March 9, 2008
Reply to a Believer Questioning the Proper Pronunciation of the Savior’s Name
By Aviel Rodriguez
This polemic on the proper spelling/pronunciation of the Savior’s name has been going on ad-nauseum for the longest time… I’m quite tired of it. Sometimes, I think that if believers would only spend half as much time doing tzedukah (acts of charity) towards one another as they do in theological debates, we’d be in pretty good shape. Nevertheless, you’re right to have inquired about it.
In any case, I’m neither as adamant nor as dogmatic as the gentleman who wrote up the doctrinal article which prompted your question… i.e., on the proper pronunciation of the Savior’s name in its Hebraic form. Personally, I tend to believe that while on earth the Master’s name was most likely pronounced “Yeshua/Y’shua”. The problem arises, however, when some people insist on claiming a distinct transliteration for the Savior’s name in this form or another without allowing for variant pronunciations which either incorporate the expanded meaning of the name; or conversely, allow for the use of its shortened (indirect) form. In addition, I believe there to be ample justification for variant forms of its pronunciation due in part to the absence of vowel points in the original Hebrew texts of the Bible. The relevance of these two aspects will become more evident as you read further on.
Look at Isaiah 12:2… copied below from the JPS Hebrew/English TaNaKH- having Hebrew vowel points for proper pronunciation:
הִנֵּה אֵל יְשׁוּעָתִי אֶבְטַח, וְלֹא אֶפְחָד: כִּי-עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ יְהוָה, וַיְהִי-לִי לִישׁוּעָה.
2 Behold, God is my salvation (YESHUA); I will trust, and will not be afraid; for GOD (YAH) the LORD (YHWH) is my strength and song; and He is become my salvation (YESHUA).’
The reality is that all these variations on the Savior’s name [i.e., Yeshua, Y’shua, Yehoshua, Yahshua, Yahoshua, Iaoushua, etc...] all mean the Salvation of YHWH in one form or another [as I will make clear]; and thus would, I believe, be acceptable. Once again, I repeat that it’s the insistence on the part of English speakers who claim that their particular form of the pronunciation of the Savior’s name is “the only correct one” that causes so many problems. Please take note of the following:
1. The first Hebrew word in yellow (that you saw above) was ‘Yeshua’ (corresponding to the English word ‘salvation’). This word is literally spelled ‘YESHUA’ in the Hebrew text. However, the original Hebrew scrolls did not contain vowel points; and so, the written form of the name could be Y’shua (with a ‘yuh’ sound) or Yeshua (with a ‘yeh’ sound) or still Yashua/Yahshua (with a ‘yah’ sound). As I said before, they all mean the Salvation of YHWH; for as the Scripture states in Isaiah 43:11…“I, even I, am YHWH; and beside ME there is no Saviour.”
2. The Hebrew word (above) in blue is literally ‘YAH’ in the actual Hebrew Masoretic text (for which the English translation poorly reads as ‘GOD’). Therefore, so much for the dogmatists who claim that the literal pronunciation ‘YAH’ doesn’t exist in the Hebrew. Not only that, but this verse literally states that YAH YHWH IS BECOME…YESHUA!!!
3. That’s right!…The Hebrew literally states that YAH YHWH BECAME TO ME- MY YESHUA! That’s the second Hebrew word in yellow (above)… corresponding to the words ‘my salvation’ on the English side.
Finally, sister, in Yeshua’s day it was clearly understood that there was no Moshia (Savior) other than YHWH. Please look at this verse, Isaiah 43:11, that follows:
אָנֹכִי אָנֹכִי, יְהוָה; וְאֵין מִבַּלְעָדַי, מוֹשִׁיעַ.
11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no saviour.
1. Moshia is the Hebrew word in yellow and corresponds to the English “saviour”.
2. YHWH is the Hebrew word in green and corresponds to the English “LORD”.
Therefore, from all the above, we can plainly understand that for the Hebrew mind of Yeshua’s day there was no other Savior but YHWH; and so, the name ‘Yeshua’ would be synonymous with the ‘Salvation of YHWH’. Moreover, if they’d had eyes to see and ears to hear, then they would have recognized that YAH YHWH had indeed arrived- as Immanuel [i.e., God with us]- exactly on time and in the manner foretold. He was literally standing before them as their “Moshia” (Savior)- FOR YAH YHWH IS BECOME MY YESHUA (SALVATION)!!!
YAH bless you.