A Name of Great Importance

God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name."
GENESIS 35:10
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A Name of Great Importance
That he might have a sure pledge and testimony of the divine will, [God] changes Jacob's name and calls him Israel. This change of name shows that God is dealing with him not concerning common matters but concerning special matters of the greatest importance. . .. We are born into this life as sons and daughters of carnal parents and, as Paul says (Ephesians 2:3), as "children of wrath," bringing with us the name of sinful and corrupt nature because of original sin. But when we are baptized, we receive a new name . . . namely, he is called a Christian. This name reminds us of Baptism, which should be practiced in daily tribulations and produce its effects so that we grow into a new and perfect man (cf. Ephesians 4:13-15) and in this way the name of Christian be perfected until our name and old Adam are abolished. Therefore it should be noted that God Himself gives a name to the patriarch Jacob, and by this new name a difference is made between the flesh and the spirit. For Israel is a divine name, and God has a different reason for giving a name from that which is customary with parents, relatives, neighbors, the fatherland, and the condition in life. But the name by which God calls and recognizes us is a special one, as He says to Moses in Exodus 33:12: "1 know you by name."
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