ARE YOUR EARS AWAKE AND ARE WE LISTENING?
Revelation 2:17 The MESSAGE:
“Are your ears awake? Listen, Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I’ll also give a clear smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name.”
Revelation 2:17 The AMPLIFIED Bible:
“He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (conquers). I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden, and I will give him a WHITE STONE with a NEW NAME engraved on the stone, which no one knows or understands except he who receives it.”
The “WHITE” or “CLEAR SMOOTH STONE”–
The object, the stone, is given to those in the assembly who “conquer” or “overcomes” the pressures and temptations of the world. There are many differing interpretations on the one hand, but that doesn’t mean we are hopeless in our efforts to attempt to understand what JESUS meant in the above Scripture passage.
I’ve been reading in the Book of Revelations of late and when I read Revelation 2:17, the Holy Spirit whispered…You need to stop here and meditate on the words, to grasp their full meaning.” And of course as the WORD Detective, I began my investigation of the evidence presented in the Bible (God’s WORD). I found that being somewhat cautious in my studying, and avoiding dogmatism; regardless of whichever view I lean towards, on how I embrace the new and secret name in eternity (the “This” or “That’s”) was my ultimate goal.
THE “WHITE STONE”:
In the Greek language, the word used for WHITE is “leukos” = “a light, bright, brilliant from whiteness [dazzling white].” Several years ago, I noticed my wife was gazing intently in a jewelry store window along Front Street. There in the display case was a gold necklace with a brilliant OPAL in the center mounting (Opal is her favorite gemstone). It was glistening in the natural light, to the degree that it even caught my eye and I am definitely NOT the jewelry type.
She never said a word except, “Okay, let’s keep window browsing down the street’s storefronts. That doesn’t cost us anything.” The more I thought about the brilliant stone, the more I contemplated over purchasing the necklace. Well, to make a long story short…I purchased the necklace for my wife; and not because of it’s brilliance. I didn’t even think much about the value so much as I did about how much I loved her. It became a special LOVE GIFT and because it was given in LOVE, many other since have recognized and admired the brilliance of the stone.
Some recognize the “white stone” signified acquittal by a jury, as over a “black stone” which pointed to the quilt of the defendant. Others point to the pagan religious people who would carry a stone with them with the name of their particular deity engraved upon it. If this is the background of our Lord’s reference, then “the written name will be that of God or of Christ,” as in Revelation 3:12 (cf. 14:1; 19:12).
The point is then an allusion to ancient ideas; the power of divine names. To know the name of a deity was to possess a claim upon his help: “having the POWER of Christ to save and protect is exalted over that of His pagan rivals” (Colin Hemer, 99).
I could go on listing options on the meaning of the “white stone”. But I want to give you the view I think is the Scriptural evidence being the most likely accepted.
WHITE STONES were often used as tokens of membership or tickets for admission to public festivals. If THIS is the background for the referenced verse, the WHITE STONE may be a symbol for the believer’s, the over-comer’s admission to the Messianic Feast in Revelation 19.
It is “white” in order to display the righteousness of the “over-comers”; those who are granted entrance. NO GATE CRASHERS HERE! As we read in Revelation 19:8 the invitation presented is granted to the Bride i.e., the Church:
She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen,
dazzling and white (“leukos”)–
for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness
(the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God)
of the saints (God’s holy people).
Little wonder, then, that John goes on to write “Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9a).
I’M CAPTIVATED BY THE “NEW NAME” WE WILL RECEIVE:
The name that is written on the stone “that no one knows except…” (Revelation 2:17b). The words point to the prophecy given in Isaiah 62:2: “and you shall be called by a new name” and in Isaiah 65:15, “…another name.”
A Question About Our New Name.
The question is whether this “new name” given to the over-comer is Christ’s or the individuals. Although the first alternative is certainly possible, I’m inclined to think the “new name” in verse 17, is one given uniquely to each individual believer in Jesus Christ. I also believe through my study, it “symbolizes the individuals entry into a new life, status or personality…The thought may then be compared with that of 2 Corinthians 5:17” (Hemer, 103-04).
In other words, because we’ve become believers in JESUS, we’ve become “new creations.” It’s only fitting then, each one receives a “new name” suitable to their position in and with our relationship with JESUS. That doesn’t mean the old or original name, given to us by our parents or the world is bad or to be thrown away. Rather, one’s name in biblical times typically signified or point to ones character or calling or function:
Abram to Abraham, “father of a multitude.”
Sarai to Sarah, “princes.”
Jacob to Israel, “prince of God” (or also “he who struggles with God”).
Simon becomes Peter, the “Rock” (or more properly “stone”).
God is making a point about the individual concerned (memorializing their spiritual accomplishments and their spiritual potential, and His blessing on them).
Today We Name Our Children For Different Reasons.
Often we name our children, hoping their name might inspire confidence and perhaps power. We might name our son “Gregory” rather than “Gomer” (for anyone reading this blog has a son named “Gomer”, I’m not making fun of the name); or a daughter “Wendy” rather than “Winnie Mae” (I can get away with that one since “Winnie Mae” was my aunt’s name).
All this to say that God will re-name each of us in accordance with the transformation of our nature in the likeness of His Son, to reflect the new and altogether unique identity:
“We are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
My new name, like yours, will be suitable to the new heavens, new earth in which I’ll dwell, a place where evil and error are not present.
THERE IS EVEN MORE TO THIS “NEW NAME” THAN MERELY NEWNESS!
The “new name” that’s given is a name that “no one knows” except for the individual “who receives it.” Pet names between a husband and wife are given to each other in private. My wife has an affectionate name for me that no one else knows but us! It’s just between the ones who are the “giver” and the “receiver” in an intimate relationship.
Your TRUE IDENTITY with God is REFLECTED in Your New Name.
This new identity transcends any shame or regret or disappointment wrapped up in who you are now. There is a very private and personal place of intimacy with Him which brings hope and freedom and joy. None can touch or steal it.
The apostle Paul said it best–“…your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3 b). Then Peter repeated much the same thing in 1 Peter 1:4:
“[Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you.”
“Did I Missed Something in the Verse–How About the “HIDDEN MANNA”?
Although the emphasis I’m placing on Revelation 2:17 is about the meaning of our “name changing” on our heavenly arrival, I’ll briefly touch on the meaning of the “hidden manna.”
Some believe this is a reference of the manna being hidden in a jar; in the Ark of the Covenant. But I think it’s more involved. If JESUS is the manna, the “Bread of Life”, perhaps the point is–all that awaits us in Him is “hidden.” It is reserved and kept safe and guarded against all possibility of loss! so that we might celebrate its certainty and the assurance of what God has promised, that He will provide!
Remembering An Old Chorus to a Hymn:
A New Name in Glory by C. Austin Miles
There’s a new name written down in glory,
And it’s mine, O yeas, it’s mine.
ANY GUESSES WHAT YOUR “NEW NAME” WILL BE?