God's Titles Not Restricted
To One Language
Is it not a fact that the Bible translators changed the Creator's original Hebrew names (Elohim,
Jehovah, El, Elahh, Elowahh, Bethel, and Tsur) to the names of Baal (God, Lord, etc.)? And if
the Creator's names actually are Elohim, Yahovah et al., and if God, Lord, etc., are the names of
the pagan gods, why, then, do we call Him by the latter?
For the sake of correct and consistent understanding in referring to the words under discussion,
we call the reader's attention to the self-evident fact that the various Hebrew words termed by the
questioner as "the Creator's original names," all being designative of some aspect or attribute of
Divine nature or character, are therefore not names, but titles, of the Creator. Only the name
Jehovah appears to be His Proper Name; therefore we shall herein treat it separately from the
In order to find the truth of this important two-fold question, we go back, not merely to the
beginning of the Hebrew nation, but to the very beginning of all nations; that is, to
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The Root of the Matter.
We find that when God created mankind, and originated religious worship, He stated to His
created beings His titles, in the language of Eden. Later, as sin entered, and as the people
multiplied and wickedness increased, and as it continued even after the flood, God's anger against
them for building the Tower of Babel caused Him to confound "the language of all the earth," and
to create out of it the languages of the nations. At that time, the original titles of God were given
to the people in their respective tongues; because the titles of God, in a tongue foreign to the
understanding of the nations, would have had no meaning to them.
As their sins caused a still greater widening of the gulf between God and people, they, in
protest, to satisfy their hearts' desire for a visible God, made to themselves
Idols, Named With The Divine Titles.
Rather than give the idols names originated specifically for them, the makers honored them with
the Divine titles in order to make it appear that the idols were the figures of God, a fabrication
which is conclusively borne out by such manifest evidences as that the word, Elah, a Hebrew title
of the Deity, is used by the Turks for the name of their god; that the word, Tsur, another Hebrew
title of the
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Deity, is used by the Russo-Slavic peoples as the title of their kings; and that "Elohim is used in
many cases of the gods of the heathen, who included in the same title the God of the Hebrews,
and denoted generally the Deity when spoken of (sic) a supernatural being." -- Dictionary of the
Bible, Smith, definition "Jehovah."
From these evidences, we see clearly that the names of the idols are, in fact, not the names of
the idols, themselves, but the titles of God. Therefore, to restrict our address of Him to one
language -- the Hebrew -- just because His titles in other tongues were once used in honor of
idols, forces the conclusion that the idol-gods of the heathen have defeated God the Creator by
robbing Him of His titles! What a forbidding thought!
Hence, if we must attach more sacredness to letters expressing Deity in any one language more
than in another, it should be
Only In The Language of Eden or In All Alike.
If from the beginning till today "the whole earth was of one speech" (Gen. 11:1), and had the
day never dawned when "the Lord did confound the language of all the earth" (Gen. 1 1 :9), then
only could God's worshipers address Him in the language of Eden. But in view of the fact that
from that hour to this, diversity and confusion of tongues have
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been the linguistic lot of the human race, the Lord has never restricted His word to one universal
medium of expression, but rather has accommodated it to all "the peoples and multitudes and
nations, and tongues" of earth, thus accounting for
The Different Titles of the Deity.
The Jews called the expected Christ, Messiah but we who speak in English call Him the
Anointed One, because in our language that is what the word, Messiah, means. The title
Anointed One, is meaningless to a Hebrew, as is the title, Messiah, to an Englishman, unless the
Englishman and the Jew speak both English and Hebrew, or else the words be interpreted to them
in their respective tongues. Likewise is the case with the words, Elohim and God -- equivalents in
their respective tongues. The multitudes of common people who speak English only, cannot
intelligently address the Creator by a word foreign to the English language. For instance, when
speaking of the One Who created all things, we necessarily must call Him by the English word,
Creator, instead of by the Slavic word, Sutvaritel, or by the Greek word, Plasten. Thus, as it is
proper in English to say Creator or Father, when addressing the One Who created all things, then,
to be consistent, it must also be proper in English to call Him God, rather than to call Him by the
Jewish title, Elohim.
To the Jew, the words, Elohim, Elowahh,
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Elahh, and El mean Mighty One, Creator, the same as the word, God, in common acceptation,
means to the Anglo-Saxon; the word, Otheos, to the Greek; the word, Bog, to the Slav; Gott, to
the German; Gud, to the Scandinavian; Dios, to the Spaniard, and Allah, to the Turk.
Therefore the words Elohim and its variants God, Theos, Bog, Gott Gud, Dios, Allah, Lord and
so on, are, loosely, counterparts in their respective languages, the general signification of all of
them being, in a broad sense, the same as that of the English name, lord, which is a title of respect
given to a husband, to a nobleman, to an owner, to a proprietor, or to a certain official personage.
It is from this common acceptation of the words that both God and Lord are applied to the
Deity, and no more from a point of proper name than with the word, Father.
This is aptly illustrated by the front-page "cut" of Augustus Caesar. This great Roman ruler had
as one of his exalted titles, the term "Pontifex Maximus," because he was worshiped, in the Pagan
system, as their visible God on earth. Later this title was assumed by the Pope of Rome. Thus it
was done with God's titles by the Baal worshipers.
Moreover, the statue of Augustus is not Augustus himself. It is only an idol of him, adored by
men after they could no longer behold his living presence.
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So this possibility of exclusive royal, and even sacred titles being used by envious persons or
applied to images, is a practice which unfortunately has always existed, and there is nothing that
can be done about it as long as men continue to violate the commandment which says:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow
down thyself to them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." Ex. 20:4.
All the generic terms, in the various languages, are designative of what God is, rather than of
Who He is; in other words, these terms are the titles of His nature and character, rather than of
His identity. Therefore, if they were not translated into the languages of the nations, they would
be meaningless to the people.
From the combined evidences herein of Scripture, history, philology, and logic, we see clearly
that the words, God, Lord, et al., were not originally, nor ever exclusively, the names of Baal, or
of any other idol. Consequently there is
Nothing Wrong With God's Titles in any Language.
Obviously, then, though the heathen used the term, god, when addressing their idols, as some
use the title, father, for a
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person who is not their father, yet in so doing, they thereby no more truly made any idol God,
than they thereby truly made the titles of the true God, the titles of idols; no more, in fact, than do
those who misuse the word, father, so pollute it that we now need to call our earthly parent by
some other title.
And if it still be protested that these different titles of the Deity are profane because
idol-worshiping nations used them, then by the same token of logic, it must be protested also that
their Jewish equivalents be even more profane, because of the more disgraceful and reprehensible
idolatry of the Jews, who mockishly mouthed these titles of the true God, while they went after
strange gods and killed His prophets, not even sparing His only begotten Son.
The very fact that when the pagans accepted Christianity, the Spirit of Truth "elevated to the
Christian sense" these misused titles of the Deity, He demonstrated thereby that God created
nothing in vain, and that there are no other gods before Him. Now therefore those titles, instead
of becoming anathema to us, should have a better standing than before, as the Prodigal had after
his return to his father's house.
The apostle recognized this, and therefore raised no objection when the disciples in Antioch
called themselves by the Lord's name in their native tongue, Christians (Acts 11:26).
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Furthermore, the fact that the apostle Paul under Inspiration declared God unto the heathen, not
in the terms (Jehovah, Elohim, et al.) of his intelligence and informed faith, but in the terms (The
Unknown God) of their ignorance and uninformed faith, shows that God accepted forms of
address to Himself other than the Jewish names.
On this point, as on all other points, we stand with the apostles and the prophets. And as the
apostles were thus found worthy of having their names written on the foundations of the Holy
City (Rev. 21:14), we shall in like manner be found worthy to enter in through the pearly gates
(Rev. 21:21), if we, too, abstain from
Irreverently Using the Lord's Proper Name.
If God's proper name is Jehovah, then dare we His created beings, be so disrespectfully familiar
as to address Him by His Proper Name, rather than by one of His titles, God, Lord, Father,
Creator, Saviour, etc., when we would not think of indulging the less disrespectful familiarity of
addressing our earthly parents by their given names -- John, George, Bill, Dorothy, Ruth, Mary,
etc., -- in place of their parental titles Father and Mother? Such irreverence practiced by the
heathen might be excusable because of their ignorance, but practiced by enlightened Christians,
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who ought to know better, it is inexcusable. We may with reverence use the word, Jehovah, only
if a heathen should ask us, Who is your God? Then we could with solemn propriety answer
Jehovah, the only true and living God. Never, though, when addressing God, can we reverentially
use His Proper Name.
As the God-fearing Jews anciently "regarded the Divine Name as too sacred for utterance," so
should enlightened Christians do today.
However, the most ancient and hallowed Hebrew name for God was not only never commonly
pronounced, but was even so-spelled, in an abbreviated form, that it could not be pronounced; so
much so that the original pronunciation is not known. All we know for sure is the
Consonant Form, Yhwh, Yvh, or Yhv.
This abbreviated form of the name made it hard for the translators to spell out a pronounceable
word. They, therefore, chose to supply what they thought were the missing vowels. The first
syllabic term upon which there was general agreement was Jah. Other derivatives were supplied
by different translators. Yahweh, Yahowah, or Yahovah were formulated to suit certain
languages. The anglicized form evolved as Jehovah. Therefore, any improvised letters that go to
make up the ineffable Name may not actually be the
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Hebrew word after all! (See Funk and Wagnall's Standard Dictionary, definition "Jehovah.")
If the original-name theory had proved correct, there is in the way
Nothing to Prevent the Change.
As we want, more than anything else, to be right in all things, therefore were it a sin to address
the Deity in any language other than the Hebrew, we would immediately and unhesitatingly
change out verbal mode of addressing Him.
But as the matter now stands, we are not only unable to share any enthusiasm concerning such
an original-name theory, and to accord it any of the truth and worth that some would lead us to
believe that it assumes, but also we are more than ever before persuaded not to address the Lord
by His proper name. In fact, every wide-awake Christian who sincerely serves the Lord, must
plainly see that to conform to such a theory, is to cause the saints to insult their Creator by
addressing Him by His Proper Name instead of by His title, and also to suffer the baleful results
of becoming enthusiasts over some theory so appealing as virtually to exclude those truths vital
to their salvation. Let us therefore
These facts forever invalidate the movement that is now afoot to discard from the Christian use,
the titles, God, Lord,
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Christ, etc.; for to give up addressing the Deity by the titles which He has originated in the various
languages, would mean defeat for God, and victory for the idols! Such misguided movements
All present truth believers should now see the necessity of shunning every wind of doctrine
regardless how plausible or reasonable it might appear to be. Remember the words: "Behold,
those that go toward the north country have quieted My Spirit in the north country." (See p. 27 of
Tract No. 2, The Warning Paradox, -- Zech. 6:1-8.) Get your doctrine, Brother, Sister, only from
the golden bowl (see The Shepherd's Rod, Vol. 2), and be not like the waves of the sea, driven
with the wind and tossed -- be not carried about by the many winds of doctrine that are blowing
wildly from every direction to cause you to lose your way to the everlasting kingdom.
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