The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Biblical Truths

 
Who is Jehovah?
 
    “HO is Jehovah?" That is an old question. When it was first asked in that v tone, by Pharaoh of Egypt in the sixteenth century B.C., it was asked defiantly and with contempt, and the questioner added: "that I should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go." This challenge called forth the following words of comfort to the prophet Moses: "Pharaoh will not hearken unto you, and I will lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I stretch forth my hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them."—Exodus 5:2 and 7:4,5, AS.
In the Bible Egypt is used as a small-scale pattern of this entire world of today. Hence in those words concerning Egypt a prophetic notice is served that shortly all the world will learn and know that the only living and true God is He who is named Jehovah, but in a manner that they will not enjoy. It is therefore well to learn now who and what he is, that we may act now with benefit to ourselves.

    When Moses stood before Egypt's Pharaoh and made God's demands upon him, Moses uttered the name of the God who sent him. Moses did not say, 'The Lord says so and so'; because Pharaoh and the Egyptians worshiped and acknowledged their own false gods as lords. Even when addressing his own people in Egypt to explain his return to them, Moses spoke the name of God to identify the particular One sending him back to Egypt. We read: "God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [Hebrew: Ehyeh] hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations." (Exodus 3:14,15, AS) After Moses and his brother Aaron had appeared before Pharaoh for the first time, we read, "God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah I was not known to them." —Exodus 6:2, 3, AS.

    We cannot escape it. If we read his written Word, we are faced with the name of God. Nothing is gained by arguing that the name is not correctly pronounced as Jehovah. The Scriptures written before the Christian era were written practically all in Hebrew, a portion in Aramaic; and in those Scriptures the alphabetic letters for God's name occur, namely, Yod He Waw He (mm, or YHWH), from the first book to the last. The name, symbolized by these four Hebrew consonants, occurs, all together, 6,823 times (Page 39 U 2 of The Biblical Text in the Making, by Robt. Gordis. Also Lexicon in Veteris Testaments Libros, by Koehler-Baumgartner.) in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Hebrew Scriptures began to be translated into Greek about 280 B.C. But some time before that superstitious Hebrews began to leave off pronouncing the name, out of a fear of taking it in vain. So whenever they read and came to the name, they pronounced instead the word Adonay (Lord) or Elohim (God). However, in making that first translation into Greek known as the Septuagint Version (LZX) the translators did not follow this custom but put the four Hebrew letters for God's name into their Greek version.

    The writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures used that Septuagint Version and they quoted its Greek text which contained the literal name of Almighty God. But later copyists of the Septuagint began to omit the divine name in Hebrew letters and to substitute for it the Greek words meaning "Lord" or "God". Then Bible translators began to follow this rabbinic custom, which partly explains why the name does not occur by itself in most translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures. Jerome, in making the Latin Vulgate translation, followed the same practice, and at Exodus 6:3 he used the title Adonai instead of Jehovah, all of which explains why the name does not occur in the English Roman Catholic Douay Version. In the Authorized or King James Version we find the name "Jehovah" by itself at Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; and Isaiah 12:2 and 26:4. The Emphasised Bible by J. B. Rotherham renders the name in its 6,823 occurrences as "Yahweh"; but the American Standard Version renders it every time as "Jehovah". Even if neither of these pronunciations may be just as God pronounced his name to Moses, yet it helps us to identify instantly who is meant by that name. In like manner the name "Jesus" is not the original way this one's name was pronounced in the Hebrew or Aramaic; nevertheless this near pronunciation helps us to identify at once who is meant and it does not do any dishonor or blasphemy to him.

    To illustrate: The Catholic Douay Version reads, at Psalm 109:1,2: "The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand: until I make thy enemies thy footstool. The Lord will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thy enemies." But the American Standard Version, at this same psalm of King David (Psalm 110:1,2), reads: "Jehovah saith unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion: Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies." Thus this latter translation, by honestly giving due value to God's name, does away with all confusion of mind; it shows that the one whom David called "My Lord" is the Messiah, whom Jehovah makes a King and Priest after the likeness of Melchizedek. When the Authorized or King James Version translates God's name by the title "Lord" or "God", it always puts this title in all capital letters, as "LORD", "GOD," to distinguish it from the com-mon words "Lord" and "God".—Note this at Psalm 110:1.

    WHO HE IS?

    By looking up the verses where the name occurs in the Hebrew Bible we are enabled to find the answer to the question, Who is Jehovah? At Psalm 90 the prophet Moses writes: "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Return, O Jehovah; how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants." (Psalm 90:1, 2, 13, AS) Who, then, is Jehovah? He is God and, as such, never had a beginning. His eternalness is declared also at Isaiah 57:15: "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place." In view of his eternity, it is outright blasphemy to speak of any woman as "the mother of God", for woman is merely a lowly creature whom God created for man as man's helper.

    Jehovah eternally reigns over all the universal space. He is worthy of all honor and glory, and one of his inspired writers well says: "Now to the king of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever." (1 Timothy 1:17, NW) He being eternal and incorruptible, he is the Source of all life. There are those who think his name Jehovah means "self-existing or eternal"; and the Bible translation by the Jewish scholar I. Leeser and that also by J. Moffatt render the Hebrew name in English as "The Eternal" instead of Jehovah.

    There was, therefore, a time when Jehovah was all alone in universal space. All life and energy and thought were contained in him alone. Yet he could not have been lonesome, for he is self-contained, which means he is complete in himself and lacks nothing. Then the time came when Jehovah began to create. First at that time he came to be God to all his creation. Hence in opening up the account of creation the very first verse of the Bible speaks of him as God. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) Because Jehovah is God the Creator, the expression "Jehovah God" is fitting and is used. This expression occurs immediately after the account of creation. We read: "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that JEHOVAH GOD made earth and heaven." (Genesis 2:4, 5, 7-9,15,18,19, 21, 22, AS) His first creatures were spirit creatures, spirits like himself. Jesus said: "God is a Spirit and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth." (John 4:24, NW) Because he is a spirit, Jehovah is and will ever be invisible to human eyes. He said to Moses: "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." (Exodus 33:20) He is so glorious that no human creature could endure to see him.

    Although he is the Great Spirit, the great intelligent active Personage invisible to man, yet he has made himself discernible to man by his wondrous works of creation. Hence those who deny his divinity or his being God the Creator are subject to condemnation. "For his invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world's creation onward, because they are understood by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable." (Romans 1:20, NW) Speaking of His glory as the Creator, the inspired psalmist sang out in faith: "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchiest out the heavens like a curtain: who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire."—Psalm 104:1-4; Hebrews 1:7,14. As the Creator, Jehovah is the Source of all existence and power and of every good quality, and his works are perfect. To him Moses sang this song: "I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice: a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he." He is therefore the One of whom it is written: "Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, for it comes down from the Father of the celestial lights, and with him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow." (Deuteronomy 32:3, 4, AS; James 1:17, NW) So God never gave the universe a devil, for he never created such a wicked creature. Instead, he is the Author of all the provisions for saving humankind from the sin, bondage, sorrow and death which that wicked adversary has brought upon our race. For this reason it is said: "Salvation be-longeth unto Jehovah: thy blessing be upon thy people."—Psalm 3:8, AS.

    HIS UNIVERSAL ORGANIZATION

    Jehovah God arranged all his holy, intelligent creatures in the heavens into an orderly, harmonious, peaceful organization under himself to accomplish his will. All such angelic spirit creatures, being thus arranged, made up his universal organization which is above. All were sons of God, all having received life from him, the Fountain of life. When perfect man and woman were created on the earth and set to fulfilling God's mandate to them in the garden of Eden, they were made the visible part of His universal organization. They were his earthly children; for which reason Adam was then called "the son of God". (Luke 3:38) Adam and Eve lost their relationship as God's children in his universal organization when they joined in the rebellion against Jehovah's universal sovereignty.

    As the Creator and Head over his universal organization of holy faithful creatures, Jehovah rightfully exercises the universal domination. Yet today the great issue before all heaven and earth is, Who is supreme? Who in fact and in right exercises the sovereignty over all the universe? Jehovah's primary purpose is to settle this issue. To do so means the vindication of his universal sovereignty or domination. At Psalm 83:17,18 a prayer is expressed for him to vindicate his supreme position and rulership against all his combined op-posers, in these words: "Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: that men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth." His supremacy will be proved beyond all future denial.

    When Jehovah thus vindicates his universal sovereignty by destroying all his foes in heaven and in earth, then he will be again the great Theocrat or theocratic Ruler over all creatures that live. His theocratic government will govern all inhabited parts of the universe. His theocratic law will be obeyed everywhere. Then no long-time rebellion such as has existed during man's six thousand years of history will again be permitted, for Jehovah God will once and for all time have vindicated his universal sovereignty and his holy name against all false charges, reproaches and challenges of his malicious enemies, demon and human. He is the Almighty and Supreme One. He and his heavenly Son, whom he makes theocratic King under Him in the theocratic government, constitute together "the Higher Powers", to whom all souls worthy of living must be subject. Jehovah God has ordained it to be so.—Romans 13:1, 2.

    That heavenly Son taught his followers to pray: "Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth." (Matthew 6:9,10, NW) He was there referring to the sacred name and kingdom of Jehovah God. God's name must eventually be sanctified by Jehovah's own stupendous act of vindicating himself at the universal war of Armageddon. The means by which his name will be proved to be holy and deserving to be held sacred is his kingdom by his Messiah, which will shortly fight this war of Armageddon to a successful finish against all ene-mies. No rebel or idolatrous thing or organization will take the glory from him. Says he: "I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images."—Isaiah 42:8, AS.

    The name "Jehovah" is a Hebrew verb and is understood to mean "He causes to be", that is, for a purpose. When making known his name in a special way to his prophet Moses, he did so in connection with declaring his purpose regarding his chosen people, then in bondage to Egypt. Thus, aside from its literal meaning, his name "Jehovah" implies his purpose respecting his creatures. (Exodus 3:15-21; 6:2-8, AS) Many times throughout the Bible he declares his purpose to cause all the nations as well as his own favored people to know that he is Jehovah. In the prophetic book of Ezekiel alone this declaration of his purpose to have all such to know that he is Jehovah occurs more than sixty times. (Exodus 6:7; Ezekiel 6:7, 10,13,14, AS) Hence an important part of his great purpose is the vindication of his reproached and misrepresented name. His vindication is more important than the salvation of men.

    Why has this Almighty God permitted his chief adversary and all that wicked one's servants to live and carry on their wickedness down till the final battle of Armageddon? In brief explanation Jehovah said to hardhearted Pharaoh of Egypt: "To teach you that there is no one like me in all the world. Otherwise, I would have exerted my force and struck you and your people with pestilence, till you were swept off the earth; but this is why I have kept you alive, to let you see my power and to publish my fame all over the world." (Exodus 9:14-16, Mo; also AT; he) Here Jehovah discloses his purpose to raise up his witnesses to declare and publish his fame or name throughout all the earth before all the enemies are destroyed. His Chief Witness is the One whom he makes his Messiah or the Anointed King in his theocratic government.