The Hidden Manna, Life-Study of Hebrews, Message Fifty-Eight, pp. 643-646
EATING AND MANNA
In this message we come to the manna in the golden pot (9:4).
EATING, A BASIC MATTER IN THE BIBLE
If we would understand what the hidden manna, the manna in the golden pot, is, we must understand a basic concept in the Bible, a concept which most Christians have not grasped. After God created man, He did not do anything with him, nor did He charge him to do anything for Him. According to Genesis 1 and 2, the basic requirement for living in the presence of God is to eat properly. What matters the most in God's presence is what and how we eat. Hence, in the Bible eating is a basic concept concerning our relationship with God. God has created everything, including man. If He can make the heavens and the earth and billions of items, what is there that He cannot do? He can easily do everything. Actually, there is even no need for Him to do anything, for He just speaks and what He desires comes into being. Nevertheless, there is one thing which God cannot do—He cannot eat for us. Although a mother may do many things for her children, she cannot eat for them. The children must eat for themselves. As far as our relationship with God is concerned, the basic matter is eating properly.
EATING FOR THE SUPPLY OF LIFE
AND FOR REDEMPTION
In Genesis 2, man's eating was a matter of the tree of life. After man fell, God came in to redeem him. But when God brought in redemption in Exodus 12, the eating was changed to include more than just the one item, the tree of life. Eating was no longer simply to have the supply of life; it was also related to redemption. In Exodus 12 the children of Israel were instructed to eat a lamb. The tree of life is of the vegetable life, and a lamb is of the animal life. While there is no blood with a tree, there is blood with a lamb. In the Bible, blood is for redemption. At the time of the exodus, the children of Israel struck the blood that they might be redeemed and they ate the lamb that they might have the life supply. In the first stage, eating was only for man's life supply, but in the second stage, eating was for both redemption and the life supply.
EATING THE LORD'S FLESH
AND DRINKING HIS BLOOD
During the years in the wilderness, the children of Israel ate manna. Since there certainly was no blood in the manna, the eating of manna was unrelated to redemption; it was altogether for the life supply. How could the children of Israel, who wandered in the wilderness for forty years, continue to live and move? They lived and moved by the supply of manna which they ate every day. In chapter six of John, the Lord Jesus said, "I am the bread of life" (v. 35). This troubled the Jews. Then the Lord said, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves" (v. 53, Recovery Version). In this chapter the Lord firstly said that He was the bread of life. Then He said that we must drink His blood. How could the bread have blood in it? This bread is not only the bread of the vegetable life but also the meat of the lamb. In John 6:51 the Lord said, "The bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (Recovery Version). The bread is of the vegetable life and is only for feeding; the flesh is of the animal life and is not only for feeding but also for redeeming. Before the fall of man, the Lord was the tree of life (Gen. 2:9), only for feeding man. After man fell into sin, the Lord became the Lamb (John 1:29), not only for feeding man, but also for redeeming him (Exo. 12:4, 7-8).
THE NEED TO KEEP EATING
I want to say again that after the creation of man and even in God's redemption of man, the basic concept regarding our being in the presence of God is this matter of eating. Thus, we must devote our complete attention to it. Do not try to learn so many things—just continue to eat well in the presence of the Lord. I was a Christian for over thirty years before I knew anything about eating in the spirit. I was never taught about this. Many of us can testify that before we came into the church, we were never told that we could eat Jesus. But from beginning to end, the Bible covers the matter of eating. The Bible begins and ends with the eating of the tree of life (Rev. 2:7, 22:1-2, 14).
EATING IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
As we have pointed out, the entire book of Hebrews is focused on Christ as the heavenly Minister with His kingly and divine priesthood. As our heavenly Minister, His main responsibility is to minister the Triune God into us as our supply. He is now ministering such a wonderful supply, not in the outer court, but in the Holy of Holies, and not on the cross, but on the throne of grace. We have seen that the book of Hebrews calls us to come forward to the Holy of Holies, to the throne of grace, and to God. In the Holy of Holies we are not gathered around the cross for redemption; we are meeting around the throne of grace for the life supply. Here we enjoy Christ as our Melchisedec ministering to us the bread and wine as our life supply. This also is absolutely a matter of eating. Hence, this book brings us from the outer court to the Holy of Holies, where there is one unique item—the ark of testimony, which represents Christ. In the Holy of Holies there is nothing but the all-inclusive Christ. According to the outward appearance, He is only one item, the ark of testimony. But when we experience Him as the ark, we see not only one unique item; we see three items—the golden pot containing manna, the budding rod, and the law of life.
These three items are the kernels within the kernel. After entering into the tabernacle, we find ourselves in the Holy Place where everything is rather outward. After passing through the second veil, we enter into the inner chamber of the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies. Once we have come into the Holy of Holies, we are in the heart, the kernel, of the tabernacle. But within the Holy of Holies we have the ark of testimony, and within the ark we have the golden pot containing manna, the budding rod, and the law of life. Because these items are all in the ark in the Holy of Holies, we may say that they are the kernels within the kernel.
As we touch the first of these items, the golden pot containing manna, we find something even deeper. After passing through four layers, the layer of the tabernacle, the layer of the Holy of Holies, the layer of the ark of testimony, and the layer of the golden pot, we come to the manna. When we touch this, we have truly come home. If we are only in the Holy of Holies but are not feeding on the manna in the golden pot, we are not yet home. Even if we touch the ark of testimony, we are still not home. The tabernacle is for the Holy of Holies, the Holy of Holies is for the ark, the ark is for the golden pot, and the golden pot is for the hidden manna. In Revelation 2:17 the Lord Jesus said, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna." Where is this hidden manna? It is in the golden pot which is in the ark in the Holy of Holies. The one main kernel, the living kernel among all the kernels, is the hidden manna. The Lord Jesus promised His overcomers that they would eat this hidden manna.