What’s in a name? A look into the spiritual significance of naming

There are many cultures that place  huge importance in names and naming of their child, in these cultures a name is more than a nice-sounding label, a name can tell a story and pave way for a destiny.  For example, in Igboland where I originate from, names are very important, all names given to a child not only have a meaning but carry a spiritual blessing.  I have two Igbo names which I see as blessings, the first Achama means to shine brightly and the second Uzomaka means the road is good, these names were specifically chosen to bless me and to pave the way for my life steps (destiny),  I fully believe that when these names were given to me that something happened that would link the utterance of those sounds to a spiritual blessing, I will shine brightly and my road will be a good one!

There is a huge debate whether Igbos are Jews, I know that some Igbos have been claimed as having Hebrew heritage but irrelevant of the truth of this I see many similarities between Igbo and Hebrew culture for example with naming.  I have never seen one incidence in the bible where the name of a  person had no significance at all, but more interestingly are two additional facts:

  1. That the names of individuals (particularly of Hebrews/Jewish people) are linked to their destiny
  2. That God has played a siginificant role in naming and even re-naming individuals.

Check out the websites which speak of naming and names in the Bible

Why would God play such an important part in naming individuals?  I believe that outside of the fact that names can have a meaning, I believe that names are spiritually important to the destiny and well-being of the individual.  There are a number of reasons why this may be so but today I would just like to focus on one, the power of the spoken word.  If you have not read any of my previous posts on the power of the tongue and words then you might want to do so, so you have an understanding of where I am coming from.

Just take a moment and think about how many times someone will call your name in a lifetime.  As a crude calculation I would say someone might call my name 5 times a day, if I multiply this by 365 (days) and then 70 (years) my name will be uttered 127,750 times.  Why should this concern me or you?  Well, the bible tells us that there is power in the spoken word and that death and life are in the power of the tongue.  We are made in the image of God and just as He has the power to create with and through His Word, we also have a semblance of that creative force in our spoken word.  Whenever someone calls me by my name I am convinced that they are re-creating and re-affirming the meaning of those words and making them a reality in my life.

I also see the importance and power of names in my spiritual journey.  There was once a time that I truly believed that God didn’t love me and that in fact He only put up with me, but through the stages of getting to know Him, he showed me that He did love me very much and that He was also my father (Abba).  At that time I was given a new name, my adopted name AbiYah which means Yah is my father or My father Yah (Yah is short for YHVH).  This name brings me so much joy because it reminds of where I was and where I am now, it speaks to me of a growing and deepening intimacy with God because not only does He tell me that He loves me but that I am also His child.

Using and understanding the Hebrew names of God is also very important to me, and through them I feel that I have learnt so much about who God is, and why He has chosen these particular words to describe His nature.  Just like how I believe there is power when someone utters my name, there is also power every time I utter God’s name, that is why many devout Jews prefer not to say or even write the covenant name of God!  Each time I speak His name, I am testifying, re-affirming and living out His attributes, His essence in my life.  When I say Yeshua (Hebrew name for Jesus) I am saying “Salvation or Yah Saves”, I am testifying, re-affirming and spiritually owning this truth, that He is my Salvation.  I continually speak this as a reality into my life, that Yah Saves, He has saved me, He is saving me and He will save me.

There is a particular verse that has been ringing in my head for a little while now which we use to describe God (Revelation 1: 8).

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

There is so much power in this one verse, what is God trying to tell us?  When I’ve thought on this previously I have come to the conclusion that it clearly shows God residing outside of time and being simultaneously in time, past, present and future.  But as I think on this a bit more, I’m trying to go beyond what hits me first and delving into the 3D.  I see this verse as telling me that there are three aspects to God, His physicality, His spirituality and His glorified being.  What do I mean?  The words “who was” speak to me of a God who stepped into time temporarily, who came to fulfil a particular purpose and was no more, “who is” tells me of an eternal God, a God who has always been, time does not come into the equation, He is outside of it.  “Who will/is to come” speaks to me of another instance when God will step back into time, not the same as in His first advent but this time to fulfill and come full circle with a plan birthed outside of creation for God to dwell eternally with man.

When I think about these three aspects of God, I also see myself found within these words, “I was, I am and I will be”.  The first speaks of a temporary existence here on this earthly plane, the second of my true essence, the soul (spiritual self) that lived in the mind’s eye of God before I became a physical, spiritual reality lovingly encircled in human flesh.  The last speaks of a new me, a different me, one that will be my eternal self, a glorified version of who God is making me into.  These three aspects “was, am, will be” are inter-related, I see this most clearly in the Hebrew:

Hayah, Hoveh, Yiyeh

read right to left (yiyeh hoveh hayah)

This simple pronouncement is made up entirely from the three letters of tetragrammaton (Covenant name of God) YHVH.

God’s covenant name tells me who He is and who I am, it tells me His story and it tells me my own.

My sister showed me this picture once… not completely sure but interesting.

God wants us to know Him more fully and I feel that He has given us a key to understanding Him through His names and titles.  To be honest I can understand why some Jewish people prefer not to say His name because the spiritual reality of it must be so mind-boggling.  When I think about the power, significance and importance of the Covenant name alone I realise just How much more I need to get to know Him, I am in awe.  But I do know that when I do say YHVH, it has a true and deep meaning, and so I speak His name which is truth and light into my own life and allow it to create my reality and destiny.  Each time I say His name I am testifying that I believe that He was, is and will come and that He will also complete my story by re-creating me into the fullness of His image.

Blessings and Shalom in Messiah

Follow me as I share more insights into God’s Word pertaining to life, light and wholeness – On the Road to Healing.



15 thoughts on “What’s in a name? A look into the spiritual significance of naming

  1. What a NEAT message. Wish my wife and I were Christian believers when our three children were born. Although their names have meaning, just not in relationship to their character, even though they have seemed to have grown into the meanings.

    I posted a 3-part blog-message last year that part one started with, “May the Force Be With You”; The Secret of the Tongue that you might be interested in reading.

  2. Awesome! You are a deep thinker, Florence. In ancient time people believed that words carried blessings or curses (or maybe you read my blog on this). We have moved away from that concept because of our scientific bent where everything has to be measured and observable, but words DO carry power — more than we think. We’re just not used to thinking that way. The Bible talks a lot about the power of the tongue.

    1. Hi Pastor Sherry,

      thank you for the kind words and yes I did read your blog post on blessing and curses, I thought I made a comment, but maybe it was to something else !!! This is one area that God has really been re-educating me in, it’s particularly difficult sometimes when talking about ill health, I try not to say “I am ill or I have …” but it is hard, I am more likely to say that “I have been diagnosed with …” or “today I am in …” I can’t deny my physical reality but I don’t want to compound it either.

  3. Hi Florence (‘Blossom’)
    I click on a picture of Orthodox family and found your blog

    Achama Uzomaka

    What a blessed name and blogs

    But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Proverbs 4 v 18

    Shalom and thanks in Messiah the hope of glory of Israel and a light to the nations

    Chukwudi Uzochukwu Amazu (try running away from that Calling or Name as a teenager 🙂 and changing it to ‘chucky’ ‘uzo’ to belong and to be cool!, thank Hashem in Yeshua for His mercy endures forever)

    3 John 1 v 2

    1. Hello Chukwudi, it’s great to meet a fellow Igbo let alone another who loves God deeply and truly, it is a blessing for me to meet you.

      Your words are so encouraging to me, no you can never run from your name because it has already been chosen and destined for you since before you even were a thought in your mother’s womb. Although we have the incident of Jabez and God says that He will also give us a new name.

      Names are so very important just as words are, there is so much power in the spoken word. Your names testify of how much your parents feared and knew God so you would always be reminded that there is a God every time your name is spoken. No.you can not run from something like that but I also see it as a blessing that they and God really wanted you to find and know God more deeply and fully.

      Thank you again so very much for commenting and blessing me on Sunday through my other website, I will write a blog post on this at a later date.

      Blessings and Shalom in Yeshua

  4. I enjoyed ur exposition on power in names; very similar to a book I’m writing. May YHWH keep & strengthen u.

    1. Hi Amy, you can do a search online either using baby names websites, typing in “the meaning of xxx” where xxx is the name you want to find out about via Google or using etymology online. These are the easiest ways to find out meanings of names.

      I hope this helps

  5. Achama Uzomaka,

    God bless you richly, for the deep insight you have provided. I have recently done a deed poll to change my surname because of the negative association it had with death. The surname was given as a nickname to my great-grandfather because of infant mortality (he was the 7th child of his mother and the only surviving one). The surname, Onwuchekwa, effectively contradicts Hebrews 2:14-15. When I received this revelation I acted promptly. My birth name of Joseph Amaeze Onwuchekwa has now been substituted for my covenant name Joseph George Amaeze. God revealed to me that my surname was obstructing my first two names and frustrating my destiny.

    Reading your blog post has reinforced my conviction that I am on the right path. I thank you for your faithfulness. God bless you and give you a very rewarding 2014 in Jesus name.

    Joseph Amaeze

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