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Yeshua: Meaning?

Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion concerning the name Jesus. Many of those who have come up through the churches in America find no other name relevant.

However, as the Hebraic movement began to assert influence in the faith world, one name has come up without question, and that name is Yeshua. Many people have gone to elaborate lengths to decry the name Jesus as not accurate, and some have even called the name blasphemous. Few decry the name Yeshua – but is it accurate?

Some say that Yeshua is the name Jesus’ friends and family would have called him while he was alive.  Do we know that? How do we know that? Where is the scriptural reference proving this is true?

One assumption that bolsters the claim that his real name was Yeshua is the belief that the Disciples (Talmadiym) spoke Aramaic. Is that true? Does scripture say that? Not at all! It is very clear that the Talmidiym were fluent in Ivriyt (Hebrew).  However, another language is referenced – but it is not Aramaic!

Marqus (Mark) 14:66-70
And as Kepha was beneath in the palace, there came one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Kepha warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And you also were with Yahusha the Netseriy. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what you say. And he went out את into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Kepha, Surely you are one of them: for you are a Galiyliy, and your speech agrees thereto.

Ma’asiym (Acts) 2:5-7
And there were dwelling at Yerushalayim Yahudiym, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galiyliym?

So, the scripture tells us outright that they spoke Galiyliym (Galilaean), not Aramaic. In fact, the Aramaic doesn’t appear in scripture at all! Claiming that the language spoken was Aramiac is replacing what is clearly found in the Greek Textus Receptus with their own preference.

Luqas (Luke) 23:38
And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Yavaniy, and Latin, and Ivriyt, This is the King of the Yahudiym.

In the Greek, the three words are Ἑλληνικός Hellēnikós (Greek), Ῥωμαϊκός Rhōmaïkós (Roman/Latin), and Ἑβραϊκός Hebraïkós (Hebrew).  No one can see the word Aramaic anywhere.

So, no, the scriptures do not support the idea that the disciples or Mashiach spoke Aramaic - it is never mentioned.  We do know, however, that Mashiach spoke and read Ivriyt.

Luqas (Luke) 4:16-19
And he came to Natsareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Shabbath, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the cepher of the prophet Yesha`yahu. And when he had opened the cepher, he found the place where it was written: 18 The Ruach Adonai Yahuah is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the Besorah to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of Yahuah.

Does anyone really believe that he read from a Torah scroll in the synagogue in Aramaic?

So we can rule out that his common name was Aramaic.

Now, let’s take a look at where this name Yeshua is actually found in scripture.

First, we have Yeshua (יֵשׁוּעַ) (Strong's H3442) Hebrew Dictionary, which is in place of Strong’s H3091, meaning he will save; Jeshua, the name of ten Israelites, also of a place in Palestine:—Jeshua. This name is found 29 times in scripture in the following passages:

1Ch 24:11; 2Ch 31:15; Ezra 2:2; 2:6; 2:36; 2:40; 3:2; 3:8; 3:9; 4:3; 8:33; 10:18; Nechemyahu 3:19; 7:7; 7:11; 7:39; 7:43; 8:7; 8:17; 9:4; 9:5; 10:9; 11:26; 12:1; 12:7; 12:8; 12:10; 12:24; 12:26.  In all cases it refers to a Levite priest who accompanied the return from Babel to Yerushalayim. In no instance is there any reference that Yeshua the Levite priest was ever referred to as Yehoshua (Strong’s H3091). Yet Strong’s is not shy about telling us that this name Yeshua is directly tied to Yehoshua. Let’s explore this, shall we?

Yehoshuwa (יְהוֹשׁוּעַ) is Strong’s H3091. While the concordance honestly sets forth that the name is from H3068 (יְהֹוָה) Yahuah, and H3467 (יָשַׁע) Yasha, it reluctantly gives you an alternate spelling: or יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Yᵉhôwshuʻa; from H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (i.e. Joshua), the Jewish leader:—Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare H1954 (Hosea), H3442 (Yeshua).

Strong’s tells us that the name Yeshua is connected to, or is an alternate form of Yehoshuwa, or its alternative spelling יְהוֹשֻׁעַ which they then tell us is pronounced Yᵉhôwshuʻa.

There is a way to get to the bottom of this. Let’s go back to the Ivriyt text and see what shows up.

First, let’s take the name Yehoshuah and see how many times it shows up in the ancient text.

Just two times:

Devariym (Deuteronomy) 3:21
And I commanded ־אתYahushua at that time, saying, Your eyes have seen את all that Yahuah Elohaykem has done unto these two kings: so shall Yahuah do unto all the kingdoms whither you pass.

Shofetiym (Judges) 2:7
And the people served ־אתYahuah all the days of Yahusha, and all the days of the elders that outlived Yahushua, who had seen את all the great works of Yahuah, that he did for Yashar’el.

And the name Yehoshua is not found at all in the book of Joshua, even though Strong’s tells us “Jehoshua (i.e. Joshua), the Jewish leader:—Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua.”  

Before we look further, remember that Yeshua is supposedly a derivative name from the name of the Jewish leader Joshua, which Strong’s tells us is really Yehoshua.  But let’s see what actually appears.

When we look at the name  יְהוֹשֻׁעַ which is not pronounced Yᵉhôwshuʻa, but rather Yahusha because there is no second vav! The letters are yod-heh-vav-shin-ayin.  There is no second vav, and the Masoretic obfuscation is rejected.

This name appears 177 times: 6 times in Shemoth (Exodus); 5 times in Bemidbar (Numbers); 5 times in Devariym (Deuteronomy); (so 16 times in Moshe’s Torah); 140 times in Yahusha (Joshua); 6 times in Shofetiym (Judges); 2 times in Shemu’el Ri’shon (1 Samuel) 1 time in Melekiym Ri’shon (1 Kings); 1 time in Melekiym Sheniy (2 Kings); 1 time in Divrei Hayamiym Ri’shon (1 Chronicles); 4 times in Chaggai (Haggai); and 4 times in Zakaryahu (Zechariah).

Nowhere in any of these verses is Yahusha replaced with the name Yeshua. And the name Yahushua was likely referring to someone else.

Yet, one commentator says: “Meaning & History of the name Yeshua: Contracted form of Yehoshu'a (see JOSHUA) used in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible. The form was also used in Aramaic and was most likely the name represented by Greek Iesous (see JESUS) in the New Testament. This means it was probably the real name of Jesus.”

Again, the commentator suggests that the name was pronounced in Aramaic. There is no scriptural support for this claim.  The commentator does not tell us that the name which actually appears in Ezra and Nehemiah is Yeshua, not Yehoshu’a, and then reaches a completely unsupported conclusion that the name Yehoshu’a was “most likely the name represented by Greek Iesous”.  Having reached this conclusion with no evidence, the commentator then goes on to conclude that this means it “was probably” the real name of Jesus.

Fortunately, we have a very excellent source for determining exactly which name was intended by the Greek Iesous.

Here is an excerpt from the Book of Joshua in the Greek as found in the Septuagint.

1:12 And to Ruben, and to Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasse, Joshua said,

1:12 καὶ τῷ Ῥουβὴν καὶ τῷ Γὰδ καὶ τῷ ἡμίσει φυλῆς Μανασσῆ εἶπεν ᾿Ιησοῦς·

In fact, the name of the book in Greek is Ιησοῦς υἱῷ Ναυὴ - Joshua son of Nun.

This is one way that we know that the name Yahusha was his name rather than Yeshua.  After all, both names appear in scripture, and his mother could have named him after the Levite priest Yeshua rather than after the messiah Yahusha who lead the house of Yashar’el into the promised land.

Another way is to look at this most significant prophecy:

Zakaryahu (Zechariah) 3:1
AND he showed me ־אתYahusha (אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ) the high priest standing before the angel of Yahuah, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And Yahuah said unto Satan, Yahuah rebuke you, O Satan; even Yahuah that has chosen Yerushalayim rebuke you: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Yahusha (וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ) was clothed with filthy garments and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with change of raiment. 5 And I said, Let them set a fair turban upon his head. So they set a fair turban upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of Yahuah stood by. 6 And the angel of Yahuah protested unto Yahusha, saying, 7 Thus says Yahuah Tseva’oth; If you will walk in my ways, and if you will guard ־אתmy watch, then you shall also judge ־אתmy house, and shall also guard ־את my courts, and I will give you places to walk among these that stand by. 8 Hear now, O Yahusha (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ) the high priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth ־אתmy servant the Branch.

This is a prophecy directed at the name Yahusha – not Yeshua, not Yehoshua, not Yehushua, and not Yashua. The name appears three times in this prophecy, and in all three instances the spelling is yod-heh-vav-shin-ayin.

So, can we discover the meaning of the name Yeshua? Repeatedly we see the references that he was a Levite priest who cried out – maybe that is enough for us. But as for the name Yahusha we see salvation in the name of the father Yahuah.

One last witness:

Yochanon (John) 19:19-20
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, Yahusha the Netseriy and King of the Yahudiym. 20 This title then read many of the Yahudiym: for the place where Yahusha was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Ivriyt, and Yavaniy, and Latin.

Let’s take a look.

The inscription in Latin yields INRI:





The inscription in Greek yields INBI:






The inscription in Ivriyt yields YHVH:





Let us now return to the meaning of the name (or word) Yeshua. In the את CEPHER, we find the word yeshu’ah 177 times. It is placed there as the interpretation of the word salvation.

Strong's Hebrew Dictionary (H3444) gives us (יְשׁוּעָה) yeshu’ah as the feminine passive participle of H3467(יָשַׁע) yâshaʻ meaning something saved, i.e. (abstractly) deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity, health, help(-ing), salvation, save, or saving. It is a feminine noun.

However, all modern interpreters know that the name Iesous in the Greek meant Joshua in English and Yahusha in Ivriyt. 

Ivriym (Hebrews) 4:8-10
For if Yahusha (the son of Nun) had given them rest, perchance another would speak again of this day. 9 There remains therefore a Shabbath for the people of Yah. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as Yahuah did from his.

The reference in verse 8 is to Yahusha (the son of Nun) and not to “Jesus.”

Let’s compare verses 8-9 in a couple of other translations:

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;

For if Joshua had given them rest, God[b] would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

For if [d]Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

1599 Geneva
For if [d]Jesus had given them rest, then would he not after this have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Now let’s take a look at the Greek.  In verse 8, we see this:

ει γαρ αυτους ιησους . . . [ ei – if; gar – for; autos – them; Iesous - ?]

It is usually a given that Iesous would be interpreted as Jesus – although the 1611 KJV-AV and the 1560 Geneva both used the name Iesus instead of Jesus. Why, then, would the NKJV, NIV, ESV, and the NASB use the name Joshua?

From the Septuagint, we find the following:

And Joshua commanded the scribes of the people, saying, 11 Go into the midst of the camp of the people, and command the people, saying, Prepare provisions; for yet three days and ye shall go over this Jordan, entering in to take possession of the land, which the Lord God of your fathers gives to you.

In the Greek:

Καὶ ἐνετείλατο ᾿Ιησοῦς (Iesous) τοῖς γραμματεῦσι τοῦ λαοῦ λέγων· 11 εἰσέλθατε κατὰ μέσον τῆς παρεμβολῆς τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ ἐντείλασθε τῷ λαῷ λέγοντες· ἑτοιμάζεσθε ἐπισιτισμόν, ὅτι ἔτι τρεῖς ἡμέραι καὶ ὑμεῖς διαβαίνετε τὸν ᾿Ιορδάνην τοῦτον εἰσελθόντες κατασχεῖν τὴν γῆν, ἣν Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν δίδωσιν ὑμῖν.

We see here that the word Ιησοῦς is the Greek word we interpret as Joshua in the English. Now let us compare it with Matthew 1 in the Stephanus Textus Receptus (Greek):

Matt 1:16
ιακωβ δε εγεννησεν τον ιωσηφ τον ανδρα μαριας εξ ης εγεννηθη ιησους (Iesous) ο λεγομενος χριστος (Christos).

We can therefore determine exactly what all of the modern scripture interpreters have concluded in the translation of the passage in Ivriym (Hebrews) 4:8. The Messiah has the same name as Joshua son of Nun. In the Greek, this name is Iesous (Ιησοῦς).


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