On October 26,2014, a brother took me up on my surname which begins with “Ogun”. In southwest Nigeria, in West Africa, these four.letter word have many ways to pronounce it and different meanings. Among these are:
1. Ogun- the god of iron, which is very common in name bearing.
2. Ogun- inheritance.
3. Ogun- war.
I explained my own name to mean inheritance based on Ezekiel 44:28 where the Lord proclaimed Himself as Levites’ inheritance and portion. So He does whatever pleases Him in their lives.
Now, let me mention seven reasons people can have a change of name.
1. A married woman bears her husband’s name as soon as she is married. So a change of name is necessary.
2. A name may have suffered a spiritual attack; this paves the way for a change of name.
3. To reflect responsibility. Father Abraham has always been a reference point to those who are advocates of Name Change.
Abraham means exalted father and he was exalted. After this, his name was changed to Abraham which means father of nations.
4. A change of name may be in obedience to God’s commandment. This was the case in 3 above.
5. To reflect one’s new found faith at baptism. This can be additional too.
6. By a higher authority, a change of name can take place. Nebuchadnezzar changed Daniel’s name and those of his friends. An angel changed Jacob’s name (meaning a supplanter) to Israel.
7. A voluntary change. People can adopt successful people’s names to demonstrate their love or admiration for those successful people.
What is sad about a name change is that many Christians have turned it into a religion or church doctrine. They have made it a law that must be obeyed for many other reasons only known to them.
People make religions out of anything and everything!
The bronze serpent which God commanded Moses in the wilderness (Numbers 21:9) to heal those bitten by snakes (and who looked at the bronze serpent) was worshipped by people of God, Israel for many years. They called it Nehustan. It was King Hezekiah who destroyed it.
Today among Followers of Christ, some saints, for reasons best known to them, look for “opportunities” to bring in something, not commanded by the Lord, into their faith to appear more religious or holier than others.
Please note that I do not condemn or belittle the effect of names in people’s lives. However, the person who bears a name is equally important.
Jesus Christ declared to a teacher in Israel, Nicodemus,
“Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3.
This talks of a total change of personality. New birth dictates new life. What does a man stands to gain if he changes his name but his personality is corrupt?
He will end up being a hypocrite. There is no room for such in the kingdom of God. Jesus Christ declared “woe” on hypocrites. Read Matthew 23.
The truth is that an evil heart will ruin a good name. An armed robbery attack that I suffered in 1995 was led by a man whose name was Holy Michael.
Did his act justify the impression his name conveys?
On the other hand, a person with a perfectly pure heart can turn a “a bad name” to good one.
For example, the name “Mary” is said to mean “Rebellion or bitterness”. Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, turned it into a name to love and covet. So it was with other Marys in the Scriptures who loved, served and worshipped the Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.
Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar (an idol’s name) in Babylon but the spirit of an idol did not enter him. He did not corrupt his ways before God. He sat, stood and walked before Him perfectly.
Joseph’s name was also changed in Egypt by King Pharaoh to Zaphnathpaoneah. This change did not uproot his love for God of his father from his heart. He reigned in Egypt with the fear of God.(Genesis 41:45; 42:18).
Whether you love a change of name or not, the central key is to have the Spirit of God in you; having a firm control of your life and activities after you have been saved from all your evil thoughts, words and deeds by the Lord Jesus Christ. Please, read Genesis 41:45, 42:18; Romans 8:18).
Therefore, do not hesitate to change your name if you have any plausible reason to do so, moreso, if the Lord command you to do so.
After that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, begin to provide for your own house in heaven above (Genesis 30:30); remember always that your citizenship is in heaven where you are looking for the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20) who is coming with His rewards to give everyone as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12.