What’s in a Name?

NameIf you haven’t already, something most people come across being Torah pursuant are the names of the Father and Son. Another thing people learn about the names is that if you ask ten people how to spell or pronounce the names you will more than likely get at least 5 different answers. We are not going to get into a deep study of all the variations in the spelling and pronunciation of the names, we will only touch on the most commonly used spellings and pronunciations. We will also offer the best advice we can offer in hopes that no one will get hung up on the issue with the names as they progress in their obedience to Torah.

In Mainstream Christianity, the Father is often only known as GOD. Interestingly, God is not a name, it’s a title. In fact, there are many gods, so by simply saying God and never attaching a name to that title is akin to calling your best friend Mr. or Ms. their whole life and never acknowledging their name.

Imagine for a moment that someone asked you to deliver a crucial letter. You are instructed to deliver this letter to Mr. “Which Mr., you ask!” “Oh, you know…Mr.” “But which Mr.,” you ask, “There are many Mr.’s in the world.” “Oh, you know…the one true Mr.”

Do you see how confusing this can become? Names are important, and our Heavenly Father has a name, and He told us his name and instructed us to remember it throughout our generations. Unfortunately, that name was removed from our Bibles some 7000 times and replaced with titles such as GOD and Lord.

Exodus 3:13-15 Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you;’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” 15God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.

Here we see the verses where we are given the Fathers name. In Hebrew, His name consists of four letters known as the Tetragrammaton. In English, it is represented one of two ways, YHWH or YHVH. The most widely accepted way of pronouncing the Tetragrammaton is Yahweh [Ya-way].

Jesus is the name associated with the Son in Mainstream Christianity, but is this really His name? Jesus is an English translation of the Greek name Iésous, but here are three key things to keep in mind. 1. The Greek name Iésous and English name Jesus have NO meaning. To get to the meaning of the Son’s name, you have to take it back to the Hebrew. 2. Names are not supposed to be translated; they are supposed to be transliterated. All that means is that the sound the name makes is supposed to stay the same. We all have the same vocal chords, so it’s easy to make the same sounds, then apply the proper letters in a different language to make such a sound. When dignitary’s travel abroad, their names are not changed when they visit a foreign country. President Bush was still Bush, and President Obama is still Obama. Their names are not translated. 3. The letter J is only about 550 years old, so there is NO way that the Son was ever called Jesus by anyone who knew him.

Just like the Father’s name, there are a couple of spellings that the majority use. The first and most widely used version is Yeshua. Another popular version is Yahshua. There is also a third variation that uses an apostrophe after the Y like this, Y’shua. Either way, the name has the sound of Joshua, which in our opinion is a good transliteration of his Hebrew name. Certainly, it is a much better rendition than Jesus.

These are just the most common in the list of many spellings and pronunciations for the names of the Father and Son. Many people will argue that if you do not use the Proper spelling you are wrong and are calling on pagan gods. The truth is…NO ONE can say for certain what the real spellings and pronunciations are, no matter what proof they may have. There are only two ways anyone could ever say for certain what the names are. 1. They have a recording of the names being spoken from 2000 and 4000 years ago. 2. Someone invents a time machine so we can go back in time to hear the names being spoken. Neither of these two options is likely to happen, so until then all we can do is our best. Not everyone at Torah Babies uses the same spellings either, but as a ministry, we use Y’shua and YHWH, because “we don’t know for sure” and we are not so proud to say that one way is better or more right than another.

Until Y’shua returns, we can only do our best. If Y’shua says it should be pronounced and/or spelled differently then, we will be the first to change! We can say with 100% certainty that the son’s name isn’t or ever was Jesus.

However, millions of people call on the Lord, God, and Jesus and there is no denying that prayers are answered, the spirit moves, and miracles are performed, but is it important to use the Hebrew names once we learn them? The story of Joseph being sold into slavery could hold some clues.

In Genesis, we see Joseph was sold into slavery and ended up in Egypt. In Genesis 41:45 we see that Pharaoh changed Joseph’s name, which means “Yehovah has Added,” to Zaphenath-paneah, which means “Treasury of the Glorious Rest.”

When Joseph’s brothers came to him in Egypt, they didn’t recognize him (Genesis 42:8), and he had a different name from his original name and culture. After many back and forth trips and after gathering his brothers, he revealed himself to them (Genesis 45:3). He then tells them that YHWH had sent him ahead of them to preserve life (foreshadow of Y’shua) and explained everything to them. He showed much grace, forgave them, and invited them to live there with him. They no longer recognized him as Zaphenath-paneah, but after coming to know him once again, he was then known by his true name to them, Joseph.

The Messiah came to earth as a Hebrew from the tribe of Judah. He would have had a Hebrew name with the meaning of “salvation.” After much time and Greek translations, His name changed to Iesous then to the English Jesus by which many of us most likely first learned of Him. After truly seeing Him as the Lamb from the tribe of Judah, who will return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, how can we not call Him by his true and original Hebrew name? Y’shua.

For more information about the name Y’shua check out What’s in a Name? Y’shua

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Posted on November 14, 2014 in Foundational Teachings, Names and Words

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About the Author

Our Ministry is based on 1 Peter 2:2. We want to provide the 'milk' that people new to Torah need by offering easy to read and understand teachings that the Torah "Babies" struggle with most. Please don't be offended by being called "Babies," that includes us as well. If we're being honest with each other and ourselves, we are all Torah Babies and will be until Y'shua returns to teach us. Shalom!

Response (1)

  1. Dominique Noelle Yakovlevna
    December 26, 2015 at 8:08 pm · Reply

    Very interesting. Great article! (:

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