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'shua1 when referring to the Messiah. And it arrives at this deduction by the most careless etymology and stunted logic, ignoring the weightier matters of the issue. The "issue" raised in this article is a prize-winning deception, 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, Yeshua 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 "Yeshua" 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 Jesus 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 Yeshua being the Messiah's "original" name, why not look firstly at what is NOT the issue here? The issue is NOT, " whether the word Jesus is pagan!" The issue is NOT how to "transliterate" Yeshua 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, Yeshua, 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 erroneousness, "Jesus?"
To transliterate the Hebrew Yeshua to English, we merely go to Yeshua1. Thus his name is pronounced Yeshua both in Hebrew and in English - a perfect transliteration. What could be simpler? Whether Jesus is a pagan name isn't what matters! What matters is the fact that Jesus was never the name of the Messiah of YHWH, whose story is recorded in the new testament!
Proper names are not translated from one language to another, if it is possible to transliterate. If that is impossible, to accurately transliterate a proper name (as is the case in transliterating from Hebrew to Greek), then it is still possible to teach them how to correctly pronounce the name of the Messiah; similar to the way that English speaking people would learn how to correctly pronounce the Spanish word "Chihuahua" or the French word "resume". They need someone who knows the correct pronunciation to teach them.
The change of the Messiah's name from Yeshua (Yahushua) to Jesus (a mistranslation) certainly serves the purpose of obscuring his Jewish identity and his Jewish ministry. The true ministry of Yahushua the Messiah is and was dedicated to finding the "lost sheep of the House of Israel." History, both religious and secular, is clear that the "Church" has expended a 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 (an example) 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 (see Romans chapter 11).
It is no surprise that the number of "religious" people who want to bring "Jesus" 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 Yeshua Ha Mashiach (Yahushua the Messiah) to both Ephraim and Judah: and there is an immense historical difference between Jesus and Yeshua. People's eternal life depends on acceptance of the genuine and rejection of the false.
Our king 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: "O YHWH, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee 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 a 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 show 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 Yeshua Ha Mashiach (Yahushua the Messiah) and he ministers in the Great Temple of YHWH our Father on our behalf.
1 (Yeshua) is a contraction of (Yahushua)