Truth, Understanding, Insight

Names Divinely Appointed

12th June 2004, hej,seh,mgh


4) The Significance of Names Today

In our workaday world we observe names on billboards, buildings and vehicles. The names are significant as they promote the name, the product and the company. Companies, businesses, shops and individuals spend large amounts of money advertising and promoting their names and thereby their product or service. This is the usual commercial procedure, whether CBA, NRMA or the Salvation Army. The names have meaning, significance and purpose. As has already been mentioned, Abram in Genesis 17: 5 and Sara in Genesis 17: 15 both had their names changed because it was God's will. The names that they were given are very significant and important in the Divine plan. Abraham means father of a multitude and Sarah, the partner of a mighty one (eg. prince and princess).

Israel Rejected Their God for Other Gods

Divinely appointed human names are important. It is interesting to note that in Jeremiah 19: 6 there is a change of place name from a place of worship to a place of slaughter.

“ The days come,” says the LORD, “that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor the Valley of the son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.”

The prophet explains why this will occur.

“ I will bring evil upon this place ... because they have forsaken me ... and have burnt incense in it to other gods ... and they have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not.” (Jeremiah 19: 3-5)

Israel had been led astray in the worship of many gods. The name of the god Baal which the people had turned to has the meaning of Lord, master or owner. Jeremiah explains that because of their false teachers and their complacency, the people of Israel had forgotten their God and turned to other so-called gods. False teachers

“ think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.” (Jeremiah 23: 27)

The people had rejected the LORD (Yahweh) for the Lord (Baal).

There are some forty gods named in the Bible and the name of the god is significant as it identifies the role of that god, such as Diana, Bel, Beelzebub, Dagon, Jupiter etc. The ancient world worshipped many gods as Paul's experience on Mars Hill demonstrated. The people worshipped those gods because they believed that those gods did certain things for them, such as providing good seasons, wine, victory, prosperity etc. The nations of the ancient world were identifiable by the gods that they worshipped.