What is in a Name?

Matthew 1:21   “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

I subscribe to many email newsletters.  I admit that I don’t read every one but sometimes an article catches my eye.  This morning I found an eNewsletter with the interesting title, “A Famous Trio.”

The article started out listing many famous trios and I read on.  It was then that the author of the article broke one of my all time taboos.  He used the demonic names of a famous bible trio instead of their God honoring names.

Of course I refer to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  I would guess that in any church, those names would be very Recognizable, but their God honoring Hebrew names would only be known by a small number.  Why is that?

There are many people who’s names were changed in the Scriptures that are well known with.  For example:

  • Abram’s name was changed to Abraham
  • Sarai’s name was changed to Sarah
  • Simon’s name was changed to Peter
  • Saul’s name was changed to Paul

These are changes that God made, defining their character.  We use their names interchangeably and do not lose the meaning.

My beef comes when we refer to four young men in the Bible by their Babylonian names rather than their given names.

Look in your Bible in the opening chapter of Daniel and you will see this story.  Many young men were swept into bondage when Babylon captured the nation Israel.  These young men were the brightest of the nation.  But in order to “brain wash” them into the new surroundings and culture, they were given new Babylonian names.

Daniel was one of them and his name was changed to Belteshazzar.  The name Daniel means “God is my judge,” but his Babylonian name of Belteshazzar, means “Bel Protect the King.”  Bel is a god of the Babylonians.  We do not refer to Daniel by his Babylonian name but by his Hebrew name that has such power; “God is my judge.”

Why then does the world only remember the names of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?  These three young men deserve much better than this.  I would not want to be remembered by the name a conquering nation gave me.  I would want to be remembered by the God honoring name my parents gave me.

I must confess that I grow weary when people use the Babylonian name instead of their Hebrew names.  Names were so important in the Bible.  When you look at the Babylonian meanings of these three, perhaps you will understand my opposition.

  • Shadrach means “Command of Aku,” Aku was a Babylonian god.
  • Meshach means “Who is what Aku is?”
  • Abednego means ““Servant of Nego,” which was the Babylonian god of vegetation.

So what were these young men’s names?  I am glad you asked.

  • Hananiah, “the Lord is Gracious,”
  • Mishael’s Hebrew name meant “Who is like the Lord?”
  • Azariah, “the Lord is my Helper,”

Look at the powerful Hebrew names compared to the demonic names given and decide how you will remember them in the future.

  • Hananiah – “the Lord is gracious” to Shadrach -“Command of Aku”
  • Mishael – “Who is like the Lord” to Meshach – “Who is what Aku is?”
  • Azariah – “The Lord is my Helper” to Abednego – “Servant of Nego”

Daniel 1:7 7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

Those are my thoughts.  What are yours?

Bob Crowder

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Pastor Bob Crowder

My wife, Linda, and I live in central Texas. I am a pastor, teacher, writer and blogger. We have three children and nine grand children, two great grand son's.

6 thoughts on “What is in a Name?”

  1. Thank you for the enlightenment! Though, I read that story it never dawned on me to remember their GOD given names.


  2. Never thought of it like that. Very insightful… Although I think I like their Veggie Tale given names the best – Rack, Shack and Benny. Those are pretty easy to remember 😉


  3. Praises to the Most Hei!
    Bro. Bob,
    I agree with you whole heartedly. I have read the names of the Hebrew Sons and set my mind to remember their true names. Thank you for highlighting the story. Another name that is highly favored in Psalm 68:4 reads.
    4. Sing unto God, sing praises to His name:
    extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His
    name JAH, and rejoice before Him.
    Please note that the Hebrew spelling if the name would be [ YAH]. Yet, we continue to call Him by other names.


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