A “name” is “a word or words by which a person or animal or place or thing is known or indicated” (The Oxford Everyday Dictionary). In this article we propose check some of most important names in the Bible, and its significance.
This name appears first in Genesis 2:4 referring to the day in which the LORD (YHWH) God (Elohi¯m) made the earth and the heavens. Here we see His clear identification as the second person of the Trinity who came into the world and became incarnate taking the name of Jesus, the Messiah (Colossians 1:16). YHWH was for the first time invoked by humanity in the time of Seth (approximately thirty-six centuries before Christ) and appears again 6,826 times in the Bible.
In English the name “YHWH” used to be translated as “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” but in the more recent versions of the translations it was agreed to use the word LORD in capital letters, thus complying with the Hebrew “Adonai”.
The various names of God are used carelessly and routinely by the world in expressions such as “oh my God”, “God willing”, “for the love of God”, "go with God", "stay with God", “may the Lord keep you”, etc. If we use these expressions, may it be always be respectfully and truly meaning it, remembering their solemn sense. The Law of God given through Moses to the Israelites declares: “whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD (YHWH) shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD (YHWH), he shall be put to death.” (Leviticus 24:16).
It is common to carelessly call our Saviour only by His common human name Jesus as if He were just anybody. Even His disciples never did this, but respectfully called Him Master and Lord (John 13:13). He is the Lord of Lords! If we fear God, we must remember His commandment to not take his name in vain. Remember these prophecies:
“Therefore the LORD (YHWH) Himself will give you a sign: behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (“God with us” - Isaiah 7:14), and “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). Here YHWH prophesies His own incarnation!
“I am the LORD (YHWH), that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images”, “As for our Redeemer, the LORD (YHWH) of hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel.” “But I am the LORD (YHWH) your God (Elohi¯m), who divided the sea whose waves roared— The LORD (YHWH) of hosts is His name” (Isaiah 42:8, 47:4, 51:15). “The Portion of Jacob is not like them, for He is the Maker of all things, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; the LORD (YHWH) of hosts is His name” (Jeremiah10:16).
We see in these expressions the sublimity of our Redeemer and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested." (Revelation 15:4).
Comparing Himself to a good shepherd, the Lord Jesus called His disciples a “little flock” (Luke 12:32). He later informed them “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16). Upon further reading of the New Testament, we learn that the “flock” to which He referred was the assembly of Christians who gathered at a particular place, as well as the entirety of those who have been saved in His name: “take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28) and “shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly” (1 Peter 5:2).
The word "church" is a translation of “ekklesia” (withdrawal) in Greek, meaning a political, religious, or other congregation, and the word “church” in the Bible is the name of the congregation of saints in a particular locality, for example: "greet the church that is in their house”. (Romans 16:5).
The people of God do well to keep this name “church” only for their congregations. To give this same name to a building or an organization, although allowed by semantics and traditions, is a nonsense and distortion of its original biblical meaning. Try changing the word "church" for “building” in any of the places where it appears in the Bible and you will see that it results in nonsense.
To avoid such a thing, other names have been chosen for the building where the Church meets. One of them is “temple”, but this name is also inadequate (Ephesians 2:21). The name “house of prayer”, according to the citation of Isaiah 56:7 by the Lord Jesus of the name of the temple of the millennium is reasonable, provided that it is not used as a designation of the church itself, as it has already been done by some.
It is not fitting for some members of the Church to use prefixes to their names in order to distinguish them from the rest of the congregation, such as pastor, priest, bishop, deacon, reverend and other more. This violates the principle taught by the Lord Jesus, that nobody should try to exalt himself in such a way: “you do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:8 to 10). No, because, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
Finally, “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Philippians 2:9, Colossians 3:17, 2 Thessalonians 1:12). AMEN.