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“The Yahweh Worshippers” (Pemuja Nama Yahweh)

Thu 02 Mar 2017

Oleh admin@borneosabda.org

“The Yahweh Worshippers”
(Pemuja Nama Yahweh)

By Ir. Herlianto, M.Th.

Translated and reposted by permission from Ir. Herlianto (Sarapan Pagi Biblika, 29 April, 2008),

http://www.sarapanpagi.org/pemuja-nama-yahweh-vt2011.html

 

“The Indonesian Bible Society (LAI) has been taken to court by Yahweh worshippers,” so ran the cover story of the tabloid Reformata edition 80 (pp. 1-15, March, 2008). What’s up with these Yahweh Worshippers and who are they?  The Yahweh Worshippers or to be more precise the “Worshippers of the Name Yahweh” (Pemuja Nama Yahweh) is a new development in Indonesian Christianity during the last 25 years.  Yet the Pemuja Yahweh followers are uncomfortable with the term “Christian”, display some anti-Arab/Muslim tendencies but have some affinities to Judaism.

The background of this movement can be traced to events that took place well over a century ago.  In the late19th century an international Jewish movement (Zionism) came alive among the diaspora of Jews in Russia, Europe and America.  The climax was the formation of the World Zionist Organization which held its first congress in Basel (1897).  At first this movement was political in nature whose purpose was to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine (Eretz Israel).  From this original movement, there arose several other sub movements including Religious Zionism. Generally speaking the diaspora Jews followed a secular life style.  Thus, a group of Jewish orthodox adherents were convinced that Zionism could only be achieved by restoring the Jewish people to their ancient religion and original language—Hebrew.

The mission of Religious Zionism was to persuade the Jewish people to return to their religious roots through study of the Torah and also to restore the use of Hebrew, not only as a written scriptural language but also as a living spoken language that had for centuries become practically extinct.  Through Jewish financial wealth and well connected networks the influence of Zionism spread throughout Europe and the United States.  The Jewish Orthodox movement in Europe also gave rise to a Jewish sect who wanted to go even further then their other Jewish brethren by restoring the Name “Yahweh” the vocalized form of God’s personal name in the Old Testament and written in the Hebrew Bible as ‘YHWH’—the sacred four-lettered Name called the ‘tetragrammaton’.  Up to this time “YHWH” was consider by traditional, pious Jews as too holy to pronounce.  As a result, they used more indirect references to this sacred name such as ‘Adonai’ (translated “Lord”) or ‘Ha Shem’ (The Name).  Among English speaking Jews YHWH was pronounced “The Lord” and written as “LORD”).  The influence of this Jewish fundamentalist sect on restoring the personal name of God also spread internationally, especially to the United States, where increasing numbers of Christians came into contact with these Yahwist ideas through pilgrimages to Israel.

 

Developments in the United States:
The Background of the Yahweh ‘Sacred Name Movement’

 

Jehovah's Witnesses

During the 19th century the United States went through a time of spiritual emptiness which gave rise to new religious movements and sects, all of which emphasized End Times prophecy, for example, the Adventist movement (1844), Jehovah’s Witnesses (1874) and then the pentecostal  Church of God  (1886).  Besides an emphasis on End Times prophecy, Adventism promoted Sabbath Day (Saturday) worship and certain Jewish dietary laws, while the Jehovah’s Witnesses advocated an anti-Trinitarian teaching known as Unitarianism or Arianism (Jesus is merely a created being, not divine), while the Church of God emphasized spiritual gifts.  It was the Jehovah’s Witness movement that was the first to be influenced by Yahwist (YHWH ) sacred name teachings.  As a result, in their 1931 convention they officially adopted the name Jehovah Witnesses because they insisted that YHWH, which they pronounced as “Jehovah”, was the primary sacred name of God.  Furthermore, they argued that any translation of this name, such as “LORD”, was a satanic act.

 

Church of God 7th Day

In the Church of God (COG) there were some who were later influenced by Adventism and thus emphasized seventh day Sabbath worship. A segment of this group formed another church which called itself the Church of God 7th Day.  Then in 1933 they split again and formed the Church of God 7th Day Salem (Oregon), led by Andrew N. Dugger, Clarence O. Dodd and Herbert W. Armstrong.  Dodd, after claiming that he had experienced a visitation by two angels, was expelled from the COG 7th Day Salem and as a result he and his followers established the Assembly of Yahweh.  Dodd’s group was notable because they: 1) restored the name of Yahweh, 2) celebrated the seventh day Sabbath, 3) adopted certain Jewish practices such as the celebration of new moon and some of the Jewish festivals. They also published the magazine, “The Faith” (1937) to promote these concepts and practices. 

 

Worldwide Church of God       

Herbert W. Armstrong was in agreement with Dodd and was ordained as a pastor in the COG, 7th Day, Oregon.  However, his views aroused much controversy because like Dodd, he advocated seventh day Sabbath worship, certain Jewish dietary laws, and Jewish festivals in accord with Mosaic law.  However, in contrast to Dodd, Armstrong prophesied that the English and American people were the descendants of the 10 lost tribes of Israel!  Eventually the COG 7th Day expelled Armstrong on account of his extremist views, but Armstrong went on to found the Worldwide Church of God (1946) and Ambassador College and published the magazine “The Plain Truth” which circulated world-wide.  Armstrong also held to several aberrant teachings similar to Jehovah’s Witness doctrine.  Like the Jehovah Witnesses he maintained that the dead remained in a state of soul sleep until the Judgment Day when all would be raised, either to everlasting life if they were righteous or to total annihilation (not eternal torment).  Also, like the Jehovah Witnesses, he rejected the Trinity and instead opted for Binitarianism—he accepted the personhood of God and Jesus but he taught that the Holy Spirit was only a divine power or presence but not a person.             

 

Rejecting the Trinity

Today, many (but not all) of the Yahweh worshippers (Pemuja Nama Yahweh) in Indonesia continue to exhibit similar theological aberrations by rejecting the Trinity and following one of two doctrinal paths:
1) Unitarian modalistic sabellianism—Yahweh is One (not Trinity) Who  has successively revealed Himself in three successive modes or identities, first as Father, then later as Elohim and finally as the Word;
2) Unitarian subordinationism—this is the teaching of the 4th century arch heretic known as Arius and repackaged and propagated by the Jehovah Witness, namely, that Yahshua (Jesus) is a created being lower in rank than Yahweh and thus not truly God in the same sense that Yahweh is. 

 

There are of course some variations in all this among the Indonesian Yahweh worshippers but they all have these characteristics in common:

1)    the name of Yahweh, Elohim and Yahshua must be restored in worship and Holy Scripture.

2)    the name of “Jesus” and even the title “Christian” are unsuitable because these names are tainted by pagan linguistic origins! 

3)    the Yahweh Worshippers in Indonesia frequently split into many sub groups.  Thus, we can find the House of Yahweh who reject the pre-existence of Yahshua or Jesus.  Then there is the The Assembly of Yahvah who prefer the name Yahvah rather than Yahweh.  There is also The Assembly of Yah who reject both Yahvah and Yahweh and then there are yet others who prefer the spelling of Yahweh for the transliteration of the YHWH sacred name.   

 

King James Bible Plagiarized

Another key person in the development of Sacred Name Theology is Angelo B. Traina, a disciple of Clarence O. Dodd, the founder of the Assembly of Yahweh.  Traina was the first to produce a sacred name Bible entitled The Holy Name Bible which he published by copying the King James Bible and replacing the essential divine names as follow: “LORD” (Grk. kurios) was changed to Yahweh, “God” (Grk. theos) became Elohim, and “Jesus” (Grk. iesous) was changed into the Hebrew form Yahshua  (Actually it was John Briggs, Traina’s disciple, who popularized the name Yahshua.  Briggs eventually left Traina and founded his own splinter group, Yahveh Beth Israel).  Traina published the New Testament in 1950 and the complete OT/NT in 1963, thus his translation appeared almost simultaneously with the Jehovah Witness Bible, the New World Translation (NT-1950 and OT/NT in 1961).    

 

Assembly of Yahweh

Another split took place when a second Traina disciple, Jacob O. Meyer, left Dodd and Traina’s congregation and formed the Assemblies of Yahweh (1960), which later split again (1980) into Yahweh’s Assembly in Messiah led by Donald Mansager.  A sex scandal among some of the pastors in the church forced Mansager to leave that church and start another offshoot which took the name Yahweh’s New Covenant Assembly (1985), which in turn split and formed Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua (2006).  One of the unique and strange teachings of this later group was their conviction that the Hebrew language was spoken by Yahweh Himself both in heaven and in the Garden of Eden and was also used in the writing of both the Old Testament and the New Testament (thus rejecting the Greek language as the original source of the New Testament).  Furthermore, Mansager taught that Hebrew was the original source language of all languages on earth.

(Translator’s comment: This concept of Hebrew primacy is the source for the idea held by many of the Indonesian Pemuja Yahweh that the Greek New Testament is not an original document, rather it is translation of a lost Hebrew original and is therefore not a completely reliable, especially because it does not contain the original Hebrew divine names of Yahweh, Elohim and Yahshua). 

Later on, Donald Mansager’s son, Alan Mansager, held to different views than his father and left his church to start his own group, Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry. The Assembly of Yahweh experienced another split when Robert Wirl left and started Yahweh’s Philadelphia Truth Congregation (2002).

 

Features of The Yahweh Worshippers

The above accounts of scattered and splintered Yahweh worshipping congregations which maintain no relationship with each other, give us a confusing picture of multiple, conflicting factions in which each group maintains its own special emphasis and its own separate name.  Yet in the midst of this chaotic confusion we can discern several commonalities:     

                

1)    There is very evident Seventh Day Adventist influence on Yahweh Worshipper practice and theology as seen by their emphasis upon Sabbath keeping and Jewish dietary laws. There are also very evident Jehovah Witness and Jewish sectarian tendencies in their primary emphasis upon restoring the name ‘YHWH’ (tetragrammaton) .  Yet at the same the various congregations adhere to different interpretations of how this sacred name is to be pronounced—Yahweh/Yahvah/ Yah and so forth. They also exhibit a strong desire to return to Hebrew language roots but not to the study of Greek .  There are also those who emphasize the need to restore the sacred names, not only of Yahweh but also Elohim and Yahshua (Jesus);

 

2)    These Yahwist groups reject Bibles that contain the names Lord, God, and Jesus (Translator’s note: Jesus is considered to be a pagan name derived from the Greek god Zeus!) and they call for these names to be changed to Hebrew names—Yahweh, Elohim and Yahshua.  At the present time, there are tens of Sacred Name Holy Bibles published by the Yahweh worshippers in the United States (translator’s note: there are at least 5 of these Bibles in Indonesia including the Jehovah Witness Kitab Suci Terjemahan Dunia Baru, 1999; the Kitab Suci Torat dan Injil, 2000; the Kitab Suci Umat Perjanjian Tuhan, 2002, the Kitab Suci Literal Translation, 2006; the Kitab Suci Perjanjian Baru Hebraic Roots Version (HRV), produced by Yakub Sulistyo, 2010).

 

3)    They consistently follow some of the Mosaic Laws by observing 7th day Sabbath.  They also keep certain Jewish dietary laws distinguishing between lawful and unlawful foods, and they celebrate the new moons of the Jewish calendar and follow Jewish worship practices in celebration of festivals like Passover, Feast of Booths, etc.  Holy Communion is celebrated once a year in the night before the Jewish Passover and like the Jehovah Witnesses they reject the celebration of Christmas.   

 

4)    They reject the Trinity and generally follow one of two heretical theologies noted above, namely:
1) Unitarian Modalism or Sabellianism—One undifferentiated God who over time successively revealed Himself, first as Yahweh, then as Elohim and then later as Yahshua the Word of God;
2) Arianism, in which Yahshua is considered a created being lower than Yahweh similar to Jehovah Witness doctrine. 

Then there are others who hold to other variants of non-trinitarian teachings such as rejecting the pre-existence of Yahshua (Jesus) as taught in John. 1:1 and 17:5.  Yet, many of them insist that their followers be re-baptized in the name of Yahshua, thus exhibiting similarities to the teachings of Jesus Only pentacostalism.

 

5)    The Yahweh Worshippers are not a single, monolithic body of believers, rather they consist of multiple and independent congregations each having its own special emphasis or teachings.  Yet they clearly differentiate themselves from Christianity in general and by maintain many Jewish rituals and dietary laws they have taken on the form of something like a Jewish sect.  

 

Based on the five concluding statements above we now have a clearer picture of the core beliefs and practices of the American Sacred Name Movement popularly called Yahweh Worshippers (Pemuja Nama Yahweh) whose teachings were repackaged and then introduced in Indonesia around the year 1990.

 

The Origins and Rise of the Pemuja Nama Yahweh in Indonesia

The influence of this “Yahwistic” Jewish sect of Yahweh worshippers from the United States was first introduced into Indonesia more than two decades ago through contacts with Indonesians Christian pilgrims taking Holy Land tours in Israel.  Yet the development of Yahweh worship in Indonesia did not follow along the identical lines of its expression in the United States and other nations. 

The Indonesian variant of Yahweh worship exhibited its own unique characteristics, especially its anti-Arab/Islam spirit and its rejection of the name “Allah” which was considered to be the name of a pagan idol.  This is somewhat understandable in light of the fact that a number of the early leaders of the Pemuja Yahweh were formerly Muslims.  Yet this anti Muslim/anti Allah sentiment also negatively impacted the Pemuja Yahweh attitudes toward the Christian majority in Indonesia who used the name of Allah in their worship and in their Bible, the Terjemahan Baru.

 

Dr. Suradi

In the 1980’s, Hamran Ambrie, a well-known Muslim convert in Indonesia pioneered evangelistic efforts to reach Muslims through an organization called “The Good Way.” Later on, Hamran Ambrie partnered with Dr. Suradi, one of his converts back in 1982 and together they formed a new evangelistic yayasan called the Christian Centre Nehemiah (1987) and published a magazine entitled, Gema Nehemiah, along with various brochures and tracts. 

At first they used the divine names of Tuhan and Allah, but after the death of Hamran Ambrie in 1987, Suradi made a pilgrimage to Israel and there he came under the influence of Hebraic teachings propagated by Yahweh worshippers.  Under the influence of these Hebraic teachings, Suradi abruptly ceased using “Tuhan” and “Allah” and now became a fervent promoter of the Hebrew divine names, “Yahwe, Eloim and Yesua ‘.  Yet he continued the mission of the Nehemiah organization to evangelize Muslims.   After returning from Israel Dr. Suradi changed his name to Suradi ben Abraham but later he changed it again to Eliezer ben Abraham.  Nevertheless, he continued his outreach to Muslims and even changed the name of his yayasan to a more radically contextualized Arabic form, ‘Iman Taqwa Kepada Shriaatul Mustaqien  (Devoted Faith in the Straight Path).  But later Suradi returned to a stricter application of Hebraic roots practice and thus renamed his yayasan, Bet Yesua Hamasiah (House of Jesus the Messiah).  Then in the late 1990’s Suradi published a series of five tracts entitled, Siapakah yang Bernama Allah itu? (“Who is the One Named Allah?).

In general, the Bet Yesua Hamasiah booklet argued that “Allah” was the name of an ancient pre-Islamic Arabian idol, either a moon god or a rain god.  This view was based on literal statements taken out of context from several sources.  Yet if we read those sources carefully we would arrive at a different conclusion than that of the Bet Yesua Hamasiah editors (translator’s note: see the article on this web site by Edwin Sujono, “Allah: A moon-god or God of the Moon?  Examining the Hermeneutics of Robert A. Morey”). Based on these literalistic and out-of-context statements the Christian reader would conclude that using the name “Allah” was blasphemy and a clear example of taking Yahweh’s name in vain (Ex. 20:7). 

 

Kitab Suci (2000)

The final outcome of the publication of Siapakah yang Bernama Allah itu? was the publication of a Sacred Name Bible in the year 2000 entitled, Kitab Suci Torat dan Injil (Kitab Suci 2000). However, 99.9% of the text of this new Yahweh Bible was plagiarized straight from the Indonesian Bible Society (LAI) text, the Alkitab Terejamahan Baru (TB)! Almost every word in this new Bible was the same as the TB except that “TUHAN” (LORD) was changed to Yahwe, and then “Allah” to Eloim, and “Yesus” to Yesua.  A few other personal names were also Hebraized, thus Arabic/quranic “Musa” was changed to Mose, “Daud” to Dawid, and in the New Testament the Greek form “Yohannes” was changed to Hebrew Yokhanan, etc., etc.   

 

Kitab Suci Umat Perjanjian Tuhan (2002)

But the publication of the KS 2000 was not the end of the story.  In 2002 another group of  Yahweh worshippers, the Pengagung Nama Yahweh (Exalters of the Name of Yahweh) published their own version of a Sacred Name Bible known as the Kitab Suci Umat Perjanjian Tuhan (KS-UPT 2002).  As in the case of the KS 2000, this new translation also plagiarized the LAI Bible text but compared to KS 2000 they only changed the name “TUHAN” (LORD) to Yahweh instead of Yahwe as in the KS 2000, and “Allah” to “Tuhan” instead of Elohim as in the KS 2000.  The Pengagung Nama Yahweh claimed that their publication was a Holy Spirit directed work but the fact remains that they plagiarized the LAI copy righted Alkitab TB without permission and without one word of acknowledgement and appreciation that the mother source for their text was the Alkitab TB.  Furthermore, their translation philosophy very closely followed the Word of Yahweh, a sacred Bible published by The Assembly of Yahweh, one of the pioneering Yahweh worshipping groups in the United States!   

The publishers of the KS-UPT 20002 justified themselves in the foreword of their new Bible by laying the blame for the necessity of publishing their plagiarized Bible on the ancient Jews and the early church:

1)    Orthodox Judaism, because they changed the name of YHWH by calling Him adonai (Lord).

2)    The ancient Greek Septuagint because the Jewish translators changed Yahweh to Kurios—“Lord” in Greek.

3)    The Greek New Testament, because it followed in the footsteps of the Septuagint.

 

Dangerous Provocation

In recent years, a new generation of pastors have emerged among the Pemuja Nama Yahweh, many of whom hold theological degrees.  One of them, Pendeta Yakub Sulistyo, S. Th, M.A., was expelled from his church, the Gereja Bethel Indonesia (GBI), because he was such an uncompromising advocate of the Pemuja Yahweh theology.  He also rejected the name “Allah” arguing that it represented an idol and that the use of this name blasphemed the name of Yahweh.  As a result, Sulistyo started his own church, the Gereja Rohulkudus Surya Kebenaran

It was pastor Sulistyo’s name which frequently came up as the provocateur behind two incidents which took place in 2004 in which Muslim letters of severe rebuke were directed at Christian who used the name Allah (translator’s note: these accusations are not unfounded.)  

In 2013 Sulistyo was reported in a Malaysian magazine to have made an offer of assistance (!) to the Malaysian high court, Makhamah Malaysia, saying that he was “prepared to help them if the Malaysian government needed arguments to use against the Christians to prevent them from using the word “Allah.” See: Wilhelmina, “Pendeta Dr. Yakub Sulistyo; Teks- “Allah Hanya Untuk Umat Islam”, Fortuna Dream.com, 28 Oktober, 2013, https://helmysyamza.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/pendeta-dr-yakub-sulistyo-teks-allah-hanya-untuk-umat-islam/.)  These letters of rebuke were made public, first by a local Indonesian Muslim organization and the other by a national organization. 

The first letter of rebuke was composed by the Majlis Ta’lim Al-Rodd (Wonosobo, Central Java, 28 Mei, 2004) was sent to the leadership of the Indonesian Bible Society (LAI), while the letter from the national org was sent by the Badan Pengurus Ikatan Mubaligh Seluruh Indonesia (Jakarta, 1 November, 2004) and sent to the Director General of the Bimas Kristen Protestan in the Department of Religion, as well as to LAI, with copies forwarded to many other government offices. 

The contents of this second letter in effect harshly rebuked the Christians based on the following considerations:

1. That Allah was a name used in worship by Muslims;

2. That all Bibles and religious book that used the name Allah must be withdrawn from circulation; 

3. That Churches who continued to use the name Allah must be severely rebuked;

4. That pastors, junior pastors, assistant pastors, and evangelists should be strongly warned not to use the name Allah in reading the Bible, in seminars, etc., etc.

 

Apparently the Pemuja Nama Yahweh tried every means possible to justify themselves and force their opinions and will on the remaining Christian majority.  This became even more apparent in 2008 when the Pemuja Nama Yahweh took Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia to court with the accusation that LAI had changed the name YHWH to Allah.   Furthermore, they demanded the following:  “that the national Protestant body, the Bimas Kristen and  LAI, quickly withdraw all Bibles and religious books which used the name Allah.  Secondly, that these two organizations also give a strong warning to all pastors to cease using the name Allah in their sermons.”  (Reformata, edisi 80, 1-15 March, 2008).

It is exceedingly difficult to understand why the Pemuja Nama Yahweh would want to bring about such a dangerous provocation and conflict between ethnic, religious and racial groups. What kind of spirit is behind all this?  The attitude of self-justification, forcing one’s opinion and one’s will upon others is apparently a core aspect of an inherent mentality brought about by the fanaticism of the Pemuja Yahweh faction. 

We now understand why many Christian spokesmen who in the beginning were open to having discussions with Pemuja Yahweh representatives, are now reluctant to continue the dialogue.  Why?  Because they are confronted by people with closed minds who cannot be induced to have an open discussion to straighten out the facts and discover the truth.  Their version of truth concerning the “name of Yahweh” remains absolutely non-negotiable, including their pitiful notion that Hebrew is the language of Heaven which has been in existence from eternity to eternity and that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew. Yet these are claims that conflict with the findings of archaeology and the study of biblical history.          

This writer (Herlianto) has also received many letters which claim to contain nothing but absolutely true facts.   Among them are a series of seven letters from a certain person who challenged me (Herlianto) to a kind of trial by ordeal, first of all by asserting that “Allah is the personification of Satan,” and then inviting me to make the following bet: if he is wrong about Allah then he will die but if he didn’t drop dead then he must be correct and thus I (Herlianto) must pay him 600 million rupiah (=$60,000 USD in 2008)!   How is it possible for anyone who is filled with the love of God to take on a challenge like that, to hope in his heart for another brother to drop dead in order to prove that he is right?  All I can do is just pray for him.  True Christians must also worship Yahweh, yet because Christians glorify and honor Yahweh, then they must follow Yahweh’s very own attitude and example in which He allows the traditional Jewish translation of adonai (TUHAN/LORD) for YWHW, TUHAN/ LORD) as well as the Septuagint and the koine Greek New Testament translation of kurios (Lord) for YHWH.  Note that the Holy Spirit which came down on the Day of Pentecost caused Peter and the other apostles) to speak in other languages in which they extolled the mighty works of God. And the Book of Acts tells us that they were clearly understood by those who came from many nations, each in his own language, including the Arabs from Arabia (Acts 2:9-11).

 

29 Million Arab-speaking Christians

The Pemuja Nama Yahweh has an expression in which they claim that they are “more Arab than the Arabs themselves and more Jewish than the Jews themselves.” Yet because many Muslim leaders along with 29 million Arabic speaking Christians confess that Allah is the God of Abraham and that the name of Allah is a contraction of Al-Ilah, then we conclude that Allah is a linguistically related term to Hebrew El/Elohim/Eloah or Aramaic elah/alaha (see Aramaic text of Ezra 5:1).  If that be the case, then how is it that the Pemuja Yahweh strive with all their might to argue that “Allah” is not a contraction of “Al-Ilah”!  And if traditional Jews and the Septuagint, Jesus, and the apostles and Christians from the earliest churches who until now have developed their spiritual life by calling out to Yahweh/El/ Elohim/Eloah by using names from their own languages, how is it that the Pemuja Yahweh can insist that this is wrong and only they are right and thus they feel free to condemn the Indonesian Bible Society which has translated the Hebrew name El/Elohim/Eloah as Allah!        

It is well known among Arabic speaking Christians that long before the birth of Islam the name of “Allah” was used by Christian Arabs, both orally and in the earliest Arabic Christian Bibles.  We should also note here that in the 6th century B.C., in the Aramaic language verses in  the Book of Ezra (see, 5:1/6:14), the “God of Israel” is written as “Elah Yisrael”.  This is important to note because Aramaic was the ancestral source language of the Nabataean Arab dialect.  Thus, the word “Elah” in Aramaic was rendered as “Ilah” in Arabic.  Since the period of earliest Christianity many inscriptions and references to pre-Islamic Arab Christians show that they used the name of Allah.  Thus, in 431 A.D. one of the delegates to the Church Counsel at Ephesus was a bishop named “Abdullah” (Abdi Allah = servant of God).  If Allah was considered to be a pagan god or the name of an ancient Arabian idol there is no way that Arab Christians, especially a bishop, would have ever used the name Abdullah.  Today 29 million Arabic speaking Christians use four different Arabic versions of the Bible and all of them use the name “Allah” (the Arabic Bible, Today’s Arabic Version, The Sobih Malik translation and the 19th century Van Dyck translation).   Then we have tens of millions of Christians in Indonesia and Malaysia who for the last four hundred years have used the name of Allah as the translation for El/Elohim/Eolah.

 

Let Us Pray

Let us continue to pray for our brothers and sisters who have come under the influence of the Yahweh worshippers:

1)    That they will not be deceived by the attractive but deceptive teaching of “returning to Hebrew roots.” It is very easy to be ensnared by this teaching through the initial step of using the original Hebrew sacred name of Yahweh and then drawing them in to what is essentially a Judeo-Christian sect;

 

2)    That they will realize that by becoming a part of the “Pemuja Nama Yahweh” they will commit the sin of blaspheming the name of Allah, which in Arabic is nothing other than El/Elohim/Eloah, and until now is the name used by 29 million Arabic speaking Christians for 2000 years, and by tens of millions of Indonesian and Malaysian Christians for four centuries;

 

3)    That they will not be carried away from a faith based on the Gospel of Love to a legalistic and confrontative religion based on the Law;

 

4)    That they will realize that they are being taken out of a context of harmonious relationship with other religions and their own fellow believers in Indonesia and brought into a group having an exclusivistic Jewish mentality which is antagonistic towards anyone or anything Arabic or Islamic and also toward other Christians.

 

5)    That they will realize that by following the teachings of the Yahweh worshippers, they will turn away from the conviction that Jesus is Lord and is the Second Person of the Triune God and then embrace the Sabelianism which teaches that Yeshua (Jesus) is actually Yahweh Himself—not Jesus the 3rd Person of the Trinity—but Yahweh incarnate who cast off his Yahweh mode of existence and became the Word.

 

6)    That they will realize that if they leave the historical and universal Christian church with its celebration of Christmas, Easter and Sunday worship they will embrace Jewish rituals based on Jewish teaching and Hebrew ritual and celebrate the 7th day Sabbath, follow Jewish dietary rituals, new moon celebration and Jewish festivals!

Let us pray for the Pemuja Yahweh, because they fail to reflect the character of the Holy Spirit which brings unity.  But they themselves so easily splinter into competing factions (in Indonesia, in the last 15 years we have seen at least 4 Sacred Name Holy Bibles—not including the 1999 production of the Jehovah Witness Kitab Suci Terjemahan Dunia Baru­­—all with different emphases and some with varying spellings of the divine names. This spirit of disunity and division is evident in the statement of one of the Yahweh worshippers:

“Lately I feel frustrated attending the fellowship of the Qahal Messianik in Indonesia. Frustration about what?  Frustration over the condition of this community which has no clear sense of direction.  Some are beginning to complain about disputes among the leaders, others complain that they are unwilling to go through constant changes and so called improvements.  Some others are uncomfortable with the various teachings about “tefilah” (daily prayers), “Sabbath worship” and “improvements in the liturgy.”  While others are content just using the name of Yahweh.  Yet both the theological teaching and the liturgy still reflect the former denominations—pentecostal, charismatic, protestant, etc. [Bullletin Nafiri Yahshua Ministry, No. 32, February, 2007, p. 4].      

      May the peace of Allah be with the Pemuja Nama Yahweh!

      Peace and Love from Herlianto (www.yabina.org)