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Call on the name of the Lord When one "called on the name of the Lord" in the Old Testament it referred to praying to YHWH[*1] as "the everlasting God" (Genesis 21:33). There are several passages in the New Testament that demonstrate when one calls upon the name of the Lord it is done in reference to praying to the Lord Jesus as YHWH (the everlasting God). [*1] Genesis 4:26 Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord. (NASB) NIDNOTTE: The very first prayer is mentioned in Gen 4:26: "At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD." Before that time "men" (Adam, Eve, Cain) conversed directly with the Lord (3:8-19; 4:6-7, 9, 10-15). Now, bridging the developing gap, people began to communicate with God through prayer (4:1062, Prayer, P. A. Verhoef). For other examples that demonstrate calling on the name of the Lord (or similar expressions) refers to praying to the Lord see Psalm 86:6-12; 99:5-6; 116:4; Jeremiah 29:12; Lamentations 3:55-57; Zephaniah 3:9. Acts 2:21 (cf. Joel 2:32)
And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (ESV)
These words taken from Joel 2:32 in application to YHWH are also applied by Peter to the Lord Jesus.[*1] This demonstrates that Jesus equally shares the appellation of YHWH with the Father.[*2]
1. Stephen Motyer: The New Testament use of this expression is remarkable for the way in which it is applied to Jesus. Joel 2:32 is quoted in both Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13, but in both places "the Lord" is then identified as Jesus (Acts 2:36; Romans 10:14). The dramatic conviction of the first (Jewish) Christians was that Israel's worship needed to be redirected: people could no longer be saved by calling on Yahweh/Jehovah, the Old Testament name of God, but only on that of Jesus: "there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). To "call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:2) therefore means worshiping him with divine honors (Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Call, Calling).
2. George Ladd: This outpouring of the Holy Spirit will bring about a great day of salvation, and whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Lord in Joel refers to God, but Peter and the early church applied this to the exalted Jesus (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, page 1128). [*1] Notice as well that Peter's sermon concludes with him once again applying "Lord" in reference to Jesus (Acts 2:36). F. F. Bruce: But the practical application here, as in Rom. 10:13 (where the same text is quoted), is to Jesus (The Acts of the Apostles, co. 1990, page 122). [*2] The divine work of pouring out the Holy Spirit is shared by the Father (Acts 2:17; cf. Joel 2:28) and the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:33). Acts 7:59-60 (59) And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
(60) And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (ESV)
1. Frederick Danker: Just as Israel was to understand her role as one of obedience to the God who saved her, so the Christian is to see the moral and ethical implications of this recognition of Christ's claim to ownership expressed so often in such a phrase as "Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus." Out of such conviction the iron of steadfast confession was smelted. As the stones came flying at Stephen, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts 7:59) (Creeds in the Bible, page 45, c. 1966).
2. David Peterson: But he pointedly 'calls upon' the Lord Jesus in prayer instead of the Father, trusting him for salvation through death and beyond. Thus, he articulates his belief in the divinity of Christ. Then 'he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." Jesus prayed to the Father that those crucified him might be forgiven (Lk. 23:34), and Stephen prays for the forgiveness of those stoning him, once again addressing Jesus as Lord (The Acts of the Apostles, Pillar New Testament Commentary, page 269).
3. William Mounce: Jesus is the addressee when epikaleō is used in the sense of praying (Acts 7:59) (Mounce's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Call, page 93).
4. J. Jeremias: Stephen prays: kurie Iesou dezai to pneuma mou (Ac.7:59) (TDNT 5:771, paradeisos).
5. W. E. Vine: Prayer is properly addressed to God the Father, Matt. 6:6; John 16:23; Eph. 1:17; 3:14, and the Son, Acts 7:59; 2 Cor. 12:8 (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Prayer, page 872).
6. Marvin Vincent: An unquestionable prayer to Christ.
http://www.godrules.net/library/vincent/vincentact7.htm There are several important points concerning Stephen's prayer to the Lord Jesus in Acts 7:59-60:
1. The worship of the Father and the worship of the Lord Jesus is demonstrated by Luke in Christ's prayer to the Father (Luke 23:34, 46) and in Stephen's prayer to Christ (Acts 7:59-60). Some try to evade the fact that the Lord Jesus is being prayed to by pointing out that Stephen was experiencing a vision of the Lord Jesus so it really doesn't constitute a prayer. However, the vision took place in the city while the prayer took place after he was "cast out of the city" (Acts 7:58). Others have claimed that since Paul appealed (epikaloumai) to Caesar (Acts 25:11) it doesn't mean that when Stephen called (epikaloumenon) to the Lord Jesus prayer is involved. To this it is answered that in Acts 7:59 the Lord Jesus heard what Stephen said at that very moment. The same can not be said concerning Caesar's ability to hear what Paul spoke at that precise moment. One must consider how the Greek word is used in context. Indeed, concerning the Greek word deomai (Strong's #1189) we see that in Luke 9:40 a man "begged" (deomai) Christ's disciples. This doesn't mean he prayed to them even though deomai is used in Luke 10:2 concerning praying (deomai) to the Lord of the harvest. Notice as well that Paul's verbal appeal to Caesar pales in significance to what Stephen expressed. Stephen called out to the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit. This carries with it the idea that the Lord Jesus is God the Creator (see Ecclesiastes 12:7 below). In addition to this is the fact that the Lord Jesus, being the Heart-knower of all, fully knew what Stephen was going to say even before he spoke. This is a powerful proof of His Deity. Stephen prayed to the Lord Jesus, but Paul did not pray to Caesar. Still others maintain that Stephen prayed to the Lord Jesus in Acts 7:59 but that he prayed to the Father in Acts 7:60. This assertion is really absurd. While the rocks mercilessly pummeled Stephen there is no need for him to say the "Lord Jesus" when he already clearly did so in Acts 7:59. Acts 9:14
And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name. (ESV)
1. Allen P. Ross: In the NT the word is used is many of the same ways as in the OT, but most notable is the way that the name of Jesus is substituted for the name of God. Now one can call on (i.e., worship) the name of Jesus (Acts 9:14) (NIDOTTE 4:151, name - shem).
2. Barclay Newman and Eugene Nida: The phrase call on your name is equivalent to "worship you" (A Translator's Handbook on The Acts of the Apostles, Acts 9:14, page 191).[*1] 3. Daniel Whedon: A clear declaration that the very peculiarity of the Christian was praying to Jesus.
http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/acts-9.html#1 4. J. C. O'Neill: To call on the name of the Lord Jesus was to worship the God of Israel (The Use of KYRIOS in the Book of Acts, Scottish Journal of Theology, Volume 8, Issue 2, c. June, 1955, page 172). [*1] Calling upon the name of the Lord (Acts 9:14) also means to believe in the Lord (Acts 22:19). Acts 9:14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name. (ESV) Acts 22:19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. (ESV) If anyone claims to believe in Jesus but refuses to worship Jesus then they do not believe in the biblical Jesus (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:4). Indeed, just as believing in God with all of one's household implies the worship of God (Acts 16:34), so too does believing in the Lord Jesus with all of one's household imply the worship of the Lord Jesus (Acts 18:8).
All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" (NASB - the underlined is mine) Galatians 1:23 but only, they kept hearing, "He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy." (NASB - the underlined is mine) Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. (NASB - the underlined is mine) 1. Praying to the Lord Jesus as YHWH (Acts 9:21)[*1] is equated with "the faith" (Galatians 1:23)[*2] that Christians must "contend earnestly for" (Jude 1:3). Those who refuse to pray to the Lord Jesus as YHWH do not belong to the Christian faith for their faith/gospel is accursed (Galatians 1:8-9).[*3] [*1] Those who have been sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus are the same ones who have called upon His name as YHWH in prayer. Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. (NASB - the underlined is mine) 1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. (NASB - the underlined is mine) [*2] The same Greek word (portheo) is employed for "destroyed" in Acts 9:21 and "destroy" in Galatians 1:23. [*3] Concerning "the faith" in Galatians 1:23 the BDAG (3rd Edition) reads: If the principal component of Christianity is faith, then p. can be understood as the Gospel in terms of the commitment it evokes (pistis, page 820). Acts 22:16-21 (The Lord of the temple) (16) Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’
(17) “It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance,
(18) and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’
(19) And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You.
(20) And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’
(21) And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” (NASB) Although occurring at different times both of Paul's prayers to the Lord Jesus are brought together by Luke in Acts 22:16-17. Paul calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus in prayer (Acts 22:16) and immediately afterwards he is praying in the temple (Acts 22:17).[*1] That the Lord Jesus responds (Acts 22:18) implies Paul was praying to Him on both occasions (Acts 22:16-17). [*1] David Peterson: Moreover, Paul's vision implies that the risen Jesus is Lord of the temple, who reveals his will and commissions his servant in that context for his mission to the nations. The parallel with Isaiah's call in Isaiah 6 becomes all the more stunning when it is realised that the risen Lord Jesus takes the roll of 'the Lord God Almighty' in directing Paul and warning him about the opposition he will receive (cf. the recollection of Is. 6:9-10 in Acts 28:24-28) (The Acts of the Apostles, Pillar New Testament Commentary, page 604-605). There are further similarities when we compare the missions given by the Lord to both Isaiah and to Paul while he was in the temple (the underlined below is mine). Isaiah 42:6-7 (6) I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations, (7) To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. (NASB) Acts 26:17-18 (17) rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,
(18) to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. (NASB) Notice as well that the Lord will watch over Isaiah (Isaiah 42:6) and in like manner rescue Paul (Acts 26:17). The nations (Isaiah 42:6) to whom the light will be sent refers to the Gentiles (Acts 26:17). Before their conversion they were prisoners in the dungeon (Isaiah 42:7) which means they were under the dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18). That God called Isaiah to bring them out (Isaiah 42:7) parallels the message Paul would preach of being forgiven/set free from one's sins by faith in Christ (Acts 26:18).
2 Timothy 4:16-18 (16) At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. (17) But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. (18) The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (NASB) In their book Stay Close to Jehovah's Organization the Jehovah's Witnesses assert the following (the bold face is mine): Even if you do find yourself isolated from all your Christian brothers, keep in mind that you are not isolated from Jehovah and his Son, Jesus Christ. Your hope can remain firm. Jehovah can still hear your prayers, and he can strengthen you with his spirit. Look to him for guidance. Remember that you are a servant of Jehovah and a disciple of Jesus Christ. Therefore, make good use of opportunities to witness. Jehovah will bless your efforts, and others may soon join you in true worship.—Acts 4:13-31; 5:27-42; Phil. 1:27-30; 4:6, 7; 2 Tim. 4:16-18. (Organized to Do Jehovah's Will, see the 5th to the last paragraph). https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102014947 As with all the other passages cited 2 Timothy 4:16-18 is also used in reference to true worship. Notice though that the Jehovah's Witnesses affirm that the "Lord" in both 2 Timothy 4:17 and 2 Timothy 4:18 refers to the Lord Jesus. a. Our Kingdom Ministry—2014: Even in his heavenly position, Jesus shows personal interest. (2 Tim. 4:17) (Improving Our Skills in the Ministry—Showing Personal Interest) https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/202014401 b. The Watchtower: The individuals hearing Jesus could, if they faithfully served God, have the expectation of reigning with Christ in heaven. (2 Tim. 4:18; Rev. 20:4, 6) (Questions From Readers, March 1, 1967). https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1967167 Thus the Jehovah's Witnesses (inadvertently?) affirm that true worship is properly rendered unto the Lord Jesus.