“Unify my heart to fear your name. I praise you, O Jehovah my God, with all my heart.”
– Psalm 86:11-12
[Study 24 from ws 06/20 p.8 August 10 – August 16, 2020]
In last week’s review, we pointed out that a name especially in the Scriptures, is much more than an appellation, it is reputation.
However, in this week’s Study article the Organization continues with its fixation on the literal name or appellation “Jehovah”, giving only a passing mention to his qualities and therefore reputation. (see Paragraph 4)
According to paragraph 2 the article “will examine some reasons for holding God’s name in awe. Second, we will discuss how to show that we are in awe of God’s name in our daily life”. Why does it use the phrase “God’s name” instead of “God’s reputation”?
Then in paragraph 3, the Study article uses conjecture to support the article’s thrust of focusing on the actual name instead of what is behind the name. Referring to Exodus 33:17-23 and Exodus 34:5-7 it then says “Memory of that event possibly came back to Moses when he used the name Jehovah. It is no wonder that Moses later warned God’s people Israel to ‘fear this glorious and awe-inspiring name’ Deuteronomy 28:58”.
Notice the conjecture “possibly” is used to support the sound bite about Deuteronomy 28:58 and Jehovah’s name. Also, notice how that conjecture is then used later in the following sentence when it is used as a basis for what Moses later warned. In context this scripture was not talking about fearing a label or appellation, it was talking about obeying Jehovah God. Deuteronomy 28:58-62 says “If you will not carefully observe all the words of this Law that are written in this book and you do not fear this glorious and awe-inspiring name, that of Jehovah your God, Jehovah will inflict very severe plagues on you and your offspring, great and enduring plagues, … because you did not list to the voice of Jehovah your God.”. It was obedience to God’s law that would demonstrate that they showed fear, awe, respect for God’s reputation.
“I will declare the name of Jehovah” (paragraphs 8-11)
These paragraphs continue the undue attention to the appellation of the Almighty Creator, over the reputation of God.
Paragraph 9 mentions using the Bible to show God’s personal appellation and using the Organization’s literature and Videos, etc., that does the same, which misses the point of what our preaching and teaching should really contain. It suggests “When we are in the door-to-door work or the public ministry, we can use our Bible to show people God’s personal name, Jehovah. We can offer them beautiful literature, excellent videos, and material on our website that honor Jehovah”.
Paragraph 10 is pushing Witnesses to encourage Bible students to use God’s appellation rather than focus on his attributes, thereby perpetuating the problem saying, “we want to help our students to come to know and use Jehovah’s name”.
In this review, are we suggesting we should not know God’s name is Jehovah, and should not use it at all? Not at all? However, all need to ponder on this. Did you as a child, and as an adult, ever call your parents by their first name? I never did. I knew and respected them deeply as my parents, and as such, found it very disrespectful to address them by their first names. Most cultures around the world are the same. I told others that my parents were Jethro and Deborah, so they knew who I was talking about and who my father (and mother) were, but often just referred to them as my parents. What instructions did Jesus give to all his followers? Matthew 6:9 records Jesus’ words “You must pray, then, this way ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified….”
Notice it was not, “Jehovah our God/Father in the heavens” which is how I usually opened my prayers when praying publicly while in the Organization.
Paragraph 8 cites Deuteronomy 32:2-3 which reads in context as follows
“My instruction will drip as the rain,
My saying will trickle as the dew,
As gentle rains upon grass
And as copious showers upon vegetation.
3 For I shall declare the name of Jehovah.
Do YOU attribute greatness to our God!
4 The Rock, perfect is his activity,
For all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice;
Righteous and upright is he.
5 They have acted ruinously on their own part;
They are not his children, the defect is their own.
A generation crooked and twisted!
6 Is it to Jehovah that YOU keep doing this way,
O people stupid and not wise?
Is he not your Father who has produced you,
He who made you and proceeded to give you stability?”
The Study article comments that “As we meditate on verses 2 and 3, it is clear that Jehovah does not want his name to be hidden, treated as if it were too sacred to pronounce”.
The conclusion drawn is nothing to do with what the verses are actually saying. Was Moses singing about telling people that their God was called Jehovah? No, it was about God’s reputation, his qualities as shown by his greatness (v3), his justice, his faithfulness, his righteousness, his uprightness (v4), without injustice (v4). Even here in v6, Jehovah is referred to as the Father of the Israelites, not just another god in the pantheon of god’s that people worship and worshipped. It was all about the kind of God Jehovah was, not about his appellation.
“We will walk in the Name of Jehovah” (par.12-18)
Paragraphs 12-14 remind us of David’s fall into sin with Bathsheba. The point is made that “Although David had long loved and feared Jehovah, he gave in to his selfish desire. In that instance, David pursued a very bad course. He brought reproach on Jehovah’s name. David also brought terrible harm to innocent people, including his own family. 2 Samuel. 11:1-5, 14-17; 12:7-12.”.
But the question that should be pondered over by both the Watchtower Study article writer, the Governing Body, and all brothers and sisters is this: Did the fact that “David pursued a very bad course” actually bring “reproach on Jehovah’s name.”? Not at that time, because David hid his bad deed. But did hiding that bad deed make the reproach go away? No, it was discovered and made public. By whom? By Jehovah God, himself through his prophet Nathan. There was no secret meeting with 3 priests in the Temple, and the sin hushed up because there was only one witness, David himself. It was made known publicly, and despite being cut to the heart he did not escape punishment. To Jehovah, justice was the overriding principle at stake, as the wrongdoing could not be allowed to go unpunished.
So why does the Organization persist in its futile attempts to coverup the problem of pedophiles within the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Should they not take heed of what the Apostle Peter was inspired to write in Acts 3:19-20, “Repent, therefore and turn around so as to get your sins blotted out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the person of Jehovah and that he may send forth the Christ appointed for you, Jesus”?
Should they not repent and apologize to the victims they allowed these wicked men to harm? Attempting to hide and suppress this problem of child sexual abuse only serves to draw more attention to it.
Yet they see fit to mention the trap of pornography yet again.
In your Watchtower Library CD enter the word “Pornography”.
You will (in English) get a list of 1208 references (as of 10/8/2020).
Now enter the word “pedophile”. You will (in English) get a list of 33 references (as of 10/8/2020), and “pedophilia” will only add another 16 references (as of 10/8/2020).
IMPORTANT NOTE: The writer of this review does not in any way advocate or attempt to minimize the damage pornography can do. However, the above summary is highlighting how the issue of child sexual abuse which is prevalent everywhere, is repeatedly overlooked, in a manner that is much like the child who thinks you cannot see him or her, because they have their hands over their eyes and cannot see you.
Yes, it is true as paragraph 17 mentions that “Satan would love to divide your heart. He wants your thoughts, desires, and emotions to be at odds and in conflict with Jehovah’s standards”.
What better way could he do that than by destroying people’s faith in God? The Organization is contributing greatly to this, by on the one hand claiming to be the chosen Faithful and Discreet Slave to whom we must be totally obedient if we want salvation and on the other hand allowing the perfect breeding grounds and opportunities for this child abuse to continue, by the secrecy and the misapplication of scripture, instead of justice.
Do not, as paragraph 18 wrongly encourages “show that you hold Jehovah’s holy name (appellation) in profound awe”, rather be in awe of Jehovah’s reputation as a God of justice.
As for the Governing Body,
“They have acted ruinously on their own part;
They are not his [God’s] children, the defect is their own.
A generation crooked and twisted!” (Deuteronomy 32:5)
As for our Father, Jehovah,
“The Rock, perfect is his activity,
For all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice;
Righteous and upright is he.“ (Deuteronomy 32:4)