“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.” – Revelation 2:17
In America, we are casual with our use of our names. Names are not a secret, nicknames are freely bestowed, names can even be legally changed if one is dissatisfied with what is on the birth certificate.
But in other cultures, names are treated with special care. They signify the person’s core identity, so a person has a true name – known only to himself and to a few close friends – and a nickname by which he is publicly known.
I find it comforting that God knows my real name. He knows my identity, he sees the core of my soul, he is intimately aware of my every thought (cf. Psalm 139). In fact, God knows me better than I know myself. I can easily be swayed by other people’s opinions of me, or try to be something or someone that I’m not. But God is not fooled. He knows who I really am. That is why he alone is qualified to tell me my real name.
Someday, in the purity and brightness of heaven, he’s going to give me a white stone, and on that stone will be written a new name – my real name, the name that encompasses everything about me. Then, unfettered by sin, by weakness, or by ego, “I shall know fully, just as I also have been fully known” (I Corinthians 13:12).