What Scripture Says About Salvation
A Bible Study by Fred Kenison
Monograph 30: The Relationship Between God,
Jehovah, and Jesus
We pointed out previously that many people confuse God and Jesus, mistakenly thinking that they are both the same. The same thing is even more true about God and Jehovah; most people think they are the same. Nevertheless, there is a clear distinction between Jehovah, the word of God, and The God, the invisible God of creation. We have undertaken a thorough discussion of this distinction in our book, The No-Name God: Attributes of Jehovah and Jesus as Manifestations of the Invisible God.
The distinction between The God, Jehovah, and Jesus requires at least some discussion here in order to clarify much of what was said in Monograph 29, and what will be discussed in Monograph 31. References to God in Monograph 29 were usually referring to Jehovah, the god of Israel. It was Jehovah, not The God, who was in direct contact with men. The God dealt with men only through the mediation of Jehovah.
Most people in Christian churches today fail to understand the distinction between The God, the invisible of creation, and his manifestations as Jehovah and Jesus. Furthermore, the illogical doctrine of the trinity has magnified the misunderstanding for centuries.
Since the early 300s, the organized church banished or killed anyone who taught something different from the official church doctrine, and burned their writings. For centuries, therefore, the only doctrine taught was the official church doctrine. What is even worse, 17 centuries later, the organized church points to tradition as another proof that their doctrines were correct because they have stood the test of time. What baloney!
The word "God," commonly referred to as a name, is actually a generic term similar to "mankind." Likewise, the word elohim is generic. Just as we might say of someone, "he is a man," so could we say of someone or something, "it is a god (elohim)."
A careful study of scripture reveals that The Invisible Creator God was never given a name. That is significant, because an actual name would limit the one we refer to as God. He is often referred to as The God, or the particular god as revealed in the scriptures. What are commonly referred to as the names of God are really only descriptions or characteristics of The God, usually indicating something he has done.
Several expressions in the Old Testament were derived by combining Jehovah and elohim. The phrase LORD God of Israel, yehovah 'elohiym yisra'el, was used 107 times. The phrase God of Israel, 'elohiym yisra'el, was used 201 times. The expression LORD your God, yehovah 'elohiym, was used 145 times. The expression LORD God, yehovah 'elohiym was used 533 times. All of these refer to Jehovah as the god of Israel, not as The God.
We note that Exodus 6:7 says,
"And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God ('elohiym): and ye shall know that I am the LORD (yehovah) your God ('elohiym)."
Jehovah was not saying that he, Jehovah, was The God, but that he would be "a god" to them.
To Shem and his descendants, the Semites, their god was Jehovah, while to Japheth and his descendants, the Gentiles, their god was referred to simply as elohim, or el. Neither the Israelites nor the Gentiles understood the distinction between Jehovah, as the word or expression of The God, and The God himself, as the creator or the one-who-puts-forth-power.
The God’s power was demonstrated through Jehovah and those who were obedient to him in faith, while that power was perverted by those who opposed The God in unbelief. Actually, people opposed the only god they knew, Jehovah; but in doing so they were also opposing The God.
The term "Jehovah your God" is often used in the beginning of Deuteronomy. The word God comes from elohim, which is the same word used for the god who made the earth. However, it is used here in a different context. This expression could be properly translated as "Jehovah your most powerful god." This use of elohim generically would also be appropriate since the definite article was not used.
El, another word translated God, is usually used generically, although the KJV often translated it as "God Almighty." Capitalizing "God" and "Almighty" makes it appear to be a name, which it is not. It would be more correctly translated as "a mighty god."
Taking the time to ascertain the uses of the words elohim and el in the scriptures will yield much insight. That is exactly what we did in our book, The No-Name God: Attributes of Jehovah and Jesus as Manifestations of the Invisible God.
Genesis 1:3 says, "And God said...." When The God spoke, the first thing created was his word, Jehovah.
In Genesis 2:4 and 2:7 the word Jehovah is added to elohim. Verse 2:4 says it was Jehovah elohim who created the earth and the heavens. Verse 2:7 says it was Jehovah elohim who,
"formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
The invisible God, The God, is the originator of all things through, dia, Jehovah.
There are two concepts shown here: (1) that of The God as creator, the original cause of all things, and (2) his expression, or word, Jehovah. The God used the word, Jehovah, to make his will concrete. As this concept progressed through the Bible, we also discover that Jesus (as Jehovah) was the one who helped with all this creation.
Jehovah, the expression, or word, of The God, was the one through whom all things were made. Later, in the New Testament, Jesus was declared to be the word. Ephesians 3:9 says,
"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by (dia, through) Jesus Christ."
The word by comes from dia, indicating a secondary influence. The God spoke the word, and the universe came into being through that word, or by the son of The God, who is the word. This verse also equates Jehovah with Jesus.
John 1:1‑2 contains this opening statement:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God."
First, let us apply just a bit of Greek grammar. It was not just any word, but "the word" which was in the beginning. It was "the word" which was pros, faced toward God. And, it was not just any god, but The God.
Using the definite article sets the accompanying noun apart from others of the same word as definite. But, in the phrase, "the word was God," there is no definite article. Therefore this must be translated as either "a god" or as the adjective "divine." This verse does not teach us that the word was The God, but that the word was before The God, or facing toward The God. This would indicate a close communion, but not identity.
If we choose to translate this passage to show that the word was "divine" instead of "a god," then the issue becomes one concerning the essence of the word. John clearly stated that the word had its essence in The God.
According to the KJV, John said that "The word was God." But did he actually say that? In this instance, there is no article before the word god, therefore, it should not be capitalized, and should correctly be translated as "a god."
As a reminder, the word "god" is a generic term and not a name. In truth, The God is distinguished from other gods only by the definite article.
Much has been written in an attempt to explain away the clear language John used in this instance. If John had wished to state that "the word was the God" he could have easily done so by inserting the definite article. However, he did not do so. Many interpreters are guilty of bending the translation in an attempt to "prove" that their preconceived notions are conveyed in the manuscripts.
Jehovah was not The God, but an expression or manifestation used by The God, the invisible God, to portray himself to the Israelite people. Jehovah was the word of The God. He was also a manifestation of the presence of the invisible god with Israel. Therefore, Jehovah was regarded as "a god" by John. Although this may not have been the way the Israelites understood things, remember that John had an advantage in the further revelation of Jesus.
John said that the word was in the beginning. Jesus was not yet born, so who was the word in the beginning? Who, or what, was in such close communion with The God that John could say in verse 1:3 that,
"All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
John used the intensive negative oude for not, thereby expressing the idea of complete participation by the word in creation.
Was the word the original force of creation? No! The word by, or through, comes from dia, which signifies secondary influence. The first influence was The God. Then, who was "the word in the beginning?" It was Jehovah! Jehovah was the expression of the very thought and words of The God to men. Through Jehovah, the invisible God began to reveal himself to men.
Neither the Israelites nor the later Jews understood the distinction between Jehovah and The God who stood behind Jehovah; they thought that Jehovah, their god, was the only god. The gradual revelation of The God continued throughout the Bible.
Right up to the time of Jesus, people did not realize that there was The God behind Jehovah. Although Jesus said the correct things about his Father, The God, people still thought he was talking about Jehovah.
The people of the Old Testament knew only Jehovah as their god. Only in very occasional prophecies was there a hint of a god beyond Jehovah, and this was not clearly understood until Jesus revealed it by his words and his life. However, even the apostles did not understand until holy spirit came upon them and revealed the truth to them.
An interesting glimpse of the distinction occurs in II Samuel 23:3:
"The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me."
The wording here makes it clearly evident that the god of Israel is distinct, at least in this occurrence, from the rock of Israel. The god of Israel was Jehovah, the expression of the rock of Israel, The God. The messiah was a promise from the rock of Israel, The God, given to the god of Israel, Jehovah, who in turn gave it to David.
In this instance, it can be clearly seen that the god of Israel, Jehovah, is being instructed by the rock of Israel, The God. The distinction between the two is not always so clearly drawn in the scriptures as it is here.
Isaiah knew Jehovah as his god and used the words Jehovah and elohim interchangeably (see Isaiah 53:6). However, it was not until Jesus revealed the invisible god in the New Testament that this distinction became clear to everyone.
And, except for the illogical doctrine of the trinity, that distinction would be clear to everyone today. The organized church continues to promote a terrible distortion of scripture.
Micah 5:2 provides a prophecy of the coming of Messiah.
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
Who was this person whom Micah said would come out of Bethlehem? John 7:42 says,
"Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"
In this scripture, John verified the prophecies of both Daniel and Micah.
Matthew 2:6 put it this way:
"And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel."
Micah said this ruler would be one, "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Who has been the one going forth from the invisible God from everlasting? It was Jehovah.
Who, then, will this be when he comes? He will be Jesus, the word of The God (Jehovah) who became flesh, as noted in John 1:14 :
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us...."
The God always deals with man through a mediator. In the Old Testament, The God dealt with man through Jehovah, his word, and then through Jesus, the word of The God made flesh in the New Testament.
Jehovah was the first veil between The God and man, represented by the veil in the tabernacle separating the holy of holies. Jesus became the next veil between The God and man when he ascended to the Father to sit at the right hand of The God, interceding for all men. [See our book, The Hidden Meaning in Hebrews for further discussion on the concept and meaning of the veil.]
The totality of The Godis never made manifest to men because men cannot totally understand The God. Jesus spoke several truths about The God, which often go unnoticed. For instance in Matthew 11:27, he said,
"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."
In John 1:18, he said,
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
And, in John 5:37, he said,
"And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape."
Jesus was seen by multitudes of people, so he could not be The God. Moses saw the back side of Jehovah, and Jehovah spoke to many people, so he could not be The God.
Jehovah and Jesus were both manifestations of The God, to reveal him to men. Clearly, The God reveals to men only as much as he wishes, and through his chosen methods.
The KJV translators used God and Lord for elohim and Jehovah. They were also rather careless in the use of the definite article. The result has meant a tremendous amount of confusion for readers.
Those who insist of taking a literal interpretation of the Bible should at least insist on using the actual words contained in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. If they did so, it would clear up many of the mistaken interpretations.
# There is a clear distinction between Jehovah, the word of God, and The
God, the invisible God of creation.
# A careful study of scripture reveals that the invisible creator God was
never given a name. That is significant, because an actual name would
limit the one we refer to as God, The God. He is often referred to as
The God, or the particular God as revealed in the scriptures. What are
commonly referred to as the names of God are really only descriptions
or characteristics of The God, usually indicating something he has
# Neither the Israelites nor the Gentiles understood the distinction
between Jehovah, as the word or expression of The God, and The God
himself, as the creator or putter- forth-of-power.
# Jehovah was not The God, but an expression or manifestation used by
The God, the invisible God, to portray himself to the Israelite people.
Jehovah was the Word of The God. He was also a manifestation of the
presence of the invisible god with Israel.
# Through Jehovah, the invisible God began to reveal himself to men.
# Neither the Israelites nor the later Jews understood the distinction
between Jehovah and The God who stood behind Jehovah; they
thought that Jehovah, their god, was the only god.
# The gradual revelation of The God continued throughout the Bible.
Right up to the time of Jesus, people did not realize that there was The
God behind Jehovah. Although Jesus said the correct things about his
Father, The God, people still thought he was talking about Jehovah.
# The God always deals with man through a mediator. In the Old
Testament, The God dealt with man through Jehovah, his word, and
then through Jesus, the word of God made flesh in the New Testament.
# Jehovah was the first veil between The God and man, represented by
the veil in the tabernacle separating the holy of holies. Jesus became
the next veil between The God and man when he ascended to the
Father to sit at the right hand of The God, interceding for all men.
Jehovah and Jesus were both manifestations of The God, to reveal him
and through his chosen methods.
© 2009, Fred Kenison and Merrill Douglass. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.