Renamed by God
Question: Who, in the Bible, was RENAMED directly by God or Jesus Christ?
Answer: There are several individuals in Scripture who have been renamed by those other than God. This is usually done for a variety of reasons. For example, as captives in Babylon, Daniel and his three friends were referred to differently when they began to serve the king. Daniel was called Belteshazzar, Mishael was called Meshach, Hananiah was known as Shadrach, and Azariah became Abed-Nego (Daniel 1:6 - 7).
The Bible does mention a few individuals who were RENAMED directly by God or Jesus Christ. Abram was changed to Abraham (meaning father of many nations - Genesis 17:1-5) then the Eternal changed his wife's from Sarai to Sarah (mother of many nations - verses 15 - 16). Jacob, the grandson of Abram (Abraham), was renamed to Israel (meaning someone who prevails with the Eternal - Genesis 32:24 - 28).
One rather unique example of the Lord naming humans was when He commanded the prophet Hosea to marry a known WHORE as a sign of Israel's sin.
As children were born to Hosea's "whore wife" the Lord named each of them as a testament against the house of Israel (northern ten tribes). The first child, a boy, was called Jezreel, meaning that He would avenge the blood of Jezreel on the royal house of king Jehu. The second child of the whore, a girl, was called Lo-Ruhamah, because the Lord decided not to be merciful to the house of Israel any longer. The third child, a boy, was called Lo-Ammi, which generally means the Eternal no longer considered Israel his people (Hosea 1:3 - 4, 6, 8 - 9).
Only four people in the entire New Testament were renamed. The scriptures tell us that Jesus gave three of these new references during his earthly ministry. Simon, sometime after becoming one of Jesus' original twelve disciples, was called Peter, which means a little stone (John 1:40 - 42). Not many people, however, are aware that Jesus gave the brothers John and James a rather humorous designation of 'the sons of thunder' (Mark 3:13 - 17)!