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White Stone - New Name|
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; to him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he who receives it." - Rev 2:17
Remember who is speaking - Jesus Christ. Jesus is promising three things to those people who "overcome." To find out who are the "overcomers" see 1 John 5: 1-5. The three things promised are "the hidden manna," a "white stone" and a "new name."
These three Biblical images would probably be familiar to those who read Jesus' letters addressed to the churches during that time. If nothing else the images would challenge them to open up their Bibles and check it out.
The Hidden Manna
The manna from heaven is what God gave His children to sustain them in the wilderness after they left Egypt. It was so strange to them that they called it "whats it?" The image that comes to mind is like a winter frost.
In Hebrew, manna means "Whats it?" Manna was food that strengthened both body and soul. It was also referred to as bread or "lehem." The town of "Bethlehem" means "house of bread."
In Luke 4:4 Jesus told Satan "It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Jesus connects all the dots when He refers to Himself as the bread (manna) which came down from heaven to give life to all who trust Him. "I am the bread of life…he who believes in me will never hunger or thirst" (John 6:30-35).
The most striking image of bread in Scripture is, of course, when Jesus says "This [bread] is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19b).
So we can see that the hidden manna refers to the salvation of God who provides our needs here on earth and promises us that heaven will be a place where we will be forever strengthened for the tasks which He will place before us. The hidden manna is a very precious thing!
The White Stone
Some scholars think this may be a white diamond. Others hold that the white stone is a sign of forgiveness of sin and approval. In the judicial system of ancient times a person who stood accused of a crime would be given either a white stone or a black stone. The white stone meant life, but the black stone meant death.
The white stone has also been compared to the white seal or white emblem that bore the name of one's master or employer. It signified that the servant was a legal representative of the master and could conduct business in the master's name.
While all of these possibilities in themselves fit the context of the verse, I think they may all be related. As I see it, the white stone is given by our Lord Jesus who declares us his adopted children - who have graciously been granted a legal claim to His inheritance. We are guilty of sin but forgiven.
The white stone represents our standing with the God of the universe - I will no longer have a black heart but one that will be white as snow - clean and fresh. The white stone is a very precious thing!
A New Name
Our "New Name" is something that brings great hope to the Believer. It speaks of a new identity and a new nature. The Biblical use of "name" can denote the promise of immortality - "a name that will live on." It also speaks to inheritance and divine appointment for a special task.
At the same time it tells us that we will have a personal and intimate relationship with the creator of the universe! He will call us by our new name..and we will hear His voice! I will still be me but better.
I do not have the power to change my heart but He does. He promises to replace my brittle heart of stone with one that is soft yet strong like His, and my new name will reflect that change. No one will know me like He will.
A new name tells of the new qualities and position of the one whom God has changed. It is like being promoted from a Private-First-Class to a Major General.
For example, God changed Jacob - "trickster" to his new name "Israel" - the "wrestler or champion of God." From a weak and broken soul to a powerful servant of the most high King! That is the destiny of the one who overcomes. The New Name is a thing most precious!
Looking Back - Looking Ahead
The "hidden manna," "the white stone" and the "new name" speak to both the past and the future. They are like the Communion Supper; they all look back in time at the extraordinary lengths God went to in caring for His people. They also look to the future and the tremendous promises of His Kingdom - a future we will share with Him and each other!
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