Regarding the Name of Joshua or Jesus, Which is it?

Again, he determines a certain day, saying, Today, by David so long a time afterward; as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.For if Jesus[a] had given them rest, then he would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest[b] for the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 ¶ Let us therefore make haste to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.”  Hebrews 4:7-11 Jubilees

Same verses, different translation…

God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”[d] For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; ”  Hebrews 4:7-9 NIV

We find an interesting dilemma in Hebrews 4:8. We seem to have English references to both “Jesus” and to “Joshua” for the same Greek word, depending on what version you are looking at.  So, which one is it?  Was Joshua suppose to give them rest or was Jesus?  Why is there such a discrepancy between English versions and why can’t translators agree on who’s name should be written there?

Let’s go back to Hebrews 3 to perhaps put some more context around it and review what was being talked about to see who actually was being talked about…

16 For some of those that came out of Egypt with Moses, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all. 17 But with whom was he indignant forty years? Was it not with those that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom he swore that they should not enter into his rest, but to those that disobeyed? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of their unbelief. Let us, therefore, fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”  Hebrews 3:16-19, 4:1

It would seem that Paul is trying to show the Israelites how, because of their rebellion (under the leadership of Moses), they didn’t enter into the promised land and didn’t receive the rest that was promised to them.  But, it ended up being Joshua who did finally bring them into “the promised land” (at least temporarily as they, of course, rebelled again, but nevertheless showing us a partial picture of a future completion).  But then, in Hebrews 4, we have some mixed-in confusion.  Is Paul still talking about the rest of Joshua or of Jesus?  The translators seem to be very confused and quite honestly, I find it very confusing as well because of their confusion. But, it would make the most sense that it was Jesus and not Moses’ successor, Joshua, because the rest not only did not come after either, but Jesus was the one who spoke of the rest, but because of His rejection, the rest has not yet come.

Why is this passage so confusing?  Well, it is because of the Greek Translation for this one name of both the New and Old Testaments.

We see the same exact Greek translated name here, for example, 16 Jacob begat Joseph the [father] of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”  Matthew 1:16 – Technically, this could also be translated to “Joshua,” Greek 2424.

The Greeks came up with following translation for both the Savior’s name and the sun of Nun, Joshua:

2424 IēsoúsJesus, the transliteration of the Hebrew term, 3091 /Lṓt (“Yehoshua”/Jehoshua, contracted to “Joshua”) which means “Yahweh saves” (or “Yahweh is salvation”). – We see here that the Greek word was originally translated from the Hebrew Word, 3091…

The Greeks developed this substituted name from the original Hebrew name, 3091.of  Yehoshua (or Yahosha – depending on how you read it).  Let’s look at the Hebrew name that was listed in the original text and later changed to Greek…

3091. Yehoshua  (218 times in Scripture) Yehoshua: “the LORD is salvation,” Moses’ successor, also the name of a number of Isr. Original Word: יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ Part of Speech: proper name, masculine; proper name, of a location; Phonetic Spelling: (yeh-ho-shoo’-ah) Short Definition: Joshua, יְהוֺשׁוּעַ, יְהוֺשֻׁעַ and (later) יֵשׁוּעַ, or HEBREW Yhowshuwa’, high priest after the restoration, son of Jehozadak, Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua Or Yhowshua {yeh-ho-shoo’-ah}; from Yhovah and yasha’; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (i.e. Joshua), the Jewish leader — Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare Howshea’, Yeshuwa’.

יְהוֺשֻׁעַ  or (shortened) יֵשׁוּעַ

We have the following 5 alphabet characters in this long name (reading right to left), making the sounds to Yah-h-wuh-sh-a, Yahusha.  The shortened version above makes the sound, Yah-sh-wuh-a, Yahshua).  It appears to be spelled both ways in the Scriptures:

  • Yod (Yah sound)- יְ
  • Heh (hhh sound)-ה
  • Vav-וֺ (wuh sound within the middle of a word)
  • Shin (sh sound)-שֻׁ
  • Ayin (ah gutteral sound) –עַ

For reference, I found in Bible Gateway that the same Hebrew word for “Jesus” (יְהושֻׁעַ ) and according to a later form, יֵשׁוּעַ , i. e. whose help is “Yahweh”; was used in the following:

  • Joshua (fully Jehoshua), the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor: Acts 7:45; Hebrews 4:8.
  • Jesus, son of Eliezer, one of Christ’s ancestors: Luke 3:29 L T Tr WH.
  • Jesus, the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind: Matthew 1:21, 25; Luke 1:31; Luke 2:21, and very often; see κύριος and Χριστός.
  • Jesus Barabbas; see Βαραββᾶς.
  • Jesus, surnamed Justus, a Jewish Christian, an associate with Paul in preaching the gospel: Colossians 4:11.
  • Jesus. Of Hebrew origin (Yhowshuwa’); Jesus (i.e. Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites — Jesus.

We also find this commonly stated name of Hebrew “Yeshua”: 3442. Yeshua,Jeshua Original Word: יֵשׁ֫וּעַ, Part of Speech: proper name, masculine Transliteration: Yeshua Phonetic Spelling: (yay-shoo’-ah) Short Definition: Jeshua,   But this doesn’t seem to be referencing who we call Joshua or Jesus.  It’s a separately defined name without an identified meaning.

For an Old Testament reference to the Greek name, 2424 Iēsoús we find an example:

10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, Prepare food; for within three days ye shall pass this Jordan, to enter in to inherit the land, which the LORD your God gives you to inherit.”  Joshua 1:10-11

So, we can conclude from the writings in Hebrews 4 that the name of the Messiah is actually the same name for what we today call, Joshua, from the Greek translation of  Iēsoús.  The English translators obviously know that both the Greek Old & New Testaments use this same name for both the Messiah and of Joshua, successor to Moses.  So, technically, if we were literally translating the Greek to English, we would call the English name of our Messiah, Joshua, or even Josh for short.

For more study on the Messiah’s Hebrew name, check out my previous post.

So, my personal conviction because of my continued findings on this topic is that I am no longer trying to use the name of Jesus, expect where I’m trying to explain who I am referencing since most Christians have not studied this topic in detail.  I am attempting, as hard as it is, to used the given Hebrew name of my Savior, Yahosha, as I’m also trying to learn the Hebrew alphabet and have learned the soundings of each character in His name.  I feel it is more respectful of My God, Yahweh, to use the name He gave His Son and not a changed name of Joshua.  On an interesting note, in my studies of the Hebrew alphabet, there is no “j” or similar sound, so this sound is an entirely made up sound, not of the original language.

On another interesting note, it is ironic to me that Yahweh revealed the name of His Son in the first person of Joshua (Yahosha) who brought the Israelites into the promised land, but yet, the pharisees didn’t even put two and two together. Even though He carried the same name as the leader respected by these pharisees, and they understood the Hebrew meaning of His name, “I Am (Yah), He who saves,” their hard hearts would not see that this was, in fact, the Savior promised long ago.  This paints an even greater picture on their complete blindness and unwillingness to see what and who was standing right in front of them.  Boy, this should have been an obvious as the sky is blue!

“I have come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”  John 5:43