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Yeshua Or Yahshua

By Dov Chaikin, 1985 Printer Friendly Version

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

In this text from Matthew 28:19 YESHUA (JESUS) gives his disciples their Great Commission prior to His parting from them. But later in Acts 2:38 his disciple Peter seems to contradict Him: And Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let each of you be baptised in the Name of JESUS Christ.

Is Peter contradicting the instructions of the Master Himself?  Is that conceivable? There are, within Christianity, certain groups that insist on baptising in the Name of JESUS only, asserting that 'Father', 'Son', and 'Holy spirit' are but titles, whereas 'JESUS' is a name.  Judging by their (mis)understanding, they are correct: 'JESUS' is a name, whilst the others are titles.

However, they are obviously unaware that the (spoken) Hebrew original of "in the Name of'  in our texts is "b'shem" which means 'on behalf of', or 'by the authority of'. Prior to His glorification, YESHUA thus instructs His disciples (to baptise) "by the authority", vested in Him by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Thereafter, Peter is acting "by the authority" vested in him by the glorified YESHUA (see Acts 4:7).

Another misunderstanding concerns the very Name of the Son, given Him prior to His birth.  There are any number of people "... who teach. that the true Name of JESUS in the New Testament, and thus the form Christians are obligated to use pronouncing that Name, is Yahshua.  They say that JESUS' Name is composed of two parts: Yah (an abbreviation of Yahweh), plus Shua (Saviour).  Thus, they claim, 'Yahshua' signifies Yahweh-Saviour.

"The attempt to establish a linguistic link between Yahweh and Yeshua, the Hebrew form of JESUS' name, is rooted in a misunderstanding.  The initial syllable of (Ye-SHU-a , JESUS) is not 'ya' but 'ye'.  YESHUA is an abbreviation of the earlier name Ye-ho-SHU-a (Joshua).  By the end of the Biblical period, the Name Ye-SHU-a already had begun to replace ye-ho-SHU-a. The form ye-SHU-a (transliterated 'Jeshua' in English versions of the Bible), appears 29 times in Scripture; 27 times in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and once each in I and 11 Chronicles. (All four Books are dated to 400-450 B.C.) Only once, in I Chronicles 7:27, does the form ye-ho-SHU-a appear in those same Books."

The article "The Fallacy of Sacred Name Titles" by David Bivim (Vol. 4, No. 6 of Jerusalem PersRective) traces the history of the name 'Yeshua'. By the first century B.C., the name 'Yeshua' had become identified with the word 'salvation' (Yeshuah).  Thus, in Matthew 1:21, we read: '...and you shall call His name Yeshua (Salvation) for it if He Who 'yoshia' (will save) His people from their sins."

There is yet another group of people insisting, likewise, that His name is "Yahshua".  The following Is an excerpt from one of their publications:

"Jewish history [sic!] recalls the encounter of Moses with the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the revelation of His Name as YHWH, (pronounced Yahweh) "I AM who I AM" (Exodus 3:14).  So it was easy for Joseph and Mary to understand what Yahshua meant: YAH meant 'I am' and SHUA meant 'mighty and powerful'.  The name of their son astounded them, for it was a declaration from the GOD of Heaven to mankind that there had come a man who would be mighty and powerful to save.  His name would be YAHSHUA, meaning 'I am powerful and mighty to save.' For truly he would save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

Astounding it is, indeed, to what lengths some people will go in construing a name - and a Divine name at that - from a language with which they are unfamiliar.  When Moses asked GOD what he should tell the people concerning GOD's Name (Exodus 3:13), GOD answers: EHYEH ASHER EHYEH, most often rendered "I AM that I AM" or "I AM who I AM".

The dogmatic,uninformed statement, that the tetragrammaton (YHWH) is "I am who I am" - when the latter's rendition in the original is clearly otherwise - beggars the imagination.  And the claim that SHUA means "mighty and powerful" merely underscores the lack of knowledge of the Hebrew language on the part of those authors.

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