15. I Now Know God’s New Name
I believed in the Lord and attended gatherings with my parents since I was small, so I went to a Christian college after high school. During one class, the pastor said to us, “Chapter 13, verse 8 of Hebrews states, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.’ The Lord Jesus is the one and only Savior. His name will never change, no matter the age. Only by trusting in the Lord Jesus’ name may we be saved….” After I heard this, I strongly believed that we could only be saved by keeping the Lord Jesus’ name, and that we could never deny His name. Outside of class, I took an active part in fellowship, Bible study and gospel groups. I never once missed a sermon or a gathering. But over time I found that the pastors and elders tended to say the same old things. There was never any new light, and my spirit went totally unnourished. Some brothers and sisters became weak and stopped going to gatherings and they received very little help or support. Some even nodded off during gatherings and would sell insurance or merchandise to others after the service. Seeing this situation in the church left me angry and disappointed. I thought, “If a Christian doesn’t seek progress in their spiritual life but always hankers after worldly things and money, can they still be called a Christian? And the pastors and elders see this going on, but they don’t care. Does that accord with the Lord’s will? How is that worshiping God?” As I got no nourishment from gatherings for such a long time, my spirit withered. I was also busy at work, so I ended up just not going to gatherings anymore. I felt bad about this, so I read the Bible at home and prayed to the Lord, always feeling like I’d lost all purpose and hope, feeling lost and helpless.
Then in October 2017, I met Sisters Li and Wang from The Church of Almighty God online. I found their fellowships on the Lord’s words were practical and enlightening. I’d believed in the Lord for years and had never heard anyone fellowship on His words so clearly. I felt that they had the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And so, I met with them online frequently.
I was a little late logging on for one gathering, but as soon as I did, I heard Sister Li saying, “God’s management plan to save mankind is divided across three ages and He does new work and takes on a new name in each age. God uses His name to change the age and to represent His work. His work moves onward and His name changes along with the different work He does. In the Age of Law, God proclaimed the laws and commandments with the name Jehovah. When He ended the Age of Law and did the work of redemption in the Age of Grace, His name was no longer Jehovah, but Jesus. Now in the last days, God’s work is moving forward again, and He’s doing the work of judgment beginning with God’s house on the basis of Jesus’ redemption work. He’s ended the Age of Grace and ushered in the Age of Kingdom, and His name has changed along with it. It’s no longer Jesus, but Almighty God.” When I heard her say that God’s name had changed, I thought, “No way. The Bible clearly says, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8). The Lord Jesus’ name can never change, and yet you’re saying God’s name has now changed? If we don’t call on Jesus when we pray but instead call on Almighty God, is that in line with the Bible?” Sister Li then explained it to me with an analogy: “Sister Zhao, if your company made you head of planning for a year, then made you a manager for a year, and then made you a director, your title would change according to the needs of your work. When your work changes, your title changes. Before, people would have called you the head of planning or manager, but now they would call you the director. They’d have called you different things, but would you have changed? Wouldn’t you still be you? This is how God takes a name in each age. God’s work differs and His name changes, but He is still one God.” It all started to make sense to me. But when I thought of Jesus’ name changing, I just couldn’t accept it. I thought, “I don’t care what you say, I’ll keep to the Lord Jesus’ name. I won’t be so easily convinced.” I blocked Sister Li online after the gathering,
But the next evening two sisters showed up at my door preaching Almighty God’s gospel of the last days. I thought Jesus’ name couldn’t change, so I felt a little averse to them. I didn’t want to hear it, no matter what they said. As they were leaving, they said, “Sister, the Lord said, ‘Seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). We don’t know why you won’t accept it, but have you ever really looked into it?” After they’d gone, I couldn’t stop thinking about what they’d said. I felt uneasy. I thought about all the fellowships I’d heard from people in The Church of Almighty God and how nourished my spirit had been. I knew in my heart that the words of Almighty God they read were the truth and the Holy Spirit’s utterances. How was I a truth-seeker by rejecting them that way? I remembered a gathering when Sister Li said in fellowship, “God’s sheep hear His voice. If we want to greet the Lord’s return, we have to learn to hear His voice. The wise virgins follow the Lord because they hear His voice. It’s just like Peter in the Age of Grace. Didn’t he follow the Lord because he heard His words and recognized God’s voice?” Having realized this, I hurriedly took out my Bible and opened to the Book of Revelation chapter 3, verses 20–22, where it says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. … He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” I pondered these two verses carefully. The Lord says the Holy Spirit will speak in the last days, and that we should listen to His words. I’d been lucky to hear that the Lord had returned, so why was I so willing to be held back by my own notions and turn a deaf ear to anything I didn’t understand? “If I can’t figure out God’s name changing now,” I thought, “I have to look into it and understand it first, then decide what to do.” I then read this in Matthew chapter 7, verse 7: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” I thought, “If the Lord really has returned and is knocking at my door and I allow my notions to blind and deafen me so that I can’t see or hear anything and I don’t open the door, won’t the Lord abandon me?” I couldn’t sleep a wink that night. I felt uneasy about rejecting the gospel. I wondered, “Could I be wrong? Is Almighty God really the returned Lord Jesus?” With these thoughts in my mind, I prayed to the Lord, asking for His guidance and enlightenment.
Then, I navigated to the official website of The Church of Almighty God, which is called Gospel of the Descent of the Kingdom. I then read a passage about God’s names: “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? May God not 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, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How Can Man Who Has Delimited God in His Notions Receive the Revelations of God?). I felt quite moved after reading this. I thought of how, in the Age of Law, God’s name was Jehovah, and under this name God led the Israelites. However, when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, had God’s name not changed from Jehovah to Jesus? I wondered, “What is this all about? Could the Lord really have a new name in the last days? If Almighty God truly is the appearance of the Lord Jesus and I don’t seek or look into it, if I did lose my chance to greet the Lord, what a fool I’d be!” I decided then and there to investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days.
I contacted Brother Chen from The Church of Almighty God online. At a gathering, I told him about my confusion. I said, “The Bible says: ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8). The Lord Jesus’ name cannot change. If He’s come now, He should still be called Jesus. How can He be called Almighty God? I’ve always prayed to and called on the name of the Lord Jesus, so how can I pray to another name?” Brother Chen then sent me two passages of God’s words: “There are those who say that God is immutable. That is correct, but it refers to the immutability of God’s disposition and His essence. Changes in His name and work do not prove that His essence 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 management plan? 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, and the words ‘God is immutable’ refer 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 progressing in a forward direction” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)).
After reading them, Brother Chen shared this fellowship: “The words ‘God is immutable’ refer to God’s disposition and essence. It doesn’t mean that His name can never change. God is always new and never old, His work only ever moves forward, and His name changes along with His work. But no matter how God’s name might change, His disposition and essence never change. God is forever God, and this is what’s immutable. If we don’t understand what ‘God is immutable’ refers to, or understand that God’s work is always new and never old, we tend to delimit God’s work based on our own notions and even resist and judge God. The Pharisees clung to Scripture, waiting for the Messiah. But when the Lord came, His name was not Messiah, but Jesus, so they denied and condemned Him. Though they knew His words and work had authority and power, they not only didn’t investigate it, but resisted and condemned it. In the end, they colluded with the Romans to nail Jesus to the cross, committing a terrible atrocity. If we cling to the Bible now, believing that Jesus’ name can never change and that only He is the Savior, and so deny and condemn Almighty God’s work in the last days, wouldn’t we be just like the Pharisees? Then we’d be prone to resisting God and offending His disposition.”
I finally understood that when it says in the Bible, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever,” it’s just referring to God’s disposition and essence, and it doesn’t mean that God’s name can never change. I saw that pastors’ sermons are based on their own notions and imaginings, and that they don’t really understand the Bible either.
Brother Chen then read me a couple passages of God’s words: “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 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, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)). “‘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. … 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 by which the people of Israel called the God whom they worshiped. ‘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, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)).
Brother Chen then shared fellowship: “God’s management plan is divided across three ages. He does one stage of work and expresses one part of His disposition in each age. The name He takes in each age represents His work and disposition in that age, but it cannot represent the entirety of God. In the Age of Law, God’s name was Jehovah. This name represented God’s work in the Age of Law as well as the majestic, wrathful, merciful and cursing aspects of His disposition. God used the name Jehovah to proclaim the laws and commandments and to lead people’s lives on earth. People’s behavior was regulated and everyone knew how to worship God. But by the end of that age, people were becoming more and more corrupted by Satan, and couldn’t keep the laws and commandments anymore. Everyone was in danger of being condemned and put to death. To save man from the laws, God became flesh and did the work of redemption with the name Jesus, launching the Age of Grace and ending the Age of Law. The Lord Jesus provided the way of repentance, healed the sick and cast out demons, and forgave people’s sins. He also expressed God’s merciful and loving disposition, and finally He was crucified and the work to redeem all mankind was completed. All who accept Jesus as their Savior, who pray to His name, and confess and repent, can have their sins forgiven and gain the peace and joy bestowed by the Lord. Because the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption, not the work of judging and cleansing mankind in the last days, though our faith means our sins are forgiven, our sinful nature remains. We still live in a vicious cycle of sinning and confessing. We still lie and deceive all the time. We pursue worldly trends, we’re envious and hateful, and so on. We live in sin, powerless to escape. So, to save us once and for all from the bonds of sin and cleanse us so we can be fit to enter His kingdom, God has once again become flesh in the last days to do the judgment and cleansing work. He has launched the Age of Kingdom and ended the Age of Grace, and His name has also changed to Almighty God. This precisely fulfills these prophecies in Revelation: ‘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). ‘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’ (Revelation 3:12).”
My eyes were opened and I saw that the Lord changes His name in the last days! I’d read these verses before, so why hadn’t I understood them? They clearly prophesy that the Lord will have a new name—The Almighty—when He comes again in the last days. But I’d always believed in “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8), and decided that Jesus’ name could never change. I’d rejected and resisted God’s work in the last days all along. I’d been so ignorant! I now knew that God takes a new name each time He begins a new work and that He uses this name to change the age and to represent His work and disposition in that age. I realized the name God takes in each age is deeply significant. If I went by my notion that God’s name couldn’t change and that He’d come as Jesus in the last days, how then would God’s work be moving forward? Wouldn’t it just always be the Age of Grace? When I realized this, I no longer had any doubts about God’s new name in the last days—Almighty God.
Brother Chen then read me a passage of 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 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, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a “White Cloud”).
Brother Chen then shared fellowship: “In the last days, Almighty God launches the work of judgment of the Age of Kingdom and expresses all the truths needed to cleanse and save mankind. He reveals the mysteries of God’s management work to save man, and exposes the truth of mankind’s corruption by Satan and the root of man sinning and resisting God. He judges corrupt mankind’s rebelliousness and unrighteousness, and Almighty God’s words show people the way to have their dispositions transformed. All who accept Almighty God’s name and undergo the judgment, chastisement, trials and refinement of God’s words, who cast off sin and are cleansed, will survive the great disasters. God will lead them into His kingdom to enjoy His blessings and promises. Those evil ones, antichrists and nonbelievers who refuse to accept Almighty God’s work in the last days, and who resist, condemn, blaspheme and slander Him will weep and gnash their teeth in the great disasters, and will be destroyed by God. God has taken the name Almighty God in the last days to appear to man with His righteous, majestic disposition that tolerates no offense, to cleanse and save man once and for all, to rid us of our satanic corrupt dispositions and lead us into God’s kingdom. God also separates each according to their kind and brings this evil age to an end, thereby completing His entire 6,000-year work of managing and saving man. This is also so everyone sees that God not only created and rules over all, but He can also speak and work to guide mankind. He can be a sin offering for man, and can cleanse and perfect man. God is the First and the Last. No one can fathom His wondrous deeds, His almightiness or wisdom. This is the significance of His taking the name Almighty God in the Age of Kingdom. All who accept God’s work in the last days, who pray to Almighty God’s name and read His words can obtain the Holy Spirit’s work and the sustenance of the living waters. And yet the current desolation in churches of the Age of Grace is unprecedented. Believers’ faith grows cold, preachers have nothing to say, and no one is moved in prayer. More and more people are being enticed away by worldly trends. This is because they haven’t kept up with the Lamb’s footsteps, they haven’t accepted Almighty God’s judgment work, so they can’t obtain the living waters’ sustenance. They just fall into darkness with nowhere to turn.”
Brother Chen’s fellowship showed me that Almighty God, Jehovah, and Jesus are all one God. It’s only God taking different names to do different work in different ages. But no matter how His name might change, His identity and essence never change. God is God. Period. God’s name in each age is significant. In particular, God taking the name Almighty God in the Age of Kingdom and doing the work of judgment beginning in God’s house is crucial to us being free of sin and saved by God! I thought about how I’d gone so unnourished in gatherings and sermons for years. Brothers’ and sisters’ faith had weakened, and preachers had nothing to say. It was all because the Holy Spirit’s work had moved on. We weren’t keeping up with the Lamb’s footsteps, we weren’t sustained by God’s current words, so we’d fallen into darkness. At that moment, I became certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned and I formally accepted Almighty God. From then on, I prayed in Almighty God’s name and read His words every day. I was watered by the living waters and attended the feast of the Lamb. Thanks be to Almighty God!