Biblical doctrines hermeneutics

Is the name ‘Yeshua’ written over a hundred times in the OT?

An article was sent to me, by a friend, where the author claims that Jesus’s name in Hebrew — Yeshua — is written over a hundred times in the OT. I have reproduced the article entirely below (blue indented text) with some comments following.


(The Name of JESUS in the Old Testament)

Arthur E. Glass

In dealing with my Jewish brethren for the past many years in Canada, the United States, Argentina and Uruguay. I had one great difficulty, and it was this: My Jewish people would always fling at me this challenging question, “If Jesus is our Messiah, and the whole Old Testament is about Him, how come His name is never mentioned in It even once?

   I could never answer it satisfactorily to their way of thinking, and I admit I often wondered why His name was not actually written in the Old Bible.  Oh, yes, I could show them His divine titles  in Isaiah 7:14, 9:6 and Jeremiah 23:5,6, and even the word MESSIAH in several places; but the Hebrew name that would be equal to Jesus, that I could not show.  Then one day the Holy Spirit opened my eyes, and I just shouted.  There was the very NAME, Jesus, found in the Old Testament about 100 times all the way from GENESIS to HABAKKUK!  Yes, the very word – the very NAME – that the angel Gabriel used in Luke 1:31 when he told Mary about the Son she was to have.  “Where do we find that NAME?” you ask.  Here it is, friend: Every time the Old Testament uses the word SALVATION (especially with the Hebrew suffix meaning “my,” thy,” or “his”), with very few exceptions (when the word is impersonal), it is the very same word, YESHUA (Jesus), used in Matthew 1:21. Let us remember that the angel who spoke to Mary and the angel who spoke to Joseph in his dream did not speak in English, Latin, or Greek, but in Hebrew; and neither were Mary or Joseph slow to grasp the meaning and significance of the NAME of this divine Son and its relation to His character and His work of salvation.  For in the Old Testament all great characters were given names with a specific and significant meaning.

   For example, in Genesis 5:29, Lamech called his son Noah [Comfort], saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and tell of our hands.  In Genesis 10:25, Eber calls his firstborn son, Peleg [Division]; for in his days was the earth divided.  The same is true of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob (changed to Israel-God’s Prince), and all of Jacob’s sons (see Genesis, chapters 29-32).  In Exodus 2:10, Pharaoh’s daughter called the baby rescued from the Nile, Moses [Drawn-Forth]: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.  And so we can go on and on to show the deep significance of Hebrew names. 

   Now then, when the angel spoke to Joseph, husband of Mary, the mother of our Lord, this is what he really said and what Joseph actually understood:  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus [YESHUA (SALVATION)]: for he shall save [or salvage] his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21).  This text was so forcibly brought home to my soul soon after I was converted over 24 years ago, that I saw the whole plan of the Old Testament in that one ineffable and blessed NAME.

So let us proceed to show clearly the Hebrew name YESHUA
(Greek = Iesus  English = Jesus) in the Old Testament.

   When the great Patriarch Jacob was ready to depart from this world, he by the Holy Spirit was blessing his sons and prophetically foretelling their future experiences in those blessings.  In verse 18 of Genesis 49 he exclaims, I have waited for thy salvation, 0 Lord!   What he really did say and mean was, “To thy YESHUA (Jesus) I am looking, 0 Lord”; or, “In thy YESHUA (Jesus) I am hoping (trusting), Lord!”  That makes much better sense.

   Of course YESHUA (Jesus) was the One in Whom Jacob was trusting to carry him safely over the chilly waters of the river of death. Jacob was a saved man, and did not wait until his dying moments to start trusting in the Lord. He just reminded God that he was at the same time comforting his own soul.

In Psalms 9:14, David bursts forth, I will rejoice in thy salvation.
What he actually did say and mean was, “I will rejoice in (with) thy YESHUA (Jesus).”

   In Psalm 91:14-16 God says, Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high [raise him above circumstances], because he hath known my name.  He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life [eternal life] will I satisfy him, and show him my [YESHUA (Jesus)] salvation.  Of course. That promise is realized in Revelation 22:3, 4: And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it: and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see HIS face. 

   In Isaiah 12:2, 3 we have something wonderful.  Here SALVATION is mentioned three times.  The reader will be much blessed by reading these glorious verses in his Bible, but let me give them as they actually read in the original Hebrew with Jesus as the embodiment and personification of the word SALVATION: Behold, might (or, God the mighty One) is my YESHUA (Jesus-in His pre-incarnation and eternal existence); I will trust and not be afraid:, for JAH-JAHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my YESHUA (Jesus)…. And the WORD (Jesus incarnate) became flesh, and dwelt among us. (John 1: 14). … Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of YESHUA [Jesus – waters of salvation flowing forth from Golgotha].”

   Something very interesting occurred one spring in St. Louis: I was visiting in the home of our friends, Brother and Mrs. Charles Siegelman, and another Jew was present there. He claimed Jewish orthodoxy for his creed.  Of course the conversation centered around Him Who is the Center of all things — Jesus.  This good Jewish brother opposed the claims of Yeshua in the Old Testament verbally, and in a friendly fashion, most violently.  His best offensive weapon, he  thought, was to fling at me and at all of us there the well-known challenge: “You can’t find the name of ‘Jesus’ in the Old Testament;” and this he did.

   I did not answer him directly, but asked him to translate for us from my Hebrew Bible, Isaiah 62:11. Being a Hebrew scholar, he did so with utmost ease, rapidly, and correctly; and here is what and how he translated that text verbatim: Behold, Jehovah has proclaimed unto the end of the world. Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy YESHUA[ Jesus] cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.  Just then he crimsoned as he realized what he had done and how he had played into my hands, and he just fairly screamed out, “No!  no! You made me read it ‘thy YESHUA’ Jesus], Mr. Glass!  You tricked me!” I said, “No, I did not trick you, I just had you read the Word of God for yourself.  Can’t you see that here SALVATION is a Person and not a thing or an event?  HE Comes, ‘HIS reward is with HIM, and His work before him.’  Then he rushed at his own Old Testament, talking away frantically saying, “I’m sure mine is different from yours.” And when he found the passage, he just dropped like a deflated balloon.  His Old Testament was, of course, identical. All he could use as an escape from admitting defeat was to deny the divine inspiration of the book of Isaiah.

   Then skipping on to Habakkuk, we have the greatest demonstration of the NAME “Jesus” in the Old Testament; for here we have both the name as well as the title of the Savior.  In Habakkuk 3:13 we read literally from the original Hebrew: Thou wentest forth with the YESHA [variant of  ESHUA-Jesus] of [or for] thy people; with YESHUA thy MESSIAH [thine Anointed One: i.e., with Jesus thy Anointed] thou woundest the head of the house of the wicked one [Satan].  Here you have it!  The very NAME given to our Lord in the New Testament – JESUS CHRIST!  So don’t let anyone – Jew or Gentile – tell you that the Name JESUS is not found in the Old Testament.  And so when the aged Simeon came to the Temple, led there by the Holy Spirit, and took the baby Yeshua in his arms, he said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation [YESHUA (Jesus)] (Luke 2:29-30). Certainly!  Not only did his eyes see God’s Salvation – God’s YESHUA (Jesus) – but he felt Him and touched Him.  His believing heart beat with joy and assurance as he felt the loving heart of God throbbing in the heart of the holy infant YESHUA.

And thou shalt call his name Jesus (SALVATION = YESHUA);
for he shall save [salvage] his people from their sins!

Yesha’yahu – Isaiah 53:1-12

I must admit I was a bit skeptical of this and not being a Hebrew scholar I posted it on Facebook to see if I could get some perspective. Please read these comments.

Comments received

Nicholas Petersen

1) He must be unaware that Yeshua (ישׁוע) is in fact already used as a Hebrew name, translated usually Jeshua, for the High Priest mentioned in Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra and Nehemiah. So … a High Priest of Israel already had this name, as an abbreviated version of Joshua (Yehoshua -> Yeshua). And of him and Zerubavel (a grandfather of Yeshua) there were awesome Messianic prophecies in Zechariah 3. I’ll try to post a screenshot [see below]. So when he claimed this name never appeared in the OT, I’m puzzled how he could have gone so long without having heard this.

2) I disagree with his main claim, but there is a refined observation that would be correct, but it’s definitely highly refined from what he is claiming. His main claim is that every time ‘yeshuah’ (ישׁועה – but note: it ends with a hey, it’s a feminine noun) appears that it actually meant, even originally, to refer to a person. This is totally incorrect. So where he claims: “What he really did say and mean was, “To thy YESHUA (Jesus) I am looking, 0 Lord” … no, wrong wrong wrong. He’s claiming here not to just see a possible extra allusion to a person, he even goes so far to say this only was referring to the person, such claims undermine our credibility.

3) However, here’s a refined point: I have often thought with joy when reading some of those verses he mentioned, like Gen 49:18: “לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִּיתִי – unto your ‘salvation’ (yeshuah) have I waited.” I am happy to personally see Jesus in this :0) But that is different from claiming Israel stated this and directly had the person of Jesus in mind. Maybe we can imagine some of them did have this in mind in a few of these instances, but we should be clear that that is NOT a proof! This is still the general word for “salvation,” just like we can use the word ‘salvation.’ And again this is a feminine noun. Hope that helps.

James Arendt

Hebrews 4:8 (KJV) For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

This verse is really talking about Joshua who led the children of Israel after Moses. Joshua’s name in Nehemiah 8:17 is spelled Jeshua in the KJV and in Hebrew it is spelled the same as Jesus’ Hebrew Name. It confirms the article in my opinion. It was Joshua who ultimately brought God’s people to the promised land. He saved them.

John Gideon Hartnett

Joshua was a ‘type’ of Christ.

Nicholas Petersen

“It confirms the article in my opinion.” – Hi James, I don’t mean to dominate this thread, but if I could give a last reply to that statement: It would confirm as John said that “Joshua was a ‘type’ of Christ,” but not that every mention of “salvation” in Hebrew *directly* actually means Jesus (not as a spiritual fulfillment but even as the original first meaning!). I love this phrase often said at the end of Sabbath: “cos yeshuot esah, uveshem adonai ekra” – “the cup of salvation (literally: salvations) will I raise, and on the name of the LORD will I call.” (by the way, it’s yeshuot – a feminine plural) It’s a Scripture I think from Isaiah. I often think of Yeshua our Lord when I say the cup of yeshuot (salvations), but I don’t irresponsibly claim the direct meaning of that Scripture was directly of Jesus. “the cup of Jesuses I will raise”? Obviously, that’s taking things too far, but I *do* think, and I’m certainly not discouraging this, of the salvations that are in the name of he who is named Salvation.

Jonathan Sarfati

Note also, the Greek NT word for Jesus is Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), but the Septuagint also renders the famous “Joshua the son of Nun” as Ἰησοῦς υἱὸς Ναυη (Iēsous huios Nauē, Joshua the son of Nauē). So of course, that’s what the author of Hebrew would have used as well. Most modern English versions have Joshua in Hebrews 4:8, which is clearer for English readers.

Colin Norris

I used to try to get people “saved” through reason and “proofs”. Yet even if I was successful in gaining their mental assent to the truth of the Gospel it didn’t bring them to Christ. That’s because it is the Holy Spirit who draws and calls and convicts the unbeliever. But I have noticed that the Holy Spirit will use all sorts of stories to get through to people – even if it isn’t exactly scriptural. And I think this is one of those cases – so long as it is used as an example rather than a truth. For example Jesus can be “seen” in the ark of Noah, and in the fiery/bronze serpent Moses erected to save the Israelites from death, and even in the elements and construction of the tabernacle. Much of the information I was given when I became a Christian I know now is wrong, but learning it was wrong didn’t stop me believing. Jesus throughout the Old Testament in the word salvation is a nice story because it relates strongly to the greater truth.

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By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.

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