It is a Name which embraces grace and glory, love and holiness, mercy and majesty. The numerous references to it in the Book of inspiration lead us on expectantly, until we at last behold its infinite splendours expressing themselves fully in the Lord Jesus—Jehovah the Saviour. In the last book of the Bible, in that section of it which delineates the decline of the assemblies from first love to indifference as to Christ, we are shown those who are approved of God in the midst of the failure, for they keep His Word and do not deny His Name (see Rev. 3:8). It is important, therefore, to know this Name so that we may be loyal to it, and thus be pleasing to God.
At the very start we found salvation through its gracious merit—“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Did our sins cause us to tremble at the thought of the judgment-day?—With what refreshing and peace-giving joy the assuring words of the Holy Spirit come home to our hearts—“Your sins are forgiven you for His Name’s sake” (1 John 2:12)! Again, our faith was encouraged as we read those wonderful words of 1 John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” Moreover, we were led on to make our requests known to God in that precious Name through which salvation, forgiveness and life are ours. And words fail to express the deep rejoicing which filled our hearts when we discovered the truth and experienced the reality of Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered together unto My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” We have rich cause to sing:
“As chords of music to the ear
Bring strains of joyful sound,
There is a Name of grace and cheer
To those who Christ have found.”
The servants of our Lord Jesus Christ also have that all-prevailing Name to sustain them in their labours. Like those at the beginning, “for the Name have they gone forth taking nothing of those of the nations” (3 John 7 N.Tr.). Such are to be received and helped, we are told, and to be set on their way worthily of God. They take nothing from the unconverted, for they uphold the honour of “the Name” of Him they serve. They preach in His Name the glad tidings of the grace of God, as, like Peter, they proclaim, “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). They also baptize in His Name as we further read in verse 48, “He commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord.” Whether it be a mile away or ten thousand miles away, whether surrounded by the wiles of Satan or the ragings of His violence, those who serve for the Name alone—having their headquarters where Christ is at God’s right hand—announce, “Whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” And if sufferings beset these faithful servants, they will be “filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost,” for they are serving in the way of the will of God, knowing that the Gospel is sent to take out of the nations “a people for His Name” (Acts 15:14). Therefore, like others they rejoice that they are “counted worthy to be dishonoured for the Name” (Acts 5:41, N.Tr.)! This path of faith is recompensed even now by the joy of God, even as the Lord’s “Well done!” will richly reward it in the coming day. Nothing which is done in His Name will be overlooked.
All saints may share in the peculiar sweetness of this pathway surely, for is it not written, “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake”? and if joy unspeakable is found here, what shall be said of that glorious day when those who have served Him on earth, shall see His face, and His Name shalt be in their forehead? Then, indeed, from all the redeemed shall be reflected in Divine radiance the glory of Christ; He shall be seen glorified in them, and His beauty, shining far through the vast realms of reconciliation and majesty, shall be admired in them as they show forth the excellencies of His Name.
Someone may inquire, What is meant by “THE NAME”? Seeing the Holy Spirit makes so much of it in the Sacred Writings, it is indeed well to seek and secure understanding as to this. The Name is that which sets forth Who and What the Lord is. James designates it “the excellent Name which has been called upon You” (2:7, N.Tr.). Little by little its wealth is shown in the Old Testament, always encouraging the believer with the fact that its vast treasures will eventually be fully disclosed; and so it has come to pass in the Person of our glorious Saviour, named in the first chapter of the New Testament, Jesus—Jehovah the Saviour, and Emmanuel, God with us; and in the last book of the inspired volume, “Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” In the Name, then, we have an infinite and unfading inheritance opened out for our faith to possess as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Himself.
If various Names are used in the Word, to instruct us as to Who and What God is, we find all their distinctions blending in Christ, and God fully declared by Him. Does the Bible first give us the name of plural majesty, “Elohim,” the Name of the being of God? Does it speak of Him as “El,” the strong and mighty One? Does it disclose Him to be “El Shaddai,” the all-sufficient God? Does it tell us His memorial to all generations, His wonderful personal Name, “Jehovah,” who was, who is and is to come, and use it more than any other Name, about 7000 times? Does the Word of God speak of Him as “Jah,” sublime One, and “Adon,” the Lord and Master, and “Ehyeh,” along with other generic, official and compound names? Then all their infinite greatness, grace and glory rest in Christ and yield their marvellous disclosures in Him. He is the Word of God, the exact Expression of all that He is, the Effulgence of His glory, and the Image of the invisible God Himself.
The harmonies of His great Name
Are all disclosed in Christ,
And He—from age to age the same—
Our longings has sufficed.”
It should be observed that “name” and “glory” are intimately associated in Scripture, as indeed they are also in common parlance. The mention of such a name as Alexander the Great is at once associated in the mind not only with family distinction, but also with military fame, as well as with certain outstanding traits of character. Now when God came down upon the mount and declared His Name JEHOVAH to Moses in answer to His prayer, “Show me Thy glory,” He gave to Moses a partial revelation of that which distinguished His glorious Name, as He proclaimed, “Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. And Moses made haste and bowed his head to the earth, and worshipped” (Ex. 34:6-8).
In passing we should notice that sin, transgression and iniquity are kept distinct. The last and not the first (as is invariably said) was to be visited upon the children. The difference is very important. Today it is exhorted in 2 Timothy 2, “Let every one who names the Name of the Lord withdraw from iniquity” (N.Tr.). This is a necessity if we are to rightly appreciate the full declaration of the Name and glory now made known in our Lord Jesus Christ.
The apostle had to blame the saints at Corinth because of their unspiritual state, but he also told them the way of improvement by “looking on the glory of the Lord with unveiled face” (2 Cor. 3:18, N.Tr.). The reference is to what was shown to Moses. We are changed as we behold the Lord’s glory. Some have made the mistake of the mystic, and said it is beholding the Lord in glory. No, it is His moral glory; not His present position. Having secured eternal redemption for us through His sacrifice and blood-shedding, and having been raised again from among the dead, He is truly in glory—exalted to the throne of God; but it is the marvellous moral perfections which shone out in Him, “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” which we are to behold. As we are apart from the mist and murk of the unrighteousness which is not in accord with His Name, we shall then be able clearly to behold His glory, and that with a very salutary effect upon our own condition. A clear atmosphere and pure air are always beneficial. Over and over again we find this principle illustrated in the old Testament; and of the separate man, who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, the Psalmist sings, “I will set him on high because he has known My Name” (Ps. 91:14).
We find, however, a contrast in Jonah. Sent by Jehovah to the Gentiles, his Jewish exclusiveness got the better of his feelings, and he did not want to go. He knew something of the Lord’s Name and glory, enough to convince him that His mercy was not confined to Israel. When therefore the Ninevites were not punished, because they repented, Jonah was “exceedingly displeased” and complained to the Lord, Was not this my saying when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of the evil.” The fact is, Jonah was more zealous of his own reputation and name than that of his Lord’s in this case, and he therefore found himself beset with trouble and sorrow on all sides, because it led him to act inconsistently with what he knew of the Lord’s Name. Many are in the same position today. Faith, however, shines out in Abraham when he names the place of burnt-offering, “Jehovah-jireh;” and in Moses when he calls the Lord, “Jehovah-ropheka:” and names an altar “Jehovah-nissi;” and in Gideon, too, when he calls another altar, “Jehovah-shalom;” also in the sweet singer of Israel when he writes of “Jehovah-rohj” (Ps. 23:1); likewise in Jeremiah and Ezekiel as they speak of “Jehovah-tsidkenu” and “Jehovah-shamah;” and in others who knew His Name and applied it practically, for they put their trust in Him and acted consistently with it. Indeed in the last book of the Old Testament we read of a faithful remnant finding their all in Him as they “thought upon His Name” (Mal. 3:16), and we are told how pleasing this was to Him whose Name they so prized.
We need not wonder, therefore, if the Spirit of God shows us this Divinely approved remnant fresh and bright through dwelling together upon who and what the Lord is in Himself, amidst the incorrigible corruptions of Judaism at the close of Old Testament days, and if He shows us at the close of the New Testament, when the assemblies have degenerated past recovery, those who are well-pleasing to Christ amidst the general decline and departure from the truth, saying to them, “Thou hast kept My Word and hast not denied My Name.” How cheering are such words to loyal believers. But we need to know that Name better, as we have said, having wisdom and spiritual understanding in regard to what it designates, if we are to be consistent therewith and not deny what it stands for. Children are rightly taught to honour the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, but they are unable naturally to apprehend what it enfolds. Some seeing the holiness of it, however, are apt in their religious zeal to deny by their actions the grace of it, while others, rejoicing in its grace, are often in danger of being inconsistent with its holiness.
The individual is told to withdraw from unrighteousness if he names the Lord’s Name, and in gathering together unto His Name, those who are thus in separation to the Lord Himself may know His presence in the midst of them; and while they call upon the Lord together out of a pure heart, they are also exhorted to “follow righteousness, faith, love, peace,” for these are the things which accord with that worthy Name. The true servant of Christ, too, goes forth “FOR THE NAME,” as we have seen, and upholds its honour in his ways as well as in his words.
“True to Thy Word and loyal to Thy Name,
Would we be found till Thou dost come to claim
Thy blood-bought bride and take th’ assembly home,
Ere strikes ‘the hour of trial’—‘the wrath to come.’