What name did Jesus use for God?
Used Jesus or his
Apostles named Yahweh?
Is the exclusive use and correct pronunciation of YHWH a part of proper reverence for God?
By Ken Graham and Paul Kieffer
It is suggested in some circles that when we call upon our Heavenly Father, we should only use the name of Yahweh. “Yahweh” is “the name form used in Old Testament science” for the divine name YHWH, “the so-called tetragram” (quoted from the preface to Elberfeld Study Bible, R. Brockhaus Verlag, Wuppertal, 2001).
All true Christians understand that we should call on God with reverence. Is the exclusive use and proper pronunciation of YHWH part of this reverence?
For those who have followed Jesus Christ, there is a divine example that we can use to answer this question: the life of Jesus Christ. When we know that Jesus used the name Yahweh often - or even occasionally - that is the justification for our use of that name today.
But what if we know that Jesus did not use that name? Then things look very different!
Did Jesus blaspheme the name of God?
Jesus preached to the Jews in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria in the time of the second temple. He taught publicly for three years. Thousands of Jews heard him preach. Why wasn't Jesus accused of blaspheming the name of God? That would have been the case if he had pronounced the name Yahweh in Jewish society at the time of the Second Temple.
As sufficient historical sources show, the name of God was not uttered at the time of Jesus. Why were the Jews afraid to utter the name of God? It seems strange, but according to their interpretation of the Bible, the Jews had every reason to avoid saying the name.
In Leviticus 24 there is a passage in which the Jews believed they recognized a ban on the use of the name Yahweh: “The son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man went among the Israelites and quarreled in the camp with an Israelite man and blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed. So they brought him to Moses ... Who blasphemes the name of the Lordwho shall die of death; let the whole church stone him. Whether a stranger or a local, who blaspheme the nameshall die ”(Leviticus 24: 10-11, 16; emphasis added).
The Hebrew word nachavwhich is translated as "blaspheme" in these verses has more than one meaning. Like the reference book Davidson's Lexicon shows, it can mean “pierce” or “pierce”, such as B. in 2 Kings 18:21 or Habakkuk 3:14 (“pierce”) or 2 Kings 12, verse 9 (“pierce into”). In a figurative sense, it has the meaning of sharp or piercing words, from which the meaning "blaspheme" is derived.
However, another meaning that often occurs in the Old Testament is "clearly" or "clearly express" (Davidson). In this sense, the word comes in 1. Chronicles 12.32 or 16.41 (“named by name”), 2. Chronicles 28.15 (“named by name”), 31.19 (“appointed by name”), Ezra 8.20 ("recorded by name") and other passages. So there is no doubt that the word nachav also has the meaning of naming a thing clearly.
From this we can see that nachav can mean either “blaspheme” or “clearly pronounce” (in the sense of a name). In the time of Nehemiah, the Jews began to wonder how nachav was to be understood in Leviticus 24:11 and 16. The traditional - and correct - interpretation was "blasphemous", but after its use in other verses of the Old Testament it could also mean "clearly speaking".
According to the latter interpretation of the word nachav Leviticus 24, verses 10-11 reads as follows: “The son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man went among the Israelites and quarreled in the camp with an Israelite man and spoke the name of the lord clearly and cursed ”Verse 16 then reads as follows:“ Whoever the Lord's name clearly pronounces, he shall die of death "
The Jews came to believe that if they did not pronounce the tetragram at all, they had a much better foundation under their feet. Soon after the time of Nehemiah, this practice became common, because for them the name of God was too sacred to be uttered.
The use of Yahweh and the prohibition of the name
In the period between Moses and Jeremiah, the name YHWH was used unhindered because there was no fear of the clear pronunciation of the name. The Lachish-Letters written in the time of Jeremiah contain the name of God and prove that the use of the tetragram was commonplace. Shortly after the Babylonian captivity, Ezra used the name Yahweh when he preached to the returning Jews on Trumpet Day (Nehemiah 8: 1-8).
As mentioned earlier, this attitude changed in the time of Nehemiah. Nehemiah himself "avoids the use of the name almost completely" (Theology of the Old Testament, Page 39). The people were advised not to use the name Yahweh any more. Only the priests were allowed to pronounce the name because they read certain blessings from the law to the people: “The tetragram, the name of God with four letters, was only given by the priests in the temple fully pronounced in the blessing of the people. In all other cases the name was pronounced with, Adonai ‘" (Note to Abodah Zarah, Talmud von Soncino, page 90).
Later, the use of the name was reserved for the high priest alone, and even he was only allowed to pronounce it on the Day of Atonement. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia explains: “The rabbis were convinced that the tetragram was the true name of God. At the time of the second temple, YHWH became never utteredexcept by the high priest on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) ”(Volume 6, page 7). R. H. Charles, who translated the Apocrypha (Oxford University Press), affirms that the Day of Atonement was "the only occasion on which the holy name was pronounced" (R. H. Charles, Pseudopigrapha, Oxford University Press, p. 510).
According to the Talmud, Simon the high priest (300-270 BC) was allowed to pronounce the tetragram on the Day of Atonement during the years of his ministry. Jesus Sirach, who wrote his book of the same name in the Apocrypha approx. 180 BC. When he wrote in the 2nd century BC, Simon described the righteous blessing the people and saying the name of God: “Then he [Simon the righteous] descended and raised his hands over the whole congregation of Israel. The blessing of the Lord was on his lips to be able to call the name of the Lord was his glory ”(Jesus Sirach 50: 20-21; standard translation).
The use of the Name of God on the Day of Atonement ended with Simon's death. From then on, the priests decreed that no one - not even the high priest - could utter the name Yahweh. Later historians of the Talmudic period noted: “The unpronounceable name could only be pronounced if there were indications that it could shechinah rested on the sanctuary. When Simon the Righteous died, with many indications of the lack of that glory, his brothers did not dare to pronounce the unspeakable name ”(Note to Yoma, 39b, Talmud von Soncino, page 186).
The Jewish Encyclopedia confirms this development: “After the death of Simon the Just ... the priests stopped pronouncing the name YHWH. From the time it was pronouncing the name is prohibited. Whoever pronounces the name renounces his part in the world to come ‘(Sanhedrin, xi, 1). It appears that the majority of priests in the last days of the temple [in the time of Jesus and the apostles] were unworthy of uttering the name ”(Volume 9, pp. 162-163).
From the time of the death of Simon the Righteous in 270 BC. No one, not even priests in the temple, was allowed to pronounce the name YHWH. The death penalty was provided for violations (Sanhedrin, 56a, Talmud).
YHWH since the 3rd century BC
The prohibition against the use of the name Yahweh is reflected in Jewish scriptures written since the death of Simon the Righteous. The Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, probably dating from 280-270 BC. The meaning of the verses in question in Leviticus 24 reflects the meaning of the verses in question as follows:
"The son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man ... called the name and cursed ... whoever the Lord's name is called, let him die. ”Obviously the translators of the Septuagint understood the word nachav in the sense of “name” or “pronounce”. To you, the other meaning, "blaspheme", seemed inappropriate for these verses.
100 years after Simon's death, the author of the book Jesus Sirach (Apocrypha) refused to use the tetragram in the Hebrew version of his book. Instead, he wrote three "icing on the cake" [’’ ’] to replace JHWH (R. H. Charles, Pseudopigrapha, Page 510).
Also in the Dead Sea Scrolls dating from the 2nd century BC. We do not find the tetragram: "The divine name YHWH was omitted in Qumran because it was believed that the name was so awesome that it should not be pronounced" (The Meaning of the Qumran Scrolls for the Bible, Brownlee, page 83).
Although the Essenes had separated from Jewish society, their practice with the name YHWH was no different from that of any other Jew. Professor Brownlee, who contributed to the translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, sees it as proof that the prohibition on the use of Yahweh did not originate in the Talmud, but dates back to at least the 2nd century BC. When the oldest Dead Sea scrolls were written (ibid., Pp. 163-164).
At the time of Jesus, Onkelos translated the first five books of the Old Testament into Aramaic, the language that was spoken in Palestine at the time. Onkelos was a disciple of Gamaliel who was also Paul's teacher. It is possible that Paul and Onkelos were acquaintances. In any case, Onkelos lived in the time of the apostles of Jesus (McClintock and Strong Biblical Encyclopedia, Volume 10, page 205).
In his Aramaic Pentateuch, Onkelos translated the verses in question in Leviticus 24 as follows: “The son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man ... gave expression to the name and cursed ... Whoever the Lord's name expresseswho shall die of death. ”For Onkelos meant nachav only "express" and not "blaspheme". It is interesting that with each occurrence of the name Yahweh, Onkelos intentionally changed the pronunciation characters so that no one would come up with the true pronunciation of the name (The Targum of Onkelos and Jonathan, Etheridge, Volume 2, pages 7-10).
We also have the clear testimony of Josephus, the Jewish historian of the 1st century AD. “Then God announced to him [Moses] his name, which had not been revealed to anyone before. I am not allowed to pronounce this name“ (Jewish antiquities, II, xii, 4; Emphasis by us).
If Josephus, of Aaronite descent and therefore part of a priestly family, refused to use the name, “normal” Jews will not have used the name during this period either. In addition, in the 2nd century AD, Celsus and Irenaeus reported that the Jews used a different name, or at least a different pronunciation, to replace YHWH (Theology of the Old Testament, Heinisch, page 40).
As these and other historical sources show, the name of God was not uttered at the time of Jesus. In a society in which this view prevailed, Jesus Christ and his apostles worked.
How did Jesus behave?
At the end of his gospel, the apostle John made it clear that his account of the life and ministry of Jesus was not a complete account all Jesus' words and deeds was, “There are many other things that Jesus did. But if one were to write down one by one, I believe the world would not understand the books to be written ”(John 21:25). The same is true of the other three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
We conclude that God inspired the authors of the four Gospels in writing their accounts so that everything we need to know about the life of Jesus and to relate to our Heavenly Father and His Son may be contained in the Gospels . What do these accounts show us of Jesus' conduct regarding the name of Yahweh?
To describe the spirit of his compatriots, Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matthew 15: 8; cf. Isaiah 29:13). The Jews did not share their hearts in their worship of God. In the Gospels we find the Sermon on the Mount and many other examples of Jesus' teaching, including words of correction that Jesus addressed especially to the Pharisees and scribes, the religious leaders (cf. Matthew 23).
But in no single case did Jesus reprimand his compatriots for their practice of not pronouncing the name Yahweh! If the use of the name Yahweh were a prerequisite or requirement for a correct relationship with God, then Jesus would have been guilty of grave neglect with his silence on this subject.
The question also arises, which is the real topic of this article: Did Jesus use the name himself? The Gospels contain examples of differences of opinion between Jesus and the Pharisees or scribes. The Gospels never report a conflict over the name YHWH. For the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes it would have been blasphemy if Jesus had pronounced the name Yahweh. However, they did not hold that against him once.
When the high priests wanted to kill Jesus, they had to rely on false witnesses to have a reason for a charge against Jesus: “But the high priests and the whole high council sought testimony against Jesus that they were putting him to death, and found nothing. For many gave false testimony against him; but their testimony did not agree ”(Mark 14: 55-56). The testimony of the false witnesses was contradicting itself and an indictment of blasphemy could not be substantiated.
Finally, all testimony was superfluous when Jesus identified himself as the Son of the Most High: “And the high priest stood up, stood in the middle and asked Jesus, saying: Do you not answer what these testify against you? But he was silent and answered nothing. Then the high priest asked him again, saying to him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One? But Jesus said: It is I; and you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his clothes, and said, What other witnesses do we need? You heard the blasphemy.“
The blasphemy charge was based on Jesus 'confession to be the Son of God, not on Jesus' use of the name YHWH. Had it been Jesus' custom to use the divine name Yahweh, the chief priests would not have had to summon false witnesses. That alone proves that Jesus did not use that name.
Instead, he is kept to the Jewish custom of his time and God is with him adonai ("Lord", Greek strange) have designated. In the model prayer of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed his disciples to address God as “Father”, not Yahweh (Matthew 6: 9). In what was probably the most moving prayer of Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane shortly before his arrest, he addressed God exclusively as “Father” (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44).
It is true that we find no evidence in the Bible that Jesus endorsed the extremely cautious attitude of his compatriots towards the name YHWH. On the other hand, there is also no evidence that Jesus opposed the practice of his compatriots. On the contrary: the need for false witnesses to bring charges against Jesus proves that it was not his habit, nor did he instruct his followers to use the name Yahweh. After all, Jesus worshiped his Father in spirit (John 4:24) and not in Hebrew syllables or in any particular pronunciation.
Do we have to use the name YHWH?
Those who advocate the use of the name YHWH contradict an interpretation of Leviticus 24 and the custom of the Jews that has been in place for centuries. It is interesting that many of the proponents of YHWH refer to the Jews and the Talmud, although the Talmud of all places, as stated in this article, shows the contrary attitude of the Jews on this question in the period before and after Jesus' lifetime.
Is “Yahweh” the correct pronunciation of YHWH at all? In the aftermath of Simon the Righteous (270 BC) the Jews lost knowledge of the pronunciation of the name YHWH. Where did we get today's debate from? Yahweh? Among the people on the debate Yahweh exist, there would certainly be some who would be uncomfortably surprised to know the origin of this pronunciation.
The common pronunciation Yahweh derives from the Samaritans! In contrast to the Jews, the Samaritans, whose “Bible” were the first five books of the Old Testament, had no reservations about using the name YHWH. In their own dialect they pronounced the name: “The pronunciation of the divine name as Yahweh is based on the Samaritan tradition, as handed down by Theodoretus (in the 5th century AD), but also according to the tradition of Clement of Alexandria "(Theology of the Old Testament, Heinisch, page 39).
Today's pronunciation of YHWH, which scholars believe resembles the original pronunciation could, is Samaritan - Not Jewish - of origin! In the theological journal Oud Testament Studies, published by Brill-Verlag in Leiden, the Netherlands (issue 5, pages 1-29), an excellent article by Professor Eerdmanns with the title "The Name of Jahu" was published.
Professor Eerdmanns wrote the following about the pronunciation of the tetragram: “Theodoretus wrote that the Samaritans used the name Jabai (’Ιαβαι) used. In the treatise Quaestiones in Exodus he used that name Yeah (’Ιαβ). [In German the ’Ι is pronounced like a, j‘ and the β like a, w ‘.] These passages prompted scholars to use the vowels of the Samaritan Yeah to put between the original Hebrew consonants, from which, Yahweh ‘arises” (page 2).
In the further course of his remarks, Professor Eerdmanns explained why the Samaritan pronunciation is not reliable: "Esra ... introduces a new spelling, the" Kantschrift ", which was intended for the copying of the holy books. The Samaritans who were thus rejected [Esra had rejected their religion] then introduced their own alphabet for the Torah. They built their own temple on the height of Garizim and had their own priests. At every opportunity they resisted the Jews. The Jerusalem Sanhedrin announced the arrival of the great festivals by means of light fires on the heights. To upset the Jewish calendar, the Samaritans lit bonfires at the wrong time, so that the Sanhedrin had to send messengers. Due to their general negative attitude, we can assume that the Samaritans also had their own pronunciation of the holy name. For this reason the Samaritic pronunciation should not be taken as an indication of the Jewish pronunciation ... In the other explanations of Theodoretus we learn that the Jewish pronunciation Jao [’Iaw] was" (page 3).
During his research, Professor Eerdmans came to the conclusion: “From these passages we learn that Theodoretus was aware of the Samaritan pronunciation was different from the Hebrew ... The statements of other old authors also speak against it the new term Yahwehno matter how often it appears in textbooks and sermons ”(p. 4-5).
Even the community of “Jehovah's Witnesses” openly admits that the original pronunciation of YHWH is unknown: “The form 'Jehovah' is derived from the 'Pugeo Fidei' of 1270 CE ... Hebrew scholars usually call it 'Yahweh' as the most likely pronunciation before ... There is, however, no scholarly consensus on the subject; some prefer other pronunciations like Yahuwe, Yahua or Yehua vor ... Since the exact pronunciation cannot be determined today, there seems to be no reason to abandon the well-known form, Jehovah ‘, in favor of another proposed pronunciation” (Aid To Bible Understanding, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1969 and 1971, respectively, p. 885; Emphasis by us).
Actually, the discussion about the correct pronunciation of YHWH does not matter, since it cannot be proven that Jesus or his apostles used or commanded to use this name. Instead, they called the Most High God “Father” and set an example for us.
The apostle Paul preached to the Gentiles in the Greek language, and in no case did the Holy Spirit inspire him to use the Hebrew tetragram in his Greek letters. This is all the more remarkable because Paul claims to speak Hebrew.
And the name Yeshua?
In Acts 4 we learn that our salvation is possible only through the name of Jesus Christ: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; through him this one stands before you in good health. This is the stone, rejected by you builders, that has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no other, too is no other name given to men under heaven, through whom we shall be saved ”(Acts 4: 10-12; italics).
In verse 10 the apostle Peter used the Greek name Iesous Christos for Jesus Christ. In the same way that it is claimed that we can only call on God under the name YHWH, some of the same people claim that we can only use the Hebrew term for Jesus: Yeshua (or Yahoshua or. Yahshua). (The followers of the Hebrew names for God and Jesus do not agree on the question of the "correct" name for Jesus; therefore there are several groups that all claim to use the correct pronunciation for themselves!)
In Acts 4, verse 10, however, neither Yeshua still Yahoshua still Yahshua used. Instead, Jesus' name appears in the Greek language. If this reproduction of his name is willed by God, we can translate the name into other languages (e.g. "Jesus" in German) without violating God's will.
The language of the New Testament
Most of the Old Testament books were written in Hebrew. The New Testament books, on the other hand, with Matthew and the Letter to the Hebrews as possible exceptions, were all written in Greek. In his ecclesiastical history, Eusebius writes (4th book, 14th chapter): “The epistle to the Hebrews is the work of Paul, and it was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but Luke carefully translated it and published it for the Greeks. That is why one finds the same expression in this letter and in the Acts of the Apostles. "
This story explains how Paul, in an effort to influence the religiously sensitive Jews, wrote his epistle to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language. However, the letter is said to have been translated by Luke. If this tradition is correct, the conclusion must be drawn that God inspired the preservation of this translation for us, because there is no Hebrew text of the letter that has survived today.
Eusebius also wrote the following about the Gospel of Matthew: “Of the four gospels that are the only ones under heaven to be discussed in the Church of God, the first was published by Matthew, who was once a tax collector but later became an apostle of Jesus Christ. and it was prepared for converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew language ”(6th book, 25th chapter). We cannot prove that the Gospel of Matthew was first written in Hebrew, but the possibility cannot be ruled out.
Jerome reports that the Gospel of Matthew was translated into Greek for the whole Church (Lives of Illustrious Men, 3rd chapter). If this report is correct, then God would have inspired the preservation of the Greek translation, since - as with the Letter to the Hebrews - we do not have a Hebrew original.
In his book The Books and the Parchments F. F. Bruce explains that the Aramaic version of the New Testament is in fact a translation from the Greek text, despite claims to the contrary. Mark 15 verse 34 is cited as evidence for Bruce's statement. There we read: “And at the ninth hour Jesus called out loud: Eli, Eli, lama asabtani? that means in translation: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ”The middle part of the verse deserves special attention. It proves that Mark (whose gospel was probably the first of the four gospels) recorded Jesus' words in Aramaic (the language he spoke to his disciples). Mark translated these words into Greek.
If Aramaic had been the original language of the New Testament, there would have been no need to translate an Aramaic quote in the text because the Aramaic-speaking readers would have understood the text. Nevertheless, in the Aramaic version of this verse there is the remark “that is translated”, an exact reproduction of the Greek text! In at least a dozen Bible passages in the New Testament, Aramaic words are quoted and translated literally into Greek. This is one of several pieces of evidence that today's Aramaic version of the New Testament cannot be the original text.
nothing new in the West
About 70 years ago the founder of the Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, was confronted with the claim that God and Jesus should only be addressed by their “Hebrew” names. In the mid-1930s, Dr. John B. Briggs that the term "Christ" is of pagan origin and that Jesus should be called "Yeshua." He later founded the Kadesh Name Society in Detroit with a man of Jewish descent, Paul Penn. The group was registered as "Assembly of YHVH" ["Assembly of YHWH"], later the name "Yahweh Beth Israel" was added.
In 1937 the new group convinced Elder C. O. Dodd of the Church of God in Salem, West Virginia, that only the Hebrew names should be used for God and Jesus. Mr. Armstrong knew Mr. Dodd, and shortly after Mr. Dodd's "conversion" to the new group, he and Mr. Armstrong had a telephone conversation about the new "doctrine." Mr. Armstrong described the conversation in his own words:
“As best I can remember, I said to him, 'Mr. Dodd, you know how all Research shows that the New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. It was inspired by the living word of God, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the names of Jesus and God were written in the Greek - not the Hebrew - language. In addition, the New Testament contains quotations from the Old Testament, and wherever these quotations contain names or titles for God, the Holy Spirit inspired their translation into Greek in the New Testament. I can not to change or pervert what the Holy Spirit inspired. And you?'
For a moment Mr. Dodd was confused. After pausing for thought, he said, 'Well, I think the New Testament was originally in the hebrew Language was inspired and written. The Greek manuscripts must uninspired and incorrect translations. ‘
I replied: 'Mr. Dodd, do you realize what you are saying? All experts agree that the only copies of the original writings [of the New Testament] in Greek are - there are none in Hebrew. They argue, without any evidence, that there are no copies of the inspired New Testament writings and that the only copies are in error. If they are incorrect where the names Jesus or God appear, how can we know that they are not also incorrect in many other places? Then we have no reliable word of God for the scriptures of the New Testament, but only uninspired translations! ‘
"Maybe the translations were inspired after all," he said.
'If that were the case,' I replied, the Holy Spirit inspired the translations in which the names Jesus and God in Greek appear, not Hebrew. ‘
Now Mr. Dodd was really confused. He didn't have a real answer. Nevertheless he stuck to his wrong doctrine "(Herbert W. Armstrong, The Plain Truth About the "Sacred Name").
Conclusion: If sincere but misguided people are true to the claim that we must use the Hebrew language when calling God or Jesus, there are two possible consequences: 1. The New Testament must have been originally written in Hebrew, and from the original ones Today we have no copies of fonts. This would be very remarkable, since we have written testimonies for the Old Testament that are about 200 years before the birth of Jesus; 2. We have only unreliable, inaccurate translations into Greek for the original New Testament writings.
Both possibilities make God appear unreliable, since he would not be able to keep his word in the form for us so that we can address him in the "right" way. Despite the untenability of this thesis (for reasons of faith) there are some who claim that one consciously found the name YHWH from all about 5000 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament known today (without mentioning the more than 8000 manuscripts of the New Testament in Latin!) removed. In the Greek New Testament the word comes strange ("Lord") 665 times and the word theos (“God”) 1345 times before, so in total that would be more than 10 million handwritten changes in the Greek manuscripts alone - an editorial task for Superman!
Translations are allowed
The logical conclusion from all of this is that God inspired the tradition of the New Testament in Greek. This also includes the name Jesus In the Greek language: “While he was still thinking about this, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: Joseph, you son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary, your wife, to you; for what she received is from the Holy Spirit. And she will give birth to a son, whose name you shall give Jesus (Greek: Iesous) because he will save his people from their sins ”(Matthew 1: 20-21).
Already at Pentecost, when the New Testament Church was founded, it became clear that the gospel should be understood in other languages: “But there were Jews living in Jerusalem who were god-fearing men from all the peoples under heaven. When this roar happened, the crowd gathered together and was dismayed; for everyone heard her speak in his own language. But they were astonished and astonished, and said, Behold, are not all these who speak from Galilee? How do we each hear their own mother tongue? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and who we live in Mesopotamia and Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and the province of Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the area of Cyrene in Libya and immigrants from Rome, Jews and fellow Jews, Cretans and Arabs: we hear them in our tongues speak of the great works of God ”(Acts 2: 5-11).
In Athens Paul preached to the Greeks in their own language. He introduced his sermon as follows: “I went about looking at your sanctuaries and found an altar on which it was written: To the unknown God [theos]. Now I announce to you what you ignorantly worship. God [theos] who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands ”(Acts 17: 23-24).
There is no doubt that the inscription on the altar that Paul saw was the Greek word theos [= God] contained. Paul used this word to preach the gospel to the Athenians. Not a single word did he explain to them - or to the other Greeks in whose cities he preached - that they had to address God under his Hebrew name.
Proponents of the term Yeshua claim that the word "Christ" should not be used. "Christ" is the German equivalent of the Greek "Christos" meaning "the anointed", just like the Hebrew word Messiah. Anyone who claims this is falling into the same trap about the language of the New Testament and is forced to negate the inspired New Testament writing in Greek. Instead, “Christos” was used to make the Hebrew designation for Jesus' office understandable for the Greek readers: “He first finds his own brother Simon and says to him: We have him Messiah found - which is translated: Christ“(John 1.41; Elberfeld Bible).
The claim is also untenable, according to the New Testament. If “Christos” is a misnomer for Jesus 'office, it must be explained how Jesus' followers came to be called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). If Jesus had been called the Hebrew “Messiah” alone, his successors would have been called “Messianists” and not “Christians”.
Probably the most striking proof that it is not necessary Yeshua instead of saying Jesus comes from Jesus himself. Just a few days before his death, Jesus warned his disciples of a great deception that would begin after his death: “But Jesus answered and said to them: See that someone does not deceive you . Because there will be many under my name and say: I am the Christand they will deceive many ”(Matthew 24: 4-5).
Is this Jesus' prediction true? Have the many been seduced? Yes they are. And what is the name that was preached to them? Yeshua, Yahoshua or Yahshua? No! Instead, the name Jesus (and its counterparts in various languages) has been preached to people.
This were lots seduced. Jesus doesn't tell them a wrong name was preached, nor did he foretell it in the future. Instead he gives the name the false preachers use his Names!
Either the name Jesus, the German equivalent of the Greek, applies Iesous, or we can ignore the New Testament as flawed. The same result applies to the name Yahweh, which Jesus and his apostles did not use and which is not found once in the New Testament. Instead, Jesus prayed to his heavenly one fatherand it is this example that he gives us to be followed.
The Holy Spirit of God, who inspired the tradition of the books of the New Testament in the Greek language, tells us that the only name by which we can be saved is the name of Jesus: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified have whom God raised from the dead; through him this one stands before you in good health. This is the stone, rejected by you builders, that has become the cornerstone. And in no other is salvation, too is no other name under heaven given to menby whom we shall be saved ”(Acts 4: 10-12; emphasis added).
The Spirit of God did not inspire this text in Greek except for the name Jesus, which is then in verse 10 in Hebrew. No, it is absolutely not, and claims to the contrary are unfounded. The only name given to us humans is in the same language as the rest of the text in the quoted section. We should understand that it is the name we read in our Bibles in the German language: Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
- INTERN December 2002
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