Expecting our 13th grandchild in just one month, we’ve been asked to pray for a wise choice of a name for him/her. Choosing a name for a child is difficult. It should be distinctive enough but not odd, nice-sounding and easy to pronounce. And the initials shouldn’t spell any objectionable word!
When I was little, I thought my parents had made a poor choice and I let them know I would have preferred “Gorence Cheese.” Gorence because it sounded like my great-aunt Florence whose name I heard my mom and grandma mentioning with affection. And Cheese because that was my favorite food. How glad I am that I didn’t get my way!
I have never had a nickname, though some well-meaning people try to express friendship by shortening my name to the first syllable.
What intrigues me, however, is that God Himself has a special name for me. “To everyone who is victorious … I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17) What do you suppose it could be?
To Abram he gave a new name meaning ‘Father of many,’ and He renamed Jacob to Israel, ‘He struggles with God.’ Simon was renamed Peter, ‘Rock.’ These new names reflected God’s perspective and purpose for them. So what is my secret name in God’s book?
Whatever it is, I know it will be most lovingly and carefully chosen to reflect my Father’s unique love for me. And when He calls that name, I will be listening and I’ll joyfully respond.
They’ve been trying to stop it for over 2000 years, but the harder they try, the more it grows. What has happened recently in China is an example. A large new “legal” church building in the eastern province of Zhejiang has been demolished by the government which complained that Christianity’s spread had been “too excessive and too haphazard.”
But demolishing a building cannot stop God and the growth of His Church. Someone commented, “History has proved and will prove again with this case that another church revival will happen after this new wave of persecution.”
A “sociology professor further estimated that China’s total Christian population could hit 247 million people by 2030, which would be the largest Christian population in a single country. Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this. It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely,”
Back up to the beginning. The book of Acts chronicles the beginning of the Church from the day that Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit was about to empower them to take the message about Him “to the ends of the earth.” (1:8) The rest of that book gives the details of how that plan unfolded in spite of the opposition of established religion, powerful governments, and daunting physical circumstances. In fact, the last words of the book (in the original Greek language) refer to Paul’s activity while under house arrest in Rome: “…proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness unhindered”! (28:20)
And that movement goes on, growing and gaining as godless humanity tries in vain to stomp it out. Until one day loud voices in heaven will proclaim,
“The kingdom of the world
has become the kingdom of our Lord
and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15)
That will be a performance of the Hallelujah Chorus that I don’t want to miss!
Links to articles about the church in China:
My younger sister and I used to argue a lot as kids. But I got the upper hand when I convinced her that she had to stop whenever I said, “Final the End!”
This silly memory came to mind the other day when I read the last chapters of the book of Revelation. After all the atrocities, blasphemies, catastrophes, and devastation written in this book are finished, there will finally and forever be an end to all evil! When the abominable “Babylon” is totally wiped out, the earth mourns and all in heaven rejoice (chapters 17-18). Satan and his two puppets are banished forever to the “fiery lake of burning sulfur,” as are those who have give their allegiance to them.
Heaven finally reigns uncontested—and what a celebration! Its citizens will at last participate in breathtaking splendor and joy.
–A dazzling new heaven and earth
–No more tears, pain, or death!
–Water of life, the tree of life
—The throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. (22:3-5)
Where we will be then depends on whom we follow today.
Hintawa man to ngadan nu?
Como se llama usted?
Ano ang pangalan mo?
What is your name?
So many languages and so many ways of saying things! Languages both unify and divide people, as we see from Genesis to the end of history described in the book of Revelation.
1. At the tower of Babel, the single language that had unified the whole earth was suddenly split into many, giving people no alternative but to obey God’s command to inhabit the entire globe.
2. Thousands of years later in Jerusalem, Jews who had adopted the languages of many other countries were startled to hear God’s message, each in their own language.
3. Since Jesus returned to heaven, His disciples have carried his message to the far corners of the globe, to thousands of language communities. However, there are still 1919 languages that do not have any part of that message. People are still waiting to hear!
4. John the apostle saw the final outcome of this linguistic diversity. Around the throne of God in heaven, speakers of every language will be joyfully united again with one common purpose:
…a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” (Rev 7:9-10)
I suspect that we’ll all understand one another’s languages as we blend them in that great cry of victory and praise to our Maker and Redeemer.
I have a hard time making decisions, especially when faced with a menu. I usually find out what my husband is having and then pick the same thing just so I won’t feel bad if his meal looks better than mine! What if I make the wrong choice? Well, the stakes aren’t too high in that case…
In the end, though—I’ve been reading the book of Revelation at the end of the Bible—a decision must be made. Every person on earth will have to decide whether he will accept a mark on his forehead or hand (a chip, maybe) that identifies him as a subject of the world ruler (a.k.a. “the mark of the beast,” Rev. 13:16-17)—OR whether he will accept on his forehead the name of Jesus Christ and God the Father (Rev. 14:1; 22:4). You must decide whose side you’re on!
What are the implications of your choice?
If you go with the majority and accept the mark of the world ruler, you will …
–be able to buy, sell, and carry on the business of life for a while (13:17)
–experience eternal torment, with no rest forever (14:9-11)
If you refuse to confirm and and accept God’s name on your forehead, you will…
–be deprived of the necessities of life (no buying/selling) for a while (13:17)
–live joyfully in God’s bright presence forever (3:12; 14:1; 22:4)
–reign forever and ever with Him (22:4)
Which will you choose? Will it be the temporary comfort or the lasting joy and pleasure?