Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 9)

         “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [John 14:26]

         According to the above passage, the Father… will send the Holy Spirit… in the Name of the Son. In classic Christian jargon, the “First Person” will send the “Third Person” in the name of the “Second Person.” This reminds me of the Olympics, when the three medal winners stand on small joined platforms of three different levels to receive their medals. The winner stands front and center on the tallest platform to receive the gold. He or she is the champion. The silver medal winner (second place) is on the second-tallest platform, and the third-place bronze medal winner is on the lowest platform.

         Don’t we always say, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?” (One, two, three?) We never arrange these three in any different order. The arrangement signifies rank, as if “The Father” is most important, “The Son” second most important, etc. But the tri-unity doctrine teaches that each Person is co-equal, which means it contradicts both itself AND Scripture:

         If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” [John 14:28b]

         But Jesus is God! What’s up with that? Can God be greater than God?

         Well, at least we know that the Father is greater than the Son, and is therefore most qualified to send the Holy Spirit.

         Uh… no:

         “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” [John 15:26-27]

         What?

         One chapter after finding out that the Father will send the Spirit, we discover that Jesus will send the Spirit. Which is correct? Will the “First Person” send the “Third Person,” or will the “Second Person” send the “Third Person?” At least we know the “Third Person” wins the bronze. No apparent argument there.

         So, the Holy Spirit will be sent in the Name of Jesus by Jesus. Confused?

         Well, hold on, because we’re just getting started.

         Just who, pray tell, is the Holy Spirit? Is it a heavenly dove? A nameless force? Was the Lord sent to the desert by a Spirit with no name because it felt good to be out of the rain? (In the desert, you can’t remember your name…)

         “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:16-18]

         Uh oh.

         We just found out who the Holy Spirit is. Why, despite theologian’s best efforts, do we keep coming back to Jesus? The Holy Spirit is the Paraclete, from the Greek word parakletos. This word is also translated in various Bible versions as Comforter, Helper, and Advocate. The Holy Spirit is assumed to take the place of Jesus in the lives of the disciples, but the truth is more than what it seems:

         “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’” [John 14:28a]

         This is not a reference to the Second Coming. It is a reference to the fact that the Lord Jesus, as a Father, would not irresponsibly leave His children without a teacher, guide, or guardian once He ascended into heaven:

         “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:18]

         We gain more insight through the Lord referring to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. Can the Spirit of Truth be appreciably different from “The Truth?”

         Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

         Is the Holy Spirit truly the Spirit of Jesus?

         We get a glimpse of this and greater revelation in the following passage referencing Paul’s travels as he and his companions in ministry were directed by the Spirit of Jesus:

         They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. [Acts 16:6-8]

         (There was, of course, a reason why the Lord refused to permit them to go into Bithynia, which will be studied in a later post.)

         We receive further understanding of our subject through Paul’s claim that the Spirit of Jesus actually lives within real Christians and is spoken of as a providential provision:

         …For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [Philippians 1:19-21] [1]

         He will not leave us as orphans indeed…

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 9 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 8)

         God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

         Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

         And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. [Acts 19:11-17]

         Here we have a case where the password to the Kingdom of God became known to non-believers. They attempted to use it the way Paul did but with much different results.

         Imagine an evil spirit so powerful it could work through one man to beat the hell out of seven religious pretenders. These clowns were not merely defeated. They were abused, humiliated, and literally ripped-off.

         What happened?

         Though the Name of Jesus is the password to the kingdom of God, its proper use is restricted to those who have made a wholesale commitment to the owner of the Name. Unless one’s heart is fully circumcised unto the Lord, the password will not work, though it may appear otherwise in some circumstances. If one’s faith is weak, the password will not work. If one’s motive is wrong, the password will not work. If one has unrepentant sin, the password will not work. If there’s any flesh involved, the password will not work.

         The seven sons of Sceva had apparently had some success in exorcising demons. There are certain Christian sects that have historically practiced exorcism and continue practicing it today.

         But the Lord Jesus never practiced exorcism. He quite simply but most powerfully used His authority and commanded evil spirits to obey Him. No need for silly formulas and little wooden crosses. The Lord merely said, “Get out!” and they scrammed. His disciples had been given the use of His powerful Name and also ran off any number of demons through the same authority. Demons were often scared enough to stay away from those filled with the Spirit of God. They knew they’d get their backsides kicked. They certainly knew who the Lord Jesus was, that He was a Warrior on the warpath shining a great Light into their dark little hovels.

         You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. [James 2:19]

         The proponents of Unreal Christianity have not been granted the authority of the Name since they have never fully committed to the Lord Jesus. This is obvious by the way they dishonor and disrespect Him. (“Oh, those things don’t happen anymore!” “We don’t believe in that stuff!” You’re a fruitcake and those things are of the devil!” “It makes me feel so uncomfortable…”) Dead churches are dead because they lack the power of God. They have no access to it. They claim to have authority to use the Name but one never sees much demonstration of the Lord’s Spirit in such places.

         Other people counterfeit it. The devil is using them and they don’t even know it.

         But one thing is sure: There is great power and authority in the Name of Jesus but one must be qualified to use it or nothing good will happen.

         Ask the sons of Sceva. They never, ever made that mistake again. The evil spirit punted their rears halfway across Ephesus.

         Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing. [Acts 19:18-20]

         This is the real gospel in action.

         But why did the Lord direct Paul to go to Ephesus in the first place? Once again, it had to do with the power of His Name. It seems there were certain followers of John the Immerser there who had never heard of Pentecost. Note what happens after Paul discovers the way they were baptized:

         It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

         And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

         And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?”

         And they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

         Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

         When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men. [Acts 19:1-7] [1]

         Why did Paul connect the infilling of the Holy Spirit with water baptism? Was it for the simple reason that the password to the kingdom of God is directly associated with water baptism? Was it because water baptism in the Name of Jesus is a major part of the heart-circumcision process toward total submission to the Messiah and gaining proper authority to use His Name?

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 8 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 7)

         Pessimism is a sin. If a person claims to be a real Christian and is not optimistic regarding areas under God’s control, then one is sinning against Him.

         It’s called a lack of faith.

         …And whatever is not from faith is sin. [Romans 14:23]  

         The Lord was often exasperated with faithlessness, especially among His own disciples. Remembering the simple fact that those guys were His students learning His craft excuses them since they were in the process of moving from darkness to light. If they continued in pessimistic faithlessness after the Resurrection, the Ascension, and Pentecost, then they failed His curriculum and were in sin.

         And not a real part of His community.

         Which brings us to the crux of the matter: The majority who claim to be Christians are not real Christians. They are Christian in name only, regardless of their denomination or doctrinal beliefs.

         “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them. [John 10:1-6]

         From this definitive statement the Lord is clearly teaching that it is possible for “strangers” to get into His sheepfold. Think about that. We gain greater understanding of this fact when discovering that the Greek word for stranger in this verse means “one belonging to another.” In other words, these strangers are not simply unknown persons crashing the party but those who belong to someone else. And in the clear context of the verse we see that He is referring to people who are shepherds other than the Lord Jesus.

         Who are these shepherds?

         I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. [Galatians 1:6-12]

         There is no doubt that Paul spoke often of false apostles and false gospels. This obviously presupposes false shepherds. False shepherds are “strangers” who enter the Lord’s sheepfold through means other than the door. They assume authority over people not granted from God. It was the Pharisees who Jesus was referring to as such strangers, as clearly indicated in chapter nine of John’s gospel. (There should have been no chapter break, since the narrative from chapter nine continues into chapter ten.)

         The Lord Jesus tells them He is the Door of the sheepfold. He is also the Good Shepherd. Whoever does an end run into His sheepfold without going through the Door (the only means of proper access) is not a real believer.

         “…No one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]

         No one can possibly get to the Father without going through the Son. Whoever rejects the Son automatically rejects the Father also. The Father and Son are a package deal. One cannot have one without also having the other.

         If one has a shepherd other than the Son, one does not have the Father.

         Yet, such people think they still have the Father. Some Christians insistently refer to “God” as someone other than the Lord Jesus, but have no real idea who this “God” is. The term often refers to an unknowable, intangible, and conceptual God that people end up making to suit themselves. In their minds, this God is not Jesus.

         They must, therefore, have a shepherd other than Jesus, because if Jesus were their shepherd, He would be their God also.

         Who qualifies then as replacement shepherds of unreal Christians? Who are the Christian leaders who teach their sheep to enter the Lord’s sheepfold through a means other than the Door? Who are these replacement shepherds who take the place of the Door?

         So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” [John 10:7-13] [1]

         One should see very clearly that any shepherd who advises his sheep to disregard the Door and enter His sheepfold through another means or method is not honest or upright, but a thief and a mere hired hand working for pay. What’s more, you can bet that the sheep of the false shepherds look and act like them, and not at all like the Door.

         The password to the kingdom of God is the Name of Jesus.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 7 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 6)

         Unreal Christianity is infused with sacred cows. After two thousand years of extra-Biblical heretical teachings and “Christian” denominational offshoots, Unreal Christianity contains a veritable zoo of protected cattle wandering down city streets masquerading as truth. As possible reincarnated ancestors, none dare touch such cows without stirring up a hornet’s nest of retribution and murder.

         And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

         And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:24-29]

         Goodness gracious. Talk about your sacred cows. The Lord saw things a tad differently than these rabid detractors. They had built up a very false idea of their own religious culture over time and were willing to do any harm to anyone who dared challenge them and their bogus posing.

         Even if that someone was God Himself.

         What an amazing thing it is to see a Man telling the truth but being perceived by evil idiots as using pejorative language and depreciatory story-telling that obfuscates their fanciful fakery. The next thing you know, Unreal Christianity will be enlisting the courts to classify as hate speech any truth-telling that supports the Word of God and reveals their false doctrines for what they are:

         “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron…” [1 Timothy 4:1-2]

         Without doubt, there is often a bubbling cauldron of red-hot anger just under the surface of pretty, smiling, Christian countenances under the influence of untruth due to years of false teaching and prejudice against the Lord they claim to know. Real Christians, however, are in love with the Lord Jesus first, and though unclear on one Biblical fact or another will go anywhere He leads them, even if it be into unfamiliar Biblical territory. But nowhere, it seems, after the Lord’s ascension, is more religious trouble stirred up than when the Name above every name is boldly spoken or put forth:

         It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” She continued doing this for many days.

         But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!”

         And it came out at that very moment. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities, and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews, and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”

         The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. [Acts 16:16-24]

         Whoa, dude. Seems pretty harsh—until one realizes that Paul was attacking their pocketbook. These jerks were pimping out a demon-possessed slave girl for their own profit through fortune-telling without any hint of a bothered conscious, and had been doing it for quite some time. They had built up a considerable religious business and saw it all going south after Paul lowered the boom. Does this sound familiar? The concept of religious profit-taking? A shining light on a master attraction instead of the Lord? The slander of those who reveal the truth of the matter?

         Whether it be unbelieving Jews or pagan Romans, the Lord Jesus and His powerful Name so shake up the pinhead in pinstripes that he will go to any length to protect his turf. Thank goodness none of this stuff happens within Christian ministries…

         “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” [Matthew 7:21-23] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 6 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 5)

         But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” [Acts 4:15-20]

         Two thousand years ago, it was unbelieving Jews in places of high religious authority who were in opposition to the use of the Lord’s Name by believing Jews, such as Peter, John, and the entire Jerusalem community of faithful ones.

         Today, it is unbelieving Christians in places of high religious authority who restrict the Lord and His believing children from using the Name above every name in ministry. And there is no area of Christian practice in which this is more blatant than water baptism, the first and foremost use of the Lord’s powerful Name in the infant community of saints. In every single instance or inference of water baptism throughout the entire Book of Acts and post-gospel epistles, the Name of Jesus was administered. This continued for three hundred years until Roman laws were put in place to eliminate its use.

         What do Roman laws have to do with Christian practice, you may ask? Everything, since the Roman Empire co-opted Christianity and created their own hybrid for the sake of religious control by A.D. 325. Seventeen centuries later, almost every single Christian denomination and autonomous body continue to obey the Roman law that eliminated the Name of Jesus from baptism.

         Christians now openly joke about it, wondering what the big deal is and why such even matters. They do not care that they routinely disobey the Lord’s commands and the very clear historical record. Some simply do not know any better because they have been deceived. Any halfway decent theologian knows, however. Biblical encyclopedias and dictionaries clearly state the truth for any who may be inclined to search for truth in the matter.

         Therefore, the question is not if such is really true, but why do the majority of Christians continue to thumb their collective nose at God and refuse to use His Name in baptism? Without His Name there is no power, no authority, no witness, no representation of His death and burial, and no washing away of sin.

         Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. [Colossians 3:17]

         Does anyone think the Lord Jesus cares about this issue? He is God, of course, and it is His Name. In the preceding verse, the apostle Paul taught that we were to do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Peter and John understood this directive, originally issued by the Lord, and were certainly aware of the power in His Name when they used it in the healing of the famous lame man at the temple gate:

         Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. [Acts 3:1-8]

         This miracle, likely witnessed by hundreds, would not have been possible without the Lord’s name. Generations had known of this man. Tens of thousands and perhaps more had seen him at the Beautiful Gate over several decades. Word spread rapidly, so rapidly that the authorities were greatly alarmed.

         Later, Peter stated to those assembled in the aftermath,

         “On the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.” [Acts 3:16]

         Once the religious authorities had heard about the great miracle, they showed up post haste:

         As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. [Acts 4:1-4]

         Put them in jail? For a miracle? No. The offense was using the Lord’s Name. This one instance is enough to reveal to all real believers that a real profession of faith and determination to use the Lord’s Name will cost. And it will cost everything. It is the sword that sows division as intimated by the Lord.

         “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” [Matthew 10:32-36]   

         There is never any middle ground here. One will either be 100% on the Lord’s side or one will be against Him. A real disciple cannot help but apply the Name of Jesus and would never shrink from using it, regardless of any cost to one’s person or reputation.

         On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”

         Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone.

         And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:5-12] [1]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 5 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 4)

         Christians have been unknowingly conditioned to perceive God and the Lord Jesus as two completely different people. How did this happen? Why is it that despite a veritable plethora of pure scriptural references to the absolute deity of Jesus He remains relegated to second-class status? Why do the majority of Christians refuse to give the Lord Jesus His due and honor Him as God?

         It is not enough to say Jesus is God if one continues to see God as someone other than Jesus. Christians often use the terminology, “God and Jesus.” I once saw a Christian t-shirt with the message, “You and me and God make five.” If there was anything at all that the ancient Hebrews learned from YHWH, despite all their backsliding, sin, and later misinterpretation of Scripture, it was one of the greatest facts of all time: God is ONE.

         “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” [Deuteronomy 6:4]

         Yet, from this very clear and strong statement, Christians have redefined what the word “one” means much as someone else in our recent national past attempted to redefine what the word “is” is.

         In Christianese, “one” no longer necessarily means one. One Person now means three persons. “One” now means that the three persons of the “Godhead” [1] are merely united.   

         But that is not at all what YHWH was stating through Moses in the above verse. Moses knew God. He knew Him well, much better than the vast majority of us. There was a relational closeness between the two that was one of the closest anyone prior to New Covenant times had achieved.

         Moses actually SAW God:

         Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

         And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!” Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” [Exodus 33:18-23]

         Since God is Spirit, what is meant in this passage by God’s “face,” God’s “hand,” and God’s “back?” Just Who was “walking” in the garden in the cool of the day looking for Adam and Eve? This phraseology can be explained as a Hebrew manner of speaking or idiom, but there is no doubt with reference to God’s oneness. There was no divine committee in the garden, and no trinity on Mount Sinai with Moses.

         Theologians have utilized a word, “theophany,” which denotes a visible manifestation of God, often in the form of a human being. Of course, God only became a human being once, so any reference to God as a human being prior to the incarnation of Jesus must be studied. Angels often took the form of humanity. God can certainly do anything He wants anytime He wants. In perhaps the clearest and most forthright Old Testament manifestation of God into humanity, we have this:

         Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth… [Genesis 18:1-2] [2]

         As one reads the rest of the narrative, he discovers that these three men were YHWH and two angels. The two angels later went to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family before YHWH destroyed the entire region due to the gross wickedness of its inhabitants.

         Therefore, YHWH appeared as a human being to Abraham. Though theologians might refer to this as a mere theophanic manifestation, the facts are clear that this Person stood, walked, sat down, ate, drank, and spoke openly to Abraham and the two angels. He prophesied that Isaac would be conceived and birthed through miraculous means. Also, this divine visit took place right after Abraham partook in the covenant of circumcision, in which he, Ishmael, and every single male of his household were circumcised.

         Isn’t it interesting that whenever real repentance and commitment take place, and when the covenant of full heart circumcision in the Lord’s blood and His Name is ratified, one receives a full revelation of Jesus?

         And isn’t it also quite interesting that prior to such, “God” remains a mystery?

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 4 of 10]


[1] Bad translation as derived from the KJV from the Greek words theios, theiotes, and theotes. See Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, and Colossians 2:9 respectively. A good translation uses the terms Divine Nature and Deity.

[2] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 3)

         Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [2 Corinthians 4:1-4]

         It appears that the god of this world has also somehow managed to blind the minds of the believing regarding the true identity of Jesus. How many different ways can the Word state that our Lord Jesus is God Himself in an effort to convince whomever that He is God Himself?

         He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [Colossians 1:15]

         Due to rampant sin and rebellion among humanity and especially among the Lord’s own people, knowledge of God was largely lost in ancient times prior to the first century. How was He supposed to get our attention? How could He ever relate to humanity?

         What if God became one of us?

         Joseph the carpenter was a pretty cool guy, but even he was about to mess up big time. It seems that his new wife-to-be was already pregnant.

         What?!

         Also, the Torah clearly stated that a woman in such a predicament must be stoned.

         What?!

         Not only that, but Mary kept insisting she was a virgin.

         What?!

         (“You’re pregnant AND a virgin? What?!”)

         What was he to do? Obey his denominational teachings? Run for his life? His religion had no satisfactory answer whatsoever, except to dictate that he simply could not do the will of God, that he could not do the one thing he must do. It was an impossible circumstance that required a miraculous out of the box response:

         And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

         “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

         Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” [Matthew 1:19-23]

         So, in other words, an angel of YHWH informed Joseph that his betrothed was pregnant with a Child who was God, the long awaited Messiah prophesied by Isaiah, and that the Father of this Son was the Holy Spirit.

         Right.

         These facts do not seem to fit standardized Christian theology…

         Have a great many Christians become misinformed and unknowing Samaritans?

         “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

         Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.

         “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

         “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

         The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”

         Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” [John 4:20-26]

         Uh Oh.

         Like He did with other people on numerous other occasions, the Lord just told the Samaritan woman at the well that He is I AM.

         Did He also tell her He was the Father?

         “I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” [John 10:30-33] [1]

         Uh Oh.

         We must remember that we are dealing with the world’s only pure monotheists at that time in the early first century. The Jews were the only people on the planet who believed in one God, and were condemned and ridiculed for such “nonsense” ad nauseam by a pantheistic heretical world of idol worshippers. Yet, Isaiah and others had made ancient claims that the Messiah would come, and that He would be God Himself. Therefore, those guys in the passage above did not necessarily disbelieve the accurate scriptural prophecies; they simply refused to believe that Jesus could be the guy. Why?

         Maybe it was because the Lord wasn’t attituded and duded up like General George S. Patton, four stars, ivory handled sidearms, polished helmet and all, though He greatly outranked Patton or anyone else who ever walked the earth in pure manhood and warrior ability (something Patton would instantly agree with).

         Maybe it was because it was also prophesied that the Messiah would first arrive as a humble suffering servant. Or maybe it was because religious people are generally blind as bats.

         But even His own disciples didn’t get it most of the time:

         “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” [John 14:7-9]

         Uh Oh. 

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 3 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 2)

         Who is the Father? Who is the Holy Spirit? Why don’t they have names? Prior to its translation into English, the Greek New Testament renders the words Theos (God), Kurios (Lord), Pater (Father), Huios (Son), and Hagios Pneuma (Holy Spirit) as descriptive terms and titles of God. Though the argument has been explained exhaustively, it must be stated yet again for purposes of this study that the same individual may be a grandfather, a father, a son, a brother, a husband, an uncle, a cousin, and a nephew. These are not names. They are relational titles. Why do we not see the same applied to God? Why cannot God possess a multiplicity of titles but remain a single individual? Why has religion and theological reasoning transformed Him into three people?

         Consider the following: The title “Holy Spirit” (Ruach haQodesh) only appears three times in the entire Old Testament. It appears first in Psalm 51, when David says:

         Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. [Psalm 51:11]

         David used the term as indicative of the Spirit of God, but he also addressed God in the same Psalm using the terms “God” (Elohim) and “Lord” (Adonai). Of course, the Hebrew word Adonai was used by the scribes as a substitute written word for YHWH, so David actually used two different titles (Elohim and Ruach haQodesh) and also one of God’s primary Old Testament names (YHWH). One should be able to clearly see that David was not denoting a plurality of persons, but one God.

         The only other occurrences in the Old Testament of the term “Holy Spirit” take place in consecutive verses in the Book of Isaiah. What follows is the entire sixty-third chapter sandwiched around those two verses, to give proper perspective that Isaiah the prophet was speaking of one God by using several titles and many personal pronouns invoking a single Person:

         Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, this One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength?

         “It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

         Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

         “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. I looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; so My own arm brought salvation to Me, and My wrath upheld Me. I trod down the peoples in My anger and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

         I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has granted them according to His compassion and according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, “Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely.” So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.

         But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them. Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,

         Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, who led them through the depths? Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble; as the cattle which go down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD gave them rest. So You led Your people, to make for Yourself a glorious name. Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation; where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds? The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me. For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your name. Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways and harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage. Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while, our adversaries have trodden it down. We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, like those who were not called by Your name. [Isaiah 63:1-19] [1]

         In this passage, Isaiah uses the following descriptive terms and titles of God:

(1) “My own arm”

(2) “Savior”

(3) “The angel of His presence”

(4) “His Holy Spirit”

(5) “His glorious arm”

(6) “The Spirit of the LORD (YHWH)”

(7) “Our Father”

(8) “Our Redeemer”

(9) “LORD (YHWH)”

         The prophet also makes four references to God’s Name:

(1) An everlasting name (Verse 12)

(2) A glorious name (Verse 14)

(3) You, O LORD (YHWH), are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name (Verse 16)

(4) Your name (verse 19)

         Though he used many descriptive terms and titles, the only name that Isaiah used exclusively was YHWH, the Old Testament covenant name of God.

         The Name above every name [2], however, is “YHWH is Salvation” (“YHWH Saves”), or Yehoshua in Hebrew (shortened to Yeshua).

         This highest of all names was then translated into the original Greek New Testament writings as Iesous, and then into the Late Latin (transliterated into English) as the great name of Jesus.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Philippians 2:9

The Name of God: The Name Above Every Name (Part 1)

         I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. [Ephesians 1:18-23]

         There are truths embedded in the New Testament that defy easy theological answers. Theology wants to make everything black and white and linear in order to satisfy human reasoning. When it fails in this endeavor it resorts to a cold heavy-handedness and falls into the pit of indoctrination at the expense of revelation.

         The Lord Jesus was never concerned about indoctrinating people, in the sense of force-feeding facts and figures, and pushing the accepted standards and religious traditions of men. In addition to this seemingly counterintuitive method, he often taught in parables, as if He intended to hide truth from the unworthy. In other words, if one did not possess “ears to hear” and “eyes to see,” the Lord did not go out of His way to get the message to him, but allowed such a one to remain unenlightened.

         If one didn’t get it, well, one just didn’t get it. It was his or her problem, not the Lord’s.

         Therefore, the Lord put things out there and waited for a response from those who were able to dial the proper frequency. In perhaps the most well-known and celebrated example of this teaching method, we have the following:

         Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 16:13-17] [1]

         This is what the Lord is after. He wants us to receive truth by revelation from God. Why is it that only Peter received the truth of the Lord’s identity and immediately spoke up? The answer is evident. He heard it. He saw it. And it was so very clear to him that he spoke it. He understood perfectly that his Rabbi was the long-awaited Anointed One—the Messiah. He did not learn it in Bible school or church. It was not revealed to him by flesh and blood.

         Peter received it directly from the Father.

         But what about all those who thought the Lord was (1) John the Baptist? (2) Elijah? (3) Jeremiah? or (4) One of the prophets? What were they thinking? John the Baptist was already dead. Jeremiah and the prophets were long dead. Elijah was long gone. Why could they not see what Peter so clearly did see?

         Again, it was a revelation. Most Christians probably think they know who Jesus really is. However, the vast majority have obviously been indoctrinated concerning His accepted identity because most Christians think far less of Him than they should. Thus, this reveals clear evidence that human thinking is involved. Instead of the Lord being some kind of weird reincarnation of John or other famous prophets, Unreal Christianity has assigned Him the identity of second-class citizen and a lower-tiered individual far below “God” and “the Father.” On top of this, most have no real idea of just who “God” or “the Father” happens to be. There are no personal New Testament names involved with these terms. Thus, they are mere titles, and they therefore represent that which cannot be related to on a personal basis.

         It is impossible to be close to someone and not know His name.

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 10]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.