"Is Jesus Yahweh?"

The name Yahweh (or Jehovah) appears nearly 7,000 times in

the Old Testament. Most English translations render the Hebrew name

for God as LORD, while some (like the New Jerusalem Bible and

Rotherham's Emphasized Bible ) use "Yahweh" and others (like the

American Standard Version of 1901 and the New World Translation )

use "Jehovah." But, between Malachi and Matthew the Name suddenly

disappears! There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New

Testament, and not one of them has the Name in either Greek or Hebrew

letters. The Watchtower Society claims that the Name was there in

the original Greek N.T., but that it was later removed. They claim

this with no real evidence, for they are unable to produce even one

manuscript of the Greek New Testament with the Name! Besides, some

of those manuscripts of the N.T. date from within one generation of

the original writings. That leaves very little chance for the

Society's theory of a conspiracy to remove the Name from the N.T.

writings. If we accept the facts the way they are (without trying to

change them to fit a preconceived theory) we are forced to admit the

Name is not in the N.T.

In the New Testament we meet up with another name. The name

that is emphasized in the N.T. is the name of Jesus. (This makes for

an interesting comparison in the New World Translation. While the

Watchtower Society "restores" the name Jehovah 237 times to the N.T.,

their Comprehensive Concordance lists the name Jesus over 900

times!) In the book of Acts we particularly notice the emphasis of

the name of Jesus. If you have an exhaustive concordance look up the

word "name" in the book of Acts. Over and over again you will see

the Name the early Christian church emphasized was the name of Jesus!

At Acts 3:6 Peter healed the lame beggar in the name of Jesus Christ.

In Acts 4:7,10,12,17,18 we read about the first disciples defending

themselves before the Sanhedrin, proclaiming their use of the name of

Jesus. In Chapter 5 they are back before the Jewish high court. For

whose name did they suffer? Acts 5:41 tells us: "These, therefore,

went their way from before the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had

been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of his name." They

suffered for the name of Jesus! Space does not permit us to look at

all the relevant verses. Take time to consider these few: Acts

8:12; 9:13-16,27,28; 15:26; 16:18; 19:17; 21:13; 26:9. In Acts the

Name that is emphasized is the name of Jesus Christ!

Why the change of emphasis between the Old Testament Yahweh

and the New Testament Jesus? Are we being introduced to some rival

deity in the New Testament when we encounter so much emphasis on the

name of Jesus? That is the way some nearly react when it is

suggested that the answer lies in the fact that the N.T. identifies

Jesus with Yahweh. Bear in mind that I am not saying Jesus is the

Father! Rather, what I am saying is that Jesus and the Father share

the same Name and are not in some sort of competition.

Charles Taze Russell, the first President of the Watchtower

Society, was firm in his belief that the name Jehovah could not be

applied to Jesus. He is quoted with apparent approval on page 22 of

the Society's official history book Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine

Purpose (published in 1959):

"We confidently assert that the name Jehovah is never

applied in Scripture to any but the Father. It is for those who

claim the reverse to give a text, and show its applicability to Jesus

or anyone else than the Father. Here is a way to prove the matter

conclusively-the New Testament writers quote much from the Old

Testament; do they ever quote a passage in which the word Jehovah

occurs and apply it to Jesus? We claim that they do not." -Quoted

from pages 2,3 of the August 1882 issue of Zion's Watch Tower.

[Note: In recent years the Society has backed down from this


Contrast what Russell wrote with this statement from a

contemporary of his-J. Gresham Machen, a Professor at Princeton. He

wrote in the book Christianity and Liberalism (1923):

"It is a matter of small consequence whether Paul ever applies to

Jesus the Greek word which is translated `God' in the English Bible;

certainly it is very difficult, in view of Rom. ix. 5, to deny that

he does. However that may be, the term `Lord,' which is Paul's

regular designation of Jesus, is really just as much a designation of

deity as is the term `God.' It was a designation of deity even in

the pagan religions with which Paul's converts were familiar; and

(what is far more important) in the Greek translation of the Old

Testament which was current in Paul's day and was used by the Apostle

himself, the term was used to translate the `Jahwe' of the Hebrew

text. And Paul does not hesitate to apply to Jesus stupendous

passages in the Greek Old Testament where the term Lord thus

designates the God of Israel."-page 97. [Note: for those interested

in whether the term "God" is applied to Jesus in the N.T., see our

information sheets dealing with Titus 2:13/2 Peter 1:1; John 1:1;

and Colossians 2:9.]

Let's consider a few quotations from the Old Testament and

see if the New Testament writers had any problem in applying passages

containing the name Yahweh to Jesus. We will use the New World

Translation for these comparisons.

The apostle Paul quoted Psalm 68:18 and applied it to the

Ascension of Jesus Christ. Psalm 68:18 says: "You have ascended on

high; you have carried away captives; you have taken gifts in the

form of men, Yes, even the stubborn ones, to reside among them, O Jah

God." ("Jah" is an abbreviated form of the name Jehovah.) Notice

how Paul applies this passage at Ephesians 4:7-10: "Now to each one

of us undeserved kindness was given according to how the Christ

measured out the free gift. Wherefore he says: `When he ascended on

high he carried away captives; he gave gifts in men.' Now the

expression `he ascended,' what does it mean but that he also

descended into the lower regions, that is, the earth? The very one

that descended is also the one that ascended far above all the

heavens, that he might give fulness to all things."

Hebrews 1:10-12 quotes the Greek Septuagint version of Psalm

102:25-27 and applies it to Christ: "You at the beginning, O Lord,

laid the foundations of the earth itself, and the heavens are the

works of your hands. They themselves will perish, but you yourself

are to remain continually ; and just like an outer garment they will

grow old, and you will wrap them up just as a cloak, as an outer

garment; and they will be changed, but you are the same, and your

years will never run out." Not only do we here see a N.T. writer

apply an O.T. passage about Yahweh to Jesus Christ-notice to what

lengths this N.T. writer will go in his scripture application. He

openly identifies Christ as the Creator of heaven and earth. And he

contrasts the impermanence of creation against its Creator, who is

unchangeable and eternal. Does it make sense to think the writer of

Hebrews felt Christ was only a creature after seeing how he applies


Notice this comparison between 1 Peter 3:14,15 and Isaiah

8:12,13. 1 Peter says: "But even if you should suffer for the sake

of righteousness, you are happy. However, the object of their fear

do not you fear, neither become agitated. But sanctify the Christ

as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before

everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing

so together with a mild temper and deep respect." Now, Isaiah says:

"`You men must not say, "A conspiracy!" respecting all that of which

this people keep saying, "A conspiracy!" and the object of their fear

you men must not fear, nor must you tremble at it. Jehovah of

armies-he is the One whom you should treat as holy, and he should be

the object of your fear, and he should be the One causing you to

tremble.'" This comparison is even more striking if one compares the

Greek word order of 1 Peter with the Greek Septuagint of Isaiah. The

Hebrew says: "Sanctify Jehovah of hosts" (according to Jay Green's

The Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible ) but the Greek

Septuagint has "Sanctify ye the Lord himself." (From Brenton's

translation of the Septuagint.) Now, Peter, writing in Greek, would

most naturally quote from the standard Greek translation of the O.T.-

the Septuagint. The Septuagint here says: kurion auton hagiasate

(Greek word order: "Lord himself sanctify"). Peter's quotation in

1 Peter 3:14,15 is practically identical except here he exchanges the

word auton (himself) for who is Christ. Peter writes: kurion de

ton christon hagiasate (Greek word order: "Lord but the Christ

sanctify"-compare the Watchtower Society's Kingdom Interlinear

Translation.) It is as if Peter were adding a parenthetical thought

to his quotation from Isaiah: "The object of their fear do not you

fear, neither become agitated. The Lord (who is Christ ) you should

sanctify." Peter was making sure we knew that the Lord we are to

sanctify is Christ!

Notice this prophecy from Isaiah 40:3-5: "Listen! Someone

is calling out in the wilderness: `Clear up the way of Jehovah, you

people! Make the highway for our God through the desert plain

straight. Let every valley be raised up, and every mountain and hill

be made low. And the knobby ground must become level land, and the

rugged ground a valley plain. And the glory of Jehovah will

certainly be revealed, and all flesh must see it together. '"

Matthew 3:1-3, Mark 1:1-4, Luke 3:2-6 and John 1:23 apply this

passage to John the Baptist's preparatory work before the ministry of


It becomes undeniable that New Testament writers applied Old

Testament passages about Yahweh to Jesus. Can we be sure they were

thereby identifying Jesus with Yahweh? Consider this example:

Isaiah 6:1-10: "In the year that King Uzziah died I,

however, got to see Jehovah, sitting on a throne lofty and lifted up,

and his skirts were filling the temple. Seraphs were standing above

him. . .And this one called to that one and said: `Holy, holy, holy

is Jehovah of armies. The fulness of all the earth is his glory'. .

And I proceeded to say: `Woe to me! . . .for my eyes have seen the

King, Jehovah of armies, himself!'. . .And I began to hear the voice

of Jehovah saying: `Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' And

I proceeded to say: `Here I am! Send me.' And he went on to say:

`Go, and you must say to this people, "Hear again and again, O men,

but do not understand; and see again and again, but do not get any

knowledge." Make the heart of this people unreceptive, and make

their very ears unresponsive, and paste their very eyes together,

that they may not see with their eyes and with their ears they may

not hear, and that their own heart may not understand and that they

may not actually turn back and get healing for themselves.'"

Compare this with John 12:36b,37,39-41: "Jesus spoke these

things and went off and hid from them. But although he had performed

so many signs before them, they were not putting faith in him. . .The

reason why they were not able to believe is that Isaiah said: `He has

blinded their eyes and he has made their hearts hard, that they

should not see with their eyes and get the thought with their hearts

and turn around and I should heal them.' Isaiah said these things

because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him." If the Apostle

John had no problem saying that Isaiah's vision of Jehovah in His

temple was a vision of Christ's glory, why should we? Even the New

World Translation Reference Bible cross-references Isaiah 6:1 to

John 12:41!

We are told at Isaiah 45:22-24: "Turn to me and be saved,

all you at the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no one

else. By my own self I have sworn-out of my own mouth in

righteousness the word has gone forth, so that it will not return-

that to me every knee will bend down, every tongue will swear,

saying, `Surely in Jehovah there are full righteousness and

strength.'" Notice how Paul makes a direct allusion to this passage

at Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV): "Therefore God exalted him to the

highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at

the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on the earth

and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is

Lord, to the glory of God the Father." At Isaiah 45:23 we were told

that every knee would bend in worship and every tongue swear to

Jehovah. Paul alludes to this and says this would happen "at the

name of Jesus." Why? Because Paul adds that God has shared with

Christ "the name that is above every name "-the Divine Name. So,

when every knee bows before Jesus and every tongue confesses Jesus

Christ as LORD, does this detract from the Father? Not at all!

Rather, Paul said this would glorify God the Father!-compare John

5:23. (Interestingly, early editions of the N.T. part of the New

World Translation had a cross-reference at Philippians 2:10 pointing

to Isaiah 45:23. Their 1984 Reference Bible edition has removed

that cross-reference.)

Consider these points: What was the most sacred Name to the

Jews? Didn't the people of Israel have an intense awe for the Divine

Name? So, how could Paul and Peter and John (who were from a Jewish

background) so freely apply passages about Yahweh to Jesus Christ?

Why did they have no hesitation in identifying Christ with Jehovah?

When they called Jesus LORD, weren't they making a mind-boggling

claim? The risen Savior was identified with Yahweh of the O.T.! Is

that perhaps one reason why we are told at 1 Corinthians 12:3: "No

one can say: `Jesus is LORD,' except by the Holy Spirit."

Space does not permit us to continue considering the evidence

showing that the N.T. identifies Christ with Yahweh. For those

wanting to do an in-depth study I would recommend the book How To

Answer A Jehovah's Witness , by Robert Morey. Part 3 of his book is

entitled "Is Jesus Christ YHWH?" and has an excellent workbook to

work through on the subject. Also, our tract Hiding The Divine Name

gives some further evidence, along with some insights into the

Watchtower Society's scholastic integrity. (See our materials list

for information on ordering. A suggestion for the Christian

evangelist-even though JWs are told not to accept the religious

literature of others, we have been able to get a few to take this

tract. Have some on hand to share with your JW friend, or even with

the Witness who calls at your door.)

(Above written by Mr. Dave Brown; originally appeared as an article

in "The Dividing Line", the newsletter of Alpha and Omega Ministries.

Printed copies available.)



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