Four12 article image for 'Jewish Roots (Part 2) - Yeshua or Jesus' about whether we should use God's Hebrew name, Yeshua or Yehoshua

Jewish Roots (Part Two) – Jesus or Yeshua?

Continuing on our journey as we explore some of the errors made by the Jewish roots movement, I want to take a look at another claim that they make – that we should call God by his Hebrew name. One of the fastest ways to discern whether a person has been influenced by the Jewish Roots movement is to listen to how they speak about God. People who have been influenced by this doctrine call Jesus ‘Yeshua’, ‘Yehoshua’ or a similar variation.

Jewish Roots: A Recap of the Greek Influence on Jews

As we look at this, let’s briefly recap the first part of our Jewish Roots series. We looked at the fact that both culture and language in Israel were massively influenced by Greece when Alexander the Great rose to power, so that Greek had become the ‘table language’ of Israel. In the 3rd century BC, the Hebrew text was translated into Greek (called the Septuagint) because of the wide spread use of Greek within Palestine. Greek culture had so influenced the Jewish world that many could no longer understand Hebrew.

The area where Jesus grew up was known as “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Matthew 4:15), with many Jewish parents naming their children in the Greek language rather than in Hebrew. The apostles Andrew and Philip were from this area and had Greek names with no Hebrew equivalents.

It is interesting to see how the Hebrew scribes translated the name Jesus (Joshua, Yehoshua or Yeshua) in the Septuagint as they translated the original Old Testament Hebrew text into Greek. The Jewish scribes had no problem translating the Hebrew names to Greek and ‘Jesus’ (which is the same as ‘Joshua’ in Hebrew) was translated as “ησοῦ/s” (‘Iesous’ is the English transliteration, which is pronounced ‘yay-soos’).

Yeshua or Jesus?

Those influenced by the Jewish Roots philosophy teach emphatically that we should call Jesus by His Hebrew name – ‘Yeshua’ or ‘Yehoshua mashiach’ (‘mashiach’ means ‘the anointed’ and is translated as ‘Christos’ in the Greek Septuagint). It is very important to note that in the translation of the Septuagint, the Hebrews did not use the Hebrew names, they chose rather to use their Greek equivalents!

From this we learn that the Jews had no problem translating names into Greek, and because Greek had become so commonplace, it is likely that Jesus was known by a Greek version of His name.

It is very telling to see what the apostles who walked with Jesus called Him. Instead of calling Jesus by His Hebrew name, as they penned the New Testament, they wrote His name as ‘Iesous’. This reveals that the Holy Spirit had no problem calling Jesus by His Greek name. The fact that those who knew Him personally called Him ‘Iesous’ points strongly to the fact that this was the name He went by (more than this, we do not know). It is possible that His parents used a traditional Hebrew spelling or variation, but it is equally possible that they used the Greek. Whichever one it was, for our study, it makes little difference. The reality of it is that God used the name ‘Iesous’ when He inspired the apostles to write the holy text, as did the Jewish scribes who translated the Septuagint.

When the Bible was translated into English, the original spelling of His name was ‘Iesus’ (1611 KJV), which sounded like the Greek

This same pattern was followed by all the early church fathers who wrote about Jesus. None of them used ‘Yeshua’. In their writings we find the Greek word ‘Iesous’ being used. Polycarp, the disciple of John (+-100 AD), Ignatius (110 AD), the Didache (50 AD) and Clement (95 AD, who Paul the apostle refers to in Philippians 4:3), all wrote in Greek and use the Greek name ‘Iesous” to refer to Jesus. It is notable that some of these writings were dated to the actual times of the early apostles and very soon after Christ’s death!

The only other variation of Jesus’ name that we find in early writings was the Greek ‘nomination sacra’, which was the shortened version of Iesous – ‘IE’. This was a way of ascribing special sanctity to His name.

When the Bible was translated into English, the original spelling of His name was ‘Iesus’ (1611 KJV), which sounded like the Greek pronunciation used in the original text. Later, the English language evolved and any names starting with ‘I’ were replaced with a ‘J’, which is how we arrived at the modern spelling, ‘Jesus’.

…but to use some strange variation of His name that is not common in our language only promotes sectarianism, division, pride and confusion.

Thus we learn that Jesus was known from the earliest of times, both in the Scriptures and by those who knew Him, as Iesous or Jesus. Those who claim we must use the Hebrew roots version of His name to properly address Him have used faulty reasoning, which often seems to appeal more to vanity than fact.

Those passionately promoting the Hebrew roots doctrines should take note of what Paul writes to Titus, ‘Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.’ (Titus 3:9)

God is not concerned with whether we speak to Him using a specific version of His name! ‘He knows who are His’ (2 Timothy 2:9) and, if we believe that the Son of God died on a cross for our sins, we can be assured that He knows this and accepts us. Whether we call Him Yeshua, Jesus, Jesu or Iesous makes little difference to God, but to use some strange variation of His name that is not common in our language only promotes sectarianism, division, pride and confusion. For those of us who speak English, common sense says we should call Him ‘Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God’.

 


Read the 1st Article in this Series:  The ‘Jewish Roots’ Movement and Its Mistakes

Andrew is the apostolic leader of Four12. He also leads the multi-site Joshua Generation Church and is the founder and director of Freedom of Religion South Africa. He is based in Cape Town, South Africa, along with his wife, Emsie, and their daughter, Enya. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more.

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Cheating
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Pastors
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Reason
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favour
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Jesus
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Mortality
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Lukewarm
Home Group Leaders
Exhort
Sanctification
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Cross
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Find Forgiveness
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Team
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Change
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Apostolic Leaders
Authentic
Religions
Intellectual Pride
Ambition
Fruitfulness
God's Favour
Christian Living
Gentleness
Joy
Repentance
Unity
Loving People
Infirmity
Family Values
Righteousness
Leading
Exhortation
Self-Righteousness
Kingdom of God
Commands
Provision
Sex Before Marriage
Mothering
Women in Leadership
Halloween
Honesty
Testing
Crucifixion
Conversion
Guilt
Sacrificial Giving
Church Merger
Equipping
Saints
Leadership Team
Priesthood
Jehovah's Witnesses
Women In Ministry
Fruit of the Spirit
Womens Ministry
Messiah
Mind Idolatry
Megachurch
Biblical Paradox
Honouring God
Church Leadership
Church Life
Giving
Kindness
Revival
Water Baptism
Servant Heart
Living for Jesus
Covenantal Relationships
Division
Accusation
Flesh
Sexual Sin
Scripture
Customs
Provider
Living for God
Mothers
Female Leaders
Calling
Christian Fellowship
Backsliding
Easter
Witnessing
Infidelity
Biblical Culture
Merging Churches
Prophetic Equipping
Gift of Prophecy
Apostle
Priesthood of All Believers
Finance
Servanthood
Biblical Church
Praise
Atheism
Church History
Living the Gospel
Paradoxes in the Bible
Honouring People
Church Planting
Community Leaders
God the Father
Leaders
Salvation
Women
Afterlife
Protection
Dating
Decisions
Eldership
Fleshly Desires
Shame
Truth
Traditions
Works
Morality
Wisdom
Women Leaders
Ordaining Elders
Christian Community
Backslidden
Resurrection
Testimony
Masturbation
Communal Culture
Partnering Churches
Prophesy
New Churches
Five Fold Gift
Trinity
Tithe
Relationship
Employment
Thanksgiving
Atheists
Old Testament Prophet
Ambassadors
Truth in Tension
contradictions
Treasure Hunting
treasure
Deacons
Culture
Good News
Maturity
Self-Control
Word of Knowledge
Bitterness
Self-Pity
Courting
Forgiving
Anger
Freedom
Submission
Gifts of the Spirit
Get Baptised
Works and Faith
Morals
Gift of Wisdom
Females in Leadership
Ordaining
Defence
Commitment
Hearing God
Consequences
Receive Forgiveness
Leadership Training
Living Hope
Zimbabwe
Start a Church
Prophet
New Believers
Being Generous
Study Scripture
Jobs
Entitlement
Misotheists
New Testament Prophet
Work Values
Family
Devotion
Goodness
Men
Serving
Word of Wisdom
Brokenness
Sickness
Courtship
Friendship
Church Plant
Hope
Trusting
Gifts
Baptized
Fasting
Overcomer
Words of Wisdom
Leadership
Encounter
Repenting
Challenges
Listening
Caring for Children
Four12 Partners
Training Leaders
St Johns
Relief Fund
Building Church
Evangelist
Dreams
Communion
Being Accountable
Occupation
Rejection
Misotheism
The Case for Christ
Kingdom Priorities
Biblical Contradictions
Love
Discernment
Gospel
Mercy
Shepherding
Work
Caring
Suicide
Desires
Lies
Fathering
Vulnerability
Accountable
The Apostolic
Kids
Intercession
Singleness
Fear
lead
Life
Repent
Anxiety
Obey
Child Care
Four12 Partner
Volunteer
Taiwan Church
Israel
Healthy Church
Teacher
Multi-site Church
Perseverance
Loving Others
Profession
Social Media
Hopelessness
Lee Strobel
Kingdom Living
Refining Fire
Marriage
Discipleship
Grace
Ministry
Sin
Worship
Confusion
Trials
Husbands
Offence
Humility
Idols
Pride
Evangelising
Obedient
Christian Leadership
Singles
Healing
Direction
Revelation
Conviction
Complacency
Recalibration
Guidance
Transformation
Volunteering
Taiwan Churches
Providence
New Testament Church
Pastor
Church Structure
Feminism
Apostolic Partnership
Vocations
Distractions
Christian Books
Christian Movies
Covenantal Love
Storms of Life
resilience
steadfastness
uncompromising
Accountability
Doctrine
Healing and Miracles
Money
Social Justice
Youth
Death
Tribulations
Partner
Overcoming
Humbleness
Immorality
Prophets
Fornication
Planting A Church
Christian Leaders
Debt
The Word
Discipline
Condemnation
Bear Fruit
Complacent
Recalibrating
Teaching Kids
Partners Relief Fund
Apostolic Partnering
Netherlands
Marriage Training
Church
Apostolic Field
Administration
Racism
Church Partnering
Christian Values
Cosmological Argument
Christian Authors
Review
Husband

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