Thursday, August 17, 2017

Yeshua or Jesus? How Do We Call HIM?

            Don’t call HIM Jesus, call HIM Yeshua! Some messianic Jews and some Christians insist that Jesus should only be called Yeshua, “Some people claim that our Lord should not be referred to as “Jesus.” Instead, we should only use the name “Yeshua.” Some even go so far as to say that calling Him “Jesus” is blasphemous. Others go into great detail about how the name “Jesus” is unbiblical because the letter J is a modern invention and there was no letter J in Greek or Hebrew.”1

            Is it a sin to call our Lord as Jesus? Should we eliminate the name Jesus, henceforth?  

The Case for Yeshua

            Those who call HIM Yeshua claim the following:

            (1) Yeshua/Yahshua (Yay-shoo-ah or Yah-shoo-ah) is the recognized Jewish name for Jesus.

            (2) The name ‘Jesus’ is a pagan invention, for it is derived from the pagan source of Isus or Zeus.

            (3) The name Jesus is not found in the Scriptures, “The Bible was not written in English. What we read in English today are translations from other languages. The "New Testament" was written in Greek. Hence, the name "Jesus" is found nowhere in the Scriptures - it is a translation of the Greek name "Iesous" (pronounced "[ee]yeh-sooce"). "Iesous" came over into the Latin "Jesu" (pronounced "yehsoo") and finally into English as "Jesus." So in the most technical sense, saying "Jesus" is saying a twice-removed translation of the name we find in the "New Testament" Scriptures…”2

The Case for Jesus: Rejecting the Hebrew Roots Movement

            The Hebrew Roots movement is probably the main cause for the Jesus / Yeshua controversy. It aims to recover the Jewishness of Christianity:3

The premise of the Hebrew Roots movement is the belief that the Church has veered far from the true teachings and Hebrew concepts of the Bible…They teach that the understanding of the New Testament can only come from a Hebrew perspective and that the teachings of the Apostle Paul are not understood clearly or taught correctly by Christian pastors today. Many affirm the existence of an original Hebrew-language New Testament and, in some cases, denigrate the existing New Testament text written in Greek…they all adhere to a common emphasis on recovering the "original" Jewishness of Christianity…For the most part, those involved advocate the need for every believer to walk a Torah-observant life. This means that the ordinances of the Mosaic Covenant must be a central focus in the lifestyle of believers today as it was with the Old Testament Jews of Israel. Keeping the Torah includes keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week (Saturday), celebrating the Jewish feasts and festivals, keeping the dietary laws, avoiding the "paganism" of Christianity (Christmas, Easter, etc.), and learning to understand the Scriptures from a Hebrew mindset…they prefer to be identified as "Messianic Christians." Many have come to the conclusion that God has "called" them to be Jewish and have accepted the theological position that the Torah (Old Testament law) is equally binding on Gentiles and Jews alike. They often wear articles of traditional Jewish clothing, practice Davidic dancing, and incorporate Hebrew names and phrases into their writing and conversations. Most reject the use of the name "Jesus" in favor of Yeshua or YHWH, claiming that these are the "true" names that God desires for Himself. In most cases, they elevate the Torah as the foundational teaching for the Church, which brings about the demotion of the New Testament, causing it to become secondary in importance and only to be understood in light of the Old Testament…
            But recovering the Jewishness of Christianity is unnecessary, “God never intended Gentiles to become one in Israel, but one in Christ. The influence of this movement is working its way into our churches and seminaries. It's dangerous in its implication that keeping the Old Covenant law is walking a "higher path" and is the only way to please God and receive His blessings. Nowhere in the Bible do we find Gentile believers being instructed to follow Levitical laws or Jewish customs; in fact, the opposite is taught. Romans 7:6 says, "But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code."”4

The Case for Jesus: The New Testament Mentions Jesus not Yeshua

            If Yeshua is the only appropriate reference to our Lord, the authors of the New Testament (the Lord’s disciples included), who wrote the New Testament in Greek, would have used the name ‘Yeshua,’ isn’t it? But they did not! They transliterated the name of our Lord to “Iesous” (pronounced as ee-ay-sooce').5

            The fact that the New Testament does not use Christ’s Hebrew name is an adequate refutation of the Jesus / Yeshua controversy, “The entire New Testament was written in Greek, and the word Jesus is the word that is used.  It is not the Hebrew  יֵשׁוּעַ which is Yeshua.  So, it is simple.  Jesus is properly called Jesus… the New Testament uses "Jesus" as the name and not a Hebrew name.  For people to say that Jesus' real name is Yashua or Yahusha or Yahushua, etc., is Jesus' real name is just a statement of pushing an agenda and not believing the New Testament text.”6

            Some people believe that the New Testament was written in Hebrew. This is a false belief, “Some claim that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek. However, the records of early church history do not support this assertion. Tatian, Papias, Tertullian and Irenaeus, to name but a few writers of the early church, describe the original writings and quote from them. Yet not a single quote is taken from a Hebrew text—all are taken from Greek texts. Although Papias asserts that Matthew compiled his early reports in Hebrew, no evidence is given. Early translations of the New Testament are all based on Greek texts. The Harmony of Tatian, translated in 170 AD, is based on a Greek original, as is The Muratorian Canon. The Old Latin version translated in 180 AD is based on a Greek original. Early Gothic, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Armenian and Palestinian versions are all based on Greek originals. Even the Aramaic versions of the New Testament are translations from the Greek (see The Books and the Parchments, by F. F. Bruce, p. 189). No evidence of a Hebrew original has been found in all the centuries that have followed the writing of the New Testament.”7

The Case for Jesus: Demons Tremble at the Name of Jesus

            Christians involved in the ministry of exorcism would claim that demons flee upon hearing Jesus’ name.

            If Yeshua is the only correct representation of the Lord, there is absolutely no need for the demons to respond to the name of Jesus. But the fact that the demons flee at the name of Jesus is an adequate and reasonable existential proof debunking the claim that Yeshua is the only correct reference to the Lord.


            Call HIM Jesus or Yeshua, it does not matter. But please do not claim that those who are calling HIM Jesus are sinning or blaspheming. 

           Let the words of these messianic Jews conclude this essay, “So now to the question…should we cease to call him Jesus?... If you relate to him by his name Jesus, then don’t let it be a burden to you to change to Yeshua if you don’t feel the need to. He knows his sheep, and his sheep know his voice...”8

            “In the words of Dr. Brown, “Do not be ashamed to use the name JESUS! That is the proper way to say his name in English—just as Michael is the correct English way to say the Hebrew name mi-kha-el and Moses is the correct English way to say the Hebrew name mo-sheh. Pray in Jesus’ name, worship in Jesus’ name, and witness in Jesus’ name. And for those who want to relate to our Messiah’s Jewishness, then refer to him by His original name Yeshua—not Yahshua and not Yahushua—remembering that the power of the name is not in its pronunciation but in the person to whom it refers, our Lord and Redeemer and King...”9











Websites cited were last accessed on 17th August 2017. 

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