Summary: The Bible records 4 specific places where God changed the names of individuals. We have been given the name "Christian". Like Abraham, Israel,Peter & Paul, our new name bears a responsibility to live up to that name.
“A Changed Name”
INTRODUCTION: Revelation 2:17 – all turn
A name is something to be proud of. I’m proud of the name “Scott”. It was such a great name, that they named a country after us … “Scotland”!
I’ve had some strange sounding names in my congregations … Bebermeyer, Dudenhofer, Simansky, Leinonen. Some famous people even change their names (see Almanac).
Some preachers have good preaching names … Dr. Gordon Cross, Rev. Wayne Jacobs, Dr. David Jeremiah.
I’m not always going to have the same name I have now – Rev. 2:17. Someday I’ll have a new body … and a new name to fit that glorified body. 2 Cor. 5:17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We will even have a NEW NAME!
I don’t know what my NEW NAME will be … Have you ever wondered? Maybe it will be a name to match our character. How about “Daq” … the Hebrew word for “thin”! OR … “Trichinos” … the Greek word for “hairy”! OR … “Kalos” … the Greek word for “beautiful”!
I think our NEW NAME will reflect our POSITION as a Child of God. When a child gets ADOPTED, they get a new name. When we get to Heaven, our ADOPTION will be complete (Romans 8:23), and we will get a NEW NAME.
MEANWHILE, God has given us a NEW NAME to tide us over. Acts 11:26 – “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” When they were first called “Christians”, it wasn’t said in a very nice way. It was meant to CONDEMN and DEGRADE … a name of scorn and ridicule … said with a sneer. It means “a follower of Christ” … the criminal … the executed One … the blasphemer … the imposter! Today, it would be like being called a “Judas” … a “Osama Ben Laden”.
HOWEVER … the followers of Christ were PROUD of that name and title. They later adopted it for themselves. They began to call THEMSELVES “Christians” … with PRIDE. It’s a title, a name, given to US when we’re saved.
On several occasions, God CHANGED the names of certain select people. There was a REASON, and a LESSON for us in doing so. God wants US to see that we need to CLAIM the name that He has given us … “Christian”. Are you PROUD to be called a “Christian”? Do you live up to that name?
It was a CUSTOM to change the name of a person when a great event occurred in their life. The King of Egypt changed Joseph’s name to Zaphnath-Paaneah. Nebuchadnezzar changed Daniel’s name to Belteshazaar. Hananah, Mishael & Azariah’s names were changed to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Each name had a particular meaning when it was changed.
When GOD changed a name, He had a reason. He wanted them to live up to their new name … just as He wants US to live up to OUR new name … “Christian”.
We see 4 EXAMPLES in the Bible where GOD changed a person’s name:
1.- A CHANGE OF FAITH – Genesis 17:1-5, 15-16 – all turn.
It seems like Abram & Sarai were MISNAMED from the very beginning. ABRAM = ‘exalted father’ (he had no children) … SARAI = ‘my princess’ (she had no heirs). They had no children … he was 99 … she was 89 … there was no human possibility!