Some have written me asking for an explanation of why I use the form "Yahushua" in reference to the Messiah while others use "Yahshua", "Yeshua" or "Yehoshua". The purpose of this study is to go through each of these pronunciations and determine which is the most correct.
I’m not one that believes that you need to pronounce the Messiah’s name exactly like I do in order to be saved. However, the issue of the Messiah’s name is a very important one. If you don’t believe me, read the below scriptures:
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the
name of Yahushua Messiah for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the
name of Yahushua Messiah of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
Acts 3:16 "And His
name, through faith in His
name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which [comes] through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what
name have you done this?"
Acts 4:10 "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the
name of Yahushua Messiah of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom Elohim raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other
name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Acts 4:17 "But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this
name." 18 And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the
name of Yahushua.
Acts 4:30 "by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the
name of Your holy Servant Yahushua."
Acts 5:28 saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this
name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!"
Acts 5:40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten
[them], they commanded that they should not speak in the
name of Yahushua, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of Elohim and the
name of Yahushua Messiah, both men and women were baptized.
Acts 8:16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the
name of the Master Yahushua.
Acts 9:14 "And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your
name." 15 But the Master said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My
Acts 9:21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, "Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this
name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?"
Acts 9:27 But Barnabas took him and brought [him] to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Master on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the
name of Yahushua.
Acts 9:29 And he spoke boldly in the
name of the Master Yahushua and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him.
Acts 10:43 "To Him all the prophets witness that, through His
name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."
Acts 15:14 "Simon has declared how Elohim at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His
Acts 15:26 men who have risked their lives for the
name of our Master Yahushua Messiah.
Acts 16:18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the
name of Yahushua Messiah to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.
Acts 18:15 "But if it is a question of words and
names and your own law, look [to] [it] yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such [matters]."
Acts 19:5 When they heard [this], they were baptized in the
name of the Master Yahushua.
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the
name of the Master Yahushua over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Yahushua whom Paul preaches."
Acts 19:17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the
name of the Master Yahushua was magnified.
Acts 21:13 Then Paul answered, "What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the
name of the Master Yahushua."
And this is just in the book of Acts! The name of Yahushua is intricately linked with the person of Yahushua. So in light of the numerous scriptures which show us the importance of His name, we should at least seek to understand how it is pronounced. It is obviously important according to scripture.
Origin of the name "Jesus"
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the etymological origin of "Jesus" is:
Jesus ..Middle English, from Late Latin Isus, from Greek Isous, from Hebrew y˚ë, from yhÙ˚aë, Joshua…
Notice that it says that the origin of His name is from Latin, then Greek, then Hebrew. So the name "Jesus" is the result of 3 different languages placing their influence on the original name the disciples were proclaiming, baptizing in and praying in. Some of the influence is quite recent. In the 1611 King James Version, it originally had "Iesus" rather than "Jesus" (photo). Later revisions of the KJV changed it to "Jesus". This leads me to ask some important questions: "Who is the one who gets to decide what it is changed to? Man or Yahweh? And if Yahushua is supposed to be the same yesterday, today and forever, why do they keep changing His name?"
If you look up the name "Jesus" in a Strong’s lexicon it has "Iesous":
"2424 Iesous ee-ay-sooce’ of Hebrew origin (3091); Jesus (i.e. Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites:–Jesus."
Notice that it traces the name of Messiah to Hebrew word #3091 in the Strong’s lexicon. This name is the same name as "Joshua, Son of Nun". In the Hebrew, this name is spelled
While there are some out there claiming that "Jesus" is somehow derived from "Zeus", I have yet to find anyone who is willing to present hard evidence of this claim. One person wrote a book which claimed that "Iesous" means "Hail Zeus". When I contacted him by phone and asked him for evidence of this claim, he said "Iesous" means "Hail Zeus" in the sense that when you say the "Ie" it sounds like "Yaayy" and "Yaayy" is what people do in modern sports games when they hail their team. Thus, the statement that "Iesous" meant "Hail Zeus" had nothing to do with its meaning in the Greek language.
In fact,the Greek language spells Zeus (#2203 in the Strong’s Lexicon) as ZeuV and doesn’t even have the same letters or sound as the second syllable in IhsouV (Iesous). First of all, the Z in ZeuV produces a "dz" sound, not an "s" sound. Also the eu combination in ZeuV sounds like "eu as in feud", a letter combination not found in any form of
IhsouV/Iesous. So is
is actually pronounced "Dzyooce" and not "Sooce". These things alone make it appear quite impossible that Iesous comes from "Zeus". Look at the first page of the Greek Lexicon in your Strong’s concordance if you want confirmation of the sounds of these Greek letters.
Another important point is that the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures that was completed many years before Yahushua came to earth, also rendered the Hebrew name "Yahushua" as
(Iesous). This fact alone clearly demonstrates that "Iesous" is a Greek form of
and wasn’t a form invented by apostate Christians who wanted to honor Zeus in some way.
Interestingly, there is evidence that although the name of Yahushua was written in Greek as
IhsouV, it may have actually been pronounced the way a Hebrew speaking person would pronounce it. Around 178 CE, a pagan by the name of Celsus engaged in written debates with Christians. In one of them, Celsus (speaking of Christians) said:
"But of course they think otherwise: they assume that by pronouncing the name of their teacher they are armored against the powers of the earth and air. And they are quite insistent on the efficacy of the name as a means of protection:
pronounce it improperly, they say, and it is ineffective.
Greek and Latin will not do; it must be said in a barbarian tongue to work. Silly as they are, one finds them standing next to a a statue of Zeus or Apollo or some other god, and shouting, "see here: I blaspheme it and strike it, but it is powerless against me for I am a Christian."
Celsus on the True Doctrine, A Discourse Against the Christians, R. Joseph Hoffman (page118)
Notice that Celsus was quoting Christians as saying that the name of "their teacher" (Yahushua no doubt) must not be spoken "improperly" and that it must not be spoken in a "Greek" way or "Latin" way, but in a "Barbarian tongue" for it to be effective. Of course, to the pagans the Hebrew language was nothing more than a barbarian language. This lends evidence that even though the name of Yahushua was written as
IhsouV, there were at least some people speaking it in the Hebrew way. The Greek alphabet simply lacks the letters necessary to correctly convey how the name is pronounced in Hebrew.
So how is the name pronounced? Let’s start with the form that is found in various Hebrew Lexicons: "Yehoshua".
In the Strong’s concordance and other Hebrew Lexicons, the pronunciation listed for the Messiah’s name is typically "Yehoshua". While I do not believe we should be getting all of our Hebrew learning from a Strong’s lexicon alone (that would be dangerous), most of us do own a Strong’s Concordance so I will be using it during this study for the purposes of illustration.
The reason for the "Yehoshua" pronunciation is due to the Hebrew vowel pointing added by the Masorite scribes. The vowel points are the little dots and dashes under and above certain Hebrew letters. Unlike English, Hebrew was written with mostly all consonants. It was up to the reader to supply the vowels in each word based on the context of the word. The Masorites were concerned that Hebrew was becoming a lost language so they invented the vowel point system to preserve the sounds of the Hebrew language. However, in keeping with tradition they were not interested in letting everyone speak the pronunciation of the Heavenly Father’s name. For this reason, they pointed the Heavenly Father’s name to produce the sound "Yehovah".
To avoid speaking the Heavenly Father’s name, the Jewish tradition was to say "Adonai" ("Lord") instead of Yahweh. For this reason, our English bibles also say "LORD" instead of "Yahweh". So rather than supplying the true vowels of the Heavenly Father’s name, the scribes inserted the vowels for "Adonai" so that the reader would be reminded to say "Adonai" rather than Yahweh.
But what if the Hebrew scriptures contained a phrase such as "Adonai Yahweh" (Master Yahweh)? They would then have to say "Adonai Adonai", a rather odd (if not a bit embarrassing) phrase. Their solution was to put the vowel points for "Elohim" within the Heavenly Father’s name so that they would be reminded to say "Adonai Elohim" instead of "Adonai adonai". This is even mentioned in the Strong’s lexicon and it lists it as a different word number. Read what it says:
"136" is the Hebrew word "Adonai" and "430" is the Hebrew word "Elohim". So these vowel points are used within the Father’s name whenever His name follows 136 (Adonai). And they pronounce this as 430 (Elohim) to avoid having to say Adonai twice. For this reason, many English translations will render "Adonai Yahweh" as "the Lord GOD" with "GOD" being in all capitals to let the reader know that this is where the sacred name is found in the Hebrew. Very few even know that this is why "GOD" is sometimes in all capital letters (See Gen 15:2 for one of hundreds of examples of this). It is amazing how far men will go in order to cleave to tradition!
So how does this relate to the pronunciation of the Messiah’s name? Let’s take a look at His name again in the Strong’s Lexicon:
Notice that there are other names listed in the Strong’s concordance which contain the first three letters of Yahweh’s name. And just like Yahweh’s name which starts with the "Yeho" vowel points, they use the "Yeho" vowel points in "Yehoram", "Yehosheba", "Yehoshaphat" and numerous other names which contain the first part of Yahweh’s name. The scribes apparently did not want anyone to accidentally pronounce the Heavenly Father’s name when saying these other names, so they changed the vowel points of those names as well.
Interestingly, they did not change the pronunciation of these same three letters when it was at the end of a person’s name. For instance, look at how Zechariah’s name is presented in the Hebrew text:
Notice the different vowel pointing and pronunciation herein ("ZecharYahu"). Phonetically, the first three letters in the Heavenly Father’s name are also pronounced "Yahu". For this reason, the Heavenly Father’s name can be written as "YAHUeh" or "YAHWeh" and the same pronunciation will result, just as in the word "Persuade" could also be spelled "Perswade". I prefer to use a W so that there is less confusion over how the name is to be pronounced.
By the way, for those who think we cannot know what the vowel sounds were in Yahweh’s name, it only takes a little research to find the pronunciation of "Yod Heh Waw Heh" because the scribes had no problem giving the correct pronunciation of these three letters at the end of a name. Because it ends in ‘Yahu’, there was considered to be no risk in accidentally saying "Yahueh/Yahweh". This would also explain why the scribes used the correct vowel points in the shortened form of Yahweh’s name ("Yah"):
They even used the correct vowel pointing in "HalleluYah".
Thus, the only time they would revert to the "Yeho" pronunciation of these three letters was when it was at the beginning of a Hebrew name. But I want nothing to do with the unscriptural tradition of saying "Adonai/Lord/Elohim/God" in place of Yahweh. That is one reason I do not refer to the Messiah as "Yehoshua". "Yeho(ah)" does not save, "Yahu(eh)" saves!
Having said this, there are some Hebrew students and scholars who have noticed that a natural progression of Hebrew language is to shorten the first vowel and lengthen the second whenever the accent is on the third syllable (in this case "shu") of a Hebrew word. This would indeed result in the "Y’hoshua" or "Yehoshua" pronunciation. For this reason, some believe "Yehoshua" to actually be the correct pronunciation.
But while this may be true in normal Hebrew words, there is plenty of evidence to support that this was not true in personal names–especially with names containing the first part of Yahweh’s name. The Murashu texts, dated 5th century BCE and written on clay tablets in cuneiform script, list the names of about 70 Jewish settlers in Persia. In these tablets,
vowels are used. The Hebrew names which begin with Yod Heh Waw all are written "Yahu-" and never "Y’ho".
"In the cuneiform texts Yeho [YHW], Yo [YW] and Yah [YH] are written Yahu, as for example in the names Jehu (Yahu-a), Jehoahaz (Yahu-khazi) and Hezekiah (Khazaqi-yahu)" A. H. Sayce in "Higher Criticism" notes on p. 87
Notice that not only were names beginning with "Yeho" written as "Yahu", but also names beginning with "Yo" such as "Yoseph" (Joseph) and "Yoel" (Joel) were written as "Yahu". This indicates Joseph and Joel were originally "Yahuseph" and "Yahuel".
Also, cuneiform tablets (also containing vowels) were discovered near the Ishtar gate in Babylon which give a list of workers and captives to whom rations were given. In addition to validating the biblical account in 2Kings 25:27-29 where it mentions that Jehoiachin (Yahuiachin) ate at the King’s table, these tablets help to establish the way these names were pronounced before the Masorite scribes inserted their vowel pointings based on tradition:
"Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud," ("Jehoiachin, the king of the land of Judah")
Another witness is found in an inscription of the Assyrian monarch Tiglath-pileser III (Gressmann Bilder 348; ANET 282a). When listing those kings who were paying tribute to this Assyrian King, it mentions "Yauhazi", also known as "Ahaz". Various lexicons such as the New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon (p. 219 b) and the Hebrew Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (under "Ahaz") mention this inscription as well.
With all the evidence, it becomes clear that the name was never originally pronounced "Yehoshua". Rather "Yahushua" is more correct and there is no reason mispronounce the Heavenly Father’s name when speaking the name of His Son. Just as names which end with a reference to Yahweh correctly convey the Father’s name ("ZecharYah/ZecharYahu"), so do the names which begin with it.
Much used by the Messianic movement, "Yeshua" is actually an Aramaic form of the Hebrew name "Yahushua". In the Hebrew script, it is not spelled the same as Yahushua. The "Yeshua" name, spelled(Yod Shin Waw Ayin), is found in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra where it lists the names of those who returned from the Babylonian exile. One of them is called "Jeshua, the son of Jozadak":
Ezra 3:2 Then stood up
Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren
the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the Elohim of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of Elohim.
"Jeshua the Son of Jozadak" is the same High Priest mentioned in Zechariah 6:
Zechariah 6:11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;
Notice that in Zechariah, he is not called "Jeshua the son of Jozadak" but he is called "Joshua the son of Josedech" (Heb. Yahushua the son of Yahutsadak). This reflects the Hebrew spelling of the same name. So in Zechariah, he is called Yahushua but in Ezra he is called Yeshua. The book of Nehemiah also changes the name of Joshua the son of Nun to "Jeshua, the son of Nun":
Nehemiah 8:17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of
Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
The change in spelling to "Jeshua/Yeshua" ("Yod Shin Waw Ayin" ) is due to the Aramaic influence during the exile. In fact, parts of the book of Ezra are written in Aramaic. For confirmation, look at your Strong’s Lexicon:
Notice that #3442 and #3443 are the same exact word with the same Hebrew spelling, but this lexicon lists them separately. Why is this? Well, if you looked up "Jeshua" in the concordance, you will notice that it lists "Jeshua" in Ezra 3:2 as coming from #3442 and "Jeshua" in Ezra 5:2 coming from #3443. The reason for the two different Strong’s word numbers is Ezra 5:2 is a part of the book of Ezra which was written in Aramaic (Ezra 4:8 through 6:18; 7:12-26).
This is why #3443 mentions "Yeshuwa" as coming from "Chaldean" in the above definition (3443.Yeshuwa’ (Chald.)). Therefore, "Yeshua" is actually an Aramaic rendering of "Yahushua".
Now, some claim that Yeshua
is a pure Hebrew word which isn’t derived from "Yahushua" at all, but that it is a Hebrew word meaning "Salvation". The problem with that is the Hebrew word for "Salvation" is not
(yeshua) at all! The Hebrew word for "Salvation" is word number #3444. Take a look again in the above lexicon graphic and see the differences between 3442/3443 and 3444. They are:
So the name "Yeshua" and the Hebrew word "Y’shuah" are not the same. "Yeshua" is the Aramaic form of "Yahushua" and "Y’shuah" is the Hebrew word for "Salvation". Therefore, in spite of what some may say, I find no evidence to suggest that("Yeshua") means "Salvation" in Hebrew. "Yeshua" is actually not an authentic Hebrew word meaning "salvation". For it to mean "Salvation" it would have to have the Hebrew letter "heh" added to the end of it, changing the spelling to Yod Shin Waw Ayin Heh and it would need to have the
"Sheva" vowel point under the Yod. These things further indicate that "Yeshua" isn’t from Hebrew, but is an Aramaic form of "Yahushua".
Since the Heavenly Father’s name (Yahweh) is a Hebrew name, I would not expect to see His Son’s name coming from some other language, whether it be Greek, Latin, Aramaic or English. If neither of these languages do it right, why not return to the original and correct form?
This is another popular way of writing the Messiah’s name but I have never seen an example of this word anywhere in scripture. It appears to have its origins in the Sacred Name movement in the 1930’s when certain men saw that "Jesus" was derived from "Joshua". Since they understood that the "J" sound is not in the Hebrew language, "Yahshua" was apparently considered correct. It made sense so I used this form for many years. However, I later learned that "Yahshua" clearly ignores the third letter of the Messiah’s name (Waw) which gives us the "oo" (u) sound in Yahushua. To demonstrate this, let’s look at the individual letters of
Yod – Produces a "Y" or "I" sound.
Heh – As a Hebrew vowel letter it produces the "Ah" or "Oh" sound (like in #8283 "Sarah" and #8010 Sh’lomoh). Otherwise produces the "H" sound and the "ah" sound would have to be supplied by the reader.
Waw – Also called "Vav". As a Hebrew vowel letter it produces an "oo" (u) or "oh" sound (like in #7307 Ruach). Otherwise produces a "W" sound. This is the ignored letter in the pronunciation "Yahshua". This letter is nowhere represented. Where is the W or initial U??
Shin – Produces the "sh" sound. The following "oo" sound is indicated by a vowel pointing but Deut. 3:21 and Judges 2:7 actually gives us another "waw" after this letter, proving the "shu" pronunciation as valid. This is why Strong’s 3091 gives 2 possible spellings (see above lexicon graphic). This also eliminates "Yasha/Yahusha" and "Yahoshea/Yahushea" as being possibilities.
Ayin – Silent without a vowel point but indicates an "ah" sound at the end of "Yahushua".
So if the Messiah’s name was "Yahshua", we would have to delete the third letter (waw) in . For this reason, cannot not be pronounced "Yahshua".
There are some who claim that "Yahshua" is actually the correct pronunciation of the Aramaic word ("Yeshua") and the Hebrew scribes simply took out the proper vowel sounds, replacing the "Yah" with "Ye". But as mentioned before,is not a legitimate Hebrew word. Also, as seen in the above scans of the Strong’s Lexicon (and the Hebrew manuscripts as well), the scribes used the "Sheva" vowel pointing to replace the "Ah" sound in "Yahweh" and "Yahushua", not the "Tsere"
vowel pointing as is found in the name "Yeshua". If they were interested in changing the vocalization of "Yeshua" to fit their tradition, one would expect them to use the
as they did in
and all of the other names beginning with "Yah".
Why use Yahushua?
Since we seek to walk in the truth, we should want to proclaim His name as Yahweh gave it. Yahweh is the one who named His Son and we simply have no business changing it. It is all these changes that has brought about the confusion. It can be complicated to sort through it all, but truth seeking is an honorable thing that is pleasing in Yahweh’s eyes.
Of course, if we are somehow unable to pronounce the Messiah’s name, certainly Yahweh is able to show mercy. But if we are able to, what reason do we have to continue in error? It is better to cleave to what Yahweh gave rather than continuing in the traditions and mistakes of men. Continuing in error is never superior to walking in the truth.
Yahweh predicted what His Son’s name would be, so we have something we can look to for clarification. In the book of Zechariah, it states:
Zechariah 6:9-13 And the word of Yahweh came unto me, saying, 10 Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; 11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua [YAHUSHUA] the son of Josedech, the high priest; 12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Yahweh of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of Yahweh: 13 Even he shall build the temple of Yahweh; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
"The Branch" is a prophetic reference to the coming Messiah who would be a Priest AND King (Compare Psallm 110, Isaiah 9:6).
So Zechariah was instructed to take a crown and place it on the head of Yahushua (in the Hebrew it has
), the son of Yahutsadak. Yahutsadak means "Yahweh is righteous". When placing the crown on the head of
the High Priest, Zechariah was told to proclaim:
"Behold the man
whose NAME is the BRANCH".
Thus, this High Priest (Yahushua) had the same name as the coming Messiah who would reign as a priest on His throne. Yahweh revealed what His name would be, so why not call Him by that name? We see the examples of the apostles who were proclaiming His name, baptizing in His name, healing in His name, being persecuted for His name, etc. Let’s be willing to do the same by using the Messiah’s name as it is written and understood in Hebrew with a very important Hebrew meaning: