A Hidden truth
The name of the Father is not revealed to us directly, until the very last chapter of the Bible.
Over the last two thousand years, there have been many scholars and theologians who have debated this matter. It has been a significant source of division among believers.
The Feared Name of God
As Justin Martyr told us, the Jewish people of Jesus’ day regarded God as nameless.
On the other hand, any misuse of that name, which might be considered the name of God, was punishable by stoning.
When Jesus said He was “I AM,” He did it in the conversation such that the Pharisees could not understand Him. When He spoke it more clearly, they immediately took up stones to kill Him, but He hid himself, and went out of the temple.
For Jesus to suggest to the Jews that He, being a man, bore the name of God, would have been too much for them to accept, and likely very risky for the lives of the disciples.
There is another reason why Jesus and the disciples did not reveal the true name of the Father more directly. When Jesus was asked why He always spoke in parables, He simply replied, “because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matthew 13:11).
God has held His name in secret until these last days, so that only those who will worship Him in Spirit and truth will know Him.
I Have Declared Your Name
We know that Jesus revealed the name of the Father to His disciples before He went to the cross.
He told us in His great prayer:
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me . . .
“ . . . The world has not known You, but I have known You and these have known You that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it . . . .”
John 17:6,25 -26
Jesus was given the name of the Father
The overwhelming manuscript evidence of John 17: 11 tells us that Jesus was given the name of the Father.
“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name, which You gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
And the earliest manuscripts support the reading of John 17:12 as: “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by Your name which You gave Me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.”
This can be verified on the interlinear Bible.
Glorify your Name
Before Jesus went to the cross, He prayed,
“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.”
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again” (John 12:27-28).
How did God glorify His name, and glorify it again?
First, on the cross.
The word “name,” ónoma in Greek, has the figurative meaning of “the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e., as distinguishing them from all others.”
Through the cross, Jesus became the perfect image and name of a holy God, for “God is love.”
What was the name that was glorified on the cross?
Of course, it was the name of Jesus.
How did God glorify His name again?
The Apostle Paul told us that because Jesus was obedient to the point of death, God highly exalted Him so that every knee should bow to the name of Jesus, to the glory of God the Father:
God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).
The Pulpit Commentary, on John 17:11, says, “Philippians 2:9 is the best illustration of the clause (the Name you gave Me in John 17:11). It reads, according to the true text, ‘He hath bestowed on him the Name (τὸ ὄνομα) which is above every name.’”
The Pulpit commentary of 1870 imagined that because God gave Christ the name of YHVH, every knee now bows to the name of Jesus. The only problem with this logic is that Paul said God gave Christ the “name above every name” after He resurrected. How did God give Christ the name above every name? By making Him the Lord. He did not change Christ’s name.
When God made Jesus the Lord, He glorified the name of Jesus again. God’s name was first glorified when the name of Jesus was glorified on the cross, and God’s name was glorified again when the name of Jesus became the name of the Lord of heaven and earth.
The statement from heaven, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again,” is actually the last of six statements of the invisible God to His image Jesus Christ.
Each of these communications is of great significance, in communicating God’s plan of salvation.
Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
As Paul said, because Jesus endured the cross, God gave Him “the name which is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth.”
Therefore before parting from His disciples, Jesus declared, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Through this Great Commission, Jesus also revealed the name of the Father.
For Jesus, or Jesus Christ, was the only name the disciples baptized in, as recorded in Acts 2:38; 8:12; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; and 1 Corinthians 1:13; and 6:11.
After the departure of the Spirit of truth, believers fell into confusion about the nature of God and the name of God.
However, many prominent believers still recognized that Jesus or Jesus Christ was the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Before 325 A.D., Eusebius, the Bishop of Constantine, in his book The Proof of the Gospel, quoted Matthew 28:19–20 seven times. He did not use the phrase “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” at all. Rather, four times, 1 he simply said, “make disciples of all nations in My name.” Eusebius, the Bishop to the Emperor, in 320 A.D., equated “the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit” with the name of Jesus.
After the Council of Nicaea, in 325 A.D., Eusebius only used the phrase “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Trinitarian philosophers, like Jerome, would try to persuade the Church that the name of God was “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” 2
The Invisible God has always assumed the name of His Image
In our study of the Old Testament, we recognized that the invisible God always assumed the name of His image. The Angel of YHVH even ascribed the name “YHVH of the Armies” to the invisible God, which we saw in Zechariah 1:12.
God introduced Himself to Moses, saying, “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE.” Yes, it is true, as Justin Martyr said, that there is none older than God to give Him a name. But God has always borne the name of His image. Jesus Christ is the image and name of the invisible God, to the glory of God the Father.
When we come to the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John will confirm for us, that indeed, the name of the Father is also Jesus.