Jehovah: God’s Name?
July 17, 2020 E-letter
One of the questions Jehovah’s Witnesses frequently ask is “Do you know the Lord’s prayer?” When the answer is given the JW will quote the first sentence which will include the phrase “… hallowed be thy name … ” then the JW will ask, “What is God’s name?” This conversation-starting question is intended to show that “Christendom” has not “hallowed” God’s name but Jehovah’s Witnesses have.
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The name of God is not Jehovah. In Hebrew His name is comprised of four Hebrew letters that are pronounced Yod Hay Vav Hay, or YHWH. These four letters are known as the Tetragrammaton. The Jews do not pronounce this name out of reverence but the closest we can come to its pronunciation would be Yahweh.
The name Jehovah is a hybrid name created in the Middle Ages by including the vowel sounds from adonai (Hebrew for ‘Lord’) between the four Hebrew consonants YHWH thus creating Jehovah, a Latinized version of Yahweh. Hebrew scholars will say that Jehovah is not grammatically possible.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have very little understanding of the Name they have taken for themselves. The origin of the Name is in Exodus 3, where the pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus as “the Angel of the Lord” says His name is “I Am that I Am.”
The Hebrew behind I Am (ehyeh, meaning ‘to be’) is the origin of Yahweh. So, based on Exodus 3 and many other Old Testament passages, we can conclude that Jesus is Yahweh. The JWs don’t know that. In fact they strongly deny it.
Jesus said to the Jews at John 8:24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” The word he in italics means it is not in the Greek but is supplied by the translator for the sake of English grammar. Jesus told the Jews that they must believe Jesus is Yahweh. It is an essential belief for salvation.
Here is where it gets amazing …
Hebrew letters have multiple functions. Of course, they are first of all letters. But they are also used as numbers like Roman numerals. In addition, they are also used a pictograms. A male of female silhouette on a restroom door is a pictogram. Here is where the four letters of the Tetragrammaton become very interesting.
Recall what “doubting” Thomas said, that he would not believe Jesus had risen unless he saw the wounds of the nails? When Jesus appeared to him in the upper room, He offered the evidence of His wounds as proof of His resurrection (John 20). Thomas immediately called Jesus “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)
At the end of the Tribulation the remnant of the Jews will again be “doubting Thomases.” Recall that in Zechariah 13:6 the prophet said, “And one shall say unto him, ‘What are these wounds in thine hands?’ then he shall answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.‘” This event will take place when Jesus returns and is seen by the Jews at the end of the Tribulation. It will dawn on them that they crucified their Messiah.
Now to the pictographic meaning of the four Hebrew letters. The letter hay occurs twice and can be used pictographically as ‘eye,’ ‘see,’ ‘look,’ ‘behold,’ and ‘window,’ The other two letters, yod and vav, are used to depict the hand and the nail, or spike. So, our pictographic meaning of YHWH would be “Behold the Hand, Behold the Nail.”
The Angel of the Lord (Jesus) gave Moses this name at the burning bush. It is a prophecy of Jesus’ death by crucifixion. And He will bear these scars for eternity. That is a measure of His love for us.
Here is a link to a website that gives the pictographs associated with the Hebrew alphabet:
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