“His Name Shall Be Jesus Christ”

Alan C. Miner

According to Hugh Nibley, there were many false Messiahs, and the Jews got all excited about them because they had missed the real one. Here in chapter 25, Nephi talks about the Messiah. Specifically in 2 Nephi 25:19 he says: "His name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God." That, of course, is a translation meaning "Jesus" (the Savior) and "Christ" (the Messiah, the Anointed One). It's a very interesting thing--only the early parts of the Book of Mormon refer to the Messiah. It's here that Nephi starts referring the Christ. He calls him Christ from here on, but earlier he's always called the Messiah, which means the same thing, of course--the Anointed One. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, p. 328]

Note* Anointing is not only the manner in which a king is elevated to his position, it is also the manner in which a person is healed--see the commentary following this by Hugh Nibley on 2 Nephi 25:20. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

“His Name Shall Be Jesus”

According to Ariel Crowley, one of the primary, startling, and distinguishing characteristics of the Book of Mormon, often assailed by its critics, is its use of the proper name "Jesus" (2 Nephi 25:19; Mosiah 3:8; Alma 7:10) as applied to the expected Messiah, many years before his birth.

There can be no doubt that the name Jesus is the English rendition of the Hebrew name Joshua. This name was borne by the illustrious successor of Moses who brought the children of Israel into the promised land (Exodus 24:13). . . . The original name of the first Joshua was Oshea (Numbers 13:16), and with prophetic significance, this name was changed by Moses to Jehoshua. The change had the effect of converting the meaning of the name from saving to Jehovah is Salvation. In later times Jehoshua was called Joshua or Jeshua, whence came the Greek form Iesous (Jesus in English) which is always used in the Greek version of the Old Testament current in the time of Christ. . . . When the name Joshua is mentioned in the New Testament, it is found written in the form Jesus (Hebrews 4:8; Acts 7:45).

Justin Martyr, a Samaritan, following the example of Jesus, began at Moses, in an effort to enlighten Trypho the Jew (Dialogue with Trypo, Ch. 75, 89), and said:

. . . Thus it is written: 'And the Lord spake to Moses, Say to this people, Behold, I send my angel before thy face to keep thee in the way, to bring thee into the land which I have prepared for thee. Give heed to him, and obey him; do not disobey him; for he will not draw back from you; for my name is in him.' [compare Exodus 23:20-21] Now understand that he who led your fathers into the land is called by this name Jesus and at first was called Auses (Oshea). For if you shall understand this, you shall likewise perceive that the name of Him who said to Moses "for my name is in him' was Jesus.

[Ariel L. Crowley, About the Book of Mormon, pp. 91-92]

Note* Thus we see that it is Jesus (Joshua) who leads the children of Israel (the children of Christ) into the Promised Land. This fact was lost on the Jews of Lehi's day as well as the Jews at the time of Christ: "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament: which veil is done away in Christ." (2 Corinthians 3:14) [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes] [See the commentary on the name Abraham -- 1 Nephi 22:9; see also the commentary on the name Israel -- 1 Nephi 15:18]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary