His Name Is Yehoshua
In this article will study the name of the Messiah from Hebraic perspectives, its origin, meaning, and pronunciation. We will expose some misconceptions in Hebrew Roots movement as we go along. Let us start from the Exodus account.
And it came to pass in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died; and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. (Exo 2:23)
The Hebrew word behind the English cry is שַׁוְעָה shav’ah. It comes from a primitive root שָׁוַע shava’ which means to cry for help, for freedom from some trouble but more properly to be free used only causatively and reflexively. From this root comes the noun שֶׁוַע sheva’ sheh’-vah, cry. The feminine form of שֶׁוַע is שַׁוְעָה shav’ah, crying.
for Yehovah your Elohim is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (Deu 20:4)
The Hebrew word behind the English to save is יָשַׁע yasha‛. יָשַׁע yasha‛, is a primitive root which means properly to be open, wide or free, that is, by implication to be safe; causatively to free or succor, help, preserve, rescue, be safe.
When the Hebrew letter mem is used as a prefix of the verb yasha, the verb becomes a noun מושׁיע moshia often translated as savor or deliverer but more properly one who causes another to be rescued. It couples with the verb yasha, as seen in,
I, I am Yehovah, and besides Me there is no saviour. I, I have declared and saved, … (Isa 43:11-12)
And it shall be said in that day, ‘See, this is our Elohim. We have waited for Him, and He saves us. This is Yehovah, we have waited for Him, let us be glad and rejoice in His deliverance.’ (Isa 25:9)
The Hebrew word behind the English deliverance or salvation is יְשׁוּעָה yeshu’ah. It is a feminine passive participle of yasha and means something saved, that is, deliverance. It is often misinterpreted to mean eternal salvation but as used in its context it means a physical deliverance from enemies. There is a Hebrew term which more accurately describes the Biblical meaning of “eternal salvation” and that is “final redemption” geula גְאוּלָה.
These are the names of the men whom Mosheh sent to spy out the land. And Mosheh called Hoshea the son of Nun, Yehoshua. (Num 13:16)
הוֹשֵׁעַ ho-shay’-a, comes from yasha and means deliverer. This is the name of Mosheh’s disciple Hoshea, whose name Mosheh changed to Yehoshua. The name Yehoshua is written as יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (yehoshu’a) and is a compound name of the tri-grammaton יהו and שע sha, which means to cry, and is a parent two-letter root for יָשַׁע yasha‛. The name then means, “Yehovah saves.” The short form of יהושע is ישוע (Yeshua). This is the name of Mosheh’s disciple commonly known as Joshua in English, as in Jos_1:1, but in postexilic period known with its short form: Yeshua, as seen in Neh_8:17.
Also, according to the Rabbinical source Sotah 34b, the name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ is a compounded form of יָהּ יוֹשִׁיעֲךָ, and means May God save you. As seen in the vocalizing, the poetical Name of the Creator יָהּ is pronounced Yah where the final hey is pronounceable. For more on how to pronounce the Name of Creator, read the article The Hebrew Yehovah vs. The Roman Yahweh.
The name יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (yesha-yahu), also written in its short form as יְשַׁעְיָה (yesha-yah), is the Hebrew name of Isiah the prophet and is formed by two words, ישע (yasha) and יהו (yahu) or יה (yah). Both יהו and יה derive from the name יהוה Yehovah. ישע ya-shah, as already stated is a verb meaning to rescue or to save. This specific conjugation of the verbs ישע and יהוה gives its meaning Yehovah saves. This is the exact meaning of the name Yehoshua but written in a different form. This is also the name of Yehovah’s Messiah יְשׁוּעָ Yeshua [Mat_1:21].
There is a great deal of misunderstanding as to the meaning of the Messiah’s name. The misunderstanding comes from the close pronunciations and spellings of the Hebrew word for deliverance, that is, יְשׁוּעָה yeshu’ah and the Messiah’s short name יְשׁוּעָ Yeshua. As seen from the spelling, the only difference is the final hey in יְשׁוּעָה yeshu’ah which in this case is silent and puts the emphasis on the last syllable, while in the Messiah’s name it is on the second to the last.
This misunderstanding of Hebrew grammar and phonetic rules has lead many people to believe that the Hebrew name Yeshua means “salvation.” While Yeshua the Messiah is our deliverance, his name means much more than that. The true meaning of the Messiah’s name can only be seen in his full name Yehoshua which means Yehovah saves.
Another misunderstanding in regards to the pronunciation is that some people read his name as “Yahshua,” “Yahushua” and other variations are in existence. The Messiah’s name is neither “Yahshua” nor “Yahushua” let alone Jesus, but his true name is Yehoshua.
And she shall give birth to a son, and you shall call His Name Yeshua for he shall save his people from their sins. Greek text of Mat 1:21
and she will bear son, and you will call his name ישו״ע (He saves), for he will save (yoshia, יושיע) my people from their iniquities. Shem Tov Hebrew Matthew 1:21
In the ancient Hebrew text of the gospel of Matthew aka Shem Tov Hebrew Matthew, as seen above, the name Yeshua is spelled like this: ישו״ע. According to the scribal tradition the sign ״ denotes a contraction of an original name or an acronym. Hence, we know that per the sages the true name of the person Yeshua who lived in the 1st century Judea is actually Yehoshua, as the name of Mosheh’s disciple commonly known as “Joshua.”
But first a few words about the Hebrew text of The Gospel of Matthew. This ancient Hebrew text of Matthew is not the original Hebrew of the Gospel of Matthew but a copy from an earlier text, and modified by Shem Tov to suit his purposes in the disputations set by the Catholic Church against the European Jewry. The Shem Tov Hebrew Matthew is a work of a fourteenth century Jew, Shem Tov ben Yitschaq ben Shaprut, who should not be confused with Ba’al Shem Tov, the Rabbinical miracle worker who founded Hasidism in the 18th Century. It is sufficient to say now that the differences between the Hebrew and Greek texts of the gospel are not in behalf of the Greek.
Although, this is not the original text which Matthew the disciple had written, this is not a translation either, let alone from Greek. There are numerous accounts from the church fathers that the gospel was originally written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek. And this is not the only manuscript of the gosple in Hebrew. Today there are about twenty ancient Hebrew manusripts of the Gospel of Matthew unearthed for us to study.
Below is just one of these accounts proving the Hebraic primacy of the gospel.
Jerome (340-420 AD) (Jerome in Lives…, Chapter 3, CCEL translation):
“Matthew, also called Levi, apostle and aforetimes publican, composed a gospel of Messiah at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by what author is uncertain.
In conclusion, let us consider what the ancient sources and modern-day Rabbinical wisdom have said about the Messiah’s name:
Enoch, Book 2, Ch. 48:2-7:
And at that hour that son of man was named in the presence of the Lord of Spirits, And his name before the Head of Days. Yea, before the sun and the signs were created, Before the stars of the heaven were made, his name was named before the Lord of Spirits. He shall be a staff to the righteous whereon to stay themselves and not fall, And he shall be the light of the nations, And the hope of those who are troubled of heart. All who dwell on earth shall fall down and worship before him, And will praise and bless and celebrate with song the Lord of Spirits. And for this reason hath he been chosen and hidden before Him, Before the creation of the world and for evermore. And the wisdom of the Lord of Spirits hath revealed him to the set-apart and righteous; For he hath preserved the lot of the righteous, Because they have hated and despised this world of unrighteousness, And have hated all its works and ways in the name of the Lord of Spirits: for in his name they are saved, And according to his good pleasure hath it been in regard to their life.
Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said that the name of the Messiah is YHVH [Lamentations Rabba 1:51]:
What is the name of King Messiah? Rabbi Abba bar Kahana said: YHVH is his name, for it is written, I will raise for David a tzemach of righteousness …In his days Y’hudah shall be saved…And this is the name whereby he shall be called: YHVH Tzidkenu (YHVH our Righteousness) (Yirmeyahu 23:5-6).”…
Babylonian Talmud, Order Nashim, Tractate Baba Bathra 75b: Rabbi Sh’muel bar Nahmani said in the name of Rabbi Yohanan:
“Three are called by the name of HaKadosh, baruch hu (the Set-Apart One, blessed be He), and they are: the righteous, the Messiah and Yerushalayim.”
In a 1st century C.E. Rabbinic work, The Apocalypse of Avraham, the ancient understanding that the Messiah will have all the attributes of YHVH, is stated (quoted in Patai, (1979: 96)):
Then I will sound the shofar from the sky, and will send my Elect One [i.e. the Messiah], having in him all my power, and one midah (measure) of all my middot (measures, i.e. attributes), and he shall summon my despised people from the nations, and I will burn with fire those who have insulted them and who have ruled over them in the Olam HaZeh (the present Age). And I will give those who have covered them with mockery to the scorn of the Athid Lavo (the coming Age; literally: “the future to come”); and I have prepared them to be food for the fire of Gey Hinnom…
Yitzhak Kaduri the Rabbi and kabbalist, before he died in Jan 28, 2006, described the Messiah using six words and hinting the initial letters form the name of the Messiah. The secret note reads:
Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and Torah are valid. This I have signed in the month of mercy (Jewish month of Elul), Yitzhak Kaduri
The Hebrew sentence (translated above in bold) with the hidden name of the Messiah reads:
Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim
The initial letters of “He will lift the people and prove that his word and Torah are valid” in Hebrew spell the Hebrew name Yehoshua. (Source: Kaduri.net)
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.