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What's In a Name

I was searching for something meaningful in life. I wasn't finding it in school. I had been primed all my life to go to college, and then on to "life," whatever that meant.

Some time ago when I was in college, I was searching for something meaningful in life. I wasn’t finding it in school. I had been primed all my life to go to college and then on to “life,” whatever that meant. Somehow, being one more cog in the machine didn’t appeal to me. I wanted true friends and I wanted to do something with my life that really made a difference. I was experiencing neither.

A few years earlier in high school, I was at a concert in much of the same state of mind as I would be several years later — lonely and searching for something.

When I left the concert someone must have handed me a little paper. It was from some people who lived in a community. This was very interesting to me since I was looking for something like this. However, in the busyness of my life, I put it into my closet and forgot about it.

As the years went by, I would see them at many of the events that I went to. They were beginning to capture my interest. One day a friend and I At one of the first shows, I saw that same bus and I was instantly intrigued again.happened to park right behind their big maroon-and-cream-colored bus. On the back it read, “We Know the Way, We’ll Bring You Home.” I thought to myself, “That’s what I want, a real home.” As we were sitting there, I asked my friend if he knew anything about them. He answered, “Yeah, they are some community that follows God.”

When he said this, my heart leapt inside. That was what I was looking for — a community where people loved the God of the Bible. So I asked him, “Do they believe in Jesus?”

“No way,” was his reply, “they follow some guru called ‘Yahshua.’”

“Yahshua,” I thought to myself, “who is that?” I was disappointed, to say the least. These people seemed so nice, but if they didn’t follow the Son of God then I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. If there was one thing I didn’t need to get involved with, it was some strange religion. So I decided to steer clear of them.

Eventually, there I was in college, still very lonely and still searching. Some friends had invited me to several concerts that would be happening that summer. I decided to go with them. At one of the first shows, I saw that same bus and I was instantly intrigued again. Something about these people seemed so special, but, I had to remind myself, they didn’t follow the Son of God. It had been a couple of years since I had first come in contact with them. I had gone my way, searching for something real, but had found nothing.

At one of those shows, I was walking through the parking lot and saw a good friend of mine. Oddly enough, he was sitting very near that bus. He was talking with someone and I sat down to join the conversation. After a few minutes, I asked him if he knew anything about that bus. He told me that I should talk to the other man, because he was part of the community that was traveling on the bus.

I was excited, since I had never actually talked to anyone from the bus; I had just heard things about them. The things I had heard about them following “Yahshua” had kept me away for almost two years. But I was full of questions about the community and what they believed. My first question was, of course, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

To my surprise, the man said, “Of course we do. Our entire life revolves around Him and His teachings!”

I could hardly believe it!

He went on to explain to me that while most people call the Son of God Jesus, they preferred His original Hebrew name – Yahshua. He told me that it actually meant “God’s Salvation.”

The more he talked the more everything began to make sense to me. I had grown up in a society that had caused me to question everything, but somehow I never questioned what had been handed down to me at church. I thought that because these people didn’t say Jesus, although they were full of love and kindness, they must be bad. But what I found out was that Jesus wasn’t even the Savior’s name!

So now, as you have guessed, I am a part of this people who follow the Son of God, and I would like to share with you the amazing things I have learned about His name.

In the days of John the Baptist and the Son of God, the preserved language of the devout Jews was Hebrew. So, when the angel Gabriel brought the good news to the Hebrew virgin, Miriam (or Mary in English), that she would give birth to the Savior of the world, and told her what His name would be, what language do you suppose he spoke? Hebrew, of course! And certainly Miriam and Yoceph (or Joseph in English) named the child just as the angel had commanded them — Yahshua.

In Matthew 1:21, your Bible probably reads, “… and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” But the name Jesus is a modern English adaptation of the Greek name, Iesous, which is itself a corruption of the original Hebrew name Yahshua. The name Jesus or Iesous has no meaning of its own,[1] but the Hebrew name Yahshua literally means Yahweh’s Salvation,[2] which makes sense out of what the angel said in Matthew 1:21, “…you shall call His name Yahshua [Yahweh’s Salvation], for He shall save His people from their sins.”

If you look in an old King James Bible, you will find the name Jesus in these two passages:

Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David? (Acts 7:45, KJV)

For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (Hebrews 4:8, KJV)

However, if you look in any modern Bible, including more recently printed King James Bibles, you will find that in place of the name Jesus they use the name Joshua, for in the context it is clear that it is speaking there of Moses’ successor and not the Son of God. But in the Greek manuscript the name in both of these verses is Iesous.

You see, Joshua is the popular English transliteration of the Hebrew name Yahshua. Joshua of the Old Testament had the same name as the One called Jesus in the New Testament, for Joshua was the prophetic forerunner of the Son of God, bringing Israel into the Promised Land and leading them to victory over their enemies. But since the translators obviously know this fact, why do they only translate Iesous as Joshua in these two verses, and as Jesus everywhere else?

The fact is, the name of God’s Son was not even pronounced as “Jesus” in English until the 16th century, simply because there was no “J” sound or letter in English until then.[3] The modern letter “J” developed from the letter “I” which began to be written with a “tail” when it appeared as the first letter in a word. So in old English the name now written as Jesus was actually written and pronounced much like the original Greek Iesous. Eventually the hard “J” sound crept into the English language to accompany the different way of writing the initial “I” in the name.

You may also find it interesting that in Acts 26:14-15, it says that the apostle Paul heard the name of the Son of God pronounced “in the Hebrew tongue” by the Son of God Himself, so he certainly didn’t hear the Greek name Iesous or the English name Jesus, but rather the Hebrew name, the name above all names, Yahshua.[4]

I’d much rather call the Son of God, my Savior, by His true name —the name His own mother, Miriam, and foster father, Yoceph, and all of His Jewish friends called Him. Not only have I found out what His true name is, but His true Body on earth as well. I am so thankful to have finally found true rest with the true Savior. Please take the time to read the other articles in this paper. You are always welcome to come visit us in any of our communities.

~Michael

Not only have I found out what His true name is, but His true Body on earth as well.  I am so thankful to have finally found true rest with the true Savior.


[1] Some authorities say that Iesous is derived from an earlier form meaning ?healing Zeus,? the supreme god of ancient Greek mythology.

[2] Yah is the personal name of God, and shua is from a Hebrew root word that means ?to save.? God identified Himself to Moses as YAH (meaning ?I AM?) in Exodus 3:14, as in Psalm 68:4 (?whose name is Yah?), and as most familiar in the word Halleluyah (?Praise Yah?). And in John 5:43 and 17:11, Yahshua says that He came in His Father?s name, ?the name which You have given Me? (NASB), so it is not surprising that the Father?s name would be incorporated into the Son?s name, Yahshua.

[3] Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 1496,1507.

[4] Philippians 2:9; Acts 4:12

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