Posted Jan 03, 2013 by Michael L. Brown

I am continually amazed by how many people write to our ministry and ask us questions like this one, which came in last week: “Some Christians say we have to use the Hebrew name, Yashua. They say calling on the name of Jesus is calling on Zeus. That Jesus is a disguise name for Satan. What answers do you have for this? Where can we prove the name of Jesus is correct to use in its English translation and pronunciation?”

As bizarre as these questions are, the fact that they keep coming up means that they need to be addressed, so here are some simple responses (for more details, see 60 Questions Christians Ask About Jewish Beliefs and Practices, question #38).

The original Hebrew-Aramaic name of Jesus is yeshu‘a, which is short for yehōshu‘a (Joshua), just as Mike is short for Michael. The name yeshu‘a occurs 27 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, primarily referring to the high priest after the Babylonian exile, called both yehōshu‘a (see, e.g., Zechariah 3:3) and, more frequently, yeshu‘a (see, e.g., Ezra 3:2). So, Yeshua’s name was not unusual; in fact, as many as five different men had that name in the Old Testament. And this is how that name came to be “Jesus” in English: Simply stated, this is the etymological history of the name Jesus: Hebrew/Aramaic yeshu‘a became Greek Iēsous, then Latin Iesus, passing into German and then, ultimately, into English, as Jesus.

Why then do some people refer to Jesus as Yahshua? There is absolutely no support for this pronunciation—none at all—and I say this as someone holding a Ph.D. in Semitic languages. My educated guess is that some zealous but linguistically ignorant people thought that Yahweh’s name must have been a more overt part of our Savior’s name, hence YAHshua rather than Yeshua—but again, there is no support of any kind for this theory.

The Hebrew Bible has yeshu‘a; when the Septuagint authors rendered this name in Greek, they rendered it as Іησους (I­­ēsous, with no hint of yah at the beginning of the name); and the same can be said of the Peshitta translators when they rendered Yeshua’s name into Syriac (part of the Aramaic language family). All this is consistent and clear: The original form of the name Jesus is yeshu‘a, and there is no such name as yahshu‘a (or,yahushua or the like).

What about the alleged connection between the name Jesus (Greek I­­ēsous) and Zeus? This is one of the most ridiculous claims that has ever been made, but it has received more circulation in recent years (the Internet is an amazing tool of misinformation), and there are some believers who feel that it is not only preferable to use the original Hebrew/Aramaic name, Yeshua, but that it is wrong to use the name Jesus. Because of this, we will briefly examine this claim and expose the fallacies that underlie it.

According to the late A. B. Traina in his Holy Name Bible, “The name of the Son, Yahshua, has been substituted by Jesus, Iesus, and Ea-Zeus (Healing Zeus).”

In this one short sentence, two complete myths are stated as fact: First, there is no such name as Yahshua (as we have just explained), and second, there is no connection of any kind between the Greek name I­­ēsous (or the English name Jesus) and the name Zeus. Absolutely none! You might as well argue that Tiger Woods is the name of a tiger-infested jungle in India as try to connect the name Jesus to the pagan god Zeus. It is that absurd, and it is based on serious linguistic ignorance.

Here is another, equally absurd statement:
Basically, to keep it simple, “Jesus” is a very poor Roman translation from Latin, that was also poorly translated from the Greek, which IN NO WAY resembles His Hebrew name, “Yahushua.” Whew! Get all that? Moreover, according to the ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, the name Ieusus (Jesus) is a combination of 2 mythical deities, IEU and SUS (ZEUS, a Greek god). In Gnostic and Greek mythologies they are actually one and the same pagan deity. So, it appears the name “Jesus” has some documented pagan origins. That’s not good! In fairness, some Messianic believers disagree and state that there is no definitive evidence to connect “Jesus” to “Zeus.” However, I disagree with them.

The response to this statement (which has as much support as the latest Elvis sightings) is quite simple: We know where the name I­­ēsous came from: the Jewish Septuagint! In other words, this was not some later, pagan corruption of the Savior’s name; rather, it was the natural Greek way of rendering the Hebrew/Aramaic name Yeshua at least two centuries before His birth, and it is the form of the name found in more than 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. This is saying something! The name I­­ēsous is also found in Greek writings outside the New Testament and dating to that same general time frame.

Although it is claimed that the Encyclopedia Britannica says that “the name Ieusus (Jesus) is a combination of 2 mythical deities, IEU and SUS (ZEUS, a Greek god)” it actually says no such thing. This is a complete fabrication, intentional or not. In short, as one Jewish believer once stated, “Jesus is as much related to Zeus as Moses is to mice.”

Unfortunately, some popular teachers continue to espouse the Jesus-Zeus connection, and many believers follow the pseudo-scholarship in these fringe, “new revelation” teachings. Not only are these teachings and practices filled with error, but they do not profit in the least. So, to every English-speaking believer I say: Do not be ashamed to use the name JESUS! That is the proper way to say his name in English—just as Michael is the correct English way to say the Hebrew name mi-kha-el and Moses is the correct English way to say the Hebrew name mo-sheh. Pray in Jesus’ name, worship in Jesus’ name, and witness in Jesus’ name. And for those who want to relate to our Messiah’s Jewishness, then refer to him by His original name Yeshua—not Yahshua and not Yahushua—remembering that the power of the name is not in its pronunciation but in the person to whom it refers, our Lord and Redeemer and King.

Sign Up or Login to post comments.


user profile
Logsee posted a comment · Mar 24, 2017
It seems everyone has a name and answers to their name when they are called. Everyone wants to be called by their correct name and not by a translated name. Even someone from a different part of the world would not try to change our name, neither would they want anyone to change their name. From before the beginning of time The Father of Creation had a name, who told us that He wished us to change it? It seems that we are applying one set of rules to our own names but to God' name, well we can use what we chose because He is a loving God. I actually dont believe that, but what's more worrying is that I am sure that a huge proportion of people do not even realise that the real names of God and his son do not appear in most modern translated Bibles. Jesus is not the name of the son of God and actually God is not the name of Our Creator. The pronunciations from the original Hebrew writings is what I believe we should be using regardless of where we are from and what language we speak! Therefore Yahweh Elohim and Yeshua (Yahushua). I know that there can be variations in the spelling but the pronunciations is what is important here. One other point is that the modern Bible refers to Yahweh and Yeshua as Lord as do the vast majority of us. I have to say that this is concerning because I dont believe that the original writings use the term Lord in reference to Yahweh and Yeshua, so why has that custom developed over the years? One final point is that the name Baal occurs in the Bible many times and we all know who Baal is. This name is in the original writings and remains unchanged today. Furthermore the meaning of the name Baal is Lord! So my question here is, why is Baal's name unchanged while Yahweh's name is substituted more than 7000 times throughout His own Bible?
user profile
peter uwakwe posted a comment · Mar 19, 2017
if the savior of the world is a jew, and is called YESHUA or what ever in jewish language (HEBREW) the greek., english or whatsoever language or tongue has no right changing the name, the spelling for the entire world. YOU can only refer to the meaning when ever the name is mension and not completely giving it a different name it looks suspicious & blasphemous. If the jewish hebrew name where he is from is Yeshua that is what to be called him all over no addition no subtraction. You only need to interprete its meaning in your own language or tongue.
user profile
abc123 posted a comment · Mar 17, 2017
I am wondering about the translation of names. I can follow your reasoning that a name may be translated into a different language, though I would expect people to address me by the same name in every language. You referenced Zechariah 3:3 and the name Yeshu'a. This name is translated in that passage as Joshua. Why is the same name treated differently for "Jesus"? Why was it not simply translated Joshua for both people, if that is what it translates to in English? Many names are translated in the bible. However, the bible also does not stress the importance of those other names. So if we are going to translate this name, I would like to know why it isn't translated the same throughout the bible. Why is it Joshua for some people and not the son of God? There must be further reasoning as to why it was translated differently. The simple reasoning that is given doesn't seem so simple when it is not constant. There must be other variables.
user profile
Jsantos posted a comment · Mar 16, 2017
YAH is chaldean for the moon God.. Anybody claiming the tetragrammaton kabbalah infested mystical YHWH is the name Moses was given.. Run the other way.. Anything having to do with the Y name such as those is fraud. The infested gematrian belief needs to be confronted with facts that. GOD DID NOT WRITE YHWH.. Come on man. Look it up. Don't believe me. Read it up yourself. Either follow the blind or come to the truth.
user profile
avanzyl posted a comment · Feb 16, 2017
Please do not bite my head of! I am also just interest in finding the correct pronunciation for the true name of "Jesus". I have found this on what looks like a very reliable site "V and W developed into their modern sounds within the last 700 years from the Hebrew UAU and Greek UPSILON, both shaped Y. The main confusion over these letters is caused by their modern shapes. What we read today as a “V” used to sound like our modern “U”. Please verify this using several online encyclopedias and other sources, because even the sources are in conflict on some of the details. The Tetragrammaton is therefore more accurately rendered as YHUH, standing for the 4 letters YOD-HAY-UAU-HAY. When we spell the Creator’s Name with English letters as YAHUWAH, then we are tripling the third letter of His Name, because the “W” is literally two U’s: YOD-HAY-UAU-UAU-UAU-HAY (only one “U” is really needed, YAHUAH). Many words used to have two U's in them, such as the term "lituus". It's a Latin thing that was brought over into our English."
Roy posted a comment · Feb 05, 2017
I have to disagree with you, the name of the messiah is found to be יהושוע as its seen that he has the same name as "Joshua" of the Tanak. Also the name meaning of the messiah is said to be "יה is salvation" or "יה saves" in which "יה" is shortened from "יהוה" and saves come from "ישע" which just means salvation. In which "ישע" is pronounced Yeshua so that cant be the name of the messiah. Its "יהושוע" which is pronounced "Yĕhowshuwa" or "Yahushua" meaning "Yah is salvation" the same name given to other people in the Tanak.
user profile
Christina889 posted a comment · Jan 30, 2017
As long as your heart, your spirit knows which name of The Lord you're calling, that name is The correct name. Jesus or Yeshua should be used since we don't want to make fun of the name of The Lord, into Yahshua etc. I pray /talk to The Lord in 4 languages (not referring to "speaking in tongues" here) and His Name is referred to in different sounds. Revere His Name by calling Him Jesus, Yeshua or in your own language. I agree that no "Yahshua" or such if that name carries no weight. The Lord's Name is powerful so why speak out meaningless name, unless one thought that is His real Name. At the end of the day, God looks at our heart/our intention.
user profile
nolimendez80 posted a comment · Jan 30, 2017
As the Bible says " If my people which are called by my name....". I think our creator wants him to be called by his name his true name. The name that was called by the prophets of the old testament that when he hear he answers and he even talked to them. If your name is Michael and someone called you Michelle will you answer? Just a simple logic isn't it?
user profile
tack67 posted a comment · Jan 02, 2017
His real name Iesus which changed to Ihesus . Spanish is a direct offspring of latin. The term hijo de Zeus = son of Zeus = Ihesus was not a name but a title that most Caesars claimed.
user profile
tack67 posted a comment · Jan 02, 2017
His real name Iesus which changed to Ihesus . Spanish is a direct offspring of latin. The term hijo de Zeus = son of Zeus +Ihesus was not a name but a title that most Caesars claimed.
user profile
Elena posted a comment · Dec 28, 2016
I came across your site after watching a video on YouTube last evening. After going to another site recommended by someone there, that linked to site after site espousing this idea that God and Jesus' names are false pagan ones and that the conspiracy hearkened back to the periods the Bible was written. Talk about a rabbit hole! And the thing is, not all of the sites agreed on the correct spelling or pronunciation of the names of God and Jesus. The site that struck me as most odd said that God's real name is only Yahuah and Jesus' real name is Yahosha (Yah because he's Yah's son and 'sha' because it means 'saves' while 'shua' means something like 'cry out'). I was reading along when I came across even more radical ideas and the judgment against those who don't agree with them was strong. The site even implied this was a salvational issue. I mean, if this idea is so radical and so deliberately hidden, then why would most Christians even know about it? The people who promote this idea also seem to forget that the Holy Spirit Intercedes for us during prayer. It was suggested on some of these websites that God might not even know us if we get his name wrong. At one point, my children may not have been able to pronounce my name exactly right, however, I didn't love them any less!
TheWarriorOfTruth posted a comment · Aug 14, 2016
No offense and I'm just asking, but did you read his post? His concrete explanation why it's not "Yahshua"? He has a Ph.d in Semitic Language, he is Armanian (which is a plus as well), and he studied Hebrew and made various Hebraic research for many years. I also asked some Jewish rabbis, and other people who have formal schooling and are experts on ancient Hebrew language; with illustrating to me through the original historic text, they all say the same thing; Yeshua, it is. I think if we try to technically evaluate, in the real world, they are more credible and reliable than what you seem to claim. However, I'm currently watching the classes that you said. Are these people from Israel, or are they Jew or Aramaic? Do they have a Ph.d degree in Semitic language? How are you so sure that they have the physical and original evidence backing up their claim? Are their any researched based formal books about Yahshua? If you can, please share it to me. Again, I'm not here to offend, I'm just asking and I want to be enlightened too. English is my secondary language by the way; hence, if my English sounds aggressive it just means I am limited by the words I know; thus, affects my grammar construction. :)
user profile
Yahgirl3 posted a comment · Aug 14, 2016 The true name is Yahweh Elohim Yahshua..If you need proof check out this link or just go on YouTube IDMR u could either watch arkport class or Lansing class spring field class or gatesclass. Anything you need so you could learn the truth. Yahshua bless
TheWarriorOfTruth posted a comment · Aug 13, 2016
Hi Dr. Brown. I hope you will answer my question. Some people claim that the Messiah's name is not "Yeshua", it's "Yahuah", since there's no letter "J" in the Hebrew language and also because Yeshua is Joshua, an English name. I honestly find this nonsensible and kind of annoying already for the fact that these "Yahuah" followers tend to claim that everyone who acknowledge the Messiah as Jesus is a follower of Babylon. I bet they bought the concept from a Pseudo article or blog. But I just want to know if you can still examine this claim?
user profile
Roberto Beruffi posted a comment · Jul 18, 2016
hnava My name may be Roberto, but my parents could have called me Robert. Dr Brown's name is Michael, but had he been born in Spain to Spanish speaking Jewish parents, then I dare say that his parents might have called him Miguel because the Spanish name for Michael is Miguel. The Hebrew name for Jesus is Yeshua, just as in Italian it is Gesù or Jezusi in Albanian. You do not need to translate the name Roberto into Robert, and I wouldn't want anyone to call me Robert, but it isn't wrong on improper for any English speaking parents to call their sons Robert, if they were to choose to do so.
user profile
hnava posted a comment · May 21, 2016
Hello Dr. Brown: As a Spanish translator with 15 years of experience (Im a Linguist as well), I have to disagree with you. You don't translate the name of person named Mike, as Miguel in a Spanish translation, he would still be Mike, unless it is only for adaptation for illustrution purposes, or maybe in fiction for a novel. Proper names in translations of real texts are hardly ever translated, because it would mean ripping the person of its identity. In translation words are not interchangeable, every word you choose for a translation has a profound meaning and impact on the person reading it. I believe the true name of God and his Son are very important, this is not a meaningless discussion as you seem to believe. For many people like myself, it has profound implications. So, I think the debate will continue and increase more and more. Thank you and God bless you.