ISSUE: GOD'S WILL-RIGHTEOUSNESS (PART 11)
I hope your thanksgiving was filled with joy and fellowship. For some, it was lonely and painful whether or not the house was full. I am praying for you today. May God fill you with joy and peace as you read of God's plan to bring the presence of fullness of joy. We won't get into that part as much today. It's in the upcoming blog that links a lot of this together, but for all who are in Christ, we have become the living stones that are the work of Christ's hands in building the church, His eternal dwelling place. Whether anyone is physically around you or not today, God is by His presence. He fills His people by His Spirit and Word. Everything you walk through, He walks through with you. He goes before you, behind you, over you, and is in you. I know from personal experience that it doesn't always feel like Jesus is with you, but He is. And better than that, He will never leave you or forsake you. He was forsaken on the cross so you would never be forsaken. You are dear to Him. He calls you His own. He calls you beloved. As you read of God's plan, I ask you to look past the actions, or works that occur in the world to bring the plan into place, and instead look behind the plan at the heart of the one who Has determined to set His love on you forever. Behold, your God. Please pray this truth will seep into the hardest of hearts here in North Minneapolis. Thank you for journeying with us and praying with us. We can't see you, but I feel your prayers.
A New Name Written on the White Stone
“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 to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’
There are three gifts here given to the overcomer in the compromising church. The first gift is that of the hidden manna. The second is a white stone. The third is the gift of a new name written on the stone. The name is only known by the one who receives it. Let’s start with the manna.
“32 Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’ ” 33 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the LORD to be kept for the generations to come.” 34 As the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved.”
Manna was a provision from God for Israel during their time in the wilderness. It was a supernatural food from above as opposed to the earthly food eaten in Egypt. God provided this bread like substance for Israel. He told them to take what they needed for the day five days out of the week, but on the sixth day, the day before the Sabbath, they could take enough for both days. That food had to be destroyed if it was not eaten in the day it was for. Jesus is the bread of Christ applied by the Spirit through the word of God. Some of the manna, as mentioned in the verses above, was to be preserved for future generations. It’s place of storage was with the tablets of the covenant, the law of God. Those tablets were stored at the foot of God in the ark of the covenant. I do not think it strange that the gift of manna would come with the gift of a tablet that contains a new name. Why? For that, let’s look at the New Covenant promise from Jeremiah.
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
God promised to bring about this New Covenant which would create truly changed men. Two houses were brought together that had been divided. Two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, would find a new shared identity under the Kingship of God in this new singular covenant. They would become one again. It was tied to the promise to the patriarchs, or fathers of the faith, who believed the promises of God. It comes about in light of compromise in idolatry, or adultery, against their husband God. God explains how He will accomplish this work: He will put His law in their hearts actually etching it with His finger as He had done in the Ten Commandments which were two stone tablets.
There is an importance to noting that there were two stone tablets where it relates to covenants. As mentioned in our earlier discussion about covenants, a copy of the covenant was taken by each party in the covenant. They were stored with each king’s god, or enforcer. Today, we see a lot of pictures of the ten commandments as a single copy of the commandments spread across two tablets. That is likely not the case. Most likely there were two identical documents. One copy was for Israel. The other copy was for their Great King, Yahweh. Because Yahweh was also Israel’s God, both copies would be placed at His feet. The ark was His footstool. The Temple was to be a place of rest for God. A place where He would sit with His feet upon the ark. This was David’s prophecy and plan.
The Tabernacle and earthly temple both proved to be temporary. God did live, or dwell, in them among men, but this pointed to a greater promise that we now know. Though David desired to build the Temple, he was denied the right because of sin. But His Son Solomon would build it. That too turned out to be but a picture for the eternal son of David that would reign forever on the throne was not Solomon, but Jesus! He prophesied the destruction of the temple of men and promised to build a new temple. But how big must this temple be when you consider the words of Isaiah? “Thus says the LORD, "Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?” Jesus was not building an earthly temple to contain the holiness of the righteous God, but one made of living stones, of an assembling of people, and He was to be the first stone. Men are the Temple of God!
Let’s go back to see what the overcomer will inherit, or receive, upon enduring to the end and overcoming the world. They would inherit hidden supernatural bread from God, a white stone tablet (not whitewashed, but truly white and pure), and the gift of a new name on the tablet personally given by God. To understand what is going on we will again look at Saul and David from 1 Samuel.
Saul has had the kingdom ripped away from him. The Spirit of the Lord which had been put upon Him was now removed by God and replaced with a spirit that drove him crazy. David, the new anointed king, was the only source of comfort for Saul. He would play music for him and it would restore his sanity. David rose in rank among Saul’s army by overcoming an enemy Philistine giant named Goliath. Goliath was large and scaly like Satan but his legs were removed from him by a single stone’s throw from the young shepherd boy. David was eventually invited into Saul’s home and would marry Saul’s daughter Michal as well as become best friends who were knit together with Saul’s son Jonathan. Saul becomes aware of David’s fame and it drives him even crazier. He sets out to kill David, but Saul’s son warns David and he flees to the wilderness. As he is traveling we come across this exchange with the priest from Nob (the city of the priests).
Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one is with you?”2 So David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has ordered me on some business, and said to me, ‘Do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you.’ And I have directed my young men to such and such a place. 3 Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found.”
4 And the priest answered David and said, “There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women.”5 Then David answered the priest, and said to him, “Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common, even though it was consecrated in the vessel this day.”
6 So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.
7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. And his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chief of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul. 8 And David said to Ahimelech, “Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”9 So the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it. For there is no other except that one here.”And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”
There is so much here I am skipping over, but hopefully I can draw out what is important for our conversation. Like the compromised church in Revelation 2, there is a spirit of sexual immorality and idolatry at work around David.David had been kept from women for three days and was pure in the eyes of the law. The hidden manna, or bread in, or of, the presence of God was there in the temple when no normal bread was available. This is what David received. But not only this. He also received the sword of the slain giant. We know Jesus is the son of David who reigns eternally. He possesses a sword as well. The sword of the Spirit, or the Word of God, is our spiritual armor given by God Himself to each believer. Jesus is speaking in Revelation 2 and identifies Himself as the one who has the sharp two-edged sword. This sword is aimed at the enemy kingdom where the evil king, Satan sits on the throne. Prophecy exists, but like Balaam, it exists for profit. Like Balak, there are those who seek to buy the destruction of their enemies, the true Israel (true believers/sons by faith). It has two major characteristics which lead the people to avoid the suffering of Christ as Peter did. Salvation comes with a sword.
So what is the new ark in the new human temple of God? Where is this spiritual manna stored? Where is the law held? Where is the presence of the rest of God and the weight of His glory pressed upon it by His feet? It is in the inner man, in the Spirit made up of heart and mind. Let’s look at the work of God to write this new law on a pure tablet.
“22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!””
After addressing Israel’s impurity, referred to as like a menstrual cycle, God promises to cleanse her. How will He do this? He gathers His people together, purifies them with water, and takes out their heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. He puts His Spirit within them and causes them to walk in His commandments, or laws. They will repent of their ways and produce fruit. Putting the Jeremiah passage and the Ezekiel passage tells us God does a special work for a single purpose—to uphold and proclaim the holiness of His name! He does this by washing the impurities of man away in a baptism. He gives them a new heart with His law written upon it. It is not hard like the stone of the commandments, but soft like flesh. He also puts His Spirit in men which causes them to live how they are called to live to inherit the blessings and complete His will. He upholds His righteousness on both sides of the covenant. All of its success comes from His righteousness. No man can keep it, for no man is righteous. Only God who is holy separate from all that is created is able to do this work of covenant and He does it by changing men to love Him and act in accordance with His law as well as empowers and cleanses them by pouring His Spirit out upon them as a baptism and putting His Spirit in them to empower and continually cleanse them. Repentance, the ongoing continual process of repenting, is the cleansing power of the presence of the indwelling Spirit of God and the righteous work of His hand.
Let’s look a little at the link between manna (the Word of God in the flesh, Jesus Christ), new hearts, and the new name in baptism.
 REVELATION 2:17
 I took the term “Compromising Church” from the heading of the section in Revelation within The MacArthur Study Bible Twentieth Anniversary Edition. It seems fitting and relevant to Western Society today for there is a very present church here, but it is severely compromised. I will reference information from the following website as I set out to make plain what is going on here: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/revelation-2/revelation-2-17.html
 EXODUS 16:32-34
 HEBREWS 9:4
 JEREMIAH 31:31-34
; 2 CORINTHIANS 3:3
 1 CHRONICLES 28:2
 ISAIAH 66:1
 JOHN 2:19
 1 CORINTHIANS 3:16
 I first heard this idea of Goliath being large and scaly from my Small Group Leader, Brian Verrett, who has done some significant research and work in 1 and 2 Samuel as an emphasis. I don’t have a link to his thesis, or I would share it, but he also showed me how the word we see as forehead or head could actually mean greave. The greave would be the shin covering. Like Satan’s legs were removed in the garden and he was placed on his belly to one day have his head crushed by Jesus, Goliath is presented as a type of Satan by the books of Samuel. I looked the word up in my Accordance Bible software and found that The Concise Dictionary of Classical Hebrews clearly links the word to be greaves: “1 n.f.—cstr. מִצְחַת—greaves, armour protecting the shins 1 S 176.” The New American Commentary from the same software has this statement: 61 A. Deem argues that the word מִצְחוֹ should be translated “his greave,” not “his forehead” (“ ‘ … and the stone sank into his forehead.’ A Note on 1 Samuel xvii 49,” VT 28 : 349–51). This suggestion, however, is not supported by any ancient translations, nor has it been followed by modern versions. Furthermore, it seems illogical to assume that David’s primary offensive efforts would have been directed against an armored portion of Goliath. The traditional translation is clearly preferable.So there is some disagreement. I agree and affirm Brian’s translation, though there is much to meditate on in reference to how the attack on the head can remove one’s legs from him. It is worth noting that a different Hebrew word is used in 1 SAM. 17:51 for head when explaining how David later killed Goliath. He ran over to him, took his sword from his sheath and cut off his head (רֹאשׁ֑וֹ).
 I SAMUEL 21:1-9
 REVELATION 2:14
 1 SAMUEL 21:5
 EPHESIANS 6:17
 EZEKIEL 36:22-32