The word "name" as applied in the Bible to God means much more than appears on the surface. In ordinary, every-day speech its application usually denotes some specific object. but in the Bible when referring to God it connotes many other ideas or thoughts; for it proclaims the nature, power, and other attributes of God, and thus gives a clearer idea of man's creator and preserver. For instance, when Moses is told to go back to Egypt from Midian, and doubts about the reception the children of Israel will give him and his message, he asks what name he shall give to the God who has thus appointed him, and God says, "I am ... this is my name for ever." These two words are far more than a definitive cognomen, and especially in the light of the other six explanatory words quoted. They indicate the authority, the changelessness and self-sustaining ability, the absolute power and self-sufficiency, the independence, justice, and rectitude of the Being who thus expresses Himself. And this connotation has the effect of inspiring confidence in the unseen God for the Israelites,—out of Egypt and through the wilderness, to the borders of the land of promise, where another leader, Joshua, takes command.

The designation by name, especially among oriental and ancient peoples, is a token of authority or command, and is evidenced not only by the naming of children and slaves, but the renaming of men and women, as in the cases of the Israelitish princes by Nebuchadnezzar. It thus typifies the special favor which God shows toward those whom He designates; as, for instance, Abram renamed Abraham, and Jacob as Israel. In many instances the naming was prior to birth, as, for instance, Samson, John the Baptist, and Jesus. Always this naming was because of some characteristic which the individual was to manifest to humanity. And thus God expressed through the individual one or more of His attributes, which were made known to mankind in a tangible way: "I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine."

August 22, 1908

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