Author: Ron Graham
Is Jesus Jehovah?
—the name above every name
This lesson asks the question, “Is Jesus Jehovah?” This question is about the divinity or Godhood of Jesus, and about his right to take the unique name of God.
1 God’s Unique Name “Jehovah”
God’s name is very special. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name" (Matthew 6:9). The word "hallowed" means holy, consecrated, set apart for God’s use.
God makes the holiness of his name quite definite in this statement: "I am the LORD, [Jehovah] that is my name, I will not give my glory to another (Isaiah 42:8).
The psalmist Asaph recognized that this special name belonged only to the Most High God: "You alone whose name is the LORD are the Most High over all the earth" (Psalms 83:18).
Note that the name translated "LORD is rendered by some as “Jehovah” but is variously spelled “Jehovah”, “Yahweh”, or “YHWH. There are some notes on “Jehovah” on another page.
It is a most important question, therefore, whether Jesus is “Jehovah” the LORD God, and has the right to be called by the same holy name as his Father. What do the scriptures say?
2 The name God bestowed on Jesus
"God has highly exalted him, and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow..." (Philippians 2:9).
Looking at that, let us ask a most important question: What is "the name which is above every name?"
I ask Jehovah's Witnesses who come to my door, "What is the name above every name?" Invariably they reply, "Jehovah". But when I then show them that Jesus was bestowed with "the name which is above every name?" they will not believe it.
They then retract and say that the name referred to is "Jesus" because Paul goes on to say, "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:10). This does not make sense for three simple reasons...
- Jesus (or Joshua) was a common name so lots of men had that name.
- "Jesus" cannot be the name above every name because then it would be a higher name than “Jehovah”.
- The name "Jesus" was bestowed when Jesus was in the womb not after he rose from the tomb and was highly exalted (Matthew 1:20-21).
We conclude therefore that Paul is using the name "Jesus" to identify the one who has been given the name above every name, not to name the very name itself.
We further conclude that if God has bestowed on Jesus the name “Jehovah” then surely God must regard Jesus to be “Jehovah” as much as God regards himself to be.
So, to the question “Is Jesus Jehovah?” the answer is yes.
3 The name that God called his Son
In Hebrews chapter one, after saying that Jesus has "obtained a more excellent name" than angels, the writer quotes several Old Testament passages in which God the Father addresses God the Son. One of them is this:
"You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish but you will remain..." (Hebrews 1:10).
This is addressed to the Son...
- First look back to verse 8, "To the Son he says..." God is talking to his Son.
- Next (still verse 8) there is a quotation that begins, "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever." God is calling his Son "O God".
- This is followed by a second quotation in verse 10, "You LORD in the beginning..." God is calling his Son "LORD".
In the above passage we saw that God calls his Son "LORD. However, when we turn back to the place in the Old Testament (Psalms 102:25-27) we don't find the word LORD in it.
Where did the Hebrew writer get the word LORD from? Did he just insert it by mistake? No he didn't. You can find it several times earlier in the Psalm. For example, "You O LORD, shall endure for ever" (Psalms 102:12).
Psalm 102 is addressed to the LORD and for that reason the Hebrew writer sees fit to include it in his quote. Since the Hebrew writer views the Psalm as God speaking to his Son, he represents the passage as the heavenly Father calling his Son "God" and using the special name of God to address his Son.
We conclude therefore that since God is addressing his Son as “Jehovah”, God must consider his Son to be “Jehovah”, just as God considers himself to be.
Other names applied to Jesus
Jesus Christ is given a string of names and titles in this remarkable passage. The name “Jehovah” is not among them. However two names that are among them are names which only “Jehovah” should wear. These are: "Mighty God, Eternal Father" (Isaiah 9:6).
Christ can hold these titles only if he is the Mighty God along with his Father, and is one with the Father, he in the Father and the Father in him (see John 10:38).
We conclude that since Jesus holds title to names that none but “Jehovah” can wear, then he must be “Jehovah” like his heavenly Father. Let us give him all the honour to which he is entitled and be pleased to call him "LORD".