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Yeshua: The Meaning of the Hebrew Name of Jesus

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December 22nd, 2015

Yeshua – Jesus – was God’s promise to the world. He was the Messiah foretold through the nation of Israel and the Hebrew culture. Yet, when we study the New Testament, we often miss some treasures.

The Meaning of Jesus’s Hebrew Name

The Gospels were written in Greek, which means we lose some of its Hebrew context. The prophecies around the infant Jesus are one example of such treasures “lost in translation”. 

In biblical Hebrew, a name of a person or town was more than just a unique identifying title. It spoke of their calling or destiny.

Moses means “drawn out”, like he was drawn out of the water by Pharaoh’s daughter. Then, he was used by God to draw Israel out of Egypt.

Elijah means My God is Yah, short for Yahweh. The prophet Elijah famously took a stand on Mt Carmel against the prophets of Baal.

And finally, the name of Jesus – which in Hebrew is Yeshua.

The Hebrew word Yeshua means salvation. It is only with this understanding that we recognize Jesus’ name, Yeshua, throughout the Old Testament.

Yeshua in Hebrew: Defining the Story of Salvation

Take a look at the following verses. Whenever there is the word salvation, in Hebrew it literally says “Yeshua”. Try reading them with that in mind, and it may feel like you are reading straight from the New Testament:

Oh, that the salvation (Yeshua) of Israel would come out of Zion! (Psalm 14:7)

Let those who love Your salvation (Yeshua) say continually, “The LORD be magnified! (Psalm 40:16)

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation (Yeshua) and sustain me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12)

Although the New Testament is not written in Hebrew, it is still communicating the same message as the Old Testament. A Jewish teacher (Jesus) speaks to His Jewish disciples, from the Hebrew Scriptures, while in the land of Israel. What a story!

The Prophetic Meaning of Yeshua

With that in mind, let’s consider a Hebrew perspective on the first coming of the Messiah. And let’s see what it says about the name of Yeshua (Jesus).

In Luke 1, the archangel Gabriel tells Mary to name her son Yeshua, meaning “salvation.” An angel also tells Joseph, “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21-22) Much like other Hebrew names, it was His calling and destiny from the beginning.

Later, as Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, gave birth to John, his father Zacharias prophesied that his son will “give to His people the knowledge of salvation (Yeshua) by the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:77).

Thirty years later John the Baptist literally fulfilled this, pointing to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Although Zacharias might not have understood it, he prophesied the name of the One who would bring forgiveness.

The Name of Jesus for All People

Eight days after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph went to the Temple. They met Simeon who was waiting to see the Messiah, according to God’s promise made to him. Upon meeting baby Jesus, Simeon proclaimed:

For my eyes have seen Your salvation (Yeshua), which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES and the glory of Your people Israel. (Luke 2:30-32)

It is extraordinary that he said “my eyes have seen yeshua” while he was actually holding baby Yeshua in his arms! Perhaps this is why the very next verse says, “His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.” (Luke 2:33)

What a profound promise and supernatural confirmations!

The Meaning of Yeshua HaMashiach

It is much too simple to call it the Christmas story — it is the story of Salvation, of the person named Jesus (Yeshua). In this season, let’s embrace the core of who He is. Yeshua, our salvation, brought to the Jews first, then shared with the whole world.

So when we say “Yeshua HaMashiach” what does that mean? “Mashiach” is simply the Hebrew word for “messiah.” Which means, the Anointed One. 

Often shared as a joke, many children actually believe that Christ was simply Jesus’ last name. It is important that we acknowledge the full meaning. Christ is Messiah is ‘Anointed’. 

Bring the Name of Yeshua to Lives in Israel

Are you looking for a way to bring the name of Jesus the Messiah to the place where it all began? FIRM has a simple way to start putting kingdom investment into impacting lives in Israel.

The Tribe is a passionate and faithful group of monthly donors on a mission to transform lives in Israel through the love of Jesus. Join the Tribe today: firmisrael.org/thetribe

Doug Hershey
Doug Hershey shares from a perspective of historian and storyteller. He is the author of the best-selling book ISRAEL RISING. His new online video course, "10 Prophecies Fulfilled in Our Lifetime" connects bible prophecy with its fulfillments in Israel today. Doug is the founder of Ezra Adventures, a travel and education company, specializing in exclusive customized small group travel throughout Israel and the Middle East. For more info, go to DougHershey.co or keep up with Doug Hershey, Author on FB, IG and Youtube.
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