The English name Jesus
Tommy had some very pointed questions as he was searching for the truth about the proper name of Jesus. Having investigated this matter, Tommy sent me a pdf file with the following. With his permission, I am pleased to present it to you!
Author Tommy Bryan
The Name above every name that is named.
Can we trust its English translation?
Several years ago, while traveling through the state of South Carolina, my wife and
I were listening to a Christian radio station. We heard a man, who claimed to be a
dedicated Christian, lambasting the Name “Jesus” as a mistranslation of the original
Hebrew word “Yeshua.” He spoke of the fact that the letter J was not fully developed
until less than 500 years ago, and therefore, the Name Jesus is a relatively recent and
corrupt translation, has no meaning in English, and should not be used when praying or
speaking with regard to our Savior. (Talk about a “shock” to a Christian trying to concentrate while
driving on I-95 at night!)
Since that time, I have discovered that there is a growing movement of seemingly
well meaning folks who make the same assertions. I must confess, that like many other
Christians, I too began to worry just a little that there might be an element of truth to
these disturbing claims, as I reasoned: Why would I not call upon my Lord with His
original Hebrew Name? Would it make a difference in my prayers?
As time went on, I studied this issue and found a number of inconsistencies in the
claims I had heard, but, in order to have full peace about the matter, I still needed the
truth – as the Lord sees it.
The reality is that I actually began to loose sleep over this issue of the Lord’s Name,
as I prayed for understanding of this all important subject. At first, the Lord Jesus
seemed to remain silent as I struggled for more insight; but later, I was to learn that this
was His way of making me explore more fully a matter that I now realize is important to
many people. He in fact wanted me to discover the real truth so that I might have
peace, and also be able to share it with others. Yes, now I know, more than ever, that
the Lord Jesus is very concerned that we as His children feel comfortable with, and
have confidence in, the Name we use to call upon Him.
The Lord finally allowed me to uncover and document many of the wonderful truths
regarding the subject of His Name and its translation into the many languages and
dialects spoken around the world. However, it has taken much effort, as I was opposed
by the enemy on more than one occasion; but the outcome has been a wonderful
peace about the Name I have been using all along -- the Lord "Jesus.”
As I began to discover some of the facts I needed, the Lord, through jewels of truth
already in His Word, began to reveal in my heart some things you just don't get from the
natural world; and together with the facts of history uncovered, the whole picture came
together with clarity that I had not fully anticipated.
Before reviewing some of the documentation I uncovered, please allow me to share
a revelation of truth which the Lord gave me early on, that I might have some relief from
the anxiety which had already begun to creep into my heart over this matter. It was the
profound awareness (yes, the Lord just mercifully placed this into my heart) that, considering the
global population growth over the last 500 years, it is through the Name "Jesus," and
the various pronunciations of the same word around the world, that more people have
received salvation and the accompanying "peace that passes all understanding," and
have also been delivered from drug and alcohol abuse, broken homes and marriages
mended, sicknesses cured, wayward children returned to reality, even rain given during
times of drought (my wife and I have personally witnessed local farmers meeting at Church to pray for
rain and the miraculous results wrought by their fervent prayers), and other enumerable miracles
performed -- than by all the other Names attributed to our Lord -- combined. I beg the
reader to simply allow this profound reality to sink in, as it cannot be honestly refuted.
The second understanding which the Lord allowed me to have, and document, is
the fact that the Lord did not introduce His Name to the world through the Hebrew
language -- but by Greek. Now, hang on to your hat, as you are about to discover even
more about this profound reality. By the way, this is a truth which the "naysayers" hate.
When discussing this issue, they do all they can to steer others away from it, as they
have even fabricated blatant untruths to deliberately diminish its significance.
So here we go as we explore, in a condensed fashion, the marvelous truths
regarding the Lord's revelation of His Name through the Greek language. As we
proceed, please allow me to note that this whole subject can appear to be rather
complicated, but only because we are dealing with words from three different
languages. Once the reader begins to fully recognize these relatively few important
words, then the horizon becomes clear again. My goal is to lay the subject matter out in
a logical sequence in order that the reader may have the best chance of grasping and
comprehending the facts.
The entire New Testament was written, by inspiration of the Lord's Spirit, in the
Greek language. That's right -- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the writer of Hebrews, Paul,
Peter, James, and Jude -- all -- independently, yet collectively, were inspired to write
their portion of Holy Scripture in Greek. May the reader never lose sight of this reality.
There are several significant reasons why the Lord God chose Greek to reveal the
Gospel message, and along with it His Name, to the world. First of all, if the Lord were
concerned that all people pronounce His Name with a Hebrew "sound," then He would
not have used the Greek word “Iesous” as the first introduction of His Name. In doing
so, He knew that Greek-speaking people around the world would pronounce His Name
in their own language -- as Iesous. (Iesous is pronounced "ee-sous" by Greek speaking people
today, but as "ee-ay-sous" in modern textbooks which promote a more ancient form of Greek.)
Now keep in mind that the Greek word Iesous sounds nothing like the Hebrew word
from which it came -- Yeshua. But then again, when names are translated into other
languages they almost always take on a different sound. Sure, the Greek speaking
people of the world can pronounce "Yeshua," but it is not a Greek word. If we
translated all words into a form that sounded exactly as they do in their original
language (which isn't always possible), then we would only need one language. It just
doesn't work that way! Translation is done by transforming a word into a form that is
conformable to the characteristics of the language we normally speak.
John is pronounced as Juan in Spanish, Jean in French, Jovan in Serbian, Eoin in
Scottish, Johan in Scandinavian, and Ioannes (I pronounced E) in Greek. Accordingly,
Peter is pronounced in Spanish as Pedro, in French as Pierre, Danish as Peder,
Scottish as Peadar, and Greek as Petros. It is also recognized around the world that no
insult or injury is meant to the individual (or taken) when his or her name is pronounced
differently in the various languages.
Now friend, the facts presented in the preceding paragraph are a big deal, as they
fully demonstrate that the Lord loves us so much that He obviously desires that all
people be able to call upon Him in their native tongue, using the "sound" conformable to
their own language. This is only part of His way of revealing that He wishes to be
"personal" with every person who is willing to come to Him in repentance, asking Him
for forgiveness of their sins, and trusting in His redemptive role for us at Calvary.
We will later cover more fully how Iesous is translated into English (Jesus), and also,
how it is pronounced in various languages around the world; but first, let's take a look at
another important reason why the Lord chose Greek to introduce the Gospel, and along
with it, His Name.
Over 300 years before the time of the New Testament, Alexander the Great had, to
a great extent, "Hellenized" (transformed the culture and language into Greek) the entire region
of Palestine and the Roman Empire. This may come as a surprise to many Christians,
but it is an established fact. While many of the Jews of Jesus' day spoke Hebrew
and/or Aramaic, the language of the street, necessary for trade with the multinational
mix of foreigners who traveled to and from Jerusalem, was Greek.
In its September/October 1992 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, the Biblical
Archaeology Society published an article entitled, Jewish Funerary Inscriptions -- Most
Are in Greek. I obtained a copy of this article by contacting the publishers. This article
gives the hard evidence that, during the days of the New Testament, the major
language of the street in Palestine and the surrounding Roman Empire was Greek. It
goes on to mention that of the 1600 Jewish grave markers uncovered of that era, over
70 percent of them were inscribed in Greek. In the same issue of Biblical Archaeology
Review, an article entitled Did Jesus Speak Greek? was also published. Now, the truth
is, Jesus was/is God and could have spoken any language He wanted to; but the article
makes a good case, by the mention in Scripture of the discourses He had with certain
gentiles, including Roman leaders, that He did in fact speak Greek, as well as Hebrew
The opponents of the Lord's Name, on the other hand, try to refute the fact that the
New Testament was originally written in Greek; they also make the false claim that
Greek was not the general language of the region. They like to point to Josephus, a
Jewish historian of the first century, who stated that even he had difficulty with the
pronunciation of some Greek words, as if he didn't speak much Greek. Regarding this, I
can't help but note that I only know one language -- English -- and I have difficulty with
many English words. Also, never mind the fact that Josephus translated his Jewish
War, a record of the Jewish revolt, from his native tongue (probably Aramaic) into Greek for
the masses living throughout the Roman Empire.
The opponents of the Lord’s Name also like to point out that Josephus stated that
many of the Jews of his day looked with disdain upon those who actually became
polished with their use of any foreign language, since that would tend to dilute their
Hebrew culture; but the fact remains that he, like the other Jewish people, had to be
able to converse -- even if some could only do so in a broken fashion -- with the
multitude of people dwelling in and traversing the land who only spoke Greek.
Regarding their argument that the New Testament was not originally written in
Greek, the opponents of the Lord's Name point to a mention by Papias, a second
century bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor, who said that Matthew had put together the
logia (“sayings”) of Jesus in the Hebrew dialect. In other words, they maintain that
Matthew, and by extrapolation, the other writers of the New Testament, first wrote their
works in Hebrew. The truth is not a single fragment of any evidence of this has ever
been found. Furthermore, if any of the writers of the New Testament had in fact, at
some time, written their portion of Holy Scripture in Hebrew, the fact remains that they
were all compelled by the Lord's Spirit to compose their works in Greek; and yes,
there may have been other reasons why the Lord chose to give us the New Testament
in Greek, such as the fact that it is known to be a very "precise" language. Either way --
He did so. (The "naysayers" totally ignore this reality.)
Perhaps, before proceeding further, I should mention that my studies on this
subject carried me (by phone and e-mail) to the language department of many universities
and institutions across the country. I wanted a "cross-section" of input from the
acquired knowledge of several Greek and Hebrew scholars so as to verify that my
findings were in fact correct. For those who deem it important to know, some of these
professors were at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC,
Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in
Fort Worth, Texas, California Baptist University in Riverside, CA, Fuller Theological
Seminary in Pasadena, CA, Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, and Zion's Hope in
Orlando, Florida. (Zion's Hope is a Jewish Christian Organization with Jewish and non-Jewish
professors specializing in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic languages, as well as some who have studied
other ancient languages such as Egyptian, Latin and Germanic.)
Let's continue with a few interesting facts about the Greek word for the Lord's
Name -- Iesous. This word is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Yeshua.
Yeshua is a contracted form of Yehoshua. It is contracted exactly as "you all" is
contracted to "y'all." (Yes, I'm from the south.) However, like all words together with their
contracted form, both Yehoshua and Yeshua mean the same. The normally recognized
meanings for these words are, "Jehovah is salvation," "Jehovah saved," or simply,
"salvation" -- depending on the context as used. Some insist that Yehoshua means
"Jehovah is salvation," while Yeshua simply means "salvation" (even some textbooks
indicate this); but as the Hebrew scholars I spoke with verified, Yeshua is in fact only the
contracted form of Yehoshua, and therefore, carries with it the same meaning.
Now hang on, as it really isn't as complicated as you may think. It just takes a little
close study to thoroughly understand. So keep the faith, and learn these valuable
truths, as you will surely be faced with those who try and discredit the Lord's Name.
Many of the opponents of the Lord’s Name as Jesus argue that Iesous is actually a
corrupt Greek translation of the Hebrew word Yeshua, and therefore, any translation
from the Greek would also be corrupt. Hence, they insist we should use only the
Hebrew word Yeshua. (Sounds like they have a good argument, doesn't it? Not really.) It just so
happens that Yeshua is a common name in Hebrew for Joshua (the English translation of
Yeshua), and Greek speaking Jews of the days of the New Testament had been using
the Greek word Iesous for Yeshua for over 200 years. Why? Because, since Greek
was becoming such a popular language, even among Jews, Jewish scholars felt it
necessary to translate the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) into Greek, and it became
known as the "Septuagint." This was the main Bible used by many Jewish people during
the days of our Lord's sojourn upon the earth. Therefore, the word Iesous was a
perfectly accepted Greek word for Yeshua, even by the Jewish scholars of the day.
(Those who oppose the name of Jesus don't want you to know this.)
So, when you translate Yeshua into Greek, you have Iesous. Accordingly, when
you translate Yeshua directly into English, you have "Joshua." However, since Greek
was the universal language of the day, the Lord chose the Greek language for the New
Testament -- and thus -- the Greek word Iesous as His choice of words for the
introduction of His Name. It is also important to note that the word Yeshua was never
used once in the New Testament writings of Scripture.
This means that the word Iesous -- exactly as the Lord planned -- is the word which
gets translated into the various languages of the world as His Name, while leaving the
Hebrew word Yeshua for those who speak Hebrew and Aramaic -- as the Aramaic
pronunciation of the Lord's Name is almost identical and means the same. In other
words, if you speak Hebrew or Aramaic, then Yeshua is the perfect word to use as you
call upon the Lord.
Do you think there was perhaps another motivation for the Lord's use of the Greek
word Iesous in the introduction of His Name? Consider the following: How would you
feel about praying to "Joshua?" Would you perhaps feel just a bit uncomfortable
pleading with "Joshua" in fervent prayer to heal your broken marriage? How would it
sound to you as little children sang, "Joshua loves the little children, All the children of
the world, Red and yellow, black and white, Joshua loves the little children of the
world?" Don't you believe the Lord knew ahead of time that the Hebrew word Yeshua
would eventually be translated into the common English name of Joshua? (Hmmm?)
Now let's bring together what you just read in the preceding paragraph with
something which no doubt is very special. Does not the Lord tell us in His word to be
"sanctified" -- set apart from the world as belonging to Him? Does He not deserve a
Name which is also "sanctified" -- set apart as reserved for Himself?
By translating the word He chose for the introduction of His Name -- Iesous -- directly into English, we end
up with "Jesus." (Again, we will take a look at the actual translation a little later.) Stop and think
for a moment: Except for a few parents who name one of their sons Jesus (I suppose in
honor of the Lord), this Name -- Jesus -- and the various pronunciations of the same word
around the world, is one of the most "sanctified" words in existence. It is universally
recognized as the Name of the Savior, the Son of the living God, and is usually
reserved exclusively for use as His Name. By design and divine foreknowledge, the
Lord's Name has become, to a great extent, "sanctified" -- just for Him. As the Psalmist
has stated, Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
By the way, it is technically incorrect to say that Iesous is the Greek translation of
Joshua, as the word Joshua was not even a word at the time. Yes, the Hebrew word
Yeshua, translated into Greek, is Iesous; but Joshua was a much later translation of
Yeshua into English. This fully demonstrates that the text books which state that Iesous
is a translation of Joshua -- are simply wrong. Yes, Yeshua and Joshua are
synonymous, but the Greek word Iesous and the English word Joshua are both
translated from Yeshua. By the way, this was one of the main points I covered with the
Hebrew scholars I spoke with, and they all fully agreed that there can be no
contradiction when you consider that Joshua was a much later translation of Yeshua.
At this point, I want to share something else with the reader which the Lord Jesus
gave me regarding the subject at hand. Throughout the centuries, the Name Jesus,
and the various forms of the Lord's Name attributed to Him, have also been the object of
insult and ridicule, uttered in profanity, twisted, distorted, and slandered in many ways.
If the Lord God is perfect and Holy in every way, without spot or blemish (and He is), then
He must put down all forms of sin and transgression -- and He will. When every trace of
evil is banished forever, He will reveal a Name to us that we will use throughout eternity
that has never known insult or ridicule. It will be His perfect Name, never tarnished or
blemished through misuse or abuse, and is right now, known only to Him and His Son.
He gives us His hint of this wonderful truth in Revelation 19:12.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a
name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
One of the main points of this reality is that those who are searching for a possibly
overlooked "magic" name that will cause their prayers to be instantly answered and
consequently open up a whole world of miracles and other possibilities -- might as well
forget it -- as they won't find it -- for now. Please don't take this to mean that by using
the Name Jesus we won't get our prayers answered, or the possibility of marvelous
miracles occurring, because they certainly do: however, I am sure you know what I
mean by the preceding, as many people just don't seem to be satisfied with any name
they presently know to address the Lord.
Before getting to the matter of how Iesous is translated into English as Jesus,
perhaps we should clear up something already alluded to about the pronunciation of
Iesous in the Greek language. Every single concordance and textbook I've studied
have indicated that Iesous is pronounced in Greek as ee-ay-sous. However, I recently
discovered "The Jesus Film Project" posted on the internet. Via this website, one can
view the story of the Lord Jesus in just about any language they choose by simply
clicking on the appropriate link. Since they use native persons to narrate the story, I
found this to be a fantastic way of hearing just how the Lord's Name is pronounced in
various languages. When I viewed a portion of the Greek version, I was totally
shocked, considering all the textbooks and commentaries, to discover that Iesous is
pronounced by Greek speaking people as "ee-sous" -- no "ay" as a second syllable.
(Visit the Jesus Film website, click on the Greek link and you will find the Lord's Name
This "revelation" prompted my quick communication with a native Greek person
with whom I am acquainted, and I questioned him regarding this issue Yet again, I was
very pleased to hear even he pronounce the Lord's Name in Greek as -- "ee-sous."
When I pointed out the fact that so many English textbooks and scholars pronounce it
as ee-ay-sous, he replied: "That's their problem." as he had no explanation for this
wide-spread error. (Thank you Lord Jesus for bringing me to this important truth.)
Certainly one may wonder: How did so many people get the Greek pronunciation
wrong? After doing some research on the subject, I discovered that a sixteenth century
scholar named Erasmus published a treatise on how he believed ancient Greek
should be pronounced. It became known as the "Erasmian System" of Greek
pronunciation. As it turns out, his work has influenced much of today's scholarly
thinking, as his system of Greek pronunciation is used in many colleges and
universities; but the incredible truth is that Erasmus' work was only focused on the
classical Greek spoken before about 300 BC -- and not the time of the New Testament.
(Yes, I'm still scratching my head over this one.) (See "The Renaissance" near the bottom of the
More to the point, the first letter of Iesous in Greek is the Iota and is pronounced as
"e-o-ta." (Yes, in English it is usually "i-o-ta.") This gives the first letter of Iesous an "e"
sound. Then, the second letter of Iesous is the Eta. The Erasmian System of
pronunciation pronounces this letter as "ay-ta." This apparently led to the modern
pronunciation of Iesous as ee-ay-sous. However, in both modern and New Testament
Greek, the Eta is actually pronounced as "ee-ta" or "ee-tha" -- thereby giving the first
two letters of Iesous an "e" sound -- hence the simple pronunciation of "ee-sous."
It may also be helpful to point out that since there are no silent letters in Greek, and
since Greek speaking people are accustomed to “sounding” each letter of their
alphabet, the double e at the beginning of Iesous is actually subtly pronounced; but we
who speak English do not normally hear it. We simply hear -- "e-sous."
If you would like to hear each letter of the Greek alphabet pronounced, you can do
pronunciation of the Eta by scrolling down to the seventh letter. It looks like our capitol
H and small n. (The Iota is the ninth letter.) Also, be sure to click on the Erasmian, Biblical,
and Modern pronunciations. To see the spelling of each Greek letter, visit:
Finally, we come to the matter of how Iesous is translated into English. Again, the
opponents of the Lord's Name proclaim that the word Jesus is a corrupt form of the
Greek word Iesous -- which they also claim was a corrupt form of the original Hebrew
word Yeshua. However, as we have already seen, Iesous was a perfectly accepted
Greek translation of Yeshua, as it had been in existence for over 200 years in the text of
the Greek Septuagint. Therefore, Iesous is a legitimate word with which to begin our
translation. But alas! There is more to their false accusations. They also claim that by
going through Greek, then into Latin, and then into English, the word Jesus is "three
times removed" from the original Hebrew word Yeshua, rendering the Name "useless"
and "meaningless." They also point to the fact that the J was not developed in the
English language until about 500 years ago, therefore, the Name Jesus was not even
heard prior to that time -- and -- to add insult to injury, they also blatantly claim that the
word Jesus was derived from the spelling of a false god -- which I won't dignify by even
spelling the word. (As the Scriptures indicate, I don't think it is proper.)
Perhaps we should first review the development of the letter J in the English
language, as it is a major "rub" with the opponents of the Lord's Name. The reader
must also bear in mind that the opposition to the word Jesus is the fact it does not
"sound" like the original Hebrew word Yeshua. They contend that a personal name
should be pronounced the same in all languages. All the websites and published
material on the subject, authored by those who oppose the Lord's Name as Jesus, use
as their major premise that it has no similarity in sound or meaning to the original word
Yeshua. Furthermore, they can't even agree between themselves on just what their
original word is: some insist on other words such as, Yahshua, Yehoshua, Yahweh,
and other names which contend for the top spot on their combined list.
Please forgive me for this unorthodox way of drawing
the reader's attention to the next two paragraphs,
but as they distill much information, they are that important.
As already mentioned, one of the most fundamental truths regarding the translation
of the Lord's Name into English, or any other language, is the fact that it was the Lord
Himself who gave the writers of the New Testament the word to use as His Name -- and
that was the Greek word -- Iesous. It is also a well established fact that Iesous was the
Greek word for the Hebrew word Yeshua -- but sounds nothing like Yeshua. Again, this
clearly demonstrates that the Lord intended for people of all nations to call upon Him
with His Name translated into a form conformable to the "sounds" and character of their
own language. Those who are trying to coerce the rest of us into using the Hebrew
word Yeshua, or any other word they deem as "original" in the Hebrew language, are
totally ignoring this reality. Actually, they are not really ignoring it, as they have used
every tactic conceivable to twist, distort, cover-up, and/or push aside any evidence that
demonstrates that the Lord actually gave the New Testament writers the word He chose
as His Name.
The English alphabet, with its accompanying "sounds," has evolved into its present
day form, just as all the other languages of the world have done. Therefore, as long as
words are translated in accordance with the accepted standards of any language, then
no criticism is justified. In other words, over the centuries, every single letter of our
alphabet, including the letter J, has come into being, and then followed an evolutionary
process into its present day form. This is simply the way it is, and has always been with
every language on the planet.
Yes, the naysayers will now probably contend that the Lord had no way of knowing
just how languages would evolve over the centuries, and if He had known, He would
probably have invented the tape recorder way back then just so He could preserve the
"sound" that He wanted spoken by all of humanity when we speak His Name. Do you
get my drift? (Their problems are self-inflicted.)
For what it is worth, the "sound" of the letter J has been around in subtle forms for
centuries; however, it was not pronounced in its modern hardened form until it became
a separate letter in the English alphabet. As subtle J sounds evolved, a "tail" was
added to the I so as to give the reader an indication when the evolving sound was to be
used. As the J became more pronounced in its usage, the tail was eventually dropped
from the I and the letter J formed as a separate letter. Now you know "the rest of the
story" of the letter J.
By the way, many do not realize that the Name Jesus was spelled "Iesus" in the
original 1611 King James Bible, and since the " I " was pronounced as today's Y, the
Lord's name was pronounced as "Yesus." The J was only then beginning to evolve into
its more hardened form of pronunciation, as well as its status of being a stand-alone
letter of the alphabet. The King James Bible subsequently went through several
revisions, as the old Elizabethan style of English was evolving into a more modern form.
These later editions were published in 1629, 1638, 1762 and 1769. As the form of
English and its pronunciation changed, so did the Name of our Lord as it came to be
spelled and pronounced as -- Jesus. The following is a depiction of a small portion of
Luke, chapter 4, in the original 1611 King James Bible. The reader can compare the
difference of the Elizabethan style of English to that of today, as well as the spelling of
the Lord's Name.
Luk 4:1 And Iesus being full of the holy Ghost, returned from Iordane,
and was led by the spirit into the wildernesse,
Luk 4:2 Being fourtie dayes tempted of the deuil, and in those dayes he did eat nothing:
and when they were ended, he afterward hungred.
Luk 4:3 And the deuil saide vnto him, If thou be the Sonne of God,
command this stone that it be made bread.
Luk 4:4 And Iesus answered him, saying, It is written, that man shall not liue by bread alone,
but by euery word of God. KJV 1611
As we proceed with the translation of the word Iesous into Jesus, allow me to note
something which occurred to me as I studied this issue. If you translated Iesous directly
into English -- using today's translational standards, and effectively by-passing all the
so-called "evolutionary processes" which have occurred along the way -- what word
would you wind up with? Would it be "Jesus?" What would it mean if it turned out to
be another word? On the other hand, what would it mean if it really did turn out to be
Jesus? Now if the latter were the case, then it seems to me that this would really blow
the doors off the fortress occupied by the naysayers! Well -- if you are ready -- let's
take a look at the step by step process.
The letters used for the spelling of the Greek word Iesous are:
Iota --- Eta --- Sigma --- Omicron --- Upsilon --- Sigma
Using today's standards of translating Greek into English:
The Iota is pronounced as “I” (as in Israel) when it precedes a consonant.
It is pronounced as "J" when it precedes a vowel.
In the word Iesous, the Iota is followed by a vowel -- the Eta:
The Iota is correctly pronounced as --------------------- J
The Eta is correctly pronounced as --------------------- E
The Sigma, Omicron, Upsilon, Sigma -- "sous"
is correctly contracted to the English form ------------ S
Hallelujah -- praise the Lord Jesus!
By the way, do you remember the point mentioned earlier, that by using the Greek
word Iesous to introduce His Name to the world, the Lord Jesus knew that Iesous would
subsequently be the very word used for the translation of His Name into the vast
majority of spoken languages, thereby creating a more "sanctified" word for His Name?
Consider the following:
The English translation of Iesous (ee-sous) is Jesus.
(The following are spelled the way they sound.)
In French He is Ja-su.
In Russian He is E-zous.
In German He is Yee-zous.
In Albanian, Kosovar, and Armenian, Jesus is Ye-zous.
In Spanish He is Hey-sous.
In Nigerian He is Jesus.
In Swahili, Tanzania He is Ye-su.
Though they have similar "soundings," one of the obvious lessons we can learn
from the preceding is the fact that names are naturally pronounced somewhat differently
when translated into other languages. Therefore, the opponents of the Lord's Name
don't have a leg to stand on when they insist the whole world should pronounce His
Name the same. Yes, we will -- when His "secret" Name is revealed to mankind -- or
should I say -- to all of Creation; but for now, He is pleased to allow every person to call
upon Him in the language and "sound" of their own dialect. The reader should listen to
some of the Asian languages, such as Japanese or Chinese and try to imagine how
"unnatural" it would be for people of their culture to use Yeshua or Jesus as an
everyday word. I listened to some of these pronunciations (on the Jesus Film website) and I
can't even spell in English how they actually sound.
YHWH -- "I AM That I Am"
It would really not be appropriate to end even a brief historical overview of the
Name Jesus without also giving some explanation of important root words such as
YHWH, Yahweh, Yehovah, Jehovah, and Adonai. Accordingly, since they are closely
linked, I fully believe the reader may find this information to be just as interesting as the
information already given.
The best way to explain these words, in an accurate yet concise manner, is to start
right from the original word in the Scriptures for the Name of the Creator. That word,
represented by a tetragrammaton is -- YHWH. (The word "tetragrammaton" is derived from the
Greek language meaning "four letters" and is usually reserved for the Hebrew Name of the Almighty.)
In Exodus 3:14-15, the Lord appears to Moses and gives three instances of His
Name. As an example of how a concordance and other textbooks can be inaccurate, or
incomplete to say the least, these three instances of the Lord's Name are usually
treated as if they are the same, with YHWH being used in each instance. Not true! In
the first instance, the Lord gives the meaning of His Name as "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh."
This statement in Hebrew is usually translated as "I Am That I Am", or "I Will Be What I
Will Be", or "I Am Who I Am", etc. In the second instance, the Lord simply tells Moses
to say to the Israelites that the "I Am" has sent you, or "Ehyeh". Then, in verse 15, the
Lord reveals to Moses His Proper Name when He says tell them that YHWH has sent
you. These three instances are simply the process by which the Lord chose to reveal
His Name and its meaning to Moses. Also, please note that, because its pronunciation
is not known, the word YHWH is not used in most translations of the Bible. As you are
about to discover, the word “Lord” or “Jehovah” is usually substituted.
Adonai -- Lord
The Hebrew scholars soon took it upon themselves not to pronounce YHWH, as
they were afraid of somehow becoming guilty of blaspheming. So they decided to write
the Name, but not pronounce it. However, for reading purposes, they would substitute
the Hebrew word "Adonai" ("Lord" in English) wherever YHWH was found in the text.
Since only consonants are used for YHWH, and since the Jews stopped
pronouncing it hundreds of years ago, the actual pronunciation is lost. Even in the
days just prior to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, the Name was only allowed to
be pronounced by the priests during the festival of Yom Kippur, also known as "The Day
of Atonement." Accordingly, it has not been pronounced since, as there is no temple
and Holy of Holies for the priests to enter into during Yom Kippur.
During the middle ages, an attempt was made to produce an English translation of
YHWH. Somehow, the vowel pointings of the substitute word "Adonai" were applied to
YHWH. They used a technique which had been formulated by the Masoretic scribes in
the first century AD. The result of the new English translation was either "Iehowah" or
"Iehovah," then pronounced as "Yehowah" or "Yehovah." As the English language
developed, along with the letter J, Yehovah became known as "Jehovah." (Whew!)
So the truth is, the word Jehovah is not really an accurate translation of YHWH,
though it is now accepted as an acceptable substitute with all the original meanings
carried over with it. (If you perhaps think this is a little complicated, you should have been in my
shoes as I attempted to extract this and other information from the many Greek and Hebrew scholars I
spoke with -- as well as the abundance of text material necessary to sift through. Nevertheless, the
opportunity has been most rewarding, and I humbly thank the Lord Jesus for this wonderful privilege.)
Then, probably within the last two hundred years, scholars began to piece together,
with all the available textual evidence, the most likely vowel pointing of YHWH and
came up with the word "Yahweh." (If you take a close look at YHWH you will see how the vowels
were logically added.) All the Hebrew scholars I spoke with agreed that the word Yahweh
is probably the closet pronunciation we now have of the original YHWH. In other words,
they believe that Yahweh may in fact be the actual word spoken to Moses from the
burning bush of Exodus 3:15. However, it is also conceded that it is not an absolute
certainty. The following websites may be helpful, and seem to be as accurate as any,
that is when I compare them to the statements of the Hebrew and Greek scholars I've
Yahshua is a word that many of the naysayers proclaim we should be using
instead. Considering the fact that Yahshua is not even a Hebrew word (and never has
been), it is almost inconceivable that they offer so much fabricated “evidence” to support
their claims. The word Yahshua was literally “invented” for their own purposes by
taking the "Yah" from Yahweh and connecting it with the "shua" of Yeshua, and presto --
they came up with "Yahshua." If the reader will simply visit the Jewish Encyclopedia
discover that you will not find it. However, if you search for Yahweh, Yehoshua,
Yeshua, and Adonai you will find them.
Yehoshua is a very important word. It is the name which Moses gave to Joshua in
Numbers 13:16, who was then known as Hoshea. As Joshua was a type of Christ, as
he led the children of Israel into the promised land, his new name, Yehoshua, is linked
to YHWH and its meaning is -- “YHWH is salvation.” Accordingly, it is also the word
designated by the Almighty as the correct linage to the Name “Jesus.” Yehoshua was
contracted to Yeshua, Yeshua was translated into Greek as Iesous, and of course,
Iesous is now translated into English as “Jesus.”
Something we should "zero in on a little closer" is the fact that we do not have a
definite translation or pronunciation of the original word YHWH. We have Yahweh and
Jehovah as the best attempts of translators through the years, and we know that YHWH
has as its meaning, "I AM THAT I AM" etc. because this was given by the Lord to
Moses in Exodus 3:14. Therefore, we can definitively say that the Name "Jesus" can be
traced back to the "I AM" through the linage mentioned in the previous paragraph.
So perhaps now may be a good time to ask an obvious question: Why has the
Almighty allowed the pronunciation of His Name, as revealed to Moses, to be lost
throughout the centuries?
It would not surprise me to know that many of those who have carefully read this
writing probably already have a good idea as to the answer to the preceding question.
There may in fact be other reasons, but surely, the Lord God has carefully orchestrated
events throughout the centuries in such a way that the Name "Jesus" would have
absolute preeminence as the highest Name given among men whereby we must be
saved. For this servant, this is sufficient cause to accept it as -- cased closed.
By the way, when I inquired to Greek and Hebrew scholars about the preservation
of the original "meaning" of words translated into English (or any language for that matter),
they all responded by noting that the original meaning is always carried over into the
translation. However, there is a "catch:" One must research the original word to
discover its meaning. Duh!! I should have known that! As Bible students, and
sometimes as students of the meaning of our own personal names, we are all
accustomed to this process. Why didn't I think of that before? (I bet you didn't think about it
So what does the word Jesus mean? Well, it has already been clearly
demonstrated that through the linage of the root words of Iesous, Yeshua, Yehoshua,
and YHWH, the answer is apparent for all to see: Jesus is -- the "I AM THAT I AM."
Friend, the profound truth which the information in this document has revealed is
the fact that the Name "Jesus" is one of the most historically accurate translated words
in existence. It is the word which the Almighty determined long ago to become one of
the most sanctified words for use as His Name. It is thus the Name we can fully trust
as we call upon our Creator and Lord.
On the other hand, we can now clearly understand the un-seen motivation behind
the present day movement of discrediting the Lord's Name. It is obviously an attempt to
shake the confidence we have in the very Name we have come to love and trust as we
call upon our Savior. If one cannot trust and have full confidence in the Name with
which they call upon the Lord, then their very faith is shaken to the core. The irony is
most of the people behind this movement seem to be sincere people. However, as the
facts unmistakably reveal -- they are sincerely wrong!
As we bring our study of the Lord's Name to a conclusion, please allow me to give
the reader a few helpful tips regarding the Jesus Film website previously mentioned. It
careful to find and download the free version.
After installing Real Player listen to the first few minutes of the English version of
the film and familiarize yourself with the movie scenes surrounding the mention of the
Lord's Name as "Jesus" at the following time slots: 9:50 -- 11:50 -- 12:44 and 12:54.
(You can move the slider bar over to speed up the process.) Next, go to any other language you
prefer and find the same scenes to hear how Jesus is pronounced. There is, however,
a small "adjustment" to make, as the introduction used in the English version is not used
in the other language versions. Therefore, the time slots are different in the other
languages. These time slots are usually as follows: 2:10 -- 4:55 -- 5:50 and 5:58. Trust
me: you will find this process to be most interesting, genuinely educational, and
probably a little emotional for yourself as you hear the Savior's Name pronounced in the
various languages of the world.
May the Lord Jesus truly bless you with full confidence in His Name that He might
bless you even further by drawing you ever closer.