What is the correct name of the Messiah? Several have brought this issue up, therefore I had done a brief study on the subject. I have friends who are educated in this, some by Hebrew scholars who have much insight on this, others by those who think they are Hebrew scholars. Does it matter? I have found yes and no.
There is a great deal of debate even amongst Hebrew scholars between the name of the Son of God being Yahshua, Yahusha, Yashua, or even Yehshua, Yeshua… etc. Some have studied the modern variations, others going back to the time of the Messiah’s life. And there are those claiming to now have access to ancient renderings believed to be much older. Between them all, every one of them claim to be experts in linguistics, ancient culture, archaeology, or in their own education of the topic. Some scholars say it is important to at least get the “Y” and “SH” sound since it has significant meaning to His name. The Hebrew letters have meaning.
What we can be sure of is that we know the name means “I Am who Saves/Delivers.” More correctly it would be “YHWH Saves,” or “Yah is Salvation,” which gives the variations. See my article on the name of “God” and how the YHWH is addressed. While there is modern Hebrew characters used, the original comes from the more ancient Aramaic Hebrew Paleo-Hebrew from the pictograph language.
But how did we get the English translation of Jesus? In Hebrew it may look like Yahusha or Yahshua. Some say it became Yeshua that is correct. In English it renders as Joshua. Even the scholars vary in these variations in their defense. But because the Greek language didn’t have letters representing the “Y” and “SH” sounds, the Greek language took Yeshua and replaced the “Y” with “I” and “SH” with “S” to represent the characters. And also ended it with a masculine ending -us in which they come up with IESOUS. In that day, Greek was the universal language. However, the Hebrew was not directly rendered. Iesous is not a translation, but the Greek rendition of the characters used in Hebrew, which is called a transliteration. It was a letter to letter transliteration. In Latin it becomes IESUS. Jesus in English is a rendering of the Latin IESUS, with the “J” replacing the “I” for a name beginning with “I”. That wasn’t until later centuries (around the 1600’s).
Then what about the “KJV-Only” folks who state the text says His name shall be Jesus, the only name in which we are saved? And that using ANY other variation is incorrect. The English uses the Latin rendition that was from the Greek transliteration. But the “J” came only about in the 16th or 17th century when the letter was introduced to replace the “I” in the beginning of a word. The original KJV rendered it Iesus of the Latin before the “J” was used. So now we are even further from the original context of the original name. But we still know of whom we speak. And KJV can only argue from a modern revision of their text.
The KJV intended to maintain the original language for names. Yet the KJV did not maintain the Hebrew name of Yeshua, but instead chose the Latin rendition modified to modern English characters. So it translates from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English, rather than straight from Hebrew. Some claim that is because Greek was universal and the original Hebrew became lost, having to be modernized. The modern version of the Hebrew now rendered is only a revision of the lost language, since only a couple of centuries.
Some have accused the rendering of “Jesus” as a mockery. There is a fallacy that the name “Jesus” is somehow connected to the Greek pagan god Zeus because in English it is similar in appearance and sound. However, there is no conclusive evidence of this. The claim is that JeSUS is saying “Hail Zeus” or “Hey Zeus.” But that is not even close to the Greek. And is only a linguistic play on the English rendering and pronunciation. Just as some claim JeSUS sounds like the Hebrew for horse, which is pronounced “soos.” And that JESUS is saying, “Hey Horse.” Others claiming it means “Earth Pig” in Hebrew, and that by pronouncing it as such is calling our Savior a horse or an earth pig, which is a linguistic play on the Hebrew pronunciation. They are using the forms of language to cross barriers of the claim in other languages and pronunciations and making up fabrications to falsely defend an false argument. That is in error and unfair, not adding credibility to the argument. Others yet claim “Jesus” is a Mexican god.
Does it matter to Jesus/Yeshua/Yahusha/Yahshua which He is called? The name does have significance in Hebrew to what it means “I Am who Saves.” The “Sacred Name” groups claim that He won’t even acknowledge us if we don’t call Him properly by name. That is ridiculous. He knows we are talking about the only one we could be talking about in that context in which we refer Him and He gives us grace in that. And it is by the authority of the name in which stands for His character and Person that we stand behind. We know whom it is referred, despite the cultural linguistic changes. Their claim would make it impossible for anyone from Jesus’ time to the 20th century to have come to know God through the Savior during that era.
The name is important as scriptures tell that we are saved by His name. Of course, we know it is by what authority the name represents that is active in the power of His name. Name can mean “reputation” and “authority,” or also the “character” of a person.
So the bottom line is perhaps using the name you are accustomed, but knowing whom it is referring and keeping in mind it is not original language. It is the authority behind the representation of that name, which is the “ben of the living Yah.” But also having knowledge what His name represents, , the Son of Yah, which is Yahusha, the “I Am who Saves/Delivers.”
The transliteration is basically close, just according to languages may have variations. From Yahshua to Yeshua, to Yesu, to Iesous, Iesus, Jesus, Jesu, see how it isn’t THAT different. Not like we are calling our savior “Bob.” So it isn’t as much of a hangup as some are concerned with because the variation of the name referring to the same One still has power in His name that we know it represent the “I Am who Saves,” the Savior of the world. Yahshua, Yeshua, Yesu, Jesu, Jesus.