Summary: Names are of importance in the Bible -- the name of God; the names of people; and the new name given to believers in Jesus.
1. RC Oliver – When my wife and I attended Freed-Hardeman College (now University), one of our teachers gave a chapel talk about the importance of names. In so doing, he told us HIS story of the difficulties he had growing up eith the name, “RC” Oliver. As a child entering school, his teacher and principal did not believe that his name was RC they, like most of us, thought these letters were itnitials for two names. However, as his sister pointed out to the school officials, these two letters were the name their parents had given him. He had (as you can imagine) difficulty in the Army. The most memorable part to me was how he had to deal with the DMV in getting his driver’s license. When they sent his paperwork in, the department sent back a letter rejecting his application because they could not use initials, they had to have names for the license. He returned the letter with the following: R-Only; C-Only Oliver. He received his license with RONLY CONLY Oliver as his name. He went on to tell us about: Ima and Ura Pigg; Hot and Cold Running Water;
Some other supposedly true funny names include: Jed I. Knight; Aretha Holly; Barry Cade; Bea Minor; Dee Major; D. Kay (DDS); Dr. Bender (Chiropractor); Dr. Gass (anesthesiologist); Earl E. Bird; Hugh Morris
Consider some thoughts on names as we end this year and look forward to the next:
I. God’s name is important – not to misuse it (words/lifestyle) – Exodus 20.7
7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
Told to Moses – YHWH
Descriptive names – YHWH – Provider/Seer – Genesis 22
II. Peoples’ Names are important in the Bible
Express a purpose
“Did I live up to my name today?”
Abram (Exalted Father) – Abraham (Father of a Multitude)
Sarai (LORD is Prince) – Sarah (Princess)
Isaac – Laughter
Hebrew – Across the River – crossing Jordan to live up to name
Samuel – from a word meaning to hear (as the Shema in Deuteronomy 6) – idea of obedience
John – Favor of the LORD
20 But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 21 she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus [Yeshua], for he will save [Yoshia] his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and his name shall be called Emman′u-el” (which means, God with us).
III. New Name –
The nations shall see your vindication,
and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
which the mouth of the LORD will give. Isaiah 62.2
17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him 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 which no one knows except him who receives it.’ Revelation 2.17
In Pergamum – False gods that claimed to give what only GOD can:
• Demeter – goddess of Grain
• Asclepius – Snake god of Healing – people wrote their names on stones after receiving healing
• Dionysus – Son of Zeus and human woman – offered life after death and meaningful life on earth
• Augustus Caesa – first city to establish the emperor cult – claimed him as god and king
With the background of Pergamum, the place where Satan lived, in mind, we can better understand John's closing words to the church of Pergamum: "I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it." God strategically placed the early believers in an evil world to stand as testimonies to his power and work in their lives. As standing stones for God, they were clearly different from the white stones on which people healed by Asclepius had written their names. The world needed to see the believers as white stones on which new names had been written, and the believers needed to speak the truth of God to a spiritually hungry world. Likewise, believers today need to praise God for all that he has done and tell people about it.
Name of God was on High Priest, beginning with Aaron: