An important message for lovers of truth to clarify some important points.
YHWH IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS:(A) the Word of God teaches us this in many places (B), and if one watches without tunnel vision one sees it in reality. One can see examples of this every day, not to mention examples in the Bible, for instance, God sending his prophet Jonah to Ninevah, the largest wickedest pagan city of the time. One can also notice that some Jim-Jones-type has no problem gathering a following who end up believing God Almighty only works and speaks with their little group. So there are many small sacred name groups who are quick to disfellowship anyone thinking slightly different than they do in doctrine. It was most likely one of the charismatic leaders of one of these small Yahweh groups that began the idea that the name of Jesus came from Zeus. After all they sound similar, and it makes a dramatic teaching…”The Christians are following Zeus.” The truth is not so entertaining.
IS THE NAME JESUS PAGAN? Did the name Jesus come from Zeus? No. The short form of Jesus’ name in Galilean Aramaic was Yeshua (and it was shortened in speech to “Yeshu”). (I will attach a diagram of what is being said next—so it is easier to follow.) When this name is translated into Greek, the first Hebrew letter yod became an Iota in Greek and when the Greek is translated into English this was made a J. The two dots under the yod were made into an Eta in Greek and into an “e” in English. The Sheen in Hebrew was made into a sigma in Greek and an “s” in English. The vav in Hebrew was made into an omicron-mu which was made into a “u” in English. The final Hebrew letter is silent and was dropped when translating into Greek. But Greek grammar requires a masculine subject ending “oos” so an “s” (final sigma) has to be added, which in English is merely “s”. “Jesus” is merely a transliteration letter by letter from the Greek translation of his actual name.
WHY GREEK? Why was his name Yeshua written in Greek? Because Greek was the academic language of the eastern half of the Roman Empire. If you remember Alexander the Great had conquered these lands and Greek, which is an academic language was made the lingua franca of the entire area. Therefore, because of Roman roads and a common language, the Bible message in Greek was able to easily transmitted. (As Latin was more prevalent in the western part of the empire, the Word was then translated into Latin.) There is no reason we can’t go back and use his original name Yehoshua or Yahshua for short. It is a beautiful name that means “Yah is salvation”. But those who use the historic English translation from the Greek, which is Jesus, are not worshipping Zeus. (It does get a little ridiculous how some over pronounce it “JEEEEZ-us”.)(And it is a little ridiculous that many people think Jesus was his first name and Christ his last, as if he would write a check Jesus Christ. Christ is a title, his last name was ben Joseph.)
CHRIST? What is with this Christ name? The term “anointed one” meant the special person who was anointed king (or anointed high priest, etc.). When David was anointed he became king.(C) The “anointed one” in Hebrew is Mashiach, which in English is Messiah. The term “anointed one” in Greek is Christos, from where we get the title Christ. “Lord”, “God”, “Rabbi”, “Christ” and “Messiah” are all titles. God shared His personal name YHWH in ancient times. (As people like to argue over the pronunciation of YHWH, I often just write it as the tetragrammaton, meaning the 4 letters, rather than get tangled up with all the opinions about the pronunciation. The adherents to the various opinions can be totally sure their way is the only way.) The Jews felt that it was more reverent not to use the name, they don’t even spell out God, but will write G_d. If you use His name in vain, there is a penalty for the disrespect. People should decide if they can use His name Yahweh with respect, and not in a trivial way. When we say Christ, we are speaking about our anointed King & High Priest.
PRIDE. It is religious pride when we think God accepts us, and rejects other people because we have learned some factoid, for instance that God is not his name but YHWH is. Yahshua said you would know his disciples by the love they have for each other. He did not say, “I won’t accept you unless you can figure my name out, then I will accept you.” As I say, there is no reason why we can’t progress towards using the actual names, but we should use them with reverence and humility.
(A) ACTS 10:34 (B) JAS 2:1-13, MT 5:45, 20:14, ACTS 10:34-35, ROM 2:11, 10:12, JOB 34:19 and others (C) 1 SAM 16:13