Bible Studies

What's In a Name?

by Anonymous

Many people, upon finding out about Yahweh and Yahshua’s true Names, have wondered if they should change their own names, since paganism is saturated throughout our modern languages. Some feel they need to change their names or Yahweh won’t accept them. But consider the following: “Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name Belteshazzar, and to Hanaiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” (Daniel 1: 7)

In ancient times, a name was very important, not just among Yahweh’s people, but even among Israel’s enemies, including the Babylonians. Parents named their children according to their convictions, and according to what character traits they wanted their children to possess.

Now consider the names of Daniel and his friends. The meaning of all their names were very significant. Daniel meant “El is my Judge.” His named was changed to Belteshazar which meant “Favored by Bel” (a pagan deity!). Hananiah (“Beloved of Yah”) became Shadrach (“illumined by Rak,” the sun deity). Mishael (“Who is as El?”) was renamed Meshach (“who is like Shak,” the Babylonian equivalent of the deity ,Venus”), and Azariah (“Yah is my help”) became Abednego (“servant of Nego,” the deity of fire).

I’m sure these righteous young men resented these new names. But they never attempted to change them. They did not make an issue over the matter, knowing they would forfeit their opportunity for a substantive spiritual witness if they took a belligerent stand on superficialities.

Eventually a real opportunity came for them to make a stand against the false deities of Babylon, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar’s image and the fiery furnace for Daniel’s three friends. And let’s not forget the decree of Darius and the lion’s den for Daniel. In these cases, Daniel and his three friends gave an uncompromising witness and Yahweh honored them for it. We must remember that in our own witness against modern paganism, form is secondary, but substance is vital. Our personal names are of less importance. But it is vital that our stand and conduct honor the name of Yahweh! Only Yahweh and Yahshua’s Names must not be blended with pagan deities. We must not bring dishonor to Their Names by living our lives unrighteously. One day Yahweh will give us new names. He will choose a better name for you than you can for yourself. We are commanded by Yahweh to call on Him by His correct Name, but we are not commanded to change our own names. While there is nothing wrong with changing your own name, Yahweh will still accept you even if you keep the name your parents gave you—even if it might be of pagan origin. Yahweh did change certain people’s names in Scripture but they did not choose their own names—Yahweh chose them.