Lesson 11: Declaring God's Name

Ellet J. Waggoner

The Present Truth : September 16, 1897

We have not yet finished the consideration of the words of Christ; “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren.” We can, indeed, never come to the end, but the present article will finish our study of the text. Let us read the connection again.

“For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare Thy name unto My brethren; in the midst of the church will I praise Thee. And again, I will put My trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given Me.” Hebrews 2.11-13

Already have we seen the circumstances under which these words are uttered, and that they are uttered by Christ as a man, for men. He spoke them in the deepest distress and temptation, that we also, or rather that He in us, might he able to make the same declaration. For we must always remember that it was our sins that He bore, and that the fact that He conquered is proof that we may also. To believe that Christ conquered in the flesh 1800 years ago, is to believe that He can conquer in us now in spite of our sins and weaknesses, since the sins that we have to contend with are the very same that He bears. But in spite of them, He declared the name of the Lord.

What is the Name of the Lord?

In the Bible we see that names have significance. Among us, names are merely a matter of convenience, but not so with God. Whenever He gives a person a name, that name describes the person’s character. The name “Jesus” was given to the Saviour, because the word signifies Saviour, and that is just what Jesus is. He is Saviour in His very being. He is a complete Saviour, and nothing but Saviour. He saves by His life, His very existence. Romans 5.10. His name, therefore, signifies just what He is, so that we are saved by His name.  Acts 4.12

Jacob received his name because the word signified “supplanter,” that is, one who catches another by the heels, or by the soles of the feet, and trips him up, and Jacob took his brother by the heel in birth. The name fitted him exactly, for he well understood how to take advantage of his fellow men, and that he did; but when he gained a complete victory over his evil disposition, God gave him the name “Israel,” which signifies a warrior, a prince.

So the name of God indicates just what He is—His character. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower” (Proverbs 18.10), because the Lord Himself is a “fortress” and a “high tower.” Psalm 18.2. With God words are things, as is indicated by the fact that in the Hebrew Bible we have but one word for the two English words “word” and “thing.” The name of God is not a mere empty sound, but is God’s own personality. Therefore when Christ says, “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren” it is the same as if He had said, “I will reveal to them Your character.” The reason why people do not trust the Lord is that they do not know Him. Some will never consent to become acquainted with Him, but those who do will trust Him, for the Word says: “The Lord also will be a high tower for the oppressed, a high tower in times of trouble; and they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee; for Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.” Psalm 9.9, 10, R.V.

Christ, the Father’s Representative

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1.18. This is the same thing that is told in our text, “I will declare Thy name.” By declaring the name of God, Christ declares God Himself. And He does because He is “the effulgence of His glory, and the very image of His substance.” Hebrews 1.3, R.V. Therefore it is that God said of Him, “My Name is in Him.” Exodus 23.21

Before He was born into this world, Jesus received the name “Emmanuel,” which being interpreted is, “God with us.” Matthew 1.23. That is what He is; His presence is God with us. So that when Philip said to Him; “Lord show us the Father, and it suffices us,” Jesus could say, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believe Me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” John 14.5-11. “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell,” even “all the fullness of the Godhead.” Colossians 1.19; 2.9

Because Christ came, not in His own name, but in the Father’s name, —because “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself” (2 Corinthians 5.19), —His words and works—His very life—were the Father’s, and not His own. “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am (He), and that I do nothing of Myself; but as the Father hath taught Me, I speak these things.” John 8.28. “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwells in Me, He doeth the works.” John 14.10. He lived by the Father, (John 6.57), His life was but God’s life in Him in its fullness, so that it could be said that God purchased the church “with His own blood.” Acts 20.28

We in Christ’s Stead

Jesus said, “Now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world.” John 17.11. He also said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Verse 14. He who recorded these words said, “As He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4.17. And Christ said in the same prayer just referred to, “As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” John 17.18

We are therefore in the world for the same purpose that Jesus was, namely, to declare the name of God, to represent God’s own character to the world. Note the similarity of John 1.18 and 1 John 4.12, 13. The first says, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” The second is, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” No one hath seen God at any time, but Christ came into the world to reveal Him. But now for “a little while” (John 16.16) Christ is invisible, and therefore the world must learn God’s character through Christ’s followers. As they abide in love, they also are “in the bosom of the Father,” so that they also can declare Him.

Christ was filled with all the fullness of God, but it was as “the Son of man.” It was “God with us,” that is, God with man. The same thing is for us, for the Apostle Paul by direction of the Spirit, prayed for us, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might ye filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3.16-19. Although Christ was here to represent God to men, He was also here as the representative Man, to show what men should be, and what by God’s grace they may be.

Therefore God has given us the same word to speak that He gave to Christ. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath put in us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech (you) by us; we pray (you) in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5.19, 20. The exhortation is, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” 1 Peter 4.11

Not only has God given us the same word to speak that He gave to Christ, but He has given us the same work. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” John 14.12

Christ was, and is, the brightness of God’s glory, and the very image of His substance. Hebrews 1.3. But He says, “The glory which You gave Me I have given them.” John 17.22. He is crowned with glory and honor, in order that He might bring “many sons to glory.” In Him we “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him.” Colossians 3.10. In Christ therefore we also are to be the very image or impress of the Father’s substance. In 2 Corinthians 3.17, 18, we have the image and the glory united, thus: “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.”

All this, however, is by virtue of Christ, and not of us, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory- of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4.6, 7

This it is to declare the name of God to represent His character to the world through the Spirit’s indwelling. As He put His name in Christ, so He puts His name in us, for those who are saved have the Father’s name written in their foreheads. Revelation 14.1. And this is true not merely of a few, but of all; for the promise is without limitation: “Him who overcomes I will 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 cometh down out of heaven from My God; and I will write upon him My new name.” Revelation 3.12. This is not something that is done merely at the last, but takes place now, for here and now must we overcome. Now it is that we are “built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,” growing “unto an holy temple in the Lord,” (Ephesians 2.21, 22), and Jerusalem which is above is even now our mother (Galatians 4.26), so that even now we have her name.

What more could God do, that He has not already done? Well may the apostle pray that we may have the eyes of our understanding enlightened by the Spirit, so that we may know the hope of His calling. It is no small thing that God has called us to.

God is revealed in His works, and has been ever since the creation of the world. Romans 1.19, 20. Even the “eternal power and Godhead” of God are seen in the things that He has made, in which man must be included. But man has rebelled and does his utmost to deface the image so as not to represent God. Other things, however, are obedient to God’s will, so that in the changing seasons and the fruitful earth God has witnesses. Acts 14.17. This is not enough, however. Not only by a portion of His creation, but by the whole, must God be represented; and the witness to God’s love and power and Divinity will not be complete until man, the chief of God’s works, represents Him in His fullness. That this may be accomplished is the object for which Christ has a church in the world.

Because the church has not known and appreciated its calling, many sincere souls are in doubt as to God’s character, and even His very existence. But note again the verses with which we began to see what is the result of this declaration of God’s name in the lives of Christ’s people. God’s name is declared through their putting their trust in Him, and the result is thus stated, “Behold I and the children which God hath given Me.” Hebrews 2.13. That is, when God’s professed people declare His name even as Christ did, and as He now waits to do through them by the Holy Spirit, then will the world soon be lightened with the glory of the Lord, (Revelation 18.1) and they can see the result of their testimony in the souls that are prepared to meet their God.

Give God your moments, and He will make your day a success.