1. Jesus promised hidden manna to the church of Pergamos

I am resuming our exploration of the Book of Revelation.  I spoke in the previous post about the  contents of Jesus’ letter to the Church of Pergamos. Today, I will explore the meanings and lessons that He intended when He asked Apostle John to tell the church:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and

will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written,

which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth  (Rev 2: 17)

2. What is the hidden manna?

We need to read scripture references and meanings about manna in order to understand Jesus’ teachings about the “hidden manna”. In the literal sense, manna was the bread that God sent from heaven to feed the Jews during their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness. Manna satisfied the Jews’ hunger for nourishment and kept them from dying from starvation and diseases caused by poor nutrition:

Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no (Exodus 16:4).

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat (Exodus 16:15)

And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven (Psalms 78:24)

3. God used the manna to prove or test the Jews’ obedience to His instructions

God wanted to teach the Jews moderation:

Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no (Exodus 16:4).

A review of Exodus 16 will reveal that God had provided the manna in a time of food shortage. The people began to complain that they would have preferred to die in Egypt where they had “sat by the flesh pots” and eaten “bread to the full” (Exodus 16: 3). In other words, they had gorged themselves on an abundance of food while living in Egypt.

The people were in God’s perfect will – leaving Egypt for the land that He had promised to Abraham. However, they had not learnt the ways of God. One evidence of the presence of God is self control. The self indulgent nation needed to come to heel.

When God siad that He would “prove them”, He meant that He wanted to test  them. Nacah (naw-saw’) is the Hebrew word for prove in this text.  A student is tested after undergoing a period of instruction.

4. What was the instruction or lesson?

God told Moses that He would rain manna from heaven and that the people were to “gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them”. The people were placed on a restricted diet which forced them to learn moderation and self control. God forced them to eat only a certain amount of manna on a daily basis.  The text of Exodus 16 gave the guidelines of the test:

  • The people were to collect an omer or handfuls per person.
  • They were not to leave any manna overnight – no one  could get up for midnight food binges.
  • They were to gather two times the regular amount on the sixth day of the week
  • God would rain double the amount on day six
  • the people were to rest on the seventh day

5. What were the lessons learnt?

  • The people soon discovered that God imposed sanctions for disobedience! God caused the manna grow worms and stink whenever they left it overnight, hoping to have extra for the next day.
  • They learnt  to avoid the temptation of working rather than resting on the Sabbath. No one had stress related disorders.
  • They learnt self control as they could only gather and eat a certain amount of manna on a daily basis
  • They followed these simple instructions for 40 years

6. Conclusion

I learnt that God can give us things or stuff in order to see what we will do with it. This provision can precede a long term blessing. However, the provision can be restricted in some way in order to help us to learn life skills and to become disciplined.

He does not intend for us to come overindulgent and spoiled with the things that He blesses us with.

The Jews depended on God for the provision of their daily bread while they lived in the wilderness. Once they were able to look after themselves and had provision in abundance, they had learnt to become a moderate nation. Think of the excesses of nations like the USA and the total shock experienced by the people in the recent economic downturn. The excess of spending and dependence on the credit card was now suddenly restricted.

What lessons apply to your life?  Blessings!