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He who has ears let him hear

what the Spirit says to the churches. For the one who is prevailing I will give the hidden manna,

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and I will give him

a white stone

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with a new name written on it

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which no one knows except the one receiving it.”

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“The one who is spiritually tuned in will catch these important words that the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches. For the one who is prevailing I will miraculously provide for his basic physical needs, and I will give him a demonstration of my favor and acceptance as an acknowledgement of the inner transformation of character that has happened within him, a transformation that others cannot understand unless they have experienced it.”


1: The “hidden manna:”

First of all this is an indication that Jesus will miraculously supply the needs of His followers as He did in the desert. But there’s more. There was a frequently circulated story that before the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, Jeremiah hid the Ark of the Covenant in which Moses had placed some manna on God’s command. Many Jews believed this “hidden manna,” was being preserved by God for later use, and that the coming of the Messiah would see the miracle of manna once again. As believers in Jesus we know that the Messiah has already come, and we know that He did not distribute “hidden manna” in a physical way to meet physical needs. However, this could pertain to the meeting of spiritual needs, in which case Jesus has supplied for all our needs. He will also supply whatever is needed for those who are suffering persecution. In these ways, Jesus is our manna.


The use of a white stone in ancient times had at least 10 meanings. It is difficult to nail down what exactly was intended here because none of them stand out as obviously right to the exclusion of all the others. Two of those 10 possibilities come from the Old Testament. Although I favor the use of the Old Testament in interpreting such symbolism, it is impossible to rule out the cultural practices of the day, which in this case would have been numerous and very clear to the readers. However, it seems that the vast majority of those 10 uses of a “white stone,” including the Hebrew uses, have to do with showing favor or acceptance. Therefore, I think it is wisest in this instance to take the general approach and view this symbol as favor and acceptance, rather than picking one specific meaning.

The recipients of this letter in Pergamum were facing strong opposition and death was a very real possibility. They were being rejected by the ruling class and therefore by everyone in the city. But Jesus told them that He accepts them and approves of who they are and what they are doing.


There were three reasons to write a name on a stone and give it to someone. It demonstrated a change in character of the recipient, it was a reward for achievements in personal growth; it was the name of the one giving the stone as a promise of blessing to be granted at the future presentation of said stone. The former is much more likely because it is a “new” name, which implies a change.

4: a name no one else knows

Most scholars agree that this refers to the exclusivity of personal knowledge of inner spiritual vitality. While we are to demonstrate on the outside what we have on the inside, others cannot fully understand it unless they too have experienced the inner transformation that comes from encountering Jesus and following the Holy Spirit.