What's In A Name?


04 Aug
04Aug

Names are important in any culture but names given in the Bible usually had an important significance as they not only identified the person but also reflected the nature and character of the person.  For instance, 1 Samuel 25:25 says, "I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests . . ."  

Can you imagine parents naming their child suggesting he or she was a "fool" as Nabal's parents did?  Yet, that is what people did in ancient times and it seems they had foresight into the child's future, at least enough to know what they would be like as they grew up. 

Eve named their first child, "Cain".  Both Adam and Eve were anticipating a child that would fulfill the prophecy given by God in Genesis 3:15 which states, "And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." 

In that verse, God is addressing Satan telling him what will happen in the future.  God mentions two "seeds".  One was "your seed" and the other, "her Seed".   "Your seed" would be everyone who chooses to be influenced by the demonic, living a life void of righteousness and willingly rejecting the "way" to heaven, Jesus Christ, identified as "her Seed" in the scripture. 

Cain" which means, "acquired". (Genesis 4:1)  She believed in giving birth to Cain she had "acquired" the Seed which God had spoken about in Genesis 3:15.  However, Cain became the first murderer by killing his brother, Abel. (Genesis 4:8) 

At age 90, Sarah laughed when an angel of God announced she would give birth to a son.  She named her firstborn to Abraham seed, "Isaac", which means laughter.  (Genesis 21:6) 

Jacob was named "supplanter" because he grasped his brother Esau's heel (Genesis 25:25-26).  Moses received his name because he was "drawn out" of the water (Exodus 2:10).  Naomi, which means "pleasant," changed her name to Mara, "bitter," when she returned to Bethlehem without her husband and sons (Ruth 1).  

But one of the most interesting names in the Old Testament is, "Methuselah", the son of Enoch.  Enoch was a Godly man.  Genesis 5:22 says Enoch "walked with God".  In other words, Enoch had a personal relationship with God and was so pleasing to God that one day God "took him" to Heaven and Enoch did not suffer the pains of death. 

Enoch named his son, Methuselah, which means, “Man of a Dart” (Strong’s # 4968). 

This word (or name) is broken down into two separate parts (in the Hebrew language): 

# 1 - “Meth” or “Math” = “Man (an adult)”   

# 2 – “Shelach” = “A Missile (for attack)” 

So, what we have here is an illustrative picture of a man (presumably a warrior) holding a spear in his hand. And what does a warrior do with a spear? He throws (“sends out”) the spear towards his enemy! The spear is SENT forth! 

Thus... the name “Methuselah” can denote two separate meanings: 

# 1 – A Man Holding a Spear!... “On the Attack”... OR  

# 2 – A Man on a Mission!... “One Sent Forth”... “Like a Spear”.. 

Now here’s where things get interesting.  There is a third (more concrete) meaning for  “Methuselah” hidden even deeper within the Hebrew language. The more concrete meaning behind the name “Methuselah” is:  “When he is dead it shall be sent.”, or a more loosely translated version says, "when he dies then it happens".  Amazingly, that is a prophecy concerning the flood of Noah, and it seems to be hidden within this man’s name. How do we know for certain that this statement is true? The flood of Noah took place the very same year of Methuselah’s death. 

But let's back up a little.  According to the Bible, Methuselah lived to be 969 years old (Genesis 5:27).   With the birth of Methuselah's children, the world became evil.  Only Noah, Methuselah's grandson, was considered by God to be "perfect in his generations".  (Genesis 6:9) and was saved by the flood.  

Over 900 years were given to mankind to repent of their ways before God brought judgment through the floodwaters, killing every living soul except Noah and his family.  

Thus, not only did Methuselah's name prophesy the flood but it also speaks of the Grace of God.

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