“Therefore God exalted Yeshua to the highest place and gave Him the name above every name.” (Philippians 2:9). Recently, some of our readers have asked us why we use the name Yeshua in the place of Jesus. Yeshua, accurately reflects the divine nature of Yeshua and is the correct way to pronounce the name of the Jewish Messiah. Jesus occurs in English Bibles over 900 times, some people feel quite certain the Jewish Messiah had the name Jesus. The name Jesus is English equivalent transliteration of Greek name Iησοῦς, pronounced “eeaysoos,” transliteration of the Hebrew name יֵשׁוּעַ pronounced Yeshua referring to Jesus Christ our Saviour.
The name Jesus is a name used in Brit Chadasha. Some Believers object to saying “Jesus” in Greek is “Iesous” sounds. Those who speak English call Christ Jesus. The reality is pronunciation of Yeshua has no exact equivalent in Greek. The Greek alphabet has no “y” or “sh” sound, so in Greek writing, “Ye” in Yeshua became “eeay” sound, and “sh” an “s” sound. Greek did not allow a male name to end in an “ah” sound, so solution was to add an “s” to end as Greek male names have today. So, Yeshua in Hebrew became Iesous in Greek. This Greek spelling is the standard substitute for both Yehoshua and Yeshua in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) and in the writings of first-century Romano-Jewish scholar Josephus and the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria.
In Hebrew variations of the name Yeshua in Hebrew The proper Hebrew name for Jesus is Yeshua (יֵשׁוּעַ), which means salvation. This is a shortened form of the Hebrew name Yehoshua (יהושוע), which is Joshua in English and means the Lord saves, the Lord is salvation or the Lord will save. Around the time of Yeshua, this shortened form of Yehoshua, was common and popular around Jerusalem, seen on ossuaries from that time period. In the Tanakh (Jewish Bible), the names Yeshua and Yehoshua are mentioned almost 30 times and given to five different men. They are frequently translated interchangeably as Joshua; for example, in Ezra 3:2, there is a reference to Joshua / Yeshua (יֵשׁ֨וּעַ) son of (בֶּן־) Jozadak (יֽוֹצָדָ֜ק), one of the priests in the time of Zerubbabel after the return from the exile in Babylon.Many English translations of Ezra 3:2 use name Jeshua (Yeshua) instead of Joshua. Several ossuaries, chests remains, with the names Yeshua ( Joshua) have been found in Israel. In Zechariah 3 and 6, this same man is called Yehoshua (Joshua). The first instance of Yehoshua is in Exodus: Yehoshua (יְהֹושֻׁ֣עַ) Ben (בִּן) Nun (ןנ֑וּ), most often translated as Joshua son of Nun, who was Moses’ assistant and led the Israelites into the Promised Land. In Numbers 13:8, however, Joshua is called Hoshea (הוֹשֵׁעַ) ben Nun, one of the spies sent out by Moses to scout out the land of Canaan. The name Hoshea means he saves. But that was not accurate enough for Joshua’s mission in life. Moses changes his name to Yehoshua by taking Hoshea and adding the letter yud, which comes from the yud in YHWH, the divine name. In doing this, Moses changed Joshua’s name to mean YHWH is salvation or YHWH saves, delivers. “These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Yehoshua.)” (Numbers 13:16)
As an example of the interchangeability of Yehoshua and Yeshua in later books of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and among the Jews of the Second Temple period, in Nehemiah 8:17, Joshua son of Nun, usually called Yehoshua Ben Nun, is called Yeshua Ben Nun. “From the days of Joshua [יֵשׁוּעַ–Yeshua] son of Nun until that day.”Moses Blessed Joshua Before High Priest before sending him on his mission. The Jewish People Call Jesus: Yeshu The Talmud (Rabbinic teachings) mentions the name Yeshua only once in reference to Yeshua ben Jozadek (whom we mentioned above). The name is Joshua are Yehoshua, although the name Yeshua of Nazareth is rendered Yeshu (ישו), a Galilean form of Yeshua’s true name. The Israeli media uses Yeshu to refer to Yeshua, although in rare cases He will be called by His proper name. His full name in secular Hebrew is Yeshu Ha-Notzri (Jesus the Nazarene).
This name appears in Ben Yehuda Hebrew dictionary in secular Hebrew texts. However, the Hebrew spelling Yeshua (ישוע) is used in translations of New Testament into Hebrew. Yeshua Taught in Synagogue, so use the name Yeshua. Some think“Yah” is first part of God’s personal name “Yahweh,” first part of His Son’s name as well. However, there are no vowels in Hebrew, no one can be 100% sure that His name is pronounced “Yahweh.” We do know for sure, though, that the use of “Yah” in the Messiah’s Hebrew name. Though not supported by evidence from archaeological findings, such as the Dead Sea scrolls, in inscriptions, nor in any rabbinical texts. In Hebrew texts, the personal and unutterable name for God is the Tetragrammaton or Four Letters: Yud-Hei-Vav-Hei (יהוה or YHVH, in English). This name, which is thought to be pronounced as Yahweh, although some say Jehovah, is so holy that it was not spoken outside the Temple, and once a year on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) by the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest).A name of God related to יהוה (YHVH) is the name יה (Yah), so shortened form of the unutterable name. This name of God appears 50 times in Tanakh as construction of Hebrew word Halleluyah (Praise Yah). As well as many Hebrew names, including Elijah (Eliyahu), Isaiah (Yeshayah), and Jeremiah (Yirmyahu or Yirmyah). The name “Yahshua”, however, exists nowhere in the Bible or the Hebrew historic record. In this new pronunciation for Yeshua, a fifth letter is added right in the middle of God’s holy name—ש—sh, thereby creating a new name Yahshua—יהשוה The five-letter spelling of Yahshuah (יהשוה) not four-letter spelling of Yeshua (יֵשׁוּעַ) can be first traced to Christian Renaissance occultists in the second half of the 16th century. A similar form of spelling picked up by Sacred Name Movement (SNM), Yahshua (יהשע) not found in Hebrew Scriptures. This new spelling of Yeshua is traced back to the early days of the SNM movement in the 1930s. The organization Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua, a group associated with the Sacred Name Movement, makes the following doctrinal statement regarding this name:“‘Yahshua’ is the correct name of the Savior, a contraction of the combination of ‘YAHweh’ and ‘HoSHUA,’ the same as given to Joshua the son of Nun by Moses.” (YAIY Beacon, April-June 2013, p. 8). To create this new combination, one has to change the pronunciation of Hoshea to Hoshua, which is not found in any lexicon or dictionary because the “oo” letter is not included in the Hebrew spelling of Hoshea. To arrive at this version of Yeshua’s name, one has to start with a made-up Hebrew name the Tetragrammaton (YHVH). As Scriptural support, those who insist on this pronunciation of Yahshua point to Yeshua who says, “I have come in My Father’s Name.” (John 5:43) From this verse, they conclude that His name must have Yah in it. But as discussed, this variant of Yeshua does not occur in any Hebrew or Aramaic texts. There is no historical support for Yeshua ever using the name of Yah. Even while on execution cross, Yeshua did not call His Father by His personal name—Yahweh, but instead “about three in the afternoon Yeshua cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’).” (Matthew 27:46) Referring to Scripture, those who follow the teachings of the SNM contend that using this pronunciation of Yeshua’s name will assist in one’s salvation: “Everyone who calls on the name [onoma] of the Lord is saved.Romans 10:13)“For this reason, God highly exalted Him [Yeshua], and bestowed on Him the name [onoma] which is above every name, so that at the name [onoma] of Yeshua EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Yeshua HaMashiach is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11; see also Isaiah 45:23). The power of Healing is in the Name of Jesus. The Greek word onoma does mean name, but not only in a literal sense; it refers to the very being of a person. In Jewish culture in scripture, one’s name is synonymous to one’s character, nature and essence. Yeshua means salvation, the exact essence of who Yeshua is. So to call on name/person of Yeshua the Messiah is to call on salvation. It does not make sense those who sincerely loved and followed Jewish Messiah throughout the ages will not receive salvation if they did not speak Yashua’s name, “revealed” to few in Sacred Name Movement.
Scripture clearly states salvation comes through grace. We do not receive salvation because of works. Salvation certainly not connected to how we pronounce the Messiah’s name. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8) Our salvation is connected to believing in the character, reputation, and essence of the person behind the Hebrew name—who He is and what He did. Yeshua Himself said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25). If saying Yeshua’s name correctly was essential to salvation or faith, it seems early scribes must keep Hebrew names intact when making copies of Gospels and Paul’s letters of instruction to early Believers. The oldest manuscripts for Gospel of John (known as P52 and P66) were written 50 years after original authoring. But Hebrew pronunciations are not attempted. Instead, Greek abbreviations of Greek equivalent words are used:
- Yeshua is abbreviated as Ιη-, (transliterated into English as Je– or Ye– for the name Jesus);
- Messiah is abbreviated as Χρ- (spoken as Chr– for Greek name Christos or English name Christ);
- Elohim is written as Θ, which is short for Theos or God
- Abba is shown as Πρ-, which is short for Pater or Father;
- Adonai is reduced to Κ-, which is short for Kyrios or Lord.
To accurately portray the sacred names of God and the Messiah, the early scribes felt God was too Holy to be mentioned by mere mortals so intentionally avoided it. This is in keeping with the Jewish practice of using euphemisms, letters or syllables to protect all names of God from being defaced, obliterated or destroyed accidentally. Two thousand years later, though, the spiritual sensitivity behind protecting God’s names is debated. Dr. Daniel Botkin, pastor of the Gates of Eden Messianic Congregation writing on the yeshanet website states: “Opponents of Yeshua form claim this pronunciation is result of Jewish hiding Saviour’s true name. Those who call Messiah Yeshua are accused of perpetuating a Jewish conspiracy of Gentile God denying His name by use of the Yeshua form.” Botkin said he received letters with these charges against himself personally.
To support use of the name Yeshua, he goes on to quote Dr. Danny Ben-Gigi, an Israeli and former head of Hebrew studies at Arizona University as saying, “There is no such name in Hebrew (as Yahshua),” a name that “people invented it to fit their theology.” Perhaps it seems a lovely notion to think Yeshua and Yahweh share same pronunciation—Yah. It is more important, to understand the spiritual elitism behind believing that this revelation was given to a select few in the 16th century and then 20th century. Moreover, it is dangerous heresy to believe that only this unique pronunciation must be used to receive salvation, as many in the Sacred Name Movement claim. Both Hebrew and Bible scholars who study ancient Semitic languages, historical literature, and archaeological findings regarding this issue agree that the name Yahshua cannot be supported and therefore not endorse by all. Some prefer so believe in calling on the name of Yeshua, in Jewish thinking, calling out for salvation, since the name reflects the person and His character.
Praying in Yeshua’s name. What does that mean? It means when we pray, our prayers should reflect His agenda, values and purposes, not our own selfish ambitions and vain conceits. Praying in Yeshua’s name means we come before Him expressing Yeshua’s desires and stand in Yeshua’s authority. It means we have confidence to stand before our Heavenly Father because of what Yeshua accomplished through His holy life, His death on the Roman execution stake, His burial, and resurrection. Because of His sinless life, He had absolute victory over death and was raised on the third day. We come knowing that because of His resurrection He not only holds the power to forgive our sins, but has absolute victory over death, and has defeated the enemy once and for all! We come in faith knowing that there is no other name, no other person, who is above Him. “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven, on earth, under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9–10).