Is Yeshua Hebrew For Jesus?
Question: “Is Yeshua Hamashiach the proper Hebrew name/title for Jesus Christ?”
Answer: Yeshua Hamashiach means “Jesus the Messiah.” The name Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Yeshua, which is the shortened form of the name Yehoshua. From this Hebrew word we also get the name Joshua (Joshua 5:15) or Hoshea (Numbers 13:8; Deuteronomy 33:44). The name means “salvation” and is found more than often throughout the Old Testament. This is the name from which we get the Greek word Iesous, prounounced “yay-sus,” or as we say it, “Jesus.”
According to Messianic Jewish scholar Dr. Michael Brown, “The original Hebrew-Aramaic name of Jesus is yeshuˈa, which is short for yehōshuˈa (Joshua), just as Mike is short for Michael. The name yeshuˈa occurs 27 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, primarily referring to the high priest after the Babylonian exile, called both yehōshuˈa (see, e.g., Zechariah 3:3) and, more frequently, yeshuˈa (see, e.g., Ezra 3:2). So, Yeshua’s name was not unusual; in fact, as many as five different men had that name in the Old Testament. And this is how that name came to be ‘Jesus’ in English” (Brown, Michael L. “What Is the Original Hebrew Name for Jesus? And Is It True That the Name Jesus Is Really a Pagan Corruption of the Name Zeus?” Ask Dr. Brown. Jan 3, 2013. Web. Dec 27, 2016).
The Hebrew term Mashiach (or Messiah in English; Cristos, or Christ, in Greek) means “anointed one” and referred to a person who was set apart to serve Yahweh. In the Old Testament, God’s mashiachs were anointed with oil to symbolize the presence and authority of the Holy Spirit (Leviticus 4:3; 1 Samuel 12:14; 2 Samuel 19:21). God had promised Israel an ultimate Mashiach, or Messiah, and gave over 300 prophecies about this Anointed One so that they would recognize Him when He came (Isaiah 53:1; Psalm 22:27; 10:1–4; Daniel 9:25; 7:13). Jesus fulfilled every one of them, thus deserving the title Yeshua Hamaschiach for the Jewish people.
However, Jesus came into the world to offer salvation and forgiveness to everyone who calls upon His name (John 3:16–18; Acts 2:21). Surrounding His throne for all eternity will be people from “every nation, tribe, and tongue” (Revelation 7:9). God is not offended by our languages or our differences. Throughout the Bible, Yahweh even identified Himself by different names as He dealt with people in different ways (Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 48:12; Revelation 1:8). Jesus called Himself the “Son of Man” (Matthew 26:24; Luke 22:22), and others called Him “Teacher” (Matthew 8:19) and “Rabbi” (John 1:49). He never corrected anyone’s pronunciation or use of a messianic title, as long as the person came to Him in faith.
So the name we use for the Son of God, when we come to Him in faith, appears to be unimportant to Him. He hears our hearts, anyway, regardless of the words our mouths are speaking (Luke 9:47). In the words of Dr. Brown, “Do not be ashamed to use the name JESUS! That is the proper way to say his name in English—just as Michael is the correct English way to say the Hebrew name mi-kha-el and Moses is the correct English way to say the Hebrew name mo-sheh. Pray in Jesus’ name, worship in Jesus’ name, and witness in Jesus’ name. And for those who want to relate to our Messiah’s Jewishness, then refer to him by His original name Yeshua—not Yahshua and not Yahushua—remembering that the power of the name is not in its pronunciation but in the person to whom it refers, our Lord and Redeemer and King” (ibid.).