The New Name
The New Name
Read Revelation 19:11-19
“His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.”
The Christmas story is one filled with wonder and amazement. We are confounded that the God of the universe would be born as a baby in a manger. While the arrival of Christ was announced through the dramatic appearance of the angels, the birth of Christ presents Christ in his humility. It should always cause us to stop and reflect when we read the narrative that the God of the universe would appear as a tiny baby in the manger. Christ came to bring salvation in the first advent, and he was seen in humility. Jesus as a baby, is safe, one that we can identify with for his weakness and vulnerability. He is a person we can identify with. However, as C.S. Lewis reminds us in the Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan (who represents Christ) is not safe but is good. We want a savior who is safe, one that brings mercy and grace, but not judgment and punishment for sin.
However, the weakness and humility of Christ in his first advent stand in stark contrast to the appearance of Christ at his second advent. As John describes the coming of Christ, he presents a picture of a righteous king coming to bring judgment upon those who reject Him. In verse 15, we are given a different image of Christ. In John 1, we read of Christ coming as the Word to bring salvation. In verse 15, John now reminds us that his mouth will also speak words of judgment. He will bring judgment upon sin when he comes as he “Treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” We misrepresent Christ when we ignore his hatred of sin and judgment upon those who reject him.
In his first advent, Christ appeared as the suffering servant who came to pay the penalty for sin. In his second advent, he comes as the mighty King of Kings and Lord of Lords (vs. 16). He comes to establish his kingdom, in which every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil. 2:11).
In the ancient world, the name revealed the nature of the individual. When our perspective of the individual changed, then the name of the individual would be changed (for example, Abram-Abraham, Jacob-Israel, Saul-Paul). As Christ comes, he is now given a new name that no one knows. While the name is not mentioned, John does connect the name with the supremacy and authority of Christ. His discernment of the hearts of people is pictured in the phrase, “His eyes are a flame of fire.” He will search the heart of all people and reveal all the sin that resides in the innermost heart and evaluate all thoughts and motives by the standard of his holiness. On his Head will be many diadems. The picture points to Christ’s supremacy as king and his victories over all the kings of the earth who opposed him. When he comes, he comes in victory and judgment
Within this context, it is mentioned that he has a name written upon Him which no one knows except himself. While some have speculated what the name will be, such speculation is useless since the text tell us that no one knows its meaning. The point is that no one can grasp the depth of Christ’s nature. He is beyond our ability to fathom. In the second advent, we are reminded that Christ does not fit the box we put him. He is the mighty king who is exalted far above the universe, and the depth of his being is beyond our ability to comprehend. He is the sacrificial lamb who brings salvation to sinners and the God of vengeance who brings judgment upon sin. He is the humble baby in a manger and the King of Kings who comes to establish his kingdom. Ultimately, all we can do is bow in humble worship and surrender before such a King.