Our Lord’s actual Hebrew name is a point of contention among many believers. Some say that it should be transliterated as “Yahshua”, while others say it should be pronounced “Yeshua.” The variation is trivial since the only difference between both is in the vowel sounds, “eh” versus “ah.”
Those in the Sacred Name Movement (a sect of Christianity) aggressively oppose the use of YESHUA claiming that this is incorrect and the result of a Jewish conspiracy to hide the Savior’s true name. They insist that YAHSHUA is the correct name and should be used instead. Although no such conspiracy ever existed regarding Jesus’ name, they endlessly argue about this and even separate themselves from other believers who don’t adhere to their viewpoint.
Dr. Daniel Botkin writes: “To people who actually know Hebrew – people like Dr. Ben-Gigi, Dr. Bivin, and others – it is very obvious that those who insist on the Yahshua form know very little about the Hebrew language. The only Hebrew that most of these self-appointed scholars know is what they can learn from a Strong’s Concordance. Strong’s is a great study tool and a fine place to start, but it is not a means by which a person can learn the Hebrew language.”
Is “Jesus” a pagan name? God forbid!
Opponents of the use of YESHUA also teach that the name “Jesus” has a pagan connection and should never be used. This is another false accusation that can be disproved historically and linguistically.
The English form of JESUS is derived from the Greek name “Yesous”, which was transliterated from the original Hebrew (shortened) name of YESHUA that was given by God to our Savior when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” – Matthew 1:21.
I agree with Dr. Botkin’s conclusion in his article* that, in this case, we are arguing about petty matters that are not really important to Christian unity, and “splitting hairs” over issues that matter little to God.
“Paul warned Timothy about “doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising [suspicions]” (1 Tim. 6:4). Unfortunately, this is an accurate description of what goes on among many people in the Sacred Name movement. Personally, I would rather fellowship with non-contentious people who call the Messiah “Jesus” than with contentious people who insist that everyone call Him “Yahshua.”*
The apostle Paul warned us against the evil of creating division in the Body of Christ over such menial issues. Those who become obsessed with trivial disputes and arguing over petty differences in words will eventually grieve the Holy Spirit and become men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth (1 Timothy 6:3-5).
Without compromising sound doctrine, believers in Jesus the Messiah should live humbly and gently, always endeavoring to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace whenever possible, by bearing one another’s minor differences in beliefs and walking in love. (Ephesians 4:1-5).
– Pastor Luis Yosefus
*The Messiah’s Hebrew Name: “Yeshua” Or “Yahshua”? http://www.yashanet.com/library/Yeshua_or_Yahshua.htm
For further study: “The Unholy War of Names” http://www.perfect-word.org/2011/08/23/the-unholy-war-of-names-yeshua-vs-yahshua/
COMMENT FROM TOBY: “Thank you Pastor Luis. The name of our Savior has never bothered me one bit. Out of habit, I always refer to Him as Jesus but I have a Jewish friend who always refers to Him as Yeshua. This does not bother me. Of course, I am trying to learn the Hebrew language so sometimes I will call Him Yeshua. You gave wise advice.”