WHAT IS THE OCF ERROR?
There is an error that’s being used to bring division to the body of Messiah, and it is an error that I am calling “THE ONE CORRECT FORM (OCF) ERROR.” There are those online and around the world who are teaching that there’s ONLY ONE CORRRECT FORM (OCF) of the Messiah’s name, and that it is a sin or wrong to use any other form. This error is being propagated by both sides of the argument, even though most articles only point out the error on only the one side.
SACRED NAME ONLY (SNO)
On the one side of the argument, there are those who are part of, or voice the teachings of, what’s come to be called the “Sacred Name Movement.” Their argument is that both of the Father and the Messiah only have one valid Hebrew name each, and that those two names are the only ones that should be used: Yahweh, for the Father, and the Messiah’s name should begin with Yah, since He said He came in the name of the Father. However, this is a misunderstanding of John 5:43:
I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him.
To come in “someone’s name” means that person has been authorized to come, or to be sent by one in authority. For example, in English, police officers will say, “Stop in the name of the law.” Now does that mean the word “law” is part of that officer’s name? No, obviously not. It means “the law” has authorized that officer to be able to tell you to stop. In the same way, Jesus here is saying that He has come in His Father’s authority, not that the Father’s name is literally a part of His name. And yet, even though He has come in His Father’s authority, the people did not receive Him, but He argues, another will come on his own authority, and they will receive that individual.
But there’s more to their argument than a clear misreading of the above verse. There’s a hidden agenda here that’s not openly discussed, and that is the belief that Hebrew is the only Divine language, and that any form of the name that is NOT in Hebrew is, therefore, not valid. Of course, there’s no biblical support for this claim since the Bible is written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Koine Greek. If Hebrew is a Divine language because part of the Bible is written in Hebrew, then by that use of language should be Aramaic and Koine Greek since they were also used in the writing of the Scriptures. But understand, that this insistence that the name of the Messiah begin with “Yah” is not based on supposed “TRUTH,” as it is to maintain this erroneous belief that Hebrew is the only Divine language.
On the other extreme side of the argument, there are those within mainstream conservative or evangelical Christianity who argue that the Father has multiple names given to Him within the Scriptures, but that the only valid name to call the Messiah is the name “Jesus.” Any other name for Christ, besides this one, is calling Jesus another name than the one given to Him by the Father, through the angel Gabriel, and Joseph and Mary.
They also argue that there is no Hebrew copy of the New Testament to reveal a “Hebrew name,” but we do have over 5,000 copies of the Greek New Testament that we can use to verify His name as it is used in the Greek New Testament. Therefore, the only valid form of the name is the one that’s derived from the Greek New Testament, which is “Jesus.” Of course, this is a reactionary response to the Sacred Name Movement’s argument that they SN proposed Hebrew form is actually the only “correct form” that should be used.
MESSIANIC JUDAISM’S ARGUMENT
To make life interesting, there’s even, what I call “the middle of the road” argument, and that is that the Hebrew version of the Messiah’s name is Yeshua, but that the name “Jesus” is also noted to be a valid form as well. Messianic Judaism argues for the use of the name “Yeshua” because, they argue that it ties Messiah back to His Jewish people, His Jewish culture and ethnicity.
However, the mainstream conservative and evangelical Christian response to the Messianic use of Yeshua is likewise the same as to the Sacred Name Movement’s argument. For example, in an online article, called “Yeshua or Jesus?” the author writes, “the name Yeshua is found nowhere in all of the New Testament scriptures.”
WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL EVIDENCE?
In examining the argument from these three positions, the question then becomes “What is the biblical evidence for the name of the Messiah? And which position is better supported by the evidence?” As a college professor who taught argument for 25 years, I firmly believe, and have taught my students, that we need to examine the evidence on all sides, weigh the evidence, and then see which position tilts the scale more, that is the position that we should take.
After literally spending years of research on this topic, i.e., on the various positions and the arguments given, I went back and checked the Hebrew Scriptures themselves, and I was surprised by what I learned.
(Article is still under construction)