I received a number of comments on my recent posts about whether Jesus was Yahweh (Hebrew: YHWH) in traditional Christian thinking/theology. And a number of people have wanted further explanation of the name. In particular: how does it relate to “Jehovah”? In fact, where does the name “Jehovah” come from? And is it in the New Testament?
I was asked this question directly years ago on the blog, and posted on it. Here is the question and what I said in response.
How firmly grounded in reality is the claim of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the ‘divine name’ (Jehovah) belongs in the New Testament?
So this is an interesting question, with several possible ramifications. At first I should explain that the divine name “Jehovah” doesn’t belong in *either* Testament, old or new, in the opinion of most critical scholars, outside the ranks of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. That’s because Jehovah was not the divine name.
So here’s the deal. In the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament) God is given a number of different designations. Sometimes he is called God (the Hebrew word is El, or more commonly – by far – the plural form of that word, ELOHIM); or The Almighty (SHADDAI), or God Almighty (EL SHADDAI), or Lord (ADONAI), or – well, or lots of other things. But sometimes the God of Israel is actually given his personal name. Like everyone else, he has a name. And his name was יהוה (in English letters, that looks like YHWH).
Written Hebrew, as you probably know