A New Name

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Revelation 2:17

When we become children of God all things are made new. The Word of God says that we are new creatures, that we are born again of the water and the Spirit and that we will even have a new name. God often changes their name to those He has called and separated for Him. Thus, Abram became Abraham, Sarai in Sarah, Jacob in Israel, Simon in Peter and Saul of Tarsus in Paul. Revelation 2:17 says to you, To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Not everyone likes the name his parents gave him, I am one of them. My mother used the Bristol Almanac to choose the names of her children. The day I was born, the famous almanac bore the names of three “saints”: Genaro, Canute and Marta. Since I was not born a woman, my mother had to choose between the two male names, which, in my opinion, were not so beautiful. She chose the first one, at least she protected me from making jokes in the school like saying Canute becoming grosser.

In addition to the saint of the day of birth, my mother had a name that pleased to put her children. Before I was born, she had read a novel where the protagonist was called Silfrido and said to herself that she liked that name for a child of her. I was the first of her sons; but she preferred to put me by the middle name Antonio and leave the name of the novel for my younger brother. During our first years, my mother called my brother and me for our second names and they knew us all over the neighborhood: Antonio and Silfrido.

When I entered school, my teachers and classmates began calling me by my first name. As many of my classmates came to pick me up at my house and asked for me using my first name, everyone in the neighborhood also changed to call me that, including my own mother. Not so with my brother, who very few know that his first name is Martin. So for most of my first 30 years of life, I had to put up with the name taken from the Bristol Almanac, which I honestly hated.

When I left my country, at age 30, a friend in Puerto Rico started calling me Tony, a derivative of Antonio, my middle name. The new name I liked and since then, everywhere I’ve gone, that’s what they call me. For the Americans, Tony is a name that they can pronounce correctly, contrary to what happens to my first name. So now I enjoy a new name, which is to my liking.

It does not matter that your story is like mine or if you enjoy the name that your parents gave you. When the Lord returns, He has promised the following to the one who overcomes: I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. At this moment I do not know what my new name will be, the time has not yet come when that happens; but I am sure that the new name we will have will be more beautiful than the one we were given at birth and will have great significance for the Lord. God bless you.

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Un Nombre Nuevo

El que tiene oído, oiga lo que el Espíritu dice a las iglesias. Al que venciere, daré a comer del maná escondido, y le daré una piedrecita blanca, y en la piedrecita escrito un nombre nuevo, el cual ninguno conoce sino aquel que lo recibe.

Apocalipsis 2:17

Cuando nos convertimos en hijos de Dios todas las cosas son hechas nuevas. La Palabra de Dios dice que somos nuevas criaturas, que hemos nacido de nuevo del agua y del Espíritu y que, incluso, tendremos un nuevo nombre. Dios suele cambiarle el nombre a quienes ha llamado y separado para Él. Así, Abram se convirtió en Abraham, Sarai en Sara, Jacob en Israel, Simón en Pedro y Saulo de Tarso en Pablo. Apocalipsis 2:17 te dice: Al que venciere, daré a comer del maná escondido, y le daré una piedrecita blanca, y en la piedrecita escrito un nombre nuevo, el cual ninguno conoce sino aquel que lo recibe.

No a todo el mundo le gusta el nombre que le pusieron sus padres, yo soy uno de ellos. Mi madre usó el santoral del Almanaque de Bristol para escoger el nombre de sus hijos. El día que nací, el famoso almanaque traía los nombres de dos “santos” y una “santa:” Genaro, Canuto y Marta. Como no nací mujer, mi madre tuvo que escoger entre los dos nombres masculinos, los cuales, según mi criterio, no eran tan bonitos. Ella escogió el primero, al menos me protegió de que en el colegio hicieran bromas como decir Canuto cada vez más bruto.

Además del santo del día de nacimiento, mi madre tenía un nombre que le agradaba poner a sus hijos. Antes de que yo naciera, ella había leído una novela donde el protagonista se llamaba Silfrido y dijo para sí que le gustaba ese nombre para un hijo suyo. Yo fui el primero de sus hijos; pero prefirió ponerme de segundo nombre Antonio y dejar el nombre de la novela para mi hermano menor. Durante nuestros primeros años, mi madre nos llamaba a mi hermano y a mí por nuestros segundos nombres y así nos conocían en todo el barrio: Antonio y Silfrido.

Cuando ingresé al colegio, mis maestros y compañeros empezaron a llamarme por mi primer nombre. Como muchos de mis compañeros iban a buscarme a mi casa y preguntaban por mí usando mi primer nombre, todos en el barrio también cambiaron a llamarme así, incluyendo mi propia madre. No pasó así con mi hermano, de quien muy pocos saben que su primer nombre es Martín. Así que la mayor parte de mis primeros 30 años de vida, tuve que soportar el nombre tomado del Almanaque de Bristol, el cual, honestamente, yo odiaba.

Cuando salí de mi país, a los 30 años, una amiga en Puerto Rico comenzó a llamarme Tony, un derivado de Antonio, mi segundo nombre. El nuevo nombre me gustó y, desde entonces, en todos lados donde he ido, así me llaman. Para los norteamericanos, Tony es un nombre el cual pueden pronunciar correctamente, contrario a lo que sucede con mi nombre de pila. Así que ahora disfruto de un nombre nuevo, el cual es de mi agrado.

No importa que tu historia sea como la mía o si disfrutas del nombre que te pusieron tus padres. Cuando el Señor regrese, Él ha prometido lo siguiente al que venciere: le daré una piedrecita blanca, y en la piedrecita escrito un nombre nuevo, el cual ninguno conoce sino aquel que lo recibe. En este momento yo no sé cuál será mi nuevo nombre, no ha llegado aún el momento en que eso suceda; pero sí estoy seguro de que el nuevo nombre que tendremos será más hermoso que el que nos dieron al nacer y tendrá un gran significado para el Señor. Dios te bendiga.

The Crown of Life

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.

Revelation 2:10-11

Many people feel panic when they mention the word Revelation. For me, the last book of the Bible is my favorite and I consider it one of the most beautiful of the Holy Scriptures. Certainly the prophecies contained in Revelation look very terrible; but no book of the Bible has so many great promises to those who believe. Undoubtedly, whoever has not believed will feel that he belongs to those who will suffer the plagues and torments mentioned in this book; but believers will look upon our promises as the crown of life and not suffer harm from the second death.

Let’s take a closer look at Revelation 2:10-11. First we read: Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. The Bible does not deceive the believer by saying that things will be easy. Whoever decides to follow Christ, will certainly suffer in this world. The Lord himself warns us in John 16:33: These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. But along with the warning comes the promise that we trust in Him, who has overcome the world and tells us not to fear.

Then we read: Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Behind our tribulation is the devil. We must be aware that the diabolical intervention in our test is of the full knowledge of our Heavenly Father and, just as happened with Job, God has allowed it. But as with Job, the devil has been allowed to test us only to a certain extent, his power is not unlimited, and he cannot harm us beyond what God permits.

Then read: Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. We will have trials, sufferings and tribulations for a while. Our response to adversity must be to stand firm in the faith and be faithful to God. James 1:12 says, Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. If we endure all temptations and pass the test, the reward on the part of our Heavenly Father is the crown of life.

How is the crown of life? In 1 Corinthians 9:25, the apostle Paul explains about the crown we will receive, And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Our crown is not compared to a crown of precious metal, or laurel or flower, it is an incorruptible, eternal, indestructible crown. But just as those who fight for corruptible crowns abstain from everything, we must remain in holiness to achieve ours.

In 1 Peter 5:4 we see a little more about the incorruptible crown, and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. The Chief Shepherd, the King of kings and Lord of lords is already coming back, let us be faithful to Him, even if we risk our lives because He will give us the crown of life. God bless you.

La Corona de la Vida

No temas en nada lo que vas a padecer. He aquí, el diablo echará a algunos de vosotros en la cárcel, para que seáis probados, y tendréis tribulación por diez días. Sé fiel hasta la muerte, y yo te daré la corona de la vida. El que tiene oído, oiga lo que el Espíritu dice a las iglesias. El que venciere, no sufrirá daño de la segunda muerte.

Apocalipsis 2:10-11

Mucha gente siente pánico cuando mencionan la palabra Apocalipsis. Para mí, el último libro de la Biblia es mi favorito y lo considero uno de los más hermosos de las Sagradas Escrituras. Ciertamente que las profecías contenidas en Apocalipsis lucen muy terribles; pero ningún libro de la Biblia tiene tantas grandiosas promesas para los que creen. Indudablemente, quien no ha creído sentirá que pertenece a los que padecerán las plagas y tormentos mencionados en este libro; pero los creyentes miraremos nuestras promesas como la corona de la vida y no sufrir daño de la segunda muerte.

Analicemos en detalles Apocalipsis 2:10-11. Primero leemos: No temas en nada lo que vas a padecer. La Biblia no engaña al creyente diciéndole que las cosas serán fáciles. Quien decide seguir a Cristo, sin duda va a padecer en este mundo. El propio Señor lo advierte en Juan 16:33: Estas cosas os he hablado para que en mí tengáis paz. En el mundo tendréis aflicción; pero confiad, yo he vencido al mundo. Pero junto con la advertencia viene la promesa de que confiemos en Él, quien ya venció al mundo y nos dice que no temamos.

Luego leemos: He aquí, el diablo echará a algunos de vosotros en la cárcel, para que seáis probados, y tendréis tribulación por diez días. Detrás de nuestra tribulación está el diablo. Hay que estar consciente de que la intervención diabólica en nuestra prueba es del total conocimiento de nuestro Padre Celestial y, de la misma manera que sucedió con Job, Dios lo ha permitido. Pero, lo mismo que sucedió con Job, al diablo se le ha permitido probarnos solo hasta cierto punto, su poder no es ilimitado y él no puede dañarnos más allá de lo permitido por Dios.

A continuación leemos: Sé fiel hasta la muerte, y yo te daré la corona de la vida. Tendremos pruebas, padecimientos y tribulaciones durante un tiempo. Nuestra respuesta a la adversidad debe ser permanecer firmes en la fe y ser fieles a Dios. Santiago 1:12 dice: Bienaventurado el varón que soporta la tentación; porque cuando haya resistido la prueba, recibirá la corona de vida, que Dios ha prometido a los que le aman. Si soportamos todas las tentaciones y superamos la prueba, la recompensa de parte de nuestro Padre Celestial es la corona de la vida.

¿Cómo es la corona de vida? En 1 Corintios 9:25, el apóstol Pablo nos explica acerca de la corona que recibiremos: Todo aquel que lucha, de todo se abstiene; ellos, a la verdad, para recibir una corona corruptible, pero nosotros, una incorruptible. Nuestra corona no se compara con una corona de metal precioso, o de laureles o de flores, es una corona incorruptible, eterna, indestructible. Pero al igual que quienes luchan por las coronas corruptibles se abstienen de todo, nosotros debemos de permanecer en santidad para alcanzar la nuestra.

En 1 Pedro 5:4 vemos un poco más acerca de la corona incorruptible: Y cuando aparezca el Príncipe de los pastores, vosotros recibiréis la corona incorruptible de gloria. El Príncipe de los pastores, el Rey de reyes y Señor de señores ya está próximo a regresar, seamos fieles a Él, aunque arriesguemos nuestras vidas porque Él nos dará la corona de la vida. Dios te bendiga.

We Will Eat of the Tree of Life

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

Revelation 2:7

When Adam and Eve, disobeying what God had commanded them, eating from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were excluded from eating from another tree that was in paradise: the tree of life. Disobedience to God is sin, which not only separated Adam and Eve from His presence and access to the tree of life, but that impediment extended to all mankind after them. But there is a beautiful promise in Revelation 2:7: To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

The tree of life is part of God’s original design. In Genesis 2:9 we read, And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We see the similarity between Genesis 2:9 and Revelation 2:7, both the first book of the Bible and the last one coincide in saying that the tree of life is in the middle of the garden, the paradise of God. This is a demonstration for the detractors of the Holy Scriptures to realize the concordance of the Bible.

Once the sin of Adam and Eve had been consummated, when they were expelled from paradise, they were lost enjoying the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24 tells the moment of the departure of the first humans from the Garden of Eden, Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” therefore the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

The Bible does not mention the tree of life until Revelation 2:7, where it promises to feed it from the tree to the one who overcomes. When He says that whoever overcomes is talking about not everyone will have access to the tree of life. Who will eat of the tree of life? Mark 13:13 says, And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. He that overcomes, he that endures to the end shall be saved, and shall eat of the tree of life.

Where can the tree of life be eaten? In Revelation 22:1-3 we find the answer and what the leaves of this tree do, And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. In the new city that descends from heaven, in the middle of it, will be the tree of life.

What a beautiful promise! The new paradise of God is the New Jerusalem, the city that will not need artificial lighting because God himself will light it 24 hours a day. Revelation 22:14 gives us great hope: Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Let´s persevere to the end, wash our clothes, overcome and we’ll eat from the tree of life. God bless you.

Comeremos del Árbol de la Vida

El que tiene oído, oiga lo que el Espíritu dice a las iglesias. Al que venciere, le daré a comer del árbol de la vida, el cual está en medio del paraíso de Dios.

Apocalipsis 2:7

Cuando Adán y Eva, desobedeciendo lo que Dios les había ordenado, comiendo del fruto del árbol del conocimiento del bien y del mal, quedaron excluidos de comer de otro árbol que había en el paraíso: el árbol de la vida. La desobediencia a Dios es el pecado, el cual no solo apartó a Adán y Eva de Su presencia y el acceso al árbol de la vida, sino que tal impedimento se extendió a toda la humanidad después de ellos. Pero hay una hermosa promesa en Apocalipsis 2:7: Al que venciere, le daré a comer del árbol de la vida, el cual está en medio del paraíso de Dios.

El árbol de la vida es parte del diseño original de Dios. En Génesis 2:9 leemos: Y Jehová Dios hizo nacer de la tierra todo árbol delicioso a la vista, y bueno para comer; también el árbol de vida en medio del huerto, y el árbol de la ciencia del bien y del mal. Vemos la similitud entre Génesis 2:9 y Apocalipsis 2:7, tanto el primer libro de la Biblia como el último coinciden al decir que el árbol de la vida está en medio del huerto, el paraíso de Dios. Esta es una demostración para que los detractores de la Sagradas Escrituras se den cuenta de la concordancia de la Biblia.

Una vez consumado el pecado de Adán y Eva, al ser expulsados del paraíso, se perdieron de disfrutar del árbol de la vida. Génesis 3:22-24 narra el momento de la salida de los primeros seres humanos del huerto del Edén: Y dijo Jehová Dios: He aquí el hombre es como uno de nosotros, sabiendo el bien y el mal; ahora, pues, que no alargue su mano, y tome también del árbol de la vida, y coma, y viva para siempre. Y lo sacó Jehová del huerto del Edén, para que labrase la tierra de que fue tomado. Echó, pues, fuera al hombre, y puso al oriente del huerto de Edén querubines, y una espada encendida que se revolvía por todos lados, para guardar el camino del árbol de la vida.

La Biblia no vuelve a mencionar el árbol de la vida hasta Apocalipsis 2:7, donde da la promesa de darle de comer de ese árbol al que venciere. Cuando dice que quien venciere está hablando de que no todo el mundo va a tener acceso al árbol de la vida. ¿Quiénes comerán del árbol de la vida? Marcos 13:13 dice: Y seréis aborrecidos de todos por causa de mi nombre; mas el que persevere hasta el fin, éste será salvo. El que venciere, el que persevere hasta el fin será salvo y comerá del árbol de la vida.

¿Dónde se podrá comer el árbol de la vida? En Apocalipsis 22:1-3 encontramos respuesta y lo que hacen las hojas de este árbol: Después me mostró un río limpio de agua de vida, resplandeciente como cristal, que salía del trono de Dios y del Cordero. En medio de la calle de la ciudad, y a uno y otro lado del río, estaba el árbol de la vida, que produce doce frutos, dando cada mes su fruto; y las hojas del árbol eran para la sanidad de las naciones. En la nueva ciudad que desciende del cielo, en el medio de la misma, estará el árbol de la vida.

¡Qué hermosa promesa! El nuevo paraíso de Dios es la Nueva Jerusalén, la ciudad que no va a necesitar iluminación artificial porque Dios mismo la alumbrará 24 horas al día. Apocalipsis 22:14 nos da una gran esperanza: Bienaventurados los que lavan sus ropas, para tener derecho al árbol de la vida, y para entrar por las puertas en la ciudad. Perseveremos hasta el fin, lavemos nuestras ropas, venzamos y comeremos del árbol de la vida. Dios te bendiga.

God’s Prosperity

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

3 John 1:2

The word prosperity, and specifically the second verse of the third letter of the apostle John, has been the subject of much manipulation in recent times. It has been intended to give more emphasis to the material part of prosperity, that is, to the riches of this world. If, indeed, God’s desire is that we should prosper in all things, which should not be limited to the material. When John says: just as your soul prospers, it means that our prosperity must also include our emotions, our thoughts and our will.

In the last decades, many preachers have embraced what has come to be known as the gospel of prosperity. At the end of the 1970s, an international movement known as the Prosperity Movement or as a Movement of Faith, Word of Faith, “Confess it and Receive It” or Gospel of Riches and Success was consolidated in the United States. All these names refer to the same thing.

At the moment this movement is composed by different ministries, leaders and churches mainly of Charismatic-Pentecostal creed. These organizations have different names and sometimes appear to be unrelated to each other, yet globally they are unified in several associations by sharing the same vision, principles and methods, although they may differ in minor matters.

The doctrinal points that have in common the members of the Prosperity’s Movement are basically four. The first point is that God promises material prosperity, wealth and success to anyone who joins its particular way of interpreting Christianity. The second point is that the way to acquire this prosperity is through faith. The third point is the use of methods such as audibly confessing certain biblical verses, visualizing in the mind material things that are desired and praying by asking them to God, or also binding and rebuking spirits that are supposed to prevent riches from coming. The fourth is a very particular and profitable principle: the teaching that by offering large amounts of money to any of these groups, it is promised that God will return it, supernaturally, multiplied.

Jim Bakker, founder of the PTL Club, who was accused of committing counts of fraud and was imprisoned, was in jail relinquishing his earlier teachings on prosperity theology, saying which was wrong. In his 1996 book, “I Was Wrong,” he admitted that the first time he actually read the Bible until the end was while in prison, and that he realized that he had taken some passages out of context, passages that have been used as “proof texts” to support their teachings on prosperity.

Bakker says, “The more I studied the Bible, however, I had to admit that the message of prosperity does not align with the tenor of Scripture. My heart was crushed to think that I took so many people astray. I was horrified at how wrong I was, and I am deeply grateful that God did not hurt me like a false prophet.”

The true prosperity of God is not to make us rich in this world, we have a greater inheritance than that in heavens and the certainty that no matter what happens to us now, our Heavenly Father will supply all that we need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Confront what you hear in each sermon with the Bible. God bless you.