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Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Name of God (2)

The Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) claim that, when Jesus proclaimed the name of God in Israel (John 17:26), He taught the JW (and Unitarian) view of the divine name “Jehovah.” Instead, Christ taught them who God is and what kind of God He is, through His words and deeds, for He, as the incarnate Son, is the revelation of the Triune God (1:14; 14:9). To know God’s name is not merely to know the letters which make up the word “Jehovah,” but to know God Himself, His attributes, wonders, works and promises in Christ, and to fellowship with Him in His Son (John 17:3; I John 1:3; 5:20). Nowhere in the gospels do we read of Jesus calling God “Jehovah.” Even in John 17, the greatest of Christ’s recorded prayers, He addresses God as “Father” (1, 5, 21, 24), “holy Father” (11) and “righteous Father” (25). In the prayer which He taught His disciples, He has us address God as “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). Why not “Jehovah,” if that is the preferred, if not the only acceptable, name of God?

The essence of the name “Jehovah” appears in the NT. Five times in Revelation, God is addressed as Him “which is, and which was, and which is to come” (1:4, 8) or “which was, and is, and is to come” (4:8) or “which art, and wast, and art to come” (11:17) or “which art, and wast, and shalt be” (16:5). These allusions to Exodus 3:14 and the name “Jehovah” clearly refer to God’s unchangeable eternity and faithfulness.

In John 8, Jesus affirms, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day” (56), to which the unbelieving Jews retort in scorn, “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” (57). Christ’s response so shocks the Jews that they pick up stones to put Him to death on the spot for blasphemy. Here is the JWs’ New World Translation (NWT) of what Jesus said: “Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.” The KJV rightly translates, “Before Abraham was, I am” (58). Why does the NWT mistranslate the Greek (ego eimi) as “I have been,” instead of “I am”? Because the JWs refuse to believe that Jesus is Jehovah and they want to sever the obvious link between John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14, where ego eimi is used in the Septuagint (LXX)!

As we have seen, though the NT does not contain the word “Jehovah,” the truth of Jehovah is writ large all over the NT. It is found even in the name “Jesus,” which means Jehovah-salvation, Jehovah is salvation or Jehovah Saviour. That is why Peter declares of Jesus that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). That, too, is why Paul can state, in obvious allusion to Isaiah 45:23, that God has given Christ “a name which is above every name,” so that “every knee should bow ... [and] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

The JWs use the word “Jehovah” in their prayers, worship, Bible perversion and proselytizing, but they do not truly confess Jehovah, because their “Jehovah” is not the sovereign, unchanging, faithful, Triune God of Scripture. The Jehovah’s Witnesses could more accurately be called the False Witnesses for they are guilty of taking God’s name in vain.

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Additional Info

  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 2
McGeown, Martyn

Rev. Martyn McGeown

Ordained: 2010

Pastorates: Missionary-pastor in Limerick, Ireland for the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Northern Ireland - 2010.


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