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Hebraic Roots of the Scriptures (Part 2)

written by Asher Intrater
August 09, 2019

Hebrew Names

Because of the historic split between Judaism and Christianity, the consistency of the biblical plan has often been missed.  One way to start to grasp the consistency is simply to recognize the Hebrew roots of the names of some New Covenant figures. 

Jesus’ name is Yeshua, ישוע . Yeshua is a shortened form of Joshua or Yehoshua יהושוע in Hebrew which means “YHVH saves.” The name Yeshua should connect us with:

  1. The name of YHVH
  2. The name of Joshua the conqueror
  3. The word for salvation.

Another example is the name of Yeshua’s mother, which is not Mary in the Hebrew but Miriam, מרים . Miriam was the first prophetess, a leader of worship and dance, and the sister of Moses.  Many Jewish girls took on that name.

Anna, the praying prophetess in Luke 2, is actually Hannah, named after חנה , the praying mother of Samuel. Simon Peter is Shimeon שמעון , like the second son of Jacob. Emanuel is three words: עם  with, אנו us, אל God. Christ is Messiah, Mashiach, משיח meaning anointed one, particularly prophet, priest, and king. 

Zebulun and Zebedee

We could share hundreds of word and name associations, some obvious, some less.  Here is one you might have missed.  In the gospels, two of the three lead disciples were the Zebedee brothers, John (Yokhanan) and James (Jacob, Yaakob).  This name is connected to the tribe and son of Jacob, through Leah, Zebulun. The word “Zebed” means endowment gift. Genesis 30:20 –

God has endowed (zebed) me with a good endowment (zebed) gift; this time my husband will give me an endowment (zebel) because I have given him six sons; therefore she called him Zebulun.

Zebedee and Zebulun are basically the same root word in Hebrew.  In some sense, the disciples of Yeshua could have been called the sons of Zebulun.

The tribe of Zebulun lived in the area of the Sea of Galilee.  The Zebedee family also lived there.  Yeshua started His ministry in the area of Zebulun with the sons of Zebulun-Zebedee. This fulfilled God’s promise: Matthew 4:13-15 – Yeshua left Nazareth and came to live in Kephar Nahum beside the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was said by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled, “the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” (Isaiah 9:1)

The name Zebed or Zaved or Zavadya appears many times in the Scriptures.  For example, in the list of names in chapter 10 of the book of Ezra alone, the name appears 6 times. 

God’s Faithfulness

The point here is NOT to overemphasize the meaning of words and letters (as unfortunately many people do), but to emphasize God’s faithfulness to His covenants, to His promises and to His friends.  Jesus came to Zebedee in Zebulun to fulfill God’s promise to Isaiah, which demonstrated His faithfulness to Leah and Jacob for over a thousand years!!!

If God was faithful to them, He will be faithful to us. He was, is and always will be. Let’s summarize this introduction to the kingdom of God:

  1. God’s plan is eternal
  2. The scriptures are consistent
  3. Yeshua is the center of the kingdom
  4. The kingdom develops in stages
  5. The kingdom includes heaven and earth
  6. We need both Hebraic and Greek perspective
  7. God is faithful to His covenants.

Read Part 1 HERE!

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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