"........and they ask me, `What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" Exodus 3:13

What's in a name  ?

The significance of names in the Bible 

the Names of God    -    Titles given to Jesus    -    Palestine   -   the Old Testament

In the bible there is great significance in many names - many  have a prophetic significance while others reflect peoples faith and gratitude to GOD.

The Name of God

The second line of "The Lord's Prayer", so familiar to us all, says, "Hallowed be thy name."   (Luke 11 v2)

We are also promised that, "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."   (Romans 10 v13 )

In Acts 2 v21, Peter quotes Joel 2 v32,  "In the last days everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

The name of God appears 6828 times in the Bible.

So what is God's name? See here


The names of Jesus

The short form of YeHoVaH is YaH, or even Y, and this is combined with the word shua, for Salvation or Saves, forms the proper, Hebrew name of the one we call Jesus.   

When the angel of the LORD appeared to Joseph and told him the name he was to give the child it was Yeshua or Y'shua,  ( is salvation)  "because he will save his people from their sins."   (Matthew 1 v21 )    Yeshua is a shortened version of the original Yehoshua ( Joshua ).

The Rabbis who followed the High Priest and Pharisees in rejecting their Messiah  corrupted his name to Yeshu, meaning "May his name be erased forever".   This name is still in use.

The name Jesus Christ is derived from  Greek.   Iosus was a Greek approximation of Yeshua and Kristos is a translation of Mashiach (Messiah) which means "the Annointed One".       (Like David was anointed some time before he took up his throne, Jesus always was anointed, but he is yet to take his royal throne in Jerusalem to rule this world in righteousness.)

Thus in Hebrew our Lord and saviour's name  is "Yeshua" and he is "ha Mashiach" - the Messiah - the anointed one.

Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man.   The messianic significance of this title was plain to his hearers who were familiar with the prophets.  (See Matt 26 v64)  In Danielís vision, recorded in chapter 7 v13, he saw "a son of man" coming in the clouds and approaching the throne of The Ancient of Days and being given kingdom authority.   The title Ancient of Days is similar to the meaning of GODís memorial name which means "was, is and will be".  The son of man title also points out the humanity of the figure in contrast to the creatures mentioned earlier in Danielís vision, and the fact that Jesus shared our humanity, while still being God.

John, right at the start of his gospel, referred to Jesus as "the Word".  This is an excellent title as it shows him to be GOD's ultimate communication to mankind.   Whilst Islam boasts the purity of its Koran due to careful preservation of text, we have Jesus as GOD's living word or the image of GOD.  How ever many times the gospels are translated, the character and image of GOD in Jesus shines through.   The Jewish name for what we call the Old Testament is Tanakh, which is an acronym made up of the letters tet, nun, and khet.  These letters stand for - Torah  (the law),  Navaim (the prophets) and Khotavim  (the writings).  On the mount of Transfiguration three persons  were revealed to the selected disciples -  Moses / Moshe (the Law),  Elijah / Eliyahu   (the prophets)  and Jesus /Yeshua  (the Word .. (the writings)).   In his Sermon on the Mount Yeshua said he had not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfil them.

Shiloh is a veiled title for the coming Messiah.  Judah was given the blessing that Kings would come from his descendants "until Shiloh comes."  Shiloh means "he to whom it rightfully belongs".  (Genesis 49 v10)        See also Tribes and Nations

The Branch is another messianic title referring to the prophecy of Isaiah 11 v1,  "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;  from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."   See also Tu'bShvat, the New Year of the Trees for an interesting fulfilment.

The Alpha and the Omega is another title of Jesus Revelation 1 v8, 21 v6 and 22 v13, "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.   Alpha and Omega are the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet, Greek being the language of oldest surviving manuscripts of Revelation.   It is interesting to note that, in Hebrew, the last letter of the alefbet is Tav and the old form of Tav is a cross.

Sar Shalom  means Prince of Peace.

Mashiach Ben-HaM'vorakh    (Mark 14 v61  (CJB) ) means the Messiah, son of the Blessed one ().

Our failure to call our God by his name rather than a title fails to distinguish him for all the other Gods and allows other faiths to believe, or pretend, we all worship the same God.  Would other faiths and sects still claim to worship the same God as us if we called him YaHVeH, the God of Israel?

Most names in the Bible are not the names which their owners would recognize. The letter "J" is a particular problem, being used where a "Y" sound should have been. The Nativity story should feature Miryam and Yoseff and the baby Yeshua.


In Hebrew, ha Satan means the accuser or the adversary.

The Promised Land

Carelessness in the use of names also applies to our use of "Palestine" when we mean Israel, the land promised to his people.   Jesus did not live in Palestine and was never a Palestinian, as the PLO would have you believe in order to legitimise their claims upon the territory of Israel.   The name Palestine was derived from the Philistines, who were not Arabs or Jews.  It was applied to Israel by the Romans after they crushed the land and banished the Jews in AD (CE) 138 (ish).   It kept that name through the centuries it remained desolate, until the modern state of Israel was born in 1948.   Most of the "Palestinians" moved in after the Jews had started to restore the land to fruitfulness.

Even the term "The Holy Land" is a bit loose.  The land is not holy;  it is the land promised to Israel by "The Holy One of Israel".  That land is larger than present day Israel.  Britain gave away a slice of what had been designated for the new state of Israel.  Now the government of Israel is under pressure to give away more land.   The land was never owned by the children of Israel; they held it in trust.  Therefore it is not their possession to give away.  (See Jubilee in Leviticus)    The trouble with "Holy Land" is that it legitimises the Muslim claim on the land since they maintain it is holy to them too, although Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Qu'ran.

The name of the Temple Mount has been progressively altered in western media by Palestinian media manipulation, until it is now referred to as "the Al Aksa Mosque complex" - all part of their argument that the Jewish Temple never stood there.   (see also Semantic Creep in Israel in Today's world .)

The Old Testament

The term "Old Testament" tends to suggest that these scriptures were superseded by the New Testament and are therefore of secondary, or merely historical importance.   Jesus did not come to do away with the scriptures, or replace them, but to fulfil and complete them.  They tell us so much about Messiah that we should not undervalue them.  

It is difficult to find a name which avoids this problem, but the Jews have a solution.  They call these scriptures the Tanakh.  This is an acronym made from the names of the sections of the scriptures.  The Torah (Law)The Nevi'im  (the prophets) and the Khotavim  (the writings).  (See above - the Word)


Palestinian noms de guerre

"One of the extraordinary blind spots of contemporary Middle East history is the obsession of calling Mahmoud Abbas a peace-loving moderate while using his nom de guerre, or war name, Abu Mazen! - Palestinian noms de guerre


Updated 05/01/13

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