Jesus, Jeshua, Joshua, Yeshua, Yehoshua

Wait! What? So you’re saying his name isn’t actually Jesus? Here’s the lowdown on the real name of the rabbi from Nazareth.

The angel told Joseph to name the baby boy Jesus. But the angel was not speaking in Greek and did not use the Greek version of the name. The Hebrew/Aramaic version of the name Jesus is Yeshua, and yeshuah is a Hebrew word that means salvation. Speaking in Hebrew, the angel made a wordplay on the name of the child, “You shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save (yoshia) His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Yeshua and Joshua are actually the same name. When the Hebrew name Yehoshua (Joshua) appears in Aramaic, the Aramaic pronunciation truncates it into Yeshua (Jeshua). Yeshua is simply a short version of Yehoshua. To put it in English names and terms, the Hebrew for “Jesus” is a short version of the Hebrew name for “Joshua.” Our Master’s Aramaic name is Yeshua but His full Hebrew name is Yehoshua.

That’s significant because a prophecy from Zechariah hints that the Messiah’s name would be Joshua. The prophet Zechariah cryptically revealed the name of the Messiah when he made an ornate crown of gold, placed it on the head the priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak and declared, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD” (Zechariah 6:12). “Branch” is a prophetic title for Messiah. The prophecy could be interpreted to mean that the high priest Joshua and the Messiah share the same name. In the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the same high priest appears by the Aramaic form of his name: Jeshua the son of Jozadak (eg. Ezra 3:2).

The Septuagint (LXX) Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures transliterated the Hebrew name Yehoshua/Yeshua into the closest phonetic approximation: Iesous (pronounced Yay-soos). The “us” suffix on the end of the name indicates to the Greek reader that the name belongs to a man. The church translated the Bible into Latin, and as the Latin pronunciation of the name made its way into English, the English consonant J replaced the Latin consonant Y; therefore, the name of the Savior became Jay-soos, which English speakers today pronounce as Je-sus. When the intervening languages of Greek and Latin are removed, the name Yeshua remains the closest and most accurate English transliteration of Messiah’s real name.

By the way, it’s properly pronounced Y’shua, not YAH-shuah. Some teachers mistakenly suppose the Master’s name should properly be pronounced “YAH-shua,” thereby emphasizing the theistic element of His name. That’s not how Hebrew or Aramaic work. When people pronounce our Master’s name as YAH-shua, they demonstrate ignorance of biblical languages and Jewish nomenclature. If one feels it’s important to keep the theistic element of the name intact, the correct Hebrew version is Yehoshua, i.e., Joshua of Nazareth. (Click to Source)

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