Truth, Understanding, Insight

Names Divinely Appointed

12th June 2004, hej,seh,mgh


2) The Naming of the Messiah

In the opening chapter of the New Testament, there is again a Divine directive to Joseph, the husband of Mary (Hebrew Miriam). The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and said that Mary would give birth to a son. The instruction was clear. `Thou shall call his name Jesus.' This name is more correctly rendered Joshua, which from the Hebrew is `Yahshua' and it has a very significant meaning `Yah shall save.' That the name Joshua and Jesus are the same is shown by the translation of Joshua as 'Jesus' in the New Testament in the reference to Joshua leading the nation of Israel into the promised land (Acts 7: 45 and Hebrews 4: 8)

John the Baptist

Luke's gospel begins with the birth of John the Baptist. While Zecharias whose name signifies, `Yah has remembered', was standing on the right side of the altar of incense, an angel appeared to him and stated, `thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth (whose name means `the oath of El'), shall bear thee a son, and thou shall call his name John (Hebrew Johanan, which means `Yahweh favours') ... He shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.' (Luke 1: 13, 17)

As an aside, if we assemble the names of this family group we can see that the family names depict the following: Yah has remembered (Zecharias) his oath (Elisabeth) giving His grace and favour (John). After John's birth, Zecharias was moved by the holy spirit and prophesied that this child would be ''called the prophet of the Highest; for thou shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways: to give knowledge of salvation to the people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God ... To give light to them that sit in darkness.'' (Luke 1: 76-79) John the Baptist was to reveal the grace and mercy of Yah, which is what, as we have seen, John's name indicated.

The Messiah

John was to prepare the way for Jesus (Yahshua) as indicated by the message given to Mary.

The angel said to her, Fear not Mary: for thou hast found favour with God ... thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus (Yahshua/ Yah shall save)'.

After the birth of the child, when Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple, Simeon, a just and devout man, holding the child said:

“My eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (Luke 2: 30-32)

Simeon looked for the redeemer who would save Israel and he foresaw the redemption of mankind in this child, whose name revealed God's plan of salvation for this world and for both Jew and Gentile. Jesus' (Yahshua's) name embodies the concept of salvation for mankind. It is only through the redeeming work of the Messiah that salvation from death can come. It is available to faithful believers, who trust in the promises made to Abraham, to both Jew and Gentile. Jesus' name embodies the name of His Father, the creator, `Yah', and the concept of salvation in `shua'.

In John's first epistle, John stresses the importance of the Messiah's name. In 1 John 1: 5: 13, he states twice that the faithful believe on the name of the Son of God.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Building the Ecclesia

The apostle Peter was to be given an important role in the plan of salvation, which Jesus himself specified through a change that he gave to Peter's name. In Matthew 16: 17-18, he says to Peter,

“ Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona... thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my ecclesia.”

In John 1: 42, we read that Andrew brought his brother to meet the Messiah, who, when he beheld him he said,

“ Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas”, which is by interpretation, a Stone.

In Acts 10, Peter was given explicit instructions from the Lord to go to Cornelius, a centurion and a gentile, to whom Peter was instructed to preach the gospel message. Peter was being shown that he was not to despise those who were not Jews. Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit and Peter baptised them. Peter's experience marks a significant change. The Gospel message was to be spread to the Gentile world. As his name indicated, Peter was to show that the Gentile world was now incorporated into Israel as spiritual Israel, by adoption through Baptism. The foundation stone had been clearly laid for the building of the ecclesia comprising both Jew and Gentile. The gospel message as demonstrated in the work of Peter was to be extended to the Gentiles.

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