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Friday, December 23, 2016

Quick Post on the Use of "Yeshua HaMashiach"


I want to be clear that I have absolutely no problem with the use of the (Anglicized) "Yeshua HaMashiach" (and similar) to refer to the Lord Jesus Christ. My beef is with movements which (a) demand all use it and (b) think somehow it is superior. Several growing movements demand we refer to the Savior that way, and demand vehemently. Many of these people say it is the sign of the truly regenerated.

Truth be told, it's not scriptural.

The English word "Yeshua" is an Anglicized version of the Hebrew for "Joshua." No problem, but the NT was written in Greek. Even if you include Aramaic, we know Paul never used anything except "Iēsoûs Christós" (transliterated Greek). The other Apostolic epistles only know the Greek as well.

Some argue that Greek exclusively means "son of Zeus." I don't see any justification for this, but if they hold to that, I suppose they reject the New Testament. And, if they did value the written word as they say, they would never use the Anglicized version and use only the Hebrew.

When Paul visits Mars Hill (Acts 17), he doesn't tell the Greeks that Zeus is the true God he points them to the "Unknown God" (unknown to Greeks). When Barnabas is called "Zeus" (Acts 14), he and Paul tear their garments and proclaim:

You should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.

Thus proclaiming that all Greek gods are false. There is no thought here that Paul (who wrote in Greek) was trying to exalt Zeus. Nonsense.


"Yeshua HaMashiach" is itself an Anglicism. Is writing phonetically (and not in Hebrew) OK while translating into other languages is not?

Another distraction from the necessity of faith. 


Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean, whom *ye* have crucified, whom God has raised from among [the] dead, by *him* this [man] stands here before you sound [in body]. *He* is the stone which has been set at nought by you the builders, which is become the corner stone [Psalm 118:22]. And salvation is in none other, for neither is there another name under heaven which is given among men by which we must be saved. -Acts 4:10-12 (Darby)

Peter proclaims in Acts 4:10-12 that it is in the name of "Iēsoûs Christós" by which men must be saved, and by no other name. This is given to us by Luke, in Greek. Ἰησοῦς Χριστός. As the Lord chose to draw by His word, and the words chosen by the chosen Apostles are in Greek, I accept their translation. Peter spoke to Jews. Whether he spoke in Hebrew or in Greek, it is preserved for us in Greek.

In the Acts 4 passage, Peter quotes the Psalms, which were written in Hebrew. It is given to us in Acts in Greek. God preserving truth through translation.

Yeshua HaMashiach folks rarely use (Anglicized) "Adonai" with his name. I say "rarely," but honestly I've never encountered one who has. The Apostles were not so shy to call him "Lord" (Greek: kýrios). Ask one of these folks if Yeshua is his "Lord." If they answer in the affirmative, inform them they must be worshiping Germanic tribal leaders as the word "Lord" has its origins from the Old English taken from the Germanic custom ("hlāfweard" to "hlāford").

I will cover this with a formal entry in the days to come.

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Addendum: The Septuagint translates "Joshua" as "Iēsoûs." I don't believe the Jewish translators were trying to get people to worship Zeus.

"Ptolemy wrote to the chief priest, Eleazar, in Jerusalem, and arranged for six translators from each of the twelve tribes of Israel." -Joel Kalvesmaki, Ph.D.


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