The Name above all Names

We started “The Name” series, asking the question – what’s in a Name, and just as the name reflects the quality of it’s holder, we attempted to get a glimpse of the character of God as expressed in the names and titles He bears, recognizing that we still fall short of describing The God, whose Name is above ALL Names.

We come to the conclusion of this series and in summary, let’s take a moment to see what a great God He is, a God who truly lives up to His Name, the name we know as Jesus.

A – Alpha and Omega – Eternal in existence, the firstborn of all creation (beginning) and the final sacrifice (end)
B – Bread of Life – The source of spiritual nourishment, that not only sustains us but also saves us
C – Christ – He is the anointed one, the Messiah and there is no others (even though He never directly claimed to be “the Christ”)
D – Door – Protecting those in Him and providing for those who enter, He is the one and only way for us to be able to reach God.
E – Emmanuel – He is God with us; He has been with us from even before we were formed in our mother’s womb, but is also with us now and will be with us in times to come.
F – Faithful – He is Semper Fi (always faithful), even when we are faithless, he remains faithful, ever beckoning those who are unfaithful to repent and remember your first love for Him.
G – Good Shepherd – The providing, protecting and preserving good shepherd, that gives his life, cares, knows, lays down his life for his sheep and brings other sheep in his fold.
H – Holy One of God – There is no one other than God who is Holy and Jesus is the Holy One of God.
I – Image of the invisible God – Exact representation and express fullness of the essence (person) of God; The mirror image of God.
J – Jesus – He is The Savior whose name is IESVS NAZARENVS (Jesus of Nazareth) and REX IVDAEORVM (King of the Jews).
K – King of kings – The King to whom all knees will bow.
L – Light of the world – The life giving source of the world. Outside of him, all one will find is darkness, death and doom. In Him is life.
M – Morning Star – Signals the dawn of a new age for in Him, all things become a new creation.
N – Nazareth’s prophet – The separated, crowned and sanctified of God.
O – Only Begotten Son – in whom when we believe, we have eternal life.
P – Prince of Peace – He keeps us in perfect peace, whose thoughts are fixed on Him.
Q – Quickening Spirit – Life-giving God who makes the dead live.
R – Resurrection – The hope of all and the reason to not have to fear physical (first) death.
S – Savior – The answer to the question of life and death. Without Him is no other means to Salvation.
T – Truth – The Lord of freedom for in knowing Him (The Truth) one is made free.
U – Unknown God – The God of your circumstance.
V – Vine (The True Vine) – In conforming to Him is productive and satisfied life.
W – Word of God – The cleansing Fire that incinerates sin and the Hammer that breaks the strongholds and stubbornness of our hearts.
XYZ – The Name above ALL names.

If you don’t know Him yet, ask Him and He will tell you His name, a Name that is above ALL other names – The I AM.

So the real question that remains is whether you know this really great and wonderful God (Psalm 86:10), a God who cannot be contained by names. What do you know Him as?

Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV)
9 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, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Name is Word of God

Revelation 19 lists among the various names of Jesus, the Name which is Word of God. John 1 records that Jesus is the Word (the Word of God), who was in the beginning, who was with God as one of the Tribunal persons and who was God then just as much as He is God now, having been manifested as the fullness of the Godhead bodily. The Word of God – what a name to be given! Just as words are made up of letters or alphabets and used to communicate a person’s thought, the mind of God is revealed to us through His Son, Jesus, the Alpha and Omega (divine alphabets), the Word of God.

Jeremiah 23:29 is a question that is posed to us, a question posed by God Godself which asks “is not My WORD (note singular) like as a Fire? and like a Hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”.

The Word of God is a Fire. When you encounter Jesus Christ, He has a burning effect in our lives. The two on the road to Emmaus expressed that as The Word of God opened up the Scriptures (the inspiration of God), their hearts burned within and they then beheld the glory of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 24:32). As the consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24), Jesus, the Word of God incinerates sin and its power from our lives. As silver is purified from the dross, He purifies us, so that we may first see him and then reflect His glory in and through our lives. I once read on a T-shirt, the following words – “To prevent burning in Hell, you must be exposed to the Son (Jesus)“. Not only does the Word of God consume unholiness, but the Word of God is also on that warms the heart. Charles Spurgeon once said that The Word of the Lord is like a fire, for it warms and comforts the hearts of His people. Jesus advised that we can cast our anxieties on Him, for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) as He will comfort us no matter how weary our hearts are.

The Word of God is a hammer. He came down hard as a hammer when he cleansed the temple (Mark 11:15-19) of unholiness and personal self-centeredness (focused on financial gain instead of prayer). Jesus, the hammer cleanses us (the temple of God) from all uncleanness and He can break the bondage of self-centeredness and personal pursuits that trump over seeking His Kingdom and His Kingship first (Matthew 6:33). He can also break the sin of the world, hard-heartedness of those who are defiant in refusing to believe in Him (John 16:8-9). Sometimes, we think that the someone is unreachable with the love of Christ and we write them off. But when you attempt to nail a stubborn nail, we keep on hammering it until it sinks in. We must therefore drive the words of the Love of Jesus Christ, His Grace and Salvation to those who are hard-hearted. The good news is that we are merely wielding the hammer, which is Jesus, the Word of God and He will drive the Word in. The Bible says that every knee will bow, some willingly and others possibly by the coercion of the Hammer (Word of God) knocking their knees so that they succumb to His authority and Sovereignty. No exceptions, all will bow to Jesus. Finally, as the hammer, Jesus is intolerant of tolerant Christians who have made the Church of God an unholy place, accommodating of sin itself (instead of just the sinner) or who have made His Church a financial money-making business. What began as a call in Palestine, became a philosophy in Greece, a structure in Rome, a culture in Europe and sadly an enterprise in North America. We must be cautioned lest we are beguiled as well.

The Word of God is a fire and hammer. He exists eternally, and cleanses our unholiness, consuming the dross of sin from our lives, and can break the hard-heartedness of our hearts that seeks after ephemeral and insignificants pursuits of power, position, prestige, popularity or pleasure, instead of His Kingdom and His Kingship. The Name is Word of God.

I AM the true Vine

John 15 records another ‘I AM’ sayings of Jesus, in which He states that “I am the Vine”, in fact, the first time He affirms this, He distinctly qualifies Himself to be the “TRUE” vine (John 15: 1). Jesus also tells the hearers that the branch that abides in the vine, firstly is PRODUCTIVE (bears much fruit – John 15:5) and secondly is PROVIDED for (whatever is asked – John 15:7).

Note Jesus did not say that the branches that are ATTACHED to Him are the ones that productive or provided for. Instead He said, that the branches that ABIDE in Him are the ones that are. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines as one of the meaning of the word “abide” as “to conform to“. It is those who conform to Jesus (Romans 12:1), who are the ones who are effective in bearing much fruit. The fruit we are to bear are MUCH Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Temperance (Galatians 5:22).

There are many today who profess that they are attached to Christ (the true Vine), but live unproductive and malnourished lives, because they don’t abide in (conform to) Him. Mark Twain in biting wit writes in his notebook, “If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be–a Christian.” What a profound yet pitiable statement, this is. So the question that surfaces for each one of us is this – are we merely attached to Jesus or do we abide in Him? Not all productive lives are necessarily satisfactory and not all satisfied lives are necessarily productive. In conforming to Jesus, (and not to the world) we can live productive AND satisfied lives because He is the One and Only true nourishing vine and He claimed rightfully so.

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.