Hallowed be Thy Name
May 22, 2014
Luke 11:2 says, in part, “Hallowed by Thy name.” What does this mean? Why should we pray (petition) this? Is He not already hallowed?
The problem is that Abba, “our Father,” is not sanctified in the eyes of the people in the way that He ought to be. There are at least two problems. The first is that some reject our Heavenly Father’s right to rule that which He has brought forth as a Father. This is a direct violation of the Fifth Commandment in Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother.”
The second problem is that most of those who honor Him as their Creator do not really know Him as their Father. Their relationship is limited to that of a creature and his Creator or as that of a servant and his Master. The intimate relationship of Father and son is unknown to most people, and even many Christians have difficulty understanding this idea of Sonship.
“Hallowed” is from the Greek word hagiazo, which means “to render or acknowledge, to be venerable or hallow; to purify.”
Our Heavenly Father is already hallowed in His position as Creator and Father, but many do not recognize Him as their King, and even more people have no revelation of His laws that reveal His will for their lives.
Likewise, our Heavenly Father does not need any purification (as if He had sinned), but there are many who find fault with Him. In their lack of understanding, they say, “Why would a good God allow evil this world?” Others look at carnal Christians and say, “If that is what their God is like, then I don’t want anything to do with Him.”
The Lord’s Prayer is rooted in the premise that the petitioner wants his Abba to be hallowed in the earth, and that he wants this change to begin with him or her. In essence, it is a petition to bear witness to the character of Abba, so that others too will want to emulate their character and will desire to have the same relationship with Abba.
His name is a Hebrew metaphor for His character. We often see how children were named according to some circumstance of their birth and how many were renamed in later life to reflect some event or characteristic. For example, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel when he learned the sovereignty of God. His character changed from being a “heel catcher” (deceiver, usurper) to one who recognized that “God rules.” No longer did he think it necessary to help God by usurping His authority. His new name reflected the revelation that God was truly sovereign and could accomplish His will without help from the flesh.
We see God revealed by many names throughout biblical history. All of these names should be equally “hallowed” as revelations of His character. These names are also titles, much like earthly kings often carry multiple titles to define themselves fully. In Scripture there are ten sub-titles for Yahweh alone (eleven, if we include Yahweh-Nakah, “The Lord who Smites” in Ezekiel 7:9. For some reason most lists omit this disciplinary title.).
When children sin, parents often chide them, saying, “You are giving me a bad name.” Thus also, when Israel sinned, God said in Ezekiel 36:21-23,
21 But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went. 22 Therefore, say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God, ‘It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight'.”
The tribes of Israel were deported by the Assyrians to the area near the Caspian Sea. Later, when Assyria fell, they began to immigrate into Europe, eventually forming the present European nations and other nations around the world. Wherever they went, in spite of calling themselves “Christian nations,” they have continued to profane the character of Abba as revealed in Jesus Christ.
These “Christian nations” sought to subdue other nations and to enrich themselves at their expense. In so doing, they presented the Christian God as the Great Oppressor, rather than as the God of the Jubilee that sets all men free. In many cases, they set people free from idols and pagan religions (to some extent), but they replaced those idols with a false heart-idol of the character of Christ.
But Yahweh Nakah, the God of Discipline, will bring corrective judgment upon the house of Israel in order to vindicate His name. This is like a parent chastening his delinquent son so that the neighbors see that the parent does not approve of the sins that his son is committing.
The final result will be that the house of Israel will expand to include the whole earth, ruled by King Jesus and His overcomers—the true Israelites who hold this name by their character.
When the name of Abba is fully hallowed in the earth, then all nations will see Him as He truly is and will want to sanctify Him and consecrate Him as their King. He will not need to conquer the world by force, as so many have been taught, for the weapons of His warfare are not carnal. He will conquer by love. He will win the hearts of the people when the Overcomers are sent forth into the world fully empowered with the nature and authority of Christ to bring freedom, healing, and divine order to all.
May God demonstrate His holiness in us, so that we may see the fulfillment of Isaiah 6:3,
3 … Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.
Isaiah saw something that seemed impossible for a holy God to accomplish. God is both love and holiness, which seem incompatible to most people. How can God be both love, which seeks to forgive, and also holiness, which requires righteous standards and also demands judgment for failing to attain those standards? How can His glory fill the whole earth apart from the earth attaining to His righteous standard?
The simple answer is that Abba’s judgments are corrective, for they are administered to His creation out of His heart of love, even as a loving father corrects and disciplines His children. This is why it is important to know Him as Abba. Even the death penalty itself is only a temporary judgment, which ends with the resurrection. The second death, too, which is the metaphorical “lake of fire,” ends finally with the Jubilee. The age of judgment is not eternal, but aionian, “pertaining to an age.” This term is the New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew word olam, “hidden, unknown, indefinite period of time.”
For this reason, the Lord’s prayer, “Hallowed be Thy Name,” will be fulfilled in the end. His glory will indeed cover the earth. He will not need to remove the wicked from the earth in order to make this happen. Instead, He will convert them so that all that was lost in Adam will be restored through Christ.
The tension between God’s love and His holiness will be resolved. Though both are indispensable to His character, His wisdom has found a way to resolve the tension without doing violence to either aspect of His name.
When the wisdom of God is known throughout the earth, then will all men marvel at His character and will give glory to Him.
This is part 2 of a mini-series titled "The Lord's Prayer." To view all parts, click the link below.
This is part 56 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Luke." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones