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New Names

The New Name Written on a Stone

 

 

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17

 

 

In biblical times, names were more than labels; they made statements about character. Many names in the Bible changed as the person's character changed. For example: Naomi said her name should be changed from Naomi, which meant “pleasant,” to Mara, which meant “bitter,” after the death of her husband and two sons.

 

Even though the word baal meant “lord” or “god” in general, many names were changed to avoid confusion with the name of a pagan god called Baal. Mephibosheth's name was originally Merib-baal (1 Chronicles. 8:34; 9:40) meaning “a contender with Baal.” The new name meant “exterminator of shame.”

 

Other significant name changes included Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. When these men were exiled to Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar tried to assimilate them into the new culture by forbidding them to practice their religion or culture and by replacing their Israelite names. He changed their names linked with God to names linked with Babylonian deities. Daniel's name which meant “God (El) is my Judge” was changed to Belteshazzar, “O Lady [wife of the god Bel], protect the king!” The others you probably know by their Babylonian names: Shadrach “I am very fearful [of God-not El],” Meshach “Who is like Aku [the moon god]?” and Abednego “servant of the shining one [Nebo].”

 

When I first read Revelation 2:17, I tried to imagine what my new name might be, the name that only I will know. Whatever it turns out to be, I am confident that it will symbolize the intimate, loving relationship I will have with my King for eternity.

 

DIG DEEPER:

 

  • Read Genesis 2:2. Adam's name means “ruddy” or “to show blood in the face,” that is, “to flush.” Some Bible scholars believe God gave Adam this name because of the red soil from which he was made. But I think the other definition is more appropriate for the man who brought sin and death into the world! What do you think?
  • What name did Adam give his new bride and what does it mean? 
  • Read Revelation 3:12. Who is the receiver of the most significant name change? What do you think His new name will be?
  • Do you know what your name means? Can you imagine what new name you'll receive in heaven?
Nancy J. Baker

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