A Rose by Any Other Name…
by Christine Egbert
Jesus (Yeshua) is often referred to as the “Rose of Sharon”, which is why I’ve titled this article, “A Rose by Any Other Name”, for as the line goes, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Although I call Israel’s Messiah Yeshua today, I first knew Him as Jesus. The Lord (Yahweh) said that He would make His name great among the nations and He has. In Arabic, the Messiah of Scripture is called Issa, in Chinese (Cantonese) YeshSou, in Chinese (Han) Ye Su Ay Wo, in Dutch (the language Corrie ten Boom spoke) it is Jezus, and in Hindi, He is known as Yīśu.
We are blessed that the Creator, Who confounded language at the tower of Babel, understands all languages and reads hearts. In Aramaic the Messiah’s name is Yeshua. When you place the “h” (the 5th Hebrew letter hey) at the end of Yeshua’s name it forms the Hebrew word for “salvation”. The angel Gabriel used what is known to linguists as a “Hebrew-ism” (Hebrew wordplay) when he said, “You shall call His name Yeshua (yod, shin, vav, ayin), for He will save (in Hebrew yoshia – yod, shin, vav, ayin, hay) His people (Matthew 1:21).
Yeshua is the contracted (shortened) form of the Hebrew name Yehoshua, which translates into English as Joshua. The name Yeshua is found in the Old Testament 30 times (see reference list below).
Sometime during the 3rd century BC (approximately three hundred years before the Messiah’s birth), 72 Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Scriptures into a common dialect of Greek known as Koine Greek—the same vernacular of Greek the New Testament writings were translated into.
The Septuagint (which means 70) is the oldest surviving Hebrew-to- Greek translation of the Holy Scriptures. Transliteration means writing a letter or word using the closest corresponding letters from a different alphabet. The Septuagint transliterated the Hebrew letters that spell the name Yehoshua/Yeshua into the closest phonetic Greek-lettered approximation: Iesous (pronounced in English as Yay-soos). In Greek grammar, the “us” suffix at the end of a name indicates that the name belongs to a man. The Catholic Church later transliterated the Greek “Iesous” into Latin as “Yay-soos/Jay-soos.” When transliterated from Latin into English, the name became “Jesus.” (The English letter “J”, which came into use in the 17th century, was originally pronounced as “Y”)
Once you remove the Greek and Latin influences, the most accurate English transliteration of the Messiah’s name is Yeshua. Some prefer to pronounce it “Yahshuah”; however, the most accurate linguistic way to preserve the theistic element of the Messiah’s name (which is what they are trying to accomplish by writing Yeshua’s name as “YAHshuah”) would be to call Yeshua “Yehoshua” (Joshua in English), which means “Yah (short for Yahweh) is Salvation”. But to each their own, He is still just as sweet.
Scripture references for the name Yeshua (spelled yod, shin, vav, ayn) from the Old Testament Hebrew:
1 Chronicles 24:11
2 Chronicles 31:15
Ezra 2:2, 6, 36, 40; 3:2, 8, 9; 4:3; 5:2; 8:33; 10:18
Nehemiah 3:19; 7:7, 11, 39, 43; 8:7, 17; 9:4, 5; 10:10; 11:26; 12:1, 7, 8, 24, 26