The alarm clock on my table showed that it was 11:05pm. I had a habit whereby, every night before bed, I would read a verse of the Scriptures. Normally, I’d already have read a verse and would be asleep by this time, but on this night, I had been perplexed by a verse in the Scriptures.
It says in Revelation 3:12: “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.” I’d read this verse before many times, but on this night, my eyes were held by the words “My new name,” and this had perplexed me. I pondered: Does “My new name” mean that the Lord Jesus will have a new name when He returns in the last days? It says in the Book of Hebrews, however: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). The Lord Jesus’ name cannot change. So what then do the words “My new name” mean in Revelation? Could it be that the Lord Jesus’ name will change when He returns in the last days?
“Tick tick tick,” the second hand on my alarm clock moved round the dial. It was much later and I still hadn’t figured it out. This question was not to be taken lightly, for it had a direct bearing on the important matter of my entry into the heavenly kingdom. I had to seek and understand the answer. “O Lord, please enlighten and guide me….” I prayed silently in my heart and entrusted the question over to the Lord.
As it was approaching dark the next day, I suddenly received a call from an old classmate, Wang Fang, who had been preachingin other parts of China. She said she wanted to come over for a chat. When I hung up the phone, I felt really happy, and I thought to myself: I’ll be able to seek the answer to my question from my old classmate.
In my living room, Wang Fang and I were sitting on the sofa and I told her all about the perplexities in my heart.
After listening, my old classmate said to me, “Hui Zhen, you say that God’s name cannot change, so let me ask you: What is God’s name in the Old Testament?”
Without any hesitation, I answered, “Jehovah!”
“And what is God’s name in the New Testament?” asked Wang Fang.
Smiling, Wang Fang looked at me and said, “So has God’s name not changed?”
I was stumped by Wang Fang’s question. It couldn’t be … could it? God’s name had changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and the name Jehovah had become Jesus. If that was the case, then God’s name was not eternally unchanging….
Still smiling, Wang Fang said as she looked at me, “Hui Zhen, I’ll read some passages to you, and then you’ll understand.” As she said this, she took her cell phone out from her pocket, swiped through until she’d found what she was looking for, and then read: “God originally had no name. He only took on one, or two, or many names because He had work to do and had to manage mankind” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)”). “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.” “‘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” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’”).
Wang Fang then fellowshiped, “From these two passages, we understand that, before God had begun to perform His work to save mankind, He had no name, but was simply God, the Creator. After mankind was corrupted by Satan, God began His work to save mankind, and only then did He take a name. God only took the name Jehovah when He called on Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. The Bible records, ‘And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is My name for ever, and this is My memorial to all generations’ (Exodus 3:13–15). Thereafter, God used the name Jehovah to begin the work of the Age of Law, to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea and to guide their lives in the wilderness with pillars of cloud and fire. He gave them manna and quail to eat and used Moses to proclaim His law and commandments on Mount Sinai, and He guided the Israelites of that time to learn how to live on earth and how to worship God. Those who abided by the law and the commandments received Jehovah God’s blessing, and those who violated the law and the commandments were punished. The name Jehovah was a name specific to the Age of Law, and it represented God’s disposition as being both merciful and cursing.
“At the end of the Age of Law, man was being corrupted more and more deeply by Satan. No one was able to keep the law any longer, and all were in constant danger of being sentenced to death by the law. God took mercy on man, however, and, in order to save mankind, He brought an end to the Age of Law in which He had taken Jehovah as His name, He incarnated and, with the name Jesus, He launched the work of the Age of Redemption. The Lord Jesus preached wherever He went, telling people that the heavenly kingdom was nigh and that they should repent. He also performed many miracles, healing lepers, making the lame walk, the blind see, and even making the dead live again, and so on. So long as people followed the Lord, accepted His redemption and prayed in His name, then their sins were forgiven, and they would no longer be condemned to death by the law. In the Age of Grace, God’s name changed from Jehovah to Jesus, and the disposition expressed by the Lord Jesus primarily placed loving kindness and mercy at the forefront. This allows us to see that, every time God performs a new stage of work and begins a new age, He changes His name and adopts a name that possesses epochal significance in order to represent the work He performs in that age and to express His disposition in that age.”
I nodded and said, “Oh, so God’s name changes along with His work! One name can only represent one age and one stage of God’s work. The age changes, God’s work changes, and God’s name changes along with it. Jehovah was the name specific to the Age of Law, and Jesus was the name God adopted in the Age of Grace when He was performing His work of redemption. God changed His name from Jehovah to Jesus because people at the end of the Age of Law could no longer keep the law, and it was only when God was to perform His work to redeem mankind in the Age of Grace that He changed His name. Have I understood this right, Wang Fang?”
Smiling, Wang Fang nodded her head, and said, “Yes, that’s right! You’ve got it.”
But I still felt a little perplexed, and so I said, “So what do the words ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8) in the Book of Hebrews mean? Could it not be referring to God’s name? How should I understand this verse of the Scriptures?”
Wang Fang continued smiling and spoke slowly and calmly, saying, “Let’s read a couple more passages, and then we’ll understand. ‘There are those who say that God is immutable. That is correct, but it refers to the immutability of God’s disposition and His substance. Changes in His name and work do not prove that His substance has altered; in other words, God will always be God, and this will never change. If you say that the work of God is unchanging, then would He be able to finish His six-thousand-year plan of management? You only know that God is forever unchanging, but do you know that God is always new and never old? If the work of God is unchanging, then could He have led mankind all the way to the present day? If God is immutable, then why is it that He has already done the work of two ages? … the words “God is always new and never old” refer to His work, and the words “God is immutable” to what God inherently has and is.’ ‘God’s wisdom, God’s wondrousness, God’s righteousness, and God’s majesty shall never change. His essence and what He has and is shall never change. As for His work, however, it is always progressing in a forward direction, always going deeper, for He is always new and never old. In every age God assumes a new name, in every age He does new work, and in every age He allows His creatures to see His new will and new disposition’ (‘The Vision of God’s Work (3)’).
“We can see from these two passages that the words ‘God is immutable’ are referring to the immutability of His disposition and essence, and do not mean that His name never changes. Although God performs different works and adopts different names in different ages throughout the course of His salvation of mankind, whether God is called Jehovah or Jesus, His essence does not change—God is forever God, and His righteousness and holiness never change. Therefore, the words, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8), are referring to the immutability of God’s disposition and essence, and do not mean that God’s name never changes. The Pharisees at the time of Jesus, however, did not know that God’s name changes along with His work, and so they believed that only Jehovah was their God and that there was no Savior other than Jehovah. When God began the work of the Age of Grace, therefore, and His name became Jesus, they were unable to accept it, and they frantically condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus. They crucified Him upon the cross, committing a heinous sin, and thus they were punished by God. They didn’t understand what the immutability of God was referring to and they didn’t recognize the principles of God’s work, and so they did evil deeds and resisted God, and so they lost God’s salvation.”
When Wang Fang had finished speaking, I nodded my head and, filled with emotion, I said, “I understand so much more now, because of your fellowship. It turns out that the words ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8), mean that God’s essence is unchanging, but God’s name can change. God’s work forges ever onward, and His name changes along with His work. Ah! The Pharisees in the time of Jesus didn’t understand this point, and they delimited God within the scope of His work in the Age of Law, believing that God’s name was Jehovah and that it couldn’t change to anything else. In the end, they were unable to recognize that the Lord Jesus and Jehovah were one and the same God—what fools they were! If you hadn’t given me fellowship on this matter today, I’d still be as blind as the Pharisees and would not understand God’s work!” Just then, I remembered the words “My new name” in Revelation 3:12, and I said, “In light of what we’ve said, God will surely have a new name when He returns in the last days! So, what will God’s name be?”
Wang Fang then said excitedly, “Thank the Lord that, a few days ago, several co-workers and I were fellowshiping and seeking together, and we finally reaped results. The Bible actually already tells us what God will be called in the last days. It says in Revelation, ‘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’ (Revelation 1:8). ‘And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come’ (Revelation 4:8). ‘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’ (Revelation 11:17). The Almighty is also mentioned in such scriptures as Revelation 15:3, 16:7 and 16:14, and 21:22. These show that when the Lord returns in the last days, it is highly probable that He will take the name the Almighty to perform His work of saving man. Therefore, if someone preaches that the Lord Jesus has returned to perform a new work, and that His name has changed to the Almighty, then it is very likely that this will be the appearance and work of the Lord, and we must make all haste to study and seek it. Only then will we have the chance to welcome the Lord!”
After listening to her, I was thrilled, and said, “Thank the Lord! I’ve gained so much today! I often read these passages of scripture before, but I never pondered them in this way and I never understood these things. Today, I finally understand that God’s name can change and that He shall have a new name in the last days! What’s more, I’ve found the way to welcome the Lord!”
I was so happy, and my heart felt filled with sweetness and joy. Wang Fang and I then continued with our fellowship …