(Originally printed in the July/August 1995 Issue of the MCOI Journal beginning on page 2)
Jehovah’s Witnesses often argue online (computer bulletin board systems, my screen name is CULTSRUS) that only the Father is Jehovah and, therefore, only the Father is God. We have argued that the Tetragrammaton is applied to both the Father and the Son and shown in a previous issue that the Watchtower’s own translation supports this premise. The following is a condensed version of a multi-part exchange showing at least two persons in the Hebrew Scriptures are referred to as YHWH or Jehovah. It was aptly named:
WHO SENT JEHOVAH?
The Jehovah’s Witness wrote: “Jehovah is jealous for his name, tolerating no rivalry.” (The JW defender is here making the case that if Jesus’ name is also Jehovah along with the Father, there would thus be a “rivalry” over the name)
We respond: If it is “rivalry” for two persons to bear the name Jehovah, we have a real problem in the following passage taken from Zechariah Chapter 2, since it clearly states that Jehovah of armies HIMSELF sent Jehovah of armies.
“Hey there, Zion! Make your escape, you who are dwelling with the daughter of Babylon. For this is what Jehovah of armies has said [What did Jehovah of armies say?], ‘Following after [the] glory he has sent me to the nations that were despoiling YOU people; for he that is touching YOU is touching my eyeball. [Question-Who ever sent Jehovah anywhere?] For here I am waving my hand against them, and they will have to become spoil to their slaves ‘ And YOU people will certainly know that Jehovah of armies himself has sent me.”
“Cry out loudly and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for here I am coming, and I will reside in the midst of you,” is the utterance of Jehovah [Who is coming and who will reside?]. “And many nations will certainly become joined to Jehovah in that day, and you will actually become my people: and I will reside in the midst of you.” [On what authority would they know that Jehovah would reside in the midst of them?] And you will have to know that Jehovah of armies himself has sent me to you. And Jehovah will certainly take possession of Judah as his portion upon the holy ground, and he must yet choose Jerusalem. Keep silence, all flesh, before Jehovah, for he has aroused himself from his holy dwelling. (Zech. 2:7-13, NWT)
So, Jehovah of armies was sent by Jehovah of armies. Jehovah went to reside with the people because Jehovah sent Jehovah. Interesting indeed.
The JW responds: Talk about the blind leading the blind while trying to influence those who aren’t!! Who was being sent? Zechariah or Jehovah? To gain a correct understanding of Zechariah 2:7-15, first, compare Zechariah 1:1-5 and observe how Zechariah mingles what Jehovah says to him with his OWN comments:
‘”In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius. came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah… Therefore say unto them. ‘Thus saith Jehovah of Hosts,’ …’Remember unto me, saith Jehovah of Hosts, and I will return unto you, saith Jehovah of hosts.'”
Now- was there an echo in the room where Zechariah was writing, or is the repeated use of “…saith Jehovah…” an example of Jehovah talking to Jehovah as CULTSRUS would obviously contend, or is the repeated use of “…saith Jehovah…” done for emphasis?
In Chapter two. we are first told that Zechariah encounters an angel holding a measuring rod. Then, ANOTHER angel begins speaking to the first angel and says. “…For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her.” (Zech 2:1-5, ASV)
So to be consistent with the position he takes in “Who Sent Jehovah,” CULTSRUS must now contend with an “angel” who claims to be Jehovah – according to the way CULTSRUS seeks to use scripture.
(The JW defender claims that this passage does NOT refer to two persons named Jehovah, but that one of the persons “speaking” in the passage is the prophet, Zechariah)
We volley back with CULTSRUS would not “obviously contend” that Zech. 1:1-3 is an example of Jehovah talking to Jehovah. Such a statement is simply childish. I agree that the term “…saith Jehovah…” is done for emphasis and was the designation that Zechariah and other Hebrew prophets used to EMPHASIZE when Jehovah was speaking and what He said versus when they (the prophets) were speaking.
The JW would like to believe that I have been forcing Scripture in order to support this position. There was NO forcing Scripture in my presentation. The Scriptures clearly said that Jehovah sent Jehovah and that Jehovah went because Jehovah sent Him.
Regarding “‘The Angel of the Lord” claiming to be YHWH, it has nothing to do with the way I seek “to use Scripture” but rather dealing with what Scripture says.
The JW chides: Hey – the “angel” DID SAY, “I Jehovah,” didn’t he? So, Mr. CULTSRUS, Don, now Jehovah sends Jehovah as an “angel” to be a fire roundabout. So, explain Jehovah being an angel and, therefore, a created being.
We oblige: Where does it say that the word “angel” means created being? The text doesn’t say nor imply that the word angel means created being nor that “The Angel of the Lord,” who claimed to be Jehovah, was a created being. The word translated ”angel” is the Hebrew word “Malak” and means “messenger or agent.” In fact, the Watchtower publication “Insight on the Scriptures.” 1988 edition on page 106 confirms this, “ANGEL. Both the Hebrew mal-‘akh’ and the Greek ag’ge-los literally mean ‘messenger.'” The responsibility would be the JW’s to prove that the designation “angel” means “created being” and especially that “The Angel of the Lord” was a created being, especially since “The Angel of the Lord” claimed to be YHWH which, if He is correct, would mean that He is God.
We will review the text in question so that we don’t lose track of what we are discussing. In Zechariah 2:8 the prophet writes. “…this is what Jehovah of armies has said.” So, who is saying this? Jehovah of Armies. What does Jehovah of armies say? “Following after [the] glory he has sent me to the nations…” Jehovah said He was sent. Who sent Him? In verse 9, Jehovah said, “Jehovah of armies has sent me.”
In verse 10, we read that someone is coming and will reside with the people. Who is it? “I am coming, and I will reside in the midst of you,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” Jehovah is coming and will reside in the midst of the people.
In verse 11, we read that many nations will become joined to Jehovah, He will reside in the midst of His people, and then they will know that “Jehovah of armies” sent Him (Jehovah).
The JW argues: The Angel of the Lord could not have been Jehovah, for angels are created, and Jehovah is not created. Jehovah is the Father’s name, and the Son’s name is Jesus or Michael. We know this because “The Angel of the Lord” is a powerful angel, and Michael is the most powerful angel. Therefore, “The Angel of the Lord” must be Michael. Are you saying that Michael was not created?
We clarify: You haven’t shown that 1) the Father’s Name is YHWH. 2) That YHWH is absolutely and ONLY applicable to the Father. 3) That the term “angel” means created being. I will write this out in a logic statement, called a syllogism, to make my position more understandable.
A) Everything except God is created.
B) YHWH is God
C) The “Angel of the Lord” claimed to
D) Therefore, “The Angel of the Lord”
is God and uncreated.
Regarding Michael, I would say:
A) Everything except God is created.
B) YHWH is God
C) Michael the archangel is not YHWH
D) Therefore, Michael the Archangel is
a created being.
To refute my position, it is not enough to say, “Na, na, na, na, na, na.” You must show that YHWH is absolutely and only applicable to the Father and never the Son. That the term angel means “created being” and that ‘The Angel of the Lord” was either lying or mistaken when He claimed to be YHWH.
The JW, with hands over his ears and gnashing his teeth, says: You are incapable of proving that the Tetragrammaton is NOT applicable only and absolutely to the Father. Do you think to sneak a little advantage for yourself in support of your Trinitarian doctrine because of only one reference in the OT (Is. 63:16) to God the Father as YHWH.’ One such reference is quite enough for the honest-hearted and doctrinally unbiased. What an utterly absurd and impotent attempt from which to build support for your doctrine.
Your attempt to manipulate near “silence” into a doctrinal proof won’t work -because not ONE incident in the Hebrew texts containing the Tetragrammaton is applied to anyone OTHER than God the Father — NEVER— !!! I do challenge you to produce a single text from the Hebrew Scriptures wherein the Tetragrammaton is specifically attached to anyone other than the Father!!!
(The JWs ASSUME that the name Jehovah or YHWH ALWAYS refers to the Father, though there is only one scripture reference that specifically calls the Father by that name. The JW defender contends that we are making our case from “silence,”…ie, that we are saying that Jesus must be Jehovah also, just because the OT specifically says that the Father is Jehovah only once. He argues that the JWs at least have ONE SCRIPTURE, whereas there are NO scriptures backing up our claim that anyone OTHER than the Father is Jehovah. His claim is invalid, as we shall show.)
We answer: Ok. First, as I have demonstrated from Zechariah 2:8, YHWH was quoted as speaking, and He said He was sent. In v:9, He said that YHWH sent Him. In Genesis 19:24, we see that YHWH made it rain sulfur, and fire from YHWH in the heavens. So, again, we have at least two who are referred to as YHWH. In Jeremiah 50:40, the prophet quotes YHWH as saying. ‘”Just as with God’s overthrow of Sodom and of Gomorrah and of her neighbor [towns],’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘no man will dwell there, nor will the son of mankind reside in her as an alien.'” (NWT) Similarly, in Amos 4:9-12. the prophet Amos records the words of YHWH as He recites the various ways which He used to try to bring His people back to Himself. In v:11, YHWH said, “I caused an overthrow among you people, LIKE God’s overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah.” (NWT) In Genesis, Jacob wrestled with “The Angel of the Lord” and afterward stated, “I have seen GOD face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” (Gen. 33:16). In Exodus 3:1-15, “The Angel of the Lord” appeared in the midst of the burning bush and when questioned about who He was, identified Himself as YHWH.
We see a number of things from this. YHWH sent YHWH. YHWH went because YHWH sent Him. YHWH had fire and brimstone sent from YHWH in heaven. YHWH said that it was God who overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. YHWH said that HE caused the people to be overthrown just like God did at Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob wrestled with YHWH and “The Angel of the Lord,” who sent Moses to deliver His people was YHWH.
In Malachi 3:1, the NWT reads, “‘Look! I am sending my messenger, and he must clear up a way before me. And suddenly there will come to His temple the [true] Lord, whom YOU people are seeking, and the messenger of the covenant in whom YOU are delighting. Look! He will certainly come,’ Jehovah of armies has said.”
The messenger who was going to clear the way is John the Baptist. The one who is coming to HIS temple is the “[true] Lord.” The Society’s note is the 1984 NWT with references showing that the “[true] Lord” here is “ha Adohn” (p. 1174). In the same work, on page 1568, note 1H tells us that “ha-Adohn” is exclusively the title of Jehovah God. So, the “[true] Lord” who is coming to His temple is YHWH HIMSELF! The verse continues,
‘”…whom YOU people are seeking, and the messenger (the note at the bottom of the page points out that this is “angel”) of the covenant in whom YOU are delighting. Look! He will certainly come,’ Jehovah of armies has said.”
YHWH HIMSELF is coming to His temple. YHWH is the “messenger (angel) of the covenant,” and His coming was announced by Jehovah of armies in Malachi.
I have shown not one single verse but seven distinct examples of someone other than the Father being referred to as YHWH.
Jesus is YHWH! Amen; come quickly, Lord! Jesus.
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The Holy Spirit is also YHWH. For some examples, please compare Acts 28:25-27 with Isaiah 6:1-10, Hebrews 3:7-11 with Psalm 95:1-11, and Hebrews 10:15-16 with Jeremiah 31:33.
Absolutely. The focus was on the biblical teaching that we must confess that Jesus is YHWH to be saved and I have found that once someone can embrace that, embracing that the Holy Spirit is YHWH is not difficult.