Revelation White Stone
Next Previous Index Tellout Home

15. Revelation White Stone
Revelation 2.17

"Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victorious one, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it." (Revelation 2.17)

White Stone

White Stone with a NameRevelation 2.17 speaks of the provision of a "white stone" inscribed with a new name. This small Revelation white stone is given to every Christian who overcomes. The tiny round "white stones" have writing on them. A Revelation white stone is presented to a faithful victor by Christ himself. In Rome, the great houses have their clients and dependents who every morning receive from their patron food and money for the day. They are sometimes given a "Tessera" which could be a small white stone, or a wooden or even a metal token of a similar size to a one-cent US coin or an English penny. In ancient times, a small stone is a token or tally which may be used like a theatre ticket by which a person has free entry into an event at the Colosseum or to a free meal at a banquet. "The white stone" for the Christian means that he or she is granted the right to the spiritual rewards which only Christ can give.

White Gladiator Stone

Gladiators

A successful swordsman or swordswoman in Ancient Roman times is often presented with a white gladiator stone upon retiring. The letters 'S.P.' are inscribed on it. These letters celebrate faithful service and stand for the Latin "spectatus," meaning "a woman or man whose valor has been proved beyond a doubt." In the ancient Roman empire, a successful gladiator is the most admired hero of all. The word "gladiator" comes from the name of the sword or "gladius" he or she carries. The gladiator is therefore basically a "swordsman" or if female, a "swordswoman." Both men and women gladiators appear sometimes together in the Coliseum and other area arenas. One such gladiatorial arenas at Verona in Italy still stands today rebuilt virtually as it was in Roman times. Then as now, the arenas are used for entertainment, concerts, or events. Gladiators, who are mostly slaves or captives from wars, fight again and again until he or she is either killed in combat or allowed by the governor of the games to retire! The gladiator who has a specially illustrious career, when they grow old, are permitted an honorable retirement as well as a white gladiator stone as a parting gift.

One of the greatest honors in the ancient world is to be victorious at the games and to receive a gladiator's white stone. Outstanding victors are given a "small white stone", by the master of the games which confers upon them special rights. A Revelation white stone similarly confirms to the Christian that the victorious follower of Christ will share in the future glory of Jesus' reign.

Gladiator Russell Crowe

Gladiator Russell CroweChristians are called to be gladiators for Christ. Like the movie gladiator Russell Crowe when they prove their valor in the battle of life, they are allowed to enter with honor into rest. John of Patmos tells us that Christians will be presented with a "revelation white stone" bearing a new name, possibly that of "Jesus" or simply the name of "devout Christian" Some scholars consider that the "Revelation white stone" in this verse is probably used for admission to a Messianic banquet. The name on the Revelation white stone is probably the name of the victor or Jesus himself. It is a mark of faithfulness and a job well done. What an honor that will be!

White Stone Name

Roman TesseraA white stone name like that of a Roman general on a soldier's tessera was often carried into battle as a good luck charm. A common custom in the ancient Roman world is to possess a "white stone" as a talisman or "good luck charm." This could be an amulet, a charm in remembrance of someone special or even an entry token to the games or a banquet. In ancient Rome and Greece, this is called a "Tessera" and might also be made of wood, stone or even bone inscribed with the initials of the giver. A white stone is also sometimes split in two as a token of a great friendship between two persons. The two halves thereafter guarantee a warm welcome and safety when visiting the other's home or territory. Dr. William Barclay, (1907-1978) the eminent Biblical scholar and historian writes, "In the ancient world, a particularly happy day is called a "white day." A white stone is a very happy gift to receive!

Sacred Name

AmuletOn the white stone, there is often a sacred name carved or written. To know a god's name is believed in ancient times to give the bearer certain powers over that god. The name of a god comes with the ability to summon that god to one's aid in times of difficulty and to have mastery over demons. Such a Revelation white stone is thought to be doubly effective if no one other than the owner knows the name that is inscribed upon it. Here in Revelation, Jesus gives his faithful followers a white stone with a new name upon it, not as a good luck charm but bearing the secret and special name of Jesus himself.

Jesus White Stone

Roman AmuletJesus' white stone is a guarantee of a believer's eternal nourishment. John of Patmos is most likely saying in Revelation 2 that I will give you a white stone amulet. "You did the same in your heathen days, you carried an amulet or an "object that protected you from trouble" with supernatural power even with superstitious inscriptions on them like your heathen friends. You thought that they would keep you safe and protect you from harm. Now, you need nothing like that for you are safe in life and death because you know "the new name," that is the name of the only true God, Jesus Christ." The white stone that Jesus gives provides you with entrance to the heavenly feast. It is also a symbol of the believer's eternal spiritual nourishment like the manna in the wilderness. The new name on the Revelation white stone may be a secret until a believer enters the presence of the risen Christ in Heaven.

Two Words for New

White Stone with InscriptionIn Greek, the word used here for "stone" is "kainos." There are however two words for "new." There is "neos", which means "new in point of time." A thing could be "neos", and yet exactly like any number of other stones. On the other hand, there is "kainos", which is "new not only in point of time but also in a point of quality for nothing like it has ever been made before." This new name like nothing before it is written on a white stone and indicates a complete and utter bond between Jesus and Christians. Jesus will give each Christian a special Revelation white stone that glistens like snow. "The white stone" is significant because each Christian receives one with a special name marked on it. Every person who truly believes in Christ has a new name given to them by Jesus. The words "white" and "new" are characteristic of Revelation. R. H. Charles (1855-1931), the British Biblical scholar, writes, "white is the color and livery of heaven." The word "white" does not describe a dull, flat whiteness like ceiling white paint but a white which glistens like snow in the winter sun. The "white stone" has other meanings in that age. It may refer to the pebble indicating acquittal in Greek courts or to the lot cast in elections in Greece. The white stone conveyed acquittal and the election stone may refer to the precious stones embedded in the high priest's breastplate. The white stone is both an emblem of forgiveness of sin and a reminder that Christians are individually chosen by God.

Meaning of the Name

Name BadgeThe Revelation white stone is the evidence that a person is acquitted by God and declared worthy to be elected to eternal life. A person's Christian name, given in baptism, is likewise intended to represent his or her character. "John," for example, means a "gift of God." God gives us "new names" and new hearts when we follow him. "A new stone name" may be a reference to the Christian's spiritual rebirth separate from but normally marked by baptism. It is suggested that "the white stone name" is an actual person! Maybe the Risen Christ himself is given to his faithful ones with a new self, cleansed of all earthly stains and glistening with the purity of heaven!

The Tessera

A small square stone is also called a "Tessera." The tessera is used in other situations. Several Tessera or the plural "tesserae" are used to cast lots in trials in which a black Tessera determines guilt and a white one establishes innocence. Following the Olympic Games, winners are given a parade of honor and presented with a white stone that bears the winner's name. This provided a kind of pension for the individual for the rest of his days. The plural of "tessera" is "tesserae" and applies to little tablets made of stone, glass, wood or metal used in wall and floor mosaics. "Tesserae" are used in Mediterranean houses and churches in the Roman period. Mosaics made of tesserae are used in place of paintings especially where candles are burning as the tiny pieces of colored glass or pottery keep their bright colors despite the soot from the smoke which soon darkens and discolors a painting. They are also easy to clean.

Christian's Spiritual Food

Gathering MannaWe all need spiritual food in our lives. Jesus tells us in this Revelation verse that he will give us "hidden manna." This is the resource for our spiritual needs. Exodus 16.4-5 describes the origins of "manna." "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day, they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days." God provided "manna" which is a white bread-like substance from Heaven. The Hebrew word "manna" is sometimes spelled "mana." Exodus 16.14-15, describes it, "When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was." Interestingly, the word for "manna" sounds like the Hebrew for "What is it?" Moses said to them, 'It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.'" And again manna is described in Exodus 16.31-31 "The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey." Aromatic coriander seeds look like small peas and are one of the common spice ingredients used to add flavor to dishes. It is given by God for the Israelite's physical needs as they travel through the desert towards the Promised Land. Jesus, as the "manna" or "bread of life," similarly provides the sustenance that satisfies our deepest spiritual hunger. "Hidden manna" describes the Christian's spiritual food known only to them and concealed from other people. Manna is given according to Revelation 2.17, "to the one who is victorious."

"Revelation White Stone"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

^Top Page Next Previous