by Eric S. Love
podcast available 8.28.2011
Teri said recently while teaching, “It’s impossible to hear what God is saying to you if you don’t know the name He calls you by.”
I wasn’t here for that word, but the same week God gave me a prophetic word for someone about his name (NEM). So I gave him the word and after hearing that Teri had taught on it, I started looking into it. Today, we’re just going to look at the importance of a name.
Revelation 2:17 (to Pergamum)
He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: to him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.
There are a couple of things to note here:
There is a “hidden manna” (which basically is talking about God’s supernatural provision - more on that later) that comes when we overcome (and we’ll talk about what exactly we are overcoming in a minute)
We are also given a new name, and this name is something only we can know. That’s because it is an intimate expression of God’s heart to us specifically. (Because God is relational, He is always seeking intimate connection with us personally.)
Now, a little background on this verse.
There are seven messages delivered to the angels of seven specific churches. Each message begins with an explanation of Who is talking - Him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, for example. Then the message is given. Finally, a reward is spoken for those who overcome.
So, to the church of Pergamum, it begins (2:12) “These are the words of Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.” Now we know what that is. That’s the word of God, right? Teri talked about this as well. It’s our only offensive weapon - what God is speaking to us through the Bible and through His Spirit. We know that the word divides between truth and lies, right? So this is Who is speaking this message: the One who holds that sword.
And this is the message He gives (13-16): “I know where you live - where Satan has his throne (well, dadgum, right?). Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city - where Satan lives. (Ever feel like your trying to live and have your being right next door to the devil? Yeah.) Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to Idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teachings of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
In a nut shell: they lived in a place of persecution and yet they remained strong in their faith. However, there were people there infecting the truth with lies, false teaching, whatever you want to call it. And He warned them if they didn’t deal with those untruths, He would come and fight against them with the sword of [His] mouth. Pretty intense. But always, it’s the truth. And He doesn’t say He will fight the believers. He said “I will come to you and fight them...” implying there were two separate groups. For the sake of all of them, they should repent and pull themselves together in truth.
But individually, to those that overcame the lies, they would receive hidden manna and a new name.
Let’s look at a couple of other places where we see the importance of a name. Isaiah referred to this often. We’ll look at three examples.
...and the nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will designate.
This is part of a pretty lengthy prophetic word to Judah after Manassah has become King. This marks the beginning of the end for Judah.
And this particular word begins “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent.” There is a powerful image here of God refusing to idly stand by as we descend into our own destruction. The world in which we live is noisy, but let’s face it: what is louder than God? And what comes out of His mouth but truth? And that truth is sharp and double-edged. We have to trust in that, that God will not stand as a quiet witness to our demise.
“You will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will designate.” Our name is the truth of who we are. And it’s a sharp truth. This goes on to say “No longer will they call you deserted, or name your land desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah (my delight is in you) and your land Beula (married) for the Lord will take delight in you and your land will be married like a young man marries a maiden.” It’s this passionate, thrilling kind of love and commitment.
“To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, and choose what pleases me, and hold fast my covenant, to them I will give in my house and within my walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.”
This is part of that same, larger word spoken during the same time of spiritual decline. But look at who this word is spoken to: to those who have no hope of ever producing life. There’s a theme here... you may feel deserted. You may feel cut off. You may feel sterile. But that’s not what I call you. I call you the truth.
What name could be better than that of sons and daughters? One that is eternal. And there will be a memorial set up for them in His house, within His walls. This is one of the few times you see a memorial being setup to honor anyone other than the Lord. And why are they so honored? Because they held fast to His covenant. And what is His covenant? His relationship with us.
“And you will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, and the Lord God will slay you. But my servants will be called by another name.”
Again, this comes in that great, swathing word to Judah. The chapter begins with this: “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said ‘Here I am.’” Again, He isn’t silent. The problem was, there were those who rejected Him outright. So He said your name will be a curse and I will slay you.
But His servants are called by another name. Listen to this: (vs 16) Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the God of truth. He who takes an oath in the land will swear by the God of truth. For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes. Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered...”
There is this resonant quality to the truth of who we are being connected to the fuller truth, the bigger picture, even the new heaven and new earth.
God knows your name.
Now, I am going to share the prophetic word I heard for my friend a couple weeks back because I believe God is speaking this to all of us right now.
Truth is a lifetime pursuit. Sometimes you stumble upon it quite accidentally. Sometimes it takes years of excavation only to get a little nugget at a time. Other times it’s as obvious as the air in your lungs and you just don’t want to see it at all.
You’ve found truth. Not all of it, but plenty for now. Some of it you stumbled upon. Some of it you worked hard to find. Some of it you really knew all along and just didn’t want to see it. Regardless of how you came about it, you have found truth.
This truth is yours. I do not mean that in the sense that you define it. I mean it in the sense that you own it because you found it for yourself. That’s the best kind of truth. When you do, you own it. It means more that way.
So what does this have to do with Revelation 2:17?
This message was given to the church at Pergamum and the one to “overcome” would have to overcome a lot of false truths. The overcomer was the one who found the truth and followed it.
You’ve found some truth for yourself. You are genuinely seeking truth.
There are two things He promises you: Hidden manna and a new name.
The word manna refers to an unknown substance that fed Israel miraculously during their journey in the wilderness. It is basically His provision but it represents more than that. He has provided for you. You have seen His provision in hidden ways during your own journey and you will see more of that hidden manna in the months and years to come.
You have questions. You have needs. There is confusion. There is frustration. He will supply whatever it is you need to do whatever it is you need to do. And most often it will not make sense to you. But it will work. If you think about it, you’ll recognize this pattern already. That’s His provision. But more than that, it’s a symbol of His love for you. Sometimes it comes in a feeling. Other times it is embodied in another human being. It comes in many ways, but always God is demonstrating His intense love for you.
Basically, you don’t know how you are going to get everything you need. You aren’t even aware of everything you need yet. It’s okay. He will take care of you. You work hard. You commit. He’ll take care of you.
The second thing is the new name, only it’s only new in the sense that you don’t know it yet. The more you seek truth and find it and walk it out, the more you will discover yourself. He has given you a name and you are the only one who can figure out what it is. Because its yours and yours alone. Its that intimate expression. There may be people in your life who will help you find it, but in the end you alone will be the one.
There have been lots of things that have obscured your name - your identity. Part of it has simply been life itself. Other things have made it difficult as well. Anger. Pain. Rejection. Mistakes, both yours and other peoples. Insecurity. Pride. Loss. Life doesn’t always make sense, and sometimes its just plain hard. Your reaction to this hasn’t always made things easier to see. In the past, its sometimes made you blind to the name you’ve been given.
But here’s the beautiful thing: these experiences you’ve had did not make you blind permanently. They’ve given you better sight. You’ve seen that... you’ve experienced it. Now you can see a little clearer. You’ll see more. Keep looking.
The bottom line is God isn’t hiding who you are from you. He’s showing you whatever you are able to see as you are able to see it. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid of it. You will not be disappointed. He will not be silent.
Eric Love, 8/28/2011
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