A Name Which is Above Every Name
The word/name “Jesus” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word Iēsous (Strong’s G2424). It is pronounced “ee-ay-SOOS.” Iesous is not a translation of Jesus’ name in Hebrew, but rather it is a transliteration. A translation takes the meaning of a word in one language and assigns it the equivalent word with the same meaning in a different language.
In the late 4th century, Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, a manuscript known as the Vulgate. In it, the Greek Iesous became the Latin Iesus. The English Bible eventually changed the Y sound of the Latin I to the letter J, which we now have in Jesus. “Jesus” is mentioned some 972 times in the New Testament.
The name Jesus is derived from the ancient Greek form of the Hebrew and Aramaic name Yehosua or Yeshua, which is etymologically related to Joshua (Strong’s H3091). The name Joshua or Jehoshua means “Jehovah (LORD or YHWH) is Salvation.” Joshua is mentioned 218 times in the Old Testament, mostly in the Book of Joshua. Nearly all of them are in regard to Joshua, the son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim, and successor to Moses as the leader of the children of Israel. Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land of Canaan.
Both the Hebrew word Yeshua and the Greek word Iesous (Jesus) mean “salvation.” Before Jesus was born the angel of the Lord told Joseph in a dream, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph went to the Temple to present Him to the Lord according to the Law of the Lord. They met Simeon (a man who was just and devout) who was waiting to see the Messiah, as the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Upon meeting baby Jesus, Simeon, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed: “For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32).
In effect, Simeon said, “For my eyes have seen Yeshua,” while he was actually holding baby Yeshua in his arms! No wonder the next verse says, “His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.” (Luke 2:33). God fulfilled his promise to Simeon as he saw and touched Jesus (Savior), the Christ (the Anointed one) before his death.
Anna, a prophetess of the tribe of Asher, was there in the temple as well. “And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). So, here we have two godly witnesses testifying to the legitimacy of Jesus as the Jew’s long-awaited Messiah. Both witnesses were under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 1 tells the story of the birth of John the Baptist. John’s father, Zacharias, was a priest in the temple of the Lord at this time. Upon John’s birth, Zacharias prophesied the following about his newborn son: “And you, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high has visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:76-79). Here again, the word “salvation” in verse 77 could be changed to the word “Yeshua” or “Jesus.” It would then read: “To give knowledge of Jesus unto his people by the remission of their sins..”
This prophecy came true approximately 30 years later, as recorded in Luke 3 when John began to preach unto all the country about Jordan. “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:4-6). Of course, the salvation of God is Jesus Christ. John was quoting Isaiah 40:3-5.
In Luke 19:9, Jesus goes to the house of Zacchaeus, a rich publican, and tells him, “This day is salvation come to this house, for so much as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Once again, you could substitute “salvation” with “Yeshua.”
Regarding Jesus and salvation in the New Testament, I believe Peter might have said it the best when he was asked by the rulers and religious elites in Jerusalem by what power or name had they cured a man. Peter said, “Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).
Many non-Christian Bible scholars like to point out that the name Jesus is never mentioned in the Old Testament. Of course, this is technically correct as Jesus is not a Hebrew word. However, we do have the Hebrew word, Yeshuah or Yesua (Strong’s H3444). The KJV translates Strong’s H3444 in the following manner: salvation (65x), help (4x), deliverance (3x), health (3x), save (1x), saving (1x), for a total of 77 times in the Old Testament. The most mentions of this word are found in Psalm with 45, followed by Isaiah with 19.
Let’s look at twelve (the number for Israel) of these Old Testament verses that have the English word “salvation” in them. Most of them also have the word LORD (or God) included. We will substitute the Hebrew word “Yeshua” for the English word “salvation” to get a good picture of Jesus as Saviour in the Old Testament.
And Moses said unto the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the Yeshua of the Lord, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them again no more forever (Exodus 14:13). This is a description of the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Jesus, saving the children of Israel from Pharoah’s army. Exodus 15:3 calls him a Man of War.
And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoices in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in Yeshua (1 Samuel 2:1).
Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; show forth from day to day Yeshua. (1 Chronicles 16:23).
Oh that Yeshua of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad (Psalm 14:7).
His glory is great in your Yeshua: honour and majesty have you laid upon him (Psalm (Psalm 21:5).
And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in Yeshua (Psalm 35:9).
Truly my soul waits upon God: from him comes my Yeshua (Psalm 62:1).
Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his Yeshua (Psalm 78:22).
The Lord has made known his Yeshua: his righteousness has he openly showed in the sight of the heathen (Psalm 98:2).
I will take the cup of Yeshua, and call upon the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:13).
Behold, God is my Yeshua; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my Yeshua (Isaiah 12:2).
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in Yeshua (Isaiah 25:9).
Yes, Jesus is in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. He just goes by another name, Yeshua (Salvation). Salvation is not just what He does, it is who He is. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16–17). “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach (the Anointed/Messiah), came not to judge the world, but to save the world according to John. He came so that all human beings could be saved from sin and eternal death. There are two things that are required to be saved. One is God-given. It is called grace and is available to everyone. The second requirement is faith. It is a choice or a decision that every individual must make for him/herself. “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
What does it take to be saved by faith? “If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shalt be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13). You cannot punt on this one. Not making a decision is the same as not believing. The result will be eternal death and separation from God.
“Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).