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I believe that GOD saw through them, not what they were but what they would become. That was the reason for the name change, so they would also know what they could become through GOD.
Changes are based on life events. Look at the context of the stories. They all hold the keys to the name changes.
God sometimes changed a person's name to fit the task that they would endure. The meaning of that person's new name more effectively fit the task or the future of their works for the Lord. As was explained in the Scriptures given above in Genesis those who had their names changed the new name was more fitting for their new assignment by God.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I have read this question and the responses with great interest. In the beginning, God brought to Adam every animal to see what he would name them. Name = Nature. Could any one of us look at a majestic Lion King and call it a Monkey? Or perhaps an Elephant? Why not? Because that is not the Lion Kings nature! We could not imagine a beautiful 2 ton Bull Elephant being called an Ant. Or a Skunk being called a Butterfly. The Nature of an animal/insect is in it's Name. When GOD changed a person's Name, He also changed their Nature. Abram would never again deny Sari to be his wife, nor would she allow him to. Nature's changed. Jacob would no longer run from his past, but would face Esau and take his rightful God given place as the leader of the tribe. (Yes, God gave him this place. It was promised to him through Rebecca while he was still in the womb! Gen 25:23 His was the blessing by God!) His Nature was changed to Israel. When Saul's name was changed, he certainly had a change in Nature. We owe 14 direct letters and one another indirect letter to the Apostle Paul. What a testimony to the changing power of the Blood of Christ! Lucifer also had his name changed, once a covering cherub for the celestial Holies of Holies, he arose in Pride and believed he could ascend higher than God Almighty. We now refer to him as "Satan”, "Devil", "Serpent", or "Dragon"... All Nature's of Lucifer who was cast out in great rebellion. Ez 28:14-18, Luke 10:18-20 Even Jesus will be given a New Name Rev 3:12.. No more will Jesus be known as the Slain Lamb of God, but as the Glorious King of All, a Name that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD to the Glory of God the Father! Phil 2:8-11 Be Blessed, Lena
God gave the man an authority to name all the living creatures (Genesis 2: 19-20). So, God sometimes changed a person's name in the Bible because God wanted this person to become as an image of God (Genesis 1: 26-27) not just as a living creature (Ecclesiastes 3: 19-20). When we were baptized, each of us were given the name and we believe that name was God given name to each of us to become as an image of God, not just a living creature.
Eastern countries have long held a tradition of changing names to reflect who you are and your personal goals: Watchman Nee took that name as his preaching ministry took off to reflect what he sought to be in that ministry. Paul Yonggi Cho has now become David Yonggi Cho as he seeks to be a force uniting the church in Korea. True God used this tradition to great effect: but the tradition has always been there.
In my view, the following name changes: Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter and Saul to Paul; were all public declarations by God that this person’s life had been transformed, that genuine “saving” faith in God was now present in them. Every believer in Jesus receives a new name, the moment they come to saving faith in him. See Revelation 2:17.
Words always have root meaning even in our own names. So God occasionally changed a person's name because they had excelled to a higher spiritual level of maturity. I personally wanted to know the root meanings of my three names and I was pleasantly surprised that the root meaning of my three names meant joyful-worshipper-son of thunder. I actually sign my art with both names since all my art has spiritual meaning. Well, this study really defined me well. I am a very joyful person most of the time. I love to worship our God, Lord and King alone our with others. And I am very bold about leading when a leader needs to take charge and I am quick to pray absolutely anywhere when I see a need, even a garage or yard sale. So examine the root meaning of your own names; they may define you in a good way or even a bad way, but they may reveal that you need to change or even embrace who you really are in Christ Jesus. This is not an absolute, but it was a very revealing insight in my life as I studied the scriptures and the root meanings of countless words. Study to to show thyself approved of the Lord. For God says, "My people are destroyed by a lack of knowledge." 1st Timothy 2:15
In the scriptures names are usually definitions of a person's destiny. People act or live up their names and therefore when a person encounters God, if his or her name doesn't describe God's plan and purpose in their life, God changes it. A name also serves as a constant confession, and the scriptures say you shall have whatever you say.
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