Monday, January 4, 2010

Sacred Name heresy -- Which are the true names? "God" "Jesus" "Yeshua" "Yahweh" etc. etc.

Scott Johnson's latest study is on a heresy that I only discovered last summer when I received the email I post below, through a mailing list I was on. This is the "Sacred Name" heresy, which is related to the Hebrew Roots movement. As you will see in the material below, the name "Jesus" is rejected as pagan! I didn't do a study on it myself, I was merely shocked and offended at the information I received and asked to be taken off the mailing list. Not only in English but in most other languages, "Jesus" is the name of our Lord. It comes from the Greek. I never had an objection to the Hebrew version "Yeshua" until now, simply accepting it as a valid preference in the Messianic churches. Having read only a bit of Johnson's PDF file and heard only his Part 4 so far, I already have concluded that there is no justification for using the Hebrew name at all.

I'm glad to have the opportunity now to devote a post to this and refer people to Johnson's study.

At first I had the impression from the first part of his PDF file that at least some of his study relies on a King-James-only source that I consider heretical in itself, because it treats Elizabethan English as a sacred language. Looking over the PDF again and now having heard his parts 1 and 2 as well as 4 I see that this isn't really a problem in the overall study. The emphasis is on the fact that English is now the universal language, and there's no idea of its being a sacred language in the same sense some Hebrew Roots people treat Hebrew as I first had thought.

Neither is a sacred language. Neither is Greek a sacred language. God did give the New Testament in Greek, and that is important, as that is the source of the name "Jesus" but Greek is also not a sacred language. It was the universal language in its day -- as English is in our day -- but that doesn't make it sacred, merely God's providentially prepared vehicle for His word.

Here is the email I received last summer:
"God” isn’t a Name

“I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the name of the son and of the Holy Ghost!”

How often did I hear those words in baptismal services during the first 35 years of my life? Did I ever consider what the name of the Father was? Actually, I don’t think I gave it much thought as it was customary to hear those words. My parents took me to church faithfully from my birth until I went away to school. Then I married someone who had the same habit of church obeisance and so the rituals and dogma continued, without question until I would one day have my eyes opened. Yet sometimes, I did contemplate what was really meant by this and other traditions of our church. Is this really tradition?

Of course! Because the actual name of the Father was never used. In fact in the church I attended, there was no specified name for the Father except a very rare uttering of the name Jehovah. “God” is all that was normally used. It was not until my son was baptized in a river in Mexico , when I worked as a self-supporting independent missionary that I began to contemplate these things. My brother-in-law who was a self taught preacher came down to visit and perform the baptism and accepted the challenge of baptizing “in the name.” He used the Hebrew names; Yahweh, Y’shua, and Ruach Ha Chodesh. Little did I know at the time that I would one day make a full turnabout to truly embrace the names for Elohim without pagan contamination!

But, some may ask, is it really all that important to call the Father and Son by their original biblical names? I hear enlightened religious people in many places occasionally tossing in the sacred names when they speak, like adding a little salt and pepper to the meal, but in their practice they continue to use the terms “God,” “Lord,” and “Jesus Christ” as names the majority of the time. It makes me wonder whether people, serve a half pagan, half divine Elohim. Why do we continue to use the old terms? I address this to myself as much as to anyone for I often settle for compromise when speaking to friends and family.

Some have reminded me that “we must do this” so the folks who have not yet opened their eyes to the truth will not be offended. So, what about offending Yahweh? Is that not MORE significant than the likely offense of someone who refuses to open their eyes to the truth?
Pretty clear where this is going, right? ALL churches and all Christians but those that accept this notion of the right names for God are "pagan," and not "enlightened" and haven't "opened their eyes to the truth" --although this of course includes ALL Christians back to the cross. That doesn't seem to bother them. THEY have it right and all those others were just wrong. Just like any cult. The Mormons believe the same, so do the Jehovah's Witnesses. THEY got it right after centuries of wrongness. At the very least we have a new cult here. I hope more become aware of it and can steer unwary Christians away from it.
I ask you, what could be the motive for merely using the set-apart (sacred) names once in a while? Could it be literary embellishment? Or to “show off” how much we know? Are we not serious in our approach to the injunction to not use pagan names for YHVH?
Let me guess what is concerning this writer. Some have halfway accepted this heresy of the supposed "sacred" name but only to the extent of considering it an alternative, as I've regarded the use of "Yeshua" in messianic congregations. Some are probably just being polite to the people who believe in the sacredness of the names. At the very least they haven't accepted the lie that the names used for two millennia are false.
I realize that some of my readers may take exception to this for various and sundry reasons. Let us look at what the Torah says:

Deu 12:3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

That is pretty strict, isn’t it? Pretty radical! We are to destroy even the names of the pagan gods. (By doing this we would cease to use them, right?)

Exo 3:15 And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, YHVH Elohim of your fathers, the El of Abraham, the El of Isaac, and the El of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: THIS IS MY NAME for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

Unfortunately the translations that have come down to us through the centuries do not even use the name in these verses. Look at what the KJV says of this same verse:
Exo 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: THIS IS MY NAME for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

I ask you to tell me where the name was actually used in this verse? “LORD God” is not a name! No wonder we thought that the word LORD God was his name! What a mess the translators have made with this! I have learned why they did this--because of the Jewish reticence to the usage of the Holy Name of YHVH. Their claimed reason was that it not be taken in vain or used lightly, but in the Holy Word of Elohim, there is no reason to dilute it or hide it! Maybe in daily conversation, but surely not in the Word of Elohim!
Um, the Jews use "Adonai" which means "Lord" in order not to say the name YHVH. Whether continuing with that practice is right for Christians or not, I don't know, but that WAS the basis for it.
We are instructed not even to mention the name of other gods:

Exo 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

When Elijah contended with the prophets of Baal, he made a distinction between the names of the gods of the heathen and his God.

1Ki 18:24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name YHVH: and the Elohim (god) that answereth by fire, let him be Elohim (god). And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

Now before I get in too deep of water, let me assert that the word “god” is not a name. It is a generic term. It refers merely to a position or title. If you use the name “god” you must preface it with a descriptive phrase in order to distinguish it from the other gods. Elohim is the same thing. Elohim is the generic term for god. It is used for both pagan and divine and must be defined. I ask you, which god? Which Elohim?

My dear brothers and sisters--the name was stolen from us! We have been deprived of it for centuries, but it has been promised that in the end, YHVH’s people will know his name:
Stolen from us? We follow the NEW Testament. The names we are to use are given there.
Isa 52:6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

Eze 39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel ; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the YHVH, the Holy One in Israel .

Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my Elohim, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my Elohim, and the name of the city of my Elohim, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my Elohim: and I will write upon him my new name.
Throughout this list of Bible verses she's using some oddball translation which she doesn't identify, one that uses the names this cult believes are to be used, instead of the ones traditionally used in English Bibles.
Gone are the days of prefacing a prayer with “Dear God!” Wouldn’t it be awful if the wrong god should answer us? Of course--in the days of our ignorance the Almighty winks, right? At least until we have “seen the light.” Now perhaps we may specify which god, by saying “the God of Heaven” or “Creator God.”
True to the character of the devil, this is one devilishly subtle heresy. The "wrong god" can't answer us unless the true God allows it, and the true God hears our hearts and knows when we are addressing Him.
If we look again at Exodus 23:13:

“And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods (elohim), neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”

What about the practice of using a name that for over 1700 years has referred to the Catholic Sun God, “Jesus Christ?”
And there you have it, in all its devilish lying blasphemy. My my, "what about" our use of the name given to us in the New Testament, which she labels as a pagan reference to the "Sun God" invented by Catholicism. Oh this devil is clever.
How can we allow this confusion to continue? The Torah is very clear that we are not to confuse the set apart things of YHVH with the paganized practices of the heathen all around us. Simply, why add to the confusion over who our God (Elohim) is, or who his Son is? If he has a Holy (Kadosh or set apart) name, then let us keep it set apart, distinct and separate from the confusion of paganism.

There are several arguments favoring the use of the name Y’shua ha Mashiach instead of Jesus Christ. One is the reason we just mentioned--that of keeping it distinct from the names used in Roman Catholicism who was behind the adulteration of nearly everything that was originally holy.
Well, I have to agree that the Roman Church is full of paganism, and this fact can give a veneer of plausibility to any claim that anything they ever did is probably pagan. But the name Jesus Christ comes from the Bible, not the Roman Church. (Let me guess, at some point this cult also attacks the Bible -- oh but she already has, simply by questioning the names as given there.)
Also to be considered is the fact that the name Jesus comes from the Greek “Iesous” (though he was not a Greek), and sounds similar to the name of the pagan deity Zeus, or the Latin Isis of the pagan sun worship trinity. Though many deny that it has either of these origins and that it was merely a bad transliteration through the Greek of the Hebrew name Y’shua, still it sounds similar, and this brings confusion!
Only to those looking to be confused I dare say.
Perhaps the best reason is that his name was never Jesus Christ. The name given to the son of the Highest by his mother Miriam (Mary) was Y’shua and Christ is not his surname, as it seems to indicate in the common usage. Messiah is what he is to us.
And here I think we begin to see the Bible coming under criticism as expected.
Y’shua is the only name that means “Saviour.” “Iesous” or “Jesus” has no such meaning, though the translations we have today say it does. Jesus has no meaning in Hebrew. It only has an applied meaning as it has come down to us today. If we are to be accurate in our details, we need to use the name that was given to our Redeemer by the angel that announced his birth. Remember, the name Jesus is a translation or transliteration, not a name.
Ah, such subtle plausibilities. The New Testament has the angel announcing His name as Jesus. The New Testament is our guide, God's word.
I lived in Mexico for several years and though many of the people will call a foreigner by a transliterated name such as “Hoostino,” for lack of the name Justin, it is clearly not the same name, and most gringos I have known do not take very kindly to having their name mispronounced. I have seen them spend a lot of time teaching the people just how to pronounce their name. Surely we can wrap our tongues around the simple name Yeshua or Yahshua! And even if it is difficult, is it not worth our efforts to do so?
Ah such hairsplitting niceties the devil is so good at. I don't know about "gringoes" but I suppose most people would rather keep their names as they sound in their original language, but as a matter of fact when people of one culture take up residence in another they do accommodate to the way the natives use their name. That IS a fact.
So, as we make straight paths for our feet, and choose to set apart our walk from the walk of paganism, let us not be discouraged. We may be criticized, we may be ridiculed, but that will help us to move out of the camp of Babylon and into the narrow path that is marked out ahead of us! There is no compromise in the camp of the righteous. Let us press on in sincerity in our work of gathering out the stones from the path as we build the highway of YHVH our Elohim!

Blessings in Messiah Yeshua,

T---

For more information on the name, Jesus, please check out this website:

http://yahushua.net/pagan_name.htm
IS JESUS a PAGAN NAME?
by Yahkov Hartley

In a recent Messianic magazine there appeared an article that purported to address the question,"Is the name "Jesus" pagan?" The article was clearly a defense of the use of the name "Jesus", in spite of that author's admission that this is not the "original" name (birth name) given to the Messiah (by his Jewish mother, Miryam). The article leaves the reader with the notion that Jesus is just as valid, if not more valid, than Y'shua1 when referring to the Messiah. And it arrives at this deduction by the most careless etymology and stunted logic, ignoring the weightier matters of the issue. The "issue" raised in this article is a prize-winning deception, designed to decoy the unwary from the real issue of the word "Jesus".

Early in the article, the author demonstrated the difficulty of transliterating from Hebrew to Greek and the ease of transliterating from Hebrew to English. A detailed letter-by-letter (from the Hebrew aleph-bet to the Greek alphabet) "transliteration" of the name, Y'shua to the Greek name, Iesous was brought forth as evidence. Because there are no equivalent sounds of many of the letters, this so called "transliteration" becomes in reality a translation. There is so little assonance between "Y'shua" and "Eeaysooce" that calling this a transliteration is an offense to even the most debased scholarship. There is no way to transliterate this name between these two languages! The best that can be done is to translate, which is what was done in the Septuagint by its Hebrew translators.

The name, Septuagint, is late-Latin (the ecclesiastical tongue of the Roman Corporate Church) from septem + ginta which hints at the 70 (approximately) translators who produced the Greek version of the Tanakh (the "Old" Testament). A study of the etymology of the word "Jesus", in even as mundane a source as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, reveals that this name does not come directly from the Greek "Iesous", but derives from the early-Latin "Iesu", the "I" pronounced initially as a "Y" producing Yay-soo. The "I" in the middle-ages was differentiated into the "I' and the "J" in our Latin alphabet used for the English language. Thus, in late-Latin, the Iesou (Yaysoo) became Jesu (Jaysoo) which became Jesus in the English tongue. This relationship in the etymology is omitted by the author in his "apologetics".

Regardless, the word Jesus has no direct ancestry from the Greek Iesous, as is implied by the author, but at best, it derives from the late-Latin Jesu , a fact completely missing in the cited article. However, all of this etymology, even with the missing link provided above, is a decoy to distract our attention from the real problem with this word "Jesus."

We have never used the argument that Jesus is somehow a compound of Gee-Zeus (Zeus being the chief "god" of the Greek Pantheon) although there is certainly an extreme degree of assonance (which is the core of the art of transliteration) with the "Jesus" word. We have never pursued that possibility to any extent, since it is totally irrelevant. The only relevant issue is: What was/is the Messiah's name given him by his mother, Miryam, in accordance with the angelic messenger's revelation to her?

Since the author of the subject article didn't have any problems with the name Y'shua being the Messiah's "original" name, why not look firstly at what is NOT the issue here? The issue is NOT, " whether the word Jesus is pagan!" The issue is NOT how to "transliterate" Y'shua into Greek! The issue is NOT how to "transliterate" Greek Iesous into Latin! The issue is NOT even how to "transliterate" the Latin Jesu into English! The issue IS how to transliterate the real name, Y'shua, from the Hebrew, into English. We certainly don't need to go through Greek into Latin and then from Latin into English. Why would anyone want to take such a circuitous route, unless he's trying to "prove" the validity of the erroneousness, "Jesus?"
This tedious excuse for scholarship makes me appreciate even more the reminder in Scott Johnson's PDF file that God chose the name Jesus by providentially arranging for Greek to be the universal language of the day.
To transliterate the Hebrew Y'shua to English, we merely go to Y'shua1. Thus his name is pronounced Y'shua both in Hebrew and in English - perfect transliteration. What could be simpler? Whether Jesus is a pagan name isn't what matters! What matters is the fact that Jesus was never the name of the Messiah of YHWH, whose story is recorded in the new testament!
Odd, then, that that IS the name given in that very same New Testament. (Oh and now I note that he doesn't capitalize New Testament. Yup, we're neck deep in a cult here).
Proper names are not translated from one language to another, if it is possible to transliterate. If that is impossible to accurately transliterate a proper name (as is the case in transliterating from Hebrew to Greek) then it is still possible to teach them how to correctly pronounce the name of the Messiah; similar to the way that English speaking people would learn how to correctly pronounce the Spanish word "Chihuahua" or the French word "resume"). They need someone who knows the correct pronunciation to teach them.

The change of the Messiah's name from Y'shua (Yahushua) to Jesus (a mistranslation) certainly serves the purpose of obscuring his Jewish identity and his Jewish ministry. The true ministry of Yahushua the Messiah is and was dedicated to finding the "lost sheep of the House of Israel." History, both religious and secular, is clear that the "Church" has expended a vast effort to distance itself from the true nature, origins, and purpose of this Jewish messiah!

The "scholarship" of the subject article is a paradigm (an example) of eisegesis pawned off as exegesis. If this represents the "best" understanding that these people have about such issues, then they are woefully inadequate to be the tool to accomplish the reunion of the Two Houses and restoration of the united kingdom of Yisrael. The "churches" and their teachings have not, do not, and will not ever cause the Tribes of Judah to become jealous!! Nor will they be able to bring the genuine Messiah to his people (see Romans chapter 11).

It is no surprise that the number of "religious" people who want to bring "Jesus" to the Jews, clearly do not have a grasp of many of the Ephraim/Judah issues that plague the unity of those two Houses. Churchianity has been in the sun way too long, and it is going to be a tough process for them to discard the pagan and/or error filled baggage they bring with them. Judah (the Jew) has considerable Talmudic baggage to discard as well. I am reminded of the declaration of the prophet Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..."

We are not interested in bringing "Jesus" errors to Judah; there are already enough groups doing that. We do support bringing Y'shuah Ha Mashiach (Yahushua the Messiah) to both Ephraim and Judah: and there is an immense historical difference between Jesus and Y'shua. People's eternal life depends on acceptance of the genuine and rejection of the false.

Our king is totally opposed to perpetuating the centuries of misinformation and disinformation promulgated by the church leaders who have used their pulpits to disseminate their apostasy. The prophet to Israel, Jeremiah 16:19, prophecies: "O YHWH, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, 'Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.'"

We need to examine the Scriptures from a Hebraic perspective (not always a Jewish perspective) in order to glean all the truth and nuances of the Hebrew writers of those books and arrive at the intended (by YHWH) understanding of the Hebrew words of YHWH to the people to whom He entrusted the oracles. Those people were NOT the "churches."

We take seriously the imperative in Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 58:1, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." We know that we are citizens of the Kingdom of YHWH and have no allegiance to any denomination on earth nor any man. Our Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) is Y'shua Ha Mashiach (Yahushua the Messiah) and he ministers in the Great Temple of YHWH our Father on our behalf.

1 (Yeshua) is a contraction of (Yahushua)
A truly pernicious heresy, casting doubt on the Name of our Savior used by all English-speaking Christians and in fact most European Christians as well, and probably all Christians for that matter if we could appreciate how the Greek is translated into the various languages. As I say above, I never had an objection to the Hebrew version --"Yeshua" or one of its variations -- preferred in some messianic churches, but now I'm thinking there's no defense for it at all. I now also object to the use of "Yahweh" as really just another Hebraicism, for which there is no real justification. An important point made in Scott Johnson's PDF to his study is that God gave us the Name of Jesus in Greek, the universal language of the day, because there is now NEITHER JEW NOR GREEK BUT ALL ARE ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. To insist on the Hebrew name is to contradict God's plan. But mainly it's a form of Judaizing, which a great deal of the New Testament is devoted to condemning.

There are so many heresies these days it could wear a person out keeping track of them and Christians are falling into them right and left and need to be warned away from them. You'll find some seemingly solid churches nevertheless falling for "Yahweh" and in that case it's not because of cult influence but because it has some kind of scholarly history that goes back to the time of Westcott and Hort. There's an open door to heresy right there. But of course I think all the Bibles that make use of the Alexandrian Greek texts so favored by Westcott and Hort already are leading the churches into questionable doctrine and spiritual compromise.

6 comments:

iviritisraelite said...

Hello, I have never read your posts before, and I thought this one was interesting... I only wonder why this new "theology" doesn't mention that the names "Elohim" and "El" are also the names of pagan gods. Convient isn't it?

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Faith aka Connie said...

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Levi Wolstrom said...

You correctly touch on quite a few errors in the Sacred Name teaching, although I worry you may yourself be going too far in the wrong direction. The names "Yeshua" and "Yahweh" are not English names, and as English-speakers we don't need to feel obligated to use them, but they are not wrong. They are Hebrew, and those who feel like using the Hebrew can do so.

"Yahweh" especially can be justified, because it appears in the Old Testament often, but is not generally transliterated and is rendered LORD instead (corresponding to the Jewish use of Adonai).

Beyond that, the Sacred Name teaching is very cultish and nearly heretical if not already there.

Levi Wolstrom said...

(This is attempt two because my browser ate attempt one.)

The Sacred Name teaching is definitely dangerous and without basis, although I wonder if you go a little too far in the other direction. "Yeshua" and "Yahweh" are not wrong terms, they are simply not English terms and as such sound strange in an English context.

"Yeshua" is simply the Messiah's name in Hebrew. Those who want to use it, just because they're used to it, can do so.

There is more justification for "Yahweh," though. That name appears quite often in the Old Testament, but most translations that I know of don't transliterate it, choosing instead to render it LORD, corresponding to the Jewish use of Adonai.

Faith aka Connie said...

Thanks for your comment, Levi. As I think I said in the post I've accepted that Jewish Christians may be more comfortable with Yeshua and yes it is the Lord's name in Hebrew.

But there is no place for it in the English Bible. I've also come to strongly object to the change from Jehovah to Yahweh. There really isn't good reason for that change. I did a post on that too. There are many attacks on the English Bible attempting to undermine its authority and that of the Protestant Reformation and I think this is just one of them. Anything to confuse the sheep.