“The Sacred Name” Controversy

Excerpts from Dr. Michael L. Brown’s book, 60 Questions Christians Ask About Jewish Belief and Practices:

What is the original Hebrew name for Jesus?

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 Zechariah 3: 3) and, more frequently, yeshu‘a (see Ezra 3: 2).[ 161] So, Yeshua’s name was not unusual; in fact, as many as five different men had that name in the Old Testament.

Interestingly, this high priest, Yehoshua/ Yeshua, was singled out in the book of Zechariah as being a symbol of the “man called the Branch” (see Zechariah 3: 8; 6: 9–15)—which was a distinct Messianic title (see Jeremiah 23: 5). Even more significantly, in a symbolic ceremony, this priest was put on a throne and crowned, with the words:

Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two [meaning the kingship and the priesthood].” Zechariah 6: 12–13

It is altogether fitting, then, that the Branch Himself should bear the same name as this high priest who symbolically prefigured the Messiah’s royal priesthood, especially when the meaning of Yehoshua/ Yeshua is “Yahweh is salvation” (see Matthew 1: 21). So, the answer to the first question is quite simple: The original Hebrew/ Aramaic name for Jesus is yeshu‘a.

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 (see #41) when they rendered Yeshua’s name into Syriac (part of the Aramaic language family).[162] 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.[163]

[162]. For a more detailed explanation, with easy-to-follow charts, see http:// http://www.aramaicnt.org/ NEW/ index.php? p = 23.

[163] Here is a typical, error-filled statement: “Although some would argue ‘YAHUshua’ -vs-‘Yâhuwshú ` a’ -vs-Yahshua’ -vs-‘Yeshua’ -vs-‘Jesus’ till the Messiah returned, my studies and belief, as well as the works of experts in the Hebrew language, show me that Yahushua [YAH-hoo-shu-ah] is probably the most accurate pronunciation of the Messiah’s name. It makes perfect sense as this pronunciation is the exact name of the Messianic ‘Branch’ prophesied in Zechariah 6: 11–12 as well as Moshe’s (Moses’) successor (known in English as Joshua) who led the Israelites over the Jordan, therefore, with abundant and scholarly evidence [sic], I personally use Yahushua.” See http:// http://www.wwyd.org/. The alleged experts in Hebrew are found at the http://www.eliyah.com website, specifically the http:// http://www.eliyah.com/ yahushua.html. Anyone with a scholarly knowledge of Hebrew will recognize at once that there is no Hebrew expertise on this website at all.


Downloadable Resources for Second Week Intro to Hebrew Students

Shalom Hebrew Students,

Good job tonight in class; you are improving!  Remember: READ, WRITE, and SPEAK the consonants as you memorize the alef-bet.

Here is the My Hebrew Name website link: http://www.my-hebrew-name.com/
And here is the link to the downloadable Intro to Hebrew Workbook: http://tinyurl.com/pzshenl
Look for more downloadable resources at my blog: introtohebrew.com

To prepare for class next week: 
1. Do your best to memorize the entire alef-bet so we can move on to the vowels.
2. Use the Alef-Bet chart to spell your name phonetically in Hebrew.  
3. Go to the website My Hebrew Name http://www.my-hebrew-name.com/ and find your name in Hebrew.  Optional: For fun, look up the meaning of your Hebrew name.


Feeling the Heat

Hebrew Lovers:

What is normal for us in the desert SW, but not for Israel this time of year? Some areas reached a high of 105 on Shavuot. Incidentally, it is now possible to draw, speak, or type words in Google Translate. But if you draw them, you must use script font.



Class Info for New Intro to Hebrew Students


Classes begin on Monday, June 2nd. Take the next couple of weeks to prepare yourself.

1. Listen to the song.
2. Listen to the introduction of the letters only (not the vowels).
3. Familiarize yourself with the charts. Make copies of them and bring them with you to class.

1. Alef-Bet Song:

2. Alef-Bet Introduction:

3. Hebrew Alphabet Charts:


New Intro to Hebrew Workshop Coming Soon!

Mondays June 2, 9, 16, 23, and July 7, 14
Yuma First Assembly Church
3000 S. Avenue B   6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m

No charge to attend, however students must have internet and email access and be able to print the class materials.

New and Previous Intro to Hebrew students:

Download the worksheets to learn and/or practice memorizing and writing the Alef-Bet. (worksheets courtesy of hebrew4christians.com)

1 trace-letter-aleph

2 trace-letter-bet-vet

3 trace-letter-gimmel

4 trace-letter-dalet

5 trace-letter-hey

6 trace-letter-vav

7 trace-letter-zayin

8 trace-letter-chet

9 trace-letter-tet

10 trace-letter-yod

11 trace-letter-kaf-khaf

12 trace-letter-lamed

13 trace-letter-mem

14 trace-letter-nun

15 trace-letter-samech

16 trace-letter-ayin

17 trace-letter-pey-fey

18 trace-letter-tsade

19 trace-letter-koof

20 trace-letter-resh

21 trace-letter-sheen-seen

22 trace-letter-tav

Inaugural Shabbat Kickoff Friday, May 2nd & New Intro to Hebrew Workshop Announcement

Click here to download:

KA Yuma Havurah Newsletter One Page

KA Yuma Havurah May 2-14 Newsletter