Bible Study – Chapter 4 Par. 1-6
We are covering the first six paragraphs of chapter 4 in this study as well as the box: “The Meaning of God’s Name”.
The box explains that “some scholars feel that in this instance the verb is used in its causative form. God’s name is thus understood by many to mean ‘He Causes to Become.’” Unfortunately, the publishers fail to give us any references so that we can verify this claim. They also fail to explain why they accept the ideas of “some scholars” while rejecting the ideas of others. This is not good practice for a public instructor.
Here are a couple of excellent instructional videos on the meaning of God’s name.
Now we get into the study itself.
The opening paragraph praises the 1960 release of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. It says: “One outstanding feature of that new translation was a special cause for joy—the frequent use of God’s personal name.”
Paragraph 2 continues:
“The foremost feature of this translation is the restoration of the divine name to its rightful place.” Indeed, the New World Translation uses God’s personal name, Jehovah, more than 7,000 times.
Some might argue that “Yahweh” would be a better translation of God’s name. Be that as it may, the restoration of God’s name over the often-seen “LORD” in uppercase is to be applauded. Children should know the name of their Father, even if they rarely if ever use it, preferring the more intimate term “father” or “dad”.
Nevertheless, as Gerrit Losch said in the November, 2016 broadcast while discussing lies (See point 7) and how to avoid them, ”there is also something that is called a half-truth. The Bible tells Christians to be honest with each other.”
The statement that the NWT restores the divine name to its rightful place is a half-truth. While it does restore it in thousands of places in the Old Testament or pre-Christian Scriptures where the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) is found in ancient Bible manuscripts, it also inserts it in hundreds of places in the New Testament or Christian Scriptures where it is not found in those manuscripts. You can only restore something that was originally there, and if you can’t prove it was there, then you have to be honest and admit you are inserting it based on conjecture. In fact, the technical term translators use for the NWT practice of inserting the divine name in the Christian Scriptures is “conjectural emendation”.
In paragraph 5, the statement is made: “At Armageddon, when he removes wickedness, Jehovah will sanctify his name before the eyes of all creation.”
First, it would seem appropriate to include mention of Jesus here, since he is the foremost bearer of God’s name (Yeshua or Jesus means “Yahweh or Jehovah Saves”) and he is also the one depicted in Revelation as fighting the war of Armageddon. (Re 19:13) Nevertheless, the point of contention is with the phrase: “when he removes wickedness”.
Armageddon is the war God fights through his Son Jesus with the kings of the earth. Jesus destroys all political and military opposition to his kingdom. (Re 16:14-16; Da 2:44) However, the Bible says nothing about removing all wickedness from the earth at that point in time. How could that be possible when we consider the fact that following Armageddon, billions of unrighteous will be resurrected? There is nothing to support the idea that they will be resurrected sinless and perfect, free of all wicked thoughts. In fact, there is nothing in the Bible to support the idea that every human that has not been declared righteous by God will be destroyed at Armageddon.
Paragraph 6 concludes the study by stating:
“Thus, we sanctify God’s name by regarding it as separate from and higher than all other names, by respecting what it represents, and by helping others to regard it as holy. We especially demonstrate our awe and reverence for God’s name when we recognize Jehovah as our Ruler and obey him with all our heart.” – par. 6
While all Christians can agree with this, there is something vital that is being left out. As Gerrit Losch said in this month’s broadcast (See point 4): “…we need to speak openly and honestly with each other, not withholding bits of information that could change the perception of the listener or mislead him.”
Here is a vital bit of information that has been left out; one that should temper our understanding of how we are to sanctify God’s name:
“. . .For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every [other] name, 10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, 11 and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Php 2:9-11)
Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to want to sanctify God’s name their way. Doing the right thing the wrong way or for the wrong reason doesn’t bring God’s blessing, as the Israelites learned. (Nu 14:39-45) Jehovah has put the name of Jesus above all others. We especially demonstrate our awe and reverence for God’s name when we recognize the ruler that He has appointed and before whom He has commanded us to bow. Minimizing the role of Jesus and overemphasizing Jehovah’s name—as we’ll see Witnesses do in next week’s lesson—is not the way that Jehovah himself wants to be sanctified. We must humbly do things the way our God wants us to and not push ahead with our own ideas.
Thanks dear brothers for your enlightening comments. Just shows learning is forever. 🙂
Thanks Meleti, two nights ago at the meeting, the concluding Prayer, our brother used Gods name at his every new thought. The reasons for that probably stems from the teachings of other sheep, 144000. That’s for another article. Like Orphans. We should give credit we’re credit is due, as JW’s , making known Gods Name. But we could also at the same time by our Zeal to make Gods name stand out, that we’ve not understood his (Jehovah purpose and will) that his son should be praised also, maybe even more so. This Makes sense in your closing remarks about… Read more »
Excellent reasoning, Lazarus!
I’ve just heard that a local brother asked to give a prayer for the congregation addressed Jehovah in the prayer as “Jehovah, our friend”.
Wow, a generation has gone to its grave believing they weren’t good enough to be called sons but only friends, now a new generation is being convinced that there technically only friends. Here’s a new theme for a article “the Stolen Generation “. You could combine your article on “kindness” on the 1935 issues, & Orphans. People are being snatched away from God and put in foster homes, however all the legal rights (according to Gods Gods Word)show otherwise.
Meleti, thanks. And special thanks for the links to Jeff Benner’s videos. I had not seen these ones. I really like his interesting and insightful stuff.
“. . .For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every [other] name,” Phil 2:9. Does this not mean that God gave Jesus a name that is above every other name, including HIS OWN NAME?
A good question, Colette. The way to resolve this apparent contradiction is to understand the concept of logical sets. No one assigned God his name. However, God assigns names to all that he has engendered. So Paul is speaking about the set of things that come from God. Obviously, God himself is not included in that set for he did not engender himself, but has always been. To illustrate this, Paul says at 1 Corinthians 15:27: “For “God has put everything under His feet.”” Does that mean that God is also under Christ’s feet? For that matter, does it mean… Read more »
I agree with what you and Tyhik say about Phil. 2:9 and 1 Cor. 15:27. Yet these are interpretations, and you sometimes makes comments to the effect that we should not confuse our interpretations with fact. I will say below more than probably anybody wants to know about the subject. But we might encounter somebody who insists on reading every scripture in the most literal way. That person might accuse us of reading into the Scripture. He would actually be right, and the argument with such a person would never end, because every reader HAS to read into what he… Read more »
Thank you for all the comments regarding my question re Philippians 2:9. The Beroean Pickets article on ‘Orphans’ got me to thinking for quite a while about God’s name. I am not a Greek scholar and am only able to reason on what I see and know. To my mind, God has allowed His own name to disappear. No-one alive knows the correct name to use for God and He could have preserved it somewhere and somehow if He had wanted to. The way the ancient Jews recorded their language would not have been a barrier to this. Being Almighty,… Read more »
Thank you, Colette, for this thought. You make a valid point. Jehovah preserved the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) thousands of time, but he has not preserved the pronunciation of his name. The ancient Jews surely knew it, but today we can only guess and much controversy surrounds the issue. Why didn’t he preserve the pronunciation? A name in Hebrew represents the person, his character, his reputation. You are quite right that now the embodiment of God’s name is to be found in Jesus. “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:7) “…there is no salvation in anyone else, for… Read more »
Wonderful thoughts Meleti and thanks for the nice article. All make sense because His people in the 1st century were known as Christians, or followers of Christ. Their beliefs were known too as “the way” (“odos” in Greek which implies more than the physical meaning of the way or a road). If our Father wanted another name for the first Christians, he would be able to make it known then. Or was that revealed in 1935? Our God and his son Jesus are dealing with each one individually – not through a central organisation. Jesus sent different letters to the… Read more »
Hey Colette, you addressed a thought or view I have as well. How can we think that the Almighty was not capable of protecting His name, in particular if knowing that name was/is the key to life. He did not give his name to His people but named them Israel and they became known as Jews. And there were already many other “gods” known at that time. Still, He decided not to give HIS name to His people. Only His Son somehow carries the name in his own name. It is funny, about all people (supporters and opposers alike) know… Read more »
Collette. The greek word translated as “every” in Phil 2:9 is ‘pan’/’pas’, Strong 3956. BeDuhn in his “Truth in Translation”, p.84, has this to say about that same word:
“”All” is commonly used in Greek as a hyperbole, that is, an exaggeration. The “other” is assumed. In one case, Paul takes the trouble to make this perfectly clear. In 1 Cor 15, Paul catches himself saying that God will make all things subject to Christ. He stops and clarifies that …”
Here again I remind everyone that Jesus always used “Father” when praying to Jehovah. Never did he say “Jehovah” in prayer.
It’s good that we know God’s name, but I feel there is a danger of being over familiar by means of over use. We believe it to be the most sacred name in the universe, so for me, I use it carefully, respectfully, reverentially. So in prayer, after having named my god as the Great God Jehovah, I feel more comfortable in speaking with him as ‘my ‘dear Father’ or ‘my God’. I just believe it to be an over-familiarity to use YHWH throughout the conversation with Him. I recall a conversation I had many years ago with an elder… Read more »
Good line of reasoning, Christian.
I’m going to start calling my Dad by his personal name.
Since I never have, for very much of the same reasons you stated in your comment, he ought to be taken a back by it and will undoubtly ask me what’s going on.
This is going to be fun!
Let us know how it goes.