Revelation 2:17
He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes 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 knows saving he that receives it.
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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 16:16-35; a pot of that manna was laid up in the most holy place, to be preserved as a memorial 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

continued...

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."

Dryden.

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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

continued...

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 chests (l); and they supposed the manna had respect to things future (m) and do expect it in the times of the Messiah. They say (n), 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 come (o): yea, they speak (p) of , "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 Jew (q) 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 says (r),

"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 , "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 (s). 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 Pignorius (t) 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",

(l) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 75. 2. Jarchi in Exodus 16.13, 14. Mitzvot Tora, pr. affirm. 30. (m) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 38. 4. (n) Midrash Shirhashirim, fol. 11. 2. Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2. & Midrash Kohelet, fol. 63. 2. Pesikta in Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 75. 4. (o) Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Numb. fol. 96. 2. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 68. 4. (p) Zohar in Numb. fol. 88. 1.((q) Alleg. l. 2. p. 93. Quod det. potior. p. 176. Quis rer. divin. Haeres. p. 491, 492. & Leg. Alleg. l. 3. p. 1103. (r) Metamorphos. l. 15. fol. 1.((s) Zohar in Lev. fol. 8. 1.((t) De Servis, p. 342.

{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 Ps 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; Ro 2:28.

17. to eat—omitted in the three oldest manuscripts.

the hidden manna—the heavenly food of Israel, in contrast to the idol-meats (Re 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 (Joh 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, Joh 4:32, 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 stones, 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 Re 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.

2:12-17 The word of God is a sword, able to slay both sin and sinners. It turns and cuts every way; but the believer need not fear this sword; yet this confidence cannot be supported without steady obedience. As our Lord notices all the advantages and opportunities we have for duty in the places where we dwell, so he notices our temptations and discouragements from the same causes. In a situation of trials, the church of Pergamos had not denied the faith, either by open apostacy, or by giving way so as to avoid the cross. Christ commends their stedfastness, but reproves their sinful failures. A wrong view of gospel doctrine and Christian liberty, was a root of bitterness from which evil practices grew. Repentance is the duty of churches and bodies of men, as well as of particular persons; those who sin together, should repent together. Here is the promise of favour to those that overcome. The influences and comforts of the Spirit of Christ, come down from heaven into the soul, for its support. This is hidden from the rest of the world. The new name is the name of adoption; when the Holy Spirit shows his own work in the believer's soul, this new name and its real import are understood by him. 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear. See PNT Re 2:7.

I will give to eat of the hidden manna. The bread of life, the bread from heaven. The living bread is Jesus Christ, unseen in the earth and hence called hidden.

I will give him a white stone. Among the Greeks a white stone was a symbol of acquittal, as a black stone was of guilt. The white stone implies justification, innocence and victory.

And in the stone a new name written. All conjectures concerning this new name are idle. It is only given to those who have finally overcome and cannot be known to us here, but implies their new relation to God and the Lamb in their triumphant state.

Verse 17. - He that hath an ear (see notes on ver. 7). To him that overcometh. Again it is made clear that the individual can free himself from the corruption and condemnation of his Church. He may live in the very abode of Satan, and within hearing of damnable doctrines; yet if he overcomes the wiles of Satan, and listens to the Spirit rather than to the seducers, "he shall eat of the hidden manna which restores the spirit that the flesh pots of Egypt have weakened. He shall have the white stone of absolution, the true spiritual emancipation, which the Balaamite and Nicolaitan emancipation has counterfeited" (F.D. Maurice). "The manna, the hidden manna" (see notes on ver. 13), is differently explained: by the repetition of the article, the epithet "hidden" is made very distinct. There is probably some allusion to the manna stored up in the ark in the holy of holies (Exodus 16:33), and also to the true Bread from heaven, whose presence is now hidden from us; or the reference may be to the loss of the ark, with its contents, when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem (2 Esdr. 10:22). There was a tradition that Jeremiah had hidden the manna, and that it would be brought to light again in the Messianic kingdom. A share in those things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, and to the heart of man never occurred (1 Corinthians 2:9), will be granted to the conqueror - a foretaste of them here, and a full participation hereafter (comp. Revelation 22:4 and 1 John 3:2). "To eat" (φαγεῖν) is an insertion into the true text borrowed from ver. 7. I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone (ἐπὶ τὴν ψῆφον) a new name written. "White" and "new," as Trench points out, are keywords in the Apocalypse; and it is natural that they should be so. White is "the livery of heaven," where white robes, white clouds, white horses, and white thrones abound (Revelation 1:14; Revelation 3:4, 5, 18; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 6:2, 11; Revelation 7:9, 13; Revelation 14:14; Revelation 19:11, 14; Revelation 20:11). And "new" is almost as frequent as "white" in the book which tells of a new heaven and a new earth, in which is the new Jerusalem; where the inhabitants have a new name, and sing a new song, and where all things are made new (Revelation 3:12; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3; Revelation 21:1, 2, 5). But in spite of the familiarity and appropriateness of the two epithets, "white" and "new," a sure interpretation of the white stone with the new name upon it cannot be found. Trench's dictum, that "this book moves exclusively within the circle of sacred, that is, of Jewish imagery and symbols," and that an allusion to heathen or profane customs is inadmissible, is arbitrary and cannot be proved. As already shown, there may be references to the rites of Dionysus, to the games, and to the crown placed on the corpse of a victor. Here there may be an allusion to the white pebble of acquittal used in courts of justice, or to the lot used in elections; and the word ψῆφος favours these views. Or again, the reference may be to the tossers, or ticket, which the victor in the games received to admit him to the tables where he was fed at the public expense. Among Jewish symbols a reference to the "stone with seven eyes" (Zechariah 3:9) seems to be quite out of place. Nevertheless, Trench's explanation of the "white stone" as an allusion to the Urim and Thummim, which the high priest wore behind the square breastplate of judgment has much that is very attractive. This precious thing may well have been a diamond, for there was no diamond among the twelve stones of the breastplate. On each of these stones was written the name of a tribe; but what was written on the Urim none but the high priest knew. The usual supposition is that it was the sacred Tetragrammaton - the ineffable name of God. All this seems to fit in singularly well with the present passage. But if this explanation is to hold, "he that receiveth it" must mean he that receiveth the white stone, rather than he that receiveth the new name. The "new name" is not a fresh name for himself (Isaiah 62:2; Isaiah 65:15), but a fresh revelation of God's Name and nature, which only those who have received it can comprehend (comp. Revelation 14:1; Revelation 19:12). A variety of other explanations will be found in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible,' art. "Stones," in Alford, and elsewhere. Whatever the allusion maybe, the general sense is clear. He that overcometh shall be admitted to the heavenly holy of holies, and to a glory and knowledge incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it (1 Corinthians 2:9). He shall be made a priest unto God. Margin a white stone

Signifies approval.

hath.

Revelation 2:7,11 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; …

Revelation 3:6,13,22 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches…

to eat.

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show …

Psalm 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of your house; …

Proverbs 3:32 For the fraudulent is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is …

Proverbs 14:10 The heart knows his own bitterness; and a stranger does not intermeddle …

Isaiah 65:13 Therefore thus said the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, …

Matthew 13:11 He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know …

John 4:32 But he said to them, I have meat to eat that you know not of.

John 6:48-58 I am that bread of life…

Colossians 3:3 For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

a new.

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, …

Revelation 19:12,13 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; …

Isaiah 56:4 For thus said the LORD to the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and …

Isaiah 65:15 And you shall leave your name for a curse to my chosen: for the Lord …

saving.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: …

To eat

Omit.

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 Ezekiel 38, 39). Similarly, the tree of life, the sceptre of iron, the potter's vessels, the morning-star (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.

continued...

2:17 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, Rev 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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