(The following study can be found in more detail in the book _In the Name of Jesus_, by David K. Bernard, Word Aflame Press, Hazelwood, MO, ISBN: 0-932581-95-1).
The use of God's name in Scripture indicates the character of God.
"Jehovah" means "He is." It is a reference to God's the name which He revealed to Moses:
Knowing the name of God was to know a characteristic of God. When people knew His name they new what He was like, so it was easy for them to TRUST Him. His name inferred a character of trustworthiness:
A good example of the Name describing God is found below:
God had many names in the Old Testament. Each new name gave a progressively greater understanding of God's nature. He became known as Provider:
He became known as a Healer (which, by the way, indicates that if His name is Healer, and He is the ever I Am, then He will ALWAYS HEAL):
God's name was given to people and angels as indicative that God POSSESSED such people and places as His own people as His SPECIAL representatives:
It was serious thing for a person or even an angel to be called by God's name.
Note that THIS TREND IS CONTINUED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT REGARDING JESUS' NAME. This proves that God's name is JESUS. Common people's names are never used in this manner.
The Church in the Book of Acts was a group well known as
"Jesus' name" people. Look at the amount of evidence proving that
they STRESSED JESUS' NAME above everything else they preached.
And, by faith in his name, his name has made this [man] strong whom ye behold and know; and the faith which is by him has given him this complete soundness in the presence of you all.
Then Peter, filled with [the] Holy Spirit, said to them, Rulers of the people and elders [of Israel], if *we* this day are called upon to answer as to the good deed [done] to the infirm man, how *he* has been healed, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazaraean, whom *ye* have crucified, whom God has raised from among [the] dead, by *him* this [man] stands here before you sound [in body]. *He* is the stone which has been set at nought by you the builders, which is become the corner stone. And salvation is in none other, for neither is there another name under heaven which is given among men by which we must be saved.
But that it be not further spread among the people, let us threaten them severely no longer to speak to any man in this name. And having called them, they charged [them] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
saying, We strictly enjoined you not to teach in this name: and lo, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and purpose to bring upon us the blood of this man.
They ACTUALLY "PREACHED" JESUS' NAME. They preached it more than anything other topic. They weren't so much known for their baptisms, or their faith as much as they were know as preaching THE NAME OF JESUS. And THAT NAME is the stone, in the context of Acts 4:8-12, which people CONTINUE to set aside today! They will baptize people, and marry people in a church, but they refuse to do it while invoking the name of Jesus Christ. The Trinitarian formula, "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost," is insisted upon as replacing the biblical Jesus' Name formula. The early Church had the reputation of being people who preached "the NAME".
Peter gives us the NAME in His discourse as He preached it in Acts 4:8-12.
Notice the context of that passage. He is saying that the stone is the NAME. In many circles it is a note of degradation to be labeled "Jesus Only." I take that as a compliment! For the early Church were reputed to always speak of the NAME.
Philip was known to preach TWO THINGS:
Paul was converted and he, too, preached the NAME.
Jesus' name, Jesus' name, Jesus' name! It was their greatest sermon! So much so that they had the reputation of preaching in Jesus' name! Does the Trinitarian dogma encourage Jesus' name preaching? Not like the Oneness doctrine.
If you want to be a believer in the same manner they were in the early church you had better be a Jesus' name believer! Uplift that NAME more than anything else you uplift.
Look at the Church in the Seven churches of Ages that had no rebuke, and is often classed as the greatest of all seven:
That was the great Church of Philadelphia which had no rebuke from the Lord!
The saints in this Church so preached that name, too, that Jesus commented upon it specifically. In what manner did they preach it? Look at the Acts of the Apostles again, and see how they preached it. So much was their love for the NAME OF JESUS that Jesus said the following:
Jesus, being the highest and supreme name of God yet revealed (Jesus - JEHOVAH-SALVATION - Since salvation is far greater than healing - Jehovah-Rapha - and than providing - Jehovah-Jireh) God honoured Philadelphia and said He would give them HIS NEW NAME. There is a name YET to come that is indicative of an even greater revelation of who God is. But that is after the Church Age is over. Can you wait? Oh, to be sure, you must stress JESUS name now in order to know that name to come!!
We said earlier that the trend of God in putting His name upon PEOPLE indicated His POSSESSION of them as His own. It was a serious thing to touch that which had God's name upon it. This trend continued in the New Testament, only with Jesus' Name.
Look now at how the name of God also was given to PLACES.
Wherever he put His name, He said HE WOULD BE THERE. And he encouraged people who wanted to live for Him to go to those places. Look at the New Testament version of such actions:
Instead of a physical temple the CHURCH is the temple of God. Therefore, fittingly, God said He would be present wherever His name was, as follows:
JESUS was that name. See Acts again to prove this out.
The Old Testament tells us that God would manifest His power by reason of His name. The New Testament uses a name in this same context, but that name is JESUS.
Some will say that the references to baptism as being administered in JESUS' NAME merely refer to the fact that the authority of Jesus was intended, and not the actual invoking of that name in speech as a formula. Well, Jesus gave Apostles authority to cast out devils, and notice how they did so.
The same can be said about healing, as Luke 9:1 indicates. They were given authority to heal. How did they implement that authority?
Clearly, having authority ALL THE MORE MEANS WE SHOULD ACTUALLY INVOKE JESUS' NAME. This is the way the apostles handled the AUTHORITY Jesus gave to them. They literally SPOKE THE NAME OF JESUS in using His authority. So if Jesus' authority is given to people to baptize, then it is only biblical to actually say, "I baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins."
Many believe that water baptism in Jesus' name was only intended for the Jews since they already knew the Father and the Spirit of God from their Judaic upbringing. Therefore, Trinitarians reason, they need not baptize Gentiles in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Jews required recogniztion of the Name of Jesus, so they concentrated only on that name with the Jews, say some Trinitarians. Such critics admit that Peter indeed did inform the Jews in Acts 2:38 that the name that was actually spoken over the candidate for Baptism was "Jesus" and not the titles, "Father, Son and Holy Ghost." But they argue that in the case of Gentiles, using the words "in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost" was required, since Matthew 28:19 noted ALL NATIONS (gentiles). The Book of Acts throws this thought out the door in the following instances:
Not only do these instances prove that Jesus' name was actually
invoked at water baptism for the Gentiles and other Non-Jews,
but we find a reference to indicate that it should be
administered to everybody who ever is baptized.
Not just Jews, but ALL WHO ARE AFAR OFF. And that includes "as many as the Lord our God shall call." Are you called of God? If so, you must be baptized in Jesus' name having the minister actually INVOKE the name over you in words.
Those who continue to argue that the name is not actually mentioned, need to hear the following:
Many believe the TITLES of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are indeed not titles but names. Well, they are incorrect on one count since Jesus said, "In the NAME [singular] of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." If the terms "Father", "Son" and "Holy Ghost" were names then Christ would have told them to baptize in the "NAMES". But he did not use that plural term. He said "NAME." It was not a plurality of "names" to coincide with the thought that Father is a name, and Son, etc. And if He meant for the disciples to baptize using His very words, He would have said, "baptizing them in the titles of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." But He did not say that!
To those who say HOLY GHOST is not a title, please note.
God is the Holy One. He is Holy.
And God is a Spirit.
So, you have "Holy Spirit". This is not a NAME, but a descriptive TITLE of God.
The word "FATHER" is also a TITLE.
Notice how FATHER is used to describe the fathers of our flesh in the context that God is described as Father of Spirits. Father is not a name any more than the name of your earthly father is actually "father."
"Son" is the title referring to the incarnation when GOD was manifested in flesh. God's Spirit literally caused Him to be conceived miraculously:
The only reason we are given for the term "Son of God" being applied to Jesus Christ is given by the angel who explained He would be called so due to the reason that He was born of the woman Mary. Nowhere else in the entire Bible do we have an explanation as to why He was called "Son of God."
The Son was begotten on a certain DAY.
"SON" NEVER refers to deity alone, but always to God in humanity.
He was made of a woman.
The Son DIED.
The DEITY which dwelt in the Son was the FATHER.
This opposes Trinitarian thought which says the Son was eternal and was deity in itself. The Son only existed before Bethlehem as the Word that had not as of that time yet been made flesh. Note again: The word SON never implies deity alone, but implies God manifest in humanity.
After seeing these scriptures and understanding them properly we see that Matt. 28:19 speaks of TITLES of ONE God whose NAME is One. These titles focus on three roles ASSUMED FOR OUR REDEMPTION. And since JESUS means Jehovah-Salvation, we know the NAME of these three titles is JESUS.
If you were Matthew or Luke, and you never heard the Trinitarian terminologies and concepts, since they had not been formulated until 200 AD, you would not think in those trinitarian categories. If you heard the words...:
...you would not consider three persons. These people were devout Jews, trained from birth to believe God is absolutely ONE. No comments are made in the New Testament to correct the view of Ancient Judaism of the absolutely single personage known as God. No Orthodox Jew today will ever recongize anything to do with a plurality of persons within God due to the fact that the Old Testament stressed beyond refute the absolute singularity of God's Person. The thought of God actually being three persons as being true would have been enough to cause the Disciples and Christ, Himself, to necessarily explain the thought of such a plurality due to the overwhelming stress in the Old Testament of ONE GOD. ANd the truth would be that Christ purposely confused the Jews having told them He was the "I Am," if He were truly not the Father incarnate. And due to the total lack of explanation of anything different than an absolute singularity of person in the Godhead, we can safely say that God indeed is not comprised of two, three or any greater number of "Persons". He is One in every sense of the term. Christ and the disciples felt no need to talk of any plurality of persons since all that was correct and right about God's singular characteristic of Person was already known by all devout Jews. Multiple persons in the Godhead is simply untrue.
These disciples already confessed that Jesus was SON:
Jesus taught them that He was the FATHER INCARNATE:
And Jesus taught them that He was the Spirit in another form:
John 14:16 -18
He was WITH THEM IN FLESH, but would return in SPIRIT and BE IN THEM.
Thomas, the disciple, confessed that Jesus was God before all
All these things were fresh in the disciples' minds when they heard Jesus utter the words of Matthew 28:19. They weren't trained up in any Trinitarian terminologies which had not yet been formulated. Who understands the trinity without reading the formulated sophistry of the 200's? What would YOU think of Matt. 28:19 if YOU had only heard the statements made as quoted from the Bible, which the disciples heard?
A Baptist scholar, G.R. Beasley-Murray wrote:
Eusebius lived in the 300's and quoted verse 19 using the phrase, "in my name." He did this many times before the Council of Nicaea, but never afterwards. (See Beasely-Murray's book on pg. 81). Beasley-Murray also states that many scholars believe that Matthew 28:19 ORIGINALLY contained a JESUS' NAME formula that was changed by postapostolic Christianity. (Page 83-84).
No extant texts show this, as many were lost, but Eusebius gives us evidence that it was standard for the early church to see Matt 28:19 as a reference to Baptism in Jesus' name.
Even if the words were indeed as we read them, the CONTEXT of verse 18-19 give us the demand for the inference of JESUS' NAME as the intended inference.
Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and Acts 1 each give us a parallel passage where, in each case, Jesus commanded the disciples to preach the Gospel everywhere. In each case he promised that His presence and power would be with them and that the "NAME" was to be stressed in their ministry, according to the three Gospels. Matthew and Mark both name out baptism directly. Luke indirectly refers to it.
(Note the indirect reference to BAPTISM in Luke 24:47 - "remission of sins should be preached in his name" - See Acts 2:38)
ALL THREE GOSPELS MENTION A NAME which the disciples must preach the Gospel in.
Matthew 28:19 - "In the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
Mark 16:17 Jesus said, "..in my NAME"
Luke 24:47 - "in his NAME.
The only way to HARMONIZE these references is to see that the NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is JESUS.
Grammar, Harmony and context have shown many Trinitarians that Matt. 28:19 teaches water baptism invoking the name of JESUS CHRIST. (See James Lee Beall, _Rise to Newness of Life_, Detroit: Evangel Press, 1974, pg. 60-62 & J. Davidson Pawson, _The Normal Christian Birth_, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1989, pg. 93-99).