If you have ever had a knock on the door and after answering, found yourself face to face with some Jehovah’s witnesses or, if you are afraid to talk to them because you do not know how to respond to their tricky questions then this article is for YOU. In today’s article we will learn about the Name Jehovah, why and how God reveals Himself as Jehovah and what the significance of His Name is for us. God does not want us to be deceived by any wind of false teaching/doctrine and that is why the Apostle Paul constantly tells his readers in his letters, “do not be deceived” and then he goes on to explain how they are to keep from being deceived. The key is the Word of God. You need to know it the way that money changers know the real bills from the fake ones. They do not study all of the false bills, but instead, they study the real thing so well that upon first glance of a fake bill, they know it is fake. We are to know the Word of God so well that as soon as we hear doctrine with heresy in it we know right away that it is not right and why it is not right. This name “Jehovah” is very important and it is the most widely used characteristic for God in the Old T. There are 6,823 usages of it in the Old T.
I. As usual, understanding the definition and usage of the Name will help clarify its importance to us and demonstrate the necessity of knowing God as Jehovah. The Name Jehovah is first used in Genesis 2:4 but it is not revealed to anyone. The reader of Genesis comes face to face with this characteristic of God yet in the actual text, no one has any dealings with Jehovah. The root word of for the Hebrew word “Jehovah” is the verb “hava”, which means “to be, to become, to exist”. Used as a descriptive noun, Jehovah literally means, “the one who has existence in himself”. This implies that God has all that He needs in Himself. He does not rely on any outside sources for existence. For example, we rely on many outside sources to exist. For example, we need oxygen to be able to breathe. We have to consume energy in the form of food to exist. We rely on time and space. We depend on sunlight etc. God does not need any of those things to exist. In fact, He created all of them and He existed before they were created. So, in Genesis 2:4, the passage literally translates, “the One who has His existence in Himself created the heavens and the earth”. God does not need them, we do. He created them for us, the culmination of His creation. Anyone who tells you that God needs mankind for one reason or another, is promoting false doctrine because God is self-existent and self-sufficient in every way possible. The same applies to those who say that we as humans, do not need God. Every single day we depend on all of the things that God created.
II. God does reveal Himself to actual people as Jehovah in the Old T, so we want to see when, where, why, and how in order to make personal applications. In Genesis 15, God reveals Himself to Abraham as Jehovah. If you know Abraham’s situation then that will help you appreciate why God chooses Jehovah here. Abraham has left his country with his wife and a few family members to go to the land that God will show him. He has been told that he will have a son. He was 75 years old when he received word of his future son. Now about 10 years have passed and still no son. His wife is about 10 years younger than he is so you can see why he is concerned. God comes to Abraham to assure him that He will and can do what He has promised. He reveals Himself as the Self-existent One to let Abraham know, “I made all that you see, including you, so there is nothing that limits Me.” God reveals to Abraham, Genesis 15:13-21, the fact that He is not even limited by time (the future). He reveals more details of His overall plan with Abraham, describing in detail future events that will happen with Abraham and his people who will come from his loins. In order to seal the deal with Abraham, God makes a covenant with him, joining Himself to mankind forever. The Name Jehovah gives understanding of the power of God, of the love of God, and of the need for God. Do you know God as Jehovah? Do you realize that it is a privilege for you to know and serve God and not the other way around? (God does not need you, you need Him) Do you realize that there is nothing that limits God? No matter what your situation is, God sees the here and now and also the future, why not place yourself in His hands so that you can have a future. His promise and plan is to give us a future and hope, did you know that?
11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29)
III. Jehovah is God’s memorial Name forever and we see that Jesus Christ calls Himself Jehovah as well, declaring boldly that He is God. In the book of Exodus, we see Moses meeting face to face with God. Moses is in quite a tough situation. He, a lonely shepherd, is called out by God to go to the world superpower of the day, Egypt, and demand that the Pharaoh release his over 2 million Hebrew slaves so that they can travel to their promised land. Could you imagine being sent to Hitler during WWII and told that you have to demand that he release all of the Hebrews in the concentration camps? That is basically what Moses’ task was to do. That is why God chooses to reveal Himself to Moses as Jehovah.
13 Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name ?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM “; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” 15 God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. (Exodus 3)
God’s answer to Moses is “hava, the Self-existing One” is sending you. This is My name (Jehovah) forever, from generation to generation. In essence God accomplished two purposes here; 1) He reveals Himself to Moses, giving him confidence 2) He sets up the nation of Israel to recognize the Messiah when He comes and claims/demonstrates that He is Jehovah (the I am, or hava).This is a very big deal because up until this point, God had not revealed Himself to the forefathers as Jehovah. They learn a new insight about God.
2 God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD ; 3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them. 4 “I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. (Exodus 6)
When Jesus Christ walked this earth, He also declared and demonstrated that He was/is Jehovah. The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus in this way;
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13)
That should ring a bell from Exodus 3. God is the same Jehovah forever, from generation to generation and so is Jesus Christ. The Hebrews should have recognized Him for who He was but they did not. Here is what Jesus says about Himself, in His own Words;
24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins ; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” 25 So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning ? 26 “I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true ; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” 27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. 31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine ; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8)
Jesus tells His hearers that “He is” or “I am” which is the same name that God used to describe Himself to Moses. In essence, Jesus said that you must believe that He is “hava” or Jehovah, the Self-existing One. If they believe that He is God, then they will not die in their sins. If they believe, they will become His disciples and they will know the Truth from the Word of God and the Truth will set them free from their slavery to sin. On the other hand, if they do not believe that Jesus is God, then they are still slaves to sin and they will die in their sins. What about you, do you believe that Jesus is Jehovah, the Great I am, God Himself? Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? Have you been set free from your slavery to sin? Most “christian” cults differ in doctrine from true Christians by their view of Jesus Christ. The Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God, Jehovah, the Great I am. They are still slaves to sin and will die in their sins if they do not leave their false doctrine and embrace the pure Word of God. They are deceived completely.
IV. There are great benefits to knowing God as Jehovah, to accepting Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Great I am.
5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD. 6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth ; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin ; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34)
God has many benefits to offer to us if we will come to Him and open up our lives to all of His blessings.
- goodness (kindness)
We can experience all of these things if we will run to God, the Self-existing One and receive them from Him. Have you run to Him? Do you know Him personally, by Name (His character)? What stops you from experiencing all of the benefits of knowing God personally?