Bible Society of South Africa

More good news - 14 June 2023

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

17“If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches!

“To those who win the victory I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give each of them a white stone on which is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.

Revelation 2:17GNBOpen in Bible reader

In Exodus, the Israelites, who were freed from slavery in Egypt, started complaining about a lack of food in the desert. They longed for the fleshpots of Egypt, forgetting about the hardships they had to endure while being slaves. In Exodus 16:4, God told Moses: “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you.” This bread was called manna. The word derives from the Hebrew word “man”, meaning “what”. On the first day that God sent the food, the people asked, “What is this?”, so it became known as manna.

We must keep in mind that many of the members of the seven churches were pagan worshippers, before they became Christians. In the church at Pergamum, there were those who longed for the past in which they worshipped idols. Some even returned to the practice of eating food that was offered to the idols and also to partake in immoral practices. These practices usually formed part of religious rituals. One of the benefits of going back to idol worship was to avoid the persecution of the Christians, which was rife in many places.

The members who, in spite of persecution, held on to their faith in Jesus Christ, were comforted by his promise of “hidden manna”. In contrast with the idol food that might save you from persecution, Jesus gives us spiritual food to help keep us standing in the time of persecution and oppression. We can all be one hundred percent sure that Jesus will let the necessary spiritual manna rain on us in times of trials.

This is not all. Jesus also promised them a white stone. According to the Afrikaans Verklarende Bybel, this is derived from the judicial. A white stone meant acquittal, while a black stone meant conviction. This means that Jesus promises total acquittal of sins to those who keep following him. We can use the metaphor of slavery again. You and I, along with the believers in the time of Revelation, can know that Jesus freed us from being slaves of sin. We have already received our white stones.

Prayer: Lord God, please keep us from a hankering after the fleshpots of this world and give us our daily spiritual manna. Amen

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