Divine Names and Titles

 •  19 min. read  •  grade level: 8
A little upon the Names and Titles found in the. New Testament may not be unacceptable to some.
10. Jesus.
This name of wondrous sweetness occurs nearly 700 times in the New Testament, and in no case, so far as I am aware, is it written with an adjective. “Jesus” needs no adjective to set His glory forth. The rose of Sharon emits its own fragrance, and the lily of the valley reveals its own bloom and beauty. The glories of His person, the moral perfection of his ways, and the glories of His works tell out WHO and WHAT He is. In most of the human hymnology and spoken language of the Christian, we constantly meet with such expressions as “Blessed Jesus,” “Dear Jesus,” but never in the Word of God. Again, the name is not used as a superscription, and it is clearly incorrect to do so in epistolary correspondence. “In Jesus”1 is not Scripture.
The name is rarely used alone in the Acts and Epistles, the reason being that the position of Jesus is changed. As the Man amongst men, His divine glory hid, and moving about as the “Man of Sorrows,” he was known as “Jesus.” ‘Twas His personal name as Man born into the world (Luke 1:3131And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. (Luke 1:31); Matthew 1:20, 2120But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:20‑21)). It was a name which told of reproach, suffering and shame. Men looked coldly upon Him, Israel spurned Him and rejected His claims, and creation knew Him not. They covered His beautiful countenance with spittle, He was made the subject of the drunkard’s song, they put Him to an open shame—parting His garments amongst them, and gambling for His seamless vesture. Many bulls, yea, the strong bulls of Bashan beset Him—the great and mighty. Dogs—men utterly without feeling and conscience gathered around Him; yea, the power of the Dog —Satan—was there. The circle of wickedness narrows, the assembly of the wicked enclose Him. O my soul, what a scene is this! Men and demons have got their prey, they trample upon Him as they would upon a worm. Reproached, laughed to scorn, the pouting lip, the shaking head; they pierced His hands and feet. and now the horror of the scene is intensified, God covering it in darkness. Like a funeral pall, Judea is shrouded in blackness. Then the clouds of judgment gather and break and the waves of wrath roll on and on. The storm bursts upon Him, for sin must be judged. “God is light,” so the storm of divine and righteous wrath spends itself upon Him. The cry of desolation and abandonment, “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?” tells its own most awful tale. The last moment has come, man undeterred by the clear evidence of divine power—the rending of the rocky sepulchers of the dead and the overspread darkness—can yet find light enough to consummate His wickedness by piercing the Holy Sufferer’s side. Eternal infamy rest upon the nature of man!
How does God meet all this? What are His thoughts about Jesus? Accompany me, beloved, to the tomb of Jesus. What are the lessons gleaned from that empty sepulcher! The glory of the Father displayed (Romans 6:44Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)) and the power of God put forth in the raising up from the dead— “Jesus.” Where sits He now? On His Father’s throne. Where is the Man whom God delights to honor? Seated in midst of heaven’s glories. How is He robed? With garments of glory and beauty. What encircles His brow? A crown of glory and honor. What are His Headships? Creation, providence, God’s new creation, and every glory known and unknown. What is He to angels? The object of their worship. What is He to saints? The burden of their holy songs. What is He to God? His only begotten and well-beloved Son. What is His place as Man? Universal power and supremacy. Who will be the center of the world-wide system of glory? The Lamb slain. Whose name will awaken the song of creation? The name of Jesus. Yes! yes the many-mansioned house of the Father has Jesus as the first-fruits of the gathered family and the kingdom-glory will have Him as its light, center, and foundation.
But these glories prepare us for other names and other titles, and as the Acts and Epistles unfold these varied glories and dignities, they speak of Him accordingly; hence the name “Jesus” alone is seldom used. The first twelve chapters of the Acts have, through the ministry of Peter and others, as their great burden, the filling of Judea and Jerusalem with the glory of Jesus (chap. 5:28), and not only so, but “therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (chap. 2:36). Chapter 1, the testimony is to the return of Jesus; chap. 2, the testimony is to the resurrection and ascension-glory of Jesus; chap. 3, the testimony is to the power of the name of Jesus; chap. 4, the testimony is to the power of suffering for, and the practical exhibition of the grace of Jesus; chap. 5, the testimony to Jesus so energetic that the religious leaders of the people are utterly confounded; chaps. 6, 7, the closing testimony to Israel that their rejected Messiah—glorified and standing at the right hand of God—will yet return, if Israel will only say, “Conte.” This is met by the violent death of Stephen, who is sent to heaven after his Master with the insulting message, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” Thus other glories are opened to us; other dignities will be worn by Him—glories won and dignities obtained through that wondrous pathway—death and resurrection.
11. Christ.
This official designation is usually written in the Gospels with the article prefixed, thus, “the Christ.” Our otherwise excellent version of the New Testament fails in numerous instances in conveying the title as found in the Greek, the article being seldom given in English: this is to be regretted, because thereby a vital part of the testimony of the Lord to the Jews is somewhat obscured. The omission of the article is therefore important. The Messiah2—so largely spoken of in the Old Testament writings, and with which the Jews were so familiar—had now come, and was presented for their acceptance. Jesus the Christ offered Himself to Israel as the Saviour from their sins, and Deliverer from Gentile domination; but Israel knew not the day of her gracious visitation, so contrary was He to all expectations, although Psalms 22; 69, and Isa. 53 might have prepared them for the reception in suffering of the Lowly One. They rejected His messianic claims. As to His moral glory displayed in His person and ways, their hearts and minds were blinded. Consequent upon His full and final rejection as King of Zion, and as the Christ who would have built up Zion in her glory, God is not pressing in meantime the Jewish claims of His beloved Son, but will make these claims good in a day that is fast approaching; then it will not be contingent on Jewish or Gentile responsibility, but God will work in the absoluteness of His power for the glory of His Son, whether as the Messiah in Judea, or in His wider title as Son of Man in the earth. Now our position, portion, and blessings are found in Israel’s rejected One, crowned and glorified in heaven. Christ’s new place as risen and glorified determines ours, hence in the Acts and Epistles, where our place is fully developed, “Christ” is rarely written with the article prefixed. In the Gospels, as we have seen, it is an official title; in the Epistles it is used as defining our position before God. We are in “Christ,” who, raised from the dead, has been set over all the works of God’s hands. What a wondrous place we are set in! What an amazing blessing! Saints individually are said to be “in” Christ, Ephesians 1:3-63Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:3‑6); corporately, as the Church, we are united with Him in His life, blessedness, glory, and future dominion over all things.
“The Christ” is thus rarely met with in the Epistles, it is generally “Christ;” the former expressing Jewish hopes and blessing; the latter defines Christian peace, blessing, and responsibility.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul says, “I knew a man in Christ.” We are not as to position and standing before God in the first man, Adam, and we ought not to be according to life and practical ways. God has disowned the first man and brought in the second. Christ before God is the root and source of life, and new responsibility to all in the new creation; it is founded upon Him. Thus every living soul is either in Adam of old-creation headship, or in Christ of new-creation headship. Standing and responsibility are found in, and flow from connection with Adam and Christ. But should I die, Is my position before God in the least affected? Nay, my responsibility to walk according to my standing in Christ is of course over; but the position itself is a settled one, death cannot touch it, it is unassailable by all the power of the enemy: thus the “dead in Christ” will rise to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. 2 Corinthians 12:22I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. (2 Corinthians 12:2), with Ephesians 1:33Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 1:3), show the saints alive on earth, as to their standing before God in Christ; while 1 Thessalonians 4:1616For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (1 Thessalonians 4:16), with 1 Corinthians 15, show that those who may die do not thereby forfeit their position before God “in Christ.”
In Acts 2:3636Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36), “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ,”—not “the Christ” that He was on earth, but Christ the exalted One. I connect my responsibility with Him as Lord, which is a title of authority. I connect my position with Him as Christ.
12. Lord.
The leading thought in the use of this word is “authority,” and that in all matters concerning the Christian. If I have a fixed position “in Christ,” I have corresponding duties and responsibilities, and these are in reference to the “Lord.” There are shades of meaning in the different words, which our translators have failed to give us, having invariably used the word “Lord,” although it is represented by several words in the Septuagint, or Greek version of the Old Testament. The Lordship of Christ is connected with the closest and tenderest relationships of life; thus, marry “only in the Lord “ does not imply that I am free to marry any one “in Christ” that is a Christian merely, but if, in obedience to the Lord and in the practical recognition of His authority, I am separated from an unholy association, I dare not re-enter that community, and take from it one who even may be a Christian. “In the Lord” settles that and such like questions. All natural relationships are to be regulated according to the Lord—what is due to Him, Ephesians 6:1-101Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 5Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. 10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Ephesians 6:1‑10); Colossians 3:18-4:118Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 22Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. 1Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 3:18‑4:1). The Lordship of Christ in the Christian assembly (1 Corinthians 12:3,53Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:5)
) as to spiritual manifestations and gifts, and in particular with that which is the figure of the Church’s unity— “the one bread,” or “loaf,” is strongly insisted upon, 1 Corinthians 10;11 in the latter chapter the title is used eight times in direct and solemn reference to the Lord’s Supper. It is a title also expressive of absolute and universal proprietorship, (compare Matthew 13:44, 3844Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. (Matthew 13:44)
38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (Matthew 13:38)
with 2 Peter 2, Jude 88Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. (Jude 8).) Christ, as man, has been made Lord and Christ. Jehovah he ever was, but as Man, all things put under His feet, He has been made Lord. All Christian responsibility is connected with this divine title.
13. Jesus Christ.
This double title is found eight times in 1St Peter, and once in his 2nd Epistle. In every instance it is used with striking and remarkable precision. Jesus, the lowly humbled Man on earth, is now the glorified Man on high. The thought is from what He was to what He is. Thus the title as used connects His shame and His glory. His sufferings and His glories are thus linked together. Such seems, to me, the general idea in the divine order of the words “Jesus Christ.”
14. Christ Jesus.
John in his Epistle and Revelation, and Jude in his short Catholic letter, speak of “Jesus Christ,” but not once “Christ Jesus.” Peter writes “Christ Jesus” twice, and that in his 2nd Epistle. Paul rarely says “Jesus Christ,” his favorite title being “Christ Jesus.” The glories of these divine titles are interestingly traced in the writings of the apostles Paul, Peter, and John. It is plain from Scripture, and experience fully proves the truth of it, that the character of a man’s conversion is distinctly reflected in his walk, testimony, and service. This, again, largely determines his future in the system of glory. Paul’s conversion is recorded Acts 9; Peter’s in Luke 5; and John’s in his gospel, chap. 1. The manner and character of these conversions are as different as possible. Peter, attracted by the grace and convicted of sin by the display of the power of Jesus, got attached to an earthly Messiah, following Him in His ministry amongst the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and conformed to his master even in death.3 The pointed preaching, by Peter, of Jesus risen and exalted, and that through His name remission of sins was to be had, was quite in keeping with the scene in Luke 5 Jesus on earth filled the eyes and heart of Peter by the wondrous display of power—the gift of the miraculous draft of fishes; so Jesus exalted and ministering forgiveness of sins was the “gift” received consequent upon his new position. Benefits received from Jesus on earth (Luke 5), from the same Jesus risen and glorified (Acts 2:3838Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)), and from the coming Jesus—revealed in His glory (1 Peter 1:1313Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Peter 1:13)), seems to me a characteristic feature of the ministry of the Jewish apostle. Paul’s first acquaintance with the man “Christ Jesus” in the glory—with Christ as Man risen up out of the dead, Head over all things to the assembly, and to whom and with whom saints are eternally united—formed the life and became the grand and distinguishing feature of Paul’s ministry. John was converted to the person of the Lord—the Son in the bosom of the Father and displayed before men, in the infinite perfection of His ways as “Son of the Father” and “Lamb of God.” Now, let us sum up their testimonies to the Lord. Peter, knowing Jesus on earth, speaks of Him as “Jesus Christ”; Paul, knowing Christ in glory, speaks of Him as “Christ Jesus”; John knowing the Son in the bosom of the Father, speaks of Him as the Son who is “Jesus Christ.” Thus these blessed titles are used in exact correspondence with the ministry received, and which again is reflected from the character of conversion of each apostle. Individuality is stamped across the blessed pages of inspiration, as it is also in the ministries exercised in the Church of God.
15. The Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the full written title of the Lord. It will be found in the introduction to the Pauline Epistles, save in that of the Hebrews and 2nd Timothy. It is not once used in John’s three Epistles; in fact the word “Lord” does not occur at all in these letters. If the thoughts we have given under each title are connected, the scriptural idea of this fullest of all the titles of the Lord will be easily seen.
May the Lord Himself give grace to hold in divine power those blessed unfoldings of the truth as developed in the various names and titles of the Lord!
16. Son of God.
This divine title is one of personal glory. It is only fully unfolded in John’s writings. If Paul tells us of heavenly secrets, John tells us of divine mysteries. Peter speaks to us of the glory and grace of the Risen. One in connection with Judah in her land and in her dispersion; James writes to the scattered twelve tribes, gathering in groups in their synagogues, and presents the glory of Jesus Christ as the grand regulating power in their assemblies; Paul unfolds the glories of the Risen Man in connection with creation and the Church; John discloses a deeper glory than that which bears upon Judah, Israel, creation, or the Church, even the full, divine, and personal glory of Jesus Christ—Son of God—Son of the Father. “Son of God” is His title of personal dignity—a title and place which were His in all eternity. “Son of the Father” is the blessed expression of the intimate fellowship between the Father and the Son in the eternal ages that are past; while “the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father” declares the depth and tenderness of the divine love—ever abiding between the Father and the Son. We have Son of God in His dignity and glory; Son of the Father in closest and eternal relationship; and “only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father,” alone in the knowledge of the secrets and love of the divine bosom. What wonders are unfolded in the title “Son”—dignity, relationship, and love! The title “Son” is His by inherent right, ours by adoption. Could we speak of having inherent Sonship? Surely not John 1:1212But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12) settles that point.
Luke connects the Sonship of Jesus with the incarnation (chap. 1:35); Matthew with the calling out from Egypt (chap. 2:15); Mark from the public ministry of the Lord (chap. 1:1); but John traces the Sonship of Jesus Christ before time began. It is not a correct phrase, “Son from eternity;” “from” gives you date, “Son in eternity” gives you none. Eternity, Personality, Deity, Divine Equality, and Creatorship are ascribed to Him who is the “Word,” the “Son,” and that in the brief compass of 42 words (John 1:1-31In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1‑3)). We see the Son of God with the sinner in the Gospel; we have the Son of the Father with the saint in the Epistle. We have no date or epoch as a start in the Gospel; we have date and an epoch distinctly marked in the Epistle; “in the beginning” is the Gospel; from, the beginning is the Epistle. The fullest and most magnificent title—because a distinctly moral and personal one—is that of Son of God— “Son of the living God;” and it is upon the glory of His person divinely revealed that Christ builds His assembly. This grand and divine title is neither official nor dispensational. Paul, in accordance with his double ministry (Colossians 1:23-2623If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: 25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (Colossians 1:23‑26)), “straightway” preached Jesus that He is the Son of God (Acts 9:2020And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (Acts 9:20)). The divine glory of His person forms the ground of all his Gospel and Church testimony. The divine glory of the Son is needed for Church foundation, Church blessing, and Church glory, —this is the great subject of the Pauline Epistles; the divine glory of the Son for the gathering, blessing, character, and moral likeness of the family in the Father’s House, are the themes of John, who himself knew something of the intimacies of the divine bosom.
Thou art the everlasting Word,
The Father’s only Son;
God manifest, God seen and heard,
The Heaven’s beloved one.
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou
That every knee to Thee should bow.
17. Son of Man.
This title is used of Ezekiel upwards of 100 times, and of Daniel thrice. It is never applied by others to the Lord Jesus; He always uses it of Himself. It seems to have been a title He peculiarly delighted in. It occurs but once in the Epistles, and that as a quotation from Psalms 8 (Hebrews 2:66But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Hebrews 2:6).) In eternity alone with the Father, His delights were with the sons of men, and in time He took the title expressive of this delight upwards of 60 times. Like the two Old Testament prophets referred to, who found their sphere of ministry outside Israel owned and recognized of God, Jesus takes this title consequent upon His rejection as “The Christ” by Israel. Thus the narrow limits of Judaism are overstepped, and instead of a glory filling merely Immanuel’s land, the scene widens, and the dominion of the Son of Man embraces the heavens and the earth, and instead of a glory skirting the coasts of Judea, the whole earth becomes lightened with His glory. Universal dominion and universal sovereignty are glories hanging upon this interesting title. The judgment of man, as also the authority to execute that judgment, are Son-of-Man glories. (John 5) Life and power to communicate that life, are referred to His divine title “Son of God.” (John 5) Rejected as the King of Zion. (Psalms 2) We are given the feelings of the remnant of Israel in Psalms 3-7, and 8: the glory widens far beyond the confines of Israel; the whole earth, yea, the universe is embraced in the dominion of the Son of Man.
18. Son of David.
This Judaic title is necessarily a dispensational one, connecting itself with royalty and blessing within the circumscribed limits of Judea.
Son of God is a divine title; Son of Man an earthly title (not of course as to its source, but as to its sphere); Son of David a Judaic title.
We will now briefly sum up these titles in their order as given:—
God (Elohim)—Creation power and glory.
God (Eloah)—Only Living and True God.
LORD GOD—Creator relationships.
LORD or Jehovah—Moral relationship.
Almighty God—Almighty in grace to the saint and in wrath to the world.
Most High God—Millennial title.
Lord of all the Earth—Proprietorship over the earth.
God of Heaven—Providential government on earth.
Father—Title of God’s relationship with Christians.
Jesus—The personal name of the Lord.
Christ—The exalted one; our standing.
Lord—Power and authority.
Jesus Christ—The humbled One exalted.
Christ Jesus—The glorified One, once humbled.
The Lord Jesus Christ—The full title of the Lord.
Son of God—Divine title of personal glory.
Son of Man—Title of earthly glory.
Son of David—Title of Judaic glory.
May the Lord grant an abundant blessing upon these meditations—such a blessing as will bear fruit to His glory and present profit to His people!
W. S.
(Concluded from page 130.)
3. We are told that Peter was crucified, and at his own request as unworthy to die like his Master, with his head downward.