The name Jesus

“Jesus” is the English derivative of the Greek transliteration of “Yehoshua” via Latin. In the New Testament, all instances of the word “Yehoshua” are written as “Ἰησοῦς” (Iēsoūs), which is the closest Greek transliteration of the Aramaic: ישוע; Yeshua‎.

Because of the lack of a “sh” sound in Greek when the Bible was translated from Greek to Latin it retained the name as Iēsus and eventually changed into Jesus when translated to English from Greek.

But there is more than one Yeshua in the Bible. Yeshua was also one of the leaders of the Children of Israel at the time of Moses, which we know as Joshua. The reason Yeshua was transliterated closer to the original name as opposed to Jesus was because Yeshua was translated straight from Hebrew to English without the Greek translation as an intermediary.

So Jesus is the English form of Latin Iēsus which is the Hebrew name Yēšua (ישוע), which is in turn is the shortened form of Hebrew Yehōšua (יהושע) or “Joshua” in English.

What is the meaning of Yehoshua?

Yehoshua comes from two words Yahweh which means “God” + Shua from the root יָשַׁע (yasha’) which means salvation. Therefore, the literal translation of Yehoshua would be “God saves” or “God is salvation.”

What is interesting is that according to Numbers 13:8 we see that the original name of Yehoshua, or Joshua in English, was Hoshea, but in Numbers 13:16, Moses changed his name to Yehoshua/Joshua.

Numbers 13

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” 3 So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. 4 These are their names…

Numbers 13:8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun;

Numbers 13:16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)

There is some debate to why Moses called Hoshea Joshua, but if we look at the meaning of Hoshea it might shed some light.

Hoshea comes from the same root as Joshua יָשַׁע (yasha’) which means salvation, but unlike Joshua which means God is salvation, Hoshea would simply mean Salvation. As salvation only comes from God it makes sense that Moses could have decided to call him Joshua as in “God is salvation” which he is called throughout the rest of the Bible.

What does this have to do with Jesus?

Christians believe that Jesus is God, and this is contrary to the very name God gave him as his name is a testament that salvation only comes from God, otherwise it would make more sense that his name would have been Hoshea which would simply mean salvation.

[4:172] The Messiah would never disdain from being a servant of GOD, nor would the closest angels. Those who disdain from worshiping Him, and are too arrogant to submit, He will summon them all before Him.

Also, it is quite funny that Christians put so much importance on Jesus, and specifically his name, yet we don’t even know 100% for sure what he was called by the people at the time as we do not have the original Gospels in Aramaic.

[3:45] The angels said, “O Mary, GOD gives you good news: a Word from Him whose name is `The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary. He will be prominent in this life and in the Hereafter, and one of those closest to Me.’

What else is interesting is that it is not clear why the Quran uses the term Isa for Jesus. God willing hoping to dig into explore this in the future.

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