Is Jehovah God’s Name?

Time and time again, Jehovah’s Witnesses quote Psalms 83:18 to prove that God’s name is Jehovah; and that such a name must be preached to the whole world so that the people of the world are made aware of it.  Psalms 83:18 states in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013):

May people know that you, whose name is Jehovah, You alone are the Most High over all the earth.

But all must ask themselves: Is Jehovah God’s Name?

The origin of the name “Jehovah”

The Jewish Encyclopedia maintains that the name “Jehovah” was invented by either Peter Galatin, a Franciscan Friar, or Raymond Martin, a Dominican Friar:

“Jehovah” is generally held to have been the invention of Pope Leo X.’s confessor, Peter Galatin (“De Arcanis Catholicæ Veritatis,” 1518, folio xliii.), who was followed in the use of this hybrid form by Fagius (= Büchlein, 1504-49). Drusius (= Van der Driesche, 1550-1616) was the first to ascribe to Peter Galatin the use of “Jehovah,” and this view has been taken since his days (comp. Hastings, “Dict. Bible,” ii. 199, s.v. “God”; Gesenius-Buhl, “Handwörterb.” 1899, p. 311; see Drusius on the tetragrammaton in his “Critici Sacri, i. 2, col. 344). But it seems that even before Galatin the name “Jehovah” had been in common use (see Drusius, l.c. notes to col. 351). It is found in Raymond Martin’s “Pugio Fidei.” written in 1270 (Paris, 1651, iii., pt. ii., ch. 3, p. 448; comp. T. Prat in “Dictionnaire de la Bible,” s.v.). – Jewish Encyclopedia

Where do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the name “Jehovah” originated?

In their Insight Book Vol. 2 under the heading Jehovah, they avoid informing their readers where, or by whom, the name Jehovah was invented.  Instead, they utilize fuzzy logic to retain the name Jehovah:

Since certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable, there seems to be no reason for abandoning in English the well-known form “Jehovah” in favor of some other suggested pronunciation.
Insight, Vol.2 page 7.

Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses reluctant to inform their readers and/or adherents where the name “Jehovah” originated from?  Is it because the name “Jehovah” originated by religious leaders of the Catholic Church?  This is a critical question considering that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Catholic Church and its leaders makes up a large part of “Babylon the Great”, an entity that they believe will be destroyed at Armageddon. Obviously then, it isn’t in the best interests of Watchtower to inform their adherents that the name “Jehovah” was invented by leaders of the Catholic Church.

Looking further at Jehovah’s Witnesses’ logic, it would be wise for persons to ask themselves this question: Is a “well-known” pronunciation of a name a good enough reason not to abandon it if it’s proven that such a pronunciation is wrong?

Pronouncing the Tetragrammaton

The Tetragrammaton is made up of the four Hebrew consonants  that are transliterated as YHWH. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, this name is ineffable and that the modern-day mispronunciations of Yahweh and Jehovah were introduced by Christian theologians and almost entirely disregarded by the Jews.

Even Jehovah’s Witnesses admit that “certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable” for God’s name.

If pronunciation is not attainable, and the invented pronunciations of the name are almost entirely disregarded by the Jews, would it not be prudent for believers in God to take the words at Exodus 20:7 to heart? :

You must not take up the name of  your God in a worthless way, for  will not leave unpunished the one who takes up His name in a worthless way.
 – New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (2013) – edited to replace “Jehovah” with the tetragrammaton.

Believers in the God of the bible should be concerned that mispronunciation of God’s name is a punishable offence according to the Ten Commandments delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai.

So why do Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain that the name “Jehovah” is an acceptable form of the name? They simply make this statement:

Jehovah identifies the true God, transmitting this thought more satisfactorily today than any of the suggested substitutes.
– Insight, Vol.2 page 7.

Their logic is extremely flawed.

It’s more likely that Jehovah’s Witnesses hold dearly to this name because they want to identify themselves as witnesses of God, quoting 'You are my witnesses,' declares Jehovah, 'Yes my servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and have faith in me And understand that I am the same One. Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none.Isaiah 43:10. For them to disregard the pronunciation of God’s name as “Jehovah” would be to disregard their very identity.

Another reason they may hold fast to the name “Jehovah” as being God’s name is because of Charle’s Taze Russell’s connection with the Freemasons. This is what the Freemasons say about the name “Jehovah”:

Jehovah is, of all the significant words of Freemasonry, by far the most important.
– Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences (Albert G Mackey M.D.)

  • Israel Ricky Gonzales

    Excellent article!

  • Bill

    I would think that the creator of the universe would know that if a human uses the name Jehovah, that said human is talking about him and the almighty GOD would accept the name Jehovah as his own…