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Monday, November 16, 2020

Correction and More on the Use of the Name "Jesus" (Be Careful)

 In a previous post concerning the hymn "Come Thou Fount," I noted that one of the changes Charles Welch made to the lyrics of the hymn (to make more doctrinally sound) was to change "Jesus" to "Christ" ("Jesus sought me when a stranger"). I then listed the references to the Lord as "Jesus" in the Epistle of the Ephesians thusly:

  • Jesus Christ (5)
  • Christ Jesus (6)
  • Lord Jesus Christ (7)
  • Christ Jesus our Lord (1)
  • Lord Jesus (1)

During a recent study I noticed this in Ephesians chapter 4:

But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

-Ephesians 4:20-24

I went back and looked for the use of the word "Christ" (with or without any other name) and (according to Gateway) it is used in Ephesians in 43 verses (AKJV, Young's Literal concurs). So, we have an overwhelming use of "Christ" (I believe some 24x used alone).

This makes the one use of "Jesus" by itself interesting. We find it in the practical section of Ephesians in the context of the walk (lifestyle) of the believer. It is also used in a sentence which references "the Christ" (Young's Literal). I think that is significant, but it does not answer the question in toto.

Generally, when we see "Jesus" used alone, it refers to his humanity. In this dispensation (in particular), we no longer know him after the flesh. In the great section starting in 2 Cor 4 and continuing into 2 Cor 5, we have both our resurrection and the Lord's resurrection at the center. His resurrection is the hope (guarantee) of our resurrection. We now have the risen Lord. It culminates with this thought:

He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

-2 Corinthians 5:15-17


This is a subject on its own, so we limit ourselves to reference the descriptions of the Lord's earthly ministry while in the flesh. The Lord himself stated that he was sent to "none but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel" (Matt 15); he forbade his disciples to preach the kingdom to anyone but Jews, etc. Paul tells us in Romans 15 that the Lord's ministry was to "confirm the promises made to the [Jewish] fathers." The Lord came "under the law to redeem those under the law" (Gal 4:4), This is all on Jewish/Kingdom ground. In light of the resurrection, even the Acts Age church was to no longer consider the earthly Lord Jesus in all its practices. (How many groups in Christendom today insist on keeping him in his flesh and following him as he lived under the law?)

We'll leave that there and turn back to the use of "Jesus" by Paul. Putting together these thoughts, we see that the earthly Jesus was connected to his ministry to Israel. I did not do this counting, but rather I turn to Lucia Chua in the Philippines who counts a total of 12 uses of the lone "Jesus" in Paul's epistles (10 in the Acts Age epistles and 2 in the Post Acts epistles). By my count, Paul uses "Jesus" in some way or another over 200 times in his epistles. 12 is a number closely tied to Israel and represents a very limited use by Paul. Again, we add that for your own study.

Those who knew him according to his earthly walk (such as John) have a privilege we do not have. So, we must note this when studying those epistles and the writings of his chosen. It is interesting to note here that his own physical brothers, James and Jude, use "Jesus" 7 times; 5 times as "the Lord Jesus Christ" and 2 times as "Jesus Christ" (Jude only). His own brothers do not call him "Jesus" alone.

Let us now note the only other use of the lone "Jesus" in Paul's Post Acts epistles. We find it in the great chapter of the Lord's humiliation (identification with humankind) in Philippians chapter 2. This section of scripture reveals the Lord's seven steps down before his seven steps back to his glory.

 

Seven-fold Humiliation of Christ (as listed in The Berean Expositor Vol 46, 1971):

(1) He emptied Himself (made Himself of no reputation)
(2) Became a bond slave
(3) Likeness of a man
(4) Fashioned as a man
(5) He humbled Himself
(6) Obedient unto death
(7) Even the death of the cross


Let's look at the closing of this section in Philippians 2:

 

being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


What I see here is our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, having willingly humbled himself in obedience, having completed his calling perfectly in the flesh, will lead to men recognizing his Lordship "to the glory of God the Father."

That is, at the name of the humbled Christ ("Jesus"), mocked at rejected, all of creation will bow their knees and "confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." The humble and obedient carpenter of Galilee is now back in glory and back at the right hand of the Father.

 

Seven-fold Exaltation (from Philippians 2):

(1) The Name above every name
(2) Every knee shall bow
(3) Things in heaven
(4) Things in earth
(5) Things under the earth
(6) Every tongue shall confess
(7) Jesus Christ is LORD


Back in Ephesians 4, the use of the lone "Jesus" causes me to pause in light of these things. We must remember, the context of this chapter is the worthy walk.  


I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation ["hope of His calling" Eph 1:18] wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

-Ephesians 4:1-3


We will not quote the entire section in regard to our walk (Ephesians chapters 4-6), but we will note that Paul, as he does in Philippians, refers us back to his willing humiliation. We see his ascension contrasted with his entrance into humanity in the incarnation. The phrase "the lower parts of the earth" (4:10) is sometimes assumed to be his time in Hades in death (and I do not discard that possibility fully). Even if that is the case, it does not do extreme violence to my point, but it is my assertion (in pencil) that the lower parts of the earth (sometimes referring to the grace) is here a reference to his decent into the womb (humbling himself by taking on the form of a man as we see in Phil 2).


 For thou hast possessed my reins:
thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret,
and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.


-Psalm 139:13-15


In either case, whether in birth or in death, we see the Lord identifying with humans in our humble state. It is from this humble state that we learn how to live. We must be careful, this is not a call to "do what Jesus did," but rather to adopt his humble attitude. For we are not born under the Law (Gal 4:4) nor do we live under the law as Christ did.

We look, in a limited way, to the earthly Lord is his attitude of setting aside the privileges of deity (Philippians) and his choice to walk in "lowliness and weakness" (Ephesians). We are blessed with all the blessings of the heavenly places (if we are in the Body). Despite this, we walk among others recognizing our humble place as a fellow-sinner and fellow-servant. 

Ephesians 4 teaches us that when we walk unworthily of the calling of this age, when we walk in a haughty way, trusting in the strength of our old nature, we were not taught this by the risen Christ. The risen Christ points us, in this limited way, to his humble attitude. 


But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.


Christendom, unlike the witness of the Holy Spirit in the pages of scripture, wantonly calls our Lord Jesus Christ, simply "Jesus." It pretends it is following in "the things Jesus did" as they ignore his obedience to the Law (not a part of this age). We must make the distinction the Holy Spirit of God makes ("rightly divide the Word of Truth"). We are to bow before The Lord Jesus Christ as we seek the attitude of the lowly "Jesus." 

Before we leave today, I refer again to my own error in the original post. None of us is infallible and each of us is running a race which carries on to the grave. I gladly acknowledge my oversight as it has caused me to review my own work and ask more questions and seek more truth for today. It has led me to be reminded me of his choice to humble himself that I might be exalted (in him) and that he has taken his place back in glory and has revealed to me the great Dispensation of the Mystery.

I have to check my attitude. In this regard, I look to the "lowly" Lord Jesus in his humiliation (identification with us). But I am always to be cognizant of his great glory and his eternal deity. Let us be very careful when we refer to "our Great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." We must learn to deny worldly lusts as await his appearing. He gave himself to cleanse us, we seek to walk accordingly. In all these things, all the title of the Lord come into focus.


For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.

-Titus 2:11-14 


Addendum.  

Even during his earthly ministry, the chosen Apostles of God did not address him as "Jesus," however, his enemies did.


From E.W. Bullinger's Appendix 98, Section X, The Companion Bible:

Iesous is the same as the Heb. Jehoshua, or the abbreviated form Joshua (cp. Heb. 4:8), and means [the] Salvation of jehovah, or Jehovah [the] Saviour.

The name "Jesus" expresses the relation of Jehovah to Him in Incarnation, by which "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8); Who, being God, did not deem His glory a thing not to be thus relinquished (see note on "robbery", Phil. 2:6). The name "Jesus" is the name associated with "the shame" which He endured in order to "save His People from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). His People therefore never addressed Him as "Jesus", but always as "Master" (No. XIV. v) or "Lord" (VI, i, a, 3). (John 13:13, 14. Luke 6:46), and so should all His people to-day; not following the example of demons (Matt. 8:29), or of His enemies, who irreverently called Him "Jesus".


Note that last point clearly. His own beloved dare not address him as "Jesus," whereas his enemies (even the demons) readily did. We follow the example of his humiliation, we should be careful not to leave him in it.


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