Names for Jesus

Jesus is English for “Iesus” (Greek). Joshua is English for Yeshua (Hebrew). Everywhere I’ve looked on-line everyone says that Jesus and Yeshua are the same name. How can this be?

Thank you for your question. This is a bit confusing, and it gets somewhat technical. “Yeshua” is the contracted form of the Hebrew name “Yehoshua.” Both are used in the Old Testament, and the English spelling for both is “Joshua.” The specific use for this name in the Old Testament was for the man who succeeded Moses–not specifically for the Messiah, because the Old Testament does not refer to the Messiah by this name. Now, in about 200 B.C., the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew to Greek in a work known as the Septuagint, for the benefit of those Jews who spoke Greek. So, we can learn a lot from the way the Hebrew words were translated into Greek at that time.

In the Septuagint, in Numbers 13;16, the Hebrew name “Yehoshua” was transliterated into the Greek name “Iesou;” i.e., another form of “Iesous,” with a different case ending because of the way it’s used in the Greek grammar. (Note that “transliteration” just means changing each letter in the Hebrew name Yeshua into Greek, letter by letter, since names often cannot be specifically “translated.”) In Nehemiah 8:17, the Hebrew name “Yeshua” was also transliterated into the Greek name “Iesou.”

Since “Iesous” is the exact English transliteration of the Greek name “Iesou,” we can conclude that the Greek name “Iesous” equates to the Hebrew name “Yeshua,” and its English spelling is “Jesus.” Furthermore, the name “Joshua” is the English form of the Hebrew word “Yeshua,” and the name “Jesus” is the English form of the Greek word “Iesous.” So, the names “Joshua” and “Jesus” are essentially the same. It could be said that each one is an English pronunciations for the name of the Lord; one from the Hebrew and one from the Greek.



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