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The Significance of Calling Upon The Name of The Lord

The Significance of Calling on the Name of the Lord

J. N. Runner



It is interesting that when God gave the command to Abraham in Genesis the 17th chapter to circumcise all the males and to circumcise the babies on the eighth day, it is doubtful that any mortal knew anything about prothrombin or vitamin K or any of the particulars that make conditions at optimum level for blood coagulation for the delicate surgery of circumcision on a baby eight days old. But God knew, and it’s doubtful that he took the time to explain the medical sense to Abraham any more than He explained to Abraham why he wanted him to take his son, his only son, up to Mt. Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering. No doubt He just said, ‘do it or you’re out of the covenant.’ But as God eventually unfolded the purpose of that fateful day by unveiling a ram caught by his horns that became the scapegoat (Isaac’s ‘escape’ goat) portraying the Lamb of God that would come years later as God manifest in human flesh, we also see some rhyme and reason for the token of the covenant, circumcision, as we delve into the Hebrew and Greek meanings. This study is not intended to explain all the mysteries involving it, but we hope a few clues will shed some interesting light.


Genesis 17:4 As for me, [God said] behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

 

At the time of this change of name, God established the token of the covenant with Abraham, which was circumcision:

 

Gen 17:9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

17:11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

17:12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which [is] not of thy seed.

17:13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

 

Since that day, the descendants of Abraham, both Jew and Moslem, have carried on the custom.

Brit Milah

In the ancient Jewish ‘Brit Milah’ or Covenant of Circumcision, as Abraham’s name was changed, the male baby is given his Hebrew name, usually the name of an honored relative and the surname of his father. The name is not to be mentioned in openly, only in hushed tones among the parents.

There are two examples in scripture that show the naming of the child at circumcision:

The official naming and circumcision of John the Baptist

Luke 1:11 And there appeared unto him [Zacharias] an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

1:12 And when Zacharias saw [him], he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

Luke 1:59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

1:60 And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.

1:61 And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.

1:62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.

1:63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.

The official naming and circumcision of Jesus:

Luke 2:21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Circumcision: Type & Shadow of Water Baptism

As circumcision was the essential token of the covenant between God and Abraham at the time when his name was changed, there is the indisputable connection between Old Testament circumcision and New Testament water baptism:

Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Notice the colon at the end of verse 11 – it points to the subject of being buried with him in baptism. As we become sons of God (John 1:12) we take on the NAME of JESUS through water baptism – the New Testament equivalent to Old Testament circumcision!

And as God made obedience to the Abrahamic covenant essential to obtaining the promises, Jesus placed the same importance upon being born of water and of the Spirit:

17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

John 3:5 Jesus answered [Nicodemus], Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

And here, at water baptism, is where we become ‘born of the water’! [time will not allow us to cover in detail the birth of the Spirit, that is covered in detail in other studies]

And being born again, as a newborn babe takes on the name of his Father, we too take on the name of our Heavenly Father!

Calling Upon The Name of the Lord is Taking On the Name!

Let’s look now to the Book of Psalms:

Psalm 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

Calling on the name of the Lord has a great significance. It isn’t just ‘Lord help me!’

The word ‘call’ or ‘to call’ is the Hebrew wordqârâ’, a type of Hebrew verb called a pual verb form. A pual verb form takes the verb and intensifies it and shifts it’s focus to the subject. Instead of the verb describing something the subject is doing, the verb describes something that IS BEING DONE TO THE SUBJECT.

It literally means to be called, be named, be called out, be chosen as in ‘I will be called; I will be named; I will be chosen!

We find this Hebrew word ‘qârâ’ several times in the Old Testament. One other place that is very significant is in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Joel, the verse of scripture that was quoted by the Apostle Peter in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts. We will read both the scripture in the Book of Joel, and in the Book of Acts:

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

2:32 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Before we go to the Book of Acts where Peter quotes this in the Book of Acts, let us look at the connection between Joel and the Great Commission in the Gospel of Luke:

Luk 24:46 And [Jesus] said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.

24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high

Another Greek word of significance is the translation of ‘name’ is o'-no-mä, which means the authority, the surname of! So literally, Luke 24:47 means ‘that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in the surname of Jesus, beginning at Jerusalem’!

Now with these word meanings, we see the connection between Joel 2:32 and Luke 24:47:

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Then we go to the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts, (the author is the same as the Gospel of Luke!) and we see the fulfillment of both Luke 24:47 and Joel 2:32:

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day.

2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

2:21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The ‘o'-no-mä’ or surname of the Lord, as commanded by Jesus in Luke 24:47, and also, the word ‘call’ here, which was ‘qârâ’ in the Hebrew in the Book of Joel, is translated πικαλω epikaleō in the Greek, which literally means to be surnamed; to call upon the name of as in to put a name upon, to surname; to permit one's self to be surnamed; to be named after someone!

Then Peter, wrapping up his sermon said,

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.

2:37 Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

2:38 Then 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.

2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call

The Jews, having knowledge of the Book of Joel, knew, just as Joel said, that to call upon the name of the Lord in water baptism, they were being surnamed after the Lord! [o'-no-mä, the authority, the surname of!)

This is consistent throughout scripture:

1 Corinthians 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

Epikaleō, and o'-no-mä

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Epikaleō, and o'-no-mä

Act 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Epikaleō, and o'-no-mä

Again, epikaleō to call upon the name of as in to put a name upon, to surname; to permit one's self to be surnamed; to be named after someone; allowing oneself to be surnamed after the surname of the Lord!

At baptism, we renounce our old life and we allow ourselves to be surnamed after our Father, Jesus, taking on His name at baptism!!! If we are to be sons of God, we must take on His name: ‘Epikaleō, ‘ allow ourselves to be surnamed!

Now let us read again this scripture showing the connection between Old Testament circumcision and water baptism:

Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Not only is there no other provision in scripture for taking on the surname of Jesus when we ‘call upon the name of the Lord’ during water baptism, there is no other provision in scripture for being identified in his burial than water baptism!

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

6:4 Therefore 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.

6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection

In the New Testament we see the authority and power of the Name of Jesus. Notice this:

Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mat 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you

This literally means to be baptized in the surname of the titles Father, Son and Holy Ghost… singular, [o'-no-mä, the authority, the surname of!) which as we saw in Luke 24:47, is JESUS!

Matthew 28:19 was a command by Jesus to baptize in a NAME SINGULAR! The apostles did not repeat the command, but they did as we have seen. Since Father, Son and Holy Ghost are titles of the manifestations of the Almighty Spirit and His body, the apostles understood His SAVING NAME to be Jesus. Can anyone dare say that the apostles disobeyed the Lord or failed to baptize properly? The NAME OF THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY GHOST IS LORD JESUS CHRIST. The actions of the apostles in the Book of Acts prove this to be true.

The fact that Jesus said to baptize in the ‘name’ (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is totally consistent in scripture. There is no contradiction between the words of Jesus or the words and action of the apostles:

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

2:2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.

Jesus never wrote a word of scripture that we are aware of. His apostles, the ones who heard him, did the writing.

So let’s look at it again, and see how consistent the scripture is:

Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name [onoma; surname of] of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost

Repentance and remission of sins was indeed preached in ‘His name’ the name of Jesus! And so was it everywhere else in the Book of Acts!

Acts 8:16 Samaritans

They were baptized in the name [o'-no-mä, the authority, the surname of!) of the Lord Jesus

Acts 10:48 The Household of Cornelius

Can any man forbid water that these should not be baptized which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name [o'-no-mä, the authority, the surname of!) of the Lord Jesus

Acts 19:1-6 The Ephesians

‘Certain disciples’ were rebaptized in the name of the Lord Jesus

[o'-no-mä, the authority, the surname of!)

Act 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. [ Epikaleō, and o'-no-mä]

No Other Name!

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name [ὄνομα onoma] of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, [ὄνομα onoma] have ye done this?

4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

4:9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;

4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name [ὄνομα onoma surname of!] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,

[σφραγίς sphragis - that by which anything is confirmed, proved, authenticated, as by a seal (a token or proof)]

The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. [ὀνομάζω onomazō – a derivative of ‘onoma’, to bear the name of a person or thing!

Walking worthy of our surname, the name of Jesus!

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

Vocation = klēsis -calling
Called = kaleo -called after; surnamed after, the same Greek word from where the word ‘epikaleo’ comes from!

If sons of God, we have the privilege of calling him ‘Father’.

Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Having received the Spirit of God through the baptism of the Holy Ghost and having been surnamed after the Lord by ‘calling on the name of the Lord’ at water baptism, we are sons of God who can now call him Father!

In Hebrew tradition a person has three names:

1. The Name Given by Parents at circumcision.

2. The Name Given by Friends. It would be that perhaps the parents would give their child the name of Robert or Joseph, but his friends would call him Bob or Joe.

But there is also another name a person is given- and that is the name of…. of what that person becomes…

In the Book of Revelation, we see a beautiful promise to those who have taken on the surname of Jesus and have overcome:

Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; 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].

Jesus is going to give those who are surnamed after Him another name, a new name; the name of what they have become!