What is Jesus’ real name?

Even though Jesus is the most well-known person in the world, there are still some controversies regarding his name. Jews say that his name is Yeshu, Muslims call him Isa, and some atheists claim that he is the same deity as Zeus. Are any of them right? Let’s dive into this interesting topic and find out more.

Is Jesus’ true name Yeshua?

The proper Hebrew-Aramaic name of Jesus is Yeshua (ישוע), which is short for Yehoshua (Joshua, יהושע). The name Yehoshua means “Yahweh is salvation”. Yeshua, the short form, means “to rescue”, “to deliver” or ”to save”.

Yeshua is not an uncommon name in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament). It occurs 27 times and was the name of five different men. In most occurrences, the name is referring to the high priest of the Babylonian exile, who was called both Yehoshua (Zechariah 3:3) and Yeshua (Ezra 3:2).

Dr. Michael Brown, a Jewish-Messianic author with a PhD. in Semitic languages writes:

“Interestingly, this high priest Yehoshua/Yeshua was singled out in the book of Zechariah as being a symbol of “the man called the branch” (see Zechariah 3:8; 6:9-15) – which was the distinct Messianic title (see Jeremiah 23:5). Even more significantly, in a symbolic ceremony, this priest was put on a throne and crowned with these words:

“Then say to him, ‘The Lord of Armies says this: “Behold, there is a Man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the Lord. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He who will bear the majesty and sit and rule on His throne. So He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two [c]offices [meaning the kingship and the priesthood]”. (Zechariah 6:12-13).

It is interesting to note that the branch, the Messiah, should bear the same name as the high priest who symbolically prefigured the royal priesthood of the Messiah.” (p. 160-161).

So, to answer the first question: Yes, the original name of Jesus is Yeshua.

Is Jesus’ true name Yahshua?

For some reason, some people call Jesus “YaHShua”. There is however no support for this spelling or pronunciation. The Septuagint (LXX) is a Jewish translation and the earliest Greek translation of the original Hebrew in the Hebrew Scriptures. It was written at least two centuries before the birth of Jesus. The name Yeshua is present in the Septuagint, and when the Jewish authors of the Septuagint rendered this name in Greek, they wrote Ἰησοῦς (Iesous). There were no yah present in that rendering. Peshitta translators rendered the name in the same way into Syriac (Brown, p. 161). In other words, the original form of Jesus is Yeshua – not Yahshua.

Is Jesus’ true name Zeus?

This is a claim that I have encountered several times in social media. But even though the name Jesus and the name Zeus might sound similar at a first glance, there is absolutely no connection of any kind between the Greek name Iesous (or the English name Jesus) and the name Zeus.

We know that the name Iesous come from the Jewish Septuagint. This proves that there was not any later, pagan corruption of Jesus’ name. Writing Iesous was simply the natural Greek way of rendering the name Yeshua from Hebrew/Aramaic. Iesous is found in more than 5000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament (Brown, p. 163).

Is Jesus’ true name Isa?

The Qur’an refers to Jesus as Isa, and this name is used in the Islamic world. But it is not possible to linguistically trace Isa to Yeshua; rather, it is closer to Esau (Brown, p. 164-165). It seems that when Muhammad heard about Yeshua from Aramaic-speaking Jews, he missed the fact that they were disparagingly using “Esaue” instead of Yeshua, leading Muhammad to believe that this was Yeshua’s true name.

Is Jesus’ true name Yeshu?

In the Talmud and other rabbinic writings, Jesus is called “Yeshu” (ישו), an acronym for a curse: “Yimakh shemo ve zikhro” which means “May his name and memory be obliterated.” In the Talmud, Jesus is described as a deceiver who led Israel astray, and he was even regarded as a sorcerer. According to the Talmud, Jesus was a disciple of Rabbi Joshua (Yehoshua) ben Perachiah (Perahya). It is written that Jesus had an argument with this rabbi. In revenge, it is alleged that Jesus decided to learn witchcraft in Egypt to lead the people of Israel into sin (Talmud, Tractate Sotah 47a).

There is of course many problems with the Talmudic description. Jewish-Messianic author Eitan Bar comments:

“First of all, the claim has no support outside of Talmudic writings and secondly, it was written hundreds of years after the time of Jesus, with the obvious aim of discrediting him and rationalizing away his supernatural abilities.” (p. 191).

Bar continues:

”Joshua ben Perachiach lived in the second century BC, hundreds of years before Jesus was even born, so how could Jesus possibly have been his disciple?” (p. 191).

Unfortunately, this myth has had a lot of influence on the general population in Israel, leading people to call him Yeshu instead of Yeshua.

However, it should also be noted that some linguists argue that the final letter (ayin) dropped out of pronunciation almost two thousand years ago and so there is nothing derogatory meant by this pronunciation (Brown, p. 165). Secular Israelis are in most cases unaware of the derogatory origin of the name, and they refer to him as Yeshu thinking that this is his true name. Even in Israeli media, the name Yeshu is used to refer to Yeshua. Still, when an Orthodox Jew says “Yeshu”, he most often means something very negative by it.

Is Jesus’ last name “Christ”?

Some people have made the mistake of believing that Jesus’ last name is Christ. “Christ” is however not a name, but a title. “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning “anointed one” or “chosen one” (see Daniel 9:25; Isaiah 32:1). The Hebrew equivalent of “Christ” is Mashiach (משיח), “Messiah” in English. In other words, “Jesus Christ” means “Jesus the Messiah” or “Jesus the Anointed One.”

There is also another name that has led to some confusion. In Israel, Jesus is often referred to as “Yeshu ha’notsri” (notsri נוצרי in Hebrew means Christian). This has led people to believe that Jesus is named “Jesus the Christian”. But “ha’notsri” does not refer to Jesus’ religious affiliation. The word simply refers to the residence of his parents, Nazareth (Natzeret in Hebrew). It would be more accurate to say Yeshua me’Natzeret (Yeshua from Nazareth) (One for Israel). Even today, similar nicknames are used, such as “Yerushalmi”, “Tel Avivi” etc.

Is Jesus’ true name Jesus?

Due to misinformed ideas like the ones discussed, some believers feel that it is wrong to use the name Jesus. Many of them are using the name Yeshua instead.

There is however no reason to stop using the name Jesus. This is Jesus’ name in English (and Swedish). If you are using Yeshua instead of Jesus, perhaps you should consider using the original Hebrew versions Shmuel and Yitzhak instead of Samuel and Isaac too!

For those who want to relate to the Jewishness of Jesus, sure, go ahead and use Yeshua! But do not put any blame on those who feel more comfortable using “Jesus” instead. As Brown writes:

“The power of the name is not in its pronunciation but in the Person to whom it refers, our Lord and Redeemer and King.”

The Messianic Prophecy Bible project adds:

“If saying Yeshua’s name correctly was essential to our salvation or even our faith, it seems the early scribes would have kept the Hebrew names intact when making copies of the Gospels and Paul’s letters of instruction to the early believers.  But this is not the case.”

The name above every name!

Does the misuse of Jesus’ name have any spiritual significance? Interestingly, New Testament authors write that:

“repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47, emphasis added).

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, emphasis added)

“God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus [Yeshua] every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ [Yeshua the Messiah] is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11, emphasis added).

It is power in the name of Jesus, and no matter how much people are trying to diminish it, they will fail.



Bar, Eitan. Refuting Rabbinical Objections to Christianity, 2019.

Brown, Michael L. 60 Questions Christians Ask About Jewish Beliefs and Practices, 2011.

Talmud, Tractate Sotah 47a. Link: https://www.sefaria.org/Sotah.47a.16?lang=bi


Messianic Prophecy Bible Project, https://free.messianicbible.com/feature/the-controversy-over-the-name-of-yeshua/

One for Israel, https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/jesus-vs-yeshua/

Melody Sundberg

Melody är redaktör och webbansvarig. Hon författar artiklar samt korrekturläser och redigerar sidans innehåll. Melody brinner för att studera Bibeln och kristen apologetik, försvaret av kristen tro.
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