Chapter 4:

Who Is God?

Is it possible to know God personally? Is it possible to know his true character, his feelings and standards, to speak with him and even to please him, to be his friend? Some religions present God as harsh, sending all who displease him to horrific eternal torture. Others paint him as an all-accepting, all-tolerating deity, who loves us all "just the way we are." Some view him as a lofty and impersonal Force, a mysterious Infinite One, far away and beyond any hope of approach. What is the truth? Where can we find the answers? To find God, should we go meditate in the forest, or search in the desert?

No, he is much closer than that. The Book he has published to tell mankind about himself is sitting on shelves and coffeetables and nightstands all over the world. God also has faithful people actively seeking out and helping those who are searching for Him. (Chapters 7 and 14 will develop this further.) This online book is part of that outreach. We hope you are finding it useful.

The Bible tells us that God wants us to find him: "God made from one man every nation of men to live in all the earth, and he decreed the times and limits of their dwelling, that they might seek God, if they would grope for him and really find him, although, in fact, he is not far off from each one of us." (Acts 17:26, 27) No, God does not wish to remain aloof from mankind, a distant mystery, unknown and unknowable. Yet he does remain hidden from those who have only casual interest in finding him, those who do not really search for him. That is his choice. In fact, we cannot find God on our own; he draws each person to himself when he sees what he wants in them. What he is looking for is sincere humility— an earnest desire to know and live by the truth. (Luke 10:21, 22, John 6:44; compare 1 Chron 28:9.)

Are you ready to meet your Maker? When we meet a person for the first time, what do we usually do? We give our name, and learn their name. God knows your name, do you know His? Many think "God" is his name, but that is really just a title. It means "powerful one." People have called many things "god": things that have no real power, such as idols, and things that do have some power, such as kings or judges. The Bible says "there are many gods." (1 Cor 8:5, Psalms 82:6) Satan is called "the god of this world" because he really does have power in this world. (2 Cor 4.4) However, there is only one true God, with supreme power. —1 Cor 8:4.

In Bible times the one true God was known by his personal name. When it was originally written, the Bible used his name about 7,000 times. Despite that, you may never have noticed God's name in your Bible, because in later years superstitious scribes removed it, putting "Lord" or "God" in its place as they made new copies of the scriptures. Can you imagine how God felt about that? If you had written a book for the express purpose of telling people about yourself, and then the publishers insisted on removing your name from every page, would you be happy with them?

Why would anyone dare to do that? Because Satan had convinced them that it would please God! The third of the Ten Commandments reads: "You must not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain." (Exodus 20.7, AV) This meant that God wants his name used respectfully, honorably. In time the religious leaders of Israel came to feel, and teach, that God’s name was too holy for ordinary people to use; such ‘people of the earth’ would surely defile it. So to "protect" the Name, they would not put it into copies of the Bible that would be widely available. As a result, of the many ancient copies of the Bible still in existence, a few have God’s personal name, but most do not. This matter has been known for a long time. Many modern translators have accepted this custom of leaving God’s name out, but a few have had the courage to restore it. For example, in the preface to the American Standard Version we read:

"The American Revisers, after a careful consideration, were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version...This Memorial Name...emphasised as such over and over again in the original text of the Old Testament, designates God as the personal God, as the covenant God, the God of revelation, the Deliverer, the Friend of his people, not merely the abstract "Eternal One"... but the ever living Helper of those who are in trouble. This personal name, with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored [in the American Standard Version] to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim."

As an example of how brazen the "editors" who removed the name were, look at Isaiah 42.8 in the King James Bible (or Authorized Version [AV], meaning authorized by King James of England), perhaps the most popular English Bible of all time: "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory I will not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." God’s name is not "LORD", yet that is what they have him declaring. Notice here and also in the quote of Exodus 20:7 above that the word "LORD" is in all capital letters. That, or by printing "GOD" in all capitals, is how the King James version marks many of the places where the personal name belongs. (compare the two occurrences of "lord" in Ps 110.1, AV) To their credit, those translators did decide to permit God to have his name in four places in his book. Many Bibles, including the New King James Version, remove even these four.

As you can see, according to the King James Version, God’s personal name is JEHOVAH. Especially notice what Isaiah 12.4 says: "Call upon his name... make mention that his name is exalted." Does that sound like God wants his name to be obscure, known and used by only a privileged few?

The Name in Hebrew letters

There are those who argue that "Jehovah" is a perversion of God’s name. Why so? In Hebrew, God’s name is written YHWH (see the Hebrew characters at right; read from right to left). Those four letters are consonants to us, but in Hebrew they can all function as vowels, so that the pronunciation nearest to the ancient original is "Yeh·ho·wah" or "Yeh·hu·wah".*

At the time the King James Bible was being made, the letter "J" had a "Y" sound (it still does in most European languages) and the letter "V" was used interchangeably with "U" ("W" is in fact "double-U" or "dobbelt-ve" [double v]). So the Name was reasonably printed "Jehovah" (pronounced "Yeh-ho-wah"); then the pronunciation shifted as the letters came to have their modern sounds. Add the English tendency to accent the penultimate syllable, and we now have "Jee-HO-vuh". That is quite a shift in pronunciation. What would God have us do about it?

English changes the pronunciation of many foreign-origin words. Look what it has done to the most widely known name in the world: Jesus. In Greek, it is Iesu ("Yeh-soo"). In Hebrew, it was "Yeshua".* Some today insist that we should not call God by any personal name because, they say, we cannot be sure how to say it in exactly the original way. Yet these same people would never consider refusing to call their Lord and Savior "Jesus"! If we believe Yeshwa doesn’t mind being called "Jesus", a sound bearing little resemblance to his Hebrew name, then we can also believe Yehwa doesn’t mind being addressed as "Jehovah." (Or, if our language is not English, in whatever way has become accepted in our language.) What is far more likely to offend Him is for us to refuse to use his personal Name. Jehovah says: "this is my name forever, and this is the memorial of me to generation after generation." We should respect that. —Exodus 3:15.

At Acts 15:14 we read that Jehovah has "turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name." Could these same people then refuse to say the name of their God? Would they go to a church that hardly ever mentioned it? How often have you heard it in your church? Surely God’s people would act according to the prayer that Jesus gave us: "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed (held sacred, highly honored) be thy name." (Matt 6.9)

What God’s Name Means

Truly hallowing the Name involves more than merely knowing it or using it only as a sound-label for God. Knowing what the Name means, why His name is Jehovah, enables us to fully honor the One whom it identifies. The Name YHWH is related to the verb "hawah", which means "to become." This stands out in the account at Exodus 3:13-17. Here Moses asks about God’s name, and God explains that it means "I Will Become What I Choose to Become." In other words, He is ‘the One who can be whatever He wills.’ This was particularly meaningful at that moment, because Jehovah was reassuring Moses that he really would be the Deliverer of His people, the Keeper of His promises to Abraham. The name Jehovah is thus the dynamic name of the living God, the true God who does mighty acts. He is able to become many things: Creator, Shepherd, Judge, Instructor, Deliverer, Executioner— as he wishes. (Isa 30:20, Ps 23:1, Judges 11:27, Exodus 6:6-8) This Name continues to give us reason for hope as we anticipate the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Unfortunately, the King James translators failed to discern the dynamic, forward-looking nature of the Hebrew verb used, and rendered Exodus 3:14 as "I AM THAT I AM." Many modern versions follow that tradition, but comment on the better translation in their footnotes. (It seems the early Greek translation known as the Septuagint rendered Exodus 3:14 as "I am the Being," failing to incorporate the imperfect tense [meaning ongoing, unfinished action] of the verb used. This error has influenced many translators since. But God was emphasizing to Moses what He would yet do, not what He had already done.)

Hebrew scholars also point out that the verb form in the Name is 'causative', that is, it means "cause to become." God has done far more than just cause himself to become; he has caused things to exist and events to happen. So His name fully describes his limitless power: He is the Ultimate First Cause and no one can check his hand. —Daniel 4:34, 35.

Is Jesus Jehovah?

There are those who argue, "Jehovah was God’s name in the Old Testament, but now we are to call him Jesus."* Are they right? If there is one who should know, Jesus should. Did Jesus ever say he was God? You may search the Bible through; he never said that. Rather, he called himself "God’s Son."

Jesus prayed to his Father in heaven. In one prayer, he called his Father "the only true God", and mentioned himself separately. (John 17.3) In another prayer, he said, "Let, not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42) In the Lord's Prayer, he tells us to pray for his Father’s name to be honored. On several occasions he declared that his Father had sent him, and he was obediently doing the work he had been sent to do: see John 6:38, 7:16, 17, 28, 29 and 8:28, 29; Luke 22:42. Unlike Jesus, God does not obey anyone. He is the Sovereign over all.

You might be asking, why are we proving this rather obvious point? Because for over 1,500 years now the teaching "Jesus is himself God" has been the most important dogma of the traditional churches of Christendom. Many sincere Bible students have been ostracised, persecuted, tortured, even burned alive, for daring to say otherwise. Even in our time people face ridicule and exclusion for not accepting this view of Jesus. This false doctrine has a name: "trinity." As you might expect, this word is not found in the Bible. Put briefly, the "trinity" says God is three persons in one: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, all equal, none above the other. No doubt you have heard the expression "God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost." Contrast that to the Bible, which says that God is head over the Christ (Jesus). —1 Cor 11:3.

Consider this: if indeed Jesus had presented himself to the Jewish nation as their God, this would have caused a sensation and an uproar that would have been part of the gospel record. He caused an uproar, of course, but it was over his claim to be sent by God. If it were critical that people accept him as God Almighty to be saved, he would have spared no effort to prove it to them by teaching it plainly. We find not a trace of such an effort in the life and teachings of our Lord.

Some point to John 10:30 as proof that Jesus openly claimed to be God. There he said, "I and the Father are one." That offended the Jews, so they tried to kill him, saying "[We stone you] for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, have made yourself God." (NLT rendering) But is that what Jesus really said? Remember, the Jewish opposers were not known for understanding Jesus correctly. He answered them by quoting Psalm 82:6 (read verse 7 also), where God himself calls men of authority "gods".* In view of that, he said, "why do you call it blasphemy when the Holy One who was sent into the world by the Father says, ‘I am the SON of God’?" So, in saying he was "one" with his Father, he only meant he was His faithful Son. The truth is very simple and easy to understand. It is the Trinity doctrine that is confusing.

Jehovah declares at Isa 44:6, "I am the first and the last, and besides me there is no God." Other "gods" are as nothing compared to Jehovah, the one and only "God of gods". (Daniel 11:36) Now Jehovah has given his Son "all authority in heaven and on earth." (Matt 28:18) It is therefore correct to call Jesus a god, even a Mighty God (as at Isa 9:6)— but he is not equal to the Almighty God who gave him his power.

Did you know that you too can be one with God in the very same way Jesus is? Jesus prayed for us “I make request... that they [we, his disciples] may all be one, just as you and I are one, Father... I have given them the glory that you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are one. I in them and you in me, all perfected into one.” We are not to become divine persons in a Trinity. We will be his humble, obedient, faithful, perfected sons.*

Jesus ended his prayer to his Father with these words: “I have made your name known to them and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.” Clearly, those who dismiss and neglect Jehovah’s personal Name are not close to either Him or His Son. On the other hand, if you let Jesus teach you about his Father, you will come to truly know and love God and will understand and cherish His Name, with all its powerful meaning. —John 17:21-23, 26; see also Psalms 113:2, 3 and 91:14.

The apostle John, who was very close to Jesus and surely knew who he claimed to be, concludes his inspired account of Jesus’ life by saying: "These words have been written down that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and, that, because of believing, you may have life by means of his name." (John 20:31) Jesus was by far the greatest man who ever lived, and the Bible tells us he now "sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven"— the highest position possible for one of God’s creatures. (Eph 1:20-22) No, God is not sitting at his own right hand! More on who Jesus is and his position with his Father will be explained in the next chapter, Jesus Christ— "the One Through Whom All Things Are".

So if you are passing along and see a church sign with "Trinity" in it, you know that they subscribe to a false doctrine; you should not look to them for accurate knowledge about God. If you are attending a church, you should ask your pastor where he stands on this. You will likely find it written into the church creed, and subtly woven into sermons, not always being stated outright. It is important for you to accept the truth about this, because error and falsehood can only serve the interests of God’s adversary. Truth sets free, error cannot. —see John 8:31, 32, 36, 42-55. Note especially the question in verse 53.* John 14:8-31 is another interesting study on this subject. The meaning of vss 9, 10 is clear from our discussion above. Note also vss 20, 24, 28, 31.

Where Is God?

You would think the answer to that is simple. "Heaven, of course." That is what the Bible says. (1 Kings 8:43) But where is heaven? As used in the Bible, it has at least three meanings: the air in which clouds float and birds fly, outer space with its stars and galaxies, and the realm of God and the angels. (Psalm 78:26, 79:2, 148:1-5, 8:3, 2 Chron 6:18, Matt 6:9, Mark 13:32) The common thread tying these three together is that they are up, above mankind. But we cannot point to a precise direction and say, "only in this direction are clouds, stars, God." An Australian pointing up is pointing in the opposite direction from an American pointing up. If I point up in the morning and in the evening, I am pointing in nearly opposite directions, because the earth has turned. So to try to mark God on a sky map is meaningless. If we say, "He is beyond the farthest reaches of the Universe*," then what are we to make of scriptures which say, "He is near to all those calling on him"? (Psalms 145:18, Isaiah 57:15) Rather than thinking of God as limited in position, it is more reasonable to say God is wherever he wants to be.

Some philosophers have taught that God is everywhere at once, and is in everything around us. The Bible does not present him in that way. Rather, it emphasizes that He is "above" us, and men turned their eyes "heavenward" (up) to pray. (John 11:41; see also Psalms 103:19, 104:1-3) Yet it says that he is aware of everything that happens. (2 Chron 16:9, Matt 10:29, Jer 23:24)

Heaven, then, is not so much a place as a realm, a state of existence invisible to us. This raises another question:

What Is God?

Once again, the answer to that is simple: "God is a Spirit," the Bible says. (John 4:24) But what is spirit? The word itself is translated from the Greek pneuma and the Hebrew ruach, both of which fundamentally mean "air", specifically "air in motion, wind, breath." Obviously, God is not composed of 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen, the composition of Earth’s atmosphere as we learned in grade school. But think of how air appears to people without a modern scientific background: It is absolutely invisible, yet it undeniably exists. When it moves, it can do tremendous things. If we fail to breath it, we die. What is this stuff? the ancients must have wondered. As is human nature, they named it, which enabled them to discuss it and use the concept in describing other like things. So God is not air, but he is like air: invisible, very powerful, and our life is dependent on him. But we simply do not have the senses or the mind to know what "spirit" actually is. Scientific instruments cannot measure it. We only know God exists because we see the effects of his activity.

The Bible quite often speaks of God as having a nose, a heart, eyes, hands, ears, lips, feet, and arms. (You can use a concordance to find such references.) This does not mean he is material and has a human form; because we are limited, we need these figures of speech to help us understand and visualize invisible, spiritual things. God is really "spirit"; he is not bound by gravity, nor does he have to eat food, drink water, or breathe air like us. "The earth is my footstool," he says. Some feet! Should we search the North Pole for huge footprints? No, expressions like that are just a way of impressing us with his greatness over the earth. —Acts 7:48-50.

The Spirit Of God And Of Man

Interestingly, the Bible not only says God is spirit, he has spirit: "If you send forth your spirit, they are created" (Psalm 104:30; see also 33:6, Gen 1:2). Often we read of "God’s spirit" as something he gives, takes away, uses like a tool to do marvelous things. Sometimes it is called "holy spirit" and sometimes simply "your spirit," as in the reference above.

If you use a concordance to find references to "spirit", you will quickly see that the word is very broadly used. Besides spirit of God, people have "spirit". A person can have "bitterness of spirit" or a "spirit of jealousy". If our spirit "goes out", we perish. We can have a spirit that is faithful, stricken, lowly, haughty, cool, crushed, can be roused, agitated, or faint. These feelings are our own, not those of some other person within us. So our spirit is our motivating or energizing force, so’s to speak. Even the world as a whole has a "spirit", meaning its dominant attitude or way of thinking. (Gen 26:35, Num 5:30, Ps 146:4, Pr 11:13, 15:13, 16:18, 19, 17:27, Ps 34:18, 32:2, Ezra 1:1, Dan 2:1, Ps 143:4, 1 Sam 30:12, 1 Cor 2:12.)

As for God’s spirit, it can be poured out on us, fill us, "dwell" in us, or be removed. It can be divided, a portion being taken away and given to others. It is even in our nostrils. (Joel 2:28, 29, Acts 2:17, 18, 33, Isa 44:3, 4, Rom 8:9, Num 11:17, 25, Job 27:3) Not all Bibles use "spirit" in all of these references. Some may use the word "breath", which is a reasonable translation within some contexts; yet the original word is the same one they translate as "spirit" in other passages.

Instead of "holy spirit", some Bibles use the term "Holy Ghost", because their translators were influenced by the Trinity doctrine (discussed above). But the original Bible writers did not use two different words, ‘spirit’ and ‘ghost’. Better translations today consistently use one word: spirit.

It becomes quite obvious after comparing dozens of references that holy spirit is not a person, having an individual mind of its own like an angel or a man. However, the Hebrew language quite often expresses abstract things in concrete terms. Jewish writers delighted in personifying impersonal things in order to get a point across. One example is the story at Judges 9:8-20. At Romans 5:21 there are three things personified: death, sin and undeserved kindness. At Genesis 4:7, 10, 11 we see sin, blood, and the ground referred to as if they were living beings. Likewise, God’s spirit is very occasionally spoken of in terms that make it seem to be a person. (John 16:7, 8, 13) These should not be taken literally any more than we should think sin is really a person. If we do take it literally, then we have to explain why so many references present holy spirit as a thing instead of a person. The pronoun most often used to refer to holy spirit is "it". No adult person (other than a demon) is ever referred to as "it" in the Bible.

Nor is the holy spirit given a formal name anywhere in scripture, which we would expect if it were a person of such great importance. In Bible times it was considered very dishonorable to be nameless (Job 30:8). Some point to Matt 28:19 as proving the holy spirit does have a personal name, even though no name is actually given there. But the word "name" can also mean "authority" or "power of" (as in the expression, "open up in the name of the law!"), and that is what makes sense, in light of so many references proving that the spirit of God is a thing, not a person. This may be another reason trinitarians tend to disregard God’s name; by leaving him nameless, and with no name for the holy spirit, it is easier to promote the idea that the spirit is another face of the mysterious Godhead, with the one and only name Jesus. But as we have seen, the Bible prominently glorifies the Divine Name, while leaving his spirit nameless.

Click link to continue at next heading: Foreknowledge and Predestination.

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Luke 10:21
I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have carefully hidden these things from wise and intellectual ones, and have revealed them to young children. Yes, O Father, because this is the way approved by you. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.

John 6:44
No man can come to me [Jesus] unless the Father, who sent me, draws him . . .

1 Chron 28:9
Know the God of your father and serve him with a complete heart and with a delightful soul; for all hearts Jehovah is searching, and every leaning of thoughts he is discerning. If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you.

2 Chron 15:2
Jehovah is with you as long as you remain with him; and if you search for him, he will let himself be found by you, but if you leave him he will leave you.

James 4:8
Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you indecisive ones.

1 Cor 8:5, 6
For even though there are those who are called "gods," whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many "gods" and many "lords," there is actually to us one God, the Father, from whom all things are, and we for him. . .

Psalm 82:6, 7
I myself [God] have said, “You are gods. All of you are sons of the Most High. But you will die just as men do, and like any other prince you will fall!”

2 Cor 4:3, 4
If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.

1 Cor 8:4
We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one.

Psalm 110:1, AV
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Exodus 6:3
And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them:

Ps 83:18
That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth:

Isa 12:2-4
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation: 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation: 4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted:

Isa 26:4:
Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

Acts 15:14
Men, brothers, hear me. Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.

Exodus 3:13-17
Moses said to God: “Suppose I go to the Israelites and I say to them, ‘The God of your forefathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is his name?’ What should I say to them?” So God said to Moses: “I Will Become What I Choose to Become..” And he added: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘I Will Become has sent me to you.’” Then God said once more to Moses: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites, ‘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 forever, and this is how I am to be remembered from generation to generation. Now go, and gather the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘Jehovah the God of your forefathers has appeared to me, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and he said: “I have certainly taken notice of you and of what is being done to you in Egypt. So I say, I will take you away from affliction at the hands of the Egyptians to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’”

Isa 30:20
Though Jehovah will give you bread in the form of distress and water in the form of oppression, your Grand Instructor will no longer hide himself, and you will see your Grand Instructor with your own eyes.

Psalm 23:1
Jehovah is my Shepherd, I shall lack nothing.

Judges 11:27
. . . you are dealing wrong with me by fighting against me. Let Jehovah the Judge judge today between the people of Israel and the people of Ammon.

Exodus 6:6-8
Therefore, say to the Israelites: “I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and rescue you from their slavery, and I will reclaim you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. And I will take you in as my people, and I will be your God, and you will certainly know that I am Jehovah your God who is bringing you out from under the burdens of Egypt. And I will bring you into the land that I swore with an oath to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as something to possess. I am Jehovah.”

Daniel 4:34, 35
To the One living forever I gave praise and glory, because his rulership is an everlasting rulership and his kingdom is for generation after generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are regarded as nothing, and he does according to his own will among the army of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth. And there is no one who can check his hand or say to him, "What have you done?"

John 17:1-5
Jesus spoke these things, and, raising his eyes to heaven, he said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, so that your son may glorify you. . . you have given him authority over all flesh, that he may give everlasting life to all those you have given to him. This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do. So now you, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was.”

John 6:38
I have come down from heaven to do, not my own will, but the will of him that sent me.

John 7:16, 17
Jesus, in turn, answered them and said: "What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him who sent me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or I speak of my own originality."

John 7:28, 29
Therefore Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, saying: "You know me and know where I am from. I have not come of my own initiative, but the One who that sent me is real, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am a representative from him, and that One sent me."

John 8:28, 29
Therefore Jesus said: "I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me, I speak these things. And the One who sent me is with me; he did not abandon me to myself, because I always do the things pleasing to him."

Luke 22:42
And he. . . began to pray, saying: "Father, if you want to, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, let, not my will, but yours be done."

1 Cor 11:3
"I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God."

Now, look at a woman. Is she a man from her neck up? No. Then look at a man. Is that Christ above his shoulders? No. So if we could see Christ, would that be God from his chin up? No! "Head" here means 'one with higher authority.' In marriage, God ordains the husband as the leader (more on that in chapter 12). In turn, the husband, indeed all men, must submit to Christ. And Christ, in turn, submits to his Father, Jehovah God. This scripture is quite plainly telling us that Jesus is not equal to God.

John 10:30-36
“I and the Father are one.” Once again the Jews picked up stones to stone him. Jesus said to them: “I showed you many fine works from the Father. For which of those works are you stoning me?” The Jews answered him: “We are stoning you, not for a fine work, but for blasphemy, because you, although being a man, make yourself a god.” Jesus answered them: “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said: “You are gods”’? If he called 'gods' those against whom the word of God came— and yet the Scripture cannot be nullified— do you say to me whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, I am God's Son?”

Psalms 82:6, 7
I have said, “You are gods,
All of you are sons of the Most High.
But you will die just as men do;
And like any other prince you will fall!”
verses 2 and 3:
How long will you continue to judge with injustice
And show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the lowly and the fatherless.
Render justice to the helpless and destitute.

Daniel 11:36
The king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt himself and magnify himself above every god; and against the God of gods he will speak astonishing things. And he will prove successful until the denunciation comes to a finish; because what has been determined must take place.

Matthew 28:18
Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: "All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth."

Isa 9:6
For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and the rulership will come to rest on his shoulder. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Psalms 113:2, 3
May Jehovah’s name be praised
From now on for all time
From the rising of the sun to its setting
Let Jehovah’s name be praised.

Psalms 91:14
Because he has affection on me,
I will rescue him.
I will protect him because he knows my name.

Eph 5:31, 33
A man will leave father and mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. . . each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself; on the other hand, the wife should have deep respect for her husband.
verses 22, 23:
Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord, because a husband is head of his wife as the Christ also is head of the congregation.

1 Cor 11:3
I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God.

Eph 1:15-22
I also. . . continue mentioning you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation, to know Him accurately; to enlighten the eyes of your heart, that you may know the hope to which He called you, the glorious riches that He holds as an inheritance for the holy ones, and the surpassing greatness of His power toward us believers. It is according to the working of the mightiness of His strength, which He has worked in the Christ when He raised him up from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this system of things, but also in that to come. He also subjected all things under his feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation.

Acts 5:30-32
The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed, hanging him on a stake. God exalted this one as Chief Agent and Savior to his right hand, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these matters, and so is the holy spirit, which God has given to those obeying him as ruler.

John 8:31-55
If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. . . Therefore if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. . . Jesus said to them: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I have not come of my own initiative, but that One sent me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot listen to my word. You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father.”. . . In answer the Jews said to him: “Are we not right in saying, You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered: “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. But I am not seeking glory for myself; there is One that is seeking and judging. Most truly I say to you, If anyone observes my word, he will never see death at all.” The Jews said to him: “Now we do know you have a demon. Abraham died, also the prophets; but you say, ‘If anyone observes my word, he will never taste death at all.’ 53 You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died, are you? Also the prophets died. Who do you claim to be?” Jesus answered: “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifies me, the one who you say is your God, yet you have not known him. But I know him, and if I said I did not know him I would be like you, a liar. But I do know him and am observing his word.”

1 Kings 8:43
. . . may you then listen from the heavens, your dwelling place. . .

Psalm 78:26
He stirred up the east wind in the heavens, and made a south wind blow by his power.

Psalm 79:2
They have given the dead bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the heavens, The flesh of your loyal ones to the wild beasts of the earth.

Psalm 148:1-5
Praise Jah, you people! Praise Jehovah from the heavens, praise him in the heights. Praise him, all you his angels. Praise him, all you his army. Praise him, you sun and moon. Praise him, all you stars of light. Praise him, O heavens of the heavens, and you waters above the heavens. Let them praise the name of Jehovah, for he himself commanded, and they were created.

Psalm 8:3, 4
When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers,
The moon and the stars that you have prepared,
What is mortal man that you keep him in mind. . . ?

2 Chron 6:18
But will God truly dwell with mankind upon the earth? Look! Heaven, yes, the heaven of the heavens themselves, cannot contain you; how much less, then, this house that I have built?

Matt 6:9
You must pray, then, this way: “Our Father in the heavens, may your name be held in highest esteem. May your kingdom come...”

Mark 13:32
Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father.

Psalm 145:18
Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him, To all those who call upon him in truth.

Isaiah 57:15
For this is what the High and Lofty One, who is living forever and whose name is holy, has said: “I reside in the high and holy place, but also with the one crushed and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly one and to revive the heart of the those being crushed.”

John 11:41
So they took the stone away. Then Jesus raised his eyes toward heaven and said: "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. . ."

Psalm 103:19
Jehovah has firmly established his throne in the heavens,
And his kingship rules over everything.

Psalm 104:1-3
O Jehovah my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with majesty and splendor,
enwrapped with light as with a garment;
you stretch out the heavens like a tent cloth.
You build your upper rooms with beams in the waters above,
making the clouds your chariot,
moving upon the wings of the wind.

2 Chron 16:9
For the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.

Matt 10:29
Do not two sparrows sell for a coin of small value? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's knowing of it.

Jer 23:24
“Can any man hide himself so that I not see him?. . . Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” says Jehovah.

John 4:24
God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.

Acts 7:48-50
The Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; just as the prophet says, 'The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What sort of house will you build for me? Jehovah says. Or where is my resting place? My hand made all these things, did it not?'

Psalm 104:30
If you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the surface of the ground.

Psalm 33:6
By the word of Jehovah the heavens themselves were made, and by the spirit of his mouth all their army.

Gen 1:2
Now the earth was formless and desolate, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep; and God's active force [spirit, or great wind] was moving about over the surface of the waters.

Gen 26:35
And Esau . . . took as wives Judith and Basemath [both Hittites]. And they were a source of bitterness of spirit [or bitter grief] to Isaac and Rebekah.

Num 5:30
In the case of a man where a spirit of jealousy comes over him, and he suspects his wife of unfaithfulness, he must make the wife stand before Jehovah, and the priest must carry out toward her all this law. [Note, 5:14 makes clear that this "spirit of jealousy" could be wrong. It is not sent by God, it simply means a strong feeling. NWT 2013 simply says here "becomes jealous."]

Psalm 146:4
His spirit goes out, he returns to the ground. In that day his thoughts perish.

Prov 11:13
A slanderer goes around revealing confidential talk, but one faithful in spirit [trustworthy, loyal] keeps confidences concealed.

Prov 15:13
A joyful heart has a good effect on the face, but heartache causes a stricken spirit [or 'crushes the spirit.']

Prov 16:18, 19
Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.
It is better to be lowly in spirit [or 'humble'] with the meek than to divide riches with the proud.

Prov 17:27
A man of knowledge restrains his words, and a discerning man is cool of spirit [or 'will remain calm.']

Psalm 34:18
Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those who are crushed in spirit [discouraged.]

Psalm 32:2
Happy is the man whom Jehovah does not charge with guilt, In whose spirit there is no deceit.

Ezra 1:1
In the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia . . . Jehovah stirred the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his kingdom . . .

Dan 2:1
In the second year of his kingship, Nebuchadnezzar had a number of dreams, and his spirit became so agitated that he could not sleep.

Psalm 143:4
My spirit is failing, my heart is numb within me.

1 Sam 30:11, 12
They found an Egyptian man in the field, and took him to David. They gave him bread to eat and water to drink, and a piece of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. After he ate his spirit returned to him, for he had been without food and water for three days and three nights.

1 Cor 2:12
We received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God.

Joel 2:28, 29
I shall pour out my spirit on every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams and your young men will see visions. Even on the menservants and on the maidservants I shall pour out my spirit in those days.

Acts 2:17, 18, 33
“In the last days,” God says, “I shall pour out some of my spirit upon every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams; and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” . . Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this that you see and hear.

Isa 44:3, 4
For I shall pour out water upon the thirsty one, and flowing streams upon the dry ground. I will pour out my spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing upon your descendants. And they will spring up as among the green grass, like poplars by the streams of water.

Rom 8:9
However, you are in harmony, not with the flesh, but with the spirit, if God's spirit truly dwells in you. But if anyone does not have Christ's spirit, this one does not belong to him.

Num 11:17, 25
I shall come down and speak with you there; and I will take away some of the spirit that is on you and place it on them, and they will help you in carrying the burden of the people, so that you may not carry it by yourself. . . Then Jehovah came down in a cloud and spoke to him and took away some of the spirit that was on him and put it on each of the seventy older men. At the moment the spirit settled down on them, they began to behave like prophets, but they did not do it again.

Job 27:3 As long as my breath is within me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will speak no unrighteousness. . .

Judges 9:8-20
Once there were trees that went to anoint a king over them. So they said to the olive tree, “Rule over us.” But the olive tree said to them, “Must I give up my oil, which they use to glorify God and men, to go and wave over the other trees?” Then the trees said to the fig tree, “Come and rule over us.” But the fig tree said to them, “Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruitage to go and wave over the other trees?” Next the trees said to the vine, “Come and rule over us.” The vine replied to them, “Must I give up my new wine that makes God and men rejoice to go and wave over the trees?” Finally all the other trees said to the bramble, “Come and rule over us.” At this the bramble said to the trees, “If you are really anointing me as king over you, come and seek refuge under my shadow. But if not, let fire come out of the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.”
Now have you acted sincerely and honorably in making [arrogant, worthless] Abimelech king, and have you shown goodness toward [righteous] Jerubbaal and his household, and have you treated him as he deserves? When my father fought for you, he risked his life to save you from Midian’s hand. But today you have risen up against my father’s household and killed his sons, 70 men, on one stone. Then you made Abimelech, the son of his slave girl, king over the leaders of Shechem just because he is your brother. Yes, if you are acting sincerely and honorably toward Jerubbaal and his household this day, rejoice over Abimelech and let him also rejoice over you. But if not, may fire come out of Abimelech and consume the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo, and may fire come out of the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo and consume Abimelech.

See also Psalms 96:12: “Let the fields and everything in them rejoice. At the same time let all the trees of the forest shout joyfully.” and Psalms 98:8: “Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the mountains shout joyfully together.”

Romans 5:21
Just as sin ruled as king with death, likewise also undeserved kindness might rule as king through righteousness leading to everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Genesis 4:7, 10, 11
If you turn to doing good, will you not be restored to favor? But if you do not turn to doing good, sin is crouching at the entrance, and its craving is to overcome you; but will you get the mastery over it?" . . . At this he said: "What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground. And now you are cursed in banishment from the ground that has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood at your hand.

John 16:7, 8, 13
Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth, it is for your benefit I am going away. For if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you; but if I do go, I will send him to you. And when that one comes he will give the world convincing evidence concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment . . . However, when that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak of his own initiative, but what he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things coming.

Why did Jesus refer to "the spirit of the truth" eight times with the personal pronouns "he" and "his"? Not to prove an astounding new revelation, that the spirit force of the Old Testament had become a person! Actually, it was just to be grammatically consistent: the Greek word for "helper" is masculine in gender, therefore all the pronouns that refer back to that noun are required to be masculine. English does not have gender for impersonal nouns, so we could fail to realize what is happening here. The Greek word for spirit, on the other hand, pneuma, is a neuter noun and takes the pronoun "it." (Jesus likely said this in Aramaic; the apostle John wrote it down in Greek. Jesus was using the common device of personification, as explained in the chapter. God's spirit would be our friend, our aid, our helper. But not literally a person.)

Job 30:8
As sons of the senseless and the nameless ones, they have been driven out of the land.

Matt 28:19
Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.

The review questions are linked to the last section of multi-part chapters.

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English speakers tend to emphasize penultimate syllables, that is, they would naturally gravitate toward saying "Yeh-HO-wah" or "Yeh-HOO-wa". But the accent, if any, is on the first syllable, not the 'ho' or 'hoo'. To overcome this tendency, we suggest (for English) the spelling Yehwa, with the "h" pronounced: "Yeh·hwa".
Most scholars advocate Yahweh as the correct original Name. With that spelling, according to American English pronunciation rules, it would be vocalized YA-weh ("-eh" as in let, set, met), accented on the first syllable. Yet some say that the correct pronunciation of Yahweh is "Ya-HWAY", with the H sounded, the transition between "H" and "W" producing a brief indefinite vowel sound, and the accent on the last syllable, and the "-ay" is as in say, bay, may. A better spelling then would be Yahwé. They do not explain why they prefer to spell it in a way sure to be mispronounced by the majority of the world's population.
One reason why scholars prefer Yahwé are the many Hebrew personal names that incorporate a variant of the Name, for example Isaiah. The -iah at the end comes from the short form Yah or the more intense form Yahu (meaning "Yah himself"). They say that Yah comes from the first part of Yahwé, and not from the ending of "Yehwa." On the other hand, one noted scholar contends that the long name YHWH was pronounced Yehwa (as we said earlier) and the short form Yah (YH) was not linguistically derived from YHWH but stood on its own.
Here is a fragment from his work explaining that view.
Another reason they may prefer "Yahweh" is that it seems easier to translate to "I AM" than "I shall become," and they believe "I AM" proves Jesus is God. (More comment on this later in the chapter.) So their Trinitarian bias colors their spelling preference.
Without going deeper into the scholarship, which may be fruitless in the end, we will hereforth use the imperfect but widely known and accepted "Jehovah". The primary issue for our time is not exact pronunciation, as if that could invoke the Deity's power to our bidding, but that He be uniquely identified and honored. The generic "Lord" that most in Christendom prefer is far too ambiguous to accomplish that.
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Some pronounce it "YeSHOOa", but it can also be "YEH-shwa" or without any relative emphasis: "yesh-wa." To use the spelling proposed in the previous footnote, Yeshwa: God’s name with an 's' inserted. A longer form is Yeho-shua (Yeho-shwa, not Yeh-HOSH-wa), from which we get the modern name Joshua.

The name "Jesus" means "Jehovah is Salvation". It is, in fact, the name Isaiah turned around (Isaiah means "Salvation of Yah").

Remember, the word "god" means "mighty one". So the One True God could call men "gods", because of the limited authority they were so proud of (and abusing, see vs 2 of Ps 82). That did not make them equal to Him. And Jesus can properly be called a "god"; he is (and was, even as a man) far more powerful than those men could ever have been.

Persons united in thought and purpose are often said to be "one". For example, the Bible says that husband and wife are "one flesh", even though it is obvious they are not literally one person; nor are they equal in authority, according to God (see Eph 5.31-33, 22-24, also 1 Cor 11.3 cited earlier).

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Trinitarians use John 8:58 to "prove" Jesus is God. Their translations have Jesus say, "Before Abraham was, I am." Because this resembles their rendering of Exodus 3:14 (where God says "I AM THAT I AM"), they say this proves that Jesus and God are one and the same! Does that make sense to you? After hearing what Jesus said in verses 54 and 55, would his listeners have drawn that inference? Inconsistently, trinitarians do not believe the blind beggar of John 9:9 is God, even though he used the exact same expression about himself. It is clearly a case of "seeing what you want to see."

John 8:58, King James: Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."
New World: Jesus said to them: "Most truly I say to you, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been."
John 9:8, 9: Those who formerly used to see he was a beggar began to say: "This is the man that used to sit and beg, is it not?" Some would say: "This is he." Others would say: "No, but he looks like him." The man kept saying: "I am [he]."

Using this strange way of reasoning, we can also prove that Paul is God too. Did he not say, "I am what I am"? (1 Corinthians 15:10) You may think we are straining the point, but ardent trinitarians really have insisted that John 8:58 is hard proof that Jesus is God. Lesson: strongly asserting that something is true does not make it so. Too many people are awed by swaggering dogmatism, even violently opposing those who disagree. Think!

Some use 1 Kings 8:27 to prove that God is beyond the edge of the universe. It says, "the heavens, yes, the heaven of the heavens, cannot contain you." Yet this is in the same context as verse 43, mentioned earlier. Solomon was simply poetically emphasizing God's greatness relative to creation. He was not making a scientific statement about his location. We could go science-fiction and say God is "in a higher dimension," but frankly, we wouldn't be knowing what we were talking about. We try to stick with what we can be fairly sure of, using scripture.