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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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Hints on Studying the Name





In 1869, one hundred years ago this year, Phanerosis was first published in book form. The subject matter originally appeared as a series of articles in The Herald Of The Kingdom for 1857-1859, edited and published by Dr. Thomas. They were ultimately reproduced in pamphlet form in Birmingham, England, under the title Phanerosis. Since then, various editions have appeared, though for some time now, this work has been out of print.

The present publishers feel that they are performing a valuable service to the Brotherhood by producing this further edition of Phanerosis. Other works have appeared from time to time, largely based upon matter supplied in the writings of Dr. Thomas, but we feel that the Brotherhood will welcome the opportunity of reading the Doctor's exposition of this grand and lofty subject.

In preparing this Edition, opportunity has been taken to supplement the original text with footnotes wherever it has been considered expedient. In addition, an Index of the main titles of the Deity as found in the Scriptures has been included to enable the student to follow the subject more closely.

Phanerosis has been attacked by some, but we believe that the criticism has been unwarranted. In The Christadelphian for 1881, the late J. W. Thirtle, who had considerable knowledge of the original text of Scripture, wrote:

"Both in 'Eureka' and 'Phanerosis' Dr. Thomas wrote much about the name 'Yahweh.' To study the word aright, introduces us to the subject of God-manifestation, the Scripture teaching concerning which many have misunderstood. Some people, with nothing better than a vague notion as to what Dr. Thomas's writings on this subject really amount to, have adjudged him in error on some points; and most frequently a little examination has shown that the points of difference have involved a difficult criticism or an investigation of matters beyond the compass of those who have not seen their way to be content with dealing with things which are within their reach. Others, however, convinced of the impregnability of Dr. Thomas's position, have been thankful for the plainly expressed results of his labour and study, and grateful for the light he shed upon the doctrine of God-manifestation in its many revealed phases; and this, notwithstanding their individual inability to follow him in every stage of his reasoning, owing to their own lack of the qualifications necessary to support them in an adventure on the field of Biblical criticism . . . It will be patent to any reader of Dr. Thomas's works that he did not find his problems ready worked out, neither were the difficulties he encountered already solved and only waiting to be 're-hashed up.' It is also clear to anyone having only a slight acquaintance with current and recent literature on the subjects dealt with by the Doctor, that hard study and careful investigation were required before he could, in the lucid way he did, 'open up the Scriptures' to enquirers after the way of life. Bringing to bear upon the subject of God-manifestation, a knowledge of the revealed purpose of the Deity, he was well equipped for his task of examining both the Old and New Testaments."


There is no more important theme in Scripture than that of God-manifestation. In fact, the two basic doctrines of the Bible


comprise: (a) -- The nature of flesh; and (b) -- God manifestation. The former teaches us what we are, and what we must guard against; the latter outlines what we can become, and what we must aim for. In the Herald Of The Kingdom for 1858, pp. 84-85, Dr. Thomas wrote:

"Men were not ushered into being for the purpose of being saved or lost! God manifestation not human salvation was the great purpose of the Eternal Spirit. The salvation of a multitude is incidental to the manifestation, but was not the end proposed. The Eternal Spirit intended to enthrone Himself on the earth, and in so doing, to develop a Divine family from among men, every one of whom shall be Spirit, because born of the Spirit, and that this family shall be large enough to fill the earth, when perfected, to the entire exclusion of flesh and blood (1 Cor. 15:28)."


World events, particularly those associated with the revival of Israel, and the increasing interest of Russia in Europe and the Middle East, indicate that the time is not far distant when the prophetic import of the Memorial Name will be apocalypsed in the earth. Then will the words of Jeremiah 16:21 have their fulfilment: "I will cause them to know Mine hand and My might: and they shall know that My name is Yahweh."

Meanwhile, God is "taking out of the Gentiles a people for His name" (Acts 15: 14). As a people called out of their contemporaries for such a purpose, those who constitute the true Ecclesia of God should manifest an interest in the Name which has been named upon them (John 17:26), and thus learn to be able to pray with greater meaning and intensity: "Hallowed be Thy name."

That Name is described as a strong tower (Prov. 18:10), a protection (Ps. 124:8), a heritage (Ps. 61:5,8), a source of confidence (Ps. 9:10); a means of elevation (Ps. 91:14). We are told to despise not the Name (Mal. 1: 6); but to exalt (Ps. 34: 3-4), extol (Ps. 68:4), remember (Ps. 20:7), fear (Ps. 86:11-12), praise (Ps. 113:1-3), love (Isa. 56:6), bless (Ps. 11:4), know (Isa. 52:6), publish (Deut. 32:3; Isa. 12:4), sing (Ps. 61:8), and pray (Ps. 140:13) in regard to the Name.

Malachi declared:

"They that feared Yahweh spoke often one to another: and Yahweh hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared Yahweh, and that thought upon His Name. And they shall be mine, saith Yahweh of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him" (Mal. 3:16-17).


These words of the prophet surely emphasise the importance of the subject that engages our attention, and should provide sufficient encouragement to cause the student of the Word to refuse to hearken to those who would "despise the name" (Mal. 1:6) by deprecating the consideration of this important theme. It will enable us with understanding to fulfil the exhortation of Psalm 68:4: "Extol him . . . by His name Yah."

H. P. Mansfield