What is in a Name?

Is it just me or are there some unusual names today? I spent my first career in education and there were always names I could not begin to pronounce. I often wondered where those names came from. But there are also some names that stand the test of time. In fact, some very traditional names are gaining popularity today. I am always thankful to see children named for Biblical characters. Those names will never go out of style!

There is something about a name. I am sure you have researched your name to find the meaning.

In the Old Testament, one of my favorite verses is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Here scripture records GOD saying “If My people who are called by My Name…”

To examine the various names given to GOD is a profitable study. When Moses asked GOD what was His Name in Exodus 3:13, GOD replied “I AM”.

Let us consider the Hebrew name for GOD, EL. The first verse of the Bible uses the plural, Eloihim, giving us immediate insight into the Godhead. This plural form of the Name along with verse 26 of Genesis 1 introduces us to the 3 members of the Godhead.

“If My people who are called by My Name…” Have you considered that in Old Testament times, GOD’S people were called by His Name? GOD’S people were referred to as the children of Israel. In Genesis 32:28 Jacob’s name was changed to Israel which literally meant “wrestles with or triumphant with GOD.”

The name Israel ends in EL, thus denoting the name of GOD. Consider other names ending in EL and their corresponding meaning:
Michael – Who is like GOD?
Daniel – GOD is my Judge
Samuel – GOD heard
Gabriel – GOD is my Strength

Incidentally, Jacob named the place in Genesis 32, Peniel and reasoned “For I have seen GOD face to face.”

Let us make another observation with respect to names. The second letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the letter Beth. This letter’s name means house. It is very common for us to see the name Bethel. Close examination of Beth-El reveals the meaning to be “house of GOD.”

EL is a Hebrew name for GOD. So in Old Testament times when we read of GOD’S people being called the children of Israel we now know that in one sense they were being called by His Name.

Now let us change our thoughts somewhat and consider another name.

Isaiah 62:2 reads “You shall be called by a new name which the mouth of GOD will name.” Isaiah prophesied there would be a new name for GOD’S people. And he further prophesied the new name would come directly from the mouth of GOD.

In Acts 11:26 we read that the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Note just as the children of Israel wore the name of GOD (EL), so also the New Testament followers of GOD, Christians, wear His Name (Christ).

Now there is an interesting lesson in the original Greek language found in Acts 11:26. The term translated “were called” comes from the Greek word Chrematizo. This word carries with it the meaning to be divinely instructed or commanded. Now note, Isaiah prophesied the new name would come from the mouth of GOD. And that is precisely what we find in the Greek translation, they were divinely called Christians.

This new name of Christian was not a name given by man. No, this name came from GOD Almighty in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy.

What is in a name? The name of Christ is your only means of salvation according to Acts 4:12.
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

If you wear the name Christian, there is a lot involved in that name. Wear It proudly!

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