Continuing from Part 1
JW: We need to look at distinguishing God or Jehovah from other gods.
KW: I am a monotheist so I don’t need to make a distinction. There are no other true Gods so when I say “God” I am only referring to the one true God.
JW: Let’s look at Isaiah 42:8. “I am Jehovah. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else, Nor my praise to graven images.” See, there is a connection between God’s personal name and His reputation or glory.
KW: Right, what is glorious though? A pronunciation or the reputation?
JW: Well, the pronunciation depends on the language.
KW: I still don’t understand. I have a problem with the inconsistency. Because if God really wants me to use His name and a specific pronunciation is important to Him then I don’t understand why other pronunciations in other languages are acceptable. If God’s name really is Yahweh, and Jehovah really doesn’t sound like Yahweh, then what is the difference between calling Him Jehovah or calling Him Lord? If they are both substitutes, then what is the difference?
JW: But who alone has that name? No one else has that name.
KW: But as a monotheist, no one else is really Lord.
JW: That’s questionable. That gets into the Trinity… there are many called lords. Let’s look at Psalm 109:21. “But you, Jehovah the Sovereign Lord, Act in my behalf for the sake of your name. Rescue me, because your loyal love is good. “
KW: Right, your name’s sake. Again, that just screams reputation to me. If I were to tell you, “Stop in the name of the law,” what I am saying is that by the authority invested in me as a peace officer, you need to stop.
JW: Like I said many times, it relates to that as well. They are intrinsically attached, the name and the reputation.
KW: Is it possible to refer to the reputation without using that specific pronunciation?
JW: Uh… yes. I would say that it is possible.
KW: Oaky, that is my point.
JW: My point is that on a personal, one to one relationship, that relationship is closer when you use His personal name.
KW: Is there any instance where Jesus prayed, “Dear Jehovah?”
JW: Jesus referred to Him as “Father” in prayer.
I was surprised that he gave that answer so quickly. Most Witnesses who try to answer that question are sure that Jesus addressed God as Jehovah in prayer and they spend some time looking for it only to find out that Jesus never did this. I was impressed that my Witness friend already knew this, but then was also curious as to why he would put up such a fight on this topic in light of the fact that Jesus never addressed God as Jehovah in prayer. Not even in the New World Translation.
KW: If we are talking about a personal relationship, I can’t think of anything more personal that talking to God in prayer. If we are supposed to use Jehovah’s name in prayer, then why didn’t Jesus do it?
JW: In all of the instances where Jesus prayed, over and over He used called Him Father. That is how personal their relationship was. Jesus has a unique relationship with the Father.
KW: But Jesus instructed us to, “Pray this way” and then He called God Father (Matthew 6:9).
JW: But what was the first thing Jesus said in that prayer? Let your name be sanctified.
KW: Jesus didn’t use it in prayer.
JW: Jesus used it, just not when speaking to Jehovah.
KW: I don’t get that at all. If it is that important, and we are talking about having a personal relationship with God, and then Jesus says, “pray this way,” which means it is an example for me, Keith Walker, to pray to my God, and then Jesus prays, “our Father.” If I am supposed to pray like Jesus prayed and I am supposed to address God as Jehovah, then I want to see Jesus address God as Jehovah in prayer. But if Jesus says “Father,” then I am going to use Father also.
JW: Let me show you an example of where Jesus used the name Jehovah.
KW: In prayer?
JW: It doesn’t exist.
KW: So there isn’t any example of Jesus saying, “Dear Jehovah, we thank you for this food?”
JW: Not in prayer, it is always Father.
KW: If that is the example I am to follow, then why use the name Jehovah in prayer? If Jesus didn’t do it, why should I?
JW: Well, you can pray to God however you feel is appropriate.
He was getting a little frustrated.
KW: I mean Biblically speaking. What is the right thing to do?
JW: The Scriptural point of view is that using God’s name draws us closer to Him.
KW: Scriptural point of view? How can you say that if you don’t have scripture verse to show it?
JW: You have to understand the unique relationship between the Father and the Son. Just like your kids don’t call you Keith. That would be weird. Or your friends wouldn’t call you “man.” They would use your name. Because of Jesus’ relationship with the Father, He can call Him Father.
KW: I would completely understand your point of view if not for one thing. Jesus specifically told me to, “Pray this way” and then He address God as Father. I see that as a commandment to address God in prayer as Father.
JW: Let’s go to John 17:3. Verse one tells us this is a prayer and He addresses Him as Father and refers to Himself as Son. Look at verse six. “I have made your name manifest to the men whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have observed your word.” What did Jesus do with God’s name?
KW: He manifested His name. If I were to take your interpretation of this, then I would have to say that the disciples didn’t know the pronunciation of God’s name before Jesus came along, which I don’t think is the case. They already knew the name because it was in use, right?
JW: Right. That’s right.
KW: Then what does it mean to manifest a name that they already knew?
JW: Jesus emphasized the importance of God’s name.
KW: So it is the importance of it, because they already knew the pronunciation of it. So what He is saying here is, “I am letting people know how important You are.”
KW: Not just an identifying marker or label because they already knew that. This would be God’s character His reputation.
JW: Let’s look at Acts 15:14. “Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.”
See, a people for His name. Now let’s look at verse 17. “so that the men who remain may earnestly seek Jehovah, together with people of all the nations, people who are called by my name, says Jehovah.” Can you be called by a name only if that name refers to a reputation?
JW: (chuckling) Really?
JW: But it says, “who are called by my name, says Jehovah.”
KW: Yours says Jehovah?
I quickly tapped on my Bible app to show the Greek.
KW: Why does it say Jehovah when the Greek word here is Kurious? It means Master or Lord.
JW: This is James speaking here quoting the book of Amos. Turn to Amos chapter nine.
KW: Right, but if the Greek word here is Lord, why is it mistranslated as Jehovah? I remember reading on your web site that your translation puts Jehovah into the New Testament.
JW: (Proudly) That’s right!
JW: Because it is suppose to be there. The Divine name appears In Amos 9:12 so when James said this, He would have used the name.
KW: Then why wasn’t it written in the text?
My Witness friend snapped his head back in surprise at such a simple question.
JW: Uh, that is… described in… here.
He again took me to appendix A5 in the back of his New World Translation. He tried to explain how the Hebrew characters appeared in the Septuagint which was the Greek translation of the Old Testament.
KW: I understand that, but what I am asking about is the New Testament.
JW: When James quoted Amos, he would have used the Divine Name.
KW: But when Luke wrote it under Divine inspiration, he didn’t use the Hebrew Jehovah or Yahweh. He used the Greek word for Lord.
He was stumped and asked for some time to read through the Appendix again. I don’t think he has ever thought about how serious it is for the Watchtower to change the scriptures to fit their doctrine. There are absolutely ZERO Greek manuscripts of the New Testament where the Hebrew “name of God” appears. If God inspired the New Testament writers to use the Greek words for God and Lord, then a faithful translator would use those same terms.
When he found what he was looking for, he confidently announced, “That is actually not correct. Let me read this to you.”
We read the sixth bullet point of the A5 appendix which begins on page 1737 of the Revised New World Translation. Basically it quotes an early work called the Tosefta which says that Christian writings contained the Divine Name. I asked for a reference because the information given in the paragraph is incomplete. He told me to Google it and then he wanted to move on and read the next bullet point which says that some scholars say, “that it seems likely that the divine name appeared in Hebrew Scripture quotations found in the Christian Greek Scriptures.”
I pointed out that this is just speculation with no real proof. He put the two bullet points together and said that it was at least reasonable that the Divine Name originally appeared in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.
KW: But to insist that it should be there when we don’t have any evidence for it…
JW: There is evidence for it. We just read it.
KW: We have opinions. Are there any New Testament manuscripts today that include the Divine Name? I’m going to ask you a favor.
JW: What’s that?
KW: I want you to look at this from my perspective. You’ve mentioned the word “restore.” If you are going to restore a car to its original condition, it isn’t going to be all tricked out like a lot of today’s cars. The Camaros of today are not restored muscle cars. I’d have to see an original that looked like what the restoration claims to be. If it isn’t the same, then we can’t use the word “restore.”
JW: Maybe you could do some research on the Tosefta because it says the Christians used the Divine Name in their writings.
KW: In their writings, but was it in the autographs? Was it in the original Greek manuscripts of the New Testament? To claim that it was restored you would have to be able to show that it was taken out and the only way to do that is to show that it use to be there.
JW: But what writings do you think are referred to here?
KW: I don’t know. It could have been their sermons, their studies or commentaries. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it was their scriptures.
JW: If the name was in the writings, and the scripture is part of the writings then the name must be in the scriptures.
KW: Not necessarily because not all of their writings were scripture. I’m thinking about this like a lawyer. You can say that, and it is a reasonable idea, but it is not something we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. To be able to prove that it was in some of their writings doesn’t automatically mean it was in the scriptures. You can’t make that jump because we do not have any hard evidence for it.
We ended our discussion with him basically telling me that I needed to have faith that the Tetragrammaton was in the original manuscripts for the New Testament. I’m guessing he doesn’t know me well enough yet, but…yeah, that’s not going to happen.
On another note, thank you for your patience as I get these posts out. I am four conversations behind and some of them are so detailed they will probably need to be posted in more than one part like I had to do with this conversation. There is some good stuff coming up so stay tuned.
Please pray for my Jehovah’s Witness pioneer friend.