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:
- That the names of individuals (particularly of Hebrews/Jewish people) are linked to their destiny
- 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
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.
- In Nigeria, Shabbat is sung in with an African beat (thejc.com)
- ‘Tongues’ – A Messianic Perspective (Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge – Isaiah 5:3.) (guapotg.wordpress.com)