Coins That Bear God’s Name
LOOK closely at the silver coins shown here. They were minted by German monarch Wilhelm V during his reign from 1627 to 1637. At the time, central Europe was in the grip of the Thirty Years’ War, a struggle between Catholics and Protestants. Wilhelm V sided with the Protestant cause. To meet the enormous cost of the conflict, he took all his silver and minted coins from it.
Interestingly, the representations on many of the coins depict the sun encircling God’s name, Jehovah, in the form of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton. There is also a palm tree, which denotes strength. The implication is that the tree, although bent by the wind, remains unbroken under God’s protection. The Latin inscription on the coin contains the name Jehovah and expresses confidence in his protective care.
Instead of invoking God’s protection, such use of God’s name was truly in vain, for Jehovah does not take sides in the violent conflicts of mankind. Indeed, the Thirty Years’ War could not have met with God’s approval. “According to conservative estimates,” says Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, “no less than half of the German people perished during the war. Countless German cities, towns, villages, and farms were totally destroyed. Approximately two thirds of the industrial, agricultural, and commercial facilities of Germany were in ruins.”
The use of the name Jehovah on these coins calls to mind the commandment given to Israel: “You must not take up the name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way.” (Exodus 20:7) Nevertheless, these coins bear witness that the divine name, Jehovah, has long been familiar to people in Germany. How well do you know the God who bears that name?