Messiah’s Name (short form) – YouTube Image

The book of Matthew records the following concerning the birth of the Messiah of Yisra’el:


Matthew 1:20-21 [TS]
20 But while he thought about this, see, a messenger of יהוה{the Eternal} appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Yoseph, son of Dawid, do not be afraid to take Miryam as your wife, for that which is in her was brought forth from the Set-apart Spirit. 
21 “And she shall give birth to a Son, and you shall call His Name יהושע{Yehoshua} for He shall save His people from their sins.

In the Greek text, the name that the messenger of Yahweh mentioned as Messiah’s name is recorded as «Iesous», from which the English form ‘Jesus’ is derived. However, logically a question arises: Is it possible that a Hebrew child, born of a Hebrew young woman from Natsareth{Nazareth}  could be given a Greek name such as Iesous? According to the first century historian Josephus, the Jews of the first century considered talking in Greek worse than eating pork. Therefore, the name of the Nazarene could not have been the Greek Iesous and much less the English Jesus as this language did not even exist in the first century of our era.
How then could we know the original name of the Messiah, his real name and not the Greek and English misrepresentations? The solution can be found in the ancient Hebrew document written by Yeshua’s disciple Matthew which preserved to this day thanks to a copy published by a 15th century Jewish philosopher and physician called Israel Shem Tov ben Shaprut. The scribe who copied
this ancient document, known as Hebrew Matthew of Shem Tov or Even Bojan, abbreviated  the Messiah’s original Hebrew name to Yeshu in most of the document. However there are three instances where he left the original name intact.
We can find one of those instances in Matthew 6:5, in which the copyist left the original form of the name and wrote it as Yehoshua and in Matthew 1:21 and 25 he wrote the name as Yeshua however, in the rest of the document he wrote the Messiah’s name in its abbreviated form Yeshu.
It is probable that the copyist or scribe of Shem Tov may have given in to the Jewish prejudice against the Nazarene and did not even attempt to write his complete name and opted to write it in abbreviated form which is the practice in traditional Judaism.

Another important ancient Jewish document mentions the original Hebrew name of the Nazarene. Although it mocks and slanders the life of the Messiah, it provides us with very important data for the topic at hand. The document is called Toledot Yesu and says as follows

Miryam gave birth to a son and named him Yehoshua…This name later deteriorated to Yeshu. 

This historical piece of information is fundamental as it tells us two things:
1) the original Hebrew name of the Nazarene was Yehoshua
2) it was later changed to Yeshu

Where does this name come from? Who created it? Is it appropriate to abbreviate it?

That original name was not an invention of the messenger of Yahweh who assigned it to him. The name Yehoshua existed many years prior to the Messiah. It was the name that Moshe (Moses) assigned to his general that we now know as Hoshea (Joshua).
According to Numbers 13:16, Moshe added the brief form of the name of Yahweh, YAH, to Hoshea’s name and it became Yehoshua.
This name is composed of two Hebrew names: YAH and Hoshea; it means ‘Yah saves’ or ‘Yah [is] Salvation’. The vocals changed a bit as a result of the combination.
It is not by chance that Hoshea, who ushered Yisra’el to the ‘Promised Land’, was the  ‘prophetic figure’ or ‘type’ of the Messiah who would carry the same name and would introduce his people to the ‘Promised Land of the Kingdom of Yahweh’.
Interestingly, Hoshea’s original name was also abbreviated with the passing of time. We have mentioned that Numbers 13:16 records his new name, Yehoshua, however, many years later, Nehemiah 8:17 refers to him as Yeshua. It was a common and accepted practice to abbreviated names in Hebrew culture. Even the Name of Yahweh is shortened to Yah in Psalms 68:4 and many other places.

A group of scribe-scholars called ‘Masoretes’ who worked between the 6th and 10th century after Yeshua compiled a system of pronunciation with vocals and accents as the Hebrew texts were written only with consonants. We now know that these scholars made every effort to hide the name of the Eternal Yahweh so that no one would pronounce it with the original vocals; this is how the hybrid form YeHoVaH and other variations arose.
The Aramaic texts however were not influenced by the Masoretes and they write the names that contain the Divine Name with Yah and not Yeh. For example the Masoretic form of Yeshoshaphat would be written as Yahoshphat in Aramaic. Thus the name of the Messiah in Aramaic would be Yahoshua (short form Yahshua) and not Yehoshua (short form Yeshua) in the Masoretic pronunciation.


The Aramaic form Yahshua is as acceptable as the Masoretic form Yeshua or perhaps it is more acceptable because it preserves the short form of the Name of the Father which is Yah.
To summarise,  all evidence points to the fact that the original name of the Messiah was Yehoshua/Yahoshua, that was later shortened to Yeshua and in that short form it passed to the Greek as Iesoús, then to Latin as Iesús and much later to Jesus in English.

The Alexamenos graffito from the First Century

However, after so many changes the name of the Messiah became a dishonour or a disgrace as in the Hebrew language «sus» means horse.  A piece of Roman graffito scratched in plaster on the wall of a room near the Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy, depicts a crucified man with the head of a horse mocking his Greek name. This is proof that Messiah’s Greek name sounded very similar to their word for horse.

The evidence is sufficient and overwhelming. He who has ears let him hear. Although, many prefer not to hear because the truth commits people to act correctly and to abandon the errors of the past.

Source: Yosef Alvarez; Translated by Nazarene Notes