Does 'Jesus' really mean 'Hail, Zeus'?

Some false teachers claim that referring to Jesus by any other name than His Hebrew name is praising a false god. They stake these beliefs on Acts 4:12: "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 is not talking about the specific word by which we identify Jesus, but about the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

Within this camp of false teachers, there are some that say "Jesus" actually means "Hail Zeus" It's not hard to hear the similarities between the sound of "Jesus" and a quick mashup of "Hail Zeus," but that's not even the bizarre argument these few teachers make. They say that Roman Church officials changed the Messiah's name from YAHSHUA (which they say means "YAH is Salvation") to a hybrid Greek/Latin word, Iésous, which supposedly means "Hail Zeus." They claim this change was made to make their religion more acceptable to the pagan culture. Zeus was chief of the Greco-Roman pantheon of gods, so, according to this theory, the supposed new demigod was easily accepted and Christianity was melded with paganism. One brief thing to mention is that YAHSHUA is not even correct, as the Hebrew name for the Savior is Yeshua.

As further "proof" for this conspiracy theory, proponents say that when people say Jesus in Spanish it is obvious they are actually saying "Hey, Zeus." They also mention sculptures of Zeus with a beard and images of Jesus with a beard.

Looking seriously at the linguistics, the Hebrew name Yeshua is translated into Iésous in Greek, the same name Gabriel, the angel, told Mary to name her child (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is Greek for Joshua, a Jewish name that means "he will save his people from their sins." The Gospel writers wrote in Greek. Yeshua, Jesu, Joshua, and Jesus are the same name in different languages. Names can and do translate in different languages. For example, John is Jean in France, Juan in Spain, and Johan in Germany. His name may sound different, but he himself is the same person. When we are talking about Jesus Christ, we are referring to the child born to Mary in Bethlehem who grew up, gathered followers, taught for three years, died on a cross, then rose from the dead. In English, we call Him Jesus. This person is decidedly not Zeus.

It is a mistake to get caught up in these silly arguments.

Paul told Titus, "But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned" (Titus 3:9–11). Paul similarly wrote to Timothy to not allow people to teach false doctrine or myths (1 Timothy 1:3–7) and "which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith."

There is no need to be concerned that "Jesus" means "Hail, Zeus." It does not. It means "The Lord Saves." And, indeed, He does, through our Savior Jesus Christ!


Related Truth:

Who is Jesus Christ?

What are the names of Jesus Christ? What titles are ascribed to Jesus in the Bible?

If His name was Yeshua, why do we call Him Jesus?

How was Jesus called by the name Immanuel if that wasn't His name?

In what ways is Jesus greater than all the other greats of history?


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