Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Should we use the name "Jesus" instead of "Y'eshua"?

It hit me like a ton bricks the other day when I was looking at the Greek word for the Messiah,  "Ιησος", consisting of the letters iota, eta, sigma, omicron, and (final) sigma, and had an epiphany as to its pronunciation.  I could see, without even speaking Greek, that it should be pronounced "Yesous" (with soft "s" in both instances).   It immediately hit me that this word,"Ιησος", which so many say is pronounced "I-ey-Zeus" is not that at all - rather, it is the Greek phonetic transliteration of the the Hebrew/Aramaic "ישוע" (read right to left, yod, shin, vav, ayin, pronounced "Yeshua", sometimes written as "Y'shua".)  "Ιησος" is the Greek phonetic equivalent of "Yeshua"!

I was recognizing that the Greek iota, "Ι", carried a "Y" sound.  So I looked it up and found that I was right!  Then next letter, eta, "η", carries an "e" sound, and right away I saw that the first two letters of ישוע had been phonetically translated into Greek as iota, eta! 

The translators were not translating Y'shua's name into Greek!  No!  They were trying to phonetically pronounce it with Greek letters which sounded the same!  This is exactly as we do with Hebrew/Aramaic words today when we are trying to sound-out a Hebrew/Aramaic word in English!

I continued looking at the letters of the Greek and soon found a one-to-one correspondence with the original ישוע. They had no letter for the "sh" sound of the shin, so it became a sigma with an "s" sound. The sigma-omicron ("so") is a diphthong which results in the "oo" sound of "Yesh-oo-a". The final sigma, though it is an "s" sound, is there for another reason.  More about that in a moment.

My epiphany is that the Greek translators did not have a Greek word for "ישוע", so they spelled it in Greek how it sounded! This epiphany blows out of the water the idea that "Jesus" came from the Greek word for the Messiah, or that it is somehow tied to the Roman god "Zeus"!  "Jesus" is simply a poor translation of the Greek "Ιησος" into English! That's all! (The "J", found in neither Hebrew/Aramaic nor Greek, came about over a much later time span as the letter "I" eventually became "I/J" and eventually the "J" became its own letter.) 

Throughout the medieval period, the forms of the modern "i" and "j" were used interchangeably, and both forms represented the same letter.  But the sound of the "J" in English today would have been a "Y" sound in early ages.  "Jesus" is a poor translation because it is clear the Greek translators were simply trying to spell, phonetically the Messiah's name.  What should have happened is this:

The Hebrew "ישוע" became the Greek "Ιησος" and the English translators of the Greek should have gone from Greek "Ιησος" to English "Yeshua" - if they had recognized that "Ιησος" was not a "word" but was a pronunciation.  If only they had done that, the whole English-speaking world today would be calling the Messiah by His name!  Yeshua!

Some say this is not important.  They say, "what matters is that you know whom you are talking about when you say His name."  Well, I think it matters a great deal.  "Jesus" is not His name!  Period.  "Yeshua" is the Messiah's name!  At least when you correctly pronounce the Greek "Ιησος", you say "Yesou" (with a soft "s") and you have actually said "Yeshua" as best you could in your Greek tongue.  (You actually would say "Yesou" and not "Yesous" because the only reason for that final sigma, "ς" in print is because in the Greek language, the noun changes spelling to indicate case, number, and gender while in English, the spelling of the noun is not changed, rather, it is the word order in English which conveys case, number, and gender.  In other words, the final sigma, "ς", is not actually a part of the name of the Messiah in Greek. "Ιησος" is in the nominative case (“Yeshua”); Iesou is in the genitive case (“of Yeshua”), and so on.)

Just look how awful is the pronunciation of "Yeshua" as "Jesus"!  The soft "Y" sound is changed to the harsh "J" sound, the short "e" sound" is changed to a hard "e", that is, from the e in "hey" to the e in "heat".  The soft "sh" sound becomes a hard "z" sound.  And the final "ah" sound becomes "us"!  If you lived in the time Yeshua walked the earth and saw Him and said "Pleased to meet you, Jesus", He would have had no idea whom you were addressing! "Jesus" simply is not "Yeshua"!

Let me give you an idea of how awful the mistranslated Name is.  I grew up Methodist.  I was 46 before I ever heard the word "Yeshua" as the Messiah!  All I ever knew was "Jesus".   Jesus loved me and forgave me. I had to do nothing.  I never knew the Messiah Yeshua who actually said he'd spit me out of His mouth and lose my eternal life if I did not know Him and obey the Father.  (John 17:3; Revelation 3:15-16).

I use "Yeshua" now that I know it is His name.  I will use "Jesus" when I need to since, like me, the person I am addressing may have never heard the Messiah's actual name, but I will not say it is okay to pray to "Jesus" or to ask for forgiveness from "Jesus".  The Messiah's name is ישוע and a good, phonetic transliteration of it is "Yeshua". By saying and writing "Yeshua" (or "Y'shua"), I know I am talking about THE Messiah who came to give me life for nothing more than my living in His Father's Torah.


17 comments:

  1. From birth through adulthood the Messiah's name is taught as "Jesus" only those that study the bible in in all translation's or a scholar majoring in Divinity Science would understand the true name of Y'shua. With your help I've learned more in the past year than in the 43 years since I received salvation from Y'shua. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your teachings.

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  2. Thank you for your kind words.

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  3. Wow, Michael - THANK YOU for those kind words! It's nice to get a compliment once in awhile. I agree with you...my husband is an amazing teacher!

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  4. Thank you. That is by far the best explanation I have ever read. So many argue and try to explain away this or that with none of it making much sense, but you did an excellent job. Shalom

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  5. Thank you, Michele! We've always known the Name of Jesus wasn't bad or "pagan" as so many assert! How could it be, when millions of us were "saved in the Name of Jesus?" Now we know the WHOLE Truth!

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  6. This is one of the hidden truth that is now exposed, i can say. Thanks Liam, it much clearer now.
    Shalom.

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  7. .
    It appear to be a matter of translation ... based on correct (or incorrect) pronunciation!
    .

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  8. Salvation is found in NO ONE ELSE, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. That name is YESHUA!!!! Therefore G-d raised him to the highest place and gave him the name above every name; that in honor of the name given YESHUA, every knee will bow in heaven, on earth and under the earth and every tongue will acknowledge that YESHUA the Messiah is Adonai to the glory of G-d the Father. Acts 4:12 and Philippians 2:9-11. I am so grateful for this truth! Thank-you for sharing this wonderful explanation. May Abba continue to bless and keep you.

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  9. AMEIN! WONDERFUL comments here! May YHWH richly bless everyone who has posted so far!

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  10. I first heard and spoke the name Y'shua haMashiyach 30 years ago when I served a military tour in the Sinai (peacekeeping) and visited Israel. YAH was longsuffering toward me for sure. It was exactly 30 years later to the month that UNDERSTOOD who Y'shua really is and that his name means 'YHWH is salvation' written on the heart on our inward parts. And I ditto Grandpa Mike - thanks for your teaching and passion for sharing!:-)

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  11. Thank YOU, PDL, for taking the time to write! It's wonderful to see testimonies like yours!

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  12. Toda for your article it is excellent I would like to add two comments if I may. One in borrowing from the KJV in Tehillim 19 King David asks YHVH to keep him clear of the great transgression,you write that the Greek phonetic transliteration would actually be pronounced Yshoo, in the Rabbinate community this is actually a curse on MASHIYACH'S name a part of the curse "May his name and memory be erased" and so I believe that G-D in His infinite wisdom, while He wants His Son's name pronounced correctly, it is a command that His name not come into disuse, but He kept the goyishe community from the greater offense of pronouncing the curse upon His name with the pronunciation having the extra "s" at the end until the time it could be restored as it is happening today. I believe that we all need to heal from the council of nicea and the pursecution that followed, if we do the middle wall of separation that MESSIAH destroyed at His death can truly be destroyed in our own lives and congregations and the goyim can then truly come into the congregation of Israel, if not we will keep on rebuilding what MASHIYACH already destroyed, it takes a lot of Prayer but it can happen Shabbat Shalom

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    1. Thank you for the comment. Of course I am aware that some in Judaism who reject Yeshua as the Messiah will not say His name, preferring a derogatory word, something like "yahska", and I am aware that in some parts of the rabbinic community, especially the anti-missionaries, will say that the word "yeshu" (or "yshoo" as you have written it) is an acrostic for the curse "Yemach Shemo V'zichranoo". But I would have to argue that there is nothing at all wrong with the pronunciation of the Messiah's name as "Yeshua" or "Yeshuah" spoken by any person, from any language background and that it's better than "Jesus" which so many have connected to the Roman god "Zeus". After all, the word "yeshua" actually does mean "salvation" in Hebrew, while the the English word "Jesus" simply has no meaning, it is just a "word" for the name of the Messiah.

      Bless you for your comment, and yes, the wall of separation can be torn down. Perhaps in our time! Shalom

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  13. I thank you for your article it is excellent and true, want to add that while it is a command that we not His name go into disuse YHVH in His infinite wisdom kept the goyishe community from the greater offense, as it is written in Tehillim 19, keep me clear from the great transgression and as if the Greek transliteration was to be pronounced without the "S" on the end it would be pronounced in such a way that would be in agreement with the Jewish curse upon His name which is that His name is pronounced as it is in Hebrew without the last syllable and then "may His name and memory be erased" is said, the last syllable being left off as a sign of this. To mispronounced His name is better then the to pronounce it as a curse and so YHVH in His infinite mercy kept the goyim from the greater sin until the set time of the Restoration which we are starting to see today. I think we all need to pray for our hearts to heal from the council of Nicea and the pursecution that followed as MASHIYACH destroyed the middle wall of separation and we can not keep rebuilding what He,destroyed and hope to fulfill the calling He has put on each of our lives. Shabbat Shalom

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    1. But in Greek, pronouncing "Yesous" only conveys the nominative case, while a Greek sentence reading as "Yesou" would be the genitive case. In Greek, they'd have no idea they would be making the same sounds of what is, in some circles, a Hebrew curse. I don't think it's right to say that the way a word is pronounced in one language means that person is actually saying a word form another language or carrying the meaning of the word from the other language. For example the word "pasta" in Italian means "noodles", but in Polish the same pronunciation means "toothpaste."

      A similar problem is found the way "Jesus" is used in English. Torah commands us not to use Elohim's name in vain (Exodus 20:7). But many people, Christian or otherwise, at least in the United States, will exclaim "Jesus Christ" when they are mad, hurt, upset, or angry - thus literally equating the Holy Name of the Messiah to an expletive - in English a "curse" word! I find that very troubling and I am simply not keen on using "Jesus" as the Messiah's name for that reason - yet I know that when I say "Jesus" I am decidedly NOT cursing! (I will use the name "Jesus" when I am trying to explain to someone who He is, but I will always transition to "Yeshua" as soon as the recipient of my message can accept His true Name.

      Again, blessings, and thanks for the comment on our blog.

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  14. I thank you for this and all of the articles I have read. I am a gentile, very ignorant of Jewish traditions but, I find myself thinking of Yeshua as "a light of revelation to the gentiles and the glory of HIS people Israel" and in so doing, I have begun to examine what I have been taught that has roots in gentile philosophy.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment on this blog, Michael! If you ever have any questions, we would be happy to answer them!

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