If the letter "J", and some other letters, was not around when our Messiah came to earth, then why do some call the Messiah Jesus? I was taught that Jesus is Greek and Yahshua is Hebrew and that these are not the same but two different people. I was also taught to stay away from anything that has to do with Jesus because his name and teachings can be traced back to pagan practices and anti-Semitic groups? What do you think about this? Have you done a research on this subject? Why do you use the name Jesus? Why not Yahshua, it is a Hebrew name and the Messiah is Hebrew, but Jesus is Greek? Do you consider Christianity the religion that people should follow or Judaism? Is there any proof in scripture that Yahshua cut off the Jews and choose a new people known as Pagans or Christians? Do you believe that Christianity or Catholicism is based on Pagan Practices? From your studies, where does the word Christ come from? Does Christ have to do with pagan history also?
The name Jesus is actually from the Norman English by way of Anglos-Saxon (where it would have been pronounces “Yay-sus”). That came from the German Jesu, which came ultimately from the Greek. The Greek form is actually Iesus, since Greek had no “J” either. The Greek is a transliteration (taking the sounds of the original, not the meaning) of the Hebrew Yeshua and Yehoshua (or Yahshua and Yahoshua). Since the individual about whom the gospel writers wrote was Jewish, his given name would have been the Hebrew or Aramaic (Yeshua) rather than the Greek (Iesus).
Since his name is clearly traceable back to the Hebrew, then we must look at whether his teachings were anti-Semitic. I find nothing in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John that is anti-Semitic. Everything indicates that Yeshua was an observant Jew. He did object to some of the traditions that were allowing people to get around the Law, but at no time did he ever teach anything against the Jews as an ethnic group (since he was one), or against the Law of Moses. For almost ten years after his death the church was made up entirely of Jews. Even Paul, himself a Pharisee, never taught anything anti-Semitic. Although there were problems between Jewish and non-Jewish believers, the church did not express anti-Semitic feelings until many years later under what could essentially be termed the Roman Catholic Church. By then a number of the teachings of Yeshua and his disciples had been changed without good authority.
The Greek word “Christ” is simply a translation of the Hebrew word “Moshiach” (which we render in English as Messiah). Both have the essential meaning of “the anointed one.” Neither has any specific pagan overtones. Anytime you read “Christ,” just substitute “Messiah.” That is, of course, the simple explanation. Unfortunately, years of mistreatment and prejudice by people who call themselves Christians (but don’t exhibit the characteristics of the person they claim to follow) and Jews have added a negative connotation to the term Christ, as far as Jews are concerned. If I were to talk about such things to a purely Jewish audience, I would follow the advice of one author and only use the term Messiah and the name Yeshua, in order to avoid the negative connotations. In a mixed audience, such as on my web site, I generally use the name Jesus, and occasionally the name Yeshua, because that is what would be expected and understood by most of my audience. I use the term Messiah in the name of my site because it is interchangeable with Christ, and because I do emphasize the Jewish holidays and address Jewish as well as Christian issues.
I, obviously, believe that people should become Christians. I do not believe that a Jewish person has to make the choice between Judaism and Christianity. There are many Jews who follow Yeshua as Messiah and still retain many practices of Judaism. As I mentioned before, for ten years there were only Jewish Christians. Many today observe the Sabbath and holidays, keep kashrus, maintain family purity, and the other requirements of Judaism while at the same time maintaining their status as Christians or Messianists. Jesus did not “cut off” the Jews. Paul’s argument in Romans 11 is that the non-Jews were grafted onto the Jewish rootstock, not that the Jews were cut off. Anybody who teaches that Jesus or his disciples taught that the Jews were to be cut off has no understanding of the New Covenant (Testament) or of history.
I do not believe that Christianity as presented in the “New Testament” is based on pagan practices. I believe it is based on a belief in the one God that the Jews believe in. I believe it is based on Judaism. I believe that Yeshua was the fulfillment of the prophecies about Messiah. In fact, one of my favorite books of the New Testament is the book of Hebrews. It was written to strengthen the faith of Jewish believers by showing that Yeshua is the one toward whom all Jewish history to that time had pointed.
I do believe that Catholicism has incorporated some practices which may be based on paganism. I also believe that some modern Jews in the United States have also adopted some pagan, or at least non-Jewish, practices in order to fit in with their Christian or secular neighbors. Christianity and Judaism, as any other religion, are subject to incursions from other religions, especially when they are trying to assimilate into the culture of their time.
This has been a lengthy response. I wanted to answer all your questions. I hope I have done so.