What Does It Mean to Eat of the Hidden Manna?
In Revelation 2:17, John writes: “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.”
I believe a good way to misunderstand a Bible subject is to begin at the end rather than at the beginning. That said, I choose to start at the beginning to learn about the “bread from heaven”.
Manna in the Old Testament
The first occurrence of manna is found in the Exodus, chapter 16. It began in the Wilderness of Sin, located between Elim and Sinai. Elim is said to have had twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees. It was Israel’s previous encampment. However, they had journeyed in the direction of Sinai and the congregation lifted up their voices and complained against Moses. God responded by saying he would rain bread from heaven, Ex. 16:4.
He also prescribed the times Israel were to gather it, i.e. once daily and twice on the day before the Sabbath.
Description of Manna in the Exodus
Manna was described as a “small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.” Moses described it as bread given from the Lord. Each man was commanded to take no more than needed for his household large or small so there was no waste and no lack. When Israel disobeyed and hoarded the manna, it bred worms and stank. When they obeyed, it was miraculously preserved.
Israel Fed With Manna For 40 Years
God continued to rain down this bread from heaven every day except on the Sabbath for 40 years. At the end of their wilderness journey, on the day after Israel ate their first Passover in the land, the manna ceased the very next day and Israel no longer received manna from heaven, (Josh 5:9-12).
Manna from Heaven To Be Kept For A Memorial
During Israel’s trek from Egypt, God commanded Moses to instruct Israel to “Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generation, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt. And Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations.'” (Ex. 16:32-33).
That Israel obeyed this command faithfully is expressed in Paul’s letter to the scattered church in Jerusalem recorded Hebrews 9:1-6. Concerning the furnishings in the temple, he said, “For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.” (Heb. 9:4-5)
Rebuilding of the Temple Incomplete Without the Manna From Heaven
Today, there is talk of the rebuilding of the temple in the settlement in Israel. Many dispensational evangelicals have gone on record claiming this temple will be rebuilt. Others have said a red heifer is being bred and raised in Canton, Mississippi whose ashes are to be used in connection with the waters of purification. It is an attempt to bring back what Paul calls the “foundation of dead works.” (Heb. 6:1; 9:14).
Randall Price’s book, “The Coming Last Days Temple” says much about the red heifer requirement but says not one word about the golden pot containing the manna which Moses required Aaron to preserve. How can they rebuild the temple without this manna?
The message of these dispensationalists blaspheme the gospel. Paul taught that the ashes of a heifer was only good in purifying the flesh and offered no power in cleansing the conscience, (Heb. 9:14). This is why Christ died. The body of red heifer was burned “outside the camp”. Likewise, Christ, in order to sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Paul is teaching that Christ is the antitype of the red heifer for the true purification from sin. Dispensationalists teach pseudo Judaism disguised as the gospel.
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Not only would a new temple in Jerusalem require a red heifer, it requires the golden pot that had the manna from heaven. Not just vanilla wafers or granola, but the actual jar of manna, i.e. “the manna” gathered in the wilderness at the time of the Exodus. That is what God commanded.
However, during the time of Solomon, when the temple was built, the ark contained only the tablets of stone containing the covenant, 1 Kings 8:9; 2 Chron 5;10. Jonathan Mitchell has observed that Dan Kaplan suggested this absence of Aaron’s rod and the golden urn or pot of manna foreshadowed the end of the Aaronic priesthood and the wandering of God’s people. http://greater-emmanuel.org/jm/manna.htm.
John’s Gospel Recounts Manna in the Wilderness
The Jews, in a dispute with Jesus and his power to give food which endures to eternal life, cited that in the desert Moses gave Israel manna to eat. Jesus, corrected their misunderstanding, saying that Moses did not give them the true bread from heaven. He claimed that he was the true bread, i.e. the true manna from heaven, that if a man ate he would never hunger or thirst.
Jesus spoke of himself as the bread of life, which if a man ate he would never die, unlike those in the wilderness who ate the bread sent from heaven but who died, John 6: 58. Here, we learn that Jesus claims to be the true manna from heaven. Just as the manna in the Old Covenant temple was hidden from Israel, so was Jesus’ true identity hidden from their understanding, (Col. 3:3-4; 1 John 3:1). Many of them walked no more with him because they did not understand that they must eat (obey) the Son of man in order to live.
The Hidden Manna In Revelation
When Jesus speaks of the hidden manna in Revelation, he refers to none other than himself. He indicates that He is in the New Heavenly temple of God. The bread of heaven is none other than Jesus himself. Our hunger and thirst for righteousness is satisfied in him. Those of eat of that bread shall never die and never thirst.
The heavenly Jerusalem is filled with the fulness of Christ and therefore with an unending supply of the hidden manna upon which we feast in Christ.