What is “YHWH”? What is this Hebrew name of God? The modern spelling for this name is “Yahweh” which has vowels to help pronounce it. By Jewish tradition, this name of God cannot be spoken because it is too holy. Three hundreds years following Christ, the Jewish people stopped saying “Yahweh” in fear of breaking the commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (Exodus 20:7). Since the name “Yahweh” became too holy to be pronounced, it was replaced with “Adonai” also meaning “Lord”. “Adonai” denotes the mercy of a divine and all-powerful God. In the Septuagint (which is the Greek version of the old Testament written for Jews two centuries before Christ) “Yahweh” means “Lord and Master”. “Yahweh” is likewise referenced many times as “Jehovah” (also meaning “Lord”). These references to “Yahweh” occur over 6000 times in the old Testament.
God is revealed as “Yahweh” for the first time in Exodus. God had just instructed Moses that He is to go to the Israelites held in slavery in Egypt and tell them that God will set them free. Moses asked God what he was to tell the Israelites about who sent him. “And God said to Moses, 'I Am Who I Am and What I Am, and I Will Be What I Will Be;' and He said, 'You shall say this to the Israelites: I Am has sent me to you!' God said also to Moses, 'This shall you say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has sent me to you! This is My name forever, and by this name I am to be remembered to all generations'”(Exodus 3:14-15, AMP). “I AM” is “Yahweh”, “Jehovah”, and “Adonai”. He is the Lord and Master who sets His people free from bondage. His name is to be remembered forever.
“Yahweh”, as the great “I AM”, has no beginning and no end. There was nothing before Him. There was no reality―nothing. He existed before all else. He needs nothing or no one to help Him, counsel Him, or support Him. Everything that is not of God is still totally dependent on God. He created the universe, and He alone allows it to continue. As amazed as we might be by the magnificence of the universe, compared to God it is nothing. God never changes. No improvement is necessary. He is same today, yesterday, and forever. He is not becoming “more” or “greater”. He already is “I AM”. God is the absolute standard of truth. There is no law to which He submits. He himself reveals what is right and what is true. He alone is the final authority. God does as He wishes, and it is always in agreement with His absolute truth. He never violates His own standard. God is the most important reality. He is over any other reality that sets itself above His own will. Any reality that exists outside of Him only exists because He allows it, and still comes under His authority. His reality reigns above all else in the universe. He is “I AM”, and yet this great “I AM” has come to set me free from the bondage of sin. He has come to deliver me from the slavery of my past, and give me the freedom of new life in Him. Nothing is more amazing than the fact that the God of the universe, the great “I AM”, has become my Savior.