Yeshua, Yeshu or Jesus: Which?
Some of our Messianic brethren (who identify with different assemblies) wonder why, in the course of some of our publications -- posted lectures on the BRI web site, expositions, articles, and in Bible Study Manuals-- the name of Yeshua is sometimes written as "Yeshu" or "Y’Shu" and not always standardised as the popular "Yeshua." Indeed, some of our older BRI/IMCF students will recall very early lectures and expositions occasionally expressing the name of the Mashiach as "Yeshu(a)."
We have tried to delete such latter references due to the clumsiness of the language lever we were then utilising to differentiate between the Hebrew language, Aramaic dialect and Galilean pronunciation of the name of Our Lord. Some have also wondered why the highly corrupt name "Jesus" has in some rare instances been freely retained. There are a number of facts that need to be considered concerning these questions.
Firstly, as to the proper pronunciation of His name, it is a fact that nobody today really knows how it was actually articulated. It could just as easily have been "Ye'ho'shu" or "Yah'shu" as "Yeshua." But one thing is for certain: the last letter "a" was decidedly not pronounced due to His Galilean environment, culture and extraction.
No less an authority than Hebrew University Professor David Flusser states candidly, "The Hebrew name for Jesus, Yeshu, is evidence for the Galilean pronunciation for the period, and is in no way abusive. Jesus was a Galilean, and therefore the ‘a’ at the end of his name, Yeshua, was not pronounced" (Jewish Sources in Early Christianity, 1987, 15). This fact can also be substantiated by referring to the educated comments of the great theologian, Professor Karl Heinrich Rengstorf, in the NIDNTT (Colin Brown, ed.,II, 331,332). [NIDNTT stands for New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology.]
All BRI students (and interested readers at our site) ought to be aware that where we have taken the liberty of writing the name of the Lord as Yeshua (the Hebrew written form of the Lord’s name) we must think of Him in terms of Yeshu (the Galilean method of pronunciation of the Hebrew name). This is because....
Secondly, the Hebrew term for salvation, yeshua, is feminine. To use it as a personal name is to give a boy a girl's name! Our Lord didn't have negative personality complexes, although God did reveal Himself to Moses on some eight occasions in the feminine gender, and on another occasion referred to Himself as a midwife. More than this, our Lord Yeshua likened Himself to a hen who "would have gathered her chicks beneath her wings" for protection (Mt 23.37). Yeshua most certainly had a feminine side, and indeed was readily enough in touch with it even once donning an apron to wash his talmid's feet, but He would never have referred to Himself at any time as a woman. The name "Yeshua" is just too girlie! BRI publications therefore acclaim dignity, nobility and respect to the KING of kings and the LORD of lords. Yeshua is not the "Queen of queens" though it seems apparent that some of those who claim to be His followers in today's religious supermarket may be far more deserving of the latter appellation. Sometimes, it seems, one never quite knows whether to shake a pastor's hand or to kiss it. (There are decided exceptions!)
At the same time, and thirdly, while we are talking about "queens," what could be more undignified than to ascribe to Our Lord Yeshua all the ingredients of effeminate style as some have pictured Him now for many hundreds of years? It may surprise some but Yeshua, following the custom of the day, would have worn a Roman toga (or something similar) and not the whiter-than-white, silk frock (permanently pressed) in which Hollywood insists in portraying Him. He would not have possessed "Henna-style" shoulder-length soft and manageable flowing locks with cute little kiss curls on his forehead. And we can be faithfully assured that He absolutely does not become a literal piece of starch-reduced, white and fluffy protein-enriched bread during the celebration of the Mass or Communion.
Moreover, Our Jewish Lord Yeshua does not continually grace us with sickly, sweet, petulant, emaciated, effeminate and Gentile features. Yeshua IS Lord. He is SOVEREIGN LORD of all, and those who have portrayed Him in such a vile, disgusting manner will one day buckle at the knees as they come face to face with THE GOD OF ETERNITY at the throne of Judgment. The Psalmist tells us, "His enemies shall lick the dust" (Ps 72.9 Hebrew).
Still, having said this, we must bear in mind that we live in an ignorant world. If all our publications stressed only the proper name of the Lord Yeshua some people would not know who we were talking about. They know the Saviour only by the name of "Jesus."
But "Jesus" was not His name!
"Jesus" is supposed to be the Anglicised equivalent of the Greek Iesous but really, if it is, it is troubling to say the least. The English name "Jesus" (and the manner in which he is pictured) reminds one immediately of Jupiter-Zeus, the chief god of the ancient Greek Olympus. One can make a connection to a coded occult appellation evolving from "Jupiter Zeus"... "J-sus,"... "Je...sus," to "Jesus."
In the English language, Yeshua has been known as Jesus only for the past few short centuries, and before that he was known as Yesu or Jesu (which is closer to his original name). Some authorities, who have spent their entire lives studying the origins of names believe (and they are without doubt quite correct) that "Jesus" actually means (according to the rules of the Greek language) -- "Hail Zeus!" For Iesous in Greek is "Hail Zeus." That is, Ie translates as "Hail" and sous or sus is Zeus. This is what we are assured. The Jesus of modern Christendom is nothing more than the Egyptian form of Jupiter-Zeus, Serapis. If our readers have difficulty believing this fact, I would refer them to ancient statues and busts of Jupiter, Zeus and Serapis. The resemblance is remarkable.
So, according to the rules of language, the meaning of the city of Tarsus is the "sweat of Zeus," and other ancient sites also carry reference to the chief god of Mount Olympus ("Ephesus" etc). Thus, Parnassus was a sacred mountain in Greece; "Dionysus" the son of Zeus, was a Greek deity of wine; Odysseus was the Greek hero of the Trojan War, and rather surprisingly the pagan Greek god of healing was none other than Ieusues (a variant spelling of Iesou/ Jesus). For those who would object, please refer to Professor J.C.J. Melford’s Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend (1983, 126) and note that he is quite explicit when he comes to the subject. Notice it now:
"It is known that the Greek name endings with sus, seus, and sous [which are phonetic pronunciations for the chief Greek god of Olympus] were attached by the Greeks to names and geographical areas as means to give honour to their supreme deity, Zeus."
"Jesus" was a Jew but clearly this name has NO meaning in Hebrew.
What we have today is the perpetuation of rank paganism which swamped the church in the Constantinian period and has never left us. In fact, its become worse than ever. Whatever the case, the religious rot that was introduced into the church in the fourth century by the henchmen of Emperor Constantine is with us still. It was Constantine, we must remember, who called the Christians who refused to bend the knee to his form of Ba’al worship and "enter the [new] Catholic Church," "Judaisers." Indeed, he remained a passionate devotee of Helios (another name for Ba’al the sun god) until the day of his death when he at last "converted" to Christianity. The "Jesus" of modern Christendom is nothing more than the Egyptian form of Jupiter-Zeus, Serapis. This lecturer has on extremely rare occasions used the name of "Jesus" because of its common use and familiarity. We also utilise the inadequate term "God" although it is actually derived from "bull's penis." (So much for some of the web sites we have visited which emphasise the vital importance of "sacred names" -- almost making certain pronunciations a salvation issue -- and yet employ this latter word in their literature and communications.)
Consider, too, that the oldest complete NT corpus -- Codex Sinaiticus -- when writing the name of the Lord and Saviour in Revelation 1.1 abbreviates that "one Name under heaven by which men can be saved" to a simple "IY" [=YU] which would be a shortened form of "Yahu" as in "Yahushua." There are a number of scholars/students who pursue this argument, and they may well be correct in their assessment. If one adds up the number of variations of the name of the Lord we lose count after about three dozen. Whatever the case, the Messiah's name was most certainly not "Jesus."
One must always bear in mind the truth, also, that for almost 1700 years the only name under heaven given among men for salvation was actually Yesu (in the Western church) which was almost "on the money" until the corrupt "Jesus" became popular about three centuries ago (give or take a few decades). That was to change with the revival of Messianic interests in the mystical Body of Mashiach subsequent to 1967. Some legalists of the Messianic persuasion would insinuate that no conversions took place for that entire period due to the mispronunciation of the "sacred" name. The thought is beyond facetious. It is utterly ludicrous in the extreme. Once we rediscover the truth, however, it is obligatory to then sincerely follow that truth.
While names are vitally important, BRI does not seek to indoctrinate, but rather to educate. This is our emphasis, mission and calling. While we await the second Advent (better, manifestation) of Yeshua the Messiah we are confronted daily by language difficulties and anomalies.
According to Revelation 19.12 the coming "Warrior-Messiah" and "Prince of Peace" is, at the conclusion of this present evil age, about to subdue the entire earth through superior fire power. He will reign through his Messianic Government for a millennium bringing it peace and prosperity for the first time in 6000 years of recorded history. Intriguingly, this text reveals that at the time of his second Advent, only HE knows how to pronounce HIS OWN NAME!
We ought to all rejoice that in the near future the PURE WORD will introduce a globally accepted PURE LANGUAGE (Zeph 3.9) and we shall all finally KNOW even the presently hidden name of the One God.