Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:17

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.'
New American Standard Version

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Adam Clarke Commentary

The hidden manna - It was a constant tradition of the Jews that the ark of the covenant, the tables of stone, Aaron's rod, the holy anointing oil, and the pot of manna, were hidden by King Josiah when Jerusalem was taken by the Chaldeans; and that these shall all be restored in the days of the Messiah. This manna was hidden, but Christ promises to give it to him that is conqueror. Jesus is the ark, the oil, the rod, the testimony, and the manna. He who is partaker of his grace has all those things in their spiritual meaning and perfection.

And will give him a white stone -

    I. It is supposed that by the white stone is meant pardon or acquittance, and the evidence of it; and that there is an allusion here to the custom observed by judges in ancient times, who were accustomed to give their suffrages by white and black pebbles; those who gave the former were for absolving the culprit, those who gave the latter were for his condemnation. This is mentioned by Ovid, Metam. lib. xv., ver. 41:

Mos erat antiquus, niveis atrisque lapillis,

His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpa.

Nunc quoque sic lata est sententia tristis.

"A custom was of old, and still remains,

Which life or death by suffrages ordains:

White stones and black within an urn are cast,

The first absolve, but fate is in the last."


    II. Others suppose there is an allusion here to conquerors in the public games, who were not only conducted with great pomp into the city to which they belonged, but had a white stone given to them, with their name inscribed on it; which badge entitled them, during their whole life, to be maintained at the public expense. See Pind., Olymp. vii. 159, and the Scholia there; and see the collections in Wetstein, and Rosenmuller's note. These were called tesserae among the Romans, and of these there were several kinds.

  • Tesserae conviviales, which answered exactly to our cards of invitation, or tickets of admission to a public feast or banquet; when the person invited produced his tessera he was admitted. The mention of the hidden manna here may seem to intimate that there is a reference to these convivial tesserae, whether given to the victor in the public games, entitling him to be fed at the public expense, or to a particular friend, inviting him to a family meal or to a public banquet.
  • There were tesserae inscribed with different kinds of things, such as provisions, garments, gold or silver vessels, horses, mares, slaves, etc. These were sometimes thrown by the Roman emperors among the crowd in the theatres, and he that could snatched one; and on producing it he received that, the name of which was inscribed on it. But from Dio Cassius it appears that those tesserae were small wooden balls, whereas the tesserae in general were square, whence they had their name, as having four sides, angles, or corners. Illi τεσσαρην, vel τεσσαραν, vocabant figuram quamvis quadratam, quae quatuor angulos haberet; and these were made of stone, marble, bone, or ivory, lead, brass, or other metal. See Pitiscus.
  • Tesserae frumentariae, or tickets to receive grain in the public distributions of corn; the name of the person who was to receive, and the quantum of grain; being both inscribed on this badge or ticket. Those who did not need this public provision for themselves were permitted to sell their ticket, and the bearer was entitled to the quantum of grain mentioned on it.
  • But the most remarkable of these instruments were the tesserae hospitales, which were given as badges of friendship and alliance, and on which some device was engraved, as a testimony that a contract of friendship had been made between the parties. A small oblong square piece of wood, bone, stone, or ivory, was taken and divided into two equal parts, on which each of the parties wrote his own name, and then interchanged it with the other. This was carefully preserved, and handed down even to posterity in the same family; and by producing this when they traveled, it gave a mutual claim to the bearers of kind reception and hospitable entertainment at each other's houses.
  • It is to this custom that Plautus refers in his Poenulus, act. v., scen. 2, ver. 80, in the interview between Agorastocles, and his unknown uncle Hanno.
      Hanno. - O mi popularis, salve!

      Agorastocles. - Et tu edepol, quisquis es. Et si quid opus est, quaeso, die atque impera, Popularitatis caussa.

      Han. - Habeo gratiam. Verum ego hic hospitium habeo: Antidamae filium Quaero; commonstra, si novisti, Agorastoclem. Ecquem adolescentem tu hic novisti Agorastoclem?

      Agor. - Siquidem tu Antidamarchi quaeris adoptatitium, Ego sum ipsus, quem tu quaeris.

      Han. - Hem! quid ego audio?

      Agor. - Antidamae gnatum me esse.

      Han. - si ita est, tesseram Conferre si vis hospitalem, eccam adtuli.

      Agor. - Agedum huc ostende; est par probe: nam habeo domi.

      Han. - O mi hospes, salve multum! nam mihi tuus pater, Pater tuus ergo, hospes Antidamas fuit. Haec mihi hospitalis tessera cum illo fuit.

      Agor. - Ergo hic apud me hospitium tibi praebebitur. Nam haud repudio hospitium, neque Carthaginem: Inde sum oriundus.

      Han. - Di dent tibi omnes quae velis.

      Hanno. - Hail, my countryman!

      Agorastocles. - I hail thee also, in the name of Pollux, whosoever thou art. And if thou have need of any thing, speak, I beseech thee; and thou shalt obtain what thou askest, for civility's sake.

      Hanno - I thank thee, but I have a lodging here; I seek the son of Antidamas. Tell me if thou knowest Agorastocles. Dost thou know in this place the young Agorastocles?

      Agorastocles - If thou seek the adopted son of Antidamarchus, I am the person whom thou seekest.

      Hanno - Ha! What do I hear?

      Agorastocles - Thou hearest that I am the son of Antidamas.

      Hanno - If it be so, compare, if thou pleasest, the hospitable tessera; here it is, I have brought it with me.

      Agorastocles - Come then, reach it hither: it is the exact counterpart; I have the other at home.

      Hanno - O my friend, I am very glad to see thee, for thy father was my friend; therefore Antidamas thy father was my guest. I divided this hospitable tessera with him.

      Agorastocles - Therefore, a lodging shall be provided for thee with me; I reverence hospitality, and I love Carthage, where I was born.

      Hanno - May all the gods grant thee whatsoever thou wishest!

    The tessera taken in this sense, seems to have been a kind of tally; and the two parts were compared together to ascertain the truth. Now it is very probable that St. John may allude to this; for on this mode of interpretation every part of the verse is consistent.

    1. The word ψηφος does not necessarily signify a stone of any kind, but a suffrage, sentence, decisive vote; and in this place seems answerable to the tessera. The tessera which Hanno had, he tells us in his Punic language, was inscribed with the image or name of his god. "Sigillum hospitii mei est tabula sculpta, conjus sculptura est Deus meus. This is the interpretation of the Punic words at the beginning of the above 5th act of the Poenulus, as given by Bochart.
  • The person who held it had a right to entertainment in the house of him who originally gave it; for it was in reference to this that the friendly contract was made.
  • The names of the contracting persons, or some device, were written on the tessera, which commemorated the friendly contract; and as the parts were interchanged, none could know that name or device, or the reason of the contract, but he who received it.
  • This, when produced, gave the bearer a right to the offices of hospitality; he was accommodated with food, lodging, etc., as far as these were necessary; and to this the eating of the hidden manna may refer.
  • But what does this mean in the language of Christ?
    1. That the person is taken into an intimate state of friendship with him.
  • That this contract is witnessed to the party by some especial token, sign, or seal, to which he may have recourse to support his claim, and identify his person. This is probably what is elsewhere called the earnest of the Spirit; see the note on Ephesians 1:14, and the places there referred to. He then who has received and retains the witness of the Spirit that he is adopted into the heavenly family, may humbly claim, in virtue of it, his support of the bread and water of life; the hidden manna - every grace of the Spirit of God; and the tree of life - immortality, or the final glorification of his body and soul throughout eternity.
  • By this state of grace into which he is brought he acquires a new name, the name of child of God; the earnest of the Spirit, the tessera, which he has received, shows him this new name.
  • And this name of child of God no man can know or understand, but he who has received the tessera or Divine witness.
  • As his Friend and Redeemer may be found everywhere, because he fills the heavens and the earth, everywhere he may, on retaining this tessera, claim direction, succor, support, grace, and glory; and therefore the privileges of him who overcometh are the greatest and most glorious that can be imagined.
  • For a farther account of the tessera of the ancients, as well as for engravings of several, see Graevii Thesaur.; Pitisci Lexic.; and Poleni Supplement; and the authors to whom these writers refer.

    The Epistle to the Church at Thyatira

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    He that hath an ear … - notes on Revelation 2:7.

    To him that overcometh - notes on Revelation 2:7.

    Will I give to eat of the hidden manna - The true spiritual food; the food that nourishes the soul. The idea is, that the souls of those who “overcame,” or who gained the victory in their conflict with sin, and in the persecutions and trials of the world, would be permitted to partake of that spiritual food which is laid up for the people of God, and by which they will be nourished forever. The Hebrews were supported by manna in the desert Exodus 16:32-34; it is called “angels‘ food” Psalm 78:25, and “corn of heaven” Psalm 78:24; and it would seem to have been emblematical of that spiritual food by which the people of God are to be fed from heaven, in their journey through this world. By the word “hidden,” there would seem to be an allusion to what was laid up in the pot before the ark of the testimony, and the blessing which is promised here is that they would be nourished as if they were sustained by that manna thus laid up before the ark: by food from the immediate presence of God. The language thus explained would mean that they who overcome will be nourished through this life as if by that “hidden manna”; that is, that they will be supplied all along through the “wilderness of this world” by that food from the immediate presence of God which their souls require.

    As the parallel places in the epistles to the churches, however, refer rather to the heavenly world, and to the rewards which they who are victors shall have there, it seems probable that this has immediate reference to that world also, and that the meaning is, that, as the most holy place was a type of heaven, they will be admitted into the immediate presence of God, and nourished forever by the food of heaven - what the angels have; what the soul will need to sustain it there. Even in this world their souls may be nourished with this “hidden manna”; in heaven it will be their constant food forever.

    And will give him a white stone - There has been a great variety of opinion in regard to the meaning of this expression, and almost no two expositors agree. Illustrations of its meaning have been sought from Grecian, Hebrew, and Roman customs, but none of these have removed all difficulty from the expression. The general sense of the language seems plain, even though the allusion on which it is founded is obscure, or even unknown. It is, that the Saviour would give him who overcame a token of his favor which would have some word or name inscribed on it, and which would be of use to him alone, or intelligible to him only: that is, some secret token which would make him sure of the favor of his Redeemer, and which would be unknown to other people. The idea here would find a correspondence in the evidences of his favor granted to the soul of the Christian himself; in the pledge of heaven thus made to him, and which he would understand, but which no one else would understand,

    The things, then, which we are to look for in the explanation of the emblem are two - what would thus be a token of his favor, and what would explain the fact that it would be intelligible to no one else. The question is, whether there is any known thing pertaining to ancient customs which would convey those ideas. The word rendered “stone” - ψῆφον psēphon- means, properly, a small stone, as worn smooth by water - a gravel-stone, a pebble; then any polished stone, the stone of a gem, or ring (Robinson‘s Lexicon). Such a stone was used among the Greeks for various purposes, and the word came to have a signification corresponding to these uses. The following uses are enumerated by Dr. Robinson, Lexicon: the “stones,” or “counters” for reckoning; “dice,” “lots,” used in a kind of magic; a vote, spoken of the black and white stones or pebbles anciently used in voting - that is, the white for approval, and the black for condemning.

    In regard to the use of the word here, some have supposed that the reference is to a custom of the Roman emperors, who, in the games and spectacles which they gave to the people in imitation of the Greeks, are said to have thrown among the populace dice or tokens inscribed with the words, “Frumentum, vestes,” etc.; that is, “Corn, clothing,” etc.; and whosoever obtained one of these received from the emperor whatever was marked upon it. Others suppose that allusion is made to the mode of casting lots, in which sometimes dice or tokens were used with names inscribed on them, and the lot fell to him whose name first came out. The “white stone” was a symbol of good fortune and prosperity; and it is a remarkable circumstance that, among the Greeks, persons of distinguished virtue were said to receive a ψῆφον psēphon“stone,” from the gods, that is, as an approving testimonial of their virtue.

    See Robinson‘s Lexicon, and the authorities there referred to; Wetstein, New Testament, in loco, and Stuart, in leto. Prof. Stuart supposes that the allusion is to the fact that Christians are said to be kings and priests to God, and that as the Jewish high priest had a mitre or turban, on the front of which was a plate of gold inscribed “Holiness to the Lord,” so they who were kings and priests under the Christian dispensation would have that by which they would be known, but that, instead of a plate of gold, they would have a pellucid stone, on which the name of the Saviour would be engraved as a token of his favor. It is possible, in regard to the explanation of this phrase, that there has been too much effort to find all the circumstances alluded to in some ancient custom. Some well-understood fact or custom may have suggested the general thought, and then the filling up may have been applicable to this case alone. It is quite clear, I think, that none of the customs to which it has been supposed there is reference correspond fully with what is stated here, and that though there may have been a general allusion of that kind, yet something of the particularity in the circumstances may be regarded as unique to this alone. In accordance with this view, perhaps the following points will embody all that need be said:

    (1) A white stone was regarded as a token of favor, prosperity, or success everywhere - whether considered as a vote, or as given to a victor, etc. As such, it would denote that the Christian to whom it is said to be given would meet with the favor of the Redeemer, and would have a token of his approval.

    (2) the name written on this stone would be designed also as a token or pledge of his favor - as a name engraved on a signet or seal would be a pledge to him who received it of friendship. It would be not merely a white stone - emblematic of favor and approval - but it would be so marked as to indicate its origin, with the name of the giver on it. This would appropriately denote, when explained, that the victor Christian would receive a token of the Redeemer‘s favor, as if his name were engraven on a stone, and given to him as a pledge of his friendship; that is, that he would be as certain of his favor as if he had such a stone. In other words, the victor would be assured from the Redeemer, who distributes rewards, that his welfare would be secure.

    (3) this would be to him as if he should receive a stone so marked that its letters were invisible to all others, but apparent to him who received it. It is not needful to suppose that in the Olympic games, or in the prizes distributed by Roman emperors, or in any other custom, such a case had actually occurred, but it is conceivable that a name might be so engraved - with characters so small, or in letters so unknown to all others or with marks so unintelligible to others - that no other one into whose hands it might fall would understand it. The meaning then probably is, that to the true Christian - the victor over sin - there is given some pledge of the divine favor which has to him all the effect of assurance, and which others do not perceive or understand. This consists of favors shown directly to the soul - the evidence of pardoned sin; joy in the Holy Spirit; peace with God; clear views of the Saviour; the possession of a spirit which is properly that of Christ, and which is the gift of God to the soul. The true Christian understands this; the world perceives it not. The Christian receives it as a pledge of the divine favor, and as an evidence that he will be saved; to the world, that on which he relies seems to be enthusiasm, fanaticism, or delusion. The Christian bears it about with him as he would a precious stone given to him by his Redeemer, and on which the name of his Redeemer is engraved, as a pledge that he is accepted of God, and that the rewards of heaven shall be his; the world does not understand it, or attaches no value to it.

    And in the stone a new name written - A name indicating a new relation, new hopes and triumphs. Probably the name here referred to is the name of the Redeemer, or the name Christian, or some such appellation. It would be some name which he would understand and appreciate, and which would be a pledge of acceptance.

    Which no man knoweth, … - That is, no one would understand its import, as no one but the Christian estimates the value of that on which he relics as the pledge of his Redeemer‘s love.

    The Epistle to the Church at Thyatira

    The contents of this epistle Revelation 2:18-29 are as follows:

    (1) A reference, as is usual in these epistles, to some attribute of the Saviour which demanded their particular attention, or which was especially appropriate to the nature of the message which he was about to send to them, Revelation 2:18. The attributes which he fixes on here are, that his eyes are like a flame of fire - as if they would pierce and penetrate to the recesses of the heart; and that his feet are like fine brass - perhaps indicative of majesty as he moved among the churches.

    (2) astatement, in the usual form, that he was entirely acquainted with the church, and that therefore the judgment which he was about to pronounce was founded on a thorough knowledge of what the church was; and a general commendation of them for their charity, service, faith, and patience, Revelation 2:19.

    (3) asevere reproof of the church, notwithstanding, for their tolerating a teacher of dangerous doctrine, whom he calls Jezebel, with the assurance that she and her children should not go unpunished, Revelation 2:20-23.

    (4) an assurance to all the rest in Thyatira that no other calamity or burden would come upon the church than what was inevitable in delivering it from the dangerous influence of these doctrines, and a solemn charge to them to hold fast all the truth which they had until he should come, Revelation 2:24-25.(5) A promise, as usual, to those who should overcome, or who should be victorious, Revelation 2:26-29. They would have power over the nations; they would be associated with the Redeemer in ruling them; they would have the morning star.

    (6) acall, as usual, on all who had ears to hear, to attend to what the Spirit said to the churches.

    Thyatira was a city of Asia Minor, on the northern border of Lydia, and commonly reckoned as belonging to Lydia. It was about twenty-seven miles from Sardis; about a day‘s journey from Pergamos, and about the same distance from the seacoast. Its modern name is Ak-hissar, or the white castle. According to Pliny, it was known in earlier times by the name of Pelopia (Hist. Nat. v. 29). Strabo (xiii. p. 928) says that it was a Macedonian colony. The Roman road from Pergames to Sardis passed through it. It was noted for the art of dyeing Acts 16:14, and Luke‘s account in the Acts has been confirmed by the discovery of an inscription in honor of Antonius Claudius Alphenus, which concludes with the words οἱ βαφεῖς hoibafeis- the dyers.

    Pliny Fisk, the American missionary, who visited the city, thus describes it: “Thyatira is situated near a small river, a branch of the Caicus, in the center of an extensive plain. At the distance of three or four miles it is almost completely surrounded by mountains. The houses are low; many of them made of mud or earth. Excepting the motsellim‘s palace, there is scarcely a decent house in the place. The streets are narrow and dirty, and everything indicates poverty and degradation. We had a letter of introduction to Economo, the bishop‘s procurator, and a principal man among the Greeks of this town … He says the Turks have destroyed all remnants of the ancient church; and even the place where it stood is now unknown. At present there are in the town one thousand houses, for which taxes are paid to the government” (Memoir of P. Fisk; Boston, Mass., 1828).

    The following description, by Mr. Schneider, missionary of the American Board, will give a correct view of Thyatira, as it existed in 1848: “From Magnesia we proceeded to Thyatira, the site of one of the Apocalyptic churches, now called Ak-hissar. The population consists of about 700 Mussulman houses, 250 Greek houses, and 50 Armenian houses (circa 1850‘s). The town is located in a plain of considerable size, and is hardly visible on being approached, by reason of the profusion of foliage. The plain itself is bounded on all sides by mountains, and cotton and a kind of reddish root (madder), used for dyeing red, are raised abundantly. I observed that this root is extensively cultivated in all that region, and forms an important article of export to England, where it is used for dyeing purposes. In Acts 16:14 we read of Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira. May not this root be the very article with which her purple was colored, which she was selling at Philippi, when the Lord opened her heart to attend to the things spoken by Paul? It seems to me probable. But, if it was so, this art of coloring appears to have been lost, for I could not find that it is now at all practiced in that place or that region.

    “The Christian traveler and missionary naturally looks for something interesting in a place where once existed a true church of Christ. But, alas! how sadly is he disappointed! The place presents an appearance in nothing different from other Turkish towns. Everything wears a Mussulman aspect. The houses, streets, dress, occupation, and language of the inhabitants all indicate a predominating Turkish influence. Christianity exists there in name, but it is the bare name. Its spirit has long since fled. The Greeks, especially, seem to be especially superstitious. I visited their church, and found it full of pictures and other marks of degenerate Christianity. A long string of these images, extending from one side of the church to the other, was suspended so low as to permit the worshipper to approach and kiss them; and so frequently had this adoration been bestowed on them, that all appeared soiled from the frequent contact of the lips. Over the entrance of the church I observed a representation of a grave old man, with a silvery beard, surrounded by angels. Suspecting the object designed to be shadowed forth, I inquired of a lad standing by what that figure meant. He instantly replied, ‹It is God.‘ I observed two similar representations of the Deity in the interior of the church. The churchyard is used as a burying-place; but only those whose friends are able to pay for the privilege of entombing their dead can enjoy it. Candles are lighted at the heads of the graves in the night, and incense is often burned. When the process of decay has proceeded so far as to leave nothing but the bones, these are taken up and thrown into a sealed vault, over which a chapel is suited up, in which mass is said over these relics of the dead for the benefit of their souls! A feeling of abhorrence came over me as I stood in the place where such abominations are committed.

    “The Armenians are far less superstitious. Comparatively only a few pictures are to be seen in their church, and three or four individuals are more or less enlightened, and in an inquiring state of mind. We had a long interview with one of them, the teacher, and left some books with him. I am not without hopes that a little gospel leaven has been deposited here, the effects of which will appear at some future day” (Miss. Herald, Feb. 1848). The engraving in this volume will give a representation of this city as it now exists.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it.

    On the first sentence, see under Revelation 2:7, and also regarding "him that overcometh."

    I will give of the hidden manna ... The great feasts in the idol-temples were nothing to be compared to the feast of one who eats of "the bread of life" (John 6:35). John remembered the words of Jesus who in that passage identified himself as the true manna that came down from God out of heaven. It is here called "hidden" because it was a secret unknown to the pagan world of the community to which Revelation was written. Finding some reference to the Hebrew myth about a literal pot of manna in this is ridiculous. As Bruce said, "This is another expression meaning eternal life."[73] Many of the other expressions similarly used, such as the white stone, also have exactly that same meaning.

    White stone ... It is not necessary to find the meaning of this in ancient superstitions. Small pebbles (not necessarily white) were used as tickets to public functions, especially feasts; and what is meant is simply that the ones who overcome shall receive, "a ticket of admission to the heavenly banquet, a very permanent ticket to an eternal feast."[74] The reference to the new name known only to the recipient ... "The idea is conveyed that outside the Christian experience no one can really know what God is, or what he gives. The redeemed and victorious alone understand what it means to belong to God."[75] Regarding the stone's being white, Cox said that it was, "not the black stone of their condemnation, but a white stone to their exoneration, admitting them to the secret places of the Most High."[76]

    [73] F. F. Bruce, op. cit., p. 639.

    [74] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 42.

    [75] James Moffatt, op. cit., p. 359.

    [76] Frank L. Cox, According to John (Austin, Texas: Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1948), p. 176.

    Copyright Statement
    Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    He that hath an ear, let him hear,.... See Gill on Revelation 2:7.

    To him that overcometh; the Balaamites and Nicolaitans, and do not give in to the doctrines and practices of the one, or of the other, whatever persecution and trouble he meets with, and endures on that account:

    will I give to eat of the hidden manna; in opposition to eating things sacrificed to idols, refused by him. The allusion is to the manna which the Israelites ate of in the wilderness, which may be called "hidden": either because they knew not what it was, when they first saw it; or because it was laid up in a golden pot, and put in the most holy place, where it was secret, and none but the high priest could see it, and who entered there but once a year: or rather, because it was at first, hidden under the dew; for according to the account the Jews give of it, a dew first fell upon the ground, then the manna upon that, and then another dew upon the manna; so that there was a dew under it, and a dew over it; insomuch that it was as if it was laid up, they say, in a box or chestsF12T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 75. 2. Jarchi in Exod. xvi. 13, 14. Mitzvot Tora, pr. affirm. 30. ; and they supposed the manna had respect to things futureF13Tzeror Hammor, fol. 38. 4. and do expect it in the times of the Messiah. They sayF14Midrash Shirhashirim, fol. 11. 2. Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2. & Midrash Kohelet, fol. 63. 2. Pesikta in Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 75. 4. , as the first, so the last Redeemer will cause manna to descend from heaven; and the clouds are by them reckoned the mills which will grind manna for the righteous in the world to comeF15Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Numb. fol. 96. 2. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 68. 4. : yea, they speakF16Zohar in Numb. fol. 88. 1. of מנא סתמא, "hidden manna", as the food of the righteous, the very phrase here used. Now this being the food of the children of Israel in the wilderness, is very fitly mentioned here; since the church, in this period of time, in which antichrist arose, was obliged to flee into the wilderness, and there abide during his reign, and where she is nourished with this hidden manna; by which may be meant the Gospel, which is soul quickening, comforting, strengthening, and satisfying food, by which the saints are nourished up unto everlasting life, and which is hid to the world, which the men of it know nothing of; and especially Jesus Christ, the sum and substance of it, may be meant, and that secret spiritual consolation enjoyed in communion with him, and by eating him, or feeding by faith upon him; in what respects Christ may be compared to manna; see Gill on John 6:32. And he may be said to be "hidden", because he is unknown to men, until revealed; and is wholly hidden from carnal and unregenerate men, and is enjoyed only by believers; and it may denote the private way, in which the true church of Christ had communion with him in his word and ordinances in the wilderness, and during the dark times of Popery. Philo the JewF17Alleg. l. 2. p. 93. Quod det. potior. p. 176. Quis rer. divin. Haeres. p. 491, 492. & Leg. Alleg. l. 3. p. 1103. often interprets the manna by the "Logos", the Word of God, the most ancient Word of God,

    And will give him a white stone. The phrase, "to add a white stone", with the Latins, is used to give one's approbation of anything; and could it be applied here, might signify the approbation Christ gives of his church and people here, amidst the testimonies they bear, and the persecutions they endure for his name's sake, and that which he will give of them before his Father, angels, and men, at the last day: white stones were used on various accounts. The Grecians used them to mark good or lucky days with them, as they called them; and could the allusion be thought to be to this custom, the sense would be, that Christ promises, to his people that overcome, happy days, after the times of Popish darkness and persecution were over: white stones were also given to the conquerors in the Olympic games, with their names upon them, and the value of the prize they won; and, here applied, may respect the crown of life and glory given to them who are more than conquerors through Christ, with their right and title to it, and the excellency of it. The Romans in judgment used to give their suffrages for condemnation by casting black stones into the urn, and for absolution white stones; to which Ovid has respect, when he saysF18Metamorphos. l. 15. fol. 1. ,

    "Mos erat antiquis, niveis atrisque lapillis, His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpa.

    And this is thought by many to be referred to here, and may denote, that though the pure members of Christ, and who abhorred and protested against the abominations of the church of Rome, were charged with heresy and schism, and what not, yet Christ would absolve them, and justify them from all those charges. But rather the allusion is to a custom among the Jews, who used to examine the priests and Levites before they went to their service, or to the sanhedrim, to judge and pass sentence, whether their ways and works were right; and if they were as they should be, they gave them חומרא דמקדשא, "the stone of the sanctuary": if not, they might not enter on business, as it is said; "and of Levi he said, thy Urim and thy Thummim be with thy Holy One", Deuteronomy 33:8 F19Zohar in Lev. fol. 8. 1. . Now on the Urim and Thummim, the stones in the high priest's breastplate, were engraven the names of the children of Israel; and, as the Jews say, the name Jehovah, to which reference may be had in the following clause; and may denote that the church, though in the wilderness, is regarded by Christ, is bore upon his heart and cared for by him; and also its spotless purity in him, and justification by him,

    And in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it; by this name may be meant, either the name of "Jehovah" our righteousness, which is the name both of Christ, and of his church, Jeremiah 23:6, or the name of a child of God, sometimes called a new name; see Isaiah 56:5; and so designs the blessing of adoption; this may be said to be a new name, because renewed, manifested to, and put upon the people of God, when they are made new creatures, though provided in predestination, and in the covenant of grace from eternity; and because a renowned and excellent one, better than that of the sons and daughters of the greatest prince on earth; and because a wonderful one, being an instance of amazing love and grace; and is what "no man knoweth", but the receiver of it; the Father of these adopted ones is unknown to natural men; and so is Christ, through whom this blessing is bestowed; and the Spirit of God also, who witnesses to it; and the persons that enjoy it, and the blessing itself, and the inheritance to which they are adopted: and this new name being on the white stone, may show that the blessings of justification and adoption, though they are two distinct ones, yet they are inseparable: they go together, and both give a right to the heavenly inheritance; and they are also, as well as the hidden manna, gifts of free grace, and not owing to the works and merit of men, and are given by Christ, and in and through him. At Rome, some white stones have been dug up, some lesser, some greater, with names and letters, and other engravings upon them, which PignoriusF20De Servis, p. 342. has given the figures of; and to such some have thought the allusion here is, and may serve to illustrate this passage. The Ethiopic version, instead of a "white stone", reads, a "famous book",

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    Geneva Study Bible

    14 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat 15 of the hidden g manna, and will give him a h 16 white stone, and in the stone a new 17 name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it].

    (14) The conclusion, by way of exhortation as before, and of promise.

    (15) The bread of life, invisible, spiritual, and heavenly, which is kept secretly with God, from before all eternity.

    (g) He alludes to ( (Psalm 105:40) ; Joh. 6:26-59).

    (h) Arethas writes that such a stone was given to wrestlers at games, or else that such stones did in old time witness the leaving of a man.

    (16) Which is a sign and witness of forgiveness and remission of sins, of righteousness and true holiness, and of purity uncorrupted after the sin nature is destroyed.

    (17) A sign and testimony of newness of life in righteousness and true holiness, by putting on the new man, whom no one inwardly knows, but the spirit of man which is in him, which is not praised by men, but by God; (Romans 2:28).

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    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    to eat — omitted in the three oldest manuscripts.

    the hidden manna — the heavenly food of Israel, in contrast to the idol-meats (Revelation 2:14). A pot of manna was laid up in the holy place “before the testimony.” The allusion is here to this: probably also to the Lord‘s discourse (John 6:31-35). Translate, “the manna which is hidden.” As the manna hidden in the sanctuary was by divine power preserved from corruption, so Christ in His incorruptible body has passed into the heavens, and is hidden there until the time of His appearing. Christ Himself is the manna “hidden” from the world, but revealed to the believer, so that he has already a foretaste of His preciousness. Compare as to Christ‘s own hidden food on earth, John 4:32, John 4:34, and Job 23:12. The full manifestation shall be at His coming. Believers are now hidden, even as their meat is hidden. As the manna in the sanctuary, unlike the other manna, was incorruptible, so the spiritual feast offered to all who reject the world‘s dainties for Christ is everlasting: an incorruptible body and life for ever in Christ at the resurrection.

    white stone  …  new name  …  no man knoweth saving he — Trench‘s explanation seems best. White is the color and livery of heaven. “New” implies something altogether renewed and heavenly. The white stone is a glistening diamond, the Urim borne by the high priest within the {(choschen} or breastplate of judgment, with the twelve tribes‘ names on the twelve precious st)ones, next the heart. The word Urim means “light,” answering to the color white. None but the high priest knew the name written upon it, probably the incommunicable name of God, “Jehovah.” The high priest consulted it in some divinely appointed way to get direction from God when needful. The “new name” is Christ‘s (compare Revelation 3:12, “I will write upon him My new name”): some new revelation of Himself which shall hereafter be imparted to His people, and which they alone are capable of receiving. The connection with the “hidden manna” will thus be clear, as none save the high priest had access to the “manna hidden” in the sanctuary. Believers, as spiritual priests unto God, shall enjoy the heavenly antitypes to the hidden manna and the Urim stone. What they had peculiarly to contend against at Pergamos was the temptation to idol-meats, and fornication, put in their way by Balaamites. As Phinehas was rewarded with “an everlasting priesthood” for his zeal against these very sins to which the Old Testament Balaam seduced Israel; so the heavenly high priesthood is the reward promised here to those zealous against the New Testament Balaamites tempting Christ‘s people to the same sins.

    receiveth it — namely, “the stone”; not “the new name”; see above. The “name that no man knew but Christ Himself,” He shall hereafter reveal to His people.

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    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Of the hidden manna (του μαννα του κεκρυμμενουtou manna tou kekrummenou). “Of the manna the hidden” (perfect passive articular participle of κρυπτωkruptō). The partitive genitive, the only N.T. example with διδωμιdidōmi though Q reads τοto (accusative) here. For examples of the ablative with αποapo and εκek see Robertson, Grammar, p. 519. See John 6:31, John 6:49 for the indeclinable word μανναmanna The golden pot of manna was “laid up before God in the ark” (Exodus 16:23). It was believed that Jeremiah hid the ark, before the destruction of Jerusalem, where it would not be discovered till Israel was restored (2 Macc. 2:5ff.). Christ is the true bread from heaven (John 6:31-33, John 6:48-51) and that may be the idea here. Those faithful to Christ will have transcendent fellowship with him. Swete takes it to be “the life-sustaining power of the Sacred Humanity now hid with Christ in God.”

    A white stone (πσηπον λευκηνpsēphon leukēn). This old word for pebble (from πσαωpsaō to rub) was used in courts of justice, black pebbles for condemning, white pebbles for acquitting. The only other use of the word in the N.T. is in Acts 26:10, where Paul speaks of “depositing his pebble” (κατηνεγκα πσηπονkatēnegka psēphon) or casting his vote. The white stone with one‘s name on it was used to admit one to entertainments and also as an amulet or charm.

    A new name written (ονομα καινον γεγραμμενονonoma kainon gegrammenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of γραπωgraphō Not the man‘s own name, but that of Christ (Heitmuller, Im Namen Jesu, p. 128-265). See Revelation 3:12 for the name of God so written on one. The man himself may be the πσηποςpsēphos on which the new name is written. “The true Christian has a charmed life” (Moffatt).

    But he that receiveth it (ει μη ο λαμβανωνei mē ho lambanōn). “Except the one receiving it.” See Matthew 11:27 for like intimate and secret knowledge between the Father and the Son and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal the Father. See also Revelation 19:12.

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    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    To eat


    Of the hidden manna ( τοῦ μάννα τοῦ κεκρυμμένου )

    The allusion may be partly to the pot of manna which was laid up in the ark in the sanctuary. See Exodus 16:32-34; compare Hebrews 9:4. That the imagery of the ark was familiar to John appears from Revelation 11:19. This allusion however is indirect, for the manna laid up in the ark was not for food, but was a memorial of food once enjoyed. Two ideas seem to be combined in the figure:

    1. Christ as the bread from heaven, the nourishment of the life of believers, the true manna, of which those who eat shall never die (John 6:31-43, John 6:48-51); hidden, in that He is withdrawn from sight, and the Christian's life is hid with Him in God (Colossians 3:3). 2. The satisfaction of the believer's desire when Christ shall be revealed. The hidden manna shall not remain for ever hidden. We shall see Christ as He is, and be like Him (1 John 3:2). Christ gives the manna in giving Himself “The seeing of Christ as He is, and, through this beatific vision, being made like to Him, is identical with the eating of the hidden manna, which shall, as it were, be then brought forth from the sanctuary, the holy of holies of God's immediate presence where it was withdrawn from sight so long, that all may partake of it; the glory of Christ, now shrouded and concealed, being then revealed to His people” (Trench).

    This is one of numerous illustrations of the dependence of Revelation upon Old Testament history and prophecy. “To such an extent is this the case,” says Professor Milligan, “that it may be doubted whether it contains a single figure not drawn from the Old Testament, or a single complete sentence not more or less built up of materials brought from the same source.” See, for instance, Balaam (Revelation 2:14); Jezebel (Revelation 2:20); Michael (Revelation 12:7, compare Daniel 10:13; Daniel 12:1); Abaddon (Revelation 9:11); Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, Babylon, the Euphrates, Sodom, Egypt (Revelation 21:2; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 9:14; Revelation 11:8); Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:8, compare Revelation href="/desk/?q=re+2:7&sr=1">Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:27, Revelation 2:28). Heaven is described under the figure of the tabernacle in the wilderness (Revelation 11:1, Revelation 11:19; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:3; Revelation 11:19; Revelation 4:6). The song of the redeemed is the song of Moses (Revelation 15:3). The plagues of Egypt appear in the blood, fire, thunder, darkness and locusts (Revelation 8:1-13). “The great earthquake of chapter 6 is taken from Haggai; the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair and the moon becoming blood (Revelation 8:1-13) from Joel: the stars of heaven falling, the fig-tree casting her untimely figs, the heavens departing as a scroll (Revelation 8:1-13) from Isaiah: the scorpions of chapter 9 from Ezekiel: the gathering of the vine of the earth (chapter 14) from Joel, and the treading of the wine-press in the same chapter from Isaiah.” So too the details of a single vision are gathered out of different prophets or different parts of the same prophet. For instance, the vision of the glorified Redeemer (Revelation 1:12-20). The golden candlesticks are from Exodus and Zechariah; the garment down to the foot from Exodus and Daniel; the golden girdle and the hairs like wool from Isaiah and Daniel; the feet like burnished brass, and the voice like the sound of many waters, from Ezekiel; the two-edged sword from Isaiah and Psalms; the countenance like the sun from Exodus; the falling of the seer as dead from Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; the laying of Jesus' right hand on the seer from Daniel.

    “Not indeed that the writer binds himself to the Old Testament in a slavish spirit. He rather uses it with great freedom and independence, extending, intensifying, or transfiguring its descriptions at his pleasure. Yet the main source of his emblems cannot be mistaken. The sacred books of his people had been more than familiar to him. They had penetrated his whole being. They had lived within him as a germinating seed, capable of shooting up not only in the old forms, but in new forms of life and beauty. In the whole extent of sacred and religious literature there is to be found nowhere else such a perfect fusion of the revelation given to Israel with the mind of one who would either express Israel's ideas, or give utterance, by means of the symbols supplied by Israel's history, to the present and most elevated thoughts of the Christian faith “(this note is condensed from Professor Milligan's “Baird Lectures on the Revelation of St. John”).

    A white stone ( ψῆφον λευκὴν )

    See on counteth, Luke 14:28; and see on white, Luke 9:29. The foundation of the figure is not to be sought in Gentile but in Jewish customs. “White is everywhere the color and livery of heaven” (Trench). See Revelation 1:14; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:14; Revelation 19:8, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 19:14; Revelation 20:11. It is the bright, glistering white. Compare Matthew 28:3; Luke 24:4; John 20:12; Revelation 20:11; Daniel 7:9.

    It is impossible to fix the meaning of the symbol with any certainty. The following are some of the principal views: The Urim and Thummim concealed within the High-Priest's breastplate of judgment. This is advocated by Trench, who supposes that the Urim was a peculiarly rare stone, possibly the diamond, and engraven with the ineffable name of God. The new name he regards as the new name of God or of Christ (Revelation 3:12); some revelation of the glory of God which can be communicated to His people only in the higher state of being, and which they only can understand who have actually received.

    Professor Milligan supposes an allusion to the plate of gold worn on the High-Priest's forehead, and inscribed with the words “Holiness to the Lord,” but, somewhat strangely, runs the figure into the stone or pebble used in voting, and regards the white stone as carrying the idea of the believer's acquittal at the hands of God.

    Dean Plumptre sees in the stone the signet by which, in virtue of its form or of the characters inscribed on it, he who possessed it could claim from the friend who gave it, at any distance of time, a frank and hearty welcome; and adds to this an allusion to the custom of presenting such a token, with the guest's name upon it, of admission to the feast given to those who were invited to partake within the temple precincts - a feast which consisted wholly or in part of sacrificial meats.

    Others, regarding the connection of the stone with the manna, refer to the use of the lot cast among the priests in order to determine which one should offer the sacrifice.

    Others, to the writing of a candidate's name at an election by ballot upon a stone or bean.

    In short, the commentators are utterly divided, and the true interpretation remains a matter of conjecture.

    A new name

    Some explain the new name of God or of Christ (compare Revelation 3:12); others, of the recipient's own name. “A new name however, a revelation of his everlasting title as a son of God to glory in Christ, but consisting of and revealed in those personal marks and signs of God's peculiar adoption of himself, which he and none other is acquainted with” (Alford). Bengel says: “Wouldst thou know what kind of a new name thou wilt obtain? Overcome. Before that thou wilt ask in vain, and after that thou wilt soon read it inscribed on the white stone.”

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    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    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.

    To him that overcometh — And eateth not of those sacrifices.

    Will I give of the hidden manna — Described, John vi. The new name answers to this: it is now "hid with Christ in God." The Jewish manna was kept in the ancient ark of the covenant. The heavenly ark of the covenant appears under the trumpet of the seventh angel, Revelation 11:19, where also the hidden manna is mentioned again. It seems properly to mean, the full, glorious, everlasting fruition of God.

    And I will give him a white stone — The ancients, on many occasions, gave their votes in judgment by small stones; by black, they condemned; by white ones they acquitted. Sometimes also they wrote on small smooth stones. Here may be an allusion to both.

    And a new name — So Jacob, after his victory, gained the new name of Israel. Wouldest thou know what thy new name will be? The way to this is plain,-overcome. Till then all thy inquiries are vain. Thou wilt then read it on the white stone.

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    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    The hidden manna; the spiritual life and sustenance which God bestows.--A white stone. Precious stones, upon which figures and inscriptions were cut, were often used, by ancient princes, as gifts and badges of honor.

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    Scofield's Reference Notes

    a white stone

    Signifies approval.

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    James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


    ‘I … will give him a … new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.’

    Revelation 2:17

    Rightly to understand this passage, we may with advantage go back to the beginnings of the Jewish race. ‘Thou shalt no more be called Jacob, but Israel’ (not Supplanter, but Striver with God), said the mysterious Personage with whom Jacob had wrestled, openly and manfully, perhaps for the first time in his life. The blessing he won was the blessing of the text.

    I. It told him that his God thought better of him; that for God, whatever man might say—for God, and therefore also for his own consciousness—that mean and unworthy past was gone, never more to haunt and to degrade him. And the blessing was not merely negative, repealing his base traditions; it also spoke clearly of the character of his better life. Effort, and even painful, permanently crippling effort, was the condition of his new life. He is to be called the Striver with God; for his highest honour is to have striven successfully, like one to whose life bad habits, evil associations, bloated and long-indulged appetites are clinging. Israel is the name which belonged to him; so much he won in that strange battle with a combatant willing to be overcome.

    II. As Jacob by overcoming won his new name, so Christ says to all men—for whoever hath an ear is bidden to hear His message to the Churches: ‘To him that overcometh will I give … a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.’ Is this a little thing? To him that overcometh is promised the hidden manna, the morning star, to rule the nations with an iron rod, to sit down with his Master in His throne. In company with such gifts, what is it to receive a new name? So hollow, so unreal one might think it, to receive, in reward for a life of struggle, a name that is never to be divulged. But so it was not, to Jacob. It was the very turning-point of his existence. Think what multitudes of men and women must long to do better, but find themselves tied and bound in the chain of their own past. With health lost, reputation lost, purity lost, what sort of man is this to aspire to saintship? And if he aspires, plenty of people are ready to tell him how absurd it is. But Christ does not tell him so. He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent and unfeignedly believe His holy gospel. And having pardoned He says, Go in My strength and you shall overcome. And when His strength in you has conquered the bad old habit, the fierce old temptation, then you shall find the effects reaching down to the very root of your being, and working a blessed revolution there. According to the old Hebrew notion, that a change of character should bring a change of name to tell of it, He offers to each man for himself a new name, a new characterisation.

    III. Oh blessed thought, that Christ Himself shall see and observe in me something more really myself than my failures and disgraces; that He shall bid me put away the memory of all the haunting horrors that laugh at my desire for goodness! And this new name is a reality. Jacob is called Israel because he has really striven; it is not a compliment at all, but a fact divinely recognised.

    —Bishop G. A. Chadwick.

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    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    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.

    Ver. 17. Of the hidden manna] That is, of Christ, whom none of the princes of this world knew; but God hath revealed him to his hidden ones by the Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 2:10 cf. Psalms 83:3, and given them to taste of that heavenly gift.

    A white stone] In token of absolution. With this white stone may the saints comfort themselves against all the black coals wherewith the world seeks to besmear them. If Libanius could say, βασιλειου με επαινεσαντος κατα παντων εχω τα νικητηρια (In epist, ad Basil.), Let Basil praise me, and I shall sing away all care, whoever reproaeheth me; may not we much more say so of Christ? "It is he that justifieth us; who shall condemn us?" Romans 8:34.

    A new name] Better than that of sons and daughters, Isaiah 56:5. The assurance whereof is (saith Father Latimer) the deserts of the feast of a good conscience, which is inconceivable and full of glory.

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    Sermon Bible Commentary

    Revelation 2:17

    The New Name.

    I. The new name is Christ's and ours. It is His first; it becomes ours by communication from Him. (1) It includes revelation: "I will give him a new name"—a deeper, a more inward, a fresh knowledge and revelation of My own character, as eternal love, eternal wisdom, all-sufficient, absolute power, the home, and treasure, and joy, and righteousness of the whole heart and spirit. (2) On this new revelation of the name of Christ there follows as a consequence assimilation to the name which we possess, or transformation into the likeness of Him whom we behold. The gift of the name is such an inward revelation of Christ in His glory and perfectness as presupposes full sympathy with Him as its condition, and implies a still more thorough conformity to Him as its result. (3) Then there is a third idea implied in the promise, if the new name be Christ's, and that is possession or consecration. His name is given; that is, His character is revealed, His character is imparted, and further by the gift He takes as well as gives: He takes us for His own even in giving Himself to be ours. It is a sign of ownership and authority to impose one's name. We belong to Him in the measure in which we are like Him. He possesses us in the measure in which we possess His name—that is, His revealed self.

    II. Look at the other thought which is here, namely, that this new name is unknown, except by its possessor. The text seems to imply that though there shall be no isolation in heaven, which is the perfection of society, there may be incommunicable depths of blessed experience even there. We must possess to understand; we must stand before the throne to apprehend; and after countless ages we shall have to say, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be."

    III. The text gives the condition and the true cause of possessing this new nature. The new name is won and given; it comes as the reward of victory; it comes as a bestowment from Christ: "To him that overcometh will I give." No heaven except to the victor. The victor does not fight his way into heaven, but Christ gives it to Him.

    A. Maclaren, Sermons in Manchester, vol. iii., p. 75.

    I. Note the large hopes which gather round this promise of a new name. (1) The new name means new vision; (2) it means new activities; (3) it means new purity; (4) it means new joys.

    II. Look at the connection between Christ's new name and ours. Our new name is Christ's new name stamped upon us. On the day of the bridal of the Lamb and the Church the bride takes her Husband's name.

    III. Note the blessed secret of this new name. There is only one way to know the highest things of human experience, and that is by possessing them.

    IV. Note the giving of the new name to the victors. The renovation of the being and efflorescence into new knowledges, activities, perfections, and joys, is only possible on condition of the earthly life of obedience, and service, and conquest.

    A. Maclaren, The Unchanging Christ, p. 223.

    References: Revelation 2:17.—Homilist, 3rd series, vol. iii., p. 50; Homiletic Magazine, vol. ix., p. 304. Revelation 2:18-29.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. iii., p. 48. Revelation 2:21.—Homilist, 3rd series, vol. iii., p. 233. Revelation 2:23.—S. Minton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 280. Revelation 2:25.—Homilist, 3rd series, vol. vi., p. 161. Revelation 3:1-6.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. iii., p. 204; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iii., p. 303. Revelation 3:2.—J. H. Thom, Laws of Life, p. 281. Revelation 3:4.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii., No. 68; Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 343. Revelation 3:7.—Ibid., Evening by Evening, p. 167.

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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Revelation 2:17. Will I give to eat of the hidden manna, Hereby the reward of him that conquers in the combat for Christ is described. As Balaam went on in his error through the greediness of gain, so here Christ promises, by way of antidote, the true riches to him, who shall, in the strength of grace, resist and conquer all internal and external temptations to idolatry and vice, notwithstanding the counsel of these Balaamites. According to the notion of the ancients, and especially the Hebrews, temporal riches consist in meats and drink, in having plenty of the fruits of the earth, and much cattle, with all things necessary and convenient to human life. The hidden manna is the unknown meat; the riches well preserved in heaven. It is incorruptible food, the treasure not subject to theft or decay; and that is immortal life, not to be taken away by any means, when once bestowed upon the faithful saint; the necessary sustenance of life being here put for the life itself. As therefore David, upon the undertaking the combat with Goliath, had riches promised him, and accordingly ate at the king's table; so Christ promises to his champion heavenly riches; and the accomplishment of these promises is set forth in ch. Revelation 22:1-2, &c. It is called hidden manna: now, of the manna that fell, some was designed for common use, and some was laid up in the ark as a memorial. That which was common was corruptible, and they who ate thereof died, even though it were bread that came down from heaven; see John 6:32.; but that which was laid up and hidden in the ark, remained miraculouslyto future generations. It is God alone who keeps, and consequently gives the true bread from heaven; and that is such manna as was hidden in the ark, incorruptible food, whereof they who perseveringly partake shall never hunger, but shall be immortal. This hidden manna is therefore the symbol of immortality; but an immortality consisting of such a life, and means to preserve it, as are wonderful and transcendant, beyond our present imagination. See ch. Revelation 19:12. The next expression makes up an hendyades, that is, two phrases joined by a conjunction to express one thing, as thus, I will give him a new name, written upon a white stone; for the stone is only given for the sake of the new name written upon it. A white stone is either the same, or at least equivalent to tables of stone, upon which the decalogue is said to have been written. Stone, and that too whitened, was the first and most ancient matter used to write upon. See Deuteronomy 27:2-3. A new name signifies the same thing as freedom, and a change of condition. New names were given upon change of condition. Abram and Sarai received new names from God; our Saviour changed Simon's name for Peter, and Christians take a new name at baptism. The expressions, according to our stile and notions, amount to this, "I will give him a new diploma, or character, to enfranchise him, and thereby grant him new privileges, change his condition, and make him immortal. He shall attain to that immoral life, whose glories and felicities no man can fully conceive, and none shall fully conceive but those who enjoy it;" for so much is implied in the expression immediately following. It is here to be observed further, that our Saviour's joining the manna to the new name, that is, riches, or maintenance, to liberty, is according to the principles of the Mosaical law, by which no servant was to be set at liberty without some liberal provision, to set him up at first for himself: so that the master was not only to give him liberty, but also some goods or maintenance;—manna, with his new name. What we have given above, appears to be a rational interpretation of the difficult passage before us: there have been several others offered, and the reader may think it an omission if we do not mention that of Dr. Ward, in whose opinion (Dissert. 59.) this expression of a white stone, &c. alludes to an ancient custom among the Romans, bywhich theycultivated and preserved a lasting friendship between particular persons or families. The method of doing this was usually by a small piece of bone or ivory, and sometimes of stone, shaped in the form of an oblong square, which they called a tessera. This they divided lengthwise, into two equal parts, upon each of which one of the parties wrote his name, and interchanged it with the other. And by producing this when they travelled, it gave a mutual claim, to the contracting parties and their descendants, of reception and kind treatment at each other's houses; for which reason it was called the hospitable tessera. Hence came the proverbial expression of breaking the hospitable tessera, which was applied to those who violated their engagements. But our translators, by rendering it a white stone, seem to have confounded it with the calculus, or small globular stone, which was made use of in balloting, and on other occasions. The original words do not specify the manner or form, but only the use of it, as the Greek glossaries abundantly prove. By this allusion, therefore, the promise made to the church of Pergamos seems to be to this purpose, That the faithful among them should hereafter be acknowledged by Christ, and received into a state of perpetual favour and friendship; and to this sense the following words very well agree, which describe this stone, or tessera, as having in it a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it. For, as the name in the Roman tessera was not that of the person who wrote it, but of his friend who possessed it; so it was known only to the possessor, who, doubtless, kept it both privately, and with great care, that no other person might enjoy the benefitof it, which was designed only for himself and his family.

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    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    17.] Conclusion. For the former clause see on Revelation 2:7. We may notice that in these three first Epistles, the proclamation precedes the promise to him that conquereth: in the four last, it follows the promise. To him that conquereth I will give to him (see above on Revelation 2:7) of the manna which is hidden (on the partitive gen. see ref., and Winer, edn. 6, § 30. 7, b. In this manna, there is unmistakably an allusion to the proper and heavenly food of the children of Israel, as contrasted with the unhallowed idolofferings; but beyond that, there is an allusion again (see above on Revelation 2:7) to our Lord’s discourse in John 6, where He describes Himself as the true bread from heaven: not that we need here, any more than in Revelation 2:7 (see note there), confuse the present figure by literally pressing the symbolism of that chapter. Christ’s gifts may all be summed up in the gift of Himself: on the other hand, He may describe any of the manifold proprieties of his own Person and office as His gift. This manna is κεκρυμμένον, in allusion partly perhaps to the fact of the pot of manna laid up in the ark in the holy of holies (Exodus 16:33; cf. our ch. Revelation 11:19; not to the Jewish fable, “Hæc est arca quam … Josias abscondit ante vastationem templi nostri, et hæc area futuro tempore, adveniente Messia nostra … manifestabitur.” Abarbanel on 1 Samuel 4:4, cited by Düsterd.), but principally to the fact that our spiritual life, with its springs and nourishments, κέκρυπται σὺν τῷ χριστῷ ἐν τῷ θεῷ, Colossians 3:3. See also Psalms 78:24; Psalms 105:40. The distinction between κεκρυμμένον, reconditum, and κρυπτόν, occultum, pressed here by Trench after Cocceius, does not appear to be warranted, further than that the participle represents more the objective fact, while the verbal adjective sets forth the subjective quality), and I will give to him a white stone (see, below), and on the stone (the prep. of motion betokens the act of inscribing) a new name written, which none knoweth except he that receiveth it (the views concerning this stone have been very various. Bed(37) interprets it “corpus nunc baptismo candidatum, tunc incorruptionis gloria refulgens.” And similarly Lyra, “corpus dote charitatis decoratum, quod dicitur calculus sive lapillus, quia est extractum de terra, sicut et lapis,” adding, “nomen novum, quia tunc quilibet beatus manifeste et corporaliter per dotes corporis gloriosi erit ascriptus civitati cœlestium.” But both these are surely out of the question. Some have connected this with the mention of the manna, and cited (as Wetst., who gives it merely among others and expresses no opinion) the Rabbinical tradition, Joma 8, “cadebant Israelitis una cum manna lapides pretiosi et margaritæ.” Others again think of the precious stones bearing the names of the twelve tribes on the breastplate of the High-priest, the order for which was contemporary with the giving of the manna, Exodus 28:17; Exodus 39:10, and regard this as indicating the priestly dignity of the victorious Christian. So Ewald, Züllig, Ebrard: the last remarks, that as the hidden manna was the reward for abstaining from idol-meat, so this for abstinence from fornication. But, as Düsterd. observes, these are never called ψῆφοι. Again some, as Arethas, Grot., Hamm., Eichhorn, Heinr., have reminded us of the Gentile custom of presenting the victors at the games with a ψῆφος or ticket which entitled them to nourishment at the public expense, and to admission to royal festivals. Titus, they quote from Xiphilinus, Epit. Dion. p. 228, used to cast small pieces of wood ( σφαίρια ξύλινα μικρά) down into the arena, σύμβολον ἔχοντα, τὰ μὲν ἐδωδίμου τινός, κ. τ. λ., which whoever got was to bring καὶ λαβεῖν τὸ ἐπιγεγραμμένον. Hence they regard the white stone as the ticket of admission to the heavenly feast. But it may be replied, 1) the feast is mentioned separately under the name of the hidden manna: and 2) the description of the writing on the stone, which follows, will not suit this view. Again, others, regarding the connexion of the white stone with the manna, refer to the use of the lot cast among the priests, which should offer the sacrifice (so Schöttg., quoting the Rabbis): or to the writing a name, at election by ballot, on a stone or a bean (so Elsner, and perhaps Victorinus, who says, “gemma alba, adoptio in filium Dei”): or to the “mos erat antiquis niveis atrisque lapillis, His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpa,” Ov. Met. xv. 41. So Erasm., Zeger, a-Lap., Aretius, Calov., Vitr., Wolf, al. Some expositors combine two or more of these expositions: as De Wette, understanding it as typical of justification and election; Bengel; Stern, who also notices the white stone as the mark of felicity, “Hunc, Macrine, diem numera meliore lapillo, Qui tibi labentes apponit candidus annos,” Pers. Sat. ii., and “O diem lætum notandumque mihi candidissimo calculo,” Plin. Ep. vi. 11. 3. But, as Düsterd. well observes, it is against all these interpretations, that no one of them fits the conditions of this description. Each one halts in the explanation either of the stone itself, or of that which is written on it. Least of all, perhaps, does the last apply: the verdict of acquittal would be a strange reward indeed to one who has fought and overcome in the strength of an acquittal long ago obtained, ὁ κύριος ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν, Colossians 3:13. The most probable view is that which Bengel gives a hint of (“scribebant veteres multa in lapillis”), and which Hengst. (“Das hier in Betrachtkommende Moment ist allein das, dass man im Alterthume manches auf kleine Steine schrieb”) and Düsterd. hold, that the figure is derived from the practice of using small stones, inscribed with writing, for various purposes, and that, further than this, the imagery belongs to the occasion itself only. Taking it thus, the colour is that of victory, see ch. Revelation 3:4; Revelation 6:2; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 19:14. The name inscribed yet remains for consideration. It is in this, as it would be in every case, the inscription which gives the stone its real value, being, as it is, a token of reward and approval from the Son of God. But what name is this? not what name in each case, for an answer to this question is precluded by the very terms, ὃ οὐδεὶς οἶδεν, κ. τ. λ.: but of what kind? Is it the name of Christ Himself, or of God in Christ? This supposition is precluded also by the game terms: for any mysterious name of God or of Christ would either be hidden from all (so ch. Revelation 19:12, ἔχωνὄνομα γεγραμμένον ὃ οὐδεὶς οἶδεν εἰ μὴ αὐτός), or known to all who were similarly victorious through grace. These very terms seem to require that it should be the recipient’s own name, a new name however; a revelation of his everlasting title, as a son of God, to glory in Christ, but consisting of, and revealed in, those personal marks and signs of God’s peculiar adoption of himself, which he and none else is acquainted with. “If the heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth not with its joy” (Proverbs 14:10), then the deep secret dealings of God with each of us during those times, by which our sonship is assured and our spiritual strife carried onward to victory, can, when revealed to us in the other blessed state, be known thoroughly to ourselves only. Bengel beautifully says, “Mochtest Du wissen, was Du fur einen neuen Namen bekommen wirst? Uberwinde! Borher fragst Du vergeblich: und hernach wirst Du ihn bald auf dem weissen Stein geschrieben lesen.” Trench, in loc., after Züllig, suggests that the white, or glistering stone, may be the Urim, in which the most precious stone of all was covered by the twelve on which the names of the tribes were engraved; the writing on which no one knew. The suggestion is one well worth consideration).

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    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 2489


    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.

    IN every one of the epistles, it is the promise that comes last: for our blessed Lord would have a free and willing service, and not a service constrained by fear. Not but that threatenings are good in their place, because they produce a holy fear and caution: but it is by the promises chiefly that God accomplishes the work of his grace within us: and when we truly apprehend them, we shall invariably experience their renewing efficacy; and be led by them to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God [Note: 2 Corinthians 7:1.].”

    In discoursing on the words before us, I shall endeavour to set before you,

    I. The blessedness that awaits the victorious Christian—

    The terms used in my text require much explanation. But, when duly considered, they will be found to intimate, that, in the eternal world, the victorious Christian will have accorded to him,

    1. A more intimate connexion with the Lord Jesus—

    [“To him will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” On manna the Israelites subsisted forty years in the Wilderness. But from the day that they ate corn in the land of Canaan, the supply of manna was withheld [Note: Joshua 5:10-12.]. There was, however, a vessel full of manna deposited with the ark, as a memorial of God’s goodness to them in the Wilderness [Note: Exodus 16:32-34.]. Any which the Israelites themselves attempted to hoard, even for a day, excepting for their use on the Sabbath-day, “bred worms, and stank;” but that which was laid up by God’s command, continued good for many hundreds of years, even to the time when all the vessels of the sanctuary were seized by Nebuchadnezzar, and carried into Babylon [Note: Hebrews 9:4.].

    Now, it must be remembered, that the manna was a type of Christ [Note: John 6:31-35.]. Even to the Jews it was “spiritual meat [Note: 1 Corinthians 10:3.]:” and all who had a spiritual discernment partook of Christ in it [Note: John 6:48-51.]. To us, of course, there is no such food vouchsafed, so far as relates to the body: but in our souls we may feed upon it, even as they: for by faith our souls subsist on Christ, and live by him, even as their bodies did by a daily participation of the manna itself. Yet it is by faith only that we partake of this benefit. Not so when we reach the heavenly Canaan: the life of faith shall then cease, and the life of sense commence. The manna is laid up for us within the sanctuary, by the ark of God. There is the Lord Jesus Christ himself; and there shall we be admitted to the closest possible communion with him. Even here our souls lived by means of him; but there he will be, in a far more intimate manner than he could be in this world, our very life [Note: Compare John 6:37 and Colossians 3:3. with Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:1.]. Here we had the foretaste of heavenly things: but there we shall have the full enjoyment [Note: 1 Corinthians 13:12.].]

    2. A more assured sense of his favour—

    [“He will give us a white stone.”—Amongst the Greeks and Romans, when any man was tried for an offence against the State, those who sat in judgment upon him gave their verdict by means of a white stone, if they acquitted him; or by a black stone, if they condemned him: and, on some occasions, the vote they gave was confirmed by an inscription on the stone itself. Thus, when we arrive in the heavenly land, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Judge of quick and dead, will put into our hands a white stone, in token that we are fully and for ever justified in the sight of God. This blessing, also, was vouchsafed to us, in a measure, in this life: for there are many who are enabled to say, “We know that we have passed from death unto life [Note: 1 John 3:14.];” yes, there are many who are privileged to possess a “full assurance of hope [Note: Hebrews 6:11.].” But still we are in the body: and no man can tell what a day may bring forth: nor does it become any man, who is “yet girt with his armour, to boast as one that putteth it off [Note: 1 Kings 20:11.].” Here our faith must be mixed with fear [Note: Romans 11:20.]: but in that day there shall be no occasion either for faith or fear; for faith shall be lost in sight, and hope be consummated in fruition. Yes, the very stone that declares our acquittal shall be put into our own hands; and be, to all eternity, an evidence of our acquittal, and a pledge that it shall never be reversed.]

    3. A more exquisite enjoyment of his love—

    [On the stone shall be a name written, which no man knoweth, “saving he that receiveth it.” God gave new names to many of his beloved people; to Abram, and Sarai, and Jacob, and Solomon: and a new name will God give to his victorious servants, “a name better than of sons and of daughters [Note: Isaiah 56:4-5.].” Even now are we called by that august title, “The Sons of God: and the world knows us not, because it knows not him [Note: 1 John 3:1-2.].” Even now have we “a joy with which a stranger intermeddleth not [Note: Proverbs 14:10.],” and which language would fail us adequately to express [Note: 1 Peter 1:8.]. A Spirit of adoption, and the witness of the Spirit, who can comprehend, except the person that has received them [Note: Romans 8:15-16.]? “This secret of the Lord is with those only who fear him: to whom, also, he shews his covenant [Note: Psalms 25:14.],” with all its unsearchable and inestimable benefits. But “the love of Christ, in all its heights and depths, infinitely surpasses all human knowledge [Note: Ephesians 3:18-19.]:” nor, indeed, shall we be fully able to comprehend it, even in heaven. But there, on the white stone that shall be given us, will be engraven such characters as none but the possessor of that stone can comprehend. Conceive of a soul before whom all the glory of the Godhead is displayed, and to whom all the wonders of redeeming love are revealed, and into whose bosom all the fulness of God’s love is poured: and who shall estimate his joy? The sublimest conceptions that any finite being can form of such bliss would fall as far below it, as the glimmering of the glow-worm below the lustre of the noon-day sun. It must be felt, in order to be known.]

    Does all this blessedness await the victorious soul? Think, then, what are,

    II. The measures which sound wisdom will prescribe, in relation to it—

    Surely you have anticipated all that I can have to say under this head. Yet it will be proper, at all events, that I add my testimony to what I am persuaded must be the dictates of all your minds. I say, then,

    1. Enlist, without delay, under the banners of your Lord and Saviour—

    [You are all, of necessity, called to be soldiers of Jesus Christ. In your very baptism you engaged to “fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and to be Christ’s faithful soldiers and servants to your lives’ end. I call upon you, then, to execute the office which has thus devolved upon you. Mark, I pray you, the restrictive clause in my text: “To him that overcometh will I give” all this blessedness. It is not to him that never fights at all, nor to him that “fights only as one that beats the air:” no; it is to him who “wars a good warfare,” and overcomes all his enemies; to him, I say, and to him alone, will all these blessings be vouchsafed. Grieved I am to say, that, according to this view of God’s promises, there are but few that will ever taste the sweetness of them: but I entreat you, my brethren, to engage without delay in this warfare; and so to fight, that you may obtain the crown that fadeth not away — — —]

    2. Whatever conflicts you may have to sustain, never cease to fight, until you have obtained the victory–

    [You must expect conflicts, and severe ones too, ere you are liberated from your engagements. A man who fights only against his fellow-man shall have much to endure before he gains the victory: and do you think that the world and the flesh and the devil will yield without much resistance? Look at the saints, that have gone before you, and you will find that “they all came out of great tribulation.” Your Saviour himself overcame not, but by the sacrifice of his own life. Be ye then ready to sacrifice your lives in this glorious contest [Note: Hebrews 2:14.]: and as “He, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross and despised the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of God [Note: Hebrews 12:2.];” so shall ye also, if only ye faint not, in due season “reign with him in glory for evermore [Note: Galatians 6:9.]” — — —]

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    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    Revelation 2:17. δώσω αὐτῷ τοῦ μάννα. The partitive gen.(1177) has its correct meaning no less than the immediately succeeding accus.(1178)

    The general sense of the promise is not to fail because of the parallel ideas at the close of all seven epistles.(1179) The expressions are, at all events, as Areth. remarks on ψηφ. λευκ., a παροι΄ία ἐπὶ τῶν εὐδαι΄όνως

    ζώντων (a maxim concerning those living happily), a description of future eternal blessedness and glory. This is misapplied by those who understand the manna as directly referring to the Lord’s Supper,(1180) or to the spiritual quickening and consolation imparted to believers even during their conflict in and with the world,(1181) or as the figure of divine grace in general which becomes manifest in justification ( ψηφ. λευκ.) and the offering of sonship ( ὄν. καιν).(1182) In the latter explanation, apart from the misunderstanding of the idea νικῶν, the groundless assertion is made, that ἐπῖ is equivalent to σύν.(1183) The more specific explanation of details has occasioned much difficulty. Utterly inapplicable to the hidden manna is the allusion(1184) to the Jewish opinion, that, before the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the prophet Jeremiah or the king Josiah had rescued and concealed the ark of the covenant, together with the holy relics contained therein, and that the Messiah at his appearance will again bring them to light.(1185) Incorrect, too, is the view that Christ himself is the hidden manna.(1186) Christ gives it. Incorrect is the view of Grot.: “ τ. κεκρυμμ. is equivalent to τοῦ νοητοῦ (the intellectual), and designates the more exact knowledge not only of God’s commands, but also of his dispensations.” But rather,(1187) as the victor has approved himself especially in resisting the temptation to eat of what is sacrificed to idols, so he receives a corresponding reward when the Lord offers him heavenly, divine food, viz., manna, the bread of heaven,(1188)—such fruit as, like the fruit of the tree of life, Revelation 2:7, will nourish the heavenly, blessed life. This manna is hidden, because it will be manifest only in future glory when it will be enjoyed; as, in a similar way, is said immediately afterwards of the new name.(1189)

    ψῆφον λευκὴν, κ. τ. λ. Without any foundation is the explanation of N. de Lyra,(1190) according to which the white stone signifies the body decorated with the endowment of brilliancy, and the new name written thereon; “then every one manifestly and bodily blessed with the endowments of a glorious body, will be enrolled in the city of the celestials.” In connection with the mention of the manna, the explanation of the white stone has been sought in the Jewish fable, that, besides the manna, precious stones and pearls were found in the wilderness;(1191) or the decoration of the high priest at the time of the giving of the manna has been recalled, as he bore upon twelve precious stones (which, however, were not called ψῆφος)(1192) the names of the tribes of Israel, so that here is indicated the priestly dignity of the complete victors.(1193) Others, likewise, in a certain connection with the mention of heavenly food, have combined the heathen custom, according to which the conquerors in the games were led to festive banquets, and otherwise rewarded with gifts of many kinds. Thus Vitruv.(1194) reports: “To the noble athletes who conquered in the Olympian, Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian games, the ancestors of the Greeks appointed honors so great that not only standing in the assembly with palm and garland they receive praise, but also when they return to their states in victory, they are in triumph drawn within the walls in a four-yoked chariot, and enjoy for their whole life, from the republic, a fixed income.” The Roman emperors(1195) also established such public games, from which the victors were led ( ἐισήλασαν) in triumph to their native city, and then received the deferred rewards. Titus was accustomed even to throw into the arena small wooden balls, on which were written orders for food, clothing, money, etc.; then the contestants received what the order proffered them stated.(1196) According to this, the white stone is explained as the order for the heavenly reward,(1197) as the “ticket” to the heavenly banquet.(1198) Others, leaving out of consideration any connection between the manna and the white stone, recall the use of the lot among the Jews,(1199) as well as among the Greeks and Romans, who were accustomed to ballot with small white stones or beans, called ψῆφος, upon which names were written;(1200) still others compare it with the classical usage of rendering a favorable judgment in trials by means of white stones, and thus find in this passage a representation of Christ’s judgment preserving from condemnation, and introducing to blessedness by the sentence of justification.(1201) Many expositors, again, have combined several of these references, viz., that of election ( ἐκλογή) and justification.(1202) But against all such definite antiquarian references is the decisive circumstance that the presentation of our passage truly agrees with not one of them. Hengstenb. is correct in saying,(1203) “that the point coming here into consideration is only the fact that in antiquity many things were written on a small stone.” Besides, the white color of the stone given the victor, which in itself represents the glory of the victory,(1204) and the purity of the blessed in heaven,(1205) retains its full significance. But what properly gives the white stone its worth is the inscription which it bears: Christ gives the victor a new name, written upon the stone,—a name which no one knows except he who receives it. That the new name written upon the stone can in no way be the name of God,(1206) is proved partly from the type of the ancient prophetic promise of a new name,(1207) partly by the analogy of Revelation 19:12, where what is said is concerning the proper name of Christ, and partly also from the rule given in the limitation οῦδεὶς, κ. τ. λ. The idea in Revelation 3:12, Revelation 14:1, is of an entirely different nature. The opinion of Eichhorn also is to be rejected; viz., that the stone bore the inscription ἅγιος τῷ θεῷ καὶ τῷ αρνιῷ, which is called new in opposition to the ancient Jewish faith in God without the Lamb. But to the norms given above, corresponds the view advanced by most expositors, according to which the declaration refers to the proper name of the victor.(1208) The name is new, because it designates the new glory of believers, i.e., that which is manifested only in the future life;(1209) and only he having received the same knows it, because, as is the case likewise already in this life, the knowledge of the blessedness of eternal life is disclosed only in personal experience. But how that new name will sound, cannot be in any way answered according to this text. The answer given by most, that it is “son of God,” or “elect,” is applicable only as therein the general contents of the Christian hope are expressed.(1210) [See Note XXXIII., p. 156.]

    ἁρπασαντάς τινας ἔδει πρὸς τοὺς δωτῆρας αὐτῶν ἀπενεγκεῖν καὶ λαβεῖν τὸ ἐπιγεραμμένον. Cf., in general, K. F. Hermann, d. Gottesdienstl. Alterth. d. Griechen, § 50; Not. 30 sqq. p. 254 sqq.


    XXXIII. Revelation 2:17. μάννα. ψῆφον λευκὴν

    Trench: “The words, ‘the hidden manna,’ imply, that, however hidden now, its meaning shall not remain hidden evermore; and the best commentary on them is to be found at 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 John 3:2. The seeing Christ as he is, of the latter passage, and, through this beatific vision, being made like to him, is identical with this eating of the hidden manna, which shall, as it were, be then brought forth from the sanctuary, the holy of holies, of God’s immediate presence, where it was withdrawn from sight so long that all may partake of it; the glory of Christ, now shrouded and concealed, being then revealed to his people.” Following Züllig, he has an elaborate argument to prove that there is a reference in “the white stone” to the Urim and Thummim, on the ground that ψῆφος, in later Greek, means “a precious stone,” and λευκὸς indicates “the purest glistering white” of the diamond; both the manna and the white stone “representing high-priestly privileges, which the Lord should at length impart to all his people, kings and priests unto God.” This is refuted by Plumptre in Smith’s Bible Dictionary, article “Urim and Thummim;” and in his commentary, where he adopts Ewald’s view, “who sees in the stone or ψῆφος of the promise, the tessera hospitalis, by which, in virtue of forms or characters inscribed upon it, he who possessed it could claim from the friend who gave it, at any distance of time, a frank and hearty welcome. What I would suggest as an addition to this rises out of the probability, almost certainty, that some such tessera or ticket—a stone with the name of the guest written on it—was given to those who were invited to partake, within the precincts of the temple, of the feast that consisted wholly, or in part, of the meat that had been offered as a sacrifice. On this view, the second part of the promise is brought in harmony with the first, and is made more directly appropriate: he who had the courage to refuse that tessera to the feast that defiled should receive another that would admit him to the supper of the Great King.” On the last clause, Plumptre: “The inner truth that lies below the outward imagery would seem to be, that the conqueror, when received at the heavenly feast, should find upon the stone, or tessera, that gave him the right of entrance, a ‘new name,’ the token of a character transformed and perfected,—a name, the full significance of which should be known only to him who was conscious of the transformation, just as, in the experiences of our human life, ‘the heart knoweth his own bitterness, and the stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy’ (Proverbs 14:10).”

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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Revelation 2:17. ψῆφον λευκὴν, καὶ ἐπί τὴν ψῆφον ὄνομα καινὸν γεγραμμένον) The ancients used to write many things on stones (see Not. on Gregory of Neocæsarea, Paneg. p. 139), and especially votes. Sam. Petit, var. lect. c. 8, shows that the white stone was a ticket for receiving food ( σιτήσεως), and he compares that with this passage. But in this place, the white stone and the new name is a reward by itself, and therefore it is placed after the hidden manna.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh: see the annotations on Revelation 2:7.

    Will I give to eat of the hidden manna; here is a manifest allusion to that bread from heaven, with which God fed his people in the wilderness, called angels’ food, Psalms 78:25. The story of it we have, Exodus 16:31,32; a pot of which God ordained to be kept in the ark, for a memorial of God’s mercy, Hebrews 9:4. It was a type of Christ, who was the true bread that came down from heaven, John 6:32,33. It here signifies Christ himself, with all the influences of his grace, whether for strength or comfort. As a feast was wont to follow a victory; so Christ promiseth to those that fought, and overcame in the spiritual fight, to feast them with himself and the influences of his Spirit.

    And will give him a white stone: the use of stones anciently was so various, that it hath given a great liberty to interpreters to vary in their senses of the white stone here mentioned. They made use of them (as we since of counters) to count; they used them also in judgments, acquitting persons by white stones, on which their names were written, as they condemned others by black stones; they also used them in giving suffrages in elections, &c.; they also used them to mark happy or lucky days, and they used other stones to mark such days as they counted unlucky; and finally, they used them as rewards to those who conquered in their games. Hence interpreters vary in their opinions, whether this be a general promise of a reward, or a more particular promise of pardon and absolution; or, of the assurance of their election to life. It seems most properly to be interpreted of pardon, or the notification of pardon of sins, or more generally of a reward. By the new name, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it, the same thing seemeth to be signified, the Spirit witnessing with their spirits that they are the children of God. They say, that in those white stones (used in absolutions of persons, or in giving suffrages) the name of the person absolved or chosen was wont to be written, and none knew it but those that had it, unless they imparted it, to which custom this allusion is.

    Those that make this church typical, say it typified the churches of the gospel during the times of popery, to the end of the persecutions of the Waldenses and Albigenses, when about one hundred thousand of them were destroyed by eight thousand papists; or, the time when antichrist first sat in the temple of God, as Revelation 13:1-18, and the woman fled into the wilderness, Revelation 12:1-17.

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    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    побеждающему См. пояснение к ст. 7.

    сокровенную манну Когда-то Израиль получил манну. Бог обещал дать истинным верующим духовный хлеб, который не может видеть неверующий мир. Этот хлеб – Иисус Христос (ср. Ин. 6:51).

    белый камень Когда спортсмен побеждал в играх, очень часто как часть приза он получал белый камешек, который являлся пропуском на последующие торжества в честь победителя. Это может указывать на момент, когда побеждающий получит свой «билет» на торжество вечной победы в небесах.

    новое имя Личное послание от Христа тем, кто Его любит. Оно служит входным билетом в вечную славу. Это настолько лично, что только получающий его будет знать, что это.

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    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    The hidden manna; the true spiritual manna laid up in heaven for Christ’s faithful servants; alluding to the literal manna that was laid up before the Lord in holy of holies. Exodus 16:32-34.

    A white stone; there is a reference here to the practice in common use among the ancients of making inscriptions on small stones for various purposes. White is the color of victory.

    A new name written; expressive of the new character and new privileges bestowed upon the bearer.

    No man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it; an intimation that the love of God shed abroad in the hearts of his children here, and the heavenly inheritance of which it is the foretaste and earnest, can be known only by possession; perhaps, also, that each child of God has his own individual experience, which he alone can understand. The blessedness of true religion is great beyond description, and known only to those who enjoy it.

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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘He who has an ear to hear, let him hear, what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows but the one who receives it.’

    The hidden manna refers to the manna that was hidden in a pot which was laid up before the Ark of Testimony (Exodus 16:33), the manna that according to Jewish belief was hidden in Heaven and would be revealed at the end time and given to those who were faithful to God. We find the Ark of the Covenant, containing the hidden manna, later in Heaven (Revelation 11:19).

    It is thus a promise of benefiting from eternal life, paralleling the Tree of Life and avoidance of the Second Death. And as Jesus makes clear elsewhere, this hidden manna is Himself, for He is the bread of life (John 6:35) and as such He will guarantee their resurrection at the last day (John 6:32-33; John 6:35; John 6:39). The eating of the hidden manna contrasts with the eating of idolatrous food. Those who reject the latter will enjoy the former.

    ‘And I will give him a white stone and on the stone a new name written which no one knows but he who receives it.’ Stones with names written on them are described in Exodus 28:9; Exodus 28:21. They are alternately stones of onyx, and stones of all colours, bearing the names of the twelve patriarchs, and thus of the tribes who were associated with them. The tribes thus received their blessing by their connection with the patriarchs to whom the promises were made. They formed part of the High Priest’s breastplate (Exodus 28:15) and were also on his shoulders (Exodus 28:12). In one case there was one stone for six tribes, in the other one stone per tribe.

    But here there is a new stone, and this one is pure white signifying the true righteousness of those who bear the new name, it is the stone of the righteous. And there is one for each person. The stone testifies to God on their behalf and they receive their blessing by their connection with Christ, whose secret name is on the stone. They are individually represented before the Lord, for each is precious in His sight.

    And as a kingdom of priests they are able to represent themselves as Christ’s before the Lord, wearing their white stones as tokens of Whose they are. However, the names on the older stones were borne on the High Priest’s shoulders and breastplate before the Lord, and it is possible we are to see here that our great High Priest (Revelation 1:13) will figuratively bear on His shoulders and breastplate a stone for every believer, inscribed with His own new name.

    For mention elsewhere of this new name we turn to God’s declaration in Isaiah 62:2. ‘The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory, and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will name’. So this giving of a new name to the people of God was long promised. This name is a new name of Jesus, and is connected with the name of God and of the new Jerusalem (Revelation 3:12; Revelation 19:12).

    When God determined to deliver His people in the days of Moses He revealed His new name to Moses (Exodus 6:3 with Exodus 3:14). It is true that the name Yahweh was already known to them, but now He was revealing Himself as the ‘I am’, the ‘One Who is there to act’ on behalf of His people, giving the old name a new significance, ready for the new deliverance by which His essence would be revealed. In the same way Christ will receive a new name, which will presumably be a variation of the old, but will reveal His essence and will be for the final deliverance of His people. The name is therefore undoubtedly connected with the name which is above every name which He has already received, the name Yahweh (in Hebrew) and ‘Lord’ (in Greek) (Philippians 2:9-11), which is the name in which all Christians are baptised (Matthew 28:19), a name which did reveal His essence.

    But Christ’s new name, His own eternal name, will even more fully reveal His essence, and it is the significance of this which is to be finally revealed to His own, for ‘He has a name written which no one knows but He Himself’ (Revelation 19:12). It may be that this name is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16). God says in Isaiah 52:6 ‘therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that I am He who speaks, here I am’. Here ‘knowing the name’ means more than just intellectual knowledge, it means knowing the name fully in experience, and we notice that the name is connected with the ‘I am’. In the same way only those who are granted to know Christ fully in experience will ‘know the name’. ‘Now I know in part, but then I will know even as I am known’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). Until that day only Christ Himself truly knows the name.

    So the reception and ‘knowing’ of the new name on the white stone will signify that they belong to Christ and have come truly to know Him in all the fullness of His being, something that can only happen in eternity. Having received His righteousness, and having been made righteous in Him, and being destined to enjoy in the future the full experience of the wonders of God’s gracious benefits in Christ in the last day, they are worthy recipients of the white stone of righteousness which has His name written on it. This is in contrast with those who later in Revelation (Revelation 13:17) bear the name of the Beast, the mark of Rome.

    The knowledge of a name was considered by the ancients to confer mysterious spiritual powers, but we do not need to bring this idea in here. The true knowledge of the name of Christ does indeed confer spiritual power. However, it is not through magical means, but through the grace of the One Who bears the name.

    The fact that they will eat of the hidden manna in the heavenly Temple, and bear the white stone carrying the new name of Christ, sets them apart from those who worship in the Temple of Satan, bear the mark of the beast, and eat the defiled sacrificial foods.

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    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    5. Promise2:17

    The "hidden manna" seems to be a reference to the manna that sustained the lives of the Israelites in the wilderness that lay "hidden" in the holy of holies. The Christians in Pergamum did not need the food of pagan festivals since they already had much better food. Christians feed spiritually on Jesus Christ, the bread of life ( John 6:48-51), who is the real manna hidden from sight now. [Note: See Daniel K. K. Wong, "The Hidden Manna and the White Stone in Revelation 2:17," Bibliotheca Sacra155:619 (July-September1998):348-49.]

    The "white stone" seems to allude to the tesseron. [Note: Mounce, p99.]

    A tesseron was, ". . . given to those who were invited to partake, within the precincts of the temple [at Pergamum], of the sacred feast, which naturally consisted only of meats offered to the idol. That stone bore the secret name of the deity represented by the idol and the name was known only to the recipient." [Note: Tatford, p82.]

    A white stone represented a vote of acquittal or a favorable vote. [Note: Beale, p252.] Victors in contests or battles also received a white stone. [Note: Chitwood, p73.] Perhaps God will elevate the overcomer to the position of ruler over the earth and will give him or her a new name, as He did Joseph (cf. Genesis 41:39-45). The name on that stone is new (Gr. kainon) in the sense of being different, not new in contrast to what is old. However the name is probably that of Christ (cf. Philippians 2:9). [Note: Aune, pp190-91. See my comments on "name" as "reputation" at3:5.] It is unknown to others in the sense that others who are not overcomers do not possess it.

    The historical parallel to the church in Pergamum is the period following Constantine"s legalization of Christianity in A.D313that lasted for about300 years. When Christianity became the official religion of the empire, paganism overwhelmed it. It became hard to distinguish true Christians because people claiming to be Christians were everywhere. Many of them were practicing pagans who indulged in immoral festivals and all kinds of behavior inconsistent with the teachings of Christianity. Many writers have noted that "Pergamum" comes from the Greek word gamos that means marriage. This letter pictures a church married to the world rather than to Christ.

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    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Revelation 2:17. The promise contained in this verse has always occasioned much difficulty to interpreters. It consists of three parts:—(1) To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna. The allusion may perhaps be to the pot of manna which was laid up in the innermost sanctuary of the Tabernacle (Exodus 16:33), for we see from chap. Revelation 11:19 that the imagery of the ark within which the manna was stored was familiar to St. John. Such an allusion, however, is at the best indirect, for the manna laid up in the ark was not for food, but in memory of food once enjoyed. It seems better, therefore, to place the emphasis on the thought of the manna itself, that bread from heaven by which Israel was nourished in the wilderness, and which is now replaced in the Christian Church by ‘the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that any one may eat thereof, and not die’ (John 6:50). This ‘living bread’ is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who is now ‘hidden,’ but will at length be revealed to the perfect satisfaction and joy of them that wait for Him. It is no valid objection to this view that Christ gives the manna, for He gives Himself, and will give Himself to be the nourishment as well as the reward of His people in the world to come, when He shall be revealed to them as He is (1 John 3:2). The contrast between not eating the meats offered to idols and eating this heavenly banquet may be noticed in passing.—(2) And I will give him a white stone. The tendency of the Apocalypse to group its particulars into threes seems to require the separation of this clause from the next following, and to demand that it be considered in itself, and not as simply subordinate to the ‘new name.’ In determining the meaning of the ‘white stone,’ it will be well to bear in mind that in the Apocalypse ‘white’ is not a mere dull white, but a glistering colour, not even necessarily while, and that we must seek for the foundation of the figure in Jewish not in Gentile customs, and in Scripture rather than in rabbinical traditions. We shall thus have to dismiss the idea that it refers to the white pebble of the ballot-box, or to any one of the three following tablets, that given to the victor in the games and having certain privileges attached to it, that which entitled the receiver to the liberal hospitality of the giver, or that which admitted the stranger to the enjoyment of the idol feast. Rejecting these, we may also reject the supposition that the white stone has no more importance than as a medium for the name written on it. Nor does it seem easy to accept the explanation, although more legitimate than any of the above, that it was the Urim which the high priest bore within the breastplate of judgment (Exodus 28:30); for the stone thus referred to was probably a diamond, and we cannot easily conceive that the name here spoken of could be inscribed on such a stone.

    In these circumstances, what appears by much the more likely interpretation is that which supposes that we have an allusion to the plate of gold worn on the forehead of the high priest, with the words inscribed on it, Holiness to the Lord. What seems almost condusive upon this point is, that we learn from other passages of this book that it was upon the forehead that the peculiar mark of the child of God was borne (Revelation 3:12, Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:1, Revelation 22:4; cp. also chap. Revelation 9:4); and we have already had occasion to speak of the importance of that law of interpretation which, in the Apocalypse, leads to the Winging of different passages together for the sake of complementing and completing one another. In adopting this view, however, it ought to be observed that we are not to think of this ‘stone’ either as a plate of gold or as a precious stone, supposed by the Seer to be beaten out for the sake of receiving the inscription. Except in the present passage, the word occurs only once in the New Testament, when St. Paul says, ‘I gave my vote against them’ (Acts 26:10). It thus came to denote (derived, it may be, originally from the customs of heathenism) that by which a verdict of either condemnation or acquittal was pronounced, even by Jewish lips. Here, therefore, this underlying idea of acquittal is the prominent idea of the word. Those referred to receive a stone, an ordinary stone of acquittal, but glistering with heavenly brightness, and bearing upon it the motto or legend spoken of in the next clause.—(3) And upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth saving he that receiveth it. What name is this? Not the Lord’s name, for even in chap. Revelation 19:11-13, urged in favour of such a view, the name is given, but the new name bestowed upon the believer, and descriptive of his position, his character, and his joy as an inhabitant of the New Jerusalem. We are not to think that the word ‘knoweth’ is used in the sense of outward knowledge, such as that given by reading or translation. It expresses the inward knowledge referred to in John 4:32 (see note there), the knowledge of experience, the blessedness found in the service of their Lord by those who live through Him, and which the world cannot comprehend. The world may read the name of the believer, just as there seems no cause to doubt that the name here spoken of might be read, but it cannot understand its meaning. These things God reveals by His Spirit to His own (cp. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10). We are thus again led to the conclusion that the ‘new name’ is neither a name of God nor of Christ, nor of the believer considered as a separate individual. It is a name which speaks of the believer’s glorious condition when he is united to the Son and, in Him, to the Father. Before passing from this Epistle, it may be well to notice the correspondence between the reward thus spoken of and that holding fast of the ‘name’ of Christ which had been mentioned in Revelation 2:13. As, too, the tree of life was promised to the Christian of Ephesus who should overcome that temptation to false knowledge to which our first parents in Eden yielded, so, when the Christian of Pergamos is not led astray by the error of the new Balaamites, and when he refuses to partake of the offerings of the dead which he might have had from them (Psalms 106:28), he shall receive manna, of which, in its rich nourishment and invigorating properties, the manna of Israel was but the faintest type (John 6:32).

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    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary



    Calculum candidum, Greek: psephon leuken. See Acts xxvi. 10.

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    to eat of. The texts omit.

    hidden. Greek. krupto, as in Colossians 3:3.

    manna. See John 6:58. Compare Exodus 16:14, Exodus 16:32-34. Psalms 78:24, Psalms 78:25.

    stone. Greek. psephos. See Acts 26:10. A white stone was known to the ancients as a "victory" stone.

    in. Greek. epi. App-104.

    new name. Compare Revelation 3:12. See Isaiah 62:2; Isaiah 65:15, and compare Acts 10:17.

    new. See Matthew 9:17.

    no man = no one. Greek. oudeis.

    knoweth. App-132. as the texts.

    Saving. Same as else, Revelation 2:5.

    receiveth. As in John 3:27.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    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.

    To eat. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate Coptic.

    The hidden manna - Israel's heavenly food, in contrast to the idol meats (Revelation 2:14). A pot of manna was laid up in the Holy Place 'before the testimony.' The allusion is to this: also to the Lord's discourse (John 6:31-35). 'The manna which is hidden.' As the manna hidden in the sanctuary was by divine power preserved uncorrupt, so Christ, in His incorruptible body, is hidden in heaven until His appearing (Acts 3:21). Christ is the manna "hidden" from the world, but revealed to the believer, who has already a foretaste of His preciousness. Compare Christ's own hidden food on earth (Job 23:12; John 4:32; John 4:34). The full manifestation shall be at His coming. Believers are now hidden, even as their meat is (Psalms 83:3; Colossians 3:3). Like the incorruptible manna in the sanctuary, the spiritual feast, offered to all who reject the world's dainties for Christ, is everlasting: an incorruptible body and life in Christ at the resurrection.

    White stone ... new name ... no man knoweth saving he ... Trench, White is the livery of heaven. "New" [ kainon (Greek #2537)] implies something altogether renewed. The white stone is a glistering diamond, the Urim borne by the high priest within the choshen (Hebrew #2833) or breastplate of judgment, with the twelve tribes' names on the twelve precious stones, next the heart. The word Urim means light, answering to white. None but the high priest knew the name written upon it: probably the incommunicable name, "Yahweh." The high priest consulted it in some divinely-appointed way for direction from God when needful. The priest-judges of Egypt wore suspended an image of Truth or Justice. Thmei or Themis, answering to the Thummim [aleetheia in Septuagint]: the closed eyes of Thmei answer to Deuteronomy 33:9. So answering to the Urim, the Egyptian priest wore in his breastplate the Scarabaeus of precious stone, symbol of light.

    The high priest gazing on the gems symbolizing Light and Truth, and on the holy name Yahweh, became entranced, and so was enabled to give responses to those consulting God (cf. 1 Samuel 14:19). Psalms 43:3 is a worshipper's echo of the high priests prayer. Now, the priest's special treasure, consultation of God's light and truth, belongs to all believers, as spiritual priests (Smith, 'Dictionary of the Bible'). The "new name" is Christ's (cf. Revelation 3:12): some new revelation of Himself hereafter to be imparted to His people, which they alone are capable of receiving. The connection with the "hidden manna" is thus clear, as the high priest alone had access to the 'manna hidden in the sanctuary. What believers had to contend against at Pergamon was idol meats and fornication, put in their way by Balaamites. As Phinehas was rewarded with 'an everlasting priesthood' for his zeal against these sins to which the Old Testament Balaam seduced Israel, so the heavenly high priesthood is the reward promised to those zealous against the New Testament Balaamites tempting Christ's people.

    Receiveth it - namely, "the stone:" not the "new name:" which is Christ's new character as the glorified Son of man; not the believer's own new name. See above. The 'name that no man knew but Christ Himself' (cf. Revelation 3:12, end, with Revelation 19:12), He shall hereafter reveal to His people.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (17) To him that overcometh.—The promise should run thus:—To him that conquereth will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name graven, which no man knoweth, but he who receiveth it. On this promise we may notice (1) that it is appropriate: those who refused to indulge the fleshly appetite are promised gratifications far higher, and hidden from the gaze of sense; (2) the allusions are not all easy to understand. That to the manna is indeed obvious. Israel ate manna in the wilderness, and died; the Father gives the true bread from heaven that a man may eat thereof and not die. The Son is that Bread of Life. He that eateth Him, even he shall live by Him (John 6:35; John 6:48; John 6:57)—live, even though like Antipas he die; for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of things which he possesses, but in the moral qualities which go to make up his character; and spiritual gifts are the food of these moral qualities, and these gifts are through Christ. But the promise is of hidden manna. Is the allusion to the pot of manna which had been laid up in the ark? There is no doubt that the Jews long cherished the belief that the ark and sacred treasures of the Temple had not perished. There was a fondly-held tradition that they had been buried by Jeremiah in a safe and secret spot on “the mountain where Moses climbed and saw the heritage of God, until the time that God shall gather His people again together, and show them His mercy” (2 Maccabees 2:4; 2 Maccabees 2:7). This “hidden manna,” so longed for by an afflicted race, may have suggested the use of the word “hidden”; but the sacred writer would become anxious to bring out the spiritual truth that the fountains of Christian life are hidden (Colossians 3:3), the world knoweth us not. Like the fire in the Interpreter’s house, men may try to quench it, but a hidden hand pours in secretly the food of the fuel. More difficult is the meaning of the white stone, graven with the new name. Some see in it an allusion to the Urim and Thummim; and therefore take it to indicate the “priestly dignity of the victorious Christian.” In favour of this, it may be noted that it gives unity to the blessing. Manna and the precious stones worn by the high-priest are both wilderness and Jewish illustrations. Against it, however, must be set the fact that the word here rendered “stone” is never so applied, a different word being used both in the LXX. and in this book to denote a precious stone. Another suggestion, which is, perhaps, less encumbered with difficulty, is that the reference is to the stone or pebble of friendship, called tessera hospitalis, graven with some legend or device; and which gave to its possessor a claim of hospitality from him who gave it. Some such tickets admitted those invited into the heathen temples on festival days, when the meat which had been offered as a sacrifice formed part of the feast. The stone is called white; but the word does not imply that it is a stone of white colour, but that it is shining, glistering white. On the stone is graven a new name. The giving of new names is not uncommon in the Bible: for example, Abraham, Israel, Boanerges, Peter. The new name expressed the step which had been taken into a higher, truer life, and the change of heart and the elevation of character consequent upon it. Such are known in the world by their daily life, their business, their character; they are known above by the place they hold, and the work (the real character of which is quite unknown to the world) they are doing in the great war against evil. No man knoweth the characteristics of the growth of the character, the spiritual conflict in which the work is done, and the features of that change which has been, and is being wrought, except he who experiences the love, the grace, and the tribulation by which his spirit-life has grown.

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    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    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.
    7,11; 3:6,13,22
    to eat
    Psalms 25:14; 36:8; Proverbs 3:32; 14:10; Isaiah 65:13; Matthew 13:11; John 4:32; John 6:48-58; Colossians 3:3
    a new
    3:12; 19:12,13; Isaiah 56:4; 65:15
    1 Corinthians 2:14
    Reciprocal: Genesis 17:5 - but thy name;  Genesis 32:28 - Thy name;  Exodus 16:15 - It is manna;  Numbers 11:7 - the manna;  1 Samuel 17:25 - the king;  2 Chronicles 15:2 - Hear ye me;  Psalm 49:1 - Hear;  Proverbs 5:1 - attend;  Isaiah 8:16 - among;  Isaiah 62:2 - thou shalt;  Jeremiah 7:2 - Hear;  Jeremiah 33:3 - mighty;  Micah 1:2 - hearken;  Matthew 10:22 - but;  Matthew 11:15 - GeneralMatthew 13:9 - GeneralMark 4:23 - GeneralMark 7:16 - GeneralLuke 6:23 - your;  Luke 14:35 - He;  Luke 15:22 - a ring;  Luke 15:29 - yet;  Luke 18:30 - manifold more;  John 6:31 - He gave;  John 6:53 - eat;  John 14:17 - whom;  John 14:21 - and will;  Acts 1:2 - through;  Acts 13:16 - give;  2 Corinthians 1:22 - sealed;  Galatians 6:9 - if;  Ephesians 3:15 - is;  Philippians 4:7 - passeth;  Colossians 2:3 - hid;  1 Timothy 4:1 - the Spirit;  Hebrews 10:15 - General1 John 5:4 - overcometh;  1 John 5:10 - hath the;  Revelation 2:26 - he;  Revelation 12:11 - they overcame;  Revelation 13:9 - GeneralRevelation 14:3 - no;  Revelation 21:7 - overcometh;  Revelation 22:16 - GeneralRevelation 22:19 - and from

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    Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation


    Revelation 2:17. — "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." In these addresses we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. In them He speaks to the churches of Christendom. Had Christendom listened to the voice of the divine Speaker the public ruin of the Church would have been averted. But whilst the Spirit speaks to the churches, it is individuals who are called to hear. The Church throughout is regarded as a body insensible either to the pleadings or warnings of the Spirit; hence the churches are not called upon to hear, but individuals are: "He that has an ear to hear, let him hear." Corporate recovery is hopeless, hence individual responsibility, always of prime importance, is the more earnestly and continuously pressed. This is a cardinal truth in Christianity, on the denial of which the papacy flourishes. The very kernel of the papal system is the stern disallowance of individual thought and of one's direct relation to God.


    17. — "To him that overcomes, to him will I give of the hidden manna; and I will give to him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which not one knows but he that receives (it)." The overcoming here, as elsewhere, is an individual matter. If a company of overcomers is to be formed it can only be in the exercise of faith and spiritual energy by each one. The overcoming company, or "cloud of witnesses" of Hebrews 11:1-40, is separately presented. Each witness for God had to fight the foe alone, yet not alone, for the living God was for him and with him.

    In our English Bibles the words "to eat" are not found in the Sinaitic and Alexandrine MSS., and are also deleted in the Revised Version, and rejected by Tregelles, Kelly, Darby, and others.

    There is peculiar sweetness in these promises, as also in the way of their bestowal. "I give of the hidden manna." The twice repeated "I give" enhances the value of the promised blessings. The manna is termed "angels' food" (Psalms 78:25) and "the bread of God" (John 6:33). Manna, meaning "What is this?" is the standing expression of Israel's bewilderment at the manner and abundance of Jehovah's provision for them in the desert (Exodus 16:15), but certainly it was not "hidden," since it lay on the face of the ground round their camp. For 12,500 mornings Jehovah rained down bread from Heaven for His people on earth. Israel's God is our God, and He is even more to us than He was to them, owing to our present and living association with Christ in glory. As a memorial of God's grace to His people a pot full of manna was laid up before the Lord (Exodus 16:33), a "golden pot" we are informed by Paul (Hebrews 9:4). For about 500 years this "hidden manna" told its tale of Christ in humiliation, but to God alone. Hid in the ark, the most sacred of vessels, it was screened from the gaze of the people; probably during the long period of five centuries no human eye beheld it.

    Now, says Christ, "I give," not mediately, but personally, "of the hidden manna." It is, of course, a reward in the future when the struggle is over. What a blessing! To learn then from Christ Himself in glory the secrets of His life here, the depths of His humiliation, the moral beauties and perfections of His life hid from the eyes of men. It will then be seen that the path of the overcomer is but a reflex of the life of Jesus here. What communings in the glory between the Victor and His victorious people. Life's story understood and rehearsed above, but whose life's history? — ours or His? The unwritten records of His life, if penned, would require a larger world than this to contain them (John 21:25). The manna of old was rained from Heaven for the blessing and satisfaction of the people on earth. The hidden manna is to be given to the overcomers in Heaven. The public place of the Church in closest fellowship with the world, in which Satan established his throne and dwelling, had been refused by the overcomers in Pergamos; hence they had to abide in the shade, and suffer as they trod a solitary path in fellowship with Jesus, Who Himself had trod that separate path — to Him more rugged and lonely surely than to any before or since.

    But not only will He give the hidden manna, but also "I will give to him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he that receives (it)." What is to be understood by the white stone and secret name written thereon? A "white stone" was largely employed in the social life and judicial customs of the ancients. Days of festivity were noted by a white stone; days of calamity by a black stone. A host's appreciation of a special guest was indicated by a white stone with a name or message written on it. A white stone meant acquittal; a black stone condemnation in the courts of justice. Here the overcomer is promised a white stone and a new name written thereon, which none knows save the happy recipient. It is the expression of the Lord's personal delight in each one of the conquering band. It is by no means a public reward. There are common and special blessings now; there will be public and individual joys then. The Lord's approbation of, and special delight in, each one of the triumphant company will be answer enough to the rejection and scorn heaped upon the faithful witness now. The new name on the stone, alone known to the overcomer, signifies Christ, then known in a special and peculiar way to each one, and that surely is reward beyond all price and beyond all telling. It is a secret communication of love and intelligence between Christ and the overcomer, a joy which none can share, a reserved token of appreciative love. In the glory the hidden manna is the expression of our appreciation of Christ in His humiliation; while the white stone equally sets forth His appreciation in us as overcomers. His and our individual path here are the points respectively set forth in the glory by the symbols of the "manna" and the "stone."

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    E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

    He that hath an ear is commented upon at Revelation 2:7.. Him that overcometh signifies one who is faithful to the Lord until death. Eat of the hidden manna. This is a figure of speech formed from the circumstance recorded in Exodus 16:32-34; it is referred to by Paul in Hebrews 9:4. This manna was in the ark in the Most Holy Place where none were permitted to enter and partake. It is used here to represent the exclusive spiritual blessings that the Lord will bestow only on His faithful servants. A white stone alludes to some practices of old in which a favored contestant was given this kind of stone as a badge of distinction, on much the same principle as a soldier"s decorations. This new name also signifies the special relation between a faithful servant and his Lord. No man knoweth in the sense that no man can realize or appreciate what it means to be thus blessed of the Lord.

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    Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.

    Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

    Revelation 2:17

    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.

    This verse contains the conclusion of this epistle. See the exposition of Revelation 2:7. See KNOLLYS: Revelation 2:7


    "Manna" is the corn and bread of heaven, { Psalm 105:40} called angel's food. { Psalm 78:24-25} This was the bread which God gave the children of Israel in the wilderness, some whereof was put in a pot, and laid before the testimony. { Exodus 16:33-34} And by this hidden manna we are to understand Jesus Christ who is called the Bread of Life that came down from heaven, { John 6:48-50; John 6:58} which life is hid with Christ in God, { Colossians 3:3} therefore called hidden manna, that Isaiah, those inward secret communications of Christ's love, grace, etc, which they that sup with Christ are nourished and refreshed with, { Revelation 3:20} whereby he feeds and strengtheneth their souls.

    And will give him a white stone

    There was among the Romans a two-fold use of "a white stone." First, he that was victor, and overcame in their Olympic games and wrestlings, had "a white stone" given him, which he did bear as a badge of honor and victory. Secondly, he that being accused of any crime in their civil courts and judicatories was found innocent, and so was acquitted of that crime, had "a white stone" given to him as a sign of absolution: Both these uses of the "white stone" will fitly quadrate with Christ's act of grace here, where Christ doth promise "him that overcometh" by wrestling against sin and Satan, { Ephesians 6:11-12} that he will give him a crown of glory, { 2 Timothy 4:7-8} and also a full and open absolution before men and angels at the day of judgment. { Revelation 20:11-12}

    And in the stone a new Name written, etc.

    Whereby is meant some spiritual dignity, or something very eminently honorable, which Christ will confer upon them that overcome. { Zephaniah 3:20} For I will make you a name, and a praise among all people of the earth.

    A new name

    is that name of dignity and honor which Christ himself will name upon them { Isaiah 62:2} and it shall be an everlasting name, { Isaiah 56:5} that is to say, they shall be partakers of the divine nature, { 2 Peter 1:4} and shall have the communications of his saving sanctifying grace, { Ephesians 4:7} and also the indwelling presence of his Holy Spirit. { Galatians 4:6} The witness and seal thereof, by the promises of the new covenant in their hearts is this new name in the with stone, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. { 1 Corinthians 2:9} The spiritual senses of the new man only is capable to know and understand the divine nature of Christ's "new name",{ 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 2:13-14} written in this white stone { Revelation 2:17} of absolution and pardon of sin, and gracious promises of eternal life. And this is Christ's own hand-writing, { Revelation 3:12} in which respect believers are said to be the epistle of Christ written by the Spirit of the living God in the fleshly tables of the heart. { 2 Corinthians 3:3}

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    Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

    Revelation 2:17

    "To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna."Revelation 2:17

    How often God"s word is to you a sealed book; how often you hear from the pulpit the most encouraging preaching, yet get no encouragement from it; how often you hear Christ held forth in his Person, blood and righteousness, and go away as you came, without any sensible relief. What is the reason? Because you are overcome. Unbelief, bondage, darkness of mind, insensibility rest upon your spirit, and all these keep you from feeding upon the manna.

    But sometimes a gracious word comes over all these hills and mountains of unbelief, bondage, doubt and fear, and as this word drops into your heart, you begin to shout victory over all your foes and fears. Then the word of God begins to open itself up in its sweetness and blessedness. The Lord of the house brings out the hidden manna, and the word of God is made sweet and precious to the soul.

    Sometimes you read the word of God as a dry and barren task to satisfy conscience. When is that? When you are shut up in unbelief and bondage. But at other times the word of God is read with pleasure, and it is to you the joy and rejoicing of your heart. This is when you can believe it; and thus faith turns the word of God into manna. But if you are barren, then the word of God is barren; if dead, the word is dead; if cold and lifeless, the word is so too. But when the scene changes, when the clouds are dispersed, then you see light in God"s light. Then it is a blessed Bible, a precious book, full of sweet promises and encouraging invitations. It is in this way the manna is given to the overcomer.

    "I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."Revelation 2:17

    In ancient times they used to decide cases by white and black stones. The judges (for they were rather judges than jury) did not give their verdict upon the prisoner by oral testimony, "guilty," or "not guilty," as in our country, but by dropping into an urn a white stone to express their opinion that the prisoner was innocent, or a black stone to declare their judgment that the prisoner was guilty. The Lord has made use of this figure. He says, "To him who overcomes I will give a white stone;" that Isaiah, I will give into his conscience a sentence of acquittal. As the white stone was dropped into the urn, so peace and pardon are dropped into the sinner"s bosom; and just as the Judges, when he deposited the white stone in the urn, declared thereby the prisoner"s innocence; so when the Lord is pleased to speak peace to the soul, he drops into the heart a white stone, to proclaim him discharged from the law"s accusations, and interested in his love and blood.

    "And on the stone a new name written." What is this new name? Is it not a new heart, a new nature—Christ in the soul the hope of glory? This is the "new name which no man knows except he that receives it." New thoughts of Jesus, new openings up of Scripture, new meltings of heart, new softenings of spirit, everything made new by him who renews us "in the renewing of our mind"—no man knows these things but he who receives them. It is all between the Lord and the soul, it is all between a pardoning God and a pardoned sinner; it is all mercy, all grace, all love, from first to last. Grace began, grace carries on, and grace finishes it; grace must have all the glory, and grace must crown the work with eternal victory.

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    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    17.Hidden manna—For him who spurns the meat of idol sacrifices there is reserved a divine food, the hidden manna. Not merely secret, but hidden, laid up and deposited away from human gaze. So God commanded Moses, Exodus 16:32-34, to deposit a memorial manna, “and lay it up before the Lord to be kept for your generations.” According to Hebrews 9:4, the manna was deposited in a pot enclosed in the ark of the covenant, within the holy of holies. Our Saviour denominates himself the “bread,” figured by the manna, (John 6:48-50,) of which our sacramental bread is the symbol. But the depositing the memorial manna by Moses in the holy of holies, (the symbol of the highest heavens,) figures Christ in his ascended and resurrected state. Hebrews 9:24. It is our risen Lord, then, who is our hidden manna, our immortalizing food. Parallel to this is the fruit of the tree of life, the aliment of a heavenly immortality, whose vitality and vitalizing power are derived from Christ. See note on Revelation 22.

    A white stone—Of all interpretations of this image, that of Trench is both most beautiful and most satisfactory. The white stone is the oracular urim, (it was probably a diamond,) in the breast-plate of the High-priest, bearing the incommunicable name. And as every glorified Christian becomes a high-priest, so to every one is given the diamond urim. This stone, as white, represents the purity of heaven. Nay more, it is not merely the pale dim white, (Latin, albus,) but the lustrous, radiating white, (Latin, candidus,) of which the diamond gives a sample, and so symbolizes even the glory of heaven. So, white are the hairs of the Son of God, Revelation 1:14; and white raiment, Revelation 3:5; white robes, Revelation 7:9; a white cloud Revelation 14:14; white horses, Revelation 19:8; Revelation 19:14; great white throne, Revelation 20:1.

    The Greek word for stone here, , meaning a pebble or smooth sea-worn stone, was used before the invention of the paper ballot for the decision of alternative questions, as the election of a candidate to office, or the acquittal of an accused person; which was by a “white stone” in opposition to a black. Hence it was used in some kinds of divination to decide a future event, which may have suggested its use here for the urim, by which the will of Jehovah was ascertained; though Trench does not notice that point. The use of the word to designate so precious a stone as the diamond, is, perhaps, sustained by the fact, that in later Greek it is used by Callimachus to denote the gem of a finger-ring.

    How far it is made sure that the urim was a diamond is not so clear. The breastplate of the high priest (see note, Matthew 26:3) was studded with twelve precious stones, on which were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes. The urim was, very probably, an additional stone, most precious of all, and so a diamond, or at least some stone of high value and radiant clearness. Its highest value, however, was, that it was officially borne upon the heart of the high priest in his highest functions, and that it was a medium of communion with Jehovah. The white stone bestowed upon the apocalyptic conqueror, that is, upon every triumphant Christian, is token that he is high priest, and his intercommunion with God is glorious. And all this is confirmed by the remarkable fact that both the hidden manna and the white stone of the urim being in the holy of holies, were accessible to the high priest alone.

    If we reject this identification of the white stone as too ingenious, or for other reasons, we may fall back upon Hengstenberg’s view, that the white stone is merely the appropriate basis or surface for bearing the gracious inscription of the divine witness of our sonship of God. And we may also add the view of Grotius and others, that the white stone is an entrance-ticket into the gates of heaven, with God’s own signature upon it.

    He that receiveth itIt means the stone, and not the name; the name is not that of the receiver, but that of the divine donor. And nothing can be wiser than Bengel’s reply to him that asks, What is that name? “Wouldst thou know what sort of a name thou wouldst receive? Overcome! Otherwise, thou askest vainly. But overcoming thou wilt soon read that name upon the white stone.” That name is not a word, but a power.


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    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Revelation 2:17. The reward for those who deny themselves pagan pleasures in this world is (as in Revelation 2:26) participation in the privileges (Pereq Meir 5), reserved for God’s people in the latter days (here = a victor’s banquet, Genesis 14:18), not as hitherto (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:11) simply participation in eternal life. The imagery is again rabbinic (2 Maccabees 2:4-6, Apoc. Bar. vi. 7–9). Previous to the destruction of Jerusalem, Isaiah or the prophet Jeremiah was supposed to have hidden the ark of the covenant (cf. on Revelation 11:19) with its sacred contents, including the pot of manna. At the appearance of the messiah, this was to be once more disclosed (cf. Mechilta on Exodus 16:25, etc.). It is significant how the writer as usual claims for his messiah, Jesus, the cherished privileges and rights to which contemporary Judaism clung as its monopoly, and further how he assumes that all the past glories of O.T. religion upon earth—as well as all the coming bliss, which in one sense meant the transcendent restoration of these glories—were secured in heaven for the followers of Jesus alone (Revelation 7:17, Revelation 21:2, etc.). See Apoc. Bar. xxix. 8, where “the treasury of manna will again descend from on high,” at the messianic period, that the saints may eat of it; the Fourth Gospel, on the other hand, follows Philo (quis rer. div. 39, leg. allegor. iii. 59, 61, etc.) in using manna as a type of the soul’s nourishment in the present age. There does not seem to be any allusion to the rabbinical legend underlying Sap. xvi. 20.—The strange association of manna and white stones, though possibly a reminiscence of the rabbinic notion preserved in Joma 8 (cadebant Israelitis una cum manna lapides pretiosi), cannot be explained apart from the popular superstitions regarding amulets which colour the metaphor. White stones represented variously to the ancient mind acquittal, admission to a feast (tessera hospitalis), good fortune, and the like. But the point here is their connexion with the new name. This alludes to the mysterious power attached in the ancient mind to amulets, stones (cf. E.J. i. 546–550, where vignettes are given; also Dieterich’s Mithras-Liturgie, 31 f.) marked with secret and divine names (Jeremias, 79–80, Pfleid. Early Christ. Conc, of Christ, 112 f.), the possession of which was supposed to enable the bearer to pass closed gates, foil evil spirits, and enter the presence of the deity. If the new name (cf. Heitmüller’s Im Namen Jesu, 128 f.), is thus regarded as that of Jesus—the irresistible, invincible name above every name—the promise then offers safe entrance through all perils into the inner bliss and feast of God; the true Christian has a charmed life. But when the new name is taken to apply to the individual, as seems more likely here, another line of interpretation is required, and the origin of the phrase (though tinged still with this amulet-conception of a stone, the more potent as it was hidden somewhere on the person, cf.Proverbs 17:8, etc.), is best approached from a passage like Epict.Revelation 1:19, where the philosopher is trying to dissuade a man from undertaking the duties of priesthood in the Imperial cultus at Nikopolis. What good will it do him after death, to have his name used to mark his year of office in public documents? “My name will remain,” replies the man. “Write it on a stone and it will remain,” is the retort of Epictetus—plainly a colloquial expression for permanence. This would fit in with the Apocalyptic saying excellently (see Schol. on Pind. Olymp. vii. 159). Still more apposite, however, is an ancient ceremony of initiation (as among the aborigines of New South Wales: Trumbull, Blood-Covenant, 1887, pp. 335–337), by which each person, on the close of his novitiate, received a new name from the tribe and at the same time a white stone or quartz crystal. The latter was considered to be a divine gift, and was held specially sacred, never to be surrendered or even shown. These boons formed part of the religious covenant which marked the entrance of a man into the closest relation with the deity of his tribe and also into the full enjoyment of manhood’s privileges. Hence, if we suppose some such popular rite behind the language here, the idea is apt: the victor’s reward is the enjoyment of mature and intimate life with his God (so Victor.). For the symbolism of a name as evidence of personal identity (and inferentially of a new name as proof of a renovated, enduring nature), see E.B.D. 75: “May my name be given to me in the Great House, and may I remember my name in the House of Fire.’ If any god whatsoever should advance to me, let me be able to proclaim his name forthwith” (the latter clause illustrating Revelation 3:12). The significance attached by the Egyptian religion especially to the reu or name was due to the belief that its loss meant the extinction of a man’s existence. The idea in the prophet’s mind is little more than that developed, e.g., in Mrs. Browning’s sonnet, “Comfort”: “Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet, From out the hallelujahs sweet and low, Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee,” etc. As the succeeding chapters are full of the state and splendour of heaven, with royal majesty predominating, the prophet finds place here for the more intimate and individual aspect of the future life, depicting God in touch with the single soul (cf.Revelation 14:1). In addition to this, he conveys the idea that outside the Christian experience no one can really know what God is or what He gives; the redeemed and victorious alone can understand what it means to belong to God and to be rewarded by him.—Wünsch has recently pointed out (Excav. in Palestine, 1898–1900, p. 186) that, as in Egypt the sacred paper ( ) was used for solemn appeals to the gods (Brit. Mus. Papyri, xlvi. 308), “in like manner, doubtless, in Palestine, limestone had some superstitious significance, but of what special kind we do not know. Perhaps it is in this connexion that in Revelation 2:17 “he that overcometh” is to receive “a white stone” inscribed with a “new” spell, evidently as an “amulet”. There may also be a further local allusion to the and names which were supposed to be received by votaries of Asclepius as they lay in a trance or dream (Aristides, i. 352, 520). For the initiation-custom, cf. Spence and Gillen’s Native Tribes of Central Australia, pp. 139–140, where the secret, individual name is described as given only to those who are “capable of self-restraint” and above levity of conduct. Clem. Alex. (Strom, i. 23) preserves a Jewish tradition that Moses got three names—Joachim, Moses, and Melchi (i.e., king), the last-mentioned , .



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    Bibliographical Information
    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    17. If you have ears. Listen! Hidden manna. The bread of life is Jesus Christ – hidden from the world. A white stone. The symbol of being pronounced “not guilty.” It implies victory over sin and the Devil. A new name. Symbolic of the new relationship the Christian will have with God and Christ in that Eternal World (compare 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).




    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:17". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.