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Archive for April, 2015

Some Atheists, as well as some Messianic Jews (Jewish Christians) believe that the name “Jesus” was derived from the name “Zeus.” That’s one reason why many Messianics think we should call Jesus only by his Jewish name “Yeshua,” rather than an English transliteration of the New Testament Greek name “Iesous.”

Actually, there is evidence that the name “Iesous,” predates the mythology connected with the name “Zeus.” “Iesous” is a very old Greek transliteration of the name “Yehoshua” (Joshua), though the Jews consider it incorrect. The ancient Greek “Septuagint” name for the book of Joshua is “Iesous.” This is important evidence in favor of the Bible.

Atheists have also suggested a connection between “Zeus,” and “YHWH,” the personal name of God in the Hebrew Old Testament. Here again, evidence shows the name “YHWH” to be the oldest. Much of the following information may be difficult to find in print, but I suspect that many have been aware of it, and have rejected it without thinking it through. This may be one underlying reason for much of the argument over the name of Jesus.

My last post mentioned the difficulty of representing the Hebrew name for Jesus in the Greek language. That post is very important to the understanding of this one. The ancient Greeks would have had a similar problem with “YHWH,” the namesake of Jesus. To keep this short and simple, I’ll say that they lacked a proper “y,” as well as a proper “h.” The use of a “u” to represent the Hebrew “w” is fairly accurate.

A strange thing occurs if the transliteration process (from Hebrew, through Greek, to English) used in our old English versions of the Bible (Ref. King James version) is applied to “YHWH.” I have not been able to find such a transliteration of “YHWH,” or “Yah” (Jah), the shortened form of the name, anywhere (note; it’s possible that our word “God,” came from the pronunciation of “yod,” the “Y” of “YHWH”).

Perhaps we do have the transliteration, but we haven’t recognized it because it isn’t what we would expect. When I’ve attempted an internet search, what I find instead is psychological warfare against the name of Jesus. We do have another interesting Greek transliteration of “YHWH” which I intend to write about shortly.

The name “Jehovah,” is sometimes called a transliteration, but it does not follow the same pattern as Old Testament names which recur in the New Testament. It is only “JHVH” with vowels added to suggest a pronunciation, and has not come to our English Bible through the Greek language of the New Testament. That is because of the ancient tradition of always translating “YHWH,” as the word “Lord” instead, and not attempting to write, or pronounce the actual name (Ref. Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh, The Secret of YHWH, in my November 2011 archives). The name “YHWH” would appear, in some form, in many places in the New Testament if not for that tradition.

There are many examples in older versions of the Bible, such as the King James version, where an “h,” at the end of Old Testament names, becomes an “s,” in the New Testament. This has happened because the names were first adopted into the Greek language before coming to us. For example “Judas,” in Matthew 1:3, is “Judah” in the Old Testament.

Modern versions of the Bible, attempting to make the Bible easier to read, sometimes drop this information by spelling the names alike in both Testaments. This type of thing sometimes occurs even in older versions such as the King James.

In the transition from Hebrew to Greek, an “h” usually becomes an “e,” (eta) except at the end of a word. This is a general rule often followed in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament from the pre-Christian era. Many variations in spellings exist, and other Hebrew letters sometimes become an “e” so caution must be used in this study. The name Jehu (in Hebrew spelled Yhw ending with an “aleph”) isn’t found in the New Testament, but in 1st Chronicles 2:38 in the Septuagint, it becomes “Jeu.” The silent “aleph” may have been added to this name to distinguish it from “YHWH.”

The English “J” in “Jeu” was a “Y” in the Hebrew, and an “I” in the Greek. The “h” in the Hebrew name became an “e” (eta) in the Greek, remaining the same in the English translation of the Septuagint. The Hebrew “w” became “u” in the Greek, and was carried over to English. If there had actually been an “h” at the end, that final “h” would have become an “s” in a Greek transliteration. Following this procedure, a transliteration of “YHWH” through the Greek language into King James English could have given us the name “Jeus.”

That begins to look a bit mysterious because “Djeus,” or “Dyeus,” is considered to be the Proto-Indo-European origin of the name “Zeus.” This appears to also be the origin of “Deus,” the Latin word for God, as well as the Greek word “Theos.” The evidence suggests that “Zeus,” is a very ancient transliteration of the Hebrew name “YHWH.”

The use of a “Z” in the name “Zeus,” probably originated with the way some languages combine a “d” with other sounds, as in “Djeus,” or “Dyeus.” The Greek “Z” (Zeta) is pronounced “dzay’-tah.” “Z” is also often combined with other sounds. According to the Wikipedia article, “Jesus (name),” “Jesus” in Limburgish is “Zjezus.”

A “Y” in Middle Paleo-Hebrew is shaped like a “Z” with the addition of a short horizontal bar. That is another possible origin for the “Z” in “Zeus.” I intend to supply more details later.

Here is a very important fact which many atheists would ignore in an attempt to put their own spin on this information. The evidence shows the Hebrew name is the older, because there would be no need to transliterate “Zeus” to the Hebrew. The Hebrew alphabet could perfectly capture the pronunciation of “Zeus” in several different ways without a change in the sound of the name.

The Greek alphabet, on the other hand, would not permit the name “YHWH” to be written without significant changes. If the ancient Greeks wanted to record something about YHWH, they would have to either change (transliterate) the name, translate it as “Lord,” or use Hebrew letter symbols which would be meaningless to most Greeks.

Evidence shows that the Greeks tried all three methods at different times. That is probably why some stories about Zeus have elements in common with records from the Bible.

Except for pronouncing it, I have no problem with using the Hebrew name “YHWH” for God. I’m not going to use the name “Zeus” for God, because for most people, there is too much myth attached to the name. Only God himself could demythologize the name, but it probably began with an honest attempt by some ancestor of the Greeks to record the name of God.

For the record, some Aramaic Christians believe that Jesus should only be called by the Aramaic name “MarYah (Mar-Yah),” which is usually interpreted to mean “Lord.” I didn’t know that particular fact when I wrote my page “The Messiah.”

I ask any Christians or Jews who happen to read this to please understand that I am not equating ancient myths with the Bible. I think there’s proof that the Bible contains an accurate record of God’s interaction with man, and that some of its writings are the oldest in existence regardless of the age of our copies. If there is any truth in what the atheists are saying about “Jesus” and “Zeus,” then it is actually evidence that supports my statement. Atheists would have a stronger argument if they simply attribute the “zeus” sound in the name “Jesus” to coincidence.

There is much evidence however, that many of the ancient pagan myths are simply distorted, and fanciful, retellings of ancient events reported in the Bible. Likewise, many names of the “gods,” and heroes of the myths appear to have some foundation in the Bible. Biblical events are sometimes the source of information that has devolved into myth, but not the other way around.

The information I’ve given here needs to be studied and further refined, but it is very important. Whether atheist, or theist, whoever is aware of this has kept the secret. That may be because it runs counter to what many atheists would want to believe, and many theists would simply misunderstand it. The usual attitude is, “shout (or shoot) first and ask questions later.”

We need to get over that, if we’re going to get anywhere. The roots of this controversy may go back to the Tower of Babel, and it’s likely that God has preserved evidence of his truth in the design of languages.

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The name Jesus means “the salvation of YHWH.” When the Greeks transliterated the Hebrew name “Yeshua” (Yeshuah, or Yshwh), as “Iesous,” it was primarily because that’s as close as their alphabet would permit them to reproduce it. “Iesous,” in turn has been adopted into our language as “Jesus.”

Peculiarities of different alphabets often create an inability to write, or pronounce a foreign word precisely though it may yet be recognizable. “Yes,” in different languages becomes “yah,” or “jah,” and sometimes the “h” is dropped. In English a “y” is sometimes used instead of an “i,” and in French, the word “Je,” means “I.”

In Exodus 3:14, God told Moses to tell the children of Israel; “I Am,” has sent me to you. If God had spoken part of that in French, it would be; “Je suis,” has sent me to you. It may be only coincidence that “Je suis” in the French language means “I Am,” but the resemblance to the name Jesus is striking. In the transliteration of names, “y,” “i,” and “j” are often interchanged.

Multiple words or syllables are often combined to form personal names. To form the name “Yeshua,” “Yah,” (YH) the short form of “YHWH,” the Hebrew personal name of God, is combined with “shuwa,” which like an S O S, means “a cry for help.” “Yeshua,” could be taken to mean either “the cry for God” or “the cry of God.”

I haven’t seen anything about the international Morse Code distress signal, S O S, having anything to do with “soza,” (ref. sos and sais) the Greek word for “saved,” but that could yet have been a factor. If not, then it’s  another handy coincidence. The Hebrew word for saved or savior (open, wide or free, safe), is “yasha.” The Greeks would have converted the ”sh” in the word to a simple “s,” and there’s probably a linguistic connection between yasha and soza.

When studying the name of Jesus in different languages, I ran upon writings of atheists claiming a connection between the names “Jesus” and “Zeus.” There’s much to be said about that also, and I pray to have a separate post written soon. It is nothing for a believer to fear. I also found writings by Messianic Jews correctly arguing for the truth of the New Testament, but agreeing with the atheists about the transliteration of the name “Jesus.” Some Messianic Jews (not all) think that we should call Jesus only by some form of his Jewish name. I also read writings of Christian apologists arguing for the accuracy of the English name, but denying any connection between “Zeus” and “Jesus.” Behind all the argument lies a psychological attempt to demoralize and weaken the faith of those who call on the name of Jesus. The same attitudes and forces that nailed Jesus to a cross, continue to crucify his good name. As I’ve seen this, I have better understood why the name of Jesus means so much to God (Philippians 2:5-11).

Transliteration processes vary with times and languages, but the English name, “Jesus,” follows an established method of adopting foreign words or names into our language. When all is said and done, I think that the name Jesus is a very good transliteration, and translation, of the name Yeshua.

It is fine for you to pronounce the name of Jesus in the way that it comes to you in your language. Wikipedia has a good online article with the title, “Jesus (name).” Include the parenthesis in your search. The article lists his name in many languages.

English-speaking Christians should not abandon the use of the word “God,” the name “Jehovah” (which is an attempt to pronounce YHWH), or our way of pronouncing Jesus. The confusion of languages at the tower of Babel trips our tongue and tricks our mind, but don’t let it get to you. Whichever way that we pronounce his name, the thing that matters most is that we are speaking of the only begotten Son of God, who was executed by crucifixion at Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago, and resurrected three days later.

It is the time of year when it happened, and a special time to remember his suffering, death, resurrection, and his promise to return. His name is a one word prayer; “JE S O S.” All that call on the name of Jesus shall be saved (Acts 2:21-36).

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