The Ultimate Things
Chapter 2 - The Ineffable Name
Scriptures: Mal. 3:3; Deut. 10:8; 1 Chron. 13:6-10; 15:2, 13-15;
Acts 9:15-16; 15:14; Phil. 2:9-11.
Toward the close of our last chapter we just barely cited the words
uttered by the builders of Babel, and the great Babylonian -
Nebuchadnezzar, "Let us make us a name." "Is not this great
Babylon, which I have built by the might of my power and for the
glory of my majesty?" The two utterances stand, respectively at the
beginning and the end of a history, and they betray the symptom of a
disease with which the race was infected by the original bite of the
serpent. It is the poison of pride. Babylon is finally shown - in
the Apocalypse - to be the abomination. It is so because it
is the consummate expression of this world's pride, and "pride is an
abomination to God". The essence of pride is the centering of glory
in self. There are two classic passages in the Bible which lead us
immediately to the heart of this entire history, its cause, nature,
and issue. One is in Isa. 14:12-19 -
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of
the morning! ...Thou saidst in thine heart, I will ascend into
heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will
sit upon the mount of congregation... I will ascend above the
heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High" etc.
(While this historically refers to Babylon, it is difficult not to
see in it a wider application, especially when we link with it Ezek.
28:11-19, with phrases so similar, and certainly not capable of
application to any human being; and Luke 10:18, "I beheld Satan
fallen as lightning from heaven".)
The other passage is in Phil. 2:6-11, "...Christ Jesus: who, being
in the form of God" (Greek - being originally, etc.) "counted it not
a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied
himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of
men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.
Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name
which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and that every
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God
If we need a further clue to the situation we have it in Colossians
"...the Son of his (God's) love; ...who is the image of
the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were
all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things
visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or
principalities or powers; all things have been created through
him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all
things consist" (Gk: hold together) "...that in all things he
might have the preeminence. For it was the good pleasure of the
Father that in him should all the fulness dwell..."
So the secret is out. In the eternal counsels of God the whole
created universe was vested in His Son as: "heir of all things"
(Heb. 1:2). That Son was utterly selfless and grasped at nothing of
all the Divine fulness for His own gratification and glory. But
there was another, holding high place in heaven. The point came at
which that other cast envious eyes upon the Son; iniquity was found
in him because his "heart was lifted up". He conspired to make a bid
for that equality with the Most High. He was cast from heaven with "the angels which kept not their first estate" (Jude 6). His campaign
against the Son was then directed to the creation in which the Son
was to have His inheritance, and man was led to make a bid for
dominion in his own title, as against having it in a related and
dependent way. "You shall be as God", said the tempter. So the
poison entered, and this creation has been infected ever since with
this accursed selfhood, which expresses itself in countless ways,
and is the cause of all trouble, misery, and evil. Back of all is
the human desire to be and to have, but not in a related way, and
not under the absolute Lordship and Headship of God's Son, Jesus
But God's determinate counsel and foreordination cannot be set
aside, and the very Satanic passion which said "This is the heir,
come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours", was only
an outward shell in which the poison of self and self-glory was
destroyed. Thus the "name above every name" was doubly secured unto
Jesus Christ; by right of Sonship, and by right of redemption or
victory; the essence of that victory being - "he made himself of no
Well, with all that there is here for solemn meditation and
practical personal application, we are brought to the heart of the
present world situation. We have seen that this situation is the
result of a false blood ideology; a superior blood which is not the
blood of God's Son: in other words, it is a life which is not the
incorruptible life which is mediated in new birth by vital union
with Christ. Thus there are two life-energies at work in antagonism
to each other. Now we come to see that behind these life-energies
there are two antagonistic motives. One is the glory of man as apart
from God; the other is the glory of God's Son, and an ultimate glory
for redeemed man in union with Him. So it is
A Clash of Names.
The intensification process of which we spoke in Chapter 1 is
unmistakable, in connection with this matter of the name. Ever and
anon men have made a bid for a name of supremacy, but never as at
this time was the range so great nor were the stakes so high. There
is no doubt whatever that the direction of things is exactly the
same as that in the case of Nebuchadnezzar: that is, the worship of
a man, or an image set up by a man, which is the embodiment of his
own selfhood. If things written and said in our own times had been
expressed in the times of Nebuchadnezzar or the Caesars we should
not hesitate to quote them. Why should we not do so when they are so
near at hand? It is only on spiritual grounds that we do so, not on
anything national, racial, or political. We are just as fearful and
pained when any statesman or leader in our own country makes
boastful statements, and seeks to glorify our own works or
resources, as we are when those of other countries do so. It would
be the most glorious thing if we could come through this present
ordeal and issue in victory without taking praise and honour to
ourselves, and in humble recognition that "it is of the Lord's
mercies that we are not consumed". Surely it would lead to such a
God-glorifying position if we truly recognised the real nature of
this world-situation from its inner, spiritual, and deepest nature!
But what shall we think of things like the following?
"We had a feeling that Germany had been transformed
into a great house of God, including all classes, professions, and
creeds, where the Führer as our great mediator stood before the
throne of the Almighty" (italics ours). Dr. Goebbels.
That is enough. There is much more like it, but it all sounds very
much like those words of Scripture which run -
"Everything comes from Adolf Hitler. His faith is our faith,
therefore our daily Credo is: I believe in Adolf Hitler alone!"
"On this Christmas, our prayer is: 'Lord Almighty, Thou
hast given us the Führer: Thou hast given him power worthy of a
new people'". Rudolph Hess, (italics ours. Note, at Christmas it
is not the gift of Christ but of Hitler.)
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The way
has been shown us by the Führer". Eckert.
"You, my Führer, have given us our daily bread this year also."
"Hitler is the Alpha and the Omega of our philosophical system.
Every home must have a place where the leader is visibly present,
and where our thoughts can perceive him directly. Generous hands
and hearts must, at that place, make him little daily offerings...
this kind of altar need not be installed in a separate room, but
in the most frequented rooms, accessible at all hours, even to
strangers." From an article entitled "The Domestic Altar".
"...he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that
is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the
temple of God, setting himself forth as God" (2 Thess. 2:4).
Let us, then, get right up close to this issue.
1. The Place of the Name.
If the New Testament records and represents the foundations of
Christianity (and it does), then the chief corner-stone is the Name
of Jesus. Almost the last words of the Lord were,
"It is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise
again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and
remission of sins should be preached IN HIS NAME unto all nations"
(Luke 14:46,47. R.V.).
The Day of Pentecost saw Christianity and the Christian Church
launched into their great world-witness on a full tide of the power
of God's Spirit. As men felt the impact of this spiritual force and
cried out under conviction, Peter said,
"Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you IN THE NAME
of Jesus Christ" (Acts 2:38).
At the Temple gate a lame man was healed with the command,
"IN THE NAME of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and
walk" (Acts 3:6).
When a crowd ran together to see the miracle Peter told them it was
"through faith in THE NAME",
and subsequently, while under interrogation by the High Priest, he
"IN THE NAME of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye
crucified, but whom God raised from the dead... doth this man
stand here before you whole (Acts 4:10).
They were charged to
"speak no more IN THE NAME".
In a prayer-meeting after their release they pleaded that
"signs and wonders might be done through THE NAME
of... Jesus" (Acts 4:30).
"We straitly charged you not to teach in this NAME", the High Priest
said. They were beaten, but they rejoiced that they had been
"deemed worthy to suffer on behalf of THE NAME" (Acts
Philip went down to Samaria
"preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God
and THE NAME of Jesus";
and a multitude believed and were,
"baptized in THE NAME" (Acts 8:12,16).
Of Saul, the great antagonist of Christ, who became Paul the
Apostle, it was said by the Lord Himself -
"He is a chosen vessel to bear my NAME before the
Gentiles, and kings, and the people; and I will show him how many
things he must suffer for my NAME" (Acts 9:15,16).
At a council meeting in Jerusalem in which some questions were being
faced because the Holy Spirit had carried the Apostles out of their
traditional depths, Peter made a statement which gives this whole
dispensation its particular character -
"...to take out of the nations a people for his NAME"
Not the conversion of nations. Not immediately to bring in the
Millennium. Not to set up something on the earth as a religion, a
movement, or an institution - even the Church; but to "take out...
for THE NAME".
Here then is the fact simply and emphatically stated, that
everything at the beginning stood immediately related to THE NAME of
But we have to pursue the matter further and seek to see
2. The Meaning of the Name
Let it be said at once that the NAME does not mean just a
designation. It is not merely a title, but it is always the
entitlement. It carries with it the idea of rights. When the Lord is
represented - as He so often is - as jealous for His Name, it is
jealousy for His rights, His entitlement to occupy the supreme place
in His whole universe: having neither peer nor rival. His Name
embodies His prerogatives and represents His position. Unto His Son,
then, the Lord Jesus, He has given "the name which is above every
name", and that means that "God hath highly exalted him". The name
of Jesus is His entitlement to supreme Lordship and Sovereignty.
To His disciples He had said things in this connection which they
were to know in experience when He had gone to heaven and sent the
Holy Spirit. These things had to do with prayer and gathering.
"If ye shall ask... in my name."
"Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name."
"Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name."
(John 14:13,14; 15:16; 16:23, 24, 26).
"Where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in
the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).
This "asking" and 'gathering' is not, then, just taking or appending
a phrase - "in the name of Jesus". (This is made clear without a
shadow of a doubt in Matt. 7:21-23). It is a spiritual position of
being in vital relationship with Him as in the position of absolute
Lord and Head. This also is undoubtedly the meaning of being
"baptised in (or into) the name of Jesus". It is not
accepting Christianity, or "joining" the Church. Christianity and
the Church stand wholly and only in the exaltation and Lordship of
Jesus Christ. God does not honour a formula, but His Son. We pray
and meet, then, on the ground of Christ's entitlement to everything.
Satan's Endeavour to Counter the Name
This Name is known in every realm, and, after heaven's high
estimate of it, hell comes next in its fear thereof. Thus the evil
powers are wholly set upon two things. One, the dishonouring of the
name of Jesus by any possible means and in any possible quarter. To
get into the sphere where that name is taken - i.e. among the Lord's
own people, and in the life of the child of God - and dishonour it
there has ever been the supreme object of Satan. So, jealousy for
the Lord's name is something which has ever been laid upon His
people as a matter of primary concern, and all matters are to be
determined and dealt with by them in the light of how His name is
The other thing to which the evil powers have committed themselves
is to set up a rival name to that of God's Son. This course and
object has been pursued along many lines.
Firstly, there must be a making of Him to be something less than He
is. Sometimes He will be degraded, defamed, despised, and robbed of
all honour. Sometimes He will be given a glory, an honour, a place,
which is high and noble, but is only one of degree. That is, He may
be God's Son, but only in a degree above all of us, for all are
God's sons. Or, as in the gnosticism which Paul refuted at Colosse
in his letter to the church there, He may be a high celestial being,
but He is only one of those beings, even if the highest in rank.
Running alongside of this lessening of Christ, and as a subtle part
of it, is the elevation of man. While we do not wish to become
technical, nor to get into a merely heady realm, it is of very
serious account that there should be a recognition of the trend and
meaning of things which are gaining so great a way in our times. The
fact is that people do just flock after anything that will give a
seemingly natural explanation to things, and that will dispense with
the supernatural, or the demand for faith. In other words, if it can
be shown with some support that, after all, it is not essentially
God in any exclusive sense, but that things really lie within the
realm of human life, if only we know the secrets, there is a
tremendous gratification, and such teachers and teaching will have a
very great vogue. This is in itself most significant, and is but
part of the very thing with which we are concerned. It demonstrates
how deeply there lies in human nature now that strain toward being
free from the very essence of faith, and of having the seat of
things in oneself.
It may be - as it is often claimed to be - a sincere desire to make
Christianity more simple and less complicated. To get away from
Creeds back to Jesus the Nazarene, the Jesus of history, of flesh
and blood. Then there follows this well-meaning, but wholly deceived
and deceiving teaching which is a combination of humanism, idealism,
and psychology. Jesus, His person and works, can be understood and
explained by a purely human psychology, psycho-therapy, and the
dynamic power of personality. The miraculous is not what we have
been taught to believe. The secrets lie deeply within the soul of
man which has powers and functions much greater and more mysterious
than we had suspected. Beyond this we must just relegate things to
the realm of legend and myth.
We do not dispute that the soul of man is a much more intricate and
complicated thing than is generally recognised, and that it is
capable of very extraordinary behaviour. Neither do we question that
a great deal which seems to be of a religious or spiritual nature is
just neurosis. But what we do most strongly contend is that in
Christ there is a great divide between this psycho-physical
personality and His Divine Sonship. It also follows that such a
difference exists in every Christian of the New Testament order,
and this is the meaning and nature of being born again, or from
Two Irreconcilable Positions
Two distinct schools exist, and it is of the utmost importance that
we make the distinction and keep them well apart in all their
aspects and elements. Evangelical Christianity has not escaped the
taint of this confusing, and the present very general low level of
spiritual life among Christians is largely, if not mainly, due to
On the one side man is admitted into the realm of having in himself
that which can secure or attain unto Divine favour in life, growth,
and service. No miracle - either initial, progressive, or
consummative - is necessary to bring man to God. The appeal is to
attend to the better elements of his own nature, be the best that he
can be, bind the laws of God and the Golden Rule upon his own soul,
and brace himself to a noble life and disinterested service. This
position rests upon a belief that there is in every man an innate
likeness between man and God; that God is in every man; that man has
only to go into the deeper recesses of his own being and he will
find God. Then he can take hold of God in himself and bring Him up
to the surface by means of prayer and meditation and endeavour.
There is very much more to it than that, but that is the essence of
On the other hand the position is that, as Paul says, "The natural
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God... neither can
he know them" (1 Cor. 2:14). In other words, the natural man
has no capacity to know, or take hold on, God. That capacity has
been lost through sin, and contact with God has to be restored by a
miracle of regeneration. Thus the law which governs all knowledge of
and relationship with God is faith, and that not in ourselves or
what we are, but in God as apart altogether from what we are.
The true life of a Christian is a miracle in its inception, a
miracle in its continuance, and a miracle in its consummation;
answering the three questions of human impossibility which are asked
by natural men - albeit devoutly religious and cultured men - in the
New Testament, viz.,
"How can a man be born when he is old?" (John 3:4).
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:52).
"How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?" (1
All the substance and implications of these two schools and
positions represent no less a difference than that between Christ
and Antichrist, however much the latter may seem to honour Christ in
word. Christ can still be betrayed with a kiss, but Satan is behind
It is of no little significance that nowhere in the Bible is it
suggested that the consummate opposition to God or Christ will ever
be along the line of denying that there ever was or is a Christ.
This would be too big a blunder and tactical mistake. The fact of
Christ is always accepted. Hence two things. Christ is too great a
reality to be disposed of. He is established beyond the slightest
thought of ignoring Him. To counter Him, there must needs be other
ways, and one of these is to adopt Him in name and deny Him in
nature. Antichrist is not the direct denial of Christ but the
counterfeiting and supplanting of Him. Even Antichrist, then, is an
acknowledgment of Christ. There may be a denial that Jesus
is the Christ, but there is no denial that there is a Christ.
The Issue of the Present Hour
Now this latter fact is the very heart of the movement which is
reaching such terrible and fierce proportions in our time.
Dictatorship, whether it be ancient - as in the Caesars - or modern,
can never remain and succeed without carrying with it worship. It is
bound to become a religion. People therefore, either because they
love to have a superman governing and leading them, or because
conditions seem to make such essential, will look for a Messiah. The
glorious hope and destiny of the people of God is bound up with the
true Messiah. The doom of the rejectors is linked with the false
Messiah. But the clash between the two, which is essentially a
spiritual issue, and which is in principle already far advanced,
means untold trouble and suffering while the sides are being
determined. It is still very difficult to get people to see that
what is happening is essentially spiritual in nature, and that the
issue is Christ or Antichrist. So much is it so that there is
still a large reserve and shrinking in speaking about Christ at all.
Let it not be thought that this is but a passing phase. Even should
there be a respite, and even should any present dictator be
discredited and called a false prophet, there will only work more
deeply and strongly the craving for a greater, and such will be
hailed in due course to carry the quest for world domination still
further and more ruthlessly than ever. The Word of God has been true
in all its former major predictions; e.g. the coming of Christ at
first; His death - its cause and form; the outpouring of the Spirit
on the Day of Pentecost; the destruction of Jerusalem and the
setting aside under a curse of Jewry for the dispensation, etc; and
this prophecy concerning the Antichrist will have as real a
fulfilment: indeed only the blind can fail to see that it is now in
course of fulfilment in a more far-reaching way than ever.
But that is not the end. "He shall come whose right it is to
reign and over every name that has been named in relation to the
domination of this world - in part or whole - His name shall be
"In the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven,
things on earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue shall
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
"Oh that with yonder sacred throng
We at His feet may fall;
Join in the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of all!"
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