Does the name “Jesus” mean “Hail Zeus”?


By BibleAsk Team

False Teaching

Some misleading teachers claim that the name “Jesus” means in reality “Hail Zeus” because the two names seem similar in sound. The promoters of this false doctrine present the fact that the second syllable of Jesus (-sus) sounds like the name of the chief Greek god especially in Spanish. They assert that calling Jesus by any other name than His Hebrew name means that we are praising a heathen god.

And they add that all those that do that will not be saved based on Acts 4:12: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The truth is that this verse does not refer to the name of Jesus, but to who He really is.

These false teachers teach that the leaders of the Roman Church changed the Messiah’s name from YAHSHUA to a hybrid Greek/Latin word, Iésous, which allegedly means “Hail Zeus.” They claim that this change was done to make Christianity more attractive to the heathens who regarded Zeus as chief of the Greco-Roman pantheon of gods. And they added to their evidence that the ancient sculptures of Zeus and today’s images of Jesus have similar features like beards.

The Hebrew Language

The name of God is YAH (Isaiah 26:4). From that name, these false teachers conclude that the Messiah’s name should be YAHSHUA, which they say means “YAH Is Salvation.” The truth is that the name Jesus (Gr. Iēsous), is equivalent to the Hebrew Yehoshua‘, “Joshua” (Acts 7:45 and Hebrew 4:8, where Luke and Paul refer to Joshua as “Jesus”). The name Iésous is the same name Gabriel, the angel, told Mary to name her child (Matthew 1:21). Joshua is a common Jewish name that means “he will save his people from their sins.”

Translation of a Name Doesn’t Change the Identity

The Gospel authors recorded their books in the Greek language. Yeshua, Jesu, Joshua, and Jesus are the same name in different languages. Though names have different sounds in different languages, the person remains the same. Translating a name from one language to another does not change the meaning of the name or the person’s identity. For example, Matthew is Mattäus in German, Mátà in Hungarian, Matteusz in Polish and Matteus in Swedish. Similarly, Jesus and Yeshua refer to the same Person—He is not the heathen deity Zeus.

Misleading Theories

Establishing theories of word origin on pronunciation is absurd. False theories about the etymology of Jesus’ name divert the attention away from the Bible truth that “the Lord Saves.” Paul wrote, “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:9–11). Paul also wrote to Timothy to steer away from teachings “which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:3–7)

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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