Jesus (Iesous) and Yahshua
by Stephen Jones
In the New Testament the issue centers around the name Jesus. We are told by Sacred Name extremists that it comes from Je-Zeus, as if to connect it with the Father of Greek gods named Zeus. That is their theory, but there is no real proof of this. The Greek name itself is spelled Iesous or Iesus and is translated into English as Jesus. Of course, the “J” in the English language did not come into usage until about 200 years ago, so prior to this time it was spelled with an “I”.
The “Jesus-Zeus” theory sounds somewhat plausible, because in English, we pronounce the “s” as a “Z” as though it were spelled Je-Zuz. But in the Greek it is spelled with the “s” (sigma), not with a “z” (zeta). The difference between sous and zeus is as great as the difference in English between soo and zoo. While they may rhyme, and be similar in sound, they are far from the same word.
The Hebrew word for “horse” is sus. Isaiah uses this term when he says in Isaiah 31:1, “Woe unto them that go down to Egypt for help, and stay [lean] on horses [sus], and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek Yahweh.” In other words, the only true “Horse” is Yahweh, our Redeemer and Savior.
If we study the constellations, we learn that Yahweh named them to tell the story of Redemptive history. In the constellation Pegasus, the winged white horse, we see pictured the Savior of the world coming as mentioned in Revelation 19:11. Howard Rand’s booklet, The Stars Declare God’s Handiwork, states on page 10: “Pegasus (The Winged Horse)—the names of the stars in this constellation declare its meaning. The brightest in the neck of the horse has an ancient Hebrew name, MARKAB, which means returning from afar . . . Thus in this constellation of the Winged Horse we have the emblem of Him who said, If I go away, I will come again.”
In E. Raymond Capt’s book, The Glory of the Stars, we read on page 79, “. . . The figure is named ‘Pega’ or ‘Pacha,’ meaning ‘the chief’ . . . Combining these characters with the letters Sus, meaning ‘horse,’ produced the name ‘Pegasus’. . . The true Pegasus is Christ, who procured blessings for the redeemed by His Atonement, and is coming quickly to pour those blessings upon a famished world.”
My point is to show that the name Jesus (Ie-sous) is really perfect Hebrew, derived from Yah-Sus, which really means Yahweh-Horse, the Savior of mankind, as pictured in the Star Gospel under the name of Pegasus. It has nothing to do with Zeus. I do not know how old the name Iesuos is, but I presume it was also a Greek name prior to the Septuagint translation. Those translators called Joshua by the name of Iesous. Many different men by this name appear in the history of Josephus, including two high priests deprived of the priesthood. (See Antiquities, vi, v, 3 and xv, iii, 1.) Others were actually given the high priesthood. Antiquities. XX, ix, 4 says,
“And now Jesus the son of Gamaliel became the successor of Jesus, the son of Damneus, in the high priesthood, which the king had taken from the other; on which account a sedition arose between the high priests, with regard to one another; for they got together bodies of the people, and frequently came, from reproaches, to throwing of stones at each other.”
This sounds a lot like preachers today! But my point is that Josephus and other Greek-speaking historians thought nothing of translating men’s Hebrew names into Greek. The same is done in Hebrews 4:8, where Joshua is referred to as Jesus (Iesous).
Sacred Name enthusiasts often argue that Hebrew is the only sacred language, and that God never sanctioned Greek. That is a tradition of men. We find no such ban on using Greek, or English, or Aramaic, or any other of men’s languages. In fact, at Pentecost, every man heard the voice of God speaking in his own language. Surely Greek was one of those languages! There is nothing wrong with translating names into foreign tongues, so long as the meaning is conveyed accurately. I do not object if a Hispanic should call me Estevan, rather than Stephen. I do not see why God would object to foreign translations either.
The Scriptures say that we will know His name. If a person only knows the Hebrew name Yahweh, they are no better than the idolatrous priests in Jeremiah’s day, who gave lip service to the name of Yahweh, but who did not know Him. Jeremiah 7:4 and 14:14 prove that those idolatrous priests knew and used the Sacred Name, but because they did not know God’s character, they were said to be priests of Baal. The power is not in the Hebrew word or pronunciation, but in the One called by that name.
Of course, to treat this Sacred Name subject thoroughly would require a lengthy book. This short paper is not meant to deal with all of these issues. It is simply meant to point out the flaws in the main arguments raised up to supposedly prove we are guilty of blasphemy for continuing to use lord, God, and Jesus Christ. I think that if we study these few logical principles set forth ever so briefly, most of the other Sacred Name arguments will be seen to be far overblown and extreme. We should certainly study all of the names and titles of God to understand the character of the One we worship. But let us not go so far as to malign others for using the English translations of those Hebrew words or for “mispronouncing” the name.