Recently someone asked me whether the inscription (or sign) on the Cross of Yeshua formed an acronym for the Sacred Name YHVH (יהוה). This would be highly unlikely, however, despite some talk out there. Let's take a look at the Bible to find out why. Here are the relevant texts from the New Testament:
- In Matthew 27:37 the statement is: "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Greek: οὗτός ἐστιν ᾽Ιησοῦς ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾽Ιουδαίων
Hebrew: זֶה הוּא יֵשׁוּעַ מֶלֶךְ הַיְּהוּדִים - acronym = ZHYMH (זהימה)
- In Mark 15:26 the statement is simply, "THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Greek: ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾽Ιουδαίων
Hebrew: מֶלֶךְ הַיְּהוּדִים - acronym = MH (מה)
- In Luke 23:38 the statement is recorded as: "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Greek: ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾽Ιουδαίων οὗτος
Hebrew: זֶה הוּא מֶלֶךְ הַיְּהוּדִים - acronym = ZHMH (זהמה)
- In John 19:19 the statement is: "JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Greek: ᾽Ιησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν ᾽Ιουδαίων
Hebrew: יֵשׁוּעַ הַנָּצְרִי מֶלֶךְ הַיְּהוּדִים - acronymn = YHMH (יהמה)
Common to each of these is the essential descriptor: מֶלֶךְ הַיְּהוּדִים, "the King of the Jews." The only way to get YHVH (יהוה) out of the inscription on the Cross would be to go with John's account (i.e., with the prepended "Jesus of Nazareth") and then rely on a faulty Hebrew construction -- Yeshua ha-Notzri u'Melekh ha-Yehudim: YHVH. Unfortunately, this phrase would mean "Jesus of Nazareth and a king of the Jews" (or its equivalent), and while this is true (i.e., Yeshua was indeed a king of the Jewish people), this is certainly not the intent of the message of the New Covenant that Yeshua is the only rightful King of the Jews and indeed the LORD of all Lords...
Based on explicit and implicit references in the Scriptures made regarding the Messiah, we clearly affirm and understand that Yeshua is indeed none other than YHVH come in the flesh; however, because of these textual ambiguities, appealing to the Sign or Inscription of the Cross is not a fruitful way of demonstrating this fact. Shalom, chaverim.