Considerable discussion has been raised upon the last clause of this verse, owing to the difficulty of the connection in which the word "uprightness" is found. The Revised Version renders it, "To show unto man what is right for him," and gives in the margin, as an alternative, the translation of the Authorised Version. A well-known French version has, "Pour montrer l'homme ce qui, pour lui, est la droiture"; that is, "to show unto man that which, for him, is uprightness"; and it adds in a note "that is to say, uprightness in judging himself," this being, in the opinion of the translator, the sense of the passage. Another version, often bound up with the New Translation, puts "duty" for uprightness, and adopts the note we have cited from the French version. It is quite conceded that the Hebrew word may in some circumstances be rendered "duty," but it is scarcely admissible in connection with man's sinful state and condition before God. No doubt his state calls for self-judgment; but this could not be pressed as a duty. Nor is the sense of the scripture preserved, in our judgment, by any word which expresses an obligation. The French version conveys unquestionably the mind of the Spirit in setting forth that what the sinner needs to be shown is what for him is uprightness; viz., bowing before God, and owning without reserve or concealment his true state. This would be genuine uprightness, and it would immediately draw forth the response from the heart of God, "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom." (v. 24.) The substitution therefore of the words "for him" in the place of "his" changes the whole complexion of the scripture, and brings it into entire harmony with the teachings of the Word on this subject in other places.
Revelation 2:17, Revelation 3:12.
The "new name" in these scriptures is, in our judgment, entirely different. In the first case it is a new name for the overcomer in Pergamos; in the second it is "My new name" - the new name of our blessed Lord and Saviour. As to the meaning of the term in its respective applications, we can only call attention to the indications afforded by the context, bearing in mind, as we do so, that "name" in Scripture is often the expression of what a person is, either absolutely or in any special relationships as presented. Taking then, first, the promise to the overcomer in Pergamos, it will be seen that the new name there is used to set forth a special link with Christ. The overcomer should feed upon the hidden manna, a reference to the manna which was laid up, and thus concealed, in the ark, concerning which no better exposition could be offered than the well-known lines -
"There on the hidden bread
Of Christ - once humbled here -
God's treasured store - for ever fed,
His love my soul shall cheer."
Moreover, the Lord would give him "a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." The white stone is a special mark of the Lord's approbation, and the new name is a secret between Him and the receiver. It refers therefore, we conclude, to some distinct intimacy, delight, and communion, acquired perhaps through the conflict in overcoming, which the Lord will for ever signalise by this new name, thus forging, if one may so speak, an indestructible link of delight between the overcomer and the Lord - a perennial joy with which none else will ever inter-meddle (Jacob and Peter may help in the further consideration of the subject). The Lord's new name written upon the overcomer in Philadelphia, who, in feebleness here, will be transformed into a pillar in the temple of God, is rather the revelation of what Christ is in His new and glorified condition. This will be more readily apprehended if it is perceived that the main characteristic of the promise to this overcomer is association with Christ in many aspects of heavenly blessedness. The repetition of the word "my" shows this - the temple of my God, the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, and my new name. Confining ourselves now to what is immediately before us, to have the Lord's new name written upon the overcomer cannot mean less than that he will receive the impress of, and be brought into conformity with, his glorified Lord. And this ineffable blessedness, as in prospect, is held out to cheer and encourage those in Philadelphia to hold fast that which they had, that no man might take their crown, and that they thus might be constituted overcomers.