Questions From Readers
● Is it mere wordiness or overdoing matters or downgrading to Jehovah for us to speak of him as Jehovah God?
Evidently this question is raised because Jehovah is the exclusive name of the Creator of heaven and earth, and God is his title as Creator; as we read in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It is true that the name Jehovah immediately identifies who he is, but it is not unusual in Scripture for an individual to be designated by his name and also have his title affixed. As an instance of this we may take the only-begotten Son of God himself. Many times in the Holy Bible he is called Jesus Christ. Jesus is the personal name that was given to the Son of God on earth as a man; and Christ is the title, meaning Anointed One, that was conferred upon him immediately after he was baptized in the Jordan River and God poured out his holy spirit upon him, thus anointing him.
Ah, but someone may object, the name Jesus is not exclusive to the Son of God. “Jesus” is the way that the Greeks pronounce the Hebrew name Joshua, which is the shortened form for the longer name Jehoshua, meaning “Jehovah is salvation.” The name of the successor of Moses the prophet was Joshua, the son of Nun; and in the book of Hebrews (which was originally written in Greek) the inspired author speaks of this Joshua as Jesus. Today also there are many men in Latin America who are called Jesus. So to distinguish Jesus the Son of God from all these other men, who anciently and modernly were called Jesus, it is necessary to designate Him as Jesus Christ, Jesus the one anointed of God.
But such bestowal of a name upon many men is not true of the name Jehovah. That is the name that God gave to himself and that is exclusively his own. It is given to none of his creatures in the universe. Some of their names may include the name Jehovah in a combination, but not one of these persons is called by the bare name Jehovah. So that name Jehovah is the exclusive designation that applies to the only living and true God. And when one pronounces the name Jehovah it automatically means God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
That is a true statement. In spite of that fact our use of the expression Jehovah God to designate him would not be a downgrading of the Creator of heaven and earth. Why not? Because the Bible, inspired by the Creator himself, uses that expression many times, beginning with Genesis 2:4, which reads: “This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.”
But some may object that the title “God” was inserted after the name Jehovah by an unknown later editor of the Bible manuscripts. They may refer to the fact that the word “God” appears exclusively in the first chapter of Genesis in connection with the account of earthly creation, and that the name Jehovah does not appear until the second chapter of Genesis, beginning with its Ge 2 verse 4. They claim that the book of Genesis was compiled from two sets of documents; from one set of documents that refer to the Creator only as God, and from a second set of documents that refer to the Creator as Jehovah. In the Hebrew language the word for God is Elohím; and his personal name is represented by the four Hebrew consonants, together known as the Tetragrammaton, which combination of consonants is popularly pronounced today Jehovah. Thus they say that there was an Elohistic document and there was a Jehovistic document, and that these two documents were combined together, or blended together, in the book of Genesis. Thus the editor of the two documents making up the book of Genesis inserted the word Elohím (or God) after the name Jehovah, beginning with the second chapter of Genesis, to form the combination “Jehovah Elohím” or Jehovah God.—See Genesis 2:4, Darby.
However, this argument concerning an Elohistic document and a Jehovistic document is merely a theory, which has been invented in recent times, and nothing in the history of the Jews down till Jesus’ day makes even a hint of such a thing. Jesus and his apostles plainly tell us that the book of Genesis was written by the one inspired writer, the prophet Moses. It was Moses, therefore, who wrote down this combination of the Creator’s name and his title, Jehovah God; and he did so under the activity of God’s holy spirit. This proves that this combination is approved by the Almighty God himself, who commands us that nothing be added to his holy Word nor anything be taken away from it.—Deut. 4:2; 12:32.
This truth is supported by the fact that in the Hebrew Scriptures the combination “Jehovah Elohím” (or Jehovah God) occurs thirty-six times from Genesis 2:4 onward, through Jonah 4:6, which reads: “And Jehovah God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his evil case.” (AS) In Genesis, chapter 2, the expression “Jehovah Elohím” occurs eleven times; and in chapter 3 nine times, making a total of twenty times for just those two chapters. The other occurrences of the expression “Jehovah Elohím” are in Exodus 9:30; 2 Samuel 7:22, 25; 2 Kings 19:19; Jonah 4:6; Psalms 72:18; 84:12; 1 Chronicles 17:16; 28:20; 29:1; 2 Chronicles 1:9 (twice); 2Ch 6:41, 42; 26:18, and Jeremiah 10:10. Besides this, the Hebrew expression “Jehovah ha-Elohím” (meaning Jehovah, The [true] God) occurs six times, namely, in 1 Samuel 6:20; Nehemiah 8:6; 9:7; 1 Chronicles 22:1, 19; 2 Chronicles 32:16, as shown in the New World Translation.
Hence the expression Jehovah God, which he himself has caused to be recorded in his holy Word by the inspiration of his spirit, we are divinely authorized to use with reference to him. We are not belittling him when we use an expression that has proceeded out of his own mouth. We should not call “defiled” and “belittling” the thing that God has presented as clean and honoring to himself. Not all people throughout the earth know what the name of God is; nor do all people know that the name Jehovah applies to God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and the Maker of man. Therefore the expression Jehovah God is a help to them in showing that this Jehovah about whom we preach is the only living and true God, whom all mankind must worship through Jesus Christ his Son to gain everlasting life in his new world.
The publications of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania and the representatives of this Society will therefore continue to use the expression Jehovah God to his honor and exaltation, together with all the other expressions that Jehovah’s spirit moved his holy men of old to employ for identifying Him in his sacred Record, the Bible.