“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” – Revelation 3:12
It’s always fun when new parents are searching for names for their expectant child. Friends and family usually join in and give their favorite picks. People want to find a name that has a significant meaning for their child or they already have names in mind that are sentimental to them or family names. It’s an important part of a person’s identity. In the Bible, names were very important because they were oftentimes specifically tied to a person’s character, a specific situation, or a person’s destiny. This fact is represented in God choosing to change the names of several people.
Abram’s name, meaning The Father is Exalted, was changed to Abraham, which means Father of a Multitude. God changed Abraham’s name from Abram when He made a covenant with him and promised to make him the father of many nations (Genesis 17: 1-14). God also changed the name of Abraham’s wife, Sarai, to Sarah – which means Princess (Gen. 17:15). The promise for Abraham was given to Sarah as well.
Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, also had a new name given to him (Gen. 32: 24-28). His name meant He Grasps the Heel (Gen. 25:26); however, after he fought with the angel of God and asked for a blessing, he was given the new name of Israel – meaning, He Struggled with God.
Jesus, also, granted new names to those who followed Him. Simon was given the new name Peter (in Greek, petros), which means a specific rock or stone, when he proclaimed the hard solid truth (petra in Greek) that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Saul, who persecuted the church before he converted and obeyed the gospel, had a new name given to him – Paul (Acts 9:1-5; 13:9). He went on to become an apostle and he wrote nearly half of the New Testament.
It’s interesting to note that everyone who received a new name from the Lord did so at a pivotal point in their lives. It was during the making of a covenant, the promise of a blessing, the profession of their faith, or their repentance and obedience to the gospel. God gave a new name to those who demonstrated their faith in Him and in His promises. I don’t think any of them had a problem with that or would dare say to the Lord, “I want my name back.” Their new name signified a new path that God had paved for them, His faithfulness to them, and their faith in Him.
The Lord has made it possible for us to have a new name, as well. Once we put off the old sinful man and put on the new man in the Lord, God stamps on us the name of Christ (Col. 3:1-10; Acts 11:26). That’s a name that’s more precious than any riches and more favorable than any silver or gold, because Jesus’ name has been made higher than any other.
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” – Philippians 2:8-10
I’m so glad to bear the name of Christ. You can have a new name, too. All it takes is an obedient faith in Jesus (Rom. 10:9), confession (Matt. 10:32-33), repentance (Acts 2:38), water baptism (1 Pet. 3:21), and faithful living to the Lord (Rev. 2:10). Then, you’ll be a disciple of Jesus – a Christian, nothing more and nothing less. Has your name been changed?
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1
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