Who doesn’t like surprise presents? The only reason we would not fully appreciate an unexpected gift is if it were something we found distasteful or something we couldn’t use. The gifts from God that we have been considering from The Revelation, chapters two and three, are not surprises in the sense that we are totally unaware that they are coming. However, they will be surprises to the extent that we cannot now fully comprehend what they are. We must reach eternity in order to truly appreciate what God has promised awaits us on the other side of this life. And as curious as we might be about these things, it should not surprise us that we do not yet have the capacity to understand these gifts. Something we could fully understand, appreciate, and enjoy right now in our weak flesh would be a paltry gift for our omnipotent and all-wise Bridegroom to give His Bride for eternity. No, these weak attempts to explain the nature of these gifts are just that—weak. It is a dutiful attempt at exposition of this portion of God’s Word. But without doubt, it fails miserably to express the glory that our loving Bridegroom waits to pour out on the undeserving objects of His saving grace and infinite love. The sixth gift is in two parts.
First, the Lord Jesus promises every believer that He “will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore” (Rev. 3:12a). In his first epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul repeatedly references the fact that the body of each individual believer is the temple of God, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. He expands this truth in his letter to the Ephesians, explaining that all church-age believers “are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (2:22). The perfecting of that work awaits the rapture of the church. And when completed, every believer will be a pillar in that temple. The metaphor of a pillar suggests, perhaps, at least two things. First, a pillar is an essential structural element integral to the integrity of the whole. The implication seems to be that we will all serve essential functions throughout eternity: our salvation will produce purposeful activity forever. Regardless of what he might have been on earth, no believer will serve as a useless decorative bauble in eternity. We were created to accomplish something, and accomplish something we will. The fact that John says “he will not go out from it anymore” underscores the unchanging nature of the character that will have been wrought in us. Second, a pillar is an adornment, a thing of beauty. Whatever our eternal tasks may be, there will be no dirty jobs in heaven. Each believer, each service, each moment will radiate with the unhindered glory of the Lord. Every service will be beautiful in its godly dignity, and deific nobility, as it reflects the Person and redeeming work of our Lord.
Second, the Lord “will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name” (Rev. 3:12b). Part of the third gift promised believers was “a new name . . . which no one knows but he who receives it” (Rev. 2:17). That name, perhaps, spoke of the private intimacy of the bedchamber. Here are three additional names, which suggest the public splendor of the king’s court. These are names reflecting nobility, more than titles such as duke or earl, they are personal names that nevertheless bespeak aristocracy. Every believer will have God’s name on him! However ignoble might have been our family name on earth, however soiled by us or others, though we had been a Hitler or a Stalin, God will give us His name henceforth forever. Every believer will be identified further by the name of his hometown: the new Jerusalem, no ordinary city, but one whose origins are in heaven from God. No one will say we have been born on the wrong side of the tracks. No one will accuse us as they did the Lord Jesus, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). He lived “in the sticks” that we might hail from the new Jerusalem. Finally, every believer will have Christ’s new name on him. What this is I cannot say. But just as a bride here delights to take her spouse’s name and be identified as his, so we will rejoice to be identified as belonging to our God, our Lord and Savior, and our Bridegroom. To God be the glory.
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