Let us pursue the word study we commenced in the last number, for even greater blessing may result as we consider another preposition used with the “Name of the Lord Jesus.” The Greek preposition epi has a root meaning of “upon.”
Hence, the thought is that of resting upon the “Name,” the “Name” being the basis for the action taken. The Person and Work of Christ are the basis, the foundation, of Christianity. “For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11, R. V.).
In the commission given by the Lord to His disciples, He stated that “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in (epi). His Name unto all the nations beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47, R. V.). His Name, speaking of His person and atoning work, was to form the foundation for all gospel preaching; it alone can give a basis, a solid foundation, to a message of hope for a despairing world. All other messages, whether built upon profound philosophy, zealous morality, or the politics of a turbulent world, are built upon “sinking sand.”
The religious leaders of that day realized that the whole structure of this new “religion” was reared upon the “Name” of Christ. They sternly commanded the apostles “not to speak at all nor teach in (epi) the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18, R. V.). If only they would not use as the basis of their teaching the Name! The apostles continued their teaching, resting it upon the Name. Once again they are hailed before the authorities and the solemn warning is repeated “not to speak in (epi) the Name of Jesus” (Acts 5:40, R. V.). Man’s religion can not tolerate such a basis for preaching.
The amazing thing is that the Lord warned believers that some would come in the last days resting their claims upon His Name. “For many shall come in (epi) My Name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray” (Matt. 24:5, R. V.).
Satan is so bold that he even inspires his false prophets to claim Christ’s Name as the basis for their teaching. Although they deny His Deity and death for sin, they mask their true character by using His precious Name. These Satanic wiles are seen today in the cults and modernistic prophets of apostate Christendom.
The Lord Jesus also encourages acts of love toward believers based upon His Name. “Whosoever shall receive one of such little children in (epi) My Name, receiveth Me” Mark 9: 37a, R. V.).
The little child held in the Lord’s arms, pictures the believer as he should be with simple faith and few aspirations for himself. Every believer is to be received with Christian love, not because of his culture, his education, his wealth, or his race, but because he is Christ’s. The act of receiving, with all that it conveys of love and helpfulness, is done because the person received belongs to Christ. Christ Himself is touched by such kindness.
The great edifice of Christian charity, an “unearthly” love which delights to sacrifice and share with those in need, and welcomes to its heart the unattractive and unlovely because they are Christ’s, has its foundation upon the Name of the One Whose Name is LOVE. The believer of today still bases his teaching and life upon the Name of Jesus Christ.
The preposition dia is also used with the “Name” a number of times. It often means “through,” giving the channel or agent which accomplishes something.
In Acts 4:30 the believers recognize that miracles are being worked “through the Name.” Christ is the channel of power for them; He is the Divine Agent working in their midst. They also proclaim that He is the channel of spiritual blessing for the world, “Through His Name every one that believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). The Name of Jesus brings peace and quiet to the sin-troubled soul.
The Name is also used by the Holy Spirit as the channel for exhortation to the believer, “Now I beseech you, brethren, through the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:10). Can any believer refuse to listen to a request which comes through His Name?
At times dia is used to give the reason for an action and may be translated “for,” “because of,” or “on account of.”
Believers know their sins forgiven “on account of His Name” (1 John 2:12). The work of Christ is the only reason God can forgive sins.
The Name of Christ brings persecution to those who delight in Him. It is the reason for the hatred of the world. There is a peculiar stigma to bearing His Name. Christ warned His disciples, “Ye shall be hated of all men for My Name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22, R. V.). Later He said again, “Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all the nations for (dia) My Name’s sake (Matt. 24:9, R. V.).
Later, at the supper which He shared with His disciples before the cross, He said, referring to persecution, “But all these things will they do unto you for (dia) My Name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me” (John 15:21, R. V.).
Some fifty years later the Lord commends a company of His people because they did “bear for My Name’s sake” (Rev. 2:3).
There is little reproach in bearing other names. Man can understand organizations; he has created great numbers of them. However, the Name of Christ brings before man his sinfulness and God’s love. This he hates.
Another preposition used with the Name is hyper. Its root idea is “over.” A usage which came from this was “in behalf of.” Perhaps the thought of protection or defense came from a soldier standing over a fallen comrade to defend him, or a bird hovering over its young.
Dia answers the question “Why?” giving the reason. Hyper answers the question “For whom?” giving the person who receives the benefit.
Christian service, the proclamation of the gospel, is “in behalf of His Name” (Rom. 1:5). Christ receives the benefit; He gets glory through the faithfulness of His messengers.
True servants of Christ are to be helped on in the work by other believers, “because that for the sake of (hyper) the Name they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles” (3 John 7, R. V.). It is not for selfish reasons that they are serving; it is for the personal benefit of the Lord Jesus.
However, this preposition is used generally with the Name in connection with persecution. Persecution is not endured because of a cold doctrinal belief. Men do not face death with joy because they can recite the Apostle’s Creed. Nevertheless, when they realize they suffer in behalf of a Living Person in heaven whose body bears the fierce scars of Calvary, they can sing as the headsman’s axe descends. Believers suffer as they stand over Christ’s Name, defending Him in a world which seethes with hatred for Him.
The early disciples went out from threatening and flogging, “Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for (hyper) the Name” (Acts 5:41, R. V. ). Christ warns Paul that “he must suffer for (hyper) My Name’s sake” (Acts 9:16 R. V.).
Barnabas and Paul are later described as “men that have hazarded their lives for (hyper) the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26, R. V.). Some years later Paul states that he is ready “to die at Jerusalem for (hyper) the Name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13, R. V.).
Reproach and shame become a joy when one realizes it is in behalf of the Man in heaven. It is for Him; He receives the benefit, the One Who has done so much for us.
As one turns the pages of Sacred Writ he is delighted with the stress placed upon the Name of the Lord Jesus. From the first proclamation of the gospel, to the martyr’s death, early believers delighted in that Name and in it alone. They carried no other name; they gloried in no other name. There was a reproach to this path, but they bore it cheerfully in His behalf. Those were thrilling days for the Church! She was in her pristine glory.
Does the reader of these lines find the same joy in being associated with the Name of Christ and no other religious name? He is worthy.
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“God never fails, never changes, and we have simply to depart from iniquity, and cling to Him. We are to do what is right, and follow it diligently, and leave results to Him.”