To appeal to a broader audience, we often use the
names of God in their Hebrew and in their equivalent
Greek or English translations. We find the apostles and
authors also used God’s name in different
languages and explaining the meanings of certain
words and names in others languages within the same
text. Also, the New Testament was recorded in Greek,
Arabic and Hebrew. Paul used more than one language
when expressing God’s names and other words or
phrases, as he traveled throughout Asia Minor. To
appeal to a wider audience, the authors of the New
Testament would use a word or name for God in one
language and then translate its definition into another
Yeshua or Jesus?
The use of the descriptive title Messiah translated as
Christ is just one of many examples.
John 1:41 He (Andrew) first found his own brother
Simon, and said to him, "We have found the
Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ)
Wanting to reach Jews and non-
both the Hebrew description of the name of the Son of
God (Messiah) and the Greek equivalent (Christ).
Similarly, we find Matthew doing the same thing:
Matt 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child,
and bear a Son, and they shall call His name
Immanuel, which is translated, "God with us."
Matthew wrote for a primarily Jewish audience so he
used the Hebrew language. “Immanuel” is Hebrew, but
“God with us” is Greek. Clearly, Matthew was using
God’s names in both languages so that he would
appeal to both Jews and non-
leave out the non-
Hebrew names in terms the Greeks would also be able
to relate with. This is important.
We find this practiced by many of the apostles in a
variety of different instances (Matt 1:23, Mark 5:41,
Mark 15:22, 34, John 1:41,42, John 9:7, Acts 4:36,
Acts 9:36). Clearly, John saw a benefit and purpose in
referring to Yeshua as both Messiah and Christ (John
Jesus is a variation of the Greek “Iesou’s.” Jesus is the
result of a people that found it difficult to pronounce
the Greek name “Iesou’s,” and so settled upon “Jesus.”
Iesou’s is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name
Yeshua, or Yeshuah – meaning “The Lord delivers.”
Christ is Greek for the Hebrew term meaning The
Anointed One – or the Messiah.
Messianic or Christian?
Messianic is another descriptive term that is, in reality,
identical in meaning to the term “Christian” with the
only real difference being the labels that different
groups use to refer to one another. Today, the term
“Messianic” is used by many Jewish and Gentile
Christians who do not want to be confused with
mainstream Christianity that ignores the “Jewishness”
of our Messiah, or His practices and teachings – including
what many mistakenly call the “Jewish Feasts,” “Jewish
Sabbaths” and old “Jewish Laws.”
While many believers use the term “Messianic” to
differentiate themselves from Christians who do not
keep God’s Laws (or the Torah); some Christians
avoid use of the term “Messianic” out of fear of being
thought of as “Jewish” or not wanting to appear to
practice any form of Judaism. But the original Church
of God was primarily Jewish in its membership! Even
Paul taught the Gentiles that they were “grafted into”
the natural olive tree that was Israel. Therefore, Jews
and Gentiles should learn to be comfortable with one
Rom 11:17 And if some of the branches were
broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were
grafted in among them, and with them became a
partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do
boast, remember that you do not support the root,
but the root supports you.
The “root” of Israel is at the core of true Christianity.
The faith God brought the world through His Son –
and the Jewish son of David – is rooted in Hebrew
history, Hebrew religion, Jewish life and faith.
Therefore, when practiced in its pure form, being a
disciple of Yeshua will continue to appear somewhat
“Jewish.” Because the Jews or Israelites were the first
people to receive God’s Words, and because they are
the ones God chose to preserve His Words (Rom 3:1-
2), a form of what some will call “Judaism” is always
going to be a part of God’s Truth and His Church.
Some believe a Messianic is merely a Jewish
Christian, but there are many Gentiles who also
consider themselves Messianic and/or who attend
Messianic congregations. While Messianic Jews and
Gentiles alike place their hope in the mercy of God
through the Messiah like all Christians do, at least
Messianic congregations can generally be expected to
keep God’s laws, Sabbaths and Feasts. Generally,
Messianic congregations do not believe the Messiah
came to abrogate the Law of God. They understand He
came to fulfill it (Matt 5:17-
and fulfilled His Father’s Law has been the mantra of
the true Church of God for generations. But even
among those groups who call themselves Messianic
believers today, many vary significantly in their
doctrine and practices.
The most often used church name in the New
Testament (and therefore usually the most preferred)
for Jews and Gentiles alike was “the Church of God”
(Acts 20:28, 1 Cor 1:2, 10:32, 11:22, 15:9, 2 Cor 1:1,
Gal 1:13, 1 Tim3:5). Yet, even that biblically
descriptive name has been applied to so many different
churches today that differ vastly in their practice and
doctrine from the church Jesus and the apostles
founded, that it has lost most of its original esoteric
meaning to most people. Having said that, Paul did
also refer to the Messiah’s flocks as the “Churches of
Rom 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss.
The churches of Christ salute you. KJV
Since “church” means “congregation,” and since, as
John showed us in John 1:41, Christ is a direct
translation of Messiah; to say, “churches of Christ” is
the same as saying “churches of Messiah” or
Messianic congregation. Paul also referred to the
church as “Church of the Firstborn” (Heb 12:23).
Obviously the firstborn was Jesus (Rom 8:29).
Equivalent translations of that application of Paul’s
name for God’s Church then would be:
Church of Messiah, Church of Yeshua, Church of Jesus or
Church of Christ.
It takes more than a mere name to be a body of faithful
disciples and believers of Christ and the Most High Father.
Some have assumed that having what they have been
taught was the only correct name was an evidence of
their being the true “Church of God.”
Other churches, (ones which were called by
some other name), were not really considered part of
the true Church of God, just because they didn’t have
the “right name.” But such a belief is not founded in
scripture. Respectfully, such a limiting belief is more
akin to being misled with a blind self-
it is to an understanding of the words of the Holy
Torah or Law?
Torah is one of those descriptive terms that, when
translated into the English word “law,” is quite
inadequate and limiting. When we read the English
word “law” in the Bible, it is most generally translated
from the word “Torah.” In English, “law” usually
invokes the thought of God’s commandments. But
Torah means so much more than merely God’s
Commandments. Torah means the whole instruction
from God – including, but not limited to His
Commandments. Torah refers to the whole of Genesis,
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. But in
context, Torah also includes the whole of God’s Words
– including the prophets, writings and Psalms. For a
Messianic or understanding Christian, Torah would
then include the New Testament as well.
Torah implies and includes the whole of God’s law,
but it is so much more!
Torah includes God’s enlightening Testimonies,
Statutes, the written examples and stories, God’s
instructions, the prophecies, the inspirational writings,
the Gospels, and epistles etc…. At its core, TORAH
means ALL of God’s instructions! Paul referred to the
“whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Let’s not limit
God’s Words by our unfamiliarity with certain words
which God inspired to be used in Holy Scripture.
YHWH or God?
It would take too much time to record herein all the
times when God’s names – each filled with unique,
rich meaning – are translated simply as God or LORD.
Therefore, like the apostles, we sometimes also use the
Hebrew name to convey its full descriptive depth of
Some, out of fear or concern of perceived “Judaism,”
have avoided terms that are used in the Bible,
including terms and names used by the Gentile
members of biblical Church of God. How far some
have descended out of fear; or of being
“uncomfortable” or being “suspect” of the unknown?
It is understandable why people would want to avoid
going in the direction of “Judaism,” if Judaism meant
becoming like the Pharisees. This author also wants to
avoid that form of “Judaism,” or anything close to it!
But to avoid anything one perceives as “Jewish” is to
avoid the “root” that we are all grafted into, which
“root” is Israel (Rom 11:17-
Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. A
person can learn from the best of other cultures and
peoples, without emulating their weaknesses or faults.
We as a group attempt to use terms that:
1 Accurately describe the original apostolic
Jerusalem Church of God, to which Gentiles
were invited and grafted into.
2 Speak to the type of people that are the most
likely to look at a website of this nature, i.e.,
those who are already predisposed to keep
God’s Sabbaths, Feasts and the Torah.
3 Use a variety of terms (Jesus / Yeshua,
Christ / Messiah, Passover service / Seder,
etc…) in an attempt to reach and bring
together differing believers in the unity of
the One name that God has given us as the
Savior of the World – the Son and Lamb of
God (John 3:16).
This has been a difficult but important task, and we are
doing our best with it. But with the vastness and
diverseness of what is called “Christianity” today, it is
nearly impossible to find names or terms that purely
describe the biblical Congregation of God or its doctrine.
Even more difficult has been the task of finding words
that speak to as many believers in our Messiah as
possible, while alienating as few as possible. While
one group of people is made more comfortable by the
use of certain words, others seem distrustful or suspect
of them. The same applies vise-
of Paul’s greatest challenges, and one that he struggled
frustratingly with throughout his life. This author has
been made to understand Paul’s frustration.
To the Jews, Paul was persecuted for not being
“Jewish” enough in his teachings and practices. To the
Gentiles, Paul was persecuted for bringing a strange
new “Jewish” religion to them. But with God’s help,
Paul was able to bring Gentiles together into the one,
true faith with the believing Jews. In Christ, being a
Jew or Gentile is less important than living the true
faith (Gal 3:28). This does not mean that Jews are to
become like Gentiles, leaving their heritage behind.
The natural tree, we’re all grafted into, is Israel. It
means that we put aside our life to let Messiah Yeshua
live in us (Gal 2:24). There is one LORD and one
Church – the Church of God, the Church of Christ kept
in His Father’s Name – meaning kept in His Father’s
favor and truth. That includes Messianic believers and
Indeed, Paul was all things to all people, so that he
could save as many as possible (1 Cor 9:22).
But let’s remember; all during Paul’s faithful ministry
to the Gentiles, his hope and intent was always to
provoke to salvation his fellow Jews (Rom 11:13-
“I have become all things to all men,
that I might by all means save some.” ~ Apostle Paul
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