Remarkable Biblical Discovery: “The Name” of God According to the Scriptures
William Phillips Hall
We believe that it may truly be said that the Christian religion stands or falls with the question whether Christ is, or is not, in His essential Being uniquely one with God the Father. If He is not in that sense one with God the Christian religion is not what the New Testament and the Christian Church of over eighteen centuries have represented it to be that is, the only true religion; but if, on the other hand, He in His essential Being is uniquely one with God the Father, the religion which He established is the only religion that can bring men into saving contact with God (see John 14:6, Greek text), and insure their highest welfare for both time and eternity.
It is therefore of the greatest importance to all mankind that the fact of the unique oneness of the Lord Jesus Christ with God the Father should be established even beyond the shadow of a doubt in the minds of all men.
A careful student of the history of the Christian religion will recall the fact that its Founder promised His original disciples that after His visible departure from them the Holy Spirit would guide them into a complete understanding of all the teachings He had given them.
Foremost among those teachings was the one that dwelt with His unique relationship to God the Father. So far as the Acts and the Epistles show, the Church of the apostolic age never entertained any doubt whatever of the unique essential oneness of the Father and the Son, but many in the Church of subsequent times doubted it, and the Church Council of Nicea in 325 A. D., undertook to define that great truth, a work which the Lord Jesus Christ, nearly three hundred years before that Council, had promised that the Holy Spirit would do for His original disciples when He should come unto them.
In the light of these facts it clearly appears that the original apostles and disciples were given a complete teaching and understanding of the unique relationship of Christ to God the Father by the Holy Spirit as promised to them by their Lord; and that subsequently that teaching, and the understanding which it imparted, was greatly obscured, if not wholly lost to the Church and to the world.
As a man is identified by his name or proper designation, so it appears the true God the Father is also to be identified by His Name or proper designation. We will therefore begin our inquiry with the consideration of God and His Name.
Some years ago the writer was led through an extraordinary spiritual experience and by certain suggestions of his friend, Rev. Arno Clemens Gaebelein, to take up the study of the Name of God according to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
Although a layman he had been a student and expositor of the English Bible for some thirty years, but after taking up the study set forth in this book, he discovered that a working knowledge of both Hebrew and Greek would be necessary to success.
He had not proceeded very far in his studies when he realized that he was bringing into the light a number of facts of a deeply interesting, and in some instances of a very surprising nature.
Writers who have assumed, and attempted to prove, the post-apostolic deification of the Lord Jesus Christ by His disciples have utterly failed to make out their case in the light of the great basic Biblical facts set , forth in this book.
In order that there may be no misapprehension on the part of any reader of this book regarding its real, primary authorship, the writer now solemnly affirms that, for what appear to him to be good and sufficient reasons, he believes that the essential teachings and disclosures of Biblical truth contained herein were imparted to him by the glorified Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God through the Holy Spirit’s coming to him in, or with, the Name, and as the Spirit, of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In view of the Biblical facts disclosed in this book, it appears that there never would have been any doubt whatever among Christians of the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ during the Christian era had the original apostolic interpretation of the words, “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, from the Greek text), as set forth herein, been clearly understood and taught by men from the apostolic age until the present time.
Controversies in the Church over that subject would have been avoided, and consequently, the Church would have remained as at the beginning, “one in us” (John 17:20, 21, A. V. and D. V.), that is, spiritually one in the Father and the Son, in the original meaning of that teaching; and the history of Christianity would have presented quite a different account from that which has been presented during the last nineteen hundred years.
The Jews of the Apostolic Age Never “Called On,” or Invoked in Prayer, any Other Name Than the Name of God
“All that call on Thy Name” (Acts 9:14).
It plainly appears that one to whom the significant words, “all that call on (or, invoke in prayer) Thy Name,” were applied by a Jew of the apostolic age, could never have been believed to be anything less in His essential Being than one with, or the Lord God Himself. Hence when Ananias of Damascus told the Lord Jesus Christ that Saul had authority to bind, or arrest, “all that call on (or, invoke in prayer) Thy Name” (Acts 9:14) he ascribed Deity to the Lord Jesus Christ by reason of His possession of the Name Lord, which, according to the Acts, was the only Name ever called on, or invoked in prayer, and always as the Name of God, for salvation, as well as for many other things, by the Jews of the apostolic age.
From these words it clearly appears that Saul persecuted the Christians of those days because he believed them to be guilty of idolatry and blasphemy in calling on or invoking in prayer for salvation the Name (“Lord”) of God the Father, in and through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not say that He was one in purpose with the Father (that is, God), but that He and the Father (that is, God) are one that is, one God. And that is undoubtedly what He intended to say, and that is what the Jews that stood by understood Him to say, as they said they did. They did not understand Him to say that He was merely one in purpose with God, as He might have most truly declared, and yet not say what He really did say, as His statement is frequently misinterpreted; but He made Himself God, of the same essential eternal Being and Name Lord (or, “I AM”) of God the Father.
No wonder that from their view-point, those Jews “took up stones again to stone Him.”
So the only Lord God the Father revealed to men, and invoked in prayer for salvation and other things as the Lord God and worshipped by them, was revealed to, invoked in prayer, and worshipped by them in and through the glorified Person and Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son.
During and After the Apostolic Age
“There is no doubt that the writer of Acts regarded baptism as the normal means of entry into the Christian Church. There is also no doubt that he represents an early stage of Christian practice in which baptism was `in the name of the Lord Jesus’ (or, ‘of Jesus Christ’), not in the triadic formula (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5.” (Professor Kirsopp Lake, D. D., in “Dictionary of the Apostolic Church,” vol. 1, page 29).
CHRISTIAN baptism is the initiatory rite of the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ; the testimony of the New Testament and the history of the Christian Church established that as a fact beyond the shadow of a doubt.
For some eighteen hundred years that Church in its various branches has administered the rite usually with the use of the words, “I baptize thee (or, as in the Greek Orthodox Church, “. . . is baptized”) in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” But those words were never used in baptism by the original apostles, or by the Church during the early days of its existence, according to the record of the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of the New Testament. According to that record, in the earliest manuscript readings and versions, all baptisms of those early days were commanded to be, or stated to have been, performed in, or with the invocation of, the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For some eighteen hundred years this apparent discrepancy in the words used in baptism by the Church during and after the earliest days of the Christian era has been perplexing to many Christian theologians. Many explanations have been offered in attempts to clear up the mystery, but without success; for up to the present time there has not been offered an explanation that met all requirements of the case.
Startling as the statement may appear, the writer does not hesitate to declare that he is apparently in possession of the God-given explanation of the mystery, and he presents it herewith for the information of the Jews, the Christian Church, and the world, “that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13), and that “the mystery of God in Christ” (an ancient reading of Colossians 1:2, from Clement of Alexandria, “Ante-Nicene Fathers,” vol. II, page 59, American edition) may be finished, precedent to still greater things to come.
The Problem of the Baptismal Name and its Biblical Solution
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins, so that ye may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, S. P. V.).
As already noted, ever since, or since shortly after, the close of the apostolic age (about 100 A. D.) the Christian Church has used the words, “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” in baptism, while the Church of the apostolic age used the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in the same rite, according to the Acts and the apostolic Epistles.
Some commentators have expressed the opinion that the Church of the apostolic age used the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in baptism, and that the Church afterwards substituted the use of the words, “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” in place thereof. As a matter of historical record such appears to have been the case.
To hold, however, as some critics have held for various reasons, that the words, “baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19), must be an interpolation in the original Gospel of St. Matthew is apparently not justified in the light of the fact that all manuscripts and versions of that Gospel without exception containing those words.
Assuming, therefore, that the words of Matthew 28:19 were actually spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, how can that be reconciled with the obvious fact that, according to the Acts and the apostolic Epistles, Christian baptism in the apostolic age was invariably commanded and performed in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The answer to this question, which has remained unanswered for some eighteen hundred years, will be found in the original apostolic interpretation of the words, “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” which follows in this book.
The Original Apostolic Interpretation of the Words, “The Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
“There is not the least doubt that the baptisms in the Acts were in the Name of Jesus only, but that does not necessarily mean that Jesus never spoke Matthew 28:19” (Professor John Alfred Faulkner, D. D., in “Crisis in the Early Church,” page 13 f.).
ALTHOUGH the Lord Jesus Christ commanded His original disciples to “disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19, Greek text), neither they nor the Church of the apostolic age ever literally repeated the words of that command in baptizing anybody, so far as the New Testament bears witness. So far as the New Testament shows, the rite of baptism during the apostolic age was commanded and took place “in” and “into” the Name of “the Lord” (A. V. and D. V.), or of “Jesus Christ” (A.V., R. V., and D. V.), or the “the Lord Jesus” (A. V., R. V., and D. V.), which, as we shall show, are in each and every instance but abbreviations of the full Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, or of the Lord Jesus, the Christ. There are no exceptions recorded. Any person can verify the accuracy of this statement by reading Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; and 19:5 A. V., R. V., and D. V.
With but one exception (Acts 22:16) these verses contain the only record in the New Testament of “the Name” commanded to be, or stated to have been, used in actual baptisms therein recorded. In other words, there is absolutely no support whatever to be found in the New Testament in “the Name” commanded to be, or stated to have been, used in actual baptisms therein recorded, for the teaching that has prevailed in the Christian Church for about eighteen hundred years, that, either by the original disciples or by the Church of the apostolic age, were ever used in baptism the words, “I baptize thee (or, “. . . is baptized”) in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Lange’s “Commentary on Matthew” (page 558) quotes Meyer, an eminent commentator, as follows: “No trace is to be found of the employment of these words (“the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”) by the Apostolic Church.”
And Professor George T. Purves, D. D., in his book, “Christianity in the Apostolic Age,” page 56, says: “The first record of their use (that is the use of the words, “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”) in baptism is the Teaching of the Apostles (about A. D. 100).”
It is interesting to note that “the first record” of the use of the words of the so-called “baptismal formula” of Matthew 28:19 is found, not in the New Testament,, but in an uninspired document, however much truth it may contain.
So far as historical research has shown, the only authority outside of the words of the original command, literally repeated for the use of the words, “I baptize thee (or, . . . is baptized”) in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” is that of tradition, descending it is true from very remote sources, but not from the original apostles or others in writing in the New Testament of the period including, and contiguous to, the day of Pentecost.
Now assuming that the baptismal command recorded in Matthew 28:19 was actually spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ before the day of Pentecost when Christian baptism first took place as the Christian Church has always believed, it appears that the original interpretation of the words, “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” given by the Holy Spirit, through the Apostles Peter, Paul, and the others, and by the Church of the apostolic age on and after the day of Pentecost, “not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth” (I Corinthians 2:13), is the original and true one.
The Teaching of the Holy Spirit Concerning the Words, “The Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
In that memorable address of Peter, given under the anointing of the Holy Spirit who is also “the Spirit of Truth,” on the day of Pentecost, he said among other things: “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do (evidently, to be saved)?”
Now let this be kept distinctly in mind, that the reply of Peter to this question was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that he had just been recorded as declaring that “God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ,” and that to Peter He is therefore, not simply “Jesus Christ,” but the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is what Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, replied: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of (the Lord) Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of the outpoured Spirit and salvation, or remission of sins (see Luke 1:77), in response to the invocation, through repentance and faith, of the Name of the Lord (see Joel 2:28-32, LXX and D. V.) is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” Acts 2:3639, R. V.).
At this point let it be noted that the omission from the A. V., R. V., and D. V. texts, of the words, “the Lord,” which we have supplied in brackets before the words, “Jesus Christ,” in Peter’s baptismal command not only deprives the Lord Jesus Christ of His essential eternal Name, which expresses and designates His essential eternal Being of Lord, or the Lord, and which God the Father “gave” Him (see John 17:11, R. V.) when He “made” Him Lord (see Luke 2:11, “.there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”), but it also obscures what now clearly appears to have been the original central teaching, or interpretation, of the revelation of God in Christ, through the Name of the Lord, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, during the apostolic age.
That those words, “the Lord,” belong in that very place in the complete apostolic baptismal “Name” is, also, clearly and convincingly shown in Acts 8:16; and 19:5, A. V., R. V., and D. V., where, in all three versions, the words, “the Name of the Lord Jesus,” are given in the baptismal “Name” stated to have been used, but the word “Christ” is omitted.
To bring out more clearly and make plain this fact, the writer presents the comparative arrangements of the four Scripture readings now set forth from the Revised Version.
In noting this remarkable comparison let the reader recall the fact previously stated, that these four readings, with but one exception (Acts 22:16), contain the only record in the New Testament of the baptismal “Name” commanded to be, or stated to have been, used in actual baptisms therein recorded.
Acts 2:38, R. V.: “And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of (the Lord) Jesus Christ.”
Acts 8:16, R. V.: “Only they had been baptized into the Name of the Lord Jesus (Christ).”
Acts 10:48, R. V.: “And he commanded them to be baptized into the Name of (the Lord) Jesus Christ.”
Acts 19:5, R. V.: “When they heard this, they were baptized into the Name of the Lord Jesus (Christ).”
The reader will note the remarkable fact that the four Scripture readings just set forth from the Revised Version include two pairs of identical, but obviously incomplete, baptismal Names. Now by supplying, or combining, the missing word or words in either pair of Names with those supplied by the other pair, we discover that the apostles and the Church of the apostolic age commanded and performed baptism “in” and “into” the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. To deny that obvious fact would be, apparently, to deny the testimony of the Lord Himself as given in His holy written Word.
As already noted, the four readings set forth are from the Revised Version. We shall now examine the readings in the corresponding chapters and verses in the Acts of the Apostles of the Syriac Peschito Version.
In this very ancient version, which is believed by good authorities (Gwilliam, Bonus, and others) to represent a text much older than that of the Greek manuscripts from which our English New Testament was largely derived, “the Name of the (or, our) Lord Jesus (Messiah or Christ)” appears in all four readings given. Acts 2:38 of that Version, as already noted, reads thus: “Simon (Peter) said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of the Lord Jesus for the remission of sins, so that ye may receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
It will be well for the reader to note that not only does “the Name of the Lord Jesus” appear in this reading in this very ancient version, but that baptism “in the Name of the Lord Jesus” is made absolutely necessary in order that those baptized may receive remission of sins and the gift of, or baptism with, the Holy Spirit.
The Douay Version of the Roman Catholic Church gives “the Name of the Lord Jesus,” or of “the Lord Jesus Christ,” in the record of the baptismal Name commanded to be, or stated to have been, used in Acts 8:16; 10:48; and 19:5, omitting the words “the Lord” from the baptismal “Name of (the Lord) Jesus Christ” in Acts 2:38. This is particularly interesting in view of the fact that this version gives the Name Lord, or the Lord, in “the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” in a number of readings in the Acts where it does not appear in the Greek manuscripts and versions from which the Authorized and Revised versions were largely derived, and so gives a more important witness to the great truth we are bringing to the attention of the reader than do either the A. V. or R. V.
The Douay Verion is a translation of the Latin Vulgate of Eusebius Hieronymus, or St. Jerome, which he made from then existing Latin and Greek, and possibly other, manuscripts and versions about 385 A. D., under the command of Damascus, then Bishop of Rome.
Cyprian, one of the Ante-Nicene Fathers (“a spiritual son and pupil of Tertullian,” who was “the father of Latin Christianity”), who lived between the years 200 and 258 A. D., quotes Acts 2:38 from a manuscript or Version antedating by many years the Vulgate and Greek manuscripts from which the Douay and English versions were translated, as follows: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall ‘receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Epistles of Cyprian, Epistle 72, chapter 17, “Ante-Nicene Fathers,” American edition).
The ancient Codex Bezae, which contains the Gospels and Acts in Greek and Latin, with a few verses in Latin from the Third Epistle of John, and which H. C. Hoskier, Sir William Ramsay, A. C. Clark of Oxford, and other authorities rank higher than the Sinaiticus and Vatican Codex (B), from which the English revised versions largely derive, also gives the full Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in the record of Peter’s baptismal command in Acts 2:38, as does also the ancient Egyptian Sahidic Version, translated about 350 A. D.
It would have been a strange thing indeed if, after Peter had declared that “God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ,” he had failed to designate him “Lord” in his baptismal command on the day of Pentecost. And it is cause for thanksgiving to our Lord Jesus Christ that, both by comparison of Scripture with Scripture and scientifically accurate deductions therefrom, as well as in the readings of the Codex Bezae, the Syriac Peschito and Sahidic versions, and the writings of Cyprian, we are able to show that baptism on the day of Pentecost was commanded, and doubtless performed, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, “the Oldest Church Manual,” or “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” to which Professor Purves refer in his book, “Christianity in the Apostolic Age,” was discovered in the Jerusalem Monastery of the Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople in 1873.
That book contains the oldest reference to the subject of Christian baptism outside of the New Testament. Eminent authorities believe that it was written in its original text between the years 100 and 130 A. D., or just about the close of the apostolic age. The writer or writers of that book believed and declared that “the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” is the Name of the Lord.”
Here is the proof: In that book, in the seventh chapter and first verse we read: “Having first taught these (preceding) things, baptize ye into (or, rather, in) the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This, it will be immediately and clearly seen, is a literal transcription of the baptismal command of the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 28:19, so far as “the Name” in which baptism was commanded to be performed is concerned. In the ninth chapter and fifth verse of the same book we read: “Let no man partake of your Eucharist, except those baptized into the Name of the Lord.”
It is perfectly apparent that to the writer or writers of these words, in some sense not explained in “The Teaching,” baptism “into (or, rather, in) the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” as stated in the first verse of the seventh chapter, was understood to be baptism “into the Name of the Lord,” as stated in the fifth verse of the ninth chapter. And it also is apparent that this baptism, “into the Name of the Lord,” was baptism “into the Name of Lord” in and through “the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is clearly shown, first in the fact that following the words just quoted from the fifth verse of the ninth chapter these words appear, “For the Lord has said, Give not that which is holy to the dogs” that being a statement of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded in Matthew 7:6; and, second, in the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was the “one Lord” (I Corinthians 8:6) “in” and “into” whose Name baptism was commanded and performed during the apostolic age, according to the testimony of the New Testament upon the subject. (See Acts 2:38, restored reading: 8:16; 10:48, restored reading; 19:5; 22:16; A. V., R. V., Codex Bezae, Syriac Peschito and Sahidic versions, and the writings of Cyprian).
Irenaeus, one of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the Apostle John, the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Irenaeus lived between 120 and 202 A. D. The following quotation from “Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus,” which will be found in “The Ante-Nicene Fathers,” vol. 1, page 574, also bears testimony to the use of the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Christian baptism shortly after the close of the apostolic age.
“And ‘Dipped (LXX, baptized) himself’ says the Scriptures, ‘seven times in Jordan’ (2 Kings 2:14). It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized (note: self-baptized) but (it served) as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions: being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born-again through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven’ (John 3:5).”
It appears from these words that with Irenaeus baptism “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” which he mentions in another part of his writings, was baptism “in (or, with, that is, with the invocation of) the Name of the Lord,” in and through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ; for he distinctly declares that baptism in his day which included his own, for he says, “we are made clean,” etc. was accompanied with the invocation of the Lord. And he positively identifies “the Lord” whose Name was apparently invoked in baptism by himself and others as by Paul, as related by him in Acts 22:16, R. V. in the words, “the Lord (plainly, ‘the same Lord’) has declared except a man be born-again through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven;” and that quotation is, in substance, from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 3:5.
In all of this Irenaeus is in perfect agreement with the New Testament, although not in agreement with the traditional teaching upon the subject, so far is the expression of the Name is concerned, which has been accepted for the last eighteen hundred years; for, as we have already shown, the Lord Jesus Christ was only Lord “in” (or, with, that is, with the invocation of) whose Name baptism was commanded and performed during the apostolic age according to the New Testament.
The Original Apostolic Teaching Concerning the Name Lord in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ According to the Scriptures
“But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus appointed them. And seeing Him, they worshipped Him; but some doubted. And having come to them, Jesus spoke to them, saying, All authority (or, power) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and disciple (or, make disciples of) all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit; teaching them to observe (see Matthew 23:3, which shows the sense in which the Lord Jesus Christ used the word) all things whatsoever I commanded you. And, Lo, I AM with you (see, Mark 16:20) all the days, even unto the consummation of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20, from the Greek text).
“And he (Peter) commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:48, D.V.)
In the first of the two quotations given above we present the Lord Jesus Christ’s baptismal command to His disciples; and, in the second, we quote Peter’s interpretation of that command.
And now may it be distinctly noted that the Lord Jesus Christ did not command His disciples to baptize in the Names (plural) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, but in the Name (singular) “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
The Spirit of Truth according to the Scriptures revealed to those apostles and disciples and to the Church of the apostolic age the fact that “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” is the Name Lord, revealed to mankind, and therefore invokable in prayer and otherwise primarily and always for salvation by mankind only in and through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
For according to Matthew 28:19 the Lord Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to “disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit;” but those disciples never used or commanded the use of those words in baptism, according to the Acts and the apostolic Epistles. According to their testimony, which is also the testimony of the Holy Spirit, baptism was never commanded nor performed during the apostolic age in (or, with, that is, with the invocation of) any other name than the Name Lord, in and through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And that was doubtless for the reason that, as Peter declared: “There is none other name (than the Name Lord (see Isaiah 43:11, A.V., R. V., and D. V., and Joel 2:32, LXX and D. V.) in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 2:21, 38, restored; 7:59, 60; 8:16; 9:14, 21; 10:48, restored; 16:31; 22:16; Romans 10:8-15; I Corinthians 1:2; 8:6; and Philippians 2:9-11, R. V. and D. V.) under heaven given among men in which (or, with which,, that is, with the invocation obviously through repentance and faith of which) we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, Greek text).
It is undeniably evident, according to the Scriptures, that the one Name invoked in baptism for the remission of sins during the apostolic age was the only “Name under heaven given among men in which we must be saved;” and unless it can be shown from the Scriptures that “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” is in some sense the only “Name under heaven given among men in which we must be saved,” the invocation of those words in the rite of baptism is utterly void of any saving effect or significance.
As already shown, to the Jews of the days of New Testament history and the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles and disciples were, humanly speaking, numbered among such the one Name in the languages used by them that expressed both the one essential eternal. Being and proper designation of God was the Name Lord; and it is a remarkable fact that that Name is the only Name that applies or is applied in the Scriptures (LXX,. A. V., R. V., and D. V.) to “the Trinity of God.”
To illustrate, we read, first, of “Lord our (or, the) Father;” second, of “Lord (or, the Lord) Jesus Christ” the Son; and then of “Lord (or, the Lord) the Spirit.” So we now clearly see that, in a very true Biblical sense, the Name Lord is “the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And it was with the invocation of that Name, and of that Name only, in and through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all the baptisms of the apostolic age took place” and all the apostolic blessings or benedictions were pronounced, and all miracles were performed, and all prayers in which the Name Lord was invoked, were offered. This fact the Acts and the Epistles ever increasingly clearly and conclusively show the nearer we approach to their original readings.
In addition to the witness of the very ancient manuscript readings and versions to the fact just stated, we have the witness of the context in the later manuscript readings and versions which points unerringly to the presence in the original manuscripts and versions of the Name of Lord in “the Name of (the Lord) Jesus Christ” in those very passages, and so clearly indicates the deletion, or omission, of the Name in those passages in the later manuscripts and versions.
To illustrate: Having in mind the now fully established Biblical significance of the word Lord as the Name of God in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, let us note that when the jailer at Philippi inquired of Paul and Silas what he should do to be saved, in the words, “Lords (not “sirs,” for the Greek word in Kurioi, which primarily means “lords,” for to this Gentile jailer there were “lords many”), what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30), they replied, “Believe in the Lord (the apostles “one Lord”) Jesus (Christ) and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). From these words it clearly appears that, according to the apostles, a belief in the Lord Jesus Christ (that is, a belief in God in Christ, see John 12:44) is the primary condition of salvation.
The interpretation is also consistent with the immediate context, for of the jailer following his belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, doubtless confessed in his baptism it is said: “And (after his baptism) he brought them into his house, and set meat before them, and rejoiced greatly with all his house, having believed in God” (Acts 16:34, Greek text). From this statement we learn, that in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, the jailer had believed in God; that is, he had believed in God in Christ. This is consistent with the teachings of Paul in Romans 10:8-14.
It is therefore absolutely necessary that men should believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that is, believe in God in Christ in order to be saved. And according to the teaching of the apostles, not only should they believe in Him as Lord, but they should confess His Name Lord, as the Name of God, the Name of all that God is, in prayer for salvation. And that is exactly what Ananias of Damascus commanded Saul, afterwards Paul, to do in his baptism, in the words, according to the Revised Version, Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins (Syriac, while) calling on (or, invoking in prayer) His Name,(that is while calling on, or invoking in prayer, the Name of the Lord Jesus Messiah, or Christ, for the Messianic salvation. Acts 22:16, R. V.)
At this point it is of commanding importance for us to note distinctly the Biblically stated fact that it is, primarily, necessary for men to believe not merely in “Jesus, but in the Lord Jesus Christ, or God in Christ, as revealed by His Name Lord in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to be saved. The supreme importance of keeping this fact in mind will be clearly seen by the reader in the light of the evidence which immediately follows.
When Philip preached to the treasurer of Queen Candace as he rode with him in his chariot, the English versions according to the Greek manuscripts and versions from which they were derived tell us, “he preached unto him Jesus,” but the Syriac Peschito Version, which as already noted is believed by good authorities to represent a text much older than that from which our English New Testament was translated, reads thus, “He began to preach to him concerning our Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:35); and that reading, as the reader will note, is perfectly consistent with the context and the teaching of Paul, in Acts 16:31; II Corinthians 4:5, and elsewhere, whereas the former reading is not. Acts 8:35 is lacking in the Codex Bezae, in both Latin and Greek, but the ancient Sahidic Version supports the reading of the Syriac Peschito Version, recording the fact that Philip preached “the Lord Jesus Christ” to the treasurer of Queen Candace, and not merely “Jesus.”
Our English versions read: “When they (the Samaritans) believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized” the immediate context tells us “in (or, into) the Name of the Lord Jesus” “both men and women.” But the Syriac Peschito Version tells us: “When they (the Samaritans) gave credence to Philip, as he preached the Kingdom of God in the Name of our Lord Jesus Messiah (or, Christ), they were baptized” the immediate context tells us “in the Name of our Lord Jesus” “both men and women” (Acts 8:12, 16). The latter reading is consistent with its immediate context, but the former plainly is not.
Our English versions state that Peter commanded the lame man at the gate of the temple called “Beautiful” in the words, “in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth (the Greek reads, the Nazarene) rise up and walk.” But the Syriac Peschito Version tells us that Peter used these words: “In the Name of our Lord Jesus Messiah (or, Christ) the Nazarene, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
The Douay Version, translated from the Vulgate of Jerome, states that Peter declared (in Acts 4:10): “Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by (Latin, in) the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth . . . this man stands here before you whole.” The Fleury Palimpsest is even more emphatic, reading thus, “In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth . . . this man stands before you whole, and in no other Name.” In the light of the fact that Peter is recorded as having almost immediately afterward declared of the Name in (or, with, that is, with the invocation of) which the miracle was performed “there is none other Name under heaven given among men in which (or, with which, that is, with the invocation obviously through repentance and faith of which) we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, Greek text). And, furthermore, when it is recalled that the Scriptures bear witness to the fact that there is but one Saviour, namely, “the Lord,” in the words: “I, even I am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour” (Isaiah 43:11 A. V., R. V., D. V., and Jewish Version), and that only through the invocation of the Name of that Lord is the Messianic salvation promised, in the words, “Whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32, LXX, and D. V.), it becomes clearly and undeniably evident that the miracle was performed “in (or, with, that is, with the invocation of) the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” even if the Name Lord, in this as in other instances, has been left out of the later manuscripts and versions.
In his great work, “Against Heresies,” written between 182 and 188 A. D., Irenaeus says, “And again, at Lystra of Lycia (Lycaonia) when Paul was with Barnabas, and in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ had made a lame man to walk who had been lame from his birth,” etc. (“Ante-Nicene Fathers,” Irenaeus, “Against Heresies,” vol. 1, chapter 12, page 434).
It clearly appears from these words of Irenaeus that he possessed, and quoted from, a manuscript or version containing a reading of Acts 14:8-10 practically the same as that appearing in the same passage in the Syriac Peschito Versions, the Fleury Palimpsest, and the Codex Bezae, in which Paul, in perfect consistency with his teaching to “do all (things) in the Name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17), is recorded as commanding the lame man at Lystra “in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ” to rise upon his feet. And this, let it be noted, was about two hundred years before the writing of the Vulgate and the Greek manuscripts from which our English translations were made.
In Acts 18:4, our Authorized and Revised versions say that Paul at Corinth “reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” But the Douay Version declares, in this same verse, that Paul “reasoned in the synagogues every Sabbath bringing in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and he persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” This, which is also the reading of the Fleury Palimpsest, is supported by the Codex Bezae, as restored by Blass, in the reading, “And entering into the synagogue he reasoned every Sabbath day, inserting (or, bringing in) the Name of the Lord Jesus, and he was persuading not only Jews but also Greeks.” (See Acts 9:10-15).
“My unremitting study of Western manuscripts for the last thirty-two years has shown me more than one hundred cases in which letters and words in Western manuscripts as first written have been altered always in one direction, to take away from the Deity of Christ, and never in one single instance altered so as to bring out more clearly the witness of the first disciples to the Deity of Christ.”
It would have been a strange thing indeed if only the “Western” family of manuscripts and versions had suffered deletions, omissions, and substitutions; as a matter of fact that such has not been the case is clearly shown in the present book.
Before leaving the consideration of the subject of deletions and omissions in the latter manuscript readings and versions of the Acts, such as are plainly shown in this book, the writer would advise the reader that the fact of such deletions and omissions has been known to textual critics for many years; but it appears that never before the present disclosure of the apparently deliberate deletion or omission of the Name Lord from “the Name of (the Lord) Jesus Christ,” especially in accounts of baptisms and miracles, have such deletions and omissions so plainly indicated a deliberate purpose to obscure the, now perfectly apparent, basic apostolic teaching of the revelation of God in Christ, through the Name of the Lord in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The writer has noted other omissions similar to those already shown of the Name Lord from “the Name of (the Lord) Jesus Christ” in the Greek manuscript readings, and in the English versions derived therefrom (notably that in Romans 3:26, where the words, “our Lord Jesus,” are found in the Syriac Peschito Version, but only the word “Jesus” appears in the Greek manuscript readings, as is shown in our English versions derived therefrom).
How The Original Christians Prayed, According to the Scriptures
“All things that the Father hath are Mine” (John 16:15).
“Holy Father keep them (His disciples) in Thy Name (which by those Jewish disciples was expressed as “Lord”) which Thou hast given Me” (the Lord Jesus Christ His Son) (John 17:11, R. V.).
“And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord who knoweth the hearts of all men, show which of these two Thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:24, 25).
“And they stoned Stephen, (as he was) calling upon (the Name of the Lord), and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” (Acts 7:59, 60).
The reader will bear witness to the fact that our examination of the Acts has clearly shown that the Christians of the first years of the Christian religion, when they in a unique sense were “all filled with the Holy Spirit,” invariably prayed to God the Father as Lord in and through the Person and Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son. This, let it be distinctly noted, is a historic fact and clearly shows that to the Christians of those times the only true God and Father was known, worshipped, and invoked in prayer and otherwise only in and through the Person and Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son. And in view of that fact it is perfectly evident that afterwards, when those same Christians realized primarily through repentance towards, and confessed faith in, God in Christ their spiritual oneness with God in Christ, the occasionally invoked God as “Father” (see Romans 8:15 and Galatians 3:26-29; 4:6), but always recognizing the to them never to be located, or communicated with either as “Lord” or “Father” except in and through the glorified Person and Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, His co-eternal Son.
From all of the Biblical evidence set forth above we may now draw the logical conclusion that, according to the Scriptures, to the Christians of the apostolic age the only true God was known, worshipped, invoked in prayer and otherwise, exclusively in and through the Son, and this is the reviving and all animating life and Spirit of all this embodiment of Deity in that sublime city- that is, in heaven.
When Philip said to the Lord Jesus Christ: “Lord, show us the Father (that is, God), and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father (that is, hath seen God): how (or, why) sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works” (John 14:8-10). And on another occasion the Lord Jesus Christ declared, “He that seeth Me seeth Him (that is, God the Father) that sent Me” (John 12:45).
It is only as the otherwise invisible God the Father is seen in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, that He is seen at all. Such being the case, in heaven the otherwise invisible God the Father is visibly manifested in and through the glorified Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, precisely as He was manifested, in and through the glorified Person of His Son, on the Mount of Transfiguration before the apostles Peter, James, and John, and precisely as He has appeared to others at other times and in other places.
It would seem in the light of these Biblically revealed facts, that out from the risen ascended, and glorified body of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Temple of the manifested Presence of the otherwise invisible God the Father in heaven (Colossians 2:9; John 14:10) there proceeds, or radiates (John 15:26), throughout the universe the Spirit of God in Christ, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Lord Jesus Christ declared, as recorded in John 14:26, God the Father would send (unto His apostles) in His Name; that is, in, or with, the Name, and as the Spirit, of the Lord Jesus Christ, through Him; for of the Spirit the Lord Jesus Christ declared, “Whom I will send unto you from the Father” (John 15:26).
“Remarkable Biblical Discovery: ‘The Name’ of God According to the Scriptures” was written by William Phillips Hall; 1951.