What is the Messiah’s Name?

Matthew 1:21 – “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” KJV

The KJV says the Savior’s name is Jesus, however, there is no letter “J” in Hebrew or Greek, nor was there a “J” in English prior to the 17th century. The original 1611 KJV records his name as Iesus. That is because the letter “J” had not yet come into regular use. It was only recently invented at that time. Therefore, Jesus cannot be the Savior’s true name. It is a man-made name that has existed for only a few hundred years. Iesus is an attempt to transliterate the name as it appears in the Greek text (Ιησους – pronounced “ee-ay-soos”). The Greeks attempted to transliterate the name from Hebrew, but fell short as we will see shortly.

The KJV of Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8 prove the Savior had the same name as the soldier Joshua, the son of Nun. These two verses say Jesus when they should have saidJoshua as the marginal notes point out. Joshua, in the Masoretic Hebrew text, is Yehoshua (Numbers 11:28) or the shorter form Yeshua (Nehemiah 8:17).  Both names, Jesusand “Joshua,” are written Ιησους in Greek Septuagint. Both Hebrew forms, Yehoshua and Yeshua, contain “shua” in them, however, there is no “sh” sound in Greek. Therefore, the names Yehoshua and Yeshua could not be transliterated exactly. Additionally, the Greek terminal ending “υς” was added which is common for many Greek names such as Timotheus, Silvanus, Andronicus, Aristobulus, Narcissus, Rufus , Asyncritus, Philologus, Nereus, and many others. Thus, with no “sh” sound and a “υς” ending, we get Ιησους in Greek.

While it is true that the Savior had the same name as Joshua, the son of Nun, the question arises, which variation was it, Yehoshua or Yeshua? Based on the Greek transliteration Ιησους it would appear Yeshua would be the correct variation.

Matthew 1:21 also tells us the meaning of the name; “… for he shall save his people from their sins”.  According to Strong’s Concordance, Jeshua means “he will save”.

Some people use one of the following variations; YahushuaYahoshua, or Yahshua as I once did. The problem with Yahshua is that the “he” and the “waw” (underlined) in the long form of the Hebrew name יהושע   are not pronounced. However, according to the rules of Hebrew grammar, the “he” must be pronounced. Here is what Gesenius, “The Father of Hebrew Grammarians”, says about the Hebrew letter “he”;

The first underlined section is most important.  The “he” in the middle of a word never loses its consonantal value.  The only exceptions to this are listed in the footnote, but Gesenius states that these two exceptions are only “apparent” exceptions.

The “elision by syncope” that he speaks of refers to the second underlined section where he shows the names Yehonatan and Yonatan.  In this case the “he” is elided (removed completely), but the waw remains with its full vocalic value.  How does this apply to the form Yahshua?  If Yahshua were to be spelled in Hebrew it would look like this:


This is problematic for a few reasons.  First, the letter “he” is totally silent.  Second, the “waw” is totally silent.  This pronunciation could be spelled much simpler as:


But, as you can see, this doesn’t resemble Messiah’s name, or the son of Nun’s name at all.

Yahoshua and Yahushua would be more correct as far as grammar is concerned, but both of those variations assume the Savior’s name must begin with “Yah”. One cannot possibly know that for sure. It is quite possible the Almighty gave His Son the shorter variation of the name, Yeshua. I was born with the name John. A longer form exists, Jonathan, but that is not my name. To assume Messiah had the longer form as his name is just conjecture.

Since the name Yeshua carries the meaning “he will save” harmonizing with Matthew 1:21 and since the Greek Iesous is a closer transliteration of Yeshua rather than Yehoshua or some other long form, I believe the weight of the evidence points to Yeshua.

Matthew 1:21 does not say, “Yahweh shall save …”, but “he shall save …” (“he” referring to the antecedent Jesus / Yeshua, not to Yahweh). Many have claimed the name means “Yahweh is salvation” or “Yahweh saves”, but that is not what the verse says.

It is mistakenly believed that John 5:43 teaches us that the Father’s name (Yahweh or Yah) must be part of the Son’s name. It reads, “ I am come in my Father’s name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive.” “In my Father’s name” means, “In my Father’s authority” and “in his own name” means, “by his own authority”. Consider the following verses:

Jeremiah 14:14-15 – Then Yahweh said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spoke unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of naught, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.

The prophets of Jeremiah 14 were saying they were sent by Yahweh and were prophesying by His authority, but they were lying.

John 10:25 – Yeshua answered them, I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

Yeshua did those works by his Father’s authority because Yahweh gave him all authority (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-22).

1 Corinthians 1:13  Is Messiah divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

This does not mean the baptized person was given the name “Paul”. It is asking if the Corinthians in question were baptized by Paul’s authority.

Some would say Yeshua is not a Hebrew name, but Aramaic and a corruption of the true name Yahshua. Actually, based on the rules of Hebrew grammar, it is the name Yahshua that is “corrupted” and impossible. This form of the name is not found in Scripture whereas Yeshua is. In fact, the name Yeshua existed long before the Messiah was born. Yeshua is simply the contracted form of either Yahoshua, Yahushua, Yehoshua, or Yehushua.

The textual evidence we have for NT documents, however, never record Messiah’s name in the long form:

  1. Aramaic – , Yeshu’a, early 5th century

  2. Greek – Ιησους, Iaysoos, Iesous, 4th century

  3. Hebrew – ישוע, Yeshua, 14th century (probably copied from a much earlier version)

  4. Latin Vulgate – Iesus, late 4th century directly from Hebrew

The importance of Messiah’s name

Philippians 2:9-11 – Wherefore Yahweh also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Yeshua Messiah is Master, to the glory of Yahweh the Father.”

These verses  stress the importance of the Messiah’s specific name. Eventually, every knee will bow to a Messiah named Yeshua.

Acts 26:14 – “And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the pricks.”

The Savior spoke these words to Saul in Hebrew. He then went on to say, “I am Yeshua who you persecute.” All English Bibles say Jesus instead of Yeshua which is the correct name in Hebrew. Certainly, the Savior did not say Jesus since that name was not invented until 1500 years later.

Revelation 7:3,4 shows 144,000 end-time saints being sealed on their foreheads before Yahweh’s wrath is poured out on the earth and its inhabitants. Revelation 9:4 gives us the reason for this sealing; it is to protect Yahweh’s people from receiving His wrath. We again see 144,000 saints in Revelation14:1. It is here that we find out what the seal is that was placed on their foreheads. The KJV reads;

 “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.”

The Greek reads, “having his name and his Father’s name…” as does the NIV. This teaches us the importance of knowing and using the names of Yahweh and Yeshua in these final days. Yahweh Himself has begun the restoration of these names for a specific purpose. If the seal on the forehead is symbolic of knowing and using the names, it would be very dangerous to reject that knowledge in favor of continuing to use man-made names like Jesus, Jehovah, and LORD.

Revelation 3:8 – “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

What does it mean to deny “my name?” One meaning is to deny the Savior himself. Another meaning is to learn his true name and then reject it for a substitute name. Whenever we reject the light of truth we grieve the Holy Spirit. So let us “walk in the light as he is in the light.”

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