Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. 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.” Revelation 2:17 NLT
There is one statement that Jesus makes to all of the seven churches of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. "Anyone who has ears to hear must listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches." This, in and of, itself is interesting. They all had natural ears. They all were attending the church. They all held various positions within the churches. Each "professed" follower of Christ had natural hearing. The real question is about their spiritual hearing. Jesus was alerting them to their need to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. Often we get caught up in our routines, traditions, and cultural behavior that we don't hear what God has to say. We forget that the One we should be listening to, is Him. There are a lot of voices speaking to our lives. Which voice is speaking loudest in our lives? Are we so entangled in the affairs of life that we don't hear the voice of God? Have we been deceived by Satan to the point that we think we are ok when, in fact, we are lost and undone? Just like Pergamum, we go to church, profess to know Jesus, know all the right doctrinal rhetoric but live so far away from God. We need to stop for a while, take a moment to let the Great Physician examine us, and allow Him to give us a full diagnosis. Once we do that, then we can let Him do whatever needs to be done to correct our condition. Only then can we have a good prognosis. Do we hear Jesus calling? He stands at the door knocking. Will we let Him in and listen to what He has to say? “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20 NLT In each generation there is a remnant of true believers. To those who overcome (the genuine followers of Jesus - not just associate believers) there is the promise of partaking in the heavenly manna. Manna was given by God to the Israelites as they traveled through the wilderness. In Exodus Chapter 16 we read about it. Manna means "what is it". Manna was bread from heaven that was provided each day to sustain the children of Israel as they journeyed from Egypt to the promised land of Canaan. A jar of this manna was placed by Aaron, Moses brother and first high priest, in the ark of the covenant (see Exodus 16:33). In John 6:51, Jesus is called the bread of life. We eat of Him and live forever. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” NLT To the true follower of Jesus, there is the promise of seeing Him face to face (Revelation 22:4) and dining at His table (Revelation 19:6-9). Because we trusted in Jesus and committed our lives to His kingdom rather than this world, we will be granted the eternal bliss of the eternal heaven, where we will dine at His table forever. Lastly, Jesus tells the overcomer that they will be granted a new name on a white stone. This is an interesting thing, for sure. White is representative of purity. Christ makes us pure. Some say it is a stone like the priest wore on his breastplate (called urim and thummim) to help him determine the will of God. Some say it's a symbol of eternal life. Some say that it is a diamond of love for Christ's beloved, the church. Others, however, think it could be related to the games of the time. When a victor would be recognized in the games a white stone would be given to them which would grant them admission to the festival that would be held for the victors following the games. This is the one I personally lean toward. Jesus has washed us white as snow by His blood (Isaiah 1:18; I Peter 1:18-19). He has made us victors (see I Corinthians 15:57). He has given us new life. He has written our names down in eternity. Stone represents something that lasts. Because of our genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will overcome and we will enjoy the festivities of eternity.
Rev. Curtis Norris