Question #46: Since Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that you cannot truly know someone without knowing their name, doesn’t this mean that you don’t know your own God then since nobody knows the true name of God?
Probably the most important aspect of knowing that God has a personal name, regardless of what the correct pronunciation of the Hebrew may be, is that it distinguishes God from his son, Jesus. And of course, the theological gobbledegook known as the trinity is intended to obfuscate that distinction.
As for truly knowing the mind of God the apostle Paul made an interesting statement in that regard, when he said: “‘who has come to know the mind of Jehovah, so that he may instruct him?’ But we do have the mind of Christ.”
First, let the trinitarian take note that the apostle made a distinction between the mind of God and the mind of Christ. Although the two are one —meaning they are in harmony —Christ has his own mind. He is his own person. Obviously, even if we knew the precise diction that, say, Moses used when he uttered the sacred name of YHWH, would that equate to knowing the mind of God? Of course not.
While Jehovah’s Witnesses use a form of YHWH and we certainly know the difference between God and his son, and are familiar with God’s past dealings with man and his basic character, those are pretty elemental truths. The revelation of Christ is yet to occur. And, of course, the manifestation of Jesus is really the unveiling of Jehovah since Christ is now the exact representation of his very being.
Knowing God’s name —even the true pronunciation —is still only the simplest of truths. After all, the Devil and the demons surely know the name of God. That knowledge hasn’t done much for them. In the human realm when two people meet for the first time usually an introduction is in order, where each learns of the other’s name. That is usually the first thing we come to know about another. But can we say we really know another person simply because we know their name? Again, of course not.
The fact is, Jehovah has much to teach us. And he promises to do that very thing, through Christ and the Kingdom. It is what the new world is all about —coming to know the wonders of the one whom we call Jehovah.
Question #47: We all agree that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. How is it then that God allowed his name to be removed from all biblical manuscripts, making it impossible for people in our day to know his name, but we do know the name of Jesus and it is his name that is above EVERY name (Phil. 2:9) and there is no other name by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12)?
The questioner is very much misinformed. God has not allowed his name to be removed from all biblical manuscripts. Quite the contrary. The Tetragrammaton appears in almost 7,000 places throughout the Hebrew text. While some Jews may have superstitiously avoided uttering the Name, the copyists and scribes did not remove the name.
It is good to keep in mind that there was no conspiracy to remove the vowels from the Tetragrammaton. All Hebrew was written in a sort of shorthand, which involved removing the vowels. No doubt that was done because the writing medium in ancient times, be it vellum or papyrus, was a relatively scarce commodity. It was not like today. We never really have to think too much about where we are going to acquire paper to write on. Not so thousands of years ago.
The point is, when a Hebrew would read the texts consisting of consonants, the literate reader would supply the vowels to sound out the word, sort of like when we read the abbreviation “etc.”, for example, we naturally utter the word” et cetera,” not the letters themselves. The problem regarding the pronunciation of YHWH arose, not because the YHWH was removed from the Scriptures, but because the Jews left off speaking the name of God. In time, over centuries, the precise vowel sounds associated with the four consonants were forgotten. Centuries after the writing of the Hebrew Scriptures were finished scholars developed a system of vowel points, little dots and marks that indicated the correct vowel. However, because by that time the Jews had forgotten the vowels associated with the Tetragrammaton no vowel points were used with the YHWH.
Still, though, it is simply wrong to say that the Name was removed. It wasn’t. The oldest known manuscripts —the Dead Sea scrolls —which, predate the time of Christ and are about 1,000 years older than the previously known oldest copies of Scripture, contain the Tetragrammaton. Also, the earliest copies of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew, also contained the Tetragrammaton.
The truth of the matter is, only modern translators have removed God’s name from their versions of the Bible. But that has not prevented Jehovah’s Witnesses from making God’s name known to honest-hearted persons. It is God’s will for his name to be declared to the ends of the earth. There is nothing men or demons can do to prevent it.
As regards Jesus being the only name given by which we might be saved, an important question to consider is this: who saved Jesus? The apostle Paul shed some light on that very thing when he wrote concerning the Christ: “During his life on earth, Christ offered up supplications and also petitions, with strong outcries and tears, to the One who was able to save him out of death, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. And after he had been made perfect, he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him, because he has been designated by God a high priest in the manner of Melchizedek.” —Hebrews 5:7-10
Although evangelicals promote the idiotic notion that Jesus resurrected himself from the dead, Paul, who certainly knew the truth of the matter, reveals that Jesus was a God-fearing man. And because of his unswerving loyalty, God saved him out of death. Of course, in the trinitarian shell game God apparently pleaded with himself to save himself from death. And evidently God fears to displease himself and so he obeys himself. Truly, trinitarianism is every bit as stupefying as the ancient pagan worship of sticks and stones.
Since Jesus relied upon God to save him, that means Jehovah is the ultimate Savior. Indeed, the inspired Psalms that relate to Christ impute to him the following: “That is why I will glorify you among the nations, O Jehovah, and to your name I will sing praises. He performs great acts of salvation for his king; He displays loyal love to his anointed one, to David and his offspring forever.” —Psalms 18:49-50
The resurrection of Jesus was truly the grandest act of salvation God has ever performed. Not only did God resuscitate his dead son, he transformed him into an immortal spirit; this, because God had already caused Jesus to be reborn as a spirit-begotten son when he was baptized by John. So, Jesus’ post-resurrection mission is to glorify Jehovah for his loyal love.
Those who are bent on obscuring the special relationship between Jehovah and Jesus are going to find themselves at odds with Christ when he comes in the name of his Father to set all things straight.