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In a recent Messianic magazine there appeared an article that purported to address the question,"Is the name "Jesus" pagan?" The article was clearly a defense of the use of the name "Jesus", in spite of that author's admission that this is not the "original" name (birth name) given to the Messiah (by his Jewish mother, Miryam). The article leaves the reader with the notion that "Jesus" is just as valid, if not more valid, than "Y'shua" when referring to the Mashiach. And it arrives at this "deduction" by the most obtuse etymology and stunted logic, ignoring the weightier matters of the issue. The "issue" raised in this article is a prize-winning canard designed to decoy the unwary from the real issue of the word, Jesus.

Early in the article, the author demonstrated the difficulty of transliterating from Hebrew to Greek and the ease of transliterating from Hebrew to English. A detailed letter-by-letter (from the Hebrew aleph-bet to the Greek alphabet) "transliteration" of the name, Y'shua to the Greek name, Iesous was brought forth as evidence. Because there are no equivalent sounds of many of the letters, this so called "transliteration" becomes in reality a translation. There is so little assonance between "Yeshuah" and "Eeaysooce" that calling this a transliteration is an offense to even the most debased scholarship. There is no way to transliterate this name between these two languages! The best that can be done is to translate which is what was done in the Septuagint by its Hebrew translators.

The name, Septuagint is late-Latin (the ecclesiastical tongue of the Roman Corporate Church) from septem + ginta which hints at the 70 (approximately) translators who produced the Greek version of the Tanakh (the "Old" Testament). A study of the etymology of the word "Jesus", in even as mundane a source as the Merriam-Webster dictionary, reveals that this name does not come directly from the Greek "Iesous" but derives from the early-Latin "Iesu", the "I" pronounced initially as a "Y" producing Yay-soo. The "I" in the middle-ages was differentiated into the "I' and the "J" in our Latin alphabet used for the English language. Thus in late-Latin the Iesou (Yaysoo) became Jesu(Jaysoo) which became Jesus in the English tongue. This relationship in the etymology is omitted by the author in his "apologetics".

Regardless, the word Jesus has no direct ancestry from the Greek Iesous as is implied by the author, but at best it derives from the late-Latin, Jesu , a fact completely missing in the cited article. However, all of this etymology, even with the missing link provided above, is a decoy to distract our attention from the real problem with this word "Jesus."

We have never used the argument that Jeezuz is somehow a compound of Gee-Zeus (Zeus being the chief "god" of the Greek Pantheon) although there is certainly an extreme degree of assonance (which is the core of the art of transliteration) with the "Jesus" word. We have never pursued that possibility to any extent since it is totally irrelevant. The only relevant issue is what was/is the Messiah's name given him by his mother, Miryam in accordance with the angelic messenger's revelation to her.

Since the author of the subject article didn't have any problems with the name Y'shua being the Messiah's "original" name (as opposed to some subsequent name Y'shua changed to?) why not look, firstly, what is NOT at issue here. The issue is NOT, " whether the word Jesus is pagan!" The issue is NOT how to "transliterate" Y'shua into Greek! The issue is NOT how to "transliterate" Greek Iesous into Latin! The issue is NOT even how to "transliterate" the Latin Jesu into English! The issue IS how to transliterate the real name, Y'shua, from the Hebrew, into English. We certainly don't need to go through Greek into Latin and then from Latin into English. Why would anyone want to take such a circuitous route? - Unless he's trying to "prove" the validity of the canard, "Jesus?"

To transliterate from the Hebrew Y'shua (pronounced, Yah-shoo-ah) to English we merely go to Y'shua (pronounced Yah-shoo-ah). Thus his name is pronounced Yah-shoo-ah both in Hebrew and in English - perfect transliteration. What could be simpler? Whether Jesus is a pagan name is redundant! Who cares? Jeezuz was never the name of the Messiah of the "New" Testament! Names aren't translated from one language to another, if it is possible to transliterate. If that is impossible (as in Hebrew to Greek) then there is no alternative but to translate. However, translation from one language to another frequently results in a change in the context and, almost always, the nuances of the original text! The change of the Messiah's name from Y'shua to Jesus certainly serves the purpose of obscuring his Jewish identity and his Jewish ministry dedicated to finding the "lost sheep of the House of Yisrael." History, both religious and secular, is clear that the "Church" has expended vast effort to distance itself from the true nature, origins, and purpose of this Jewish messiah!

The "scholarship" of the subject article is a paradigm of eisegesis pawned off as exegesis. If this represents the "best" understanding that these people have about such issues then they are woefully inadequate to be the tool to accomplish the reunion of the Two Houses and restoration of the united Kingdom of Yisrael. The "churches" and their teachings have not, do not and will not ever cause the Tribes of Judah to become jealous!! Nor will they be able to bring the genuine Messiah to his people.

It is no surprise that the number of "religious" people who "want to bring "Jeezuz" to the Jews" clearly do not have a grasp of many of the Ephraim/Judah issues that plague the unity of those two Houses. Churchianity has been in the sun way too long and it is going to be a tough process for them to discard the pagan and/or error filled baggage they bring with them. Judah (the Jew) has considerable Talmudic baggage to discard as well. [I am reminded of the declaration of the prophet Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."]

We are not interested in bringing "Jesus" errors to Judah, there are already enough groups doing that. We do support bringing Y'shuah Ha Mashiach to both Ephraim and Judah: and there is an immense historical difference between Jesus and Y'shua. People's eternal life depends on acceptance of the genuine and rejection of the false.

Malkaynu is totally opposed to perpetuating the centuries of misinformation and disinformation promulgated by the church leaders who have used their pulpits to disseminate their apostasy. The prophet to Israel, Jeremiah 16:19, prophecies "Gentiles shall come unto thee (Israel) from the ends of the earth and shall say, "Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit."

We need to examine the Scriptures from a Hebraic perspective (not always Jewish perspective) in order to glean all the truth and nuances of the Hebrew writers of those books and arrive at the intended (by YHWH) understanding of the Hebrew words of YHWH to the people to whom He entrusted the oracles. Those people were NOT the "churches."

We take seriously the imperative in Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 58:1, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." We know that we are citizens of the Kingdom of YHWH and have no allegiance to any denomination on earth nor any man. Our Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) is Y'shua Ha Mashiach and he ministers in the Great Temple of YHWH our Father on our behalf.

Rav Yahkov Hartley

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