Speaking in Jesus's Name

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:22-23

These two verses have always bothered me. These people that Jesus is talking about are making the claim to him that they did all these wonderful things in his, Jesus's, name. "We prophsied in your name, we cast out devils in your name, and we have done many wonderful works in your name!" they say to Jesus.

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Jesus never contradicts their claims. He doesn't say that they never casted out a devil. He doesn't deny their wonderful works. The issue, for Jesus, isn't these things. He says to them, I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:23

This presents two immediate questions:

  1. 1) What did these people do wrong?
  2. 2) How can we be sure that we're doing actions in Jesus's name?

What Did These People Do Wrong? Back to Top ↑

The first question has a very simple answer, we just have to look back one verse. Jesus said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 7:21 So, only those that do the will of the Father are eligible to enter the kingdom, their actions means nothing in face of this.

This makes sense. Jesus said, For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.John 6:38 Because Jesus put aside his own will, he is eligible to enter the kingdom of God. Of this, there is no doubt. These people who did all these things in Jesus's name did not have the will of the Father, which Jesus had.

Likewise, because Jesus had the will of the Father, we was able to speak in God's name: I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.John 5:43 Without God's will, Jesus could not have spoken in God's name.

Thus, the people that Jesus says, "I never knew you," to could not have spoken in Jesus's name, because they did not know his will, which is the will of God. And if they're not doing the will of God, then they are sinning. That is why Jesus said, Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:23b

The Will of the Father Back to Top ↑

Of course, no one can do the will of the Father unless they know it. How can a spokesman represent a king if they do not know the king's will? It cannot be done.

So what is the will of the Father? It is simple. Jesus said, And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.John 6:39-40 So we see God's will very clearly: That everyone that commits themselves to Jesus should be raised up at the last day. For us pitiful Earthlings, the will of God concerns nothing but our resurrection at the last day.

The Will of Those People Back to Top ↑

With this in mind, we can now see why Jesus didn't care about what those people said.

Let us assume for simplicity's sake that those people didn't lie. That they did in fact, "prophesy in Jesus's name," "cast out devils in Jesus's name," and "did many wonderful works in Jesus's name." We already went over how the fact that they said they did these things in Jesus's name is immaterial, as they did it without the will of the Father, so we will instead focus on their actions.

Prophesizing in Jesus's Name Back to Top ↑

Prophesizing in Jesus's name is an incredibly devious thing. Those that claim they receive visions in Jesus's name are in dangerous territory. Jesus warned his disciples that this could happen, saying, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.Matthew 24:4b-5 Now if someone prophesizes in Jesus's name for a temporal, mortal or carnal thing, perhaps for deliverance from a disease or for hope for a proper job, then they are not prophesizing in Jesus's name, because they are not following the will of the Father. Just as the father of the prodigal son would not care if his prodigal son went and established a multibillion dollar business, so too does God not care for our temporal woes.

Thus, it makes sense that Jesus denied these prophets their place in the kingdom. There is nothing left to prophesize,(John 17:7.) Jesus has come and he has made the purpose of this world clear: We are to be resurrected at the last day. Unless the prophesizing is related to that purpose, then it is not Jesus's will. And if it's not Jesus's will, then it is not God's will. And if it's not God's will, then the prophet does not belong in the kingdom of God.

Casting Out Demons in Jesus's Name Back to Top ↑

The second thing these people claimed to have done is to cast out devils. This is a marvelous thing, so long as it is true. Jesus himself casted out many devils in his ministry. In a disputed portion of Mark, Jesus might have said, And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils...Mark 16:17a So if this text actually recorded what Jesus said, then we can see that casting out devils in Jesus's name is a sign that the exorcist is a believer in Jesus!

But Jesus will still look at these people and say, I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:23

We must understand that casting out devils is a miracle. A sign. Jesus even called it that in the verse we just went over, And these signs shall follow them... As such, we must be very wary. Jesus says, For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.Mark 13:22 Even the sign of casting out devils is not proof that the exorcist is someone we should listen to.

And of course, if we seek out such exorcists for wisdom, Jesus says of us, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.Matthew 12:39 Exorcists using signs does not mean that they are from God, and if we listen to those people instead of Jesus, we are engaging in adulterous action. That is why Jesus said, Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.Mark 8:38

We can now see that simply performing signs and wonders are not enough proof for someone speaking in Jesus's name. These signs have no relation to doing the will of Jesus. That's not to say these signs are bad, only that they mean nothing, insofar as speaking the name of Jesus.

However, these people are claiming that because they did these good deeds by ridding people of devils, they shouldn't be denied the kingdom of heaven. However, casting out devils does not mean that they are doing the will of God, which is the prerequisite to entrance into the kingdom. Only those who do the will of the Father are fit for his kingdom, and it is for this reason that Jesus denies them home in the kingdom. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 7:21

It is also interesting to consider the ploy from the devil. Say a devil resides in a victim, and a God fearing exorcist says to the devil, "In the name of Jesus, leave this person!" The devil then has two choices, they can either stay in their victim because the exorcist's words have no power over them (as the exorcist does not do the will of the Father), or they can act their portion and leave the victim, therefore tricking the exorcist into believing their delusions stronger than previously. Which is more insidious? Which action results in the exorcist and victim remaining dead during the resurrection at the last day? Surely it is the devil leaving, even when he has the power to stay. Should the devil stay in defiance to the exorcist, the exorcist may falter in their false beliefs, research where they went wrong, and learn the truth: That God's will is solely concerned with the resurrection. Jesus gave this will very clearly when he said, And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.John 6:39-40

Wonderful Works in Jesus's Name Back to Top ↑

The third thing that these people try to claim are their good works. We have done many wonderful works in your name.Matthew 7:22 As just covered, if these are miracles, signs, or wonders, then we have no reason to believe that those are meaningful in any way. They simply exist.

But let us look more at what sorts of "wonderful works" these people may claim. Some may have been of poor means, and only had time. Perhaps they volunteered at charities, which directly resulted in feeding 10,000 people a year due to their labor. This is a wonderful thing! And yet, it is not God's will. We should be mindful that Jesus said, For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.Luke 16:15b

It is a very good thing to donate time to charitable causes. I am making that claim. Let me strengthen it: You are an objectively better person for donating time to charitable causes than someone who does not. And so, I am making this claim. And yet, I am a man. My opinion does not change the fact that what you are doing is an abomination before God.

Let me explain. We already know that God's will is for us to resurrected at the last day. To do so, we must follow God's will, and want to be resurrected. We must hate this Earth, which is devoid of God, and want to go to him. Jesus said, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:26

We can see that the standard to entering the kingdom of heaven is already high. We must throw away our standard notions of life and death, and adopt Jesus's. If we help people by trying to keep them alive, we are prolonging life. Did Jesus not say, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.Luke 9:60 How then can we go about helping the dead, and then turn around and say to Jesus, "let us into the kingdom!" That is not God's will! It is God's will that we preach the kingdom of God to everyone, so that we may bring with us brothers, sisters, and mothers.

By indiscriminately providing food, health, wealth and companionship, we risk letting the person we're helping love their life. That goes directly against God's will, and therefore is means of being denied entry into the kingdom of God. That those that do charity gain reputation among men show this. You can either be with God, and not of this world, or you can be of this world, and away from God.

Therefore, we can see that if we had just listened to Jesus, we wouldn't have to wonder why Jesus denied these wonderful people entry to the kingdom. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 7:21 So the will of the Father is the most important thing. Not Earthly actions that don't matter. Once again, the father of the prodigal son would not care if his prodigal son went and established a free cure to every type of cancer. The prodigal son is still far away from his father, and so he is not doing his father's will.

"I Never Knew You." Back to Top ↑

Let us focus for a moment on that word 'never' that Jesus used. I never knew you. Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:23 He uses that word knowing that these people didn't know him for even a second. These people didn't know Jesus, and Jesus didn't know them. And we must admit that it is true, for if they knew Jesus, then they would know his will. Jesus did everything he did solely to perform God's will.

So everyone that knows Jesus for just a moment will know his will. They will never forget it.

But in not even knowing Jesus's will, which is God's will, they became dead. They were completely and utterly sinners. They did not do one good thing that God wanted. And thus, by not knowing Jesus, and by not performing his Father's will, they became the "workers of iniquity" that Jesus called them. Even though they did so many great and wonderful things for the world.

Even worse, they have nothing they can blame. By being aware of Jesus, and even by declaring that they did actions in his name, they show that they had some understanding of the gospels. Yet, they did not believe on Jesus. Jesus said, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.Luke 9:62

Should We Even Speak in Jesus's Name? Back to Top ↑

So, knowing all this, should we even be speaking in Jesus's name? Well, yes. To speak in anyone else's name would be to do the will of anyone else. If possible, we should only be speaking in Jesus's name. Jesus said, I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.John 5:43 See also John 17:6-7 We do not want to be that "another that comes in his own name" that Jesus is speaking about here. The goal of God for us and this world is to gain children in the kingdom of God,(Matthew 18:3.) not to snatch them away.

How Can We Be Sure That We're Doing Actions in Jesus's Name? Back to Top ↑

So, back to our second question, how can we be sure that we're properly doing actions in Jesus's name? Well, we have Jesus himself as an example. Jesus laid aside his own will to do his Father's will.(John 6:38.) If we enact the will that Jesus had, we will naturally be speaking in his name, just like Jesus did. Jesus said, For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.John 6:38 He meant it. We can see snippets of his example throughout the gospels.

That is why Jesus didn't come down from the cross with twelve legions of angels,(Matthew 26:54.) let himself die early to go back to his father,(Matthew 4:5, John 8:59.) or become an Earthly king.(John 6:15.) None of those things are concerned with the resurrection at the last day, and so they are not God's will for Jesus to do. And so, quite simply, Jesus did not do them.

If we have the same will that Jesus had, then we will naturally be doing everything in his name.

Everyone preaching in this age come in two forms. Either they speak in the Father's name through Jesus, or they speak in another name. And if they don't have the will of the Father, then they cannot speak in his name. We should wary of such people. We do not want to listen to them, we want to listen to Jesus.(John 5:43.)