"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VIII No.II Pg.28-31
October 1945

"Thou Shalt Call His Name Jesus"

Allen E. Johnson

I. "Now The Birth of Jesus Christ Was on This Wise"

When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins." (Matt. 1:18-21)

The doctrine of the virgin birth, or rather, the virgin conception of Jesus is a very prominent one in the New Testament. That it was miraculous, no one will deny, except doubters of all classes, unbelievers and skeptics, and modern religious teachers called "Modernists." Rejecting an important teaching in the scriptures would seem to belong naturally to the great body of avowed unbelievers, but strange to relate, men who claim to accept Jesus and his teaching are a great source of unbelief today. Modernism has crept into the pulpit, press, and radio programs of a great many modern denominations. They preach the "social gospel," omitting any reference to the miraculous because they reject the idea, and many times do not want their parishioners to find it out. The virgin birth is one of the fundamental facts that all true believers believe; it is one of the fundamental facts of the gospel of Christ. On this point the apostles John says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every one that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-Christ, whereby ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." (I Jno. 4:1-3)

How did Jesus Christ come in the flesh? He came just as our text says born of a virgin. This is further elaborated by Luke thus: "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Lu. 1:35) But it has been charged against belief of the New Testament account of the virgin birth of our Lord that it is an utter impossibility for a woman to conceive without natural contact with a man. This is the answer to be expected from minds that are concerned wholly with externals and who observe only the workings of the law of procreation, without taking into account that there would be no law without a law-giver. The God of the universe, the supreme Lawgiver, created the world and all that is contained therein. His crowning creative act was man. Once the claim of the Bible that there is a God who is responsible for bringing the world and man into existence, together with all of the laws governing them, is accepted, there is no difficulty with the New Testament account of miracles, including the virgin birth. Few, perhaps, could state clearly and definitely why they believe there is a God. It might be well, at this point, to point out why we do so believe.

Paul gives us the beginning point when he said in Romans 1:18-20: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity." The true atheist says, "There is no God." When he says that he must be prepared for these conclusions: He must know everything in the universe: if he admits there is something he does not know, then that which he does not know could be God: he sets himself up as deity; the God of the Bible knows all things, therefore the atheist claims to be God. Since Paul says the everlasting power and divinity of God may be seen or perceived through the things that are made, let us look into some of them.

1. Intuition

We shall call it that for want of a better term. This has been defined as "knowledge which comes without reasoning." The child knows that space and time exist without reasoning about it. Sir Isaac Newton, the great scientist, said that space and time are attributes of God. This being true, then God of necessity exists, for space and time of necessity exist.

2. The Idea of God

The existence of God is implied in the very idea of him. Where did the idea of God come from? That the idea of his existence is with us no one can deny. The fact that the idea of God exists in the mind of man, although in many different forms, is still implied proof that man in ages past had dealings directly with God and has perpetuated the idea down through the ages.

3. Everything in The World is Finite

It is limited. That is, the creation which we see with our natural eye. It is an axiom accepted by all, believer and unbeliever, that something cannot come from nothing. The "spontaneous generation" theory was long ago exploded. Then if there is that which is finite, there must be infinity behind it. The universe could not have brought itself into existence. Everything in the world is dependent. That which is dependent implies the Independent.

4. Evidence From Geology

Geology is that science which explains to us the structure of the earth. But geology has found that there have been crises in the history of the earth as well as orderly development. Blind matter could not have guided itself through the great crises of ages past. Even accepting the explanations of geology on the great crises that have occurred in the course of the earth's history, it must be admitted that a power higher than itself was needed to bring it safely through to its present state.

5. Proof From Astronomy

David said in the long ago, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork." (Ps. 19:1) The heavens declare the power of God. Think for a moment of the giant planets, suns, and stars riding in space. What holds them there? Why, the "law of gravity," someone says. But can you talk about the law of gravity and ignore the Lawmaker behind the law? The heavens declare the wisdom of God. When we look at a charted map of the heavens and see the millions of heavenly bodies with their myriads of orbits, some of them so vast that the human brain is staggered in contemplating them, yet there is no clashing of these bodies, everyone of them stays on its orbit, we are overwhelmed with the wisdom of it. Only intelligent wisdom could perform such a feat. The heavens declare the glory of God in their relationship to law. We think it wonderful that man can work out schedules for vast networks of railroads. When man does it, he errs sometimes and trains have wrecks or are late. But when you consider the heavenly bodies and their far-flung orbits, not a one has had a "wreck," nor have they been "late." In fact, we can even tell time by their movements to the barest fraction of a second. Astronomers can also tell to the dot when a planet or a comet will appear, even years in advance. Do you say they are governed by law? Then no law can exist without a lawyer. There must be a supreme Lawgiver behind the law.

6. Design in Creation

Sir Isaac Newton said that the human eye is a cure for atheism. It is both microscope and telescope. It can adapt light coming from the sun over ninety million miles away so as to see a small thorn in hand and the distant stars, together with the distant mountain ranges and the far-reaching deserts. This shows design and not blind chance or special evolution. Look at the wing of the bird for flying and the foot of man for walking. They show design rather than evolutionary development. Some look at the circulatory system, the nervous system, the skeletal system, and the digestive system of animals and man and conclude that they developed from the rudimentary to the complex. But it shows, rather, the design of the Great Designer of all things. David said, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (Ps. 139:14) Look at the blood that flows through the human body, carrying oxygen to the remote tissues, and in return carrying off waste. This shows design, and design implies a Designer. Take also a look at the brain of man. In its mysterious folds it generates and holds the thought that advances civilization with all of its wonders and has filled the libraries of the world with knowledge. Did this come by blind chance? No, it shows the perfection of the Great Designer-the Supreme Intelligence. As we recognize the work of a Raphael or a Rembrandt, a Shakespeare or a Poe, so we recognize the Great Architect and his work in the universe.

7. Religious Instincts

Wherever we find man on the earth; whether in a low state of civilization or a high one; whether barbarian or savage, there is always present the desire to worship. They may even be headhunters, but they worship the skulls of their victims. We are prone to think of the last as only degradation and ignorance, but on second thought, where did the idea that they should worship come from? These religious instincts simply show that somewhere in the remote past, man was acquainted with God.

8. Conscience

Many today think conscience an infallible guide, directing them into doing the right thing; and we hear such expressions as, "let your conscience be your guide," "My conscience knows." But even the heathen man, the pagan, has a conscience for he very religiously performs the rites his conscience tells him are right. Conscience, therefore, does not teach that, which is right of itself, but is that faculty of mind which sits as a judge in the mind of man and warns him according to the way he has been taught. It is independent of right or wrong, but if a man is taught right, then it warns him when he has done wrong. The beasts do not have it. Here is a definite gap in the organic evolution theory. But the fact of a conscience implies that there is a moral Lawgiver to whom man is obligated.

With these very definite and good reasons before us that there exists a God who created all things, then the so-called impossibility of the virgin conceiving, passes away; for the God who created the law of procreation could certainly suspend it if he chose, as the case clearly shows he did. Then Jesus came in the flesh just as the New Testament claims he did.

11. "Thou Shalt Call His Name Jesus"

Have you ever stopped to consider the significance of divinely given names? They have always had a significant meaning. Abram" High Father;" Abraham-"Father of a multitude;" Sarai-"Contentious;" Sarah-"Princess;" Simon-"Favorable hearing;" Peter-"A Stone" Jesus-"Saviour" Christ-"Anointed;" In Acts 4:12 we have this statement " for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." We are also baptized into his name. (Matt. 28:19).

It has been argued in defense of denominational names, that the "rose would smell just as sweet by any other name," and "there is nothing in a name." Who is authority for these statements?" Mr. William Shakespeare. That puts the denominations in a rather embarrassing position; for in order to justify the use of denominational names, they go to a worldly dramatist for their authority instead of to the word of the Lord! If they are so anxious to take Mr. Shakespeare on the name, why don't they take some of his characters as models for character building? Or do they? The fact is that the New Testament reveals the name of the church under the guidance of men who were directed by the Holy Spirit, and they called it simply, "the church" (Acts 2:47; "The churches of Christ" (Rom. 16:16; "The Church of the Lord" (Acts 20:28); "The church of the firstborn" (Heb. 12:23). Since modern denominations and their names were not mentioned by the New Testament writers, it follows that they exist without divine authority... We had better stick to the practice of "calling Bible things by Bible names, and doing Bible things in Bible ways;" it is safe. But the fact also remains that we associate things with a name. When things were named in the long ago Adam, we presume, named some of them (Gen. 2:19) a certain flower was called a "rose" in our language. Now suppose, following Shakespeare's argument, that we just call the rose by any name; it would not change the smell; but suppose we should prefer to call it "skunk." The would-be justifiers of "just any old name will do," would be the first to object, for the power of association has too long associated the word "skunk" with a bad odor. Following the logic of denominationalists we would have utter confusion. We would be unable to classify anything. The exact sciences would be crippled for lack of a reliable medium with which to express themselves. Imagine, if you can, the school teacher trying to keep his subjects straight when the pupils could call things by the first word that popped into their minds! It would have one advantage for an absent-minded professor or preacher, for he could just call everybody "Jones" and get by with it. But no one believes the idea except when trying to justify the unscriptural course pursued by men in the church making and naming business. God named his people "Christians." "And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." (Acts 11:26) "but if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name." (1 Pet. 4:16)

III. "He Shall Save His People From Their Sins."

"His people." Who are they? There was a time when the Jews were the only people of God. They were the only ones in covenant relationship with him. But under the gospel dispensation, all nations, all races, are offered the privilege of becoming God's people. The prophet Hosea said, "Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. Then God said, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, ye are the sons of the living God." (Hosea 1:8-10) Where was it said unto them that they should not be the people of God? In Jerusalem. The Jews, because of unbelief, were rejected there; and there also the world-wide gospel was first proclaimed, which contained among other things, "For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him." (Acts 2:39) "But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ." (Eph. 2:13) But that which in the days of the Hebrew prophets was hidden in mystery (was not fully revealed), was fully revealed by the apostles and prophets of the New Testament; that not only the Jews; but also the Gentiles, "are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel..." (Eph. 3:6) Therefore God's people today are those Jews and Gentiles who have obeyed the pure gospel of Christ and have been incorporated into one body by the Lord himself; and both "reconciled in one body by the cross." All of God's people today are in that one body called the church. (Eph. 1:22-23) Col. 1:18, 24): which was God's eternal purpose for mankind: for all nations and races. (Eph. 3:1-13) The apostle Paul quotes the prophecy of Hosea quoted above to show that God also called the Gentiles by the gospel. (Rom. 9:25, 26). The Great Commission shows that God's people now are those who hear and obey the conditions set forth therein. (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-49). Why do people need saving? Paul shows in the first chapter of Romans the terrible condition of the Gentile world, and in the second chapter that the Jews were no better off before God! for even though they boasted of knowing God and of keeping the law given through Moses, they broke that law and became just as guilty as the Gentiles. His conclusion is found in 3:9, 23 -" for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin." "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." But some may inquire, "What is sin?" "How may I know that I have sinned?" The New Testament gives a three-fold definition of sin: with that definition before us we may know what sin is and when we have sinned sin is the transgression of the law." (1 Jno. 3:4); "All unrighteousness is sin." (1 Jno. 5:17) "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (Jas. 4:17) God has drawn a line between good and evil; when you go over that line, you sin. Since "all unrighteousness is sin; and since David said "All of thy commandments are righteousness;" (Ps. 119:172) it follows that the man who does something other than God's commands commits sin. Under this definition come the sins of religious people in departing from God's word. And according to the statement of James, the one who knows and neglects to do is guilty of sin. That takes in all men in all conditions of life. Many people know what God requires of them, yet they are afraid of what their friends or associates, who think otherwise, might say: they are afraid of social ostracism or business difficulties involved in doing what God says; so neglect to do what God says. Many know the truth on how to become a Christian and how to live one, but because of prejudice will not obey the Lord. And there is still another angle to the matter. In Matthew 11:20-24 is recorded the upbraiding by Jesus of the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because they did not repent at his preaching. Above this is recorded the fact that in these three cities most of his mighty works were done. We conclude that Jesus held the people in these three cities responsible for what they could have easily known that he was the Son of God. The gospel is being preached everywhere. Thousands of people hear it annually who do nothing about it. Are they not in the same condition that these three cities were in? Many preachers in human churches hear and read gospel truth constantly; they know full well the truths for which the church of the Lord stands; their debaters prepare their arguments in the full light of Scripture teaching on first principles, the work and worship of the church, the organization of the church; in short, all of the teaching of the Bible on the scheme of human redemption, and yet they refuse to listen. If Jesus held these three cities responsible for accepting the truth of his greatest miracles," of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye," he shall hold for these people who have at their fingertips the full glory of the gospel in the New Testament?

Still another question comes up at this point: what is the penalty for sin? Paul tells us that " the wages of sin is death," (Rom. 6:23) and again, " rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might." (2 Thess. 1:8-9)

With all men thus under condemnation, behold the marvelous love and compassion of our heavenly Father in sending his Son into the world to "save his people from their sins." He came not to save them from temptation, or tribulation, or sickness, or sorrow, or trial, nor even physical death, but "from their sins," which saves them from eternal death and destruction. Jesus executed the plan of salvation that God had planned. He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning him; proving that he was the promised Messiah. He taught men; proved that he was the Son of God by the miracles, signs, and wonders which he performed; was crucified on the cross; buried in Joseph's new tomb; rose from the dead the third day; was crowned at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; sent the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles whom he had chosen to declare the whole counsel of God concerning man's salvation; concerning which salvation we have the carefully preserved record in the New Testament; and "being made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him, the author of eternal salvation." (Heb. 5:9) This means that man must learn the facts concerning him, believe on him as the Son of God sent down from heaven, and obey the commands or requirements of that system of redemption which he revealed, enjoy then the forgiveness of his sins and the right to "enter in by the gates into the city." (Rev. 22:14)