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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
8. The Hidden Manna
"The Manna which hath been concealed" is a form of speech to be understood by comprehending the signification, first, of "the Manna;" and secondly, of its concealment; the latter of which will be found intimately connected with the gift of it to him that overcomes.
When the Twelve Tribes had arrived in the Wilderness of Sin, they murmured against Yahweh, because they apprehended that they would perish there from hunger; as if, had that been his intention, he would not have left them to die in Egypt. But the Spirit had heard their murmurings, which showed their want of confidence in his promises; for he had promised to plant them in the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey: but they let go this hope in saying to Moses and Aaron, "Would to God we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
These murmurings being heard, Yahweh said to them through Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you." Having made this promise, before it was fulfilled "the Glory of Yahweh appeared in a cloud," as they looked toward the wilderness; and the whole congregation saw it. And the Spirit said, "At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread;" and ye shall know that I, Yahweh, am your Elohim." And it was so.
But when the morning came they at first saw only "the Dew," sparkling in the light of day. But "when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness a small round thing small as the hoar frost upon the ground." The people had seen nothing of the kind before deposited by the evaporation of the dew; therefore they inquired of one another, (!Hebrew!) Mahn hu, What it? For they knew not what it was." And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which Yahweh hath given you to eat."
And at this point of the narrative it may be worthy of note and emphasis.
1. That Israel saw the glory of the Eternal before they received either flesh or bread;
2. That they received flesh first, that is, "at even;"
3. That they received bread the succeeding morning; so that there was an intervening night:
4. That they beheld the glory, and received the food in the wilderness, and forty years before they received the promised land.
Now, as we are taught in the New Testament, the signification of the things that happened to Israel in the wilderness was not confined to that generation. Their baptism into Moses, their eating of the Manna, their drinking of the Rock, their overthrow in the wilderness, the apostle Paul says, "were types of us." Read what he says in 1 Cor. x. 1-10. After this enumeration, he adds in the eleventh verse, "Now all these things happened unto them for types !greek!; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the Aions (the Mosaic Aions) are come."
The Flesh and the Manna then, according to Paul, were "spiritual meat." In regard to the manna, it is styled in Psal. lxxviii. 24, "the corn of the heavens," "the bread of mighty ones" -- "man did eat the bread of mighty ones." This and the flesh, by which the life of Israel was sustained, was "spiritual meat;" it was, nevertheless, material and corruptible flesh and bread; for under certain conditions, it stank and bred worms. But it was "spiritual" in the sense of representing something else than its own material constituents; in other words, the flesh and the bread were types of something that was afterwards to descend from the heavens, and to become the life-sustaining principle of all that should receive it. What was that something?
This question has been answered by Jesus in John vi. The Jews had said, "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread out of the heaven to eat." But in reply to this, Jesus said "Moses gave you not the bread out of the heaven; but my Father giveth to you the true bread out of the heaven. For the bread of the Deity is He, who descendeth out of the heaven, and giveth life to the kosmos." This was as much as to say, that the manna was representative of a life-imparting agent from heaven; even the Logos speaking by Jesus. "In him," the Logos, "was life," says John; "and the life was the light of men." The Logos, or Spirit of Deity, was the manna, or true bread. It was this Logos who said, I am the Way and the Truth and the Resurrection, and the Life;" I am the Bread of Life," or the Manna; "I came down from heaven;" "this is the bread which descendeth from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die ... if any man eat of this bread he shall live in the Aion: and the bread that I, the Logos, will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the kosmos."
Thus spake the Logos, who was in the beginning the Deity. He promised to give "His Flesh" for the sustenance of the kosmos. This flesh was the Son of Mary and David, named Jesus; and the Logos appointed that Jesus should be eaten, and his blood drunk, in the even, by all who would become the subjects of resurrection to the life of the Aion. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." This saying is fatal to the heathen dogma of an immortal soul in Sin's flesh; for they only eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus, who "discern the Son and believe into him;" and this can be affirmed only of an almost Noachic few in this evil generation. He that believes the written testimony of the Logos concerning Jesus, set forth in the prophets and apostles, and becomes the subject of repentance and remission of sins in his name, eats his flesh and drinks his blood, and "hath aion-life" in the sense of Apoc. xxii. 14 -- "blessed they doing God's commandments, that they may have the right to the Wood of the Life:" "and I will raise him up at the last day" (John vi. 54). Thus, "he that eateth me, even he shall live by me," and none else.
The Christ, then, or the Logos become flesh, is the "spiritual meat" represented by the flesh and manna in the wilderness. Hence, the apocalyptic Manna is representative of the last Adam, whom Paul styles "a life-imparting spirit;" and to eat from this manna, is to be the subject of incorruptibility of body and life, which together constitute "immortality," in the thousand years' Aion; which deathlessness is imparted by the Spirit which raised up Jesus from among the dead.
We may here recall the attention of the reader to the four points already before him. These were typical conditions, the antitypes of which may be thus stated in a corresponding order:
1. It was typically necessary that Israel see the Glory of Yahweh before they eat heaven's flesh at even, and eat from the Manna in the morning;
2. That they eat the flesh first;
3. That they eat the bread afterwards;
4. That they eat both before they obtain Aion-possession of the land promised to Abraham and his Seed.
Under the first head I remark that Jesus Anointed was the Glory of Yahweh. This is proved by John's testimony, that "the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us (Israelites), and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace: for the law was given through Moses, the grace and the truth (represented by that law) came through Jesus Anointed." This Glory of the Father was seen by "Judah and his companions" in the evening of the Mosaic Aion; and he was seen in the wilderness, as Isaiah had predicted, saying, "The Voice of him that proclaimeth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim ... and the Glory of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together" (Isai. xl. 3,5). This was partially fulfilled in the evening of the Mosaic Aion, as related in regard to John the Baptizer. He was that voice; the Spirit descending in the form of a Dove was Yahweh, or the Logos; and Jesus, the Eloah of Israel, who, when anointed, became, as the voice of John proclaimed, "our Elohim," or the Logos, the Eloah from heaven, become flesh in Jesus, the other Eloah of the house of David. These two Elohim dwelt among the Jews, as "the Only Begotten of the Father" -- Son of Power and Son of Man -- who hath declared the Invisible Deity to men.
But "all flesh" have not yet "seen together." Judah and his companions have seen; but Israel and his companion-tribes have not. Multitudes of the former have eaten the flesh, and drunk the blood, of the Son of Man; and are now sleeping out the intervening night, that in the morning they may come forth as dew, and when it hath gone up, they may be as manna upon the ground. But the Ten Tribes did not see the Glory of Yahweh in the days of John. It is, however, typically necessary that they do see it in the wilderness before the morning, that they also may eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Logos, before they eat of the manna hidden in the dew, preparatory to their admission into the covenanted land. The whole congregation of Israel must see the glory together; and, as Jeremiah saith, "thy words were found, and I did eat them;" so Israel has to come to the knowledge of "the truth as it is in Jesus," inwardly to digest it, and to feed upon it in the wilderness-probation that awaits them in the matter of their restoration.
In the morning, they who have seen the glory, and eaten the flesh "at even," or believed the gospel of the kingdom and name of Jesus Anointed, will behold "the Dew" before "it is gone up." The bread to be eaten was concealed in the dew, and did not appear until the fluid matter in which it was suspended was evaporated by the action of the sun. Now, the manna in dewy suspension is apocalyptically styled "the manna that hath been concealed." The manna concealed in dew is a type of the resurrection of the first-fruits of the Spirit. When they that now dwell in the dust awake and sing, they are at their awaking the Spirit's Dew; which the prophet saith is as "the Dew of herbs" (Isai. xxvi. 19). They remain in this Dew-state until the Sun of Righteousness acts upon them, and transforms them into Manna; that is, makes them corporeally like himself -- transforms the body that comes out of the grave into a like form to that with which he descends from heaven (Phil. iii. 20). To be the subject of this transformation by the Spirit is "to eat of the manna which has been concealed."
But the concealment of the manna has also especial reference to Jesus who is himself the type of his companions. In the historical type, the manna appears in two forms -- first, as susceptible of corruption; and secondly, as incorruptible. "If left until the morning it bred worms and stank." Ordinarily it would not keep from morning to morning; but in the manna gathered upon Friday this tendency was restrained, and it remained perfectly good; and "did not stink, neither was there any worm therein." Now Jesus, as we have seen, being the Logos become flesh, was both evening quail and morning bread. He was gathered by the nation on Friday, or the sixth day, when they crucified him. They gathered him in the morning, but they did not leave him on the cross till the following morning; still, they kept him laid up in the sepulchre on Saturday; nevertheless, he did not stink, neither was there any worm in his body. The Spirit "would not permit His Holy One to see corruption;" for the tendency natural to the flesh was restrained.
Israel gathered a double portion on Friday; so that when they went out on Saturday to look for it, "they did not find it in the field," as Moses said: so when they gathered the bread of heaven, and laid him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, those who might go out to look, could find the Son of Man no longer sowing the words of eternal life in the field.
But some of the manna was incorruptible for a longer period than the sixth and seventh days. It was made to last for generations. Moses was commanded to put an omer, or tenth part of an ephah of manna into a pot, and to lay it up before the Testimony, to be kept. Every day this was preserved (and it was kept for centuries), evinced the presence of the Spirit in the Most Holy; for ordinarily it would not keep. It was deposited in the chest, called the Ark of the Testimony, which was overlaid with gold; whose lid was termed the Caphporeth, propitiatory, or Mercy Seat; and upon which the Cherubim were based. This Ark of the Covenant contained the Tables of the Law, the pot of Manna, and Aaron's Rod which budded; things all representative of the Logos in his incarnate manifestation.
Now as Aaron laid up an omer full in a pot, and concealed it from view within the Ark of the Testimony there to remain for centuries; so the Eternal Spirit concealed in Jesus, the antitypical Ark of His Testimony, that deposit of Manna, from which it shall be given to those who overcome to eat. We feed upon this manna from day to day in feeding upon the truth. But what we eat today will not suffice for the morrow. We must keep it in memory. But though we thus feed, and rejoice in "the right to life," yet it is life-manna concealed; for "we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory (Col. iii. 3,4).
The night, then, of the Life-manna's concealment in the Spirit's Ark, is far spent; and the morning of its manifestation at hand. Jesus Anointed, who is the Glory of the Eternal, has been "hid in God" concealed from human ken "at the right hand of Power," for many generations and centuries. Though once like the daily manna, corruptible; during that long period he has been, and will ever continue to be, like the Manna in the Ark, incorruptible. We look for his appearing, that we who are dead, who are corruptible and mortal, and also by nature "dead in sins;" but pardoned, and therefore dead to the world, and buried with Christ in baptism, and risen with him out of its waters in hope of being planted in the likeness of his resurrection -- we wait for his coming, that the spirit may be in us as in him; and that being made like him, we may eat of the manna that hath been so long concealed.