The Real Name of the Savior
by Samuel Warren Shaffer
There is a relatively new phenomenon of people calling Jesus’ name Yeshua. There is no evidence whatsoever that this was Jesus’ name, in fact, there is evidence that it was not, and I can prove it. This seems to be a frivolous subject, but seeing as it is so important to some individuals, and it will only take me about twenty-five minutes to refute, I will spend that much time out of charity for my brethren.
1. The Apostles approved and used the name Iesous. In the earliest New Testament Texts dated to the first half of the second century, as well as one text of the Gospel of John from the last half of the first century, uses the abbreviation IS (Iota Sigma) as a respectful abbreviation of Iesous. We know this because many early writers, even from the first century used it.
Polycarp (70-155 AD), Clement (96-110 AD), Ignatius of Antioch, and Justin Martyr, all used the name Iesous. These were men not far removed from the Apostles, some of them such as Polycarp probably knew John the Beloved personally.
Josephus of Alexandria copies from another even earlier text these words in Antiquities of the Jews, written in 93 AD. “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.” (Iesous was used in this original text.)
This means that the Apostles themselves used this name, possibly when the Gospel went to the Gentiles.
2. In Aramaic, Jesus’ own language, the name of Jesus is “Isho”. Isho or Ishu is probably what Jesus’ family called him in casual conversation as they spoke Aramaic.
3. Iesous was a common Jewish name at the time of Jesus; here are some examples. Jesus Barabbas, Jesus ben Ananias and Jesus ben Sirach.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barabbas, - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_ben_Ananias. It is interesting to note in that last one; that it says his name is known as Yeshua in "modern Hebrew histories", but apparently not in the old Greek. Greek was the common language at the time, and people started turning Jesus into Yeshua at some point; probably in the Talmudic era.
4. There is a Hebrew name much closer to Jesus than Yeshua and is more likely the source of the Greek name. That Hebrew name is Jesui. Here is a quote from Strong’s Concordance, found on biblestudytools.com, regarding the name: “(even, level ), the son of Asher, whose descendants the Jesuites were numbered in the plains of Moab at the Jordan of Jericho. ( Numbers 26:44 ) (B.C. 1451.) He is elsewhere called ISUI, ( Genesis 46:17 ) and ISHUAI. ( 1 Chronicles 7:30 )” Notice how close Isui and Ishuai, is to Isho or Ishu from Aramaic!
It makes perfect sense that Gabriel would say “you shall call his name Jesus (Jesui or balances), for he will save his people from their sins.” Rather than, “you shall call his name Jesus (Yeshua or saves), for he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus doesn’t just save, he saves us through the Atonement by which we are weighed in the balance. Both make sense to some degree, but the idea that his name is “Saves” rather than “Balances or Level” just because Gabriel said he would save his people, is a complete assumption. It is a huge assumption pure and simple.
5. J vesus Y. The Jews say there was no J sound in Hebrew to confuse us, and I can prove that they are lying! All of the surrounding languages, Phoenician, Egyptian, Arabic and others all have a J sound, and these are very closely related languages to Hebrew. In the Book of Abraham, Facsimile 2:1, Joseph Smith tells us the name of the Earth in the divine language; and that name is Jah-oh-eh.
In fact on second examination the idea that Hebrew wouldn’t have a J sound becomes absolutely ludicrous when you realize that: Judah would be pronounced Yoda, Jerusalem would be Yerusalem, Jesui would be Yesui. Go try and read Numbers 26 and substitute all the Js for Ys, and you will just get one tongue twister after another; the idea is ludicrous! The Jews say Jew, not Yew, and they are all laughing at the Gentiles that think there is not a J sound in Hebrew, you have all been fooled! Saved in Hebrew is Joshua as the German Bible Translators knew, but there is no evidence it is the name of the Savior. This also shows a lack of faith in Joseph Smith’s translating and revealing ability.
6. The Savior of the world said these things directly to Joseph Smith and the Brother of Jared. "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not." (D&C 6:21) "I am Jesus Christ; I came by the will of the Father, and I do his will." (D&C 19:24) "I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on my name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in me as I am one in the Father, as the Father is one in me, that we may be one." (D&C 35:2) "Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters." (Ether 3:14) "For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (2 Nephi 25:19)
7. The Hebrew name for the Savior is Jesui, the Aramaic name of the Savior is Isho or Ishu, the Arabic name for the Savior is Isu, and the name the Apostles approved is Iesous. There is no Yeshua about it; it is nothing more or less than a conspiracy to change the name of Jesus Christ. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
"Beware of those people who attempt to "correct" the Name of the Savior through spurious reasoning and appeals to vanity," (http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Sinaticus/sinaticus.html)
An Additional Note
Many assume that the "Yod" from the Babylonian Jewish script makes a Y sound in the original Hebrew text, or even that "Yod" made a Y sound only a few centuries before Christ. Before the Babylonian conquer they used proto-Hebrew script, which is related to Phoenician and did have a J sound. Why was knowing the name of God such a big deal to the Sanhedrin if it was still widely known? The answer is because they knew it was pronounced differently.
The Germans figured it out when they started putting "Jah" at the top of their Church buildings; it was revealed to us because those who put together the German Bible, all the way down to Joseph Smith are God's new Covenant people.
This is what proto-Hebrew looks like. No one even knows exactly how these things were pronounced, but it is closely related to Phoenician and hence it can be assumed that, that first one made a J sound, there being no precedent that it makes a Y sound. This is a subject that you can't take at face value.
The name of God in Proto-Hebrew