Help! The Real Name of Jesus?

Discussion in 'Languages' started by SolamVeritatem, Mar 27, 2015.

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  1. SolamVeritatem

    SolamVeritatem Puritan Board Freshman


    I think this is the proper place to post this, but I need some real help engaging a friend of mine.

    He seems to be on this kick about Jesus not being the true name of the Son of God. His issue is that the proper name to call the Son would be His Hebrew name, which is Yeshua.

    He seems to have a problem with the Greek translation of Yeshua's name into Jesus, which from what I can gather so far is Ἰησοῦς (Iesous).(Wikipedia)

    His refrain is that we should be calling the Lord by His real name, and I think there are some other motivations he has behind this which I won't get into right now. I have to admit that I haven't done much study on this at all, and I did not think of it in any significant way until he brought it up. He is the type of individual that is prone to conspiracy theories, if you know what I mean. In other words, he seems to think that there were sinister reasons why translators changed the name, and he feels as though the representation of the name Jesus in the Latin is depicting the name of a false god or is to common for the likes of the Messiah. He asked me to look up what the words "Je" and "sus" meant in the Latin, but I haven't been able to find it so far. He seems to think it is something derogatory.

    I am not a linguist, neither am I fluent in the biblical languages (other than Strong's tools and bible dictionaries/commentaries), so my question is how do I approach this situation? Or, are there some works I can get my hands on that address this issue in a scholarly and faithful way? I really have not heard much about this, and the closest thing I could find in relation to a group who might identify with what my friend believes is in the link below or others like it:

    Yahushua is the true name of the Messiah

    If anyone could provide any assistance, it would be greatly helpful, as I would like to graciously respond to this from a biblical, reformed perspective, and hopefully in the process win my friend and edify us both. Thanks!

    In Him,

  2. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    If we all followed your friend's logic, then we would not be allowed to use English translations at all.
  3. SolamVeritatem

    SolamVeritatem Puritan Board Freshman

    Agreed Bill.

    I should mention that he tends to favor the Jewish/Hebrew bible over English OT translations, and he is also big on extra-biblical sources like the Books of Eden and such.

    When I expressed to him that the way to salvation was through Jesus, regardless of whether we call him by His Hebrew or Greek name, he told me that he believes that salvation not only means "from sin and God's wrath" but that it also denotes "rescue from our enemies". At that point, we had to get off the phone because we only had a brief time to speak anyway, and it let me know that he was going in a different, probably unbiblical direction.

    In Him,

  4. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    So is your friend's assertion that the original manuscripts of the New Testament were in Hebrew, and not in Greek?
  5. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This might be helpful (from Michael Brown, who is good on Hebrew and Jewish issues, though not on other doctrines--from a Reformed perspective):

    The Hebrew Bible has yeshu‘a; when the Septuagint authors rendered this name in Greek, they rendered it as Іησους (Iēsous, with no hint of yah at the beginning of the name)…

    We know where the name Iēsous came from: the Jewish Septuagint! In other words, this was not some later, pagan corruption of the Savior’s name; rather, it was the natural Greek way of rendering the Hebrew/Aramaic name Yeshua at least two centuries before His birth, and it is the form of the name found in more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. This is saying something! The name Iēsous is also found in Greek writings outside the New Testament and dating to that same general time frame.

    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: Simply stated, this is the etymological history of the name Jesus: Hebrew/Aramaic yeshu‘a became Greek Iēsous, then Latin Iesus, passing into German and then, ultimately, into English, as Jesus.

    Ask Dr. Brown
  6. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    The apostle Paul, under the verbal inspiration of the Spirit, didnt have a problem calling him Iesous.
  7. SolamVeritatem

    SolamVeritatem Puritan Board Freshman


    I can't say that he has blatantly stated that, but he seems to be distrustful of translators who gave their life's work to make sure that we have the bible in English and other languages. For as long as I've known him, he has been a KJVO guy, so I don't know if that has anything to do with it. But no, I've not heard him say that he denies the original languages that the New Testament was written in. His issue is what he perceives to be the ulterior motives of some of the men who translated/transmitted the writings.

    In Him,

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  8. SolamVeritatem

    SolamVeritatem Puritan Board Freshman


    Thanks for this, it was very helpful.

    I've heard of Dr. Brown before, during the Strange Fire timeframe, and I'll look into some of his writings.

    From what I understand, he is somewhat of an expert on the languages.

    In Him,

  9. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

  10. Jimmy the Greek

    Jimmy the Greek Puritan Board Senior

    Interesting. I had not heard of the Hebrew Roots Movement. I googled it and found numerous links/references to related indormation, in addition to Keister's article. Sounds pretty heretical at the bottom line.
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I know a lot of Hebrew Roots guys who are more and more coming to this conclusion.
  12. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  13. SolamVeritatem

    SolamVeritatem Puritan Board Freshman


    Wow! That article was so helpful and on target. I appreciate you posting it, and I'm thankful to others who have helped give a name to this. I had not heard of the Hebrew Roots Movement myself either, but I have heard of the Black Hebrew Israelites and now I'm wondering if these are related and if that is what he is into. I'm familiar somewhat with this group because they used to be on the streets of Chicago sometimes when I was growing up, and I've seen some videos of their encounters on the streets as well. I pray that he is not aligning himself with this movement.

    Thanks again everyone for your help and assistance.

    In Him,

  14. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior


    You might also look into Messianic Judaism and the Sacred Name Movement.

    It appears that your friend has been influenced by at least one of these three Judaizing sects (i. e., Hebrew Roots guys, Messianic Jews, or Sacred Name guys).

    It's important in all these discussions to bear in mind that these men are falling into a form of the heresy of the Judaizers that the apostles were battling in the New Testament.
  15. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    I recently ran into a HRM guy. Seems they don't believe in the Trinity either.
  16. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I grow weary of these kinds of movements that are on par with liberal doubts about the orthodoxy of orthodoxy. It's no different than the Bauer-Ehrman thesis that we don't know what Christianity originally believed because the group that "won" was what we now call orthodoxy. They were so thorough, in fact, that they destroyed all documentary evidence of another kind of Christianity. How do we know this is the case? Because there is no manuscript evidence, which proves the hypothesis that they destroyed all the evidence of competing views.

    The Hebrews (or Aramaic) roots of the NT is no different. No documentary evidence? Don't let that bother you.

    Incidentally, let's go the whole nine yards on this foolish hypothesis. Not only must we call Jesus by his real name but, unless we can pronounce it just like Jesus' mother did (with the appropriate regional accent) then Jesus won't know He's being addressed and our prayers will go unanswered.
  17. Pantocrator

    Pantocrator Puritan Board Freshman

    The real name of Jesus is Jesus.
  18. johnny

    johnny Puritan Board Sophomore

    We have these Messianic Judaism people across the road from where we work (Church meets on Friday night)
    I'm guessing a few of them are ex 7th day Adventists who seem to be drawn to this kind of sociality.
    Whenever someone in conversation mentions the name Yeshua it gives me cold shivers.
  19. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

  20. SolamVeritatem

    SolamVeritatem Puritan Board Freshman

    Just wanted to give everyone an update on the situation with my friend.

    Before I do that though, let me say thanks to Tyler, Rich and Trent for the info that you guys provided. It was all very helpful and really served to close the learning curve for me on this issue.

    Unfortunately, I think my friend has really gone in a wildly heretical way with this, and it seems as though he is becoming more convinced as time goes by. He sent me a bunch of conspiracy/extrabiblical type book titles that I really have no intention of reading at any serious length in the foreseeable future, and even as I scanned through them I could tell that none of them use the scriptures as their premise. I simply responded to him that I have other priorities with my reading, and I'm not inclined to change course at all. I expressed to him that the gospel was of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), and that the scriptures were to be our ultimate authority. He seems to think that it is a dishonor to Jesus to call Him anything other than his "true name of Yeshua".

    This is really sad, as I had been encouraging him toward placing his faith and trust in Christ alone, and he had even been to a PCA church a few times that we were able to find for him in the area he lived in. All of a sudden, it seems that out of nowhere he went into left field and now seems to be heading further in the wrong direction. I am going to still pray for him and plead with him to denounce these unbiblical views whenever I have the opportunity to do so.

    Thanks again everyone for your sound advice and wisdom.

    In Him,

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