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Lesson 5 in the "Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel Teacher Manual" (link) has the title Jesus Christ Was Jehovah of the Old Testament.

In the introduction this lesson says that:

In testifying of the Savior Jesus Christ, modern prophets have declared: “He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2). Jesus Christ, as Jehovah, established Heavenly Father’s everlasting gospel on the earth in every dispensation of time in order to gather in every one of God’s children who were lost.

According to the LDS are all occurrences of the Tetragrammaton in Old Testament then references to Jesus?

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This is correct, and easily supported by the Bible, particularly the writings of John.

  • John chapter 1 states that "all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." So we see that Jehovah, the creator of the world, is Jesus.
  • In John 14:6, Jesus says that "no man cometh unto the Father but by me," and 1 John 2: 1 calls Jesus our "advocate with the Father", showing that interactions between man and God -- such as those experienced by Old Testament prophets -- are with Jesus, rather than with the Father.
  • In Isaiah 44:6, the LORD (tegragrammaton) states "I am the first and I am the last"; Jesus similarly identifies himself as "the First and the Last" in Revelation 22:13. (See verse 16 to clear up any ambiguity as to the identity of the speaker here.)
  • In the end of John chapter 8, Jesus angered the local Jews by equating himself with "I AM," the name by which Jehovah identified himself to Moses in Exodus chapter 3. In verse 14 the being in the burning bush calls himself I AM, and in verse 15 he calls himself the tegragrammaton.

So we see that Jehovah is identified quite clearly with Jesus, rather than with the Father, and that interaction between mankind and deity occurs exclusively through the mediation of the Son. LDS doctrine holds that this is a consequence of the Fall, separating mankind from the Father.

Interestingly enough, the first chapters of Genesis use a rather unique term for deity: Jehovah Elohim, translated to English as "The LORD God", created the world and interacted with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and then ended up casting them out after they partook of the forbidden fruit. From that point on, starting in the next chapter, the God they interact with is simply Jehovah. LDS doctrine holds that Elohim ("God" in Hebrew) refers to the Father when used as a personal name, (the term is also used as a generic word for any god, including the false gods of other peoples,) and that these early chapters, before the Fall, spoke of the Father and the Son together creating the world and interacting with Adam and Eve, but after being driven out of Eden, the privilege of direct communion with the Father was lost.

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    agree with what is said though I would add that you rarely see or hear the term tetragrammaton with the church – depperm Sep 12 at 10:59
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    Some official sources verifying this is LDS doctrine would improve this answer – Kris Sep 12 at 12:49
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Not necessarily.

Like most fine theological distinctions, the Church has never taken an official position on this. The Lord's revelations are focused on His work of salvation and not on clarifying things for our systematic categorization, and we avoid officially affixing our own human interpretations by creed or catechism.

Latter-day Saints do believe the divine name 'JHWH' applies to Jesus Christ. And we believe that just as the Father made all things through Christ (John 1, Hebrews 1), and just as revelations in the first-century apostolic era as well as modern days have almost always been mediated through Christ, so too divine actions in the Old Testament were generally mediated through Him.

'JHWH' (in the traditional English pronunciation 'Jehovah' rather than some other reconstruction) is clearly used this way in Doctrine and Covenants 110 and in statements made by modern-day prophets. So this is how Latter-day Saints will understand the name.

That doesn't mean that we believe that all biblical authors always used it to refer to Christ and only to Him. Many divine titles are used in Scripture to refer to different members of the Godhead at different times. Even the title "Father" is sometimes used to refer to Christ rather than God the Father. The biblical authors were writing to convey the divine message they received to the people of their time, not to try to settle modern linguistic debates. The way the members of the Godhead act in unity means that many things are applicable to any of them. And truths about the persons of the Godhead have been revealed 'line upon line, precept upon precept' rather than being revealed all at once in order to allow a biblical author to make distinctions his audience wasn't ready for.

Claiming that 'JHWH' has always referred exclusively to the Son would create problems with the extant text of many Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. Isaiah 53 ("YHWH has laid on him the iniquity of us all"; "it pleased YHWH to bruise him") and Psalm 110 ("YHWH said unto my Lord, 'Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool,'" also Matt 22/Acts 2/Heb 1) are the examples that come most readily to mind.

A few members of the Church might claim that all such instances must have originally used another title of God e.g. 'Elohim' in the original texts. I personally find that rather dubious. As I said at the outset, the Church has taken no official stance.

  • The Hebrew is YHVH or YHWH. There is no "J" in Hebrew. – Revelation Lad Sep 15 at 5:47
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    Well, of course there is no 'Y' or 'H' or 'V' in Hebrew either! Most Hebrew Romanization methods today do transliterate yod as 'Y' but the older conventions are simply different conventions. IPA still uses the [j], and except for some Jewish groups, people aren't rushing to obliterate the traditional romanizations of other names (always using 'Yeshua' instead of 'Jesus,' 'Ya'aqov' instead of 'Jacob,' 'Yehoshu'a' instead of 'Joshua'...) – Prodicus Sep 21 at 7:37
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From what I can gather from the official LDS website links here, they say Jesus was the God Jehovah in his pre-mortal existence, so that Jehovah incarnated in human form as Jesus.

This is what they believe about Jesus: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/god-godhead?lang=eng&letter=g

Father in Heaven: The Father of the spirits of all mankind. Jesus is his Only Begotten Son in the flesh. Man has been commanded to obey and give reverence to the Father and to pray to him in Jesus’ name.

God the Son: The God known as Jehovah [in the O.T.] is the Son, Jesus Christ… he is the eldest of the spirit children of Elohim [who is not the same deity as the one known in the Bible as Jehovah]… it was actually Jesus who was the Creator under the direction of God the Father [Elohim].

Jesus Christ: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/jesus-christ?lang=eng

Jehovah: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/jehovah?lang=eng&letter=j

They say the name ‘Jehovah’ denotes “the eternal I AM.” 3 Nephi 15:1–5 has Jesus on earth saying "I am he who covenanted with my people Israel" (and we know from Exodus 3:14 in the Bible that it was Jehovah who identified himself to Moses as the I AM.)

Jehovah is said to be the premortal Jesus Christ and came to earth as a son of Mary. Mosiah 3:8 calls Jesus Christ "the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth...".

Mosiah 15:1-3 states, "God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son - the Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son-"

At this point, I will only say that my last paragraph gives information that enables that last quote from the Book of Mormon to be understood, from the LDS point of view. I do not share it. Also, there was no letter 'J' in the Hebrew scriptures, so the Tetragrammaton could never be said to be JHWH.

Given that their official Book of Mormon and their official website provide this information, it is odd that any LDS person should claim that "the Church has never taken an official position on this."

However, it is understandable if LDS people hesitate to claim that every single occurrence of the Divine Name (the Tetragrammaton) in the Hebrew scriptures might not apply to the pre-incarnate Jesus. That is because Jehovah is stated in the Bible to have no beginning and no end, but LDS doctrine states that the pre-incarnate Jesus had a starting point in time, being created by the god Elohim. This means that Elohim is a different god to the one who he begat as his firstborn - Jehovah god (aka Jesus). Yet Psalm 90:2 declares Jehovah to be "from everlasting to everlasting", which rules out any starting point in time. Further, in Deuteronomy 33:27, it says, "The eternal God is thy refuge". Perhaps those are two examples of occurrences in the Hebrew scriptures where LDS doctrine would say Elohim is being spoken of. Logic would seem to support that as an LDS idea, though there are no grounds in the Bible for claiming that Jehovah and Elohim are two distinct gods, the former being procreated by the latter. That is a uniquely LDS teaching and not to be found in Christian doctrine.

  • There was no letter 'Y' or 'H' or 'W' in Hebrew either. These are simply different methods of Romanization. – Prodicus Sep 21 at 7:46
  • And again, saying that 'Jehovah' is a name of Christ doesn't entail that all biblical authors used it to refer to him exclusive of the Father, and it's not odd for me to say that the Church hasn't said what it hasn't said. – Prodicus Sep 21 at 8:04
  • And Latter-day Saints believe that Christ- and indeed in some sense all of us - existed in the beginning, not that 'the pre-incarnate Jesus had a starting point in time.' That's not what is meant by being spiritually a child of the Father, just as other denominations' creeds which talk about the premortal Christ being begotten don't mean that (those creeds often use the phrase 'eternally begotten,' based on their different conception of premortal life). – Prodicus Sep 21 at 8:08
  • @Prodicus To be precise, the Hebrew letters of its alphabet have corresponding ones in other languages, but the point here is that the English 'J' is a poor one given that the letter 'J' was not introduced into the English alphabet until the early 1500s. That is why YHWH is superior to JHWH, as a transliteration. 'J' only began to be used after the 1500s. The soft 'yah' sound is closer to the ancient Hebrew sound, according to some. On your second point, the reticence of LDS leaders to state that every occurrence of the Tetragrammaton in the OT refers to Jesus is understandable, given the – Anne Sep 22 at 15:03
  • knotty problems that would ensue. That is why it has never 'officially' been stated as church doctrine. Yet it still remains stated as LDS belief that "Jehovah is the premortal Jesus Christ" - with disclaimers following. Your third point is not one I shall enter into because I am not out to argue about other LDS beliefs re. Jesus being the 'only-begotten Son' of God. You can think us humans had previous spirit-lives if you like - that is another question but not one I will enter into here as that would be off-topic. – Anne Sep 22 at 15:12
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Right now, yes, the LDS church absolutely believes that Jehovah is a name exclusively used for Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. This answer will be long though because of how the LDS church's view of revelation effects what is canon in our religion.

Essentially what we believe comes from God to the prophets and apostles and stays there until a later Prophet revokes that belief on behalf of God. Meaning our beliefs essentially are reinforced or discarded every time an apostle or prophet speaks and every time one of them speaks officially for God it is published publicly for everyone to see. Luckily this topic has been covered multiple times in favor of Jehovah as being the correct name for Jesus Christ in the OT, unless of course it was mistranslated.

And recently in 2018, this belief out is explicitly stated by Russel M. Nelson the current Prophet. (Considering how he is talking about the importance of names in this sermon and specifically points this out I find it hard for this to not be verifiable.) October 2018 General Conference, "The Correct Name of the Church"

"...What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname? When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the “LDS Church,” the “Mormon Church,” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints,” the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name. To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement.

Consider this from His perspective: Premortally, He was Jehovah, God of the Old Testament. Under the direction of His Father, He was the Creator of this and other worlds. He chose to submit to the will of His Father and do something for all of God’s children that no one else could do! Condescending to come to earth as the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, He was brutally reviled, mocked, spit upon, and scourged. In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Savior took upon Himself every pain, every sin, and all of the anguish and suffering ever experienced by you and me and by everyone who has ever lived or will ever live. Under the weight of that excruciating burden, He bled from every pore. All of this suffering was intensified as He was cruelly crucified on Calvary’s cross..."

Also, one sure-fire way to verify this (You would think.) is that this is a canon belief is that it is stapled to the back of our bible in the Bible Dictionary.*

Jehovah BD "...Jehovah is the premortal Jesus Christ and came to earth being born of Mary (see Mosiah 3:8; 15:1; 3 Ne. 15:1–5; D&C 110:1–10). Although Ex. 6:3 states that the God of Israel was not known by the name Jehovah before Moses’ time, latter-day revelation tells us otherwise; see JST Ex. 6:3 (Ex. 6:3 note c); Abr. 1:16; 2:8; see also Gen. 22:14."

*Unfortunately it has this disclaimer. "...This dictionary is provided to help your study of the scriptures and is not intended as an official statement of Church doctrine or an endorsement of the historical and cultural views set forth."

Another example of this is the Guide to the Scriptures to the scriptures on our website which has a similar disclaimer.

GTTS Jehovah

"See also I AM; Jesus Christ

The covenant or proper name of the God of Israel. It denotes “the eternal I AM” (Ex. 3:14; John 8:58). Jehovah is the premortal Jesus Christ and came to earth as a son of Mary (Mosiah 3:8; 15:1; 3 Ne. 15:1–5). Usually, when the word Lord appears in the Old Testament, it means “Jehovah.”

JEHOVAH IS CHRIST Jehovah was known to the ancient prophets (Ex. 6:3; Abr. 1:16). The Apostle Paul taught that Christ was the Jehovah of the Old Testament (Ex. 17:6; 1 Cor. 10:1–4). The brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon saw the premortal Christ and worshiped Him (Ether 3:13–15). Moroni also called Christ “Jehovah” (Moro. 10:34). At the Kirtland Temple, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery saw the resurrected Jehovah (D&C 110:3–4)."

Also, The Brother of Jared in THe Book of Mormon meets God who reveals himself to be Jesus Christ before he is born in spirit form in the book of Ether although he does not specifically call him Jehovah. Ether 3:14 (Keep in mind The brother of Jared is THE brother of THE Jared from the OT during the period just after the tower bable.)

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