Evangelist Rabi Maharaj relates how when he was being groomed to be a Hindu Guru, one day he was awakened from his contemplation of a flower by the nearby sound of a deadly snake raised up in striking position. Suddenly he remembered his mother’s advice given years ago, that if he were ever in a dangerous situation requiring divine intervention, to call on the name of ‘Jesus’ which is above every other name. He had barely voiced the first syllable when the snake dropped down and slithered away. This was a first step towards his becoming a Christian.
“Call on the name of the LORD” is an oft repeated Biblical command. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Psalm 116:13 connects this same heart cry with salvation: “I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.”
Exactly what is ‘the name of the LORD’? The word ‘LORD’ (all upper case) in English translations is used for the Hebrew Tetragram name for God, ‘YHVH’, phonetically pronounced Yah’weh or Yehovah’. The short form of this name is ‘YHH’ pronounced ‘YAH’, as in Isaiah 26:4 (NKJV), “Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.” This name is also part of the Hebrew word, ‘Halleluiah’, which means “Praise YAH”.
It is noteworthy that Jesus’ Hebrew name is ‘Yeshua’, which means ‘YAH saves’. Thus Matthew 1:21 suddenly acquires a deeper meaning when translated, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [‘YAH saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.”
Whatever pronunciation one uses for the name ‘YHVH’, or ‘Yeshua’, the one addressed is still the same, and His name is above all names:
9 Therefore God raised him to the highest place
and gave him the name above every name;
10 that in honor of the name given Yeshua [Jesus],
every knee will bow —
in heaven, on earth and under the earth —
11 and every tongue will acknowledge
that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai
[Jesus Christ is Lord] —
to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus declared in Matthew 23:39, “For I tell you, from now on, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” The restoration of Israel will depend upon her people calling on the name of the Lord:
Zephaniah 3 (NIV)
Restoration of Israel’s Remnant
9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
and serve him shoulder to shoulder.
Jesus (Yeshua) is coming soon to judge the nations. How vital it is in these last days to call on His name! Psalm 75 speaks about how God’s righteous judgment brings blessings to the righteous and destruction to the wicked.
Psalm 75 (NKJV)
Thanksgiving for God’s Righteous Judgment
1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.
2 “When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly.
10 “All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off,
But the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.”
True righteousness is rooted in God alone, who gave His own Son that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. This atoning sacrifice was the fulfillment of key prophecies, such as Isaiah 53.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
One of the best summaries of the Gospel (Good News) is in 2 Corinthians 5:
2 Corinthians 5
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
God gives eternal life to those who believe in His Son, and He progressively changes believers to be more like Him. 1 John 3 declares that every follower of Jesus Christ has this hope in Him, that “when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
1 John 3
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Here and now by faith in Christ, we are new creations:
2 Corinthians 5
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
As His followers, we are called to love one another as He has loved us, which we can only do by the power of the Holy Spirit.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1 John 4
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Walking in the light of Christ’s love will draw others to believe in Him too. In particular, Paul writes in Romans 11 that Gentile believers are called to help Jewish people by walking with Christ in such a way as to “provoke them to jealousy”:
11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! 13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
Ultimately as a consequence, Paul declares in Romans 11:26, “all Israel will be saved.” The same event is described in Joel 2, with the statement, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
32 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls.
This promise is available to all people here and now: whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
9 … if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”