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"Let Your Name Be Sanctified"



Chapter 7

THE GOD WHO WROTE HIS OWN NAME

The Creator gifted man with the ability to write. The account of the creation of the heavens and the earth and of man, as set forth by Moses in the book of Genesis, was written in the Creator's name, Jehovah, to verify it. (Genesis 1:1 to 2:4) But the time came when he himself wrote his own name for man to read. This occurred on the peninsula of Sinai to which the Israelites had miraculously crossed the Red Sea. It occurred at the mountain where Jehovah appeared to Moses at the burning bush.

2 As a sign to Moses that Jehovah had sent him to free his people from Egypt this was to occur: "After you have brought the people out of Egypt, you people will serve the true God on this mountain." (Exodus 3:12) On the fifteenth day of the Jewish lunar month Nisan, the day after the passover, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.


1. (a) In whose name was the creation account in Genesis written? (b) In the mountain of God in Arabia, what did he himself do as to writing?
2. At the mountain of God what was to occur as a sign that he had sent Moses?
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3 In the third month after that they came into the wilderness of Sinai and encamped at Mount Sinai (or Horeb) toward the southern tip of the peninsula. Jehovah by his angel now called Moses up into this "mountain of God" and talked to him of making a covenant or sacred contract with Israel. Moses as the mediator between God and Israel was to tell his people these words of God: "If you will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then you will certainly become my special property out of all other peoples, because the whole earth belongs to me. And you yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." — Exodus 19:1-6.

4 The Israelites agreed to make a sacred contract with God on those terms. On the third day after that, the people stood at the base of the mountain, trembling at the heavy cloud upon the mountain and the very loud trumpet sound. "Mount Sinai smoked all over, due to the fact that Jehovah came down upon it in fire; and its smoke kept ascending like the smoke of a kiln. . . . When the sound of the horn became continually louder and louder, Moses began to speak, and the true God began to answer him with a voice." Moses was then sent to tell them that the mountain was to be held sacred and that they should not come near and touch it. To do so meant death. — Exodus 19:7-25.

5 Then the whole nation of Israel heard God speak from the mountaintop to give them the basic set of laws (the Ten Commandments) for their covenant with him. (Exodus 20:1-17) He said to Israel:


3. At the mountain what did he talk about with Moses, and what words introductory to this was Moses to tell the Israelites?
4. How was God's presence upon the mountain manifested, how did the people feel, and how were they to treat that mountain?
5. What did God then give, speaking from the mountaintop, and what do the divisions of this say?
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6 In the first five of those Ten Commandments Jehovah spoke his name eight times, and the whole nation heard how it was correctly pronounced by God himself. His name had never been made known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in such a setting as this. Those patriarchs had not been given this set of Ten Commandments, for they had not been brought out of the house of


6. Had God's name ever been made known to the patriarchs in such a setting as this, and what statement is there to show whether the Ten Commandments had been given to the patriarchs?
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slaves in Egypt nor been actually given the Promised Land of Canaan. Said Moses to the Israelites forty years later: "Jehovah our God concluded a covenant with us in Horeb. It was not with our forefathers that Jehovah concluded this covenant, but with us, all those of us alive here today. Face to face Jehovah spoke with you in the mountain out of the middle of the fire." (Deuteronomy 5:1-4) Not less so, the Ten Commandments were not given to Egypt or any other non-Israelite nation of the ancient world. The nation of Israel alone was bound by these foundation laws of its covenant with Jehovah through Moses. People of the nations not worshiping Jehovah as God merely do some things contained in the Ten Commandments by the force of conscience, which the Creator implanted in mankind. — Romans 2:14, 15.

7 The Third Commandment did not say that God's covenant people must never pronounce his holy personal name. The way in which they were to show respect for it and sanctify it was by never taking it up in a worthless way, for no good purpose, in a common, blasphemous manner that would bring injury to the name, misapplying it.

8 More than a thousand years later when Jewish religious leaders called it a sin even to pronounce the sacred Tetragrammaton, it did not keep the sacred name from being taken up in a worthless way. Putting a taboo upon the name and making it something mysterious led magicians to take it up and use it in magical formulas as something very potent.* Making the name a religious secret


* Says The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 15, eleventh edition (1911), pages 311, 312: "Various motives may have concurred to bring about the suppression of the name. An instinctive feeling that a proper name for God implicitly recognizes the existence of other gods may have had some influence; reverence and the fear lest the holy name should be profaned among the heathen were potent reasons; but probably the most cogent motive was the desire to prevent the abuse of the name in magic. If so, the secrecy had the opposite effect; the name of the god of the Jews was one of the great names in magic, heathen as well as Jewish, and miraculous efficacy was attributed to the mere utterance of it. ... Nor was the knowledge confined to these pious circles; the name continued to be employed by healers, exorcists and magicians, and has been preserved in many places in magical papyri. The vehemence with which the utterance of the name is denounced in the [Jewish] Mishna — 'He who pronounces the Name with its own letters has no part in the world to come!' — suggests that this misuse of the name was not uncommon among Jews. ... In an Ethiopic list of magical names of Jesus, purporting to have been taught by him to his disciples, Yawe is found."
7. How was God's name not to be taken up in a worthless way?
8. (a) Putting a taboo on the pronouncing of the name had actually what effect? (b) Among those keeping the name a secret, who were the worst breakers of the Third Commandment?
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for only a select few to know prevents God's personal name from being called upon in faith for eternal salvation. The very few who insist upon keeping the name secret from others for the sake of not having the Third Commandment broken may themselves be the worst breakers of the Third Commandment. In the days when the Son of God was on earth the Jewish high priests Annas and Caiaphas pronounced the name in benediction daily at the temple of Jerusalem and also ten times on the annual Day of Atonement, but in a low indistinct tone. Yet those high priests were the ones who condemned the Son of God for blasphemy and who insisted that the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate execute him on a torture stake. — John 18:13-24; Luke 3:1, 2; Matthew 26:59-68.

9 Jehovah himself illustrated that the right way to stop the taking up of his name in a worthless way was, not to forbid the pronouncing of it at all, but to punish the misusers of it.

10 This was in the case of a member of the "mixed company" that came out of Egypt with


9, 10. How did God declare and have carried out the right way to stop the taking up of his name in a worthless way?
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the Israelites. His father was an Egyptian, but his mother an Israelitess. In a struggle with an Israelite in the camp this half Egyptian "began to abuse the Name and to call down evil upon it." Now how serious was this offense? The offender was put in custody "till there should be a distinct declaration to them according to the saying of Jehovah." The saying of Jehovah came to Moses: "Bring forth the one who called down evil to the outside of the camp; and all those who heard him must lay their hands upon his head, and the entire assembly must pelt him with stones. And you should speak to the sons of Israel, saying, In case any man should call down evil upon his God, he must then answer for his sin. So the abuser of Jehovah's name should be put to death without fail. The entire assembly should without fail pelt him with stones. The alien resident [such as this half Egyptian] the same as the native should be put to death for his abusing the Name. . . . One judicial decision should hold good for you. The alien resident should prove to be the same as the native, because I am Jehovah your God.' " (Leviticus 24:10-23) The Name's abuser was stoned.

11 The breaking of the First and Second Commandments forbidding the having of any other gods against Jehovah's face and the making of idol images for worship, such as an image of the false god Molech, was punished with death. It was in effect a profaning of God's name. God said: "As for me, I shall set my face against that man, and I will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech for the purpose of defiling my holy place and to profane my holy name." "You must not profane my holy name, and I must be sanctified in the midst of the sons of Israel. I am Jehovah who is sanctifying you." (Leviticus 20:1-3; 22:32)


11. The breaker of the First and Second Commandments was in effect doing what to God's name, and how was he to be punished?
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What if someone "should go and worship other gods and bow down to them or to the sun or the moon or all the army of the heavens, a thing that I have not commanded"? The idolater should be put to death at the mouth of two or three witnesses. "You must clear out what is bad from your midst." — Deuteronomy 17:2-7.

12 People today who think they are under the Ten Commandments and who feel self-satisfied because, as they claim, they are keeping those Commandments, should think soberly on how serious it was to break the Decalogue, the Ten Words. (Deuteronomy 5:6-22) When Jehovah proclaimed these Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, from which also proceeded thunders, lightning flashes, trumpet sound and smoke, they became afraid and said to Moses: "You speak with us, and let us listen; but let not God speak with us for fear we may die." (Exodus 20:18, 19) When Moses presented this request to God, God agreed to use Moses as a mediator between Him and Israel. At the same time God revealed to Moses that he was to serve as a type or a prophetic representative of a still greater prophet in the future, a Greater Moses. So Moses later told Israel:

13 "A prophet from your own midst, from your brothers, like me, is what Jehovah your God will raise up for you — to him you people should listen  — in response to all that you asked of Jehovah your God in Horeb on the day of the congregation, saying, 'Do not let me hear again the voice of Jehovah my God, and this great fire do not let me see any more, that I may not die.' At that Jehovah said to me, 'They have done well in speaking what they did. A prophet I shall raise up for them from the midst of their brothers, like you; and I shall indeed put my words in his mouth,


12, 13. (a) When Jehovah spoke the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, what did the people request of Moses? (b) With regard to this request, what did Jehovah say, as later reported by Moses?
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and he will certainly speak to them all that I shall command him. And it must occur that the man who will not listen to my words that he will speak in my name, I shall myself require an account from him.'" — Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

14 This coming prophet, this Greater Moses, was to speak God's words in the name of Jehovah. This was to be one of the proofs that he was the true prophet that was promised to be raised up from the nation of Israel. Accordingly anyone who claimed to be that prophet but who did not speak in Jehovah's name could not be the promised one, the Greater Moses. Likewise a would-be prophet who misused the divine name and attached it to a false prophecy would not have his prophecy come true and he would prove to be a false prophet.

15 God said: "However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. And in case you should say in your heart: 'How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?' when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him." — Deuteronomy 18:20-22.

16 The false prophet profanes God's name and breaks the Third Commandment, and for this he must die. The true prophet, the Greater Moses, will not just speak Jehovah's words in Jehovah's name but his prophecy will come true. Thus he will sanctify Jehovah's name and teach his hearers to sanctify it or hold it sacred. He is


14. As regards the Greater Moses, who would prove to be the true one and who the false ones, with reference to the Name?
15. When a prophet does speak in Jehovah's name, how will the true prophet and the false prophet be proved?
16. Why must the false prophet be put to death, but what will the true Greater Moses do respecting God's name?
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the real prophet to be frightened at and to listen to with obedience.

17 The day came when Israel formally entered into the covenant with God on the basis of the Ten Commandments and other laws. After Moses had read to the people the laws that God had already given him, they said: "All the words that Jehovah has spoken we are willing to do." The next morning animal sacrifices, young bulls and goats, were offered up to God. "Then Moses took half the blood and put it in bowls, and half the blood he sprinkled upon the altar. Finally he took the book of the covenant and read it in the ears of the people. Then they said: 'All that Jehovah has spoken we are willing to do and be obedient.' So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people and said: 'Here is the blood of the covenant that Jehovah has concluded with you as respects all these words.' " Moses also sprinkled the "book of the covenant" as representing God, the other party to this covenant. — Exodus 24:3-8; Hebrews 9:19,20.

18 Thus Jehovah God entered into covenant relationship with the nation of Israel and did so on the basis of the shed blood of animal sacrifices. It was binding, valid: "For a covenant is valid over dead victims, since it is not in force at any time while the human covenanter is living. Consequently neither was the former covenant inaugurated without blood." — Hebrews 9:17,18.

19 After that Moses went up into the mountain of God and "continued in the mountain forty days and forty nights," without eating and drinking. To him as mediator God gave many laws and instructions concerning the clean,


17. With what victims and what procedure did Moses inaugurate the covenant of God's Law with Israel?
18. Thus on the basis of what did God enter into covenant relationship with Israel?
19. (a) While up in the mountain receiving God's Law with whom was Moses really dealing? (b) What did God then give Moses, and what was the remarkable thing about what was given?
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acceptable worship. While in the mountain, Moses was really dealing with God's angels. "The Law . . . was transmitted through angels by the hand of a mediator." (Galatians 3:19) Jewish lawbreakers were spoken to as "you who received the Law as transmitted by angels but have not kept it." (Acts 7:53) At the close of the forty-day period of communion with God regarding the Law of the covenant with Israel, a remarkable thing occurred. Moses' record says: "Now as soon as he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai he proceeded to give Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone written on by God's finger." (Exodus 24:18 to 31:18) Moses later told Israel about it in these words:


"When I went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant that Jehovah had concluded with you, and I kept dwelling in the mountain forty days and forty nights, (I neither ate bread nor drank water,) then Jehovah gave me the two tablets of stone written upon with God's finger; and upon them were all the words that Jehovah had spoken with you in the mountain out of the middle of the fire in the day of the congregation. And it came about that at the end of the forty days and forty nights Jehovah gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant." — Deuteronomy 9:9-11.


20 Meantime the Israelites down below had got discouraged about seeing Moses their leader again. Forgetful of the Ten Commandments, they asked Moses' brother Aaron to make them a "god who will go ahead of us." From the gold that the people donated, Aaron made them a golden calf. Then they held a feast and worshiped the idol, saying: "This is your God, O Israel, who led you up out of the land of Egypt." From on high Jehovah God saw this and was minded to kill the covenant breakers, but Moses as mediator


20. (a) What did the Israelites do during Moses' absence, and what did he have to do in behalf of them? (b) With what did Moses descend the mountain?
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pleaded for him to spare them. At God's orders Moses went down the mountain with the two tablets. "And the tablets were the workmanship of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved upon the tablets." — Exodus 32:1-16.

21 On the way toward the camp Moses met his faithful attendant, Joshua the son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim. When coming within sight of the idol calf and the dancing Israelites, Moses' anger grew so great that he "threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain," a fitting symbol of their breaking the sacred Law of God. Moses had the idol calf completely destroyed, after which he cried out: "Who is on Jehovah's side? To me!" The men of his tribe, the tribe of Levi, gathered themselves to Moses. The penalty for breaking the Law of the covenant had to be executed. Without hesitation Moses sent out these loyal sons of Levi to execute the idolatrous covenant breakers, about three thousand men. Jehovah himself plagued the surviving people, because they had made and worshiped the calf.  — Exodus 32:17-35.

22 To do what he could for them Moses went up the mountain again and mercifully pleaded for Israel. Jehovah told Moses: "Carve out for yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I must write upon the tablets the words that appeared on the first tablets, which you shattered." At Moses' request to see God's glory, God put him in a hole in the rock and screened over Moses till his glory passed by. Now came a moment for God's name to be made known as never before, for "Jehovah proceeded to come down in the cloud and station himself with him


21. (a) At the sight of what was happening, what did Moses do, and what did he tell those who took their stand on Jehovah's side to do? (b) What did Jehovah do to the surviving people?
22. (a) Before coming up into the mountain again, what was Moses told to do? (b) What did Moses request to see, and what did God declare to him as no other god could?
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there and declare the name of Jehovah. And Jehovah went passing by before his face and declaring:


" '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, but by no means will he give exemption from punishment, bringing punishment for the error of fathers upon sons and upon grandsons, upon the third generation and upon the fourth generation.'"


What other god could describe himself like that? Moses prostrated himself in worship. — Exodus 33:18 to 34:8.

23 After that the Ten Commandments were reproduced upon the stone tablets. Moses describes it, saying: "I made an ark of acacia wood and carved two tablets of stone like the "first ones and went up into the mountain, and the two tablets were in my hand. Then he wrote upon the tablets the same writing as the first, the Ten Words, which Jehovah had spoken to you in the mountain out of the middle of the fire in the day of the congregation; after which Jehovah gave them to me. Then I turned and went down from the mountain and placed the tablets in the ark that I had made, that they might continue there, just as Jehovah had commanded me."  — Deuteronomy 10:1-5.

24 God wrote his own name — for a second time, on the tablets prepared by Moses to replace the ones broken. In the first five commandments God wrote his name eight times, not in the modern square Hebrew characters of today, but in the early Hebrew characters, which were quite different. Then the Tetragrammaton may


23. (a) What did God do with the newly carved tablets? (b) Where did Moses place them?
24. (a) Thus how many times did Jehovah write his own name, and in what alphabetic characters? (b) Where did the two tablets come to be kept?
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have appeared something like that on the Mesha (Moabite) Stone of the ninth century B.C.E., namely, hebrew-phoenician name and not hebrew name of today. But what a remarkable thing, that the Most High God, the Creator, should himself write his ten principal laws, including his own name eight times! The tablets were exceptionally precious, and with good reason they were preserved in a sacred ark or chest. When Moses constructed the tabernacle for divine worship in Israel, these two tablets of the Law were kept in a golden-covered ark in the holiest compartment, the Most Holy. The ark came to be called the ark of the covenant.  — Deuteronomy 10:5; 1 Kings 8:9.

25 Centuries later, when King Solomon completed and inaugurated the glorious temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem, the two tablets inscribed by God himself were taken inside the ark of the covenant into the temple's Most Holy. "There was nothing in the Ark but the two tablets that Moses had given at Horeb, when Jehovah covenanted with the sons of Israel while they were coming out from Egypt." (2 Chronicles 5:7-10) At the time of the destruction of Solomon's temple in 607 B.C.E, the Ark with its precious contents disappeared.

26 When Moses with the two tablets in hand came down from Mount Sinai (Horeb) after communion with God, the skin of his face emitted rays. He did not know it till his brother Aaron and the other Israelites meeting him grew afraid at his glorious face. After conveying God's message to the Israelites, Moses covered his face with a veil. But when Moses went into the sacred tent to appear before God to speak with him,


25. (a) In King Solomon's day where were those tablets taken? (b) What finally happened to those tablets?
26. (a) When Moses came down with the second set of tablets, why was he obliged to veil his face? (b) How does the glory of the Greater Moses compare with that, and with what is his glory connected?
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Copy of the Moabite (Mesha) Stone (original in the Louvre of Paris), with the letters in transcription, in a language which is virtually Hebrew. This inscription is the oldest known in the Hebrew-Phoenician form of writing.



Moses took the veil off his face. Moses' facial glory passed away with him. It could not compare with the glory that has become the possession of the promised prophet like him. The glory of the Greater Moses is everlasting. (2 Corinthians 3:7-16) It is connected with giving us everlasting life, by the loving-kindness of the God who wrote his own name in stone.



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