Jehovah and Inheritance

To this point in my series of posts about Jehovah, it has been taken for granted that the word is a proper name belonging to one individual. Certainly, if there is one primary individual in scripture who bears this name most prominently, it is God the Father. But what additional truths might we discover in further dissecting one of the names of our God?

The word Jehovah has obscure roots in Hebrew, but it is widely considered to descend from the root hollow verb היה (haw-yaw, “to be” or “to bring to pass”). Thus the name may represent something along the lines of “He who Brings to Pass,” or more simply “Creator” (the Hebrew word for creation used in Genesis 1:1 is ברא [bara, “to shape” or “to organize”], hence strict Hebraists would potentially view the title of Creator as a misnomer for God’s work and glory as the Hebrew implies that he took unorganized matter and organized it).

One of the most frequent pairings of this divine name in scripture is “LORD God,” which is literally formed by the two Hebrew words:

  • (A) יהוה (Yah·weh, “Jehovah,” “LORD,” or “He who Brings to Pass”), and
  • (B) אלהים (’ĕ·lō·hîm, “gods”).

It has been observed that the juxtaposition in Hebrew of יהוה אלהים (Yah·weh ’ĕ·lō·hîm “LORD God”) creates a new single title: “He who Brings to Pass the Gods” or “Creator of Gods.” This of course is perfectly in line with Jesus’ teachings:

“Once again the people picked up stones in order to kill Jesus. But he said, ‘I have shown you many good things my Father sent me to do. Which one are you going to stone me for?’
“They answered, ‘We are not stoning you because of any good thing you did. We are stoning you because you did a terrible thing. You are just a man, and here you are claiming to be God!’
“Jesus replied: ‘In your Scriptures doesn’t God say, “You are gods”? You can’t argue with the Scriptures, and God spoke to those people and called them gods. So why do you accuse me of a terrible sin for saying that I am the Son of God?'” (John 10:31 – 36, CEV).

A scripture revealed through Joseph Smith has God even specifically stating that the purpose of his office is to bring to pass gods:

“As one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:38 – 39).

What does man become once his immortality and eternal life are brought to pass? The Lord Jesus Christ revealed through Joseph Smith that under the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood man and woman joined together may become no less than אלהים (’ĕ·lō·hîm, “gods”) themselves:

“If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise…they shall pass by the angels…to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them” (D&C 132:19 – 20, emphasis added).

The Bible further confirms the male and female nature of the gods as they participated in the organizing of the world:

“[The Elohim] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So [the Elohim] created man in his own image, in the image of [the Elohim] created [they] him; male and female created [they] them” (Gen. 1:26 – 27, Hebrew transliteration inserted).

That the Bible contains the plural word אלהים (’ĕ·lō·hîm, “gods”) in the creation account and in many other places is not debated; the tradition, however, has been to interpret that word as some sort of honorific term for a single being. Joseph Smith revealed that this tradition is incorrect:

“In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim [sic] ought to be in the plural all the way through—Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, its sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth” (STPJS, p. 372).

Thus we find in the process of forming the earth a council of Gods, male and female, who place Adam and Eve (in their ‘image’) in the completed earth and appoint ‘one God for us.’ Though any one of the council of the Elohim could be rightly called a “creator,” or in other words a יהוה (Yah·weh, “Jehovah”), the scriptures make it abundantly clear that the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob definitely possessed this title and office:

“Abraham, Abraham, behold, my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee…. Behold, I will lead thee by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the Priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee” (Abr. 1:16, 18).

These verses also illustrate that the name of Jehovah is analogous with a being who has obtained an advanced degree of priesthood, even the priesthood held by the אלהים (’ĕ·lō·hîm, “gods”). Prior to the resurrection of Christ, this world only knew of one such perfected man: God the Father. As Jesus said before his resurrection: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48), which commandment he modified after his resurrection in speaking with the Israelites in ancient America: “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Ne. 12:48).

Other verses too imply that Christ was to receive Jehovah’s “name,” which Abraham learned meant priesthood office. Paul too possessed this knowledge and commented on Jesus’ inheritance of the name Jehovah when he became a perfected being like God the Father after his resurrection:

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things…. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs” (Heb. 1:1 – 2, 4, NIV, emphasis added).

This meaning adds a new depth to the scriptures that show that the faithful who fulfill the requirements of the Melchizedek Priesthood may someday too obtain the name of the Jehovah, to become gods:

“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” (Rev. 3:12, emphasis added).

In summary of all that I have analyzed thus far about Jehovah, we find the following points may be noted regarding the sacred and blessed name:

  • Jehovah is the name-title of any exalted man, one of the Elohim who has obtained the priesthood office that administers endless lives.
  • Thusly, Jehovah is a name-title that may be applied to any of the Gods who participated in the formation of the earth.
  • Jehovah is a name-title of God the Father who interacted with the prophets of the Old Testament often in person.
  • Jehovah is a name-title of God the Son after his resurrection and thus exaltation, joining the ranks of the Elohim.
  • Jehovah will be the name-title of those who are faithful in the obtaining of the two priesthoods delivered to mortals, someday joining the ranks of the Elohim as joint heirs with God the Son:

“Whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies [or resurrection]. They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.
“And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; for he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood” (D&C 84:33 – 39).

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