However, this pronunciation of God’s name can be called into question. Because there are no vowels in Hebrew, no one can be 100% sure that His name is pronounced “Yahweh.”
In these Hebrew texts, the personal and unutterable name for God is the Tetragrammaton or Four Letters: Yud-Hei-Vav-Hei (יהוה or YHVH, in English).
This name, which some say is pronounced as Jehovah, is so holy that it was not spoken outside the Temple, and then only once a year on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) by the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest).
A name of God that is related to יהוה (YHVH) is the name יה (Yah), perhaps a shortened form of the ineffable name. This name of God appears about 50 times in the Tanakh. It is part of the construction of the Hebrew word Halleluyah (Praise Yah), as well as many Hebrew names, including Elijah (Eliyahu), Isaiah (Yeshayah), and Jeremiah (Yirmyahu or Yirmyah).
The name “Yahshua,” however, exists nowhere in the Bible or the Hebrew historic record.
In this new pronunciation for Yeshua, a fifth letter is added right in the middle of God’s holy name (ש/shin), thereby creating the new name Yahshua — יהשוה.
The five-letter spelling of Yahshuah (יהשוה) rather than the four-letter spelling of Yeshua (יֵשׁוּעַ) can be first traced to Christian Renaissance occultists in the second half of the 16th century.
A similar form of this new spelling was later picked up by the Sacred Name Movement (SNM), which uses its own unique Hebrew spelling of Yahshua (יהשע). This spelling is not found anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures.
This new spelling of Yeshua can be traced back to the early days of the SNM movement in the 1930s.
Yahweh’s Assembly in Yahshua, an organization associated with the Sacred Name Movement, makes the following doctrinal statement regarding this name:
“‘Yahshua’ is the correct name of the Savior, a contraction of the combination of ‘YAHweh’ and ‘HoSHUA,’ the same as given to Joshua the son of Nun by Moses.” (YAIY Beacon, April-June 2013, p. 8)
To create this new combination, one has to change the pronunciation of Hoshea to Hoshua, which is not found in any lexicon or dictionary because the “oo” letter is not included in the Hebrew spelling of Hoshea. To arrive at this version of Yeshua’s name, one has to begin with a made-up Hebrew name.
Calling on His Name
As Scriptural support, those who insist on this pronunciation of Yahshua point to Yeshua who says, “I have come in My Father’s Name.” (John 5:43)
From this verse, they conclude that His name must have Yah in it. But as discussed, this variant of Yeshua does not occur in any Hebrew or Aramaic texts.
There is no historical support for Yeshua ever using the name of Yah.
Even while on the execution stake, Yeshua did not call His Father by His personal name — YHVH, but instead El:
“About three in the afternoon Yeshua cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?’).” (Matthew 27:46)
Referring to Scripture, those who follow the teachings of the SNM contend that using this pronunciation of Yeshua’s name will assist in one’s salvation: “Everyone who calls on the name [onoma] of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
They also refer to this passage:
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him [Yeshua], and bestowed on Him the name [onoma] which is above every name, so that at the name [onoma] of Yeshua EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Yeshua HaMashiach is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11; see also Isaiah 45:23)
The Greek word onoma does mean name, but not only in a literal sense; it also refers to the very being of a person.
Throughout the Jewish culture in Scripture, one’s name is synonymous to one’s character, nature, and essence.
The name of Yeshua means salvation, and that is the exact essence of who Yeshua is. To call on the name/person of Yeshua — the Messiah is to call on salvation.
Furthermore, it simply does not make sense that everyone who has sincerely loved and followed the Jewish Messiah throughout the ages did not and will not receive their salvation because they did not speak this new form of Yeshua’s name, as “revealed” to a select few in the early Sacred Name Movement.
Scripture clearly states that our salvation comes through grace. We do not receive it because of our works, and it is certainly not connected to how we pronounce the Messiah’s name.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)
Our salvation is connected to believing in the character, reputation, and essence of the person behind the Hebrew name — who He is and what He did.
Yeshua Himself said,
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)
Writing the Sacred Names in Early Manuscripts
If saying Yeshua’s name correctly was essential to our salvation or even our faith, the early scribes would have kept the Hebrew names intact when making copies of the Gospels and Paul’s letters of instruction to the early Believers. But this is not the case.
The oldest manuscripts for the Gospel of John (known as P52 and P66), for example, were written only 50 years after the original authoring. In these copies, Hebrew pronunciations are not attempted. Instead, Greek abbreviations of Greek equivalent words are used:
- Yeshua is abbreviated as Ιη-, (transliterated into English as Je– or Ye– for the name Jesus);
- Messiah is abbreviated as Χρ- (spoken as Chr– for the Greek name Christos or English name Christ);
- Elohim is written simply as Θ, which is short for Theos or God
- Abba is shown as Πρ-, which is short for Pater or Father; and
- Adonai is reduced to Κ-, which is short for Kyrios or Lord.
Rather than trying to accurately portray the sacred names of God and the Messiah, the early scribes intentionally avoided it. This is in keeping with the Jewish practice of using euphemisms, letters, or syllables to protect all names of God from being defaced, obliterated, or destroyed accidentally.
Two thousand years later, though, the spiritual sensitivity behind protecting God’s names is being labeled a conspiracy.
Dr. Daniel Botkin, pastor of the Gates of Eden Messianic Congregation writing on the yeshanet website states:
“The opponents of the Yeshua form claim that this pronunciation is the result of a Jewish conspiracy to hide the Savior’s true name. Those who call the Messiah Yeshua are accused of perpetuating a Jewish conspiracy and ‘denying His name’ or ‘degrading Him’ by their use of the Yeshua form.”
Botkin said that he has received letters with these charges against himself personally.
To support the use of the name Yeshua, he goes on to quote Dr. Danny Ben-Gigi, an Israeli and former head of Hebrew studies at Arizona University as saying, “There is no such name in Hebrew (as Yahshua),” a name that “people invented it to fit their theology.”
Perhaps it seems like a lovely notion to think that Yeshua and Yahweh share the same pronunciation — Yah.
It is more important, however, to understand the spiritual elitism behind believing that this revelation was given to a select few in the 16th century and then 20th century.
Moreover, it is dangerous heresy to believe that only this unique pronunciation must be used to receive salvation, as many in the Sacred Name Movement claim.
Both Hebrew and Bible scholars who study ancient Semitic languages, historical literature, and archaeological findings regarding this issue agree that the name Yahshua cannot be supported and, therefore, The House of The Nazarene does not endorse it.
The House of The Nazarene does believe in calling on the name of Yeshua or Jesus, which in Jewish thinking is calling out for salvation, since the name reflects the person and His character.
We also believe in praying in Yeshua’s or Jesus’ name. What does that mean? It means when we pray, our prayers should reflect His agenda, values, and purposes, not our own selfish ambitions and vain conceits.
Praying in Yeshua’s name means we come before Him expressing Yeshua’s desires and stand in Yeshua’s authority.
It means we have the confidence to stand before our Heavenly Father because of what Yeshua has accomplished through His holy life, His death on the Roman execution stake, His burial, and resurrection.
Because of His sinless life, He had absolute victory over death and was raised on the third day.
We come knowing that because of His resurrection He not only holds the power to forgive our sins, but has absolute victory over death, and has defeated the enemy once and for all!
We come in faith knowing that there is no other name, no other person, who is above Him.
“Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9–10)
Please stand with The House of The Nazarene as we bring the Good News of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) to the Jewish and Gentile People in Israel and around the world.
Time is short; current events give us every indication that Yeshua (Jesus) is coming soon!