Why Are the Names of God Different in Every Age?
It is recorded in the Old Testament, “I, even I, am Jehovah; and beside Me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). “Jehovah … is My name for ever, and this is My memorial to all generations” (Exodus 3:15). It clearly states in the Scriptures that the name of Jehovah is for ever, and yet it says in the New Testament that God’s name changed to Jesus, as it says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). Why does God’s name change? What is the mystery behind this?
I found the answer to this question in a book. The book says: “‘Jehovah’ is the name that I took during My work in Israel, and it means the God of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) who can take pity on man, curse man, and guide the life of man. It means the God who possesses great power and is full of wisdom. ‘Jesus’ is Emmanuel, and it means the sin offering that is full of love, full of compassion, and redeems man. He did the work of the Age of Grace, and represents the Age of Grace, and can only represent one part of the management plan. That is to say, only Jehovah is the God of the chosen people of Israel, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses, and the God of all the people of Israel. And so in the current age, all the Israelites apart from the tribe of Judah worship Jehovah. They make sacrifices to Him on the altar, and serve Him wearing priests’ robes in the temple. What they hope for is the reappearance of Jehovah. Only Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind. He is the sin offering that redeemed mankind from sin. Which is to say, the name of Jesus came from the Age of Grace, and existed because of the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. The name of Jesus existed to allow the people of the Age of Grace to be reborn and saved, and is a particular name for the redemption of the whole of mankind. And so the name Jesus represents the work of redemption, and denotes the Age of Grace. The name Jehovah is a particular name for the people of Israel who lived under the law. In each age and each stage of work, My name is not baseless, but holds representative significance: Each name represents one age. ‘Jehovah’ represents the Age of Law, and is the honorific for the God worshiped by the people of Israel. ‘Jesus’ represents the Age of Grace, and is the name of the God of all those who were redeemed during the Age of Grace” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’”).
By reading this passage, we can realize that God has no set name, but rather He takes different names in different ages according to both the work He performs and the disposition He expresses in that age. One name only represents one age, one stage of work and one facet of God’s disposition, and God’s name does not change for as long as the age lasts. In the Age of Law, for example, the name of God was Jehovah, and with this name He formally began the work of the Age of Law; He proclaimed His law, led man in their lives on earth, required that they worship Him on earth, and those who adhered strictly to the law received God’s blessing and guidance. If anyone violated the law, then they were struck by heavenly fire or stoned to death. The disposition God expressed in that age was the disposition of righteousness and majesty, and the name Jehovah was taken in accordance with the work of proclaiming the law and the disposition God expressed.
At the end of the Age of Law, because man was becoming more and more corrupted and was no longer able to keep the law, they all faced being punished and condemned for violating the law. In order to save mankind, God personally incarnated into the world and, with the name Jesus, He began the Age of Grace, performed the work of redemption, brought a rich abundance of grace to mankind and expressed His disposition of mercy and lovingkindness. He redeemed us from sin, and as long as we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, then we can obtain bountiful grace from God. To say it another way, the name Jesus was God’s name in the Age of Grace, and it represented God’s work in the Age of Grace as well as the disposition God expressed during that age.
We can therefore know from the two past stages of God’s work that God’s name changes along with His work, and that the name God takes in each age has representative significance in that it represents His work as well as the disposition He expresses in each age. God uses His name to begin ages and to change the age from one to another. That is, every time the age changes and God’s work changes, God must then take a new name — this is a principle of God’s work. Although, during the course of God’s salvation of mankind, He was once called Jehovah and was also once called Jesus, God’s essence never changes; God is eternally God, and it is always one God who performs these works. For example, when someone goes to work as a teacher in a school, people will call him teacher. Then, that same person may change careers and become a doctor, and then people will call him doctor. If that person then becomes a manager of a company, then people will call him manager. But the person himself remains the same, it’s just his job that changes, and therefore people will call him by different titles. Actually, from God’s work, we are able to see that God’s name is not forever unchanging, but rather it changes along with the changing of God’s work and the ages. When God takes a new name to launch His work, only by accepting His new name are we then able to keep pace with His work.
In the Age of Law, for example, God’s name was Jehovah, and everyone held fast to the name Jehovah. Even though the work of the Age of Law lasted for several millennia, everyone had to pray in Jehovah’s name. When the Lord Jesus came to perform His work, however, God’s name changed to Jesus, and thereafter all who accepted the One named Jesus as their Savior earned God’s praise. However, at the time, the Jewish Pharisees did not know that God’s name changes along with the transition in the age, in His work. They believed that only Jehovah could be their God, their Savior because over the ages they had maintained that only Jehovah is God, and there is no other Savior but Jehovah. As a result, when God changed His name and came to perform the work of redemption with the name Jesus, they madly condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus. In the end, they nailed Him to the cross, committing a heinous crime, and suffering God’s punishment. Similarly, as we all know, the Lord Jesus will return in the last days to perform the work of separating each according to their kind. If God kept the name Jesus and continued to express His disposition of mercy and lovingkindness, then how would all manner of people’s ends be revealed? So will God change His name in the last days according to the needs of His work? If we persist in clinging to our own views and we believe that, when the Lord Jesus returns, God’s name will not change and He will still be called Jesus, will we not be resisting and condemning God’s work just like the Pharisees did? Would we not be treading the same path as them?
So, when God returns in the last days, will His name change or not? Will He still be called Jesus? It is prophesied in Revelation that: “Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God: and I will write on him My new name” (Revelation 3:12). This verse mentions a “new name,” meaning a new name that has never been used before. As we all know, the name Jesus was given to us as something we can rely on to be saved, and the name of the Lord Jesus has been called upon by people in the Age of Grace for two thousand years. If the new name prophesied in Revelation were still Jesus, then how could it be called a new name? Since it is a new name, then that must surely mean that God’s name will change once again. By looking closely at the Bible, we can see that Revelation 1:8 says: “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” And 11:17 says: “We give you thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned.” And there are many other verses, such as Revelation 19:6, that prophesy that God’s new name in the last days will be the Almighty. From these prophecies, we can see that God’s name when He returns in the last days could possibly be the Almighty. From the above fellowship, we can understand that God will return in the last days and that His name will change. So how should we welcome the return of the Lord? This is something every brother and sister who yearns for the Lord to return should treat with great care.