We are pretty casual who we name our children after these days. In ancient Hebrew culture, the selection of names for a child was a sacred matter because of the importance of choosing a name that reflected the particular calling or character disposition of the child. People call their children names for all sorts of reasons these days without considering what Yahweh wants us to call them. In Yah'shua's (Jesus') day the Rabbinical custom was to name a child after a relative and that is still done today in most cultures though with different emphases.
It is the responsibility of the father to name a child but it is also his responsibility to listen to Yahweh and for the mother to counsel as she is led by the Ruach (Spirit) before he makes the decision. The story of the naming of John the Baptist is an interesting one:
It has always been my practice to name each of my seven children according to revelation. Mostly the names have had to do with their character and spiritual calling but on one occasion I was told to name one son after a wicked ancestor so that his name would be redeemed and blessings would move up the family line. When I named him in his blessing this reason was clearly given and indeed he has been richly blessed by Yahweh with a very loving disposition. When I asked Yahweh what his chief calling in life was He told me audibly that it was to bring ahavah (love) into the lives of others as well as to provide a sharp contrast with our ancestor who was a vicious Norman prince.
"So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother (Elizabeth) answered and said, 'No; he shall be called John (Yochanan - meaning 'Yah is Gracious').' But they said to her, 'There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.' So they made signs to his father -- what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet (because he had been struck dumb earlier), and wrote, saying, 'His name is John (Yochanan).' So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising Elohim (God)" (Luke 1:59-64, NKJV).
Over the last few weeks I have been wrestling hard with some undesirable character traits that I have that I want to be rid of. It has been quite a battle. Yesterday morning, after I had arisen and was meditating, I was led to my given names, including one that was dropped when I was registered with the Singaporean colonial administration which I was given when I was 'baptised' in the Anglican Church of St.Mary's in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya (before it became Malaysia).
As I was thus meditating, Yahweh reminded me that I was named after living persons, two of whom are now deceased: my first after an uncle who was a tea planter in what was then colonial Ceylon (today Sri Lanka), my second after the current heir to the British throne, and my third after another uncle who was also my 'Godfather' and was a barrister in the Malaysian courts.
As I meditated on each of these names I began to realise that I shared interests and character traits with all three of these persons, both desirable and undesirable! I was astonished as the Ruach (Spirit) showed me that the reason for these was not the social contact I had with these persons (for I had little contact with my two uncles and none, of course, with the royal heir) was because in being given these names my parents had unknowingly created soul-ties between me and them! My passion for philately, chess, statecraft, history, the legal profession and even one uncle's passion for boiled eggs could be traced directly back to these because my parents had no interest in any of these things and neither did my friends. There was also at least one vice picked up unconsciously and unbeknown to me.
It is therefore important that parents break all ungodly soul-ties with those people they name their children after and to state clearly, when giving children's blessings and namings, why these names are given. If your parents are not believers or are deceased or don't accept these things then you can simply break these ties in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name yourself.
If you are unfamiliar with spiritual legalities spelled out in Torah then please take a look at our Deliverance from Demons website.
Pursue a shem tov or good name in Yah'shua (Jesus) our Messiah!