It is my opinion that one of the first changes that occurred in translations was when the Hebrew Name Yahshua (Yeshua or Y’shua are other variants) was changed to the Greek name Iesous. The reason why I make the statement that this was a change, is because it was not a translation.
It is also my opinion that anti-Semitism is the primary reason why the leaders of the Reformation Movement did not restore the Jewish Name of our Saviour. They did not want to because everything in the Church having the slightest Jewish flavour, had to be rooted out. Unquestionably, the most Jewish aspect of original Christianity was the Name of its founder. Most of the Church fathers, including the more recent leaders of the Reformation, were Jew haters.
Augustine (354-430 AD) stated in one of his sermons; “The Jews held him, the Jews insulted him, the Jews bound him, they crowned him with thorns, dishonoured him by spitting upon him, they scourged him, they heaped abuses upon him, they hung him upon a tree, they pierced him with a lance. (Augustine, The Creed, 3:10) It is clear that according to Augustine, the Jews brought the curse upon themselves.
Chrysostom (340-407 AD) was one of the most outstanding figures amongst the Church fathers. His writings betray his intense loathing of the Jews. The following is an extraction from his works; Homilae Adversus Iudaeos.
“They are become worse than the wild beasts, and for no reason at all, with their own hands they murder their own offspring, to worship the avenging devils who are the foes of our life... The Jews do not worship God but devils, so that all their feasts are unclean. God hates them, and indeed has always hated them. But since their murder of Jesus, He allows them no time for repentance. It was of set purpose that He concentrated all their worship in Jerusalem that He might more easily destroy it... When it is clear that God hates them, it is the duty of Christians to hate them too.
The next vitriolic quote came from the pen of none other than Martin Luther;
“Their synagogues or churches should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honour of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such lying, cursing and blaspheming of His Son and His Christians.
“Their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. Passport and travelling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews. For they have no business in the rural districts since they are not nobles, nor officials, nor merchants, nor the like. Let them stay at home.
“All their cash and valuables of silver and gold ought to be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. Let the young and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the axe, the hoe and spade, the distaff and spindle. We ought to drive the rascally lazy bones out of our system.” (Martin Luther, cited in “Anti-Semitism”, Encyclopaedia Judaica.)
It is no wonder that Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, wrote; “So I believe that today I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty creator: In warding off the Jews, I am striving to do the will of the Lord.”
It is amazing that the so-called Church fathers, who probably prided themselves on their theology, did not seem to understand the basic Biblical truth that every sinner was responsible for the torture and murder of the Jewish, Sabbath keeping, Torah obedient Son of Elohim. They are just as guilty as those Jewish religious leaders. What they also conveniently “forget” is that a Roman – Pontius Pilate, judged Yahshua and handed Him over to be executed, even after finding Him not guilty.
The meaning of the word anti-Semitism is “against the Jew”. Shem, Noah’s eldest son, was the forefather of the Hebrew nation. His name means “name”. Noah called him that in honour of the Name YaHWeH. Therefore anti-Semitic literally means; against the Name. Shem is the Hebrew word for name, but it means much more than simply name as we understand that word in English. In Hebrew it also carries the meaning of character, fame, glory, honour and reputation. In Hebrew every attribute of a person is encapsulated in his name. Therefore, the enemy’s hatred of the One bearing the Name YaHWeH, is in the first place aimed at the Name itself. The only way that he can touch Him, is to touch His Name. From the beginning his goal has been to destroy the Name, and naturally he targets and does his utmost to destroy the Semitic people (the Name bearers), who ironically have the God given responsibility to make the Name known among the nations of the world.
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