The Official Name of the Church in the Bible

Preachers have different views and opinions about the rightful name of a religious organization. There are some who believe that a name is not really important. And this is the reason why, today, so many religious organizations are merely called “fellowship” or “crusade,” instead of using the name, which was written in the Bible. There is also a group who call themselves “witnesses.” Let us find out from the Bible if it is true that, any name conceived by a pastor is acceptable to our Lord God. But let us first study what a Church is. In the Book of Matthew 15:24, our Lord Jesus Christ told the Apostles,“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And that is the very intent why our Lord assumed human form – to gather once again the children of Israel that were scattered. And this refers to the Church, which was built during the first century, the very same Church that was built in Jerusalem, but was persecuted but spread to Judea and Samaria. In 1 Thessalonians 2:14. It says-“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which is in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of our own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews,” It is clear that, the church that reached Judea came from Jerusalem … and this is the Church of God in Christ Jesus (in Judea). Now we will study and determine the official name of the church in the Bible. Why do we need to know the official name of the church that is being taught by the Holy Scriptures? Nowadays, we know many names of organizations of the so-called believers of God. There are those who claim that the official name of the church is “Iglesia ni Cristo” (Church of Christ) of Mr. Manalo, which was established in the Philippines in 1913 . There are also those who believe that the official name is, the Church of God. This is the main reason why we feel that it will be worthwhile to find out the truth on this. In the first place, it is proper that, an organization of God must have a name. Proverbs 22:1says-“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” This verse tells us that, a good name must rather be chosen instead of great riches. Therefore, one of the doctrines of God in the Bible concerns the preference for a good name. And whenever we say good name, no other name can be better than the name which God, Himself, gave … the name which God commanded His Apostles to write. And that is what we need to understand. What we read awhile ago is clear. A good name must rather be chosen than great riches. In the same manner that, a loving favor must be preferred over gold and silver. That is

mentioned in Proverbs 22:1-“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” In the Bible, God is teaching us a good name. Is there any other name better than the name which comes from God? Do you know that, the teachings of the Apostles came from God? God entrusted His teachings to the Apostles. That is why if God had a teaching pertaining to the name of an organization that is of God, the Apostles would definitely teach it. In one of the paragraphs in I Thessalonians,this is what St. Paul said (2:3-4)-“For our exhortation was not of deceit, not of uncleanness, not in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” These verses clearly state that, everything that the Apostles were preaching was “not of deceit not of uncleanness, nor in guile. And since God entrusted to them the Gospel, they preached it in accordance to His will. Let us read I John 1:3-4-“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write us unto you, that your joy may be full.” It clearly states that, what the Apostles saw and heard from our Lord Jesus Christ … and everything that Christ taught them came from the Father, which, they, in turn put into writing. Therefore, if ever we come across a name of an organization, which they were a part of, we can be sure that this name came from God and from our Lord Jesus Christ. There can be no other name that would be better than that which came from our Lord Jesus Christ. From the Bible, we can read that the name which the Apostles taught as that of the real religion, or the real church is, the Church of God in Christ Jesus. This was the church that was built in Jerusalem, and when it was persecuted, it spread out to Judea. Why should the official name of the church be, Church of God in Christ Jesus? Do we have any Biblical basis? Why can’t we just be contented in being called by any other name that we prefer – just like what many religious organizations are doing, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, for instance? Before the Jehovah’s Witnesses came up with their present name, they used to be called by several names? In fact, they had used 5 different names before they assumed the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is actually their 6th name. Let us read the different names that they have used: “Since its inception, the movement has masqueraded under several names being variously known as Millennial Dawn, Metropolitan Pulpit, Brooklyn Tabernacle Pulpit,

International Bible Students’ Association, The Watchtower Society, and now, Jehovah’s Witnesses” (Cults and Isms by J. Oswald Sanders, p. 74) Here, it is evident that, the organization, which is known today as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, used six different names. And that only proves their lack of definite direction and firm disposition. Read the foreword of the New World Bible Translation Committee published on February 9, 1950 in New York: “While inclining to view the pronunciation, “Yahweh” as the more correct way, we have retained the form “Jehovah” because of people’s familiarity with it since the 14th century. Moreover, it preserves equally with other forms, the four letter of the Tetragrammaton JHVH." The same thing is true with the Iglesia ni Cristo of Mr. Manalo. Their church had been registered as “Iglesia ni Cristo,” and they spell “Cristo” with a letter C. They (the INC) are very particular about this. But in the beginning, their organization was called “Iglesia ni Kristo”, and they spelled “Kristo” with a K. That is why its former acronym was INK, whereas today, it is now INC. And definitely, they must have a reason for making this change. This was also done by different religions here in the country. There was this particular organization, which was originally registered as “Simbahan ng Maykapal” (Church of the Almighty), but after several years, they decided to change it to “Iglesia ng Dios”. However, their petition to change the name of their group was denied since there were many organizations bearing the name “Iglesia ng Dios.” Do you know what they did? They changed it to English—to “Church of God”, and their petition was granted. These are some illustrations, or proofs, that the choice of a name, to serve as the official name of an organization, is prompted by different motives. We do not cite these to criticize anybody. Instead, we are giving you an opportunity to see for yourselves the conflicting views about the rightful name of the organization of people who are serving God. Let us find out from the Holy Scriptures the correct name that God taught the Apostles. By this name also, the organization that is of God must be called. Let us consider first the views of the early servants of God on how an organization of God’s people must be called. One verse in the book of the prophet Daniel says (9:19)-“O Lord, hear: O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” This verse clearly tells that God’s city and God’s people will be called by His name. In other words, the people of God … the organization that is of God … the city of God … will be called by His name. And, it is proper that it shall be called by the name of God. Did God agree that His people and His city be called by His name? In II Chronicles 7:14,

it says-“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” In this particular verse, God, Himself, attested that His people are called by His name. In fact, God even said that, if His people, which are called by His name, shall humble themselves, then, He will hear them from heaven. From the start then, God’s people were really called by His name. For this reason, God’s people cannot just be claimed by any other god, a fact that a lot of people today are not aware of. During the time of the Israelites, the 7 nations that surrounded Israel worshipped different gods. But it was against God’s will that His people would even utter the names of those gods. This shows that only the people of God have the exclusive right to be called by His name. What could be the reason why God’s people must be called by His name? This is what Isaiah 43:7 says-“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him.” What did God say in this verse? He said,“Every one that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory. I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” It states that everything that is called by God’s name belongs to Him. The name signifies God’s ownership. That is why, His creations, His glory, and everything that He formed, are all called by His name, because they belong to Him. The creator’s name is inseparable from his creation. Before anything can be called by God’s name, it should first be a creation of God. Therefore, it follows that not everything can be called by His name. However, there are people who use God’s name even though they do not really refer to God. Psalms 139:20 says-“For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.” In other words, the proofs that a particular group of people are of God are: first, they are called by His name, and second, they are his creations. Read Isaiah 43:7 again-“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him …” It is clearly stated that those who are of God are called by His name and cannot be called by other names. And everything that is of God is also called by God’s name, for He is their creator. Everything that is called by His name, and everything that He created,

belongs to Him. Why then the need for us to understand this point? There are people and things which are called by God’s name, yet, He was not the one who created them. They only pretend to be of God; they are impostors. There are pastors who establish their own organizations, and attach God’s name to it, but does not follow that. If an organization bears the name of God, it is of God. What matters is that aside from the organization being called by God’s name, it should also be a creation of God. These two criteria confirm that a particular organization is of God. A thing that is of God must bear His name because it signifies His authority, ownership and jurisdiction over that organization. It is a must that the church bears the name of God. If you omit the name of God that will mean that it is not of God. The Adventists name their organization Seventh Day Adventists, or “Iglesia del Septimo Dia.” But their founder-leader committed a grave mistake. In naming their organization as Seventh Day Adventists Church, they missed bearing the name of God, which is the sign that it is of God. Their name is simply "Seventh Day Adventists Church." An analysis of the meaning of their name means that this church is waiting for the seventh day. And obviously, there is something wrong about their name. Isn’t it true that the group is waiting for the seventh day? It would have made sense if, the moment the seventh day comes, they would already stop waiting. But that is not the case. The seventh day had come, and yet, they continue to wait for the seventh day of the following week, and so on. Apparently, the name Iglesia Adventista is a misnomer since they are always waiting for the seventh day! The more fitting name for their group is "Iglesia Adventista Cada Septimo Dia." If they will live up to the meaning of their name, they would only wait for one particular seventh day, and not every seventh day of the week. In other words, the meaning of the name of their organization is inconsistent with what they actually practice. Insofar as the doctrine on the name of the Church is concerned, many organizations today will not pass the biblical standards. Biblically speaking, many religious organizations do not conform to the will of God in the Bible. This is the reason why Proverbs 22:1 says-“It is better to choose a good name than great riches.” Still others believe that the name is insignificant and is out of the question. But that is a big mistake. There is not a single verse in the Bible that attests that a name is not important. A name is very important, especially if it concerns the name of the Lord. In Psalms 111:9, it says-“He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.” What did it say, again? “Holy and reverend is his name”. If you are going to read the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, the word “reverend” is used only once. And in this sole instance is recorded in Psalms 111:9 and is ascribed to the name of the Lord. However, nowadays, the word “reverend” is being attached to the names of pastors. That

is why we can say that, those pastors who attach the word “reverend” to their names are disrespectful to God. Why? They are making themselves of equal rank with God! That word must be used on God alone. In fact, not even Jesus Christ … not even St. Paul … not even the Apostles attached the word “reverend” to their names! But of course, it is also right that Jesus Christ be called “reverend” because He is the Son of God. But in the Bible, this word is never used on anybody else, except on the name of our Lord Almighty – God the Father. Unfortunately, the present-day preachers are so thirsty of honor and recognition so that they no longer attach the word “reverend” to their names. They are not satisfied in using the title “Reverend,” they even added the adjective “Most.” Isn’t it that others call themselves as “Most Reverend”? According to the Bible, God’s name is very important. Therefore, if you hear a pastor proclaiming that a name is no longer important, rest assured that he is a liar! Take note: as far as God’s doctrines in the Bible are concerned, a name is very important. Consider the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:9, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” How important is the name of the Lord? It is worthy of worship. It is worthy of people’s reverence. The verse says, Hallowed be thy name. But the Bible tells us to worship the name of our Lord—which only shows how important the name of our Lord God is. This is the reason why, the pastor, who says that a name is not important, is very much mistaken Do you know that man’s safety and protection is under the power of the very important name of God, which we must worship? This is what Proverbs 18:10 says-“The name of God is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Are we safe in the name of the Lord? What the Bible says is clear. The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. That is why our safety and salvation is in the name of the Lord, which is referred to as a strong tower, or shelter, wherein a person can find refuge. We cannot take for granted the name of our Lord God. Even our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to worship God’s name. Therefore, it is only proper that that name of God attached to the organization of the people who serve Him. When our Lord Jesus Christ assumed the form of a human being, one of His mission was written in John 17:6, 26, which says-“I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. … And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” This is why it is very important that God’s name be attached to His people. And we

heard, right from our Lord Jesus Christ, why the organization of His people must bear God’s name. John 17:11 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.”
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