What is meant by the phrase “The Name of God?” Exodus 20:7 says: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.”
The Name of God means at least these three things:
(1) His Authority: to act in someone’s name is to act in his authority, as in Esther 8:8, where the king gave Esther and Mordecai permission to write in his name, that is, with his authority.
(2) His Character: One’s “name” also represents his character, as in the saying: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,” Proverbs 22:1.
(3) His Identity: One’s name is used as a surname or distinguishing name in general, his parentage, who he is, as in Exodus 3:14-15.
(1) NAME OF GOD AS AUTHORITY
The Authority of God is infinite: He has all power in heaven and earth; He is omnipotent.
He is the Creator: Elohim, Genesis chapters 1 and 2.
He is the Lord of Hosts, Isaiah 47:4: “Our Redeemer – the Lord of Hosts is His Name.” These Hosts, Sabaoth, includes all military powers, human as well as angelic; also the heavenly hosts of the sun, moon and stars; and the hosts of all created things such as frogs, flies and locusts, Psalm 104:30-34. The word Sabaoth is also used in the New Testament, Romans 9:29, quoting Isaiah 13:19 and in James 5:4.
Jesus delegated the authority to act in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20. To act in God’s Name is to act in the power of His authority.
(2) NAME OF GOD AS CHARACTER
The Name of God represents His character. What is His character?
God is Holy: Leviticus 19:2: “Say to the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”
I Peter 1:14-16: “As obedient children do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (15) but as He Who has called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct, (16) since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I Am holy.’”
To act in God’s Name, we must act in His holiness. Holiness is purity. No impure motives nor actions can be done in the Name of our Holy God.
God is Unity: Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear O Israel the Lord our God is One Lord.” He calls us to unity of body, soul and spirit in Jesus. To act in the Name of God, we must be whole-hearted, not divided within ourselves, not double-minded.
Mark 12:29-30: “Jesus answered, ‘The first [commandment] is “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”
(3) NAME OF GOD AS IDENTITY
God identified Himself by the name Jahweh, transliterated in English as Jehovah “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” Exodus 3:15. He also identified Himself by many compound names:
Jehovah-Jireh, “The Lord will provide,” Genesis 22:14.
Jehovah-Raphaka, “The Lord that healeth thee,” Exodus 15:26.
Jehovah-Nissi, “The Lord our banner,” Exodus 17: 14-15; that is: the center and power of our cause.
Jehovah-Shalom, “The Lord is our Peace,” Judges 6:24.
Jehovah-Roi, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” Psalm 23.
Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “The Lord, our Righteousness,” Jeremiah 23:6.
Jehovah-Shammah, “Jehovah is present,” Ezekiel 48:35.
Jehovah-Sabaoth, “The Lord of Hosts,” Isaiah 1:9 and many other references.
New Testament Names:
Our Lord Jesus Christ has in His very person all of the attributes of these names, and is the manifestation in the flesh of all of the names of God in the Old Testament. Some New Testament mentions of His Name:
Jesus, Matthew 1:21: Messiah, Savior, Deliverer.
Emmanuel, Matthew 1:23: “God with us,” quoting Isaiah 7:14, 8:8.
Elohim, John 1:1-2: The Creator, Genesis 1 and 2.
Adonai, John 13:13; Rev. 19:16: Lord and Master, sovereign Lord, King of Kings, Deuteronomy 10:17.
El-Shaddai, Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 3:20: All-sufficient One, Genesis 17:1.
El-Elyon, Luke 1:32, 35: Son of the Most High; Psalm 7:17.
El-Olam, Hebrews 13:8: The same yesterday, today and forever: Genesis 21:35.
The NAME of Jesus: Authority, Character, Identity
“(9) Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him [Christ Jesus] and given Him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father,” Philippians 2:9-11.