The Name is Unknown God

A historical event recorded in the Bible in Acts 17:16-32 describes that as the Apostle Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy to join him from Thessalonica, he was perturbed by the idolatory prevalent in the Hellenistic culture at Athens, that he observed as he walked around the city.  The Athenians were so superstitious that Paul observes that they even had an altar with the inscription TO AN UNKNOWN GOD in dedication to Agnostos Theos that is Unknown God (Acts 17:23). Paul uses this opportunity to reveal to the folks in Athens that this unknown god that they worship is indeed Jesus, the One and Only God, who is the Creator and the Lord of heaven and earth (vs 24), the provider of ALL life and breath and ALL things (vs 25), omniscient of ALL things that occur in one’s life (vs 26), who can be found if you seek Him (vs 27), for we belong to him as his offspring (vs 28), who commands us to shed our ignorance of Him and repent lest we be judged in righteousness when He returns in His ordained time for He is THE God who conquered death and was resurrected from the dead (vs 30-31). In other words, Paul was saying that Jesus Christ, the resurrected One is the UNKNOWN God, whom the Athenians ignorantly worshiped and it was time for them to seek Him and know Him.

Well this is Biblical, but is there another reference in the Scripture (a hidden treasure) that can substantiate this? Note how Paul talks about the return of Jesus to judge the world in righteousness. Revelation 19:11-16 records that the rider on the white horse (referring to Jesus) will come to make war and to judge in righteousness (vs 11) , but when Jesus returns, he will come with many names such as Faithful and True (vs 11), The Word of God (vs 13) and KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS  (vs 16), but what is most interesting is that He also had a name that was written (inscribed), a name that no man knew (vs 12), an UNKNOWN name. So in essence, we can deduce that the altar with the inscription, to an UNKNOWN GOD essentially could be rewritten as Paul (the Apostle and humble me) expresses as “TO JESUS”.

Today there are many who are after Unknown Gods. There is no dearth for “isms” in our culture today. From aethism to polytheism, the spectrum spreads. There are many gods that people ignorantly worship. A point to ponder over is if our lives are the Altar of the living God, are people seeing in our lives, the inscription “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” or are they seeing in our lives, the inscription “TO JESUS”? Think about it. The Name is Unknown God, but it is our responsibility to make The Name that is above every other name, known to those who are seeking or those who are ignorantly chasing after unknown gods.

I AM the Truth

The facade of the Main Building at the University of Texas (known colloquially as the UT Tower) has the inscription that stands out boldly – “Ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free“. We may have heard umpteen number of sermons that expressed that the Truth shall make us free, but is that really true? I think we are missing half the point, it is not the the Truth that really makes us free, although the Truth can, but it is the knowing of the Truth.

John 14:6 records one of Jesus’ compound ‘I AM’ sayings, in which He affirmed, I AM the way, the truth, and the life. In defining ‘truth’, Jesus did not objectify it by saying, the truth is this or the truth is that, but He personified it but saying that ‘I AM’ the truth. In a world that is rife with falsity of hope, there stands one absolute, and that is Jesus, THE Truth.

In the events that unfolded leading to the crucifixion of Jesus, one of the most important questions that was asked of Jesus, but pitiable not answered was the question by Pilate, when he questioned Jesus, asking “What is the Truth?” (John 18:38). If only Pilate had waited to hear what Jesus had to said, He would have heard the response “I AM, I AM the Truth and in knowing me, the Truth, I shall set you free. Pilate, you may feel that you have control over me and my freedom, but I am the LORD of Freedom, because I am the Truth and the Truth makes those in captive free (John 8:32). I am only your captive, because God has allowed this to be. I AM the truth and there is none other. Know me and in knowing me you shall be free, free from the pressures of pleasing the Romans officials, or caving in to the peer pressures of the Jews, and free to heed to the dream/vision your wife had, which was to have nothing to do with me.”

But like many today, Pilate sadly did not wait to listen to the answer of that question – What is the Truth? In a world that is filled with addiction and bondage to sin and self, there is only one way to be free. If we need to be set free from our bondage of the flesh that is weak (though the Spirit is willing), all we need to do is know Jesus. Jesus said, you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free. He also said, I AM the truth. And so in essence, we can deduce that it is accurate to state – You shall know Jesus (THE Truth) and Jesus (THE Truth) shall make you free. He said, I AM the Truth and there is no other, none at all.

UT Tower Facade Inscription

The Name is Savior

Numbers 13:16 records that Moses rechristened the mighty military warrior Oshea (meaning Salvation) to Jehoshua (meaning Jehovah is Salvation). Jehoshua is commonly known as Joshua, who delivered (brought Salvation) Israel in 3 military campaigns from 30+ enemy armies. Though Joshua (Or Oshea) lead the military campaigns, he depended on Jehoshua and it was Jehoshua that was the Salvation for His people.

Matthew 1:21 records that the name that was ordained to be given to the Son of God, before his birth is Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins. Luke 2:11, records that upon the birth of the Son of God, the promulgation stated that For us (unto you)  is born this day, in the City of David,  a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

Jesus said, I and the Father are One (John 10:30). We see this even in the Name – Savior. There is no other Savior besides the LORD God the Father (Isaiah 43:11) and Jesus means Savior. This accentuates the fact that Jehovah (God the Father) and Jesus are one in essence, with different personalities and the fact remains that God is Salvation and His name is Savior. I even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no Savior (Isaiah 43:11) and the Savior born is Christ (Jesus), the Lord.

As a good shepherd willingly lays down his life to snatch a sheep from the mouth of  a lion, Jesus (the Savior) laid down his life to snatch us (the sheep) from the mouth of a lion (the devil who is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour).  The life and death question now is this – Do you the Name? Do you know Jesus as your Savior? God will save you/me from your/my sin and the devil, if we ask him to. The Name is Savior.

I AM the Resurrection, and the life

Auguste Comte, the founder of French sociology and the philosophy of positivism, once told British essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle that he was going to start a new religion to replace Christianity. ‘Very good’, replied Carlyle, ‘all you have to do is to be crucified, rise again, and get the world to believe that you are still alive. Then your new religion will have a chance.’

Jesus Christ said, I AM the resurrection and the life and if anyone believes in me, even though he is dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25). The Resurrection is fundamental and the most distinctive hope of all who follow Christ. Without resurrection, all hope is vain (1 Corinthians 15:19). Just as Christ rose from the dead, we shall all be resurrected as well. It is important to note that some will be resurrected to life while others (who have done evil) will be resurrected to damnation (John 5:29). Furthermore, the scripture records that the early church apostles and disciples, and this generation’s people such as Graham Staines and his children, Richard Wurmbrand (founder of Voice of the Martyrs) etc who refused to accept deliverance but were martyred for their allegiance to Jesus Christ, in the line duty will obtain a better resurrection (Hebrews 11:25). They chose death over life so that they may be experience a better resurrection.

Many today choose to live dead lives refusing to believe in Jesus. When we believe in Jesus, we are spiritually resurrected from death and a day of reckoning is coming when we shall physically be resurrected as well (1 Corinthians 15). Those who believe in Jesus have no reason to fear physical death (state of sleep) or spiritual death (eternal separation from God), and can be assured that there will be a translation of their ephemeral physical bodies into celestial bodies that will be eternal. Those who do not believe in Jesus have everything to dread because without Jesus there is no resurrection and no life. Jesus said, I AM the resurrection and the life and only in Him is life, abundant life.

The Name is Quickening Spirit

1 Corinthians 15:45 reads as follows – “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” In fact, this is the only place in the Bible where “Quickening Spirit” is found. In the context in which this is written, Apostle Paul is writing to clarify and guarantee the reality of resurrection (hope in Christ in the life to come), without which the condition of ALL is most pitiable (miserable) as expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:19.

Quickening Spirit is life-giving spirit! This makes me wonder, if the first man Adam was made in the image of God who is eternal, then why is there a need for a life-giving spirit. The breath of God was breathed into Adam and Adam was made a living soul (Genesis 2:7) but his body was fashioned from lifeless (dead) dust. Genetically (or in the natural sense), as sons of Adam we inherit this. When we are born as sons of the first man Adam, we are born in the natural sense with living souls and bodies that will to perish or decay to dust. On the other hand, The last Adam (Jesus) in the beginning was God, was with God and  is God (John 1:1), and from everlasting to everlasting is God (Psalm 90:2), the Lord from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47). And when we believe in Jesus Christ, the last Adam, the quickening spirit, our lifeless bodies will be translated (changed) in the resurrection (not reconstruction) so that it will never perish, but have eternal life. When we believe in Jesus Christ, we are born again with Jesus, the life-giving spirit in us and this life-giving spirit cannot die, for Jesus has conquered death by His resurrection.

Just as the progeny of a serpent has to be a serpent and one of a lion has to be lion, as sons of man (the first man Adam) we are made physically with a perishable mold and as sons of God, who is spirit (John 4:24) we are transformed into a new creature spiritually (2 Corinthians 5:17) , bearing the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:49) with imperishable and eternal nature.

In conclusion, if Quickening = Life-giving and God = Spirit then Quickening Spirit = Life-giving God and Jesus said that if any one believes in me, though he were dead yet shall he live (John 11:25). Jesus is THE One and Only Life-giving God. The Name is Quickening Spirit.

For a related reading – see Teach us to number our days

The Name is Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6 lists among the various names given to Jesus (Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, The everlasting Father), a name which reads “The Prince of Peace”. Well if Jesus is the Prince of Peace, then who is the King of Peace?

The scripture gives us clues as to who this is! First, the scriptures lets us know that God is the King of Peace and so his son must be the Prince of Peace, and secondly it also proves that Jesus is indeed God and so He is not only the Prince of Peace but also the King of Peace.

Let’s first look at “God is the King of Peace, Jesus His son is the Prince of Peace“. I was asking my wife, Sangeetha as to what this “Prince of Peace” could mean and she mentioned that whenever, she is anxious about anything, she finds peace when she starts to focus on God, instead of the situation. This reminded me of Isaiah 26:3, which talks about God (the LORD) who will keep in PERFECT Peace, those whose minds are stayed (focus) on Him. This would mean that the one who is the originator of PERFECT peace is God, the Father, the King and the Son of God would obviously be known as the Prince of Peace. This actually is a testament to the sonship of Jesus Christ, just as much as it is a directive for us to have our eyes focused and fixed on God.

Secondly, “Let’s look at Jesus as God and if that is so, He is the King of Peace”. Hebrews 6:20 talks about Jesus, the High Priest in the order of Melchisedec. Who is this Melchisedec? Hebrews 7:1 records of the incident that occured in Genesis 14, wherein this priest named Melchizedek (Melchisedec), priest of the most High God, blessed Abraham giving bread and wine (Genesis 14:18). Hebrews 7:2 qualifies Melchisedec as the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace (Salem). Hebrews 7:3 is critical because it talks about Melchisedec having no earthly heritage, but who was made like unto the Son of God (Jesus). Jesus is our high priest and he blesses each of us, by giving us his body (bread) and blood (wine). Jesus is not only the King of Righteousness, but He is also the King of Peace. Jesus was the Son of God, without father, without mother, without descent, no beginning of days or end of life (alpha and omega). These facts recorded point to the fact that Jesus is indeed the Melchisedec of Abraham’s days, and that means Jesus is not just the Prince of Peace but He is also the King of Peace.

The Name is Only begotten Son

John 3:16 reads “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in  him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. Jesus is the only begotten Son.

Jesus is only implies his uniqueness. I know of none other who walked on water, who was not only sinless but also blameless for his accusers could find no fault in him, who died and came back to life again. Can you think of any other?

Jesus is the begotten. One of the definitions in Merriam-Webster’s for the word ‘begotten’ is ‘to produce especially as an effect’. As the begotten of God, Jesus is the very image (effect) of God (Hebrews 1:3). He was not created (made) in the image of God but He is God. Even though, Joseph and Mary were commissioned to play the part of Jesus’ earthly parents, Jesus is the manifestation of the essence of God, the Father. In fact, Jesus said that whoever has seen Him has indeed seen the Father.

Jesus is the Son, the only one of whom, God made a promulgation that Jesus was his beloved Son, with whom God was well pleased.

The only begotten Son of God made way for us to be blameless before the throne of God, having borne our sinfulness and through the shedding of His blood imputed righteousness on us, so that we can be adopted into the family of God, to live as God’s sons and daughters. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9).

For a related reading – see I had no father, but God

The Name is Nazareth’s Prophet

Matthew 21:11 records that when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem, ALL of the city was moved and questioned, Who is this? to which the multitude responded “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee”. Did you ever stop to think as to why there was a need to qualify that Jesus was from Nazareth? I believe that  it is so recorded in the scriptures which is all God inspired, penned by men, because the divine Author did not want to leave room for any speculation as to the identity of Jesus. It was this Jesus that was hunted as an outlaw when he was a child and His earthly father Joseph, fearing Archelaus (Herod’s son) did not return to Israel but fled to Nazareth and it was this same Jesus that you see walking from Galilee (where Nazareth is) to Jordan when He came to be baptized by John the Baptist, and even in the betrayal in the garden, Jesus questioned not once but twice as to whom they sought and the officers of the Jews and the high priests replied  ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and it is this same Jesus who endured the cross that held on it an inscription in three languages which read, Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.

A noteworthy and interesting finding in my research on this Name led me to the Hitchcock’s Bible Names dictionary, wherein, it is mentioned that Nazareth means separated, crowned and sanctified.

Nazareth means separated. Jesus was in a sense separated from God at which time he cried out ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34). This He joyfully endured because Jesus did not want us (man) to be God-forsaken or separated from God and now there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, the separated prophet (Romans 8:38,39).

Nazareth means crowned. Jesus was crowned a crown of thorns (John 19:2) before his crucifixion but God crowned Him with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9) befitting a conquering King (Revelation 6:2, 14:14, 19:12).

Nazareth means sanctified. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines ‘sanctify’ as ‘to be set apart to a sacred purpose or to a religious use‘ or ‘to be free from sin’. Jesus in John 17 prays for Himself, His disciples and for all believers in which he makes the statement that He sanctifies himself so that all his disciples may be sanctified as well (John 17:19). Jesus is Holy and sinless and so he did not have to pray that He had to be made free from sin when he expressed that He sanctifies Himself. He was set apart to the sacred purpose of becoming salvation to all mankind so that we can become the same as well.

Jesus the prophet of Nazareth is indeed the separated, crowned and sanctified prophet of God. The name is Nazareth’s prophet.

The Name is Morning Star

In Revelation 22:16, Jesus proclaims that He is THE bright and Morning Star.  The New International Version and a few other translations, refer to Lucifer (the adversary) as the morning star (Isaiah 14:12) which is a misnomer. The King James version which is the closest to the original text renders this verse, which is more accurate as ‘O Lucifer, son of the morning’. Jesus is THE ONE and ONLY MORNING STAR.

Morning stars according to astronomy are stars that are visible mainly during the morning hours due to the nature of their orbits around the earth. Venus and Mercury are examples of morning stars and most of us have probably had the opportunity to see Venus against a back-lit sky. Morning stars signal what is to come (like the dawn or the change of seasons). What is also noteworthy is that unlike the sun that radiates (does not reflect), stars in addition to having light of their own, they reflect the light of the sun.

Jesus is THE bright and Morning Star who not only has light on His own (for He is the Light of the World), but He reflects the glory of God the Father (for He is the image of the invisible God). His presence signals the dawn of a new age (for He makes all things new); an age in which there is no need anymore for sacrifice to redeem man (as Jesus is the final sacrifice) and one in which man has direct access to God, those who are lame can walk in newness of life, the broken-hearted are healed, the captives are set free, sight is restored to those who cannot see, and all who are in bondage are liberated.

So where do we stand today? If you seek a new beginning, look unto Him in whom everyone becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and who goes by The Name, bright and Morning Star.

I AM the Light of the world

The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century which is expected to last nearly seven minutes is expected to occur tomorrow (July 22, 2009) as reported by the NASA Eclipse website.  The sun, a bright shinning star will be completely eclipsed because of the presence of another object (the moon) between the earth and the sun and the sun’s light (life giving source) will be temporarily cut short to all on earth. Now imagine for a moment, if this total eclipse is not just a temporary phenomenon. Plants wont be able to photosynthesize and animals that depend on plants will slowly start to die, until life itself as we know it, in totality may cease to be.

One of Jesus’ ‘I AM’ statements recorded in John 8:12 is ‘I AM the Light of the world‘  followed by ‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life‘.

If Jesus is the light of the world, then why is it that there are many who still dont see Him? Two reasons come to mind. First, sin and second blindness. Sin eclipses the resplendence and glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the bright and Morning Star (Rev 22:16). The god of this world (devil) has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:4). If we choose to have fellowship with Jesus Christ (who is not just in the light, but is THE LIGHT), His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). If we follow Him, we will never have to walk in darkness anymore. He will open the eyes of those who have been blinded (Psalm 146:8). If we choose to stay perpetually separated from Jesus Christ, the light of the world, our lives will be lost in darkness until life itself as we know it, in totality will cease to be. Jesus said, I AM the light of the world and in other words He said, I AM the LIFE GIVING source of the world.