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August 5, 2003

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Jesus or Yeshua?

READER QUESTION:
shouldn't we call our Savior by his only name {he knew or heard} as "Yeshua". remember we only have one name for us to be saved! and The Creator as Yahweh?????

VW ANSWER:
We've addressed this periodically in the past. Let's approach another attempt to enable understanding with a 'personal' application....

My name (since some complain: "I can't find your naaaame anywhere"... "are you ashamed to put your name to your writings, to stand behind your own writings??", "are you hiding??", etc. although it's at the website in plain sight. It's not hidden. It's, simply, not plastered all over the place like many do; but it's right there, easy to see, in a couple of key places where it 'needs' to be. VW isn't about PB, it's about "thus says Jehovah") in English is "Paul Becker"...pronounced "pahl bekker". Where I grew up, in Japan, they called me "pohroo bekkah". (considerable difference, don't you think) In fact, when I was a tiny toddler, while I don't remember it, apparently they called me "pohta" or "pohta chan", which in my infancy I mispronounced and would continually say, "boota" (which in Japanese happens to mean "pig"). Oh, isn't he sooo cute; just like a little doll! What's your name? Little Piggy! -smile-

OK...so...what should people call me? Well, somebody who is fluent in English should be saying "pahl bekker". But if I'm in Japan (which I haven't been in 43 years) I know that the Japanese have a hard time pronouncing "L" and "R"...so I am not going to expect them to pronounce it with an English tongue, but with their Japanese tongue "pohroo bekkah".

In the O.T., those speaking Hebrew said, "yeh-ho-shoo’-ah". The N.T. was written in Greek. The name in the Greek is, "ee-ay-sooce’" Is not the closest English equivalent to that, "Jesus"? The Jew, Paul, wrote "Iesous" (2Tim4:22). It is written that the Jew, Peter, the one who proclaimed that there is "no other name" by which to be saved, than "Iesous Christos" (Ac4:12) wrote "Iesous" (1Pet1:1). And the disciple whom Jesus loved calls Him "Iesous". (Rev1:1-2,etc) That is what was written, the language in which they wrote it, by the "holy men of God". (2Pt1:21)

I have no problem at all following the same N.T. tradition.

Salvation does not come from the linguistic skills of differentiating Joshua, Yehoshuah, Iesous, Jesus, Shoo Iesu, etc. God created all the languages to sound -different- from each other. That's what Babel was all about; God said, to "confuse" the languages. (Gen11:7) As people are born into the nationalities they are, with their unique linguistic dialectic characteristics, is God looking to see if everybody is pronouncing it the same? Or is He looking at the heart (1Sam16:7, Rom2:29, Heb4:12-13), to know if the individual is receiving His Son? (Jn1:12) and the blood His Son shed? (Col1:14) to wash away our sin? (Rev1:5, 7:14)

"...God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified..." (Ac2:36) When Jesus was crucified, the inscription over Him: "And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin." (Jn19:19-20)

That's: Yehoshooah (Heb), Iesous (Grk), Jesu (Latin).

A Jew walking by, seeing Jesus hanging, would have said "Yehoshooah". Somebody speaking the prevailing language of the world of that day would have read the Greek, and uttered "Iesous". The Roman soldiers, still speaking their mother tongue would have been taunting "Jesu". And speaking of the name/s Jesus would have 'HEARD', what do you suppose those Roman soldiers were taunting by the name of their pagan deities and calling out, "Hey, Zeus! Haw, haw, haw!" (Jupiter) Jesus was claiming to be the Son of the Most High; Zeus was the 'highest'of the Roman pantheon.

So... enough already of this "contentious...continual dripping" (Pr19:13, 27:15) of the hard-hearted unbelief of the hebrew-roots whining hypocrisy, who continually hold to their man-made traditions (Mt15:3, Tit1:14) while at the same time rejecting the "body" (Col2:17), "essence" (Heb1:3) and "truth" (Jn14:6) of the Lord Jesus Christ!! How many of them (generically: I don't know about 'these' who wrote this time), not knowing God, blank out His name as "G-d" and "L-rd" because, not knowing Him, they do not have access to Him, thus they are afraid to call to Him by His name; and yet have the nerve to condemn True Believers who follow the Scriptures, -DO- know Him, and continually exercise our "bold" access to the "throne of grace". (Heb4:16) You've got to call Him "Yeshua" (or Yehooshuah) like we do, but we do not speak of "God" or "Lord". As Jesus said to the hypocrites of His day, "These you ought to have done, without neglecting those." (Lk11:42) And to the lawyers: "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering." (Lk11:52)

Yes, our Lord God and His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ is "One". (Deu6:4, Jn17:11,22) But God created many nationalities (Ac17:26) and many languages. (1Cor14:10)

Thus...
"For everyone, whoever calls on the name of the Lord (Kurios, Dieu, Kamisama, Dios, Kyrie, Gott, etc...and yes, "Jehovah" -Joel2:32) shall be saved." (Rom10:13)

Amen!

Addendum:

Perhaps it would be good to add one other little thing here. Something that's been said a few times regarding the KJ-only controversy, but also fits here...

If in your heart you are burdened to address our Lord as "Yeshua", then by all means, do so. (Most Americans say "mahnt-pee-leer" of Montpelier. But some who wish to remain truer to its French origins will say "moh-pey-yey"... I think, mostly those from Quebec!) In saying what was said about the N.T. (Greek) expression leading to "Jesus", that was not to suggest that calling our Lord "Yeshua" is wrong...or "Yehooshuah". Just like we have repeated that it is not wrong to read -only- from the KJV...

-- IF DONE FOR THE RIGHT REASONS --

Just like we expose the error of "KJ-onlyism" wherein its adherents are worshiping -the- "KJV", for -being- "KJV" (not because it has been the 'best' -translation- available), this recent reflection on the name of Jesus was just such a similar matter.

In many cases (and God knows their hearts) those who go around proclaiming "Yeshua, Yeshua" are not so much in reverence of God's Son, our Savior, who died on the cross for our redemption... as much as in the fact that they have a 'corner' on the presumed "rightness" of expressing "Yeshua" for its own sake. They worship the word and sound of the letters forming the -word- "Yeshua" and the presumed "clout" -they- possess, for uttering that combination of 'sounds' with their lips. And the greater the clout, the more complex the 'sound', thus, some choose to utter the other form of the word and extend it to "Yehooshuah". They do not love the Lord... they love the 'sound' they are uttering with their lips. If you will: They love the sound of their own voice! Not to be irreverent to the Lord here, but: I think what the deal is, is that they like those "whooshing" sounds. Some of you may have just chuckled at that last sentence, but I'm not laughing! I'm serious! As they make the claim, this is what I'm talking about here...the TRUE REVERENCE for God, FROM THE HEART...not merely in lip-service.

And accompanying that 'sound' is the presumed "corner-on-knowledge" they think they possess, so -they- can explain 'down-to' the rest of us poor-uninformed, the "REAL-meaning" of the Scriptures; because: because they utter "Yehooshuah", they naturally also know everything else about the Scriptures that the rest of us don't, because we don't make that 'sound' with our lips. Thus, as one of them explained some 15 years ago, for example: the "rod of correction" (Pr22:15) doesn't really mean what it says, that a wayward child is getting a 'spanking' to help him learn not to continue his misdeeds; but this man had some rather fantastical explanation that I can't even remember now what it was... it was so fantastical and bizarre; that I had never heard before, nor have since. But he -knew- it to be the case, because he knew how to utter "Yeshooah".

-THAT- is what is wrong. The whole spirit that is behind most of those who utter Christ's name in that way, who also blank out "G-d" and "L-rd"....because in truth, they do not know Him...IN THEIR HEARTS. (Rom2:28-29)

But to address our Savior as "Yeshua"? Nothing at all wrong with it! IF (-IF-) the heart that utters it is right with God. The fact that, out of all the languages God created, if His Son's name in English is "Jesus", that does not negate the fact that His name in Hebrew is equally "Yeshua". In just the same way as: if I'm going to speak of a "f-tone'" (because of my upbringing in Japan), I'm not going to condemn Americans for calling it a "fooo'-tahn". (of that which is spelled 'futon' in English)

But for all these of the English tongue, pretending to know God's Son by His Hebrew name, are they some of those spoken of? "..the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." (Rev2:9, 3:9) ?? In that, to whatever degree they do it in pretense, they are guilty of the very thing they condemn Believers for, who are possessed of the English tongue, and call Him "Jesus"; taking His name in vain.

"You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain, for Jehovah will not leave unpunished one who takes His name in vain." (Ex20:7)


CLOSING THOUGHTS: SALVATION THROUGH THE NAME?

Is there anybody who, once God's Son is identified to them, they don't know who "Jesus" is? and to whom that 'name' refers? On the other hand, for people whose native tongue is English, when they hear people making swooshing sounds, do they not often wonder "what kind of -cult- is this?"? If people do not know of "Jesus", it is usually because nobody has "preached" to them. (Rom10:14-15) And nobody has preached to them for one of two reasons: either nobody was sent, or the ones sent rebelled like Jonah. Or the ones who were supposed to be shining as lights had put a cover over their lights in carnal living. (Mt5:15-16)

When a missionary goes to a place where they have never heard of God's Son, Jesus Christ, what is the prescribed method of evangelism? Do they have 'tracts' to hand out, with nothing on them but "J-E-S-U-S" printed on them? As the tract is handed out, do they give instructions, "Here is the 'name' to learn. Read this name, learn it, memorize it, and repeat it over and over. That way you will be saved." ?? Is this not what charismania does: "Jesus, Jesus, Jeeesssus...there's just something about that name..." (That song always makes me wanna puke! P'tooee!)

NO! NO! NO!!!

What did Jesus command to be preached? "And He said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins be preached in His name to all nations, beginning out of Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things." (Lk24:46-48)

How did Jesus present Himself to the blind man made well? The man comes back from washing his eyes, seeing, and has quite a discussion with the religious leaders, essentially saying to them that the only thing this man (who had healed him) -could- be, was the Messiah from God. And they angrily excommunicate him from the temple. (Jn ch9)

So now it's time for the man (now seeing), having just given testimony to the unbelievers, to meet Jesus. How does Jesus approach the matter? "Hi! I'm Jesus (shaking hands, moving into a hug). In case you were wondering: JESUS. That's My name." ??

But what does He say? "Do you believe into the Son of God?" (Jn9:35) As Jesus was continually saying to the Jews, "..if you do not believe Me, believe the works.." (Jn10:38) The man had already considered Jesus' -works- and concluded, "If this Man were not from God, He would not be able to do anything." (Jn9:33) So what is Jesus asking? The same question the Ethiopian answers: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Ac8:37) The man has seen the works; now he needs but to meet the Man. "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe into Him? And Jesus said to him, You have both seen Him..." (You've already met Him in your heart) "...and it is He who is talking with you." (And now you have met Him face to face) And notice Jesus doesn't once tell the man something like, "My name is 'Yeshua'...remember it."

Yes, there is "no other name" by which to be saved. But what does that name represent? Is that name an end unto itself? Or does it not signify the Son of God, our Redeemer, who died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin with His own blood (Ac20:28, Rev1:5), and rose again from the dead to guarantee Eternal Life! (Jn6:40, 1Cor15:3-4) By definition, the name Jesus/Yeshua/Yehooshuah means, literally, "Jehovah is Salvation".

"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." (Mt1:21)

Amen!

Q/A -Ha Shem

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