The name Jesus or Yeshua
There is a brand of believers today, that claim that the name of Jesus is to be despised and rejected for the name "Yeshua", the Hebrew name of Christ Jesus! This group often prefers to spell His name as "Yashua" which I assume they take from the word "yahh" (H 3050) in Psalm 68:4 in the KJV, or the word "yasha" (H3467) meaning "to save". The exact spelling of the Hebrew name of Jesus is Yehowshuwa` H 3091 Joshua or Jehoshua = "Jehovah is salvation" (Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew definitions)! Not that the spelling is of significance, but you can usually identify one who is part of this group by the way they spell the name of Yeshua! This "Yashua" group has divided itself from the body of Christ, rejecting the name by which most Christians call the savior, based on a misconception that the name "Jesus" is from Pagan origin! Thus, in their mind, everyone that is not of their group, are guilty of worshipping "other gods" and therefore committing idolatry against the living God!
Through this study, I wish to prove otherwise so that those who are so deceived by this group, may be delivered from this error, and find freedom to worship the only living God with the saints who are part of the body of Christ of whom this group has seperated itself from!
1 Cor. 1:10-13
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
The English name of Jesus Christ, is a transliteration of the Greek name "Iesous" (pronounced ee-ay-sooce') and more directly from the Latin "Iesus!"
Although Yeshua (Yehowshuwa`) is certainly a highly reverenced and an acceptable name for our Lord Jesus Christ, I would like to correct the error of those who wish to do damage to the Greek and English name of our Lord.
While it is possible that Mary and the Hebrew people called Jesus by the Hebrew name "Yeshua", the only evidence we have today, from the manuscripts available, since they are written in the Greek language, is the Greek name of Jesus "Iesous", not the Hebrew name! The fact is, the name which the Apostles declared to the Gentile world, was the Greek name "Iesous". It is clearly known and documented that the name "Iesous" was accepted by the Greek speaking Jews as an equivalent name to "Yeshua" in the days of Jesus Christ! Although the Hebrew speaking Jews may have preached the name Yeshua to the Hebrews, it is very probable, as the Hebrew speaking Jews rejected Yeshua, the Hebrew name faded away with them as the Gentile world continued to spread the Gentile name which the Apostles brought them, "Iesous"! All the evidence declares that the scriptures were written in the Greek tongue and that the original manuscripts wrote the Greek name "Iesous", not the Hebrew name, from the very first written document by the hand of the New Testament writers! (While there are some that contend that there is a very small piece of evidence that Matthew's Gospel "may" have been written in Hebrew [see note at bottom], there is NO evidence that any other book of the New Testament, was ever written in Hebrew)
To support my reasoning, I shall give you the following to consider!
First: The scriptural evidence!
The entire known world at the time of Christ, spoke Greek! Of the many thousands of fragments and manuscripts of early church scriptures which have been found as of today, all of them verify that the New Testament scriptures were originally written in Greek, not Aramaic (a form of Hebrew). It is also widely known, that prior to writings of the New Testament scriptures, the earliest church Christians, used the Septuagint
as their Bible (a Greek translation of the Old Testament scriptures)!
The use of the name "Iesous" in place of "Yeshua" as the Greek speaking Jews adopted the Greek language took place some 200 years before Jesus was ever born! "Iesous" was a fully accepted equivalent name for the Hebrew name "Yeshua" and was certified to be so in the Old Testament Greek translation by 70 Jewish scholars! Here is what is written in Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary:
A Jewish community had existed in Alexandria almost from its foundation by Alexander the Great in 331 b.c. In two or three generations this community had forgotten its native Palestinian language. These Jews realized they needed the Hebrew Scriptures rendered into the only language they knew—Greek. The first section of the Hebrew Bible to be translated into Greek was the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Old Testament, some time before 200 b.c. Other parts were translated during the next century. This version is commonly called the Septuagint, from septuaginta, the Latin word for 70 (LXX). This name was selected because of a tradition that the Pentateuch was translated into Greek by about 70 elders of Israel who were brought to Alexandria especially for this purpose. (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
The following are some introductory notes from the Septuagint:
"At Alexandria the Hellenistic Jews used the Septuagint, and gradually attached it to the greatest possible authority: from Alexandria it spread amongst the Jews of the dispersion, so that at the time of our Lord's birth it was the common form in which the Old Testament Scriptures had been diffused.
The Septuagint version having been current for about three centuries before the time when the books of the New Testament were written, it is not surprising that the Apostles should have used it more often than not in making citations from the Old Testament.
After the diffusion of Christianity, copies of the Septuagint became widely dispersed amongst the new communities that were formed; so that before many years had elapsed this version must have been as much in the hands of the Gentiles as of the Jews.
We find amongst the members of the Eastern Churches who use the Greek language, that the Septuagint has been and still is so thoroughly received as authentic scripture ...."
The Septuagint with the Apocrypha: Greek and English by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House.
If you will pick up a copy of the Septuagint today, every time the name Joshua appears in the Jewish Septuagint, the 70 Jewish elders translated it as "Iesous". This very same Septuagint was read in the synagogues to the Greek speaking Jews in the days of Christ, and is what the early church Christians read from as their "first" Bible. The Apostles often quoted from the Septuagint in writing the New Testament and this same Greek text continues to be read in the Greek speaking churches today.
Without any question, the letters that Paul wrote to the Greeks who obviously spoke Greek, were written in Greek. In addition, the Greek physician, Luke, wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts in his own Greek tongue.
It would only be reasonable in keeping with the format of the writers of scripture that IF the Hebrew name "Yeshua" was of great importance over the Greek equivalent "Iesous," they would have written the Hebrew name "Yeshua" in the original text and then defined it in the Greek language as they had done with various other Hebrew words noted below. The scriptures would have contended against the Septuagints' use of the word "Iesous!" But this is not the case! The name "Yeshua" was NEVER used in the original Greek text. Contrariwise, the word "Iesous" was used in every stroke of the pen that named our savior in the N.T.! If you will note below, when a Hebrew word was used, the author defined the Hebrew word , by "interpreting" it for the Greek reader. Please note that our English translations today continue to use the actual Hebrew word in each of these scriptures!
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.
And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. (Kephas - from H 3710, Hebrew word for stone)
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Yet, in both Matthew 1:21, and Luke 1:31 and throughout the N.T., as written in the original manuscripts, the name of Jesus is written in the Greek tongue "Iesous", NOT the Hebrew tongue "Yeshua"! In keeping with the format, if the name "Yeshua" had been written in the original manuscripts, the Hebrew name would have survived intact through the centuries and would have been shown below as "Yeshua". The Greek manuscripts would have retained the Hebrew name! But this is not so!
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus (Iesous): for he shall save his people from their sins.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus (Iesous).
In light of this evidence, there is not a single verse where the New Testament writer used the Hebrew name "Yeshua" and then defined its meaning for the reader as in these scriptures noted above! The fact is, that the Jewish people had long before the days of Christ, accepted the Greek name of "Iesous" to be the Greek equivalent of the name of "Yeshua" and used the name "Iesous" in their own Greek translation (Septuagint) of the Old Testament, and in their daily conversation when they spoke to the Greeks!
Finally, the name of Jesus was written in 3 different languages as He hung upon the cross. These 3 names were:
Yeshua - Hebrew
Iesous - Greek
Iesus - Latin (from the Latin Vulgate)
Joh 19:19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Joh 19:20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
The Greek word "Iesous" is what is written in the original New Testament manuscripts.
Secondly: The evidence of which name went out to the nations!
What is the chance that any one of you could successfully change the name “George Washington” and convince the world that the fist US president was “Buddah?” Or which of you supposes they could cause the world to forget the names of “Adolph Hitler,” “Albert Einstein” or “Elvis Presley” and effectively convince the world to forget these names and replace it with another name? A name that becomes known worldwide, is not a name that you can change!
In the origins of the early Christian church, we know that the apostles traveled many miles to take the gospel to the ends of the known earth at that time. One name was on the lips of the nations! They reached many thousands upon thousands of people to whom they preached the Gospel. The Greek name of "Jesus" had been multiplied, known, and spoken over and over again throughout the ever growing church to hundreds of thousands and maybe even millions of people, Christian and non-Christian alike in every nation. Whether the people accepted Him as the Messiah, or rejected Him as a Cult leader, His name was very well known and spoken about from house to house as well as in the courts of rulers and scholars! Among the nations, the apostles and their following generations of preachers continued to spread the gospel with signs and wonders following the message. They performed miracles, dead people raised to life, sick people healed, by the Greek name of "Jesus Christ," thus sealing their belief that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah. Multitudes placed their faith in this name as the apostle's continued to spread the faith! Kings and Emperors were repulsed by this name and wanted to put an end to it! They tortured and killed those who declared this name and would not deny it.
If the Hebrew name "Yeshua" had been proclaimed to many nations to an ever growing church from the beginning, and then some rogue heretic attempted to change it to the Greek name of some Pagan god (as the anti-"Jesus" group claims), there would have been a great resistance by the existing Christians of that time to put down such a movement and the writings of the early church fathers would have spoken about it! The unbelievers would have laughed them to scorn!
Early Christians were willing to be tortured and put to death for the name of our savior and yet there is no evidence that anyone was put to death for the preservation of the Hebrew name over the Greek name of Jesus! There is no historical evidence that there was ever a movement to change the name of our Lord to the name of some Pagan diety. Contrariwise it was the Greek name of Jesus that became known throughout the world from its origin and continues today to be proclaimed throughout the earth today!
Those who are current day enemies of the Greek name of Jesus, fail to consider the fact that the Jewish elders themselves, considered the Greek name "Iesous" to be the equivalent of the Hebrew name "Yeshua" when translating their sacred scriptures into the Greek language (the Septuagint) 200 years before Christ was born. During the life of Christ, and the years that followed, Jesus was known by Yeshua and Iesous, but more often by His Greek name than the Hebrew name, and there was no great controversy over the Greek name! There was no controversy about His name when it was written in 3 languages over the head of Jesus when He was crucified. There was no controversy when the Apostles wrote the scriptures in Greek using the Greek name "Iesous" instead of "Yeshua".
If you were investigate the name of Jesus throughout the world today, you will find that they are transliterations of the Greek name that was originally preached to the nations from the beginning. I've been to Italy, where Paul and Peter proclaimed the gospel 2000 years ago. They call Jesus in their tongue "Gesu" (sounds like Gay-sue). In France, it is "Jesu" (Jay-zoo), in Spain "Jesus" (Hay-soos)!
Notice the "J" sound in the French language!
Finally: Current day evidence!
I have personally seen and witnessed the POWER of the name of Jesus! As I have preached this wonderful name, Demons manifest! I've seen people delivered of Satanic possession and oppression by this name. Sick people have been healed by this name. I have also seen lives that have been changed by the Holy name of Jesus Christ, as sinners repent and place their trust in the living God!
A great proof of the power of this name, is for you to go into a sinful party, with a loudspeaker, and start preaching the name of Jesus. This will give you all the evidence you need to be convinced that the spirits of darkness hate this name, and that this name has power over darkness! The wicked are repulsed by the name of Jesus and the sinner is offended by his name!
I trust that, whether a person calls on the name of Jesus Christ as Lord, or the name of Yeshua Ha Mashiyach (Hebrew for Jesus the Christ), they shall be saved!
The scholars, dictionaries, lexicons and Commentators on the name "Jesus"!
Although these scholars may sound redundant, the noticeable fact that cannot be ignored is that they are all in agreement!
The New Analytical Greek Lexicon
A Savior, Jesus, Matt. 1:21, 25; 2:1, et al. freg.; Joshua, Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8; Jesus
Strongs Concordance (and New Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words)
G2424 Iesous (ee-ay-sooce')
Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites: - Jesus.
Theyers Greek Definitions
Jesus = “Jehovah is salvation”
1) Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind, God incarnate
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Jesus. This is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was originally Hoshea (Num_13:8, Num_13:16), but changed by Moses into Jehoshua (Num_13:16; 1Ch_7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile it assumed the form Jeshua, whence the Greek form Jesus.
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Jesus. The Greek form of the name Joshua or Jeshua, a contraction of Jehoshua, that is, "help of Jehovah" or Savior (Num. 13:16)
Holman Bible Dictionary
Jesus. Greek form of Joshua meaning Yahweh is salvation
Believer's Study Bible
Matthew 1:1 "Jesus" is the Latin renduring of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is a rendering of the late Hebrew and Aramaic Yeshua, meaning "Yahweh will save," or "the salvation of the Lord."
Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
Jesus (Iesous 2424) is a transliteration of the Heb. "Joshua," meaning "Jehovah is salvation," i.e., "is the Savior," a common name among the Jews, e.g., Ex. 17:9; Luke 3:29 (RV); Col. 4:11
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
Jesus; a name of the same signification with Joshua and Hosea, and may be interpreted a "Saviour",
Robertsons Word Pictures
“Jesus is the same as Joshua, a contraction of Jehoshuah (Num_13:16; 1Ch_7:27), signifying in Hebrew, ‘Jehovah is helper,’ or ‘Help of Jehovah’”(Broadus). So Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua (Heb_4:8)
Albert Barne's Notes on the Bible
The name Jesus is the same as Saviour. It is derived from the verb signifying to save, In Hebrew it is the same as Joshua.
Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Jesus - The same as Joshua, Yehoshua, from yasha, he saved, delivered, put in a state of safety.
Jammieson Faussett and Brown Commentary
JESUS--from the Hebrew meaning "Jehovah the Saviour"; in Greek JESUS
The People's New Testament
Jesus. That is, Savior. The Hebrew form is Joshua; the full meaning is Jehovah's salvation.
Vincent's Word Studies
The Greek form of a Hebrew name, which had been borne by two illustrious individuals in former periods of the Jewish history - Joshua, the successor of Moses, and Jeshua, the high-priest, who with Zerubbabel took so active a part in the re-establishment of the civil and religious polity of the Jews on their return from Babylon. Its original and full form is Jehoshua, becoming by contraction Joshua or Jeshua. Joshua, the son of Nun, the successor of Moses, was originally named Hoshea (saving), which was altered by Moses into Jehoshua (Jehovah (our) Salvation) (Num_13:16). The meaning of the name, therefore, finds expression in the title Saviour, applied to our Lord (Luk_1:47; Luk_2:11; Joh_4:42).
Note on the book of Matthew
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary writes:
Authorship and Date. Matthew is an anonymous gospel. Like other gospel titles, the title was added in the second century a.d. and reflects the tradition of a later time. How, then, did the gospel acquire its name? Writing about a.d. 130, Papias, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), records, “Matthew collected the oracles in the Hebrew (that is, Aramaic) language, and each interpreted them as best he could.” Until comparative studies of the gospels in modern times, the church understood “oracles” to refer to the first gospel and considered Matthew, the apostle and former tax collector (9:9; 10:3), to be the author.
This conclusion, however, is full of problems. Our Gospel of Matthew is written in Greek, not Aramaic (as Papias records); and no copy of an Aramaic original of the gospel has ever been found. The Greek of the gospel cannot readily be translated back into Aramaic; and this strongly indicates that the gospel is not a Greek translation of an Aramaic original. It is now generally agreed that Mark is the earliest of the four gospels and that the author of Matthew substantially used the Gospel of Mark in writing this gospel.
If the apostle Matthew wrote the gospel, one would wonder why he quoted so extensively from Mark (601 of Mark's 678 verses appear in Matthew), who was not a disciple of Jesus. Such observations virtually eliminate the possibility of the apostle Matthew being the author of the gospel.
The most promising way out of this dead-end street is to understand the “oracles” mentioned by Papias, not as the Gospel of Matthew, but as a collection of Jesus' sayings collected by the apostle Matthew. Later these sayings were used by an unknown author as a source for the present Gospel. The actual author probably was a Palestinian Jew who used the Gospel of Mark, plus a Greek translation of Matthew's Aramaic “oracles,” and composed the gospel in Greek. The name of the gospel, therefore, stems from the apostle Matthew on whom the author draws, in part, to compose his work. This interpretation has the benefit of paying Papias' testimony the respect it deserves, as well as honoring the problems mentioned above.
Ronald F. Youngblood, general editor; F.F. Bruce and R.K. Harrison, consulting editors, Nelson's new illustrated Bible dictionary: An authoritative one-volume reference work on the Bible with full color illustrations [computer file], electronic edition of the revised edition of Nelson's illustrated Bible dictionary, Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995.