Question 20: It’s written right there in the Bible: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb 13:8). So the name of the Lord never changes! But you say that when the Lord comes again in the last days He will take a new name and will be called Almighty God. How do you explain it?
Ever since we started believing in the Lord Jesus, we began to pray and to heal disease and cast out demons in His name. Also, because of His name, we gained peace and blessings, and moreover because of His name we gained countless graces. That is why the name of the Lord Jesus has been deeply imprinted on our hearts and we also treasure His name very much, just like how the people of Israel treasured the name of Jehovah. Accordingly, when some brothers and sisters hear that the Lord has already returned in the flesh as Almighty God, they are unable to accept it, saying: “It says in Acts 4:12: ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ Hebrews 13:8 states: ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.’ Therefore, when the Lord returns His name should still be Jesus. How could He be called Almighty God?” Brothers and sisters, what do you think of this question? Could the Lord only be called Jesus when He returns?
Let’s first look at two passages of scripture. Exodus 3:15 states: “Jehovah … is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations.” Acts 4:12 states: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Brothers and sisters, we understand from these two passages of scripture that God’s name was Jehovah in the Age of Law and that God’s name was Jesus in the Age of Grace. God said Jehovah is His name forever, then how come His name became Jesus in the Age of Grace? Brothers and sisters, why is that the case? If the name of Jehovah can be changed into Jesus, then why can’t the name of Jesus be changed again? If we say that the name of the Lord cannot be changed and He must still be called Jesus when He returns, then why does Revelation 3:12 state “Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name”? How do you explain the “new name” here? Brothers and sisters, Revelation clearly prophesies that God will have a new name in the last days. So can this new name still be Jesus? We all know that the name of the Lord Jesus has been called out by His believers for two thousand years. If the new name is still Jesus when the prophecy of Revelation is being fulfilled in these times, then how could it be said to be a new name? Wouldn’t it be an old name? So can the returned Lord still be called Jesus? Therefore, we cannot draw the conclusion that the name of God will forever be called Jesus, because a new name was prophesied in Revelation and that must be fulfilled.
Then why does the name of God have to change? This is a question that many Bible expositors, preachers and religious theologians are unable to explain clearly. But the mysteries of this issue have been revealed by the truths expressed by Almighty God. Almighty God states: “Some say that the name of God does not change, so why then did the name of Jehovah become Jesus? It was prophesied of the coming of the Messiah, so why then did a man by the name of Jesus come? Why did the name of God change? Was not such work carried out long ago? Cannot God this day do a new work? The work of yesterday can be altered, and the work of Jesus can follow on from that of Jehovah. Cannot then the work of Jesus be succeeded by another work? If the name of Jehovah can be changed to Jesus, then cannot the name of Jesus also be changed? This is not unusual, and people think so[a] only due to their simple-mindedness. God will always be God. Regardless of the changes to His work and His name, His disposition and wisdom remain forever unchanged. If you believe that God can only be called by the name of Jesus, then you know too little” (“How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“In each age, God does new work and is called by a new name; how could He do the same work in different ages? How could He cling to the old? The name of Jesus was taken for the sake of the work of redemption, so would He still be called by the same name when He returns in the last days? Would He still be doing the work of redemption? Why is it that Jehovah and Jesus are one, yet They are called by different names in different ages? Is it not because the ages of Their work are different? Could a single name represent God in His entirety? This being so, God must be called by a different name in a different age, and must use the name to change the age and to represent the age. For no one name can fully represent God Himself, and each name is able only to represent the temporal aspect of God’s disposition in a given age; all it needs to do is to represent His work. Therefore, God can choose whatever name befits His disposition to represent the entire age” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Could the name of Jesus—“God with us”—represent God’s disposition in its entirety? Could it fully articulate God? If man says that God can only be called Jesus and may not have any other name because God cannot change His disposition, these words are blasphemy indeed! Do you believe that the name Jesus, God with us, alone can represent God in His entirety? God may be called by many names, but among these many names, there is not one that is able to encapsulate all of God, not one that can fully represent God. And so, God has many names, but these many names cannot fully articulate God’s disposition, for God’s disposition is so rich that it simply exceeds the capacity of man to know Him. There is no way for man, using the language of mankind, to encapsulate God fully. Mankind has but a limited vocabulary with which to encapsulate all that they know of God’s disposition: great, honored, wondrous, unfathomable, supreme, holy, righteous, wise, and so on. Too many words! This limited vocabulary is incapable of describing the little that man has witnessed of God’s disposition. Over time, many others added words that they thought better able to describe the fervor in their hearts: God is too great! God is too holy! God is too lovely! Today, human sayings such as these have reached their peak, yet man is still incapable of clearly expressing himself. And so, for man, God has many names, yet He has no one name, and this is because God’s being is too bountiful, and the language of man too impoverished. One particular word or name does not have the capacity to represent God in His entirety, so do you think His name can be fixed? God is so great and so holy yet you will not permit Him to change His name in each new age? Therefore, in every age in which God personally does His own work, He uses a name that befits the age in order to encapsulate the work that He intends to do. He uses this particular name, one that possesses temporal significance, to represent His disposition in that age. This is God using the language of mankind to express His own disposition. Even then, many people who have had spiritual experiences and have personally seen God nevertheless feel that this one particular name is incapable of representing God in His entirety—ah, this cannot be helped! So man no longer addresses God by any name, and simply calls Him “God.” It is as though the heart of man is full of love and yet also beset with contradictions, for man does not know how to explain God. What God is is too bountiful, there is simply no way of describing it. There is no single name that can summarize God’s disposition, and there is no single name that can describe all that God has and is. … You should know that God originally had no name. He only took on one, or two, or many names because He had work to do and had to manage mankind. Whatever name He is called by—did He not freely choose it Himself? Would He need you—one of His creatures—to decide it? The name by which God is called is a name that accords with what man is capable of apprehending, with the language of mankind, but this name is not something that man can encompass. You can only say that there is a God in heaven, that He is called God, that He is God Himself with great power, who is too wise, too exalted, too wondrous, too mysterious, and too almighty, and then you can say no more; this little bit is all you can know. This being so, can the mere name of Jesus represent God Himself? When the last days come, even though it is still God who does His work, His name has to change, for it is a different age” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s words are truly crystal clear, helping us understand that God originally had no name. God only took names because He had to perform the work of saving mankind, but a name only represents one age, one stage of work, one part of God’s disposition. There is not one name that can completely represent all that God has and is. Therefore, every time an age or His work changes, God will change His name. This is a principle of God’s work. However, no matter how the age changes and how God’s name changes, God’s essence will never change.
In order that everyone can better understand the relationship between God’s name and His work and the relevant ages, let’s now investigate the origins of the name Jehovah. As recorded in Exodus 3:15: “And God said moreover to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations.” Brothers and sisters, let me ask everyone a question: When did the name Jehovah come into existence? Did it exist at the creation, or only when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt? We know clearly from the records of the Bible that God originally didn’t have a name, and that it was only when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt did God take the name of Jehovah. Brothers and sisters, why did God take on the name Jehovah when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt? It was because from that time onward, God was officially commencing His work in the Age of Law under the name Jehovah and leading man to live on earth. The name Jehovah means a God who can have mercy on people, can curse people, and can also promulgate laws to lead people’s lives, and also a God who is very powerful and full of wisdom. God took on the name Jehovah based on His work of promulgating laws and the disposition He expressed. From then on, all people in the Age of Law respected the name of Jehovah as a holy name. They worshiped Jehovah God, prayed to Jehovah God, praised Jehovah God, and offered sacrifices to Jehovah God on the altar. The Israelites also tangibly experienced the work of Jehovah God, saw His wrath, and got a taste of the man-pitying, man-cursing disposition expressed by God right up until the end of the Age of Law. Therefore, the name Jehovah is a name specific to the Age of Law. When the Age of Law ended, the name Jehovah also ended along with it.
Through communicating the origins of the name Jehovah, we have understood that God only took a name to perform the work of saving mankind. Every name God takes in each age is very meaningful and represents the work He performs in that age and the disposition He expresses in that age. To help us further understand the relationship between God’s name and His work and the age, next we shall look into the origins of the name Jesus. After God guided the lives of the Israelites for two thousand years under the name of Jehovah, God began a new stage of work based on His management plan and the needs of mankind, and commenced the Age of Grace under the name of Jesus. Why did God end the Age of Law? Because if the Age of Law had continued, then God’s six-thousand-year management plan would only have been in the Age of Law, and mankind’s sins would only have grown more numerous and more serious. In the end, mankind would have perished under the punishments for violating laws, and God’s creation of mankind would have been meaningless. Therefore, to save mankind, God personally became flesh and came among man, opening up the Age of Grace in the name of Jesus, performing salvation work, bringing mankind rich and bountiful grace, expressing a disposition of mercy and love, and redeeming mankind from sin. The meaning of the name Jesus is: full of love, full of mercy, and a sin offering that can redeem mankind. The name Jesus is specific to the Age of Grace. It represents God’s work in the Age of Grace as well as the disposition God expressed during the Age of Grace. From then onward, God’s work principally under the name of Jesus began. At the same time, the work principally under the name of Jehovah ended along with it, that is, His work in the Age of Law ended. The name of Jesus is specific to the Age of Grace. When the Age of Grace ended, the name of Jesus also ended along with it. We can see from these two stages of God’s work that the name God takes in each age has its representative meaning. God’s name represents His work and the disposition He expresses during that age, and He opens up a new age and changes the age by His name. That is to say, every time the age changes and when His work changes, God will change His name. However, no matter how the age changes and no matter how God’s name changes, God’s essence will never change. In other words, regardless of whether God’s name is Jehovah or Jesus, God’s essence remains unchanged. To help everybody to better understand this aspect of the truth, allow me to raise an example that may not be very appropriate. Imagine there is a Mr. Wang who was originally a university professor. His students all called him Professor Wang. Later, he was allocated to the Education Department as director, and people started calling him Director Wang. If one day he is appointed Minister of Education, then people would call him Minister Wang. However, no matter how Mr. Wang’s job changes and no matter what people call him, Mr. Wang would not change as a person. Similarly, no matter how God’s name changes and no matter how God’s work changes, God’s essence will never change and He remains God Himself. But what is regretful is that the Israelites at the time didn’t know God’s name existed because of His work of saving mankind, and would change as the age passed and His work changed. In their minds, only Jehovah God was their God and their Savior, because Jehovah God once led their ancestors out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, bestowed manna upon them in the wilderness, gave them living water from a rock, and in the end brought them into Canaan to live in the land of milk and honey. … They not only saw Jehovah God’s great power and wisdom, they also enjoyed Jehovah God’s blessings and care, and moreover got a taste of God’s wrath and unoffendable disposition. That is why they were full of love and reverence for Jehovah God. Accordingly, generation after generation, they held on to the words: “Only Jehovah is God; apart from Jehovah there is no Savior.” However, when the Lord Jesus incarnate came to save them, the Pharisees rejected and killed the Lord Jesus because they did not recognize that the Lord Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah—their Savior. Brothers and sisters, at this point in the fellowshiping I want to ask everybody a question: Why did the Pharisees at the time reject the Lord Jesus? It was actually because they did not recognize that the essence of the Lord Jesus was God Himself, and because they did not recognize God’s new work and the relationship between God’s name and His work. Also, they did not know the meaning of God changing His name. Therefore, they rejected the Lord Jesus, condemned the Lord Jesus, and even nailed the merciful Lord Jesus to death on the cross, committing a monstrous sin. The Jews and their descendants have paid a heavy price for this—the pain of subjugation. For the past two thousand years, they have wandered from place to place all over the world, and even now there are many still drifting in foreign lands. Brothers and sisters, isn’t their failure worthy of our deep reflection? Isn’t their failure worth being taken as a grave warning? Will we repeat their mistakes and still think that when the Lord returns He must still be called Jesus?
Now, God has performed newer and loftier work on the foundations of His work in the Age of Grace, and this is the work of chastisement and judgment with His word in the Age of Kingdom. Through His word, God chastises and judges people and reveals His righteous, majestic and wrathful disposition, in order to end this corrupt old age, restore man’s original sanctity, and rejuvenate all things. God shall be glorified across the whole universe, using His great power to end His entire six-thousand-year management plan and thoroughly defeat Satan. God shall rule over all the lands: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.” Thus the last age is called the Age of Kingdom. Due to the change of the age, God’s name also has to change. He is no longer called Jesus but the powerful Almighty God. He shall conclude the entire six-thousand-year management plan in the name of Almighty God. This precisely fulfills the prophecy in Revelation 15:3: “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways, you King of saints.” This also fulfills the prophecy in Revelation 19:6: “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunder, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.”
Brothers and sisters, from the above fellowshiping, we can understand that the name God takes in each age has its representative meaning and is not without basis. They are all names that have meaning in their age based on God’s work and the disposition He expresses in different ages. That is why God took on the name of Almighty God in the last days to end God’s entire six-thousand-year management plan. However, what is the attitude the people of today have toward God’s new work and the name of Almighty God? Throughout the entire religious world, many people still hold on to passages in the scriptures such as “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” They recklessly resist and condemn Almighty God’s work of the last days and say that believing in Almighty God is believing in another God. … If that were the case, then wouldn’t the disciples who went out from the law to follow the Lord Jesus back then have also believed in another God—Jesus? Isn’t such an understanding totally absurd? If we hold on to such an erroneous understanding, then how are we any different to the Jews back then who only held on to the name of Jehovah and rejected and killed the Lord Jesus? If this continues, won’t the tragedy of the Jews being punished for resisting God be repeated on us? Would we be willing to pay such a heavy price? Brothers and sisters, we cannot determine that God’s name must forever be called Jesus. Instead, we should humble ourselves and seek God’s intentions. When you accept God’s new work of the last days and come before Almighty God, you will see that Almighty God is Jehovah God of the Israelites and also the Master of the Jews, and moreover, He is the Lord Jesus we have long waited for! In order for everyone to better understand this aspect of the truth, let’s read another two passages of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says: “I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. But today I am not the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past—I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory. People have never engaged with Me, have never known Me, and have always been ignorant of My disposition. From the creation of the world until today, not one person has seen Me. This is the God who appears to man during the last days but is hidden among man. He resides among man, true and real, like the burning sun and the flaming fire, filled with power and brimming with authority. There is not a single person or thing that shall not be judged by My words, and not a single person or thing that shall not be purified through the burning of fire. Eventually, all nations shall be blessed because of My words, and also smashed to pieces because of My words. In this way, all people during the last days shall see that I am the Savior returned, I am the Almighty God that conquers all of mankind, and I was once the sin offering for man, but in the last days I also become the flames of the sun that burn all things, as well as the Sun of righteousness that reveals all things. Such is My work of the last days. I took this name and am possessed of this disposition so that all people may see that I am a righteous God, and am the burning sun, and the flaming fire. It is so that all may worship Me, the only true God, and so that they may see My true face: I am not only the God of the Israelites, and am not just the Redeemer—I am the God of all creatures throughout heavens and earth and seas” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The day will arrive when God is not called Jehovah, Jesus, or Messiah—He will simply be “the Creator.” At that time, all the names that He has taken on earth shall come to an end, for His work on earth will have come to an end, after which His names shall be no more. When all things come under the dominion of the Creator, what need has He of a highly appropriate yet incomplete name? Are you still seeking after God’s name now? Do you still dare to say that God is only called Jehovah? Do you still dare to say that God can only be called Jesus? Are you able to bear the sin of blasphemy against God?” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Dear brothers and sisters, Almighty God’s words make us understand the aspect of truth concerning why God’s name has to change. Do you now still think the Lord’s name still has to be Jesus when He returns? Could you still refuse God’s salvation because God’s name of the last days is Almighty God? Brothers and sisters, let’s put aside our own notions and make a wise decision! Almighty God has long started His work of the last days. He carries all of His disposition. He is full of power and authority, like the fiery sun, like fire. There is not a single person or thing that shall not be judged or cleansed by His word. In the end, all nations shall receive blessings because they accept His word, and also shall be smashed into pieces because they refuse His word. Brothers and sisters, how can we miss out on this final chance to be saved by God? Almighty God is looking forward to each person previously redeemed by Him returning before His throne soon, and entering the new heaven and earth prepared by God for man.
from Collection of the Sermons of the Kingdom Gospel
Nowadays, there are so many pastors and elders in the religious world who do not accept Almighty God. They say, “The name of the Lord Jesus has not changed yesterday, it is still the same today, and it will never change for all eternity.” They observe these words of the Bible as famous sayings and rules, and no one is able to convince them otherwise. Look at these pastors and elders in the religious world, aren’t they the same as those Pharisees from Israel? (Yes, they are.) They have made the same mistake, going down the same path. Therefore, are these people not resisting God? (Yes, they are.) If you only believe in the Lord Jesus, yet do not acknowledge the second-coming of the Lord Jesus, will you still be blessed by the Lord Jesus? Are you still entitled to the promises of the Lord Jesus? The Lord Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Mat 7:22-23). Why does the Lord Jesus say that He never knew them? That is because they do not acknowledge the Lord Jesus, therefore the Lord Jesus also does not acknowledge them. Once the Lord Jesus has changed His name to Almighty God, they no longer acknowledge Him. Tell me, do these people know the Lord Jesus? (No, they don’t.) The Israelites believed in Jehovah God, but when Jehovah God was incarnated as the Lord Jesus, they didn’t acknowledge Him, even crucified Him, and in the end incurred the curse of God.
from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (Series 130)
People with absurd ideas are easily led astray and make mistakes. They can’t see things accurately and solely rely on their wishful thinking to determine that must be the case, but in the end they judge things incorrectly. When you make misjudgments you have to pay the price. Some people say, “I abide by the name of the Lord Jesus, but I can’t accept the name of Almighty God. I think, the name of the Lord Jesus is reliable, for there is evidence for it in the Bible. I shall abide by the Bible.” This is a wrong decision and a misjudgment. To abide by the name of the Lord Jesus but resist and condemn Almighty God will ultimately result in their being abandoned and punished, and their chances of entering the kingdom of heaven will be obliterated and their dream of getting into heaven will be utterly smashed. What is their mistake? Wrong decisions and a misjudgment. If you just follow the trend of abiding by the name of the Lord Jesus then you are finished, over. When the Lord Jesus came, the Jewish Pharisees, chief priests, scribes resisted and condemned Him, and religious followers of Judaism all followed their leaders to reject the Lord Jesus. Ultimately the Jewish state was destroyed; Judaism was desolate for two thousand years. Is this paying the price? (Yes.) A wrong decision, to deny the Lord Jesus, was to evoke a calamity from the sky. In the Age of Kingdom Almighty God came and those who believe in God were tested and revealed once again. Many people followed pastors and elders to abandon Almighty God and to continue to believe in the Lord Jesus. And in the end the religious circles became desolate and was turned into Babylon the Great. What does “turned into Babylon the great” mean? Babylon is a Gentile city, it is a city to be destroyed. Religious circles became Babylon the great, a Gentile city, which means God will take those religious people and deal with them as Gentiles, the unbeliever. These people all have to be destroyed. Therefore, the key is to accept the name of Almighty God. In the Age of Kingdom only those who believe in Almighty God may enter the kingdom, and be allowed their place in Christ’s kingdom.
from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (Series 131)
a. The original text reads “which is.”