Note: This article was fashioned with regard to the periphery of what Christianity (Christendom) believes and teaches about the name of God.
I know that this article will offend a lot of people. To offend is not my intent. My intent is to challenge what has been presented as the truth about God and Christ. I believe the so-called believing world is wrong.
It is interesting that no one has been able to challenge what I write. Instead, they detour, drag a Red-Herring, and make it personal by attacking me and making me the subject of discussion. I thoroughly get it. When I was first a “Born-Again Christian” and then later a Jehovah’s Witness, I took offense when others questioned and challenged my belief set. It was an emotional and personal thing. However, emotionalism does not trump truth.
Jesus was condemned and put to death because he challenged the established religious authority of his day and his mission was to do the will of the One who sent him. I feel the same way.
“Let God be true, and every human being a liar.” (Romans 3:4)
What Does This Mean To You?
I will tell you what this is at the end of the article.
Names Given To The “Christian” God
Within the Christian religious system, God is believed and called by the following names:
Jesus (One of three gods of the Trinity)
It was in 1971 that I had my first real serious experience with “the church.” At that time, I never read the Bible and knew almost nothing about it. I saw the movies on TV and in the theaters where Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, Angels, and Jesus were portrayed as White people. I assumed Jesus was God. I never questioned, challenged, or investigated it. I had no personal knowledge base to do so. Almost everyone in “the church” believed it so it must be true, I thought.
A few years thereafter – and picking up a Bible from time to time and talking with others within “the church” – I believed the God of the Bible was three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Yet, with regard to his name, I assumed it was Jesus Christ. Oddly, something within my psychoviscera blocked me from asking the obvious question, “Well, if “the Son” is God and his name is Jesus, then what about the Father who is also God, what is his name? What about the Holy Spirit? What is it/his name?
I believe this psychoviscera-blockage occurs on a large scale today. Baked within the Christian religious system is the concept and practice of accept-and-do-not-question (essentially do not think for yourself and let the system think for you).
In 1977 – and after reading the entire Bible several times and believing everything written in it literally – I believed in the Trinity, the rapture, hellfire, and that I was going to heaven because I “accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” In other words, I was saved. (I did not know what I was saved for, however). I also believed Jesus was God. I never went to that place in my mind that asked, “Well, what is the Father’s name?” His name escaped me still. I also felt very comfortable navigating the Bible, quoting scriptures, and explaining what I thought I understood in it to others.
One night while working a midnight shift in 1977, I met a janitor who was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses (his name was Earnest). He must observe me reading my Bible. Halfway into my shift and Earnest having finished his work, he struck up a conversation with me. He was a very friendly guy. He was married and had two small children. He explained to me that he was a Christian and how trying the times we were living in were. I agreed with him.
He went on to explain to me that he was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (I knew very little about Jehovah’s Witnesses other than when I was a child they knocked on our door early on Saturday. I had no reason to dislike or show prejudice to them. If they are Christians, then we are on the same team, as far as I am concerned).
Earnest had to leave – he was already late getting home – and he asked me if I didn’t mind accepting a publication from him. The publication was “The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life” (published in 1968 and revised in 1981) a 191-page book. I told him that I was read it and looked forward to giving him my thoughts about it.
I was too tired to read the book that night, but I had the day off the next day and after a good night’s rest, I would read it.
I read it cover to cover. I looked up all of the scriptures and cited reference works. The book shook me up!
“This cannot possibly be the truth!” I thought. The book shook me up so badly that it angered me – actually took me out of my comfort zone – that I ripped it up.
What happened here? I was reading things that challenged just about everything that I believed about the Bible. Plus, I was being told that Jesus was not God or a part of a trinity; that hell was not a literal place, but was the common grave of mankind; that I was not going to heaven; and that God’s name alone is Jehovah!
Admittedly, the book was a very intriguing read. I know know that it was written to get people to question and examine their religion. Does the book write of truthful things, yes, no doubt? But that that makes the book as a whole, the truth? No.
The next time I saw Earnest – yes, I was upset and had a chip on my shoulder – he asked me what I thought about the book. I told him that it was “f’d up” and a lie. Earnest could see that I was visibly shaken and I knew that I was not able to logically and rationally articulate why I felt that way. I pulled the good old “let’s get emotional” about it. (Many within Christendom who are backed into a corner, go emotional on you when they cannot articulate a response).
Earnest’s calm demeanor was what impressed me. I said that when he first read the “Blue Bomb” it shook him up, too.
Over the past few nights at work, we talked and I slowly began to see some things differently. Some of it was due to not being aware that certain supporting scriptures were in the Bible. He gave me another copy of the book.
After about two months, I learned more about Jehovah’s Witnesses and the organization of the Watchtower. I must admit that I was fascinated and I was attracted to the organization and Jehovah’s Witnesses. That God had a name – so I thought then – was so intriguing.
Fast Forward: After entering the USAF and serving 20 years (one cannot become a baptized JW if they are in the Armed Forces of any country), I would still attend the meetings and read all of the publications. A Pioneer couple in South Carolina studied with me. In January 1991, I was discharged from the USAF. In May 1991 I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I did reasonably well in the congregations I belonged to. I had many responsibilities. I even performed publishing work overseas (and in lands where the work was banned and I had many “Bible Studies.”)
In 2006, something happened. I began to question certain teachings and practices within the Watchtower organization. I quietly researched them on my own. I remained in the organization, however. I was not influenced by other religions. Yet, I knew something was not right. No one in the congregation expected I was having doubts.
In 2008, I quietly disassociated myself from the Watchtower organization.
One of the doubts – and questions – I had was “Do we know God’s name?”
Did God Reveal His Name To Moses?
I read and re-read the story of Moses when he encountered God’s angel who spoke to him through the burning bush. (Moses never saw God as that would have meant death to him. It was God speaking through His angel through a burning bush. Exodus 33:20)
God appointed Moses as His “Deliverer” of His people enslaved in Egypt. Moses had a monumental task in front of him. Yet, Moses asked God an interesting question at Exodus 3:13:
““Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?””
So Moses does not know God’s name and he asks Him what is it so that he can tell the Israelites. It is clear that the Israelites NEVER knew their God’s name either. So how does God answer Moses? Does He provide a personal name?
“God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)
I am is NOT a name! It is a pronoun! More so, I Am is a description of a quality of God describing that He is God! There are no others! That He is the God who does what He says he will do! That if He dispatches Moses into Egypt with a dire message to Pharaoh to let His people go, He will see to it that they will be released from bondage. That He is a God who has the reputation (name) to utter a thing to be done and it is done! If God says, “Let there be light”, there will be light! So, God does not reveal to Moses His personal name. Why?
The answer to why God never revealed His name to Moses is really quite simple. And, as you will see later, it is the same reason why Jesus never used or revealed the personal name of God.
Moses, an offspring of Adam, is an imperfect creature. God is perfect. God’s name is perfect and above any name in the universe that He created. God’s name is so lofty, so perfect, so holy nothing imperfect is to know or utter His name until they are perfect. No one since Adam is perfect. Never do we read that Jesus – who was also a son of man – perfect. As a Son of God, the person the world knows as Jesus had an existence in heaven before he was dispatched into the world of mankind as a man. After his death and resurrection, he eventually returned back to the place from which he came. In heaven, he is not a son of man, he is a Son of God, the firstborn (created) of all of God’s creations. He is the Archangel, that is Chief Angel. (Revelation 3:14, Colossians 1:15, and Proverbs 8:22)
In heaven and standing at His Father’s right side, he is perfect. He is no longer flesh and blood. He is Spirit. Invisible.
Did Jesus Ever Use a Personal Name For God?
I challenge anyone to read from Matthew to Revelation and extract from that reading where Jesus used a personal name for God! It’s not there. Jesus referred to his God as “Father and God.”
One would think during his ministry, the revelation of God’s personal name to his disciples would have been of number one importance. Yet, Jesus never mentioned or taught a personal name for God. We never read where his disciples used a personal name for God. This makes sense, since Jesus never taught one.
What About John 17:6? Does Not Jesus Say He Taught a Personal Name For God?
John 17:6 reads: “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” (NIV)
“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.” (John 17:6 KJV)
“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.” (John 17:6 NWT)
At John 17:6, Jesus is in prayer to his God and Father. It is easy to assume and conclude that Jesus taught a personal name for God. But that is not what occurred here. “Name” is to be understood in the same context as “I Am” when Moses conversed with God through His angel.
What Jesus made manifest to his disciples was not a personal name for God, put His reputation (good name).
Jesus taught his disciples what his God and their God was like. That he himself exemplified the same qualities of God, though he was not God but just a man. That by observing his ways, they received a glimpse of what their God was like. (John 1:18)
Isn’t God’s Name Mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)?
No! What is mentioned is the Tetragrammaton representing God’s name. What is a Tetragrammaton?
In the Hebrew language, the primary language in which the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) were written, there are no vowels, only consonants. So, God’s name is represented 6828 times as YHWH or JHWH. What vowels does one insert in between the consonants? Should vowels be inserted? Who decides which ones are to be inserted?
These questions led to the removal of the Tetragrammaton YHWH and JHWH and the inserting in their places LORD and GOD (all capital letters).
The Tetragrammaton does not appear in the Greek Scriptures (New Testament) because it was written in the Greek language and there is no such thing as a Tetragrammaton in Greek. So, any representation of God’s name does not appear from Matthew to Revelation. If it does, it is because someone arrogated themselves to place it there.
Who Names God?
We really have a problem in Houston! Imperfect mankind has arrogated itself to give God a name! Imperfect mankind does not wait for God to reveal His name! Imperfect mankind has pulled the One True God down to the level of the created, mankind.
Any name men give God will be imperfect and unholy because we are imperfect and unholy. Think about that!
BTW, there is no letter “J” in Greek. So, the spelling of Jesus would not have been with a “J.” So again – and for the sake of being accurate – who decides that Jesus is to be called Jesus or John John when there is no letter “J” in Greek?
What Did Jesus Mean When He Said To Keep God’s, Name Holy?
During his ministry, Jesus taught what is called by many, “The Lord’s Prayer.” In that prayer, Jesus is teaching his disciples how to pray. The first – and most important thing – he mentions is
“This, then, is how you should pray:“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name …” (Matthew 6:9 NIV)
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name …” (Matthew 6:9 KJV)
“You must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.” (Matthew 6:9 NWT)
Notice in all three translations we see either the expressions hallowed and sanctified used. What do these mean?
According to the Oxford dictionary, hallowed means: “To make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate.”
Sanctified means to “Set apart as or declare holy; consecrate.”
So, it is reasonable to conclude that Jesus was teaching him that God’s name is holy. And, let it be so.
Thus, Jesus is teaching that his followers -who are imperfect- are to respect God’s name as something lofty and holy and unknowable and unpronounceable to them, who are lowly and imperfect.
Yet, mankind has not heeded or respected what Jesus taught here. Instead, mankind has given God a name, many names. With regards to Christendom, they named Him Yahweh, Jehovah … some even call Him Jesus!
These are false names as God’s name has not been revealed to His imperfect creation, mankind.
Thus, if the name is false, the god that the name represents is false.
What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, “I will write upon him the name of my God?”
At Revelation 3:12, Jesus says: “The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.”
Jesus had already ascended back into heaven when this was written. In fact, this utterance was a “revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him …” (Revelation 1:1)
The Apostle John was imprisoned on the penal Isle of Patmos, Greece when he presented this utterance from Jesus through his angel.
So what does this teach us? That during his ministry on earth, Jesus never wrote upon his followers (Apostles or Disciples) God’s name? The revelation of God’s holy name is yet future. Notice the future tense, will!
Was I Line Crossed?
One has to seriously consider the magnitude of this if God nor His Son revealed His name to the world and the world of mankind created a god or gods and gave them names of their choosing.
Each one seems content and comfortable with the names that have been chosen by them and seem unconcerned that they have really created their own god and gods in their own image! Thus, what we have standing on the surface of the ground are men, women, and institutions that really amount to the worship of “the created” rather than the Creator!
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)
What About RLD?
RLD is the Tetragrammaton of my first name. My first name is Ronald. I don’t know you, but I would not want anyone guessing or deciding for themselves which vowels to insert in between the consonants. I would feel offended and disrespected if someone decided that my name is Renild or Rineld or Raneld. All of these would be incorrect and not my name and what reputation I have built up with that name in my lifetime.
Yet, mankind has arrogated itself to take four Hebrew letters YHWH (and these are rendered in English!) to conclude a name for God!
If the world of mankind does not respect the sanctification of God’s name and honor what Jesus taught about it, then how in the world does the world respect the names of others?
Sadly, we live in a world so full of hate that many give other races of people demeaning and demoralizing names.
No one of importance. A disciple (student) of Christ apart from the established religious systems who reasons, thinks and concludes matters for myself. Something is not right with the state of religion in the world. The real dichotomy is that we live in a world so full of religion, yet is an evil, immoral, and dangerous place to live. A mental and spiritual separation from this world that Jesus said his kingdom is no part of is the first step to a "break-through" to freedom and entry into a much larger spiritual world where God and Christ resides and the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God can be accessed.