Jesus mentions so many blessings in the first three chapters of Revelations that it’s mind boggling. I can imagine John trying to remember it all. So much beauty! So much praise! So many colors and sights and sounds! How could he describe them to those who haven’t been there?
Jesus describes phenomenal rewards, mixed with warnings not to give up until the end. He knows the pressure feels like more than we can sustain, the temptations enticing, and we get weary of choosing the right when the wrong is easy and popular. So He opened the door, just a bit, to show much our efforts will be rewarded..
“To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”
Rev. 2:17, NLT
Manna was the miraculous food God provided the Israelites in the desert before they entered the Promised Land. It represents life, daily provision, nourishment, satisfaction, and a free gift for the taking. It has been hidden away in heaven until the end time.
In John’s day, a white stone meant ‘yes’ and a black stone ‘no.’ When God gives us a white stone He is saying, “Not guilty.” You are innocent because you have accepted the forgiveness my Son bought with His blood. Here you go. Your ticket to heaven has been paid.
The third reward is a new name engraved in the stone. A name of affection; a nickname. Something that has tremendous meaning to that individual that no one but Jesus could possibly understand. It might heal a deep wound inflicted on that person because of cruel name calling or attacks on their character. Perhaps the new name helps them overcome a label applied to themselves they could never remove. Ugly, Crazy, Stupid, Lazy, Worthless, become Beautiful, Imaginative, Clever, Motivated, Treasured. Each name is chosen to fill a profound need.
Don’t you want to dine on secret food held back for conquerors only? Wouldn’t it be a relief to get rid of the gnawing ache of guilt and shame? And wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a name more intimate than Snookums or Love Muffin? Something that really makes your heart skip a beat? It sounds great to me! Good enough to keep on fighting the fight until the day we see Jesus face to face.