major-General J. G. R. Forlong, Vol. 1,
 The authors of “The Truth Regarding Inspired Titles,” Dale George and Silvio Soto, regard the title “mare” as a proper noun, as evidenced from the following quotation taken from page 44: “For if the Hebrew elohim can be rendered by Inspiration into the Aramaic elah (or the Greek theos) and if the Hebrew adonay can be rendered by Inspiration into the Aramaic mare (or the Greek kyrios),— despite the obvious fact that all of these words as proper nouns can be objected to on the grounds of paganism or perverted substitution — then on what basis could we argue that these Hebrew titles cannot be rendered and translated into English?”
The authors do not state that any of the above-mentioned titles originated as proper nouns employed by heathen worshippers; if they had done so, they would have been required to produce documentation of such, as our studies do not produce any evidence of these titles having originated as proper nouns. There is an enormous difference between a word being transformed into the name of an idol and a word originating as the name of an idol. Words like elohim, mare and theos did not originate as proper nouns. Words like god did originate as a proper noun. The only basis on which we would recognize the Scriptural authorization of ascribing to Yahweh titles that originated as names of heathen idols would be by Scriptural precedent. As there is no Scriptural precedent of anyone ever referring to Yahweh with a title that originally represented the name of a heathen idol, we reject the concept that one can "honorably" refer to Yahweh as “our God.”
 From an e-mail we received on 10/12/00 from the same individual mentioned in footnotes #1, #14 and #29.