Pro 25:11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. NASB
In other words, a word spoken well is precious and sweet and properly framed in right context. So the question we have to ask ourselves is what’s in a word? Do we fully realize the potential of words in our life? So powerful is the effect of the word that the Scripture again uses this analogy of the word to describe who Yeshua is.
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Our word is intrinsically wrapped up in who we are. Just as Yeshua the word of God is wrapped up in the very essence of who God is.
Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
So, if we are finally able to conclude the true power of the word in our lives then why are we still so careless in the use of words? With this point duly noted we must ask one more question. Are the words we use to speak about God also important? If so then a careful examination of our modern use of Biblical names and events must be conducted. If words represent something then we need to see the potential of how they affect us and what we think about a topic with their use. There are different ways to think about things based upon the culture we were raised in and the words we used to express ideas. This is not limited to the literal meanings of words only but idioms and cultural expressions as well.
How we apply this is important because the words we use truly affect the very way we think about things and if those words misrepresent something then we become led astray in our perception of the truth.
An example of this would be the name Jesus. What do we think of when we use that name? In thirty years of ministry to Jews and Gentiles I have watched it evoke a different response from many different people. The Catholic Jesus is the Son of Mary and the guy they see on the crucifix every time they enter church. The Protestant sees Jesus as the originator of the religion of Christianity that all men must convert to. The Muslim calls Him Isa and He is only a prophet to them. The Mormon looks at Jesus as the brother of Lucifer. The Jehovah witness believes that He and Michael the archangel are one in the same. The Jews look at Jesus as the one who has caused them a lot of trouble for the last 2000 years.
But if we change the scenario by simply calling Him by His Hebrew name Yeshua it changes the entire way we think about Him. He is now a Jewish man with a Jewish identity. He is no longer the perceived originator of a new religion. By calling Him by His Jewish name we have given back to Him the original intent of His culture, religion, geography etc. He is now a Jew from Israel not a Catholic from Rome. It is subtle but I promise, if you called Him by His Jewish name you would start to think of Him differently after a while. This is more than just an argument over words. Because words have depth, as I said above, their meanings go way beyond just their literal use. Words carry the baggage of the history and nuance in which they were used. Yeshua was never called Jesus by anyone of His generation. He never introduced his parents as Joe and Mary Christ. He was known to His peers by the name Yeshua ha nazaret (Yeshua the Nazarine) Yeshua ben Yoseph (son of Joseph) Yeshua ha Mashiach (Yeshua the Messiah).
The name Yeshua means something in Hebrew, it is not just a generic name. God called him that because it meant salvation (Strongs H3444, H3467 and H3468). In the Tenach (Old Testament) the word Yeshua or forms of it are used 158 times What does the word Jesus mean? When was it first used? Was it given as a substitute of His Jewish name for a purpose? Some have speculated that the origin of the word came from the Latin Je Zues. Their argument goes like this “The greek “Iesus” comes from the name Zeus, the ruling God in the Greek pantheon. “Jesus” is a transliteration of a latin name Ioesus, pronounced Heysus, which means nothing in Hebrew, but in Latin it means haiI Zues. I have not been able to confirm that first hand yet because I don't know Latin. I do know enough Hebrew though and I already told you it's Hebrew roots above. But I certainly don't know the true origin of the word Jesus.
The Scripture does say that there is only one name under heaven and earth whereby men must be saved.
Act 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (That name was Yeshua).
Was there a purpose to this declaration, or was it thrown out carelessly? It does seem to me that God has never wasted words at any time in History. Every word that God hath said has a purpose. They were uttered by God for our benefit. God chose His words very carefully for our benefit that we might know His word is true.
2Ti 3:15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
2Ti 3:17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
This is not an argument meant to challenge anyone’s salvation. But once you know the truth and importance of these words uttered by God how can you ignore this truth? We are saved by grace but we still have to grow in our faith. Change the names of all the Biblical characters especially Yeshua and you change the Gospel from a Jewish message to a “Christian” one. If the Jews who were the ones commissioned to carry this message to the Gentiles no longer recognize it anymore shouldn’t that speak volumes. If the Jews no longer recognize Yeshua and His message as a Jewish one shouldn’t that cause us to be suspect on how it is communicated?
Was Yeshua a Greek or a Jew? Did He speak Hebrew, Latin, Greek or King James Elizabethan English? All these very subtle linguistic nuances make a huge difference on how we perceive His message and identity.
So based upon all that has been said in this small article let us be very careful not be careless with God’s word. We need to weigh every word that has been spoken by Him and heed the warning that He gives us in Scripture.
Deu 18:19 'It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.
Deu 18:20 'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'
Deu 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deu 12:32 "Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.
Pro 30:5 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Pro 30:6 Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.
What's in a word? Everything, if it is God's word.