Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How are we saved by a name?

The essence of a being is contained in their name.  When you call their name you are calling for that person to pay attention and listen to you.  If you have a relationship with that person they invariably answer you when you call unless they have a good reason not to.  If you are a stranger to that person they may or may not acknowledge you.

So how does a name save us?  It is not the name, but the being behind that name that gives us salvation.  In Joel Chapter 2, verses 30 – 32 there is a description of the Day of the Lord.  It is quoted from the NASB as follows:

30 “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth; blood, fire and columns of smoke.  31 The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.  32  And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the Lord has said, Even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.” (NASB)

The Hebrew word in the text for Lord is the 4 letter name of God the Creator (YHVH).  So the plain reading of the text is that whoever calls upon the name of the Creator is saved.  It doesn’t say the messiah’s name; it says the specific name in Hebrew of the Creator.  So how can it be that the Messiah’s name saves us?

There is an interesting passage in Exodus 23 that gives a clue to this mystery.  God says the following to the Israelites prior to the conquest of the Promised Land starting in verses 20 - 22:

20 “Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him. 22 But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.” (NASB)

It is clear in this passage that God’s name is in His angel – The Angel of the Lord.  In other words God’s spirit and essence is in His angel.  It is common theological teaching that the Angel of the Lord would incarnate to become the messiah and that the messiah would teach truth, restore all things, and establish God’s Kingdom here on earth.

In Acts Chapter 4 when Peter and John were arrested in Jerusalem, Peter stated in reference to the Christian messiah, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  This is in direct contradiction to the Joel 2 passage unless you take into account the Exodus 23 passage where God said His name is in His angel.  On the surface, Christians believe that by calling on their messiah through repentance of sins brings them to salvation.  However, on a deeper level they believe that their messiah is an earthly extension of the creator here on earth and the Creator’s name (essence) is in him.  It is calling upon the name or essence of the creator that grants salvation through a relationship with Him.  If a person doesn’t really have a relationship with the Creator’s essence and know Him through His Word, then they are not saved.  If you have this relationship, you will “obey his (angel’s or messiah’s) voice” and “do all that I (God) say” (Ex 23:22) in my instructions (Bible).

The ultimate expression of this concept is illustrated in the Christian messiah’s own words in Matthew Chapter 7:21-23 where he said:  21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”  It is not just saying the name and doing things in the name, it is in knowing the Creator’s Name (essence) that is in the Angel of the Lord and God’s messiah, the Name of the Creator of all.  May His Name be praised!  Halleluyah!

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