Pastors Report - 23 Feb 2018

What's in a Name?

"... and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." (Revelation 3:12)

Elevated Titles:

It is very clear from a number of similar scriptures to the one above, that God has some very definite ideas about the names He is planning to give to His newly born Sons in the near future. But, as so often is the case, mankind would like the glory immediately – without the prior character, and the essential work required to produce it. We can even see this from time to time when important sounding titles are used to describe very ordinary roles in life: washroom attendants labelling themselves as "Personal Grooming Foremen"; dustmen being called, "Sanitation Engineers"; someone advertising himself as a "Flueologist" turning out to be a chimney sweep; or a "Delineater of the Natatorial Science" – a swimming teacher; and a "Saponaceous Compound Maker" – for someone who makes soap.

Even organisations themselves appear to be actively getting in on the act: when Bath Council in the early 1980s wanted a gravedigger they advertised under the heading, "Department of Leisure and Tourist Services". The mind boggles at that connection! In Portsmouth, a new building was officially titled a "Passenger Transport Interchange." It was a combined bus and railway station. To cap it all, a barrister who visited Leicester Crown Court's new building eventually found his client – not simply, in the cells – but rather now in the newly labelled: "Custody Suite" – where his inmate was usefully described as, "helping police with their enquiries!" These are entertaining examples, but they do show a side of human nature that we'd do well to keep an eye on.

Satan's Mindset:

But we shouldn't be surprised if mankind has a tendency towards such aggrandizement – after all, the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4), the spirit that now broadcasts to the age in which we find ourselves (Ephesians 2:2), has a history that is very similar indeed. He was, after all – as the Archangel Lucifer – the one who wanted to exalt his throne above all the rest of the angelic realm until he could lay claim to his own inflated title as, "The Most High":

  • How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
  • For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
  • I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:12-14)

The point is, there can only be a single individual who is indeed " The Most High" – yet that appears to be the title Lucifer craved – the name he coveted that went along with the position itself. But what did God do? He not only brought Lucifer down to the sides of the pit (verse 15) but also stripped him of his original name of Lucifer (the bringer of light) and instead gave him a battery of names that accurately reflected his true position – and character – from that point forward: the great Dragon (a vile and dangerous beast); that old serpent (as a snake never approaches anything in a straightforward way); the devil (slanderer, accuser with lying words); and Satan (the enemy and adversary of mankind). He has certainly been fully and aptly named by God!

  • And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)
Children of Satan:

Viewing the mindset of Satan who wanted a name he was not entitled to, it is no wonder that we also find something almost identical within those in this world who have been particularly heavily influenced by him. The apostle Paul makes this parallel very clear when describing false ministers:

  • For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
  • And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
  • Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (II Corinthians 11:13-15)

Consider for example, some of the righteous sounding pseudo-titles given to several in the religious field: Most Holy Father, Very Reverend, Your Holiness, The Venerable... titles which in reality belong to God alone!

  • Seventy weeks are determined ... to make an end of sins ... and to anoint The Most Holy (Daniel 9:24)
  • He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. (Psalm 111:9)

Christ warned His followers about the self-righteous, hypocritical and self-exaltant approach of the religious leaders of His day – the Pharisees – who loved the chief seats in the synagogue, who had trumpets blown in the temple before they made their offering. Yes, they had their reward... and very temporary it was too. In many ways, how little has changed today! Yet we, as children of God, are commanded to be different.

  • But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
  • And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
  • And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
  • But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
  • And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
  • Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
  • But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
  • And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:5-12)

This satanically-led human desire for a name came to the fore thousands of years ago. A few centuries after the Flood mankind had gathered at Babel (aptly named as "confusion") under the instigation of Nimrod, seeking to "make us a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4). However, what they sought – a great name and empire – God instead promised to Abram (meaning: exalted father), changing his name in the process to Abraham (meaning: father of a multitude) who, unlike Nimrod, was prepared to accept it on God's terms of faith and obedience, patiently waiting until God's set time.

  • And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great (Genesis 12:2)

And unlike Nimrod, who flagrantly worked against the will of God, two lowly midwives at the time of the birth of Moses came to God's attention - for their determination to obey Him and not the orders of Pharaoh and his henchmen. And because of their obedience, the whole world knows the names of these ladies...and no doubt their "houses" - their dynasties, in effect, are still alive and well today.

  • And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
  • And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.
  • But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.
  • And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
  • And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
  • Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
  • And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
Today's Last Gasp:

In a very similar way to elderly Abraham and Sarah, who were well past the age for having children, those called by God today have been deliberately chosen because they are weak"to confound the things which are mighty ... that no flesh should glory in his presence" (II Corinthians 1:27, 29) Yet we're being called and worked with in a world that is prophesied to totally embrace the Babylonian system – instigated initially under Nimrod at Babel – as its final gasp to make a name for itself in total rebellion and opposition to God.

It is therefore in such a world, just like Abraham, that we within the Church must keep our focus firmly on what is being held out to us – a new name, and the authority to match our promised position as Kings and Priests in God's everlasting kingdom. God on the other hand re-labels the entire Babylonish system that desired a name under Satan's terms for what it really is:

  • So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
  • And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
  • And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:3-5)
Good And Bad Names:

So we see both Satan and the entire system that flows from his approach, given new names by God to reflect the godless ways they have chosen. It is little wonder therefore if the Eternal – who changes not (Malachi 3:6) but remains the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) – does something very similar when choosing the eventual names of His people. Every indication is that our eternal name in the Kingdom and Family of God will really mean something – reflecting not only what has been accomplished in this life, but also the future job for which this life has trained us (John 14:2). Note this parallel between good and bad name allocation being illustrated in the words of Christ regarding someone's attitude towards God's Law:

  • Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
  • For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
  • Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

When we examine the example of Christ Himself – and His name in the Kingdom of God – one vital quality above all else is highlighted: humility before God – the essence of the first commandment:

  • Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
  • Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
  • But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
  • And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
  • Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
  • That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow ... (Philippians 2:5-10)

This humble mindset which was so evident in Christ, appears to be the crucial difference between those who try getting a name for themselves using Satan's way of incoming selfishness and those who are prepared to wait patiently for God's appropriate time. Very much contrasting the way of give and the way of get! This can be seen very plainly when the attitude of both Joseph and Daniel are compared to the frame of mind possessed by Nebuchadnezzar. With the right attitude, Joseph was able to be raised by God to become second-in-command of the most powerful nation on earth; Daniel was given revelation of a startling kind – insight into the very dreams of the King; whereas Nebuchadnezzar – with all his vanity and self-aggrandizement – was struck down to become nothing more than a mindless animal for 7 years:

  • And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.
  • And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.(Genesis 41:15,16)
  • The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?
  • Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;
  • But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days..(Daniel 2:26- 28)
  • All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.
  • At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
  • The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty ?
  • While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
  • And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. (Daniel 4:28)

It might be that we possess some great talent, some "gift" – after all, Paul said not many wise, so could we possibly be in that category? If so, it would be good to remember the following:

  • And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
  • For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (I Corinthians 4:6,7)
  • And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
  • But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth,...(Deuteronomy 8:17,18)
Our New Name:

So why the multiple names mentioned in the scripture at the beginning of this article?

  • Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
  • Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
  • He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 3:11-13)

Clearly the one who is talking – the Revelator – is Jesus Christ Himself ... who is coming quickly (verse 11). Let's examine the 3 names in turn:

"The name of my God" – in Revelation 21:7 we are told, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." As sons of the living God His name becomes our surname – we literally become part of the God Family.

"The name of the city of my God" – New Jerusalem – the most prestigious address in the universe – becomes home. Right now, Jesus Christ is preparing a place there for us – "that where I am there you may be also" (John 14:3)

"My new name" – the church ... Presently Christ's affianced bride ... will, on His return, marry Him and so take His name as His wife.

So it's not necessarily wrong to seek an exalted name – as brought out in Romans, that we by " patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honour, and immortality, eternal life;" (Romans 2:7) But God needs to know WHY we want these things....for our own vanity or in order to give to those we are being trained to serve?

This is the promise, to all those who – in God's church – collectively will make up the bride of Christ... Provided we seek that exalted name God's way;

  • Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
  • I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever. (Psalm 45:16-17)

What a future! What a name!