Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. — Matthew 6:9.
Every true Christian should honor, glorify and make known the name of the God of heaven and earth. Scriptures exhorting us to do this are numerous, both the pre-Christian and the Christian writings.
Jehovah’s Witnesses sincerely believe that they alone of all people on the earth are making God’s name known. This is because of the great frequency with which they use the name “Jehovah” both in their literature and in their speech. That name is derived from what is called the “Tetragrammaton” (meaning “four letters”), the Hebrew letters “YHWH.”1 The Tetragrammaton appears nearly 7,000 times in the Bible writings of the Old Testament (Genesis to Malachi). There is, then, no question as to its prominence in pre-Christian times. Nor is there any doubt that, among all the well-known religious groups today, none uses that particular name, Jehovah, with a greater degree of frequency and constancy than do Jehovah’s Witnesses. Does this actually identify them as exclusively “God’s name people”? Are they rightly to be credited with having “restored the divine name” on earth in modern times?
Whence the Name “Jehovah’s Witnesses”?
For the first half century of the Watch Tower Society’s existence those affiliated with it had no particular denominational name. They were, they said, just “Bible students.” As we have seen in Chapter 4, the founder of the Watch Tower magazine and of the society connected with it, Charles Taze Russell, opposed the adoption of any distinguishing name, viewing this as a form of sectarianism.2 The April, 1882, issue of the Watch Tower (pages 7, 8) which discussed this matter, quoted approvingly these words of John Bunyan, found in his well-known Pilgrim’s Progress:
Since you would know by what name I would be distinguished from others, I tell you I would be, and hope I am, a Christian; and choose, if God should count me worthy, to be called a Christian, a believer, or other such name which is approved by the Holy Ghost. And as for those factious (or sect) titles of Anabaptist, Presbyterian, Independent, or the like, I conclude that they came neither from Antioch nor from Jerusalem, but from Hell and Babylon, for they tend to divisions; you may know them by their fruits.
To resort to the use of specialized names was thus decried as a clear sign of sectarianism. This stand was repeated in the reply to another question appearing in the March, 1883, issue (page 6). Along with rejecting the idea of developing a visible organization, the response stated:
We always refuse to be called by any other name than that of our Head — Christians — continually claiming that there can be no division among those continually led by his Spirit and example as made known through his Word.3
It was in 1931 that Joseph F. Rutherford, Russell’s successor to the Watch Tower presidency, selected the name of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” for the organizational membership. Rutherford stated that the name chosen was “the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses.’” Isaiah 43:10-12; 62:2 and Revelation 12:17 were cited as basis for the adoption of this name.4 A reading of these passages, however, does not in any way re- veal that God purposed that his words there spoken were to be formed into a distinctive name for Christians to bear as much as 2,600 years later. Isaiah 43:10-12 is the primary text used by the organization to justify its chosen name. This scripture, however, simply presents a figurative court scene, in which all nations are gathered and before whom the Israelites are called upon by God to bear testimony to His saving power exercised on their behalf. Why, out of all the statements God makes regarding the nation of Israel, should these words become “the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named” to be placed upon Christians today?
At Acts 11:26, we read that “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” That was the name by which they were known and which they themselves used, as is shown in the texts at Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. The New World Translation even renders Acts 11:26 as saying “it was first in Antioch that the disciples were by divine providence called Christians.” Whether such rendering is accurate or not, the question remains, by what right does any man or group of men decide to adopt a name other than the one used by first century Christians? Where is there the divine authorization or direction to do so? Among the last recorded words that God’s Son spoke on earth to his disciples is the command:
You will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant parts of the earth.5
By what right, then, do men who claim to be footstep followers of God’s Son select a name which does not even bear witness to the Christ? How do they justify choosing a name that reaches back some 700 years before his appearance as the Messiah, back to words spoken to the Jewish people under the Law Covenant?6 The major justification resorted to in 1931 and thereafter has been that there is no longer anything distinctive about the name “Christian.” That name has been used by hundreds of millions of persons throughout the world, divided into hundreds of different denominations and sects. What, however, does the adoption of a different name prove or accomplish? It simply follows the pattern of those same hundreds of denominations. Each of them has done the same thing — they have all adopted a distinctive name as Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholics, Marionite Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Church of Christ, Church of God, Mennonites, Society of Friends and so forth.
That not all who subsequently took the name “Christian” truly were such is evident. Christ Jesus warned of apostasy in his par- able of the wheat and the weeds. The apostle Paul, who was known as a “Christian,” echoed that warning in his writings.7 In the Revelation, the apostle John laid bare the impure adulterated state already existing in some congregations in his day.8 It was clearly recognized that there would be false Christians, many of them. But neither Christ nor Paul nor John nor any of the Bible writers indicated that a change of name would in any way remedy the situation. It was not by the adoption of some different name, a new label as it were, but by means of a life course that exemplified genuine Christianity and by means of adherence to truth as found in the teachings of God’s Son and his apostles and disciples that the only meaningful distinction could be made.9 When the angels of God carry out the final part of the parabolic picture in effecting the harvest of the wheat from the weeds, labels in the form of denominational names surely will play no part.
“Restoration” of the Name — By Whom?
One might think, from reading the Watch Tower publications, that the name “Jehovah” was virtually unknown before its appearance in those publications, and that these have brought it to the world’s notice. An examination of the Watch Tower publications during the first forty years of their existence, however, reveals that the name “Jehovah” appeared with no greater frequency in those publications than in many other religious publications of the times. As just one example, the Watch Tower issue of April 15, 1919, contained the name “Jehovah” only one time in the entire magazine! That would be unthinkable today. Yet by 1919 Christ Jesus is supposed to have already approved and chosen, out of all the religions on earth, the organization built around the Watch Tower Society as his sole channel of communication. If so, one would be obliged to say that his choice evidently was not predicated on any special prominence given to the name “Jehovah.” The fact is that religious writers of various Christian faiths had employed the name “Jehovah” in their writings with considerable frequency for centuries before the appearance of the Watch Tower Society. The library of the Writing Department at the Watch Tower headquarters contains a large number of Bible commentaries and other works dating back two or more centuries which clearly illustrates this.
The name is to be found in the hymn books of many long standing Protestant denominations. One of the better-known hymns of the 18th century is titled “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” The Watchtower magazine itself has published material showing the appearance of the Tetragrammaton in past centuries in many countries of the world, in religious buildings and inscriptions.10 As far back as the year 1602, the Spanish Bible translation by Cipriano de Valera rendered the Tetragrammaton thousands of times as Jehová (Jehovah). In the nineteenth century, translations of the Bible made in various languages by Christian missionaries had already utilized some form of the name “Jehovah” in their rendering of the Tetragrammaton.11 The trend toward non use of the name seems to have been to a considerable degree contemporaneous with the development of a particular school of religious thought in the latter part of the nineteenth century which propagated a more critical attitude toward the Bible as a whole.
Notably, in the year 1901, the American Standard Version of the Bible (produced by scholars of Christendom) rectified the practice of substituting “LORD” or “GOD” for the Tetragrammaton in translating the Hebrew Scriptures, a practice typical of most previous English versions, including the most popular, the King James or Authorized Version. Whereas the Authorized Version rendered the Tetragrammaton by the name “Jehovah” only four times in the entire Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament, the American Standard Version restored it in its nearly 7,000 occurrences. Though the inaccuracy of rendering the Hebrew “YHWH” by “Jehovah” is acknowledged, this was nonetheless an improvement over the use of “GOD” and “LORD” employed to rep- resent the Tetragrammaton in other English-language versions.12
There is no question then that the Watch Tower Society did not “restore” the name “Jehovah,” because there was no need for any “restoring” of it at the time that society came on the scene. It was a definitely established term, found in many Bible translations and religious writings long before the appearance of that society. Despite this, the fact remains that today no religious group of any size uses the name “Jehovah” with such intense frequency as does that of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That name predominates throughout their literature. Among Jehovah’s Witnesses it has become almost strange to speak of “God” without prefacing the term by saying “Jehovah God,” while the term “Lord” is quite rare in their expressions. They read “Lord” in the Bible but hardly ever use it in their own speech extemporaneously. It is almost a liturgical form for them in most prayers to initially address these to “Jehovah” or “Jehovah God,” with the expression “Father” or “Our Father” only occasionally used as an added, follow-up address. Although reference to the “organization” or “the Governing Body” is very common in prayer, the name of Christ Jesus often does not receive mention until the final words, “In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
The question is: Does all this repetitive use of the name “Jehovah” genuinely fulfill the numerous Scriptural exhortations to honor and make known God’s name? Does this intense emphasis on the name “Jehovah” in reality reflect a clear understanding of what is actually signified by the word “name” in many of such Scriptures?
The Crucial Factor
Since it is evident that the name represented by the Tetragrammaton was very prominent in the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament, the question reduces to its use and prominence in the Christian Scriptures and the attitude of Christians toward that name represented by the Tetragrammaton. It would seem that the primary and most decisive factor in arriving at an answer would be evidence of the degree of prominence God’s own Son, his apostles and other early disciples gave to that specific name (represented in the Tetragrammaton). What do we find?
Although themselves Jewish, the writers of the Christian Scriptures or New Testament wrote in Greek, the most influential, most widely used, language of the time. None of the original writings remain, but there are in existence ancient copies of the entire body of Christian Scriptures dating back to the fourth century A.D. Copies of portions thereof date back much earlier. However, the only place we find any mention of the name represented by the Tetragrammaton in any of these ancient copies is in a shortened form found in the book of Revelation. In Revelation chapter nineteen, verses 1, 3, 4, and 6, we find the Greek phrase Allelouia meaning “Praise Yah [or Jah],” or, as we commonly say, “Hallelujah.” In this expression “Jah” is simply a shortened form of “Jehovah.” What is remarkable is that, beyond these four occurrences of that abbreviated form in Revelation, nowhere else in the Christian Scriptures contained in these ancient copies do we find a single occurrence of this name. Since there are an estimated 5,000 existing copies in Greek of these Christian Scriptures, the fact that not a single one of these thousands of copies contains the Tetragrammaton is all the more impressive.13 The same is true of the earliest translations of those Christian Scriptures into other languages, such as the Syriac, Armenian, Sahidic and Old Latin translations.14
For this reason, in the vast majority of translations of the New Testament the name “Jehovah” does not appear outside of its abbreviated appearance in the book of Revelation. By contrast, if we turn to the Watch Tower Society’s New World Translation we will find the name “Jehovah” (and “Jehovah’s”) 237 times from Matthew to Revelation. The fact is, however, that when the New World Translation places the name “Jehovah” in any part of the Christian Scriptures it does so without any support from a single one of the ancient manuscripts of those Christian Scriptures. In 227 of the places where “Jehovah” appears in the Watch Tower’s translation, the Greek text on which the translation states it is based reads “the Lord” (kyrios), and in the remaining 10 cases that Greek text contains the word “God” (theos). Any reader may see this by simply taking the Watch Tower’s Kingdom Interlinear Translation and comparing the translation (in the outside columns of the pages) with the word-for-word interlinear reading. On what basis, then, does the New World Translation insert the name?
Essentially the argument of the Watch Tower Society is that the Tetragrammaton was used by the writers of the Christian Scriptures, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and Jude, in their original writings. Obviously, this cannot be proved. None of those original writings is extant today. None of the 5,000 copies that do exist contain the Tetragrammaton. Still, the Watch Tower’s claim is that the name must have been removed from later copies of the original writings, this being done to conform to the practice that had been in existence for some time of replacing the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) with the word “Lord” (kyrios) or “God” (theos). That practice evidently developed in the centuries preceding the appearance of Christ. It was not due to a failure to give importance to the name represented by the Tetragrammaton. To the contrary, it was due to viewing that name as too sacred to be pronounced, and traditional Jewish writings indicate that the pronunciation thereof became limited to the priesthood at the temple and particularly to the High Priest of that Aaronic priesthood.15
The Evidence from Ancient Sources
In the third century B.C., the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was made into the Greek language, a translation known as the Septuagint Version. In quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures in their writings, there is clear evidence that the writers of the Christian Scriptures often quoted from that Septuagint translation. This point assumes considerable importance in the effort to determine whether or not those Bible writers actually included the Tetragrammaton in their writings. If they did, this would be at least a clue as to the degree of prominence they gave to the particular name of God represented by those four Hebrew letters. The first question is, did they find the Tetragrammaton in the copies of the Greek Septuagint that they used? It was long believed that, from the start, the Tetragrammaton did not appear in that first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. It was assumed that the translators followed the practice of substituting it with Lord (kyrios) or God (theos). The many copies of the Septuagint then known supported that belief. Today, however, there is sound reason to question whether the Septuagint translators made such substitution. One fragmentary copy of a portion of the Septuagint, written on papyrus and found in Egypt, has been dated as of the first century B.C. It contains the second half of the book of Deuteronomy, with the Tetragrammaton (written in Hebrew characters) appearing throughout.16 Though not from the pre-Christian (or B.C.) period, a small number of other Greek manuscripts of the Septuagint from the early centuries (A.D.), supply similar examples. Additional evidence for the appearance of the Tetragrammaton in early Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures is found in statements by Origen (of the third century A.D.), and by Jerome (translator of the Latin Vulgate in the fourth century A.D.) who said that “we find the four-lettered name of God in certain Greek volumes even to this day expressed in the ancient letters”.17
What significance does all this have? The Watch Tower Society arrives at the conclusion that the copies of the Septuagint read and quoted from during the time of Christ and his apostles customarily contained the Tetragrammaton. The Watch Tower Society goes much farther, however. On the basis of the aforementioned evidence it claims that, when the Christian Scriptures were written, the Christian writers included the Tetragrammaton and that, “at least from the 3d century A.D. onward, the divine name in Tetragrammaton form has been eliminated from the text by copyists,” substituting the words kyrios (Lord) and theos (God) for it.18 The Watch Tower believed it found strong support for its introducing the name “Jehovah” into the New Testament or Christian Scriptures in statements made in the Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol. 96, No. 1, 1977) by an associate professor of religion at the University of Georgia, George Howard. The May 1, 1978, issue of The Watchtower, pages 9, 10, quoted Professor Howard extensively on this subject, giving particular emphasis to his following statement:
Since the Tetragram was still written in the copies of the Greek Bible [the Septuagint] which made up the Scriptures of the early church, it is reasonable to believe that the N[ew] T[estament] writers, when quoting from Scripture, preserved the Tetragram within the biblical text. On the analogy of pre-Christian Jewish practice we can imagine that the NT text incorporated the Tetragram into its OT quotations.
The appearance of the Tetragrammaton in the aforementioned ancient manuscript portions of the pre-Christian Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures is definitely noteworthy. Its noteworthiness derives from the absence of the Tetragrammaton (in any form) in all other ancient copies of the Septuagint, including the oldest complete (or nearly complete) manuscripts of the Bible writings.19 The discovery of these ancient fragments of the Septuagint clearly allows for the possibility of the regular appearance of the Tetragrammaton in Septuagint copies current in Palestine in the first century A.D., though of itself it would not prove that such was the case.
More important to the issue under consideration, it does not prove that the Christian writers themselves included the Tetragrammaton in their writings or that it was to be found in any early copies of their writings, such as those previous to the third century. The Watch Tower publications are very definite in the matter, as in saying that “these Christian writers undoubtedly employed the divine name Jehovah” when quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures, and, of Matthew, that where making such quotations, “he would have been obliged faithfully to include the Tetragrammaton” in his Gospel account.20 By contrast, Professor Howard, whom the Watchtower has frequently quoted in support of their claims, limits the matter to at most a reasonable possibility or probability, as in his expression “we can imagine that the NT text incorporated the Tetragram into its OT quotations.” In quoting from his Journal of Biblical Literature article, the Watchtower magazine does not point out to its readers that Howard’s article is filled with cautious, qualifying expressions such as “this theory,” “in all probability,” “it is possible that,” “if our theory is correct,” “the theory we suggest,” “if we assume,” and so forth. Note, also, that Howard speaks of the Christian writers incorporating “the Tetragram,” that is the four Hebrew letters, not some translation thereof, such as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.” Even if those four Hebrew letters had been included in the original Christian Scriptures, this would be no proof that, on coming to them, the reader would pronounce them as “Yahweh” or some similar form, rather than use “Lord” or “God.”21
A Far Weightier Source of Evidence
Whatever weight one may feel should be assigned to the aforementioned textual evidence regarding the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures, there is additional textual evidence that clearly is of considerably greater significance. This is because it gives far stronger indication as to the actual practice of the writers of the Christian Scriptures themselves with regard to use of the Tetragrammaton. And this, after all, is the question of ultimate importance: Did they, the Christian Bible writers, employ the Tetragrammaton, whether in quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures or at any other time?
One of the two most ancient copies of apostolic writings that have been found is a papyrus codex (designated Chester Beatty Papyrus No. 2 [P46]). It contains, in fragmentary form, nine of the apostle Paul’s letters: Romans, Hebrews, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians and First Thessalonians.22 The date of this codex formerly was for long estimated to be about 200 A.D.23 There is now, however, some evidence for dating it even earlier. In 1988, in Volume 69, Fasc. 2, of the scholarly publication Biblica, Dr. Y. K. Kim, a manuscript expert, has presented serious evidence for redating it to the latter part of the first century, perhaps even before the reign of Emperor Domitian, that is, before 81 A.D. If correct, the evidence he advances would, at the least, place the papyrus collection within a few decades of the time of Paul’s original writings.24
Even if we retain the more popular dating of this papyrus collection as from the close of the second century, this still has considerable significance as to the question we here consider. The argument of the Watch Tower Society is that the original apostolic writings contained the Tetragrammaton, hundreds of times, and that it was only in subsequent centuries that ‘apostate Christians’ removed it from those writings. If that is the case, and if those original apostolic writings contained numerous uses of the Tetragrammaton, is it not reasonable that during the century immediately following the writing of the Christian Scriptures there should have been at least some retention of the Tetragrammaton in the copies made? If the Tetragrammaton had appeared originally in the letters of Paul, some of them written as late as 60/61 A.D., it seems difficult to believe that it would have been quickly eliminated in subsequent copies. The Watch Tower organization accepts the view held by many that the apostle John lived right up to the close of the first century. If the use of the Tetragrammaton were of major importance, certainly John’s influence should have exercised an effect in its favor on Christian copyists of apostolic letters (including the letters of Paul), not only during John’s lifetime but for some time thereafter. It is certainly reasonable that we should expect to find at least some appearances of the Tetragrammaton in the letters found in the ancient papyrus collection earlier described. What is the case?
The plain fact is that in these nine apostolic letters found in this most ancient Christian codex there is not a single use of the Tetragrammaton in any form. In these nine letters the apostolic writer makes numerous quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, following the wording of the Septuagint translation, but not once do his quotations contain the Tetragrammaton. His quotations follow the practice of replacing the Tetragrammaton with the Greek kyrios (Lord) or theos (God). The Watch Tower Society argues that the appearance of the Tetragrammaton in some of the most ancient copies (actually fragmentary copies) of the Septuagint Version is proof that it was originally there. If that principle applies, then the same principle should rightly apply here, namely, that the absence of the Tetragrammaton in this most ancient copy of nine of Paul’s letters is proof that it was also absent in the apostle’s original writings. Indeed, if the Tetragrammaton had appeared originally in his letters, some of them written as late as 60/61 A.D., it seems inconceivable that it would have been eliminated so soon after the original writing, at a time when other apostles, notably John, were still alive. Combined with this is the fact that, with the sole exception of the book of Revelation and its abbreviated form “Yah” or “Jah,” no form of the Tetragrammaton is found in any ancient manuscript of any of the Christian Scriptures, whether those written by Paul or by any other Christian writer.
The claim of the Watch Tower Society that, when quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures, the apostles and other first-century Christian writers included the Tetragrammaton in their writings is, then, based on theory only, a speculative theory that the historical evidence weighs predominantly against.25
Justification Sought Through Various Hebrew Translations
Often the Watch Tower’s insertion of the name “Jehovah” into the text of the Christian writings does correspond to the writer’s quotation of a portion of the Hebrew Scriptures in which the Tetragrammaton appears. However, this by no means accounts for all the 237 insertions of the name by the New World Translation. The insertions are made in many cases where no quotation at all is involved. How is this justified? In an endeavor to give some authenticity to these (and other) insertions of the name “Jehovah,” insertions which none of the ancient copies justifies, the Watch Tower Society has resorted to claiming support by reference to numerous translations of the Christian Scriptures into the Hebrew language, translations which include the Tetragrammaton frequently in their renderings. The fact is, however, that all of these Hebrew translations were made from the fourteenth century A.D. onward, some as recently as the nineteenth century.26 While their being in Hebrew may give an appearance of authentic support, it is only that — an appearance. The various translators were doing nothing more than expressing personal choice by their insertion of the Tetragrammaton where the Greek manuscripts from which they were translating actually contained the word “Lord” or “God.”27 In reality, these Hebrew translations carry no more weight in the matter than would a translation into any other language — Arabic, German, or Portuguese — made in the same period. They demonstrate, not evidence, but only opinion, that of the particular translator. They prove nothing as to the use of the Tetragrammaton, or the degree of prominence given to it, by Christ or his disciples. Not only this, but by its “leapfrogging” over the most ancient manuscripts of the Christian Scriptures and the wording found in them, in favor of these Hebrew translations that are a thousand years more recent, the New World Translation goes against a basic principle of translation — that the oldest manuscripts, by virtue of being closer to the originals, are to be given the greatest weight. Thus, The Watchtower of March 15, 1982, page 23, states: “The older the Bible manuscript is, the closer it is likely to be to the original autographs of the inspired writers, none of which are in existence today.” Yet in this matter the Watch Tower organization chooses to ignore the evidence from over 5,000 ancient Greek manuscripts — none of which contains the Tetragrammaton — and be guided by, not manuscripts in that original language, but essentially modern translations, which ultimately reflect the personal view of the translators.28
Inconsistency of Claims
The Watch Tower Society’s position is remarkably inconsistent. On the one hand, the Society argues that the writers of the Christian Scriptures originally included some form of the Tetragrammaton in their writings. On the other hand, the Society makes the repeated acknowledgment that those Christian Scriptures were preserved with remarkable accuracy. Its publication Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2, page 314, quotes Professor Kurt Aland as stating:
The text of the New Testament has been excellently transmitted, better than any other writing from ancient times; the possibility that manuscripts might yet be found that would change its text decisively is zero.
In the April 1, 1977, issue of the Watchtower, after quoting world-renowned Greek text scholar F. J. A. Hort as saying, “the amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation [in the ancient copies of the Christian Scriptures] can hardly form more than a thousandth part of the entire text,” the Watchtower itself went on to say (page 219):
Whatever version of the Christian Scriptures you possess, there is no reason to doubt that the Greek text upon which it is based represents with considerable fidelity what the inspired authors of these Bible books originally wrote. Though now nearly 2,000 years removed from the time of their original composition, the Greek text of the Christian Scriptures is a marvel of accurate transmission.
Numerous articles stressing the purity and accuracy of the Bible text credit such preservation to the deep respect for the divine record and intense concern for fidelity of transmission on the part of the copyists, and to the influence of the “Divine Author of the Bible.” Thus, an article in the Awake! magazine of May 8, 1985 (page 14) says that, since God inspired the original writings, “It is logical that he would oversee a faithful transmittal of his Word down to our present day.”29 The problem here is that the organization denies its own position in its claims with regard — not to some trivial omission or variation — but with regard to something they view as one of the most important of all the features of the Scriptures, the name represented by the Tetragrammaton. For they, in effect, are saying that God, who exercised his divine influence to preserve the Greek text of the Christian Scriptures so that it is “a marvel of accurate transmission,” at the same time failed to see to it that some form of the name “Jehovah” was preserved in even so much as a single one of the approximately 5,000 ancient manuscript copies of those Christian Scriptures. If the tremendous importance that the organization attaches to the Tetragrammaton is soundly based, how could this possibly be so? Why, too, is it the case that quotations can be made of Jerome, Origen and others of times as late as the fourth century A.D. that the Tetragrammaton was still to be found in copies of the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, yet not a single statement can be produced from any early Christian writer saying that it ever appeared in any of the copies of the Christian Scriptures or New Testament? If the Tetragrammaton could be found in a Greek translation of the pre-Christian Old Testament, why should it not logically be found either in some actual copy of the original Greek text of the Christian Scriptures or at least in one of the ancient translations thereof? If it had ever been there in the original writings, certainly God, who is credited with assuring the fidelity of its transmission to our present time, would have made certain that it was preserved — at least He would have if he attached to it the supreme importance that the Watch Tower Society attaches to it. The fact that it was not preserved in any ancient text of the Christian Scriptures or even in any of the earliest translations thereof weighs heavily against its ever having been there in the first place.
Testimony of the Existing Scriptures Themselves
Even supposing that one felt inclined to accept the argument of the Watch Tower Society in justifying its insertion of the name “Jehovah” in the Christian Scriptures or New Testament—even if only in those cases where quotations are made from the Hebrew Scriptures—one would still be faced with some serious questions. Primary among these would be the fact that, even in the Watch Tower’s own translation, with its distinctive insertions, there are entire letters written by apostles in which the name “Jehovah” is completely absent, namely, Philippians, First Timothy, Titus, Philemon and the three letters of John. Any of Jehovah’s Witnesses must honestly acknowledge that it would be completely unthinkable for any prominent individual in the Witness organization to write on a spiritual matter without employing the name “Jehovah” with frequency. To write letters of the length and content of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, or his first pastoral letter to Timothy and that to Titus, or to write three separate letters of admonition and exhortation on crucial issues like those dealt with by the apostle John — to write these and not make repeated use of the name “Jehovah” would lay one open to suspicion of apostasy among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Yet in their own New World Translation the name does not appear in any of these seven apostolic letters and their discussion of vital spiritual issues. Even from the standpoint of the New World Translation, one must say that in writing these letters the apostles Paul and John clearly did not conform to the norm predominating within the Watch Tower organization. Or, more correctly put, the norm predominating within the Watch Tower organization does not conform to the first century apostolic viewpoint.
The complete absence of “Jehovah” in the New World Translation of these seven apostolic letters gives yet more evidence that the insertion of that name in the other Christian Scriptures is purely arbitrary, not something called for by the evidence.
Secondly, even if we were to accept the numerous insertions made by the translators (more accurately, the translator, Fred Franz) of the New World Translation of the name “Jehovah” in the Christian Scriptures, we are still faced with the fact that the original writers of those Christian Scriptures referred to the name of God’s Son with far greater frequency. The name “Jesus” appears 912 times, hence far outnumbering the 237 insertions of the name “Jehovah.”30 This too is strikingly different from the practice found within Watch Tower publications, where the ratio is at times just the reverse. Beginning particularly with Rutherford’s presidency, those publications reveal a progressive increase in the use of the name “Jehovah,” accompanied by at least a diminished reference to God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Yet God himself has stated that it is His will that “all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He that does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”31 The writers of the Christian Scriptures clearly took that statement to heart and their example should be followed, not dis- counted under the claim that it does not fit the needs of our time.
The evidence is, then, that the practice found within the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses as to repetitive use of, and emphasis on, the Tetragrammaton in actuality reflects more the practice existing within the nation of Israel in pre-Christian times than it does the practice within the congregation of Christ’s followers in the first century. If there is no justification for this “turning of the clock back,” then how are the many Scriptures calling on us to proclaim and honor God’s name to be fulfilled? To determine this, the following question must be considered:
Why the Change from Pre-Christian to Christian Times?
As has been shown, despite all claims and theories, there is simply no solid evidence to show that the Tetragrammaton appeared in any of the Christian Scriptures outside of its four appearances in abbreviated form in Revelation. The historical evidence, some of it evidently reaching back to within a few decades of the time of Paul’s writings, is forcefully to the contrary. In view of the abundant appearance of the Tetragrammaton in the pre-Christian (Hebrew) Scriptures, with its thousands of occurrences there, this change is indeed remarkable. Faced with the known evidence, the question is, how can such notable change be understood? What effect does this have on our taking to heart and applying the many Scriptural exhortations to praise, honor and sanctify God’s name?
To understand this we need first to understand what the expression “name” means in the Scriptures and what is actually referred to by God’s “name.” We often limit the expression “name” in our thinking to a word or phrase that distinguishes one person or thing from another, what is generally called “a proper noun” or an “appellation,” such as “John,” “Mary,” “Australia,” and “Atlantic.” This is the most common use of the term “name” in everyday speech and is often its sense in the Scriptures. Yet “name” can apply in a number of other ways. In the late 1960s, when the Watch Tower Society’s Aid to Bible Understanding (now Insight on the Scriptures) was being prepared, I was assigned to write articles for it on the subjects of “Jehovah” and “Jesus Christ” and “Name.” At the time I saw no reason to question seriously the Watch Tower teachings about a widespread use of the name “Jehovah” among first-century Christians, and I sincerely sought to uphold those views.32 I was unaware of a number of factors discussed in this present writing; other factors simply did not enter my thinking because my mind was directed toward upholding the organization’s teachings rather than in weighing and assessing their validity. But in researching the three subjects mentioned, one thing did come home to me more clearly than ever before, and that is the fact that the word “name” can have a far broader, more vital sense than is commonly assigned it. That understanding became the foundation for realizing how narrowly limited my view of numerous scriptures had been and eventually for recognizing that the organization’s application of them was often unjustified. “Name,” for example, can refer, not to a particular distinguishing “proper noun,” but to a reputation or personal life record. When we say a person “made a good name for himself,” or “a bad name for himself,” we are referring not to the word or phrase that is used to identify him, such as “Richard” or “Henry” or “John Smith,” but to the reputation he has gained. The goodness or badness of his “name” has nothing to do with either his given name or his surname. Similarly, when we say that, because of some wrongful course, a per- son has “lost his good name,” we are not talking about a name in the common, literal sense, but in a far larger sense. So, a man might be known by the name “Mr. Christian Goodman” and yet, in this broader sense, have a “bad name.” That latter “name” is obviously of greater importance than the name or appellation commonly designating him, for it deals with what he himself actually is and has done. This broader, deeper sense of the word “name” appears often in the Scriptures.33
“Name” can refer to the authority by which something is done. That is what we mean by the expression “in the name of the law,” or “in the name of the king.” The “law” has no particular “name” in the ordinary sense, and it is not a reference to some name such as “Henry” or “Louis” or “Ferdinand” that is meant by “in the name of the king,” but rather the kingly authority and position appealed to as basis for the demand made. At Ephesians 1:21, the apostle speaks of government, authority, power and lordship and “every name named.” This shows clearly that “name” often represents authority and position.34 In an article on the holy Spirit, the January 15, 1991, issue of the Watchtower (page 5), the organization is in effect obliged to acknowledge this sense of the word “name” in its explanation of the sense of the expression at Matthew 28:19, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” Since there is no “name” in the common, ordinary sense, given to the holy Spirit, it is evident that the term is used here in a different sense. As early as the December 15, 1944 Watchtower (pages 371, 372) the statement was made:
Baptism into the Son’s name means more than just into the literal name of the Son, Jesus Christ; just as name stands for more than its literal meaning. The name carries with it all the honor, authority, power and office that the Father has laid upon the Son.
What is true of the “name of the Son” as compared with the literal name “Jesus Christ” is equally true of the “name of the Father” as compared with the literal name “Jehovah.”
This same expression, “in the name of,” can therefore also mean that the one claiming to speak or act “in the name of” another, claims authority to represent that person.35
Ultimately, then, in speaking of one’s “name” the true reference may be, not to just a word or phrase used to designate an individual, but to the person himself, his personality, qualities, principles and record, what he himself is. (Somewhat similarly, when we appeal to someone “in the name of mercy” we refer to all that the quality of mercy represents and stands for.) It can therefore rightly be said that, even if we know the name by which a person is called, if we do not know him for what he actually is, we do not really know his “name” in the true, vital sense.
In preparing the article “Jehovah” for the Aid book, I included the following quotation from Hebrew scholar, Professor G. T. Manley:
A study of the word “name” in the O[ld] T[estament] reveals how much this word means in Hebrew. The name is no mere label, but is significant of the real personality of him to whom it belongs.36
To “know God’s name,” then, means far more than simply knowing a certain word that designates him. Writing of those who claim that Exodus 6:2, 3, indicates that the Tetragrammaton or the name “Jehovah” first became known in the time of Moses, Professor of Hebrew D. H. Weir writes:
[They] have not studied [these verses] in the light of other scriptures; otherwise they would have perceived that by name must be meant here not the two syllables [Yahweh‚] which make up the name Jehovah, but the idea which it expresses. When we read in Isaiah, ch. lii. 6, “Therefore my people shall know my name”; or in Jeremiah, ch. xvi. 21, “They shall know that my name is Jehovah”; or in the Psalms, Ps. ix. [10, 16], “They that know thy name shall put their trust in thee”; we see at once that to know Jehovah’s name is something very different from knowing the four letters [YHWH] of which it is composed. It is to know by experience that Jehovah really is what his name declares him to be. (Compare also Is. xix. 10, 21; Eze. xx. 5, 9; xxxix. 6, 7; Ps. lxxxiii. ; lxxxix. ; 2 Ch. vi. 33.) — Imperial Bible Dictionary, Vol. I, pages 856, 857.37
Because of coming to recognize this far deeper meaning of the term “name” in the Bible, when writing the article “Jehovah” for the book Aid to Bible Understanding, I included this statement (page 1202):
We can understand this by the fact that the term “name” is used in an identical way with reference to God’s Son. When the apostle John writes, “But to all who received him, who believe in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” John is clearly not referring just to the name “Jesus.”39 He is referring to the person of the Son of God, to what he is as the “Lamb of God,” his divinely- assigned position as Ransomer and Redeemer and Mediator on behalf of mankind. Recognizing this, in place of “believed in his name,” some translations read, “[did] believe in him” (An American Translation), “truly believed in him” (Phillips Modern English), “yielded him their allegiance” (New English Bible).40
Would the mere use of the name “Jesus,” or even a very frequent pronouncing of the name, or a constant calling attention to that literal name, prove anything as regards one’s being a genuine believer in Christ, a true follower of his? Obviously, none of these things would of themselves demonstrate that one is actually a Christian. Nor would they mean that one was truly “making known the name” of God’s Son in the real sense of Scripture. Millions of persons today regularly employ and speak the name “Jesus.” Yet many of them grossly misrepresent and in fact obscure the true and vital “name” of God’s Son because their conduct and course are so very far from reflecting either the teachings, the personality, or the way of life he exemplified. Their lives do not demonstrate conduct consistent with faith in his power to provide redemption. That, and not the use of a particular word or proper noun, is what is involved in ‘belief in his name.’41
The same is true of the use of the name “Jehovah.” No matter how often individuals, or an organization of people, may voice that literal name (claiming a special righteousness by their repeated use of such name), if they do not genuinely reflect, in attitude, conduct and practice, what the Person himself is like — His qualities, ways and standards — then they have not truly come to “know his name” in the Scriptural sense. They do not really know the person or personality represented by the Tetragrammaton.42 Use of that name would then amount to no more than lip service.43 If they claim to speak “in his name” yet misrepresent what He himself states in his own Word, or make false predictions “in his name,” or devise and impose unscriptural legislation and rules “in his name,” or make unjust judgments and condemnations “in his name,” then they have, in effect, “taken his name in vain.” They have acted in a way that neither has his authorization, nor reflects his qualities and standards and what He himself is as a Person.44
The same is likewise true of using some form of the Tetragrammaton for sectarian purposes, employing it as a means to distinguish one religious group from other religious groups. The evidence is that the name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” developed in response to such an interest. Similarly “to praise his holy name” or “to sanctify his name” does not mean simply to praise a particular word or phrase, for how could one ‘praise a word’ or ‘praise a title’? Rather, it clearly means to praise the Person himself, to speak reverently and admiringly of Him and his qualities and ways, to view and respect Him as Holy in the superlative sense.
The Conclusive Way of Identifying the True God
Obviously, it is necessary that the Person praised be identified. But to do this one is not limited to the use of just one specific designation. The apostles and disciples of Christ Jesus who wrote the Christian Scriptures referred to God as “God” in the vast majority of cases. While in about 22 cases they used the term “Lord” in conjunction with “God,” and some 40 times accompanied the term “God” with reference to the “Father,” in some 1,275 other times they simply said “God.” They clearly felt no need or compulsion regularly to preface that term with some other name, such as “Jehovah.” The whole context in which they wrote made clear as to whom they were writing about.
Thus, while acknowledging the fact that there are “many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’” who are worshiped, the apostle goes on to say that “there is actually to us one God, the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him, and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.”45 We may note that even in the rendering of the New World Translation, the apostle Paul did not feel a need here to employ the Tetragrammaton to identify the true God from the numerous gods of the nations. (In this, again, he fails to reflect the viewpoint and practice of the Watch Tower organization today.) Some, in fact, might have construed the Tetragrammaton as pertaining solely to “the God of the Jews.” Paul’s words at Romans 3:29, show that he sometimes found it necessary to clarify that the God of whom he spoke was not thus limited. When he spoke to the Athenians who worshiped many deities, he clearly identified to them the true God, but not by any use of the name “Jehovah,” “Yahweh” or similar form of the Tetragrammaton.46 If there is concern over avoiding any confusion of identity, it is undeniable that no designation more clearly identifies the true God than that of “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” found frequently in apostolic writings.47
The Revelation of God’s True Name Through His Son
When we as humans make known our personal name to others, to that extent we reveal ourselves to them — we are no longer anonymous. Such revelation also has the effect of producing a more intimate relationship between persons, eliminating to some degree the sense of being strangers to one another. As has been shown, however, it is when such persons come to know us for what we are, what we stand for, the qualities we have, what we have done or are doing, then only do they know our “name” in the more important sense. The personal name we carry is in reality little more than a symbol; it is not the “name” of real importance.
In revealing Himself to his servants and others in pre-Christian times, God used, predominantly though not exclusively, the name represented by the Tetragrammaton (YHWH). But the revelation of his “name” in the true, crucial and vital sense came through the revelation of Himself to them as a Person, supreme, almighty, holy, righteous, merciful, compassionate, truthful, purposeful, unfailing in his promises. And yet the revelation accomplished at that time was minor compared to that which was to come.
It is with the coming of the Messiah, God’s Son, that the majestic revelation of God’s “name” in the full sense arrives. As the apostle John says:
No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.48
Through his Son, God reveals himself — His reality and personality— as never before. By means of this revelation He also opens the way for our entering into a unique intimate relationship with Him, of children with a Father, not only sons of God but heirs, joint heirs with his Royal Son. Thus John also says of those putting faith in God’s Messiah, Jesus Christ: “However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.”49
A few years after the Aid to Bible Understanding book was completed, the research I had done in connection with the sense of the word “name” provided the basis for an article appearing in the February 15, 1973 issue of the Watchtower titled “Why Does ‘Faith in the Name’ of Jesus Christ Bring Life?” and another in the May 1, 1973 Watchtower, titled “What Does God’s Name Mean to You?” Virtually all the points relative to the deeper sense of the term “name” that have thus far been considered are presented in those articles. Among other things, the second article cited discussed Jesus’ prayer on the night before his death, in which he said to his Father:
I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me… watch over them on account of your own name which you have given me… I have made your name known to them and will make it known.50
After asking in what way Jesus ‘made God’s name known’ to his apostles, the article quoted the following comment in Albert Barnes Notes, Explanatory and Practical, on the Gospels (1846):
The word name [in these verses] includes the attributes, or character of God. Jesus had made known his character, his law, his will, his plan of mercy. Or in other words, he had revealed God to them. The word name is often used to designate the person.51
After that quotation this Watchtower article then made the following comments:
So, as Jesus ‘explained the Father’ by his own entire perfect life course on earth, he was really ‘making God’s name known.’ He demonstrated that he spoke with God’s full backing and authority. Jesus could therefore say: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also.” God’s “name” thus took on greater meaning to his early followers.
While this Watchtower article of May 1, 1973, contained a number of statements that reflected many basic views of the Watch Tower organization that are actually sectarian in nature, nonetheless I believe it is true to say that as a whole it accurately pointed to the Biblical sense of the word “name.” The article regularly stressed that doing things in “God’s name” meant far more than the mere use or pronunciation of the name “Jehovah.” It might be of interest to persons today to review that material. Though what I wrote in this article was approved by the organization for publication, and though, to my knowledge, never refuted, the Watchtower magazine has never since contained information of this kind. Its articles manifest an almost total disregard for the principle there presented with Biblical support.52
In condemning those whom it would classify as “apostates,” the Watchtower magazine cites as one “proof” of their “apostasy” that they do not give the same importance to the use of the name “Jehovah” as does the Witness organization. In addition to what has already been presented here, there is much more evidence that shows that, if the Watch Tower organization’s use of the term is the right one, exemplifying the proper honor for God’s “name,” then this would also make Christ and his apostles “apostates.”
The Designation Preferred by Christ
In comparison with the 6,800 or more references to “Jehovah,” the pre-Christian Hebrew Scriptures contain only about a dozen cases where God is referred to, or addressed, as “Father.” Even in these cases, the term is used principally with reference to God’s relationship with Israel as a people, and not of his relationship to the individual.53
It is, then, only with the coming of God’s Son and his revelation of his Father that this intimate relationship really comes to the fore. The New World Translation of the Christian Scriptures inserts the name “Jehovah” into those writings 237 times, doing so without sound basis. Yet, even with this essentially arbitrary introduction of something not found in any ancient manuscript of the Christian Scriptures, the reference to God as “Father” is still more prominent, for He is called, or addressed, as “Father” some 260 times in those Christian writings — this without any need for an arbitrary introduction of the term by translators.
Contrary to the common practice of Jehovah’s Witnesses when addressing God in prayer Jesus consistently addressed Him, never as “Jehovah,” but always as “Father” (employing that expression six times in just his final prayer with his disciples). Even in the New World Translation, never once in any of his prayers is Jesus found addressing or referring to his Father as “Jehovah.”54 Hence, when he prays to his Father, saying “Father, glorify your name,” it is evident that the term “name” is here used in its fuller, deeper sense, as representing the Person himself. Otherwise the complete absence in Jesus’ prayers of a specific appellative, such as “Jehovah,” would be inexplicable.55 When with his disciples the final night before his death, both in talking to them and in a lengthy prayer Jesus referred to God’s “name” four times.56 Yet in that entire night, filled with counsel and exhortation to his disciples and in prayer, not a single occurrence is found of his employing the name “Jehovah.” Rather he consistently employed the designation “Father,” doing so some fifty times! When dying the next day, he did not cry out using the name “Jehovah” but said, “My God, my God,” and in his final words said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.”57 As Christians, whose example, then, should we follow? That of a twentieth-century religious denomination or that of God’s Son, manifest at such a crucial time?
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, had he followed the practice developed among Jehovah’s Witnesses by the Watch Tower organization he would have taught them either to address their prayer to “Jehovah God” or to have included that name some- where in their prayer. Instead, he taught them to follow his own example and address their prayer to “Our Father in the heavens.”58 In our family relationships we do not normally refer to or address our father as “John,” “Richard,” or “Herman” or whatever his given name is. To do so would give no indication of the relationship we enjoy with our parent. We address him as “father” or the more intimate “papa” or “Dad.” Those outside that relationship could not use such term. They must restrict themselves to a more formal address involving a particular given name. Thus, with those who become children of God through Christ Jesus, the apostle says, “Now because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: Abba [an Aramaic expression meaning “papa”], Father!’”59 This fact undoubtedly plays a major part in explaining why the undeniable change came, with the pre-Christian emphasis on the name “Jehovah” passing to the Christian emphasis on the heavenly “Father,” for it is not only in prayer that Jesus made that term his expression of choice. As a reading of the gospel accounts makes evident, in all his speaking with his disciples he consistently and primarily refers to God as “Father.” It is only by coming into and deeply appreciating the intimate relationship with the Father which the Son has opened up to us that we can truly say that we know God’s “name” in the full and genuine sense.60
The Tetragrammaton Finds Fulfillment through God’s Son
There is, however, yet another aspect that may shed light on this definite change in emphasis. The name represented by the Tetragrammaton (YHWH=Yahweh, Jehovah) is from a form of the verb “to be” (hayah´). Some scholars believe it is from the causative form of that verb. If so it would mean literally “He who causes to be, who brings into existence.”61 This would harmonize with God’s response to Moses’ question about His name, saying, according to some translations, “I will be what I will be.”62 While many translations here read, “I am that I am,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Vol. 2, page 507) says of the rendering:
“I will be who/what I will be” . . . is preferable because the verb haya has a more dynamic sense of being — not pure existence, but becoming, happening, being present — and because the historical and theological context of these early chapters of Exodus shows that God is revealing to Moses, and subsequently to the whole people, not the inner nature of His being [or existence], but His active, redemptive intentions on their behalf. He “will be” to them “what” His deeds will show Him “to be.”63
On this basis, it might be properly said that the name represented in the Tetragrammaton (Yahweh or Jehovah), with its emphasis on God’s purposes for his people, finds its true fulfillment in and through God’s Son. The name “Jesus” (Hebrew Yeshuah) itself means “Yah [or Jah] saves.” In and through him all the purposes of God toward mankind find their full realization. All prophecies point ultimately toward this Messianic Son, making him their focal point. At Revelation 19:10, the angel tells John that “the witness to Jesus inspires all prophecy.”64 The fulfillment of those prophecies radiates out from him. Thus, the apostle can say:
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” [meaning “certain,” “true”] is spoken by us to the glory of God.65
This culmination of all God’s promises and redemptive purposes in and through Christ Jesus may, then, give added explanation to the change that clearly is evident in the Christian Scriptures as compared with the Hebrew Scriptures in their mode of reference to God. It would explain why God purposely causes attention to be focused so abundantly on the name of his Son, and why his holy Spirit inspired the Christian Bible writers to do so. That Son is “the Amen,” the “Word of God,” the One who could say “I have come in my Father’s name” in the full and most important sense of the word “name.”66
Back at the time when the Israelites were traveling toward Canaan, Jehovah stated that he would send his angel ahead of them to guide them. They were to obey that angelic guide, he said, “Because my name is within him.”67 In a far greater sense did God cause his “name” to be in Christ Jesus during his earthly life. Thus some texts of the Hebrew Scriptures that contain statements related to “Jehovah” were applied in the Christian Scriptures to the Son, the basis for doing so evidently being that his Father had invested in him full power and authority to speak and act in His name, because this Son gave a perfect revelation of the Father’s personality and purpose in every way, and because the Son is the royal and rightful Heir of his Father.68
In all these ways then — by his unique and unsurpassable revelation of God, by making known as never before his Father’s personality and purpose and dealings, and by his opening the way to the relationship of sonship with God — Jesus Christ made known and glorified the true and vital “name” of his Father in the heavens. In prayer to his Father on the night before his death, having truthfully said “I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do,” he could then rightly say, “I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world. Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name which you have given to me, in order that they may be one just as we are.”69
Arbitrary Insertion Obscures Scriptural Teachings
One of the most serious aspects of this matter is that, by its arbitrary insertion of the name “Jehovah” in numerous cases where the manuscripts read “Lord” (Greek, kyrios), the New World Translation often seriously detracts from the glorious role and position the Father has assigned to his Son. Consider the apostle’s discussion in Romans 10:1-17. The whole thrust of this section of Paul’s letter is on faith in Christ, that Christ is “the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness,” and Paul discusses “the ‘word’ of faith that we are preaching,” saying, “if you publicly declare that ‘word in your own mouth,’ that Jesus is Lord, and exercise faith in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you will be saved.” Yet, in spite of the complete focus on faith in Christ as Lord in all the surrounding context, when the New World Translation comes to verse 13, setting aside the fact that the Greek text uses the word for “Lord,” the translator here inserts the name “Jehovah,” so that the text reads, “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.’” True, this identical expression is found at Joel 2:32, and there speaks of calling on the name of “Jehovah.” But does this demand that a translator override the textual evidence from the ancient manuscripts of the apostle’s writings, or does it give him the right to do so, replacing the term “Lord” with “Jehovah”? The question should be, What does the context show and what do the rest of the Scriptures show?
The Christian Scriptures make obvious that “calling upon the name” of the Son in faith and “calling upon the name” of his Father are not in any sense mutually exclusive actions. Both before and after Paul’s quoted statement, the apostle had discussed that God’s purpose and will is that salvation should come through his Son, the Christ. Since the Son came “in his Father’s name,” to “call upon the name” of the Son for salvation is simultaneously a calling on the name of the Father who sent him.70 God revealed himself through his Son, so that he that saw the Son was, in effect, seeing the Father.71 Again and again Christ’s disciples spoke of putting faith in Jesus’ “name,” in the deeper, more vital sense of the term.72 At Pentecost, after having quoted the same expression from Joel’s prophecy quoted by Paul, Peter told the crowd that they should be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins.”73 He later declared to the Sanhedrin that “there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.”74 When speaking to Cornelius and others, Peter said of Christ, “to him all the prophets [which would include Joel] bear witness, that everyone putting faith in him gets forgiveness of sins through his name.”75 At the time of Saul of Tarsus’ conversion, Ananias spoke in vision to Christ of “those calling upon your name,” and when Saul (or Paul) later related the event, he quoted Ananias as saying that God had willed that he, Paul, should “see the righteous One and . . . hear the voice of his mouth,” so as to be “a witness for him to all men” of what he had seen and heard. He states that Ananias next said to him. “Rise, get baptized and wash your sins away by your calling upon his [Christ’s] name.”76 In the face of all such evidence, why should any translator to- day overrule the most ancient textual evidence and take it upon himself to substitute “Jehovah” for “the Lord” in the apostle’s statement at Romans 10:13? In numerous cases the context does clearly indicate that the “Lord” spoken of is God, the Father. But in other cases the context points more directly to his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The altering of the text in Romans chapter ten is not an isolated instance in which the New World Translation’s 237 insertions of “Jehovah” into the text (in place of the original language manuscript reading of “the Lord”) has the effect of eliminating application to Christ when the context either indicates it or clearly allows for it.77 If it is the will of the Father to glorify his Son, to give him an exalted name and cause that “name” to be the object of faith, why should any one of us disagree with His doing so? Similarly, if the Christian writers among Jesus’ apostles and disciples, most of whom had been with him, had heard his words directly and knew first-hand the manner in which he himself referred to God, did not use the Tetragrammaton in their writings, why should we, in effect, take the position that they ought to have done so and assume the right to edit their inspired writings to include it? If we do so, are we truly showing respect for God’s “name,” submitting to his sovereign authority and will? Or are we showing instead a willingness to act outside that authority, taking matters into our own hands, while at the same time claiming to do so “in his name”?
Viewing Symbols in Their Proper Perspective
In view of all the Scriptural evidence and particularly the example of Jesus and his apostles, it seems clear that focusing on and intensely emphasizing the name “Jehovah” proves little as to the validity of any religion’s claim for making known and sanctifying the “name of God” in its most important sense. The Christian Scriptures, as God has seen fit to have them preserved for us by means of thousands of ancient manuscripts, nowhere place focus on the Tetragrammaton in any form. They show that God’s Son did not place emphasis on that designation, either in speech or in prayer, revealing instead that his designation of choice was “Father.” They show that in their writings his apostles and disciples followed that same pattern. Reluctance to follow their example, perhaps even a fear of doing so, may be the result of yet another mistaken viewpoint, an error in value judgment.
Humans often commit the error of focusing on a symbol and failing to see and give importance to the greater thing of which the symbol is merely a representation. The flag of any nation, for example, is properly shown respect. The respect is due, not because of the cloth of which it is com- posed or particularly because of the design it bears, but because it is a symbol of the government and nation and ideals for which it stands. Yet some commit the error of forgetting that such a national emblem always remains only a symbol; it is not in any way equal to what is symbolizes. They may profess great reverence for the symbol while by their conduct they degrade that for which it stands, “wrapping themselves in the flag” while engaging in speech and acts and deeds that are in violation of, or out of harmony with, the laws and principles on which the particular nation is founded. As Jehovah’s Witnesses know, because of their scrupling against saluting any flag of any nation, some persons in the United States during the 1940s engaged in mob violence against them, viciously beating them, destroying their property. In doing so those per- sons betrayed the very laws and principles of the nation that the flag symbolizes, showed contempt for the provisions of its Constitution and judicial system. In the African nation of Malawi, the same unreasoning importance was attributed to a national party card and when, in submissively adhering to organizational teachings and policy, Witnesses refused to purchase this they were beaten, their homes were burned and they were forced to flee the country. In all such cases, the extreme and unbalanced importance placed upon the symbol itself contributed to acts which did not honor but which degraded that for which the symbol stood. The symbol can be altered or even replaced, yet that which it represents may remain the same.
In the field of religion, some show the same unbalanced view toward symbols. The Israelites repeatedly committed such error.78 For centuries, Jehovah employed the ark of the covenant as a symbol of his own presence. The cloud appearing above the ark’s cover (evidently providing a miraculous light) in the Most Holy of the temple similarly symbolized his presence.79 To suggest that these things might someday cease to be would have then seemed sacrilegious to Israelites, something unthinkable. Yet the time came when God allowed both the ark of the covenant and the temple itself to be destroyed and the cloud in the Most Holy to cease for all time. The disappearance of these symbols in no way diminished his Person or his glory. Rather it demonstrated His superiority to such symbols themselves. They were all but a shadow of better, greater things, the realities.80
Because of the manner in which God’s Son died, the cross has historically been used by Christian religions in general as a symbol of that death and what it signifies for mankind.81 The apostle Paul spoke of that instrument (called “the torture stake” in the New World Translation) as representative of the very essence of the good news he proclaimed.82 Yet some make such a symbol something sacred in itself, even going to the point of attributing near magical powers to it, as though that symbol were a charm capable of protecting them from harm and evil, from demonic powers. In thus superstitiously perverting the symbol they prove false to the Son of God, whose purpose on earth is summed up in that symbol.83
What is true of such symbols can also be true of a word that is used to symbolize a person, including the person of God. The name represented by the four letters of the Tetragrammaton (Yahweh or Jehovah) is worthy of our deep respect, for it figures with great prominence in the long history of God’s dealings with men, and particularly with his covenant people of Israel, during the pre-Christian period. But the Tetragrammaton, however pronounced, remains only a symbol of the Person. We commit a grave error if we attribute to a word — even though used as a name of God — importance equivalent to that of the One it represents, and it is far worse if we view that word itself as a sort of verbal fetish, talisman or charm capable of protecting us from harm and evil, from demonic powers. By so doing we demonstrate that we have actually lost sight of the true and vital meaning of the “name” of God. We can make it something prominently exhibited, as a flag or a crucifix are exhibited, but prove nothing as to the genuineness of our reverence for the true God.84
Some among Jehovah’s Witnesses who have come to realize how far from the Scriptural teachings many of the organization’s positions are, and even some who have come out of that organization, nonetheless express the feeling that God must do something to correct the situation. Because it calls itself “Jehovah’s organization” they feel it is certain to receive special attention from God. In view of all the Scriptural evidence discussed, there is no reason to believe that the Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has any greater concern for the religious movement named “Jehovah’s Witnesses” than he has for any other of the world’s religions which unquestionably claim to speak “in his name,” including the “Church of God” movements, the “Church of Christ” movements, or for that matter, the Roman Catholic Church with its hundreds of millions of adherents. To think that God is obligated to take some special action to clean up the Watch Tower organization, while letting whatever problems and faults exist in all the thousands of other religions continue as they are, is not, I feel, based on any sound Scriptural reason. No people on earth were more intimately connected with the name represented by the Tetragrammaton (Yahweh or Jehovah) than the Israelite nation, those to whom the words, “You are my witnesses,” were originally addressed. Yet God did not “straighten out” that nation, nor did his Son do so. The desire on their part (particularly that of the national leadership) for change was absent. The evidence is that it is similarly absent in the Watch Tower organization as an organization.
God’s “taking out a people for his name” thus has far greater depth of meaning than merely the application of a nominative word, and our demonstrating ourselves to be among those sanctifying and proclaiming God’s name calls for far more from us than simply the repetitive use of Yahweh or Jehovah or any other single term.85 Just as it is easy to display or wave a flag, or wear or kiss a cross, but far harder to live in accord with the principles these are considered to stand for, so too it is relatively easy to take on our lips a certain word as a name but far harder to honor that of which such word-name is solely a symbol. We genuinely honor and make known our Father’s name in the true sense only if we live lives demonstrating ourselves to be his children, emulating Him in all we do, having his Son as our example.86
1 – Scholars recognize that “Jehovah” is not an accurate rendering of the Tetragrammaton; many believe “Yahweh” comes closest to the correct pronunciation of the Hebrew. In its original “Foreword” the Watch Tower’s New World Translation stated: “While inclining to view the pronunciation ‘Yah.weh‚’ as the more correct way, we have retained the form ‘Jehovah’ because of people’s familiarity with it since the 14th century.” See New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, page 25.
2 – See Chapter 4, pages 71-73, 75.
3 – See photocopy in Chapter 4, page 73.
4 – See Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pages 125, 126.
5 – Acts 1:8.
6 – Some years ago the Watchtower magazine occasionally modified the name in its articles by using the expression “Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.” (See also the 1971 book “The Nations Shall Know that I Am Jehovah,”,which frequently employs this term, as in pages 51-54, 76, 82, and so forth.) It was then learned that a group of former Witnesses had already adopted and registered legally this name. The Watchtower thereafter generally desisted from using the expression. An exception is found in the August 15, 1980, Watchtower, page 24.
7 – Matthew 13:24-30; Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.
8 – Revelation chapters 2 and 3.
9 – Matthew 5:16, 44, 45; John 13:35; 17:17-19; Romans 6:4, 8-10; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 2:5,6; 2 John 6. In addition to the group already mentioned officially known as “Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses” there are also a considerable number of earlier “Sacred Name” movements, prominent among which is that called “Assemblies of Yahweh.” None of these show any connection, in origin or otherwise, with the Watch Tower organization. These movements use the name derived from the Tetragrammaton with a frequency that is certainly equal to that of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and their Bible translations, such as the Holy Name Bible, use that name with even greater frequency in the New Testament scriptures. This information is based on a treatise by Rud Persson, mentioned later in this chapter.
10 – See for example the Watchtower, July 1, 1988, page 14; April 1, 1988, page 31; Awake!, April 22, 1988, page 19; the Watchtower, May 15, 1987, page 23; the brochure The Divine Name that Will Endure Forever, pages 10, 11.
11 – See the “Foreword” of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, pages 24, 25.
12 – Although the American Standard Version, with its rendering of the name “Jehovah” thousands of times, was available from 1901 onward, the Watch Tower magazine did not adopt that translation as its basic translation but continued to employ primarily the King James or Authorized Version with its use of “LORD” and “GOD” as substitutes for the Tetragrammaton. Even after the death of Russell in 1916 and during the presidency of Rutherford this continued to be the case. Following Rutherford’s death, in 1944 the Watch Tower Society obtained rights for printing an edition of the American Standard Version on their own presses. Yet, although frequently quoting from this translation and numerous others, they continued to use the Authorized Version as their basic version in all their publications up until the year 1950 when they published their own New World Translation of the Bible. (See Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pages 215, 255.).
13 – See Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 315.
14 – This information and a number of points made in this chapter were provided by Rud Persson, a researcher in Sweden, and with his permission.
15 – See, for example, Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 6.
16 – This is called the Papyrus Fouad Inventory No. 266 and copies of portions thereof are found in the appendix of the Watch Tower Society’s Kingdom Interlinear Translation, pages 1135, 1136.
17 – See Kingdom Interlinear Translation, pages 10, 11, 1134-1136; see also the August 1, 1988, Watchtower, page 30; Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 315. The Watch Tower Society also appeals to Aquila’s Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures for support of the view that the Septuagint copies in Jesus’ and the apostles’ day contained the Tetragrammaton. In his book The Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation, pages 28, 29, Dr. Robert Countess shows that this appeal is ill-founded. For one thing, Aquila’s translation dates from about 130 A.D., decades after the writing of the Christian Scriptures. Secondly, Aquila’s translation has been found to be “slavishly literal” to the Hebrew text to the “absurd point at which the intelligibility of the text suffered,” being far different in many areas from the Septuagint renderings, as scholars versed in Greek manuscripts have pointed out. Aquila’s work should hardly stand as a likely example of what the Septuagint in its original form or in its copies contained.
18 – See New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, pages 11, 12, 18; The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (1985), pages 1137, 1138.
19 – These include the Sinaitic, the Vatican Manuscript 1209, and the Alexandrine, all of the 4th and 5th centuries A.D.
20 – See Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 1, page 443; the New World Translation (1984 Reference Edition), page 1564. The organization shows inconsistency here. In the February 1, 1988, issue of the Watchtower (page 5), in an article titled “Does the Bible Contradict Itself?” the magazine says of the Christian Scripture writers, “Quotations from earlier writings might be altered slightly from the original statements to meet the needs and purposes of the new writer, while still retaining the basic sense and thought Omissions would likewise be according to the writer’s viewpoint and his condensation of the account.” Thus, on the one hand the Watch Tower Society says that in making quotations the Christian Scripture writers “would have been obliged” to include the Tetragrammaton if it was in the Hebrew Scripture copy used, and on the other it says that the writers might properly ‘alter slightly’ the original statements and make omissions as deemed advisable, while still retaining “the basic sense and thought.”
21 – As pointed out by Swedish researcher Rud Persson, this also must be considered when weighing the significance of the appearance of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton in a few copies of the Greek Septuagint translation. The copyists producing such manuscipt copies were copying a Greek text. Yet they placed the Tetragrammaton in that Greek text in Hebrew letters. They did not translate it into some Greek expression corresponding to “Yahweh” or “Jehovah,” or even transliterate the Hebrew letters into corresponding Greek letters. They left it in Hebrew and only if the reader knew that language could he attempt any pronunciation whatsoever. Otherwise, he would not know how to convert those Hebrew characters over to his own alphabet and language, even Jerome states that some in his day, on coming upon these four letters tried to read them as Greek letters and thus pronounced them as “Pi Pi” (Greek pipi). Thus, when it comes to translations into English or any other modern language, those few Septuagint copies would do no more than give some basis, however fragile, for inserting the Tetragrammaton — in Hebrew characters — in quotations made by the Christian writers from the Hebrew Scriptures. They provide no basis for inserting some translation of those characters, as in the name “Jehovah” or “Yahweh.”
22 – Paul’s authorship of Hebrews has been a subject of question among scholars. Its inclusion here would seem to weigh in favor of that authorship.
23 – See Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 316.
24 – It should be noted that paleographical evidence, employed by Dr. Kim, is considered the most reliable means for dating ancient manuscripts. (See also Awake!, June 22, 1972, page 8.)While by no means all scholars accept Dr. Kim’s redating, a number of qualified scholars have expressed recognition of the soundness of his work.
25 – The Watch Tower publications have frequently quoted Professor Howard in support of their claims, yet in a letter to Rud Persson, Professor Howard states, “The Jehovah’s Witnesses have made too much of my articles. I do not support their theories.” See the Appendix for a photocopy of his letter to Rud Persson.
26 – See The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (1985), pages 13, 14.
27 – See the listing in the Kingdom Interlinear 1969 edition., pages 28-30.
28 – See also Awake!, June 22, 1972, pages 5-8; March 8, 1971, page 23. The Watchtower of March 1, 1991, page 28, in its effort to justify the insertion of the Tetragrammaton into the Christian Scriptures, even goes so far as to refer to certain German translations that contain the name in footnotes and commentaries! Surely no responsible translator would view this as giving any basis for ignoring or overriding the ancient manuscript evidence itself in favor of a different rendering.
29 – See also Aid to Bible Understanding, page 1110 (or Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 318); “All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial,” pages 318, 319.
30 – “Christ” appears an additional 530 or so times (though often in combination with the name “Jesus”). On the composition of the New World Translation Committee, see Crisis of Conscience, page 56, footnote 16.
31 – John 5:23.
32 – These same articles appear in the later Insight on the Scriptures virtually unchanged.
33 – Proverbs 10:7; 22:1; Ecclesiastes 7:1, are but a few examples.
34 – Compare Matthew 10:41 where the Greek literally reads “in the name of a prophet”; (see Kingdom Interlinear Translation), see also Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:3, 4. The May 15, 1985, issue of the Watchtower (page 17) quotes Isaiah 62:2 and the words addressed to Israel, “You will actually be called by a new name,” and then says, “That ‘name’ refers to the blessed condition into which these modern-day disciples have been gathered.”
35 – Compare Exodus 5:23; Deuteronomy 10:8; 18:5, 7, 19-22; 1 Samuel 17:45; Esther 3:12; 8:8, 10; Acts 3:16; 4:5-10; 2 Thessalonians 3:6.
36 – Aid to Bible Understanding, page 885. In discussing the name of God in the Hebrew Scriptures, Geerhardus Vos, in Biblical Theology (1959, pages 76f) similarly states: “In the Bible the name is always more than a conventional sign. It expresses character or history.” In harmony with this, the February 1, 1945, Watchtower (page 41) first reviewed the position and authority of the Father and then stated: “One cannot be baptized validly unless having and making a recognition of these facts as to Jehovah’s name, which name stands for what he is.”
37 – See also Aid to Bible Understanding, pages 888, 889; the same material appears in Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, pages 12, 13.
38 – The same material is found in Insight on the Scriptures, Vol 2, pages 466. 467.
39 – John 1:12.
40 – Somewhat similarly, the 1988 Watch Tower publication, Revelation — Its Grand Climax At Hand!, page 280, in discussing Revelation chapter 19, verse 12, and its reference to the written “name” assigned to Christ, which “no one knows but he himself,” acknowledges that this “appears to stand for the position and privileges that Jesus enjoys during the Lord’s day,” hence not to any name in the common, everyday sense of the term.
41 – Compare Matthew 7:21-23; Romans 2:24; see also the article on “Jesus Christ” in Aid to Bible Understanding under the heading “The full significance of his ‘name,’” page 924; the same material is in Insight on the Scriptures, Vol 2, page 61.
42 – Compare Ezekiel 36:20.
43 – Compare Hosea 8:1, 2; Matthew 15:8.
44 – For a further discussion of this aspect, see Chapter 11, pages 385-387.
45 – 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6.
46 – Acts 17:16-34.
47 – Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; 2 John 3
48 – John 1:18, JB; the NEB rendering is similar.
49 – John 1:12; see also Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-7.
50 – John 17:6, 11, 26.
51 – Several translations demonstrate recognition of this, so that in rendering the above verses of John chapter seventeen, rather than “I have made your name manifest,” they read, “I have revealed you” (NIV); “I have made you known” (TEV), “I have brought you honor” (PME), “I have revealed your real self” (An American Translation).
52 – I also wrote the following article in that issue titled “The Superlative Role of Christ Jesus in God’s Purposes,” which similarly discusses the Scriptural evidence as to the way in which God’s Son “made known” the Father (pages 261-263).
53 – Compare Deuteronomy 32:6, 18; 1 Chronicles 28:6; 29:10; Psalm 2:7; 89:26; Isaiah 63:16; 64:8; Jeremiah 3:4; 31:9.
54 – Matthew 11:25, 26; 26:39, 42; Mark 14:36; Luke 10:21; 22:42; 23:34, 46; John 11:41, 42; 12:28; 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24, 25.
55 – John 12:28.
56 – John 17:6, 11, 12, 26.
57 – Matthew 27:46; Luke 23:46.
58 – Matthew 6:6-9; compare John 15:16; 16:26, 27.
59 – Galatians 4:6; Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15.
60 – Compare Matthew 11:27. In his treatise, Rud Persson demonstrated the abundant use of “surrogate” or substitute words to refer to God on the part of the Jewish people, including Jesus himself and those who thereafter became Christians. Thus we regularly find the expression “the kingdom of God” stated as the “kingdom of heaven,” with “heaven” standing for “God.” (We do not find the expression “Jehovah’s kingdom” even in the New World Translation.) His treatise presented a host of examples where, if the view advanced by the Watch Tower organization were true, we would certainly expect the ones speaking or writing to refer to the name “Jehovah,” but they instead used some other term.
61 – Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 12; The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, page 507.
62 – Exodus 3:14, NIV, footnote; ASV, footnote.
63 – In connection with the New World Translation rendering “I shall prove to be what I shall prove to be,” Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, page 12, says: “This reveals Jehovah as the One who, with progressive action, causes himself to become the Fulfiller of his promises. Thus he always brings his purposes to realization. Only the true God could rightly and authentically bear such a name.”
64 – Phillips Modern English rendering. See also 1 Peter 1:10-12.
65 – 2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV.
66 – Luke 13:35.
67 – Exodus 23:21. Recognizing the Biblical sense of the word “name,” instead of “my name is in him,” the New English Bible here reads, “my authority rests in him,” and An American Translation renders the same phrase with, “I will manifest myself in him.”
68 – Compare Hebrews 1:10-12 with Psalm 102:1, 25-27; Romans 10:13 with Joel 2:32. See Matthew 23:39; John 1:14, 18; 5:43; 10:25; 16:27; 17:1-4; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-3. Not that Jesus thereby became or was Jehovah, for Christ himself quoted texts from the Hebrew Scriptures in which that name clearly applies to the Father, as in applying Isaiah 61:1, 2 and Psalm 110:1. (See Luke 4:16-21; Matthew 22:41-45.) If Christ were Jehovah, then we would be faced with a senseless picture of Jehovah ‘anointing’ himself and ‘sending’ himself to preach, of Jehovah ‘speaking’ to himself and telling himself to ‘sit’ at his own right hand, as related in those texts.
69 – John 7:4, 6, 11; see also the May 1, 1973 Watchtower article previously mentioned on the subject “The Superlative Role of Christ Jesus in God’s Purposes.”
70 – Matthew 21:9, 23:39; John 5:43; note also the way in which the Christian writers manifest that honoring the “name” of the Son simultaneously shows honor to his Father, God, as at Colossians 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; 1 Peter 4:14, 16; 1 John 3:23.
71 – John 1:14-18; 14:9.
72 – Compare Luke 24:46, 47 and John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18; 20:31; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 John 3:23; 5:13.
73 – Acts 2:38.
74 – Acts 4:12.
75 – Acts 10:42, 43.
76 – Acts 9:14, 17, 21; 22:14-16.
77 – Compare 1 Corinthians 7:17-23; 16:10; 2 Corinthians 3:14-18; Ephesians 2:19-22; 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; James 5:14, 15. In these verses the context refers to Christ or at least clearly allows for his being the “Lord” spoken of, yet the New World Translation denies such application or even the possibility of it by replacing “the Lord” with “Jehovah.”
78 – See, for example, Numbers 21:9; 2 Kings 18:4.
79 – Exodus 25:17-22; Leviticus 16:2.
80 – Hebrews 9:1-5; 10:1.
81 – I believe that the Watch Tower’s debate over whether “stake” or “cross” is the proper term for the instrument of Christ’s execution is really of little meaning. We know that Romans frequently did use a cross (as we now commonly know it) for purposes of execution. And even though in other contexts a cross may have had sexual connotations in those ancient times, it is perfectly obvious that when used to execute people there was nothing sexual implied. In the Watch Tower Society’s insistence on the Greek term stauros as referring to “stake” or “pole” it ironically never mentions in this connection that poles were a very common phallic symbol and in that sense were as much a sex symbol as the cross ever was. See Awake! July 22, 1964, pages 8-11; the Watchtower August 1, 1974, pages 457, 458.
82 – 1 Corinthians 1:17, 18; Galatians 6:14; Ephesians 2:16; Philippians 3:18.
83 – Compare Matthew 7:21-23. The person who wears a flag on his lapel admittedly proves nothing thereby as to the genuineness of his patriotism. The person prominently displaying a crucifix on his person likewise proves nothing definitive as to his Christianity. Some who do so must honestly admit that they would feel a sense of unease, even a degree of insecurity, if they should not have the crucifix on their person. Any person finding this true in his or her case should confront the issue as to whether such dependence on a symbol does not actually detract from that which is symbolized, robbing the reality of a measure of its importance.
84 – Texts such as Psalm 33:21; 118:10, 11; Proverbs 18:10 and others which speak of trusting in God’s name, resisting enemies in that name, and running into that name as a refuge, certainly mean placing faith in the person of which the particular name is only a symbol.
85 – Acts 15:14.
86 – Matthew 5:43-48