Ancient Churches Lexicon Entry:


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By “name” the ancients understood, not the actual name of something, but the essential quality or character of that thing (AC 144). Among the most ancient people, it was customary to use proper names to refer to things of the church, and then to establish a genealogy to show how the things of the church were interrelated (AC 339). Each of the doctrinal systems, including systems that existed separately from the church as well as heresies, received a name of its own (AC 442). The Most Ancient Church, for example, was named “Adam” to signify that the people of that church were “taken from the ground,” that is, regenerated by the Lord so that from being non-human they became human (AC 313). People also gave names to things like sons and daughters, places, etc., according to the spiritual state that was signified by the name, sometimes attaching a description of the state. See, for example, the passages where Cain was named by Eve (Genesis 4:1) and where Noah was named by Lamech (Genesis 5:29) (AC 144, AC 4591, AC 4442, AC 2643, AC 3422, AC 340).

For the same reason, the people who belonged to the Ancient Church gave the Lord a variety of names to describe His different attributes. The name God Shaddai, for example, described the temptations during which the Lord fights on a person’s behalf and after which He bestows benefits. Every Divine attribute was given a specific name (AC 4162). However, once the internal aspects of worship perished and only the external aspects remained, people began to understand nothing else by the name of God than the actual name. In fact, they went so far as to worship the name itself. And once worship began to consist in a name alone, people no longer acknowledged one God but many (AC 2724).

The ancients also gave names to the classifications of the neighbor (e.g. the poor, the needy, the wretched, the afflicted, the blind, the lame, the maimed, orphans, widows, the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the bound), and from their names they would know what they ought to do for each person (AC 4955). These names were given to the ancients from heaven (HD 107).

See also:

Adah and Zillah, Adam, Cain, Canaan Son of Ham, Eber, Enoch Son of Cain, Enoch 'Who Walked with God', Enosh, Ham, Idolatry, Irad, Japheth, Jared, Kenan, Lamech, Mahalalel, Mehujael, Methusalah, Methushael, Names of the Lord, Noah, Seth, Shem, Writing

Passages relating to Names and the Ancient Churches:

AC 144; AC 313; AC 339; AC 340; AC 442; AC 768; AC 1140; AC 1179; AC 2643; AC 2724; AC 3422; AC 3686; AC 3861; AC 4162; AC 4442; AC 4591; AC 4955; AC 5628; AC 5658; AC 6003; AC 6543; AC 6589; AC 6705; AC 7259; AC 7260; AC 8624; AR 211; LJ 39; HD 107; Verbo 15
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