ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: A NEW ONOMA, Part 1
Yes, yes! I know that's an archaic word we never see used in the 21st Century, but it still works.
It has to be a good 17 years ago that I first published a rather lengthy and exhaustive Open Letter to the Ekklesia titled, "The New Onoma." It was fresh revelation to me back then. As we all know, Holy Spirit does not stand still. There are many layers of revelation being peeled back for all of us as we near the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is no exception. I was awakened last night by Holy Spirit as He began to unfold and enlarge an even greater understanding for me.
That said, let's lay some foundations before you fade away, put this article down and say, "That's all Greek to me." 🙂
One of the tragedies of "religion" is that it seeks to bring everything to the lowest common denominator. Despite the best efforts of various translators in their efforts to render the old Hebrew texts of the O.T., as well as the Greek texts of the N.T., into today's languages in a way that will bring some understanding and depth of the Word, even the best translations have some common failings. The Amplified Bible probably does the best job overall of helping folks really grasp some of the levels and layers of revelation that are hidden beneath the surface.
Even the Amplified misses it though, in some key areas, and it is one of those areas that I want to share with you. For God's people -- and especially the Bride of Christ -- to really fathom the vast scope of where the Lord is taking us, and what He will receive in a completed and well-deserved company of people who are like Him in every respect!
I'm speaking, of course, of the Hebrew word, shem (pronounced like "shame"), and its Greek counterpart, onoma.
Most of you know that the name of Noah's first son was Shem. This is precisely the same word which gets translated in virtually every English text as the word "name." Ever think about it? Ever wonder why Noah's first son would be given a name which we would simplistically translate otherwise as nothing more than "name"?
Both Dr. William Gesenius (in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon) and Dr. J. H. Thayer (in his Greek-English Lexicon) give us a pretty clear understanding. Let me quote two passages directly from Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon for the sake of illustration.
"By a usage chiefly Hebraistic, onoma [shem] is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling which is roused in the mind brings by mentioning, hearing, remembering the name -- that is, one's rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds, etc."
"The Onoma of God in the N.T. is used for all those qualities which, to His worshippers, are summed up in that name, and by which God makes Himself known to men; it is therefore equivalent to His divinity, His divine majesty and perfections so far forth as these are apprehended, named, and magnified."
To this we can add a portion of Gesenius' definition of shem: "definite and conspicuous position; an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication: honor, authority, character."
We can therefore safely illustrate and translate the word shem and/or onoma by saying that this is representative of one's character, their personality, their makeup and -- to sum it up in a single descriptive phrase -- the very essence of who and what they are!
Are you getting the picture? Fine! Now let's go back to Shem.
Without repeating all of the events that followed the Flood, the horrific nature of what Ham did to his father, Noah, the way in which Shem took the lead with his other brother, Japheth, to deal with Ham's atrocity (this is clear, by the way, in the structure of the Hebrew text of Genesis 9:23), and the peculiar phraseology of the blessing which came upon Shem as a result (see Genesis 9:26), suffice it to say that Shem became the representation of the character, the nature and the very makeup of the Lord. (I would really like to explore this further with you, and maybe I'll get to do that in a later Coffee Break.) He was the shem of the Lord in the earth until the Blessing could be passed on to Abraham, and he lived through 13 generations until Joseph was 17 years old and sold into slavery in Egypt.
You may wonder where I'm going with all of this, but be patient. I'm still laying some more foundations.
As the shem of the Lord, Shem (the son of Noah) became the blessing of the Lord in flesh and blood. In a very real sense of the word, he became a forerunner, a shadow if you will, of the Lord Jesus Christ. He became the Blessing -- the Word -- made flesh and dwelling in the earth. Without getting into all of the history behind it -- and I've already talked about this in previous articles -- Shem's identity for all practical purposes became known with what we have anglicized into Melchizedek (or as the Hebrew text puts it: Malkiy - Tsedeq), the King of Righteousness.
To help understand the basis under which onoma – and its Hebrew counterpart, shem, – were and are used as a part of God's economy, names were given at birth (or creation, in the case of Adam and Eve) as a prophecy of what children would become. In most cases those names represented either blessing, or the fulfillment of some promise of the Lord, or the prophesying of some blessing to come. In some cases, the names represented the judgment of the Lord. In a few cases, they epitomized a curse which was to come (witness Ichabod: the Glory has departed). In every case, the child grew to become the living example – a prophetic picture of that name which was given at birth.
Integrated into this system of giving names (which God ordained at Creation), we also have the several recorded instances (e.g., “Abram” into “Abraham;” “Jacob” into “Israel;” the aforementioned “Shem” into “Melchizedek;” “Saul of Tarsus” into “Paul,” etc.) in which names were changed by the Lord to represent the change of nature, character and makeup he brought about (or was bringing about) in them.
Earlier we said that religion tends to drag things down to the lowest common denominator. In this instance, we have the word, "name," throughout Scripture translated from both shem and onoma, and unfortunately the true implications of the original text have been lost, or at the very least, glossed over in such a way that the use of "name" has become a religious formula in many instances.
We cast out demons "in Jesus' name" as though Jesus' name is some kind of magic amulet. The lesson of the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19 has largely gotten lost among many Christians. Folks often give their children names without a clue as to the prophetic significance of what they are doing. "Christ in us, the hope of Glory" is an almost ethereal, mystical concept without any real grasp of the authority and power invested, and being "in Christ" has become a religious catch phrase.
He was not intending the use of His name as some magic formula to ward off or drive out evil spirits. His intention was that we would come against them in His onoma. See the difference? Are you beginning to see where we are headed with this? We're not talking a formula. We're not talking about using the name, Jesus, or the name, Yeshua, or the name, Jehovah, or the name Immanuel, or any one of the other names used to describe Him throughout the Word.
I have a friend in Puerto Rico whose name is Je-sus. That's a hyphenated pronunciation. I have Hispanic friends who are likewise named Je-sus, or Jesus (if you prefer). Get the idea? It's not about rattling off a Greek pronunciation of Yeshua that has all that authority or power. It's about functioning, operating, living, existing, being in the very character and personality, the makeup of who and what Jesus (or Yeshua), the Son of God IS!
In John 5:43 - 44, Jesus addresses the unbelief of the Pharisees and Sadducees, saying, "I have come in my Father's onoma, and you refuse to receive me; (yet) if someone else comes in their onoma, you will receive them. How is it that you can willingly receive glory or honor from one another, and yet the (true) glory which comes from the Father, you don't bother to seek at all?" (my translation)
Jesus wanted to make it clear that He was operating in, through and by the very onoma, the shem of Father God Himself! He came in Father's nature. He came in Father's authority and power. He came as the literal, living extension of Father -- and He demonstrated it over and over and over and over and over again -- and again and again and again, ad infinitum!
Got that? Try this one on: "And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it." (John 14:13,14 KJV)
Ever ask yourself why it doesn't seem to always work? How many of you have asked many requests "in Jesus' name" and puzzled over the fact that you asked "correctly," and nothing happened. In fact your requests were even Scriptural -- you weren't asking for some far out, fanciful thing. You asked on behalf of someone's needs, or perhaps prayed for someone's healing. But nothing happened.
I'm not being critical or accusatory here. We've all experienced this! The answer is simple. The requests were made "in Jesus' name" -- not His onoma. No request goes unanswered when made in His onoma. Now you may think this is just splitting hairs, or playing at semantics, but the difference is crucial, and should become very clear as you see the picture of His onoma unfold.
For us to BE in His onoma, for us to live in His onoma.....well, that's a process, folks! And I've yet to meet anyone who got there overnight.
Let's see....how was it that Jesus put it? "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23, KJV)
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Jesus' name IS powerful. Demons hate it! But there's a huge differentiation between spouting the "name" and being IN the name. Jesus makes it clear in this instance that the fundamental distinction is having an intimate relationship with Him. Intimacy develops a knowing of how someone thinks, what their desires are, what their goals and purposes are, what they are made of.
So why make such a point of all this? Because it is integral to understanding -- not just the book of Revelation, but -- the promises of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, to that individual and corporate Bride He has called unto Himself.
To be able to clearly understand the significance of this "new onoma," then, we must first understand the baseline onoma of the Lord Jesus Christ by which the "new onoma" is established. We must first comprehend the basis of Jesus’ makeup and character, the essence of who and what He is and has been, before we can come into an understanding of what He will be – and what we must be -- at the time this promise is fulfilled.
The Revelation, which John saw and wrote, encompasses a single letter to the Bride. It contains a theme which is repeated eight times, "To him that overcometh."
That really is what this discussion is all about. This is where I want us to go as we explore the onoma of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the "new onoma" John prophesied in Revelation 2:17 and 3:12.
The Revelation begins with defining the onoma of the Lord in, and as, "the seven spirits of God." (see Revelation 1:4) Four times throughout the Revelation, the "seven spirits of God" are mentioned as the standard by which everyone (and everything) is judged.
Twice, a promise is made of receiving a new onoma "to him that overcometh," and twice we see that new onoma in the foreheads of the overcomers.
[Allow me to pause momentarily here to point out that the significance of this prophecy of the new onoma being in the foreheads of the overcomers relates to the thought patterns, the mindset, the kinds of choices -- in other words, the way a person thinks, both consciously and unconsciously. The overcomer, in this instance, overcomes the way the world thinks. The overcomer gains victory over the Enemy's mindset and agenda.
The use of this phrase "in the forehead" occurs numerous times throughout the Word, and it is a common Hebrew metaphor to denote one's mindset, their will, their thought patterns. Witness, therefore, David taking Goliath down with a stone in his forehead. It was a prophetic act to denote the authority and power of God striking down a mindset of rebellion and hatred of God and His people. (That's a whole different study, and I won't take time to explore that one today.)]
John began his letters to the seven Ekklesias like this: "John to the seven Ekklesias which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are (enopion) in the place of and occupy (before, KJV) His throne." (Revelation 1:4) He begins this Revelation by establishing the fact that it is the Seven Spirits who are in the place of rulership – that these Seven Spirits are the very character and makeup, the essence of God Himself.
As he addresses the Ekklesia in Sardis, he says, "These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars." (Revelation 3:1) In this attention-getter, John uses the totality of the Lord’s makeup as the yardstick by which Sardis is measured. (Several years ago I did a rather lengthy series titled Seven Nations, Seven Letters in which this subject is covered much more exhaustively. It is available upon request.)
In Revelation 4:5, John writes, "Out of the throne proceeded lightnings, and thunders, and sounds; and seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." Now he illustrates a very basic part of the nature and makeup of the Lord in the picture of these lamps of fire, and I will deal with this as we go forward with this discussion.
Clear enough so far? In case you think that I'm really stretching a point to say that the seven Spirits of God comprise the onoma of Jesus Christ, read on.
John makes his fourth reference to these seven Spirits of God in Revelation 5:6, where he says, "And I saw and beheld in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing as having been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God which have been sent into all the earth." Finally, John makes clear that the Lamb which was slain (whom they all knew to be Jesus Christ) was He in whom consisted the Seven Spirits of God.
I won't take the time in this discussion to deal with all of these metaphors since they are peripheral to that which the Holy Spirit is saying concerning the new onoma. It is important, however, to identify these seven Spirits, and that's where we will begin in the next Coffee Break.
See you soon!
Blessings on you!
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