"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
TO BE THE LORD’S PRAYER
HALLOWED BE THY NAME
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name..." (Mat. 6:9).
A name, in our modern usage, is a mere sign, badge, or title by which we call a person — a means of identification. It has no significance except to distinguish that person from everyone else. It does not tell us anything about a man, except that he exists as a person and is himself, not someone else. His character, his exploits, his attainments in life, his history, are not contained in his name. It is a mere mark of identity, and no more. But it was quite different in Bible days, and more especially among the Semitic peoples. In the Old Testament there is abundant evidence that names were looked upon as very sacred and pregnant words.
There is not much meaning in our modern names. "Edgar" means a javelin to protect property, though few Edgars own a javelin, and many of them no real estate. "Irene" means peace, but I have personally known Irenes who had little inner peace, they were often upset, frustrated and miserable. As for our surnames, they have been so changed by the years that they are now only a tag by which the mail carrier marks us off from our neighbors. The name "Eby" is, we have reason to believe, an ancient Celtic name, but previously was spelled Ebi or Ebee, and is now sometimes spelled Ebe or Eaby — and who today knows what it could mean? Most of our names originally came from one of four sources. A name may have come from a characteristic that an individual had. He could run very good, so he got the name Swift. He was sloppy, so he got the name Hoag. He was shrewd, so he got the name Fox. Sometimes men got named by virtue of where they lived. There was a fellow by the name of John and when somebody was asking for him, and another person knew him, he said, "Oh, yes, that’s John — he lives over the brook; so he got the name Overbrook. Or there was a guy named George. "Oh, yes, we know him — he lives at the water; so he became known in the course of time as George Atwater. Sometimes we got named by virtue of our father’s name. You see, men did not always have second names — that’s relatively recent in history. There was a man by the name of John and he had a son. People said, "Oh, yes, that’s John’s son, or that’s Ander’s son, or that’s Robbin’s son," so we got names like Johnson, Anderson and Robbinson. At other times we got names by virtue of the trade in which men worked: Cook, Taylor (tailor), Smith, etc.
Biblically, names had the concept of describing some characteristic of an individual which set that individual apart from other individuals. The idea of a name was to express as dramatically as possible the nature or characteristic of the bearer. In this connection there can be no separation whatsoever between a man’s name and what he is as a person. Some are said to have a "name of integrity," while others are declared to have a "bad name." In such instances "name" and "character" are one and the same. In the Bible the innermost being of a man is expressed in his name. Take Jacob, for instance. He starts life by holding on to his brother’s heel to keep him from emerging first from their mother’s womb. Then comes his opportunistic acquisition of his brother’s birthright in exchange for a bowl of lentils; and then the climax — deceiving his blind father Isaac to receive his blessing by posing as the first-born Esau. Spurred on by his mother, who plots the deception, Jacob is an all-too-willing participant. He dresses up in goatskin so he will feel and smell like his brother, the hunter, and when asked who he is he lies and says, "I am Esau, your first-born." Even though the old man appears to have some doubt, the ploy works, and Jacob receives the blessing. This is why Esau declares of his conniving brother: "Is he not rightly named Jacob (Supplanter, Schemer, Deceiver, Trickster)? for he has supplanted me these two times" (Gen. 27:36). But in later years, after wresting with the angel of the Lord he underwent a change of attitude and an alteration of character that was accompanied by a change of name. Having seen the "face" or nature of God he was no longer the same man that he had been before his encounter with the Lord. Since name and character are absolutely identical there had to be a change in Jacob’s appellation. The angel of Yahweh, therefore, said, "Thy name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince thou hast power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Gen. 32:28). There is a feeling that one’s name actually possesses a certain power over its bearer because it cannot be separated from the essence of his personality. In the name Nabal, the husband of Abigail, is found the expression of his essential character. Seeking to excuse him she says, "As his name is, so is he! Nabal (fool) is his name, and folly is with him" (II Sam. 22:25).
"To him that overcometh will I give...a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2:17). "Him that overcometh...I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God...and I will write upon him my new name" (Rev. 3:12). "And they shall see His face (nature); and His name shall be in their foreheads" (Rev. 22:4). A new name bespeaks of a change of nature in those He is dealing with. But God has also revealed the various sides of His own nature and character through His names. At the beginning of history God revealed Himself by the name Elohim, the plural of Eloah meaning strength, might. This name reveals the plurality in God, His many-sided wisdom, His diverse attributes, powers, and abilities displayed like the colors of the spectrum through the unique expression of each of His multitudinous offspring — His sons and daughters, the body of Christ, the family of God, or the God-family. In the name Elohim God has revealed Himself first as Creator and second as a plural God.
Then when Abraham came along God revealed Himself as El Shaddai, the almighty, the all-sufficient. El Shaddai means literally "the breasted one" or "the one who has breasts." We never thought of God as having breasts, but He revealed Himself to Abraham in this way as the nourisher, the One from whom he could suck and draw strength. This enabled Abraham and Sarah to have Isaac when they were past age for having children. Abraham was a hundred years old and Sarah was ninety when they had their baby.
God later revealed Himself to Moses, not as Elohim, not as El Shaddai, but He made Himself known to Moses as Yahweh, which generally is pronounced in English as Jehovah. Yahweh was the lawgiver. Yahweh was a stern God, the One who commands and says, "Do it, or you die." Yahweh was a warring God, the Lord of hosts (armies). Then, of course, when Jesus came we have a combination of all these, for in Him dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Finally, after Jesus, come all of us. The question follows — Who are we going to reveal?
THE NAME IS THE NATURE
The name of God is more than a group of syllables or a configuration of letters of the alphabet. It is the meaning of the name that is most truly the name. It is His nature and His character revealed to us. The names of God reveal all that God IS, all that God HAS and all that God can DO. So when we pray, "Hallowed be Thy name," we ask that our idea, our understanding of God’s nature, power and glory may be purified and made more true; that we may be delivered from unworthy conceptions and false notions of God, from superstitious beliefs and folklore learned from religion; that there may be nothing in our thought of Him and the living out of His life in us which shall cast any reflection on Him, that is beneath His glorious and eternal reality; that He may become more and more known to us and His nature loved by us and fulfilled within us.
George Wylie wrote some years ago: "In His high priestly prayer, recorded in John 17, twice the Son of God said that He had manifested and declared the Father’s name unto those the Father had given Him. ‘I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to me; and they have kept Thy word’ (Jn. 17:26). Also in the last verse of this prayer He said, ‘And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.’ If we examine these two verses closely we will see something that may have escaped our notice previously. First of all the Lord said, ‘I have manifested Thy name unto the men Thou gavest me...and they have kept Thy word.’ Part of the Word He gave them was the Father’s name, and this was the Word they kept. Now notice the importance of the Father’s name. ‘Holy Father, keep through THINE OWN NAME those whom THOU HAST GIVEN ME.’ It is through the name of the Father that we are kept. There is power in the name of God to keep us from evil and the evil one, and it was through the power of this name that the Son asked His Father to protect and keep those the Father had given Him. Then He said, ‘And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it...’ Now notice the result of His declaring unto them the Father’s name — ‘That the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.’ It would seem from these words that the fullness of the love of God being in us, and the Son Himself dwelling in us, is commensurate with the fullness of our knowledge of the Father’s name. ‘I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.’ How much do we really know God’s name?
"I would like to quote these verses from some other translations. Most translations, as well as the Aramaic and Greek, in which these scriptures were originally written, say ‘name’ — but Goodspeed renders it this way, ‘I have revealed your real self unto the men you gave me from the world...I have made yourself known to them and will still do so.’ Phillips says something similar, ‘I have shown yourself to the men whom you gave me out of the world...I have made yourself known to them and I will continue to do so that the love which you had for me may be in their hearts.’ It would appear from these scriptures that there is some connection between knowing the name of God and knowing God Himself, and having His love in our hearts. I don’t think it was because the disciples were ignorant of what God’s name was, that is, the form of His name in letters. How could they be? For it was written in the Old Testament scriptures thousands of times: so how could they not have known what the name of God was? There must be a difference in knowing what the name of God IS, and knowing His name. This may sound strange, but I will try to explain.
"There are many things said about those who know the name of God. For instance, ‘Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high because he hath KNOWN MY NAME’ (Ps. 91:14). Would this promise apply to all who merely knew what His name was? The children of Israel all knew what God’s name was, but because of their sins and iniquities they were cast down, chastised by the Lord, and given over into the hands of their enemies to be tormented. But then God spoke comfort to them, and told them the days of their chastisement were over. By their sinful ways they had caused His name to be blasphemed among the Pagans, but now God was going to exalt His name and His people would know what His name really meant, when He had delivered them from their bondage. ‘Yes, Yahweh says this: You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money. Yes, Yahweh says this: Once my people went down to Egypt to settle there, then the Assyrians bitterly oppressed them. But now what is there for me here? — it is Yahweh who speaks — all day long my name is constantly blasphemed. My people will therefore KNOW MY NAME; that day they will understand that it is I who say, ‘I am here’ (Isa. 52:3-6, Jerusalem Bible). In that day when God had delivered them from the bondage of their enemies, having redeemed them by His great power, they would know His name. They would know what His name meant, and know Him experientially in the meaning of His name. They would know the power that was in the name of Yahweh. They knew what His name was, but they did not know experientially the reality of it. This is what we need to know. The disciples knew what God’s name was, the scriptures were full of it, but it took the Son to manifest and declare to them the name of the Father that they might know His name, and knowing it, they would come to the knowledge of God Himself.
"I will now quote a few more verses where God emphasized His name. ‘Sing unto God, sing praises to His name, extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His name YAH, and rejoice before Him’ (Ps. 68:4). YAH is the short form of Yahweh. The Hebrews did the same thing we do, we shorten some names such as Joe for Joseph, Sue for Susan, Bev for Beverly and so on. They often used just EL for Elohim, ADON for Adonay, and YAH for Yahweh. ‘I am Yahweh; that is my name, and my glory I will not give to another, neither my praise to graven images’ (Isa. 42:8). ‘Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know. I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is Yahweh’ (Jer. 16:21). To know His name is to know His might, His power and majesty. ‘And Yahweh shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Yahweh, and His name one’ (Zech. 14:9). The Son of God came and manifested and declared His Father’s name unto His own, in fulfillment of the prophecy given in Psalm 22:22, ‘I will declare Thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.’ God wants His people to know His name, and to know Him; this is why Jesus came and manifested His Father’s name. To know His name is to know Him, and to know Him, the only true God, is life eternal. It is blessed to know His name. There are great benefits promised to those who know and love His name. ‘The name of Yahweh is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe’ (Prov. 18:10). ‘And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; for Thou, Yahweh, has not forgotten them that seek Thee’ (Ps. 9:10)" — end quote.
When it is said, "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God," the meaning is not that they will recall the letters or pronunciation of the word YAHWEH, but that their confidence can be strengthened and maintained by reflecting upon what God has taught and proven concerning Himself, which is also contained in the meaning of His name. When it is said, "They that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee," it does not mean that those who know the word YAHWEH will put their trust in Him, for multitudes have known that name and have never walked in confidence in God; but whoever has that idea of God that He Himself by His dealings and teachings has made known to us in our lives, will trust in Him. This name we are not left to find out for ourselves, for from the first it has been the care of God to spell out Himself to us.
There are many names and descriptive titles of God in the scriptures. He is called Counselor, King, Shepherd, Rock, Shield, High Tower, Strong Arm, and many, many others. Someone has said that there are about two hundred names for God in the Bible. The moment one begins to splinter the absolute wholeness that God is, to examine all His multi-faceted aspects and attributes, the number of splinters are as infinite as God is infinite. Each name of God, as He progressively revealed Himself, was a fresh and fuller revelation of the nature of God. One was a revelation of His might, another was the unveiling of His grace. One revealed something more of His wisdom, another of His holiness, another of His tenderness, and yet another of His judgment.
In I Samuel 18:30 we read, "Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, after they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by." They were not esteeming the letters in his name nor the pronunciation of the name. They were not writing "DAVID" in large and beautiful characters on some enormous banner and stretching it over the main street of Jerusalem. The fact that his name was esteemed meant he himself and his triumphs were esteemed. We say today, "So-and-so has made a name for himself; So-and-so has a good name." We mean that there is something good and honorable about his character — worthy of our praise. David is said to have "behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was much set by (precious)." God told him, "I have made thee a great name like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth" (II Sam. 7:9). When an Old Testament writer wished to forcibly express the determining qualities of a man, he said he shall be called "So-and-so," as when Jerusalem, after it has been purged from unrighteousness, shall be called "the city of righteousness" (Isa. 1:26); and the Messiah shall be called "Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6), meaning that HE ACTUALLY WILL BE THESE THINGS. Thus the name of God means the character, qualities, attributes of God — that which makes Him what He is in Himself, and in His manifestation to man.
"I will set him on high because he has known my name" (Ps. 91:14). To know His name is to become, in union with Him, the name-nature of God in an every-hour, every-day reality. To know His name is to enter into the pure inner life of God, and exude His nature, His life, His character, being one with Him. To know means more than mere intellectual understanding or carnal knowledge. It means intimate "union" as when "Adam knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain" (Gen. 4:1). Some people think because they use or pronounce El Elyon, Yahweh, or Yahshua and all the others they have dug out of the concordance, that this makes the use of these names magical, procures favor with God, or is a mark of spirituality. People without a revelation from the Lord, or participation in His life, are disposed to go back and use the "letter" of that given to past generations of men of God. Let me quote Psalm 9:10 again: "And they that know Thy name will put their trust in thee." The message is clear: "They that have experienced the inworking, the development and formation of Thy nature will confidently trust in Thee." If this has not been your experience yet — that is, the inworking and formation of His nature within — then you do not yet know the name of the Lord though you may be zealous to consistently use the words Yahshua, Yahweh, and all the other name forms in the Hebrew Bible.
"After this I will return, and build again the tabernacle of David...that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the nations, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord" (Acts 15"16-17). The "name" here means a surname. That is the precise meaning of the Greek word EPIKALEOMAI used in this passage. Correctly translated it says, "That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the nations, upon whom my surname is called." The nations have been surnamed! Surname is from two Greek words, EPI and KALEO. EPI means "upon", and KALEO means "called". EPI means identification, as in the laying on of hands on or upon a person, designating them for some special purpose or blessing. God has chosen to identify with us and bring us into relationship with Himself and He has placed His name upon us — has surnamed us. Surname, by definition, is "a family name as distinguished from a given name; a last name." God came and surnamed us, gave us His family name. We have an altered name, indeed, a NEW NAME! God altered Abram’s name, Sarai’s name, and Jacob’s name and they got a new nature. It was only after Abram’s and Sarai’s name change that they gave birth to Isaac, the promised seed. And it was only after Jacob’s name change that he fathered Joseph and Benjamin. You won’t birth nobility or kings or a "son of the right hand" until you get altered — surnamed. I meet a lot of folks I would like to alter. You may have a husband, a wife, children, boss, neighbor or mother-in-law you would like to alter. And you are probably an expert on all the ways they need to be altered! But I do not hesitate to tell you, precious friend of mine, that only God can alter anyone — only God can call His name over a man, woman, or child, only God can give a surname, a new name, a new nature.
The scripture declares that "the name of Yahweh is a strong tower." There are many precious revelations coming forth these days concerning the names of God, and the depth of meaning therein. Some immediately get caught up with an emphasis on the mechanics — the spelling, syllables, and pronunciation of the names — dealing with the outward or "letter" of the Word. But it is the "letter" that killeth — that is, there is no life in those things. They strike no chord deep in my spirit. In fact, they leave me somewhat cold and uninspired. The "spirit" of the Word gives life. The spirit is the substance, the reality of His nature that the outward name reveals. As Ray Prinzing has so aptly written: "Of this we are certain, there is a walk that is ‘not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth LIFE’ (II Cor. 3:6). When certain truths are set down as a doctrine, and one receives only the letter thereof, it does not serve to gender life within, it only becomes one more burden to bear, adding to the load of traditions and commandments. But when the Spirit of God illumines the inner man, quickens the heart to receive that Word of Life within, it is not some doctrine to contend for, but it is a LIFE TO BE LIVED."
Now listen — we have people today who will not call God anything but Yahweh. There are other people who only call God Jehovah. We have people today who refuse to call the Son of God Jesus, they call Him Yahshua — and that is His name in Hebrew. But that is not what is important. It is not important what the Hebrew form of a name is, or what the Greek form of a name is, or what the English form of a name is. Whether we say Petros, Pedro, Pierre or Peter — all these names are the same name in different languages, have the same meaning, and point to the same reality — a man whose character is that of a ROCK. It is important to learn what names mean. What is important is that we partake of the nature that the name is conveying. And so we need to know the name of God. We need to know the name of God because it reveals to us a side of God’s nature. You see, there are different sides to all of us. I have one side as a minister of the Gospel. I have another side as a husband. I have another side as a father. I have another side as a grandfather. I have another side as a citizen of the United States of America. I have another side as a son of God. We have different sides to our reality. My wife calls me by my name as a husband — she calls me "Honey". My children call me by my name as a father — they call me "Daddy". My grandchildren call me by my name as a grandparent — they call me "Grandpa". Many of the Lord’s people address me as a fellow member of the body of Christ — they call me "Brother". So we need to know what the name (nature) of the Lord is, because the name (nature) of the Lord is a strong tower. A strong tower is a defense. You run into a strong tower and you are safe, you are defended by that name.
If you know the nature of God and you become a partaker of that divine nature, there is a safety built into your makeup because you have run into or you have become identified with the name of God. A tower has height, a tower carries you heavenward. A tower is not a military bunker — if you run into a tower and climb the heights of that tower you are lifted above all the dangers arrayed below. That’s what the name of the Lord does for us. When we know that name, becoming partakers of that nature, it elevates us in our outlook, perspective, understanding, consciousness and state of being. It raises us up experientially into a higher dimension. It lifts us to a higher level of faith, trust and confidence, because we stand in His name. Knowing the word YAHWEH will not do this for you, but knowing the nature of Yahweh will! I’m not interested that you should learn the correct form and pronunciation — whether it be, as various scholars argue, Yahweh, Yahveh, Yahvah, Yehovah, Jehovah, or quite a number of other forms that are hyped as the "correct" Hebrew form. The best known, Yahweh, is only one among many. There is no value in wrangling over letters of the alphabet or ancient vowel sounds. There is no purpose in it. There is no spirituality in it. There is no profit in it. Our language is not Hebrew. I doubt if more than one or two persons among the thousands who read these writings each month actually speak Hebrew. There is no change of nature for you should you learn it, and all the names of God in Hebrew. And yet we have men and movements that place great emphasis upon names today — spelling them correctly, pronouncing them right. To which I respond — "Who cares?" That’s not important. Furthermore, it is natural, carnal, fleshly. What is important is that you understand what the name stands for and partake of the nature that the name stands for. "And they that know Thy name — Thy nature — will put their trust in Thee." You don’t learn this name, this nature, from listening to sermons or reading printed messages. Those things are profitable — for we must hear the truth. But we must not only hear, we must receive a revelation of truth and follow on to experience truth.
"For God will save Zion...that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of His servants shall inherit it: and they that love His name shall dwell therein" (Ps. 69:35-36). Those that love His name shall inherit and dwell in Zion, saith the Lord. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that we are not only come to "the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," but we also are come "to mount Zion." But what is mount Zion? To correctly unlock this expression we need to go back and consider the shadow. Israel was the whole nation; Jerusalem, the capital city. And while the government was seated in Jerusalem, and Jerusalem comprised all the ruling class, yet in Jerusalem there was only one who, with his household, dwelt on mount Zion. He was the king. The fortress of David the king was on mount Zion. His was the highest pinnacle of glory attainable. But that Zion was only a shadow of the true mount Zion unto which we are come, for the prophet declares, "For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it" (Ps. 132::13-14). And Paul tells us, "for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them" (II Cor. 6:16). David was king over natural Israel. Christ is king over spiritual Israel. David dwelt on the natural mount Zion. Therefore Christ dwells in the spiritual Zion. And this spiritual Zion is composed of those who have reached the very highest pinnacle attainable in the heavenly Jerusalem: those who, like king Saul of old, are head and shoulders above all others: those who have followed their Lord all the way to Calvary. These are those of whom it is written: "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on mount Zion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name (nature) written in their foreheads. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth" (Rev. 14:1,4). When you follow the Lamb He leads you to mount Calvary, the place of death. But from Calvary He leads you to glory and exaltation upon mount Zion! Spiritual Zion is the "little remnant," the ones who have attained the highest pinnacle of attainment in the spiritual realm, the overcomers who sit with Christ upon His throne and rule and reign over all things in the Kingdom of God. And you can only attain to this reality of Zion by loving the name of the Lord!
"Because he hath known my name, I will show him my salvation." Are you interested in knowing the name of God? When you truly come to the name of the Lord, God will show you His salvation. The word for salvation is YEHOSHUA. "My salvation" is "my Yehoshua." Translated into English "Yehoshua" is JESUS. "Because he hath known my name, I will show him my Jesus." When you know the nature of the Lord you will SEE JESUS! Jesus is the salvation of the Lord. That is the meaning of His name. He came in the nature and power of God’s salvation. He is the mighty Deliverer. He is the mighty Saviour. That is His name. That is His nature. Whether you call Him Jesus or Yahshua — until you meet Him as the mighty Saviour you have missed His name altogether. Millions of people repeat the name "Jesus" or "Yahshua" and yet know nothing of His wonderful name — His nature. They know the pronunciation of His name in a language, but they have never experienced Him in His name.
The name Yahweh is derived from the Hebrew verb HAVAH meaning "to be," or "being". This word is almost exactly like the Hebrew verb CHAVAH which means "to live" or "life". One can readily see the connection between being and life. Thus, Yahweh means "the self-existent One" or "the eternal". He is the One who in Himself possesses essential life, permanent existence, derived from no source other than Himself and absolutely dependent upon no other person or thing for its continuance. Any being whose existence is dependent in any manner upon another, or upon conditions such as food, light, air, etc., or even upon some cosmic influence, is not SELF-EXISTENT. This quality inhered originally in Yahweh alone, as it is written, "The Father hath life in Himself" (Jn. 5:26). That means that His existence is not a derived one, nor a sustained one; not derived from anything nor dependent upon anything, but inherent and eternal within Himself. God did not get His life from any ancestor, nor did He have to eat a hamburger today to keep up His strength. The verbs "to be" and "to live" from which the name Yahweh comes denote both essential life and a state of being. Hence, God is not only eternal Himself, but all His nature, characteristics and attributes are as eternal and unchanging as is His life!
Anything that is absolutely eternal is not only unending, but is also UNCHANGEABLE. Anything that changes in any way is not eternal, for in the change some characteristic is left behind and a new one acquired. In every change something ends and something else begins. That which dwells in an eternal state knows NO CHANGE. Change is possible only in that which is limited, imperfect, or undeveloped. Yahweh declares of Himself, "I am Yahweh, I CHANGE NOT" (Mal. 3:6), and the inspired apostle says of Him, "with Whom there is NO VARIABLENESS, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). God is never surprised. God has not learned anything this week, nor last year, nor in the last several trillion years. If God learned one thing today, it would destroy Him. He would no longer be the omniscient One who knows the end from the beginning, nor the omnipotent One who has planned and ordained it all, for known unto God are all His works from the creation of the world. God does not experiment. God does not become stronger, wiser, mightier, or increase Himself in any way. He CHANGES NOT. He eternally is all that He is without any decrease or increase or fluctuation whatsoever. Therefore He is the ETERNAL GOD — YAHWEH!
The origin and meaning of the name Yahweh are especially brought out in relation to Israel. When Moses at the burning bush says to God, "Behold, when I come to 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?" And God said unto Moses, "I AM THAT I AM: Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you" (Ex. 3:13-14). The original of this name, I AM THAT I AM, is exactly the same as that of Yahweh — being, existence — and denotes the One who always has been, is, and always will be: personal, continuous, absolute existence.
"I AM THAT I AM" is Yahweh revealing what His name means — the UNCHANGEABLE One. In this name Yahweh is saying to the children of Israel, "What I am I always am. I never have been anything but what I am. I never will be anything other than what I am. What I was, I am. What I am, I shall be. I am what I am unchangeably, irrevocably and invariably! Tell the people of Israel that the eternal, self-existent, unchangeable One has sent you! Tell them that what I was to Abraham — I AM! What I was to Isaac — I AM! What I was to Jacob — I AM! What I was to Joseph — I AM! What I will be in the future, I ALREADY AM! And throughout all your days, in every situation and circumstance, even to the end of all times, when you shall seek my face and call upon me you will find that I will be, even then, WHAT I AM! Hallelujah! Long centuries later Yahweh spoke to the prophet Malachi these words: "I am Yahweh, I change not." Of Him who came into the world as the embodiment and visible representation of Yahweh it is written, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8).
Jesus made a statement that the first Adam, in all of his glory, could never have made. He said, "For as the Father HATH LIFE IN HIMSELF; so hath He given to the Son to HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF" (Jn. 5:25-26). LIFE IN HIMSELF! This is self-existent life, a life not derived from any source, not dependent upon any sustenance — inherent life! Thus Jesus could say, "I AM the LIFE!" No other man before Him could say that. But the exceeding great wonder of all is that not only did Jesus possess the self-existent life of God, but God has made Him to be "a life-giving Spirit." Truly, "He that hath the Son HATH LIFE" and "this is the record that God HATH GIVEN TO US ETERNAL LIFE, and this life is IN HIS SON" (I Jn. 5:11-12). Notice the result of having the Holy Spirit: "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His. And if Christ be IN YOU —" the same life in you that was in Jesus when He walked this earth as a man — "the body is dead because of sin; but the SPIRIT IS LIFE because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Rom. 8:9-11). How plain. If the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in us, He imparts THE POWER TO COMMENCE ETERNAL, SELF-EXISTENT LIFE WITHIN US!
From the incorruptible seed of Christ, placed in the womb of the believing heart, comes forth that incorruptible New Creation which lives and abides forever. When John said, "He that hath the Son hath life," he was speaking of that incorruptible life which Jesus is. When Jesus said, "He that believeth on me shall never die," He was not teaching us merely of the possibility of extending our physical, Adamic existence for another thousand years so we would not go to the grave. He meant that He was planting an entirely NEW LIFE within this womb of flesh, even the incorruptible, self-existent life which He is. The life Jesus has made available is the life HE IS, the life of Yahweh, the abiding and unchangeable life of eternity.
How many of the Lord’s dear children understand not this one simple but sublime truth — they have within them the SELF-EXISTENT LIFE of God! How many weak and weary saints are constantly running around from meeting to meeting, from revival to revival, from conference to conference, from preacher to preacher, SEEKING LIFE. These precious souls are those who always need to receive some kind of "blessing". Blessing seekers are yet babes. Certainly there is nothing wrong with being a babe — if one has been a babe for only a short time. Babies are so cute and cuddly — but they should grow up fast! You can always spot a babe in Christ because his whole world is on the outside. Babies are so weak and helpless. The baby is often in a mess, has cholic, needs a diaper change, is too hot, or too cold, has a pain somewhere, is hungry or thirsty. In all these situations the one universally recognized fact about babies is that THEY CAN NEVER DO ANYTHING ABOUT THEIR PROBLEMS THEMSELVES! The baby’s whole world is on the outside. He is totally dependent upon what others can and must do for him. Someone else must always be ministering to his needs. If he gets changed, someone must change him. If he gets fed, someone must prepare the food and put it in his mouth. If he gets bathed, someone must do it for him. He is unable to solve any of his problems for himself, or secure any of his needs for himself. All must be ministered to from without. Thus we see that there are three characteristics that accompany babyhood: (1) The baby has more problems than most other folk (2) He is totally dependent upon others, unable to do anything for himself (3) When he has a need he lets it be known until someone comes and meets it. What a picture is this of the babes in Christ!
Baby Christians are believers who are always loaded down with problems. They are always sick, discouraged, depressed, frustrated, confused, offended, upset, worried, fearful, or... These are the ones who take up ninety percent of the ministers’ time, strength and patience in most groups. You must constantly be praying for them, encouraging them, petting and pampering them, counselling them, delivering them, and lifting them up. These you will see answering every altar-call, standing in every prayer line, sitting in the chair in the center of the prayer circle, and following after every meeting, ministry, prophet, healer, or teacher where they may receive yet another "blessing" or "experience". These have the victory while everything is going good, when they are struck with some ecstatic spiritual experience, or when they receive a word of prophecy. But as soon as the "blessing" wears off they are so weak they can’t make it without another spiritual "fix".
What’s wrong with these folk? I will tell you! Their source of life is ON THE OUTSIDE! Being babes, they are not aware that all-sufficient, self-existent life dwells within them. They are unable to appropriate that life for themselves. Their senses have not been exercised to discern that HE THAT IS IN THEM IS GREATER than he that is in the world. They have not yet developed to that place of maturity where they know Christ as the substance of their inward life, their all-in-all, sufficient to conquer every enemy and transcend every problem within and without. And what a tragedy it is that so many preachers and churches keep their people perpetually on this baby level of existence by restricting their diet to "milk" and training their "babies" to always be need conscious, acknowledging their faults and limitations, and looking to the "pulpit" to be fed, encouraged, healed, delivered, pampered, taught and blessed.
God is raising up a people in this hour who are coming to know that they HAVE LIFE IN THEMSELVES! Let me present this glorious company of overcomers, even those who have life in themselves. They are strong. They are full of faith and the Holy Spirit. They have discovered the river of life flowing from deep within their own spirit, life full, abundant and victorious! They are never discouraged by any situation, nor upset by any circumstance, nor defeated by any test. They are constant — not "up" one day and "down" the next. They seldom have prayer requests, although it is perfectly alright to have prayer requests. They are always encouraging others, but never need to be encouraged themselves. They minister to many, but do not stop to be ministered to. They are not offended by what others say or do or fail to say or do. They are not petty, selfish, egotistical, or self-righteous. They are not depressed or "burdened". They are not fearful, worried or confused. They don’t quit when the going gets rough. They don’t talk about how "the old devil" has been after them all week! When trouble and testing comes they stand fast in confidence, waiting upon the Lord for direction, not blaming things on the devil or fighting the devil. They don’t talk about their problems. They are not sad, sorrowful, or downcast. The Word of Christ dwells in them richly. They have been given a new song, even praise to their God! They walk in wisdom and understanding, in faith in the faithfulness and purposes of God. They rejoice in expectation of the glory of God. They always have the victory, are always positive, always rejoicing in the Spirit.
What is the secret of these people’s victory? I will tell you! THEY HAVE LIFE IN THEMSELVES! Only one who has life in himself can be an overcomer. There was One who perfectly walked in this realm and He overcame ALL THINGS. Upon Him rested the fullness of the Spirit of Yahweh, the spirit of self-existent life. Can you imagine Jesus, on the road to Samaria, sitting down on a rock and calling to Peter, James and John, saying, "Boys, I want you to come over here and pray for me. I really need to be ministered to today, I need help. Ever since we left Galilee the old devil has really been after me. This terrible fear and depression has hit me and I want you to lay your hands upon me and rebuke this thing. I think it started last week when the Father showed me that someone close to me is going to betray me. I’ve been so upset ever since. Some other things have been troubling me lately and this pain in my body isn’t helping any. If I don’t get the victory soon I won’t be able to minister in Samaria, but I know it’s just the old devil fighting me. I’ve got to get victory over this; boys, I need your help. Minister deliverance to me!" Do you think the disciples ever had to encourage Jesus, or lay hands upon Him, or counsel Him, or rebuke the devil from Him, or minister to Him? Jesus said, "The Son of man CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life..." (Mat. 20:28). Jesus came not to receive life for HE WAS LIFE. He did not come to receive life but to GIVE LIFE. He HAD LIFE IN HIMSELF even as the Father had life in Himself. In that life was contained every element of victory, wisdom, knowledge, righteousness and power He could ever need. If He needed power the power was in the life that was in Him. If He needed encouragement the encouragement was in the life within. This is a nature and a life that is not dependent upon anything without, for it is self-existent life, un-derived life, un-sustained life, all-sufficient life, unchanging life, eternal life — the life of YAHWEH!
This is the life we now have in Christ and which Christ is within us. Nothing brings greater joy to my heart than seeing members of Christ’s body growing up into the "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, growing up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ" that they "henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind." Oh, may the spirit of wisdom and revelation illumine our minds, giving a mighty revelation of the glorious and eternal reality of the CHRIST WITHIN!
THE NATURE OF GOD IN THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
The name of the Son of God is Jesus. That is His complete name. That is His correct name. That is His full name. The name of the eternal Word of God who stepped across the stars to the planet earth to be born in a stable in the village of Bethlehem, is Jesus. That is His complete, proper, full name. His name is Jesus. The angelic messenger appeared to the virgin girl Mary and announced, "Thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Mat. 1:21). Someone says, "But the angel didn’t say His name was to be Jesus because that’s English — His name was given as Yahshua." Incorrect. The people in Galilee did not speak Hebrew in the time of Jesus. They spoke Aramaic. Undoubtedly the name was given to Mary in the language she understood. We know it in English as Jesus. And whatever language it is spoken in it still means the same thing, "the salvation of Yahweh" or "the salvation of the Lord." So when the mighty Gabriel appeared, he said, "Call the child that which will be descriptive or characteristic of what He is going to be and do. Call His name that which will describe His accomplishment." The messenger said, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, or thou shalt call His name Saviour, FOR He shall save His people...call Him God’s Salvation because He is the Son of God MIGHTY TO SAVE."
Since He would be the salvation of Yahweh unto His people, call Him Saviour. Some of you are saying, "Now hold the fort, Eby; isn’t His first name Lord and His last name Christ?" NO! Neither Lord nor Christ is a name. It is important that we understand that. Christ is not a name. Christ is a position. Christ is an office. Christ is a title, as also is Lord. Christ is a description of an individual who holds a particular office. If I were to say to you, "What is the name of the man who holds the highest office in the United States of America," you would say, "His name is Bill Clinton." And if I said to you, "What is his office?" you would say, "President." You understand immediately that his name is distinct from his office. Now we might call him "Mr. President," but that’s not his name, we’re calling him by his office. His name is Bill Clinton; his office is President. When I speak to you about King, that is an office. When I speak to you about Prime Minister, that’s an office. Christ is an office — it’s not a name. Christ comes from the Greek "Christos" and means "anointed," or better, "THE anointed One." When we’re talking about the Son of God, we’re saying that His name is Jesus — Saviour. His office is Christ — the Anointed One. Jesus is the Christ, the anointed One of God. God has made this Jesus to be both LORD and CHRIST.
But ye shall be named the priests of the Lord: men shall call you the ministers of our God...for as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord will cause righteousness to spring forth before all nations" (Isa. 61:6,11). The inspired prophet summed up in one bold statement what it means to be a priest of God. "Ye shall be NAMED the priests of the Lord: men shall call you the ministers of our God." There is marvelous significance in that word "named". Named! You shall be NAMED the priests of the Lord. This passage forcefully reveals the great truth that all who would be priests of God MUST UNDERGO A CHANGE OF NATURE, to become priests by name, by nature, so that priesthood is not merely a title given to them but a nature lived out through them. If our spiritual minds can grasp the fact, to be NAMED the priests of the Lord means to be NATURED the priests of the Lord, to so be imbued with the priestly nature until we become a priest in our very state of being.
Jesus, when teaching His disciples in Matthew 5:38-48, said these words, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." In other words, give back to people exactly what you receive from them. This is the way of the human nature. If someone blacks your eye, then blacken his in return. This is what the human nature desires to do. In a Sunday School class the teacher had been teaching on the principles in the Sermon of the Mount, and she inquired of little Johnny, "Johnny, what would you do if Tommy slapped you on the right cheek?" He answered, "Teacher, I would turn the other one." And then as an afterthought he said, "But boy, if he hit that one, I would beat the stuffing out of him!" This little fellow was just being true to his human nature. Jesus went on to say, "But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel you to go with him a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh you, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn him not away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you."
Ah, to act thus is contrary to human nature. The human nature wants to retaliate in the way it has been treated. If someone loves us and is gracious to us, we seek to requite their love and kindness; but if they strike us, we want to strike back. If they curse us we return the same to them. Jesus said, "It is easy to love those who love us, the publicans and sinners do that." But to love those who hate you and despitefully use you, that is something else! To be able from the heart, by nature to do those things that Jesus teaches us here is evidence of the possession of the divine nature. Not to so act as one under law or compulsion; but to so love and forgive and bless because it is within our nature to do this — then we are getting somewhere in God! It requires a change of nature. It is not natural to be a priest, it is not according to the human nature to respond to the shortcomings, insults, injuries, sins and wretchedness of men with understanding, compassion, mercy and redemption.
Jesus continued, "That ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven; for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." You see, God makes no difference; He is not a respecter of persons. He treats the evil man exactly the same as He treats the good. He is as gracious and kind to the hostile and belligerent as He is to the gentle and obedient. This is OUR FATHER! And we are His sons, those who share His nature, who think as He thinks and act as He acts. This is what it means to be named — NATURED — the priests of the Lord! Let us note in passing, the Authorized version says, "that ye may be the children of your Father in heaven." The Greek word here is HUIOS meaning "sons," mature sons, not little children. Mature sons are NATURED priests!
Paul Mueller adds these inspiring words: "When Moses came down from the mount with the tables of the law, the people had turned to idolatry. They made a golden calf and were worshipping that idol just like the heathen. The Lord then told Moses that He would not go with them. But Moses replied, ‘If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up thence.’ Moses continued to intercede for the people, so the Lord said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee." Did this mean that God would merely speak His name in the language of man? No, it meant much more than that. Moses was then called up into the mount to receive the second set of the tables of the law. The Lord then descended in a cloud ‘and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, Yahweh, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty’ (Ex. 34:5-7).
"Remember that the Hebrew word for ‘name’ implies ‘honor, authority and character.’ Therefore, when the Lord proclaimed His name to Moses, He was in fact imparting His authority and character to him. The Lord proclaimed Himself as being ‘merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.’ These are characteristics of God that were imparted to Moses when the Lord proclaimed His name to him. When the Lord declares that He will proclaim His name to His chosen ones, He is in fact imparting His character and authority. After the Lord visited Moses, He gave him this solemn promise: ‘Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee’ (Ex. 34:10).
"The Lord’s promise to Moses was that He would do marvels, ‘such as have not been done in all the earth.’ The divine promise to the remnant in this day has been given, ‘Behold I, and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders’ (Isa. 8:18; Heb. 2:13). They are ‘men of wonder,’ sons made like unto Him who is the Branch (Zech. 3:8). To the remnant of this hour the Lord says, ‘I will declare Thy name unto my brethren.’ And when He declares His name to His brethren, who are of the company of the sons of God, they too receive His authority, His power and His character, just as Moses did. Then we shall be priests indeed, priests after the order of Melchizedek, having His characteristics of mercy, grace, forgiveness, longsuffering and an abundance of goodness and truth. The Lord shall indeed manifest Himself through this company. As it was with Moses, so shall this remnant also manifest His power and His authority. They shall do the greater works our Lord promised (Jn. 14:12).
"The Lord gives this promise to the overcomers: ‘I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem...and I will write upon him my new name’ (Rev. 3:12). Realizing the awesome glory and power that was given to Moses by the Lord when He proclaimed His name to him, we can well understand the significance of ‘the name of my God’ which is to be written upon all who overcome. It is certainly not merely the Hebrew name of the Lord, nor is it a new spiritual name which some are now using. Rather, it is an impartation of His authority and character. Let us clearly understand the truth of God’s holy Word. When He proclaims or writes His name upon His elect, He is in fact imparting to them His honor, His authority, His characteristics and His power.
"When the prodigal son returned to father’s house, he was given the best robe, shoes on his feet, and a ring on his finger (Lk. 15:22). The ring which the father gave his repentant son represented the father’s authority. The prodigal son represents the repentant remnant who are returning all the way home to carry on the work of the Father’s Kingdom. Just as in the parable, so our Father is in the process of putting the best robe on His sons, the shoes of the true gospel of peace on their feet, and the royal ring of authority on their finger. This robe is the new robe of the righteousness and life of Christ, the garment of His full salvation (Isa. 61:10; Zech. 3:4). The new shoes of the Kingdom represent the gospel of peace and reconciliation for all (Eph. 6:15; II Cor. 5:18-19). It is ‘the everlasting gospel’ (Rev. 14:6), which is the good news of the ages, combining all truth, past, present, and future. It is the message of the deliverance of all mankind at the fall of Babylon. And the ring is symbolic of the authority of His Kingdom.
"The Lord is declaring His name unto His brethren, who are the sons of God. The fullness of all that He is, as represented in the robe, the shoes, and the ring, shall be imparted to this remnant. He who spoke forth as the thunder on mount Sinai, shaking the earth by His power, who set the bush ablaze by His mighty presence, causing Moses to declare, ‘I exceedingly fear and quake,’ is now being manifest in the greater glory of mount Zion. At Sanai His voice shook the earth so that those who heard it asked that He not speak to them again (Heb. 12:19). At Zion He shakes not only the earth, but the heavens also, thus signifying that the trembling, temporal order of the past is being removed so that only that which is of the immutable Kingdom of God may remain (Heb. 12:26-27). He who spoke twice on mount Sinai is now speaking clearly and regularly to His chosen ones. The same Voice that shook the earth then is now shaking both heaven and earth so that all that is of the dead past shall be removed to make way for His Kingdom of peace, power and plenty for all. His word is now finding lodging in our hearts, for it is here, in our hearts, where the Lord has begun the new order of His Kingdom. The scriptural admonition is more relevant now than at any time in the past: ‘See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall we not escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven’ (Heb. 12:25.) — end quote.
J. PRESTON EBY
Table of Contents
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
All writings are distributed on a free-will basis.
(Brother Eby does not have e-mail service)