Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Few Names for the Christ

The Great Mediator by Joseph Brickey
Christ Is Known by Many Names
from “Promised Messiah” by Bruce R McConkie

            Our Lord is and has been known by many names. Some have been revealed in one dispensation, some in another; some have been used in a single age, some in many; and no doubt there are many names yet to be revealed. To collect and analyze all those by which he is known to us would be a work of major proportions and constitute a large volume by itself. Our purpose in this work is to note the more important instances in which he was known both before and after his coming by the same names, thus showing that the mortal Christ and the promised Messiah are one and the same. In addition to the designations so far noted, and to those not scheduled for more elaborate consideration later in this work, we here note the following:
            1. He is the Servant of the Lord.
            Jesus came to do the will of his Father because his Father sent him. (3 Nephi 27:13-14.) He was the Servant, not the master, in his relationship with his Father. “I am among you as he that serveth,” he said. (Luke 22:27.) Also: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” (John 5:19.) Submissive, willing, obedient, walking only in the path charted for him by his Father—such was the course pursued by the Son.
            How natural it is to find Christ serving both the Father and his fellowmen, for so it had been predicted. The introductory sentence of the longest single Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament (and one of the greatest and most comprehensive of them all) says: “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.” (Isaiah 52:13.) Another of Isaiah’s long and plain predictions about the coming of the Messiah begins: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 42:1.) “I will bring forth my servant” (Zechariah 3:8) is the scriptural promise, as also: “O Lord, truly I am thy servant: I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.” (Psalms 116:16-19.)
            And so, truly, did our Lord act during his mortal ministry! Truly, this is he of whom it is written: “He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; …for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” (Michah 5:4.)

            2. He is the Star out of Jacob.
            Of him Balaam prophesied: “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel….Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion.” (Numbers 24:17-19.) “In figurative language, the spirit hosts in pre-existence are referred to as the stars of heaven.” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., pp. 765-66.) The morning stars who joined with all the sons of God when the foundations of the earth were laid were the noble and preeminent spirits. As the Star who came out of Jacob, Christ is thus the most outstanding one of all the hosts of that unnumbered house. And so he testified of himself: “I am…the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16.)

            3. He is the Beloved and Chosen One.
            Before, during, and after his mortal ministry he was and is known as the Beloved and Chosen One, terms that carry a connotation of election and selection, of choosing and foreordination. He is “My Beloved and Chosen from the beginning” (Moses 4:2); “My Chosen” (Moses 7:39); “My Beloved” (2 Nephi 31:15); “My Well Beloved” (Helaman 5:47); “His most Beloved” (Mormon 5:14); and “My Beloved Son” (3 Nephi 11:7; Matthew 3:17; Joseph Smith-History 17).

            4. He is the Anointed One.
            A number of Messianic passages speak of “the Lord, and…his anointed” (Psalms 2:2), signifying that the Chosen One was consecrated and set apart for the ministry and mission that was his. Jesus applied these passages to himself by quoting Isaiah’s prophecy, “The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek” (Isaiah 61:1), and then saying: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). Peter made the same application by speaking of “thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed” (Acts 4:27), and by telling “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power” (Acts 10:38). In a revealed prayer, given in our day, we find this petition: “Wilt thou turn away thy wrath when thou lookest upon the face of thine Anointed.” (D&C 109:53.)

            5. He is the Bridegroom.
            “Thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and [as] a wife of youth.” (Isaiah 54:5-6.) “And as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” (Isaiah 62:5.) So spake the Eternal One to his chosen Israel. Speaking of his Second Coming, this same Jesus called himself the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13), and the same terminology has been preserved in latter-day revelation (D&C 133:10, 19).
            Paul makes quite a point of this concept. “The husband is the head of the wife,” he says, “even as Christ is the head of the church.” That is, it is as though Christ were married to the Church. “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Then because of the figurative nature of the language used, he says: “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:23-32.)

            6. He is the Hope of Israel.
            In and through and by and because of him we and all men have a hope of peace in this life and eternal glory in the world to come. He is our Hope. Without him we would have no hope of immortality, no hope of eternal life, no hope of the continuation of the family unit, no hope of eternal progress, no hope of exaltation, no hope of any good thing. All the hopes of all the righteous of all the ages center in him. “O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.” (Jeremiah 17:13; 14:8; 50:7.)
            “We are saved by hope” (Romans 8:24), and the “Lord Jesus Christ…is our hope,” said Paul (1 Timothy 1:1). The lives of the righteous are spent “Looking for that blessed hope,” he also said, which hope is for “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13.)

            7. He is the Nazarene.
            In a prophecy no longer found in any scripture now had among us, it is written: “He shall be called a Nazarene,” which was fulfilled, Matthew tells us, because he dwelt “in a city called Nazareth.” (Matthew 2:23.) Subsequent developments confirmed that he was to bear that designation during and after his mortal probation. While he yet dwelt in mortality, he was called Jesus of Nazareth by his disciples (John 1:45), and after he rose from the dead, he himself said to Paul, “I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutes” (Acts 22:8). Peter spoke of him similarly (Acts 2:22), although when he healed the lame man, he used the more formal words, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).     

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