Was Yeshua Crucified for Using the Name of YHWH?
James Scott Trimm
Psalm 22 is known as the “Crucifixion Psalm” because of its detailed description of the crucifixion of Yeshua. In Matt. 27:46 = Mk. 15:34 Yeshua recites Ps. 22:2(1) from the gallows. Matt. 27:39 alludes to Ps. 22:8(7) about on lookers shaking their heads at him. In Matt. 27:43 the people use the same phase as those in Ps. 22:9(8) (see also Luke 23:35) Luke 23:34 and John 19:24 (as well as the Hebrew text of Matt. 27:35) allude to Ps. 22:19(18) about the casting of lots to divide his clothes, and Hebrews 2:12 also quotes Ps. 22:23(22) as a reference to Yeshua as the Messiah.
Perhaps the most amazingly prophetic verse of Psalm 22 is:
For dogs have encompassed me;
a company of evildoers have enclosed me:
they have pierced my hands and my feet.
(Ps. 22:17 (16))
Another interesting verse in this Psalm is 23(22)
“I will declare Your Name unto my brothers; in the midst of the assembly will
I praise You.”
This was also fulfilled by Yeshua as we read in Yochanan:
I have made known Your Name, to the men whom You gave Me from the world: they
were yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
(Jn. 17:6 HRV)
And I have made known to them Your Name, and will make known: so that the love
with which You loved Me, might be in them and I might be in them.
(Jn. 17:26 HRV)
Some very interesting information appears in Matthew’s account of Yeshua’s trial:
59 Now the Chief Cohenim and the whole council, sought false witness against Yeshua,
to deliver Him up to death.
60 But they found none, though there came forward many false witnesses. But at the last
there came two false witnesses, and said,
61 He said, I can pull down the Temple of El, and before three days I can build it.
62 Then the Chief Cohen arose, and said to Him, Answer you nothing at all, concerning
these things which they witness against You?
63 But Yeshua answered nothing, but was silent. Then the Chief Cohen said to Him, I
adjure you, by the Living Elohim, that you tell us whether You are Messiah, the Son of
64 And Yeshua answered and said to him: You have said. Therefore I say to you,
hereafter you will see, the Son of Man, that sits here on the right hand of the Power of
Elohim (Ps. 110:1), coming in the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7:13).
65 Then the Chief Cohen tore his garments, saying, He has blasphemed. What further
need have we of witnesses? Behold, you have heard now that He has blasphemed.
(Matthew 26:59-65 HRV)
Note the phrase “Temple of El” in verse 61. This phrase never appears in the Tanak which generally has “Temple of YHWH”. Also in verse 64 “The Power” is a common euphemism for YHWH which should appear based on the fact that this verse combines Ps. 110:1 with Dan. 7:13 where YHWH does appear in Ps. 110:1. Could Yeshua have been being accused of blasphemy for having used the phrase "Temple of YHWH" could he have aggravated and confirmed the charge by citing the Ps. 110:1/Dan. 7:13 phrase with the name YHWH pronounced? The Mishnah sheds a great deal of light on the events of this trial. The Mishnah states:
He who blasphemes is liable only when he will have fully pronounced the Divine Name. Said R. Joshua ben Qorha, "on every day of the trial they examine the witnesses with a substitute name… once the trial is over, they would not put him to death with the euphemism, but they put everyone out and ask the most important of the witnesses, saying to him, "Say, what exactly did you hear?" And he says what he heard. And the judges stand on their feet and tear their clothing…
Now from this passage of the Mishnah we learn many things about Yeshua’s trial. It was normal for the witness to use a euphemism in his testimony of what Yeshua said. We also know that a charge of blasphemy required that the “offender” had "fully pronounced the Divine Name." It is therefore clear that Yeshua had been pronouncing the name of YWHH. Normally at the end of the trial the room would have been emptied and the witness asked to repeat the "blasphemy" without the euphemism. However in this case Yeshua surprised eveyone. He wanted his statement heard by all so he repeated one of his "blasphemous" statements right there in the beit din. We know that he used the actual name and not "the Power" here because it was called "blasphemy" and would not have been unless Yeshua had "fully pronounced the Divine Name." That Yeshua also spoke the name of YHWH as part of his "blasphemy" was clear from the phrase " the Chief Cohen tore his garments " which agrees exactly with the halachah of the Mishnah "And the judges stand on their feet and tear their clothing…"
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