12 Then I turned back to see the voice that spake with me: and when I was turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks,
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks, one like unto the son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girded about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and hairs were white as white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire,
15 And his feet like unto fine brass burning as in a furnace: and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword, and his face shone as the sun shineth in his strength.
1 Corinthians 13:12
16 Repent thyself, or else I will come unto thee shortly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 Let him that hath an ear, hear what the spirit saith unto the Churches. To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Manna that is hid, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.
The Lord’s thoughts are infinitely higher than ours – good and righteous, altogether!
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.
And He gives wisdom to those who ask for it, who want to understand His words and ways and those things which please Him.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally, and reproacheth no man, and it shall be given him.
Also, it takes countless words for us to express what He says in a few words, swiftly – His word runs very swiftly! – and powerfully.
He knows each human heart and so can warn or promise to each. (With Him actions are weighed.) So this is what He promised to those in the church in Pergamos and to all who hear,
To fight them with the sword of His mouth,
To reward them with the hidden manna and the white stone with a new name!
Because “now we see through a glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12), we can disagree in interpreting Scripture. Please don’t let this keep you from enjoying the various beautiful things people have written on this passage.
Overview of Revelation 2:12-17 (Pergamos)
“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.”
Warning of Judgment
Charles Spurgeon, sermon on Lord’s Day Morning, February 5, 1888
“Specially note, dear Friends, at the opening of this morning’s meditation the character under which the Lord Jesus Christ presents Himself to the Church at Pergamos. ‘These things says He which has the sharp sword with two edges.’ Does the Lord Jesus come to His Church in that way? Does He, at the door of the Church, bear a sword? A sword unsheathed? A sharp sword? A sharp sword with two edges? Yes, even to His visible Church this is how our Lord Jesus Christ appears. To His own spiritual and faithful ones He is to each one a husband full of unutterable tenderness and love.”
Promise of Blessing
Arthur Pink, 1944
“. . . as the manna was the food which God supplied from Heaven for His people of old, nourishing and sustaining them throughout their wilderness journey, it must be regarded as a figure of the written Word which is the Christian’s spiritual staff of life. And since the Word of God ‘lives and abides forever’ (1 Peter 1:23), does not the ‘hidden manna’ (Revelation 2:17) point to the inexhaustible riches of Divine wisdom, which are stored up in it, and of which we have at present—but a fragmentary knowledge. We cannot think that any of that treasure will be lost to us—rather, do we conclude it will be made known and afford part of our delectation [joy, rapture, happiness] in Heaven.
“Now we know the marvels of Divine inspiration and revelation ‘in part,’ but then shall we know them in full. 2 Corinthians 12:7 shows that Heaven is the place of ‘the abundance of the revelations.’ As the risen Christ expounded the Scriptures to His disciples and opened their understandings to understand them (Luke 24:27,45), will not the glorified Savior do the same for us (Hebrews 13:8)!”
1 Peter 1
23 Being born anew, not of mortal seed, but of immortal, by the word of God, who liveth and endureth forever.
Halley’s Bible Handbook, Zondervan, 1965
“The Hidden Manna may be the Fruit of the Tree of Life (22:2). The New Manna may stand for a form of existence that will be satisfying beyond anything we have ever known or dreamed of in this life) . . .”
Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, 1871.
Bible Study Tools
“17. . . . 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.
31 Our fathers did eat Manna in the desert, as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you that true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then they said unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am that bread of life: he that cometh to me, shall not hunger, and he that believeth in me, shall never thirst.
“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 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.”