To him that overcometh will I give a white stone and in the stone a new name written. Rev. 2:17
In this letter to the “angel” of the church of Pergamos, Jesus is described as having a “sharp, double-edged sword” (Rev. 2:12), symbolic of authority and justice. In Revelations 2:13, the author recognizes the difficulty of the Christian community living in the place “where Satan has his throne” (Pergamos was a notorious center of idolatry) and praises them for their solid resolve in the face of persecution: “Yet you remain true to my name” (Rev. 2:13). However, their tolerance of and accommodations to the pagan cults in the city and the false prophets within their own community have undermined the promise of salvation. Before the church succumbs to internal and external forces that jeopardize the community?s deliverance, Christ will use God’s own words to “fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Rev. 2:16). To those who conquer temptation, the white stone is given as a symbol of victory over sin, and they will be granted a perfect soul in heaven with a new name signaling a new way of life.
Where Ephesus is the most feminine of the seven windows, Pergamos, like Laodicea, is the most masculine. Tiffany has reinforced the imagery of a celestial warrior by depicting the Pergamos angel in full Roman soldier’s garb. The cloak of opalescent yellow-green drapery glass covering the angel’s shoulders has a red lining and is held in place by a large ornament of emerald green and rich yellow chunk jeweled glass. The golden body armor is embellished at the chest and hips with the same green and yellow chunk glass; below the armor is a skirt of amber drapery glass. Holding a stone of brilliant white glass in his right hand, the angel grasps a shield in his left made of mottled glass to mimic hammered metal.
Theologian Emanuel Swedenborg says “Pergamos represents people who place the all of the church in good works, and not anything in the truths of doctrine.” Addressing the life of the community of the church, the Pergamos church is challenged to act communally to do good things from the truth they know and to acknowledge the Lord as God so that within them the Lord will unite love and truth to “altogether make one.” They are promised, “To those that overcome I will give a white stone and in the stone a new name written.” The white stone represents that “truths united to good are not inscribed on their memories, but on their lives” and that “they will have a quality such as they had not before.”