Monday, March 1, 2010

God's Name

According to Insight on the Scriptures Volume 2, page 5 under the heading, 'Jehovah' the following is stated:

"Correct Pronunciation of the Divine Name. “Jehovah” is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although “Yahweh” is favored by most Hebrew scholars. The oldest Hebrew manuscripts present the name in the form of four consonants, commonly called the Tetragrammaton (from Greek te•tra-, meaning “four,” and gram'ma, “letter”). These four letters (written from right to left) are יהוה and may be transliterated into English as YHWH (or, JHVH)."

The Watchtower Society adds "(or, JHVH)" in their publication, but that letter usage was to make allowance and flexibility centuries later. It does not attribute towards accuracy. The confusion stems from Latin sources, in which the same letter represents both J and Y, and another single letter represents both V and W. Nonetheless, the original Hebrew translates to YHWH.

On page 7, the same publication continues:

"Since certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable, there seems to be no reason for abandoning in English the well-known form “Jehovah” in favor of some other suggested pronunciation. If such a change were made, then, to be consistent, changes should be made in the spelling and pronunciation of a host of other names found in the Scriptures: Jeremiah would be changed to Yir•meyah′, Isaiah would become Yesha?•ya′hu, and Jesus would be either Yehoh•shu′a? (as in Hebrew) or I•e•sous′ (as in Greek). The purpose of words is to transmit thoughts; in English the name Jehovah identifies the true God, transmitting this thought more satisfactorily today than any of the suggested substitutes."

So the Watchtower Society is stating that there is no way to attain the correct pronunciation of God’s name, but since ‘Jehovah’ is supposedly so well-known, let’s stick with it. Regardless of the facts that Hebrew scholars use YaHWeH, and earliest documented evidence shows YHWH – Not JHVH [JeHoVaH] as valid consonants in the name.

This is not the only place the Watchtower Society shows poor reasoning and goes against logic in their explanation of using ‘Jehovah’. The Divine Name brochure on page 7 under ‘God’s Name – It’s Meaning and Pronunciation’ makes the following statements:

“How Is God’s Name Pronounced? The truth is, nobody knows for sure how the name of God was originally pronounced. Why not? Well, the first language used in writing the Bible was Hebrew, and when the Hebrew language was written down, the writers wrote only consonants—not vowels. Hence, when the inspired writers wrote God’s name, they naturally did the same thing and wrote only the consonants. "

Page 8 of the same brochure states:

"Where, though, did pronunciations like Yahweh come from? These are forms that have been suggested by modern scholars trying to deduce the original pronunciation of God’s name. Some—though not all—feel that the Israelites before the time of Jesus probably pronounced God’s name Yahweh. But no one can be sure. Perhaps they pronounced it that way, perhaps not.

Nevertheless, many prefer the pronunciation Jehovah. Why? Because it has a currency and familiarity that Yahweh does not have. Would it not, though, be better to use the form that might be closer to the original pronunciation? Not really, for that is not the custom with Bible names."

The same article then tries to convince the reader that since many other biblical names were translated in a similar fashion (continuing "the custom" argument), translating God's name in the same pattern may be acceptable too. The Watchtower Society is trying to make two wrongs equal a right. After laying that reasoning down, the organization once again shows how faulty their own logic is and then switches gears on page 10:

"...Even though the modern pronunciation Jehovah might not be exactly the way it was pronounced originally, this in no way detracts from the importance of the name. It identifies the Creator, the living God, the Most High to whom Jesus said: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.”—Matthew 6:9.”

Interestingly, the Watchtower Society comments: "...Jehovah might not be exactly the way it was pronounced originally". However, it definitely was not pronounced that way. Their own publication already provided that information. By stating 'might not', it is deceitful and leading the reader to believe there is a chance, it is possible 'Jehovah' is the name of God. The truth is there is zero possibility that 'Jehovah' is correct.

Regardless, since “many prefer” Jehovah over Yahweh, the Watchtower Society is sticking with Jehovah as the official name. This is in spite of the fact that Yahweh is closer to the original pronunciation, as admitted by the organization.

The Watchtower Society is hypocritical and contradictory in the way they approach the name of God. From their own words, it is seen that popular choice and preference outweighs logic and facts. One would think something that Jehovah's Witnesses stress is so monumental in importance, the name of 'The Father'; it would be better decided with facts and truth rather than the popular vote.

Interestingly (and arguably more importantly), the Bible makes the following statements in the area respecting names. In the case where a Jehovah's Witness is taught that God, whom is perceived as just being The Father and is specifically addressed, the Bible notes the following details on the issue.

Exodus 3:13-14 (New King James Version):

"Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”"

If there was significance in saying the specific name of ‘Jehovah’ God, you would believe that here would be the place for it. God would state a specific divine name, 'Jehovah' or they equivalent thereof to His people. However, He does not do so. Furthermore, application in the New Covenant and Testament provides these specifics regarding a divine name.

Acts 4:10-12 (New King James Version):

"let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’[a] Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

[a] Acts 4:11 - Psalm 118:22”

The scriptures above make it plain and simple. The name of God – (more specific to Jehovah’s Witnesses, 'The Father' only) - was not provided when God was asked directly for it. However, the name of Jesus Christ is the only one in which salvation is found. There is no other name under heaven given among men in which we must be saved – This includes the ‘popular’ and Watchtower Society preferred name of The Father, 'Jehovah'.

Of course, this only applies if you believe and follow the Bible to be the Word of God. If you perceive a bunch of men who tout themselves as a ‘Governing Body’ who dispense ‘truth’ through a magazine, you’re probably inclined to feel otherwise.

Finally, how did ‘Jehovah’ become so ‘well-known’ and ‘preferred’?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, (1991) under the heading 'Yahweh', here is how this name came into being:

"The Masoretes, who from about the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible, replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with the vowel signs of the Hebrew word Adonai or Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) came into being."

Furthermore, despite the name Jehovah being nonexistent in the original Hebrew scriptures, it really started to become mainstream around 1270 A.D. due to the work of a Roman Catholic Spanish Monk, named Raymundus Martini. As mentioned earlier, there is no J or V in the Hebrew alphabet. 'Jehovah' is a Latinized or anglicized transliteration. It is not an accurate one.

The Watchtower Society supports the Masoretic and Catholic originated work, while providing a twisted logic and justification for utilizing a manufactured name for God. This in itself is ironic and hypocritical, when you read of the historic bashing of the Catholic faith by Jehovah's Witnesses.

Perhaps the only thing more artificial then the name of God being Jehovah, is the notion of a publishing company being the sole channel of communicating ‘truth’ that same God is using today.