Posted by: StrongStakes | March 27, 2013

The White Stone


Here are additional details behind the meaning of the “white stone” that Jesus promised to give to “overcomers” in Revelation 2:17.  The Greek words for “white stone” are λευκός ψῆφος … λευκός denotes “dazzling white” … this color will dominate heaven.

ψῆφος, pronounced “pséphos,” was a small, smooth stone, or pebble.  In fact, the root of the word suggests a stone small enough to be held in the hand, and worn smooth by handling.

Biblical scholars have suggested numerous interpretations for what this white stone may signify:

  • There was a Rabbinic legend that precious stones fell from heaven along with the manna.
  • In the ancient world, colored stones were often used to count out calculations.
  • They also served as amulets or good luck charms.
  • Sometimes stones or small tablets (called tessera) were given to champions of the athletic games, which gave them free admittance to future public spectacles, games and entertainments.

But the interpretation that I find most significant is that the white stone is symbolic of a voting ballot.  When a case had been stated for the prosecution and for the defense in the ancient law courts, the jury expressed their verdict by casting stones into an urn:  black stones for condemnation; white stones for acquittal.  The verdict was determined by a simple majority.

The term ψῆφος occurs only one other time in the New Testament.  During Paul’s testimony before King Agrippa, he refers to his persecution of Christians before his conversion:

“And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote (ψῆφος) against them.”  – Acts 26:10

Gentlemen, Jesus Christ, our Mediator, has heard the evidence against us.  For each and every person on this planet (Romans 3:23), there is indisputable evidence against us that will render a guilty verdict, followed by the sentence of death (Romans 6:23).  Yet, in spite of the evidence, Jesus casts His vote in our favor!  He does this without any perversion of justice because He took the guilty verdict that was ours, and bore the death penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8).

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  – Romans 8:1

Amen! … and Amen!

My prayer is that the white stone that I gave to each of you on Monday night will serve as a reminder of these great truths.


~ tr

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