Q: [From many letters:] What is Jesus' Hebrew name, and what does it mean exactly? Jeshua? Joshua? Yahoshua? Yehoshua? Yeshua, “salvation”? Yashua, “Yahweh is salvation.” Is His full name Yahwehshua? My Modern Hebrew dictionary says it's Yeshu.

A: The name Jesus in Hebrew is Yeshua. The meaning comes from the Hebrew root, yasha, meaning “to save.” That is why He was named Yeshua, because He will “save” His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Thus, Yeshua means “salvation.”

The English name, Jesus, is just a transmigration through several languages. Hebrew has an “sh” sound, Greek has a hard “s”; the Hebrew “y” changes to a Greek “i”; then through Latin to the English “j.” Vowel patterns change; this is simply the nature of languages. His name shifts from the Hebrew Yeshua, to the Greek Iesous, to Latin Iesus, to English Jesus. So, Jesus is not a substitute name for Yeshua, it is the English equivalent.

The English name Joshua can be a translation of two different Hebrew names. The Joshua of the Book of Joshua has the Hebrew name Yehoshua, which means “Jehovah is salvation.” But the Joshua who is the High Priest of the Books of Ezra and Zechariah has the name Yeshua, the same name as Jesus.

However, Yeshu is a rabbinic name for Him which is a deliberate slur. They drop the last letter (the “ah” sound) of His four-letter Hebrew name to avoid the implication of Him representing “salvation.” Then they use the first three letters as an acronym: Yimach SHmo V'zichrono, meaning, “may his name and memory be blotted out.” Yeshu is a rabbinic “word play”; it is not His actual name.