Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse | Exodus 3:15

Exodus 3:15

Then God said once more to Moses: “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, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation.” (nwt)

Jehovah’s Witnesses use this verse to argue that they are the only true worshipers of God, because they are the only ones who still call God by his name—Jehovah. The above verse, they insist, is God’s command to call him by that sacred name “to time indefinite,” or forever. In the eyes of JWs, Christians who pray to “God” or to “the Lord” are actually praying to the false god, Satan; the true God, Jehovah, does not hear prayers unless they are addressed to him by name. Therefore, Witnesses always use the name Jehovah in their prayers. In fact, they often repeat the name many times during a single prayer, as if God might forget that he is the one being addressed, or as if the Witness might forget to which God he was praying.

Although their own publications admit that “Jehovah” is an Anglicized misrendering and not the correct pronunciation of the original Hebrew Tetragrammaton YHWH, they insist upon using that pronunciation only, rather than the more correct name Yahweh. JWs never pray to “Yahweh.”

A comparison of Exodus 3:15 with verse 14 shows that the name Yahweh, or Jehovah, has meaning: God is the self-existing Eternal One. He is much more than a name, and knowing him involves much more than using a name. Jesus showed that more than just a name is involved, when he said: “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’ ” (Matt. 7:22–23, rsv [italics added]).

Ask a Jehovah’s Witness to examine with you the prayers of Jesus Christ. Point out that Jesus never started out his prayers by saying, “Jehovah God … ”—as JWs do. Rather, Jesus began his prayers by saying, “Father.… ” (See Matt. 11:25, 26:39–42; Mark 14:36; Luke 10:21, 22:42, 23:34, 46; John 11:41, 12:27–28, 17:1–26). And, when teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus instructed them to address “Our Father … ” (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2). Christians, then, are to have an intimate relationship with God as his children who call out to him, “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).

And, as to the importance of names, the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to stress “ … the name of Jesus Christ … there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10–12, rsv). Moreover, Jesus is “the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9–11, rsv).

See also the discussions on Psalm 83:18 and Isaiah 43:10 in this chapter.

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[1]Reed, D. A. (1997, c1986). Jehovah’s Witnesses : Answered verse by verse. Includes indexes. (electronic ed.) (27). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

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