December 18, 2010

What You Are Changes Your Name

Sometimes when people in the Bible have complete changes of heart towards the Lord these inward changes come with a change of identity, literally and figuratively. They are new creations after their encounter with the One True Holy God. They are also outwardly changed by what has taken place internally and they are more or less re-labeled as such. To me it is just a reassertion of what I have always believed about a true Christian or true believer. You cannot have an encounter with God and walk away unchanged. If you did walk away unchanged you should check yourself to make sure you are still breathing and have a pulse because you might be dead either spiritually, physically or brain. There were many in the Bible that change names but I will list only a few. It is important to understand that names were extremely important in this culture as evidenced by the many names for God to describe his attributes and character.

Abraham (read article)and Sarah were previously Abram(Exalted Father) and Sarai. After God makes His covenant with Abram he is renamed. It is a covenant that will eventually lead to the Messiah.

“I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell face down, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations" Genesis 17:1-5

"God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Genesis 17:15

Jacob is dubbed Israel for wrestling/striving with God and demanding a blessing. It is after this event that we see a total change in Jacob from conniving deceptive man to godly example and worthy successor to the promise/covenant made with Abraham.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Genesis 32:28

Solomon was multi-labelled. He had the name Solomon from his earthly parents and he was named Jedidiah by his Heavenly Father because, as it says, the LORD loved him. Personally, if God wanted to name my kid Jedidiah, Jedidiah it would be not Solomon.

Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him; and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah. 2 Samuel 12:24-25

Simon becomes Peter because none other the Lord Himself said so during the gathering of the Apostles into the group of 12 Disciples.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter. John 1:42

In the New Testament in Acts we see the infamous Saul converted a little after his Road to Damascus experience to Paul. Clearly changed from the inside out and one of the better examples of God's mercy and grace. Instead of incinerating Paul, God uses him as one of the most potent advocates for the new Christian faith.

"Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit..." Acts 13:9

Then we have Daniel who allowed his name to be changed by an earthly king to Belteshazzar but refused to change what was inside in terms of his commitment to his God and he was rewarded by God for his obedience to His statutes.

"Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel..." Daniel 1:6-9

We see other changes of names that accompany rather traumatic life changes but these were the ones that came to mind first.

As for God Himself, we see something rather unique. Depending on the prominent attribute or aspect that was being manifested at any given time in the Bible we see that God has a plethora of names. We also see the other persons of the Trinity also have different names depending on the given function of their attribute at any given time. The Holy Spirit at times is the Intercessor, the Comforter and so on. Jesus is referred to as the Messiah, The Anointed One, Emmanuel, etc. The general titles for God are as follows  (I am not a human dictionary so this list is not complete). Please understand these are mainly titles. If I actually gave you every description of the individual persons of the Trinity in the Bible the list would be enormous.

Adonai Lord
El power-preeminence: "the mighty one."
Elohim-(a magisterial plural) 700x god 2300x God.
El Elohe Israel-The God of Israel ~Gen 33:20
El Elyon-Most High ~Gen 14:22
El Olam-Everlasting ~Gen 21:33 ~Ps 90:2 ~Isa 40:28
El Roi-Who Sees ~Gen 16:13
El Shaddai-Near, All-Sufficient ~Gen 17:1-20
Elohim Yish'enu-our savior ~Ps 65:5
Yahweh / Jehovah “tetragrammaton” ~Mic 4:5 "I Am [becoming]" preferred to "lord."
Yhwh Elohim-The Mighty One ~Judg 5:3 ~Isa 17:6
Yhwh El Gemolah-of recompense ~Jer 51:56
Yhwh Maccaddeshem-Sanctifier ~Exod 31:13
Yhwh Nakeh-Who Smites ~Ezek 7:9
Yhwh Nissi-Banner ~Exod 17:15
Yhwh Raah-My Shepherd ~Ps 23:1
Yhwh Roph'ekha-Physician, Healer ~Exod 15:26
Yhwh Sabbaoth-Of Armies, Glory ~Ps 24:10; Isa 6:3
Yhwh Shalom-Peace ~Judg 6:24
Yhwh Shammah-Who Is Present ~Ezek 48:35
Yhwh Tsidkenu-Our Righteousness ~Jer 23:6 33:16
Yhwh Yireh-Will Provide ~Gen 22:8-14

Abba "Papa" ~Mark 14:36; ~Rom 8:15-16
Yeshua Yhwh-(Jesus), Is Salvation (Aramaic) ~Matt 16:13-16

Christos-Christ, Messiah, Anointed One ~John 1:41
Kurios-Lord ~Luke 1:46
Logos-Word, Reason ~John 1:1
Soter-Savior ~Luke 1:47
Theos-God or god ~Luke 1:47
Pater-Father ~Matt 6:9

Annotated Reference:
Marino, Dr. Bruce R. "Theology Proper." A Theology I Enchiridion. Valley Forge Christian College. Cardone Hall, Phoenixville, PA. 19 Sept. 2010. Print. Class lecture/notes. [A thorough, albeit condensed version of lecture hall overhead presentations in coherent and logical outlined format. Some topics appear cryptic in their brevity but are easy enough to figure out if reader observes category, sub-category topic item is within.] Class lecture/notes

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