Belgian Christadelphians

Only One God

Believe in only One God.

1 Gather yourselves together, yes, do the gathering, O nation not paling in shame. 2 Before [the] statute gives birth to [anything], [before the] day has passed by just like chaff, before there comes upon YOU people the burning anger of Jehovah, before there comes upon YOU the day of Jehovah’s anger, 3 seek Jehovah, all YOU meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably YOU may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.(Zep 2:1-3 NWT)

Identifying the Only True God

Almost as long as humans have existed, they have tried to understand and to find reasons or answers to why they existed. In their search to understand more about live they had the feeling that there should be more to it than they knew. They had the feeling that there also had to be something or some one higher than themselves, to be in control of everything. They alsohad many gods. There have been so many that it is difficult to put an accurate figure on the number of gods and goddesses worshiped throughout the earth. Even today many new gods are crated by the human beings all over the World.

Many people who doubt the existence of an all-powerful, loving God ask: If God does exist, why has he allowed so much suffering and wickedness throughout history? Why does he allow pain, sorrow, famine, violence, inundation, etc. and does he not do something to bring an end to war, crime, injustice, poverty, and other miseries that are escalating at an alarming rate in so many countries of the earth?

That there is only one true God who can be identified as such is clearly stated in the Bible at John 17:3: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” [1]

In the Holy Scriptures we also can findthat there is only one being that is totally perfect. “[God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Romans 1:20). [2]

An Identifying Name

It would be reasonable that any being or any god who has personality would need a personal name to distinguish him from other gods with names of their own. It would preferably be a name designated by the god himself, rather than a name coined by his worshipers.

In this regard, however, a very puzzling fact emerges. While most well-established religions ascribe personal names to their gods, Jews and mainstream churches of Christendom have failed to identify by a distinctive personal name the god that they worship. Instead, they resort to such titles as Lord, God, Almighty, and Father.

Writing in the publication Theology, author David Clines stated the following: “Somewhere between the fifth and the second centuries B.C. a tragic accident befell God: he lost his name. More exactly, Jews gave up using God’s personal name Yahweh, and began to refer to Yahweh by various periphrases: God, the Lord, the Name, the Holy One, the Presence, even the Place. Even where Yahweh was written in the Biblical text, readers pronounced the name as Adonai. With the final fall of the temple, even the rare liturgical occasions when the name was used ceased, and even the knowledge of the pronunciation of the name was forgotten.” However, no one can say for sure exactly when orthodox Jews ceased to pronounce God’s name out loud and instead substituted the Hebrew words for God and Sovereign Lord.

It seems, then, that the very first essential in any quest to identify “the only true God” would be to get to know him by name. Such a search is not at all difficult, for the name of Almighty God, the Creator, is clearly and simply stated at Psalm 83:18: "That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, You alone are the Most High over all the earth."[3]

Jehovah or Yahweh?

Whereas the name Jehovah appears in the King James Version and other Bible translations, some prefer to use the name Yahweh instead of Jehovah. Which name is correct?

The most ancient Bible manuscripts were written in the Hebrew language. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the divine name occurs almost 7,000 times and is spelled with four consonants—YHWH or JHVH. These four-consonant words are commonly called the Tetragrammaton, or Tetragram, derived from two Greek words meaning “four letters.” Now the question of accurate pronunciation arises because early Hebrew writing consisted of consonants with no vowels to guide the reader. So whether the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton becomes Yahweh or Jehovah depends on which vowels the reader supplies to the four consonants. Today many Hebrew scholars prefer Yahweh as the true pronunciation and a lot of Christadelphians use that name as well.

However, consistency favours Jehovah. In what way? The pronunciation Jehovah was used in the Dutch language also before the seventies of the Twentieth century andhas been accepted in English and other languages for centuries. Those who object to using this pronunciation should also object to the use of the accepted pronunciation Jeremiah and even Jesus. Jeremiah would need to be changed to Yir·meyah’ or Yir·meya’hu, the original Hebrew pronunciations, and Jesus would become Ye·shu’a‘ (Hebrew) or I·e·sous’ (Greek). Hence, many Bible students, feel that consistency favours the use of the already well-known English-language “Jehovah” and its equivalent in other languages. Though the Official Dutch Spelling Commission orders it to be Jehova [4] we prefer and use the internationally used Jehovah.

Does It Really Matter?

According to us is it from utmost important to use the Name of Jehovah more than His Titles..

Some may argue that it does not really matter whether you address Almighty God by a personal name or not, and they are content to speak of and address God as Father or simply as God. Both these terms, however, are titles rather than names and are neither personal nor distinctive. In Bible times the word for God (‘Elo·him’, Hebrew) was used to describe any god—even the pagan Philistine god named Dagon. (Judges 16:23, 24) [5]So for a Hebrew to tell a Philistine that he, the Hebrew, worshiped “God” would not have identified the true God whom he worshiped.

Of interest is a comment in The Imperial Bible-Dictionary of 1874: “[Jehovah] is everywhere a proper name, denoting the personal God and him only; whereas Elohim partakes more of the character of a common noun, denoting usually, indeed, but not necessarily nor uniformly, the Supreme. . . . The Hebrew may say the Elohim, the true God, in opposition to all false gods; but he never says the Jehovah, for Jehovah is the name of the true God only. He says again and again my God . . . ; but never my Jehovah, for when he says my God, he means Jehovah. He speaks of the God of Israel, but never of the Jehovah of Israel, for there is no other Jehovah. He speaks of the living God.

The True God’s Qualities

Just knowing someone’s name, of course, does not mean that we know him or her in any depth. The majority of us know the names of leading politicians. Even prominent men and women in other countries may have names that are well-known to us. But simply knowing their names—even how to pronounce them correctly—does not in itself mean that we know these people personally or know what kind of people they are. Similarly, to know the only true God, we need to get to know and admire his qualities.

Though it is true that humans will never be able to see the true God (for now), he has kindly had recorded for us in the Bible many details about his personality. (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18) [6] Certain Hebrew prophets were given inspired visions of Almighty God’s heavenly courts. What they describe portrays not only great dignity and awesome majesty and power but also serenity, order, beauty, and pleasantness.—Exodus 24:9-11; Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 1:26-28; Daniel 7:9; Revelation 4:1-3. [7]

Jehovah God outlined some of his attractive and appealing qualities to Moses, as recorded at Exodus 34:6, 7: “Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin.” [8] Don’t you agree that getting to know about these qualities of God draws us to him and makes us want to know more about him as a person?

While no human will ever be able to see Jehovah God in his resplendent glory, it is recorded that when Jesus Christ was a man on earth, he actually reflected the type of person that Jehovah God, his heavenly Father, is. On one occasion Jesus said: “The Son cannot do a single thing of his own initiative, but only what he beholds the Father doing. For whatever things that One does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19) [9].

So we can deduce that Jesus (Yeshua) is clearly an other person then the Only One God Jehovah or Yahweh and that Jesus’ kindness, compassion, mildness, and warmth as well as his strong love for righteousness and hatred of wickedness are all qualities that Jesus received from his Father, Jehovah God. Thus, when we truly come to know with understanding the full meaning of the name Jehovah, we surely have every reason to love and bless that sacred name, to praise and exalt it, and to trust in it.

Getting to know the only true God in this way is really a never-ending process, as is brought out clearly in the rendering of John 17:3 in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Here the correct tense of the verb “to know” helps greatly, for the present continuous tense is used rather than the simple present tense. Hence, we read: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” Yes, continuing to take in knowledge of the only true God, Jehovah, and of his Son, Jesus Christ, is a process that should never end.

[1] “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (Joh 17:3 AV)

“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.” (1Co 8:4-6 AV)

19 We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the [power of the] wicked one. 20 But we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us intellectual capacity that we may gain the knowledge of the true one. And we are in union with the true one, by means of his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and life everlasting. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.(1John 5:19-20 NWT)

[2] “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Ro 1:19-21 AV)

[3] "That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth." (Psalm 83:18 King James Version) “That [men] may know that thou, whose name alone [is] JEHOVAH, [art] the most high over all the earth.” (Ps 83:18 Webster)

[4] De Nieuwe spellinggids van de Nederlandse Taal van 1995,196,1997 en 2006

[5]23 As for the Phi·lis´tine axis lords, they gathered together to sacrifice a great sacrifice to Da´gon their god and for rejoicing, and they kept saying: “Our god has given into our hand Samson our enemy!” 24 When the people got to see him, they at once gave way to praising their god, “because,” said they, “our god has given into our hand our enemy and the devastator of our land and the one who multiplied our slain.”

(Judges 16:23, 24 NWT)

[6]“And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for man shall not see me and live.” (Ex 33:20 ASV)

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (Joh 1:18 ASV)

[7]“Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were the very heaven for clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: and they beheld God, and did eat and drink.” (Ex 24:9-11 ASV)

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.” (Isa 6:1 ASV)

“And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above. And I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of his loins and upward; and from the appearance of his loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.” (Eze 1:26-28 ASV)

<“I beheld till thrones were placed, and one that was ancient of days did sit: his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire.” (Da 7:9 ASV)

“After these things I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, a voice as of a trumpet speaking with me, one saying, Come up hither, and I will show thee the things which must come to pass hereafter. Straightway I was in the Spirit: and behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting upon the throne; and he that sat was to look upon like a jasper stone and a sardius: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, like an emerald to look upon.” (Re 4:1-3 ASV)

[8] “And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth; keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.” (Ex 34:6-7 ASV)

[9] “For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will. For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son; that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life.” (Joh 5:18-24 ASV)