Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, 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.
It is no novel event for God to give someone a new name. He did so to Abraham, Solomon and Jacob. In each of these cases, it was some event that brought about the name change. And in each case, the new name carried with it a meaning. When we are born, we are given a name by our natural parents. Our names are a large part of our identity; people know us by our names. These names, however, are only temporary. In God’s eternal kingdom, we will have new names.
Two things strike me about today’s verse. The first is that God assigns a new name to each person who overcomes and stays faithful to him. It is not a name picked out of a hat at random but a name selected by God himself. This is the assignment of a new identity, a holy and eternal identity. The second is that this name is given in secret. This is just between God and the one who receives the new name. This speaks of intimacy and trust, that God would share with you or me a private secret. He seeks to give each of his children undivided attention, devotion without interruption. God has the power to spend alone time with each of us all the time with no one missing out. It is one thing for God to desire time with his children; it is another thing entirely for him to desire time with his child. We serve a God who desires relationship with each of us, one-on-one.
In giving each overcomer a new name, God reminds us that we are not lost in a see of believers. He knows each of us as an individual. He has chosen a name for each of us with power and meaning. We will carry these names into eternity, identities hand-picked by the Creator. And He desires to share this with us in secret, further showing his intimate devotion to each of his children. Father, thank You that You have renamed us and that one day You will gives us those names, eternal identities ordained by You and names that only You know, whispering to each of us the truth of who we really are.