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Should we Pray to God, or only to Christ?

Do we have access to the Father, or only to Christ?
What does it mean to ask "in the name of Jesus Christ"?


GOD'S Church has been accused of error in addressing prayers to God the Father. Two supposed former members of God's Church have set out to "speak perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:30)

Rejecting the truth, after it was patiently pointed out to them, this couple now is going farther and farther into error. They have begun sending typed or mimeographed accusations and doctrinal arguments to such brethren as they may know, attempting to discredit God's Church. We now must "mark them" as God commands, that all may "AVOID THEM" (Rom. 16:17-18).


Accusing God's Church

One such 8-page tirade against The Church of God is captioned: "THE RADIO CHURCH OF GOD IS THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA." No accusation could be more false. In it this dissenter states falsely: "The work that the Radio Church of God is doing is not the preaching of the Good News to the world." To say that God's Church is not preaching the true GOSPEL to the world is a point-blank LIE! Many other false accusations and misrepresentations, and reflections against the Church, were made.

However, the main contention is the accusation that God's Church is in error in obeying Christ's instruction regarding prayer. This couple says it is wrong to address prayers, as Jesus taught, to the Father, in Jesus' name. Their basic argument is that to ask "in Jesus' name" means to ASK JESUS HIMSELF!

As this misguided man himself wrote: "It revolves around the question of what is meant by Jesus' instruction to ask in His name . . . I became convinced that Jesus meant a different manner of prayer than what is usually used. He was ascending into heaven, to be our high priest at the right hand of God the Father. Therefore, we are to come directly to Him with our requests. The words 'Ask in my name' are not a blanket power of attorney, but have a different meaning entirely."

The Scriptural teaching about TO WHOM our prayers should be addressed is so plain that a few Scriptures very plainly set forth the TRUTH. Ten thousand pages of arguments cannot countermand, disannul, or explain away these plain basic Scriptures.


Shall We Obey Christ?

The Church of God obeys the HEAD of this Church, who is Jesus Christ. What did He teach and command?

One of His disciples said to Jesus. "Lord, teach us to pray."

"And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done . . ." (Luke 11:1-2).

NOTICE! Jesus, teaching His disciples, instructed "When ye pray, say, OUR FATHER which art in heaven." This false accuser says we are WRONG if we obey that instruction. IF JESUS CHRIST be your Savior, Lord and Master, and High Priest, FOLLOW HIM! If this dissenter be your lord and master, then follow him.

Notice again, from Matthew's version of the "sermon on the mount."

"But when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy FATHER which is in secret: and thy FATHER which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:5-6).

NOTICE! "When thou prayest . . . pray to thy FATHER." This is a command. This is the teaching of the Head of our Church. Will we listen to Christ, and obey Him, or listen to misguided and self-willed dissenters bent on accusing, discrediting, dividing God's Church, and drawing a personal following after themselves?

Notice, further, there is promise of THE ANSWER, when we address THE FATHER in prayer: ". . . and thy FATHER shall reward thee . . ."

In verse 8 Jesus adds, further: ". . . for your FATHER knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him." It is God the FATHER who knows what we have asked HIM — not asked of Christ!

Next, Jesus instructed us HOW TO PRAY:

"After this manner therefore pray ye: OUR FATHER which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. THY Kingdom come. THY will be done . . ." etc. (Verses 9-10).

If you can tear that teaching of Jesus out of the Bible, you might as well throw your Bible away! Yet this dissenter says we must NOT obey that teaching! He says that was all CHANGED, after the crucifixion and resurrection! If it was, the next step is to say the Sabbath was changed, and everything Jesus taught!

This dissenter has ARGUMENTS! Long, voluminous arguments. But this is a plain and simple THUS SAITH THE LORD! Can ARGUMENTS, or twisting and misapplying other Scriptures, knock these Scriptures in the head? Can you call Jesus a false teacher, and yet claim to honor Him?


Did Christ CHANGE It?

This man asks why are no prayers recorded after the four Gospels that are addressed to THE FATHER? The true answer, of course, is that there were! Yet, he argues, "The simple explanation is that Jesus Christ authorized a change in the manner of prayer He had taught, just before He was crucified. John 16:24: 'Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.' His name was not given for men to call upon until His ministry was completed. When this was finished, He instructed us to ask in His name and from this time, there are no recorded prayers that begin with the words, 'Our Father.' "

That is the crux of his argument! It is based on his assumption that to ask "in Jesus' name" does NOT mean what God's Church teaches — that is, by His authority — by His permission — but to ask Jesus Himself direct.

Now let us look at the Scripture he quotes, and understand it IN ITS CONTEXT. He has put into this Scripture an exact opposite meaning from its plain and simple meaning, when we read it all. He quoted only the PART of it he could twist and misapply! What was Jesus saying?

Read it ALL:

Jesus was telling His disciples, the night of His last Passover, just before He was seized to be crucified: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. . . . Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth. . . . A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go unto the Father . . . Verily, verily I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy . . . but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the FATHER in my name, HE will give it you. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:7, 13, 20, 22-24)

NOTICE IT! Jesus' disciples had been with Him almost day and night for three and a half years. During that time they had asked HIM, direct, many things. Was that asking "in His name?" He said that up until then they had asked NOTHING in His name. But you can find countless Scriptures recording instances when they asked HIM, DIRECT, many things.


Asking Jesus DIRECT

Notice just a few examples of how, prior to this time, Jesus' disciples had asked HIM, direct, many things:

"And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must come first? And Jesus answered and said unto them . . ." (Mat. 17:10) But this was not asking IN HIS NAME, because later, Jesus said: "Hitherto ye have asked no thing in my name" (John 16:24). So when "His disciples asked Him," they were not asking "in His name."

"And when He was entered into the house from the people, His disciples asked Him . . ." (Mark 7:17). Asking "in His name" did not mean asking HIM direct here, because they did ask Him, but they had not, as yet, asked "in His name!"

"And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here . . ." (Mark 9:5). Peter addressed Christ direct — but speaking to Him direct was NOT speaking in His name!

"And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately," (Mark 9:28). But they did not ask "in His name."

"And in the house His disciples asked Him again . . ." (Mark 10:10). Asking Him direct was not "asking in His name."

"Peter and James and John and An-drew asked Him privately . . ." (Mark 13:3). But they did not asking "in His name."

Asking HIM, then — praying to, or speaking to HIM, is NOT "asking in His name!" For plainly, Jesus said in John 16:24, that all these many times they had asked things of HIM, direct, in person, was NOT asking 'in His name!" "Hitherto," He said, "ye have asked nothing in my name."

Now Jesus had, previously, instructed them to address their prayers to THE FATHER, as I have shown above. But He had not, previously, instructed them to ask in His name, or by HIS AUTHORITY, or as having power of attorney to ask FOR Him, in His place. But now He did authorize them to ask in His name.

And OF WHOM did He instruct them to ask in His name?

"Whatsoever ye shall ask THE FATHER in my name, HE will give it you," instructed Jesus (Verse 23).


Did he not know verse 23 was there? Did he omit it purposely?

In this Scripture — Jesus' parting Message to His disciples before His crucifixion, HE DID NOT CHANGE His previous command to pray to THE FATHER. He REPEATED IT!

But now He gave them authority to ask in His name. There is POWER in the name of Christ! His name carries AUTHORITY. He assured them that when they prayed to THE FATHER, by this AUTHORITY of His NAME, the Father would give them what they asked!

Notice further! Did Jesus say here, "Do not pray any longer to THE FATHER — but from now on pray only to ME direct? No!! Just the opposite! He said — NOTE IT — "In that day" — after His resurrection — after He has gone from them, and to the Father's throne in heaven — "ye shall ask ME nothing!"

Until then, they had asked Him many things continually. But now — in OUR DAY TODAY — He said to ask HIM NOTHING, but to ask THE FATHER, in His name!

The words in His name do not tell us WHOM to ask. They tell us HOW to ask — that is, by Christ's authority. Jesus told WHO to ask. He commanded "Ask the FATHER!"


Christ's Command to US

This accuser states, falsely: "Jesus Christ authorized a change in the manner of prayer He had taught, just before He was crucified."

He quoted — or rather misquoted John 16:24. It is shown above, so plainly a little child can see, that Jesus did not authorize any change but rather confirmed what He had taught, now merely adding authority to ask IN His NAME.

EVERYTHING Jesus taught and commanded His disciples is a teaching and command for us today!

AFTER His resurrection, just before ascending to heaven, Jesus' last spoken COMMAND was: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in (to) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I have commanded you." (Mat. 28:19- 20)

Jesus had taught and commanded THEM to pray to the Father. He had authorized them to address the FATHER in His name. Now, just before parting from them in Person, He commanded them to go into all the world — teaching those whom they baptized to observe ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER He had commanded them. He had commanded them to address their prayers to THE FATHER. So now they were to teach all converts, likewise, to pray to God the Father.


Meaning of "in Jesus' Name"

This man argues that the words "in Jesus' name" — or, as Christ Himself instructed us, in praying to the Father, to do it "in my name" — does not mean by His authority — by His instruction or permission — but, rather, he argues that to ask "in Jesus' name" is TO ASK JESUS HIMSELF DIRECTLY.

Now let us look at a few Scriptures and see how ridiculous this contention is.

Notice Jeremiah 14:14: "Then the LORD said unto me, the prophets prophesy lies in my name: . . ." If "in my name" means "ask ME," then these false prophets were prophesying LIES direct to the LORD! Were these false prophets preaching their lies to the Eternal, trying to mislead and deceive HIM? How foolish! He says, same verse: ". . . they prophesy unto YOU a false vision." They were addressing, NOT the Eternal, but the PEOPLE. But HOW? "IN CHRIST'S NAME" — for He is the "LORD" spoken of in this verse. Of course they claimed to preach BY His AUTHORITY, but they were lying. He had not sent them. The very fact that the context shows The ETERNAL (Christ) had not sent them, and that they were LYING when they claimed to be speaking "IN HIS NAME" shows definitely and positively and finally that they CLAIMED to speak by HIs AUTHORITY — only they were lying. "In my name," here, then, means "BY MY AUTHORITY!" Consider the 23d chapter of Jeremiah.

It pronounces woes on the false preachers. It is a prophecy for OUR DAY, NOW! The Eternal tells us, verse 16, not to listen to the preachers who flatter their congregations, to inflate their congregations' vanity, speaking their own ideas, but NOT the Word of the Eternal. Yet they CLAIMED to be representing Christ.

"They say . . . The Eternal hath said . . ." — that is, that they are sent BY Christ, as His representative, with His words, and therefore by His authority. But God says (verse 16) : ". . . they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Eternal." They were lying about representing Christ — speaking FOR Him — by His authority.

"I have NOT sent these prophets," (preachers) , says Christ (Verse 21). Yet they CLAIMED to speak BY His AUTHORITY: "I have heard what the prophets said," says the Eternal (verse 25), "that prophesy LIES in my name."

Here again, "in my name" means "as my authorized representative," or "by my authority." If it means, as this deceived couple argue, "prophesy to or address ME direct," then you read into it the ridiculously foolish meaning of these false preachers preaching lies TO CHRIST DIRECT — but NOT to the people!

Notice Jeremiah 26:9: "Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying . . ." Jeremiah was not prophesying TO THE LORD DIRECT. He was not speaking TO CHRIST. Christ (The Eternal) had spoken to him, and Jeremiah had spoken Christ's words, as CHRIST AUTHORIZED, to the people! Here, so plainly all can see, "in the name of the LORD" means by the LORD'S authority — by His permission — by His command. It does not mean TO the LORD. Jeremiah spoke TO the people.

Need we go further?

Jeremiah continued to warn these people: ". . . for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears. Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken TO us in the name of the LORD our God." (Verses 15-16)

Jeremiah did not speak TO the Eternal — he spoke TO the people. But the Eternal sent him. The Eternal authorized him to address his speech to the people, and speaking by this authority is plainly designated as speaking to them "in the name of the LORD." Speaking "in His name" is NOT speaking TO Christ — but BY HIS AUTHORITY!

Remember the disciples had addressed many questions to Jesus direct. Yet He said, "Hitherto have ye asked NOTHING in my name." (John 16:24) Hitherto they had asked Him, direct, on their OWN initiative — NOT by Jesus' direction or authority — but by their own. But, after He left them and ascended to heaven, "ye shall ask ME nothing. . . . Whatsoever ye shall ask THE FATHER in my name, HE will give it you." (Verse 23) He was here and now AUTHORIZING them to ask in His name, but commanding them to address their prayer to THE FATHER.

Nothing could be plainer.