The Divine Placeholders

The Greek language had no way to convey the proper pronunciations of certain Hebrew names and terms. Therefore, a system was developed whereby over-scored Greek symbols known as "Divine Placeholders" were written in place of Yahowah, Yahowsha, Ma'aseyah, and certain other Hebrew names, titles, and words. Stephen Walch (aka, Swalchy), who is intimately familiar with the subject, suggests, "Hebrew not being the main language of the Greek and Roman World, using Hebrew letters would probably have served to confuse the Greek speaking populace. The placeholder's main purpose was to point the reader to the Tanakh, so they could understand the importance of Yahowah's name."

The fact is that prior to the 4th century, every single manuscript thus far discovered used these placeholders wherever the writer wished to convey the Names of Yahowah or Yahowsha, or the titles Ma'aseYah, Son, Father, or Set-Apart Spirit, or the term "upright pole", which Christianity has corrupted to "the cross".

That last statement was so profound that I am going to repeat it for you. Prior to the 4th century, every single manuscript thus far discovered used these placeholders wherever the writer wished to convey the Names of Yahowah or Yahowsha, or the titles Ma'aseYah, Son, Father, or Set-Apart Spirit, or the term "upright pole", which Christianity has corrupted to "the cross". Not one of them contained the Greek words "Iesous", or "Lord", or "cross", or "God". Not one!

Let's say, for example, that I was reading the eyewitness account of Mattanyah (Matthew) in Greek and came across the placeholder, ΙΗΣ (Iota Eta Sigma). I could then look for that same placeholder in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Tanakh. Once I found it, I could look up that passage in the Hebrew texts themselves and know which Hebrew name that placeholder was referring to. If I did not know how to read Hebrew—and I probably didn't if I wasn't a Hebrew myself—I could have found someone who knew how to read Hebrew and asked them to help me. In this case, I would find that the placeholder referred to the name, Yahowsha (erroneously pronounced today as Joshua).  Thereafter, whenever I came across ΙΗΣ in an ancient text, I would have known to read it as the Name, Yahowsha.

That being the case, and it is undeniably so, how did the translators get "Jesus" out of ΙΗΣ? What divine principles and/or sacred rites did they use to get from ΙΗΣ to "Jesus"? Well, here's what they did. They simply made something up and pretended it was divine writ all along. Now, aren't you glad you've put your faith in such men?

So we see then that precise communication was the entire purpose of the placeholders. The system was exquisitely simple and powerfully effective. And it worked well for centuries until religious clerics decided that they knew better than Yahowah how His Word should be read, and made the decision that the names they wanted us to use are more important than the names Yahowah wants us to use. Aren't religious professionals beautiful people?

The following is from [this] Swalchy web page.

  • There is one thing, and one thing only, which occurs in each and every Greek manuscript of the Renewed Covenant up until the 9th Century CE—and that is the occurrence of what's referred to as placeholders, or designated by the title, Nomina Sacra. Nomina Sacra means Sacred Names. There is a lot of debate on what and why Nomina Sacra were used; most of them are discussed in Professor Larry W. Hurtado's book entitled The Earliest Christian Artifacts from page 95 through to page 134, so his discussion on them won't be repeated here. These Nomina Sacra are placeholders for certain Greek titles and names—the four main ones being κυρις / Kurios / Yahowah / Sovereign Master; ιησυς / Iesous / Yahowsha / Jesus; θεος / Theos / God; and χρηστος / Chrestos / Ma'aseyah… [there were] 4 extra ones used in numerous manuscripts (but not in all of them), namely πνευμα / Pneuma / Spirit; υιος / Huios / Son; ανθρωπος / Anthropos / Man; and σταυρος / Stauros / Upright Stake. Due to the consistent reoccurrence of the 4 former ones mentioned, Scholar Schuyler Brown designated them the Nomina Divinia ("Divine Names"). A theory I hold regarding the Nomina Divinia/Sacra is that they were used in Greek manuscripts as placeholders for the previously mentioned names and titles. The authors of the Renewed Covenant and their Greek translators knew that with names and special titles, you are to transliterate them into other languages. But unfortunately for the Greeks, they had few letters in common with the names of Yahowah and Yahowsha/Jesus. The Greeks lacked a Y, H, and a W, making Yahowah and Yahowsha's names completely impossible to transliterate into the Greek language (except for the vowels of course). But this would completely butcher the name of God and His human manifestation, so it was decided—very early on—that these Nomina Sacra would be used instead of an attempt at transliteration, and coming upon the placeholder, those who were reading them would pronounce Yahowah or Yahowsha's name accordingly.
    Bolding my own, not Stephen's—Richard

NOTE: Unlike many, I do not refer to the works of Mattanyah, Yaochanan, Kepha, and Ya'aqob as "The Renewed Covenant" because the Covenant has not yet been renewed. Nor do I consider as reliable and inspired anything written after the Teachings (or Towrah), Prophets, and Writings (or Psalms). The eyewitness accounts of Mattayah and Yaochanan are valuable historical documents, but they are not inspired. See my note below.
The Greek words "Iesous" and "christos" were never actually written by the authors of the Later Writings. Placeholders were written so that the reader could trace that word or name back to the Hebrew texts.
The placeholders were removed and "Iesous" and "christos" were substituted centuries later by the Roman Catholic Church. Now, you have to ask yourself, "Why did they do that? What did they stand to gain by doing that?"
Once you figure out the answer to that pair of questions, you will be on your way to intellectual and spiritual freedom.

For example, depending on the Greek case, the divine placeholders for "Ma'aseyah" were Chi Rho (ΧΡ), Chi Rho Sigma (ΧΡΣ), Chi Sigma (ΧΣ), Chi Upsilon (ΧΥ), Chi Rho Upsilon (ΧΡΥ), Chi Omega (ΧΩ), Chi Rho Omega (ΧΡΩ), and Chi Nu (ΧΝ). There were divine placeholders as well for Yahowah, Yahowsha, Spirit, upright stake or crucified, Man or Men, Son, and God.

Below are photos of ancient texts with some of the divine placeholders.

Papyrus 1

Papyrus 1, a circa 250 CE copy of the record which Mattanyah (Matthew) reportedly wrote around 70 CE. It was discovered by Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Hunt in Oxyrhynchus in 1897. This photo is from the University of Pennsylvania library.

NOTE: The same word would be written differently in Greek depending on its "case". So "God" would have been written using 3 different placeholders, depending on its case. A page describing the various cases in Greek may be found here for those of you who might be interested.


The photo above is of half a page of manuscript MS2648, from a copy of the Septuagint, containing the Greek text of the Book of Yahowsha, dated to the late 2nd Century CE. The verses here are Yahowsha 10:2-11:3. As of 2015-Jan-20, I can no longer find this image on the Internet! If you find it, please send me the link. Thank you!

Codex Sinaiticus

This is an image of Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest known Scripture codex to contain most of the Christian "Bible" in its 66-72 Book form, dated to be between 350-400 CE. The text seen here is from Revelation 4:6-10; 5:5-8.

Other photo images may be found on numerous servers throughout the Internet. For example, Wikipedia and Codex are good places to start.

Let's consider what the foregoing information means to us right here, right now. Since the existence of the Divine Placeholders is indisputable—you've just seen photographs of them with your own eyes—and because their purpose has been known to translators for a very long time, why do you suppose that we do not find the actual Hebrew names and terms which they represent in any of our modern translations of Scripture? English does not have the limitations which plagued the Greek language, so the sounds of each of these Hebrew words can be easily replicated using our English alphabet. Why then don't we see them in our English "Bibles"? Why do we continue to find the made-up name "Jesus" and grossly inaccurate translations like "Christ" and "the Lord"? Why are we given titles instead of the Names which Yahowah provided for us in His Scriptures?

Well, for starters, every modern translation, regardless of the publisher's boasts of its having been "translated from the most ancient manuscripts", is better described as nothing more than just another customized rework of the Latin Vulgate, which was a translation of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Latin Vulgate "translation" was the work of Jerome, who was commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church is immovable in its devotion to the doctrines of its Towrah-hating false "apostle", Paul/Shaul of Tarsus. Therefore, the Vatican has no tolerance for Yahowah's Name, or for His Towrah, or for anything else which opposes their Babylonian system of religion. To please his masters, Jerome used Greek words instead of the Divine Placeholders or suitable transliterations. As with every religion, the leaders of Roman Catholicism have a singularly ungodly agenda: their goal is to lord it over the masses and to accumulate wealth and power along the way—at all costs. So the Divine Placeholders were ignored and were replaced with the Lord, Christ, cross, Iesous, and all the other pagan or made-up religious terms which fill our English translations.

"Drugged" vs. "Beneficial and Useful Implement"

The Greek word "christos", which was never actually written by the authors of the historical writings, literally means "drugged, medicated, or poisoned; to paint over; to stroke; to whitewash." The Divine Placeholders which were replaced with "christos" actually referenced the Greek word "chrestus", a word which means beneficial and useful implement, not "christos", which means drugged. Chrestus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Ma'aseyah.

Please stop reading and read the preceeding paragraph again.
It contains one of those "Don't you dare miss this" facts.
May Yahowah give you perfect understanding.

To repeat, "Christ" is not a translation of the Greek word christos, which means "drugged, medicated, or poisoned; to paint over; to stroke; to whitewash". It is a transliteration. That is, it uses the letters of the English language to convey the original sound of the word in its original language. Despite what Dr. Strong says, the word "christos" never actually appears in any of the Greek manuscripts prior to the fourth century C.E.  Dr. Strong developed his work to support what he obviously thought were actual translations. But they were not, for they were all based on the Latin Vulgate, not on the ancient manuscripts themselves. Some of the ancient manuscripts that we have now were not even available to Dr. Strong.

I don't know about you, but I personally would have to agree that the Son of Yahowah was the chrestus, the Father's beneficial and useful implement; and I do not accept that He was christos, "drugged, medicated, poisoned, painted over, stroked, or whitewashed."

Jewishness of the Names

Friend, if names like Yahowah, Yahowsha, Yashayah, and Yermiyah sound all "Jewish" to you, I would remind you that Yahowsha, the Son of Yahowah, was a "Jew". It should come as no surprise, then, that the roots and Names upon which our relationship with our Creator are based are Yahudish, or "Jewish". Getting into the full swing of Life with Father is so much easier once we decide to stop resisting our Hebrew roots. And again, I am not referring to anything having to do with the religion of Judaism or any of its harlot daughters, such as Messianic Christianity or the equally ridiculous Hebrew Roots Movement.

The name "Jesus" is man-made. It is not English. It is not Greek. It is not Hebrew. It isn't Latin. The name "Jesus" is a completely man-made thing and is totally different than Yahowsha.  Therefore, there is no Heavenly power in the name of "Jesus Christ" and one cannot be saved through faith in that contrived name.

We know that no lie is of the truth. If we declare that "Jesus Christ" is the Savior's name, then we lie, because we know that is not true. We know that no one in the Ma'aseyah's day used or even knew the name "Jesus". For someone to insist on using that false name proves beyond any reasonable doubt that they love their religion more than Yahowah and Yahowsha. In such cases, the name of "Jesus" does indeed have power—it has the power to keep the user forever separated from Yahowah.

But I Speak English, Not Hebrew!

Someone whom I love and respect asked me in an email, "What kind of God would put me in the USA knowing that I would never speak Hebrew or Greek, but English?"

That is a common objection from English-speaking Christians regarding the use of bogus titles and names like "the Lord" and "Jesus Christ" rather than the real names. Here is my response to that objection.

Relatively few native-born United States citizens speak Spanish. But we have no problem at all using Spanish names. For example, I have a child who lives in San Antonio, Texas. "San Antonio" is Spanish for "Saint Anthony". But my boy does not live in Saint Anthony, Texas; he lives in San Antonio, Texas. Why? Because names are transliterated between languages, not translated. (It is a nice coincidence that English has the exact same characters in this instance as Spanish, so that transliterating the Spanish into English is really easy.) But suppose we did with other languages as we insist on doing with Yahowah's Hebrew language. In that case, I would insist on saying "Saint Anthony, Texas". Now, if I were to try to find Saint Anthony on a map of Texas, I would not find it. Why? Because the city's name is San Antonio, not Saint Anthony. The name has been appropriately transliterated. Likewise, we were taught in Texas history about the great Mexican general, Santa Anna. They did not call him Saint Ann, which is the English translation of his name. They referred to him by his real given name; they transliterated his name. In the same way, even fewer of us speak Russian, but we refer to one of their most famous figures as "Ivan the Terrible" rather than "John the Terrible", even though "John" is the English equivalent of the Russian name "Ivan." In all of those cases, we have transliterated the foreign name in order to pronounce it correctly. And that is as it should be.

Why should things be done differently when dealing with Hebrew names just because we don't speak Hebrew? So then the argument, "I speak English, I don't speak Hebrew," doesn't hold water here. It is hypocritical.

I submit to you that, even though we do not speak Hebrew, we can and should use the Creator's revealed Name, Yahowah, and we should use the Name He personally chose for His Son, Yahowsha.

The matter of ignoring the Divine Placeholders when translating the ancient texts is a glaring example of how men and their religious traditions have corrupted Yahowah's clear, simple, and straightforward Word, causing the souls of millions to perish.

Next: Living By the Word of Yahowah

YHWH in Paleo-Hebrew = יהוה = ee-ah-oh-ah = Yahowah /'iɑ∙o∙wɑ /

Song / Mizmor / Psalm 19:7
Yahowah's Towrah is complete and entirely perfect, returning and restoring the soul. Yahowah's testimony is trustworthy and reliable, making understanding and obtaining wisdom simple for the open-minded and receptive.
Yahowah's (YHWH in Paleo-Hebrew, 66x21) Towrah (torah – teaching, guidance, direction, and instruction) is complete and entirely perfect (tamym – without defect, lacking nothing, correct, genuine, right, helpful, beneficial, and true), returning and restoring (suwb – transforming) the soul (nepesh – consciousness). Yahowah's testimony ('eduwth – restoring and eternal witness) is trustworthy and reliable ('aman – verifiable, confirming, supportive, and establishing), making understanding and obtaining wisdom (hakam – educating and enlightening oneself to the point of comprehension) simple for the open-minded and receptive (pethy – easy for those who are receptive).

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The Tanakh
Tanakh is an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: Towrah ("Teaching", also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi'im ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings")—hence TaNaKh. Although I do not endorse the Masoretes because they were the willing instruments of the rabbis in corrupting Yahowah's Word, I still prefer the use of the acronym Tanakh over the abominable Christian term, Old Testament.

The So-Called Renewed Covenant
Stephen Walch ("Swalchy") is not alone in his belief that Yahowah's Family-Oriented Covenant was renewed through Yahowsha's work as Yahowah's Passover Lamb. There are many who share that mistaken idea.
The fact of the matter is that Yahowah's Family-Oriented Covenant will not be renewed until Yahowsha returns to establish Yahowah's rule on the earth. At that time, Yahowah will write His instructions and guidance for living, His Towrah, on our hearts.
Yahowah Lifts Up / Yermiyah / Jeremiah 31:33
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days," declares Yahowah. "I will put My Towrah within them, and I shall write it on their hearts. And I shall be their God, and they will be My people."
If you cannot quote the entire Towrah verbatim in the original Hebrew tongue, then the Towrah has not been written in your heart by Yahowah. That is how we know that His Covenant, His Family-Oriented Contract with us, has not been renewed.
Simple, elegant, not open to debate.
There is another reason why I consider the Greek texts to be wholly unreliable and therefore uninspired. Look at this web page and scroll down to the translation section. Notice how the papyrus itself contained only fragments of sentences and how the translators "reconstructed" all the missing text out of thin air from text that wasn't even there. How can such a thing be inspired? How can a rational person consider it to be "the inerrant Word of God" when more than half of it is completely made up?