Repent; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
I. THE LARGE HOPES WHICH GATHER ROUND THIS PROMISE OF A "NEW NAME." Abraham and Jacob, in the Old Testament, received new names from God; Peter and the sons of Zebedee, in the New Testament, received new names from Christ. In the sad latter days of the Jewish monarchy its kings, being deposed by barbarian and pagan conquerors, were reinstated, with new names imposed upon them by the victors. In all these cases the imposition of the new name implies authority and ownership on the part of the giver; and generally a relationship to the giver, with new offices, functions, and powers on the part of the receiver. And so when Christ from the heavens declares that He will rename the conqueror, He asserts on the one hand His own absolute authority over him, and on the other hand His own perfect knowledge of the nature and inmost being of the creature He names. And, still further, He gives a promise of a nature renewed, of new functions committed to the conqueror, of new spheres, mew closeness of approach to Himself, new capacities, and new powers. Can we go any further? Let me just remind you that there are two things that shine out plain and clear in the midst of the darkness and vagueness that surround the future glories of the redeemed. The one is their closer relationship to Jesus Christ; the other is their possession, in the ultimate and perfect state, of a body of which the predicates are incorruption, glory, power, and which is a fit organ for the spirit, even as the present corporeal house in which we dwell is an adequate organ for the animal life, and for that alone.
II. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CHRIST'S "NEW NAME" AND OURS. What is this "new name" of Christ's? Obviously the new name of Jesus is a revelation of His character, nature, and heart; a new manifestation of Himself to the glad eyes of those that loved Him, when they saw Him amidst the darkness and the mists of earth, and so have been honoured to see Him more clearly amidst the radiances of the glories of heaven. Only remember that when we speak of a "new name" of Christ's as being part of the blessedness of the future state to which we may humbly look forward, it is no antiquating of the old name. Nothing will ever make the Cross of Jesus Christ less the centre of the revelation of God than it is to-day. But the new name is the new name of the old Christ. Then what is the inscription of that name upon the conqueror? It is not merely the manifestation of the revealed character of Jesus in new beauty, but it is the manifestation of His ownership of His servants by their transformation into His likeness, which transformation is the consequence of their new vision of Him.
III. THE BLESSED SECRET OF THE NEW NAME. "No man knoweth it save he that receiveth it." Of course not. There is only one way to know the highest things in human experience, and that is by possessing them. Nobody can describe love, sorrow, gladness, So as to awaken a clear conception of them in hearts that have never experienced them. That is eminently true about religion, and it is most of all true about that perfect future state. A chrysalis, lying under ground, would know about as much of what it would be like when it had got its wings and lived upon sweetness and blazed in the sunshine, as a man when he lets his imagination attempt to construct a picture of another life. Death keeps his secret well, and we have to pass his threshold before we know what lies beyond. But more than that. That same blessed mystery lies round about the name of each individual possessor, to all but himself. Just as we shall know Christ perfectly, and bear His new name inscribed upon our foreheads, and yet He has "a name which no man knoweth but He Himself," so the mystery of each redeemed soul will still remain impenetrable to others. But it will be a mystery of no painful darkness, nor making any barrier between ourselves and the saints whom we love. Rather it is the guarantee of an infinite variety in the manner of possessing the one name. All the surrounding diamonds that are set about the central blaze shall catch the light on their faces, and from one it will come golden, and from another violet, and another red, and another flashing and pure white. Each glorified spirit shall reveal Christ, and yet the one Christ shall be manifested in infinite variety of forms, and the total summing up of the many reflections will be the image of the whole Lord.
IV. THE GIVING OF THE NEW NAME TO THE VICTORS. The language of my text involves two things, "To him that overcometh" lays down the conditions; "Will I give" lays down the cause of the possession of the "new name" — that is to say, this 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, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.