Do You Know the Origin of Name “Jehovah”?
by Su Rui
Speaking of God’s name, everyone is familiar with it, for God’s names have been recorded explicitly in verses. Almost all believers know that God was once named “Jehovah” in the Age of Law and “Jesus” in the Age of Grace. Moreover, Revelation has prophesied that God will be called “the Almighty” in the last days. At this point, some believers may ask: Why does God have so many names? What are the origins of God’s names? Today, let’s fellowship about the origin and significance of the name Jehovah.
What does the Bible say about God’s name — Jehovah?
The verses record, “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). “this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations” (Exodus 3:15). Many followers believe God’s original name is Jehovah. But did God really have name in the beginning? What is the origin of the name Jehovah? About these questions, I have sought for the answers many years. Then, after studying the Bible carefully, I saw it is recorded in Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. … And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day” (Genesis 1:1–8). From these verses we can know that when creating the heavens, earth and all things, God is called God, He has no other name, nor does He have the name of Jehovah, He is named God.
However, Exodus records that when Moses herded his flock to Horeb and was called by God, he had a conversation with God. “Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13). “And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations” (Exodus 3:15). We can clearly know from these verses that God was called God and had no name from the very beginning. So Moses asked God, “They shall say to me, ‘What is his name?’ What shall I say to them?” Under that background, God told Moses that Jehovah was His name forever and to all generations. Obviously, God told the name of Jehovah to Moses when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. After leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses wrote Genesis. Thus, today, we can see Jehovah is God’s name in Genesis. It’s not that God was named Jehovah from the start.
God is originally of the formless Spirit. He doesn’t have a particular name. As God saw the Israelites enslaved and mistreated by the Egyptians and heard the sound of their cries, God used Moses to lead them out of Egypt. Therefore, the name Jehovah came into being with this background.
What does the name Jehovah mean? Why did God take this name?
I remember such a passage of words, “‘Jehovah’ is the name that I took during My work in Israel, and it means the God of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) who can take pity on man, curse man, and guide the life of man. It means the God who possesses great power and is full of wisdom. … only Jehovah is the God of the chosen people of Israel, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses, and the God of all the people of Israel. And so in the current age, all the Israelites apart from the tribe of Judah worship Jehovah. They make sacrifices to Him on the altar, and serve Him wearing priests’ robes in the temple. What they hope for is the reappearance of Jehovah.” Here we know, the name “Jehovah” is a particular name during God’s work among the Israelites and God took this name so as to lead the Israelites. People in that age were a newborn human race, only knowing that they should sweat and labor to provide for their families, not knowing how to live, how to be human, how to worship God, how to offer sacrifice and how to follow God’s way.… God didn’t have the heart to see the mankind He Himself created become depraved. So He issued the laws, commandments, statutes and ordinances through Moses, leading man to live on earth and enabling them to know how to build the temple and the altar, how to offer sacrifice and how to serve Jehovah God wearing priests’ robes in the temple and so forth. Hence, in the name of Jehovah, God did the first stage of work, that of law. If the Israelites of that time obeyed the laws issued by Jehovah God, they would gain God’s mercy and blessing. In the Age of Law, the disposition Jehovah God expressed is not only merciful and loving, but also majestic and unoffendable. For example, in that age, the people of Israel would be stoned to death and the priests would be burnt by heavenly fire from Jehovah God, if they broke the commandments.
It can be seen that the name Jehovah is a particular name for the people of Israel who lived under the law and this name represents God’s merciful, majestic and unoffendable disposition of curse. God did the work under the name of Jehovah from His leadership of the Israelites out of Egypt to the end of the Age of Law. All people in the Age of Law honored Jehovah’s name as sacred in their prayers. The Jews lived for thousands of years under Jehovah God’s guidance. Until God did the work of the Age of Grace, the name Jehovah was brought to an end.
Through the above fellowship, we know everything God does is meaningful. Not only can God create the heavens, earth and all things, lead man to live, as well as come to earth from heaven, being nailed to the cross and becoming the likeness of sinful flesh, but also the name God takes holds extraordinary significance, containing His wisdom. Thank God for His guidance, so that we understand the significance of the name Jehovah through the fellowship. Now some brothers and sisters in the Lord may ask, “Since Jehovah God said ‘I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior’ (Isaiah 43:11). ‘this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations’ (Exodus 3:15), why did God’s name change to ‘Jesus’ in the Age of Grace? What wisdom and significance are contained in it?” Next time we will continue to fellowship about why God didn’t take the name Jehovah but Jesus in the Age of Grace and what the significance of the name Jesus is. Please focus on the next episode — Do You Know the Significance of Name “Jesus.”