Questions From Readers
Isaiah 62:2 (AS) reads: “And the nations shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of Jehovah shall name.” As shown in “New Heavens and a New Earth”, pages 232-234, the children of Zion were brought back from bondage to antitypical Babylon and joyfully united with their “mother” in 1919. From then on God caused their condition to prosper and their “land” to become populated. It was at this time that God gave his “woman” or heavenly organization a new name, as noted at Jeremiah 33:16 (AS), namely, “Jehovah our righteousness.” It is a name that befits her, a name that Jehovah himself composed. This change of name is in keeping with her changed condition and fittingly describes it; especially as respects her earthly things that have to do with her spiritual sons on earth.
As for the prophecy at Isaiah 65:15 (AS): “And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen; and the Lord Jehovah will slay thee; and he will call his servants by another name.” These words are directed to the forsakers of Jehovah, whose name becomes a symbol or illustration of God’s punishment of the wicked. On the other hand (as noted also in the Bible study aid mentioned above), Jehovah’s chosen ones, the spiritual children of Zion who faith fully serve him, he calls by a name different from that of the evil apostate servants. “It is a name or reputation representing the divine favor and blessing upon one and denoting membership in his universal theocratic organization with honorable privileges of service to God.”—“New Heavens and a New Earth”, p. 233.
Thus we see that these texts in Isaiah do not specifically refer to the name “Jehovah’s witnesses,” but rather to the blessed condition and honor enjoyed by God’s woman or heavenly organization and by her spiritual children since 1919. However, harmonizing with all the foregoing, the remnant of Zion’s children did, on July 26, 1931, embrace the new name “Jehovah’s witnesses” as being descriptive of their testifying to Jehovah’s greatness and supporting his side of the issue of universal sovereignty. This they did in harmony with the Scriptural reference at Isaiah 43:10-12 (AS): “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; . . . and there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and I am God.”
Referring now to Revelation 2:17, which tells that Christ will give to him that conquers “a little white stone, and upon the little stone a new name written which no one knows except the one receiving it.” Commenting on this little white stone, McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia tells that it ‘has been variously regarded as referring to the pebble of acquittal used in the Greek courts, to the lot cast in elections in Greece, to the stones of the high priest’s breastplate and to the custom of writing on stones.’
Relative to the thought of writing on stones, there was a custom among the Romans and Greeks of ancient times to use a white stone as a token of friendship. It was divided into halves and each wrote his name on one half and then the halves were exchanged. The producing of either half was sufficient to prove friendship and to secure aid if needed, and that even on the part of members of a succeeding generation. Thus the divided stone became a symbol of identification and friendship.
The new name mentioned at Revelation 2:17 does not seem to apply specifically to the name “Jehovah’s witnesses.” Why not? For one thing, note that it is given as a reward to the members of Christ’s body for having conquered Satan and the world. It would therefore apply only to something received upon their being rewarded in the first resurrection. This is in keeping with the rewards mentioned in the same and in the succeeding chapter, such as being given a place with Christ on his throne, being given the crown of life, being given power over the nations, etc. Again, no one knows the new name except the ones receiving it.
It would therefore seem that the new name mentioned at Revelation 2:17 refers to a new position of intimate relationship that will be enjoyed by those sharing in the first resurrection, that cannot be appreciated by others or even known by the overcomers themselves until they receive their heavenly reward for having conquered.