The name of God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and consequently the God of Israel, was represented in written form by the four Hebrew consonants YHWH. Probably the first appearance in writing of the so-called Tetragrammaton took place when God carved out the two stone tablets upon which he wrote the Ten Commandments for the Israelites. There, chiseled in stone by the very finger of God, the name of God appeared eight times.
Over the course of 15 centuries as the Bible was compiled by various writers, ultimately the name of God appeared in the vellum and papyrus scrolls in nearly 7,000 places – more than any other proper name. Originally the name of God was freely spoken by the Jews and used in everyday language. Hebrews often named their offspring names that incorporated some form of the divine name. For example, the common name, John, is a shortened form of the Hebrew name, Jehohanan, which means “Jehovah has been gracious.”
Places were also named names that honored God’s name. For example, when God prevented Abraham from offering Isaac upon a makeshift altar and instead provided a ram as a substitute, a grateful Abraham named the mountain Jehovah-Jireh, which means “Jehovah will provide.” Incidentally, Jewish tradition has it that the place Abraham named Jehovah-Jireh was the site where Solomon’s temple was built almost 1,000 years later, and which became known as the place where Jehovah caused his name to reside.
Tragically, their leaders led the Jews into idolatry and apostasy and the name of God was consequently defiled. To clear his holy name of reproach God foretold that he would cause Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple to be utterly destroyed and the Jews would be killed off and the survivors led off in chains to far-way Babylon. History verifies that God made good on his word.
Apparently, some time after the repentant Jews were repatriated to their homeland a superstition developed that forbid the Jews from speaking God’s name aloud for fear they would dishonor it. Consequently, because the name fell into disuse the exact vowels that were inserted when the name was read aloud has been lost. Nevertheless, when Jesus Christ triumphantly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey colt the 118th Psalm (verse 26) was fulfilled when the crowds lining the road with their outer garments and waving palm branches hailed Jesus as the One coming in the name of Jehovah. A few days later Jesus stated in prayer that he had made God’s name known and that he would continue to do so.
In view of the fact that Jesus was executed the next day his campaign to make the name of God known must of necessity continue from the heavens, where Christ now resides as the immortal king of God’s kingdom. Indeed, after Christ ascended to heaven, from where he has ever since directed the work of dedicated Christians, the apostle Peter explained how the Hebrew prophecy recorded at Amos 9:12 was fulfilled by means of non-Jewish followers of Christ from all the nations having the name of Jehovah called upon them. Quoting from Amos at Acts 15:18 Peter went on to say that Jehovah was “known from of old.” Although Jesus existed from the beginning of the creation by God he was not known from of old among men. But Jehovah was known from antiquity.
Still, even though Peter applied the prophecy to the 1st century the record states that it was by divine providence that the followers of Christ would be known foremost as Christians. But just as Peter had also applied a portion of the prophecy of Joel to the Pentecost phenomenon some years earlier, the truth is, both Joel and Amos are most applicable to the final judgment at the second coming of Christ.
In the ensuing centuries since Christianity was instituted the truth has been completely subverted. Just as the kings and priests misled the Jews, so too, the Christian leaders followed the same path of apostasy, paganism and idolatry. And just as the Jews refused to pronounce God’s name, those who hijacked Christianity went even further – first removing God’s name from copies of the Greek, and centuries later when Bibles were mass produced they, for the most part, expunged God’s name from the Bible entirely. (The name Jehovah appeared in the original King James Version in four places, however, in the latest revision has removed the name completely.)
But since the vowels originally associated with YHWH cannot be definitively ascertained, why do the few English translations and Jehovah’s Witnesses use the spelling of “Jehovah”?
Supposedly, about a thousand years ago, almost half millennia before the first Bible would appear in English, and before modern English was even developed, a priest coined the word by combining the vowels from the Hebrew word for God with the Tetragrammaton. That may or may not be true, in any case however, the name Jehovah most certainly is known from of old even in English. What is most certainly true, though, is that even if the precise vowels used in connection with YHWH were known God’s name would not be pronounced and spelled in English the same way it would be in Hebrew. The fact is, all proper Hebrew names are spelled and pronounced differently depending upon the language. However, the spelling and pronunciation of Jehovah is in keeping with the way dozens of other Hebrew names have been translated into English. (See YouTube video – YHWH Chalk Talk) Perhaps it was by divine providence that the name Jehovah has become the most widely used and recognized rendering of God’s personal name.
According to the word of God everyone who calls upon his name will be saved and Paul assured Christians that God does not forget those who have loved his name. That means that God recognizes those who use some form of his name. Not only that, but all the nations will eventually be made to know his name is Jehovah.
So, while people may quibble and quarrel over spelling and pronunciation, and others unwittingly continue to promote the silly notion that God’s name should not be pronounced by their insistence on using the unpronounceable YHWH, the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses has made the personal name of God known in an acceptable and pronouncable form throughout the earth in hundreds of languages
Be that as it may, because Jehovah’s Witnesses are exclusively associated with the name Jehovah, the Bearer of that name will hold Jehovah’s Witnesses accountable – particularly the leadership. Just as the Jews defiled God’s name and brought reproach upon it, the Watchtower Society has also brought considerable reproach upon the very name they have promoted.
In brief, in God’s judgment Jehovah’s Witnesses practice a form of idolatry due to the excessive praise lavished upon the organization as the all-seeing prophet of Jehovah. And indeed, the leaders promote it. And the Society’s 1914 invisible parousia is merely an artfully contrived false story perpetuated in the name of Jehovah. For these and many other reasons already presented on this website, Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves will be made to know that he is Jehovah – the One showing exclusive devotion to his own name.
At some point during the tribulation the faithful who survive the coming purge and collapse of the Watchtower Society will pray the prayer of the exiled prophet, Daniel, who prayed these words: “Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Do open your eyes and see our desolated conditions and the city that has been called by your name; for not according to our righteous acts are we letting our entreaties fall before you, but according to your many mercies. O Jehovah, do hear. O Jehovah, do forgive. O Jehovah, do pay attention and act. Do not delay, for your own sake, O my God, for your own name has been called upon your city and upon your people.” – Daniel 9:18-19