The Name

Mark Greenwood

Jesus said to baptize in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).  Ten days later Peter told the crowds to be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38), why this difference and what was “The Name” that Jesus was saying to baptize in?  First we must understand how the Jews revere “The Name”.  At the time of Christ and even with many today, Jews don’t say the name of God for fear of unintentionally blaspheming or using His Name idly.  They will either say God, or Lord or Ha Shem.  So what is God’s Name and what does Ha Shem mean?  God’s name is YHWH, unfortunately because the Jews didn’t use vowels the correct pronunciation has been lost.  The pronunciation in old English was Jehovah however the Hebrew language doesn’t have a “J” so Yehovah would be closer than Jehovah.  The modern day pronunciation is usually taken to be Yahweh.

What does Ha Shem mean?  Ha Shem means simply, “The Name”.  When a Jew says “Ha Shem” it is known exactly who he is referring to and that of course is Yahweh.  We need to understand what a name is.  A name of a person is the description of that person.  This is more so in Bible times than now and it is more so when we are talking about God.   To baptize someone into a name is to baptize them into the character of that person.  When we are talking about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit  we need a name that will describe exactly their Holy Righteous character.  1 Corinthians 1:30 reads, "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus,  who has been made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and holiness and redemption; that according as it is written, he that boast let him boast in the Lord".

If Christ had been telling the disciples to baptise in the “names (plural) of Father, Son and Holy Spirit” He would have said that but instead He said “The Name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.  So we would need to know the name of the Father, the name of the Son and the name of the Holy Spirit and the person being baptized would have to be baptized three times, once in the name of the Father, once in the name of the Son and once in the name of the Holy Spirit, unless of course, Father, Son and Holy Spirit all have the same name.  Which would mean of course that they all have the same nature, essence and substance.  If they were different in any of these then one name would not be sufficient.  However they do all have the same nature, essence and substance which means that one Name will describe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Jesus never told them to baptize in a formulae but in "The Name".  There is no formulae only a Name. 

So what is the Name of the Father?  First He is God, Elohim, He is also Lord, and He is the “I am” and His Name is "Yahweh" or sometimes just "Yah", a shortened version of Yahweh.  The name Yah is often associated with song and salvation (baptism is also associated with salvation).  Exodus 15:2 says, “My strength and my song is Yah and He has become my salvation", also Psalm 118:14 says the same thing, “My strength and my song is Yah, and is become my salvation", Isaiah 12:2 says, “Behold God is my salvation: I will trust and not be afraid for Yah, Yahweh is become my strength and my song, and He is become my Salvation”.  So we can see that Yah and salvation go together.  To baptize in the Name of the Father for our salvation (Mark 16:16) would be to baptize in the Name "Yahweh is Salvation" or just “Yah Saved” (Strong’s 3050, 1954, 3091, 3444) or simply in the Name Yeshuwah (which means “Yahweh is Salvation"). The word “Father” is a title and it is difficult to claim it as a name.

The Son is also God, Elohim, He is Lord, His name is Christ, He is the “I am” and His Name is called "Yeshua" (some pronounce it, Yashua), which means “Yahweh is Salvation” or simply “Yah Saved”. This is the same as the Fathers Name.  He is also the Messiah.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Yahweh, and He is also the Spirit of Christ so He must have the same name as the Father and the Son.  He is Lord.  He came on Jesus to anoint Him to be the Christ (or Messiah). The word Christ is from the Greek verb “chrio” which means to anoint, so the Spirit is also Christ.

So we see that if the meaning of the Name of the Son, "the Lord Yeshua" (or Yashua), is, the “Lord Yahweh is Salvation”, it is the same name as the Father.  The Holy Spirit being the Spirit of the Father and the Son has the same name and being the one that does the anointing gives the additional name Christ.  The Name of Lord Yeshua Christ is the Name for the Son but also incorporates within it the names of the three persons of the Godhead.  So to be baptized in the Name of Lord Yeshua Christ is the only Name to be baptized in because it is inclusive of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  In John 17:11 Jesus said, "Holy Father , keep them (the disciples)  in thy name which thou hast given me".  The name that the Father gave the Son  was "Jesus" which means "Yahweh  Saviour" which is the Fathers name.

We know that Yeshua is the Son of God but is He also God the Son?  Is Yeshua God?  The Bible says that Yeshua is Immanuel “God with us” (see Matthew 1:21-23), also the Apostle Paul said “Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).  God manifest in the flesh etc. is Yeshua.  Titus 2:13 says, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (the Greek construction of this verse shows that ‘the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’ are one and the same, see my article on “Who is the Lord Jesus Christ”).  Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”  Summed up in the Name of Yeshua are all these titles.

Jesus is the English translation of the Greek word Iēsou which is the word that Luke used when he wrote the Acts and also the Greek word that Paul uses in his letters.  Iēsou is Greek for Yeshua, the Aramaic name used in the time of Christ which of course is from the Hebrew Yehoshua whose meaning is ‘Yahweh saved’.  The name of God is Yahweh or Yah, to add ‘saved’ on is to show the importance that we are baptized because we are saved by the death of Yeshua on the cross.  To obey Jesus and be baptized in the single Name of the three persons of the Godhead would be to be baptized in the name of ‘Yah saved’ i.e., the Name of ‘Yeshua’.  To be baptized into the three titles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit would show a lack of understanding and confusion about the Name of God. 

To be baptized in the Name of Yeshua is also to say that we are baptized by the authority of the most powerful Name there is.  Yeshua authorised us to be baptized and it is in obedience to His Name we are baptized.  Under the Old Covenant God would bless us as we kept His law, under the New Covenant God will bless us as we believe in and trust in the Name of His Son, whatever we ask in His Name He will do it.

The Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is the Name Yeshua, which is the fulness of the Godhead.  The reason that Jesus brought Father, Son and Holy Spirit together here is very important.  When we are baptized into a Name we are declaring who it is that we belong to.  To be baptized in the Name of Yeshua Christ is to be baptized in the Name of God, we belong to God.   To mention the Father is because we are now part of the Family of God, we are His Children and God is our Father, we belong to Him.  To mention the Son shows that we also belong to the Son, we are His betrothed and should keep separate from the world.  He has died for us and the Father has given us to Him.  To mention the Holy Spirit shows that we belong to the Holy Spirit; our body is the Temple of God, which the Holy Spirit fills.  The members of our body, our ears, our hands, our eyes etc. are His to use.  We are a vessel fit for the Holy Spirits use.   God has put all His authority into the Name of Yeshua and whatever we do in word or deed we should do all in the Name of Yeshua (see Colossians 3:17) .

In John 17:11 Jesus says, "And I am no longer in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee.  Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one as we" (JND). (I do realise that the KJV will interpret this differently).
Jamieson Faucett and Brown Commentary on the Whole Bible says,  "Keep through thine own name-rather, 'in thy name'; in the exercise of that  gracious and holy character for which He was known". 
Jesus had the same Name as His Father because He revealed the exact same Holy Righteous character as His Father because He and His Father are one.  Jesus is the exact image, the exact replica of the Father.

W.E. Vine makes an interesting point on John 17:11,  ""And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to Thee; Holy Father, keep them in Thy Name which thou hast given Me, that  they may be one even as We are" (v11).  He had Himself experienced  all the hostility and adverse conditions of the world, and He feeels for those who are to be in it still.  It is full of everything unholy and unwholesome, baneful to the spiritual life and antagonistic to endurance and power.  All the time He was with them, He kept them, "in thy Name," He says, "which Thou hast given Me and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled" v.12).  How He kept them, teaching and training them amidst all the circumstances of an adverse character in the nation's condition is brought out in the narratives of the Gospels. So to the end (see 18:8,9).
But He kept them in the Name the Father had given Him.  That is the better reading,  Since the Name conveys all that God is as revealed in Christ, all the truth concerning  Him. in nature, character and ways, had been the very sphere and element in which the Lord  had guarded, taught and trained these men." (Vine's Expository Commentary on John, W.E. Vine). 

The NASB version quotes John 17:11 "--Holy Father, keep them in your name, the name which you have given me".  Jesus had the Fathers name.

The point here is that the Name of Jesus Christ, wasn't just any old name but revealed all the holy righteous character of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  People who are holding onto a formulae will not see that in the Name of Jesus is the revelation of all the character of the Godhead, because in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (see Colosians 2:9).  Yet He humbled Himself and became obedient even unto death, and that the death of the cross.  Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and granted Him a Name, that which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly and earthly and infernal [beings], and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord  to  God the Fathers glory (see Philippians 2:8-11).  Therefore, everything, whatever we may do in word or in deed , [do] all  things in [the] Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him (see Colossians 3:17).

So we can see, because the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Him and God the Father has given Him the Name above every name, and in that Name is all the character of God which has been manifested in the life of Jesus, then we should do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus to the glory of God.  So it is not a formulae but the Name of a person we are baptized in.  Jesus never gave a formulae, He gave us The Name.