Is "Jehovah" the Name of God?

Danny says,

 Jehovah isn't God's true name, so it can't be 'restored' to the Bible text. Strong's Concordance tells us this name (Jehovah) is made up.
 The Catholic Encyclopedia and Judiaism 101 (on line) both agree that a German copiest was putting YHWH in his mms and then Adonai underneath the letters. He asked the Pope if he could place the vowels within the consonants to make a name.
 
The Pope said fine! Thus the invention of His new name. His self given name is found at Exodus 3:14, and is not Jehovah!(see the Hebrew translation). *Jehovah's* Witnesses the name of an adventist Millerite spin off sect.
 It's the Catholic Pope who 'invented' the Jehovah name and the Watchtower should give him credit for it.


reprint from the Jul/Aug 1985 Bethel Ministries Newsletter

Jehovah
Name Above All Names?

In Exodus 3:15 God designates Himself by a name, indicated in the original Hebrew by the four consonants YHWH (vowels were not supplied in the text). These four letters as written in Hebrew are referred to as the tetragrammaton. Today we are not sure how this name was pronounced, though Hebrew scholars suggest "Yahweh" or "Yaywah." More important than the actual pronunciation of the name, of course, was its meaning to Moses and to Pharaoh, as the context of Exodus chapter three reveals. Additionally, since God reveals that He has called this name upon Himself to time indefinite (forever), we need to understand its meaning for us.

Jehovah's Witnesses, since 1931, like to credit themselves with having a `corner on the market' with God's name. Yet, it was not until 1931 that they took their present name. I was talking with Joseph Pandolfo in Ohio the other day, who is now 86 years old. Joseph served at Watchtower headquarters in the 30's and knew J. F. Rutherford (then the President), having talked with him on many occasions. Joseph mentioned a letter he wrote to Rutherford in 1930 asking why the "Bible Students" (as they were then called) did not have a name to distinguish themselves from the rest of the churches. Pandolfo's letter was never answered, but a year later Rutherford announced a new name for their group, "Jehovah's Witnesses." Rutherford's intention was to set the organization fully apart from the rest of the world who called themselves Christian.

Why did the Watchtower choose the pronunciation "Jehovah" to represent the Divine Name? Apparently because this form was the most common vocalization of the tetragrammaton (YHWH), being used by the King James Bible and a host of others. Today the Watchtower Society does not claim that "Jehovah" is the most accurate way to pronounce the name; indeed, it could not have been, for the "J" and "V" sounds are foreign to the Hebrew language. The Watchtower argument mainly consists of attacking the disuse of the name. They direct criticism at the churches for failing to emphasize that God has a personal name, and that it should be used regularly. This strikes the initiate as a sound argument against the churches, and the JW is seldom countered on this issue. In this article I hope to refute a few of the Watchtower arguments as represented in their recent (1984) booklet, The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever, as well as some of the arguments used in the Appendix 1A of the new Reference edition (1984) of the New World Translation, and the introduction to the Greek-English interlinear produced by the Watchtower.

Some modern scholars argue against the use of the expression "Jehovah," choosing Yahweh or perhaps no vocalization of the tetragram at all, as is the custom of the orthodox Jews today. The arguments of the former mainly consist of pointing out that "Jehovah" was most certainly not the original pronunciation, and that "Jehovah" was a term invented, or at least first used, by the Spanish monk Raymundus Martini in his book Pugeo Fidei in the year 1270 A.D. #1

The latter argument, which is that of the Jewish faith, is based on tradition, the name being considered too sacred to pronounce in common conversation. According to the Mishnah (Rabbinical teachings handed down over the centuries) we read: ". . . In the Temple they pronounced the Name as it was written, but in the provinces by a substituted word." (Sotah 7, 6) Sanhedrin 7, 5, records that a blasphemer was not guilty unless he pronounced the Name. Sanhedrin 10, 1, lists those who pronounce the Name according to its letters as having no share in the world to come.

The Watchtower counter-argument, which holds some weight, is that it does not matter how you pronounce the name, since in every language the pronunciation of the same name will differ, sometimes far from the original, but that you use the name. The name "Jesus" is cited as an example, as is "Joshua" and "Jeremiah." since in Hebrew these names were pronounced more like "Yeshua," "Yehoshua" and "Yermiyahu." They argue that we do not fail to say "Jesus" just because it was not the way his name was actually pronounced. They charge those who do not use "Jehovah" with being inconsistent, since these same ones use the name of Jesus. So far, the Watchtower argumentation is logical.

From this point on, however, the Watchtower's Writing Dept. pursues a narrow line of reasoning while failing to tell the whole story. This will be discussed, as well as their approach to Bible translation. I will divide it into several main points, and the Watchtower quotes will be represented by the smaller type case. Generally, I will start each subject with a current WT quote, then a refutation of it.

Meaning of the Name

Thus it is evident that the original pronunciation of God's name is no longer known. Nor is it really important. If it were, then God Himself would have made sure that it was preserved for us to use. The important thing is to use God's name according to its conventional pronunciation in our own language.
The Divine Name
, p. 7

The above statement sounds logical, and the first three sentences are the same arguments used by Bible language scholars. But history, both of Bible translation and the first century church, reveal the last sentence to be the Watchtower's own thinking. For now, let's consider the meaning of the name.

In the New World Translation, Exodus 3:14 is translated,

"At this God said to Moses: `I SHALL PROVE TO BE WHAT I SHALL PROVE TO BE.' And he added: `This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, "I SHALL PROVE TO BE" has sent me to you.'"

The Watchtower Translating Committee was well aware that this verse is translated by most reputable scholars as "I AM THAT I AM," and that this verse is used to support the view that Jesus was claiming to be equal to Jehovah in John 8:58, when he said in answer to his identity and origin, "I AM" (Greek: ego eimi). In order to avoid all possibilities of this understanding, the Watchtower has used a `future tense' approach. Yet, Keil & Delitzsch, in their Commentary On The Old Testament (Vol. 1, p.74) say:

If we seek for the meaning of (YHWH), the expression "Ehyeh asher ehyeh" in Ex. 3:14, is neither to be rendered "esomaios esomai" (Aq., Theodt.), "I shall be that I shall be" (Luther), nor "I shall be that which I will or am to be" (M. Baumgarten). Nor does it mean, "He who will be because He is Himself, the God of the future" (Hofmann). For in names formed from the third person imperfect, the imperfect is not a future, but an aorist. According to the fundamental signification of the imperfect, names so formed point out a person as distinguished by a frequently or constantly manifested quality, in other words, they express a distinctive characteristic. The Vulgate gives it correctly: "ego sum qui sum," "I am who I am."

In the New Testament, Jesus and the disciples refer often to the name of God. The emphasis in the Hebrew understanding was not the actual pronunciation of the name, but in what the name implies; its authority and characteristics. The same is true in Exodus 3:13, where Moses asks God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, `What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" Yet, the Israelites knew God's name (see Gen. 26:25, 28:13), at least as far as its pronunciation. They were in reality inquiring into the nature expressed in that name.

As Dr. Robert Countess points out in his book, The Jehovah's Witnesses New Testament, on page 26,

"If the Witnesses are to be a people of God's name, and if His name had been preserved in the Greek autographa in ancient Hebrew letters, then it seems reasonable to expect that pronunciation of His name would be preserved also."


But such has not been the case. Rather, as we shall see soon, being a "people for His name" (since the coming of Christ) meant to carry the name of JESUS, not the name "Jehovah."

Did Jesus Use the Name?

One of the Watchtower's main appeals:

On one occasion, Jesus stood up in a synagogue and read a portion of the scroll of Isaiah. The section he read was what we today call Isaiah 61:1,2, where God's name appears more than once. (Luke 4:16-21) Would he have refused to pronounce the divine name there, substituting `Lord' or `God'? Of course not. That would have meant following the unscriptural tradition of the Jewish religious leaders.

Yes, it would be most unreasonable to think that Jesus held back from using God's name, especially when he quoted from those portions of the Hebrew scriptures that contained it.
The Divine Name
, p. 15, 16

There are at least two dogmatic assumptions and one false assumption in their argument. First of all, they assume that the tetragram was actually in the text that Jesus read. The Divine Name booklet, their reference Bible, and the Kingdom Interlinear all go to great lengths to point out that SOME of the earliest copies of the Septuagint (or LXX- the Greek translation of the Old Testament, used often by Jesus) had the YHWH written in Hebrew script wherever the Name occurred. Compared with the great number of manuscripts that do not have the tetragram, however, such texts are a minority. Further, there is simply no way of knowing if the scrolls Jesus read from had the tetragram in them or not. There were too many different kinds of translations in use in the first century. R. Longenecker, in his book, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period (p. 66) says that Jesus

"at times engaged himself in textual selection among the various Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek versions then current."

On page 60-61 of his book, Longenecker says regarding the quotations attributed to Jesus in the gospels:

"The great majority are septuagintal in character. . . . In a few cases . . . it is the LXX reading, as against the reading of the M(asoretic) T(ext) or known Targums, that provide Jesus with the wording."

Since the majority of Septuagint texts available today have no trace of the tetragram, the likelihood is great that he often quoted from texts which did not contain it.

The second dogmatic assumption is that Jesus quoted literally from the texts. Even if the tetragram was in that particular scroll, that is no guarantee he read it word for word or pronounced the tetragram.

For instance, consider Jesus' words in Luke 4:18, where he quotes from Isaiah 61:1. Although it generally matches the reading of the LXX (Septuagint), it is partly contrary to both the LXX and the MT (Masoretic Text), and partly agrees with the MT against the LXX. Additionally, Jesus adds a line from Isaiah 58:6 in his quotation. Another interesting insight is in the writings of Matthew. The Watchtower tries to develop the point that the gospel of Matthew was originally penned in Hebrew, and as such, must have contained the tetragram. Yet, although Matthew's citations are of the Masoretic, or existing Hebrew text, his quotations of Jesus' words are predominantly from the Septuagint, which most likely did not contain the tetragram. This indicates Jesus leaned towards the Septuagint, and perhaps even read the text in Greek!

The third and false assumption made by the Watchtower is that the synagogues and the religious leaders would have tolerated his teaching in the synagogues or credit him by saying, "Teacher, you have spoken well," (Luke 20:37,38) after uttering the Divine Name. Historical records in the Mishnah as well as Josephus and other sources record the Jews as being loathe to allow the Name to be used, and certainly would not have tolerated it by any but the High Priest. Yet there remains absolutely no record of the Jews attacking Jesus for using the Name, which would have been one of their greatest tools against him. In all likelihood he would have been thrown out of the synagogue and the scribes and Pharisees would have refused to listen to his speech at all. Rather, he is accused of blasphemy for attributing the Name to Himself! (i.e., its reputation and authority - see John 8:58; 10:33).

Did the Apostles Use the Name?

The Watchtower argues:

Did Jesus' followers in the first century use God's name? They had been commanded by Jesus to make disciples of people of all the nations. (Matt. 28:19,20) Many of the people to be preached to had no conception of the God who had revealed himself to the Jews by the name Jehovah. How would the Christians be able to identify the true God to them? Would it be enough to call him God or Lord? No. The nations had their own gods and lords. (1 Cor. 8:5) How could the Christians have made a clear difference between the true God and the false ones? Only by using the true God's name.

Thus, the disciple James remarked during a conference of the elders at Jerusalem: "Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of the a people for his name. And with this the words of the Prophets agree." (Acts 15:14,15) The Apostle Peter, in his well-known speech at Pentecost, pointed out a vital part of the Christian message when he quoted the words of the prophet Joel: "Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe." Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21.

The apostle Paul leaves no doubt about the importance to him of God's name. In his letter to the Romans, he quotes the same words by the prophet Joel and goes on to encourage fellow Christians to show their faith in that statement by going out to preach about God's name to others in order that these, too, might be saved. (Romans 10:13-15) Later he wrote in his letter to Timothy: "Let everyone naming the name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness." (2 Tim. 2:19).

However, Jesus and his followers had prophesied that an apostasy would occur in the Christian congregation. The apostle Peter had written: "There will also be false teachers among you." These warnings were fulfilled. One result was that God's name was pushed into the background. It even got removed from copies and translations of the Bible! --The Divine Name, p. 16

To start with, the Watchtower assumes that the Hebrew God had no reputation among the surrounding nations. The Jews were well-known monotheists who worshipped one God, and the name Yahweh conjured up its own reputation among the nations surrounding them. But the real question is, what name were the Christians using to identify themselves with the name Yahweh or Jesus? There is not one indication that the apostolic Christians were ever called "Yahweh's" or "Jehovah's Witnesses," or that they ever even used the Name. In quoting from the Old Testament prophecies where the Name occurred, they consistently apply the Name prophetically to Jesus Christ! Additionally, they were by divine providence called "Christians," the only Biblical name they can be called (the expression "Yahweh's witnesses" applied only to the Jews in the Mosaic Law covenant. Yet Christians are spoken of as being married to Christ. (compare Isa. 54:16 with Eph. 5:25-27).

Let's consider some passages where the OT is speaking of Jehovah, and the New Testament writers quote it and apply it to Christ:

[1] Hebrews 1:10 is a quotation of the LXX version of Ps. 102:25. The Psalm is unquestionably speaking of Jehovah, yet the writer of Hebrews applies it to Christ! Knowing this, the New World Translating Committee broke their own rules and refused to insert "Jehovah" into Hebrews 1:10. *2

[2] 1 Peter 3:14,15 is a quote from Isa. 8:12,13, which obviously contained the tetragram in the Hebrew text and referred to "sanctifying Jehovah in our hearts." Yet, Peter paraphrases it and applies it directly to Christ, saying that we are to sanctify CHRIST in our hearts! Again, their Translating Committee has shown bias in not following their own rules. Even the footnote in the Kingdom Interlinear shows that many of the modern Hebrew Bibles have "Jehovah" in 1 Peter 3:15. But since that would identify Christ with Jehovah, the Translating Committee could not face up to it.

[3] Acts 2:21 quotes from a prophecy in Joel 2:28-32 that contained the tetragram in the Hebrew text, saying, "Whoever calls upon the name of Jehovah will be delivered." Yet Peter quotes it and applies it to Jesus in Acts 2:21, as verse 38 says, "And Peter said to them, `Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

Additionally, the name of Jesus takes great precedence over "Jehovah" in the New Testament. Just in the book of Acts alone, note the overwhelming importance of the name of Christ, with no mention of the covenant name of God:

Men healed in the Name Acts 3:6,16; 4:10,30
Salvation in the Name Acts 4:12; 10:43; 22:16
Baptism in the Name Acts 2:38; 8:16
Forgiveness through the Name Acts 10:43
Teaching and preaching in the Name Acts 8:12; 4:18; 5:28
Calling upon the Name Acts 2:21; 9:14,21
Speaking in the Name Acts 4:17; 9:27,29
Suffering for the name Acts 9:16; 15:26; 5:41
Bearing the Name before the nations Acts 9:15
Paul once opposed the Name Acts 26:9
Called or designated by the Name Acts 11:26

The New Testament record shows that the Name of Jesus holds primary importance, rather than the covenant Name of Jehovah. This is in line with Hebrews 1:1,2 where it is said that God, though speaking through his covenant people in times past, is now speaking through the Son; who is the exact representation of the Father (but not the Father). Note also other NT texts that speak of the Name of Jesus as being the most important name there is: Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9; 2 Thess. 1:12; 1 Cor. 1:2; Col. 3:17; 1 John 3:23; Rev. 2:3, 13. Jesus also spoke of the importance of his name in passages such as: Mt. 7:22; 10:22; 12:15-21; 18:5,20; 19:29; 24:9; 28:19,20 (just to cite Matthew).

The history of the New Testament text reveals that it was the apostolic (1st century) Christians who played down the importance of preserving the OT name of God, for Jesus was the Name they were concerned with. This will be discussed next.

Ancient Textual Discoveries

The main Watchtower arguments:

Some very old fragments of the Septuagint Version that actually existed in Jesus' day have survived down to our day, and it is noteworthy that the personal name of God appeared in them. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Volume 2, page 512) says: "Recent textual discoveries cast doubt on the idea that the compilers of the LXX [Septuagint] translated the tetragrammaton YHWH by Kyrios. The oldest LXX MSS (fragments) now available to us have the tetragrammaton written in Hebrew characters in the Greek text. This custom was retained by later Jewish translators of the Old Testament in the first centuries A.D." Therefore, whether Jesus and his disciples read the Scriptures in Hebrew or Greek, they would come across the divine name.

Thus, Professor George Howard, of the University of Georgia, U.S.A., made this comment: "When the Septuagint which the New Testament church used and quoted contained the Hebrew form of the divine name, the New Testament writers no doubt included the Tetragrammaton in their quotations." (Biblical Archaeology Review, March 1978, page 14) What authority would they have had to do otherwise?  - The Divine Name, p. 24

Sometime during the second or third century C.E. the scribes removed the Tetragrammaton from both the Septuagint and the Christian Greek Scriptures and replaced it with Kyrios, "Lord" or Theos, "God."

Concerning the use of the Tetragrammaton in the Christian Greek Scriptures, George Howard of the University of Georgia wrote in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 96, 1977, p. 63: "Recent discoveries in Egypt and the Judean Desert allow us to see first hand the use of God's name in pre-Christian times. These discoveries are significant for New Testament studies in that they form a literary analogy with the earliest Christian documents and may explain how NT authors used the divine name. In the following pages we will set forth a theory that the divine name . . . was originally written in the NT quotations of and allusions to the OT and that in the course of time it was replaced mainly with the surrogate [abbreviation for Kyrios, `Lord']. This removal of the Tetragrammaton, in our view, created a confusion in the minds of early Gentile Christians about the relationship between the `Lord God' and the `Lord Christ' which is reflected in the MS tradition of the NT text itself."

We concur with the above, with this exception: We do not consider this view a `theory,' rather, a presentation of the facts of history as to the transmission of Bible manuscripts. - Appendix, Reference Edition of the New World Translation, 1984, p. 1564

In answer to these statements, first we must consider that the portions of the Septuagint found which contain the tetragram are Jewish, and none may be of Christian origin. We are not so much concerned with what the Jews did, but what the apostolic Christians did in their translations. C. H. Roberts, in his book, Society, Manuscript and Belief in Early Egyptian Christianity (p. 77) states:

"Extant versions of the Septuagint coming to us from Jewish sources contain the tetragrammaton whereas only two Septuagint copies that contain the tetragrammaton may have possibly be of a Christian source." Roberts describes these two Christian sources as "a Jewish form of Christianity (which) persisted in Oxyhynchus, and a possible explanation of these two eccentric texts would be that they were the work of Jewish-Christian scribes." (p. 34, 57)

One of these earliest manuscripts that the Watchtower and the New International Dictionary are referring to is the translation done by Aquila, an apostate from Christianity. Aquila rendered passages so as to counter the Christian's arguments, but his style was the exception, rather than the rule. (see Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts by Kenyon, p. 56) Aquila was included in the "later Jewish translators" referred to in the New International Dictionary.

Certainly, Jesus and his disciples came across the tetragram occasionally in their reading, but when and how often is anyone's guess. An effective argument cannot be made from speculation on this, though the Watchtower has tried.

Regarding Professor Howard, his thesis is simply a theory, and he admits it as such. He does not even begin to suggest that the tetragram be restored to the text of the New Testament in any of his writings. Such tampering cannot be done by an honest translator, since there are simply no ancient manuscripts with the tetragram to translate from.

When the Watchtower asks "What authority would they have to do otherwise," meaning how could they NOT copy the tetragram, they ignore the fact that there were no "rules" that the early church had to follow. They simply didn't think it that important to preserve the tetragram. Evidence from the first century Christian writings reveal that the Christians themselves replaced the tetragram with their own form of abbreviations, called "nomina sacra" by language scholars. These symbols may have been produced by the Jerusalem church before 70 A.D., or at the latest by the year 100. (Remember, the Bible as we know it was not even canonized until much later!)

Scholars also tell us that there is no connection between the "nomina sacra" and the practice of translating the tetragram as KYRIOS or THEOS. It was not due to superstition or tradition, but was rather a convenience used by the early church. The "nomina sacra" were not used on just the tetragrammaton, either, but also on the names "Christ" and "Jesus." This was done by the apostolic church itself, rather than in the "second or third century," as the Watchtower dogmatically asserts. *3

In summary: Early Christian manuscripts used abbreviated forms of sacred names, while some Jewish manuscripts of the LXX retained the tetragram. And since the NT is written by Christians for Christians, the Watchtower's use of Jewish manuscripts is irrelevant.

Missing the Point

Eventually, as we saw earlier, the name was restored to many translations of the Hebrew Scriptures. But what about the Greek Scriptures? Well, Bible translators and students without God's name, some parts of the Christian Greek Scriptures are very difficult to understand properly. Restoring the name is a big help in increasing the clarity and comprehensibility of this portion of the inspired Bible.

For example, consider the words of Paul to the Romans, as they appear in the Authorized Version: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) Whose name do we have to call on to be saved? Since Jesus is often spoken of as "Lord," and one scripture even says: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," should we conclude that Paul was here speaking about Jesus?Acts 16:31, AV.

No, we should not. A marginal reference to Romans 10:13 in the Authorized Version points us to Joel 2:32 in the Hebrew Scriptures. If you check that reference, you will find that Paul was actually quoting the words of Joel in his letter to the Romans; and what Joel said in the original Hebrew was: "Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will get away safe." (New World Translation) Yes, Paul meant here that we should call on the name of Jehovah. Hence, while we have to believe in Jesus, our salvation is closely linked with a proper appreciation of God's name.

This example demonstrates how the removal of the name of God from the Greek Scriptures contributed to confusing Jesus and Jehovah in the minds of many. Undoubtedly, it contributed greatly to the development of the doctrine of the Trinity! - The Divine Name, p. 26

The "Bible translators" and "students" mentioned by the Watchtower that had difficulty in understanding the NT are apparently none other than Jehovah's Witnesses themselves. If you realize as did the inspired NT writers that Jesus shares the nature of his Father and his Name, there is no problem. On the other hand, if you believe that Jesus is a creature, an angel, there are serious "discrepancies" that must be translated out of the Bible to retain your theology. When an apostle quotes an OT passage about Jehovah and is obviously applying it to Jesus (such as Romans 10:13), you must perform gymnastics in translation or interpretation to retain your view, and this is what the Watchtower has done. How sad that they miss the point of the transition between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Note the words of Herman Bavinck in his book, Our Reasonable Faith: (p. 313)

The use and significance of the name in the Old Testament is carried over to Christ in the New. The Name of the Lord, or the Name alone, was in the Old Testament the denomination of the revealed glory of God. In the days of the New Testament that glory has appeared in the person of Jesus Christ; and thus the strength of the church now stands in His name. . . . the name of Jesus Christ was a sort of compendium of the confession of the church, the strength of its faith, and the anchor of its hope. Just as Israel in ancient times gloried in the name of Jehovah, so the church of the New Testament  finds its strength in the name of Jesus Christ. In this name the name of Jehovah has come into its full revelation.

This is the main point that the Watchtower has missed--far overshadowing inconsistencies in the churches. Like the Pharisees in Jesus' day, they missed out on the real Messiah!

Is the Watchtower Honest?

Would a translator have any right to restore the name, in view of the fact that existing manuscripts do not have it? Yes, he would have that right. Most Greek lexicons recognize that often the word "Lord" in the Bible refers to Jehovah. For example, in its section under the Greek word Kyrios, Robinson's A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament says that it means "God as the Supreme Lord and sovereign of the universe, usually in Septuagint for Hebrew Jehovah." Hence, in places where the Christian Greek Scripture writers quote the earlier Hebrew Scriptures, the translator has the right to render the word Kyrios as "Jehovah" wherever the divine name appeared in the Hebrew original. - The Divine Name, p. 26, 27

One translation that boldly restores God's name with good authority is the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. This version, currently available in 11 modern languages, including English, has restored God's name every time that a portion of the Hebrew Scriptures containing it is quoted in the Greek Scriptures. Altogether, the name appears with a sound basis 237 times in that translation of the Greek Scriptures.
The Divine Name
, p. 27

As to whether a translator has the right to introduce something into the New Testament which cannot be found in any available ancient documents, simply on the basis of theological bias, I will let another translator answer. Stephen T. Byington translated The Bible in Living English, and the Watchtower Society purchased the rights to print and distribute this version of the Bible due to its use of the name "Jehovah" in the Old Testament (but not in the New). Byington himself said this in review of the Watchtower's "Christian Greek Scriptures":

If we need to argue the point of translating "the Lord" where the Greek says "the Lord", my argument would be that when Jesus and the apostles and their friends spoke an Old Testament text aloud, they said "the Lord" for "Jehovah" even in so careful a quotation as Mark 12:29 (the newly found manuscript of Isaiah may be cited as fresh evidence that the custom of saying "the Lord" began before the time of Christ, for it has cases of wavering between the readings "Jehovah" and "the Lord", and the explanation of such wavering is that the two were pronounced alike), and we cannot presume that the apostles wrote otherwise than they spoke. And it is a translator's business to reproduce his original. *4  

The Watchtower would do well to heed the words of one that they so admire for putting the name "Jehovah" into his own Old Testament translation. But they bridge the gap between presumptuousness and outright dishonesty when they make the statement that they have "restored God's name every time that a portion of the Hebrew Scriptures containing it is quoted in the Greek Scriptures." The Watchtower did not translate "Jehovah" into 1 Peter 3:15 and Acts 2:21, though the OT passages that they are quoted from contain the tetragram there. To do such would be admitting that somehow Jesus is referred to as "Jehovah" in the OT.

In Conclusion. There is simply no scholarly justification for introducing the tetragram (let alone the less accurate "Jehovah") into the text of the NT. The absence of the tetragram in any NT manuscript, out of over 13,000 available, demolishes their case. If God was so concerned about the preservation of his covenant name, one wonders why there is no evidence that the apostles perpetuated it in their writings. Further, to imply that the name "Jehovah" is the primary name we are to be concerned with contradicts the continual emphasis on the name of Jesus, as has been established. While the tetragram is not to be found in any NT manuscripts, the name of Jesus is found over 900 times.

Christians are to make the name of the Father known, as Jesus emphasized (Mt. 6:9; John 17:26). How do they do that? By recognizing that Jesus Christ was chosen by the Father to embody all the glory and reputation surrounding that Name (Phil. 2:11), and that to fail to identify with the name of Jesus will cause our loss of life (Acts 4:12).

The motive of the Governing Body, as it always has been and will be, is to make themselves stand out as being separate and distinct from the churches. Whether the issue be the cross, holidays, the word "church," or the name "Jehovah," the primary issue always revolves around their sectarian spirit. When you pin them down on any of these issues and refute them step by step, they concede that the issue is not really that important, but then switch to another exclusive doctrine as proof of their being God's chosen people. Fortunately, many even in the organization see through the scholastic dishonesty and are finding out that the supreme manifestation of Jehovah is in His Son, Jesus Christ. Even the Pharisees revered the name Yahweh greatly, but failed to use the real key to life - the name of JESUS (John 5:37-40).

Footnotes:

#1 Since then, as pointed out profusely in the Watchtower booklet, churches all over the world used variations of "Jehovah" and decorated their churches and statues, and writings with it. Strangely, it does not seem to bother them that this practice was first instituted by Christendom (their object of attack) and is used in many Christian churches all over the world to this day.

#2 The Watchtower's own Kingdom Interlinear translation says, on page 18 of the foreword:

How is a modern translator to know or determine when to render the Greek words KYRIOS and THEOS into the divine name in his version? By determining where the inspired Christian writers have quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures. Then he must refer back to the original to locate whether the divine name appears there.

#3 [see Manuscript, Society and Belief in Early Egyptian Christianity, C. H. Roberts, p.26-29]

#4 [The Christian Century, May 9, 1951; p.589]

 

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