The importance of using the name Yahweh and avoiding a substitute is enhanced by the willingness of Yahweh’s loyal prophets among the Israelites to die rather than abandon the sacred name. Moreover, these prophets always prophesied in the name of Yahweh, as every book of the Scriptures reveals.
Yet, their insistence upon speaking with the authority of the sacred name constantly brought them under the threat of death. Amazingly, their enemies were not just those of pagan beliefs.
Indeed, their greatest foes came from among their fellow Israelites, especially religious and political leaders, men of power who would not listen to Yahweh.
The prophet Daniel confessed this sin and rebellion by the Israelites, those both near and far when he prayed to Yahweh that they had departed “from your commandments and from your judgments.” (Daniel 9:4-5)
And we have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. (Daniel 9:6)
These leaders (self-declared prophets, priests, ministers, rulers, elders, etc.) ultimately proved to be the most treacherous adversaries of all. No greater testimony, therefore, can be presented than the fact that the loyal prophets of Yahweh were willing to oppose these forces, overcome fear, and die if necessary for using the sacred name Yahweh.
To demonstrate the attitude of Yahweh’s loyal prophets in Israel on the issue of using the sacred name, we must first consider the almost continuous effort by the greater portion of the people and leaders of the Israelite tribes to subvert the doctrines of Yahweh. They accomplished this subversion by transforming their national religion into one much more suitable to their own personal tastes.
The religion they most wanted to emulate was the worship of Baal (plural “Baali,” collective noun “Baalim”), meaning “Lord (SEC #1166, 1167, 1168).” In fact, the people of Israel desired in their hearts to follow after the licentious tenets of this pagan religion.
Even more sinister is the fact that by following Baal, the Israelites were actually following Satan! For example, notice where Satan is identified with Baal-Zubul (KJV “Beelzebub”), the ruler of the demons in Matthew 12:22-27, Mark 3:20-27, and Luke 11:14-19.
The Israelite’s passion to worship ha-Baal (the LORD), which was the religion practiced by the people surrounding them, caused the Israelites to look for any pretext to change the Yahwehist faith into something resembling that of Baalism.
Knowledge and understanding of true scriptural doctrines had become so poor that, as the prophet Jeremiah states, the priests and those handling the Law of Yahweh did not even know who Yahweh was!
The priests said not, Where is Yahweh? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal (the LORD), and walked after things that do not profit. (Jeremiah 2:8)
These Israelite leaders had convinced themselves that they were not really following the pagan eloahim named Baal. In their minds, Yahweh was their baal (lord). (See Isa. 54:5; Jer. 31:32, and Hos. 2:16-17.)
Reasoning that they were following Scriptures they “prophesied by Baal and caused my people Israel to go astray (Jer. 23:13).” In the exhortation found in chapter two of Jeremiah, Yahweh chastised the religious leaders of Israel asking:
How can you say, “I am not defiled; I have not gone after Baalim.” See your way in the valley, know what you have done! (Jeremiah 2:23)
Put another way, what these people “believed” they were doing did not matter. For Yahweh, truth was based upon their actions. Yahweh elsewhere in Jeremiah adds that the Israelites had forsaken Yahweh’s laws and failed to obey his voice, having “walked after the stubbornness of their own heart and after הבעלים (ha-baalim; the lords), which their fathers had taught them (Jer. 9:14).”
How could they deny their worship of Baal? Because in their own minds, their Baal (LORD) was the eloahi of Scriptures. They had deliberately blinded themselves to the difference. Accordingly, they prophesied and swore by Baal (the LORD), believing this name to be a title for a universal deity.
Into this anomaly walked the prophets of Yahweh. When Yahweh sent his loyal prophets in his sacred name to correct the error, they were rejected. This is because the message sent in the name of Yahweh differed from what the people wanted to hear.
And they refused to listen and gave a stubborn shoulder and made their ears heavy against hearing. Yes, they made their hearts adamant against hearing the Torah and the words which Yahweh of hosts has sent by his ruach (spirit) by the former prophets. (Zechariah 7:11-12)
Their inward desire to follow the things of Baalism resulted in a plot to remove the personage of Yahweh from the Scriptures and replace him with a universal “LORD” who was much more permissive. But unfortunately, Yahweh’s laws and commandments were viewed as far too restrictive for their taste.
At the same time, they wanted to retain the idea of antiquity for their own religion. With Yahweh gone, the religious and political leaders could utilize human interpretations and ideas from the neighboring Baal cults. They could set aside Yahweh’s commands with words of their own choosing and device.
In the book of Jeremiah, we read the condemnation against these religious leaders (prophets) of ancient Israel:
I (Yahweh) have heard what the prophets said, who prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have had a vision, I have had a vision! How long is this there in the heart of the prophets, the prophets of lies, and the prophets of their own heart’s deceit? (THEY) PLOT TO MAKE MY PEOPLE FORGET MY NAME by their visions, which they tell each man to his neighbor; AS HAVE FORGOTTEN THEIR FATHERS MY NAME FOR BAAL (THE LORD)! (Jeremiah 23:25-27)
The priestly conspiracy taught Baal instead of Yahweh. In time, the Israelites soon forgot the name Yahweh and treated the title baal or “lord” as a personal name for the eloahi of Scriptures.
In turn, those advocating this new interpretation reacted violently against the prophets who remained loyal to Yahweh and came using his sacred name.
For more information regarding the sacred name Yahweh, be sure to check out The Sacred Name Yahweh by Qadesh La Yahweh Press.