Friday, 13 July 2012
Why Do We Use The Name "Yeshua" As Well As "Jesus"?
Yeshua never heard the name "Jesus" in His lifetime! Yeshua is His given Hebrew name! It means "salvation" or "the Lord is salvation" (see Matthew 1:21). He was always called "Yeshua", a common Hebrew name at that time. Before the Hebrew name "Yeshua" was transliterated into English, it was first transliterated into Greek. As to the name Jesus, it would appear that an error was made in the earliest translations from Greek into English. The first syllable of the English version of Yeshua came to be pronounced "Jee" instead of "Yeh".
What Does "Christ" Mean?
Some people mistakenly believe that "Christ" is Yeshua's last name! Rather, "Christ" is His title in much the same way as we might refer to a "President" or "King". This title is taken from the Hebrew word "Mashiach" or "Anointed One", which was translated into the Greek "Christos" and later anglicized to "Christ". The actual English translation of Mashiach is "Messiah" and means an anointed, God-appointed leader. Prophets, priests and kings were anointed. The Messiah is the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King! Examples of this title in the Tenach are found in Daniel 9:25 and Psalm 2:2. In the New Covenant, Yeshua claimed the title of Messiah (see Mark 14:61-62 and John 4:25-26).
Why Do Many Jewish Believers Prefer To Identify Themselves As Messianic Jews Rather Than As Christians?
The term "Christian" originally meant "follower of the Christ" or "follower of the Messiah". By itself "Christian" is a good term. Theologically, Messianic Jews are Christians and some Jewish Believers do identify as Christians and call themselves Christians. But sadly, over time the term "Christian" came to be used over-broadly and inaccurately. Many people today have a false dichotomy in their minds that, on the one hand, there are Jews and Judaism, and on the other hand there are Gentiles and Christianity; and supposedly one must choose between the two. Accordingly, when a Jewish person accepts Yeshua he is thought to have "switched over" from the Jew-Judaism side to the Gentile-Christianity side; and is therefore no longer regarded as Jewish, but as a Gentile-Christian. For all intents and purposes the term "Christian" has become synonymous with "non-Jewish" or "Gentile". This is simply not true. For a Jewish person nothing could be more Jewish than to follow Israel's promised Messiah, who is Yeshua! Consequently we choose to call ourselves "Messianic Jews", which identifies us more accurately as Jewish people who follow Messiah Yeshua in our Jewish identity and practice.
If I'm Jewish And Believe in Jesus, Will I Stop Being Jewish?
As stated above, Yeshua is the Messiah and believing in Him is the most Jewish thing that you could do! How could a Jewish person who acknowledges the Jewish Messiah stop being Jewish? Contrary to those who think otherwise, the Jewish identity of many Messianic Jews has been strengthened by their faith in the King of the Jews. Faith in Yeshua is Jewish, no matter what the prevailing attitude may say, because the truth is determined by God - not by the current culture! If you are Jewish, it is because God made you Jewish and no one can ever change that.