Most Jehovah’s Witnesses strongly believe that true disciples should preach in the Name of Jehovah. But does this follow the precedent set in the New Testament? Has God asked Christians to proclaim His Name to the world today?
OLD TESTAMENT NAMES
In the Old Testament, God revealed himself as El, El Shaddai, Adonai, and Jehovah/Yahweh in Exodus 34. Our Heavenly Father’s purpose for His creation is revealed in His Memorial Name. Many experts believe that Yahweh is a more accurate translation of this most important Hebrew Name of God, which means, ‘I will be who I will be,’ or ‘I am who I am’.
‘HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED’
However, there are indications in the Old Testament, that Yahweh intended to share His Name, as we read in Isaiah 9:6-7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David…”
‘I WILL BE SALVATION’
When Jesus was born, the angel told Mary to call God’s Son – ‘Jesus’, which means ‘Yah’s salvation’ and is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua (Luke 1:30-33). There are a number of Bible names incorporating Yah. Expanded out, Jesus’s name means, “I will be salvation” which is and was the purpose of God. Jesus is God’s means of salvation to the whole world of sinners. The very first promise made after the very first sin in the Garden of Eden is found in Genesis 3:15. Jesus (the seed of the woman) was to crush the head of the serpent, which he did when he gave up his life on the cross that “through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” Hebrews 2:14.
THE NAME WAS GIVEN
Because of our Lord’s victory over sin, Yahweh gave him the name that is above every name as is says in Philippians 2:8-11:
“And being found in fashion as a man, he [Jesus] humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ has received this exalted status to the glory of the Father, but not to usurp God. However, it is interesting that ‘Yahweh’ does not appear in the English New Testament, nor in many ancient Greek manuscripts. The Watchtower states that the absence of the Memorial Name in the N.T. is a copyist error. However, regardless of whether or not this Name was removed from the original text, we read this powerful message in Acts 4:10-12:
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES
There are many passages which confirm the importance of the Name of Jesus Christ. For example:
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Acts 10:43 “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
John 20:31 “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
1 Corinthians 6:10 “ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Ephesians 1:20 “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:”
Hebrews 1:4 “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
MANIFESTED TO THE WORLD
But hold on… Jesus said he did his works ‘in my Father’s Name‘ (John 10:25). He said that he ‘came in my Father’s Name‘ (John 5:43). He said that he would ‘tell of Your Name to my brothers, in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise’ (Heb. 2:12). He came as a king ‘in the Name of the Lord.’ (John 12:14) Even in Hebrews 6:10, the Apostle Paul assures us that God will not forget ‘your work and labor of love which ye have showed toward His Name.’
This all fits perfectly. Jesus came in his Father’s Name. He bore his Father’s Name and purpose in the meaning of His own Name, and manifested his Father to the whole world, as he says in John 12:45-48, “Whoever sees me sees him who sent me… For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”
NOT TO USURP THE FATHER
Consider this: The Apostles didn’t do miracles in the name of Jehovah/Yahweh, but in the name of Jesus Christ – the Yahweh purpose fulfilled in him. They didn’t preach the name of Jehovah/ Yahweh, but the Name of Jesus Christ. This doesn’t mean that Jesus has usurped Yahweh the Creator of heaven and earth. Yahweh is still Jesus’ God and Father, as he says in John 20:17: “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
It is God’s will to elevate Jesus and give him this important role of creating the ‘new creation’ of men and women – spiritually born and awaiting immortality in the future. (1 Corinthians 15:45-58; John 5:21; Colossians 1:15-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17) Our Father in Heaven is pleased for us to glorify His Son and to preach the Name of Jesus Christ because Jesus is God’s provision to redeem us from sin and death. (Genesis 22:14-18; Philippians 2:8-11)
THE NAME SHARED AGAIN
When we are given immortality like Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20-21) at the Resurrection, Yahweh’s purpose will also be fulfilled in us, and therefore Jesus says in Revelation 3:12, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” The purpose of Yahweh’s Name – “I will be who I will be” will also be fulfilled in us. Jesus said, in John 17, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world… Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me… I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me…”
Our Lord Jesus Christ and his children – those who are saved through him – will all be brought into the family of Yahweh and be one with Him in mind, purpose and immortal nature. This is a day we long for, which John saw in the vision of Revelation 14, when, “behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
SO WHOSE NAME DO WE PREACH TODAY?
The Apostles in Acts 8:11 preached “the Name of Jesus” and “the Kingdom of God,” as stated, “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. KJV”
The Apostles did not preach the ‘name of Yahweh’, because the purpose of this Name “I will be who I will be” was now in the one bearing the name, “I will be salvation”, since Jesus had given his life for the world. Jesus Christ is bringing to pass the plan God had from the beginning of the world, to save sinners.
This new name means that God Himself has promoted His Son to this elevated position until the end of the Millennial reign is over,
1 Cor. 15:28 “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
These passages clearly show the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is what we should be proclaiming to the world today, as the ongoing fulfillment of Yahweh’s Name and purpose, if we desire to follow the example of the First Century Christians.