Summary: A review of the Bible reveals there are over 350 names used to identify Jesus. Why are there so many different names and titles for Jesus? What is the importance of these various names?
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Over the last few years I took it upon myself to explore the genealogy of my family. I focused first on my Mother’s side of the family since she primarily of Northern European stock. My Father’s side of the family is principally from Mexico and would be much more problematic in tracing ancestry since most of that information is found only in family Bibles and going to the individual villages and visiting the local church and graveyards.
My sister thought it was a great idea and so she decided to tackle our Father’s ancestral tree. In addition she had been in contact with one of our cousins who regular goes to Mexico and visits our relatives that still live there. Plus, he had already started tracing the family history.
In doing my genealogy I became quite fascinated with the names of many of my ancestors, not to mention the various European countries they hailed from. Of course, being a person who loves history it was also very interesting to see how some of my ancestors were involved in situations that I had read about while studying for my degree in history.
When my wife was teaching she specialized in Language Arts, which deals with reading, spelling and grammar. I took advantage of her knowledge to review my thesis for my Graduate Degree. From her I learned there was a school of study called etymology which is determining the origin of a word by looking at its root word. That means if the word is Arabic or Russian in origin.
While doing my families genealogy learned there is a school of study called onomastics which specializes in the study of names and what they mean or what purpose they serve.I also discovered that there was a lot of superstition in ancient times about a persons name. Some societies believed that a person must have two names; one that they tell everyone and one they keep secret holding onto it deep in their soul and is their true name. They believed that if someone discovered your true name and spoke it out loud to you they will then control you.
In reviewing the names of my ancestors I noted that some of the names were very descriptive while others did not seem to make sense. Fortunately, the computer is a very handy device and I could plug a name into the computer and it would quickly inform me what the name meant. For example, my first name is Norbert (or Norberto, which is the Hispanic pronunciation). I am named after my father who at the time of my birth was overseas fighting in Korea. When my Father received the telegram of my birth he was quite ecstatic. Naturally, he proudly informed his buddies of my birth. The telegram did not state what my name was, so they all sat down and decided it would be there task to name me. After much deliberation they chose the name George.
Fortunately, by the time my Father sent a telegram back to my Mother, her and I had already checked out of the Army Hospital where I was born and the birth certificate with the name my Mother chose already registered with the state! I am not overly fond of the name of George, I hope I am not offending anyone here that is named George. I kind of like the name I have since it is rather unique.
The origin of name Norbert is from ancient German and means “bright north.” So how does a Hispanic boy end up with a German name? Historically, Spain was overrun by the barbarians called Vandals shortly before the western Roman Empire collapsed around 476 AD. The Vandals were a Germanic tribe and they ruled Spain for nearly three hundred years the Moslem tribe of the Umayads conquered over half of Spain and ruled it for nearly 700 years.
My middle name is Ricky, which is the diminutive form of Richard. It too is an ancient German word meaning strong. Now, while I am tickled to know that I have a name that means I am strong unfortunately, according to family legend my Mother was a big fan of the I Love Lucy show and named me after Lucy’s husband Ricky Ricardo.
My last name Garcia is of Basque descent. It means young ruler of the spear. The Basques lived primarily during the days of the Vandal invasion and continue today to live in and around the Pyrenees Mountains that border France and Spain.
Now in my case, none of my names describe what my ancestors did, or at least on the surface they don’t. Reviewing the genealogy of my Mother’s family as well as my Father’s does reveal that I come from a family of warriors. You might say it was inevitable that I ended up in the military, though truth be told I was actually drafted.