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"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 one knows except him who receives it."'- Revelation 2:17

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." See notes about this expression in chapter 2, verse 7. Again, the responsibility is on the reader or listener to make use of what has been said.

For notes on the expression, "to him who overcomes." See chapter 2, verse 1 about the fact that every true Christian is an overcomer. Overcoming at Pergamum would mean standing against the false teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans.

To the overcomers in Pergamum Jesus gave this promise: "I will give some of the hidden manna to eat." Manna was God's miraculous divine provision for the Israelites in the wilderness. It was fresh, perfect food that could be gathered every day except on the Sabbath For their Sabbath needs a double portion was given the day before.

The story of Balaam and the temptation of the Israelites took place while God's Chosen People were travelling through the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land. It was during this same journey that God provided the manna. The Lord always provides for us just at the time we need it the most (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Jesus indicated that spiritual food that was even more necessary than our "daily bread." He told the tempter,

"It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." - Matthew 4:4

What is the "hidden" manna that Jesus promised? The spiritual bread was the Word of God. It may be that the Church at Pergamum was not getting enough of God's Word because of the encroaching hierarchy. Jesus Himself was the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He had also revealed Himself as the "Bread of life."

30 Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
32 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always."
35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. - John 6:30-35

"I will give him a white stone." Many different ideas have been suggested in the commentaries about the meaning of "white stone." One thought was the ancient custom of giving a black stone to someone found guilty in court, or a white stone to someone who is acquitted. Another concept came from athletic contests where a white stone was awarded to victors. In any case, it is a trophy and a keepsake that the overcomer will save to remind him of the struggle and the Lord's help.

Furthermore, Jesus revealed this about the trophy: "And on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it." We cannot know what this means because it is secret, like a love letter. The name will undoubtedly be different for each believer, and it will be a term of endearment.

My favorite teacher in Jr. High had a pet name for each student in his classes. He called me "RG." His name for others was "sport," "blondie," "speedy," etc. This made us feel special. Another instance of this comes to mind. I had a special name for each of my children - something no one else would call them.

When I was a young Christian we used to sing a popular chorus by C. Austin Miles about this new name.

There's a new name written down in glory,
And it's mine, O yes, it's mine!

Each one of us is unique to our Creator and Savior. When we see Him He will reveal to each of us a loving special name that will be meaningful to us forever.

Next: Revelation 2:18


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