Hiding the Divine Name
The Witnesses’ Interlinear claims to “restore” the Divine Name—
But does it, in fact, actually hide the Name?
Reproduced at the following links are photocopies of three different Hebrew translations cited in the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (distributed by Jehovah’s Witnesses) as support for “restoration” of the Divine Name. These Hebrew translations use the Tetragrammaton (the Hebrew form for “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”) in several places throughout the inspired Christian writings. Since Watchtower sources refer to them as J8, J13, and J14, they may be called “J-versions.” 1
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Significantly, the Divine Name appears in the J-versions many more times than those recorded in the Kingdom Interlinear. These reproductions show the Divine Name in J8 at Hebrews 1:10; in J13 at 1 Peter 2:3, and in J14 at both 1 Peter 2:3 and 1 Corinthians 12:3. No reference to these occurrences of the Tetragrammaton appears in the Kingdom Interlinear. Why?
ONLY 307 OCCURRENCES?
The following statement appears on page 18 (click for picture) of the 1969 edition of the Kingdom Interlinear: “All together, the appearances of the sacred Tetragrammaton in the 19 Hebrew versions to which we have had access total up to 307 distinct occurrences.” (These “307 distinct occurrences” are listed on pages 1148-51 of that publication.) 2 And yet, incomplete research has revealed over 50 additional occurrences of the Divine Name in the J-versions…50+ occurrences not mentioned in the footnotes or appendix of the Interlinear or any other Watchtower publication. Why?
To say that “all together, the appearances of the sacred Tetragrammaton in the 19 Hebrew versions…total up to 307 distinct occurrences” is untrue! The Kingdom Interlinear is hiding the Divine Name which occurs in over 50 additional places in the J-versions. After this was called to the attention of the Watchtower Society, the 1985 edition of the Interlinear dropped all mention of the “307 distinct occurrences” without any explanation. 3 Still, 700,000 copies of the 1969 version were printed containing the false information—not to mention the nearly two million copies of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures and the 1963 “Large Print” Bible. For nearly 35 years, the public was told there was a total of “307 distinct occurrences” of the Tetragrammaton in the 19 J-versions. The impression was given that these were all the occurrences of the Divine Name in those versions. Is the Watchtower Society honest enough to openly acknowledge this error? Or, will the Society continue hiding the Divine Name?
Why is the Watchtower Society hiding the Divine Name? What is the Society trying to cover up? Examine the J-version reproductions above. Search the Scriptures for yourself. Discover that at Hebrews 1:10 in J8 God, the Father, addresses His Son using the Divine Name. (This is a quotation from Psalm 102:25-27, LXX.) 4 Determine who was “rejected by men but chosen by God” and wears the Divine Name at 1 Peter 2:3 in J13 and J14. (This is a quotation from Psalm 34:8, LXX.) Did you know that just as the Father and the Son share one throne (Rev. 7:17; 22:1-3), they share one Divine Name (Matt. 28:19)? Is this why the Watchtower Society is hiding the Divine Name?
NO TETRAGRAMMATON AT 1 CORINTHIANS 12:3?
Look at 1 Corinthians 12:3 in J14 in the reproduction above. The Greek phrase Kyrios Yesous is translated into Hebrew as “Jesus is Yahweh” or “Jehovah Jesus” … despite the statement on page 320 of the May 15, 1960, Watchtower in reference to this verse: “None of the Hebrew versions render it ‘Jehovah Jesus’…” Why did the Watchtower not tell you the truth? 1 Corinthians 12:3 says: “No one can say: ‘Jesus is Lord [“Yahweh,” J14]!’, except by the Holy Spirit.” Why do the implications of calling Jesus “LORD” stagger the human mind requiring the help of the Holy Spirit?
The May 15, 1960 Watchtower, page 320 claimed none of the Hebrew versions used the Tetragrammaton at 1 Corinthians 12:3.
But how can Jesus be Yahweh? Some mistakenly think that traditional Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Father. 5 Rather, traditional Christian belief has been that Jesus and the Father are separate Persons. Yet, both share the nature and unity that belong to Deity. 6 Because the Son is Yahweh doesn’t make Him His own Father! Listen to the Scriptures as they consistently apply the Divine Name to Jesus Christ.
The Messianic prophecy at Isaiah 40:3-5 is quoted at Matthew 3:1-3, Mark 1:1-4, Luke 3:2-6, and John 1:23. Isaiah spoke of one who would clear the way for Jehovah. John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy by preparing the way for Jesus.
“You must not fear the object they fear,” wrote the Prophet Isaiah (8:12b), “but Yahweh of Armies you must sanctify.” When quoting this passage, the Apostle Peter replaced “of Armies” with “the Christ.” Conflating the Hebrew and Greek texts: ‘You must not fear the object they fear, but Jehovah (the Christ) you must sanctify.’ 7 Carefully compare Isaiah 8:12b, 13 in the LXX with 1 Peter 3:14b, 15 in the Interlinear. Does the Tetragrammaton occur in 1 Peter 3:15 in the J-versions? Yes, the 1985 edition of the Interlinear records it in a footnote at this verse. What the Interlinear doesn’t tell you is that both J7 and J8 read: “Sanctify Jehovah God (who is Christ) in your hearts.” 8
Yahweh is a “stone of stumbling” according to Isaiah 8:14. But when Peter quotes the passage at 1 Peter 2:8 he tells us the “stone of stumbling” (Yahweh) is Jesus Christ.
Psalm 68:18 speaks of Yahweh as `ascending on high taking gifts in men.’ Yet, the Apostle Paul quotes this passage in Ephesians 4:7-10 and applies it to the Ascension of Jesus Christ.
WHOSE GLORY DID ISAIAH SEE?
Carefully compare Isaiah 6:1-10 with John 12:39-42. Isaiah reports a vision of Yahweh in His temple. The Seraphs proclaim: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies. The fullness of all the earth is his glory.” Isaiah was told the people’s eyes, ears, and hearts would be blinded by the message he preached. Amazingly, John 12:40 quotes from Isaiah 6:10, referring to the blindness and hardness of heart some experienced when confronted with Christ’s claims. John (12:41) concludes: “Isaiah said these things because he saw his [Yahweh/Jesus] glory, and he spoke about him.” (Even the New World Translation Reference Bible (1984 edition) cross-references Isaiah 6:1 to John 12:41!) If the Apostle John had no problem saying that Isaiah’s vision of Yahweh in His temple was a vision of Christ’s glory, why should we?
Paul tells us (Philippians 2:10-11) that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess, saying: “Jesus is Lord!” This confession will bring glory to God, the Father. The wording is derived from Isaiah 45:23, where Jehovah swears, “to me every knee will bow, every tongue confess.” 9 The 1950, 1951 and 1963 editions of the New World Translation contain a cross-reference at Philippians 2:10 pointing to Isaiah 45:23. The 1984 New World Reference Bible omits that cross-reference; thereby, hiding the Divine Name—“The Name that is above every name”—the Name the Father shares with His Son. Are you guilty of hiding the Divine Name?
If first-century Christian writers had no hesitation in applying passages about Yahweh in Isaiah and the Psalms to Jesus Christ, should you? True, Jesus Christ is not His own Father…but according to the Word of God, He is Lord/Jehovah/Yahweh. Don’t let calling Jesus Christ “Yahweh” be a stone of stumbling to you (1 Peter 2:8/Isaiah 8:14). Rather, sanctify Christ who is the Lord Jehovah in your hearts! (1 Peter 3:15/Isaiah 8:13).
1. J7 is Elias Hutter’s Hebrew translation of the New Testament, published in 1599. J8 is the 1661 translation by William Robertson. J13 is the translation by McCaul, Reichardt, Hoga and Alexander. (The 1969 Interlinear lists it as the 1872 edition of the 1838 translation.) J14 is John Christian Reichardt’s 1846 version (edition of 1853, as noted in the 1969 Interlinear.) These reproductions are from the actual volumes at the New York Public Library and the American Bible Society in New York City as listed in the 1969 Interlinear.
2. Page 19 of the 1969 Interlinear noted that Ephesians 6:8 and Colossians 3:13 did not have any support from the 19 Hebrew versions.
3. In the 1985 edition of the Interlinear there are several changes in the use of the J-versions. The Society has apparently abandoned the idea of claiming to list all the occurrences of the Tetragrammaton in the Hebrew versions.
4. The Tetragrammaton is also found in J7 at Hebrews 1:10.
5. Christian Tradition condemned the Modalists of the second and third centuries who “exaggerated the oneness of the Father and the Son so as to make them but one Person.” Catholic Encyclopedia, “Monarchians.”
6. The Scriptures are very clear there are not two Jehovahs! “Listen, Israel: Our God is Jehovah; Jehovah is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4, Byington). We are forced to accept the revelation of the Word of God that both the Father and the Son are called Jehovah. But, at the same time, they are distinguished one from the other. We are bound by Scripture to declare both truths. Christian Tradition has upheld the unity of God while at the same time maintaining the Father and the Son are Persons truly distinct one from another.
7. It is important to remember that the Tetragrammaton does not occur in any of the over 5,000 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament which we possess today. If we accept the text the way it has been preserved we must admit that the name “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” is not in the original New Testament. The argument is this article addresses an inconsistency in the Watchtower Society’s attempt to “restore” the Divine Name to the New Testament. They cite Hebrew translations of the Greek New Testament—the oldest of which dates over 1,200 years later than the original Greek text. These have no authority to “restore” the name “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” to the New Testament since it is not there in the original Greek text. Additionally, these Hebrew translations identify Jesus with Yahweh—a fact hidden by the Watchtower Society’s scholarship.
8. J7 and J8 reflect the textual variation at 1 Peter 3:15. The Textus Receptus reads “God,” while the Westcott and Hort Greek text reads “Christ.” The translation given by J7 and J8 is a conflation of both readings.
9. The May 15, 1960 Watchtower, page 319, attempts to prove Philippians 2:10,11 is not a clear allusion to Isaiah 45:23 because Isaiah said every tongue would “swear” to Jehovah, while Philippians says every tongue would “confess” Jesus. However, comparing the LXX (Rahlf’s edition) with the Greek text of Philippians shows that the same word was used!
The reproduction below is taken from the Westcott and Hort Greek text of 1 Peter 3:13-15a. The portion in capital letters signifies a quotation from the Old Testament. Compare this with Isaiah 8:12, 13 in the LXX.
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A literal word-for-word translation of the bottom two lines is:
“THE BUT FEAR OF THEM NOT FEAR YOU NOT—BUT BE YOU AGITATED. LORD but the Christ SANCTIFY YOU in the hearts of you.” (Adapted from the Kingdom Interlinear.) The LXX is nearly identical. It simply says: “Lord Himself sanctify you.” He removes “Himself” from the quotation from Isaiah and substitutes “but the Christ.” Peter made sure to tell us the Lord we are to sanctify is Christ!
Compare the Greek texts (Isaiah 8:12, 13; 1 Peter 3:13-15a) for yourself at the following links:
For additional information on the Hebrew translations of the New Testament cited by the Watchtower Society, see: