Daniel 1:6-7

Have you wondered about the meaning of the names we're called for? Read this:

Daniel 1:6-7

"Among these were some from Juda: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego."
For you who has compared with the Interlinear, the rendering is good, as you see (just remembering that the "chief official" is the "chief of eunuchs").

Why did they had to get new names? Which changes were attached to this?

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for "name" is "shem". The "name" in the Bible means not only your family ancestors - "family name" - or your "first name". The "name" means also the character, the honor and the authority of his owner. When God said to Moses (in Exodus 23:20-21) "...I am sending an angel..." "...do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my name is in him", the real significance is that everything that God is (His divine character and authority, His honor) are in the "Angel of the Lord". Then it is not a "common" angel, a creature, but a shape that the Creator takes in order to be seen of men, a so called "theophany", from the Greek θεοφανια, a compound of θεος ,"teós" - God -  and φαινω, "faíno" - to show oneself, then meaning "God's manifestation".

The suffixes "-iah" (a contraction of Yahweh or Jehova) and "-el" (God) are used in many Hebrew names (Immanuel, Israel, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Michael, Gabriel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah) and they connect the name of God with the one of the person. It was the case in the names of Daniel (God is my judge), Hananiah (Jah has favoured me), Mishael  (Who is like God?) and  Azariah (Jah is my help). We see that, even in human names, the relationship with God was implicit in the names of the Hebrews. The Babylonian names they got were a way to deprive them from their Jewish identity, in the same way that the Romans made disappear the names of "Israel", "Judah" and "Jerusalem" from their empire - in order to erase the Jewish nation from the earth. The relationship of the Babylonian names were with Babylonian "gods": Belteshazzar (protected by Bel - from Akkadian, it is the same as Hebrew "Baal" and means "Lord", applied to "gods"); Shadrach (Sin's servant; it was the "moon god") ; Meshach (the king's guest; now related to the Babylonian ruler); and Abednego (servant of Ishtar, a Babylonian goddess called "Noga" in Hebrew).

One of the worst persecutions - if not the worst one - suffered by the Jewish people was in the Nazi regimen, with Adolf Hitler as ruler - seen by many commentators as the "Anti-Christ" (but he was only another "type" of that figure). The persecution and the hate of Jews -"antisemitism"- reached also the Holy Scriptures and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg, one of the main authors of the Nazi "creeds", developed a "new religion" according to the principles of his party, because they had no use of Catholicism or Protestantism (which were the religions of must Germans at that time). Among the new "doctrines" for Nazi "Christians" were the suppression of the Old Testament from the Bible and of the most "Jewish" parts of the New Testament, the declaration that Our Lord was not Jewish but Aryan, and the gathering of every person in the 3rd Reich under that "religion". Nowadays it could seem to be madness, but it really happened, as the Holocaust as well.

Jesus Christ himself, Our Lord, declared to a Samaritan woman who was asking Him about religion, "salvation is from the Jews" (John 4:22). The Messiah who was born in Bethlehem, preached in Israel, was dead and resurrected, and the One we adore as Son of God, in his incarnation as human being was a Jewish human being, as it is recorded in two genealogies and the testimony of all of his followers. If we take away from the Bible the "most Jewish parts" then we should take away the Bible, as a whole. The Bible is a sum of books written mostly by Jews, and the few Gentiles who wrote something in the Bible, they talked about Jews. The themes of the Bible are the history of the Jews, the religion of the Jews, the God of the Jews, and how from the Jewish people - now we talk about the NT - was the Messiah born, the expected One, He preached to the Jews, He called twelve Jews and He entrusted the birth of His Church to them (even when it was a sect for many Jewish leaders) and that Church was born with thousands of Jews in Jerusalem, and reached the whole world, making the God of the Jews known and worshiped in the whole world (Christianity is the first world religion).

In Christianity, the Gentiles were gained by the converted Jews, and they where inserted in God's people, the Jews. Even when the NT is a "new" one and there is some aspects where it substitutes the old one (for instance, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the cross makes unnecessary the sacrifices of animals in the temple) the God of the New Testament is the same God of the Old one, His  moral commands of the Old Testament were used by the Lord and the apostles as "Word of God". Both the Lord and his followers use to cite the Old Testament profusely, and they speak of it as a Word inspired by the Spirit of God. The Ten Commandments received by Moses, the psalms of king David, the proverbs of king Solomon and the prophecies of Daniel are "Word of God" for us Christians as they were for the Jews. It is absolutely impossible to make some "theology" of the New Testament without using the Old one.

But Satan's hate doesn't know limits when it comes to destroy God's work. This persecution is one more among all persecutions that began in the time of the Judges and will continue until the fulfillment of the prophecies of Revelation. Let us only remember that it is impossible to "love God with all our strength" without loving the Scriptures, Word of God;  the Jewish people, our fellow companions in eternity; the Messiah,  Jesus Christ our Lord; Jerusalem, the holy city, and the place where He will stand at His coming; and Israel, the land from which the Word of God will reach the whole world in the eternity.

The Jewish people, even when they have been given back their land from the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and God of Jacob, is yet far from seeing the fulfillment of all of God's promises to them. They are literally surrounded by enemies that don't want their presence, they are persecuted and calumniated by the "sons of Hitler" - note that Nazism is far from disappeared - and by other "sons of ... (fill according to your knowledge) - which do not understand what Israel means in the eyes of God. If you are a Christian, please join us in pray for Israel and Jerusalem. If you are not, let me tell you: the God of heaven chose Abraham from a world which didn't want to seek Him, but adored hundreds of false "gods", He took Abraham out from Ur of the Chaldeans (Babylon) and guided him to the land of Israel, where he promised him a great descendance in his son Isaac (the father of Israel, who became the father of the whole nation) and that they should abide in the land of Israel (then Canaan). From that people, consecrated to God and sanctified by God through the commands He gave them, from that people came the promised Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was killed in a cross because of our sins, not only for the sins of Israel but for the whole mankind. The salvation "came" from the Jews. Their Messiah came, died, resurrected and ascended to heaven. He will come back from heaven, but this time, with no relationship with sin, only to "save those who are waiting for Him". Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and be free from the Great Tribulation that's coming upon this world (in which only Israel will be protected by God, but the rest of the world will submit themselves to a new "Hitler" or die).

May the Lord bless you. In the love of Christ, your brother

Israel Leonard

PS. Jesus comes soon!

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