HM#141 - THE NAME OF JESUS August 2013
There are quite a few people who insist on identifying Jesus by his HEBREW name. (Yeshuah from some, or Yashuah from others) 1 And although there are differences in opinion about exactly how that should be pronounced, most of them seem to think that it is a SIN to use any other name. These other names are dismissed as PAGAN and offensive to God. (including the one used by our English Bibles, JESUS!)
I think these people are confused about the proper use of language.
Jesus is NOT a pagan name when it is applied to the Son of God. It is a “Christian name”! It is simply how English speaking people pronounce a Hebrew name which arrived in English via Greek.
The simple facts are these:
1. “Jesus” is an anglicised form of the Greek name “Iesous”. This is the name of the Son of God as it appears everywhere in the Greek New Testament.
2. When the GREEK Luke wrote his Gospel, and The Acts, (IN GREEK!) he used the Greek name “Iesous” for Jesus. When the JEWISH apostle Paul wrote about “Jesus” (IN GREEK), in his epistles, he used the Greek name “Iesous”. It is how people who spoke and read Greek, pronounced the Hebrew name. If either of these inspired writers had believed that they should have been using the EXACT HEBREW name, and nothing else, that is what they would have done!
It is quite ridiculous to suggest that either of these inspired writers were misleading their readers by using a “pagan name”.
2. When Pilate wrote the name of Jesus in the Greek version of the title placed on the cross, the Gospel writers reported it (IN GREEK) as “Iesous”. (John 19:19-20) Of course the Hebrew version of the title would have used his Hebrew name, written in Hebrew letters. But the Gospel writers didn’t bother to tell us what that was. Nor did they say Pilate got it wrong!
What Pilate wrote in LATIN, it is not recorded in the NT, but it was probably something like what we find in the Latin NT manuscipts …… Iesus Nazarenus
3. “Iesous” is the Greek form of the OT Hebrew name “Joshua”.
(Actually pronounced in Hebrew as something like yeh-ho-shoo- ah – NOT “Yashuah”!)
4. When words are transliterated from one language to another, they are often pronounced differently, or spelt differently, because of the differences in alphabets, and even the sounds our mouths can make. e.g. Japanese cannot pronounce the letter “L”. It is not in their language. So they pronounce it “R” instead. Arabic speaking people have the same difficulty with “P” and “B”. In the same way, when “Yehoshuah” comes to English via an intermediate Greek text, it becomes “Jesus”. It is NOT a different name. It is the SAME name pronounced differently in another language.
God gave me His book in English! And He gave me the English pronunciation of the name of His Son as JESUS. I don’t think He gave it to me wrong!
And I think it amounts to SLANDER against God to suggest that he would be offended, or even reject people for using the name in the form He gave it to them in their mother tongue!
Shortly after posting the original of this paper, I got an email comment from Anthony Buzzard. I thought you should all read it, so here is a revised version of the paper, which includes it.
1. Anthony's comment
"Yashuah is not even a word! The Hebrew is Yeshuah or long form Yehoshuah.
They have created an ugly non-word."