What’s in a Name?

Once we start peeling at the “onion of error”, realizing how badly we were taught, and learning the truth, our zeal burns hotter and hotter. One of the hottest topics in our circles is to get the names of Yeshua (Jesus) and Yahweh (the Father) right. This can get really complicated.

From a practical standpoint, this site is going to use the traditional erroneous names as well as the Hebrew names. We simply have to. There’s just no way to reach people who are searching for the truth without communicating in language everyone can understand. Personally, when I was searching on internet forums, I tuned out those who used a lot of Hebrew words. I simply could not understand them and, with the volume of information out there to be digested, it was just too confusing to read articles in a foreign language. Of course, there is scriptural precedent for this:

To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. 1 COR 9:20-23

Paul is writing here that he met people where they were. This surely doesn’t mean that Paul taught lawlessness. In fact, it would make no sense for him to repeat himself with the “under the Law” and then “without the Law” if, at that point in time, there were no law. What does make sense is that Paul, being a Roman citizen and a completely educated Pharisee, to be able to relate to a large audience, which is why this site uses both Yeshua and Jesus.

Now, on to the details. For starters, we can thank the scribes for all the confusion on the name of Yahweh. We actually don’t know where to place the vowels or which ones to use. Yahweh is the commonly accepted view of the tetragrammation. Jehova is not the pronunciation since the letter J is only about 600 years old. Yehova is a possibility, with some pretty heavy hitting scholars saying that should be the way. But we don’t know, so we do our best. Writing G-d is another oddity. I don’t get that one at all. Saying HaShem is another pretty popular tradition. This is really silly since HaShem means “the name”. I’m pretty confident God does not want us to worship a noun.

Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:1-3

Those verses right there answer a whole lot of these doctrinal issues. The word for god and gods in those sentences is “elohim”. It’s the same word. The same word. That means that God introduced Himself to the mixed multitude by calling himself the same word used for both the true God and false gods. If He had no problem calling Himself the equivalent to “God”, then we shouldn’t either. Secondly, our English translators have continued in yet another error handed down from the scribes and that is to substitute LORD for YHVH. It doesn’t really say “I am the LORD”, it says “I am YHVH”. Except when God said it, it had the vowels and they were in the right place. The millions of people present when God introduced Himself knew His name. We are supposed to know His name.

And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” Mark 7:6-8

Can we think of any better doctrine that voids the commandment of God than the doctrine of hiding His name from us, especially when the doctrine alters the very first commandment given?

Next up is the name of Jesus. It’s not Jesus and never was. It’s Yeshua, which is short for Yehoshua. We know this one for sure because the ancient manuscripts use this name and it was a popular name in Judea,. There’s no doubt. The word “Jesus” actually has nothing to do with Zeus, the pagan god of antiquity. Jesus morphed over time from the Greek pronounciation of Yeshua, which was written down as Iesous. It makes perfect sense for the Greek spelling to be applied since, at the time of Yeshua, the majority of the Old Testaments (Tanakh) were what we refer to as Septuagints. These would be Greek translations of the Old Testament which were very popular in first century Judea. Over time, though, Iesous became Jesus, but when the letter J made it’s debut, it sounded like a Y, not like the J sound we make today.

Since we know this name, and the scriptures record that there is no other name under heaven for which we can be saved, we should probably use it. This creates a dilemma, though, since by still using Jesus we are participating in the error. However, like my story above, if we call Him Yeshua and our audience tunes us out, what good is our knowledge?

Another reason to call Yeshua “Yeshua” is doctrinal.

“The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. ‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ Deut 18:17-20

This is a prophecy of Yeshua, but also of other prophets and leaders. The first person this applied to was Joshua, son of Nun, who led the Hebrews across the Jordan and into the promised land. Joshua’s real name in Hebrew? You guessed it, Yehoshua, or Yeshua for short. Yeshua, Son of God, has the same exact name as the man chosen to lead the people into the promised land. Coincidence? I think not.

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