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One Lord; Many Names: The Diamond Facets of Jesus

‘Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sits on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; having a name written on Him which no one knows expect Himself, and being clothed with a garment dipped in blood, His name is also called The Word of God.’

- Revelation 19:11-13 -


When the church is born on Pentecost, a new sun rises on apostolic preaching. Peter, now full of the Holy Spirit, gets to work preaching Jesus. His first sermon to a teeming Jerusalem ends this way: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Soon after, Peter tells a beggar born lame: “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!” (3:6). When the apostles are arrested and beaten for their relentless preaching, the Sanhedrin order ‘them not to speak in the name of Jesus’ (5:40). And how do the Lord’s envoys react? They go out ‘rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for the Name’ (5:41). What Spirit-empowered courage!

 

Whenever and wherever apostolic preachers speak in the Book of Acts, it is always about the person of Jesus and in the name of Jesus. The apostles cover various glories and themes of Christ, but it is always Jesus whom they preach. Therefore, the apostle Paul can boast: ‘I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified’ (1 Corin. 2:2). Likewise, John praises the Christian missionaries ‘who went out for the sake of the Name’ (1 John 7). So from Acts to the Epistles, Jesus quickly comes into focus as the pinnacle of sermon subjects. There is no more rarefied gem than Jesus, and we see this by His many names and titles.


 

The New Testament calls Him Jesus 800 times, making it His most common moniker. Yet the Lord has nearly 200 titles in the Bible. Why so many, you may ask? Simply because the God-man’s glory has many facets. So many, in fact, that even Scripture cannot contain them all (John 21:25). Each of Christ’s names is a diamond edge that refracts dazzling light and inspires our adoration. Genesis 3:15 gives the first glimmer of this gospel hope after the Fall by referring to the ‘seed’ who will bruise Satan’s head while Himself being bruised on the heel. The Old Testament fleshes out this promised sin-crushing ‘seed’ by assembling His many other names and titles. Let’s look at just a handful.



From the pit of despair, Job proclaims: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will rise up over the dust of this world” (19:25). On his deathbed, Jacob prophesies: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples” (Gen. 49:10). Then, glimpsing Christ’s incarnation, Isaiah writes: ‘A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest of His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace’ (9:6).

 

These are just the tip of the Old Testament iceberg. Again and again, Scripture looks ahead in hope for a royal Redeemer to right all wrongs since the fall. Even as Jerusalem nears destruction, God steels Jeremiah’s faith in this promised Savior, saying: “Behold, the days are coming when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and prosper and do justice and righteousness in the land” (Jer. 23:5). With Babylon at the door, it could seem that David’s kingly line was over. Yet God would guard that stump through the exile in order to bring forth Christ’s green branch. Prosperity and justice would mark His reign with His kingdom extending beyond Israel to envelope the globe.



What remains hoped for as the Old Testament ends arrives in power at Scripture’s conclusion. By Revelation 19, the great tribulation is finally over. Job’s Redeemer has inaugurated His eternal marriage supper. Then, like a bolt of lightning, Jacob’s Shiloh grips His ruler’s staff and rides out of heaven. Isaiah’s Mighty God is about to wage a war on unrighteousness that will inaugurate His eternal reign as Prince of Peace. No longer is Jesus Christ the humble carpenter’s son riding a lowly donkey into Jerusalem (John 12:12-15). Instead, He roars out of heaven as a conquering general leading His glorified troops into battle.

 

Jesus receives three illuminating names at His second coming, starting with ‘Faithful and True’ (19:11). The next is a name ‘which no one knows except Himself’ (19:12). And the last is ‘The Word of God’ (19:13). ‘Faithful and True’ epitomize Christ’s nature as He is the perfect eternal King prophesied throughout redemptive history. In His first coming to earth, the Son proved faithful to the will of His Father, saying: “I glorified You on the earth, having finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). Not once did Jesus succumb to temptation, from the time of Satan’s testing in the wilderness until His death on the cross. Then there is ‘True,’ which refers to Christ having revealed Himself as the truth that saves sinners who trust in Him. After all, only Jesus could truly say: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).



So, as heaven opens and Christ rides out, we rest assured that He will defeat God’s enemies because He is ‘Faithful and True.’ At this second coming, Jesus fulfills another of Isaiah’s prophecies. He will ‘swallow up death for all time, and…wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth’ (Isa. 25:8). When this death-conquering King comes, He mysteriously has a name only He knows. Puritan Matthew Poole sees this as revealing “the incomprehensibleness of His divine essence and perfections.” In ancient times, it was thought spiritual leverage was gained by knowing a person’s name, like when God wrestles Jacob and demands his name (Gen. 32:27) or when Jesus interrogates the demoniac, asking: ‘“What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many”’ (Mark 5:9).

 

So, King Jesus returns to earth with an unknowable name as His personality and deeds even exceed what saints and angels can comprehend. The Lord of lords will wear robes dipped in blood. Having once shed His own blood to atone for sin on the cross, Christ now comes as the lion of Judah to devour all who scorn the Lamb. When Isaiah predicts this end-time event, he asks the warrior-Christ in amazement: ‘Why is Your clothing red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?’ And the righteous Branch of David answers: “I have trodden the wine trough alone, and from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, and I stained all My clothes” (63:2-3). With what power Christ comes!



The last name Jesus wears in triumph is ‘The Word of God’ (Rev. 19:13). Textual critics say this supports John’s authorship, as only he calls Jesus ‘the Word’ (John 1:1, 1 John 1:1). But more than this, it declares that those who reject Christ’s humility will one-day suffer His consuming fire. And just as the Word of God once made all things, He shall then make all things anew, bringing all Scripture to fulfillment: ‘For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes’ (2 Corin. 1:20). Jesus was promised long ago in Eden. He came and kept God’s promises, and He will come again in blinding glory to shut the books on redemptive history. Therefore seek the righteous Rescuer while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. And pray with John: ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ (Rev. 22:20).

 


All Scripture quotations are from the Legacy Standard Bible


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