By Jingwei, Japan
In the Age of Law, God took the name Yahweh; in the Age of Grace, He took the name Jesus, and the Book of Revelation prophesied that God would have yet another new name. Why does God change names? I nearly shut the door on the Lord Jesus’ return because I didn’t understand this aspect of the truth. But in the end, after a period of seeking and investigating, I finally understood the mysteries behind God’s name and welcomed the return of the Lord Jesus.
Harboring Notions, Shutting the Door on God
In September 2017, a friend of mine invited a Brother Yang to share a sermon with us. That day, I went to the appointed place ahead of time, and after everyone exchanged greetings, we began our Bible study.
Brother Yang gave us fellowship on God’s work of salvation for mankind, integrating the Bible. He talked about Yahweh’s work in the Age of Law, the Lord Jesus’ work of crucifixion in the Age of Grace, and then the prophecies in the Book of Revelation that God would open the scroll and seven seals in the last days. It was also prophesied in Revelation that God would speak to all the churches and that all those with ears should hear. Whether they are Christians, Catholics, or Eastern Orthodox, they should all be wise virgins and heed the voice of God so that they may welcome the return of the Lord Jesus. Brother Yang’s sermon was well-reasoned and full of light; it was really beneficial for me. I had believed in God for decades, but I had never heard anyone explain God’s work of saving mankind so clearly. I felt very happy and longed to keep listening to Brother Yang.
After lunch, Brother Yang smiled and said, “The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:17: ‘For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God.’ It is clear from this that when God returns in the last days, He is to do a step of the work of judgment and purification, to classify all people according to their kind, and in the end those who are cleansed of their satanic dispositions will enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus has already returned and done the work of judgment beginning with the house of God and the scroll prophesied in the Book of Revelation has been opened. Sister, would you like to read the words uttered by God in the last days?”
“Hm? The Lord has returned? The scroll has been opened?” I was very surprised to hear Brother Yang say this. Thinking of the mysterious sheepskin scroll of legends opened, covered with words on both sides, I felt incredibly excited. Brother Yang handed a book to me, and as I took it I asked, “This is the scroll opened by God?” I couldn’t wait to open it, but as soon as I paged to the back of the book and saw the words “PUBLISHED BY THE CHURCH OF ALMIGHTY GOD” I was stunned. I thought, “Could Brother Yang really be a member of The Church of Almighty God?” I felt a touch of displeasure and thought: “I’ve heard that the God members of The Church of Almighty God believe in is called Almighty God, but the God that I’m waiting for is named Jesus. How could He be called Almighty God? No, I need to give this more thought.” I then said: “I’m sorry, I need to watch the store tonight. That’s all for today.” Brother Yang saw that I was getting up to leave and advised me: “Sister, we must listen carefully to the words uttered by God. If you have any questions, we can seek and pray together.” He also said that God’s sheep listen to His voice and asked me to pray and seek more to gain God’s guidance.
In the Midst of a Battle, God Once Again Sends a Messenger to Knock on the Door
Over the next few days, every time I thought of Brother Yang’s fellowship from that day there was a nonstop battle in my heart. “Brother Yang’s fellowship really did possess light and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, if I don’t listen isn’t it shutting the door on God? But it’s very clear that God’s name is Jesus, so how could He be called Almighty God?” The more I thought about it the more conflicted I was. I didn’t know if I should continue seeking or not. I later thought of the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the Age of Law, who had served God for their entire lives and were always calling out the name of Yahweh, but when the Lord Jesus did come among mankind to work, they clung to their own notions, believing that anyone who wasn’t called Messiah was not God. They thus resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus and nailed Him to the cross. I should learn from the bitter lessons of failure of those who came before—I can’t walk down the same wrong path that they did!
Two days later, Brother Yang, Sister Zhang, and my church friend Ms. Fang came to see me in the store. Ms. Fang then shared her experience of how she was rebellious and resistant, and then gained certainty on Almighty God’s work of the last days. I was very moved and was willing to continue to discuss the Lord’s return with them.
I then opened up and shared the confusion within me. “I’ve believed in the Lord along with my mother since I was little. I’ve prayed to the name of the Lord Jesus for half my life and I’ve enjoyed many blessings from the Lord. The Lord is clearly named Jesus, but now you say that the Lord is uttering words under the name of Almighty God. What is this about? If I accept the name of Almighty God isn’t that betraying the Lord Jesus?”
Brother Yang calmly replied: “Sister, it’s perfectly normal for us to be unable to immediately accept that the Lord is doing new work under the name Almighty God. This is caused by our lack of clarity on the aspect of the truth related to God’s name. Let’s think about it: In the Age of Law, God’s name was Yahweh, but then His name changed to Jesus in the Age of Grace. Is accepting the name of Jesus betraying the God Yahweh?”
I was taken aback by Brother Yang’s words, and said quickly: “Of course not. The Lord Jesus and Yahweh are the same God.”
Brother Yang smiled and said: “Sister, since Yahweh and Jesus are the same God, why did Yahweh change His name to Jesus? After praying to the Lord for decades, do we know why He’s called Jesus? Do we know the mystery behind God’s name?”
I didn’t say anything, but thought to myself: “Where can I learn about this mystery?”
Seeing that I wasn’t saying anything, Brother Yang took out his phone and found two passages of Almighty God’s words for me to read.
The Significance of God’s Names Yahweh and Jesus
I read these words of Almighty God: “Why is it that Jehovah and Jesus are one, yet They are called by different names in different ages? Is it not because the ages of Their work are different? Could a single name represent God in His entirety? This being so, God must be called by a different name in a different age, and must use the name to change the age and to represent the age. For no one name can fully represent God Himself, and each name is able only to represent the temporal aspect of God’s disposition in a given age; all it needs to do is to represent His work. Therefore, God can choose whatever name befits His disposition to represent the entire age” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “‘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. … In each age and each stage of work, My name is not baseless, but holds representative significance: Each name represents one age” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Brother Yang said, “From Almighty God’s words we see that the name God is called by in each age is always meaningful; they represent the work God does and the disposition God expresses in that age. We all know that earliest mankind knew nothing; they didn’t know how to live, how to interact with others, and how to worship God and let God be exalted. Then, in the name Yahweh, God started His work in the Age of Law in accordance with mankind’s needs. The disposition He expressed was that of mercy, curse, majesty and wrath. God used Moses to proclaim His laws and commandments, and so that they knew that God created the heavens, the earth, and all things, how they ought to make sacrifices and worship God, what is good and what is evil, and so on. Those who broke the law would be stoned to death, or burned by heavenly fire, while those who complied with the law would gain God’s mercy and blessings. God standardized their behavior and guided them in having a life that was possessed of order and regularity. During the later period of the Age of Law, mankind became more and more deeply corrupted by Satan, and they were incapable of keeping the laws and commandments, so they all faced the danger of being executed by the law. Only when God became flesh to serve as a sin offering for man and bore the sins of man could man be qualified to come before God. Therefore God did a stage of work of redeeming mankind with the name Jesus, expressed a disposition of mercy and love, brought the way of repentance, taught man to be tolerant and patient and to love our enemies, and so on. He also healed the sick, cast out demons and brought mankind rich and bountiful grace. At last, the Lord Jesus was crucified and completed His work of redemption, and as long as we accepted His redemptive work and prayed in His name, we could be forgiven, and enjoy the peace and joy that come from God. We can see from God’s previous two stages of work that God takes on different names in different ages according to the requirements of His work as well as the needs of corrupt mankind. This way we can gain more understanding of God, and we won’t delimit what God has and is.”
After listening to Almighty God’s word and Brother Yang’s fellowship, I suddenly realized: “So the name God takes is based on the requirements of His work and the needs of us corrupt mankind! No matter what name He takes in what age, they all represent His work and disposition in that age and they are all meaningful. I’ve believed in the Lord all these years and have been praying to the Lord every single day, but I never knew what deep significance there was in His name. And in the past I never understood why Yahweh’s disposition was so majestic in the Age of Law, why those who violated the law were incinerated and damned, but the Lord Jesus was full of mercy and love for people and said to forgive seventy times seven times. It turns out it’s because the work was different and the dispositions God expressed were also different. This contains God’s kind intentions to save mankind!”
The Book of Revelation Prophesied God Would Have Another New Name
Brother Yang went on: “God wants to fully save us from Satan’s grasp and bring us into the kingdom, but the work of redemption that the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace was just to pardon our sins. Our sinful nature is still rooted deeply, so we still cannot control ourselves from rebelling against the Lord and resisting the Lord. We live within the vicious cycle of sinning and confessing; we are not yet fit to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is why Almighty God of the last days has done another step of the work of judgment on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work to transform and cleanse our corrupt dispositions. This allows us to thoroughly cast off the binds of sin and become people who genuinely obey and love God, who are qualified to enter into God’s kingdom and live with God forever. Sister, God took the name Yahweh in the Age of Law and Jesus in the Age of Grace; God has different names in different ages. Do you think that when God returns in the last days He would still use the name Jesus to represent His new work?”
Hearing his question, I blurted out, “Probably not.”
Brother Yang smiled and said: “That’s right. There is new work in a new age, so God takes on a name that is representative of the age. He represents and switches the age with His names. Let us read Revelation chapter 3, verse 12.”
I hurriedly opened up the Bible and read this verse, “He that shall overcome, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; and he shall go out no more; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and my new name.”
Brother Yang said, “This verse clearly states that God will have a new name in the last days. Since it’s a new name, it shouldn’t be Jesus any longer. Then what is the Lord’s new name when He returns? Let’s read Revelation 1:8, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’”
Hearing this, I had a sudden realization. “Wow, God’s new name Almighty God really is written here. I’ve read the Bible quite a bit but I had never taken note of this verse. I actually thought that I was a devout believer, but it turns out I don’t know anything!”
The Significance of God Taking the Name “Almighty God” in the Last Days
Ms. Fang then went on to say: “We can see from the prophecies in the Book of Revelation that God’s new name in the last days is the Almighty, that is, Almighty God. So do we know why God takes the name Almighty God in the last days? What’s the significance of this name? Let’s read a couple of passages from Almighty God’s words.” Saying this, Ms. Fang opened up the words of Almighty God and read, “The work of God throughout all of His management is perfectly clear: The Age of Grace is the Age of Grace, and the last days are the last days. There are distinct differences between each age, for in each age God does work which is representative of that age. For the work of the last days to be done, there must be burning, judgment, chastisement, wrath, and destruction to bring the age to an end. … Therefore, during the Age of Law Jehovah was the name of God, and in the Age of Grace the name of Jesus represented God. During the last days, His name is Almighty God—the Almighty, who uses His power to guide man, conquer man, and gain man, and in the end, bring the age to its close” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. But today I am not the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past—I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory. … I took this name and am possessed of this disposition so that all people may see that I am a righteous God, and am the burning sun, and the flaming fire. It is so that all may worship Me, the only true God, and so that they may see My true face: I am not only the God of the Israelites, and am not just the Redeemer—I am the God of all creatures throughout heavens and earth and seas” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Ms. Fang went on to share in fellowship: “We, humans, have been so deeply corrupted by Satan; we are full of corrupt dispositions such as arrogance and self-righteousness, crookedness and deceit, selfishness and despicableness, evil and greed. We rebel against and resist God at every turn. In order to change our corrupt dispositions and completely save us from the influence of Satan, God has launched the work of judgment of the Age of Kingdom under the name of Almighty God in the last days. He has appeared to us in His disposition of righteousness, majesty, and wrath, exposing the truth of our corruption by Satan by uttering words while also pointing the way for us to change our dispositions. By undergoing God’s judgment and chastisement, we can know our own natures and essences and see how deeply corrupted by Satan we are, that we lack any human likeness. We can also gain some understanding of God’s righteous disposition which will tolerate no human offense, and see God’s real, living disposition. When we are weak and negative, God’s words comfort and support us; when we are rebellious and resist God, His words judge us, and He arranges environments, and people, events, and things to prune and deal with us. By going through God’s judgment and chastisement multiple times, we gain true understanding of our own corrupt dispositions; we hate ourselves and feel remorse within our hearts and develop a heart of reverence for God, becoming willing to forsake the flesh and put God’s words into practice. Then our corrupt dispositions are gradually cleansed. Finally, God wants us to see that He not only created mankind, can issue laws to guide mankind’s lives on earth, and be crucified to redeem our sins, but He can also utter words to cleanse our sins and thoroughly save us from Satan’s dark forces. This is why God taking the name Almighty God in the last days is so meaningful! In fact, no matter how God’s name may change, His essence does not change, His identity and status do not change—in heaven and earth, there is only this one, unique, true God. Accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days is not betraying the Lord Jesus, but is following the Lamp’s footsteps. But because we don’t recognize God’s work or understand the meaning of Him changing His names in different ages, we rely on our own notions, believing that ‘If God Who has returned in the last days isn’t called Jesus then He’s not God, and accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days is betraying the Lord Jesus.’ This is such a foolish, absurd understanding. It’s not at all in line with the Lord Jesus’ will. If we continue to cling to this notion, we’ll shut the door on the Lord Jesus who has already come, and become people who long for the Lord’s coming but resist Him, people who betray the Lord!”
Ms. Fang’s fellowship was like a sword to my heart—God is the almighty, wise God, but I, a paltry little creature held notions about God’s name. That’s so arrogant! But I also gave thanks to God that through reading God’s words and listening to my brother’s and sister’s fellowship, I recognized how significant the name Almighty God is. This also allowed me to gain greater understanding of God. Beginning a new age, ending an age, being mankind’s sin offering, and judging and chastising man’s corrupt dispositions—all these are God’s intentions under different names in different ages. This is the only way our understanding of God can become more comprehensive and accurate.
Over the next couple of weeks I hungrily devoured the entire book, The Scroll Opened by the Lamb. By reading Almighty God’s words, I came to know that the God Yahweh in the Age of Law gave guidance for mankind’s lives on earth, the Lord Jesus was crucified to redeem us of our sins in the Age of Grace, and Almighty God in the last days has uttered words of judgment and chastisement to cleanse our corrupt dispositions, finally allowing us to thoroughly cast off our corruption and be gained by God. Every new step of God’s work is built upon the foundation of the previous step of work; each of the three steps has been progressively elevated, and although the ages are not the same and God’s names are not the same, it is done by one God, from beginning to end. Understanding God’s will to save us and knowing the significance of God’s names, I realized that accepting God’s new name was not betraying Him, but was welcoming His return. Through a period of seeking and investigation, I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days and follow the footsteps of the Lamb. Thanks be to God’s leadership!
» Further reading about Names of God: