What Does The Bible Mean When It Says Fear the LORD (YHWH)?

What Does The Bible Mean When It Says Fear the LORD (YHWH)?

In this video I read through the article and discuss with people in the chatroom. If you would prefer to read it yourself, read on.

Most people know the phrases “Fear the LORD” or “Fear God”, and, of course, the phrase “the LORD” (in all caps) was hiding YHWH’s name, the tetragrammaton. Ironically, they did this because people were afraid of God and afraid of taking His name in vain.  Our English words do not do these words and/or phrases justice. We have completely missed the point due to our perceptions that come from the general understanding that the English language has given us.

In this time of Revelation we’re learning more and more how our perceptions have been manipulated by words. In this article we’ll be looking at what the Hebrew word for fear means compared to the English definition of worrying or cowering.

Our perceptions change our reality, and for too long we have been taught that we should be worried about offending YHWH. But the Hebrew word for “fear” has nothing to do with worry. It’s time the true worshipers of the Father worship in spirit and truth and love, not worry.

The Fear of YHWH

There are many verses in the bible that seem to suggest we should have a fear of YHWH. Notice that they’re always in a positive light.

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 7 The fear of YHWH is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

There are many more verses that say we are to “fear not.” So many that some might even say it’s a contradiction to tell us to not be afraid but, at the same time, to be afraid of YHWH. However the word for fear does not have the same connotation in Hebrew as it does in English.

Hebrew Word For Fear

This video clearly illustrates the Hebrew understanding of the word “Fear”:

He discusses the root word Yar and it’s meaning, and shows this picture of the word’s family tree:

fear word meaning

Bread of Life Descends From Heaven

The general meaning is that YHWH’s teachings/commandments come from above, sort of like how the manna (bread of life) came down from heaven. Jesus (Yehoshua) said that his food was to do the will of Him who sent him (John 4:34). When he did YHWH’s will (or teachings/commandments) then he became that food. That’s when he became the bread that came down from heaven.

Wisdom and understanding are personified as a female in Proverbs. Proverbs is a bit of Hebraic poetry with the intent that the reader should court Wisdom and not court Folly (the adulteress). There’s some discussion concerning God & His Wisdom in the Primal Adam article. Wisdom can also be seen as the Holy Spirit, which is why sometimes Catholics will suggest the Holy Spirit is the mother spirit (female).  This is all a personification in order to understand certain concepts better.

The Holy Spirit (as a dove) descended out of heaven and this is when Jesus (Yehoshua) was anointed with the Holy Spirit to free the captives with his teaching (Acts 10:38. Luke 4:18). This is when he started his ministry and healing people.

A quote from the Essenes, concerning their belief that Jesus (Yehoshua) was the true prophet, mentions the “fear of God” in concert with teachings also.

(Rec. 1: 16; Hom. 1: 19) “Now the advantageous one, whom I mentioned, I call ‘the Prophet,’ who alone is able to enlighten the souls of human beings, so that with their eyes they can see the Way of Salvation and Eternal Life. But otherwise it is impossible […] Because of this, the True Prophet is necessary for every matter of the Fear of God, for he will tell us all these things, as they are, and how correctly to believe concerning everything.

Gebhardt, Joseph Glen. The Syriac Clementine Recognitions and Homilies: The First Complete Translation of the Text

Fear Is About Being Under the Influence Of

The word “fear,” as discussed in the word study video, is an action word. It’s not referring to a passive state of being (such as someone crouched in a corner crippled, having a panic attack, unable to move). It’s a term used to refer to someone (or something) under the influence of another.

A river flows forward, compelled, under the influence of a higher power than itself. YHWH’s teachings are the higher power than ourselves. When we’re fearing YHWH, we’re under the influence of His teachings (the Holy Spirit / Word) and then we go forth as He wills.

In the video he also discusses when Jesus (Yehoshua) was on the highest top of a mountain being tempted by Satan to bow down. Being on the top of the mountain represents perfection, peace. The New Jerusalem is described like a mountain that descends from heaven. The messianic prophecies point to no one hurting nor destroying on His Holy Mountain.

Satan on the Mountain

During the sermon on the mountain, Jesus (Yehoshua) tells us to not worry about other things like what we’ll wear, what we’ll eat, where we’ll live. Because so long as we focus on the kingdom of God, everything will be handed to us. YHWH is over all things. We are specifically told not to worry. Worry is bowing down to a force that is less powerful than YHWH because perfect love drives out fear (Phobos).

1 John 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the son of God, God dwelleth in him/her, and he/she in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he/she that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him/her. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

When these verses in 1 John use the word fear, they’re specifically referring to the feeling of worry/terror using the Greek word Phobos which is where we get the word phobias from.

The Fear of YHWH is connected to the wisdom that comes from above. When we have those teachings, and do them (as the sermon suggested) then we’ll be wise, and we won’t have any worry because everything else will be taken care of.

In worry, we’re not under the influence of YHWH

Ironically, when people worry that studying something is blasphemous, or worry that they might hear a false doctrine, or worry that they aren’t saying YHWH’s name correctly, or worry that they’re not keeping the feasts the right way, or worry their significant partner is keeping the wrong “holidays,” they’re not under the influence of YHWH.

When we’re perfected in love, we will know there’s nothing to fear, not even offending YHWH. YHWH is all knowing, all loving, all merciful and all forgiving. His ways are higher than our ways (in His mercy). He knows all, which means He knows why you did what you did, He knows why you’re confused, and He wants you to know the truth. But He’s not going to be jealous or upset at you making mistakes and thinking you need to be punished.

As we discussed in the article “Why Do People Beg, Fight, and Steal? False Beliefs” people are condemned already because of their sin. YHWH is just using His saviors to get people to stop hurting themselves.

YHWH can’t be surprised, so He can’t be jealous (He’ll be all in all eventually) and He can’t be angry. The early followers of Jesus (Yehoshua), the Essenes, said that they believed that the scriptures had falsehoods written into them. They believed that Jesus (Yehoshua) came to tell us this and stop the sacrifices. The prophets in the Tanakh (OT) agreed, such as Jeremiah saying the lying pen of the scribes turned YHWH’s law into a lie. They didn’t believe anything about YHWH being “evil.” If something was written that put Him into a bad light then it was written by scribes erroneously.

Homilies II, Chapter XLIII: A Priori Argument on the Divine Attributes “Wherefore, far be it from us to believe that the Master of all, who made the heaven and the earth, and all things that are in them, shares His government with others, or that He lies. “For if He lies, then who speaks truth? Or if He makes experiments as in ignorance; then who foreknows? If He deliberates and changes His purpose, who then is perfect in understanding and permanent in design? “If He envies, who is above rivalry? If He hardens hearts, who makes wise? If He makes blind and deaf, who has given sight and hearing? If He commits pilfering, who administers justice? “If He mocks, who is sincere? If He is weak, who is omnipotent? If He is unjust, who is just? If He makes evil things, who will make good things? If He does evil, who will do good?”

Homilies II, Chapter XLIV: The Same Continued “But if He desires the fruitful hill, whose then are all things? If He is false, who then is true? If He lives in a tent, who is without bounds? “If He is fond of fat, sacrifices, offerings, and drink-offerings, who then is without need, and who is holy, and pure, and perfect? If He is pleased with lamps and wicks, who then placed the luminaries in the sky? If He dwells in shadow, and darkness, and storm, and smoke, who is the light that lightens the universe? “If He comes with trumpets, shoutings, darts, and arrows, who is the sought-after tranquility of all? If He loves war, who then wishes peace? If He makes evil things, who makes good things? “If He is without affection, who is a lover of men? If He is not faithful to His promises, who will be trusted? If He loves the evil, adulterers, and murderers, who will be a just judge? If He changes His mind, who is steadfast? If He chooses evil men, who then takes the part of the good?

Worry Causes Health Problems

One of the best ways to see if something is from YHWH or not is to see how it affects us. A bad seed will bring about bad fruit. Worry causes health problems. But letting go of worries and concerns helps to heal our bodies. YHWH would never tell us to “fear” Him if that meant we were harming our bodies, and when we “fear” through anxiety, worry or panic we can tell we’re doing something harmful to ourselves. And harm to ourselves doesn’t come from YHWH.

In this video Lissa Rankin, MD discusses the science of what worry can do to our body and how it keeps us from healing in our natural state of being. The natural self-repair functions of the body get flipped off when we’re in the fight or flight state of being.

The following video also discusses how our perceptions affect our reality. Melissa mentions that most people today are in a constant state of anxiety because of our media. Most people are told things to worry about day in and day out. This may be why we’re as sick as we are. If we meditated and relaxed about issues more often, our bodies would naturally heal themselves.

Fear as in Reverence

Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

This article from The Blazing Center had an interesting take on it being like a child revering their Father because they know how much He loves them. It quotes R. C. Sproul:

There is also a sense of “childlike” fear of the Lord. R.C. Sproul, speaking of Martin Luther, said this:

Luther is thinking of a child who has tremendous respect and love for his father or mother and who dearly wants to please them. He has a fear or an anxiety of offending the one he loves, not because he’s afraid of torture or even of punishment, but rather because he’s afraid of displeasing the one who is, in that child’s world, the source of security and love.

There’s something to be said about those who follow the Holy Spirit, teachings/commandments and that they know they want to do what’s right, not just because it’s right but through love. That’s what the verse about agape love fulfilling the law is all about.

Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” a and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

“…be of one mind in many bodies; let each man be minded to do to his neighbor those good things he wishes for himself. And you may all find out what is good, by holding some such conversation as the following with yourselves: You would not like to be murdered; do not murder another man: you would not like your wife to be seduced by another; do not you commit adultery: you would not like any of your things to be stolen from you; steal nothing from another. And so understanding by yourselves what is reasonable, and doing it, you will become dear to God, and will obtain healing; otherwise in the life, which now is, your bodies will be tormented, and in that which is to come your souls will be punished.” Clementine Homilies Book 7, Chapter IV. The Golden Rule

We’re told that when we love we don’t keep records of wrong doing, so we know all the more how quickly and easily YHWH forgives. In fact He doesn’t even mind, because He knows why we did it. It’s usually very hard for us to forgive when we don’t understand why something happened, but when we see the big picture, we can easily forgive. We can extrapolate how easy it is for YHWH to forgive us based on that.

When we truly understand how loving He is, we’ll love Him and not want to go against Him, but not out of anxiety or worry, out of a reverence and love for Him and His creation.

In the Recognitions of Clement, Apostle Peter is asked about matters concerning the fear of God and the answer is about the love of God (reverence) in addition to following YHWH’s will through the Spirit.

Wherefore now entrust me according to faithful knowledge the matters that are of the Fear of God, as is acceptable to the True Prophet, for you have commissioned me to believe only him (Rec. 1:25)


Wherefore hear again now how the world was created, as the True Prophet entrusted to us, so that, once we have recognized who made this world that did not exist, we shall graciously be incited with love for the All-Powerful God and receive something that by His Greatness is increasingly advantageous to us. But love of Him comes by means of being guided according to His Will, so that the Law has been set apart for everything that shall exist. (Rec 1:26)

Gebhardt, Joseph Glen. The Syriac Clementine Recognitions and Homilies: The First Complete Translation of the Text


YHWH in heaven showers down manna (the bread of life) which represents teachings.  Eating the bread of life represents us incorporating that bread into our bodies, or incorporating those teachings into our lives. When we do that we come under the influence of YHWH (we have a “Fear of the LORD”). From then on out we are being compelled by a higher power then ourselves to do YHWH’s will each day. That’s why it’s the beginning of wisdom.

When we are not one with God, we are compelled to do things other than His will. In this case we’re under the influence of another, who/what some might call Satan.

Because our perceptions of the word “fear” in English has affected our view of these verses in the Tanakh (OT) today many people are worried to look into topics they consider heretical or damning. It’s a shame that we have lost the true Hebraic meaning of the “Fear of YHWH” for an interpretation that leads one to be more under the influence of “Satan” than YHWH. But, thankfully, this is the time of Revelation and we’re waking up to the deceptions. It’s time to come out of the worried state of being and start letting YHWH heal us like He’s always been trying to do.

We can pick up serpents and not be bitten. We should never fear looking into the unknown, because YHWH sees all and is always with us, guiding us to the truth, so long as that is what we’re after. Just pray to not be deceived, and as the faithful Father He is, He will give us what we ask for in His name/character.

Work Out Our Salvation in Fear & Trembling?

Did Paul really tell us to work out our salvation through fear? Actually it’s more likely he was talking about being among those who are fearful. We are to be blameless in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, and stay strong and faithful in the midst of those who fear and tremble.

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Reader Comments

  1. That makes so much sense logically about fear being the “working under the influence” of Ya’oh!!! That word never made sense to me after reading what Peter says in the Clementine works!!!

    1. Yes, I really enjoyed the video that I embedded into this article. Before I knew the Hebrew of the word “Fear” I was a little unclear myself. But it cleared everything up.

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