Tuesday, 22 May 2018

How many Jehovahs?

This is the next instalment on the conversation I had with the Jehovah's Witnesses recently.

We were all in agreement that there is only one Jehovah. That name is not shared with any other being. The interesting thing is though, there are many occasions in the Bible that indicate that more than one person is Jehovah, because we have Jehovah talking to or about Jehovah or the writer referring to more than one person as Jehovah. Here are a few examples:
And the LORD [Jehovah] said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD [Jehovah], to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD [Jehovah] may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."
Genesis 18:17-19

Jehovah is talking about Jehovah as if He is another person, and yet still referring to Himself in the first person. There is no parallel of anyone else talking about themselves in this way. It implies a plurality within the being of Jehovah.

In the next chapter we find Jehovah speaking to Lot, and then in verse 24 we read:
Then the LORD [Jehovah] rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD [Jehovah] out of the heavens.
So either there are two Jehovahs (which the Bible explicitly denies), or there are (at least) two persons who share the name and nature of Jehovah.

In chapter 22 Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac. Look at verses 11 and 12:
But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."
The speaker was clearly God Himself because He said that Abraham was offering his son to Him, yet He is the messenger (Angel) of Jehovah and speaks about God in the third person. This is a big problem for a unitarian. It is no problem to a trinitarian.

In Hosea 1:7 Jehovah is the speaker, but look at what He says:
Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, will save them by the LORD [Jehovah] their God...
Jehovah is going to save Israel by means of someone else. Who is that agent through whom Jehovah will save them? Jehovah their God.

Zechariah contains some examples of this as well. In 2:8-9 he writes:
For thus says the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts has sent Me.
Jehovah is sent by Jehovah.

4:8-9 is similar:
Moreover the word of the LORD [Jehovah] came to me, saying: "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts has sent Me to you.
And finally, 6:15. Jehovah is the speak (v. 12):
Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the LORD. Then you shall know that the LORD [Jehovah] of hosts has sent Me to you.
The only way these passages can be understood and harmonised with the rest of the Bible is to see them as indications of the plurality of persons within the one being of God.