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By Wang Xiao
When it comes to God’s name, some brothers and sisters say that God’s name is Jehovah, for it is written in: “Jehovah … is My name for ever, and this is My memorial to all generations” (Exodus 3:15), and some say that God is called Jesus, because the Bible records: “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). Some, however, have recently seen a verse from the Book of Revelation, chapter 1, verse 8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,” from which it can be seen that God will name Himself the Almighty. This confounds many people: Why does God’s name change? Why does God take these names? What’s the significance of God taking them?
Actually, if we want to understand this aspect of the truth, we first have to know how God’s names are derived. In this way, the questions will be easily resolved.
A passage in one book says: “God originally had no name. He only took on one, or two, or many names because He had work to do and had to manage mankind” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)”). These words made me think of what was recorded in Genesis: When God created the heavens and earth and all things, He had no name, but was simply God. For example, when the Israelites prayed to God in the earliest times, they called God “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” The name Jehovah was the name God used when He led the Israelites out of Egypt and began the work of the Age of Law. Just as it is written in the Bible: “And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial to all generations” (Exodus 3:13–15).
This is the source of the name Jehovah, the first name that God took. From that time on, God used the name Jehovah to begin the work of the Age of Law, to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, and to guide their lives in the wildness. He issued forth laws and commandments to the Israelites through which He made them aware of their sins, and let them learn to build altars, give offerings, confess their sins and repent. At that time, as long as people prayed to the name of Jehovah, they could gain God’s care, protection and guidance. The Israelites lived under the guidance of Jehovah God for generation after generation, until the Age of Law ended. Late in the Age of Law, people were becoming more and more corrupted by Satan, ever more laws and commandments failed to be kept, even the temple had become a place to trade livestock and doves, and people were in constant danger of being put to death by the laws. However, God took mercy on man and loved man, and couldn’t bear to see man be destroyed in such a way. Therefore, He brought an end to the Age of Law in which He led man with the name of Jehovah, and He changed His name to Jesus to launch the work of redeeming mankind. God incarnated in the form of the
With this fellowship, I trust that many brothers and sisters have understood that God originally had no name. It was only because God wanted to save mankind after being corrupted by Satan that He gave Himself names based on His work and man’s requirements then. God’s name in the Age of Law was Jehovah, and in the Age of Grace it was Jesus.
So, what’s the significance of God’s names? The book says: “In each age and each stage of work, My name is not baseless, but holds representative significance: Each name represents one age. ‘Jehovah’ represents the Age of Law, and is the honorific for the God worshiped by the people of Israel. ‘Jesus’ represents the Age of Grace, and is the name of the God of all those who were redeemed during the Age of Grace.” “‘Jehovah’ is the name that I took during My work in Israel, and it means the God of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) who can take pity on man, curse man, and guide the life of man. It means the God who possesses great power and is full of wisdom. ‘Jesus’ is Emmanuel, and it means the sin offering that is full of love, full of compassion, and redeems man. He did the work of the Age of Grace, and represents the Age of Grace, and can only represent one part of the management plan” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’”).
From these two passages, we can see that every name God adopts represents a different age and has a different meaning, and that they represent the work God does and the disposition He expresses in that age. Jehovah was God’s fixed name in the Age of Law when He led the Israelites and represented His disposition of burning and curse. At that time, God did the work of guiding people in their lives and teaching them to worship God. The name Jesus existed for the sake of the redemption of the whole of mankind, and the disposition represented was love and mercy. In that age, the Lord Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons, He made man confess and repent, and He performed the work of redemption. It is clear from this that, each time God carries out a stage of His work, He takes on a new name, which has its own particular significance and reveals to us humans the disposition He wants to express in that age, so that we can better know Him. But we should be clear that though God’s name has changed, His essence, His authority, His power, His love for mankind and His desire to save man will never change.
Based on the steps of God’s work, God will carry out new work in the last days, and so He will change His name. Just as the Bible predicted: “Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God: and I will write on him My new name” (Revelation 3:12). “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8). We can see from the prophecies that when God returns in the last days, He will take a new name, which could well be the Almighty. Under this name, God will express truth and perform new work. These mysteries will be personally revealed by God Himself.
Through the passages and verses above, we ought to understand that God’s names exist because of His work of saving man and have their own particular significance.
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By Kally Pastors and elders always tell us that all the words in the Bible are God’s words and that the Bible is given by inspiration of God. As the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). So, we have been holding the belief that everything in the Bible is the word of God. But today, when studying the Bible together with Sister Qi, I gained a new knowledge of this notion. When we read several passages of the scriptures, Sister Qi said that there are not only the words of God but also the words of man, of the serpent, of Satan, and of an ass in the Bible. And then she showed the following verses to me. Genesis 3:1: “And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” This is what the serpent said to Eve. Job 2:2: “And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” This is what Satan said to God. Numbers 22:30: “And the ass said to Balaam, Am not I your ass, on which you have ridden ever since I was your to this day? was I ever wont to do so to you?” This is what an ass said to his master. After reading these verses, I couldn’t help but feel confused in my heart: Right, these are not the words of God but are the words of Satan, of the serpent, and of an ass. Then why did Paul say that all scripture is given by God? Why do the pastors and elders say that everything in the Bible is God’s word? Sister Qi seemed to have read my mind and then shared some knowledge with me. She said, “In fact, in the Bible, we find that God never said that everything in the Bible is His word, nor did the Holy Spirit testify it. The saying ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God’ only represents Paul’s personal knowledge instead of God’s will. And the belief pastors and elders hold is just based on the words of Paul, not God. We believers in God should view everything according to God’s words.” Hearing this, I nodded my agreement. She then said, “Now we understand that not all the words in the Bible are God’s words. Then, what parts of the Bible are God’s words? I think it’s necessary for us to clarify this issue.” Thereupon, we continued the discussion. Sister Qi went on, “In the Bible, only the words spoken by Jehovah God, the words Jehovah God instructed Moses to say, the words God asked the prophets to convey, the words said by the Lord Jesus, and the prophecies God revealed to John in Revelation are God’s words; apart from these, the biographies of man and letters of apostles are all man’s words. They only represent their personal experiences and knowledge, not God’s words, and moreover cannot be said to be the word of God. “Let’s take a look at all the words that God enlightened the prophets. To differentiate God’s words from prophets’ words, the words of God conveyed by the prophets are always first marked ‘the LORD has spoken’ or ‘thus said the LORD’ according to God’s will. For example, Exodus 16:23: ‘And he said to them, This is that which the LORD has said …’; Ezekiel 5:8: ‘Therefore thus said the Lord GOD …’; and Jeremiah 7:20: ‘Therefore thus said the Lord GOD …’ etc. Aren’t these all facts? Are you able to accept this?” I nodded and answered, “Yes, I can.” Thank the Lord! Today, I have obtained these gains from studying the Bible together with Sister Qi. Well, brothers and sisters in the Lord, have you also understood these? If you want to know more about the mysteries of the Bible, read more on our God and the Bible page, or in the following articles. Does Believing in the Lord Means to Believe in the Bible What Kind of Book Is the Bible? Who Wrote the Bible?
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