Names have always mattered to me, probably because my siblings and I have unique names that are regularly mispronounced. I remember learning that biblical names meant something and looking up their meanings frequently in the Bible Dictionary. Especially when names changed, the meanings caught my attention.
For example, Abram means The Father is Exalted. His name was changed to Abraham which means father of a multitude, father lifted up. While both names seem to have the same meaning, entering into the new and everlasting covenant highlights a subtle nuance of his name change — from declaring God’s status to his own.
Doctrine and Covenants 109 repeatedly calls upon Deity by name and by referencing doing things in or by the name of God. The first time I read Doctrine and Covenants 109 and honed in on “in the name of Jesus Christ,” I thought of when I say “in the name of Jesus Christ,” which most commonly is when I pray.
I realized that phrase probably meant more than I’d considered and I started slowing down and intentionally saying “in the name of Jesus Christ” at the close of my prayers. What was I actually saying in His name? What happened when I said that phrase to close my prayers? Anything?
My prayers changed.
In His Name in Doctrine and Covenants 109 Relating to the Greek ónoma
As I’ve studied Section 109 again this week, my mind highlighted each time I saw phrases with the word name. I decided to do some digging.
I looked up scriptures in the New Testament referring to works done in the name of Jesus Christ and studied the words in Greek (thanks to BibleHub.com.)
The Greek word for name is ónoma meaning name, authority, cause used as name, character, fame, reputation.
the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others. Thus “praying in the name of Christ” means to pray as directed (authorized) by Him, bringing revelation that flows out of being in His presence …
According to Hebrew notions, a name is inseparable from the person to whom it belongs, i.e. it is something of his essence. Therefore, in the case of the God, it is specially sacred.
Isn’t that amazing?! The imagery of “receiving the revelation that flows out of being in His presence” brought tears to my eyes. Being in His presence is one of my deepest desires. BibleHub’s description made prayer even dearer.
Does remembering all the definitions and nuances of name, change how you read the temple’s dedicatory prayer verses mentioning name?
- be to thy name, O Lord God of Israel, who keepest and showest mercy unto thy servants who walk uprightly before thee, with all their hearts (verse 1)
- Thou who hast commanded thy servants to a house to thy name in this place [Kirtland]. (verse 2)
- And now we ask thee, Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of thy bosom, in whose name alone salvation can be administered to the children of men, we ask thee, O Lord, to accept of this , the of the hands of us, thy servants, which thou didst command us to build. (verse 4)
- For thou knowest that we have done this work through great tribulation; and out of our poverty we have of our substance to build a to thy name, that the Son of Man might have a place to himself to his people. (verse 5)
- That your may be in the name of the Lord, (verse 9)
- that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, (verse 9)
- that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High (verse 9)
- That all the incomings of thy people, into this house, may be in the name of the Lord; (verse 17)
- That all their outgoings from this house may be in the name of the Lord; (verse 18)
- And that all their salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with holy hands, uplifted to the Most High; (verse 19)
- And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine have charge over them; (verse 22)
- We ask thee, Holy Father, to establish the people that shall worship, and honorably hold a name and standing in this thy house, to all generations and for eternity; (verse 24)
- That no combination of wickedness shall have power to rise up and over thy people upon whom thy shall be put in this house; (verse 26)
- For thou knowest, O Lord, that thy servants have been innocent before thee in record of thy name, for which they have suffered these things. (verse 31)
- That their hearts may be softened when thy servants shall go out from thy house, O Jehovah, to bear testimony of thy name; that their prejudices may give way before the , and thy people may obtain favor in the sight of all; (verse 56)
- That from among all these, thy servants, the sons of Jacob, may gather out the righteous to build a holy to thy name, as thou hast commanded them. (verse 58)
- O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord! And answer these petitions, and accept the of this house unto thee, the of our hands, which we have built unto thy name; (verse 78)
- And also this church, to put upon it thy . And help us by the power of thy Spirit, that we may our voices with those bright, shining around thy throne, with acclamations of , singing Hosanna to God and the ! (verse 79)
Taking Upon Us the Name of Christ
At baptism, we take upon us the name of Christ and through the sacrament, we “witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that [we] are willing to take upon [us] the name of Thy Son, and always remember Him …. ”
We take upon ourselves His name as a first step before He calls us by His name.
King Benjamin taught that when we become Christ’s sons and daughters when we are redeemed and spiritually reborn.
And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called theof Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are through faith on his name; therefore, ye are of him and have become his and his daughters.
And under this head ye are made, and there is other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
9 And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.
King Benjamin ended with the temple’s promise to us.
Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in, that Christ, the , may you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all.
Am I Living In His Name?
And then I wonder — am I living my life in His name?
praying in the name of Christ” … as directed (authorized) by Him, bringing revelation that flows out of being in His presence
Theshineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall even God, being quickened in him and by him.
Then shall ye know that ye have …. me, that I am, and that I am the true that is in you, and that you are in me
And we will truly live in His name.