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Yeshua of Nazareth, a.k.a. Jesus Christ

Calling the Messiah "Yahshua" within the
Christian Sacred Name Movement (SNM)

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As a newborn, Jesus was probably given the Hebrew name "יהושע" (yod-he-waw-shin-ayin). The name means "Yahweh is Salvation," "God Salvation," or "Yahweh delivers." 1 More details

His full name is most commonly transliterated as Y'hoshua or Yahoshua, This is often abbreviated to Yeshua. However, most Christians in the Sacred Name movement insist that Yahshua is the only correct abbreviation, and thus the only acceptable name for Jesus. They believe that a person's salvation depends upon their use of God's correct name.

The Sacred Name Movement (SNM):

The SNM traces its origins back to the Adventist movement during the late 1920s and to C.O. Dodd, a member of the Church of God (Seventh Day.) He proposed that Christians return to their Jewish roots by following kosher food laws, keeping the Torah festivals described in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), etc.

The Assembly of Yahweh was the first faith group within what was to become the Sacred Name Movement. It was founded in Holt, MI in the early 1930s. Subsequent schisms resulted in the formation of Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah, Yahweh's Assembly in Yahshua, Yahweh's Restoration Ministry and Yahweh's Philadelphia Truth Congregation. Other faith groups outside the SNM but with similarities in belief and practice include the Assembly of Yahweh 7th Day, and the Assemblies of Yahweh in Bethel, PA. 2

According to Wikipedia:

"Sacred Name believers teach that 'God' and 'Lord' are mere titles that cannot properly carry the meaning of His name, and that many titles ascribed to God are tainted by their Pagan ancestry. They believe that it is necessary for salvation that one use the correct name of God, which in the Hebrew Bible is the tetragrammaton (usually rendered as Yahweh, but some variants used by SNM groups include 'Yahveh, Yahvah, Yaohu-Ul, Yahovah and the older transliteration Jehovah)."
"The SNM accepts the New Testament and Jesus as the Messiah. However, the name spelled 'Jesus' is seen as either a badly corrupted transliteration of the Messiah's true name or a Pagan-influenced name. SNM groups refer to him most often as Yahshua, but sometimes as Yeshua, Yahushua, Yahoshua, Yaohushua, Y'shua or Yahshuah. The title Christ is also seen as Pagan, and is replaced with 'the Messiah' or 'the Anointed'."
"This distinctive emphasis on sacred names has led to the production of several different Sacred Name Bible translations that use Hebrew-based names. These include Rotherham's Emphasized Bible, Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, Angelo Traina's Holy Name Bible, Sacred Name King James Bible, Sacred Scriptures, Family of Yah Edition, The Word of Yahweh, and The Scriptures. However, they do not all agree on how to spell these names." 2

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Use of the names "Yahweh" and "Yahshua:"

The founders of the Assembly of Yahweh taught that two angels visited the group and explained the necessity to use "Yahweh" as the name for God, and "Yahshua" as the name of the Messiah.

According to Wikipedia:

" 'Yahshua' supporters teach that since the Messiah will 'come in his Father's Name', 3 then he must have the name of Yahweh, or at least the abbreviated form (Yah) within his spoken name. (Sacred Name believers teach that 'name' is to be interpreted literally as opposed to meaning 'authority')."

"Occasionally one will see the term Yahshuah, inserting the shin into the Tetragrammaton based according to some upon ancient occult literature. 'Yahshua' uses the same Hebrew consonants as Y'hoshua (Joshua), but assigns a somewhat different set of vowels. The vast majority of Sacred Name groups use יהושע instead of יהושה ('Yahshuah'). Another popular contraction is Yah'shua with the apostrophe ( ’ ) serving as a division to emphasise the 'Yah' aspect of the name and the Hebrew shua (salvation)."

"Critics say that in their labor to get the pronunciation 'Yahshua' out of יהושע, they are ignoring Hebrew linguistics that do not allow the waw to be silent, so 'Yahshua' is a questioned translation. Furthermore, it is argued by some that this pronunciation is not yet attested in antiquity, unlike the pronunciation Yehoshua. Some in favor of 'Yahshua' argue that the added vowel -o is an attribution of Moses' speech impediment, based on his statement at the burning bush: 'I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.' (Exodus 4:10-16 KJV)" "Opponents claim this pronunciation of יהושע first came into use during the early days of the Sacred Name movement in the 1930s, perhaps developed by leaders such as Angelo B. Traina and C.O. Dodd. Christians, historians, and linguists outside the sacred name movement for the most part reject the term Yahshua in favor of Yeshua (ישוע) as the original pronunciation." 1
According to Dr. Daniel Botkin, pastor of the Gates of Eden Messianic congregation in Peoria IL:
"... some people who use the Yahshua form say untrue things about those who use the Yeshua form. The opponents of the Yeshua form claim that this pronunciation is the result of a Jewish conspiracy to hide the Savior’s true name. Those who call the Messiah Yeshua are accused of perpetuating a Jewish conspiracy and 'denying His name' or 'degrading Him' by their use of the Yeshua form. ... "

"Dr. Danny Ben-Gigi says of the Yahshua form that 'there is no such name in Hebrew' and that 'people invented it to fit their theology.' Dr. Ben-Gigi is an Israeli and the former head of Hebrew programs at Arizona State University. He is the author of the book 'First Steps in Hebrew Prayers,' and he designed and produced the 'Living Israeli Hebrew' language-learning course."

"Dr. David Bivin, a Christian, says that the Yahshua form 'is rooted in a misunderstanding.' Dr. Bivin is a renowned Hebrew scholar and teacher and author of 'Fluent Biblical Hebrew.' I do not know of a single individual that knows Hebrew well enough to actually read it and understand it and converse in it who uses the Yahshua form." 4
Google reported 1.6 million hits on the Internet for Yeshua and only 0.2 million hits for Yahshua. 5

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Yahshua," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  2. "Sacred Name Movement," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. John 5:43
  4. Daniel Botkin, "The Messiah's Hebrew Name: 'Yeshua' Or 'Yahshua'? " Yasha Net Library, at: http://www.yashanet.com
  5. Google search performed on 2008-SEP-15.

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Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2008-SEP-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

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