Sunday, January 1, 2017


My response to a Jehovah’s Witness:

“I am Jehovah. That is my name” (Isaiah 42:8)? Does this mean that we must call God “Jehovah?”

I tend to regard this, not as a command to call God “Jehovah” but as a description of who He is, like Jesus being called “Immanuel”:

·       Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

·       Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

In Hebrew thinking, names were to be a description of the person. Consequently, God renamed “Abram” as “Abraham,” because this described what God would do with him. He would make him father of many nations:

·       Genesis 17:5 “No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.”

Is “Jehovah” a name by which we MUST call God or rather a description? Jesus didn’t call Him “Jehovah” but rather, “Father.” The Jews wouldn’t even pronounce this name “Jehovah,” which they regarded as holy.

In light of this, we should understand “Jehovah” as a description of who He is. Well what does “Jehovah” mean? Here is our best guess:

·       Exodus 3:13-14 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

It seems that God was teaching Moses that He is undefinable and that He is greater than any name that can be applied to Him. “I AM WHO I AM” is almost identical to “Jehovah” in the Hebrew, perhaps a shorthand for this idea.

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