Latter-day Saint Life

Why Does God Rename People in the Bible? (+ Your New Name)


Things get doubly serious when God is the one giving people another name. He puts his seal on their hearts and writes their names on his palms. You better be ready for all that awaits you, [for He has given you a new name, the name of His Only Begotten]. The stakes are high.

In Sunday School class, we got talking about Zedekiah, the king of Judah. He has a walk-on part on the first page of the Book of Mormon. It’s a passing reference and doesn’t dwell on the disaster the man brought upon himself, his family and his nation by not living up to the promises behind his chosen name.

Originally, Zedekiah’s name was Mattaniah, but King Nebuchadnezzar renamed him. It’s how powerful rulers stamped the word “mine” on those beneath them; they changed their names. Zedekiah took the fresh name and its responsibility. His betrayal of the oath cost him dearly.

In ancient days, when someone gave you a new name, you were expected to serve them. King Neb also renamed Daniel. He called him Belteshazzar. But the name didn’t stick. Daniel had already pledged his life to an even greater power.

Lead image from Deseret News.
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