Monday, September 1, 2008

Question: Who Are You?

Most names today come from the Hebrew, German, Latin, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh languages but, to get to the truth on the meaning of your name, you must go back to the first languages of mankind: Hebrew and Aramaic (Chaldee).

Ancient historical records show, that individuals only had one name and that was their first name. Use of a “surname” or last name started in Western countries about 1000 years ago. It is generally agreed that surnames developed from one of 4 ways: locations names, kinship or “son of” names, occupational names and nicknames. Last names really developed because of commerce. As the population grew, it became more difficult for commerce to know who owed money to whom. If James was to actually pay John, then it became important to know which James owed which John. So last names, or descriptive names, indicating which James or John, began.

The Hebrew language reveals just how important one’s name is. The word name in Hebrew means: mark with which anyone is marked, reputation, and “the internal essence”. Looking further, the word “mark” carries the meanings: a characteristic or essential attribute, a distinctive trait. “Reputation” refers to “the character attributed to a person”. Finally, “internal essence” means “the true, inward nature” or, your “being”. Putting all these words together, a person’s name reveals their characteristics as a person, their true inward being and the type of character that they have. Their name is representative of their very being.

Names of people in the scriptures had more meaning to them than personal names have for us today. For instance, the name “Dan” means “judge” and the meaning is further reiterated in Genesis 49:16 where it reads, “Dan will provide his people with justice”. The name foretold what Dan and the tribe would later do. Some names represented heartache and struggle. In Genesis 30 verse 8, Rachel said, “With great struggling I have struggled with my sister and I have won”. So she called his name Naphtali, that is, My Struggle. A name was everything and it had to be chosen wisely. Sometimes, names had to be changed because it predicted a disastrous future for the individual. Remember Rachel? Going through a hard labor and just as her life was leaving her, she named her son Ben-Oni which meant “Son of my Sorrow”. Had this name been kept, her son would have caused sorrow or brought sorrow to anyone and everyone all the days of his life. Knowing this, Jacob changed his son’s name to Benjamin, which meant “Son of My Right Hand”; a term, that means “son of power” or, “son of strength”. As it turned out, Benjamin ended up becoming Jacob’s most loved son.

Your name is your mark. Your name is your character. Your name is your very being.
Who ARE you? What will you become? Your name… your name. It’s ALL in your NAME!

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