[NOTE: The material from this study may be used, as long as you document the material and give me the credit for this study.]
There are many confused and deceptive ideas going around online and among people about the names of God’s Messiah. It is the intent of this study, which I am calling “THE JOSHUA CONNECTION,” to clarify the truth of what is seen and taught within Scripture, so that these questions and deceptions can be clearly answered from Scripture.
TITLE: THE JOSHUA CONNECTION
by Chris L. Verschage
THE CONTENTS OF THIS STUDY:
- Introduction to the Study (This page)
- My Own Introduction to the Issue
- The Four Names of God
- An Etymological Study of the Messiah’s Name
INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
A connection between the names Joshua, Yeshua, and Jesus? There are many people who are not aware that such a connection exists. In fact, the other day I listened to a minister argue that there was no proof in the New Testament that “Christ’s name was Yeshua.” However, his use of logic would be comparable to looking up in an orange tree, and seeing no apples, say, “I see no evidence that apples grow on trees.” Obviously, you are not going to find an Aramaic or Hebrew word in a Greek text. However, in the Aramaic New Testament, known as the Peshitta, which according to the Eastern Orthodox branch of Christianity, was the first version of the New Testament, rather than the Greek, it uses the name Yeshua for the name of Messiah throughout its writings . The difference of opinion over which version came first – the Greek or the Aramaic – is one of the many differences that have historically divided the Eastern and Western branches of the Christian Church.
Not only do we find a connection between the names “Yeshua” (“Jeshua” in our English Bibles) and “Jesus,” but according to many different sources, such as the history written by the Jewish author, Chaim Potok, in his book Wanderings: Chaim Potok’s History of the Jews, the name “Jesus” is the Greek form of “Joshua,”
The name of the founder of Christianity was Joshua son of Joseph. In the Galilean Hebrew dialect of that day his name was probably pronounced Jeshua. Jesus is the ordinary Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua. (371)
Another book on Jewish history, written by Paul Johnson, a Christian historian and author of Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Eighties, notes also in his book The History of the Jews that “Jesus was the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua” (126; emphasis mine). Now here are two different authors, one Jewish and one Christian, writing their own books on Jewish history, and they both agree that the name “Jesus” is the Greek form of the name “Joshua.”
This is also taught in the Introduction section of the biblical book of Joshua in my New American Standard Bible, as well as in the footnote on the same page:
Joshua is introduced as “Moses’ servant.” There is no success without a successor. In Num. 13:16 his name was changed from Hoshea to Joshua, which is the equivalent of Jesus.
Consequently, these three names are connected: Joshua, Yeshua, and Jesus. But how are these names connected? How can all three names be synonymous with one another, and can we see that within the Scriptures? Many are surprised to hear me say, “Yes, we can see this in the Bible.” So in this study series, which I am calling The Joshua Connection, we will be examining the name of Messiah [Christ] in its use and journey through the Scriptures, from the passage where it is first mentioned in its initial form, to witnessing how the name changes as it moves through various languages, until finally, showing how the name “Jesus” came into its present form in the English language.
Now let me say up front I do not believe that this is a salvation issue. Whether you asked the Lord to forgive you of your sins and to come into your heart using the name “Jesus,” “Yeshua,” or one of the many other forms of His name that we will discuss, is fine. God responds to us regardless of which form of the name we use. However, I do believe that this is an educational issue, a prophetic issue, as well as a unity issue, which I will likewise describe in this series.
THE JOSHUA CONNECTION
In understanding The Joshua Connection, this study has personally helped me to understand things taught in the Bible better. For example, in the New Testament, the Jewish people have a military expectation regarding Joshua (Yeshua/Jesus), and it has never really made sense to me, but when we realize that “Jesus” is the ordinary Greek form of “Joshua,” then it does make sense. Think about it, the people are hearing about a man who is being proclaimed as the Messiah AND He’s named “Joshua,” who was the greatest military warrior and leader Israel had up until that time. Yeah, I can now understand their military expectations.
Also, by understanding The Joshua Connection, I am also now able to see pictures of Messiah [Christ] in His return and in His future millennial reign, for example, by studying the various “Joshua” figures in the Old Testament. These “Joshua pictures” have aided me in my study of the events surrounding the end times and in the events leading up to the Lord’s return and His future reign and kingdom. Over the years, I have shared this information with several people, including a couple of college classes, and they have all enjoyed and found the study interesting, as well as a blessing, and it is my hope that you likewise will enjoy and be blessed by this study as well.
WHY THIS STUDY IS IMPORTANT
Consequently, I believe this study is important for believers today for the following reasons:
- This study is important for educational purposes. Many people are not aware of how moving names from one language to another can change the spelling and even pronunciation of a name. My last name is a great example of this. My dad’s family was originally from Belgium, where our name was VanderSchaeve, which means “from the Bushwood.” However, our ancestors moved to the Netherlands to work on the dikes or waterways when they were being built. In the Netherlands, the language spoken is Dutch, rather than Belgium, so as a result, the spelling and the pronunciation of the name changed while they were there to Verschage (pron. “Ver-shaw-guh”). Then the printing press came out, and as a result, the spelling of the name was set. Then in 1898, when my family migrated from the Netherlands to the United States, where English is spoken, the spelling stayed the same, but the pronunciation changed again to “Ver-shaw.” So just from this brief study on my family name, we can see how languages can change the spelling and pronunciation of names. And just as my family name changed through this process, so has the Lord’s name, as we will see in this study.
- This study is also important for the study of prophecy and the end times. As we draw closer to the return of the Lord, I believe that the connection of His name to the name “Joshua” will become more and more relevant to our understanding of the events surrounding His return, as well as His rule and reign during the Millennium.
- This study is important to counter the “One Correct Form Error” (OCF Error). Through this study, it is my intent to clearly demonstrate that there are many forms of Messiah’s [Christ’s] name in Scripture, not just one. And that two, and perhaps three, would have been used by Him and His disciples at various times during their life and ministry.
- This study is important in its intent to help restore unity to the Body of Messiah [Christ]. As I have studied His name over the years, I have noted conflict, error, and misunderstanding, which I see causing unnecessary divisions within the Body of Messiah [Christ]. For example, there are those online and in various places who are concerned about Christianity’s traditional presentation of Jesus, in that His divinity is often the sole focus of study, and that His ethnicity, culture, and religious upbringing and identity are often not talked about or discussed. In other words, they see Christianity as only presenting His Divinity, not His Divinity and Humanity, i.e., all aspects of Him. This, I believe, is a valid point. However, I do not agree that denying the use of the name of “Jesus” is the means to correct the problem.
- However, by understanding the connection between the names “Joshua” (and its alternate form, “Yeshua“) and “Jesus,” it will help us to not only deepen our understanding of the person of Messiah [Christ], but it will also allow us to better understand the Bible, the influence of language upon ideas and words in the Scriptures, as well as understand the rich nourishing “soil” of Jewish culture, history, language, and religion that continues to nourish and enrich our faith from its very beginning.
- Finally, this study is important because it will help to correct the existing misperception that the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures are two separate distinct revelations, which is oftentimes as Christians what we are taught. However, over the years, I have been taught by the Lord that this is not the case. The Old and New Testaments are not two separate revelations, but they are, instead, two parts of the same revelation. In other words, the two are intricately interconnected, and one of many ways we can see this is in the study of the Lord’s name.
Consequently, then, there are numerous reasons why I feel that this study is not only important but timely as well.
IS THIS A SALVATION ISSUE?
Again, I want to say, this is NOT a salvation issue. Nowhere in the Scriptures does God ever restrict the language we should use in interacting with Him, nor does He restrict what name to call Him, or insist that the proper pronunciation of His name (which is never discussed in the Bible) is necessary for salvation. For me and this ministry, as I’ve just stated, this is an educational issue, a prophetic issue, and a unity issue, but it is NOT a salvation issue.
MY PRAYER FOR YOU
My hope and prayer for you as you move through this study is that you will likewise be blessed and awed by the greatness of God. That you will see His hand in the writing of the Scriptures, and that everything in it points to Messiah [Christ], who is the source of salvation, hope, and eternal life. Just as Messiah [Christ] Himself taught His Jewish opponents in the Gospel of John:
You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you might have life….Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (John 5:39-40, 45-47)
May you likewise see Messiah [Christ] as we proceed through this study, and may you be drawn into an ever closer intimate relationship with Him. Amen.