My cousin has gotten involved with a group and is beginning to think of himself as a Jew. What do I do?


But I’m worried about my cousin. He accepts anything that anyone says to him. He believes in conspiracies blindly.

There’s a Jewish guy who preaches with videos on the Internet, who claims that the Bible is untrustworthy and that Rome introduced heresies into it. He said that “Deus” comes from “Zeus”. Deus means God in my language, Portuguese.

My cousin is even talking like the guy talks. He doesn’t say Deus anymore, only calls Him Elohim or Altissimo ("Most High" in Portuguese). He said that every time I call God “Deus” I'm calling Him Zeus. Do you have any way for me to show him that it’s not true?

He doesn’t believe me when I say that the New Testament was written in Greek. He’s sure it was in Hebrew and Aramaic. I’ve showed him trustworthy web sites, but that guy’s word is more valuable.

And about Jesus’s name. Is it Yeshua or Iessus? He’s going paranoid over it. I’m scared he’s becoming a Jew.


Your cousin has gotten involved with a group that is commonly called Messianic Jews. There is a wide variety of these people, but there are common characteristics. All want to bind at least portions of the Old Testament on Christians today. Some will go so far as to say that the Old Testament is for the Jews and the New Testament is for the Gentiles. They then find some obscure reason to claim that they and whoever wants to follow them are really Jews who did not realize it before.

They remind me a lot of the Gnostics in the early church -- people who claim to have secret knowledge that isn't available to the rest of the world.

Since the Old Testament is everything to these people, some branches throw out all the works of Paul, since he was the apostle to the Gentiles (and the one who most clearly stated that the Old Law was no longer in effect). They also want to claim that the New Testament was written in Hebrew or Aramaic so they can claim that verses which they don't agree with are "mistranslated." (There's that secret knowledge again.) The fact that all the evidence shows the New Testament was written in Greek and that there are no ancient Hebrew or Aramaic texts, except those which were translations of the Greek text, well, it just doesn't make a difference because they know more than everyone else.

Since you said your cousin had a weakness for conspiracy theories, I'm not surprised that he has gotten pulled in by one of these groups. Their type of teaching is just the kind to appeal to someone of that mind-set. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (II Timothy 4:3-4). The real root to his problem is that he doesn't love truth, he loves "knowing" things that other people don't know. It is really a form of pride. "We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know" (I Corinthians 8:1-2).

The only thing I know to do is to show him the truth. When he makes a claim, research it and show him that it doesn't match the facts. He'll respond in one of two ways, he'll start to doubt the garbage he is being fed, or he will decide you are a part of the conspiracy. "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). It might take years to get through to him, if you manage to do so at all. Be nice, be kind, but be firm in wanting only truth from him.

"Jesus" is just the transliteration of the Greek word that phonetically spelled Jesus' name was it was pronounced in Aramaic. Since this spelling was given by the Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of the New Testament in Greek, there is nothing wrong with "Jesus." But if you are interested in pronunciation, a friend of mine who is far more knowledgeable in languages than I am answered this question: "Which is the better way to pronounce Jesus' name: Yahsua or Yeshua?" But the name Jesus is an English word referring to the Greek word ??s???. That it is no longer pronounced the same as the Greeks said it doesn't change the fact that this is the word we use to refer to Jesus' name.

This is one of the Messianic Jews' focus. They take the command not to take God's name in vain to such an extreme that they are afraid of mispronouncing it or even to use it. Many Messianic Jews won't write "God," they'll put "G--" instead. This way they claim they are never missing using God's name since they won't use any word meaning God. Ironically, for them G-- is their misspelling of God's name in English. Which is more polite to someone, calling him by his name or deliberately misspelling his name?

So what if the origin of the Portuguese word for God (Deus) derives from the Latin word for God (Deus) which was borrowed from the Greeks, who called their chief God "Zeus," which is ?e?? (zdes) in classical Greek or ?e?? (des) in Aeolic Greek or ??? (dios) in Koine Greek, and many scholars believe the Greeks borrowed their word from the Sanskrit words dev, deva, and devta (He who provides)? In Latin Deus didn't refer to the idol god any way; the Latin name for the god called Zeus in the Greek was Jupiter in Latin. In Portuguese the word for God is Deus. It would be similar to someone being upset if I called the last day of the week "Saturday" because it came from the days of idolatry and referred to "Saturn's day." It doesn't carry that meaning in today's language.