Believing in Christ’s name is believing the meaning of His name.
Every Christian will tell you that God’s name is important. When asked if they believe in Christ’s name, they will say, “Yes. Of course.” Believing in His name to them means believing the gospel story: Christ died for us on the cross, was buried, and was resurrected to give us eternal life, which is true. But they equate this with “believing in His name.”
But as we drill down, we see deeper layers of knowledge about His name. First, the Son of God was given a Hebrew name—Yahshua. Most who hear this will reject it because they have always been taught that the Savior’s name is “Jesus.” Granted, in the English speaking world, that is the name that we English speakers have given Him down through the centuries. But our Savior was not born in an English speaking world; it was an Aramaic speaking world closely akin to Hebrew, which was the language spoken by the Savior.
And names in the Hebrew tradition have meanings that point to the person’s destiny. God changed Jacob’s name to match his new destiny. His new name would be “Israel,” which means “prince or power with God.” When Christ was born, the angel of the Lord gave Him a name whose meaning would herald the destiny that He would fulfill. “Thou shalt call His name _______, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).
Christ’s Hebrew name has a meaning. And it has to do with saving His people from their sins. Find the word in Hebrew that means “save or Savior,” and you will know His name. As per the angel’s direction, they named Son of God Yahshua. It means “Yah is the Savior, or Yah saves.” It means that the Father–Yah, or Yahweh, dwells inside the Son and does the saving. At least that is what the Spirit in Isaiah said:. “I, even I, am the LORD [Yahweh]; and beside Me there is no saviour (43:11; 45:21). Christ told His disciples that it was the Father Yahweh inside of Him that was doing the miracles (John 14:10-12). The name Yahshua witnesses this.
May I make a crude analogy to illustrate this crucial point? Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, we hear of a new professional wrestler named “Monster Mann.” He is a German hulk. We wonder if he can live up to his name. We go see him in action one night. He destroys his opponent. We go away believing that his name accurately describes him. He is a monster in the ring, so we believe in his name. We believe in the meaning of his name—Monster Mann. Christ’s name means “Yahweh [His Father] is the Savior.” And the Father dwelt inside the Son.
The patriarch Joshua had the same name and was a type of Christ as the Savior of His people. Joshua’s destiny was to take them into the Promised Land. So, “Savior” is the meaning of His name. Now, to believe in His name is to believe in the meaning of His name: That the Father Yahweh dwelt in the Son and is the Savior.
To believe in or on His name is important in our spiritual growth. It is rare knowledge—the “word of knowledge,” one of the “gifts of the Spirit.” This is our ticket into being God’s elect, His chosen and called, His sons and daughters. Getting this is the proof that we are in His family.
“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.” Receiving Christ = Believing the meaning of His name. God gives power to become His sons and daughters to those who do this. He gives this power to us in a systematic way. He likens it to a garden. One plants the seed, the word of God, and another waters and nurtures the new plant. But it is the Spirit of God that gives the increase (I Cor. 3:6-7).
Kenneth Wayne Hancock