There has been much controversy about what the True Name or Sacred Name of the Messiah is, with all sorts of speculation and conjecture being taught as fact. Below are some statements that I have heard over the years:
· "The name of YAHshua has been replaced by the names of G-zeus (Jesus), and Ea-zeus meaning healing zeus (Iesus, and Iesous) which are pagan in origin."
· "Now that we know that his real Hebrew name is YAHshua, we can't use Jesus any more in good conscience."
· "I prefer to use the Hebrew name YAHshua, instead of His Gentile nickname Jesus."
· "As true believers we need to refuse the blasphemous Talmudic moniker of Yeshua and use his true name YAHshua."
· “The name Baal means “Lord” in Hebrew. The church translators replaced the true name of the Messiah, YAHshua with the title “Lord”. When people use that title, they are unknowingly worshiping a pagan idol, and that is why it is so important that we restore the true Hebrew name YAHshua back into the English translations.”
· "Jesus" is nothing more than a pseudo substitute for the true name YAHSHUA."
· "You should not use the name Ge-sus because the Ge means earth or soil in Greek, and the sus means swine or pig in Latin, so you are saying "earth pig".
· "Jesus is a corrupted name derived from the Greek IESOUS. Ies, or iysh in Hebrew means man, while sus -soos means horse, so when you speak that name, you are referring to the Messiah as “man horse” or “man beast”."
· "The name IESOUS or “hey-soos” means “hey horse”. Just look at this example: Ps.33:17, “An horse (Heb. hey-soos/Grk. Iesous/ Eng. Jesus) is a vain hope for safety; neither shall he deliver any by its great strength.”"
Many in the Hebrew roots and sacred name circles have continually and fervently expressed the sentiment outlined in the above statements. Some of the popular sacred name bibles have even reinforced the Jesus/Zeus fallacy by supplying supposed scholarship to demonstrate this in the explanatory notes section of their translations.
It has been stated by some that the Name Jesus is a false Hellenic (Greek) name that was conspiratorially created by the early church, in an attempt to give glory to Zeus and the Greek goddess Iaso while intentionally censoring the "true name" of Messiah which they say is YAHshua. Some have said, that since the Name of Jesus shares the same letter sigma (V) or "s" from the end of the Greek god Zeus' name, that at the very least, it constitutes a pagan connection with the Name of Jesus.
This would be the same as saying that all Greek masculine nouns that have the added sigma as a case ending are somehow related to Zeus. If this were factual, which it is not, it would make for an incredibly long list of supposedly pagan names. One excellent example would be John 1:1 where Theos (God) and logos (word), which are both masculine nouns, end with a final sigma. We should also note that when the name Iesous is rendered in the genitive form of Iesou there is no final sigma, so in this case according to the theory, would the pagan connection then be eliminated? The same elimination of the final sigma also happens with the name Zeus in Acts 14:12. Amazingly, I have seen it claimed by some that Jesus is the name that actually represents the person of the anti-messiah, and is an indicator of the far greater evils being promoted by traditional Christianity.
Iesou (Ihsou) and zeu (zeu) are not related, and have two completely different spellings. The first letter from Zeus (zeta) is vocalized with a 'dz' sound, and the dipthongs eu (zeu) and ou (Iesou) have a totally different vocalization. The final sigma (V) or "s" added on at the end of Iesous occurs in the standard transliteration of the proper masculine noun from Hebrew to Greek. Greek nouns and names almost always have case endings, so the sigma (V) or "s" is added at the end of the word to distinguish that the name is the masculine form, and also makes it declinable. There is absolutely no relation between these words, and the most basic scholarship can easily prove this.
If we take the same logic used in the Jesus/Zeus fallacy, and apply it to a Hebraic context, then people could never name their children Nathan or Jonathan, because those names have the same ending as Satan. Of course we all know that those are scriptural Hebrew names (Nathan and Yehownathan).
Because of the many errant allegations that have been used to create fear, and other so called scholarship, many have been falsely led to believe that "YAHshua" is the original Hebrew name for the Messiah. In order for YAHshua to be an actual name in Hebrew, it would need to be spelled in Hebrew as Yod-Hey-Shin-Vav-Ayin. Unfortunately for its supporters, this name cannot be found anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures. What you will find in the Hebrew Scriptures is Yehoshua (H3091) which is written in the Hebrew as Yod-Hey-Vav-Shin-Ayin or Yod-Hey-Vav-Shin-Vav-Ayin, or the shortened form Yeshua (H3442-H3443) which is written in the Hebrew as Yod-Shin-Vav-Ayin.
The main obstacles in trying to render His name as YAHshua instead of Yeshua, is created by the fact that there is no Hebrew letter "hey" in Yeshua, and also by the Masoretic vowel pointings or nikud. The tsere that is under the Yod in "Yeshua" in the Hebrew Scriptures demonstrates the vocalization of the first syllable as "yay," and not "YAH." This is also true of the Greek vowel eta, which is pronounced "Yay", and is found in the transliterated Greek rendering of Yeshua which is Iesous. Many use Y'shua thinking that it is a shortened version of YAHshua, when in fact; Yshua would represent a truncated version of the long form Yehoshua with the theophoric element "Yeho" removed. This shortening occurred with many names that possessed the theophoric element of the Name of the Almighty during the second temple period.
Another example would be Yehowseph shortened to Yoseph.
Biblical names such as Yehonatan (Jonathan), Yehoyaqim (Jehoiakim), Yehoshafat
(Jehoshaphat), Yehoram (Jehoram), and Yehoshua (Joshua), all have the shva under
the yod signifying the "Yeh" vocalization, but the later shortened version of
Yehoshua (Yeshua) does not.
Some 'teachers' have promoted in their videos and books that the Messiah's Name is YAHshua, and that it means "Yahweh is our salvation". If we review the meanings of the correct scriptural names, we find that the long form of Yehoshua would translate as "YHVH is salvation" or "He who is (or will be) saves". I am not sure where the 'our' could possibly come from in their constructed name of YAHshua. Some of these same teachers have stated that they do not like to use the name Yeshua, because it only means "salvation". This needs to be clarified, as it is an incorrect statement. Yeshuah (H3444) written Yod-Shin-Vav-Ayin-Hey, is a feminine noun that means "salvation". Yeshua (H3442) written Yod-Shin-Vav-Ayin, is a masculine noun that means "He is salvation" or "He saves." It is the name that refers to Joshua in the TeNaKh (OT), and is the shortened form of Yehoshua which the name Jesus was derived from. In scripture we find in Matthew 1:21 "for He will save His people from their sins"
If someone firmly believes that the manufactured rendering of YAHshua is a scriptural name, then I would recommend that they check it out for themselves in the Hebrew texts. Creating one's own language concepts while ignoring the rules that govern transliteration and vocalization, and then applying them to other languages to aid in the formation of a Hebrew sounding name does not demonstrate sound or acceptable scholarship. It appears according to the above explanation that "YAHshua" is a manufactured name that has been assembled using faulty scholarship in an effort to support a theological agenda.
Let's now take a look at how the name Iesous, which is
rendered in the English Bibles as Jesus (G2424) came about from the Hebrew
Yeshua (H3442), the short form of Yehoshua (H3091):
When transliterating Yod-Shin-Vav-Ayin -- the Hebrew name Yeshua to Greek:
Yod - "ye"> transliterates by pairing iota-eta (Ih)
which is vocalized as "yay" or "ee-ay" because Greek has no consonant y.
Shin - "sh"> transliterates as sigma (s) because there is no equivalent letter for the "sh" sound in Greek.
Vav - "u" > the final u sound transliterates as the diphthong omicron-upsilon (ou) vocalized as "oo" because upsilon alone would not create the correct voicing needed.
Ayin - "ah"> the rules that govern Greek grammar dictate that this letter not be vocalized, and is due to the fact that it is not allowable for masculine names to end with a vowel during the transliteration process from the Hebrew to Greek.
The final sigma (V) or "s" on the end is part of the standard transliteration from other languages to Greek. Greek nouns and names almost always have case endings, so the sigma (V) or "s" is added at the end of the word to distinguish that the name is the masculine form, and also makes it declinable.
What we end up with is the name Iesous (IhsouV), pronounced Ee-ay-sooce or Yaysoos. The Greek Iesous then got transliterated into Latin as Iesu[s], and then into Old English as Jesus, but initially the J was at that time, still pronounced like the German J, which was pronounced with more of a 'Y' sound. This is the way that it still is spoken in Germany today. Over time, the J sound eventually began to harden into sounding more like the French J which is where the Modern English J originated from. The end result is the current English pronunciation of Jesus.
While there is a clear etymological path concerning the name of Jesus that clearly shows its Hebrew origin, the name YAHshua cannot be found in the Hebrew scriptures. The name YAHshua is also not transliterable into a Biblical Greek name, which should throw up some flags to those who believe that the Greek New Testament is the inspired Word of The Almighty.
I find the prohibition against saying the name of Jesus a little absurd, considering that the people who have imposed this prohibition, are calling the Messiah by a name that is not found anywhere in the Hebrew scriptures. Most of their reasoning, is that Jesus is an English rendering from a Greek name, and since all things Greek are pagan, this name should not be spoken, and that no self-respecting Jew would have ever uttered a Greek name, and surely would not have written any scripture in Greek.
Many of these same people have used selected passages from the Septuagint (LXX) in their new translations, while referring to Jesus (Iesous) and Christ (Christos) as pagan names. One popular teacher has taught that “the Greeks called all their gods Christos from Adonis to Zeus,” while explaining that Christ is not an acceptable title for the Messiah. Not only is this not provable historically, but from the linguistic standpoint, as well as the textual standpoint, it is totally incorrect. In the scriptures, we find that the Apostle John used both Messiah and Christ interchangeably when he wrote his Gospel. In John 1:41 we read “we have found the Messiah, which being translated is, the Christ”. When quoting the woman at the well in John 4:25, he also wrote “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming, He who is called Christ” It is obvious by the usage in the text that John considered the titles “Messiah” and “Christ” to be equivalent terms. Historically, the Greeks never used the word “Christ” as a title for any of their gods, or as any type of a sacred title at all. Christos (G5547) is derived from the root word chrio (G5548), which by definition means “to smear or rub with oil.”
These very same names and titles were chosen by the Jewish translators of the Greek Septuagint when transliterating the Names Yehoshua/Yeshua to Iesous over two hundred times, and the title Mashiyach from the Hebrew to their chosen Greek equivalent of Christos all thirty nine times that it appears in the text. These are the same Greek names that are rendered in the English versions of the New Testament as Jesus and Christ.
As an additional note, the title of Mashiyach (H4899)
appears in the Hebrew text thirty nine times in the Hebrew Scriptures (OT). In
the majority of cases, it is translated as "anointed," and refers to priests
such as Aaron, or others who were anointed. It is only translated from the
Hebrew twice as Messiah. The Greek equivalent for Mashiyach only appears in the
New Testament as Messias (G3323) on two occasions, both in the book of John as
It has been alleged by some that the name "YAHshua" was fabricated by the sacred name movement in the late 1930's as a vehicle to assist in promoting their doctrine. Many in the Hebrew roots/ sacred name movement have tried to use this scripture to prove that the Messiah's Name is YAHshua:
John 5:43 “I have come in the name of My Father and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive that one.”
Many have argued that if He came in His Father’s Name,
then His Father's Name should somehow be represented in His name. They assert
that if the Fathers Name is "Yahweh", then Yah must be the poetic shortened
form, or a family name. Because of this, it is their belief that the Son must
have a form of YAH incorporated somewhere in His Name. When we review this
claim, we immediately find a few glaring problems with this reasoning, because
King David and others also came in the Name of "YHVH" in the Hebrew scriptures,
but they did not have YAH (Yod Hey) as a part their names.
If we examine the New Testament Scriptures, we will find that in first century Judea, Jews were known by who their father was, as demonstrated in this passage:
Matthew 16:17. “And Jesus answered and said unto him,
Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto
thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
Barjona = "son of Jonah"
Here are some other New Testament Aramaic names:
(G912) Barabbas = son of abba
(G918) Bartholomew = son of Tolmai
(G919) Barjesus = son of Jesus
(G921) Barnabas = son of Nabas
(G923) Barsabas = son of Sabas
(G924) Bartimaeus = son of Timaeus
We also see this same type of identification in Matthew
23:35 where we read "Zechariah the son of Berechiah"
This is how the family name was noted in the Hebrew culture. Bar means son in Aramaic, and in Hebrew it is "ben."
In the Hebrew Scriptures we are shown the same: Genesis
19:38 “And the younger also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the
father of the sons of Ammon to this day.” (H1151- Ben-ami or Ammiy = son of my
Genesis 35:18 “And it happened as her soul was departing (for she died) that she called his name Benoni. But his father called him Benjamin.” (Ben-oni or Owniy = son of my sorrow)
1 Chronicles 4:20 “And the sons of Shimon: Amnon, and Rinnah, Ben-hanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi: Zoheth and Ben-zoheth.” (H1135-Ben-hanan or Chanan = son of favour)
2 Chronicles 17:7 “And in the third year of his reign he sent to his rulers, to Benhail, and to Obadiah, and to Zechariah, and to Nethaneel, and to Michaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.” (H1134-Ben-hail or Chayil = son of strength)
Joshua 15:8 “And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom to the south side of the Jebusite. It is Jerusalem. And the border went up to the top of the mountain that lies before the valley of Hinnom westward, at the end of the Valley of the Giants northward.” (H2011- Hinnom=lamentation - ben Hinnom = son of lamentation)
Other names in the Hebrew Scriptures (OT):
Using the many examples cited above in both the Aramaic
and Hebrew languages as a guideline, we can put forth the assertion that
possibly to the unbelievers, the Messiah was known as "Yeshua bar Yoseph" (his
adopted father), or to those who understood who He truly was as "Yeshua bar Elah"
in the Aramaic, or "Yeshua ben Elohiym" in Hebrew. These would both end up in
the English as "Yeshua (Jesus) Son of God". In the Greek we find "Iesous Huios
Theou" which is rendered in English as "Jesus Son of God." It should once again
be noted that there is no YAHshua to be found anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Some people have emphatically asserted that if people in the first century had called the Messiah by His Greek name Iesous (Jesus) that He would not have even recognized or answered to that name. Many have designed and marketed bumper stickers that state "WWJD? He'd use his own name YAHSHUA" and other slogans denigrating the name of Jesus as G-Zeus.
For the sake of argument, let's take a look at this controversy from a different perspective and consider the following:
The Greek language in the Koine or "common" dialect was established as the common tongue by Alexander during his short lived reign beginning around 332 BCE. He instituted this in hopes of uniting all of the areas he presided over with one language. Alexander died unexpectedly in 323 BCE, and after his death, disputes between his generals led to the division of his empire, which was now became under the control of three of his generals. During the period between 319 to 302 BCE, the control of Jerusalem changed on seven occasions. The time period from 332 to 63 BCE is termed by historians and archaeologists as the Hellenistic period.
When the Romans conquered these areas in 63 BCE, they retained the Greek language and much of the Greek culture and customs established by Alexander which continued to be spread throughout the growing Roman Empire. At this time Israel was indirectly under Roman rule, and later became under direct rule in 4 BCE. It has been stated by historians that around the third century BCE. Ptolemy commissioned that the Torah, or the five books of Moses be translated into the Greek language known as the Pentateuch (pentateuchos) for his library at Alexandria, which we refer to today as the Septuagint (LXX).
The New Testament scripture speaks of the Hellenist Jews in Acts 6:1 which is dated around 63 CE. The second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE which was the beginning of the dispersal of the Jews, but history tells us that the Koine Greek language was spoken in the declining Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire as late as 529 CE, which demonstrates that the Jews had exposure to Koine Greek for many generations before and after the Messiah.
While the multilingual disciples may have personally called The Messiah by His Hebrew or Aramaic name Yeshua, I doubt if they had any reservation in referring to Him as "Iesous" when talking about Him and His teachings to the Greeks, Hellenic Jews, Romans or others living in the Roman Empire who spoke Greek, which was the recognized language of commerce and literature. The name “Iesous” was already firmly established in the Septuagint (LXX) at that time as the Greek rendering (equivalent) of His name. Out of the twelve apostles, eleven of them were from Galilee, also known as Galilee of the Gentiles, (Matt 4:15) and the Messiah was also a Galilean (Matt 21:11). We are told in the Gospels that the Messiah spoke with a Greek woman and cast out a demon from her daughter (Mark 7:26), and that He healed the son of a Roman centurion (Matthew 8:8). How did they address Him would be my first question, since history tells us that Greek was the official language of the Roman Empire, and had been established as such centuries before the Messiah was on Earth. In the scriptures we are told of the Greeks who traveled to Jerusalem for the feasts, who wanted to speak to Messiah, and had asked the apostles if it were possible (John 12:20).
We should consider what would be the language that
Andrew and Phillip addressed them in, and while we are at it, maybe we should
check the language of origin for the names Andrew and Phillip. We are also told
in the scriptures that Matthew was a tax collector, so he would have to be
versed in the language of commerce which was Koine Greek, and we know that Luke
(Loukas) was a Greek physician. We can safely assume that Paul addressed the
Greek Stoics about the "unknown god" in Greek (Acts 17:23) as that was the
language of the educated philosophers, and in scripture we are also told that he
addressed the Roman centurion in Greek (Acts 21:37). This should also raise the
question as to what language the Messiah conversed with Pilate in.
As a side note, there is currently an inventory of almost 900 burial boxes known as ossuaries from Herodian Jerusalem (37 BCE - 70 CE). Over 200 of them have inscriptions that are in the following languages:
· 143 are inscribed with the local Aramaic script
· 2 are inscribed in Palmyrene Aramaic
· 14 are inscribed bilingually in Aramaic and Greek
· 73 are inscribed in Greek only
· 2 are inscribed in Latin
The different languages of the inscriptions demonstrate
a cross section of the different areas where the Jews of the diaspora resided,
and the multiple languages that were spoken. This is also clearly demonstrated
in Acts 2:5-11. Archaeologists have also found Greek inscriptions on early
synagogues in Israel, as well as on bilingual coins minted less than a century
before the time of Jesus by King Alexander Janneus, who was a Hasmonean
Sadducee. These coins carry a Greek inscription on the obverse side, with an
Aramaic/Hebrew inscription on the reverse side. It should also be noted that
there were scrolls and fragments written in Greek that were found at Qumran. You
can find these listed in the Dead Sea Scrolls inventory.
If we examine the problems of trying to communicate various aspects of the gospel to Greeks using a Semitic language, we would first need to examine the restrictions that might be caused by the differences between the Hebrew/Aramaic, and the Greek language. Firstly, in reference to his Name, the Greek language didn't have a true "Y" sound for the yod, nor the "sh" sound for the letter Shin and so on.
Since Koine Greek is more tonal in its approach to
accents, Greek speakers were not practiced in vocal techniques such as
pharyngeal fricatives/velar fricatives/glottal stops/guttural sounds and other
phonemes/allophones that are utilized in Semitic languages, but are not common
to the Greek language. Loan words often do cross over into various other
languages that might be spoken in a region where multiple languages are commonly
spoken, and in the case of proper nouns, they can and sometimes do import
phonemes from one language to another. Because His Hebrew name contained
phonemes that weren't native to Greek doesn't rule out that they couldn't
pronounce it, but it may have been easier for them to use Iesous. And think
If everyone knew Him only as Yeshua, there would have been no need to write His Name in its other transliterated forms of Greek and Latin on the sign above Him.
John 19:19-20 “And Pilate wrote a title and put it on
the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
"Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
Hebrew: Yeshua haNotzri Melech haYehudim
Greek: Iesous ho Nazoraios ho Basileus ton Ioudaion
Latin: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum
The article above represents my opinion based on what I have learned, what I understand, and what I believe. As always, I would challenge everyone to research all that I have discussed, and prove it for yourself.
For we are told:
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.