God's Name in The Greek Scriptures
In the New Testament scriptures the Greek word ‘kyrios' meaning ‘lord' is used rather than the old testament Hebrew tetragrammaton ‘Yahweh'. We will come back to this point in spades a little later in this section. Interestingly in Matthew, despite being quite prepared to give David his proper name in the Greek text, the writer of the scripture shied away from giving God His proper name. Is this because he did not know it or because he was sworn to secrecy not to reveal it to us that come after, I wonder? Or is there a more sinister explanation??
9 and the multitudes who were going before, and who were following, were crying, saying, `Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is he who is coming in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.' (Matthew 21)
As always John provides the answers to the questions that the genuine seeker after truth is not afraid to ask:
6 "I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have observed your word. (John 17)
11 "Also, I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name which you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are.
12 When I was with them I used to watch over them on account of your own name which you have given me; and I have kept them, and not one of them is destroyed except the son of destruction, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17)
26 And I have made your name known to them and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them." (John 17)
There are three keys points contained in the above verses. Firstly Christ needed to provide God's name to the apostles which must have meant that they did not already know it other than ‘Jehovah'. This means that Jehovah must have a secret proper name. Secondly there was the promise that God's name will be made generally known to mankind at some time in the future. Thirdly that Jesus shares God's name supporting the observation in Proverbs made earlier. This third point is emphasised perfectly in Paul's epistle to the Hebrew congregation in that, when Jesus became God's only-begotten son, He also became divine and was given the inheritance associated with God's family name:
4 having become so much better than the angels, He has inherited a name more excellent than they.
5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, "You are My Son; today I have begotten You"? And again, "I will be a Father to Him, and He shall be a Son to Me." (Hebrews 1)
This brings us back round full circle to our early discovery at the start of this quest. That time, for making God's real name known, is not yet with us but will come when the 1st New Covenant Saints, Jesus's wife, return to this world. At that time they will be representing their husband, Jesus Christ, and they will all share God's surname. Therefore if Jeremiah has God's name as he professed then he and, presumably, all the other Old Testament prophets are 1st New Covenant Saints becoming Jesus' wife in the new order to come.
Moving forward in the Greek scriptures to Paul's epistle to the Roman congregation, we see historically that Pharoah was allowed to maintain his rule in Egypt. This would ensure that God's (nick)name was remembered (albeit temporarily as it turned out) and would be associated with the one true and powerful God:
17 For the Scripture says to Phar´aoh: "For this very cause I have let you remain, that in connection with you I may show my power, and that my name may be declared in all the earth." (Romans 9)
Paul paraphrases the original words of God recorded by Moses:
15 For by now I could have thrust my hand out that I might strike you and your people with pestilence and that you might be effaced from the earth.
16 But, in fact, for this cause I have kept you in existence, for the sake of showing you my power and in order to have my name declared in all the earth. (Exodus 9)
In the greater meaning for today our national world leaders have been allowed, by God, to stay in office under Satan's rule until the 1st New Covenant Saints come down and declare God's power and name once again to the whole of mankind. Upon this event every knee shall bend in honour of God's and Jesus' name:
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2)
This latter-day prophecy was earlier foretold by the Hebrew prophets Isaiah and Malachi:
4 And in that day you shall say, Praise Jehovah! Call on His name; declare His doings among the peoples; make mention that His name is exalted.
5 Sing to Jehovah, for He has done majestically; this is known in all the earth. (Isaiah 12)
11 For from the east to the west, My name shall be great among the nations, and everywhere incense shall be offered to My name; and a pure food offering; for My name shall be great among the nations, says Jehovah of Hosts. (Malachi 1)
Indeed how can anyone find faith in a God they have never heard of?
12 for there is no difference between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord of all [is] rich to all those calling upon Him,
13 for every one -- whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, he shall be saved.'
14 How then shall they call upon [him] in whom they did not believe? and how shall they believe [on him] of whom they did not hear? and how shall they hear apart from one preaching? (Romans 10)
A little earlier I mentioned the ‘fact' that God's name does not appear at all in the Greek Scriptures. This point was put into sharp focus for me in looking at alternative translations of Paul's second letter to Timothy:
19 However, the foundation of God (Greek: ‘theos') stands firm, having this seal, "The Lord (Greek: ‘kyrios') knew the ones being His;" see Num. 16:5, 7, also, Let everyone naming the name of Christ (Greek: ‘kyrios') depart from unrighteousness. (2 Timothy 2 - Green's Literal Translation)
19 For all that, the solid foundation of God (Greek: ‘theos') stays standing, having this seal: "Jehovah (Greek: ‘kyrios') knows those who belong to him," and: "Let everyone naming the name of Jehovah (Greek: ‘kyrios') renounce unrighteousness." (2 Timothy 2 - New World Translation of the Jehovah's Witnesses)
Needless to say, the bold red typeface is mine! Now perhaps this is something I should have already known and been prepared for. Nonetheless I have to say that I was completely gobsmacked to find two so significantly different translations between what I would have considered to be among two of the best renditions of the holy scriptures into English (although there are many in the traditional Christian churches who would object to the NWT being described as such simply through their own biased and largely incorrect understandings of the scriptures). Thank goodness that the Lords' Witnesses are currently producing our own concordance and eventually bible translation that will hopefully prove to be the definitive on-line tools for all seekers of the truth (watch this space!).
So how could two so very different translations of the Greek word ‘kyrios' be arrived at? The word ‘kyrios' means ‘lord'. According to Mounce's Greek Lexicon it would seem that this Lord can be a general descriptive term of a deity or powerful person. So it could refer to either Jehovah or Jesus depending upon the context. These following verses are clear as to the intended use of the word:
26 about whom I have nothing certain to write to my lord (Greek: ‘kyrios'). Because of this I brought him before you, and most of all before you, king Agrippa, so as the examination taking place, I may have somewhat to write. (Acts 25 - Green's)
26 But concerning him I have nothing certain to write to [my] Lord (Greek: ‘kyrios'). Therefore I brought him forth before YOU, and especially before you, King A·grip´pa, in order that, after the judicial examination has taken place, I might get something to write. (Acts 25 - NWT)
So this first case demonstrates ‘kyrios' being used in a general way as clearly referring to King Agrippa.
22 And all this happened so that might be fulfilled that which was spoken by the Lord (Greek: ‘kyrios') through the prophet, saying, (Matthew 1 - Green's)
22 All this actually came about for that to be fulfilled which was spoken by Jehovah (Greek: ‘kyrios') through his prophet, saying: (Matthew 1 - NWT)
In this second case Lord refers to God the Father. Jesus was Himself arguably a prophet sent by Jehovah God and did not speak through other prophets as His Father did. So the NWT correctly identifies this Lord as Jehovah. However it is not what the scriptures, that we have existent today, actually say.
Where the Greek scriptures clearly mean the word ‘kyrios' stands for Jesus, then both versions keep the translation as Lord:
1 And after these things, the Lord (Greek: ‘kyrios') also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place, even to where He was about to come.. (Luke 10 - Green's)
1 After these things the Lord (Greek: ‘kyrios') designated seventy others and sent them forth by twos in advance of him into every city and place to which he himself was going to come. (Luke 10 - NWT)
Apologies for this unintended diversion into the NWT use of the name ‘Jehovah' in the Greek scriptures but perhaps there is an important lesson contained within this confusion. I think it is for the reader to discern which Lord is being referred to, not the translator. In cases, such as in 2Timothy which started this exercise for me, there is perhaps value in musing as to its precise meaning rather than have the translator do that work on behalf of the reader, in some cases I believe incorrectly. Since both Lords share the same name, after Jesus' ascension, I think there is much value in considering which of our two Lords is meant or, indeed, whether there are cases where it does not actually matter which is being referred to. Perhaps God's surname is all that matters thereby referring to God's divine family. Furthermore in looking at the evidence I do not believe there is an adequate case for substituting ‘Jehovah' for ‘kyrios', as the Jehovah's Witnesses maintain, since there do not appear to be any existent Greek manuscripts which follow the NWT translation in this regard.
The account of Saul (later called Paul), who was made blind by Christ and then had his sight returned, makes clear mention of the Messiah's name as Jesus:
5 He said: "Who are you, Lord?" He said: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. (Acts 9)
15 But the Lord said to him: "Be on your way, because this man is a chosen vessel to me to bear my name to the nations as well as to kings and the sons of Israel.
16 For I shall show him plainly how many things he must suffer for my name."
17 So An·a·ni´as went off and entered into the house, and he laid his hands upon him and said: "Saul, brother, the Lord, the Jesus that appeared to you on the road over which you were coming, has sent me forth, in order that you may recover sight and be filled with holy spirit." (Acts 9)
So this ‘kyrios' states His name to Saul as Jesus and does not overtly, at least in the Greek scriptures, make His Father's name known to Saul at that time even though, as Paul, he would be tasked with spreading the name of the Lord ‘to the nations'. That common name is Jesus Christ, but does He have another secret name known only to those chosen to be given that knowledge?
As if in final and definitive response to my question, one of the later chapters of revelation clearly provides the answer:
12 And His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head many diadems, having a name that had been written, which no one knows except Himself;
13 and having been clothed in a garment which had been dipped in blood. And His name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies in Heaven followed Him on white horses, being dressed in fine linen, white and pure.
15 And out of His mouth goes forth a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations. And He will shepherd them with an iron rod. And He treads the winepress of the wine of the anger and of the wrath of God Almighty.
16 And He has on His garment and on His thigh a name having been written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19)
Christ is known by several names and titles but He still has one name that nobody in the world knows. From all the foregoing discussion that will be the true and secret name of His Father Jehovah and His Wife, the 1st New Covenant Saints.
God's Name After the Law
Certainly there appears to have been nothing secret about God's nickname even abroad from the children of Israel after they entered the Promised Land. The Gibeonites knew God's name which they declared with a view to making peace with Joshua:
9 And they said to him, Your servants have come from a very distant land, because of the name of Jehovah your God, for we have heard of His fame, and all that He has done in Egypt. (Joshua 9)
Following on from the previous section, God wished His name to be associated with the holy items of Israel (the ark) as well as holy places of worship (the temple) and, probably most importantly, the city of Jerusalem:
2 And David rose up and went, and all the people with him, from Baal-judah, to bring up the ark of God from there which is called by the Name, the Name of Jehovah of Hosts, who dwells above the cherubs. (2Samuel 6)
5 And, behold, I am commanding a house to be built to the name of Jehovah my God, as Jehovah spoke to my father David, saying, Your son whom I will appoint in your place on your throne, he shall build the house for My name. (1Kings 5)
4 And he said, Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, who has spoken with His mouth to my father David, and with His hands has fulfilled it, saying,
5 From the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have not chosen a city out of any of the tribes of Israel to build a house for My name to be there, and I have not chosen a man to be leader over My people Israel.
6 But I have chosen Jerusalem for My name to be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.
7 And it was in the heart of my father to build a house for the name of Jehovah the God of Israel.
8 And Jehovah said to my father David, Because it has been in your heart to build a house for My name, you have done well that it has been in your heart.
9 But you shall not build the house, for your son who comes forth out of your loins, he shall build the house for My name.
10 And Jehovah has lifted up His Word that He spoke, for I have risen up in the place of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as Jehovah spoke. And I have built the house for the name of Jehovah the God of Israel.
11 And I have placed the ark there, where the covenant of Jehovah is, that He made with the sons of Israel.
12 And he stood before the altar of Jehovah, before the congregation of Israel, and spread out his hands. (2Chronicles 6)
Jehovah's name distinguished Him from other named but false gods:
7 by never going in among these nations, these that remain with YOU. And YOU must not mention the names of their gods nor swear by them, neither must YOU serve them nor bow down to them. (Joshua 23)
13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. (Isaiah 26)
24 And you shall call on the name of your god; and I, I will call on the name of Jehovah; and it shall be, the god who answers by fire, he is the God. And all the people answered and said, The word is good.
25 And Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, Choose the one bull for yourself, and prepare first, for you are many; and you call on the name of your god, but place no fire.
26 And they took the bull that was given to them, and prepared, and called on the name of Baal from the morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, answer us! And there was no sound, and no one was answering; and they leaped about the altar that one had made. (1Kings 18)
But the meaning of the Hebrew word ‘baal' is ‘husband' of which Jehovah God was also known:
5 For thy Maker [is] thy husband, Jehovah of Hosts [is] His name, And thy Redeemer [is] the Holy One of Israel, `God of all the earth,' He is called. (Isaiah 54)
Rather than being a confusing factor, as it might seem at first sight, this would lend further weight to God's desire to have His unique identity known throughout the world, even if this does not entail His full (and secret) name being divulged to all and sundry. He would not wish to be confused with everyone else's false gods. This unique identification is made by a combination of His nickname and His association with hosts/armies and specifically that of His people Israel:
24 let it even be established, and Your name be great forever, saying, Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel is God to Israel; and the house of Your servant David shall be made to stand before You. (1Chronicles 17)
12 So I will do this to you, O Israel: Because of this that I will do to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel.
13 For, behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind and declares to man what His thought is, He who makes the dawn darkness, and treads on the high places of the earth; Jehovah, the God of Hosts, is His name. (Amos 4)
And just in case it was not obvious, the name of Jehovah will go down all the ages to time indefinite:
13 O Jehovah, your name is to time indefinite. O Jehovah, your memorial is to generation after generation. (Psalms 135)
Agur, the son of Jakeh wrote Proverbs Chapter 30. In this he not only repeated the messages that God's name was holy and not to be violated but also asked what His son's name was. Is this also therefore implying that our saviour, the Messiah, had both a nickname (Jesus Christ) and a secret name, the proper surname of His Father Jehovah?
4 Who has gone up to Heaven, and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in His garments? Who has made all the ends of the earth to rise? What is His name, and what is His Son's name? Surely you know.
5 Every Word of God is refined, He is a shield to those who seek refuge in Him.
6 Do not add to His Words, that He not reprove you, and you be found a liar.
7 I have asked two things from You: Do not hold back from me before I die:
8 Remove vanity and a lying word far from me, do not give me poverty or riches; tear for me my portion of bread,
9 that I not become satisfied and deceive, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or that I not become poor and steal, and violate the name of my God. (Proverbs 30)
But does this name extend even further to His chosen ones amongst mankind? It would appear that the prophet Jeremiah certainly believed that he shared God's name:
16 Your Words were found and I ate them; and Your Word was to me the joy and gladness of my heart. For I am called by Your name, O Jehovah, God of Hosts. (Jeremiah 15)
Jeremiah was clearly in no doubt as to his God's nickname:
2 So says Jehovah its Maker, Jehovah who formed it in order to establish it; Jehovah is His name: (Jeremiah 33)
But did he know what God's secret name was? God is so protective of His great name that He forbad sinful Judah from using it. This was presumably for fear that it would cease to carry the weight and reputation of the one true God; by coming out of the mouths of His own unrighteous people, His name would be compromised in the eyes of the Egyptians:
26 So hear the Word of Jehovah, all Judah who reside in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by My great name, says Jehovah, that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord Jehovah lives. (Jeremiah 44)
Ezekiel continues in similar vein:
22 Therefore, say to the house of Israel, So says the Lord Jehovah: I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but only for My holy name which you profaned among the nations, there where you went.
23 And I will sanctify My great name which was profaned among the nations, which you profaned among them. And the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, declares the Lord Jehovah, when I am sanctified in you in their eyes. (Ezekiel 36)
Daniel also but here he directly associates God's name with His people and with His holy city Jerusalem. The theme throughout is that God wants His identity to be made unique and distinct from all the false gods through His unique relationship with the Children of Israel and the holy city which He established with them:
15 "And now, O Jehovah our God, you who brought your people out from the land of Egypt by a strong hand and proceeded to make a name for yourself as at this day, we have sinned, we have acted wickedly.
16 O Jehovah, according to all your acts of righteousness, please, may your anger and your rage turn back from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; for, because of our sins and because of the errors of our forefathers, Jerusalem and your people are an object of reproach to all those round about us.
17 And now listen, O our God, to the prayer of your servant and to his entreaties, and cause your face to shine upon your sanctuary that is desolated, for the sake of Jehovah.
18 Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Do open your eyes and see our desolated conditions and the city that has been called by your name; for not according to our righteous acts are we letting our entreaties fall before you, but according to your many mercies.
19 O Jehovah, do hear. O Jehovah, do forgive. O Jehovah, do pay attention and act. Do not delay, for your own sake, O my God, for your own name has been called upon your city and upon your people." (Daniel 9)
God's Name in the Early Hebrew Scriptures
The first time that God's name (in the Hebrew Tetragrammaton form YHWH, arguably pronounced Yahweh) is mentioned in the scriptures is in the Genesis creation story:
4 This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven. (Genesis 2)
It is worth mentioning at this point that most English bible translations do not translate the Hebrew YHWH as Jehovah but as ‘Lord'. However the better translations such as Green's Literal, Young's Literal and the New World Translation (of the Jehovah's Witnesses) acknowledge the importance of God's proper name. These are the bible versions mostly referenced in this research paper.
Following the birth of Enosh, Adam's grandson, and the early beginnings of the royal lineage to King David and Jesus Christ, it would appear that Seth made a start of calling on the name of God at that time:
26 And to Seth also there was born a son and he proceeded to call his name E´nosh. At that time a start was made of calling on the name of Jehovah. (Genesis 4)
Presumably it was around this time that God divulged His name for the first time to mankind, specifically to His chosen line via Seth? But was this name Yahweh (Jehovah)?
13 Then she began to call the name of Jehovah, who was speaking to her: "You are a God of sight," for she said: "Have I here actually looked upon him who sees me?" (Genesis 16)
33 After that he planted a tamarisk tree at Be´er-she´ba and called there upon the name of Jehovah the indefinitely lasting God. (Genesis 21)
25 and he buildeth there an altar, and preacheth in the name of Jehovah, and stretcheth out there his tent, and there Isaac's servants dig a well. (Genesis 26)
In all the above cases we see that it is those of the royal lineage (e.g. Abraham and Isaac) and their households (e.g. Hagar) who appear to know the name of the Lord. Later on we see that it is God's chosen leaders and prophets who are also privy to that name, e.g. the prophet Elijah:
24 And YOU must call upon the name of YOUR god, and I, for my part, shall call upon the name of Jehovah; and it must occur that the [true] God that answers by fire is the [true] God." To this all the people answered and said: "The thing is good." (1 Kings 18)
That name appears in the Hebrew scriptures as the commonly known name of Jehovah or Yahweh. Whether this is all we need to know about God's name is the key question for today. However it is clear that the Third True Christian Church publicly declared itself as the Witnesses of Jehovah. Whether they knew another secret name in their innermost hierarchy I am not currently privileged to know.
The first time that I can determine that the actual name of God is the matter of some debate in the bible is when Moses asked Him what He should be called by the children of Israel:
13 And Moses said to God, Behold, I shall come to the sons of Israel and say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they will say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them?
14 And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM; and He said, You shall say this to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
15 And God said to Moses again, You shall say this to the sons of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial from generation to generation. (Exodus 3)
In the above scriptures in Exodus chapter 3 ‘I AM THAT I AM' is translated from the Hebrew ‘hä·yäi ash·er' hä·yäi'. The definitive Ben Davidson Hebrew Lexicon states the word ‘hä•yäi' to mean ‘to be' or ‘exist'. As far as I can see these are the only occurrences in scripture in which this name appears in this specific form. This is, however the verb form of the common scriptural name of ‘Yahweh' or ‘Jehovah'. Arguably God's name is the shortened form of ‘Yah' thereby conferring the meaning ‘Yah is' to the Hebrew ‘Yahweh'; this would seem to be consistent with God's name as given to Moses. This shortened form is recorded in Psalms:
4 Sing ye to God -- praise His name, Raise up a highway for Him who is riding in deserts, In Jah [is] His name, and exult before Him. (Psalms 68)
Is this really God's name or was this what God wanted Moses to tell the children of Israel whilst keeping His real name a secret between Himself (and possibly Moses)? Following shortly on, in the book of Exodus chapter 6, we then find that God did not make His name Jehovah known even to the patriarchs, but yet He was prepared for Moses to announce His name Jehovah to all Israel:
2 And God went on to speak to Moses and to say to him: "I am Jehovah.
3 And I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty, but as respects my name Jehovah I did not make myself known to them. (Exodus 6)
6 "Therefore say to the sons of Israel, ‘I am Jehovah, and I shall certainly bring YOU out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver YOU from their slavery, and I shall indeed reclaim YOU with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
7 And I shall certainly take YOU to me as a people, and I shall indeed prove to be God to YOU; and YOU will certainly know that I am Jehovah YOUR God who is bringing YOU out from under the burdens of Egypt.
8 And I shall certainly bring YOU into the land that I raised my hand in oath to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and I shall indeed give it to YOU as something to possess. I am Jehovah.'"
9 Afterward Moses spoke to this effect to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses out of discouragement and for the hard slavery. (Exodus 6)
Now this cuts across the apparent understanding reached earlier, from the book of Genesis, that the patriarchs called upon the name of Jehovah. Exodus 6 now strongly suggests that perhaps Jehovah was a generic or, dare I say, a nickname for God. If so then the very first time that God made His real/full name known to mankind was to Moses and that Moses was sworn to secrecy regarding that real name and furthermore instructed to tell the sons of Israel that His name was Jehovah. Also given that the name Jehovah appears frequently in scripture, it would appear that Moses was also, in effect, instructed not to use God's real name in the Pentateuch when he wrote it. So it would seem that we today are not generally intended to know God's real name at this time.
The JLW is Given a Scary Sign
Now the reader may well scoff at what I am about to write. All I can say is that the following statements of fact are true; check out the weather conditions in South Eastern England at around 16:00 hours BST on Thursday 12th April 2012 (Biblical Lunar Calendar date: 2012Nisan 21). You may consider that my interpretation is fanciful, but you were not there!!
The very instant I started this particular quest to attempt to discover if, how, when and by whom God's real name will be made known, as my finger was poised over the ‘Enter' key to initiate the word search ‘name + Lord + God' on the scriptures, there was the most enormous clap of thunder. The heavens opened with a torrential downpour the like of which we have not seen in south east England for over eighteen months. Then the hailstones came down; they were the size of marbles and I cannot remember when hailstones that size ever fell in this part of the green and pleasant land. This had to be a sign to take my attention. After looking out over our inundated garden in some disbelief for a few minutes, I went back to my keyboard and immediately changed the word search criteria to ‘thunder'. I had previously felt that I was on the most important mission of my life; but was this my being told to stop because this topic was not for my eyes or was it the most powerful request I could be given to continue with an instruction on how to proceed? Well, either way, I was determined to find out:
23 And Moses stretched out his staff to the heavens. And Jehovah gave thunder and hail. And fire came down to the earth, and Jehovah rained hail on the land of Egypt. (Exodus 9)
Needless to say the red text is my highlighting. Was I being treated as the Egyptian Pharoah with a warning from God to mend my ways? Was I being treated like the wicked children of Israel or like the prophet Samuel calling on the name of the Lord:
17 Is it not wheat harvest today? I shall call to Jehovah that he may give thunders and rain; then know and see that YOUR evil is abundant that YOU have done in the eyes of Jehovah in asking for yourselves a king."
18 Upon that Samuel called to Jehovah, and Jehovah proceeded to give thunders and rain on that day, so that all the people were greatly in fear of Jehovah and of Samuel. (1Samuel 12)
Then I read from the book of Revelation at which point I knew I was on a mission:
1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. (Revelation 6)
Either my quest would lead in the right direction or this vital seal had just been broken and our church would be blessed with the knowledge of God's name. Even if this is not for my personal knowledge, I will be happy that it is in the safe keeping of our church Principal, Gordon, the fourth Elijah.
Was the thunder a literal sign from heaven? Did it perhaps signify the readiness of the 1st New Covenant Saints to start their visit to our physical world and proceed with the salvation promise, in the Father's name?
1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14)
So it already looks like we have found out who God's name will be communicated by to mankind; it will be by the 1st New Covenant Saints, which is the answer I might have expected. But is this the name we already know literally from the scriptures as Yahweh?
This paper was inspired by my brother in Christ, Ian, who proposed that the True Christian Church should know God's name and that we currently do not. At the time of starting to write this paper on the subject, I am not aware of that name if it is other than 'Yahweh'. There is the possibility, though, that the Lords' Witnesses' Principal, Gordon, knows God's true name but is under strict instructions not to confide it to anyone at this time. So is Ian correct? If we represent the True Church of God on Earth, should the Lords' Witnesses not know the name of God? If so when should we know it? How should we come by it? Does any other church have it? Will we know it by the time I have finished writing this paper? Should I even be asking these questions? I think this may well prove to be the single most important piece of research I have yet undertaken in the name of the Lords' Witnesses; I pray for God's blessing in this endeavour even more fervently than usual.
The Name of God
1. This is the quest to determine if God has a name that is secret today even to the Fourth True Christian Church of the Lords' Witnesses.
2. Early on in this exercise it was made clear to the JLW that God's name would be communicated to us by the 1st New Covenant Saints upon their arrival back down on this world. But is that name the already known ‘Yahweh' or is it a name that we do not yet know?
3. God's name was made known to His chosen ones from early on in the scriptures. But was that name Yahweh, as recorded in the scriptures, or something different?
4. The Third True Christian Church of the Jehovah's Witnesses have certainly declared God's name as Jehovah (Yahweh).
5. God told Moses that His name was, in effect, Yahweh. However, it was Moses himself who scribed that account in the scriptures under God's direction, so we still are no closer to knowing if God has another secret name at this stage of the research.
6. God then went on to tell Moses that He had not made His name known to the patriarchs.
7. Piecing the above items of evidence together, it is beginning to look as if God generally allowed His people to call Him ‘Yahweh', His nickname, but that He had another true and secret name that He shared only with Moses up to that point in mankind's history.
8. Since Yahweh is the only name that we have in place under the Law to uphold cases of blasphemy against God's name, it is deemed sufficient to punish offenders that blaspheme against that nickname. For this reason Jews do not use even God's nickname to avoid unintentional blasphemy.
9. Blasphemy, from within God's true congregation, is about as serious as a sin can be. It merits the maximum sentence of the loss of one's associated angel and, no doubt, committing the erstwhile owner thereof to a period in Gehenna.
10. The importance to God of His name, albeit His (unique) nickname, being known is to differentiate Him from all the false named gods worshipped by non-believers, Baal being one such. God's uniqueness is firmly established through His nickname, His association with the hosts of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.
11. Jesus shares God's name with His wife, the 1st New Covenant Saints, and are therefore part of Jehovah's immediate family enjoying His inheritance. On this basis, Jeremiah and (one must assume) all the other Old Testament prophets are 1st New Covenant Saints.
12. Whilst God's name will be made known upon the return of the 1st New Covenant Saints, I suspect that it will be the name Jehovah that will be once again declared to the mass of mankind, the knowledge of His real name being reserved for His chosen faithful ones.
13. As an aside, the Greek word ‘kyrios' in the New Testament scriptures means ‘lord' and should not be translated as ‘Jehovah' even if God the Father is clearly being referenced.
God the Father is commonly known by the name of Jehovah, Yahweh or similar but there is scriptural evidence that His true family name has been kept secret from the mass of mankind and only shared with His close chosen ones from mankind such as the 1st New Covenant Saints and the prophets. The only begotten son of God, Jesus Christ, shares in His Father's family name. The rest of mankind will be given that knowledge at the proper time and, some day perhaps, we will all have that name as our family heritage once we have proven spiritually mature.
Jewish Lords' Witness
God's Name in the Law
There then follow several items of the Law which are invoked if one uses or misuses God's name. But if mankind does not know that name then either the Law cannot be upheld or reference to God's nickname is considered sufficient for the purposes of the Law. This latter position is reasonable since, in contract law, it is perfectly permissible to use any term one wishes for the purposes of clarification so long as that term is previously defined. So if God's nickname is defined to represent His real name (which remains unknown to those under the Law) then the substitution of Jehovah can legally stand as God's name:
7 You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain; for Jehovah will not leave unpunished the one who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20)
12 `And ye do not swear by My name to falsehood, or thou hast polluted the name of thy God; I [am] Jehovah. (Leviticus 19)
20 `Jehovah thy God thou dost fear, Him thou dost serve, and to Him thou dost cleave, and by His name thou dost swear. (Deuteronomy 10)
For this reason the Jews today do not pronounce the Tetragrammaton as ‘Yahweh' but as ‘Adonai', i.e. the more general title of ‘Lord', to avoid possible unintentional blasphemy against God's name. This seems like a good idea since we can see that blaspheming against God's name (even His nickname) brings the sentence of death:
11 And the son of the woman of Israel blasphemed the Name, and cursed. And they brought him in to Moses; and his mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.
12 And they put him under guard, that it might be declared to them at the mouth of Jehovah.
13 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
14 Bring out the reviler to the outside of the camp. And all those who heard shall lay their hands on his head, and all the congregation shall stone him.
15 And you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, When any man curses his God then he shall bear his sin.
16 And he who blasphemes the name of Jehovah dying shall die. All the congregation shall certainly cast stones at him. As to the alien, so to a native, when he blasphemes the Name, he shall die. (Leviticus 24)
But what is the meaning of ‘dying shall die' for the Israelite (and not the alien) compared with Adam's curse?
17 but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you may not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, dying you shall die. (Genesis 2)
Now in Adam's case this meant that he not only started to age and die but he also lost his associated angel. A double death penalty if you will. The blasphemer, being a son of Adam, was clearly Adamic and therefore had already started to age. As an Israelite he was the member of the one true congregation of the time and therefore would have had an associated angel. This phraseology therefore emphasises the severity of the crime of blasphemy as being equivalent to Adam's original sin and therefore the blasphemer would also have to suffer two deaths: the immediate death of his Adamic human soul and the loss of his associated angel. Note the alien only suffered the single death sentence since he did not have an associated angel to lose, not being in the one true congregation.
Blasphemy is essentially breaking the third law of God. Given the importance of this law perhaps this is the reason that God has not yet shared His real name with us. Arguably there would not be a punishment severe enough to fit the crime of blaspheming against His true and full name. Even to blaspheme against His nickname is profligate enough to warrant the death penalty against the Adamic human soul plus the loss of the associated angel. The only punishment worse than that would be the final termination of the spirit; in our current understandings our loving God would never countenance that. So it would seem that we will not know God's real name until we have each earned His trust in our resolve to give His name the love and honour that is beholden to it.
So what are we supposed to make of this Law where God's name is described as ‘Jealous':
14 For you shall not bow to another god, for Jehovah whose name is Jealous, He is a jealous God; (Exodus 34)
Well this name is descriptive of Jehovah God in that He will not tolerate mankind's worship of any other god as further described in Ezekiel:
25 So the Lord Jehovah says this: Now I will return the captivity of Jacob and will have mercy on all the house of Israel. And I will be jealous for My holy name. (Ezekiel 39)
Since God here considers His name to be Holy and the basis of many of His laws, then perhaps this confirms His wisdom in not letting just any old Tom, Dick or Abraham know His real name?
This jealousy required His people to tear down the items of worship of foreign gods. In their stead God wanted His name associated with those places; the lands that He gave the children of Israel and their places of worship:
1 "These are the regulations and the judicial decisions that YOU should be careful to carry out in the land that Jehovah the God of your forefathers will certainly allow you to take possession of, all the days that YOU are alive on the soil.
2 YOU should absolutely destroy all the places where the nations whom YOU are dispossessing have served their gods, on the tall mountains and the hills and under every luxuriant tree.
3 And YOU must pull down their altars and shatter their sacred pillars, and YOU should burn their sacred poles in the fire and cut down the graven images of their gods, and YOU must destroy their names from that place.
4 "YOU must not do that way to Jehovah YOUR God,
5 but to the place that Jehovah YOUR God will choose out of all YOUR tribes to place his name there, to have it reside, YOU will seek, and there you must come.
6 And there YOU must bring YOUR burnt offerings and YOUR sacrifices and YOUR tenth parts and the contribution of YOUR hand and YOUR vow offerings and YOUR voluntary offerings and the firstborn ones of YOUR herd and of YOUR flock.
7 And there YOU must eat before Jehovah YOUR God and rejoice in every undertaking of YOURS, YOU and YOUR households, because Jehovah your God has blessed you. (Deuteronomy 12)
This phraseology of associating God's name with a place is repeated frequently within the Old Testament scriptures so must represent something of great importance to our God in fighting the worshippers of false gods.
The tribe of Levi were chosen by God as His priesthood and, amongst other responsibilities, they were tasked with ministering to the people in God's name. Now whilst the Levites were privy to holy places and tasks that were not in the purview of the other tribes, it is still not evident to me that even they had in their possession God's secret name. If they did it was unlikely to be shared with their flock in favour of the common name ‘Jehovah':
1 `There is not to the priests the Levites -- all the tribe of Levi -- a portion and inheritance with Israel; fire-offerings of Jehovah, even His inheritance, they eat,
2 and he hath no inheritance in the midst of his brethren; Jehovah Himself [is] his inheritance, as He hath spoken to him.
3 `And this is the priest's right from the people, from those sacrificing a sacrifice, whether ox or sheep, he hath even given to the priest the leg, and the two cheeks, and the stomach;
4 the first of thy corn, of thy new wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy flock, thou dost give to him;
5 for on him hath Jehovah thy God fixed, out of all thy tribes, to stand to serve in the name of Jehovah, He and his sons continually.
6 `And when the Levite cometh from one of thy cities out of all Israel, where he hath sojourned, and hath come with all the desire of his soul unto the place which Jehovah doth choose,
7 then he hath ministered in the name of Jehovah his God, like all his brethren, the Levites, who are standing there before Jehovah, (Deuteronomy 18)
For what it is worth the JLW is a Levite, and I certainly do not know God's secret name! Oh and just in case you are still in any doubt as to the importance of God's name (albeit His nickname) in the Law, Moses declares it to all Israel as Yĕhovah 'elohiym:
58 `If thou dost not observe to do all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honoured and fearful name -- Jehovah thy God -- (Deuteronomy 28)
3 For the Name of Jehovah I proclaim, Ascribe ye greatness to our God! (Deuteronomy 32)