19 For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; and according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
20 And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.
(2 Nephi 25:20)
Names are important. When we use a person’s name with respect, we honor them. When we use their name inaccurately or disrespectfully, we disparage them. No wonder one of the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses was “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
Writing nearly 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Nephi provides an unequivocal testimony:
- The Messiah will come.
- His name will be Jesus Christ.
- “There is none other name…whereby man can be saved.”
It’s fitting that he would preface that last statement by making reference to the brass serpent. When the Israelites had been bitten by poisonous snakes in the wilderness, Moses was commanded to make a brass serpent and lift it up on a pole. Anyone who had been bitten needed only to look up to it, and they would live (Numbers 21:4-9). Alma later explained that many of the people refused to look, “because they did not believe that it would heal them” (Alma 33:20).
Just like the act of looking at a sculpture, using the name of Jesus Christ correctly and respectfully might seem inconsequential. But as President Russell M. Nelson has taught, the way we use the name of Jesus Christ has a significant impact on our ability to receive His power:
As Latter-day Saints, we refer to His mission as the Atonement of Jesus Christ….
It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as “the Atonement” or “the enabling power of the Atonement” or “applying the Atonement” or “being strengthened by the Atonement.” These expressions present a real risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ (“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2017).
More recently, President Nelson has emphasized the importance of calling the Church by its proper name for the same reason:
What’s in a name? When it comes to the name of the Lord’s Church, the answer is “Everything!” Jesus Christ directed us to call the Church by His name because it is His Church, filled with His power.
President Nelson promised us blessings if we would use the name of the Savior, and of His church, correctly:
My dear brothers and sisters, I promise you that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church, He whose Church this is will pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen. We will have the knowledge and power of God to help us take the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord (“The Correct Name of the Church,” General Conference, October 2018).
Today, I will use the name of Jesus Christ accurately and respectfully. I will remember that, as Nephi testified, “there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ,… whereby man can be saved.”