By: Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr
A name is one of the first possessions of man. And it does more than confer a distinguishing title on an individual.
A name often invests a person with character (attributes) and, as appropriate, authority or possession. In this life, a title or designation of power such as ‘president’ can make a huge difference in the lifestyle of an individual.
The situation is no different in the Bible. Names are often symbols of mission, power or authority. For example, in reflection of Abraham’s divinely given role as ‘the father of many nations’, his name was changed from Abram (‘exalted father’) to Abraham in Genesis 17:5. And many more Biblical examples exist.
In sending deliverance to the children of Israel, the significance of the Deliverer’s Name was to feature prominently in the deliverance message. After initially expressing apprehension about the mission God was sending him to undertake in Egypt, Moses asked God, the Sender, what His Name was:
“And Moses said unto God, Behold when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you: and they shall say to me, ‘what is His Name? What shall I say unto them?” (Ex. 3:13).
Moses was being asked to go on a mission he himself had great doubts about, let alone the people he was to rescue (vs 11). Israel had been in bondage for over 400 years, and Egypt with its might was not an empire which could be easily conquered.
Now, who was this ‘God of our fathers’ asking us to dare the might of Egypt? Would His character, credentials and competencies be seen in His Name? Would His abilities be conveyed by His Name?
Here’s God’s reply:
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM … I AM hath sent me unto you …. This is MY NAME forever” (Ex. 3:14-15).
By His Name I AM, the Deliverer meant He was a faithful and dependable God and that He would be present there in their situation for them. He meant He was an unchanging God who would carry His promises through (Mal. 3:6)!
Until then, the Creator had not revealed Himself as YAHWEH (I AM) but as El Shaddai (God Almighty) to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ex. 6:3).
His rescue mission on behalf of Israel required that His Name carried the credentials the suffering people of Israel would expect of Him.
And He lived up to His Name. The stubbornness and opposition of Pharaoh would not change nor defeat His programme of deliverance for Israel. Neither would the Red Sea, hostilities on the way nor hunger. Through supernatural miracles, He prosecuted His deliverance agenda to its logical conclusion. (See Isaiah. 14:24, 27).
In the New Testament, the only Name given under the whole heaven whereby we might be saved is Jesus/YESHUA (Acts 4:12). Its meaning is given Matt. 1:21 as ‘Saviour’ or ‘Yahweh is my Salvation’.
The Name Jesus is invested with His full authority and power; it’s the Name above all names (Philipp. 2:9-10). The Name is the Saviour’s authority given to believers to work miracles, preach and pray (Mark 16:17-18, Luke 24:47; John 14:13). Besides, it’s powerful enough to justify sinners (Acts 10:43; I Cor. 6:11) and to forgive their sins (1 John 2:12).
As the NAME is our all-in-all in all matters of salvation, we are not only to believe in His Name (John 1:12; 1 John 3:23) but also be baptized in His Name to mark our spiritual union with Him (Acts 2:38, 8:16; Gal. 3:27).
The All-Powerful NAME of Jesus was attested to by the 70 disciples He sent to preach throughout Israel: “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy Name” (Luke 10:17).
At the mention of His Name, the devils tremble (Jam. 2:19). Why is this so? It’s because His Name invokes His authority—as if Christ Himself were there commanding by His authority!
When Peter and John healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Jerusalem Temple, whereupon 5000 converts were made, the chief priests and elders (the Sanhedrin), threatened by the impact of the apostles’ ministry, questioned them: “By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” (Acts 4:7).
The apostle Peter answered: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the NAME of Jesus Christ … doth this man stand” (vs 10).
With such a miracle-working Name, how could the apostles discontinue the use of it as the Sanhedrin had warned them to (Acts 5:28)? Should they stop using the Name so that the sick would remain sick, the blind would not see, and the perishing would not be saved? No, that wouldn’t be! They would not abandon the Name of Jesus for anything. They would obey God who had given them the Name as a free gift of His grace for signs and wonders (vs 29)!
Thank God, this same Name is available to us today. In the Name of Jesus, we have salvation, healing and victory over Satan. Yes, through His Name the devils are subject unto us; in His Name we tread on all the power of the enemy unhurt (Luke 10:19)!
Once we have this Name, there’s no cause for fear. It will continue to work miracles among us, for His Name shall be called Wonderful (Isa. 9:6). In His wonderful Name, all devils and enemies are defeated foes!
If even some who were not open disciples of Christ were able to use His Name to cast out devils, how much more professed Christians who walk in the Truth (Mark 9:38-39)?
The Name is our Eternal power and instrument of victory. However, we must justify our continued use of the Name Jesus to work miracles, etc. We must honour His NAME! 2 Tim. 2:19 admonishes, let everyone who mentions the Name of Jesus depart from iniquity or lawlessness. (See also Matt 7:21-22).
This is what differentiated the ‘secret disciple of Christ’ in Mark 9:38-40 from the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-17. While the former was an unknown follower of the doctrine of Christ, the latter were not, but attempted to use His Name anyway and were put to shame.
If we will not be ashamed whenever we call on His Name, we must abide in Him always (John 15:7). The Name Yeshua (Jesus) is the greatest treasure we possess as believers. It is our Power, Salvation and Victory. By it we shall ascend to Heaven (Acts 2:21). By it we have total redemption! May we continue to trust in the NAME. Amen!