The New Name

To him that overcometh, I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.


— Revelation 2:17

But is there not the worst of all dangers involved in such teaching—the danger of spiritual pride?” If there be, are we to refuse the spirit for fear of the pride? Here there is no possibility of comparison with one’s neighbor, for no one knows what the white stone contains except the man who receives it. Here is room for endless aspiration towards the unseen ideal; none for ambition. Relative worth is not only unknown; to the children of the kingdom it is unknowable. Each esteems the other better than himself. How shall the rose, the glowing heart of the summer heat, rejoice against the snowdrop risen with hanging head from the white bosom of the snow? Both are God’s thoughts, both are dear to him, both are needful to the completeness of his earth and the revelation of himself.

 “God has cared to make me for himself,” says the victor with the white stone. “What matter whether I be called a grass of the field, or an eagle of the air? A stone to build into his temple, or a Boanerges to wield his thunder? I am his, his idea, his making; perfect in my kind, yea, perfect in his sight; full of him, revealing him, alone with him. Let him call me what he will. The name shall be precious as my life. I seek no more.”

Commentary

What's In a Name?

by Dave Roney

Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him The Name that is above every name...
— Philippians 2:9

No utterance coming from the lips of the creature is able to fully expound upon what first begins in and rises up out of the heart.  I do not know, but I suppose the same may be true even of God: For, what He has to say in the Scripture, being first an oral, then a written, word of Him to us, could not adequately express or explain Him, was then made clear by a higher, living, Word; the very Son of the Most High being, as set forth by St. John, “The Word.”  In the above verse the Greek has the definite article before “name;” it is τὸ ὄνομα (“the” name), indicating its specificity, that it is not to be confused with any other name but applies to only a single Person.  To amplify on this specificity, and also to draw attention to the exalted nature of The Name, we read in Revelation 19:12 “...and He has a Name written that no one knows but Himself.”  Is it written for Him on a Divine “white stone” even as the Lord will give to us (Revelation 2:17)?  I do not know; I think in any case the “stone” is a metaphor which seeks to bring down a thought which is, for now, too glorious and too high for us.

When the author of Revelation says to us that “...no one knows [The Name] but Himself," it is understood that His Father is excepted; for it is the Father Who has given Him the Name, and not He Himself.  The Holy Spirit is likewise excepted, for as a man speaks by his breath, so also does the Father speak by His Breath, and that which breathes out from Him, even as the Son was sent out from Him, is His Spirit.  Thus, only God in full Triunity knows The Name which the Father has given the Son.

Of the Divine Attributes there are two types, those Communicable and those Incommunicable.  As to the former, these are those which God shares with His creatures; the latter include those which He can not share with another.  Among His Communicable Attributes are those such as the Divine Love, Patience, Wisdom, Righteousness, etc.; these He freely lavishes upon us; these are the ones by which He is able to share with us the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1:4).  Of those Attributes which are Incommunicable, such as His Eternality, Omniscience, Omnipotence, etc., He cannot share, for they lie solely within His domain.  What is in The Name which He has bestowed upon His Son?  It is, I think, a summation of everything about our Lord crystallized into a single word.  Why is it that only Jesus knows The Name?  It may be that it is so intensely personal that, for its preciousness, He will not allow another to enter into it; but I think that not the case.  Rather, it is because and since it includes all which there is to be exhaustively known about Him, the height and width and breadth of which only God can comprehend, which the creature shall forever be approaching but never fully ascending to an understanding of it.  And there is a significant difference between comprehension and understanding.

Thus The Name is utterly beautiful and glorious; we shall, be and by, hear it come from His lips; we will adore it even though it shall remain far above our ability to comprehend.  It is at the sound of this Name that every knee shall bow, in praise and worship, doing so willingly and in sheer ecstatic adoration, and every tongue freely and gladly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of our Father.  Now, one may ask how this has to do with our passage, drawn from Revelation 2:17; “I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.”  I now hope to set forth my understanding of it.

We are made in the image of God, therefore look forward to that great Day when we shall be like Him, when we, seeing Him as He actually is, shall melt from our former modes and become like Him in every way.  Then, those Communicable Attributes of the Godhead shall become fully alive within every breast, shall blossom in never abating bloom, shall fill us, all in all, without any adulteration.  That which is good for God is likewise good for man; all which applies to Him applies to us; when He says to us that by His great and precious promises He has “enabled you to share His Divine nature” (1 Peter 1:4) it is now that we are able to “escape the world's corruption caused by human desires,” now in part, substantially, but then in perfect whole.  And if it be true that we are actually created in His image, and what applies to Him applies to us as well, then does it not follow that if the Father has bestowed upon His Son The Name which no one knows but Himself, that His Son would be eager to bestow upon His brothers and sisters A Name which no one knows except the one receiving it?

We note that The Name is not given to the Son by His Father from all eternity, but in time and after He has accomplished all the Will of His Father, after He has declared “It is finished!”  And though, unlike us, nothing of ill report is to be found in this great Son, it still remained that He must finish His course before that coronal, The Name, is accorded Him.  So also concerning each of us and our new Name; we must finish our course, be changed from glory to glory, become exactly like Christ Jesus throughout our entire being; “For now we know in part... but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.”  The day is coming when we shall receive from our Lord this new Name; we cannot receive it now, for we know but little of what shall become fully evident in us, which is our life in Christ: It shall be accorded to us when we shall utter in truth “It is finished,” and the former things shall pass away.

So then, I say, even as The Name of our Savior contains all the fullness of the Godhead set to a Breathed Word, so also shall we receive A Name spoken by Him Who washes us, and continues to wash us, in His Own precious blood; A Name which includes all the glories of the Divine Nature perfected in us.  The Name, both that of the Lord and us, as our special Name, is glorious beyond our present ability to understand; it is intimate, lovely, filled with perfections untold, brimming with the Divine Love which has been poured out upon us.  We shall forever be unable to comprehend The Name of Jesus; not so with our new, individualized, Divinely personalized, Name; it shall reflect all which God has accomplished in us.  And though the end result for each of us shall in some respects be the same, the path to it, our experiences, the depths from which we have been saved, our faithfulness in this life, many things to be sure, cause that no two of us shall have the same new Name, nor will any other than the individual so named and his or her Lord be able to know it.  We will be marvels one to another.

In my imagination I see a scene in Heaven, which admittedly could never occur, concerning these things; in closing, I set forth the envisagement only to draw attention to the intimate relationship which exists between God and man:  On earth, our Lord said in His tenderness, “And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, As you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me'” (Matthew 25:40).  See in your mind's eye the Father giving The Name to His Son, and saying to Him “I have given You The Name out of Love; if You give A Name to even the least of My children in love, You are doing it unto Me.”