“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).
The book of Revelation opens with a series of personal messages to the seven churches of Asia. Asia was a Roman province in the geographical area that is now western Turkey. The cities where the seven churches were located were joined by a road system that formed a geographical triangle.
In Revelation the cities are listed and addressed in order along this geographical triangle from west to east. The message to the church at Pergamum, the third city in the series of messages, offers a warning to Christians not to be tempted to compromise their morality and faith in God.
This verse is the conclusion to the message and is similar to the conclusion of each of the messages to the seven churches. But, the conclusion to the church at Pergamum includes the promise of a special gift from Jesus for those who are faithful until death. In fact, death is depicted as a sort of heavenly graduation and so those who are faithful until death are “victorious.”
In this message to the church at Pergamum, the graduates, the victorious ones, receive two graduation presents from Jesus: manna that has been stored away in heaven and a white stone with a new name given by Jesus engraved on it. The second gift is a very personal gift because the new name engraved on the white stone is only understood by the person receiving it. So, it can only be given by One who knows you personally and understands you completely.
Think about it. You are known personally by the King of the universe! Talk about having friends in high places! And He knows you so well and so intimately that He has given you a nickname based on His personal knowledge of you!
Most of us have completed certain educational requirements that entitled us to a diploma or degree. When you completed your graduation requirements, you probably looked forward to the day when you would walk across the stage and receive your diploma with great anticipation.
One day you will walk across the stage of eternity and enter into eternal life. And receiving a personal gift from Jesus makes that heavenly graduation ceremony a day to look forward to with great anticipation–a day to die for, but more importantly, a day to live for!
“For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.” (1 Corinthians 15:53, NLT)