Main article: Names of God
Jehovah is the modern transliteration of the Hebrew name Yahweh, which is God’s name in relationship with men, especially with Israel. Hence in Genesis 1 we have only “Elohim”, the Creator; but in Genesis 2 we have “Jehovah Elohim,” because the relationship of God with men is brought in. Jehovah means, Him who IS (Exodus 3:14). In other words, “the One who exists”. The extension of this expression is found in the New Testament, stated in a way that Gentile minds can more readily understand, Jehovah is the One “which is and which was, and which is to come” (Rev. 1:4, 8:4, 8; 16:5). Past, present and future are terms that we think in, but not needed by God. His existence is outside of time: in the past God IS, in the present God IS, in the future God IS. His is called by another name, “The Same” (Psalm 102:27; Heb. 1:12) which has to do with His immutability. In Exodus 6:2 Moses is instructed to tell the children of Israel when they asked who has sent Moses, “I am Jehovah,” in connection with their covenant relationship to God. So, intrinsically (in Himself) Jehovah is the self-existing One; and extrinsically (toward man) He is the One who seeks the blessing of man! The name Jehovah (Yahweh) seems to be a compound of two shorter names, Jah (“LORD”, Ex. 15:2, Ex. 17:16, etc.) and Ehyeh (“I AM”, Ex. 3:14). Together, “Yah-ehyah” (Jehovah) means “Lord I am”.1 The name Jehovah is found over 6800 times in the Old Testament! Another name of Jehovah is Qanna (meaning Jealous; Exo. 34:14), because the God of relationship is jealous of men’s affections.
Jehovah Appears to Man. As the name of God in His relationships with men, the One who appears is always Jehovah. When Jehovah appears to man in the Old Testament, He is called “the Angel of Jehovah”. It was Jehovah that walked in the garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8), that appeared to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 18:1), that appeared to Hagar (Gen. 16:7), that appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exo. 3:2) and on Mt. Sinai when He showed Moses His glory (Exo. 33:11). It was Jehovah that appeared to Balaam’s dumb ass (Num. 22:22), that appeared to Gideon (Judges 6:12) to Manoah’s wife (Judges 13:3), and to Solomon (1 Kings 9:2). As the One who appears, it is fitting that the New Testament identifies “the Word”, the Person of the Son, with these Old Testament appearances. Connect the words of Isaiah,“In the year of the death of king Uzziah, I saw the Lord [a visible manifestation] sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple” (Isa. 6:1), with this verse “These things said Esaias [previous quotation from Isa. 6] because he saw his glory and spoke of him [Jesus]” (John 12:41). These verses clearly identify Jesus with the visible manifestations of Jehovah in the Old Testament! However, it would be wrong to say Jehovah was exclusively the Son. But I believe it would be correct to say that the appearances of Jehovah were the pre-incarnate Son of God, for He alone is the Word or expression of God.
Expansions of the Name Jehovah. There are seven different expansions of the name ‘Jehovah’ (Yahweh) found in the Old Testament.
- Jehovah Jireh – “The Lord will Provide” (found once, Gen. 22:14)
- Jehovah Rapha – “The Lord your Healer” (found once, Exo. 15:26)
- Jehovah Nissi – “The Lord my Banner” (found once, Exo. 17:15)
- Jehovah Shalom – “The Lord is Peace” (found once, Jdg. 6:24)
- Jehovah Sabaoth – “The Lord of Hosts” (found 249 times, most in the prophets; first in 1 Sam. 1:3)
- Jehovah Tsidkenu – “The Lord our Righteousness” (found twice, Jer. 23:6; 33:16)
- Jehovah Shammah – “The Lord is There” (found once, Ezekiel 48:35)
- Ehyeh (I AM, Ex. 3:14) and Jah (LORD, Ex. 15:2, Ex. 17:16, etc.) are akin to Jehovah, but each used distinctively where a different author is untenable and sheer delusion. Neither is quite Jehovah God, the Governor of man; but as Jah is the absolutely existing One, so Ehyeh expresses His existence as the Everlasting Now consciously felt and asserted, therefore subjective, as Jah is objective. – Kelly, William. In the Beginning. New Edition, Revised 1894.