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eCourses Completion Status

Precious Promise: A New Name!

The King James Version (KJV) is mostly used in these lessons. Click here to access the KJV online.
Click here to start the quiz

"To him who overcomes . . . I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." (Revelation 2:17, NKJV)

"He who overcomes,  . . . I will write on him the name of My . . . [Elohim], and the name of the city . . . the New Jerusalem . . . And I will write on him My new name."  (Revelation 3:12, NKJV)

Scripture contains many, many promises for those who will inherit eternal life.  One of the most beautiful, yet least understood, is the promise that the divine name will be written on the forehead of each overcomer.  Because most people have not understood what is meant by such a promise, it has long been overlooked.  However, it is one of the most encouraging, hope-inspiring promises in the Bible.

Names are used to identify individuals, families, and tribes.  In many cultures, a bride takes her husband's family name at marriage.  In a few cultures, the man will take the bride's family name.  The point, however, is that their names are joined together just as the two of them are now considered "one flesh."  (Genesis 2:24) 

father and infant Likewise, when a baby is born, the child usually takes the name of the father, although in some cultures the child takes the combined names of the parents.  Again, what is shared is the name.  Having the family name extended to include the baby is a way of identifying the new child as part of the larger family. 

In the last twenty years, various place nouns have become popular as  personal names: Dakota, China, India, Sierra, Asia, etc.  Names are sometimes drawn from things in nature: Rose, Dawn, Aspen, Rain, Brooke, etc.  Sometimes parents even make up a totally unique name that has no meaning, based solely on sounds that are pleasant to their ears, such as the popular LaToya, LaKeisha, Shanique, Jimarr, etc. 

In Bible times, names were selected for their meaning.  Parents would name a baby after a physical trait or for a character attribute they hoped to see in their child.  Esau, "rough,`" was given his name because he "came out red, all over like an hairy garment."  (Genesis 25:25)  As Rachel was dying in childbirth, she named her youngest son, Benoni, which meant "son of my sorrow."  His father changed the name to Benjamin, meaning "son of the right hand."  (Genesis 35:18)

It was also a common practice to name children after the god the parents worshipped.     King Nebuchadnezzar was named after the Babylonian god of literature and science, Nebo (called Nabu in extra-Biblical literature).  His name meant: "Nebo, defend the boundary."  Nebuchadnezzar's son, Evil-merodach, showed great kindness to King Jehoichin, releasing him from prison 37 years after King Nebuchadnezzar had imprisoned him.  However, Evil-Merodach's name meant "Soldier of Marduk."  The father of wicked Queen Jezebel, King Ethbaal, had a name which meant "with Baal."

Israelite parents often named their children after Yahuwah.  Scripture contains hundreds of names with Yah or Yahu as part of the name.

Names ending in YAH:

#29     Abijah             (AbiYAH - my Father is YAHUWAH)

#138   Adonijah        (AdoniYAH - my lord is YAHUWAH)

#223   Uriah              (UriYAH - my flame is YAHUWAH)

#274   Ahaziah         (AchazYAH - possession of YAHUWAH)

#452   Elijah              (EliYAH - my Elohim is YAHUWAH)

#3414 Jeremiah       (YirmeYAH - exalted of YAHUWAH)

#5662 Obadiah        (ObadYAH - Servant of YAHUWAH)

#6846 Zephaniah    (TsephanYAH - hidden by YAHUWAH)

#2899 Tob-adonijah (Tob AdoniYAH - pleasing to my Lord YAHUWAH)

Names beginning in YAHU:

#3059 Jehoahaz      (YAHUachaz - YAHUWAH seized)

#3075 Jehozabad    (YAHUzabad - YAHUWAH endowed)

#3076 Jehohanan   (YAHUchanan - YAHUWAH favored)

#3078 Jehoiada       (YAHUyakin - YAHUWAH-known)

#3079 Jehoiakim     (YAHUyaqim - YAHUWAH will raise)

#3088 Jehoram        (YAHUram - YAHUWAH-raised)

#3085 Jehoadah      (YAHUaddah - YAHUWAH adorned)

#3092 Jehoshaphat            (YAHUshaphat - YAHUWAH judged)

#3100 Joel                (YAhwEl - YAHUWAH is his El [God])

Name with YAHU in the middle:

#454 Elihoenai         (ElYAHUenai - toward YAHUWAH are my eyes)

There were many more names that used El as a reference to "Elohim."

  • Elisabeth - Elisbet: El of (the) oath
  • Ezekiel - YechzqEl: El will strengthen
  • Gabriel - Gabriy'El: man of El
  • Michael - Miyka'El: who is like El?
  • Mishael - Mysha'El: Who is what El is
  • Samuel - Shemuw'El: heard of El
  • Daniel - DaniEl: judge of El

The practice of naming a child after the national Hebrew deity was so wide-spread in Israel, that even wicked kings named their sons after Yahuwah.  Ahaz, one of the worst kings Israel ever had, named his son Hezekiah (YechizqiYAH, meaning "my strength is YAHUWAH."  See 1 Chronicles 3:13.)

Jehoiachin (YAHUWAHkeen) "did that which was evil in the sight" of Yahuwah (2 Chronicles 36:9), even though his name meant "Yahuwah will establish."  His brother Zedekiah, the last king of Israel, was equally corrupt although his name (TsidekiYAH) meant "my righteousness is YAHUWAH."

Under such practices, it is likely there were some people who did not like the names given them.  One person in particular who hated his name was the patriarch, Jacob.  As the younger twin, he was born holding onto his brother's heel.  (Genesis 25:26)  It was for this reason that he was called Jacob, a name which means "supplanter." 

"Supplant" is defined as: "to take the place of [something]; to supersede, especially through force, scheming, or treachery; to remove or uproot in order to replace with something else."1  What a name with which to burden a child!  One might just as well have called him Sneak or Cheater.

Divine wisdom has provided in the story of Jacob the key to understanding the promise that the Father's name will be written in the forehead of all who gain eternal life.  It is a story that should inspire hope in the heart of everyone who has ever sinned and longed for forgiveness and restoration.

The history of Jacob's life, as preserved in the Bible, is one long record of dishonesty; of his attempts, in real life, to supplant his older brother, Esau.  As the first born son, Esau was entitled to inherit three things:

1.    The role as patriarch of the family, with the family line continuing through his descendants;

2.    All the father's wealth;

3.    Priest and spiritual leader of the home, the ancestor of the promised Messiah.

While still young, Esau was impatient of restraint.  He was a hunter that loved the wild freedom of the chase.  His contempt for the high honor of being the inheritor of the promise that through his seed the Messiah would be born is seen in the fact that he married heathen wives.  These women "were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah."  (Genesis 26:35, KJV)  The negative influence the two heathens brought to the home and the resulting unhappiness was so great that Rebekah told Isaac, "I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth [Esau's wives]: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?"  (Genesis 27:46)

Jacob, by contrast, "was a plain man, dwelling in tents."  (Genesis 25:27)  His gentle, giving nature found much greater pleasure in the company of the sheep and lambs, and in the helping of his mother around home, than in ranging over the wilds, looking for animals to kill.  Jacob did not envy Esau's position as first born entitled to all the wealth and power that would come with being head of the family.  The one thing Jacob wanted more than any other was to inherit the spiritual birthright.  Jacob longed to be priest of the family, the ancestor of the promised Messiah.

Esau's contempt for the high privilege of being the progenitor of the Promised One, only served to increase Jacob's longing to be that himself.  One day, Jacob was out in the field watching the sheep, cooking some food for himself over a campfire.  Esau staggered in famished and exhausted.  Smelling Jacob's pottage, he demanded, "Feed me . . . for I am faint."  (Genesis 25:30)


Jacob seized the opportunity: "Sell me this day thy birthright." (Verse 31.)

Esau protested, "Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?"  (Verse 32.)

But Jacob was insistent.  No birthright; no food.  "Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.  Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright."  (Genesis 25:33, 34, KJV)

While Esau certainly despised his birthright, being pressured to bargain it away was not right, either.  This sin of Jacob's was compounded later when Isaac was going to pronounce the birthright blessing on Esau anyway.  Jacob went into his blind father and deceived him into giving him the birthright blessing.

           

Esau was so furious over this lie, that he threatened Jacob's life.  Jacob fled to Haran and lived there for over 20 years.  All this time, regret was a cancer eating away at his soul.  Jacob knew that Yahuwah could not honor what he had done: gaining the birthright by deceit.  Every time his name was said, it was a reminder of his sin: "Jacob!  Supplanter!  Sneak!  Cheater!"

When he finally returned to Canaan, he received word that Esau was coming toward him with 400 men, doubtless seeking revenge.

The climax of Jacob's life had come.  He had sought forgiveness for his great sin, but if only he could know for sure that he had been forgiven and restored to the divine favor!  In great agony of mind and spirit, he sent his family and the animals over the brook, Jabbok, while he remained behind to pray. 

And a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.  Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, . . . He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks."  But he [Jacob] said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!"  (Genesis 32:25-26, NKJV)

Jacob wrestling with the angel Had Jacob not previously repented of his great sin, such audacity would have been met  with instant death.  But his was the plea of a soul that knew his sinfulness and, trusting in the promises of a covenant-keeping heavenly Father, cast all upon Him.  The gracious answer given to Jacob, is an assurance for all.  When Jacob begged for a divine blessing the response was:

"What is thy name?"  And he said, "Jacob."  And He said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with . . . [Elohim] and with men, and hast prevailed."  (Genesis 32:27, 28, KJV)

What a gift!  What reassurance!  Jacob had understood that his name, Supplanter, was reflective of his sins.  Now his name had been changed to "Israel" which meant "prince with El."  And to underscore the meaning of his new name so that there would be no doubts, the Angel explained, "for as a prince has thou power with Elohim and with men, and hast prevailed."

The significance of that statement was not lost on Jacob/Israel.  His sins had been forgiven!  He had been restored to favor with Yahuwah.  Furthermore, the fact that he had "prevailed" with the Almighty was a promise that he would also prevail in his encounter with Esau the next day. 

The fact that his name was changed in answer to his request for a blessing, signified that his sinful nature had been cleansed and restored in the image of his Maker.  This was the blessing for which Jacob's soul had longed and which his new name revealed had been granted to him.

Just like Jacob, everyone alive has sinned and fallen short of the glory of Yahuwah.  All have tendencies to sin that are both inherited and cultivated.  But there is hope for modern Jacobs, too!  Isaiah 58, a chapter addressed especially to the final generation, states: "Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet;  Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins."  (Isaiah 58:1, NKJV)

This is an amazing statement.  It was made centuries after Jacob had been forgiven and gifted with a new nature and new name: Israel.  The fact that the name "Jacob" is used in this passage is revealing.  The call is sent to those who claim to be Yahuwah's people, but are sinning.  It is a call to repent and be forgiven.

Sin defaces the image of the Creator in His human children.  Recreation of the mind can only be done by the Creator.  Sanctification is a gift.  Exodus 31:13 states: "Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am . . . [Yahuwah] who sanctifies you."  (NKJV) 

Obedience to the law of Yahuwah is required in all that would be sanctified.  Of course, this is not something which is possible in human strength.  This is why Scripture repeatedly urges all to "call upon the name of Yahuwah." 

Isaiah 58 closes with a very beautiful promise for all who will return in repentance to Yahuwah and, in His strength, keep His law. 

If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of . . . [Yahuwah] honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, Then you shall delight yourself in . . . [Yahuwah]; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.  The mouth of . . . [Yahuwah] has spoken.  (Isaiah 58:13-12, NKJV)

The heritage of Jacob our father is a new name, indicative of a new, transformed and recreated character!  The name of the Saviour is itself an encouragement to all to "call upon Him" because the very name is a promise that "Yahuwah saves!"

Call upon Him today.  He is waiting with arms wide open to receive all who will come to Him.  You, too may receive a new, cleansed and restored character - a new name written in your forehead, the seat of subconscious thought.  His promise to you is: "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."  (John 6:37, NKJV)

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1 Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, Second ed., 1983.