UNHOLY WAR OF NAMES: YESHUA VS YAHSHUA

yeshua
This week I was praying with friends and I wanted to make a clarification regarding those of us who pray in the Name of Jesus. Some of us are Christian other are Jewish, there are Messianic Jewish and some Hebrew Israelite.  The moderator’s prayers are EXCELLENT she often prays in the Name of Messiah/Yeshua …YET she ALWAYS reminds us the we are praying to the God of Israel… the creator of all that is seen and unseen. She acknowledges our differing backgrounds in love. I have shared her live prayer link with a few… and there are questions.  Sharing this post I thought it to be the best way to expound on my own beliefs.

Q: Okay, I’m confused. From my understanding, using the name of “Jesus” and “God” are like worshiping a false god, Baal and so on. What I am asking is: do we call God Yahweh (yhvh), or Adonai (and how do you pronounce it?); and what’s the difference between Yeshua and Yahshua? When I am worshiping, I want to talk to Him and know for certain that I am not calling Him someone else’s name or a title. Plus, I have little ones at home, I want to teach them the correct thing. I don’t want to miss Heaven on the account of a technicality. Remember, He’s going to turn people away because He didn’t know them. Well, how can you know someone without knowing their name? You would only know of them.

A: Thank you for your important question. I understand why you feel confused. Let me address each issue in turn, and then I will conclude with some comments and observations.

First, though some have suggested that the English “Jesus” comes from the Greek Zeus, there is actually no link whatsoever. This is a ridiculous fabrication perpetrated by conspiracists who know little to nothing about the language. The etymology of “Jesus” is simple. In the Greek Scriptures, ῚησουςIesous is a transliteration of the Hebrew יֵשׁוּעַYeshua. Exchanging the “y” for an “i” at the beginning, and adding an “s” on the end is common in Greek, i.e. יְהוּדָהY’hudah (Judah) becomes ῚούδαςIoudas (Judas). From the Greek, ῚησουςIesous was transliterated into the latin Iesus, and finally came into English as JesusYeshua (Hebrew) to Iesous (Greek) to Iesus (Latin) to Jesus (English). Nothing nefarious here.

As for use of the word God, the only issue I see here would be lack of qualification, since there are many “gods” of this world. Though some have suggested alternative etymologies, the English word “God” simply means “a god.” The content of our communication can then easily indicate that by “God” we mean the God of Israel, the one true God. The word itself is neutral without context, and does not inherently refer to a specific deity, either true or false, i.e. Baal, or Buddha, or what have you.

Next, regarding the sacred name יהוה or yhvh, there is a long-standing Jewish tradition in which speaking yhvh is prohibited. During the middle ages, Jewish scribes (the Masoretes) devised a Hebrew vowel-pointing system (those dots and dashes beneath and around Hebrew letters) to indicate how words should be properly pronounced. This system included the practice of superimposing the vowel points from אֲדֹנָי’Adonai (which means Lord or Master, and is pronounced Ah-doe-nigh) onto yhvh. Thus, when a reader encountered יְהֹוָה, he would be reminded to say Adonai instead. Though remnants of yhvh have apparently been preserved for us in names such as יָהּYah and אֵלִיָהוּEliyahu(Elijah), this practice of substituting Adonai for yhvh has unfortunately resulted in the loss of its definite pronunciation. (The accepted scholarly rendering is Yahweh; however, this cannot be absolutely ascertained, and remains in dispute. For a detailed discussion, please download the PDF, “The Name”.

The issue concerning the name Yeshua and the manufactured “Yahshua” (and its variants) is somewhat convoluted and, again, conspiratorial. It begins like this: in addition to defacing the name yhvh, the Masoretes further perpetrated a plot to obscure its pronunciation by purposely mispointing other names that begin with the first three letters of yhvh(יהו), such as יֵהוּאYehu (Jehu), יְהוּדָהY’hudah (Judah), and, most notoriously, יְהוֹשׁוּעַY’hoshua (Joshua). Accordingly, Y’hoshua, should actually be “Yahushua” (or some other variant)—and since יֵשׁוּעַYeshua is related to Y’hoshua/Joshua (it actually is), and Yeshua came “in the Father’s name” (a distorted use of John 5:43—He’s talking about the Father’s power and authority; for more on this, see endnotes in “The Name” PDF), it should really be “Yahshua” (or some other variant). Of course, in order for all this to be true, then the credibility of the entire vowel-pointing system is called into question, and we have no reason to trust the pronunciation of other forms of yhvh as in names like יְשַעְיָהוּY’sha’yahu(Isaiah) and יִרְמְיָהוּYir’m’yahu (Jeremiah). The conspiracists cazn’t have it both ways.

As for the name יֵשׁוּעַYeshua, it appears in multiple places in the Hebrew Scriptures, as clearly seen in the Hebrew/Aramaic underlying “Jeshua” in 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, i.e. Ezra 5:2. “Yeshua” is also the masculine form of the Hebrew word for “salvation”—יְשׁוּעָהy’shuah—as used in Exodus 15:2Psalm 9:14, Isaiah 60:18 and many other verses. It is true that Y’hoshua/Joshua and Yeshua are related names, but they are nevertheless distinct. While Joshua means “יָהּYah saves,” or similar, Yeshua means simply, “he saves” or “salvation,” as signified by Matthew 1:21, “…and you will call His name Yeshua, for He will save his people from their sins.”

How can you know someone without knowing their name? I’ll give you an example: I have a friend who immigrated to the United States from Poland. Everyone, including his wife, calls him “ZeeZee,” but his name is Zbigniew. Now, in this case, I know in my head that his name is Zbigniew, but I haven’t the slightest clue how to pronounce it. Even if ZeeZee stood right in my face and pronounced his name for me, I probably still couldn’t do it! The point is, I know ZeeZee, and he knows me. The fact that I don’t know how to pronounce his name—and don’t even try—doesn’t affect our relationship one bit. When I call him “ZeeZee,” he knows I’m speaking to him, and when I say “ZeeZee” to someone else who knows him, they know exactly who I’m talking about.

Here’s another example: My children know that my name is Kevin, but never in their lives have they called me that. Indeed, I would find it rather disrespectful and distant if they did. Instead, they know me and love me as “Abba” (“Daddy,” in Hebrew). When they address me formally, when they want to show me affection, or when they need my help, this is what they call me… and I never fail to respond.

No doubt, it is important to know the Name of the One we worship and serve—the One by whose Name we will be saved (Joel 2:32). But if there is anything nefarious going on, it is in the diversion, distraction and division being caused among Yeshua’s disciples over such ultimately nonessential and unsustainable matters. While “Jesus” is not the Master’s name, it is the etymological equivalent, and there is nothing evil about it. The same is true for the word “God.” And even if the pronunciation of the Sacred Name were unequivocally restored (which it hasn’t been), there is nothing in Scripture that requires its utterance—especially in light of passages such as Exodus 34:5-9 (where, in the presence of yhvh, Moses calls Him אֲדֹנָי’Adonai—Master!) not to mention the way Yeshua taught us to pray to “our Father who is in the heavens” (Matthew 6:9). As for the dispute between Yeshua and “Yahshua” (or similar), there is simply no valid linguistic or historical support for such a rendering. The Hebrew is clear: ישוע is pronounced Yeshua.

If we are going to miss Heaven on account of a technicality, it’s not going to be because we failed to pronounce the Name of God—it will be because we are self-centeredly preoccupied with the technicalities, when we should be devoting ourselves to the life of service and self-denial that living for Yeshua demands
(Isaiah 1:11-17Matthew 23:23-24 and 25:31-46).

~Written By Perfect Word – A Messianic Jewish Equipping Ministryhttps://www.perfectword.org/

This “Messy Messianics” article was originally published in an abridged format in Messianic Jewish Issues. Messy Messianics, a recurring feature in Messianic Jewish Issues, is provided as a resource for helping troubled friends back from the fringe.

Law vs. grace—why is there so much conflict among Christians on the issue?

law-vs-gospelOne side says, “Salvation is by grace and grace alone.” The other side counters, “That idea leads to lawlessness. God’s righteous standard in the Law must be upheld.” And someone else chimes in with, “Salvation is by grace, but grace only comes to those who obey God’s Law.” At the root of the debate are differing views on the basis of salvation. The importance of the issue helps fuel the intensity of the discussion.

When the Bible speaks of “the law,” it refers to the detailed standard God gave to Moses, beginning in Exodus 20 with the Ten Commandments. God’s Law explained His requirements for a holy people and included three categories: civil, ceremonial, and moral laws. The Law was given to separate God’s people from the evil nations around them and to define sin (Ezra 10:11Romans 5:137:7). The Law also clearly demonstrated that no human being could purify himself enough to please God—i.e., the Law revealed our need for a Savior.

By New Testament times, the religious leaders had hijacked the Law and added to it their own rules and traditions (Mark 7:7–9). While the Law itself was good, it was weak in that it lacked the power to change a sinful heart (Romans 8:3). Keeping the Law, as interpreted by the Pharisees, had become an oppressive and overwhelming burden (Luke 11:46).

It was into this legalistic climate that Jesus came, and conflict with the hypocritical arbiters of the Law was inevitable. But Jesus, the Lawgiver, said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). The Law was not evil. It served as a mirror to reveal the condition of a person’s heart (Romans 7:7). John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Jesus embodied the perfect balance between grace and the Law (John 1:14).

God has always been full of grace (Psalm 116:5Joel 2:13), and people have always been saved by faith in God (Genesis 15:6). God did not change between the Old and New Testaments (Numbers 23:19Psalm 55:19). The same God who gave the Law also gave Jesus (John 3:16). His grace was demonstrated through the Law by providing the sacrificial system to cover sin. Jesus was born “under the law” (Galatians 4:4) and became the final sacrifice to bring the Law to fulfillment and establish the New Covenant (Luke 22:20). Now, everyone who comes to God through Christ is declared righteous (2 Corinthians 5:211 Peter 3:18Hebrews 9:15).

The conflict between Jesus and the self-righteous arose immediately. Many who had lived for so long under the Pharisees’ oppressive system eagerly embraced the mercy of Christ and the freedom He offered (Mark 2:15). Some, however, saw this new demonstration of grace as dangerous: what would keep a person from casting off all moral restraint? Paul dealt with this issue in Romans 6: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (verses 1—2). Paul clarified what Jesus had taught: the Law shows us what God wants (holiness), and grace gives us the desire and power to be holy. Rather than trust in the Law to save us, we trust in Christ. We are freed from the Law’s bondage by His once-for-all sacrifice (Romans 7:61 Peter 3:18).

There is no conflict between grace and the Law, properly understood. Christ fulfilled the Law on our behalf and offers the power of the Holy Spirit, who motivates a regenerated heart to live in obedience to Him (Matthew 3:8Acts 1:81 Thessalonians 1:52 Timothy 1:14). James 2:26 says, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” A grace that has the power to save also has the power to motivate a sinful heart toward godliness. Where there is no impulse to be godly, there is no saving faith.

We are saved by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). The keeping of the Law cannot save anyone (Romans 3:20Titus 3:5). In fact, those who claim righteousness on the basis of their keeping of the Law only thinkthey’re keeping the Law; this was one of Jesus’ main points in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:20–48; see also Luke 18:18–23).

The purpose of the Law was, basically, to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). Once we are saved, God desires to glorify Himself through our good works (Matthew 5:16Ephesians 2:10). Therefore, good works followsalvation; they do not precede it.

Conflict between “grace” and the “Law” can arise when someone 1) misunderstands the purpose of the Law; 2) redefines grace as something other than “God’s benevolence on the undeserving” (see Romans 11:6); 3) tries to earn his own salvation or “supplement” Christ’s sacrifice; 4) follows the error of the Pharisees in tacking manmade rituals and traditions onto his doctrine; or 5) fails to focus on the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

When the Holy Spirit guides our search of Scripture, we can “study to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15) and discover the beauty of a grace that produces good works.  ~by Jason Meyer