1. Introduction to Manna

We have been exploring the meaning of Jesus’ teachings about manna in His message to the Church of Pergamos:

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)

After exploring the meaning of manna in the wilderness, we discovered that God used manna to teach Israel obedience, discipline and moderation.  Let’s continue to explore the meanings of manna from Deuteronomy 8: 3:

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live (Deuteronomy 8:3)

2. God made a contrast between manna/bread and His Word

Moses told the Jews that God used the manna in the wilderness to teach them that “man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD”.   Let us go back to text in which the manna was provided. The Jews were hungry and had been complaining bitterly about their lack. In fact, they had said that it had been better for them to have remained in Egypt where they had gorged themselves by the “flesh pots”. They had forgotten that God had commanded them to leave Egypt and to return to the Land of Canaan  (Exodus 16). They had preferred food rather than the Word of God.

God gave a promise that He would send food or manna the next day (He sent quails on the evening, an ironic response to their demands for the flesh pots of Egypt. God’s promise is His Word.  The Flesh pots of Egypt represent the corruption of the world. Bread is temporal, but the Word of God is eternal.

3. Contrast between bread and the Word of God in Revelation 2

Jesus revealed this same contrast between bread or the temporal and His Word in Revelation 2: 14-17

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 

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 it. 

Bread in the text is represented by the things of the flesh:

  • doctrine of Balaam
  • doctrine of the Nicolaitans

The Lord asked the church to purge themselves of these devilish doctrines or teachings and to  choose His Word instead. The imagery of purging emerges when the Lord said that He would come and fight against the false brethren with “the sword of His mouth”. In other words, He promised that:

  • the church would undergo a period of reproof based on His Word.
  • And that He would excise the false doctrine with His Word.

 4. Hidden manna is the Word or doctrine of the Lord

Jesus promised to give the revelation of the Word to those in Pergamos who would overcome the false teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. But why did the Lord say that His Word is hidden? Hidden in the text comes from the Greek word κρύπτω (krupto/kroop’-to).  It carries the meaning of something that is kept secret; something that is  covered up and concealed.

The Lord hides the full meaning of His manna or Word   from those who are just curiosity seekers. Do you remember His Words to the disciples?:

10 Then the disciples came to him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”

11 He replied, “You have been given the opportunity to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but they have not.

12 For whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

13 For this reason I speak to them in parables: Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand.

14 And concerning them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: You will listen carefully yet will never understand,  you will look closely yet will never comprehend 

 15 ​​​​​​​For the heart of this people has become dull;  they are hard of hearing,  and they have shut their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears  and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’  

 16 “But your eyes are blessed because they see, and your ears because they hear.

17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. (Matthew 13: 10 – 17)

5. Jesus revealed by example that obedience to the Word of God is priority

When satan tempted Jesus to turn stone into bread in order to prove that He was God, Jesus responded:

And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke 4: 2-4)

There was a hidden trick here. Satan essentially wanted Jesus to obey his command – turn stone into bread in order to prove that you are the Son of God. Although He was hungry and faint, Jesus did not need to turn stone into bread in order to prove that He was the Son of God. He quoted directly from Deuteronomy 8: 3 (His Own Word) in response. This confirms that manna in the wilderness was intended to teach the disciplines of obedience, moderation and submission that we previously discussed.

Jesus was  a disciplined and obedient individual. He was not led astray by the lure of bread.  What about you and me?

6. Why didn’t Jesus take up satan’s challenge?

Jesus knew His own identity and did not respond to satan’s trick. The prophets had already prophesied about clues to the Messiahs’ identity. Just before  His birth, Archangel Gabriel had come to  confirm the Word of God to Zechariah and to Mary. He taught us a lesson that we need to hold to the Word of God when  we are tempted.

Satan will sometimes ask why are we not rich and famous when we can do this and that. He will offer apparent solutions to the problem. However, God prefers us to obey His Word of God rather than eat from the flesh pots of the world to satisfy our desires.

 

 

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