From Revelation 2:17:

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

What do hidden manna and white stone refer to in this verse?


5 Answers 5


A white stone was used to gain admission to certain events in Roman times. That would imply that those who overcome will be granted admission to the Kingdom.

Source: Found a reference here.

That lists its sources as David Stern's Jewish New Testament Commentary and Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible from 1872.

I was also thinking about the manna. As we know, that was given in the Exodus while they wandered. Some of the manna was placed in a pot and stored in the ark of the covenant. The ark disappeared from earth, but is mentioned in Rev 11:9 as being seen within God's temple. As your question refers to an earlier part of Revelation, John could have had that manna from the hidden ark in mind.

Hope that helps, but Revelation's symbols make it hard to interpret. Ironic that it's name means "to show that which is hidden."

  • I need to find a source, but I've been told early Church fathers associated the hidden manna with the Eucharist - Christ's food for his Church, the people of the New Covenant.
    – Dan
    Jan 6, 2013 at 6:30
  • Except that the reference was biblical not Roman.
    – user34445
    Dec 31, 2016 at 2:46
  • John wrote in Greco-Roman times. He used symbols and images that his readers would be familiar with. He also writes in a Jewish genre called apocalyptic.
    – Frank Luke
    Jan 1, 2017 at 1:38
  • I suppose if the bible was merely a literary work with only literary influences .. yes Paul was pulling illusions from a worldly empire whose values he was critical of to explain his ideas to a people who saw themselves as enemies of this same empire. Makes sense.
    – user34445
    Jan 1, 2017 at 1:54
  • Try John for Revelation. And Jesus was extremely critical of the Pharisees, so why did He use parables, a teaching form that the Pharisees were very fond of? As for Paul himself (the Apostle of the Epistles) he quotes Greek thinkers to make God's point (Acts 17:28 "...As some of your own poets have said, ‘- We are His offspring.’" and Titus 1:12 "As one of their own prophets has said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.'”). Finally, you mean "allusions" not "illusions."
    – Frank Luke
    Jan 3, 2017 at 15:01

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; 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 he that receiveth it. (Revelation 2:17, KJV)

Those in the church at Pergamos who overcame would be given to eat of the hidden manna. This hidden manna is the revelation of God that has been hidden in His Word from the foundation of the world to be revealed in this last time. Then He promised a white stone to the overcomers. This white stone would contain a new name that no man knows, except the one who receives it.

The basic Greek word translated stone is LITHOS. This word has six derivatives. It is used eighty-two times in the New Testament. Another word translated stone is PETROS and is used 161 times as "Peter" and one time as "stone".

When we consider the white stone that was spoken to John, the word used for the phrase white stone was PSEPHOS. This word is only used twice in the New Testament and only translated once as stone. The other time it was used is in the book of Acts.

Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice (PSEPHOS) against them. (Acts 26:10)

Paul stated, "I gave my voice against them . . . ". The word voice is PSEPHOS. Paul gave his consenting vote to the death of the saints. This same word PSEPHOS was translated stone in Revelation 2:17.

The word white is LEUKOS and means "brilliant from whiteness, dazzling white." This was the white used to describe the angel's raiment at Jesus' tomb. This same white was used to describe Jesus' garments when He was transfigured before Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration.

And His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. (Mark 9:3)

A fuller is a launderer. No fuller on earth could clean garments as white as the Spiritual garments that clothed Jesus. This same brilliance was used to describe the white stone that was revealed to John. White always represents righteousness.

In ancient times, the white stone was used in many ways. When someone was accused of a wrong doing and taken to court - - - when they were acquitted they were given a white stone as a symbol of their innocence. They could show anyone their white stone to prove their innocency. We can show our innocency before God by putting on the Robe of Righteousness. Paul revealed to the Romans:

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

We are made righteous by our obedience to Jesus and the voice of the Father. Jesus was obedient unto death on the cross. When we accept Jesus' shed blood, we are made the righteousness of God through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit. Paul spoke to the Corinthians,

For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5:21)

We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. He has acquitted us from our sin, that we may overcome the sin nature.

The white stone was also used in elections. A person voting was given a white stone and a black stone. The white stone meant acceptance - - - the black stone meant rejection. In later years, marbles were used. Most are familiar with the term "blackballed". This meant rejection. Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)

We are accepted in the Beloved, and we now walk in the praise of His glory and grace.

The white stone was given to victors in athletic events. Sometimes the victors were given white stones with the name of the event or the winner of the event inscribed on the stone. Paul related:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (I Corinthians 9:24)

We are all in a race, and we run that we may receive the prize that is set before us. Paul stated:

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (I Corinthians 9:25)

Those who run in this race must be temperate in all things. Temperance is a fruit of the Spirit. We are not in this race to receive a corruptible crown. The word corruptible means "to rot". The crown we desire is the crown of life. In order to receive this crown, we must finish the race. No one ever won the prize who did not finish the race. In Paul's final letter to Timothy, just before being taken to the chopping block, he proclaimed,

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing. (II Timothy 4:7-8)

Paul had finished the race. He had kept the faith to the end. Paul was promised an incorruptible crown, a crown of righteousness, the white stone of victory, the righteousness of God. Paul was proclaimed the winner of the race. But all who finish the race will be declared winners. Paul also declared:

. . . and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)

The promise of an incorruptible crown is to all those who finish the race. Another use of the white stone was that a white stone was often given to honored guests. It was generally inscribed with the host's name. The special guest who received the white stone could use it to purchase, or to order the host's servants to do as they asked. It was used as a sign of authority and power granted by the host. All things that belonged to the host were at the disposal of the special guest. We have this promise in Christ Jesus our Lord.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:7)

The overcomers are those special guests at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. These are the inheritors of all that belong to the Father. These are the Christs in the earth today. Paul stated,

And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)

Before we can become heirs we must be overcomers in God's kingdom realm. Paul further wrote to the Galatians,

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians 4:6-7)

When the overcomers come into the sonship realm, they will no longer be servants, but heirs. The servants will not inherit with the sons. If we are inheritors, then we will have already overcome the old Adam nature, the carnal mind, and the desires of the flesh. This is the only way we can come into sonship. This is the only way we will become joint heirs with Christ. When this has been accomplished in our lives, we, too, as special guests, will be given our white stone. Then everything that belongs to the Father will be at our disposal. He will then give us power and authority to rule and reign with Him. Jesus revealed this promise to John:

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. (Revelation 3:21)

The promise of ruling and reigning is made only to the overcomers, and they, alone, will sit with Him in His throne. This is our place of authority in the kingdom.

  • 3
    +1, but your answer is rather prolix. Could you cut out those parts that are less directly related to the question?
    – Kazark
    Jun 8, 2012 at 15:32

This is possibly tangential to the original question, since the asker's denomination was not specified, but in LDS/Mormon thought, the white stone is (literally) a white stone used as a Urim and Thummim for the reception of revelation:

This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.

Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known; and a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. (D&C 130:9--11)


The promises of reward to the churches in Revelation revolve on intimacy with our Lord. That is, the greatest satisfaction a living creature can have now and in eternity is the very intimacy with the living God. Each of the promises of reward hinges on some aspect of greater intimacy with the Lord as an eternal reward for our perseverance in the here-and-now on earth.

When the son of David (Solomon) built the temple in the earthly Jerusalem, the visible theocratic kingdom was centered on the presence and power of God. When Jesus (the son of David) built the temple in the heavenly Jerusalem, the invisible heavenly kingdom was centered on the presence and power of God, which is indwelt by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the body of believers on earth.

In the New Covenant, believers are made one with his body (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:12; 1 Cor 12:27), and so we become temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). Therefore the body of believers also comprises a temple in heaven (Rev 3:12 and Rev 15:5), and thus all believers whether on heaven or earth are permanent priests to this temple (1 Pet 2:5; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6).

These offers of manna and the stone with the name "known but to God" are offers of private intimacy within the temple. The manna is the food of angels (Ps 78:25), which descended from heaven because God commanded that it should (thus we literally live because of the words that have to come out of God's mouth to command living sustenance for man - ref. Deut 8:3). The manna is therefore "bread from heaven" (Ex 16:4). Its location is within the ark of the Covenant, and therefore lies within the very inner recesses of the Holy of Holies (Ex 16:33). We will "know" our creator in greater intimacy through exclusive access to this very word/bread/manna in heaven.

The heavenly temple is comprised of believers, who are the living stones of this temple (1 Peter 2:4-5). The name on the white stone is your identity as part of this temple, or body of Christ. Your identity is therefore defined by what the Lord determines. This identity is not shared with others (Rev 2:17), but is your own identity as an individual. Since ones identity in heaven will not depend on what others think, the identity is immutable and eternal. The reward will be the specific name that the Lord will give you. (Can you hardly wait?)

In summary, for the one who overcomes, the greatest promises of eternal reward in heaven are not "material," but are relational, which means that the greatest rewards are those which will provide us the closest and therefore the most satisfying intimacy with our creator and savior.


A white stone was given to the High Priest in Israel worn in front upon the ceremonial robes when seeking the Will of God on the behalf of the Jewish nation. This is not to be mistaken with the breastplate holding the 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel. They called it an interpreter or seer stone by which the wearer could by looking into it find knowledge or revelation from God. see "Exodus" An individual worthy and prepared and proven righteous on his way to live with Heavenly Father would have his own seer stone - it is so because your new name will be on it, pardon the comparison: a student who has graduated and become a karate "Dan" wears his black belt to show his achievement and by tradition his name and date of being awarding such a status is marked on the belt in traditional script

  • 1
    Your argument seems to sort of peter out near the end. I wonder if you might be interested in editing it to include some supporting material and (maybe) remove the karate analogy that doesn't seem to fit? Jan 8, 2013 at 19:11

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