Revelation 3:12 Commentary: The Mystery of God’s New Name
Being a Christian for all these years, I have been especially interested in the prophecies in Revelation. That’s because in the Book of Revelation theprophesied what He would do in the future through John, and there are many mysteries within it.
One day, when I was practicing spiritual devotions, I read the following prophecies, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it” (Revelation 2:17). “Him that overcomes will I 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 comes down out of heaven from My God: and I will write on him My new name” (Revelation 3:12). After reading them, I felt puzzled: “The Bible records, ‘the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8). But these prophecies say that God will have a new name. So put that way, will God’s name change?”
Afterward, when I saw Sister Zhang, a preacher, I talked about my confusion with her. She said, “Just like you, I used to think that because God was called Jesus when He became flesh to work, then when God returns in the last days, He will surely be called Jesus again and won’t have a new name. But later, through studying the Bible with my co-workers many times and communicating with other brothers and sisters, I finally understood that when God begins a stage of new work, His name also changes along with His work. For example, during the Old Testament Age of Law, God’s name was Jehovah. And Jehovah God said, ‘I, even I, am Jehovah; and beside Me there is no savior’ (Isaiah 43:11). ‘Jehovah … is My name for ever, and this is My memorial to all generations’ (Exodus 3:15). Simply judging by these two verses, we can see that God’s name would never change from Jehovah to other names. But, the Age of Law only lasted two thousand years, and when the Lord came to do work, God’s name changed to Jesus. Besides, in the Bible it is written, ‘Jesusthe same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8). ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must ’ (Acts 4:12). At that time, the Lord Jesus ushered in a new age and preached the way of repentance. After praying in God’s new name, confessing to the Lord and repenting, all those who accepted the Lord Jesus as the Savior obtained redemption and also enjoyed the bountiful grace bestowed by the Lord. From the facts of God’s work we can see that God’s name changes with the shifting of the ages and the transformation of His work.”
After opening her computer, Sister Zhang continued, “Here are two passages of words that can clearly explain this issue: ‘The work of Jesus can follow on from that of Jehovah. Cannot then the work of Jesus be succeeded by another work? If the name of Jehovah can be changed to Jesus, then cannot the name of Jesus also be changed? This is not unusual, and people think so[a] only due to their simple-mindedness. God will always be God. Regardless of the changes to His work and His name, His disposition and wisdom remain forever unchanged. If you believe that God can only be called by the name of Jesus, then you know too little. Do you dare assert that Jesus is forever the, that God will forever and always go by the name of Jesus, and that this will never change? Dare you assert with certainty it is the name of Jesus that concluded the Age of Law and also concludes the final age? Who can say that the grace of Jesus can conclude the age?’ ‘One particular word or name does not have the capacity to represent God in His entirety, so do you think His name can be fixed? God is so great and so holy yet you will not permit Him to change His name in each new age? Therefore, in every age in which God personally does His own work, He uses a name that befits the age in order to encapsulate the work that He intends to do. He uses this particular name, one that possesses temporal significance, to represent His disposition in that age. This is God using the language of mankind to express His own disposition.’”
After reading all this, Sister Zhang fellowshiped, “From these words we can see that one particular name can’t fully represent what God has and is. In each stage of God’s work, God takes a name. God uses the name to change the age. Each of God’s names represents the work God performs and the disposition He expresses in that particular age. The meaning of the name Jehovah is that God can have mercy on people and curse people, and can also guide people’s lives. That name represented what God expressed in the Age of Law: a disposition of majesty, wrath, curse, and mercy. Jehovah God proclaimed His commandments for man to observe, used His laws and commandments as standards for deciding whether people were sinful or righteous, and guided the life of mankind for two thousand years. At the end of the Age of Law, man’s sins were becoming more and more numerous, and everyone was facing the life threatening danger of breaking the laws at any time. Therefore, God carried out His work of redemption under the name of Jesus according to the needs of mankind at that time and expressed the disposition of love and mercy. He also bestowed His bountiful grace upon man, and in the end was crucified for man’s sake, thus redeeming us from Satan. The original meaning of the name of Jesus is the sin offering full of love and mercy that redeems people. The name Jesus represents God’s redemptive work, and also God’s disposition of love and mercy. God is no longer called Jehovah but Jesus. Only if people accept and pray in God’s new name can they receive the salvation of the Lord Jesus. As we can see, God’s name changes as His work and the ages change. But no matter how God’s name changes, God will always be God and His essence doesn’t change. For example, there is a man: When he was originally a doctor, people called him ‘doctor’; then, he changed his job and became a teacher, and people addressed him as ‘teacher’; later, he started to do business, and people referred to him as ‘businessman.’ However, no matter what people call him, he is still the same person. The verse ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever’ also means God’s substance is immutable.”
After hearing the words read by Sister Zhang and her fellowshiping, I knew that a single name of God can’t represent His entirety, and that when God’s work changes, His name will also change. I felt that what she said made a lot of sense. I thought, “Indeed. God is so great, wondrous and unfathomable. So it is not strange that He changes His name.” Then, I asked her, “What will the name of the Lord be when He comes in the last days?”
She said, “Actually, regarding the name of the returned Lord in the last days, there are several prophecies about it in Revelation and they are so clear. For instance, ‘And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunder, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God Almighty reigns’ (Revelation 19:6). ‘And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments’ (Revelation 16:7). ‘And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God’ (Revelation 19:15). From all this we can see that Revelation prophesied the name ‘the Almighty’ in many places, and also mentioned ‘Almighty God.’ Almighty God—the Almighty, will be the name of the returned Lord in the last days. By then Almighty God will rule as king. Moreover, not only Revelation prophesies this way, but Ezekiel 10:5 says, ‘And the sound of the cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when He speaks.’ Here it says, ‘As the voice of the Almighty God when He speaks.’ But in the Old Testament of the Bible, there was no mention that Jehovah God was called Almighty God; also, it wasn’t recorded in the New Testament of the Bible that the Lord Jesus was Almighty God. So, obviously the name Almighty God refers to God’s name in the last days. Revelation says that God will have a new name. That is, the new name is one that God has not used before, one that man has not heard. If the new name that is prophesied in the Book of Revelation is also Jesus, how could that be called a new name? Sister, isn’t that right?”
Hearing her fellowshiping and seeing that these prophecies are so clear, I was sure that when the Lord comes in the last days, He will really have a new name. At that moment, I was so happy. I felt that the Lord Jesus gave me grace so I could know the name of the returned Lord in the last days. I decided to communicate more with her and diligently investigate so that I could hear Almighty God’s voice.
» Read more on our Names of God page, or in the recommended articles below.