Unraveling the Mystery of the Greatest Name
It is of interest that both the Muslim Koran and the Christian Bible refer to the greatest name. This discussion explains the meaning and importance of the greatest name. It also shows how that name affects all mankind and our future here on earth.
MILLIONS of men and women have lived and died on this earth. In most cases their names have died with them, and their remembrance has been forgotten. But some great names—such as Avicenna, Edison, Pasteur, Beethoven, Gandhi, and Newton—live on. These names are connected with the achievements, discoveries, and inventions of the ones who bore them.
However, there is a name greater than all others. All past and present wonders in the entire universe are related to it. Why, mankind’s hope for a long and happy life is associated with this name!
Many have wanted to come to know this name. They have searched for it and asked about it, but they have not found it. For them it has remained a mystery. In fact, no man can discover this name unless the Owner of it reveals it to him. Happily, the mystery of this peerless name has been unraveled. God himself has done this so that those who believe in him would know about him. He revealed his name to Adam, then to Abraham, to Moses, and to His other faithful servants of old.
In Search of the Greatest Name
The Koran tells of someone “who was deeply versed in the Scriptures.” (27:40) In explaining this verse, a commentary known as Tafsīr Jalālayn says: “Asaf the son of Barkhiyā was a righteous man. He knew God’s greatest name, and whenever he called on it, he was answered.” This reminds us of the Bible writer Asaph, who said at Psalm 83:18: “That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”
At Koran 17:2, we read: “We gave Moses the Scriptures and made them a guide for the Israelites.” In those Scriptures, Moses addresses God, saying: “Suppose I am now come to the sons of Israel and I do say to them, ‘The God of your forefathers has sent me to you,’ and they do say to me, ‘What is his name?’ What shall I say to them?” God answered Moses by saying: “This is what you are to say to the sons of Israel, ‘Jehovah the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name to time indefinite.”—Exodus 3:13, 15.
In ancient times, the Israelites knew this great name of God. It was even used as a component of their own names. Just as one now finds the name Abdullah, which means “Servant of God,” the people of ancient Israel had the name Obadiah, meaning “Servant of Jehovah.” The mother of the prophet Moses was named Jochebed, which possibly means “Jehovah Is Glory.” The name John means “Jehovah Has Been Gracious.” And the name of the prophet Elijah means “My God Is Jehovah.”
The prophets knew this great name and used it with deep respect. It is found more than 7,000 times in the Holy Scriptures. Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, highlighted it when he said in his prayer to God: “I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me . . . I have made your name known to them and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them.” (John 17:6, 26) In his famous commentary on the Koran, Bayḍāwī comments on Koran 2:87, saying that Jesus used to “revive dead persons by God’s greatest name.”
What, then, happened to make that name a mystery? What does that name have to do with the future of each one of us?
How Did the Name Become a Mystery?
Some think that “Jehovah” in Hebrew means “Allah” (God). But “Allah” corresponds to the Hebrew ʼElo·himʹ, the plural of majesty of the word ʼelohʹah (god). A superstition arose among the Jews that prevented them from pronouncing the divine name, Jehovah. Therefore, when they were reading the Holy Scriptures and saw the name Jehovah, it became their custom to say ʼAdho·naiʹ, which means “Lord.” In some places, they even altered the original Hebrew text from “Jehovah” to ʼAdho·naiʹ.
Religious leaders of Christendom followed the same course. They replaced the name Jehovah with “God” (“Allah” in Arabic) and “Lord.” That contributed to the development of the false doctrine of the Trinity, which has no basis in the Holy Scriptures. Because of this, millions mistakenly worship Jesus and the holy spirit and consider them equal to God.*
Hence, leaders of Judaism and of Christendom share the blame for the widespread ignorance concerning the greatest name. But God prophesied: “I shall certainly sanctify my great name, . . . and the nations will have to know that I am Jehovah.” Yes, Jehovah will make his name known among all the nations. Why? Because he is not merely the God of the Jews or of any other individual nation or people. Jehovah is the God of all mankind.—Ezekiel 36:23; Genesis 22:18; Psalm 145:21; Malachi 1:11.
The Greatest Name and Our Future
The Holy Scriptures say: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Our salvation on the day of judgment will be related to our knowing the name of God. To know his name includes knowing his attributes, works, and purposes and living in harmony with his high principles. For example, Abraham knew God’s name and called on that name. As a result, he enjoyed a good relationship with God, showed faith in him, relied on him, and obeyed him. Abraham thus became God’s friend. Likewise, knowing God’s name draws us close to him and helps us to develop a personal relationship with him, holding fast to his love.—Genesis 12:8; Psalm 9:10; Proverbs 18:10; James 2:23.
In the Bible we read: “Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance began to be written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.” (Malachi 3:16) Why do we have to ‘think upon’ the greatest name? The name Jehovah literally means “He Causes to Become.” This reveals Jehovah as the One who causes himself to become the Fulfiller of promises. He always brings his purposes to realization. He is the almighty God, the only Creator, who has every fine attribute. There is no single word that can fully describe God’s divine nature. But God chose for himself the greatest name—Jehovah—and it calls to mind all his attributes, qualities, and purposes.
In the Holy Scriptures, God tells us of his purposes toward humankind. Jehovah God created man to enjoy an everlasting, happy life in Paradise. His will for mankind is that all people should make up one family, united in love and peace. The God of love will fulfill this purpose in the near future.—Matthew 24:3-14, 32-42; 1 John 4:14-21.
God explains the reasons for mankind’s suffering and shows that salvation is possible. (Revelation 21:4) At Psalm 37:10, 11, we read: “Just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—See also Koran 21:105.
Yes, God will be known by his great name. The nations will have to know that he is Jehovah. What a wonderful privilege to know the greatest name, to testify to it, and to cleave to it! In that way, God’s joyful purpose will be fulfilled in each one of us: “Because on me he has set his affection, I shall also provide him with escape. I shall protect him because he has come to know my name. He will call upon me, and I shall answer him. . . . With length of days I shall satisfy him, and I shall cause him to see salvation by me.”—Psalm 91:14-16.
For proof that the Trinity is not a Bible teaching, see the brochure Should You Believe in the Trinity? published in 1989 by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
[Picture on page 5]
At the burning bush, God identified himself to Moses as ‘Jehovah, the God of Abraham’
Moses and the Burning Bush, by W. Thomas, Sr.