I discuss the name of the Son of God elsewhere in more detail. In brief the name "Jesus" is of comparatively recent and earlier Pagan origin and does not mean what the Bible says our Master's name means (Matthew 1:21).
The name "Jesus" (from "Iesous" in the Greek and Latin) correctly translates as "Hail Zeus." Its a fact.
As the English language was standardized the letter "J" was added and many words, such as Iesous (Jesus) and Iohn (John) were reworked according to the new rules. The pre-standard forms of many words appear in the original 1611 King James Version. For instance:
Matthew 1:1 The booke of the generation of Iesus Christ, the sonne of Dauid, the sonne of Abraham.
John 1:5 And the light shineth in darknesse, and the darknesse comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was Iohn.
7 The same came for a witnesse, to beare witnesse of the light, that all men through him might beleeue.
8 Hee was not that light, but was sent to beare witnesse of that light.
In most cases it is merely a question of style, in the case of our Master however it is clearly more.
In the name Iesous the "ie" translates as "Hail" and "sous" or "sus" translates as Zeus. Therefore the English name "Jesus" or Iesous stems etymologically from a word praising Jupiter-Zeus (Ie-Zeus), the chief god of the ancient Greek Olympus.
The Roman Universal Church identifying Adon Y'shua with Zeus should not be surprising to those familiar with its history. This usurpation was in keeping with the fact that Emperor Constantine (the founder of the Nicean Christian religion) was a worshiper of the Sun god Sol Invictus until the day he died. Sol Invictus or "God the Undefeated Sun" was elevated above Jupiter-Zeus by Elagabalus and wed to Astarte, Minerva and Urania (versions vary) into a Triune Godhead than subsequently passed into the Nicean Creed of the Christian religion.
The name "Jesus" speaks of the Glory of Zeus rather than of the salvation of Yah (God of the Bible) as Matthew 1:21 says his name means.
Our Master's name, according to the Bible, is YSHUA (correctly written as Y'shua or Yahshua or Yeshua). Some argue for the earlier form of Yahoshua however it is known that by time our Adon was walking the earth (the Second Temple period) the name Yahoshua had long since been shortened to Y'shua -- for instance compare Nehemiah 8:17. All of these variations on the name mean Yah is Salvation which is harmonious with:
KJV: Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Y'shua: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Writing the name as "Y'shua" rather than Yahshua (which would be equally correct since Hebrew was written without direct vowels) honors the Sacred Name of HaShem by not using the Holy Name "Yah." I offer more on this topic elsewhere.
Nazarene or Nazareth?
Adon Y'shua is often identified with the word Nazarene. He is referred to as both Y'shua of Nazareth and Y'shua the Nazarene.
This confusion is based in part on the following verse:
Matthew 2:23 And he [i.e. Y'shua] came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
The origins of the word translated as Nazareth and Nazarene are debated by scholars.
Na·tsar: The village of Nazareth
The Essene followers of Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) mention a place they frequented named Nasirutha but little if anything is known about the place. It is assumed that Nasirutha is Nazareth.
According to Luke's account of Y'shua's life Joseph and Mary were from the Nazareth. Mary was in Nazareth when the Angle Gabriel told her of Y'shua's coming birth (Luke 1:26).
According to Matthew, after the family fled their home in Bethlehem for Egypt and returned to Judea they settled in Nazareth (Matthew 2:20-23).
The apparent contradiction between the Luke and Matthew accounts can be easily resolved if one is so inclined. It is quite possible for instance that Joseph and/or Mary lived in both Nazareth and Bethlehem before fleeing to Egypt, then returned to Nazareth where Y'shua grew up.
It is commonly accepted by scholars like James Strange that the area was underpopulated, with perhaps as few as 400 people living in Nasirutha at the time of Y'shua. This could also explain the lack of clarity on this point. While we don't have much independent confirmation of the town's existence until the Third Century C.E., in 2009 Israeli archaeologist Yardenna Alexandre excavated the remains of a house in Nazareth that he believes dates to the time of Y'shua. Alexandre told reporters, "The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth."
There is no historic, textual nor archeological reason to doubt the essential accounts in the B'rit Hadashah texts (New Testament) regarding Nazareth and Y'shua's presence there.
Today the city of Nazareth (al-Nāṣira) is a major one for Israeli Arabs and is honored as a pilgrimage site by followers of Adon Y'shua. It is therefore quite likely that the small settlement in Northern Israel once named Nasirutha is correctly referenced in the title Y'shua of Nazareth.
Consider however that this is only one possible understanding and is, in some ways, the least significant.
Na·tsar and Ne·tser
Both the words Nazareth and Nazarene can be traced to one of two terms:
na·tsar, נָצַר, meaning "to watch,"
ne·tser, נֵ֫צֶר, meaning branch.
Most research has focused on determining which of these is most likely the root word.
The Essenes and Mandeans
Scholars have debated which is being referenced for well over a hundred years. I suggest both are correct.
As mentioned above, the followers of Yochanan the Immerser -- known as the Mandeans -- referenced the town of Nazareth as Nasirutha. Ancient linguistics supports that both "Nazareth" and "Nazarene" would more accurately have been pronounced with an "s" rather than a "z" sound at that time.
The surviving Mandeans (living mostly in Iraq now) do not accept Y'shua as the Mashiach. These disciples of Yochanan (as a group) never became "Nazarenes" or "Nicean Christians" -- although many of Yochanan's followers did.
According to the Gospel accounts, Yochanan affirmed Y'shua to be the lamb of God (John 1:29) however at least some of his talmidim (students) rejected this (and claim he never said it). They continue to exist independent of both the Nazarene and Nicene Christian Movements. The Mandeans hold to a Gnostic belief system -- their title is from manda or madda: an infinitive of yəda meaning "to know") -- however their ties to Yochanan and the Essenes is accepted as certain. Considering the P'rushim origins of the Essene Brotherhood and their initial rejection of the P'rushim as being too liberal in terms of their Torah practice, it seems all but certain that the Gnostic views held by the Mandeans, while based on Yochanan's Essene beliefs, are not consistent with them in terms of Gnosticism. Gnosticism also infiltrated the early Nazarene Way Movement of Adon Y'shua but was largely defeated by the rise of the Nicolaitan beliefs installed by Roman Universalism.
In any case, as I discuss elsewhere, there is strong evidence suggesting that Yochanan the Immerser left the Essenes of Qumran and established his own Essene community at Bethabara or Bethany-across-the-Jordan (John 1:28) to await the coming of the Mashiach. Yochanan probably conceived of Mashiach as the physical manifestation of the Teacher of Righteousness who, according to some sources, existed in a transfigured state only and not bodily -- as some Gnostics claim of Y'shua -- compare II John 1:7).
This scenario leads to the possibility that the village of Nasirutha/Nazareth (na·tsar: Watch) was actually another small Essene enclave where these righteous people "watched" for the coming of the ne·tser (the "branch" of Jesse, i.e the Mashiach). This also possibly answers to questions of how the Magi knew that the King of the Jews had been born and arguably even to the seeming difference in Luke and Matthew's account concerning where they lived as discussed above. If Joseph, having been notified of the nature of the child's origin and moved the family to Nasirutha, a covert/separatist Essene compound, they would hardly have advertised the fact.
Adon Y'shua was clear that he was not an Essene (Matthew 11:18) however close ties clearly existed between the Essenes, the Mandeans and the Nazarenes prior to 70 C.E. when the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed.
According to an important apocryphal tradition preserved by the Eastern (Syrian) Church known as the Protevangelion of James (written by Y'shua's brother) Yochanan was miraculously brought into the Essene Brotherhood as a child:
Protevangelion 16:3 Elizabeth also, hearing that her son John was about to be searched for, took him and went up into the mountains, and looked around for a place to hide him;
4 and there was no place to be found.
5 Then she groaned within herself, and said, "O mountain of Adonai, receive the mother with the child."
6 For Elizabeth could not climb up.
7 And instantly the mountain was divided and received them.
8 And there appeared to them an angel of Adonai, to preserve them.
In my opinion this is an accurate testimony of how Yochanan was called to "the Wilderness" by HaShem as a child, educated by the Essene Brotherhood (who dressed in white like the angels) and then returned to civilization in due course under direction of the Essene Teacher of Righteousness to proclaim the establishment of the literal, earthly Kingdom of HaShem and its Mashiach. The leaders of Israel rejected the Kingdom however. Being so lead Yochanan began his ministry at Bethabara proclaiming that the kingdom was then at hand if only the elders and people of Israel would repent. In time he was led to immerse and anointed Y'shua of Nazareth as the Nazarene (Mashiach).
Ne·tser: The Branch: Mashiach
Adon Y'shua of Nazareth was the long awaited Netser or Branch, HaMashiach. This terminology is based on the following Messianic prophecy:
Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch [netser] shall grow out of his roots:
11:2 And the spirit of HaShem shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of HaShem;
11:3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of HaShem: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
The Greek New Testament uses the term "Nazarene" six times and "Nazorean" or "Nazaraean" 13 times. In the Book of Acts Luke refers to the talmidim of Y'shua as the "Nazorean" (the Nazarenes):
Acts 24:5 For we have found this man [i.e. Paul] a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes [Nazoraios]...
These Nazarenes existed independent of the Nicene Christians until the Vatican destroyed their movement:
... But these sectarians... did not call themselves Christians--but "Nazarenes," ... However they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do... They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion-- except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that G-d is one, and that his son is Yeshua the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law, the Prophets, and the... Writings... are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law--circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest-- they are not in accord with Christians.... they are nothing but Jews.... They have the Goodnews according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet. – Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 29.7.2
The Nazarenes... accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law. – Jerome, On. Is. 8:14
Matthew, also called Levi, apostle and aforetimes publican, composed a gospel of Christ at first published in Judea in Hebrew for the sake of those of the circumcision who believed, but this was afterwards translated into Greek though by what author is uncertain. The Hebrew itself has been preserved until the present day in the library at Cæsarea which Pamphilus so diligently gathered. I have also had the opportunity of having the volume described to me by the Nazarenes of Beroea, a city of Syria, who use it. In this it is to be noted that wherever the Evangelist, whether on his own account or in the person of our Lord the Saviour quotes the testimony of the Old Testament he does not follow the authority of the translators of the Septuagint but the Hebrew. Wherefore these two forms exist “Out of Egypt have I called my son,” and “for he shall be called a Nazarene.” – Jerome, Lives of Illustrius Men Ch.3
Y'shua The Nazarene or Y'shua Of Nazareth?
Both are correct.
Adon Y'shua spent much of his childhood in the village of Nazareth and he is the Nazarene.
The Word of HaShem confirms both.
Shalom in the name of Y'shua the Nazarene from Nazareth!