Question 21: It’s written right 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 the Lord has come again in the last days with a new name and He is called Almighty God. How can that be the case?
The Bible says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Heb 13:8). This refers to the fact that God’s disposition and His essence are eternal and unchanging. It does not mean that His name will not change. Let’s take a look at the words of Almighty God.
Almighty God says, “There are those who say that God is immutable. That is correct, but it refers to the immutability of God’s disposition and His substance. Changes in His name and work do not prove that His substance has altered; in other words, God will always be God, and this will never change. If you say that the work of God is unchanging, then would He be able to finish His six-thousand-year plan of management? You only know that God is forever unchanging, but do you know that God is always new and never old? If the work of God is unchanging, then could He have led mankind all the way to the present day? If God is immutable, then why is it that He has already done the work of two ages? … the words ‘God is always new and never old’ refer to His work, the words ‘God is immutable’ to what God inherently has and is. Regardless, you cannot make the work of six thousand years hinge upon a single point, or circumscribe it with dead words. Such is the stupidity of man. God is not as simple as man imagines, and His work cannot linger in any one age. Jehovah, for example, cannot always stand for the name of God; God can also do His work under the name of Jesus. This is a sign that God’s work is always moving in a forward progression.
“God is always God, and will never become Satan; Satan is always Satan, and will never become God. God’s wisdom, God’s wondrousness, God’s righteousness, and God’s majesty shall never change. His essence and what He has and is shall never change. As for His work, however, it is always progressing in a forward direction, always going deeper, for He is always new and never old. In every age God assumes a new name, in every age He does new work, and in every age He allows His creatures to see His new will and new disposition” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
We can see from Almighty God’s words that God Himself is unchanging. This refers to God’s disposition and essence, not His name. Although God has performed different work and has adopted different names during different ages through His process of saving mankind, His essence can never change. God will always be God. So, regardless of whether His name is Jehovah or Jesus, His essence never changes. It is always the same God working. However, at the time, the Jewish Pharisees did not know that God’s name changes along with the transition in the age, in His work. They believed that only Jehovah could be their God, their Savior because over the ages they had maintained that only Jehovah is God, and there is no other Savior but Jehovah. As a result, when God changed His name and came to perform the work of redemption with the name Jesus, they madly condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus. In the end, they nailed Him to the cross, committing a heinous crime, and suffering God’s punishment. Just the same, now that we are in the last days, if we deny God’s essence and that this is the work of one God because He has changed His work and His name, that would be human absurdity and ignorance. Each name that God has taken in each age has great significance, and they all hold great salvation for mankind.
God is always new, and never old. He is the God who encompasses all things. The individual names of God cannot possibly represent His entirety. So, as the ages progress, His names also continue to change. Almighty God says, “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. … 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” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God is the wise, almighty Ruler. He is great, He is abundant, and He is all-encompassing. Any one particular name cannot possibly represent all that God is. On top of that, in each age God has only done a portion of His work, and He has only revealed a portion of His disposition. He has not expressed all that He has and is. So, in each stage of His work He uses a particular name that holds the significance of that age to represent His work in that age, and the disposition that He is expressing. This is a principle of God’s work, and it is the primary reason that He changes His name.
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
God’s name in each age cannot represent God’s all, so what is the significance of His name in each age? This question is very critical. Today Almighty God has already told us the answer. Almighty God says, “‘Jehovah’ is the name that I took during My work in Israel, and it means the God of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) who can take pity on man, curse man, and guide the life of man; the God who possesses great power and is full of wisdom. ‘Jesus’ is Emmanuel, which means the sin offering that is full of love, full of compassion, and which redeems man. He did the work of the Age of Grace, and He represents the Age of Grace, and can only represent one part of the work of the management plan. That is to say, only Jehovah is the God of the chosen people of Israel, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses, and the God of all the people of Israel. And so, in the current age, all the Israelites, apart from the tribe of Judah, worship Jehovah. They make sacrifices to Him on the altar and serve Him in the temple wearing priests’ robes. What they hope for is the reappearance of Jehovah. Only Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind, and He is the sin offering that redeemed mankind from sin. Which is to say, the name of Jesus came from the Age of Grace and came into existence because of the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. The name of Jesus came into existence to allow the people of the Age of Grace to be reborn and saved, and is a particular name for the redemption of the whole of mankind. Thus, the name Jesus represents the work of redemption, and denotes the Age of Grace. The name Jehovah is a particular name for the people of Israel who lived under the law. In each age and each stage of work, My name is not baseless, but holds representative significance: Each name represents one age. ‘Jehovah’ represents the Age of Law, and is the honorific for the God worshiped by the people of Israel. ‘Jesus’ represents the Age of Grace, and is the name of the God of all those who were redeemed during the Age of Grace. If man still longs for the arrival of Jesus the Savior during the last days, and still expects Him to arrive in the image He bore in Judea, then the entire six-thousand-year management plan would have stopped in the Age of Redemption, and could not have progressed any further. The last days, furthermore, would never arrive, and the age would never be brought to an end. This is because Jesus the Savior is only for the redemption and salvation of mankind. I took the name of Jesus only for the sake of all the sinners in the Age of Grace, but it is not the name by which I shall bring the whole of mankind to an end” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
From the words of Almighty God, we have understood the meaning of the names God has taken in each age. In the Age of Law, His name was Jehovah, and that name represented what He expressed to mankind in that age: a disposition of majesty, wrath, curse, and mercy. Then, God began the work of the Age of Law with the name of Jehovah. He issued His law and commandments and officially led newborn mankind in their life on earth. He required people to strictly adhere to the law and learn to worship Him, to honor Him as great. Blessings and grace would follow anyone who upheld the law. Anyone who violated the law would be stoned to death or would be incinerated by the fires of heaven. That is why the Israelites who lived under the law strictly upheld it and held the name of Jehovah as holy. They lived under the name of Jehovah for a few thousand years, until the Age of Law ended. At the end of the Age of Law, since mankind had become more and more corrupt and they were sinning more and more, there was no way for people to continue to uphold the law. Everyone was facing the constant danger of being punished for violating the law, which is why God carried out His work of redemption under the name of Jesus. He opened up the Age of Grace and brought the Age of Law to an end, expressing God’s disposition of love and mercy. He also bestowed His bountiful grace upon man, and in the end was crucified for man’s sake, thus redeeming man from their sins. From then on, they have begun to pray to the name of the Lord Jesus and to revere His name as holy, to enjoy His forgiveness of their sins, and His rich grace. The name Jesus is so that the people of the Age of Grace could be born again and gain salvation. Its meaning is being a sin offering of mercy and love for mankind’s redemption. The name Jesus represents God’s work of redemption, and it also represents His disposition of mercy and love. From the two stages of work, we can see that the name He adopts in each age has its own particular significance. Each name represents God’s work in that age and the disposition He expresses in that age. In the Age of Grace, when the Lord came, if He were not called Jesus, but were called Jehovah, then God’s work would have stopped in the Age of Law, and corrupt mankind never could have gained God’s redemption. In the end, man would have been condemned and punished for violating the law, and when God came in the last days, if He were still called Jesus, corrupt mankind could only gain redemption of their sins, but could never be cleansed to enter into the kingdom of God. This is because those redeemed by the Lord Jesus were forgiven of their sins, but their internal sinful nature still exists. They still sin frequently, so they have not been fully gained by God. So, in order to entirely save mankind from sin, God is now performing another stage of work of fully purifying and saving mankind, on the foundation of the work of the Lord Jesus. God’s name changes accordingly again and becomes Almighty God. As for God being called Almighty God in the last days, this was actually prophesied by God long ago. Let’s read Revelation 1:8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” And Revelation 11:16–17: “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give You thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because You have taken to You Your great power, and have reigned.” This was also prophesied in Revelation 4:8, 16:7, 19:6 and many other places in the Bible. God’s new name in the last days is the Almighty, that is, Almighty God.
God is a wise God, and every single thing He does has great significance. The name Almighty God fully represents His work and the disposition He expresses in the last days. Without God personally unveiling these mysteries to us, no matter how many years we spent reading the Bible, we wouldn’t know these things. Let’s read the words of Almighty God together.
Almighty God says, “The work of God throughout all of His management is perfectly clear: The Age of Grace is the Age of Grace, and the last days are the last days. There are distinct differences between each age, for in each age God does work which is representative of that age. For the work of the last days to be done, there must be burning, judgment, chastisement, wrath, and destruction to bring the age to an end. The last days refer to the final age. During the final age, will God not bring the age to an end? To end the age, God must bring chastisement and judgment with Him. Only in this way can He end the age. Jesus’ purpose was so that man might continue to survive, to live on, and that he might exist in a better way. He saved man from sin so that he might cease his descent into depravity and no longer live in Hades and hell, and by saving man from Hades and hell He allowed him to go on living. Now, the last days have arrived. He shall annihilate man and completely destroy the human race, that is, He shall transform mankind’s rebellion. For this reason, it would be impossible, with the compassionate and loving disposition of the past, for God to end the age or to bring His six-thousand-year plan of management to fruition. Every age features a special representation of God’s disposition, and every age contains work that should be done by God. So, the work done by God Himself in each age contains the expression of His true disposition, and both His name and the work that He does change along with the age; they are all new. … Therefore, during the Age of Law Jehovah was the name of God, and in the Age of Grace the name of Jesus represented God. During the last days, His name is Almighty God—the Almighty, who uses His power to guide man, conquer man, and gain man, and in the end, bring the age to its close” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior with love and esteem. Today, however, I am no longer 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 from the end of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor, and glory. People have never engaged with Me, 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 in the last days but is hidden among man. He resides among man, true and real, like the burning sun and the blazing flame, 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, and that I am the Almighty God that conquers all of mankind. And all shall see that I was once the sin offering for man, but that in the last days I also become the flames of the sun that incinerate all things, as well as the Sun of righteousness that reveals all things. This is My work in 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, the burning sun, the blazing flame, and so that all may worship Me, the one true God, and so that they may see My true face: I am not only the God of the Israelites, and I am not just the Redeemer; I am the God of all creatures throughout the heavens and the earth and the seas” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In the last days, God is doing His work of judgment of the Age of Kingdom under the name Almighty God. He has exposed mankind’s corrupt nature and judged our unrighteousness through His words so that we may know our nature and our essence through reading these words, see the truth of how deeply we have been corrupted by Satan, understand the root of our corruption, and know God’s righteous disposition which tolerates no offense of man. He also points out a path and direction for us to change our dispositions so that we may abandon evil, pursue the truth, achieve a change in disposition and be saved by God. God has come to perform the work of judging and purifying mankind, dividing people according to their kind, and rewarding good and punishing evil, in order to thoroughly save corrupt mankind from sin and bring an end to God’s six-thousand-year management plan of saving man. So God has appeared to mankind in the last days with His disposition of righteousness, majesty, and wrath which will not tolerate offense. He has openly displayed His inherent disposition, and what He has and is to everyone. He has come to judge and chastise all of mankind’s corruption and unrighteousness with such disposition, to fully save us from sin and restore the original likeness of man. He wants all people to see not only His wisdom in creating the heavens, the earth, and all things, but even more the wisdom of His practical work in mankind. He not only created all things, but He also rules over all things. He was not only able to be a sin offering for mankind, but He is also able to perfect, transform, and purify man. He is the First, and the Last. No one can fathom His wondrousness or His actions. So, calling God by His name of Almighty God is most fitting. The work of the Holy Spirit now is just to uphold the work done under the name of Almighty God. Anyone who prays to the name of Almighty God and truly worships Almighty God can gain the work of the Holy Spirit, and enjoy the rich sustenance for life and watering given by God. Or else they will fall into darkness and lose their way. Currently, the churches who are still stuck in the Age of Grace are experiencing unprecedented desolation. Believers are becoming indifferent in their faith, preachers have nothing to preach about, and people are not moved when they pray to God. In addition, more and more people are succumbing to the temptations of the world. The primary reason of it is that they have not accepted the name of Almighty God, and they have not kept up with God’s new work.
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom