The Mystery of God’s Names

August 20, 2020

By Zhencheng, United States

The Mystery of God’s Names

Although Jehovah, Jesus, and the Messiah all represent God’s Spirit, these names only denote the different ages of God’s management plan, and do not represent God in His entirety. The names by which people on earth call God cannot articulate His entire disposition and all that He is. They are merely different names by which God is called during different ages. And so, when the final age—the age of the last days—arrives, God’s name shall change again. He shall not be called Jehovah, or Jesus, much less the Messiah—He shall be called the powerful Almighty God Himself, He shall be called the powerful Almighty God Himself, and under this name He shall bring the entire age to an end, and under this name He shall bring the entire age to an end” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). This hymn of God’s words helped me understand that there’s meaning behind the name God takes in each age. No single name can fully represent God’s disposition, what He has and is. A name just represents His work and the disposition He expresses for that age. God’s being is abundant and all-encompassing. People can’t delimit God or prescribe His name as unchanging. I never used to understand the meaning of the name God takes in each age, so I was sure His name couldn’t change. I blindly clung to the Lord Jesus’ name and refused to accept Almighty God’s work. I nearly lost my chance to welcome the Lord.

I went to church with my grandma since I was little. The pastor quoted these verses a lot: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). I was convinced that only the Lord Jesus was the true God and mankind’s Savior, and as long as I kept His name and way, when He came back I’d be taken into heaven.

Then in 2017, my wife accepted Almighty God’s kingdom gospel. One day she brought a sister over to share Almighty God’s work of the last days with me. At first I was none the wiser, I just listened to her fellowship. But when I heard her say the Lord Jesus had already returned as Almighty God, I dug my heels in and didn’t want to hear any more. Knowing my wife believed in Almighty God, I started standing in her way. I said, “‘[T]here is none other name under heaven given among men.’ We can’t be saved unless we stay true to the name of the Lord Jesus. How can you not know this after all your years of faith?” Her rebuttal was, “We were saved in the Lord Jesus’ name. That just meant our sins were forgiven so we’re not condemned under the law, but we still live in a state of sinning and confessing. We’re not free from the bonds of sin. The Lord Jesus has come back and begun the Age of Kingdom with the name Almighty God. He’s doing the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. He expresses truths to reveal our sinful satanic natures that oppose God, judge humanity’s rebelliousness and unrighteousness and give us a path to resolve our sinful natures. We have to accept Almighty God’s judgment work of the last days and be cleansed of our corruption to be fully saved and enter God’s kingdom.” But as full of notions as I was, I couldn’t possibly take in what she said. I knew she always listened to her parents, so I enlisted their help to stop her, but she wouldn’t budge. She insisted that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned and encouraged us to look into it instead of judging and condemning it so rashly.

I went to great lengths to stop her from believing in Almighty God. I did Bible research whenever I had a spare moment, and found sermons online from well-known preachers that I’d download and play for her. I thought she would change her mind, but she actually preached to me in response. That made me angry, but my hands were tied. We each continued to practice our own faith. I later made a point of going head to head with her. When she read Almighty God’s words, I read the Bible. When she played her church’s hymns, I played hymns praising the Lord. When she listened to her church’s sermons, I listened to pastors’ sermons. We debated the Bible all the time, and even though she’d never been a match for me before in eloquence, knowledge, or experience, I was surprised to see that everything she said now was really insightful. Her words carried weight, and her rebuttals left me tongue-tied and at a loss. I knew I couldn’t underestimate her anymore. I figured, since I was no match for her with my current Bible knowledge, I had to systematically study the Bible to win a debate with her.

One day I saw this in Exodus Chapter 3 in the Old Testament: “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” (Exodus 3:15). This made me wonder, since God’s word clearly states that Jehovah is His name forever, why was He called Jesus in the Age of Grace? I then remembered this from the Old Testament: “I, even I, am Jehovah; and beside Me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). But it says in the New Testament: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). What did it all mean? I read these verses over and over, but it just left me more confused. I thought, “Isn’t the Lord Jesus our Savior? Since Jehovah and Jesus are the same God, why are Their names different? Could it be true that God’s name can change, just like my wife said?” I thought about how, through our debates, I’d found that my wife’s understanding had grown since believing in Almighty God. Her words were insightful and substantive. Without the Holy Spirit’s work, no one could have progressed so quickly on their own. I started to ask myself, “Could I be wrong? Is Almighty God really the Lord Jesus returned? Is Eastern Lightning the true way? If it is the true way and I hold my wife back, wouldn’t I be going against God?” I was in turmoil, caught between a rock and a hard place. I wanted so badly to get this straight, but I just wasn’t willing to let go of my pride and ask my wife.

In an attempt to figure this out, I started visiting and subscribing to The Church of Almighty God’s YouTube channel, secretly looking into Almighty God’s work of the last days. One day, I saw a passage of God’s words called “The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud.’” It 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. … 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 Word Appears in the Flesh). I turned this over and over in my mind. Almighty God’s explanation of the significance of the names Jehovah and Jesus is crystal clear. I saw that God’s name for each age just represents that age. “Jehovah” was the name God took for His work in the Age of Law. It represented God’s disposition of mercy and damnation. “Jesus” was God’s name just for the Age of Grace, and it represented God’s disposition of mercy and love. I finally saw that God’s name isn’t unchangeable. Every time He does a new stage of work, He takes a new name. It stands to reason that when the Lord returns in the last days, it will be with a new name.

Then I saw these words of Almighty God. “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 Word Appears in the Flesh). These words have such authority. Every single word shook me to my very soul. It had to be God’s own words. Who else could reveal the mystery of God’s names with such perfect clarity? The more I saw, the more I felt it was the truth, that it was the voice of God. I remembered John 16:13: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.” Wouldn’t the One who can tell us these truths and mysteries be none other than God Himself? I’d heard so many sermons from famous preachers, but not one had ever clarified the meaning behind God going by the name of Jehovah in the Old Testament, and Jesus in the New Testament. It really did seem likely that Almighty God was the appearance of the Lord Jesus! I felt so ashamed when I thought back on all the times I’d denied Almighty God’s work and tried to stop my wife from investigating it. I regretted off-handedly judging and condemning God’s work without looking into it. That was so ignorant and rebellious! Way back when, the Pharisees resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus’ work because of their notions and the Scripture’s literal meaning. Weren’t they ultimately cursed and punished by God? I had to learn that lesson from them, let go of my notions and imaginings, and look into God’s work of the last days. I couldn’t become a modern-day Pharisee, someone who works against God.

After that, every spare moment I had I secretly read Almighty God’s words and watched the church’s gospel films. I found a few, including The Mystery of Godliness and Faith in God, really moving. The brothers’ and sisters’ experiences were so genuine and their fellowship was clear as day. I became even more certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. Then I wanted to tell my wife I would accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, but I couldn’t face it after all I’d put her through. One day when she got home from a gathering, I asked her, “What did you fellowship on today?” She shot me a look of bewilderment and said, “Are you asking me about the gathering because you’d like some fellowship? How about I have someone from the church come talk with you?” That was, in fact, exactly what I was hoping she’d say, but I was still a little embarrassed. I responded, “If you like.”

The next day, two sisters from The Church of Almighty God came to fellowship with me, and I shared my quandary. “I’ve been reading Almighty God’s words online and I now know that God’s name changes with the age, but there is something I still can’t figure out. It says in the Bible: ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8). ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved’“ (Acts 4:12). The Bible clearly states that the Lord Jesus’ name can’t change, so why would He be called Almighty God in the last days, and not Jesus?” The sisters then read a couple passages of Almighty God’s words: “God’s 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 creations to see His new will and new disposition.” “Some say that the name of God does not change. Why, then, did the name of Jehovah become Jesus? It was prophesied that the Messiah would come, so why then did a man by the name of Jesus come? Why did the name of God change? Was such work not carried out long ago? Is God unable to do newer work today? 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 other work? If the name of Jehovah can be changed to Jesus, then cannot the name of Jesus also be changed? None of this is odd; it is just that people are too simple-minded. God will always be God. No matter how His work changes, and regardless of how His name might change, His disposition and wisdom will never change. If you believe that God can only be called by the name of Jesus, then your knowledge is far too limited” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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 He 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 Word Appears in the Flesh).

Then one of them shared this in fellowship: “Saying God never changes refers to His disposition and essence, not to His name. God is always new and never old and His work is always moving forward. God’s name also changes along with His work and along with the changing of the age. Each name represents an age and one stage of God’s work. Saying God’s name is unchanging means it will not change for the duration of that age, so as long as His work in that age hasn’t been finished, His name will not change during that age. But when God launches His work in a new age, He changes His name along with His work. He uses His name to usher in a new age, and God’s names represent His work and His disposition for each age. God’s name was Jehovah in the Age of Law, and He did that age’s work with that name. He issued the law and commandments to guide early humanity in their lives on earth, so they knew what sin was, how to worship Jehovah God, how to keep the law and commandments, and be blessed by God. Any who violated the law were to be stoned to death or burned by heavenly fire. The name Jehovah represented the majesty, wrath, mercy, and damnation of God’s disposition in the Age of Law. By the end of that age, people were becoming more and more corrupt and sinful, and could no longer follow the law. They were all in constant danger of being put to death for violating the law. God became flesh and came to earth based on His work plan and the needs of corrupt mankind. He began the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law using the name ‘Jesus.’ He redeemed mankind and gave us the way of repentance, showing God’s merciful and loving disposition and bestowing incredible grace upon humanity. He was ultimately crucified to redeem us from our sins. Ever since then, we only have to pray in the Lord Jesus’ name to have our sins forgiven and enjoy God’s abundant grace. The name Jesus only represents the work of redemption, and its meaning is the sin offering that redeems corrupt mankind, full of love and mercy. We can see that there’s meaning behind the name God adopts for each age. Every name represents His work and disposition for that particular age. God’s work is always moving forward, and His name changes with each stage of His work. In the Age of Grace, when God came among man, if He had kept the name Jehovah, His work would have remained in the Age of Law and corrupt mankind could never have gained God’s redemption. They would have ended up punished and condemned for violating the law. The Lord has now returned in the last days. If He kept the name Jesus, mankind wouldn’t be able to move forward from the forgiveness of sin of the Age of Grace. We’d never be freed from sin, cleansed, fully saved, and get into God’s kingdom.”

The other sister went on with more fellowship: “Even though the Lord Jesus redeemed us of our sins in the Age of Grace, we still have sinful natures. We’re arrogant, selfish, despicable, deceitful, evil, and greedy. Our corrupt dispositions are still deeply rooted within us, and they drive us to sin and resist God all the time. We live in a state of sinning and confessing. We can’t practice the Lord’s words. We can’t enter His kingdom yet because God is holy, filthy human beings aren’t fit to enter His kingdom. In the last days, God has become flesh again with the name of Almighty God, beginning the Age of Kingdom to thoroughly save corrupt humanity from sin.” She said that the Lord’s name in the last days is Almighty God, and it fulfills those prophecies in Revelation: “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, and I will write on him My new name” (Revelation 3:12). “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” (Revelation 1:8). And there’s Revelation 11:17: “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.” She continued, “Almighty God does the work of judgment in the last days. He expresses the truth to expose mankind’s corrupt nature so that we can understand the root of our corruption, see the reality of our corruption by Satan, and know God’s righteous, unoffendable disposition. Ultimately, we become able to hate and forsake ourselves, practice God’s words, and fear God and shun evil. We will be gradually freed from our satanic dispositions, cleansed, and fully saved. God also separates people according to their kind through His judgment work, revealing His righteous, majestic disposition that tolerates no offense. In the end He’ll destroy this old world, concluding His 6,000-year management plan. All who accept the name of Almighty God, who undergo judgment and are cleansed, will be brought into God’s kingdom. Those who hate the truth, who oppose and condemn Almighty God will be cast out and punished in the great disasters. That will bring God’s management work to a close. Then God won’t have a particular name, but His original identity will be restored—the Creator. It’s just as God said: 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 Word Appears in the Flesh).” Hearing the sisters’ fellowship was electrifying. I saw how profound the meanings behind God’s names are. He is the Creator who didn’t originally have a name. He’s taken on different names only for His work to save mankind. Jehovah, Jesus, and Almighty God are all one God. He’s done three different stages of work in three different ages, and the name He takes in each age has its own significance. They all represent God’s disposition and work in that age. Once I understood all this, I formally accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days.

Looking back, I hate how blind, foolish, and unreasonable I was. I just adhered to the literal Scripture, imagining God’s name could never change and that the Lord had to be called Jesus when He returns. Without Almighty God expressing the truth and revealing the mysteries of His work, I would have clung to the Bible my whole life, never understanding the truth behind God’s names. I especially wouldn’t have understood God’s work. I would have clung to the name Jesus and so resisted Almighty God’s work of the last days and then I would’ve been eliminated. Now I see, I owe so much to God’s guidance that allowed me to hear His voice and come before Him. I give thanks for Almighty God’s salvation for me!

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