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The Error of The Sacred Name Movement

The name ‘Jesus’ comes into English from the Greek New Testament. The Greek Iesous is a transliteration of the Hebrew Yeshua. The Greek alphabet didn’t have the ‘sh’ sound to fully transliterate the Hebrew name Yeshua into Greek. Because of this the best that Paul and the other writers of the New Testament could do was to write Iesous. (The final ‘s’ sound is the sigma showing that the name is masculine.)

It’s the ‘sous’ at the end that trips some people in the Sacred Name(and some Hebrew Roots) groups, that somehow Jesus's name got transferred or associated with the pagan god Zeus. Some people believe we shouldn’t say ‘Jesus’ because the ‘sus’ in Jesus is very similar to the sound ‘Zeus’ makes. This thinking is obviously flawed. Jesus does not mean "hail Zeus" like some in the SNM teach.

First, the name Iesous was written and given to us by the Holy Spirit through the writers of the New Testament. In the Greek NT, the name of Messiah is Iesous. Obviously, the writers didn’t think they were calling upon the chief god of Mt. Olympus when they did it.


Those that espouse that we shouldn’t say the name Jesus are contending with the Holy Spirit who inspired Luke, Paul and John, etc., to refer to Yeshua in Greek as Iesous. If the Holy Spirit, who inspired writers, didn’t think it was wrong to use Iesous as the Greek name for Messiah Yeshua, there’s no need for us to think that the name Iesous is wrong.

Second, to demand that we don’t say the name Iesous (or Jesus) because it sounds like Zeus may seem reasonable because of the similarity of the sounds, but it’s not rational. It carries the same logic of prohibiting the word ‘raisin’ because it has the word ‘sin’ in it. The Sacred Name Movement is a sub-sect of the much larger Hebrew Roots Movement. Both groups falsely teach that all believers must obey the Torah (Mosaic Law) in addition to faith in Christ. However, not all in the HRM subscribe to the heresy of the Sacred Name Movement.

The following reveals how the English name of Jesus came to be from the Hebrew Yeshua and the Greek Iesous:

The English name Jesus derives from the Late Latin name Iesus, which transliterates the Koine Greek name Ἰησοῦς Iēsoûs. In the Septuagint and other Greek-language Jewish texts, such as the writings of Josephus and Philo of Alexandria, Ἰησοῦς Iēsoûs is the standard Koine Greek form used to translate both of the Hebrew names: Yehoshua and Yeshua. Greek Ἰησοῦς or Iēsoûs is also used to represent the name of Joshua son of Nun in the New Testament passages Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8.

In English the Name has gone through some interesting changes over the years. In the 17th century the J replaced the I to make Jesu. By the 18th century the ‘s’ was added to make our familiar ‘Jesus.’ The point of this is that the name Jesus has evolved linguistically directly from the ancient Greek New Testament which was a proper way of saying Yeshua in Greek. The name Jesus is the legitimate English name for our Savior. Therefore, it is not sin to say Messiah's name as Jesus.

There is also a growing error from those within the Sacred Name Movement to create false Hebrew names for Messiah in an attempt to sound more spiritual. This is a modern day form of Gnosticism. One aspect of this is the penchant for so-called Sacred Name organizations to write it as Yahushua or some derivation with ‘Yah’ in the front. This is a theological statement on their part whose shaky foundation rests on a poor interpretation of the words of Jesus who spoke of coming in His Father’s name (Jn. 5:43). As that name is generally seen to be Yahweh (pronounced Yah-way), they deem it necessary ‘to correct’ how Yeshua’s name is spelled, hence, the name "Yahushua." The ambassador from the United States to France comes ‘in the name of the President of the United States,’ but the ambassador doesn’t add either the ‘United States’ or the name of the current President to the name that he was born with. Coming in the name of the President of the United States means that the ambassador comes in the authority of the President.

In 1st Samuel 25:9 David sends some men to seek food from Nabal, a wealthy, but foolish sheep owner. It’s written,  ‘When David’s young men came they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David’s name. Then they waited.’  The men came in the authority of David because David had sent them. Are we to assume that all the men changed their names to incorporate ‘David,’ or a portion of his name, into their names? Placing the Yah of Yahweh into Messiah’s name doesn’t have any biblical or linguistic foundation. The so-called Sacred Name groups’ "Yahushua" cant be found anywhere in the Bible. Yet the name Yeshua is found dozens of times in the OT. In Hebrew Yeshua means "YHWH is our salvation" Ironically, many in the SNM reject the name Yeshua as being "pagan" as well.

It’s not only Sacred Name groups and their insistence on a wrong name for Messiah. If it were only that, it would just be a pronunciation problem. The name Yahushua for them becomes an issue of salvation when they say that anyone not saying ‘Yahushua’ isn’t saved. This is an extreme heresy:

Those who follow Sacred Name teachings (such as the Assemblies of Yahweh) believe that it is essential to salvation to use the correct pronunciation of the name of the one most Christians call ‘Jesus.’

Scholars who know Hebrew disagree with calling Messiah ‘Yahushua.’ These scholars say that the Hebrew name of Messiah is Yeshua, not Yahushua.

It is a documented fact that the name "Yahushua" is not found in any Hebrew text, let alone the Hebrew text of the OT. The name Yahushua does not appear anywhere before 1930. This is when sacred name adherents such as Angelo Traina and Chris Dodd. started using this name in their literature. They also have their own bible translation called "The Restored Name Scriptures" Christians, historians, and linguists outside the Sacred Name movement for the most part reject the term Yahushua in favor of Hebrew/Aramaic name Yeshua ( ישוע ) as the original pronunciation. It should also be noted that there is not one believer in Israel who refers to the Messiah as Yahushua. This should be further proof that "Yahushua" is a bunch of nonsense. Since Israel is the motherland of the Hebrew tongue, that name would be in wide spread use if it were indeed the Hebrew name for Jesus.

Some Sacred Name groups go so far as to say that Messiah is not God the Son (although some give their "Yahushua" sonship after the Resurrection). This is Arianism, an ancient heresy. It teaches that Jesus was a created being, not equal to the Father in deity. Yet, the New Testament, as well as the Old, proclaim Messiah to be God the Son. The sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah is able to cleanse us of our sins and give us eternal life. When someone who does not have knowledge of either Hebrew or Greek and makes absolute statements about having the "real" name for the Son, they are nothing more than modern day Gnostics.

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Col 2:8


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