When first coming to an understanding of the Hebrew Roots of my faith I began to really appreciate using Jesus’ Hebrew name Yeshua. It was different and I could use it as a way to spark conversation about some of the rich history we have lost in Christianity. Lately however I’ve been coming across a lot of misinformation about the use of the name Jesus or Yeshua and how they relate.
There are apparently a good number of so-called teachers out there saying that if you use the name Jesus and not Yeshua you are praying to a false messiah and therefore not actually a part of God’s covenant people. These teachers are part of what is called the Sacred Name movement and though they may mean well they are terribly mistaken about the name Jesus and where it comes from.
The problem with this teaching is that the assumptions made are never based on true scholarship and they are usually founded on assumptions made by people who can nether read nor write in Hebrew or any Biblical languages for that matter.
Let me explain to you how this deception works:
First they take their Strong’s Concordance and they look up “Jesus.” and find that Jesus is derived from the New Testament Greek name Iēsous, pronounced “Yesous.”
As they read this they think “Oh my goodness ‘Iesous’ sounds like ‘Yay Zeus’ this must mean the name Jesus is pagan so everyone who worships Jesus is actually worshiping Zeus.” or some other foolishness without actually learning the truth about how we got the English pronunciation: Jesus
The truth about the name Jesus AND why everyone can relax about whether they use Yeshua or Jesus.
Jesus is the English form of the Latin form of the Greek form of Yeshua.
Let me explain:
1. Beginning in the Hebrew as Yeshua you first must drop the “sh” shound because that sound does not exist in Greek leaving ‘Yesua’
2. Next, the ‘a’ at the end is silent so it is dropped leaving ‘Yesu’
3. Finally, in the Greek language, whenever the subject of a noun is masculine the “oos” sound is added giving us the pronunciation ‘Yesoos’ spelled out as: Iesous
4. It was this Greek form (not the Hebrew) that was eventually translated into Latin and eventually English.
5. As the English language evolved the ‘ee’ sound was replaced by the hard ‘j’ sound leaving us with the common pronunciation Jesus.
|Transliteration from Yeshau to Jesus|
Calling on “His name” is calling on the object defined by the word not the word itself.
As it is with any word we use to describe something the issue is not the word as much as it is the object we are describing the word with. For example if I call a ‘rose’ a ‘chicken’ does that then mean the rose now has feathers and a beak? Of course not.
Or how about if I call my pickup truck a Ferrari? Does my truck now have the ability to go from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds? I wish!
So we understand that it’s not the name that defines the car I drive. The name is merely a reference pointing back to the car.
It’s the same with the name of Jesus or Yeshua. What matters is not the pronunciation of the name. What matters is who (the object) that name is pointing to.
For example, Mormons say they believe in Jesus but they believe in a Jesus who was a man and became a god. As you can clearly see that is not the Jesus or Yeshua found in Scripture. That is the wrong person and therefore they are not part of God’s family even though they got the name right.
Our Messiah is not petty and He understands when we are talking to Him
Each language has a slightly different way of saying Yeshua’s name. In English it’s Jesus, in Spanish it’s pronounced “Hey-sus,” in Cantonese it’s “YehSou.” they are all slightly different, but all correct.
No matter what language you use, as long as you are referring to the Jesus or Yeshua found in Scripture, you can rest assured knowing He hears you.
I personally like using His Hebrew name Yeshua but there are times when I’m praying or on a rant where the name “Jesus” comes out and that is completely ok because they both refer to the same person. Jesus was the name I grew up with and Jesus is the name I am more familiar with.
Don’t allow someone to condemn you for using the form of Yehsua you are used to because they are ignorant of the facts.
Question: Have you come across someone who told you Jesus is a Pagan name? How did you handle it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.