Saturday, August 25, 2012

What's In a Name?

When I was a young child I loved digging around in the dirt.  When I am reminded by a family member of this childhood pastime, I am always surprised anew.  Today I have a major “yuck factor” regarding creepy crawly things—go figure.  In those early days, we had a slate patio in our backyard.  It was my fairly common routine to lift up the rocks and see all the slimy bugs hanging out just barely beneath the surface.  As soon as the critters sensed the sunlight, they would instantly wiggle and slither their way deeper into the dirt to avoid the light and detection.  As a child, I guess I really enjoyed the realization that there was so much more to my world than just the one-dimensional surface view.    

Today I still like digging—but in the spiritual sense of the word.  I’ve always been fascinated by the hidden meanings in the Bible if you just have the patience to “dig” long enough.  Rarely is anything in the Bible “one-dimensional”.  Once you start understanding this concept, that the Bible is “prismatic” and so much more than a rote book of storytelling—it literally comes to life with meaning and application to everyday events.  Along these lines, there are many, many instances in the Bible where God changed someone’s name.  Now, I got to wondering…if God changed people’s names so often, names must be very important and meaningful in the scheme of things.   Here are just two of the more famous examples:

Old Testament:  Abram means “Exalted Father”.  God gave him a spiritual upgrade to Abraham—which means “father of many nations”.  So apparently, even his birth name gave a clue to his special purpose in life.  His encounter with God fulfilled his early promise.  Abraham is really Abram on steroids—if you will pardon my modern day connotation.    

New Testament:  Saul means:  “responded” or “prayed for”.  If you are a student of the Bible, you know that Saul, a persecutor of the early Christian Church, was knocked off his “high horse” by Jesus appearing to him from heaven asking “Saul, Saul…why dost thou persecute me?”  Apparently, Saul responded by accepting Christ and was “prayed for” to regain his sight by Ananias.  Read Acts 9 for the full account.  (As a side note:  “gaining his sight” was both literal and figurative as he was filled with the understanding of the Holy Spirit after this prayer—the one True interpreter for all spiritual revelation).  After his conversion, Saul became known as “Paul” which means “small, humble”.  This small, humble man responded to God’s call and eventually wrote 2/3rds of our New Testament.  He can arguably be called the most influential person in the history of Christianity.
Once again we see someone whose birth name had a special meaning and, after an encounter with God, an even deeper meaning.   
 Since I came upon this revelation, I’ve been shocked and delightfully surprised many, many times at the correlation people have to their name.  I believe if you find your Godly purpose in life, your name literally “comes alive”.  On the dark side…I’ve found evil people also live “down” to their name as well.
As I was working on an upcoming blog for the history of Planned Parenthood, the founder’s name “Margaret Higgins Sanger” caught my eye.  As I love to study word roots, I immediately noticed that her last name has a Latin foundation.  Every good student of Latin knows “Sang” has a correlation to blood.  (This is where the word “Sanguine” comes from).  With a bloody beginning clue, I thus began my research with some trepidation.  Here is what her name literally means:
Margaret:  Margaret has a long and rich history.  It means “pearl” (so far sounds good, right?).  The pearl in history has been the symbol of “feminine wisdom” (hmmmm….).  Popularity of the name began with St. Margaret, a saint in the Catholic Church who was known as the “Patron of Expectant Mothers” (now there’s something interesting).  She was martyred in the 14th Century for practicing her faith (getting a bit creepy) and many accounts say she was executed while pregnant (getting VERY creepy).   
Higgins:  Literally means “hard ruler”.  (Authors note:  By the way, name meanings are easy to look up in the many Internet search name/surname databases.  Feel free to check any of this data).   
Sanger:  As mentioned, the Latin root meaning is “bloody”.

So…to put her name into some kind of a translated context—it means:
Bloody, hard ruler of Expectant Mothers based on human (not God's) reasoning.  (shudders). 

Coincidence or Divine Knowledge? ...
                                                      Name it what you will.

**In an upcoming blog, we’ll “lift the rock” and shine the light on the maggots beneath the founding of Planned Parenthood. 

What signifies knowing the names, if you know not the nature of things?
~Benjamin Franklin

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
~Isaiah 43:1

Please join us in the Grassroots movement National Day of Repentance:
In honor of our Judeo-Christian heritage, Americans will pray and fast from Sunset on 9/25/12 through Nightfall on 9/26/12. This will also kick off 40 days of prayer until the 11/6/2012 election.



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