In the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the title hero must make it past three riddles in order to claim the treasure of the Holy Grail – the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. In the second of those riddles, Indiana must correctly spell God’s true name by stepping on tiles for each letter. One wrong step and he’ll fall to his doom. He says that God’s true name is Jehovah. Now in the movie, the cave temple holding the Grail had been around for almost a thousand years; but according to history, the name Jehovah has been around only about half that time.
Jehovah is the Germanic spelling of Yahweh, known as the tetragrammaton, or the Hebrew name for God, represented by the letters YHWH with no vowels. In the year 1520, a monk by the name of the Pietro Galatino (or Petrus Galatinus) to the vowels from the word Adonai – another name for God – and put them in between the consonants for Yahweh. The German J is a lot like the English Y and the W is more like a V sound, so what resulted was the name Jehovah.
William Tyndale made it famous when he printed the name and his translation of the Bible and it was later used in the King James Bible as well.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with calling God Jehovah, but knowing the origin of the name means that we can be skeptical of anyone claiming it’s God’s true name.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses attribute the name to God. The Mormons say it’s Jesus’ real name, according to their prophet, Joseph Smith. And some apostolic and charismatics claim to have been called on by Jehovah.
What’s more important than knowing how to correctly pronounce the name of God is to know His Son, Jesus Christ. Only through Jesus do we have access to the Father and right standing with God.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)
His is the name above every name, when we understand the text.