Who Really Is JESUS CHRIST?
Jesus' influence is beyond question. He is the founder of Christianity. Yet, there
are widely held different views about Him. The bible alone tells us where He
comes from, how He lived, and how and why He died. Knowing the truth can
have a profounded effect on your Christian faith. Jesus' Hebrew or Aramaic
name is Yeshua. Yeshua was a common name among Jews of the Second Temple Period, and is thought by scholars and religious groups to be the Hebrew or Aramaic name for Jesus. In modern Hebrew, Yeshu and Yeshua are the common transcriptions for Jesus —the two different names have different emphasis. Yeshu is used in most contexts in modern Hebrew to refer to Jesus of Nazareth. The name Yeshua is extensively used by followers of Messianic Judaism, considered by most Christians and Jews to be a form of Christianity, and Hebrew Christians and Rastafarians, as well as other Christian denominations who wish to use Jesus' Hebrew name. (source: wikipedia.org)
Christians call Him JESUS. His Aramaic name is Yeshua. How "Yeshua" Became "Jesus" The first letter in the name Yeshua ("Jesus") is the yod. Yod represents the "Y" sound in Hebrew. Many names in the Bible that begin with yod are mispronounced by English speakers because the yod in these names was transliterated in English Bibles with the letter "J" rather than "Y". This came about because in early English the letter "J" was pronounced the way we pronounce "Y" today. All proper names in the Old Testament were transliterated into English according to their Hebrew pronunciation, but when English pronunciation shifted to what we know today, these transliterations were not altered. Thus, such Hebrew place names as ye-ru-sha-LA-yim, ye-ri-HO, and yar-DEN have become known to us as Jerusalem, Jericho, and Jordan; and Hebrew personal names such as yo-NA, yi-SHAI, and ye-SHU-a have become known to us as Jonah, Jesse, and Jesus.
The yod is the smallest letter of the alphabet, which is why Yeshua used it in His famous saying in Matt 5:18: "Until heaven and earth pass away not one yod ("iota" in the Greek text) or one kots will pass from the Torah." For emphasis, Yeshua incorporated in this saying a well-known Hebrew expression: lo' yod ve-LO' ko-TSO shel yod, "not a yod and not a 'thorn' of a yod," i.e., not the most insignificant and unimportant thing. When Yeshua declared that heaven and earth might sooner disappear than the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, or the smallest stroke of a letter, He was simply saying that the Torah ("Law" or "Teaching") of Moses would never cease to be. Matthew 5:18 --For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
The second sound in Yeshua's name is called tse-RE, and is pronounced almost like the letter "e" in the word "net". Just as the "Y" sound of the first letter is mispronounced in today's English, so too the first vowel sound in "Jesus". Before the Hebrew name "Yeshua" was transliterated into English, it was first transliterated into Greek. There was no difficulty in transliterating the tse-RE sound since the ancient Greek language had an equivalent letter which represented this sound. And there was no real difficulty in transcribing this same first vowel into English. The translators of the earliest versions of the English Bible transliterated the tse-RE in Yeshua with an "e". Unfortunately, later English speakers guessed wrongly that this "e" should be pronounced as in "me," and thus the first syllable of the English version of Yeshua came to be pronounced "Jee" instead of "Yeh". It is this pronunciation which produced such euphemistic profanities as "Gee" and "Geez".
Since Yeshua is spelled "Jeshua" and not "Jesus" in most English versions of the Old Testament (for example in Ezra 2:2 and 2 Chronicles 31:15), one easily gets the impression that the name is never mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet 'Yeshua' appears there twenty-nine times, and is the name of at least five different persons and one village in the southern part of Yehudah ("Judah").
In contrast to the early biblical period, there were relatively few different names in use among the Jewish population of the Land of Israel at the time of the Second Temple. The name Yeshua was one of the most common male names in that period, tied with Eleazer for fifth place behind Simon, Joseph, Judah, and John. Nearly one out of ten persons known from the period was named Yeshua.
The first sound of the second syllable of Yeshua is the "sh" sound. It is represented by the Hebrew letter shin. However Greek, like many other languages, has no "sh" sound. Instead, the closest approximation, the Greek sigma, was used when transcribing "Yeshua" as "Iesus". Translators of English versions of the New Testament transliterated the Greek transcription of a Hebrew name, instead of returning to the original Hebrew. This was doubly unfortunate, first because the "sh" sound exists in English, and second because in English the "s" sound can shift to the "z" sound, which is what happened in the case of the pronunciation of "Jesus".
The fourth sound one hears in the name Yeshua is the "u" sound, as in the word "true". Like the first three sounds, this also has come to be mispronounced but in this case it is not the fault of the translators. They transcribed this sound accurately, but English is not a phonetic language and "u" can be pronounced in more than one way. At some point the "u" in "Jesus" came to be pronounced as in "cut," and so we say "Jee-zuhs."
The "a" sound, as in the word "father," is the fifth sound in Jesus' name. It is followed by a guttural produced by contracting the lower throat muscles and retracting the tongue root- an unfamiliar task for English speakers. In an exception to the rule, the vowel sound "a" associated with the last letter "ayin" (the guttural) is pronounced before it, not after. While there is no equivalent in English or any other Indo-European language, it is somewhat similar to the last sound in the name of the composer, "Bach." In this position it is almost inaudible to the western ear. Some Israelis pronounce this last sound and some don't, depending on what part of the dispersion their families returned from. The Hebrew Language Academy, guardian of the purity of the language, has ruled that it should be sounded, and Israeli radio and television announcers are required to pronounce it correctly. There was no letter to represent them, and so these fifth and sixth sounds were dropped from the Greek transcription of "Yeshua," -the transcription from which the English "Jesus" is derived.
So where did the final "s" of "Jesus" come from? Masculine names in Greek ordinarily end with a consonant, usually with an "s" sound, and less frequently with an "n" or "r" sound. In the case of "Iesus," the Greeks added a sigma, the "s" sound, to close the word. The same is true for the names Nicodemus, Judas, Lazarus, and others. English speakers make one further change from the original pronunciation of Jesus' name. English places the accent on "Je," rather than on "sus." For this reason, the "u" has shortened in its English pronunciation to "uh."
In the West, a child's name is often chosen for its pleasant sound, or because another family member had it. The Jews of the Second Temple period also named after relatives (Luke 1:59-63). However, almost all Jewish names have a literal meaning. Occasionally, this is seen in English names too, such as Scott (a person from Scotland), Johnson (son of John), and Baker (bread maker). But with Hebrew names it is the rule, rather than the exception.
The name Yeshua literally means The LORD's Salvation, or Salvation from the LORD. In comparison, prior to being transliterated from the Hebrew Bible, the name Iesus did not exist in Greek. Through multiple translations and changes in pronunciation, a tradition of saying "Jesus" has obscured His name, "Yeshua." It has shifted His perceived message and identity from Hebrew to Greek.
--Adapted from an article by David Biven with kind permission of Bridges for Peace
Where Was He Born?
Modern calculations show that in the early fall of what is now called 2 B.C.E that Jesus was born under humble conditions in the Judean village of Bethlehem. Judea was the Roman name for Judah. (Luke 2:1-7; MIcah 5:2, Matthew 2:3-6; John 7:40-42)
Where Was He Raised?
After a brief stay in Egypt, Jesus' family moved to Nazareth, a city in the province of Galilee about 60 miles North of Jerusalem. At that time Jesus was less than 3 years old. (Matthew 13:55-56)
Where Did He Originally Come From?
Jesus existed before He was born by way of the Virgin Mary. Micah 5:2 states that His origin is from early times, from the days of time indefinite. As God's firstborn Son, Jesus was a spirit creature in heaven before He was born as a human on earth. By means of the Holy Spirit, Jehovah God performed the miracle of transferring the life of His heavenly Son to the womb of the Jewish virgin, Mary; so that He could be born as a perfect human. Such a miracle is well within the power of Almighty GOD. (Micah 5:2, John 1:1, John 6:38; 8:23, Luke 1:30-35-37)
How He Lived...
The Gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell us much about how Jesus lived. He preached, He taught, He revealed the personality of His Father Jehovah, He healed, He saved, He blessed, and He redeemed and restored mankind by his death and resurrection--all accounts are recorded in the Gospels.
Jesus was a teacher who was born in Bethlehem, lived in Nazareth, and taught in Galilee and Jerusalem in the time of the Roman Empire. He is the Son of God who lived and died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead.
The Prince of Peace… The Word made man… Savior and Lord… The King of Kings… The Lion of Judah… The Lamb of God... The Light of the World... The Rose of Sharon... Living Bread... The True Vine... Redeemer
According to the book of Matthew...now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:
When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
When Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his followers, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist. Others say you are Elijah, and still others say you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Then Jesus asked them, “And who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because no person taught you that. My Father in heaven showed you who I am.” (Matthew 16:13-17, NCV)
According to the book of John, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
After the fall of man in paradise and the judgment of God, God immediately begin to put a plan in place for the salvation of all He had created--earth, heavens, and man. This plan included a Savior, a Second Adam, that would live a sinless life and be obedient to God's word. He would redeem all that Adam had lost by the shedding of His blood.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet, we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet, he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth (Isaiah 53).
Why is Jesus Called Christ?
He is called Christ because he was the Messiah, or anointed one, who came from God to establish the Kingdom of God in which people are restored to a new relationship with God. He was called Christ by the apostles which showed their acceptance of him as the Messiah. He is called Lord because he is the Son of God.
Why is the church called the body of Christ?
Believers who share in the life of Christ embody his Spirit in the world as members of a single body; Christians are the representatives of Christ, each with their own gifts to serve him. Just as the arms and legs are members of a human body with different functions, so in scripture members of the church are seen as being like the various limbs and organs of a body with Christ as the head.
What is the Lords' Supper?
The Lord's supper, or the Eucharist, is a sacramental (sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace) meal in which unleavened bread and wine have been offered to God in thanksgiving and are received in faith by the members of the fellowship as a means of Holy Communion with God through Christ.
From the book of Revelation--and I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
I, Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. He which testifieth these things saith, surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
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