As in many great works, there is a plan to accomplish it. In order to ensure success, intricate plans are often drawn. The Bible contains a great plan of the Almighty God. What is the purpose of God’s plan?
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NCV) You have not seen Christ, but still you love him. You cannot see him now, but you believe in him. So you are filled with a joy that cannot be explained, a joy full of glory. And you are receiving the goal of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
God’s plan was set up for our salvation. This is why we need to understand about it, take part in it, so that we can be saved ultimately. Then, how did God lay out this great plan? From now on, let us delve into greater details.
In plans, there are stages, with each of the stage building up towards achieving the purpose. Take farming as an example. There are different stages such as soil preparation, irrigation, pest prevention, harvesting and so on. In God’s plan of salvation work, how many stages are there?
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …
Here, we can see 3 different names of the Saviour: the name of the Father, the name of the Son, and the name of the Holy Spirit. This means that God comes as the Saviour 3 times, indicating 3 stages in the plan of God’s salvation work.
The name of the Father is Jehovah. The name of the Son is Jesus. Question is, does the name of the Holy Spirit exist? As Jesus told us to baptize people in the name of the Holy Spirit as well, it must exist surely. If so, what is it?
Let us first confirm that there are indeed 3 stages carried out in 3 different names.
In the Old Testament, Prophet Isaiah wrote that apart from the Lord, there is no other Savior. We can find the preface of the Holy Bible describing “Lord” as “Jehovah”1).
Figure 1. Bible’s explanation of YHWH and its relation to the term “Lord”2)
Hence, the first stage of God’s salvation plan was carried out in the name of “Jehovah”. As for the second stage, in what name does God carry out the salvation work?
In the New Testament, Apostle Peter preached that there is no other name under heaven through which we can be saved. The name Peter was proclaiming was “Jesus”. That is because “Jesus” was the name of the Saviour during the second stage.
The first two stages are generally well-known. Then, do you know there is a third stage, one that God carries out in a new name?
Jesus made known to us He will come again when He proclaimed “I am coming soon”. When He comes, He will come with a new name, that is, a name different from the name “Jesus”.
In this prophecy, Jesus said that He will give us a white stone with a new name. Biblically, stone represents Jesus (1 Peter 2:4), so the new name on the white stone indicates the new name of Jesus.
By saying that the name is known only to those who receive it, it is clear that the new name is one that the world has not yet heard of, and by this new name, the final stage of God’s salvation work will be accomplished.
Regarding the 3 stages of God’s salvation plan, there is one more vital factor that should be considered: time.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…
In farming, each of the stages have their specific time frames, mostly coinciding with weather patterns, and keeping to the time frame can mean a successful or a failed harvest. Likewise, there must be a certain time frame for the 3 stages of God’s plan that we have to keep to. They are the Age of the Father, the Age of the Son, and the Age of the Holy Spirit.
Let us confirm that there are indeed time frames for the names of the Saviour.
Psalm 116:4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”
During the Age of the Father, people had been praying in the name of Jehovah, the name of the Saviour of that age. However, when the age ended and it changed to the Age of the Son, the name of Jehovah was no longer in use. Instead, Jesus taught that the effective name from then on was His name.
John 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Up until that time, Jesus’ disciples were praying in the name of Jehovah. However, at the beginning of the age of the Son, Jesus told them to begin praying in His name instead to receive what they prayed for. This clearly shows that each name of the Saviour has time limitation.
During the Age of the Father, the effective name was Jehovah. During the Age of the Son, the effective name was Jesus. In our age, which name of the Saviour is the effective name? As the Age of the Son has ended, and it is currently the Age of the Holy Spirit, the effective name we have to call on now is definitely the new name.
Achieving the Purpose
The purpose of God’s plan is to save us. In order for us to be part of the plan, receiving salvation at the end, we have to know clearly at which stage and time of God’s plan of salvation work we are currently standing at. By believing in the Saviour of our age, we will receive salvation.
Joel 2:32 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.
For those who lived in the age of the Father, calling on the name of Jehovah brings salvation.
Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For those who lived in the age of the Son, God saved those who believed in the name Jesus.
Right now, we are standing at the final stage of God’s salvation plan. In our age, how can we be saved? Since it is the age of the Holy Spirit, and the name of the Savior in this age is the new name of the Holy Spirit, those who believe in this name will be saved.