The Bible refers to God by a variety of names, including El Roi (Genesis 16:13), Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and Elohim (Genesis 1:1). Christ Jesus, what about him? His name and pronunciation are distinct in every language. But does he go by just one real name?
Jesus the Messiah is known as Yeshua Hamashiach. Jesus’ actual Hebrew name would have been Yeshua. Does this suggest that we have been pronouncing Jesus’ word wrong all along? Does he simply use Yeshua Hamashiach as his name? Has Jesus’ name been tainted by paganism to become what we currently pronounce?
Jesus or Yeshua Hamashiach, God urges us to invoke his name.
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Yeshua HaMashiach: Who is He?
The Hebrew name Yeshua HaMashiach, or “Jesus the Messiah,” is pronounced Yeh-SHOO-ah Ha-Mah-SHEE-akh. Yehoshua, pronounced Yeh-HO-shoo-ah, is a shortened form of the name that means “Adonai saves.” The Hebrew word for Messiah, Mashiach, has the meaning “anointed one.”
The future Messiah, who would be God’s anointed One to save Israel and all of humanity, is described in the Old Covenant Scriptures. The majority of Jews in Jesus’ day thought that the Messiah would actually deliver them from Roman persecution. They were unaware that the prophets predicted a much higher degree of freedom.
Over the centuries, Israel has faced many foes, but none has been more dangerous than the one who wants to prevent her from understanding God’s one and only plan for restoring her to an eternal relationship with Him. Satan skulks and steals, plots and assaults, and blames. He does all in his ability to deceive, blind, perplex, and divert people from the Messiah, especially the Jewish people.
God sent Yeshua HaMashiach to save us spiritually from being bound to sin, giving us eternal spiritual freedom, while the Jewish people searched for a savior to physically free them from their bonds to Rome.
The coming of the Messiah was predicted in great detail by the prophets. According to varying biblical descriptions, there would be two Messiahs: one that would suffer and die, and one who was to overcome and reign, according to certain Jews. In reality, the Bible speaks of two distinct manifestations of Yeshua HaMashiach, also known as Jesus the Anointed One, as the Messiah.
Where Did The Yeshua v. Jesus Debate Begin?
What is Athens’ relationship with Jerusalem?
It would be an understatement to suggest that the Bible and Greek culture did not get along. Those in Jesus’ day and beyond had a sore spot when it came to Hellenization, from the Maccabean insurrection against Antiochus Epiphanes IV through the Sadducees absorbing one too many Hellenistic traditions.
The Greek word “IZEUS,” which means “son of Zeus,” was Hellenized to become the name Yeshua Hamashiach, or Jesus. If we assumed that Jesus’ name meant “Son of Zeus,” this would obviously be a far cry from correct theology. Antiochus Epiphanes IV did damage the temple by erecting a statue of Zeus there, after all.
Both Jews and Christians would have found it abhorrent that Jesus’ name could possibly have been derived from anything associated with the Greek pantheon.
Of course, a transliteration of Jesus’ name is also possible. Since the New Testament was written in Greek, not all names will convert utilizing the same letters when written in other alphabets. The Latin transliteration altered the Greek letter IESOUS to IESUS, from which we derive the English word “Jesus.”
The difference between a translation and a transcription must be understood. My name is Esperanza in Spanish (translation). My name would likely be transliterated as Jop (the J creates an “h” sound and the p produces a long “oh” sound).
Whatever the situation, shouldn’t we refer to Jesus as “Yeshua” if that’s what they named him in his day? Wouldn’t it be strange if the pronunciation of our own names varied between languages? If we say “Jesus” instead of Yeshua, do we lose our authority in His name?
Why Is “Jesus” Acceptable Instead of “Yeshua”?
We can hear Jesus’ name as “Jesus” for a variety of reasons. Whether we address God as “Yeshua,” “Jesus,” or any other transliteration of his name, he will always hear our requests.
We must remember that many Messianic Jews and other Christian organizations will only refer to Jesus as Yeshua in order to emphasize that he was a Jew and because the names “Christ” or “Jesus” have negative connotations owing to church misuse and abuse.
Therefore, while we can pronounce Jesus’ name as “Jesus,” we should appreciate anyone who prefers to pronounce it as “Yeshua” or “Yeshua Hamashiach” if they are a Christian.
God has given us the mandate to proclaim his message to every nation, which is another reason we are permitted to use the name “Jesus.” By transliterating Jesus’ name, we can communicate with people in a way that they can understand and say for themselves.
Letters and alphabets can vary greatly from one country to another. Because I haven’t taught my vocal cords to move in that way, there are several letters in the Russian alphabet that I am unable to pronounce.
However, we should think of Yeshua Hamashiach as one of the names of God that we can employ in prayer. Each name of God has a distinctive meaning, and Yeshua serves as a reminder of Jesus’ ministry to the Jewish people on earth and his Jewish ancestry, as well as the way the New Testament accomplishes the Old Testament’s framework.
Why Does This Really Matter?
In the end, there is no one real name for Jesus, but each name carries great strength. We can show respect for people who prefer to use the name Yeshua Hamashiach and look for ways to include it in our prayers and daily life.
1. Jesus is known as Yeshua Hamashiach, but why?
We can only identify Jesus’ Hebrew name all through the Old Testament with this knowledge. Jesus would only have been known as Yeshua to His followers. And they would refer to Yeshua HaMashiach rather than “Jesus Christ.”
2. What does Yeshua actually mean?
Yeshua is a linguistic derivation of the Hebrew words for “rescue” and “deliver.” The Hebrew Bible uses their full name Joshua when referring to a number of people with this name who were Jews during the Second Temple period.
3. What faith makes use of Yeshua?
Yeshua lived a life of Biblical Judaism during His life as a Torah-observant Jew.
4. Which language did Jesus learn first?
Pope Francis and the majority of religious academics and historians concur that the historical Jesus mostly spoke the Galilean language of Aramaic.
5. What is the full name of Jesus?
Yeshua, which would be Joshua in English, is the Hebrew name that Jesus used.
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