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.