MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Location: file:///C:/CC77CAA4/6.CallingontheLord.htm Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" To Call on the Lord (Jesus Christ)

Calling on in the New Testament

Return Home


Return to New Testame= nt Phrases



I. Calling on the Name of the Lo= rd and The Idiom Meaning To Appeal

II. To Literally Call Upo= n in the New Testament

III. Keys to the Study of the Di= fficult Verses

IV. The Difficult Verses

A. Romans 10:9-14

B. = Acts 22:16

C. = II Timothy 2:19

The Listing of Uses for epikaleo kurios

I. Epikaleo Kurios: the legal idiom: “appealing to the Lord”<= /span>

II. Epikaleo Kurios: the Eastern Id= iom of Substitution of Authority for Name

III. To literally call on, or invoke, the name of the LORD=

A. Old Testament Uses with Jehovah

B. Of= Jesus Christ via a revelation vision




In the New Testament, whe= n the Greek verb, epikaleo, which means to call upon is used in the middle voice, it means, by way of an idiom, to appeal to a higher legal authority. However, when epikaleo is not being used idiomatically, a= s in II Corinthians 1:23 below, epikaleo in the middle voice simply means= to invoke.


I. Calling on the Name of the Lord and the Idiom of Appeal

The New Testament phrase “calling on the name o= f the lord (Jesus Christ)” derives its meaning from an Eastern biblical idi= om in which one’s name is equated with that person’s authority. Go= ing hand in hand with the use of this Eastern idiom, is a Greek legal idiom that means, biblically, the exact same thing. These two idioms are most easily studied together because they are used together in the New Testament to rev= eal the lifestyle of a believer. Recognizing each idiom’s distinctive form allows students of God’s word to separate the uses of “calling = on the name of Jehovah” from “calling on the name of the Lord.R= 21;


Below are the five New Testament uses in Acts 25 and = 26 that set the meaning of the ancient Greek legal idiom that means to appeal = for judgment to a higher court. In 25:11 P= aul, realizing Festus is an unreliable judge, claims his legal rights as a Roman citizen:

For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing w= orthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal (<= i>epikaleo: indicative, present, middle; literally “calling upon”) unto Caesar.

Paul does not give Festus another chance to pass judgment; = he appeals directly to Caesar. Acts 25:12 is the result of this legal appeal to Caesar:

Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed (epikaleo: indicative, perfect, middle) unto Cae= sar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.

The New Testament uses of epikaleo that are pa= rt of a legal idiom of ancient Greece and Rome can be difficult for modern readers to understand. Unless we are very familiar with Greek and Roman legalities, it is hard for modern readers to envision appea= ling to some one without actually talking to that person face to face. However, = that is exactly what is happening in Acts 25 and 26; Paul is using his authority= as a Roman citizen to appeal his case to Augustus Caesar. Paul did not need to address Caesar directly. He simply called upon him in the lower court, and = his case was appealed to the higher jurisdiction of Caesar’s court. He si= mply invoked the name of Caesar and his right to the full authority of Caesar ha= d to be granted.

In modern law, an appeal to a higher court begins wit= h the judge of the lower court. If all the elements of the appeal are legal, then= by the law of the lower court, the case changes hands and falls to the jurisdiction of the higher court. In modern law the appeal cannot be made u= ntil the lower court has completed its judgment. However, Paul’s appeal ta= kes place before Festus passes judgment. When we call upon the Lord Jesus Chris= t, we do so by putting ourselves under Christ’s jurisdiction. Just as Pa= ul submitted to and insisted on the earthly lordship of Caesar, believers today are to submit to and insist on the Lordship of Christ in our lives. We fall= on the mercies that belong to his name. We place ourselves under the banner of= his name. We choose his side that he may take ours.

Once again, notice that Paul did not literally call o= ut to Caesar. Paul certainly recogniz= ed that whether or not Caesar literally heard his call had nothing to do with = the success of his appeal. This lack of literal meaning is why the uses of c= all upon, epikaleo, in the middle voice, when meaning to appea= l, are idiomatic.

The irrevocable nature of making such a legal appeal = is shown in Acts 25:21, 25 and in Acts 26:32. In Acts 25:21 and 25 Festus shows himself to be, as Paul knew, quite unreliable:

But when Paul had appealed (epikaleo:= verb participle, aorist, middle) to = be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I mi= ght send him to Caesar.

But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of = death, and that he himself hath appealed to (epikaleo: verb participle, aorist, middle) Aug= ustus, I have determined to send him.

Festus had little intention of releasing Paul. Paul’s appeal did not involve being kept any longer by Festus. Being under guard f= or “many days” (Acts 25:14) was not Paul’s idea at all. Stil= l, Festus can get away with adulterating the truth because an appeal to Caesar= was indeed irrevocable. This is more evident in Acts 26:32:

Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have bee= n set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto (epikaleo:<= /i> verb indicative, pluperfect, middle) Caesar.

Paul’s appeal was legally irrevocable. When men and w= omen appeal to the Lord Jesus Christ, no power in heaven or on earth can interve= ne: not pope, not pastor, not civil government, not even our personal failings.= Our appeal to him is irreversible and undeniable. Spiritually, we must be sent = to him.


The use of this Greek idiom with epikaleo is found in the foundational ep= istle of Romans, in Romans 10:12, to explain the relationship of our savior to the Jews and Gentiles who invoke him:

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Gre= ek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon (<= i>epikaleo: are appealing tomiddle voice, present participle) him.

This is certainly the idiomatic use of epikaleo beca= use those to whom the Lord is rich are not being asked to speak directly to our Lord and Savior. Romans 10:9 tells us exactly what conditions the Bible lays out for all who “call upon him”:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jes= us, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, th= ou shalt be saved.

Therefore the best translation is “for the same lord = over all is rich to all who are appealing to him.” We receive wholeness, c= ompleteness, all the riches of His glory in Christ when we believe, for as Romans 10:10 says:

 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.=

From this moment on our appeal is heard, our court becomes = one higher than the Old Testament law where the verdict is, without Christ, one= of sin and death. However, in the court of eternity, Christ has paid for our g= uilt and we are judged righteous in him. He is indeed rich towards all who appea= l to him.

To appeal to the Lord we are to confess Jesus, the on= e whom God has raised from the dead, as lord. We place ourselves under his dominio= n. We are to rely on the authority that is in his name. Neither Romans 10:9 nor Romans 10:12 is about literally speaking to our Lord. This is the idiomatic Greek use of epikaleo meaning to appeal legally as the Bible applies it to the complete legal reality of our justification in Christ. Go= d’s salvation is the richness that Romans 10:12 speaks about.


Philippians 2:9-11 reveals the position of the Lord t= o whom we have appealed:

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given = him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

And that ever= y tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is= Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Colossians 2:6-7 = teaches that victorious Christian living is to continue to rely on the autho= rity that is in Christ:

As ye have theref= ore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Rooted and built up = in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

When we live by receiving God’s blessing and abundanc= e, we believe to bring to pass His will, not based on our own goodness, but based= on our completeness, our salvation, our wholeness in Christ. This is why every Greek form of epikaleo in the middle voice to mean a believer’s appeal = to the lordship of Christ is, with one exception, in a participle form. While these forms often translate awkwardly into English, it is important to reme= mber that the church epistles are talking about a lifestyle of relying on the authority of Christ. When Paul appealed to Caesar in Acts, he did so only o= nce; however, our new life in Christ is meant to be an ongoing walk of powerful grace.


I Corinthians 1:2 is an example, not of the Greek idi= om of appeal, but of the Eastern idiom of invoking one’s name. The literal meaning of each idiom is the same; both reveal the basics of a believerR= 17;s lifestyle. For instance, I Corinthians 1:2 is also an especially clear exam= ple of the uses epikaleo in the middle voice and a participle form to me= an, to invoke on a continuing basis:

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them th= at are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with (sun- b= ound as one with) all that in every place call upon (epikaleo — middle voice, present participle) the name of Jesus Christ our L= ord, both theirs and ours:

In 1 Corinthians 1:2 all who are members of the church of God, who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, who are called saints are included among all those who in every place live by invoking the name of Jesus Christ. The addition of “the name of” means that this is Eastern idiom in w= hich one’s name equals one’s accomplishments and authority. Believers walking with God live by invoking the authority in the name of Jesus Christ= . We use our power of attorney faithfully.

The Greek idiom and the Eastern idiom express the exa= ct same literal truth: believers recognize, confess, and claim the authority of Jesus Christ as lord. The use of ep= ikaleo in the middle voice and in participle forms for each idiom shows that a believer’s appeal to Christ Jesus as Lord continues by believing in o= ur daily lives. Consider 1 John 1:7 = and 9:

But if we walk in the light, as he [God] is in = [in should be omitted] the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth (present tense) us fr= om all sin.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgiv= e us our sins, and to cleanse us from a= ll unrighteousness.

As we walk the word of God, our sin nature from Adam is set aside, and we have a full sharing relationship with the heavenly Father as citizens in His kingdom.

I Corinthians 12:3 is another example of living on a = daily basis in the lordship of Christ:

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaki= ng by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can (reall= y) say (to men) that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

When we speak by way of the power of the holy spirit within= , when we speak in tongues, we publically declare the lordship of Christ in our li= ves. The ongoing appeal to Christ Jesus our Lord is not to literally call upon h= im or to speak in prayer directly to him. The extent to which we practice the lordship of Christ and recognize our redemption through him is the extent to which we will receive the bounty of heaven in our lives.

Acts 9:14 is a remarkable example of the verb epik= aleo with the Lord’s name as an expression of the lifestyle of a believer:=

And here he hath authority from the chief priests to b= ind all that call on (who are appealing to: participle = present middle accusative masculine plural) thy name.

By a revelation vision the Lord sent Ananias to minister he= aling to Paul in his name. What a tremendous believer Ananias was. He had no doubt that healing would come to pass when he prayed for Saul. His only concern w= as that Paul had authority from the chief priests to imprison all were invoking his name. This meant that if Ananias exercised his power of attorney in Chr= ist by ministering healing to Saul, he’d be identifying himself as one who lives by “calling upon thy name.” Here again, the Greek idiom of appeal is replaced by the more eastern idiom of a equating a person’s name to his authority. Both idioms are biblically equal in sense and both a= re given in participle forms because they express the quality of a believer’s everyday life.

Acts 9:21 again shows that appealing to the name of t= he Lord Jesus Christ is a believer’s way of life:

But all that heard him were amazed, and said; I= s not this he that destroyed them which called on (those appeali= ng to: participle present middle accusative masculine plural) this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

Understanding a believer’s life under the lordship of Christ as an ongoing “calling upon” or appeal to him is even mo= re remarkable in the context of this persecution. If the phrase "calling upon" wasn't used as a description of the daily walk, then the persecu= tors wouldn't have had a clear idea of whom to persecute. Only standing believers living boldly for Christ, like Stephen, could be targeted for persecution. = In the courts of the Pharisees the believer was condemned, but in the courts of heaven the verdict is righteous in Christ, authority in Christ, peace in Christ, and sonship in Christ.




II. To Literally Call Upon in = the New Testament

The verb epikaleo is a compound Greek verb. Its first part is epi, upon, and the second part is kaleo,= to call. The idea of calling upon someone is a little unclear to speakers of modern English. The Latin verb that is used in both the Old and= the New Testament to translate the Hebrew and the Greek is invocare. As = in the Greek, a Latin preposition in (rather than the Greek preposition= upon) is prefixed to the main verb, vocare (to call). Obviously, our Engli= sh word invoke comes from this Latin word. However, the Greek epikal= eo, has other properties, properties that cannot be easily duplicated in Latin.= One of these is that epikaleo in the Greek middle voice translates as “to call upon for oneself,” or “to call in on one’s= own behalf.” Hence, in Acts 25 through 26, the King James Version transla= tes these uses as “to appeal.”

However, when epikaleo is not used idiomatical= ly, as in II Corinthians 1:23 below, epikaleomai in the middle voice simply means to invoke:

Moreover I = call (epikaleo: indicative present middle 1st per= son singular) God for a record upon my sou= l, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.

Notice, however, that a participle form showing an ongoing = action in the Greek, is not used in II Corinthians 1:23. Instead, a = base form that indicates a single completed action is used. Likewise, the Hebrew scripture, Joel 2:32, is given in the New Testament Greek in Acts 2:21 with= epikaleo in the middle voice and an aorist tense:

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on (epikaleo: subjunctive aorist middle 3rd person singular) the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Again, a participle form of the verb is not used because to= call on the name of Jehovah, to invoke Him was a singular action. This is in dir= ect contrast to the idiomatic uses of to appeal with the Lord Jesus Christ. The= se appeals are meant to be a continuing lifestyle.

An exception to this general rule is in the literal, non-idiomatic use of epikaleo with a participle form in Acts 7:59:

And they st= oned Stephen, calling upon (epikaleo: participle present middle) God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

The word God is not in any Greek text and should not= have been added. Stephen, in response to the vision He was granted of the Lord standing for him at the right hand of God to defend God’s people, was= speaking directly to his Lord and Savior. During his ongoing recognition of his Lord, Stephen said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and “lay n= ot this sin to their charge.” To Stephen, the spiritual realities were larger than the facts of this life with which he was surrounded. Hence, his literal calling on the Lord as he was revealed to him was both a singular e= vent and a continuing action.

Did Stephen’s call avail? Acts 8:1 says:

And Saul was cons= enting unto his death.

Saul, who will see the= Lord in the way, convert, and receive the greatest revelation ever given to the chu= rch, the future apostle Paul, was looking on and consenting to Stephen’s murder. Just where would we be today if it had not been for Stephen and his continuing steadfast appeal of not only his, but his enemies’ guilt to the Lord and Savior? Yes, Stephen’s appeal to the Lord availed. It availed greatly for us all.


III. Keys to the Study of the Difficult V= erses

Because epikaleo can mean both to invoke and to appeal, and because the Greek word kurios is used in the New Testament of either Jehovah (the LORD) or the lord (Christ Je= sus) rightly dividing New Testament verses that refer to calling on the Lord, calling on the name of the Lord, and calling on the name of the LORD requir= es special care. Based on where these words and phrases have been used before, there are two markers to look for when studying difficult verses involving = epikaleo and kurios.

The first ma= rker is that while the uses of epikaleo kurios meaning to “invo= ke Jehovah” will always be p= art of a phrase that says, “to call upon the name of the lord,”= the uses of epikaleo kurios for calling on the Lord Jesus Christ may not involve the word name. The Holy Spirit alwa= ys employs a metonymy of the adjunct where the name of the LORD is put = for the LORD Himself and a secondary figure of speech called pleonasm. The pleo= nasm emphasizes the extreme formality of calling on the Covenant God, Jehovah in= the Old Testament. The covenants of the Old Testament were all God’s grac= e, but they, nonetheless, required diligence and they were legally binding.

In contrast, the uses of epikaleo as part of the Greek idiom meaning a formal legal appe= al are don’t use the phrase “the name of.” Paul calls upon Caesar (not “the name of Caesar”). However, the Eastern idiom w= ith epikaleo kurios does include a metonymy of the adjunct. It does include = the words, “the name of.” The two idioms are biblically equal in literal meaning, and both occur with epikaleo in the middle voice.


The second m= arker is the form of the verb epikaleo. When the Greek idiom of appeal is use= d in application to the Christian walk, = epikaleo is found, primarily, in a participle form. This is also true of the Eastern idiom that includes “the name of.” On the other hand, the New Testament uses of “to call on the name of the Jehovah” are foun= d in the aorist tense, in a base form of the verb epikaleo. For instance, both New Testament references to Joel (= Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:17) are in the subjunctive mood, aorist tense, and middle voice. The aorist tense indicates a one time deal. This is because when a covenant was made in the Old Testament, it was final. The uses of “calling on the name of Jehovah” in the Acts and Romans confirm= the complete finality of our redemption when we accept Christ as Lord. Once a m= an or a woman has entered into the New Covenant by invoking the covenant God, Jehovah, he abides with Him forever: from that moment onward He is our Heav= enly Father. Hence, to call upon Jehovah in its New Testament application is alw= ays in the aorist tense showing a singular, one-time event.



IV. The Difficult Verses

The difficult uses of epikaleo kurios a= re hard to understand from the verses themselves. However, a close study of the context and a check for the two markers as tests of our understanding will allow the Word of God to interpret itself.


<= /a>A. Romans 10:9-14=

Romans 10:9-14 contains a series of these difficult v= erses. The entire context flows from the words that the righteousness of believing declares (Romans 10:6) in Romans 10:9-10. The context flows from the absolute power of God’s invitation to all men = and women to enter into salvation. How wonderful is our God! The chiming peals = of our Father’s great invitation to His kingdom continue in Romans 10:11= -13 as the truth of Romans 10:9-10 are restated with references to the great Old Testament promises. Romans 10:11 (and Romans 9:23) is a reference to Christ Jesus the L= ord as the stone rejected of the builders who has become the head of the corner. W= hen we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and believe that God has raised him from the dead, we “believe on him” and will never be ashamed. Now again, Romans 10:12’s declaration rings out so that everyman may understand = what it means to believe on him. In Romans 10:12 is the first use of epikaleo= kurios in its present participle form in the church epistles:

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon (who are appealing to: participle for= m) him. 

The use of this beauti= ful Greek legal terminology to specifically invite the Gentile nations shows the joy God has in offering eternal life to all through Jesus Christ. PeterR= 17;s sermon to the house of Cornelius in Acts 10:36 confirms that the Lordship of Christ is the message of God= to all the nations:

the word that he sent to the sons of Israel, proclaiming good news= -- peace through Jesus Christ (this one is Lord of all,)

In Romans 10:13 = to confess Jesus Christ as Lord and to believe that God has raised him from the dead is not only called “believing on him,” it is not only call= ed “appealing to the Lord,” but it is “to call upon Jehovah”:

For whosoever shall call upon (subjuncti= ve aorist) the name of the Lord (Jehovah) shall be saved. 

This is a quotation from Joel 2:32 where Lord is in = all capital letters in all three occurrences:

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for [because] in mount Zion<= /st1:City> and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LO= RD shall call.

Jehovah is the subject of this verse. Whoever invokes the very essence of Jehovah God will be (in some future time befor= e the wrath) saved because of the deliverance in Zion: God has raised His Son Jesus Chri= st from the dead, and he is now lord of all. The remnant in whom there shall be deliverance is the remnant spoken of in Romans 9:27.

That’s the deliverance in Zion foretold in Joel. Within this cont= ext comes Romans 10:14, the most difficult verse in this section:

How then shall th= ey call on call on = (epikaleosubjunctive aorist midd= le 3rd person plural, appeal to him even once) him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 


The pronoun t= hey refers back to whosoever in Romans 10:13, all in 10:12, wh= osoever in 10:11, man (someone) in 10:10 and you of Romans 10:9. This context is really an alternation between the revelation given to the church= by Paul’s ministry and the support for the truths of the grace administration set out for all to see from the Old Testament


Romans 10:9-10=         &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;           revel= ation given to the church.

Romans 10:11 <= span style=3D'mso-tab-count:1'>        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp; Old Testament reference

      = ;   emphasis: whosoever, Jew or Gentile, believes.


Romans 10:12 <= span style=3D'mso-tab-count:1'>        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp; revelation given to the church (richness of the walk)

Romans 10:13 <= span style=3D'mso-tab-count:1'>        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;            &= nbsp; Old Testament reference

 =         emphasis: whosoever, Jew of Gentile, appeals to the Lordship of Christ will be saved.=


Romans 10:14-1= 5a        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;        revelation given to the church (summons to walk)

Romans 10:15b<= span style=3D'mso-tab-count:1'>        &= nbsp;           &nbs= p;             = Old Testament reference

emphasis: all who are made righteous are blessedly enabled to speak the gospel


This verse is di= fficult because the use of the base form of epikaleo is not like all the other uses of appealing to the Lord. In fact, LORD seems to fit with the underst= anding we have gained of the forms of epik= aleo from where these words have been used before the subjunctive aorist tense agrees with the Greek translation of Joel in the Old Testament and with the= use of epikaleo in Romans 10:12. Yet, the subject of this verse cannot be Jehovah, for the topic is the preaching of the gospel. The alternation in t= his context also shows that this verse is revelation to the church. This section about God’s righteousness begins in Romans 10:5 with preaching and concludes in 10:15 with preaching. After 10:15 the alternating pattern of O= ld Testament references and New Testament realities are reversed. Why then, is= epikaleo kurios not in a participl= e form as it is in every other New Testament occurrence?

The verb, epikaleo, is used in the aorist te= nse in Romans 10:14 to emphasize how badly men and women need to hear the gospel of Christ. The standard for living within the Lordship of Christ is by walking= in the riches of a continuing use of our power of attorney. We are called to b= e living witnesses of the power of God and His righteousness to us in Christ. Howeve= r, no one can appeal to our Lord even = once (hence an aorist form) if they have not believed, if they have not heard, if those who are sent choose to reject God’s invitation. In emphasizing = how, without preaching even the most min= imal believing to salvation is impossible, the Holy Spirit employs a unique use = of to appeal towards (rather than to) our Lord.

This unique refe= rence of epikaleo in an aorist form showing only singular event also includes the preposition eis or unto. The use of epikaleo eis to mean appeal towards or to call towards is found nowhere else in the Greek of either the New Testament or the Old Testament Septuagint. The use of this redundancy “to appeal to towards” emphasizes just how little knowledge of the grace of God a man or woman nee= ds to have to receive the entirety of all God has made available to us in Chri= st. Biblically we are implored to preach because no one can even do this least amount of believing without having been told about Christ Jesus the Lord. From the hu= man standpoint, we are comforted by seeing how vast the grace of God is. Truly = all who will may come.

The additional u= se of eis emphasizes that even if the petitioner does not fully grasp the majesty of = the one to whom he appeals, any genuine effort even “towards appealing to= him” will be received. Those coming to him need not fear red tape of any sort; t= hey will be saved. Just as the rare use of the aorist tense in making the appea= l to Christ emphasizes that without believing in him even the minimum number of appeals is impossible, so also the use of eis emphasizes that even the most minimal requirements for the legal appeal to Christ are not possible without believing.

 The presence of the use of eis also helps in the study of LOR= D and Lord in the New Testament because its use makes impossible a literal readin= g of epikaleo to mean invoking the name of Jehovah.

The alternation = between New Testament revelation given to the Apostle Paul and support from the revelation given of old continues in Romans 10:15. The glad tidings of God’s deliverance in Zio= n is spoken of via the Old Testament records echoed in Isaiah 52:7:

How beautiful upo= n the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Although all the detai= ls of the glad tidings of Jehovah God to His people were not revealed in the Old Testament records, the gospel of deliverance we now share among the nations= had been promised and foretold of old. We are all part of God’s master pl= an in Christ Jesus our Lord, a plan God has executed flawlessly through ages a= nd generations. Since the Septuagint may have been translated from Hebrew scriptures no longer extant, and because of the use of “calling on Him” and believing His “glad tidings” in Romans 10:13-15,= the Septuagint’s reading of Joel 2:32 is valuable:

And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be save= d: for in mount Sion and in Jerus= alem shall the saved one be as the Lord has said, and they that have glad tidings preached to them, whom the Lord has called.

The context of the gospel truths discussed in Romans 10:6-15 fits with the truth of “appealing to the Lord Jesus Christ= 221; and refers to the promised salvation all will receive when they call on the name of the LORD once deliverance has wrought in Zion. To call on the name of the LORD i= s to call on His very essence and to enter into a covenant with Him via sacrific= e. In Zion the deliverance and the sacrifice of the New and Everlasting Covena= nt was given so that today all who call upon the name of the LORD by appealing= to the Lord of all, our Lord Jesus Christ will be saved. To call on him, they = must believe; and to believe, they must hear; and to hear we must speak.


<= span style=3D'font-size:10.0pt;mso-bidi-font-size:12.0pt'>B. Acts 22:16

Another place where studying epikaleo and k= urios takes special attention is when Ananias asks Saul to receive in Acts 22:16. Here, the King James Version seems to use the Old Testament phrase “to call on the name of the LORD”; however, epikaleo is in the subjunctive mood in a participle form.

And now why tarriest (present indicative) = thou? arise (participle aorist), and be baptized (imperative, aorist, middle), and wash (imperative, aorist, middle) away thy sins,= calling on (epikaleomai—aorist middle participle) the na= me of the Lord (his name).

Importantly, all of the critical Greek texts, the Ara= maic text, and the Latin texts all have “calling on his name.” Noting both of the markers, it is plain that this is not a use of “to call on the name of Jehovah.” Additionally, from the context that beg= ins in Acts 22:14, his in 22= :17 refers to “that Just One” who is the Lord Jesus Christ. “Having appealed to his name,” epikaleo, is in the aorist tense becaus= e it agrees with the aorist tense of the Greek verbs for arise, wash and baptize. The aorist tense (similar to the past tense in English)= is part of the syntax of the narrative account. Here is the Youngs Literal Translation of Acts 22:16:

and now, why tarr= iest thou? having risen, baptize thysel= f, and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord.

As Young’s Literal translation shows, the singular us= e of the middle voice means Ananias absolutely did not baptize Paul. However, “thyself” is inaccurate, “be baptized” is correct. Even as Peter instructed men and wome= n in Acts 2:38, Ananias teaches Paul about what he needs to do to be baptized in= the name of Jesus Christ by believing. The “calling upon his name” = is continual, but begins in the past. Murdock’s Aramaic translation catc= hes the flavor:

And now, why dela= yest thou? Arise, be baptized, and be cleansed from thy sins, while thou invokest his name.

These instructions are set apart by the common use of the a= orist tense. Paul must invoke the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In calling on his authority he will be baptized into Christ, washing away his sins. Ananias’ instructions are steps in a process of receiving. Putting these translations together with the Greek verb forms, a clearer modern translation might be:<= /p>

And now, wait not= another second, now that you have arisen, be baptized (to Christ) once and for all,= and be cleansed of your sins, by way of having invoked his name.

Once Paul had invoked Christ’s name, accepted his lordship, his sins would also have been washed away and Paul would have been baptized into all his rights, privileg= es, responsibilities, and inheritance in Christ.


C. II Timothy 2:19


One last difficult sec= tion of scripture in the study of epikaleo kurios is II Timothy 2:16-22. Pa= rt of the difficulty is that the Greek texts of II Timothy 2:19 don’t all agree:

Nevertheless the foundation (themelios) of God standeth s= ure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one th= at nameth the name of Christ (N-A, BYZ, GNT, TIS, WHO, Aramaic a= nd Latin have Lord; SCR, STE, some Aramaic and Latin sources have Ch= rist. LAU has Lord) depart from iniquity.

Many of the critical Greek texts and the Latin texts read Christ while many other Greek text= s and the Aramaic read a second use of Lord.

If “Christ” is the correct text, then the subject of the foundation’s seal is Christ. Therefore, II Timothy 22:= 19 should be understood as:

Nevertheless the foundation (themelios) of God standeth s= ure, having this seal, The Lord (Jesus Christ) knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

With the immediate context of Hymenaeus and Philetus’ vain and profane jangling about a resurrection having passed, the personal concern of our Lord for each one t= hat is his makes sense, especially when 1 Corinthians 15:22-23 is considered:

For as in Adam al= l die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

But every man in = his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

The second part of the seal, then, would fit with Romans 15:20:

Yea, so have I st= rived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:

All believers, wherever Christ is named, should depart from iniquity, especially the kinds of vain jangling addressed in 1 and 2 Timoth= y. Although there is a record where even unbelievers name the name of “J= esus whom Paul preaches (Acts 19:13),” to “name the name of Christ” is to share in the foundation of the church.


However, the pattern of the figures of speech of repe= tition in II Timothy 2:18-19 bear strong witness that the texts that read “n= ame the name of the Lord” are the correct:

Who concerning th= e truth have erred, saying that the (a) resurrection (ana1stasis2) is past already; and overthrow (ana1trepo) the faith of some.

Nevertheless the sure foundation of God standeth (histem= i), having this seal: knoweth The Lord the ones that are his. And, Let every one depart (aphistemi) from iniquity that nameth (onomazo) the name (onoma) of the Lord.<= /span>

1 ana = 211; Strong’s 303

2 stasis from Strong’s 2476 histemi

histemi -= - 2746

aphistemi= – from 575 and 2476


The footnoted Greek words illustrate the Holy Spirit’= s extensive use of repeated root words or paregmenon (Bullinger 304). These special markings ought not to be ignored. The repetition of ana emphasizes that those whose words eat as gangrene have substituted an “up-throwing” from one’s foundation for a “standing up” from among the dead. The repetition of the forms = of histemi emphasizes that as surely = as the foundation of God stands, so surely are we to stand away from iniquity. The= use of the noun forms of “stand” (stasis) in 2:18 is echoed powerfully in 2:19 by the use of the verb forms of “= ;to stand” (histemi). These u= ses emphasize the unity of sense in 2:18-19, for believing the truth means to be built on the firm foundation that is now standing. All such will never be toppled from the firm foundation; they will never be ashamed. Although, the root word for stand is repeated= as a unifying emphasis for all of the leadership epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus), the final use of paregmenon with the root word name (onaoma) empha= sizes that the seal itself is the culminating answer of power to the words of unbelief that have overthrown the faith of some.

This seal itself is like a mirror image. That the Lord knows “the ones” is set in contrast with “each one” that names the Lord. The Lord’s promise of faithfulness to all is cou= pled with each person’s individual responsibility to Him. This mirror imag= e is perfectly emphasized with the Aramaic and Greek texts that read the repetit= ion of the words the Lord. The repe= tition of “the Lord” at the beginning and the end of God’s seal = on the firm foundation is an encircling (epanadiplosis, Bullinger 245) that perfectly frames the seal while highlighting its perfect contrasts. Hence, = all the beautiful figures of repetition are fulfilled in a powerful climax when= the reading of the Aramaic and Greek texts that give two uses of “The Lord” is selected.

When “naming the name of the LORD” occurs= in the Old Testament, it can mean simply to mention or remember the name of the Lord (see Jeremiah 20:9; 23:36; zak= ar #2142). The certainty of the LORD’s knowledge of those that are His is contrasted with the reality that men may mention His name and yet not know = Him at all. This forms the most complete contrast. This then is one reason why = the uses of “the Lord” in II Timothy 2:19 should be understood as Jehovah.

A second reason that both uses of lord refer to Jehov= ah is that the other biblical uses that refer to men receiving seals of glory are= of seals that refer to God or God’s work. For instance, Romans 4:11 spea= ks of the seal Abraham received:

And he received t= he sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet b= eing uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also= :

The sign of the circum= cision came from God, and it was a seal, not of something Abraham would do or say,= but of the righteousness that God reckoned to Abraham (Romans 4:3-9) because Abraham believed. Likewise, in John 3:33 he who receives the witness of the= Son of God receives a seal:

He that hath rece= ived his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

Just as the seals that= men receive from God are about God, so one would expect God’s sure founda= tion received would also be about God or God’s works.


However, the best reasons for understanding both uses= of “the Lord” to mean Jehovah have to do with the biblical truths concerning God’s sure foundation itself. According to 1 Corinthians 3:11, the foundation (themelios) of God for the church is our Lord C= hrist Jesus:

For other foundat= ion can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:20 reveals that in Christ becoming the foundati= on of the church, the Old Testament prophecies of the stone rejected that becomes= the head of the corner are fulfilled:

And are built upon the = foundation (themelios) of (which belongs t= o, or is laid by) the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (akrogoniaios);

The Greek word translated “chief corner stone&#= 8221; is variously defined as a keystone (Newman), or a capstone (Friberg). From Ephesians 2:20 itself one can tell the foundation stone (themelios) is not the capstone or keystone, fo= r we are built upon this stone. This word literally means “top stone.̶= 1; The key stone in a Roman arch, the cap stone, is the uppermost stone in the arch. It is the top stone. That is not the sense here. A prominent use of a keystone in the Roman arch or of a capstone in a domed cathedral, while ancient, post dates the revelation given in Psalms and Isaiah to which Ephesians refers. Certainly, neither architectural style was part of Solomon’s temple. Biblically, the lead stone, the first stone, the “top stone” is the foundation of the temple. All other stones r= ely on and take their standing from the foundation stone, or first stone. Today= the foundations of modern homes are a single block of cement. If this foundatio= n is cracked or damaged in any way, the entire building is in jeopardy. The chur= ch today is build on the solid rock, the chosen foundation stone of God, our r= isen Lord, Christ Jesus.


There are two complementary Old Testament prophecies Ephesians 2:20 declares as fulfilled= in Christ. The first is in Psalm 118:22-23:

The stone which t= he builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.<= /p>

This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

The second is in Isaia= h 28:16:

Therefore thus sa= ith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zio= n for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

The significance of th= e first prophecy is declared in relationship to the parable of the vineyard and the husbandmen who kill the householder’s son. This parable is told in Matthew 21:33-42, in Mark 12:2-11, and in Luke 20:9-18. In Luke 20:18, the = Lord himself reveals this about the head stone of the corner:<= /p>

Whosoever shall f= all upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind = him to powder.

Likewise, the re= velation given in Romans 9:33 connects the foundation stone of Psalm 118 to the consequences of unbelief:

As it is written,= Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 9:33 calls the foundation stone a stumbling stone and a rock of offence, but that’s = not what Isaiah 28:16 says at all! Romans 9:33 and the Lord himself actually combine two scripture records, Isaiah 28:16 and this one from Isaiah 8:14:<= o:p>

And he shall be f= or a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Is= rael, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Here is the reading of= Isaiah 8:14 from the Septuagint:

And if thou shalt= trust in him, he shall be to thee for a sanctuary; and ye shall not come against = him as against a stumbling-stone, neither as against the falling of a rock: but the houses of Jacob are in a snare, and the dwellers in Jerusalem in a pit.

In Isaiah God’s = people were compromising with unbelief. They were seeking confidence in the future through the works and deeds of the five senses. These five senses works wou= ld betray them completely. God exhorts them to put their trust in Him. If they= did so, they would have light and not stumble on God’s very deliverance. = Even in Isaiah 28:16-17 the blessings of believing in God’s foundation and= the consequences of unbelief are explained:

Therefore thus sa= ith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste (be ashamed).

Judgment also wil= l I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

The Lord will measure righteousness and judgment with the tools of the builder: the line and the plummet. One is either upon His sure foundation or one is not. It is= the LORD that made him head of the corner, and it was the LORD that laid in Zion the precious= corner. Hence, as II Timothy 2:19 declares, it is God’s foundation that is st= anding sure.


Allegorically, when we believe on this first stone wh= o is Christ the Lord, we are built on him. We will never be shaken. As Acts 4:11= -12 declares:

This is the stone= which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.<= o:p>

Neither is there sal= vation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

All of this is summari= zed and explained in 1 Peter 2:2-8:

To whom coming, a= s unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.<= /p>

Wherefore also it= is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, ele= ct, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.<= /span>

Unto you therefor= e which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which= the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

And a stone of st= umbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

To the believer, those coming to Christ, he is precious. We= are, by believing, built upon that first stone, the chief stone, and we are part= of the temple of God, the body of Christ which is t= he church. We can offer spiritual sacrifices because we have Christ in us the = hope of glory. We can speak by the spirit, pray by the spirit, and sing by the spirit. However, for those that stumble at God’s word, he is still the sure foundation. Christ is lord. Christ is risen. Christ is coming back. All the unbelief and disobedience in the world cannot change this.


In the Old Testament the truths concerning God’= s sure foundation are given in an allegory, an allegory fully revealed in Christ. = In the New Testament, not only is the allegory completely explained (even as t= he Lord fully explained his parables to his disciples), but the literal truths about the foundation of the church, including its seal, are given plainly. = Acts 10:42 tells how our risen lord carries a two-fold seal; it explains how he has been marked out by God Himself:

And he (Jesus of Nazare= th) commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which = was ordained (horizo: marked out) of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

To him give all t= he prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Our Lord’s name,= his resurrection glory, contains both God’s assurance and His warning. Th= is is the two-fold seal of II Timothy 2:19. The Lord Jesus Christ is marked ou= t, sealed by God, as the agent of judgment. He will judge in accordance with t= he word of God. Likewise, he is marked out for the remission of sins to all who believe. Again, Acts 17:31 plainly testifies of the how our Lord is sealed = as the sure foundation of the church:

Because he (God) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained (horizo: marked out); whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised = him from the dead.

It is through his name= that mankind knows the assurance of salvation. In that He has raised our Lord Je= sus Christ from the dead we have assurance of our salvation through the power of holy spirit, and it is this same self-evident witness of our risen savior t= hat requires the obedience of all nations in Romans 1:3-5:

Concerning his So= n Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh= ;

And declared (horizo: marked out) to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

By whom we have r= eceived grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for hi= s name:

The foundation of the = church is marked out, is sealed, by God. God has declared Jesus Christ our Lord to= be the His son with power. The LORD knows them that are his. This is the assur= ance of salvation all who believe on him have. As Christ is risen, we also are risen. If we died with him, we also shall live with him.<= /p>

We can declare t= his truth all we want, but it is God’s declaration that is the seal of His firm foundation. The LORD promised to lay his firm foundation, rejected of = men but ordained of God, and it is God who has fulfilled His promise. It is the LORD’s doing that is marvelous in our eyes. With the risen Christ als= o comes the guarantee of judgment for the living and the dead. This is why the seal= in II Timothy 2:19 refers to Jehovah who has promised and who has fulfilled His word to all people.

Based on the fou= ndation laid by the LORD, the plummet and the rule shall measure. There will be judgments of both the living and the dead. There will be judgments among th= ose who remain to Christ’s coming, and there will be judgments of rewards= for the church. In all instances, God assures us by the resurrection power of Christ in glory, that there will be judgment. Therefore, the second guarant= ee in the risen Christ is a command and a warning: let everyone who so much as mentions the name of the LORD, stand away from iniquity. Let anyone who remembers the great covenant God who gave His own Son’s blood as the blood of the new and everlasting covenant, shun, stand with their backs aga= inst iniquity. Both those in the household of God and those who are yet without = are warned. Those who are without must receive salvation. Those who are in the household are to stand aside from vain and profane jangling, from doctrines= of legalism, doctrines of devils, from those who say the resurrection is past. These are matters of eternal glory in the family.


In Matthew 27:64-66, the Pharisees desired PilateR= 17;s seal on Christ’s tomb to secure the grave, but Jehovah Elohim El’Shaddai has raised him from the dead, giving His seal to the living Christ, the foundation of the church for all to see. The LORD’s seal = on His foundation is universal in its application to all mankind. II Timothy 2:20-21 explains its application to the church, those who have received Jes= us Christ the Lord. These verses discuss how to receive or fail to receive ete= rnal rewards at the return of Christ.

II Timothy 2:20-= 21 explains the consequences of being a member of the family of God without becoming fully cleansed within:

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gol= d and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

If a man therefore purge (ekkathairo: ek—out; kathairo—cle= ansed from within) himself= from these, (the errors of vain and profane babbling) he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

The honor of being fit for the master’s use is the ho= nor of receiving rewards at the judgment seat of Christ. The Greek word translated= these in 2:21 is plural, so it ref= ers back to the babblings (that were vain and profane) of II Timothy 2:16. By extension, it also refers the word of these babblings in II Timothy 2:17. T= o be a vessel of honor one must be washed out from within. II Timothy 2:22 tell = of those who are thus cleansed:

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, fa= ith, charity, peace, with them that call on (those who are appeali= ng to: participle present middle genitive masculine plural: who are calling on) the Lord out of a pure (katharos) heart.

When we rely on the God’s sure foundation, the risen Lord Jesus Christ as he is revealed = in the rightly divided word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), we can have fellowship = with God Almighty because the blood of His son cleanses us from all unrighteousn= ess. II Timothy 2:22’s use of epik= aleo kurios is not “call on the name of Jehovah” because “= on the name of” does not appear, and it is not “call on the name of Jehovah” because epikaleo= is in a participle form. This is the Greek idiom of appeal. As we live using our legal right of appeal to the Lord, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us fr= om all unrighteousness, and we are fit for the master’s use. It is walki= ng in the love that is shed abroad in our hearts that cleans us from the inside out. Simply not acting on things that are not right is not, alone, the answer.  We can legally appeal= to walk in newness of life, on resurrection ground, because the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

In II Timothy 2:= 22 the Greek word epikaleo is a participle form in the middle voice. It fits with all the other uses of epikaleo and kurios. It refers to a saint living the Lordship of Jesus Christ and living with the verdict of gu= ilt from Adam set aside in the court of our God’s magnificent grace. Call= ing upon the Lord does not mean to pray to the Lord, it means to live with him = as Lord. Appealing in our lives to the Lordship of Christ is to recognize his perfect work for us as our savior; it is to acknowledge God’s perfect work in us through him. It is to stand before God, in the name of Jesus Chr= ist as completely, completely, complete within. It is to acknowledge that throu= gh the faith of Jesus Christ we have been made the righteousness of God.<= /o:p>



The U= ses of epikaleo kurios


I. Epikaleo Kurios: the Greek legal idiom of appeal; “appealing to the Lord”

<= o:p> 

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and= the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon (verb participle present middle accusat= ive masculine plural) him.


Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on (= appeal to towards – with eis: verb subjunctive aorist middle 3rd = person plural) him (the Lord Jesus Christ) in whom they have not believed? = and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall th= ey hear without a preacher?


2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on = (= participle present middle genitive masculine plural) the Lord out of a pure heart.


II. Epikaleo Kurios: the Eastern Idiom of Substitution of Authority for Name


1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the churc= h of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place <= i>call upon (participle present midd= le dative masculine plural) the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both the= irs and ours:

<= o:p> 

Acts 9:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests= to bind all that call on (participle present middle accusative masculine plural) thy name.

<= o:p> 

Acts 9:21 But all that heard him were amazed, and sa= id; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on (participle present middle accusat= ive masculine plural) this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, = that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

<= o:p> 

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptize= d, and wash away thy sins, calling on (verb participle aorist mid= dle nominative masculine singular) the name of the Lord.



= III. To literally call on, or invoke:


A= . Old Testament Uses with Jehovah:

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass,= that whosoever shall call on= (verb subjunctive aorist middle) the name of the Lord shall= be saved. <= /p>


Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon (verb subjunctive aorist middle 3rd person singular) the name of the Lord shall be saved.<= /p>


B. Of Jesus Christ via= a revelation vision:

Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon (verb participle present middle accusative masculine singular) God, = and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.


C. Other uses

II Corinthians 1:23 Mo= reover I call (epikaleo: indicative present middle 1st person singular) Go= d for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.


1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on (epikaleo: indicat= ive present middle) the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth accordin= g to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: