Jesus Christ vs. Yeshua HaMashiach

Beware – Another rant in progress…

Recently, I’ve had a Facebook “friend” begin to criticize several of my posts and teachings because I use words like “God” or “Lord” or more recently, when I used “Jesus Christ” because I quoted Philippians 1:9–11. They think I should try to pronounce the Tetragrammaton and say “Yahshua.” First, let me say that my personal preference when referring to our Messiah is to say “Yeshua HaMashiach.” Why? Because “Yeshua” is the name given to him by the angel, Gabriel, and by his mother in his native tongue. It has meaning. The Hebrew of his naming in Matthew 1:21 says:

וְקָרָאתָ אֶת־שְׁמוֹ יֵשׁוּעַ כִּי הוּא יוֹשִׁיעַ אֶת־עַמּוֹ מֵחַטֹּאתֵיהֶם

Ve-ka-ra-ta et-she-mo ye-shu-a ki hu yo-shi-a et-‘am-mo me-chat-to-tei-hem

“And you will call his name SALVATION, for he will SAVE his people from their sins.”

Although I don’t have a problem with the name “Jesus,” it is only a transliteration of his Hebrew/Aramaic name and doesn’t actually “mean” anything. And there is the myth that the word “Jesus” is somehow a reference to the pagan god, Zeus. This is a complete fallacy based on ignorance of the Greek language. “Jesus” is simply a letter-by-letter transliteration of the Hebrew name “Yeshua” (יֵשׁוּעַ) with the Greek masculine suffix added to show that it is a masculine name. There is no pagan conspiracy involved.

And while I have no issue with the word “Christ,” it doesn’t fully capture the Hebrew of “Mashiach.” The word, Christ, is simply the Greek word “Christos” transliterated into English and doesn’t quite equivocate to Mashiach (whereas mashiach connoted anointing, christos is more in the context of smearing), but it was the best word choice for both Greek and English. So, to say “Jesus Christ” is simply an easy way for native English-speakers to reference our Messiah. Not my choice, but again, no pagan conspiracy involved.

I’m tired and weary. I’m tired of Hebrew Roots folks bashing sincere Christians (and even Messianics who have been doing this thing 10x longer than they’ve been listening to their Hebrew Roots conspiracy theories) in an effort to show their superiority. All it really shows is their ignorance and arrogance. Although I don’t agree with quite a bit of Christian theology, I know most devout Christians are sincere in their faith, even if they are ignorant (and I use this word cautiously as it can be taken wrong – I’m using it to simply mean they do not know) of the origins of their own faith.

Does it matter if we say “Yeshua HaMashiach” or “Jesus Christ”? Not really. What really matters is keeping the commandments (1 Corinthians 7:19), beginning with loving Hashem and then loving our neighbor. The rest is commentary. Go and learn.

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