Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and those who own Him to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, have not learned this from flesh and blood, but the Father has revealed it to them. This we learn from the Lord’s words to Simon Peter, in Matthew 16. Upon this rock the Son of Man is building His assembly. Those who know the Father, do so because it has pleased the Son to reveal Him to them; for, apart from this, no one knows the Father at all (Matt. 11:27).
The Father’s Name has been manifested by the Son, and He has also declared (or made known) that Name. In the Lord’s prayer, recorded in John 17, He demands that preservation in that Name should be granted to those whom the Father had given Him.
Some seek for salvation and preservation in religious systems such as the Romish church, but the Holy Spirit emphasizes the fact that those are only found in Him who came in His Father’s Name. Great evils began to invade the church of God, the assembly, very early in its history, and in view of this Jude addresses “the called ones, beloved in God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ” (N.Tr.). He has made, and does make known the Father’s Name for the welfare and blessing of God’s children. It is their joy and privilege to learn of Him, as they abide in Him, and experience what it means to be kept in the Name He delights to endear to their hearts. The infinite blessedness of the grace, love and holiness of the Father—of all that He is—become increasingly known to them. While they are thus preserved in Him who makes this known to them, His own joy is fulfilled in them; and they are kept from the evil, and in oneness of purpose and pursuit, as the Father and the Son. The incorruptible riches of the Father’s Name are disclosed to this end.
“Love divine their present portion,
Heaven’s choicest store.”
In regard to men generally Romans 1:19-20 says, “What is known of God is manifest among them, for God has manifested it to them—for from the world’s creation the invisible things of Him are perceived, being apprehended by the mind through the things that are made, both His eternal power and divinity (not deity here)—so as to render them inexcusable” (N.Tr.). Then in regard to Israel, the out-called nation, in Deuteronomy 4:32-39, we read, “Ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there has been any such thing as this great thing is, or has been heard like it? Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or has God assayed to go and take Him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders? … Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that Jehovah He is God; there is none else beside Him! Out of heaven He made thee to hear His voice, that He might instruct thee … Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that Jehovah He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else!” And Exodus 34:5-7 gives Jehovah’s Name; but it was the practical denial of this Name which brought about Israel’s distresses, and caused God’s Name to be blasphemed among the Gentiles. It is the same in Christendom today as regards the Father’s Name.
Men are inexcusable if they disregard the voice of creation, speaking of God’s divinity and power. Those who are wise will seek also to know God as made known to the fathers, and to the separated nations of Israel. The supreme manifestation of the Father, however, is by the Son exclusively; who said, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” The understanding of this, and the right appreciation of it, will give colour to the children of God at the present time, when Christendom largely ignores its surpassing favour. True blessing, and preservation also, are found there, nevertheless.
Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, KEEP THROUGH THINE OWN NAME those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy Name; those that Thou gavest Me I have guarded, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. And now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves … I demand not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” Preservation, oneness, and His own joy in them, are the things Jesus desired for His own. He kept them in the Father’s Name when on earth, and now He is on high He asks the Father also to keep them in His Name. Here we may discover the Source of true preservation from the evil of the world today.
In this respect, it should be observed, God is addressed as Holy Father; preservation from the evil of an unholy world being in view. So in verse 25, when the darkness and ignorance of this sinful world are contrasted, it is Righteous Father. When life in a world of death is the subject, the Lord Jesus speaks of Him as the Living Father; and referring to the glory and the love He had known along with Him before the world was, He says in intimate nearness, “Father”; and when He had put away sin by His sacrifice, and was risen from the tomb, He connected His own with Himself in eternal relationship of love, saying, “My Father and your Father, My God and your God.”
“We bless Thee, God and Father,
We share Thy Son’s blest place;
We know Thy love and favour,
The shining of Thy face.”
And in this connection His oft-repeated words should specially be noticed—“Those whom Thou hast given Me”—for these words express how deeply and divinely the Son valued the love-gift of the Father to Himself; and show how tenderly He cares for all those who are thus His in a unique way, having been given to Him by the Father as a worthy gift—poor sinners though we were—for His Son to cherish—made suitable by divine and intimate grace; taken out of an evil world to shine resplendent for His pleasure in heavenly glory. Well may the Father’s Name be joy meanwhile, as that day draws nigh, so that we may be preserved for His pleasure.
At the very close of the Old Testament days, a picture of living interest and instruction is shown to us in Malachi 3:16. A preserved remnant, valuing Jehovah’s Name are seen in frequent converse! Nine times His “Name” is so mentioned in that short book, in which is disclosed the sinful backsliding of both priests and people! The preserved, however, make no vain attempt at national recovery! but, falling back on the Name of their faithful Jehovah, they find a uniting Theme in Himself; and “they that feared Jehovah spake often one to another”! They “thought upon His Name!” What He is was their entrancing subject! and what engaged them called forth His special interest!—“the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them!” Moreover, so precious were they in His eyes, it is recorded, “And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels!” If the Lord so valued the preserved among His people, then, what must He think of those who are preserved in the Father’s Name at the close of this day of grace? May that wondrous Name, manifested and made known by His Son, more habitually colour our converse as His coming draws nigh; and may no glamour or pride of worldly religion be permitted to rob us of our hallowed privileges.
Jehovah was often named, “The Holy One of Israel”; the Lord Jesus is often called, “The Holy One of God”; and the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, given from the Father, sent by the Son, and come Himself, is named, “The Holy Spirit.” In His prayer for our preservation, as we have pointed out, the Lord addressed God as “Holy Father”; for, although infinite grace and love mark that precious Name, holiness does also. Another vivid picture in the Old Testament strikingly emphasizes this. When Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, he heard one seraphim cry to another, “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of hosts” (Isa. 6:1-8). John 12:41 says the glory of Jesus was seen then—“These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him.” The King is there named; in Acts 28:25 it says, the Holy Spirit then spoke through Isaiah; and the description, “Holy, holy, holy,” is doubtless descriptive of our thrice holy God, for there it is also said, “Who will go for US?”
The children of God today are asked to “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us”; the eternal and unchanging relation of children having been given to us by that love. Therefore we may well sing with grace and melody in our hearts
“O Holy Father, keep us here
In that blest Name of love,
Walking before Thee without fear,
Till all be joy above.”
Salvation and the life eternal are ours now through Him who has made known the Father’s Name! What a contrast this is to the condemnation and death which accompanied the law-giving to Israel and the proclamation of Jehovah’s Name! for if the announcing of the law was followed by the death of 3000, the introduction of saving grace with the gift of the Spirit was blessed by the salvation of 3000! God’s Name of grace and love has been disclosed! The Father is seen in the Son! His words, the words of life, have been uttered! When Jesus said, “No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father,” many ceased to follow Him; but Simon Peter said, “Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of life eternal: and we have believed and known that Thou art the Holy One of God.” The Son making known the Father’s Name and the words of eternal life go together. Peter was preserved by the Son in the Name of the Father.