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Some critics of the Bible have problems with the fact that Jesus had several names.  Wouldn’t it be odd to call one individual by many names, like: John, William, George, Archibald, Charles, Kevin, Sean, and Larry?  Yes, not only nowadays but also in the past it would be odd to call someone by all of those names.

 

SAB Contradiction 256

 

Example of Caesar Augustus
It was pretty normal in classical times to give a ruler new names: Throne-names.  Of course these names referred to his responsibilities as a ruler. For instance Caesar Augustus:

Gaius Octavianus, original name.
Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, since 44 BC adopted son of Julius Caesar.
Princeps (First Citizen), since 28 BC.  He was supreme monarch in 30 BC.
Augustus (Exalted, Sacred), since 27 BC and from then onwards:
Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus: Commander in Chief, Exalted Son of God.
Pontifex Maximus, since 12 BC: High Priest; Upper Bridge Builder.
Father of the Country, popular name due to the long period of peace he created.
Second Founder of Rome, popular name referring to the prosperity he brought (Golden Age).

 

What about Jesus?
There are about ten names of Caesar Augustus and there were certainly more.  It is absolutely inadequate to speak of a Classical Contradiction with regard to these names.

It would be strange if Jesus the King of the Heavenly Kingdom didn’t receive many more names.  Wouldn’t it?  Let’s discuss a list of these names and how adequate they are concerning his position and work.
(All quotes are from the NASBu translation.)

 

Gospel of Matthew

Jesus 
She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. – Matthew 1:21

Official name.  This is said to Joseph when he heard that Mary would have a child.  The husband of the mother gave or confirmed the name of the new born child.  His official name was therefore: Jesus, meaning: Jahwè saves, Savior.  It is significant that the name Jesus is a Greek form of a Hebrew name: Joshua (Aramaic: Jeshua).  It is unlikely that Jesus was ever called Joshua or Jeshua, as no references to Him are found in the New Testament using the Hebrew or Aramaic name.

 

Immanuel
22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:22-23

Immanuel means “God is with us”.  This name was not specifically prophesied concerning Jesus, but concerning the birth of a prince in the past.  This passage is incorporated by Matthew in the report of Jesus’ birth to show his view on the event.  The text doesn’t say that Jesus actually received that name (Immanuel) but that Jesus ‘fulfilled’ this name which was once given to a prince.
Indeed, Jesus made a deep impression on the people who said “God has visited His people!” (Luke 7:16).  Also, at the end of Matthew’s gospel Jesus said: “I am with you always” (28:20).  Matthew’s prophetical insight was that Jesus was the one who had fully revealed the meaning of the name Immanuel and that it was due to Him.

 
 Book of Revelation

The book of Revelation uses qualities as names, and they refer to divine or royal qualities.  Formulated as names these qualities are meant to be always true blessings in favour of the believers as a result of their strong prophetical power.

 

Alpha and the Omega
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8 
– This name refers to the nature of God, as only He is from the beginning until the end of all things, not only for the Jews but also for the gentiles (alpha and omega are the first and last letter of the Greek alphabeth).

 

Lion of Judah
“… and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:5
– This name refers to the power of Jesus, who is always ready.

 

Faithful and True
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” – Revelation 19:11 
– This name refers to Jesus’ trustworthiness whatever the situation might be.

 

Name which no one knows
“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”. – Revelation 19:12 
– Just thinking out loud it may refer to the supreme name of God: Jahwè.  At that time, nobody uttered the name of Jahwè.  This was maybe to reflect the sentiment that it is not possible to manipulate Jesus, as nobody knows this name. He is sovereign in will and action.

 

King of kings, Lord of lords
“And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:16
– Probably two names are meant: “King of kings” and “Lord of lords” (also in Revelation 17:14). Jesus is described as a victor on horseback.  It seems that on each side of his robe one of the names is written “King of Kings” and the other “Lord of Lords” referring to Jesus’ supreme Leadership.  Each name is also written under the robe on the thigh (right and left) to keep the name visible if the robe would be blown up while riding the horse.[1]

 

Morning Star
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.  I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” – Revelation 22:16
– This name refers to Jesus as the bright shining light in the spiritual darkness of this world.

 

 Isaiah  9:6

Already in the Hebrew Bible, before Jesus’ birth, prophets had spoken about the coming Messiah – as did Isaiah in about 750 BC:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace
.

 

Four prophetical names
Wonderful Counselor: The biblical words of Jesus are intimate, graceful and powerful.
Mighty God: the Hebrew words Eel Gibboor (Mighty God) also in Isaiah 10:21 with the same meaning.  The divine origin and status of the Messiah.
Eternal Father: meaning Eternity Founder, Jesus laid the foundation of eternal life for the human race through His death and resurrection.
Prince of Peace: All that He works is in peace.

 

Final Conclusion
All the names given to Jesus, the Messiah, are appropriate as they all refer to his high position and great work.  So all these names are coherent and in no way contradictory.

 

No Bible Contradictions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Some have mistakenly proposed to take for ‘tigh’ the meaning ‘testicle’.  This is impossible, the dictionary of Liddle Scot Jones McKenzie gives for the Greek word mèros: thigh (in Revelation 19:16), and for orchis: testicle (not in Revelation 19:16).