This came up on Terry Walstrom thread topic recently and I thought it would be good to explore this further.
The JWS are quite boisterous and arrogant that they use the proper name of Jehovah as the divine name of god
but a little investigation discovers something quite different.
A Simple Overview of The Divine Name
- The Absolute Name as originally given to Moses on Sinai (Exodus 3:14) is AHYH ASR AHYH: "I Will Be Who I Will Be."
- "I Am That I Am", while quite valuable, is ultimately a mistranslation. This is a Christian interpretation applied 1000 years after the fact.
- Saying "I Will Be" made people very nervous. So "I Will Be" (AHYH) was changed into "He Will Be": YHWH This Name is known as the Tetragrammaton: "The 4 Letter Name." In English you most often see this Name as "Yahweh." The certain original pronunciation has been lost. Over 30 different pronunciations are known to the Kabbalists.
- The Tetragrammaton, spelled vertically, is the pictogram of a human being: . This is a visual representation of what it symbolically means to be created in the image of God.
- Over the years this discomfort with the Divine Name continued. Soon, people would not pronounce YHWH at all. Whenever they saw YHWH in the Bible, they would either say "The Name" (Ha Shem) or "The Lord" (Adonai).
- Originally, Hebrew did not have vowels. Eventually the Hebrews felt it was wise to insert little dots (called vowel points) around the letters to remind the reader of the exact pronunciation.
- When they came to YHWH in the text, they added the vowel points for Adonai ("Lord") to remind the reader that the Divine Name was not to be pronounced.
- In the Middle Ages, around 1500, translators misunderstood that the vowel points were for "Adonai", not "Yahweh". Thus, they combined the letters of YHWH with the vowels of Adonai. The result was "Jehovah". This is, quite simply, a mistranslation. (NOTE: We are NOT saying that this is evil, or that those who use this name are sinners, nor that everyone in the Jehovah's Witnesses are going to hell. No, No, NO! But the etymological fact is that "Jehovah" is a mistranslation based upon a historical misunderstanding.) Like changing "Betty" into "Botta" by keeping the same consonants but using the wrong vowels.
- In our modern Bibles, then, whenever YHWH is found, we usually "translate" it as LORD or Jehovah. Both are wrong, though Jehovah is certainly preferable to LORD.
- "God" is a noun. It is a type of Being. "God" is not a name. "Human" is what you are....but you also have a name.
- Thus, when catechisms & preachers say "What is God's name? God is God's name" they are also simply wrong.
- As you can see, the farther we go in time, the more confusion & ignorance we acquire. At this point, very few of even the ordained clergy understands any of this. Of those who know it, only a small percentage actually cares.
- Yet the 3rd Commandment STILL SAYS, "Thou shall not take the Name of YHWH your God in vain, for YHWH will not leave him unpunished who takes His Name in vain."