Why We Don’t Say “Yahshua”
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
There is a huge push within Messianic and Natsari circles to pronounce the Name of the Messiah as “Yahshua” or Yahoshua” or a variation of it, instead of “Yeshua.” Even I, early on in my walk had got caught up in it that nonsense.
People doctor up the Name of Messiah using faulty Hebraic grammar in order to back up the verse:
John 5:43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
And Hebraically we know the first syllable of YHWH’s Name is “Yah” and thus some feel we have to say “YAHshua” or a variation of it for it to be correct and back up that verse.
Look HIS Name (YHWH) is in HIS Name (Yeshua) by definition, nor by literal pronunciation. Yeshua means “Yah’s Salvation” or “Yah Saves.”
Most people don't have a clue at how English grammar and structure has jaded their view and study of the Hebrew, how based their logic is on English culture, and not Hebrew thinking. There is nothing in Hebrew linguistics that would lead you to conclude that the proper way to say the Messiah’s Name is “YAHshua” or a variation thereof.
I will not try to reinvent the wheel but quote from an excellent article regarding thus subject by Yoseph Viel of MessiahAlive.com:
“The logic is that because the short form of "YHWH" is "YaH", then “YHWH” must be “YaH” + something with “WH” or "YaH-H-H", and we need to figure out what vowels go where I have put hyphens. Actually, “YaH” is not the only short form of the Divine Name. “YeH” is another and so is “Yo”, though “Yo” is usually written “יו”, but the pronunciation of the Divine Name used on Yom Kippur starts with “Yo” even though there's no VAV after the YUD. This is why the short form of Yoseph is Yose', which isn't much shorter than Yoseph. It's because "Yo" is a short form for the Divine Name. Of course in English, "Joe" is used because the "J" is not part of the Divine Name and essentially an ENGLISH abbreviation, not a Hebrew one. But we never use "Yo" in Hebrew.
And most of these people do not realize that if English speakers were accustommed to shortening “Joseph” to “Jeph” instead of “Joe” and “Marcus” to “Mus” instead of “Marc”, they would be assuming that a known use of “YaH” implies that “YHWH” is “Y-H-WaH” with the first two vowels yet to be figured out. They do not realize how much English based logic is going into their assumptions. HEBREW DOES NOT WORK LIKE ENGLISH and short forms are not based on using the first syllable from the long form of the word!!!! Those who insist that YHWH must start with YAH are refusing to recognize the fact that Hebrew does not work like English and are forcing their English ideas into a Hebrew problem.
But in Hebrew , when a short form is used, it doesn't necessarily retain the original vowels from the original form at all. We call the TOrah + NEviim (Prophets) + Ketuvim (Writings) the TaNaK, not the ToNeK. One cannot look at the short form of a name and draw any conclusions whatsoever about the vowels for the long form is because Hebrew just doesn't work like English, and those trying to fit "Yah" into everything are making the assumption that Hebrew works like English where the short forms are derived from the long forms by retaining the first consonant and first vowel, when Hebrew just doesn't work that way. Apply the "Yah Error" logic to the word "Tanach" would have you calling the Torah the "Tarah" and saying "Naviim" instead, because "a" is used in that abbreviaiton too!!!!!
But also, if someone doesn't trust the Masoretic scribes to have written the vowels for one word correctly, why trust them for another? Why trust their writing "Yah" if you don't trust the vowels they put to the entire name? So this argument assumes as true what it is trying to disprove in order to disprove it!!! It assumes the Masorets got it right when they wrote "Yah" but got it wrong when they wrote other vowels in for YHWH!!!! That is inconsistently illogical.” -- The "Yah" & "Yehudah" errors & why the Name of "Jesus" is NOT "Yahshua" – Yoseph Veil – www.messiahalive.com
In well, yet misguided intentions to exalt, promote and praise the Name of Messiah and YHWH others have inadvertently have taken His Name in vain by such pronunciations.
“Understanding how to say the Divine Name is a Hebrew problem. It needs a Hebrew solution and Hebrew logic. Any attempt to approach this issue through English logic could result in something worse that just failure. In some cases, the end result is a pronunciation that is blasphemous. People should not try to rewrite the Divine Name or Yeshua's Name with "Yah" in it. In the case of Yeshua's Name, it can lead to something blasphemous.
What's wrong with "YAHshua"? First off, His Name is written as "ישוע" (Y'ShUA) or "יהושע" (YeHoShUA), not "יהשוע" (YHShUA). And "יה + שוע" (YaH + ShUA) is not something you would want to say.
- "ישע" = YaShA is the verb "to save"
- "ישעוה" = YeShUaH is the noun "Salvation" and it is a feminine word. Yeshua's Name is derived from "YeShUaH" be dropping the final "H" (HEY) in order to make it masculine.
- "שוע" = ShUA is the PUAL form of the verb "save" and means "cry for help" or "being saved". The Pual form inverts who is saving and who is being saved, so it reverses things from the subject of the sentence being the one doing the saving to the subject being the one being saved. "שוע" = ShUA is used in Job 30:24 where it says "...though they CRY OUT FOR HELP (SHUA) in his destruction" .
Now many armchair theologians have concluded that "shua" means the same thing as "yasha" , or to save, and that "Yahshua" means "Yah is salvation". But that's false. Shua means to be saved, or to cry out for salvation - just like it was used in Job 30:24!!! So when one says "Yah" + SHUA, what he is saying is "Yah is crying for help". Thus, by trying to reinvent the Saviors Name by inserting English logic into the mix, they have inverted the meaning of His Name so that it says something blasphemous.
Now with over 70 ways to say the Name of "YHWH", do some of them start with "Yah"? Yes. But they don't ALL start with "Yah" and we should not take what we know to be legitimate pronunciations that start with something else (Like "יְהֹוָה" or "יְהִוָה") and change the first syllable to "Yah" just because we've seen the short form of "YaH" (which is only one of SEVERAL short forms) used in some places. Such a change could result in completely changing the meaning into something that should not be said. Stick with pronunciations EXACTLY as you learned them from Hebrew sources, without trying to "improve" upon them. What the English mind considers an "improvement" might result in something that is actually a deterioration, meaningless, or worst yet blasphemous if you don't understand Hebrew grammar well enough to understand what effect that change makes to the meaning.
The moral of this is several fold.
- Don't apply English logic to a Hebrew problem.
- If you don't know Hebrew, don't argue with Hebrew speaking people over how to speak Hebrew.
- Don't use a pronunciation for a Hebrew word if you can't find it used in Hebrew writings.
- Often we never realize how much our culture is affecting our thinking.” –
-- The "Yah" & "Yehudah" errors & why the Name of "Jesus" is NOT "Yahshua" – Yoseph Veil – www.messiahalive.com
Yeshua to Jesus
One of the big mysteries in Christianity and Messianic/Natsari Judaism is the alleged cover up of Yeshua the Messiah’s Hebrew Name. There are a lot of religious conspiracy theorists out there who claim this. I use to believe it too because of all the Anti-Semetic and Anti-Nomian garbage that has made its way into the English versions of the Brit Chadasha (New Testament). But I think I have finally figured it out.
We know that the Messiah’s Name, “Yeshua” is shortened form of the Hebrew, “Yehoshuah (Joshua)” but why in the Greek Septuagint they used “Joshua” but for the Greek New Testament they call, Yeshua/Joshua; Jesus!?
I am by no means fluent in Koine Greek or Hebrew, whether ancient or modern… Heck, I’m not the greatest of my mother tongue, English! But I have taken Koine Greek and Biblical Hebrew in College and I am increasing my knowledge and proficiency in the languages one day at a time and I think I discovered how they got Jesus out of Yeshua.
Since Yeshua means, “Yah’s Salvation.” I use to say, “Why not make the Greek name of Messiah, “Theo-Sotar” (which is Greek for “G-d’s Salvation”) to symbolize Yeshua’s Name in the Greek? But I believe I have discovered why the translators did what they did, and it wasn’t to hide the Hebrew Name of Messiah, nor was it to secretly link Messiah to Zeus as I have heard and read by many Messianic/Natsari believing circles. On the contrary, it was, I believe to distinguish Messiah’s Name from others.
My thoughts are confirmed by this author of this website:
“The reason that the interpreters made the mistake is because the Greek translation of Jesus and Joshua are exactly the same. The same translation is used in the Septuagint (for the name of Joshua) as in the Greek scriptures of the New Testament. I'm just guessing that somewhere along the line, someone thought that the Lord's name should be distinguishable from the other "Joshuas" in the Bible (because there are others). I'm just guessing on that one. I also guess that Anglo Saxons, fresh from defeat at the Crusades, were willing to give the Lord a more Englishly pleasing name than, Yeshua (I'm using the more modern name and the one recognized worldwide as our Lord's true name in Hebrew), which had (and has) a Middle Eastern sound to it.” -- http://www.wheres-the-church.com/yhoshua.html
In the Septuagint the translators transliterated the Hebrew name Yehoshuah to sound as close to the Hebrew as possible in the Greek and thus we get in the English; Joshua. Now so as not to confuse the Old Testament Joshua with the Messiah or any other Joshua for that matter the translators translated Yehoshuah into Greek. They took the Hebrew Yud and made it a Greek Iota. The Shin became a Sigma and the Vav became an Omicron-Upsilon and it is necessary for a final sigma to be placed at the end of the word to distinguish that the name is masculine. Greek grammar rules require that the Hebrew Ayin, the “ah” sound be dropped and BAMB! Yeshua becomes Jesus in the English.
“Dr. Daniel Botkin pinpoints the interchangeableness of the names Joshua and Jesus noting that Neh. 8:17 has Yeshua (Jesus) for Yehoshua (Joshua). Joshua’s name in Greek is (also) Yeasous and is seen in the Septuagint (Josh. 1:12; 2:11; 3:1; 4:4, etc.) which predates the Messiah’s birth by more than 200 years. Botkin also says that this too is proof that ‘Yesous has no connection to Zeus’ for the Jewish Sages who wrote the Septuagint would have been well aware of the pagan god by that name and wouldn’t have used those Greek letters to form Joshua’s name with it if they thought there was a connection to it or to ‘Hail Zeus!’ as some infer.”-- http://www.seedofabraham.net/jesusyeshua.html
Now, I do not use the name Jesus Christ, I do not like it for what anti-Semites and anti-Nomians have made the name to come to symbolize. I use Messiah’s Hebrew Name, Yeshua Ha Moshiach. But even though this issue of Yeshua to Jesus has caused a lot of confusion in religious circles today I pray that a little knowledge of the languages involved we can see how Yeshua became Jesus.
Look, I’m all for finding and using the Sacred Name of YHWH, but there is so much to consider in such a venture; time, lost manuscripts, the inevitable evolution of a language, various dialects and accents, conflicting historical and grammatical sources and unanswered grammatical questions, the list goes on. These things and more cause me to be very trepidatious about backing anyone’s choice pronunciation of the Sacred Name of YHWH. I believe that only a handful of high elite Levites know the true Name as it has been passed down from generation to generation and I even question if they truly know it see as when it is passed on it is only spoken once and the degradation of such a pronunciation over the generations is likely because of what we learn from the child party game “telephone.” Each generational pronunciation is subject to slight corruption, like a bad carbon copy. I’m not sure that we will truly know the Name until Moshiach returns again and reveals it by speaking it Himself. However, I think we can come close with an educated approximation. Then again, we may actually have it and be oblivious to the obscure evidence. All I’m saying is you say, “Tamaytoe,” I say “Tahmahtoe.” I have my personal way of saying YHWH and reasons why I say it that particular way, but I’m not going to be hard nosed and push that on everyone else. I’m not on some crusade to make the sect I belong to say the Sacred Name a certain way.
Though I realize that English names, Jesus, G-d and L-RD, the etymology of which is questionable and is soiled and tainted with pagan roots; so as not to alienate nor ostracize Christians I am ministering too by refusing to speak these questionable versions of the Name, I will use them by also speaking the Names I use right after such as, Yeshua, Elohim and Yahuweh. Nor will I stop writing, G-d or L-RD and because I have tons of past articles and because I use the KJV in my posts only because it is public domain with no copyright laws attached to it, I will not waste time and go back and edit them to please a Sacred Namer social networks rules regarding their posts. This is why I left some networks. I have much more important things to do.
I have a degree in Missiology and Bible and I know how to outreach to other peoples and cultures. Just as my name is Judah in English and Yehudah in Hebrew, I know YHWH is known by a multitude of different variations and pronunciations. Growing up Christian, finding out I have a Jewish heritage and converting to Judaism I cannot deny that I have seen bonafide miracles and deliverances in the name of JESUS AND YESHUA! Jesus is just how some people know Him. YHWH and Moshiach are not stupid, when someone directs their prayers to Him in the Name of Messiah they happen to know, G-d looks at the heart and not how they pronounced His Name. He knows who they mean. Now don’t misunderstand me I AM NOT saying you can call YHWH; Zeus, Buddha or something ridiculous like that, but what ever name a culture has assigned to the Elohim of Israel, He knows and understands people when they pray to Him in that Name.
Some Sacred Namers can be just as bad as the Christians who say you have to speak in tongues or be baptized to be saved. Gee Wilikers! I fell sorry for Kunatu of the deep dark Amazon who sincerely calls out to the One True G-d of the Universe but doesn’t know the “True Name,” I guess he’s just damned and out of luck!
Look, I know the prophecies that the use of the True Name will be restored:
In reading many English translation of the Scriptures, such as the King James Version, one would think the Creators Name is The LORD GOD. When actuality they are tricks of the translators to cover up the real Name of the Divine. You see, when you see the word, “LORD,” in all capital letters it is referring to the Sacred Name of the Creator, rendered in the transliteration of Hebrew, as YHWH. This is because Hebrew has no vowels, today special marks indicate what sound to use in pronouncing a Hebrew word but still the true pronunciation has been covered up my Judaism at large today, so many people still don’t know how to correctly pronounce the Name of the Creator.
The word, “God,” is the Hebrew word, “Elohim.” If you see the phrase, “The LORD GOD,” in English it is really, “Adonai (meaning Lord or Master) YHWH” in Hebrew. The scary part is where the English word, “god” came from, which was a Canaanite deity called, “God,” phonetically pronounced, “Gawd.” Actually this is the correct pronunciation of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel we call in English, “Gad.” Ironically when Roman Catholic Missionaries came to the British Isles to convert people there the Pope instructed the missionaries not to rock the boat but to use the name “God/Gawd” to refer to the Creator. As a result we call the Creator by the title “God” to this day. This is a classic move because the same thing happened in Arabia where Mohammed cleaned out the Kabbah of its Arab multiplicity of gods and left Allah, the Arabian Moon god and called him the Creator. This would be no different than me going into the Parthenon and ousting all the gods except Zeus and proclaim him as the Creator.
The English word “Lord” (lower case) in Hebrew means lord or husband, but is related to a Canaanite deity called, “Ba’al,” in English we say Baal. So the English phrase, “Lord God” in Hebrew actually refers to pagan deities, “Ba’al Gawd!” Scary! And we toss this around all the time in ignorance without even thinking when we want to refer to the Divine Creator, the Elohim of Israel.
It has been a long standing taboo even from Yeshua’s time that Jews do not use or speak the Name YHWH for fear of taking it in vain, meaning making it common or to the extreme of actually profaning it. So they have adopted the Hebrew word, “Adonai,” which means Lord/Master. But if one reads the Scriptures it is no big secret that Elohim wants His Name known and spoken.
Exd 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD (YHWH) God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this [is] my name for ever, and this [is] my memorial unto all generations.
Exd 9:16 And in very deed for this [cause] have I raised thee up, for to shew [in] thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
This is only barely scratching the surface of all the places in Scripture that Elohim desires His Name to be known and used in a proper way.
So how does one pronounce, “YHWH?” Well, without getting to deep into all the details we know we at least know the correct pronunciation for the first half of His Name which is Yah (Ps.68:4). But what about the rest?
Exodus 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddi , but by my name Yahuweh was I not known to them.
The KJV has “Jehovah” which was a hideous butchering of the Name because there is no “J” sound in Hebrew, nor in ancient Hebrew was there a “V” sound. Only in Modern Hebrew do we have the “V” sound. So the best way (I believe) is to say the Sacred Name is: “Yahuweh,” but when one says it fast it tends to sound like, “Yahweh” This is similar to my Hebrew Name, “Yehudah,” spelled YHWDH (Yod-Hey-Waw/(Vav)-Dalet-Hey) Just take out the Dalet and you have Elohim’s sacred Name, “Yahuweh”
Remember when I talked about the words, “Lord” and “Baal”? Well check this out:
Jer.23:27 Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
It was prophesied that this would happen, that people would end up calling Yahuwah, Baal!
Prepared to get wigged out further:
Matt. 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord (Baal, Baal), shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name (a false name)? and in thy (false) name have cast out devils? and in thy (false) name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Torahlessness / without the Torah/Law).
Check out this prophecy found in the Apocryphal book of Baruch, which was Jeremiah’s scribe:
Baruch 2:30-35 For I know that they will not obey me, for they are a stiff-necked people. But in the land of their exile they will come to themselves, and they will know that I am the Lord their God. I will give them a heart that obeys and ears that hear; and they will praise me in the land of their exile, and will remember my name, and will turn from their stubbornness and their wicked deeds; for they will remember the ways of their fathers, who sinned before the Lord. I will bring them again into the land which I swore to give to their fathers, to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob, and they will rule over it; and I will increase them, and they will not be diminished. I will make an everlasting covenant with them to be their God and they shall be my people; and I will never again remove my people Israel from the land which I have given them."
This seems to be a prophecy of the Restoration and use of the Sacred Name by believers in the Diaspora, in exile!
It’s great that we are attempting to restore the Sacred Name of YHWH by using whatever pronunciation that we are convinced of, but to fight each other about which way is correct with scant and unsure evidence that we do have is just flat out WRONG!
Just as I think many of us will be shocked who we will see in the World to Come, I think we will be just as surprised when Moshiach comes and reveals the Name once and for all. I wonder who will turn beat red and feel stupid and shameful? Many of those in the Sacred Name movement came out of Christianity and just trading one doctrinal horse to beat for another. This needs to stop or a unity that even the Sacred Namers desire will never be achieved.
Yehudah = Yehuwah?
Some people takes the name of the Patriarch and Tribal leader Yehudah (Judah) and see that the Name of the Divine is spelled the same minus the “D”, the Hebrew letter Dalet and so one uses their English Grammar and Western Logic and concludes that YHWH’s Name must be “Yehuwah.”
“This is a horrible error that can lead to someone making a blasphemous mispronunciation of the Divine Name. There are many people out there that love G-d with all their heart, and would never dream of INTENTIONALLY saying something blasphemous about G-d, but they do not realize that what they are saying has a meaning in ancient Hebrew that is blasphemous. “Ye-quw-wah” (substituting a "q" for a "h" here to avoid offense) is a pronunciation one would not want to use because what it means in Hebrew is "He Will Be the one who has become", as if to suggest that at one time he did not exist. In fact, it almost implies that he will go BACK to not existing, if he presently exists, but used to, but will become something else. Grammatically, it's built on the plual form, which changes the grammar of a verb to indicate that the action is done TO the subject of the sentence, rather than vice versa. Yes - the same grammar form overlooked in the "Yaqshua" error (changing "h" to "q" here again to avoid offense). As I said, many people out there use this pronunciation, and love G-d with all their heart. They just don't know what they are saying…
Say "YHWH" one way and it means "He Who Is". But a slight slip of the tongue away from that is another pronunciation that means "He Who Is Evil". Say "YHWH" with another set of vowels and it means "He Who Causes To Be". But even that can be a slight slip of the tongue away from "He Who Caused HIMSELF to Be". This is why Judaism quit saying the Name. They were afraid you'd mispronounce it in a blasphemous way. But a lack of guidance also seems to cause people to make blasphemous mispronunciations. Before you TRY to speak the Divine Name - LEARN HEBREW! Get the accent down. Learn the grammar. Otherwise, you just simply won't know when you are mispronouncing the Name. You can't learn "just enough Hebrew" to say the Name correctly. You English accent will seduce you into saying a pronunciation that is wrong. The bad habits your English accent introduce can only be overcome by submerging yourself in the correct way to pronounce the entire language...
There's no grammatical connection between these two words.
· YeHuDaH (יהודה) is built from the root HWD (הוד) by adding a "H" (ה) to the end and a "Y" (י) to the beginning.
· YHWH (יהוה) is built from the root HWH (הוה) by adding a "Y" (י) to the beginning.
With no grammatical connection between them, why is there any reason to conclude that one word sets a precedent for anything about the other word?
Pual to Pial : Some modern day Israelis may be a bit slow to recognize the Pual form because it has dropped out of use in modern day Israel. There are people who live in Israel and speak Hebrew fluently who might have to look this point of grammar up if they are not Biblical scholars simply because this form of grammar is not longer used in modern day Hebrew and has been replaced by a Pial form instead.”
-- The "Yah" & "Yehudah" errors & why the Name of "Jesus" is NOT "Yahshua" – Yoseph Veil – www.messiahalive.com
Therefore in light of this information is just some of the reasons why Modern Day Non-Believing Judaism does not pronounce the Name of YHWH, as well as the various pronunciations have been buried in antiquity because only the Kohen HaGadol (High Priests) would say it only one a year in the Temple at Yom Kippur in the Holy of Holies. I do believe the Kohen in training for the third Temple know the various pronunciations of the ineffable, but they aren’t telling, even upon pains of death!