Question: Would you please give me your explanation on Revelation 2:17.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”
Answer: I believe the best way to understand this verse is to correlate each aspect of this verse with other Scripture. Therefore, we will examine each section of the verse; and, in so doing, gain a the whole picture of what the verse is presenting to us as Christians.
1.“…To him that overcometh…” The overcomer is a Christian who, by faith, has trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. 1 John 5:4,5 explains the word “overcometh.”
“For whatsoever is born of God OVERCOMETH the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.”
2 “…Eat of the hidden manna...” The manna that sustained Israel in the wilderness is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ and His word. John 6:32, 33,35 clarifies this: (V. 32)
“Then Jesus said unto them,…Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” (32) “For the bread of God is he (Christ) which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” (33) “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (35)
Christians feast on the word of God as a source of knowledge, strength, and growth. They love and desire the word of God. On the other hand, there are those who have no desire for spiritual truth; therefore, God’s word, the Bible, is of no interest whatsoever to them. Matthew 13:15 explains why the word of God, or manna, is hidden from many.
“For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, AND THEIR EYES THEY HAVE CLOSED; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
- “…And will give him (the Christian) a white stone…”
- The white stone represents the Lord Jesus Christ. White is showing us His sinlessness. In Matthew 27.19, Pilate’s wife said,
“…Have thou nothing to do with that JUST MAN...”
Pilate himself stated three times,
“…I find NO FAULT IN HIM…” - John 18:38; 19:4,6
Judas himself declared in Matthew 27:4,
“…I have betrayed the INNOCENT BLOOD (i.e., Christ)...”
Jesus said of Himself that He is the Stone that Israel rejected, in Matthew 21:42.
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures ( Ps. 118:22), The stone (Christ) which the builders (Israel) rejected, the same is become the head of the corner…”
2 Corinthians 5:21 clearly states,
“For he hath made him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
- Remember, this whole verse is in reference to our salvation. Now, a promise is given in Revelation 3:5 to those that are saved (i.e. the overcomers).
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in WHITE RAIMENT; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life...”
“Shall be” is future tense, letting us know that we will receive this white robe upon entering our home in Heaven. The white robe is a testimony that I am here because the of the righteousness of Jesus Christ and not because of my own works.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”- Ephesians 2:8,9
- “…In the stone a new name written…” Many have wondered if they will have a different name when they enter Heaven. The answer is “No.” You will be known in Heaven by the same name as you are known on Earth. In Matthew 17:3, at the Transfiguration, you will recall that, “…there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him (Christ).” Moses and Elijah had died hundreds of years earlier; but, now appearing at the Transfiguration, they are still known by their earthly names.
In Luke 16:19-31 we have the literal account of the death of Lazarus who was saved, and a rich man who was lost. Lazarus was taken to Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom), and the lost man to Torment. Between the two was a great gulf, making it impossible for the man in Torment to get to the Paradise side. As you read this account, notice that the lost man is speaking to Abraham, who physically died hundreds of years before. But…Abraham is still known as Abraham on into eternity and will be known by his earthly name forever.
- The Greek word for “new” in Revelation 2:17 is “kainos.” It means “new as to form or quality, that of a different nature from what is contrasted as old.” This same Greek word translated “new” in 2 Corinthians 5:17 is in reference to the time we accepted Christ as our Savior.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new (Gr. Kainos) creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
In other words, at salvation, in God’s eyes we are a brand new creation and everything in our past is forgotten as we start our new life in Christ Jesus. At this time our name is eternally sealed in the Lamb’s Book of Life with the promise it will never, for any reason, be removed. Revelation 3:5 makes this perfectly clear,
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in while raiment; AND I WILL NOT BLOT OUT HIS NAME OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
Therefore, at salvation, Heaven receives another new name to join the ranks of all those previously saved. Not a different name, but a new name will be placed on Heaven’s rolls because of bearing Christ’s name, that being “Christian.”
- “…A new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” There are, at salvation, only two who know you are saved. That is Christ and yourself, excluding the heavenly host. In Luke 10:20, Christ addressed the Seventy he had commissioned with these words,
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, BECAUSE YOUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN.”
Luke 15:7 lets us know that those in Heaven are aware of what is going on down here.
“I say unto you, that likewise JOY shall be IN HEAVEN over one sinner that repenteth…”
- God’s will for the new Christian, is to tell others about Jesus Christ. It may be summarized in Romans 1:14-16.
(1). Verse 14. “I am debtor both to the Greeks ( the wise and cultured) and to the Barbarians (uneducated, of low degree); both to the wise and to the unwise.”
(2). Verse 15. "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach (announce) the gospel to you that are at Rome also.”
(3). Verse 16. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (the Gentiles).”
- The new Christian’s prayer should be Ephesians 6:19.
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.”
- Many and varied are the interpretations of this Revelation 2:17. In one commentary alone the writer gave four different interpretations of various commentators; and, then, one of his own. I have found that allowing one Scripture to shed light upon other Scripture is the best way to ascertain what a certain verse is teaching us. This I have attempted to do.
Much more could be written, especially concerning the Lamb’s Book of Life, in which all names have been recorded. Those that die without Christ will have their name blotted out of the book. This in itself is a whole, separate study. I hope this brief analysis will be of some help to you. May God bless you in your continued study of His word.