A friend who is going through a difficult time right now, because of loving and sticking to the truth in the Bible instead of blindly accepting the teachings of men, was asked by one of his elders to explain his decision to stop attending meetings. In the course of the e-mail exchange, the elder noted that my friend had not used Jehovah’s name. This bothered him, and he pointedly asked him to explain its absence in his e-mails.
If you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness, you may not understand the implication here. For JWs, use of God’s name is an indication of true Christianity. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they alone have restored God’s name to its rightful place. Churches that do not use God’s name are classified as “false religion”. In fact, use of the divine name is one of the key identifiers of true religion in the mind of Jehovah’s Witnesses.[i]
So when my friend didn’t pepper his conversation with Jehovah’s name, a red flag went up in the mind of the elder. My friend explained that while he had no problem using the divine name, he didn’t use it often because he considered Jehovah to be his heavenly father. He went on to explain that just like a man will rarely refer to his fleshly father by name—preferring the more intimate and appropriate term, “father”, or “dad”—so he felt it more appropriate to refer to Jehovah as “Father.”
The elder seemed to accept this reasoning, but it raises an interesting question: If failure to use the name “Jehovah” in a Bible discussion flags someone as a member of false religion, what would failure to use the name “Jesus” indicate?
The elder felt that my friend’s failure to use Jehovah’s name indicated he was falling out of the Organization, possibly going apostate.
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot?
What is a true Christian? Any Jehovah’s Witnesses will answer, “A true follower of Christ”. If I follow someone and try to get others to do the same, should not his name be on my lips frequently?
I recently had a three-hour conversation with some good friends in which Jehovah was referred to in praiseworthy terms repeatedly, yet not once did my friends refer to Jesus. This is hardly unique. Get a bunch of JWs together socially and Jehovah’s name will pop up all the time. If you use Jesus’ name as often and in the same context, your Witness friends will start to show signs of discomfort.
So if failure to use God’s name flags someone as “not a Jehovah’s Witness”, would not failure to use Jesus’ name flag someone as “not a Christian”?
[i] See What Does the Bible Really Teach? Chap. 15 p. 148 par. 8
You really want to ‘bother’ them try using the Hebrew name of Yahuweh (Yahuah) as opposed to Jehovah, and the Hebrew name of Yeshua, as opposed to Jesus. I also referred to Yahuah as “Abba” and had to explain to a witness that that was the Hebrew term for “Father” and was an affectionate term a small child uses for their beloved Daddy. I thought her eyes were gonna pop out of her head! LOL!!
That’s funny; I am glad you made this comment. Personally, I have felt that it would be really odd for the word YHWH to be rendered as anything like “Yahweh”, because all such proposed spellings seem to make the H letters de-emphasized to the point where they would be ‘whispered’ and almost disappear. That would effectively make the name sound like “Yawe” and thus the Tetragrammaton would be reduced as if to a ‘digraph’ of YW because the H’s would not be needed. This doesn’t make sense to me. It is more reasonable that the consonants were pronounced in a… Read more »
YHWH is not a name. It means ‘he who is’ or ‘the being’. The name of God is El/elohim/Allah. YHWH , used as a reference to El was introduced later.
I think there are a number of Jewish scholars who would disagree with you. Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J84zSeKaDkU
Well of course they would, because YHWH makes God look as only the God of the Israelites, while El was also worshipped by other peoples. See the video that you shared in your previous reply: In the burning bush story in the Bible, it tells how and when the name YHWH was introduced for the first time. Please note that God says there to Moses ‘Say: I am (EHYE) has sent you. Moses changes that to the third person He is (YAHWE). So it is clearly not a name, only a reference to God/El. Later is was used tot make… Read more »
@Ifionlyhadabrain Things that make you go hmmmmm… Side note – wanna really jolt the elder body? When closing the public prayer with “in Jesus name”, …let there be a really long pause before amen. Some in the congregation will automatically blurt out AMEN! Then you say amen! Was approached on that one too. I explained that I was the one offering the prayer and it’s contents were reaffirmined (yes) by the congregation. I then repeated their acceptance with amen (yes) with the hope of the congregations prayer reaching our Heavenly Father. Funny true life story – Three older sisters immediately… Read more »
Sounds logical to me.
Going deep in reflection, can we say that unnecessary use of God’s name would include mentioning the name in a prayer or a talk so many times that it makes the name like a name of any average/ordinary person on the street? Sometimes I feel it’s tantamount to downgrading the value of the name. God’s name is sacred and holy and while we are not as superstitious as the Jews, I just think there’s no need to mention the name very frequently in a public talk, ordinary conversation with the brothers in faith, nor in prayer. He is our Father… Read more »
Exactly, at a midweek in a closing prayer which lasted roughly 2min he said the name Jehovah 11 times! No, exaggeration. It really was 11 times.
The name is etched into minds of the witnesses , not surprising really th watchtower does it as well , last week’s study there were times when the name was mentioned 3 times in a single paragraph as for prayer , jesus even said “don’t be saying the same things over and again , they are using the name as a word whisker , sometimes , and in actual fact jesus said about approaching God calling him father , not by his name , no there’s something very wrong with the whole JW set up funny you know my son’s… Read more »
“A word whisker”, yes. That is precisely how it is often used in prayers.
@Mike You said, “Usually, that serious fact is only mentioned by JW’s in an almost template like manner at the end of a prayer.” — Several years ago I opened the meeting with prayer and began it “in Jesus name.” After the meeting, the presiding overseer approached me and mentioned that I didn’t close the prayer “in Jesus name” and that the congregation was waiting for me to do that. I said that I opened the prayer in “his” name which was entirely appropriate to which he said that confused the congregation. I said, “un-confuse” them. It looked like he… Read more »
Your quite right , drifter , it struck me a while back it makes much more sense to open the prayer in jesus name , to my mind jesus is a type of medium through whom we gain access to the father , to use a very crude illustration here , if you want to talk to someone you have to pick the phone up first and then speak , not speak and then pick up the phone after you’ve finished speaking , haha haha haha, , sorry about that !
In fact while we are on this subject of prayer , what’s the problem with talking to jesus himself , surely we are allowed to do that , people spoke to him when he was on earth as a man , why not now , it seems to me that as far as the JWS are concerned jesus seems to be somehow disfellowshipped , and the witnesses are banned from speaking to him , yet allowed to speak freely to anyone else ,
Why not? He said he would be with his followers until the end of age/system of things. To ignore him in prayer as if he is just there to deliver our prayers to the Father automatically when we say “in Jesus name” is perhaps one of the most misapplied principle in the organization.
Agreed. It brings to my mind Matt. 6:5 where Jesus said not to pray like the Pharisees who liked to be seen by men. I know it’s also proper to pray for the congregation, but it’s good to mix it up a bit within scriptural parameters.
A warm hello to all, Yes that is a great argument if the ones you are speaking to have true motives and are honest hearted. I don’t know about the atmosphere of all the different localities but where we are at that could possibly get us disfellowship so far we have dodged that Bullet and it has made some elders mad. I think some elders are so use to having their way that when they didn’t win it gave them a stiff jab in the ego especially from someone like me that they view as insignificant we came to this… Read more »
I think it highly likely that the organisation are violating the third commandment you should not take up the name of the lord in vain , apparently originally this had to do with using the name in an oath to convince others that what we are saying is genuine and true , while hypocriticaly having another agenda ,We have already said they cite the use of gods name as a proof that the religion and it’s adherents have the truth , if we use gods name in this way then practice hypocrisy we then take the Lords name in vain… Read more »
Looking at comparisons of Exodus 20:7 where this command is found, it appears that taking the name of God in vain means to treat it as worthless or unimportant, or to somehow use it dishonestly, or for dishonest purposes. If people were to focus on God’s Hebrew name and effectively “erase” the name and purpose and accomplishments of His son, that would be an attempt to nullify God’s purpose for redeeming mankind. The Bible says that bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires prophecy. It was never God’s purpose for His son to “sit on the sidelines”, receiving whatever “scraps”… Read more »
JW are judeo-christian religion with a big emphasis on judeo,
The WT dig with energy in Jewish laws,looks like they never receive the memo… ‘check for updates’
I enjoy showing JWs this quote by the New World Bible Translation Committee on page 23 of the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures: “While inclining to view the pronunciation ‘Yahweh’ as the more correct way, we have retained the form ‘Jehovah’ because of people’s familiarity with it since the 14th century.” If ‘Yahweh’ is “the more correct way,” it follows that ‘Jehovah’ is not really God’s name. I suspect the real reason for retaining the form Jehovah was that Rutherford had named the religion Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the mind of the average JW, Jehovah and Watchtower are synonymous.… Read more »
A fairly recent study point (within the year I believe) emphasized the need to >not< be overly dogmatic when pronouncing Gods name.
We are talking about Gods name, yes?
Hi Roger. If Yahweh is the more correct way than Jehovah other than the latter being more popular during that time, what else are the other important reasons for using the name until now? Likewise, a specific term or event can be so popular at a given time, but if such thing is not anchored on the truth, associated with a source from Christendom, erroneous or even dubious, should God’s people be using it, going to the extent of being extremely proud of sharing it with others? Should popularity be the overriding factor in the use of God’s name –… Read more »
Another good question would be, if I am a true Christian (which means a follower of Christ and really believe he is Jehovah’s son) and a JW, what does Jesus expect of me personally? By his own words in Matt. 28:18- “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” So, is it respectful to Jesus and our Father Jehovah to bypass the authority of Jesus and the means of our salvation by constant references to only Jehovah, even if we are well meaning? If one really contemplates and then believes Jesus own words, then it would… Read more »
Hey Mike, do not marvel at this for in the last days, the “Governing Body” will occupy a more special place in the organization than Christ Jesus. Why?
In our recent meeting with a Circuit Overseer, he said that “as per the Governing Body, family worship is already a way for salvation.” I just couldn’t believe what I heard.
WT makes the assertion that YHWH/JHVH means “He who causes to become”. That may or may not be completely accurate, but for sake of discussion, let’s suppose it’s close to the correct meaning. If so, what English word most closely conveys the idea of that definition? “Creator”. Now, suppose that every instance of “Jehovah” in the NWT were replaced by “Creator”. Would it substantially change the Bible’s meaning? Would it be disrespectful, or fail to give God His due and proper credit? Could any false gods, whether mentioned in the Bible or not, properly be called “Creator” other than Him?… Read more »
If we use to often Jesus or by pronouncing lord Jesus most jw feel uncomfortable i can’t believe it… are we loosed our mind? jw religion look more and more man made, with time the share of the devil grow up, i try to speak about that to some in the congregation and i’ve got almost no reaction,we do things by tradition, we do things mostly by feelings not by reasoning and they are comfortable with that. we are no better than the first century when they refuse to pronounce the personal name of God except we do the same… Read more »
The points made in this article are so true. I have felt, for years now that JWs use God’s divine name too often. For me, our Heavenly Father’s name is very sacred. As such, I believe it must be used with deep respect and discretion. Personally, whenever I pray, I will use the name Jehovah once, at the beginning of the prayer along with reference to our Lord Jesus Christ as my redeemer and saviour. Then I feel able to talk with our Father in an intimate way. There seems to prevail, amongst many JWs the feeling that by using… Read more »
Well put, Christian
Jesus Christ barely got a look in on the Regional convention this year. I heard a few mentions early on, but that was about all. As you say all the attention is focused on Jehovah, and if you try to redress the balance as katrina says they often resort to looking at you as if you are apostate, believing in the trinity. So sad.
“in a Bible discussion flags someone as a member of false religion, what would failure to use the name “Jesus” indicate?”
Say Jesus to often then your bordering on being a Trinitarian apostate. It always comes down to the trinity I have found, any deep conversation on the org and failings JW will bring up the trinity. Its weird.
I’ve been able to stop the conversation dead in a field service car group by saying, “Isn’t it wonderful how our Lord Jesus is blessing our ministry.” Witnesses are not comfortable with the phrase “our Lord Jesus” even though it is entirely Biblical. Makes them think of evangelicals.
evangelical (iːvanˈdʒɛlɪk(ə)l,ɛvanˈdʒɛlɪk(ə)l/), adjective
“of or according to the teaching of the gospel or the Christian religion.”
Oh the irony! 😉
I’m shocked – SHOCKED, do you hear? – that Christians would mention the name of Christ.
(liberally borrowed from Casablanca :-))
Why? because our minds have been programmed and re-wired so much that the mere mention of Jesus Christ becomes alien. It’s like listening to a rhythm you have listened to for many years and suddenly a new lyric is inserted inadvertently. It won’t sound right.
I think the brothers are not used to discussing Jesus in an informal way let alone praise him in the midst of the group in a casual way. Every discussion should be anchored on Jehovah. This is sad.