THE SON’S NAME
By Buel Hallpike
(Note: All Scripture quotations are shown in blue italics. Unless otherwise indicated, they are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Substitution of words, phrases, Hebrew names and titles in Biblical quotations has been made at the discretion of the author and are inserted within square brackets […] for identification. Parts of some quotations are shown in bold or capitals for author’s emphasis. Non-Biblical quotations are indicated in brown.
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Many ardent believers sing exuberantly and fervently about Jesus, that, "There is something about that name" and that it "is the sweetest name [they] know". Indeed if the name Jesus, were correct, it would most certainly be very special, for in referring to our Saviour, the Scriptures say in Acts 4:12 "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
It is clear from this verse that salvation comes through the One who holds a particular name. This is supported by the announcement of an angel of Yahweh who appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name…for He will save His people from their sins" Matt 1:20-21.
There are two obvious and undeniable facts about the name in this pronouncement. Firstly the name was specially chosen by Yahweh and sent to Joseph by one of Yahweh’s special envoys. This means the name was very significant to Yahweh and should therefore be very important to us.
Secondly the name was to carry a specific message and have a precise meaning. The name was to declare and mean that this Son of Yahweh whom Mary would bear would be the Saviour. Whatever name is used to identify our Saviour, if it does not have the meaning of 'salvation', it is not the correct name. Let us now carefully and prayerfully delve beneath that special name which for many "is the sweetest name [they] know", and see if it is built upon the rock of truth or on the unstable sand of tradition.
The Error of the Letter J
The initial letter in the name 'Jesus' is the first evidence that "there is something about that name". It is a well-known fact that ‘J’ is the most recently added letter of the English alphabet and came into usage about fifteen hundred years AFTER the birth of our Saviour.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, under ‘J’ writes: "J, a letter of the alphabet which, as far as form is concerned, is only a modification of the Latin ‘I’ and dates back with a separate value only to the 15th century. It was first used as a special form of initial i, the ordinary form being kept for use in other positions. As, however, in many cases initial i had the consonantal value of the English y, …the symbol came to be used for the value y, which it still retains in German."
The Encyclopaedia Americana commenting on the letter J provides the following additional information: "At a later stage, the symbol ’J’ was used for the distinctive purposes, particularly when the ‘I’ had to be written initially (or in conjunction with another ‘I’). Either symbol used initially generally had the consonant sound of ‘Y’ (as in Year) so that the Latin pronunciation of either Ianuarius or Januarius was as though the spelling was ‘Yanuarius’. While in some words of Hebrew origin (such as Hallelujah), ‘J’ has the phonetic value of ‘Y’".
Many other encyclopaedias and dictionaries confirm that when the letter J was first introduced it had a ‘Y’ sound and not the eventually acquired soft ‘g’ French sound.
Therefore even if the original spelling of the Saviour’s name had been ‘Jesus’, (and we know it was not), at the time of His birth, it would have been pronounced differently.
There is yet another problem with this letter ‘J’ as there is no such letter or equivalent sound in the Hebrew alphabet. Miriam (Mary) was Jewish. So also was Yosef (Joseph). Their native tongue would have been Hebrew or Aramaic. The Son they were to parent, would quite naturally have had a Hebrew name. It is unthinkable that the name would have been one that could not have been spoken in their native tongue.
Incidentally, even if we wrongly accepted that the original language of the New Testament was Greek and not Hebrew, there is still a further problem with the letter ‘J’, since there is no corresponding letter or pronunciation in the Greek alphabet. The absence of a ‘J’ or ‘J’ sound in both the Hebrew and Greek languages is therefore ample proof that the name Jesus could not possibly be the authentic original pronunciation of our Saviour’s name.
Biblical Hints of the Saviour’s correct name
Since the popular translations of the Bible use a name that is known to be incorrect, is there any clue in the Bible itself as to what the correct name should be?
- In Acts 7:45, and Hebrews 4:8, the translators of the King James Version, erroneously substituted "Jesus" for "Joshua", as is apparent from the verses.
Acts 7:45: Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom [Elohim] drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David.
Heb 4:8: For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
Both of these verses only make sense when Joshua is substituted for Jesus. Most good reference Bibles show ‘Joshua’ in the margin for Heb 4:8, and other versions including the New King James Version, have replaced ‘Jesus’ with ‘Joshua’ in both of these verses. Most scholars agree that there is a similarity in the names, and mission of Jesus and Joshua. Both were to be deliverers of Yahweh’s people, and their Hebrew names would have had meanings relevant to their mission. Most writers agree that our Saviour’s name must have been the same as Joshua in the originals to have caused the errors in Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8.
- In the introduction to this section we have already quoted the angel’s announcement. The One to be born would be a Saviour, and the name was to reflect that mission, in the way that Hebrew names give vital information of a person. We are therefore expecting to find a Hebrew name, at least part of which, must mean Saviour.
- Our Saviour said in John 5:43 "I have come in My Father‘s name". If any legitimate son said that of his father, one would expect he is not only indicating that he is his father’s representative, but that he also bears at least the father’s family name. We would therefore expect part of the Saviour’s name to include the name of Yahweh.
To summarise so far then, the correct name should sound like or be the same as the Hebrew name for Joshua, should have the meaning of saviour, and include the name Yahweh.
Commenting on the name Jesus in Matt 1:21 Barnes New Testament Notes states "In Hebrew it is the same as Joshua."
It is generally accepted that the Hebrew name by which our Saviour was known is Yahshua. It is the only Hebrew name that satisfies the two conditions of including the Father’s name, and also meaning Saviour.
We have already seen in Part 1, that Yah is the abbreviated form of Yahweh (as in Ps 68:4 Sing to [Elohim], sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him).
The suffix ‘–shua’ is derived from the Hebrew word which means saves. So Yah-shua is literally ‘Yah saves’ or ‘Yah is salvation’. This name, unlike the name Jesus, has a definite meaning, which is in accordance with the angelic announcement to Joseph.
From Yahshua to Jesus
In bringing the Hebrew name Yahshua across to Greek, several insurmountable problems had to be resolved. Firstly in the Greek language there was no ‘y’ sound. Therefore Yah-shua simply could not be pronounced that way in Greek. The closest pronunciation possible in Greek, would have been to combine their letter 'i' (iota) with the Greek letter 'a' (alpha) to give an 'ee-a' sound. This however was not done, as such a pronunciation would have offended the Jews who did not want to have ‘Yah’ being blurted out. The Masorete Scribes had deliberately pointed the ‘Y’ to give instead a 'Yeh' sound. Therefore the Greek transliteration was to be for the name Yehshua and not Yahshua. The iota was followed, not by the alpha but by the letter e (eta). The pronunciation thus far was 'ee-ay'.
The next difficulty was the absence of a ‘sh’ sound in Greek. The nearest possible sound was the ‘s’ sound from the Geek letter sigma. This would mean that the name Yahshua would have been pronounced ‘ee-ay-soo-a’. However a further problem would have been created since, traditionally, a Greek masculine name did not end with a vowel. Instead the suffix 'sigma' (‘s’), would be added, in the way that Biblical names in the New Testament acquired an ‘s’ to their Old Testament equivalents. Therefore the name would have been pronounced 'ee-ah-soo-as', spelled in Greek 'Iesous', and in Latin 'Iesus'.
In 1600, when the capital ‘J’ replaced the capital I, the name was spelt Jesous, from the Greek Iesous, or Jesus from the Latinised spelling Iesus.
Why Jesus is not the Saviour’s name
- Even if Jesus is the closest Greek pronunciation of the Hebrew Yahshua, it does not in any way sound like Yahshua, and cannot replace the original sound of the name.
- The original name Yahshua has been modified at each stage of its transliteration journey from Hebrew to English and in the process has lost its original meaning. The name Jesus therefore contravenes the declared purpose of the name, which the angel had announced.
- In order to be understood, the angel would have had to speak to Joseph and Miriam in either the Hebrew or Aramaic language; not in Greek, Latin or English.
- It is impossible to pronounce the name 'Jesus' in the Hebrew language, and it is inconceivable that the angel would have given our Saviour a name, which could not have been pronounced by His parents or any other Jew.
- Joseph and Miriam would have had to ignore the angel’s announcement to give their Son a Latinised/Greek/English name.
- There is no letter J or equivalent sound in Greek or Hebrew.
- It is unbelievable that the name in that angelic announcement would have been a European hybrid name, and would begin with the letter ‘J’ that did not come into existence until some 1500 years later!
The name ‘Jesus’ then is an English derivative of the Latinised spelling of the Greek attempt at transliterating the Hebrew name Yahshua, after making adjustments to satisfy certain prevalent customs. In the process, part of the Father’s name Yah, has been altered and the name Jesus neither sounds like nor has the intended meaning of Yahshua – Salvation of Yah. It is a name without meaning, and is definitely not the name, which the angel had given to the Hebrews, Joseph in Matthew 1:21 and Mary in Luke 1:31.
Why not Yehshua, Yeshua or Yehoshua?
We have already shown that our Saviour’s name was Yahshua and not Jesus, but how about other names which are presently in vogue among some of the Sacred Names groups?
Of these perhaps the most popular, apart from Yahshua, are Yehshua, Yeshua and Yehoshua. Are any of these authentic replacements for Yahshua?
Before addressing this question, we need to summarise some of the evidence which was covered in part one and supported the general acceptance of the poetic or abbreviated form of the Father’s name.
- The name Yah appears in the New King James version of the Bible in the following verses:
Ps 68:4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name YAH, and rejoice before Him.
Isa 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.
Isa 26:4 Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
Isa 38:11 I said, "I shall not see YAH, the LORD in the land of the living; I shall observe man no more among the inhabitants of the world."
- Yah is included in the internationally known word of praise, halleluyah (often spelled as hallelujah but pronounced halleluyah) and literally means ‘praise you Yah’.
- Yah is incorporated in the suffixes of many Old Testament Hebrew names, such as Isaiah (IsaYah), Jeremiah (JeremiYah), Elijah (EliYah) and Hezekiah (HezekiYah).
- The discoveries of the Moabite Stone (written 900 BC) and the Lachish Letters of 586 BC would seem to suggest that the name Yahweh, was known and in use in Old Testament times.
- Quotations used throughout this booklet from encyclopaedias, dictionaries and recognised scholarly works have endorsed Yahweh to be the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton YHWH.
The ‘Yeh-’ and ‘Ye-’ Error
The names Yehshua, Yeshua (sometimes abbreviated Y’shua) and Yehoshua all have the Yeh- or Ye- Prefix. Are they correct?
In Part 1, we have already quoted from The New Encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia, vol 12 which states: "After the Exile (6th century BC), and especially from the 3rd century on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh … the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (“My Lord”)
The Masoretes, who from about the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible, replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with vowel signs of the Hebrew words Adonai or Elohim."
This was carried out by pointing the Hebrew yod or yothe (the Hebrew equivalent of the English letter ‘Y’) in the Tetragrammaton, with a shewa vowel sign to give the Yeh sound instead of pointing it with the proper qamets, which would have given the correct Yah sound. It was done deliberately in order to avoid pronouncing the divine name Yahweh. The improvised Yeh- pronunciation opened the gateway for artificial names such as Jehovah (YeHoWaH), Jesus, Yehshua, Yeshua and Yehoshua to come into being.
(Note: Many persons assert that Yehoshua is the proper Hebrew name for Joshua. This is unacceptable partly because it has all the ingredients of the ‘e’ and ‘o’, which originated from the same Scribal pointing that led to the hybrid birth of Jehovah. It is merely 'Yehowah' in its shortened form, Yeho, plus ‘shua’. Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech writes this under the name Jesus: "The full significance of the name Jesus is seen in the original ‘Yehoshua’ which means ‘Jehovah the Saviour’". The connection between Yehoshua (Jehoshua) and Jehovah is very clear.)
There are some religious groups today, which adamantly refuse (as though out of fear or great reverence) to pronounce the name Yahweh and they regard almost as sacrilege, any ‘Yah-’ sounding pronunciation of the Saviour’s name. They insist on the pronunciations Yeshua, Yehshua, or Y’shua.
How about the names Yahushua and Yahusha?
Proponents of these names also believe that the Father's name was Yahuweh or Yahuwah. The earliest translations of the Moabite Stone and Lachish Letters are the oldest available records of the Father's name outside of the Bible. We cannot ignore such helpful extra-Biblical information.
It has been shown that Yah is the accepted abbreviation and poetic form of Yahweh. The Saviour Himself said that He came in His Father’s name. If we accept the overwhelming evidence for using the name Yahweh or Yah in connection with our Father, then it is inconsistent to use any name beginning in Ye-, Yeh-, Yahu-, Je- or Jeh- for the name of His Son. To be consistent the Saviour’s name must contain the YAH prefix. Yahu is no substitute for Yah.
Any devices that replace the ‘a’ with ‘e’ or add another syllable to Yah merely aid in the diabolical attempt at suppressing the family name Yah. First the Scribes, then the Romans and latterly believers of many different persuasions, backgrounds and agendas have rejected the hallowed name of our Heavenly Father, and created others, which they think are better replacements. Yet the name lives on like Yahweh’s truths, unconquerable, to endure throughout eternity.
The Original Language of the New Testament
Much of the error of the name has been brought about by translators attempting to give a Greek instead of a Jewish flavour to the New Testament. The English translations we have today are usually based on Greek texts, owing to the loss or deliberate destruction of the original Hebrew manuscripts. Due to this it is often said that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. Greek translations, however, are not synonymous with Greek authorship.
Hebrew or Aramaic-speaking Israelites wrote the books of the New Testament. The original writings would have been in their native tongue and not in a foreign language.
Acts 4:13 tells us: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled."
Here we have the valuable information that two of the New Testament writers were ‘uneducated and untrained’. It is beyond belief that such men would have written in another language instead of their native tongue.
As a Jew, Paul’s main language would not have been Greek, but Hebrew or Aramaic. He spoke and understood the Hebrew language (See Acts 21:40 and Acts 22:2). In Phil 3:5 he says of himself: "circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews".
It was in the Hebrew language that Yahshua spoke to him on the Damascus road: And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads" Acts 26:14.
It is clear that the dominant language for Paul, the most prolific writer in the New Testament was Hebrew. Equally, the ‘unlearned’ Peter must have read at least some of Paul’s letters in the Hebrew language, to have been able to give his commentary of Paul’s writings in 2 Peter 3:16.
Whilst we are thankful that translations of the Hebrew manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments were made in the Greek language, so as to preserve the Bible, this must not cause us to forget that the writers of the Bible were mainly Jewish, and spoke Hebrew or Aramaic.
Conclusion of Part 1 and 2
The name of the Almighty One has been removed from the Bible partly because of the attempt to uproot the Hebrew origins of the Bible and its message and partly out of fear of taking Yahweh’s name in vain. This, in turn, has had consequences for the correct transliteration of His Son’s name, which consequences have been exacerbated by the difficulties in bringing the name from Hebrew to Greek.
In both cases an unnecessary substitution has been made that contradicts the declared purpose and meaning of the original names and denies most of today’s disciples the intimacy of knowing the names of their Father and Saviour.
We repeat Rotherham's admission in Part 1 that, "an unwarrantable liberty has been taken; the path of humility is to retrace our steps."
Two thousand years ago Yahshua said the time had come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth John 4:23, instead of blindly following customs and traditions. It is time for true believers to cast off the ignorance and delusions of the past and cease from calling their heavenly Father and His Son by false, meaningless and man-made titles. It is time to declare fearlessly and joyfully, but with reverence, the names of Yahweh and Yahshua.
The name of Yahweh will prevail whatever man with his false doctrines may think. The day is coming when those who will be with Yahshua at His return shall have the Father’s name on their foreheads Rev 22:4 and 14:1. Since that name will be prominent then, and the bearers of the Name will be delighted to display it, there is no value in concealing it now.
Now that we know the names of our Father and His Son, let us no longer follow the lead of those who prefer the "currency and familiarity" of erroneous names. Knowledge for its own sake is as good as ignorance. Applied knowledge demonstrates wisdom. It is high time for the truth to prevail. Let us shout the names, proclaim them, and never be ashamed of them. Let the truth and meaning of the names, be a fire within us that neither the floods of popular sentiment nor the force of historic veneration can extinguish.
I will declare Your name unto My brethren Ps 22:22.
"Our beliefs must fit in with the Scriptures especially when the Scriptures do not support our beliefs". Buel Hallpike
© Buel Hallpike July 2005