An excerpt from my book, “Now Who Are You?”
Names are very important to God. A name describes the nature, purpose, function and/or character of a thing or person. It also conveys the authority to accomplish it. One of the first things God had Adam do was to name all the animals. God is very careful about the names He chooses to call things, especially His people. We see this in many places in scripture.
God was very specific that Joseph and Mary were to name their child Jesus. For example; the name Jesus means “Savior and Deliverer,” which is His purpose and function. Along with purpose, however, comes the God-given authority to accomplish His purpose and function. This is why we pray in the name of Jesus, which means to pray in submission to His authority and will. When we pray according to His will, our prayers have the power of His authority behind them to accomplish what we have spoken.
God had a plan all along and He revealed it in scripture beginning with Genesis. He planned a family. The Bible begins with a family and it ends with a family. God’s original plan was to have sons and daughters—a family dynasty, a family of priests and kings ruling and reigning with Him for all eternity.
Let’s take a look at the covenant He made with Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 17).
God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah. This is significant as this covenant includes all those who have received Christ by faith and become sons and daughters of God. Like us! This is our heritage. Verses 5 through 8 of chapter 17 says:
“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:5-8
Then God initiates circumcision (verse 10) as the sign of the covenant. Circumcision, as I mentioned earlier, is a cutting around, a removal of flesh and it is also performed in the reproductive organ of the male by whom the identity of the child is determined. This circumcision is also a foreshadow of the circumcision of the heart that would come about as a result of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
The name Abram means “exalted father.” But the name Abraham means “exalted father of a multitude.” By changing Abram’s name, God gave Abraham a new purpose and function along with the authority and ability to accomplish it, even before Abraham had a son. Circumcision is performed in the flesh, and it is also a prophetic sign of reproducing a type of people. What type of people does God say? He said kings will come forth from him. A nation of kings! A nation of kings bound together by covenant. God chose Abraham to be the father of faith through whom a new nation of kings come.
Then God speaks about Sarai. In verse 15 and 16, God says He is changing Sarai’s name to Sarah. Then God said to Abraham:
“As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Genesis 17:15-16
As mentioned previously, God has specific reasons for changing someone’s name. Let’s take a closer look at this name change. The name Sarai means “my princess.” Sarai becomes Sarah, which now means “my prevailing princess of a multitude.” Notice that God says a particular type of people will come from Sarah, that she shall be a mother of nations and kings of peoples will come from her. Kings are to come from her! That is plural kings, and a nation of them—a royal family line. He said the same thing to Abraham. God promises Abraham and Sarah that a new nation of kings, a royal family, will come from them, beginning with their promised son Isaac. In Revelation 1:5, Jesus is also referred to as the ruler of the “kings” of the earth. These kings are His people!
The name Sarah is fascinating, let’s take a deeper look. Sarah was a word before it became a proper name. As a name, Sarah means “my princess”. As a word, it means “to prevail, to persist, to contend and to persevere.” As a mother of nations and kings of people, Sarah is a prevailing princess of a multitude. In Hebrew, the word sarah is the root word for government: misrah, meaning “to prevail, to have power like a prince, dominion, government.”
Hebrew doesn’t have vowels and so the word misrah would look like this transliterated: MSRH. Sarah is SRH. As you can see, there is only one letter difference between the two words. The word for government, misrah, is derived from the word sarah. Abraham, exalted father of a multitude, is a prophetic type of God the Father and one reason why he is referred to as father Abraham. Sarah is a prophetic type of the Bride of Christ, the governmental people representing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. When God and His Bride come together in intimacy, a nation of kings is produced—a peculiar people, a holy nation of kings.
Abraham and Sarah give birth to Isaac. Isaac gives birth to Jacob and God changes his name to Israel. In Genesis 32:28, God said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” The word for prevailed in this passage is the word sarah. Because Jacob would not give up as he wrestled with the Lord until he was blessed, God gives him a new name, Israel. Israel means “he who strives with God.” Israel is a compound name. The two words that make up Israel are el and sarah. El means “he will rule as God.”
Israel, the new nation of a governmental peculiar holy people (kings), is the result of intimacy between God (Abraham) and His bride (Sarah). This also refers back to Genesis and the creation story when God blessed man to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, subdue it and rule over it. This has always been God’s plan.
Jacob gives birth to the twelve tribes of Israel. David, which means “beloved” comes from the tribe of Judah, one of the twelve tribes. God decreed that through David and his bloodline, there will forever be a king who sits on the throne. Jesus came from the line of David, the Beloveds, and we come from the line of Jesus.