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WHAT’S IN A NAME?
by Philip Owen

            We are poor benighted souls if we believe we know—or even can know—all there is to know about the Lord Jesus Christ.  If He fits comfortably into a box that we have crafted, at least one thing is certain:  the being in that box is by no means the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God.  While it may certainly be said that one of the chief objects (if not the chief object) of the Word of God is to reveal Christ (Heb. 10:7) and that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit (if not the chief ministry) is to reveal Christ (John 15:26), and while the last book of the Bible is acknowledged to be “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1) so that it is clear that God’s purpose is to reveal His Son, to think that we therefore understand all there is to know about this Person of the Godhead or that there remain no mysteries concerning His Person and work beyond our human comprehension is presumptuous on our part.  The very fact the He is God should give us ample indication that we do not fully know or comprehend Him.  But the Scripture suggests this truth as well.

            It is so self-evident from Scripture that names of personages in the Bible are intended to reveal something about their character or work that we will not attempt to illustrate the point.  Nowhere is that fact more significant than with regard to the names by which God has chosen to identify Himself throughout the Word.  The name—I-Am-That-I-Am—by which God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush, for example, has been defined as “the eternal self-existent One who reveals Himself.”  The human name for Christ given to Joseph by the angel just prior to the Lord’s birth, Jesus, means “Savior.”  The fact that God in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament bear so many names gives testimony both to the infinite and varied nature and work of God and to God’s steadfast purpose to reveal Himself to us.

            What we read in the nineteenth chapter of The Revelation is especially significant then. For we see a foreview of Christ coming in glory.  And as part of that revelatory picture, we learn several of Christ’s names:  “he that sat upon him [a white horse] was called Faithful and True” (v. 11); “he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:  and his name is called the Word of God” (v. 13); “and he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (v. 16).  Since the Spirit of God is revealing great truths about the Savior through the presentation of these names, God clearly wants us to know all about Christ.

            But wait.  We also read that “on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself” (v. 12).  I heard a nationally known pastor refer to this verse recently.  He said, “You wouldn’t believe how many people have asked me what that name was!”  The answer is that “no man knows.”  The Spirit of God would have us know as we come to the last book of the Bible, as we read the closing chapters that describe the final acts of Christ in the epochs of time and we close the Book and face eternity, that there are heights to the grandeur of Christ, there are depths to His personality, there are lengths to His labors, and breadths to His will that we cannot comprehend, even with all the revealed Word of God before us and with the help of His Spirit.  God in the Person of His Son far surpasses the capacity of the human intellect—even the redeemed intellect—to envision.  When we have read and studied, when we have examined and meditated, when we have imagined and dreamed—still He has a NAME that no one knows but He Himself.  We have a Savior-God who is infinite in His Person and work; the eons of eternity will never exhaust the revelation of His glorious Being.  Though we will know more and more of Him, we will be forever measuring His glorious expanse.    

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