In (defense of) the name of Jesus

Allow me to share (expose) the falsehood of the ridiculous claim that the name Jesus is Pagan, and that using the name Jesus instead of Yeshua, is wrong (and don’t get me started on the demand to use the name Yah-shua that exists nowhere in scripture at all). I’ve grown weary of seeing well-intentioned people led astray into Judaism by Judaizers (those that would lead Christians back into the rigors of the Old Testament Law, see Galatians 2:14).

Recently, I read a statement by a “Hebrew Roots” teacher that claimed the name Jesus was Pagan in origin (Pagan, by the way, is the term they apply to anything Christian that they disagree with, in effort to discredit it.)

He began by asserting that he is about to, “break down the complete Etymology of the name “Jesus” for those of you who have been deceived into calling upon this pagan fake name”. Here’s his failed attempt at academia:

“Most people don’t know, but the Bible was translated from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English. Now, the word JE in Latin means EARTH, and the word SUS means PIG. This means that JESUS in Latin translates to EARTH PIG. In Greek Jesus is Iesous Pronounced “hey-soos” and can be found in the Hebrew writings! SOOS is a legitimate Hebrew word! In Hebrew it means “HORSE” (Strong’s #5483). Now, can a HORSE save you?”

So, aside from the fact that his “etymology” is not etymology at all, let’s look closer at this offensive claim…

His claim was that, “the word JE in Latin means EARTH, and the word SUS means PIG. This means that JESUS in Latin translates to EARTH PIG.”

This is both sickening, and patently false.

First of all, there is no word, “Je” in Latin (http://latin-dictionary.net/search/latin/je). Second, you’ll find absolutely no word related to “earth” in the Latin language that even has a letter “J”, let alone the letters, “Je”.

Secondly, while “sus” is the Latin word for Pig, claiming that three letters of a name or word can be broken off into a definition is an extremely poor practice, and reveals the lack of education of the author. If it were true, this would also mean any other word in Latin that contains “sus” (over 650 of them) would also apply to a pig, such as the word, “aurosus”, which means, “containing gold, gold-bearing”. You can see that the definition has nothing to do with “pig” at all (http://latin-dictionary.net/search/latin/aurosus)

And thirdly, do you see what he did? The name “Jesus” is the English spelling, not the Latin spelling, which is “Iesus”… Which makes his statement baseless to begin with.

So, the assertion is just incorrect.

Further, the author states, “In Greek Jesus is Iesous Pronounced “hey-soos” and can be found in the Hebrew writings! SOOS is a legitimate Hebrew word! In Hebrew it means “HORSE” (Strong’s #5483).”

Do you notice what the author does here? He makes the incorrect claim that the Greek word for Jesus, “Iesous” can be found in the Hebrew writings. He points to the sound (in Greek) “soos” being similar to the word sounding like, “soos” in the Hebrew, and implies they’re the same. Again, this poor application of linguistics is not only incorrect, it’s offensive. And, even if “soos” can be found in the Hebrew, the whole word, “Iesous” (as he claimed) is not. Greek is not Hebrew, and while they may have sounds in common (like any other language), they are not common languages at all. Canaanite, Phoenician, and Hebrew are Semitic languages, while Greek, Latin, and English are Indo-European languages. These two language families are not related. This far-reaching attempt to connect Jesus’ English name to anything Pagan is an affront to Christ Himself. I’ll also point out that the pronunciation of the Greek, “Iesous” is “ee-ay-soos”, and not “hey-soos” [sic], as he asserts.

So, let’s look at the name of “yeshu’a”, and determine if it’s wrong for English-speaking people to use the name Jesus when referring to Christ.

Yeshua is the Hebrew name, and its English spelling is “Joshua.” Iesous is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name, and its English spelling is “Jesus.” Thus, the English names “Joshua” and “Jesus” are essentially the same; both are English pronunciations of the Hebrew and Greek names for our Lord. (For examples of how the two names are interchangeable, see Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8 in the KJV. In both cases, the word “Jesus” refers to the Old Testament character Joshua.) The name Jesus alone doesn’t save, since it was also the name of Joshua. But, when we call on that name in reference to the One savior of mankind, we get the attention of Heaven!

Changing the language of a word doesn’t affect the meaning of the word. As one author put it,

We call a bound and covered set of pages a “book.” In German, it becomes a buch. In Spanish, it is a libro; in French, a livre. The language changes, but the object itself does not. As Shakespeare said, “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” (Romeo and Juliet, II:i). In the same way, we can refer to Jesus as “Jesus,” “Yeshua,” or “YehSou” (Cantonese) without changing His nature. In any language, His name means “The Lord Is Salvation.”

Some go so far as to say the letter “J” wasn’t in the Bible, so it should never be used to reference Jesus. But we don’t discount the use of the letter when saying or writing, “Jerusalem”. If a person speaks and reads English, it is acceptable for him to spell things in an English fashion. We have no Biblical mandate otherwise.

We are given a command in Scripture to “call on the name of the Lord,” in our New Birth (Acts 2:21; Acts 2:38; Joel 2:32). Whether we call on Him in English, Korean, Hindi, or Hebrew, the result is the same: the Lord is salvation!

I’m reminded of the old beautiful hymn, “Jesus… Jesus… Jesus. There’s just something about that name! Master, savior, Jesus! Like a fragrance after the rain. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Let all Heaven and earth proclaim… Kings and Kingdoms shall all pass away, but there’s something about that name!”

One last statement about those who would lead you astray, back into the bondage of Judaism…

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8-9

Author: Jay Jones

Jay is an author, veteran church planter, speaker, and the pastor of the Pentecostals of Kentwood. He's a passionate worshipper of Jesus Christ, a husband, daddy, pastor, and a ‘pretty good guy’. Jay is also an ordained minister of the United Pentecostal Church, where he currently serves as a Presbyter in West Michigan.

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5 Comments

  1. Well said brother.

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    • Thank you brother for standing up for the name of Jesus,sweetest name i know.

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    • Thank you. This is so timely as there is some people being deceived

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  2. I concur with the intent of the article. A Rabbi friend from Israel had the issue when Kepha or Peter as the Greek called him. Acts 4:12 says there is no other name. Yeshua is a Aramaic /Hebrew name. There are no “J” sounds in Aramaic/Hebrew. Isaiah 12:2 says that Yahweh has become my Yeshua or Jesus (English). The Lord Jesus created each language perhaps at Babel. He knows who we are talking about and to think our God Jesus can’t discern his name is foolish.

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  3. Anyone who remembers any high school Latin could inform you that “earth pig” would be “porcum terrae,” which doesn’t sound like the name of any deity of whom I aware.

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