Unique Personal Names
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Unique Personal Names
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Christian Names

Name TagI have two unique personal names, "Ronald Henry," given to me by my parents after I was born and later legitimized in the church at my baptism. I was given the middle name "Henry" after a king as was the custom in my family as it also is for many English families. All the male children are given the middle name of a king of England like Arthur, Edward or George. My surname, "Meacock," means "son of little Michael" and tells you about my family and in my case the particular place called Broughton outside Chester in England where these "sons of little Michael" originated. The playwright William Shakespeare interestingly describes a "meacock" in one of his plays as a "henpecked husband!". That was a shock! Wiktionary further defines the obsolete word "meacock" as "An uxorious, effeminate, or spiritless man. A meek man who dotes on his wife, or is henpecked." By using the shortened name "mea" rather than "Michael" may indicate originally a man of small stature. Interestingly, all the Meacocks seem to originate in one small area of Chester where the churchyard is filled with gravestones marked "Meacock." I believe that all the "Meacocks" in Canada, the USA or Australia originally come from this same place!

Church Titles

God's Name YahwehChurches also have unique names like my home church "St. Catherine's," in the shipbuilding town of "Birkenhead." Saint Catherine (287-305 AD) was a princess and noted scholar. She was martyred in Alexandria, Egypt on a burning wheel and later sainted. This is the probable source of the firework called the "Catherine Wheel" which spins around when lit as a wheel would. Denominations also have unique names like "The Church of England" which tells you something of the church history and my family allegiance in the past. I was born in a place called "Birkenhead" in Cheshire, England. It had the first street tramway in Britain and the world's first tunnel called the Mersey Railway Tunnel beneath the tidal estuary of the River Mersey in 1886 AD. The name "Birkenhead" probably means "headland overgrown with birch." Countries in the World have special names too like "England" which takes its name from the "Angles," a Germanic tribe. The name "Canada" originates from a Saint-Lawrence Iroquoian word "Kanata" for "settlement," "village," or "land." Even the time I live in has the designation of the "Twenty-First Century." Each label tells us a little more about the context of our existence. Our names therefore also describe our relationships to other people, to God, even to places and things. A name honors our accepted place in society, family and even in a community of faith.

God's Name Yahweh

Amen JesusWe may have unique names but does God possess a unique name too? Strangely, God does! He is called in Hebrew "Yahweh." The vowel sounds are a little uncertain as Jews from 300 BC onward regarded the name for God as too sacred to be spoken and forgot the sounding. The closest we can get today is probably "Yahweh" which can also be rendered as "Jehovah" with different vowels. "Yahweh" means something like "I am, I was, I will be." This reflects upon the eternal nature of the Infinite Creator God. The big question is, does God know my name? One young child in Connecticut thought she knew where God lived. She had her version of the Lord's Prayer beginning, "Our Father, who art in New Haven. How do you know my name?"

Jesus' Name Revealed

Mary MagdaleneThe significance of the personal name "Jesus" comes simply from the Hebrew "Yashua" or "Joshua" meaning "to deliver or to rescue." Jesus is, therefore, our rescuer or Savior as was the leader Joshua in the Old Testament. Jesus' resurrection body is revealed when Jesus speaks to Mary Magdalene at the Garden Tomb. She thinks he is the gardener! He is only recognized by Mary Magdalene when he tells her his name. This encounter indicates that the resurrected body will be spiritual and will be identifiable though perhaps not immediately. Jesus' resurrection body is different from his earthly body when he meets Mary Magdalene at the garden tomb. Jesus tells Mary in John 20.17, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father." Later, when Jesus' body has become "fixed," he walks through a wooden door to greet his disciples! In John 20.26 we read, "A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!'" Somehow, Jesus molecules were miraculously able to pass through a solid panel yet his skin is firm enough to be touched. He encourages 'Doubting Thomas' to touch the wounds in his hands and side as proof of his identity. Another example of Jesus' new body occurs when Mary Magdalene, one of his closest friends during his ministry, doesn't recognize him in their garden tomb meeting. John 20.14-15 explains, "At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, 'Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?' Thinking he was the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.'"

Spoke Her Name

Mary MagdaleneMary Magdalene only recognizes Jesus when he speaks her name. She twists around and says in the Aramaic language "Rabboni" meaning "Teacher." This is the simple Greek language of Palestine that Jesus and the disciples would have normally used. Jesus' resurrection body had not yet been formed so he whispers in John 20.17, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" Special and appropriate personal names are chosen by every young couple for their newborn child. There are many books of personal names to choose from. Some people want a unique name for their child and will even go to the length of misspelling a standard name like "Eric" and turning it into "Erikk" to make it stand out! The meaning of the first name can suggest the desired character or role of a person. "Ronald" means "leader" or "strong ruler." John is "a child of God" whereas "Matthew," says you are "a gift of the Lord." Unique personal names are important to God but also to me, to my family and my friends and I hope to you too!

Jezreel Hosea Names

Prophet HoseaThe meaning of the Jezreel Hosea children's names also tells us of our relationships to one another, to God and to Jesus. In the Hebrew Bible, "Hosea" or sometimes "Hoshea" is an 8th century BC prophet in Israel whose name means in Hebrew "Savior" or "Safety." Hosea is instructed by God as to what his children's names are to be before they are even born. These names are to be living prophetic messages from God to Israel when the child is born. Their names are real communications from God and not just intended for Hosea and the mother of his children. We read in Hosea 1.2-8, "When the Lord begins to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, 'Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.' So he married Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Then the Lord said to Hosea, 'Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel's bow in the Valley of Jezreel.' Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, 'Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means "not loved"), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them. Yet I will show love to Judah; and I will save them — not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but I, the Lord their God, will save them.' After she had weaned "Lo-Ruhamah," Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, 'Call him "Lo-Ammi" (which means "not my people"), for you are not my people, and I am not your God." Note here that the Hebrew for "your God" here may also be translated as "your I AM" which has deep meanings as the name of God in both the Old and New Testaments. The first of Hosea's children is a boy who is named "Jezreel" which comes from the Hebrew meaning "God scatters" or "God will sow." This name tells the people of Israel that the nation is to be scattered as a sower scatters seed as he sows. Jezreel is also the name of an ancient Israelite city and fortress within the northern Kingdom of Israel. There, King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel had lived. The second child, a daughter, is named "Lo-Ruhamah," which is translated as "not loved" or "not having obtained mercy" or "not pitied." It is a sign of God's displeasure with the people of Israel for following other pagan gods. It denotes the utterly ruined condition of the kingdom of Israel. The third of Hosea's children is a son who is called "Lo-Ammi." This points out that in God's sight Israel is "not my people" any longer.

Name of Christian

Hosea's children's names are directly aimed at the people of Israel to signal to them that their relationship with God is broken down. God similarly tells another prophet called Isaiah in Isaiah 43.1b, "I have summoned you by name; you are mine." Like Isaiah, it is God who summons each of us by name and gives us our names. Later, the Savior gives believers the special name of "Christian" and indwells them so that they are now appropriately called "those in whom Christ dwells." The term "Christian" is first found in Acts 11.26 where it says, "So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." Saint Paul asserts in 2 Corinthians 13.5, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?" God grant that we may not "fail the test" and that we may live up to our name of "Christian!"✞

Heavenly Father's Name

Moses Holds 10 CommandmentsUnderstanding the Heavenly Father's name brings great blessings to Christians and reinforces their understanding of Jesus' deity. The Heavenly Father name is almost always shown all in capitals as LORD in English. But the Hebrew is pronounced something like "Yahweh," and is built on the word for "I am." In Exodus 3.14, God the Heavenly Father tells Moses, who asked what the name of the LORD is "'I am who I am.' This is what you are to say to the Israelites, 'I am has sent me to you.'" The phrase "I am" may indicate a future or past tense. The LORD however does not have a beginning and will not have an end! The "I am" may mean, "'I was what I was,' or 'I will be what I will be.'" The verb "to be" expresses the eternal nature of God the Father and his continuous presence with us in the past, present, and future. The New International Version Commentary suggests, "When God speaks of himself he says 'I am,' and when we speak of him we say, 'He is.'"

Father's Great Blessing

Jesus' FaceDuring Jesus' ministry, the crowds are very curious about who Jesus is and so press him with the question, "Who are you?" Jesus responds strangely in John 8.58, "Before Abraham was born, I am." Here he purposely uses the holy "I AM" name used by God himself to Moses all those years before. As a result, we are told in John 8.59, "at this, they picked up stones to stone him." The crowd knew clearly what Jesus is implying in using the Heavenly Father's name, that he is indeed claiming to be God himself. The reason for the crowd's hostile reaction to Jesus is recorded in John 10.33, "We are not stoning you for any of these good works, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." Later, Jesus links his name with his Heavenly Father's name saying in John 10.31-38, "The Father is in me, and I in the Father." These claims of deity once more prompt a hostile reaction so that in the next verse, John 10.39 we read, "again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp."

Jesus Powerful Name

Holy NameJesus's powerful name causes many mature and hardened soldiers to fall to the ground when the 'I am' name is uttered by Jesus. The Temple guards come to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, or "Gethsemani". This place-name comes from the Classical Syriac "Gad Smane." In Hebrew "Gat Shmanim" means literally "oil press." Gethsemane was and is an urban garden dotted with olive trees at the foot of the Mount of Olives opposite Jerusalem and is popular with tourists to the Holy Land to this day. It is thought that eight ancient olive trees growing in the Latin side of the garden may be 900 years old! According to Luke 22.42-44, the "Mount of Olives" and the Garden of Gethsemane are well known to Jesus and to Judas who betrays him there. There are four or five alternatives however for the actual location where Jesus prays on the night that he is betrayed. The most popular is the "Church of All Nations," the second near the "Tomb of the Virgin Mary" to the North, the third to the East which is the Greek Orthodox location and fourth is the Russian Orthodox orchard next to the "Church of Maria Magdalene" (Mary Magdalene.) The American author William McClure Thomson (1806-1894) in his book "The Land and the Book" of 1888 suggests that the Garden of Gethsemane is "a secluded vale several hundred yards to the North East."

I Am Names

Good ShepherdWhen Jesus arrives at the Mount of Olives he asks the guards whom they are seeking and they answer, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus replies simply, "I am he." John 18.5-6 records that "When Jesus said, 'I am he,' they drew back and fell to the ground." A detachment of hardened soldiers and police from the Chief Priests and the Pharisees are knocked over when Jesus uttered his powerful "I am" name! The holy name of God on the lips of Jesus has a holy punch in itself. All names beginning "I am" in the Gospels bear witness to Jesus' powerful name and describe different aspects of his divinity. For example, Jesus says "I am the good shepherd," indicating he will lead his sheep just as his Heavenly Father would. Jesus also said, "I am the bread of life," so that his disciples would know that he would spiritually nourish them just like the Heavenly Father did the people of Israel with manna in the wilderness. Jesus also told his followers, "I am the way, the truth and the light" and "the resurrection and the life." Though not immediately obvious to us, Jesus' powerful name is discerned by the Jews who heard him. They know that he is claiming to be God himself and to have the power and authority of the Almighty.

"Unique Personal Names"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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