God has had a people, called out from the world in every age, who have ever been in the minority, and have, at different periods, suffered persecution and even death. Before the flood, the history of man is exceptionally brief, and the name of the people of God is not mentioned. Only that Noah meaning “rest” was a preacher of righteousness, and that he and his household alone were saved, at the time of the flood.
After Noah’s prosperity had wandered away into wickedness, and the world had again become careless and “knew not God,” being diligent in spiritual matters, was called out, and his name changed from Abram to Abraham, meaning “father of many nations”. In his old age, Isaac was born to him and then later came Isaac’s son Jacob, meaning “supplanter”. Because of his wrestling with the angel until the break of day, and prevailing, God said “Thy name shalt no more be called Jacob but Israel, meaning “a prince of God”. To Israel was then born twelve sons, the descendants of whom were ever afterwards referred to as the children of Israel. They were God’s chosen people. Notice that the name Israel originated from a spiritual experience and not from a freshly descent.
The Significance Of Other Names
A study of the etymology of the words and names used in the Bible reveals equal to anything else, the unsearchable depth of the wisdom of God. The names of individuals whom God has used in disseminating His truth to the world have not only corresponded to the lives of those individuals, but in some case, have with astonishing accuracy, displayed the character and the work of prosperity following after for generations.
Isaiah means “Salvation of Jehovah”
Ezekiel means “God will strengthen”
Hezekiah means “Jehovah has strengthened”
Jeremiah means “Jehovah has appointed”
A New Name Promised
During the period when God’s people were known by the name Israel, the Holy Spirit told us of a time coming when they would be known by a new name. In Isaiah 62:2 states “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.” This has referenced to the gospel dispensation, when the Gentiles would behold His righteousness, and seek the path of salvation. We are now living in this time, and the name of the followers of Christ and those seeking the path of righteousness collectively is not mentioned once in the New Testament as “Israel”. Therefore, we are in that period spoken of by the prophet, when the people of God would have a new name which “the mouth of the Lord shall name”
Isaiah prophesies further of the name, saying “And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name“-Isaiah 65:15 During the Gentile age, when people of all nationalities were to accept the plan of salvation, the name Israel was not to remain, but was to be left for a curse. How true this has been and the name Israel has been a reproach. There must be, however, a new name for God’s people, which comes from the mouth of the Lord, says Isaiah, so let us investigate a little into the scriptures to discover this new name.
In John 17, Jesus says “ And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” Verses 6,12,26 also gives reference from the mouth of Jesus as he declares the Father’s name to be the one after whom his followers should be called.
In Ephesians 3:14-15 it states “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named”
In the New Testament, the Lord has frequently addressed His people collectively, and has ascribed to them this new name:
1. Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood“
2. 1Corinthians 1:2 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s”
3. 1Thessalonians 2:14 “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews“
4. 1Corinthians 15:9 “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God”
5. 2Thessalonians 1:4 “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure”
6. Galatians 1:13 “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it”
Additional scriptural texts can also be found in the following verses:
1 Corinthians 10:32, 11:16, 11:22
1 Timothy 3:5, 3:15
2 Corinthians 1:1
The New Testament name given by God’s chosen people by God himself is the CHURCH OF GOD. This is a true and factual statement, it is puzzling however, that persons basing their religions on the Bible are known by another name than what is clearly stated in the Bible.
God considers the name of much importance, or He would not have changed Abram, Jacob and Saul’s name after all undergoing spiritual change.
A Third New Name
The saved and ransomed of God from all ages of the world, are each to be given a new name, after the resurrection, according as they have pleased God. This time it is to be individually placed, instead of one name for us all collectively. In Revelations 2:17 it reads “….To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”