A Devotion for 18 September 2019 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Proverbs 22:1 (KJV)
A great pioneer scholar, William Shakespeare (known as the Bard of Avon), wrote in a play, Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare, however, misses the biblical meaning of names for they do have meaning that has bearing upon Scriptural Truth.
The good name of a man or woman may be their most precious possession. It is for this reason that the deceptive media and political goons often attack important people by name to bring discredit upon their reputations, sully their character and therefore cripple or disarm them from having influence. The Hebrews gave names with meaning to their children very much like the custom of today in many parts of Asia. For example, in Korea, every name has a special meaning. Mi-Gyung means Beautiful Flower, Mi-Ok means Pretty Stone, and Pok Son means Good fortune.
The second part of the quoted proverb above is “loving favor.” Regardless the wealth a person amasses, without love his riches are void of real value. Love is true life. Love has a divine patent in Heaven. It is a resource which God shares with whom He will. “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (KJV) But once shared, that love must be shared abroad with others. Love, like Manna from Heaven, decays if not used day by day and regathered.
There are many allusions to names in the Book of Genesis that have meaning beyond the personal in prophecy. I will relate ten names that reveal to us something of the nature and will of God in His callings of workers for the vineyard. I will take the names in chronological order of Scripture:
ADAM: Adam is the first person considered to be a type of Christ. “So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.” 1 Cor 15:45. How was Adam a type of Christ? “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” Romans 5:14 (KJV)
Adam is the family head of all born of woman on earth. We inherit our natures from Adam. Specifically, Adam is the father of our physical bodies and sinful inclinations. All people now upon earth, or who have ever lived upon earth, have their beginnings in Adam. He is the father of the human race. But those who belong to God must have a rebirth in Christ for Christ is the head of the spiritual family of the Kingdom of God. We all belong to one family or the other – no in between. We are made members of the family of God through the process of adoption. Adam means red earth. That means that Adam was neither white, black or yellow. He represents the ‘natural man’ whereby Christ represents the ‘spiritual man.’ Adam is the first deeply significant type (or antitype) of our Lord. Of course, without name is the innocent animal whose life God took to cover Adam’s nakedness (sin) which represented His own dearly Beloved Son.
SETH: Means ‘Substitute.” The first prophet of God, Abel, was murdered by Cain, his brother. “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” Matthew 23:35 (KJV)Seth represents Christ as our Substitute for fallen man.
ENOS: Enos was the son of Seth to perpetuate the Godly heritage to the end time. His name means frail, or dying. All men must die at some point, but then the resurrection. The heritage in God of Abel was extended through Seth and Enos while the people of Cain and the world became wanderers. “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” Genesis 4:26 (KJV) The people of God are fixed in their orbits while those like unto Cain, the wanderer, are wandering stars without constancy or fixed positions: “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Jude 1:13 (KJV) The family of God is much smaller than those of Adam’s race, but only they shall abide in Heaven.
CAINAN: This name means to ‘buy back, or purchase.’ Christ purchased our souls out of bondage to sin and the law at Calvary. The blood of Christ purchased back that which was lost in the Garden at Eden. Just as the children of Israel returned to the Promised Land of Canaan, so did Christ purchase our return to a far better Promised Land than Eden. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3 (KJV)
MAHALALEEL: This name means the ‘Splendor of God.” In the renewed lineage of Seth through Enos and Cainan, the resurrection promised was reaffirmed in Cainan’s son, Mahalaleel.
JARED: This name means “to descend, or pour out.” These names are all a consistent representation of the beautiful unfolding of the petals of a rose of prophecy. All of these names are of the successive lineage of God’s family of which CAIN is conspicuously missing. The name of Jared represents the pouring out of the Holy spirit after the Ascension of our Lord. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” Acts 2:17 (KJV)
ENOCH: Enoch is a profoundly special cased. He is the first recorded man to escape the clutches of physical death. His name means “to teach or instruct.” He is an example of those who will never see death – even physical death – at the return of our Lord. The Holy Ghost is in general attendance with the Christian day by day to instruct and bring to our remembrance all things written of our Lord. But such cannot be brought to our remembrance if we have not first read the Book. Enoch is accounted the seventh from Adam. There are some special points to be taken into consideration concerning the life and times of Enoch.
1) Enoch walked with God – he did not simply acknowledge God as existent. He obeyed God.
2) Like today, the days of Enoch were evil, but he did not succumb to that evil.
3) Before Enoch’s translation, he had the benefit of the witness of the Holy Ghost: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5 (KJV)
4) Enoch was a repudiation of sin. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,” Jude 1:14 (KJV) God never brings judgment without due warning.
5) Enoch was a prophet in the line of Abel and Seth. By the way, Abel is not mentioned in the Holy lineage since he was murdered before having sons. Enoch prophesied as expressed above in Jude 14.
6) Enoch did not see death, and neither do any of faith experience real death – it is only a transition like unto Enoch’s translation. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” this is a promise that those who are dead in Christ yet live. The second verse is like unto it: “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:25-26 (KJV) There is an important distinction in this last verse of the Words of Jesus: We must believe while life endures for there are not decisions made in the grave.
METHUSALEH: Methuselah means ‘man of the spear or dart’ and since ‘Cain’ means ‘possessor of the spear’ Methuselah is parallel type to Cain as the one who brought death into the world. So both meanings can be derived from the name, and both are fruitful in meditating upon the scriptures. It is probable that both meanings were intended by God. Methuselah is 8th from Adam which expresses ‘new beginnings.’ He died the very year of the Flood. I often wonder if Methuselah died IN the Flood. Eight souls were saved on the Ark for a new beginning, and Christ arose on the eighth day following the Sabbath for a new beginning for those of faith.
LAMECH: Lamech is a name difficult to assign meaningful purpose. His name means ‘conqueror or king.’ Lamech is the father of Noah. It has a vague representation of Christ as King and Conqueror at the end of the age when God will destroy the world with fire and brimstone. Lamech’s son survived the first judgment as we shall in Christ.
NOAH: Meaning to Rest. The Hebrew word for Sabbath is also REST. Noah is the last of the antideluvian patriarchs. The end of all flesh is coming via the Flood, but God will spare Noah and his family just as He saved Zacchaeus and his whole household. The REST of death and destruction came upon all creation during the more than one year that the earth was covered by water in a baptismal judgment. Noah is the connecting link between the world that then was, and the world we know today. Once again, however, evil and wickedness has grown to unforgiveable proportions in the world. There is coming another end to all things as we know them. The Ark of our day is the same as that provided to Abraham and his seed – the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many other features common to the above names that merit our understanding. The format of a devotion is insufficient to address all of these important features, so, I hope the reader will take time to study and understand the deeper beauty of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelations.