“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written which no man knoweth saving that receiveth it (Re.2:17).”
While we are discussing the Church at Smyrna before we go any further on to the significance of second death(2:11), it may be helpful to understand the drift of the Testimony of Christ.
It is about the end times where the Christ in glory shall usher is New Jerusalem and he shall reign with His saints: we also find mention of nations that shall walk in the glory of the holy city of God. This is the crux of the testimony.
In the first vision Jesus Christ presents himself walking in the midst of seven golden candlesticks.
He presents himself in appropriate aspect needful for the church in question, and it ends in general terms for all churches anywhere in the world. The hidden manna is one such term that needs to be explained. Some other details like white stone and second death hitherto held back are now available to us. There must be reason why the Spirit did not mention before.
Jesus Christ has chosen us to be his saints and priests. So he promises us a position. This was not revealed to his disciples earlier. Let us consider what this incident from the Gospel of St Mark would add to our understanding.
On their way to Jerusalem after he had informed his disciples that his days are coming to close James and John, the sons of Zebedee had a strange request. They wanted to be seated on either side in his glory. While the other ten disciples were thrown into dismay and anger Jesus had to say, “but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared(Mk.10:40-NIV).” Here we have the crucial fact, ‘for whom they have been prepared.”
This leads us to the theological term Predestination something on which some sects have stumbled and in order to buttress their fleshly wisdom rendered the Atonement of our Savior in limited scope.Be that as it may no man can thwart the eternal Power and Wisdom of God.
Predestination is no longer a mystery but God the Son having fulfilled the will of the Father is privy to it. It is what he is leading us to. Predestination covers the time element and in tasting death for all once Jesus Christ was set down on the right hand of God. His position is now symbolized by his name, He fulfilled the mandate of his Father. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name(Phil.2:9), We have the testimony of the word, ‘Christ is all, and in all’ (Col.3:11). This also is true: At the end he himself shall be subject to his Father as the verse would indicate,”…Then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all(1 Co.15:28-NIV). Time is included.
Those whom God had predestined and time element, were not revealed to the Son while he yet walked the earth. Son of man had to offer the one sacrifice and be received in glory. Before his ascension he reiterated that the times and seasons the Father hath put in his own power (Ac.1:7).
Similarly we read the response of the Son of man, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father(Mk.13:32;Mt.24:35). Predestination is revealed by the Son as the hidden manna, where the adjective ‘hidden’ explains being adopted as children by Jesus Christ to himself. Of this the Psalmist predicted “Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her(Ps.87:5-NIV),”
This is a memorial similar to the tablet many civc buildings would carry to indicate the name of person who declared it open. So name is a symbol of the quality of the building. Think of the Church founded on the foundation of the risen Christ. each brick that rises above commemorates a saint redeemed from the earth.
What was in the Core Will of God shall be fulfilled and it to which the testimony of Christ is moving. In terms of the standpoint of God the father it is established as the name of the Father. So predestination is not merely the time but also the fulfillment of the Son as the Head of the Church in eternity.
Predestination in short indicates all those who believed in the Son were sanctified as well as established. Name of the Father in the forehead of the saints is a metaphor. (This name is apart from the name found in the book of life held by the Son.Those whose names were not found in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire which is second death (Re.20:10-15).)
Manna from heaven denotes Jesus Christ and the Church is the Body of Christ. The Spirit from the outset revealed the Mind of God in the Adam Eve episode. Death of his Son (the Lamb slain before the worlds began) would lead to the founding of the church in God’s Time. So what shall we call over-comers? Are not they who have been perfected? When the risen Christ promises them the power to eat of the hidden manna, it is a metaphor for the Body and not any church per se.It is not Holy Communion where we commemorate the death of our Lord Savior on the earth but love feast (agape) by all those who have received the hidden manna. It is a place card as well as honor of being where he is.
(To be continued)