He is our Lord and Savior, the One who achieved His purposes of representing God to us in life, then dying on the cross for our sins and redemption. His life has led to several experiencing spiritual transformation and accepting God as our eternal Father in heaven.
any know Him as Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, but many others know as “Yeshua,” a name prevalent in Hebrew and Aramaic languages. If Jesus is most prominently known for the name found in several current translations of the Bible (King James, New International, etc.), why should “Yeshua” be viewed with the same honor and respect as that of Jesus or even Yahweh?
The answer lies in the fact that the origins of “Yeshua” and where it is used most to describe Jesus draws believers closer to the realization of what He came to do on earth and in heaven. It’s a name that represents His Hebrew identity and establishes a stronger connection with believers of all generations.
What Does "Yeshua" Mean?
There are several definitions of Yeshua that can be found in Hebrew and Aramaic biblical text, taken from the Hebrew verb, yasha, that means “to deliver, save, or rescue,” and also stated as “Yehoshua.” Pronunciation of “Yeshua,” in Hebrew, can be read this way: “Yod,” “Shin,” “Vav,” “Ayin.” In Aramaic, the term, “Yeshu,” was transliterated from the Hebrew term of Yeshua, pronounced as “Yeh-shoo,” and missing the “a.”
Greek translations have “Yeshua” listed as Yesous, among first century Greeks, of which the name, Jesus, is derived.
The involvement of the Council of Nicea, within the Roman Catholic Church, as well as influence of the English language into biblical text changed the use of “Yeshua” to describe the Savior into Jesus. “Yeshua” can be found most in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient texts that are still referenced among those in the Jewish faith. Hebrew is still considered the holy language used primarily for worshipping and prayer to God.
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The Connection Between Joshua and "Yeshua"
Although the term, “Yeshua,” cannot be found among Christian Bibles today, the hints at Yeshua can be found among mentions of Joshua, son of Nun, in Deuteronomy 32:44 (Joshua leading the people of Israel out of Egypt with Moses), Nehemiah 8:17 (the gathering of the Feast of Tabernacles that was lasted performed in the times of Joshua), Acts 7:45 (the tabernacle in the wilderness brought to the Gentiles by Joshua), Hebrews 4:8 (Joshua speaking of another day ahead for God’s people), and in the books of First and Second Chronicles and Ezra. In the Hebrew text, Joshua is named “Yeshua bin-Nun” (Neh. 8:17) and “Yehoshua.” (1 Chron. 7:27)
Joshua is stated as “Jeshua” in some English Bibles, and as you read several of these verses, you can see the resemblance of Joshua leading the Jews out of Egypt as how Yeshua would lead and save all people years later as the Savior.
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How Can "Yeshua" Feel Personal for Today?
Now knowing that Yeshua means “to save, deliver,” and seeing that “Yeshua” is represented in the Bible, even if it is not by name, how can this name feel as personal to us as “Jesus?”
First, it is the understanding that “Yeshua” is a more personal name of Jesus because it originated in the lifetime that Jesus was alive on earth. The use of “Yeshua” in Hebrew text connects more to when Jesus emerged in the presence of those around Him, as well as Hebrew being mentioned, earlier, as the holy language. Those who were fluent in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic would decipher that “Yeshua” meant “deliverer, savior,” and realize this man was more than just a man. Coupled with His behavior and spiritual connection with God, those around Him would see that He was different from others and this probably led to Him being loved by some and hated by others.
Also, viewing Jesus as represented in the Old Testament, as in the New Testament, with Joshua son of Nun, people would be able to see the emerging traits of Jesus as leading the people away from the bondage of Egypt, standing with them through the trials in the wilderness, and being viewed as a savior in bringing them to a new land. The view of Jesus to us, as Yeshua in the place of Joshua, shows that throughout time, He has been there as the deliverer and rescuer of people in need of help.
Though “Yeshua” is not as verbally attached to Jesus in modern Christianity as it is for those who follow Judaism, all should still view “Yeshua” as a name that celebrates what He did on earth and heaven for all those who profess His existence.
By claiming “Yeshua” as a name of Jesus, we support the bond we have with the Messiah in acknowledging all that He did to deliver us from evil bondage from the enemy and to save us from ourselves, our sinful natures. Even saying “Yeshua” when addressing Him in prayer establishes a closer bond with the Lord that could be viewed in the same way one would reference a loved one in an intimate way.
Calling Jesus “Yeshua” also strengthens our awareness of who He is that is not shaped by biblical text from any religious organization, but from the setting in which He arrived on the planet. He is called several names that all mean the same man who lived on the earth for thirty-three years, went to the cross, and rose again on the third day to defeat death and rejoin His Father in heaven.
Blair Parke is a freelance writer for BibleStudyTools.com and editor for Xulon Press. A graduate of Stetson University with a Bachelor's in Communications, Blair previously worked as a writer/editor for several local magazines in the Central Florida area, including Celebration Independent and Lake Magazine in Leesburg, Florida and currently freelances for the Southwest Orlando Bulletin.
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This article is part of our Names of God Series featuring the most used names and titles of God found in the Bible. We have compiled these articles to help you study all that God says He is and to help you understand His nature and character. Our hope is that you would focus on these truths and find hope as you rest in the promise of God’s presence, no matter the circumstances.
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