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Dr. Tom Smiley: Whats in a name?
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My granddaddy had the tradition of giving nicknames to each of his nine children and each grandchild until the time of his death.

Each name has some important significance, relating to some special trait or quality that uniquely represented the individual. Some names were Rock, Buck, Chic, Peg, Lite-Tail, Jim-Poty and Cork.

I brought forward that tradition with my grandchildren, giving names such as Saw-Bones, Doddle-Bug, Juan Pedro and Princess.

The point is a name means something, even a nickname.

You might be familiar with the four names given by the Prophet Isaiah to the Messiah, 700 years before his birth in Bethlehem.

The prophet said “ ... and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

These four names are called throne names, because they are names ascribed to a king that speak of the extent of his authority and nature of his rule. Each name given to the Messiah, whose birth we celebrate today and each December, expresses the infinite virtue and incalculable worth of Jesus’ marvelous life.

It is vital that we understand the worshipful and doctrinal significance behind the names of Jesus.

Wonderful Counselor reminds us the Messiah will show us the father and lead us to the truth about ourselves and about life.

Mighty God calls us to believe the Messiah is able to do what he promised. Most important, it describes the unique authority and power only Jesus has.

Everlasting Father teaches us the truth that Jesus, like a father, has the nature to extend fatherly compassion and tender care.

Prince of Peace proclaims through Christ’s sacrifice, we are restored to a relationship of peace with God and all people.

The point to capture is Isaiah the prophet uses names that attempt to describe the character and nature of Jesus. 

Christmas is a time of the year when Christians unashamedly and uncompromisingly proclaim that Messiah, Jesus is God.

I was saddened to hear a local pastor express in “Heaven there will be different religions and not necessarily just Christians.”

That just isn’t true. These names given to Jesus demand better.

It is clear the names Isaiah used to introduce the Messiah affirm he is unique in power and authority and one day, “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that this Jesus is Lord.” 

Yes, as we sing the storied hymn, “there’s just something about that name.” Jesus.

Merry Christmas.

Dr. Tom Smiley is the senior pastor at Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville. He can be reached at