WHO exactly was crucified at the stake or cross in Golgotha? Sure, everyone knows it was Jesus (or Yeshua) of Nazareth. Does the sign placed over his head reveal much more than we realize at first glance? WHO really was this Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth?
I think you’re about to be amazed at what actually was going on as revealed -- for those with eyes to see – by the sign that was posted over his bleeding head. In this short article you’ll see just how dramatic that sign was; perhaps much more than you’ve realized before. I’ve mentioned this in various sermons over the years, but it’s worth repeating here!
Something about the wording Pilate placed on the sign really upset the chief priests. What was it? Let’s read what we’re told:
John 19:19-22 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:
“JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS”.
Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but that, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'" Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
On the surface, it appears the chief priests were just upset by the notion that Pilate labeled Yeshua as their king. But you’ll see it goes a lot deeper than that. Note that the sign’s words were written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The Hebrew verbiage is most fascinating. John 19:20 says “Hebrew” in the original text, though some “modern” translations say – wrongly – Aramaic. They even footnote that the Greek original says “in Hebrew” but some translations still insist on saying “Aramaic.” Wrong. It was Hebrew.
In Hebrew, the sign would have read, “Yeshua, Ha’Netzeret V’melech HaYehudim.”
So what’s so upsetting with that?
To dig deeper and learn more about this fascinating sign, please be sure to click on “Continue reading”. You won’t be disappointed!
First let me remind you of this: in the Hebrew alphabet, there is no J (always pronounced with a Y), and there is no W (so V is the proper letter). We see Anglicized words like Jerusalem, but in Hebrew its “Yerushalayim”. And our English “Elijah” in Hebrew is actually “Eliyah” or “Eliyahu”. You’ll recognize how we pronounce Hallelujah – with a “Y” sound at the end. That word “HalleluYah” – means “Let’s all praise Yah” (the shortened form of YHVH).
This time let’s bold the printing of just the first letter of each word on the sign in Hebrew, something the Romans could have also done. And now what do you see?
Yeshua, HaNetzeret, Vemelech HaYehudim. In Hebrew this would have been written right to left – but in that order.
Y = Yeshua
H = Ha’Netzeret “of Nazareth”
V’melech “The King”
HaYehudim -- “of the Jews”
Now are you seeing what upset the priests?
The key first letter of each word, seen together, spell out “YHVH”, which is the sacred and official name of the living God! You’ve probably learned that where you read “the LORD” (with LORD in all caps), that is the official name of God – YHVH. Some pronounce it Yehovah, while others think it is “Yahweh”. For another blog or sermon, but to me the evidence recently points to “Yehovah”. But no matter, we know the letters were YHVH.
If they could persuade Pilate to say “He SAID he was king of the Jews” – it would have changed the lettering and the first letter of each word would not have ended up spelling “YHVH”.
Many believe YHVH applies only to the one we call God the Father. But if you take the time to study the sermons I gave in December 2018 – “YHVH – is YHVH the Father, the Word, or both” -- you’ll see beyond a doubt, that this name “YHVH” applied to God Most High (the one we know as the Father) but also to the Word of God. I give many examples in my sermons on that to show that the one we know as the Father certainly was YHVH. But the one we know as the Messiah, the Son of God, who was Word of God – and was God with God (John 1:1-3) was also YHVH. I gave 3 sermons on it.
Part 3 proves that Yeshua was also YHVH -- https://www.lightontherock.org/message/part-3-yhvh-is-sometimes-the-word-yeshua.html
If you doubt this, please take time to study my sermons on the subject. Just one thing to start with: Yeshua said NOBODY has seen God the Father – NOBODY – except he himself who came down from heaven (John 6:46). You can find the same statement in John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12 and other scriptures.
But it’s CLEAR, for example, that Abraham spoke to, saw, had dinner with and even pleaded with someone described as “YHVH” in Genesis 18. Go back and read it. In your English Bible it may say “the LORD” – but the Hebrew word there is YHVH. But Yeshua himself said NO ONE has seen the Father.
So “the LORD” with whom Abraham conversed and had dinner – had to be someone other than “God the Father” or “God Most High”. It’s either that, or Yeshua (Jesus) didn’t know what he was talking about. And that can’t be!
So in my sermons on the subject, I give many proofs and points that the One we know as Jesus Christ, the Messiah – or Yeshua the Messiah – was also called YHVH. He was the one who visibly interacted with Mankind. God the Father is called “the invisible God” (Col. 1:15).
And remember that God the Father is also called “Creator”, but He created EVERYTHING, ALL things, by and through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9, John 1:2-3; Hebrews 1:2; Col 1:16-17).
So yes, as Genesis 1 tells us, the Creator was “Elohim” – translated simply as “God”, but it’s a plural word actually, and our Creators were both the Father directing and overseeing the actual work being done by the Word of God – who came to us as Yeshua, born in Bethlehem of the lineage of King David, and who grew up in Nazareth of Galilee.
The name YHVH – or “the LORD” – isn’t revealed until Genesis 2 when He formed the man Adam from the dust of the ground. Yes, that Being who did that was none other than our Savior Yeshua the Messiah, who was God with God before he came to be born of a virgin Hebrew girl.
In any case, the Priests knew YHVH was GOD. And they were apoplectic seeing the initial letters of the statement over the cross actually spelled out “YHVH”.
Yes, my brothers and sisters – the one who was crucified for you and me was none other than YHVH himself.
This is when the true living God, DIES FOR his people – so his people would not have to die eternally. He took on himself all of the wrath, all of the capital punishment, the pain, the separation that sin brings on us so we no longer have to face all those consequences for Yeshua did it for us. That’s why we call him “Saviour”.
Some want to preach that Yeshua was never YHVH. But even here – with YHVH hi-lited on the sign above his head, his true identity was being revealed for all to see. The apostles preached he – the Messiah/Christ – is “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Paul says they crucified “the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8).
So, so far we see that Yeshua was not just a good man from Nazareth, but was the SON of the King of Heaven and earth, the one who actually “got in the dirt” literally and created mankind, who literally appeared to Abraham and many others as YHVH, and was exalted to be the Lord of lords, and King of kings by God MOST High – whom we know as God the Father. I explain all that in those sermons given in Dec. 2018.
Your Creator, your Lord, and yes – your GOD – DIED for you on the cross. Yes, Yeshua/Jesus was and is GOD (John 1:1-3; Heb 1:6-8; Titus 2:13-14, etc.)
Hebrew word pictures – and “YHVH”
There’s something else about the very name “YHVH”. In Hebrew, every letter has a numerical value, a musical note – AND also a word picture. Each letter has a picture – like they did also in Egypt and China.
The combined word pictures for YHVH are these for each Hebrew letter in YHVH:
Yud (Y) - the arm, hand
Hei - “look at, see”
Vav - NAIL, spike (the word picture for Vav)
Hei – “Look at, see”
So in word pictures, the letters “YHVH”, the wonderful name of our living God, show in word pictures – says this:
‘hand/arm - LOOK at it. The NAIL, LOOK!”
When we think of God the Father and the Son of God, which one actually was crucified? Easy. We all know it was the Son of God, Yeshua of Nazareth, king of the Jews! And his name in word pictures POINTS to his death by crucifixion. “Look at my hand, now look at that NAIL” is right in the very name of our YHVH.
The very name of God – YHVH - - tells us HOW he would die for his people -- by crucifixion! “MY HAND – LOOK. THE SPIKE/nail – LOOK”
This almost reminds you of what Yeshua said to Thomas after the resurrection – “Reach your finger here, and look at my hands; reach your hand here and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” John 20:26-29.
When you put these facts together – the first letter of each word written on the sign over the head of Yeshua, and what the Hebrew word pictures for YHVH tell us – it’s amazing indeed how our Creator – who was YHVH – was actually the One who was scourged and crucified – and resurrected – on our behalf.
I didn’t write this just as a doctrinal or teaching point, but so that you and I and all who grasp this will praise our holy Yeshua, Son of God, YHVH also himself, and also who is our Creator and king who lived and died and was resurrected for each of us.
Praise Yeshua’s holy name.