Rev. 2:12-17 Overcoming and the White Stone
This Sunday or during the next several weeks, in many Unity churches, is "White Stone Sunday." Typically, during a meditation, we are given a small stone to write some sort of aspiration or name for ourselves which represents a new identity or new consciousness which we perceive for ourselves in the coming year. In some churches, the white stone ritual follows the burning bowl (letting go of the old, taking on the new), but the practice and timing of this ritual varies quite a bit in Unity.
As best as I can see, the origin of the white stone comes from the Book of Revelation, where it is said that those who overcome temptation will be given inner resources to sustain them, among them a white stone upon which is written a secret name that is given to those who persist. Then Emilie Cady picked up this passage and incorporated it into her teaching on the Secret Place of the Most High. The important thing for her was the secret name, which is revealed to those who "dwelleth in the secret place of the most high." Unity then combined these two teaching into its lessons on overcoming, which is taught as an inner realization of victory over error states of consciousness.
There are other references, but these are the three that are most apparent to me. If you have others, please send them to me and I will try to update this page as quickly as possible.
If you scroll down, you'll see a summary of what I've found, grouped in three sections: Bible, Emilie Cady and Unity's teachings on Overcoming. I hope you'll use them for personal study or for preparing your Sunday lesson.
Take a special look at Unity's teachings on Overcoming. They are important for three reasons:
- First, it underscores that Unity is not just about aspiration, affirmation and prosperity. The spiritual journey is front-loaded with overcoming - ie denial, healing and rising above sense consciousness.
- Second, the lesson I've highlighted provides one of Unity's best explanations for evil in the world: that we have forgot who we are and have forgot the power of thought.
- Third, the same lesson provides a practical formula for overcoming: holding the presence of God in conscious mind until Truth penetrates the subconscious mind.
Study it closely. The language is old-fashioned, the content is eternal.
Happy new year!
By the way... if you would like an easy way to search all of TruthUnity for a particular topic, enter this into your browser's search bar: site:www.truthunity.net "white stone" You'll get a nice list that Google has compiled for us!
Resources for celebrating White Stone Sunday
Here are references to the White Stone that come from the Bible or are commentaries about the reference in the Bible.
Revelation 2:12-17 ASV Text
2:13I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan's throne is; and thou holdest fast my name, and didst not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwelleth. 2:14But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. 2:15So hast thou also some that hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner. 2:16Repent therefore; or else I come to thee quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 2:17He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it.
Revealing Word: White Stone
Source: Revealing Word
Metaphysical meaning of stone (rw)
stone, white (Rev. 2:17)--When we redeem ourselves from bondage to sense, we shall be sustained by the inner or spiritual food ("hidden manna"), which is understanding of Truth and which is the foundation ("a white stone") upon which we build up and develop our true Christ self.
Metaphysical Bible Dictionary: Pergamum
Source: MBD Entry for Pergamum
The "new name" is the individual's concept of himself. His concept of God and of himself is a little different from that of any other person's. No other knows it, for it is peculiar to the individual. It would mean nothing to any one else. It is changing daily, as the individual's concept of God and of himself changes.
Herbert Hunt - A Study of the New Testament
(3) Special attention should also be given to the seven important promises made in an earlier section of Revelation (Rev. 2-3). These promises are all directed "to him who conquers," and are thus related to the spiritual warfare indicated in connection with the breaking of the seven seals. The promises are as follows:
"To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7).
"I will give you the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
"I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written" (Rev. 2:17).
"I will give him power over the nations" (Rev. 2:26).
"He... shall be clad in white garments. and ... I will confess his name before my Father" (Rev. 3:5).
"I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God" (Rev. 3:12).
"I will grant him to sit with me on my throne" (Rev. 3:21).
USRS Bible Interpretation
Source: USRS Bible Interpretation
Rev. 2:14 "'But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam... eat food sacrificed to idols and practice immorality.'"
These things mentioned are symbolic references to very common faults and shortcomings still active in the intellects of human beings who are otherwise committed to Spirit and to Truth. It is not necessary to be too specific about what these errors actually are, but in general they are:
- Superstitious and negative types of religious thinking.
- Materialistic greed and worship of personalities.
- Connecting our sense of I Am to negative emotions.
Rev. 2:17 "'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.'"
First, how do we overcome and correct the faults and shortcomings in our intellectual nature where spiritual unfoldment is concerned? Nothing is more helpful than the Unity method of correct use of denial and affirmation. The intellect is thus being trained to "feed" on divine ideas instead of "food sacrificed to idols." This also trains our intellect to connect our sense of I AM only to divine ideas instead of erroneous beliefs and negative emotions. Charles Fillmore taught that the correct use of denial and affirmation would eventually "spiritualize the whole intellect."
The first part of the reward promised for this particular overcoming is: "I will give some of the hidden manna." - This refers to the discovery of an entirely new source of energy and nourishment. This source is not a visible, tangible "something" out in the world. It is a "hidden" source, which means that it is within. It is simply the higher levels of our own being.
The nourishment derived from these higher levels of being within us is more than physical. It nourishes the soul first, then the body. It benefits the whole man. There is no waste matter; nothing needs to be eliminated following its assimilation by us. In the Gospels, Jesus alludes to this very thing when He says to His disciples, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." (John 4:32) This "hidden manna" is the vital life, substance, and energy of Spirit, directly assimilated into our entire being. Other symbolic terms that refer to this are "bread from heaven," "body of Christ," "blood of Christ."
The second part of the reward promised is, "'... and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.'" This refers to a new and higher realization of I AM. In the past, when most of us said, "I am," we were usually thinking of only our current opinions of ourselves. Greater realization of I AM is much more than an opinion of one's self, it is more of an awareness of our Real Self. Our Real Self is so much greater than any opinion we can ever have of ourself. It requires our reaching a higher level of consciousness within ourselves to even bear facing a realization of our Real Self. This is the "white stone" mentioned. In this "white stone," or purified state of consciousness, we learn our "new name," an entirely new realization of our true I AM.
Emilie Cady References
Here are references that I've found from Emilie Cady's writings.
Emilie Cady: Lessons In Truth - Lesson 9
12. Secrets are not told upon the housetop; nor is it possible to pass this, the greatest of secrets, from one to another. God, the creator of our being, must Himself whisper it to each man living in the very innermost of himself. "To him that overcometh (or is consciously in process of overcoming), to him will I give the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone (or a mind like a clean white tablet), and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it" (Rev. 2:17). It is so secret that it cannot even be put into human language or repeated by human lips.
Emilie Cady: Lessons In Truth - Lesson 9 - Annotation 6
What is the "white stone" upon which man's spiritual name is written (Rev. 2:17)?
The "white stone" is a cleansed consciousness (thinking and feeling), that is ready to accept the revelation of our true relationship to God as His son. It is the illumined state of mind in which we accept our true spiritual name of I AM, or Christ.
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that recelveth it" (Rev. 2:17).
When the mind (consciousness) is unenlightened and filled with conflicting beliefs it cannot accept the "good news" of our divinity. However, when we begin to discipline our thinking and feeling, when we turn to God in the "secret place" and He reveals the truth about us, then we are able to accept our new name or nature.
An ancient custom was to hand to an acquitted prisoner a white stone signifying his starting life afresh and free from stigma. The "white stone" signifies for each of us a fresh start in life, free from tension, upsets, disappointments, and resentments of the past. It is a time when we come into a consciousness of our spiritual nature (name) and do all that is possible to express and manifest this nature. Just to know that we are spiritual beings is not enough; that is only the beginning, for then we must begin to live the life as a son of God by using aright all the spiritual powers or qualities that make up our divine nature. This means that we must discipline our thinking, feeling, speaking, acting, and reacting according to Truth, until we are governed by the Christ, our spiritual nature, in all that we do.
Emilie Cady: How I Used Truth
Source: How I Used Truth p.46
In Edward Everett Hale's story, "In His Name," a story in a setting of seven hundred years ago, it is no fairy tale that invests the words, "in His Name," with such magic power. This little password carried safely, through the most dangerous places, all who went on errands of good. Locked doors were readily opened at the sound of the words. Soldier, sentry, officer of the guard, all gave way respectfully and instantly before it. Men were willing to leave their homes at a moment's notice and plunge into the greatest hardships "in His name."
Ministering today in His name, I say to you, troubled one, anxious one, weary one: Be strong! Be of good courage! Be hopeful! The world -- the mortal -- is overcome already. The Christ, the I AM, speaking through Jesus, has spoken, saying: "I have overcome the world."
"To him that overcometh [that is, to him who recognizes that already the world is overcome by the I AM, that there is nothing in all the universe but the I AM] to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it."
"He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more, and I will write upon him the name of my God," even the name I AM.
Unity Publications and Overcoming
There are many references to Overcoming in Unity publications. My favorite, however, is the fourth lesson in Unity's Correspondence School Course. Here is the link: http://www.truthunity.net/texts/ucsl/series-1-lesson-5
This lesson is important for several reasons. First, its place underscores that Unity is not just about aspiration, affirmation and prosperity. The spiritual journey is front-loaded with overcoming - ie denial, healing and rising above sense consciousness. Second, it provides one of Unity's best explanations for evil in the world: that we have forgot who we are and have forgot the power of thought. Third, the lesson provides a practical formula for overcoming: holding the presence of God in conscious mind until Truth penetrates the subconscious mind. Study it closely.
The language is old-fashioned, the content is eternal.
Contributed by Mark Hicks on 12-15-2013
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