Jesus turns His attention now to a church that is “on the front lines!” They are right in the middle of the battlefield. He addresses the good and the “but”… with them.
When I first read this I was thinking that they were letting “Satan’s throne” rule in their midst. That would make this a VERY bad place to be. But looking at it again I realized that this church was on the front lines instead. They were in the heart of enemy territory and “Yet you hold fast My name and did not deny My faith” (verse 13b). I picture them in foxholes with bullets flying all around them. They haven’t given up but are hunkering down and preparing to storm out of those foxholes and “storm the beaches.”
Some of those occupying the foxholes are NOT what they appear to be. They are actually enemy spies in disguise. “Let’s go this way. It’s easier and no one will notice.” GOD notices! Jesus sees what is going on too.
In the story of Balaam, the children of God were mixing with the children of Satan. They were not remaining pure as God had instructed them to. And as they were “mingling” with other cultures, they were adopting their practices and their gods at their own. NOT what God called them to do! I don’t know what all the “sacrifices to Baal” involved but even turning to this false god in the first place was a SIN against the One True God.
It is interesting how when you open the door just a little to let something small in, it ALWAYS brings something else along with it. The Farmer in the Dell is a great example. The farmer might be nice but pretty soon you have a rat among the group and he even brings along something to eat so he is planning on staying a while.
Jesus has a reason for telling us to remain separate. It is not to be an elitist club but to keep sin on the OUTSIDE of the church, not on the inside. Keep HIM the main thing and hold fast to His truth. That is the ONLY way to keep the sin out, especially when you are surrounded by it every day.
Another thing the “foxhole” or church provides, for those that hold fast to His word, is a safe place to escape the world. This is where we are supposed to learn the TRUTH of God’s word and arm ourselves for fighting the schemes of Satan. We can’t stay in the church building every day but we can bring the principles we learned there with us out into the world. If we get “defective armor” or “tainted supplies” how are we supposed to defend ourselves against the enemy? That’s like giving me a water pistol to fight the fire instead of a fully charged water hose. With enough corrupt teaching they might switch out the “water” in my pistol with “gasoline”; then I wind up dead in the process.
Check EVERYTHING you learn against God’s word. If it doesn’t line up, DISCARD IT; no matter who it came from. Jesus says that He will “war against them with the sword of My mouth” (verse 16b). That is what He is doing through His Holy Spirit every time we check out what is being passed onto us. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The final reward that Jesus promises to this group, for those who remain faithful, is special. “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it” (verse 17b).
First, He promises spiritual food to those who hold fast. To me that means He will help us understand His word more and more as we study it, while proving out what we have received from others. I cherish all the “ah ha” moments He has given me over the years! And I look forward to MANY MORE of them as we keep walking with Him through the scriptures.
The second thing He promises is a “white stone, with a new name written on the stone.” While typing this I received a picture of a diamond wedding ring. This is the “stone” most often given to the one you cherish above all others, and with it, we (the bride) receives a new name; the name of our husband. We become known as His own.
Jesus says that the name He will bestow on us will be a secret name too. This reminds me of the terms of endearment we bestow on one another. Others may hear us use that name but they don’t understand the significance of it. It is something so deep, that when heard on the lips of the one you love most, sparks something special inside of you. Don’t ever let that name become mundane or old. Remember the truth it holds; that you are MORE precious than any other in the eyes of the one who bestowed it on you.
Another example of having a name bestowed on you that I want to share concerns the deaf community. Those who are truly accepted into a deaf community are given a “sign name” which represents them. No longer do they spell out their birth name but use their gifted name when interacting. It always associates with some special characteristic the group they are a part of finds special about them. When they associate with other deaf communities, their name from their community is not carried over. It is unique to their home community and only known by those from their “home group.” A new name that no one else knows.
The name Jesus will give you for remaining true to Him will be even more precious! I wonder what mine will be.
Lord Jesus, thank You for preparing my new name. I’m anxiously awaiting the time I get to hear it on Your lips.
Father God, thank You for giving me Your word so I can check out what I receive against it. If it doesn’t line up, it DOESN’T go in! I know that this world is “enemy territory” and I have to walk in it daily. I pray the “armor” I receive is YOUR armor and not some counterfeit. I NEED Your protection at all times. I may live in enemy territory but I don’t have to fear him because You are with me always.
Holy Spirit, thank You for bringing the “manna” of the word to me in our time together. I look forward to each and every new “ah ha” moment You provide. I LOVE seeing what You will open up next. I pray that what I pass on is exactly what You want me to share each and every time. THANK YOU that this letter of Revelation hasn’t been nearly as scary as I was expecting. I know, we are just getting started, but I trust YOU to carry me the rest of the way through too. Then, who knows where You will lead me next. There is ALWAYS more to learn with You and God’s word!