KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God... "
TO BE THE LORD'S PRAYER
TEACH US TO PRAY
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. And if ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (Jn. 14:13-14). "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (Jn. 16:24).
How often a passage of scripture seems to be a sealed treasure. You read it time after time but it never yields its riches to you. No light breaks from its words as you search its depths. But one day, all unexpectedly, it suddenly leaps like flames of fire from the page and shouts its beauties, even as a jewel box might unclose under the touch of a secret spring and lay bare in an instance all the radiance and loveliness of the priceless gem that lies within. In just the same way, as you let the spirit of Truth lift out from the heart of this passage the deep blessedness contained within the phrase "in my name," note the precious jewel of truth that is laid bare thereby.
R. A. Torrey has written: "This is one of the most familiar, most wonderful, and at the same time most commonly misunderstood promises in the Bible regarding God's willingness to answer prayer. Here our Lord Jesus Christ Himself tells us that if a certain class of people pray in a certain way, He will give them the very thing that they ask. Look at the promise again. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, that will I do." These words are plain, simple, positive, very precious and cheering. They tell us there are certain people who can get from God anything that they ask for, if only they will ask for it in a certain way. According to Jesus prayer in the name of Jesus Christ prevails with God. No other prayer does. But just what does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus? I have heard many explanations of this. Some of them were so profound or mystical, or so mixed, or so obscure, that when I finished reading them or listening to them I knew less about it than when I started."
What does the word name imply in the meaning of scripture? What does it mean to pray "in /es``s' name"? Prayer in the name of Jesus is a multi-faceted privilege. To pray in the name of Jesus is the deepest mystery in prayer. The name of Jesus is the greatest mystery in heaven and on earth. In heaven this mystery is known; on earth it is unknown to most people. The word name, as it was used in the time of Christ, implied three principal things. First, the name is the person. To praise the name of Jesus is to praise Jesus Himself. To love the name of Jesus is to love Jesus Himself. To exalt the name of Jesus is to exalt Jesus Himself. To deny the name of Jesus is to dishonor Jesus Himself.
THE NAME-THE NATURE
Second, the name represents all we know of the person-his nature, character and personality. When Moses hungered to draw closer to Yahweh, to know Him as He really is, he asked to see His glory. God replied that no mere mortal could survive such a divine encounter, for "there shall no man see Me, and live" (Ex. 33:20) and truly no man can see God face to face and live, that is, he cannot live as he lived before, for the glory of the Lord will bring death to all that is carnal, earthly, soulish, natural and corrupt. No man can see God and remain the same. He will live, but he will live on a higher plane, for what was once life to him will be consumed in the blazing glory of our God who is a consuming fire. God promised to reveal Himself partially to Moses. That is what the Law, the Old Covenant, is-a partial revelation of God. Yahweh said, "I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee" (Ex. 33:19). Then Yahweh ordered Moses to stand in the cleft of a rock, and covered him there with His hand. When the glory of the Lord passed by in front of Moses, He removed His hand for a second only so Moses could see the glory that lingered after (rod had passed by. The record states: "And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with Moses there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord" (Ex. 34:5). When Yahweh proclaimed His name, it was a revealing two-sentence name: "And the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty..." (Ex. 34:6-7). To know God was to know all that His name represented-all He IS. To understand the name was to see God.
The name of Jesus represents all that Jesus is revealed to be. It includes His love, His mercy, His goodness, His transforming power, His quickening life, His wisdom, His knowledge, His righteousness, His holiness, His redemption and salvation. In our day, in ordinary life, names bear no great significance. They are a mere legal and social convenience. In our modern society we are obligated to bear a mark of identification of some kind. In a large prison, where only numbers distinguish one prisoner from another, the unhappy man finds the humiliation of being reduced from a name to a number. There is some warmth and color in our names, and they add a flavor to our personalities. There is even much history in them, as when a child is named Martin Luther, George Washington, Abraham, Sarah, Mary, or even named after some beloved grandfather or grandmother, uncle or aunt. Many of our names are red-veined with the life of the centuries, and rich with quaint or hallowed memories. But all the same, they have no real power in our lives.
Names do not, in most cases, describe the person whom they indicate. They tell us nothing of his character, or power. They do not represent or embody the attributes of his nature and being. A man may be called Hunter though he has never seen an animal wilder than those at the petting zoo nor looked at a gun except on someone's wall or in a glass case at the store. He may be called Baker though he knows nothing of bread except that he eats it. Mary, notwithstanding the meaning of her Hebrew name, is not always bitter, and John is sometimes quite different from a visible embodiment of the grace of God. Not so with the Biblical treatment of names. A name stood, in the Old Testament life, for the sum total of the characteristics and attributes of the person who bore it. In the Bible many names were given because of something that had happened, or because of what was prophesied to happen. A good illustration is that of Jacob, born with his brother Esau as a twin. He was holding on to Esau's heel during the birth process. They called him Jacob, which means "heel grabber," "supplanter." For ninety years he bore that name and, from his history, seemed to do his best to live up to it. Taking advantage of his brother's great hunger, Jacob obtained Esau's birthright. Later on, with the aid of his mother, he robbed his brother of his blessing. Some years went by, and there came a great time of crisis in his life. In that crisis he spent a night wresting with God; and when the morning broke, he obtained his blessing and God gave him a new heart, a new nature, and a new name, Israel. God said to him, "As a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Gen. 32:28). This was the meaning of his new name, and henceforth he lived in the divine power of what that name meant. Our Lord gave names to some of His disciples to indicate the characteristics of their nature. "In the name of..." means nothing less than ALL of which we think when the person is named. It is the description of what he is, his kind, his nature and character. The names of God were thus invested with a peculiar sacredness. And the phrase "the name of God" denotes the majesty, the authority, the personality, and the revealed character of God.
Why is so much promised through the name of Jesus Christ? A name is the value of the person it represents. When I mention or hear a name it calls up before me the whole man or woman, what I know of him or her, and the impression the person has made on me. For example, if someone says, "Althea," I do not react, or if they call out the name "Fiona" still there is nothing. I have no close friends or acquaintances with those names. But when they say, "Lorain," immediately there is a response-for there is the image, the love, and all the personality of my wife. That is the name of the one I love. The name "Lorain" is not any prettier or any more meaningful than Angelica or Nicole, but what the name implies to me is different. When someone says, "Billy, the Kid," I see an image of a wild and murderous youth who once rode the old West, but when someone says, "Billy Sunday," I think of a great evangelist of yesteryear.
Names create an immediate image in the mind, and regardless of the actual meaning of the name, it stands for the character of the person to whom it is given. For instance, would you name your daughter "Jezebel"? Would you name your son "Judas Iscariot"? Of course not. But Jezebel is just as good a name as Jane or Jessica, and actually means "chaste," and Judas is just as good a name as Jude or James, but its meaning to us is not as acceptable because of the actions of an ancient person who bore that name.
Let me give you another example. Were I to go to State National Bank in El Paso and hand the teller a check for one million dollars bearing the signature of J. Preston Eby, she would look at the check and laugh and push it back through the window. You see, my name is not worth a million dollars there or anywhere else, for I am not worth a million dollars. But let me present a check for one million dollars bearing the signature of Ross Perot and immediately I will be a rich man. The money will be credited to my account because the check does not stand on my merit, my worth, my name, but I present it upon the basis of the merit of one who is worth a million dollars many times over. A name stands for the total character and resources of an individual. My name is all that I am and all that I have, your name is all that you are and all that you have. Whatever you are and whatever you possess, that is what your name means to others, it is the value of your name. The name of a king includes his honor, his power, his wealth, his kingdom. His name is the symbol of his power. So each name of God embodies and represents some part of the glory of the Unseen One. And the name of Christ is the expression of all He has done and all He is and all He lives to do as the firstborn among many brethren and the Captain of our salvation. The work of Jesus Christ during those thirty-three and a half years of His earthly life was to unveil to us the total authority and resources of the Father, to manifest His name, so that we might discover what a tremendous, unending resource we have in God. We can never get to the bottom of the barrel. The supply is infinite for the supply is HIMSELF.
What if I want a million dollars not for myself, but for Ross Perot. Supposing that he is my friend, and I want to give him a very impressive gift. It is for his sake, not mine, that I request a loan from the bank. I say to the loan officer, "For Mr. Perot's sake I request one million dollars." I will not get the money. Why? Because it cannot be "for his sake"-it must be "in his name." Now, for some who read these lines the meaning is the same, but the meaning is not the same. We are nowhere told to pray "for Jesus' sake" or "for Christ's sake." There is not one word in the Bible about that. We are not promised to receive anything from the Lord by asking "for Jesus' sake." It must be in Jesus' name. There is a significant difference between asking something for Jesus' sake and asking it in Jesus' name.
R. A. Torrey related the following incident. During the Civil War there was a father and mother in Columbus, Ohio, who had an only son, the joy of their hearts. Soon after the outbreak of the war he came home one day and said to his father and mother, "I have enlisted in the army." Of course, they felt badly to have their son leave home, but they loved their country and were willing to make the sacrifice of giving their son to go to the war and fight for his country. After he had gone to the front he wrote home regularly, telling his father and mother about his experiences in camp and elsewhere. His letters were full of brightness and good cheer, and brought joy to the father's and mother's lonely hearts. But one day at the regular time no letter came. Days passed, and no letter. Weeks passed, and they wondered what might have happened to their boy. One day a letter came from the United States Government and in it they were told that there had been a great battle, that many had been killed, and that their son was among those who had been killed in battle. The light went out of that home. Days and weeks, months and years passed by. The war came to an end. One morning as they were sitting at the breakfast table the maid came in and said, "There is a poor, ragged fellow out at the door and he wants to speak to you. But I knew you did not wish to speak to a man like him, and he handed me this note and asked me to put it in your hand." And she put in the hands of the father a soiled and crumpled piece of paper. The father opened it, and when he glanced at it his eyes fell upon the writing, then he started, for he recognized the writing of his son. The note said:
Dear Father and Mother: I have been shot and have only a short time to live, and I am writing you this last farewell note. As I write there is kneeling beside me my most intimate friend in the company, and when the war is over he will bring you this note, and when he does be kind to him for Charlie's sake. Your son Charles
There was nothing in that house that was too good for that poor tramp. "For Charlie's sake," and there is nothing in heaven or earth too good, or too great, for you and me "for Jesus' sake." You say-"So we can ask for Jesus' sake!" Not at all. Notice-it was not the friend who asked "for Charlie's sake"-it was Charles himself that asked his father for his sake. We do not ask "for Jesus' sake," but THE LORD JESUS HIMSELF HAS PETITIONED THE FATHER FOR US "FOR HIS SAKE," and that is why we can now ask "in Jesus' name"! God has delivered all things to us for His Son's sake, for His Son's glory, for the increase of His life and power and wisdom in His body-therefore we are able to ask whatsoever we will in Jesus' name.
Christ's name is the revelation of Christ's character and to do a thing in the name of another person is to do it as his representative, as realizing that in some deep and real sense we are one with Him. And it is when we know ourselves to be united to Christ and one with Him, representative in a true fashion of Himself in the earth, and we draw near, that our action and our prayer have power. When we so pray we get an answer. The reason such multitudes of prayers never travel higher than the ceiling, and bring no blessings to him who prays, is because they are not prayers in Christ's name. "In Jesus' name" is not a magic formula of faith. "Name" means nature. "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake," means, "He leads me in right ways because that is His nature." "His name shall be in their foreheads," means, "His nature shall be expressed through their minds." When we ask in Jesus' name, we ask in His nature, in His identity, and out of His mind and will and purpose. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name"-that is, in my nature; for things with God are called according to their nature. We ask ha the name of Jesus Christ, not when at the end of some request we attach the phrase, "This I ask in Jesus' name," but when we pray according to His nature, which is love, which seeketh not its own, but only the will of the Father and His purpose of blessing for all creation. Such asking is the cry of His own Spirit within our hearts.
Here, I am convinced, we are often "forgers," putting Christ's name to a prayer He would not pray, using His name to secure things He would not endorse! The Lord Jesus did not promise to answer any prayer we say is in His name, but rather any prayer that is prayed in His nature-because that is what He wants, and what He would ask for. All of us are familiar with the phrase, "in the name of the law." Policemen do their business in the name of the law. Now, let's suppose a policeman is sent into an inner-city ghetto about noon one day because some violence, including gun shots, has been reported. When he arrives at the designated address, he knocks at the door and calls out, "Police-open in the name of the law!" After knocking repeatedly without getting any response, he draws his gun, kicks open the door, and makes his arrest.
Now, let's shift the scene to the dark hours of early morning, about two o'clock. That same policeman is traveling through a residential area, only now he's off duty and has spent most of the night drinking in a bar. In a drunken stupor he staggers up the steps of a house, knocks on the door, and shouts, "Open up in the name o the law!" The inhabitants of the house hear the commotion and it is plain that there is a drunk at the door, so they refuse to open up. In a belligerent rage the policeman breaks down the door, and when he does, the police are called, and this time it is the policeman who is arrested and carried off to jail. What's the difference? It is the same action, the very same words, and exactly the same man. Ah, the action at noon the previous day was done in the name of the law, whereas the scene at night was done outside the law. One was authorized activity, done according to the rules, with all authority, the other was unauthorized. That is what Jesus means when He says "in my name." When we ask in Jesus' name we are to ask within the realm and scope of His mind and will and nature. Whatever He is interested in having done on earth, we, as the instruments of His divine life, are involved in accomplishing. "Whatever you need," He says, "ask for it and it shall be done." Whatever! Anything! If it is by His mind, His will, and His nature you can ask for it and it shall be done without fail. When we ask out of our own carnal desire and attach the phrase, "in Jesus' name," we are acting exactly like the drunken off duty policeman calling out, "Open up in the name o the law!" The words are right, but there is no authorization. The action is outside His nature and His purpose. It is a bastard request. It is a forgery of His name! We say "in Jesus' name" as a commonplace term, a part of formal ritual, in prayers that get no answer, and that proves they were not really asked in His name, for the promise is sure, "If ye ask anything in My name, I will do it" (Jn. 14:14). If we ask and do not receive it can only mean one of two things-Jesus lied, or we somehow' failed to ask "in His name"
IN UNION WITH CHRIST
Third, acting, praying, or doing anything "in Jesus' name" means doing it in union with Him. Many prayers go unanswered because they are not prayed in union with Christ. People have prayed for zinc weather, and it has rained in torrents. People have prayed for healing, and the- sickness has become chronic. People have prayed for protection, and danger has brought hurt or disaster. People have prayed to live, and they have died. Recall Huckleberry Finn's account:
Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't so. I tried it. Once I got a fishline, but no hooks. It wasn't any good to me without hooks. I tried for the hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn't make it work. By and by, one day, I asked Miss Watson to try for me, but she said I was a fool. She never told me why, and I couldn't make it out no way. I set down one time back in the woods, and had a long think about it. I says to myself, if a person can get anything they pray for, why don't Deacon Winn get back the money he lost on pork? Why can't the widow get back her silver snuffbox that was stole? Why can't Miss Watson fat up? No, says I to myself, there ain't nothing in it.
Praying "in Jesus' name" does not mean praying by a formula. It means praying in union with Him. Huckleberry Finn, obviously, was not praying in union with Jesus! When a woman marries a man she gets a change of name. Whereas before she was Mary Brown, now she is Mary Jones. But why does she change her name? Is it because she didn't like the name Brown, or because the name Jones sounds more exotic? Not at all. She takes the name Jones because she and Mr. Jones have become ONE. She has come into union with him. That's what using the name of Jesus means. Hear now the poignant words of God spoken through Jeremiah to the nation of Israel: "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed Me h1 the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the first fruits of His harvest...I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following Me" (Jer. 2:2-3; 3:19). Because, in the beginning, they had surrendered themselves as a bride h1 trust and depended on His loving power for everything, a unique power had been created in that relationship between them and God. They were, indeed, a "holy people," because the word "holy" means set apart for special purposes. They truly walked in union with God. And what wonders He performed in their midst! But whenever Israel turned away and broke the bonds of love and trust, their special relationship with their Source of being was betrayed and the special power was broken.
Eventually there was born into our world and history a man named Jesus, who was so utterly surrendered to the Father that there was no obstacle, no barrier at all between him and God. A power such as the world had never seen before sprang into existence because of this perfect relationship between the Son and the Father. This power is what we call the Holy Spirit. It is an incredible torrent of living energy let loose into the world. It is a shaft of light that has penetrated all darkness and depth and bondage. When called upon in spirit and in truth it can overcome anything-disease, fear, despair, ugliness, pain, sorrow, death, all the black, cold chains that have kept us from the glory of the Father.
"And whatsoever ye shall ask in anion with Me, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in union with Me, I will do it" (Jn. 14:13-14). "And these signs shall follow them that believe; in union with Me they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; and they shall lay hands upon the sick, and they shall recover" (Mk. 16:17-18). You say, "But brother Eby, don't you think we should use the words, 'In Jesus' name'?" Certainly. But never forget, there are a lot of Mrs. Jones' that use the name, they call themselves Jones, until Mr. Jones puts a notice in the paper, saying, "All debts incurred by that woman calling herself by my name -I refuse to pay them because she is no longer living with me." Have you ever read a notice like that in the paper? She still uses the name, but she is out of union with hall, and he renounces her.
There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, who thought they could cast out devils by using the name of Jesus. They said, "We adjure you by the name of Jesus whom Paul preacheth." But the devil replied, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? We don't need to recognize you-that name doesn't mean a thing to you-you are not in union with Him. His authority does not back up your words." "And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded" (Acts 19:16). That is what sonship is all about, bringing us into union with God in Jesus Christ. In Christ we have a right to use His name.
So we begin our prayer by saying, "In the name of Jesus I pray," or most often we conclude our prayer by saying, "Father, I ask this in Jesus' name." In view of this let us quickly run through the only prayer the Lord Jesus taught us to pray. How does it end? "For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, in Jesus' name-Amen!" Does it end like that? No! Of course, I have suspected that it isn't a true prayer. I knew all along that God wouldn't answer it because it doesn't have the right words at the end! Do you think perhaps God will answer it anyway, even if it doesn't say, "In Jesus' name"? Let me ask you a question. If Jesus was the only One who had a right to call God "Father," how could you or I possibly call Him "Father"? Is it not by virtue of our union with Jesus Christ-THE SON? "In Jesus' name" simply means being in union with Him. So-you don't have to say "in Jesus' name" at the end of your prayer. All you have to do is say at the beginning, "Our Father," and you know that the reason God receives you is because of your oneness with, and your identification in, Jesus the Son. This is what sonship is all about-Jesus is the Head and we are the members of the body of the Christ. There is but one Christ, one Son, and there are many members.
"In Jesus' name" is not a prescription. It is not a sort of magical Alladin's lamp that we can rub and ask for anything in the world. Nor is it a talisman or an "open sesame," turning on the spigot of heaven. It is not writing a letter to Santa Claus. There are many sincere believers that think it is necessary to end every prayer with the stereotype, "In Jesus Name." This is a perfect example of how we deny the spirit of Christ's teaching on prayer by adherence to the letter. That Jesus Christ meant every prayer of the younger members of His body to end in the same way is an absurdity, for this is but to use "vain repetitions." If the phrase is used as a necessary cliche it is absolutely indefensible, and is closer to the Tibetan prayer wheel than it is to the spirit of Jesus. It is nowhere said that we are to put such a phrase in our prayers. Saying it does not make it so. The early Christians did all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, but I do not recall a single Bible prayer in which people told God they were asking "in Jesus' name." God would know without our saying. The Father knows all who are in Christ. We do not need to tell God that it is in Jesus' name. He knows. The great apostle Paul has several prayers recorded in the New Testament and he did not put "in Jesus' name" either before or after a single one of them.
I know this will shake some people up, because they are theologically oriented to repeating the phrase, "he Jesus' name." But remember, precious friend of mine, the Lord Jesus Himself also warns us that "many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Mat. 24:5). Some popular evangelist comes to town and draws a crowd with the spectacular, but it doesn't bear witness in your spirit. Something is not right. Yet it all seems so right because all he does he does using the name of Jesus. That doesn't prove a thing. He may use the name of Jesus with his mouth, but his whole life and ministry may be out of union with Jesus. Out of union with Jesus he is a fraud-using the name of Jesus to promote his own kingdom, to build a name, and for financial gain. It is not the formula of His name, but doing it in union with Him.
"Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity" (Mat. 7:2123). There is another most significant passage in Mark 16:17-18. You know how it reads..."These signs shall follow them that believe; in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." It should read, "These signs shall follow them that believe in My name; they shall cast out devils, etc." You see, there is no punctuation in the original, and the way we have all learned this passage is the way the translators punctuated it in the King James Version of the Bible. "These signs shall follow them that believe." Then you add, "In My name they shall cast out devils." That's how we have understood it. But that's not what it really says. It's not, "These signs shall follow them that believe." It is, "These signs shall follow them that believe in My name."
It is just as the Holy Spirit records in John 1 :12, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." It is not believing that saves you. The Philippian jailer cried out, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul didn't answer, "Only believe." He said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." It is not FAITH that saves-it is faith in the Son of God.
George Muller left a lifelong record of his prayers and their answers-more than twenty-five thousand of them. On one occasion, when asked by a friend to explain his secret, Bro. Muller replied, "Have faith in God." If I interpret George Muller correctly, he was not placing the emphasis on the word faith, but rather on the word God. George Muller knew God, so his faith was not in his own boldness or daring or positive thinking, but in the living God. It is the object of our prayers that makes the difference. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). God has freely given us all things By Jesus Christ. Omit Christ as the Center and the Source and the whole cause is lost. The faith that moves mountains is always faith in Jesus Christ. A person might have faith in a doctor, in a bank, in a business scheme, in his guru, in an Ascended Master, in the Buddha, or in his own power of believing, but such faith has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. When we pray we do not need confidence in ourselves, nor in faith, nor in prayer, but hi Jesus Christ. There is a self-induced attitude of confidence and assurance that is self-deception and not faith at all. When we read that Abraham "believed the Lord" (Gen. 15:6), we can translate it correctly that he "Amened" God. When God told Abraham that He would give him innumerable seed, Abraham said, "Amen, Lord!" "So be it!" Abraham believed God because He knew God and had received a word from God. We talk sometimes as though it is our great faith, or just the power of believing, that does great things for us, but such "faith" is mere auto-suggestion. But faith in God is a personal relationship between the heart and God, to which all that God wills, and all the surrendered heart desires, becomes gloriously possible.
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Today everybody says, "All you have to do is believe." Preachers talk about the power of positive thinking and possibility thinking as though the power were in the way you think, hi believing, in faith itself, instead of in Jesus Christ the Lord. How many who read these lines "believe"? I will tell you whom you keep company with. James stated it succinctly: "Thou believes" that there is one (sod; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble" (James 2:19). If you "believe" you are in company with the devils! The devils also believe, and do something more than you do-they tremble. So believing doesn't do a thing so far as relationship with God is concerned. It's not believing-it's believing in His name-IN UNION WITH HIM! So, "These signs shall follow them that believe in My name-in union with Me.
If you have a problem with this, let us do it your way first and see if you won't prefer it mine. "These signs shall follow them that believe. In My name they shall cast out devils"-so if there is a devil there, how do you get him out? You say, "In the name of Jesus, come out!" That's we way we feel it should be. But now you are in trouble. What else are we supposed to do in Jesus' name? "They shall speak with new tongues." You see, each of these actions is something done "in Jesus' name." Have you spoken in tongues? Have you spoken he tongues today? This week? Within the past month? I do not hesitate to tell you that it wasn't real-if the popular interpretation of Mark 16:17-18 is true! How can I say this? Because when you spoke in tongues you did not say, "In the name of Jesus-ra ha she ka lame tie!" If it is necessary to say to a devil, "In Jesus' name, come out," in order to cast out devils in His name; if it is necessary to say, "In Jesus' name, be healed," in order to heal the sick in Jesus' name; is it not also necessary to say, "In Jesus' name I speak with new tongues," and then break out in tongues? If you spoke in tongues today and did not say, "In Jesus' name," before you spoke hi tongues it was false-if repeating the phrase "in Jesus' name" is what it means to do something in His name!
You see, what we do is use the name as a formula or magical incantation. What is your magic word? "Abracadabra" It's not that at all. It's not believing in a formula or employing a magical phrase, but believing in HIM-coming into union with Him, standing in His nature, will, purpose and identity as sons of the living God. If His life is in me I speak with tongues by the indwelling of His Spirit and I don't have to use the formula, the fact that it is the Spirit of the Son within me, the spirit of sonship, makes it in His name, His nature, His identity. If His life is in me I will heal the sick by His indwelling power and I don't have to use the formula, for the compassion and power of Christ within make it in His name, His nature, His identity. If His life is in me I cast out devils by His indwelling authority, and I don't have to use the formula, for the authority is the authority of the Christ within and it is thus in His name, by His authority, in union with Him, in His nature, character, and identity.
Jesus said, "The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me" (Jn. 10:25). This settles it once and for all. One of the first miracles Jesus did was the healing of the leper. The leper came to Him and said, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou cans't make me clean" (Mat. 8:2). And Jesus answered, "In the name of Yahweh, be thou clean!" Did He? No! He touched him, and the leper was healed. Later, when a devil manifested himself in a man, Jesus said, "In the name of El Shaddai, come out of him!" Did He? No! And again, when Lazarus was dead, He said, "In the name of El Elton, come forth!" Is that true? See-you've got to use the right name-if doing something in a name means saying the name. God has various names in the Old Testament and if you will listen to Jesus and find out which name He used in healing leprosy, which name He used h casting out devils, and which name He used in raising the dead, and if you use them, it will work. Is that right? Absolutely not! Whenever did Jesus mention His Father's name when He did a miracle? Never. Not once! You will not find any place where Jesus pronounced the name YAHWEH either in our English Bible or in the oldest Greek or Aramaic texts. Some people have published Bibles inserting the name ''Yahweh'' where God or Lord are used in the New Testament, but such are spurious man-made fabrications, adding to the Word of God. Yet Jesus claimed to have done all His works IN HIS FATHER'S NAME! What did He mean by that, then? If He didn't mean a formula or a magic word, what was Jesus' secret? "I and the Father are-ONE." "The works I am doing in union with My Father, in My Father's nature, in My Father's identity-for he that bath seen Me bath seen the Father." "I do only those things that I see My Father do." "As I hear from My Father, so I speak." "Believes" thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works." Everything the Son did was in union with His Father, without using the formula. Jesus said, "If you believe in My name-if you have come into union, unity, and identification with Me, if I am the Head and you are the body, the works that I do shall ye do, and greater works than these shall ye do."
If one is at all acquainted with Latin American people or Spanish speaking people, you will know that thousands of the men are named Jesus. It is a common name. The name they bear has absolutely no power or authority in heaven or with (sod. God will not receive them in any special way just because they bear a name that is made up of the five letters J-E-S-U-S. But He will willingly and gladly receive them hi the name or nature of HIS SON who is called Jesus. Also in the New Testament we read of others who were named Jesus, for it was a common name in Bible days, too, but they had no special place or power in the work of God. And if today you say, "In the name of Jesus, be blessed!" the question follows: In the name of which Jesus? For there are millions of people named Jesus in the earth!
The "name" of the Lord is thus something far beyond and greater than a series of letters in the alphabet and their pronunciation. The true name of God is not YAHWEH. The true name of God is the nature signified by the meaning of the word YAHWEH. Yahweh means "the self-existent-the One who IS." "The name of Yahweh is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it and is safe" (Prov. 18:10). That doesn't mean that the man who uses the letters Y-A-H-W-E-H, and trusts in his use of that word, has run into the name of the Lord and is safe. In fact, most people who constantly use the name Yahweh know absolutely nothing about the name of the Lord! The one who recognizes God as the self-existent, eternal, all-sufficient One and trusts in His all-sufficient nature is the man who has found security and provision in the name of Yahweh. He may never verbally articulate the word YAHWEH, as the Jews have not for millenniums, but he certainly knows the name or nature of Yahweh.
Again we remind ourselves that we have all prayed hundreds of prayers that have not been answered, yet we sprinkled all of them thoroughly with the phrase, "in the name of Jesus." The sick came to be healed and we prayed a powerful prayer, placed oil upon them, repeated that phrase, "in the name of Jesus," perhaps a dozen times, and nothing happened. Yet Jesus said that if we asked in His name it would be done for us. Can we not see THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG! There must be something we have not learned, for Jesus surely spoke the words granting us whatever we ask. We are to do and say everything in Jesus' name. God has given Him THE NAME that is above every other name in heaven and in earth. Does that mean that if I take my sick neighbor a bowl of soup I must say, "In Jesus' name I give you this soup?" Not at all. The fact that the loving nature of the Christ within compels me to take the soup makes it in Jesus' name. The name of Jesus is not the word Jesus. It is His nature, His character, His authority. Repeating the five-letter word JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, thee after thee will not get our prayers answered. We must stand in a position before God. We must be hi the same position before God that the firstborn Son occupies. We must know that we are the sons of God and must ask out of the nature of sonship. When the spirit of sonship within motivates, directs and births all our praying, there will be one hundred percent results. The only things God grants are the things prayed in the name of Jesus. The prayers we have had answered are the only prayers we have prayed that were prayed in the name of Jesus. All others were prayed outside His name. If they would have been prayed in His name, we would have received the thing we asked for, for the promise is true and unfailing: "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, I will do it." This can be achieved only through union with Him. Only then will we get ALL of our prayers answered.
"And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing ha My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (Jn. 16:23-24).
Paul Mueller has written: "Jesus set the pattern for the ministry and function of all true, divine, kingdom ministry. All who will follow Him, doing those 'greater works', will be obedient to the example He provided for us in His life and ministry. When the Jews sought to kill Jesus because He violated their Sabbath, He told them He did only that which He saw of the Father. He also said to them: 'I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive' (Jn. 5:43). The contrast here is established between those who come in the Father's name and those who come ha their own name. Those who come in the Father's name will manifest the fruits and blessings of that name, while those who come he their own name will manifest nothing but confusion, resulting in bringing forth religious proselytes. The (,reek word 'name' throughout the gospels is ONOMA and means authority and character as well as a name. Therefore, when Jesus said He came in the 'Father's name', He was coming with direct authority of the Father, and was also manifesting the Father's character. Jesus plainly pointed out the difference between those who come in the Father's name and those who come in their own name. Those who have spiritual discernment can readily see the vast difference between someone who has learned the value and benefit of doing the Lord's work ha the Father's name, and those who come to do His work in their own name or ha man's authority. In every instance where Jesus referred to His name or used the words in My name' or 'in My Father's name', He had reference to the authority and character of the Father.
"A brief study of the use of the term 'in My name' will help us understand the divine principle by which all true sons of God are to be guided in their approach to the work of the Lord. When Jesus taught on the matter of gatherings, fellowship and ministry, He said, 'For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them' (Mat. 18:20). The word 'name' from the Greek means authority and character as we have already stated. Therefore, when we gather together, whether it be two or three or more, if that gathering takes place with the Lord's authority, then He has promised to be in the midst. On the other hand, if the Lord's people have a gathering without His authority, they cannot expect the presence of the Lord to be there, since He is not obligated to bless that gathering with His presence. The divine kingdom principle is: Obtain the Father's authority to have a gathering, and then He will be there.
"If we would do those greater works, then we will have to come under the proper authority and discipline by which those greater works shall be manifest. The time is coming and now is when all the Lord's elect will learn to function by a new and greater principle, even the divine principle of ministering and functioning in the name of the Lord. We can no longer function in our own name, for we have seen the constant futility of man's works. Now the Lord commands repentance and a sincere turning away from all of man's past fruitless efforts, for He would lead us to the divine principle whereby we will witness those greater works.
'When Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a great multitude of people went before Him, spreading their garments and crying, 'Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.' No doubt the multitudes of Judea had seen the utter futility of the old priesthood and of others who came with a counterfeit message. But when Jesus came, they recognized the presence of this One who came 'in the name of the Lord,' for He manifest the authority and character of God Himself. And this is what all the sons of God are called to do. Therefore, we must begin to apply the divine, kingdom principles to the work of the Lord, obtaining His authority in advance of all that we would do on behalf of His kingdom. When the Lord's elect are functioning 'in the name of the Lord', many will then shout the glorious report concerning them, saying, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. The 'Great Commission' sets forth the same principle, for Jesus said, 'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father...'(Mk. 28:19). When Jesus appeared to the eleven during the forty days, He said to them, 'Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations' (Lk. 24:46-47). Thus clearly the Lord's work can only be done successfully in His name or with His authority and in His character. That which Jesus did, especially during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension, was written, 'that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name' (Jn. 20:31). Therefore, the life we receive at Christ's appearing, will be provided 'through His name,' or with His authority and in the character of the Father"-end quote.
Sometimes my head has trouble with my body. I woke up this morning and my head said to my feet, "Get out and walk." My feet said, "We're tired of doing all the walking, let the hands do it." Is that how it is? No-the body is in perfect union with the head. Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches. As long as the branch abides in the Vine it brings forth fruit. And it guarantees the answer to our prayer! "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go forth and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: and that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you" (Jn. 15:7,16). In union with Christ there is an expression of the Christ life. This is not a formula. No words can add anything to it. It is life and reality. All that the branch bears it bears in the name (nature) of the Vine, and in union with the Vine. You believe in His name-therefore you cast out devils, heal the sick, speak with new tongues, or fulfill whatever expression of Christ you are-as He moves within you to so do.
Someone still asks, "Brother Eby, don't you use the name of Jesus when you pray?" Sometimes I do. But you don't have to-if you are praying in union with Him. After we have prayed a very selfish prayer, "Oh Lord, I would like a BMW this fall, and a big sail boat for next summer," to make it spiritual and to have an edge on getting it answered we ask it "in the name of Jesus." But the name of Jesus has nothing to do with this! We pray a lot of childish, selfish, carnal prayers that have nothing to do with the mind of God. And then we tack the formula on, "in the name of Jesus," as though that will induce Him to indulge us. I tell you the truth-you might as well say "abracadabra" and expect the vault of heaven to open! God deliver us from formulas, from magical words, from spiritual sounding hocus-pocus and superstitious mantras and bring us mightily into union with the Lord Jesus Christ until the prayer we pray expresses His mind, His heart, and His purpose.
"Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity" (Mat. 7:22-23). You know, I can see that scene right now. The Lord has come, and there are people who have come before Him and said, "Lord, we've got good news for you. In Thy name we have prophesied; in Thy name we have cast out devils; in Thy name we have done many wonderful works." The Lord grabs them by the hand and says, "Thank you ever so much-I wish I'd been there with you when you did it!" You say, "How do you know He will say that?" Because, if He had been there when they did it, they wouldn't have to tell Him they did it. You know, of course, why Jesus had to spend the whole night in prayer every now and then. You see, after He had had a big day or a successful week and had done a lot of miracles, He had to take a night off to tell His Father what He had done. "Dear Father, you should have been there!" And the Father said, "Oh, My Son, please let Me know the next thee. But anyway, go ahead and do a few more miracles and come back and tell Me-if I can't be there I would like to know what's happening." Did Jesus ever have to tell His Father what He did? Never! Why? Because it was the Father in Him that did the works. When you have to tell the Lord what you did, it's because He hasn't been around when you did it. You did it out of union with Him, you did it for Him, but it was not Him doing it in and through you-even though you used His name as a formula to do it. If it had been done in union with Him you wouldn't have to tell Him.
So what did Jesus say to those who told Him that they had done wonders in His name? "Congratulations, blessed are ye, enter into the Kingdom and receive a hundred more stars in your crown!" Is that what He said? His answer was, "I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." "I never knew you-you whose prophesying is iniquity; you whose casting out devils is iniquity; you whose mighty works are iniquity." Do you know what "I never knew you" means? It means that the works were not done in union with Him. "And Adam KNEW His wife, and she conceived..." (Gen. 4:1). "Know" in the Bible is the most intimate word of union. Jesus says, "I never KNEW you, I was not intimate with you, you were not acting out a deep and abiding love relationship with Me." He classified their works as iniquity. "Iniquity" means lawlessness, something done outside authority.
Isn't the whole business of the Gospel just this: "All power in heaven and in earth is given to Me...I give it to you...you go and preach the Gospel and when it's all over I will reward you!" No-"Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (Mk. 16:90). The Lord was with them, working with them- IN UNION WITH THEM. So using His name may be blasphemy, it may be iniquity, it may be lawlessness, it may be foolishness like the seven sons of Sceva-if the words and the works are not done in union with the Christ. We have seen in our day the sad spectacle of men who get hold of God's power, God's ability, and use it to their own ends, for a name, for power, for money, to build a kingdom. The word will yet come to these he a terrible day of judgment, "Depart from Me ye that work iniquity; I never knew you." So this bushiness of the name of Jesus-watch it. Is the person who is using the name using it in vain? Or is the usage of the name an expression of love, devotion, obedience, divine nature and authority? What is your motive? What is back of it? Is it that God alone may be glorified?
To be continued.
J. PRESTON EBY [HOME] [KINGDOM RESOURCES]