The apostles in their writings (the New Testament) never intended to change the pronunciation of Yeshua to what we say in English “JESUS”. Paul simply transliterated the word Yeshua as close as he was able with the Greek alphabet, or used some commonly accepted and understood way of transliteration of the Hebrew language to the Greek language. The Greek word “ιησους” is transliterated “JESUS” . The word YESHUA is probably a shortened Aramaic word form for the Hebrew word “Yehoshua” pronounced “Yehowshua” which literally means “Yehowah saves”. As a sidebar I think the ancient Hebrew word transliterated “Jehovah”, is and was pronounced in Hebrew, “Yehowah”. (Since the original posting of this article I now think “Jehovah” might be originally pronounced “Yahavah”. I will leave the words of the original posting but add this note.) This would fit with the pronounciation of Yehowshuwa-again meaning “Yehowah saves”. Many pronounce the Hebrew word transliterated “Jehovah” as Yahweh. I do not think this is correct, but I would be open to discussion.
To see how the Hebrew word, YESHUA, came to be pronounced JESUS as we say it today, let’s first examine the last letter in the word JESUS, “s”, or the Greek “ς” or sigma. This is the last letter of the Greek word. In the Hebrew there is no such letter or sound at the end of the Hebrew word YESHUA. The Greek language adds endings to nouns to give gender, number and part of speech in the sentence. Hebrew does not have any such ending to a word. The “s” at the end of the word JESUS is simply added to identify the word as male, singular and/or part in the sentence. Again there was no “s” sound at the end of the Hebrew word. Dropping the “S”, we are left with the letters, “JESU”. There are many times in the Bible this “S” is added as part of the transliteration from Greek to English. I will give two examples. Moshah in the Greek is transliterated MOSES. The “s” was not present or pronounced in Hebrew. Another name is Jonah, which again, written in the Greek is JONAS. Again, let me repeat myself, the “s” was not added for pronounciation, but simply to comply to grammatical or sentence structure.
The next letter to look at is the first letter in JESU, the “J”. First of all, there is no letter in Hebrew or the Greek that is pronounced as the letter “J”. There is also no letter in Greek pronounced as the Hebrew letter “yod”. “Yod” or “י ” is the smallest Hebrew letter that looks similiar to an English apostrophe and is pronounced as the English letter “Y”. Since there was not an exact or corresponding letter sound in the Greek, the Hebrew letter “yod” became transliterated to the Greek as the letter “iota” (ee-oe-tah). It looks similiar to a small English “I”, but is pronounced as a long “e”. When anglicizing (making the Greek word an English word without translating it) the iota was made a “J”. The pronounciation of the letter “J” is closer to the Hebrew letter “yod”, than if the transliteration into English was an “I”. The letter “yod” in Hebrew words, especially names, is mostly transliterated in English to the letter “J”. Thus instead of writing Yerushalem, we write Jerusalem. There are many examples of this transliteration especially among names. This should make an agreeable spirit conclude, that the first letter of JESU should be pronounced as a “Y” instead of a “J”. One other observation, the Arabic transliteration of the Hebrew YESHUA is Isa, pronounced “ee-sa”. It is a corrupted transliteration between Greek and Arabic. Also the Arabic language gives credance to the last “s” not being pronounced with the word “Isa”. Another example in the Arabic language is a common name in the Middle East today is “Mousa”. This again is a transliteration of the Hebrew word Moshah which in English is transliterated to Moses. The word we are left with now dropping the ending “s” and changing the “J” to “Y” is “Yesu”.
Now let us look at the middle letter “s” in “YESU”. In the Hebrew word, “Yeshua”, the middle consonent sound is “sh”. This is the Hebrew letter “shin” or “ש”. There is usually a point or dot on the far top right arm of the letter to let the reader know it is pronounced “sh”. (If the point is at the far left leg it is pronounced “s”). The Greek does not have an “sh” sound. The closest letter sound to the Hebrew “sh” sound is the Greek letter sigma. And so the closest transliteration of the Hebrew letter “shin” is the Greek letter “sigma”, though in the Greek itself it only carried the “s” sound As far as I know. Now we are left with a word sounding like “Yeshu”.
If you look closely at the Greek word transliterated from the Hebrew word “Yeshua”, there are two vowels before the last letter, sigma, not one as is in the English, the letter “u”. Thus the Greek with these two added letters it is closer to the Hebrew pronounciation than the English. We are now left with a word that sounds like “Yeshua” but spelled “Ιησους”. This is the best the Greek language and its alphabet could afford us in a corresponding spelling of the Hebrew word.
One other point for those who desire to learn. The original Hebrew language was fully contextual and was without vowels. The original Hebrew writing of words derived it meanings and sounds from context. Two identical- spelled Hebrew words can have different pronounciations and meanings depending on the context of the thought of the writer or speaker. Also in the original language there were no vowels. A system of “vowel points” was developed and added to assist the reader in pronouncing the words. If contemporary Hebrew text is examined small lines and dots will be seen beneath and above the words: these are the “vowel points”.
So the Hebrew word “Yeshua” (possibly Aramaic) , a shortened form of the Hebrew word “Yehowshua” or “יהושע” (spelled from right to left: yod-hay-shin-ayin: four letters with the vowels ommitted and pronounced contextually) was transliterated into the Greek “Ιησους”, and again transliterated into the English through Latin over many centuries, “Jesus”, pronounced the way it is today. Either Yeshua or Yehowshua would be a closer pronounciation to the Mashiach’s true name. Contained in the Hebrew word is a recognizeable pattern, the name of God, Yehowah (Yahavah) the last sound “ah” is dropped and the sound “shua” added, “shua” meaning “saved”, and thus the meaning of the word “Yehowah (Yahavah) saves”. The meaning of the Mashiach’s name is “Yehowah (Yahavah) saves”, a very prophecy in and of itself.
All said, why go though this exercise. Because the word “JESUS” is a Greek-Latin-English variant that when used, will always be easy for the reader or hearer to forget that Yeshua was born of a woman under the Law in Israel. The Law was given by the prophets of Israel. The Mashiach in the flesh was of the seed of David, the seed of promise in Spirit as it is clearly declared in the letter of Matthew (first book of the New Testament). He was not of the supposed lineage found in Luke, for He was not of the seed of Nathan. The promise came through the son of David, Solomon. He came to His own and His own received Him not. This is the very purpose of God. And God has not forgotten or forsaken His people, Israel, for it is written “all Israel shall be saved.” I say these things so Gentiles believers, the wild olive branches, will not be high-minded against the natural olive branches. I say these things so the natural olive branches, Jewish (of Yudah, of Yisrael) believers, will not be high-minded against the wild olive branches. For God is the teacher of all people, especially believers, and He is able to teach His people. He needs no man to teach His people. I myself was borne and raised a Gentile, of the nations, being ignorant of the scriptures, until God gave grace and chose me. And He is a marvellous teacher. God is the teacher, and He needs no man to be His teacher, or the teacher of those whom He has chosen. As it is written in Isaiah, “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or who is his counsellor that hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding? Behold the nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles (of the Gentiles) as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, not the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing; And they are counted to Him as less than nothing, and vanity.”
One other observation, “Ichthys”, the Greek word for fish and representative of a symbol commonly seen in our culture is pronounced “iktus”. It is not pronounced “jiktus” for there is no “J” in the greek language, as there is no “J” in the Hebrew language. This again shows that the pronounciation of the Hebrew name “Joshua” is not accurate at all, as “Jesus”.
The use of the Ichthys symbol by early Christians (Greek for fish) can be read as an acrostic, a word formed from the first letters of several words. It compiles to “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior,” in ancient Greek “
Ichthus (ΙΧΘΥΣ,ıησοıς Χριστός, Θεοı ıΥιός, Σωτήρ“,
Iēsous Khristos Theou Huios, Sōtēr.
Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (ıησοıς), Greek for Jesus.
Chi (kh) is the first letter of Khristos (Χριστóς), Greek for
Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοı), that means Θεóς, Theos, “God”.
Upsilon (u) is the first letter of huios ( ıΥıός), Greek for Son.
Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for Savior.