In hebraic thought one’s name is one’s destiny. With that in mind, let’s trace (biblically) the name of our Messiah, Yeshua, which, of course, is the English transliteration (a foreign word or name spelled with the closest corresponding English letters) of His original Hebrew name, spelled with the Hebrew letters yod, shin, vav, and ayin. To begin our linguistic journey, we must go to Numbers 13:16, for there it recounts how Moses changed the name of Oshea, the son of Nun, to what transliterates into English as Yehoshua, rendered most often in our English Bibles as Jehoshua, in spite of the pesky fact that the Hebrew alphabet has no corresponding letter “J”, and up until the 16th Century, neither did English. Strangely enough, this 500 year old, neophyte letter “J” has been used in modern English translations of the Bible to spell names such as Jesus, Jehovah, Jews, Jacob, Jeremiah, Joshua, Josiah, Judas, and many others, which had they been transliterated accurately would all begin with the corresponding English letter “Y”.
FROM OSHEY TO YEHOSHUA To YESHUA
By adding the tiny Hebrew letter “yod”, which corresponds to the “Y”, Moses changed, not only Oshea’s name to Yehoshua, but the meaning of Osha’s name. “Deliverer” or “Salvation” became “Yahweh Delivers” or “Yahweh Saves.” Now all languages develop contractions, like when “cannot” becomes “can’t” and “Samuel” becomes “Sam.” The contracted form of Yehoshua is Yeshua, which means “he will save.” In spite of the fact that names starting with the Hebrew “yod” have been transliterated into English using a 500 year old “J”, in this article, I will use the “Y.”
HOW DO WE KNOW HIS NAME WAS CONTRACTED?
So how do we know that the contracted form of Yehoshua is Yeshua? The proof can be found in Nehemiah 8:17 (KJV)
Neh 8:17 “And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Yeshua, the son of Nun, unto that day had not the children of Israel done so…”
Thus, Oshea became Yehoshua by adding a “yod”, and it later got contracted to Yeshua by dropping the “ho” sound. Besides Nehemiah 8:17, where it specifically mentions Yeshua, the son of Nun, the Hebrew name Yeshua can be found (according to my e-Sword) a total of 30 times in the Old Testament, written, of course, not with a Y but that 500 year old J, which was birthed into the English language 1,600 years after our Messiah was born.
Here are just a few of those passages, all quoted from the KJV:
Ezra 2:2 “Which came with Zerubbabel: Yeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel…”
In Ezra 3:2 “Then stood up Yeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.”
Neh 7:7 “Who came with Zerubbabel, Yeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani…”
1Ch 24:11 “The ninth to Yeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah…”
2Ch 31:15 “And next to him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Yeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in theirset office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small.”
The Angel Gabriel
So when the angel Gabriel told Mary (Miriam in Hebrew) to name her child—no, not Jesus, a 500 year old English transliteration from the Greek “Iesous”, which was a transliteration from the Latin “Iesus”, which was a transliteration from the original 3,000 year old Hebrew name— Yeshua, she understood why. Because the Hebrew name Yeshua means “he will save.” And that is exactly what Yeshua did.
Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name YESHUA for he shall save his people from their sins.”
So why have I taken the time to write an article on a subject which most of you who’ve returned to the Hebraic roots of your faith probably already know? I’ll tell you why. Because others are watching us, and because a lie is being spread on Face Book and throughout the Internet by a Baptist pastor named Steven Anderson, as well as others. They claim the name Yeshua is not the real name of our Messiah, but a name that comes from modern Hebrew, and is less than 200 years old. Sadly, those who would fall for such nonsense, and poor scholarship, are not likely to be convinced by this article. But that’s okay, because I feel so much better having written it.
Thanks for writing this article Christine 🙂
Shabbat Shalom <
In answer to your question, “How important is it to actually pronounce the name Yeshua?” a certain scriptures comes to mind.
Mat 1:21 And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He shall save His people from their sins.
Act 4:12 and there is salvation in no other One, for neither is there any other name (Yeshua) under Heaven having been given among men by which we must be saved.
Based on these two verses I find it very important to use His actual God ordained name. That said, I came into covenant knowing Him only as Jesus, as have millions. Now let me pose a question to you. If I were given a beautiful manmade diamond ring, I would wear it with great joy and thankfulness. But if later, I were to be given a real diamond ring, which do you suppose I would prefer?
Thanks for your thoughtful article. And without objecting to anything you have said and surely not in any spirit of argumentation, I would like to know how important it is to actually pronounce the name of “Yeshua” vs what I had always known Him to be “Jesus” when referring to our Lord. In fact, there are many false “Jesus'” out there presented by false teachers who disclaim His deity and contradict the true Son of God who is revealed through the scriptures, Is it not the Person of our Lord that is important rather than a pronunciation of His name. In other words, the name means little if it is not associated with His true Person.