“If you overcome, I, Jesus, will give you some of the hidden manna.
I will also give you a white stone with a new name written on it,
and that name will be known only to the one who receives it.”
Manna was the bread which came down from heaven to feed the Israelites during their forty year journey through
the wilderness. Every morning there was fresh manna, which demonstrated to the people that God’s mercies
were new every day. Nothing’s changed. They still are. The passage in Scripture written by John the Elder from
which this verse was extracted, was directed at the church in Pergamos. That was the ancient name for a small
Turkish town now called Bergma, located sixty miles north of Smyrna. It was a sizable city in its day, but not
anymore. During a horrific time in history, maybe a half century or more after the resurrection and ascension of
Jesus into heaven, there was a remnant of saints in the city, strong in faith,
and surrounded by debauchery everywhere.
The risen Jesus took note of these devoted and brave people. Likely he was referring to salvation when he
spoke of hidden manna, or at least spiritual food leading to eternal life. There’s nothing
here that doesn’t also apply to us today.
The white stone, however, has a different kind of history behind it. The first time I heard an explanation of it by
preacher John Hagee on TV, I was fascinated, and I guess a little embarrassed that somehow I had never known
The book of Revelation refers to white a lot. White is the sign of purity. There are white garments (3:5), white
robes (7:9), white linen (19:8, 14), and even the great white throne (20:11). The white stone which is being
referred to was often used the same way we now use currency. It was exchanged in social events such as
admission to a festival or coliseum event. If someone was honored in a special way, they might be given a white
stone as gesture of friendship or approval. On occasion a note might have been written on it, to be viewed only
by the receiver. (Contrastingly, a black stone could mean expulsion or even death.)
The white stone promised to the saints at Pergamos may have represented forgiveness or acquittal. This is
something we can also look forward to also. Isaiah encouraged those who stood firm in their faith, saying that
they (we) would be called by a new name given by the Lord Himself. (Isaiah 62:2). We can speculate, but there’
s no way we can know what new name each of us will be given, other than the spiritual nature of it. When the
day comes that we will experience a new heaven and a new earth, why wouldn’t we also have a new name to go
along with it? Nothing but the best for those who persevere.
Revelation also tells us that we will walk with Him in robes of fine white linen. Our righteous deeds will be our
pure white robes. The next time you come across a pure white stone, remember Jesus’ promise to you.