[From the author’s book ‘Gleanings in Exodus’, pp.123-135.  Photograph by C. R. Tindle.]



Part 1





Not for long were Israel permitted to enjoy the grateful refreshment and shade of the wells and palm trees of Elim (15: 27).  The first verses of our chapter tell us, “And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came into the wilderness of Sin  If we compare Num 33, which records the various stages of stopping places in Israel’s journeys, we find that “they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red Sea” (v. 10).  Most probably this was some bay or creek of the Sea, where for a short time their camp was now pitched, perhaps with the design of them looking once more at those waters through which they had passed dry-shod, but which had overwhelmed their enemies.  Evidently their stay there was a shorter one, and as nothing of importance happened, it is omitted in Ex. 16.



The leading of Israel into the wilderness of Sin brings out the strength of Moses’ faith.  Here, for the first time, the full provision of desert life stared the people fully in the face.  Every step they took was now leading them further away from the inhabited countries and conducting them deeper into the land of desolation and death.  The isolation of the wilderness was complete, and the courage and faith of their leader in bringing a multitude of at least two million people into such a howling waste, demonstrates his firm confidence in the Lord God.  Moses was not ignorant of the character of the desert.  He had lived for forty years in its immediate vicinity (3: 1), and, therefore, he knew full well that only a miracle, yea, a series of daily miracles, could meet the vast needs of such a multitude.  In this his faith was superior to Abraham’s (Gen. 12: 10).



“And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt” (v. 1).  Why, we may ask, such particularly is noting the time-mark here?  As a matter of mere history it seems of little interest or importance.  What difference does it make to us to-day which month and what day of the month it was when Israel entered the Wilderness of Sin?  It was on “the fifteenth day of the second month” after their leaving Egypt that Israel came unto this wilderness.  The very fact that the Holy Spirit has recorded this detail is sufficient proof it is not meaningless.  There is nothing trivial in the Word of God.  Even the numerals are there used with Divine purpose and significance.  And here we may discover the answer to our question.  It was the “second month and in Scripture “two” speaks of witness or testimony (cf. Rev. 11: 3, etc.).  It was the “fifteenth day” of the month, and the factors of 15 are five and three.  In Scripture “five” signifies grace or favour (Gen. 43: 34, etc.), and “three” is the number of manifestations – hence the number of resurrection, when life is fully manifested.  By combining these definitions we learn that God was now to give unto Israel a witness and manifestation of His grace.  How fully the sequel bears this out is most apparent.



In order for grace to shine forth there must first be the dark background of sin.  Grace is unmerited favour, and to enhance its glory the demerits of man must be exhibited.  It is where sin abounded that grace did much more abound (Rom. 5: 21).  It was so here.  The very next thing that we read of is, “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the Wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord 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” (vv. 2, 3).  A darker background could scarcely be imagined.



Here was the self-same people who had been divinely spared from the ten plagues of Egypt, who had been brought forth from the land of bondage, miraculously delivered at the Red Sea, Divinely guided by a Pillar of Cloud and Fire, day and night, - now “murmuring complaining, rebelling!  And it was not a few of the people who did so; the “whole congregation” were guilty.  It was not simply that they muttered among themselves, but they murmured against their Divine-chosen leader.  Their sin, too, was aggravated by an oath; they took the Divine name “in vain” – “would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt It is also evident that in their hot-headed insubordination they lied, for as slaves of the merciless Egyptians there is no ground whatever for us to suppose that they “sat by the flesh-pots” or “ate bread to the full  Finally, their wicked unbelief comes out in the words, “for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger  It was Jehovah, not simply Moses and Aaron, who had brought them forth; and He had promised they should worship Him at Sinai (Ex. 3: 12).  It was not possible, then, for them to die with hunger in the wilderness.



What, then, was the Lord’s response to this awful outbreak of rebellious unbelief?  Verse 4 tells us: “Behold, I will rain” – what: “fire and brimstone that ye may be consumed”?  No: “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you  Marvellous grace was this; sovereign, unmerited favour!  The very first word here is designed to arrest our attention.  In Scripture, “behold” is the Holy Spirit’s exclamation mark.  “Behold” – mark with worshipful wonder.  Here, then, is the blessed force of the time-mark in verse 1.  The raining (which speaks of a plentiful supply) of bread from Heaven for these murmuring Israelites was indeed a witness to the grace of God fully manifested!



That which follows here in Exodus 16 is deeply important.  Every detail in it speaks loudly to us, of only we have ears to hear.  The manna which Jehovah provided for Israel is a beautiful type of the food which God has provided for our souls.  This food is His own Word.  This food is both His written Word and His incarnate Word.  We purpose to consider these separately.  In the remainder of this article we shall trace some of the many points of analogy between the manna and the Scriptures as the heavenly food for God’s people.  In our next paper [in part 2] we shall view the manna as a type of the Lord Jesus, the Heavenly One come down to earth.



1. The manna was a supernatural gift.



“Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you” (v. 4).  This is the first great lesson which the manna is designed to teach us.  The manna was not a product of the earth; it was not manufactured by man; it was not something which Israel brought with them out of Egypt – there was no manna there.  Instead, it came down from heaven.  It was a gift from God.



Various attempts have been made to explain away the supernatural in connection with the manna.  Some have declared that it grew on a certain tree found in the wilderness; but they fail to explain how it grew in winter as well as summer; how that it was obtainable in every part of the wilderness, no matter where Israel’s camp was pitched; or, how that sufficient was to hand to feed upwards to two million souls for almost forty years!  How foolish is man’s infidelity.  The only possible explanation of the manna is to see in its continued supply a miracle.  It was furnished by God Himself.  So it is with that which the manna prefigured – the written Word.  The Scriptures are the spiritual manna for our souls, at the very point they manifest their supernatural origin.  Many efforts have been made to account for the Bible, but on this point man’s reasonings are as ridiculous as when he attempts to explain the manna on natural lines.  The Bible is a miraculous production.  It was given by Divine inspiration.  It has come from heaven.  It is the gift of God.



It is striking to note how the supernatural is evidenced in connection with the giving of the manna.  In Ex. 16: 16 we read, “This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded; gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents  Now, a conservative estimate of the total number of Israelites who came out of Egypt would be two million, for they had six hundred thousand men able to go forth to war (see Num. 1: 45, 46).  An “omer” is the equivalent of six pints.  There would be twelve million pints, or nine million pounds gathered daily, which was four thousand five hundred tons.  Hence, ten trains, each having thirty cars, and each car having in it fifteen tons, would be needed for a single day’s supply.  Over a million tons of manna were gathered annually by Israel.  And let it be remembered this continued for forty years!  Equally wonderful, equally miraculous, equally Divine is the Bible.



2.  The manna came right to where the people were.




“And in the morning the dew lay round about the host; and when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing” (vv. 13, 14).  No long journey had to be taken in order to secure the manna.  The Israelites did not have to cross the wilderness before they could secure their needed food.   It was right to hand; before their eyes.  There, just outside their tent door, lay the manna on the ground.  So it is with the Word of God.  It is blessed accessible to all of us.  I often think that if it were harder to procure a Bible than it is some of us would prize it more than we do.  If we had to cross the ocean and journey to the other side of the world to obtain a copy of the Holy Scriptures we would value them far more than we do now!



But the very accessibility of the manna only added to the responsibility of Israel.  Its very nearness measured their obligation.  By virtue of the fact that it lay on the ground just outside their tents they had to do something with it.  They must either gather it or trample it beneath their feet!  And my reader, this is equally true of God’s Word.  The very fact that it is right here to your hand determines your responsibility.  You are obliged to do one of two things with it: show your appreciation by gathering it unto your soul, or despise and trample it beneath your feet by a criminal neglect.



3. The manna was small in size.



“And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground” (v. 14).  Who would have imagined that a complete and perfect revelation from God and of God could be comprised within the compass of a comparatively small volume?  Think of it, the sum total of God’s revealed Truth in a book which can be carried in your pocket!  All that is needed to make us wise unto salvation; all that is needed to sustain our souls throughout our earthly pilgrimage; all that is needed to make the man of God “perfect” (complete), within the compass of the Bible!



Observe that not only is the size but also the shape of the manna is given.  It was “a small round thing  It had no angles, and no rough edges.  Continuing to regard the manna as a symbol and a type of the Word of God, what does this teach us?  Why, surely, it prefigured the beautiful symmetry of Scripture.  It tells us that the Bible is a perfect whole, complete and entire.



4.  The manna was white in colour.



“And the house of Israel called the name thereof manna: and it was like coriander seed, white” (v. 31).  Everything here has a spiritual significance.  The Holy Spirit had a good reason for telling us the particular colour of the manna.  There is nothing meaningless in Scripture anywhere.  Everything in God’s Word has a value and message for us.



Now “white” is the emblem of purity.  Thus we have emphasised the absolute purity of the Word of God.  Let us link together three Scriptures.  “The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psl. 12: 6): they are pure morally and they are pure spiritually.  They are like the “pure river of the water of life” which proceedeth out of the throne of God and of the Lamb – they are “clear as crystal” (Rev. 22: 1).  Again we read in Psl. 119: 140, “Thy Word is very pure: therefore Thy servant loveth it  The Scriptures are termed the “Holy Scriptures” because they are separated off from all other writings by virtue of their exalted spirituality and Divine purity.  Once more, in Prov. 30: 5, we read, “Every word of God is pure  There is no admixture of error in God’s Word.  In it there are no mistakes, no contradictions, no blemishes.



5. The manna was to be eaten.



This brings us to the central and most important point in connection with our type.  The manna was not given simply to look at, or admire; but to be eaten.  It was for food.   It was God’s provision to meet the bodily need of His people Israel.  It is thus with the spiritual manna.  God’s Word is to be turned to practical account.  It is given to provide food for our souls.  But in order to derive from it the nourishment we require we need to learn how to feed on the Bread of Life.   Just as a neglect or suitable diet or proper feeding in the natural sphere results in a low condition of bodily health, so to neglect our spiritual food or to ignore the laws of spiritual dietetics results in a sickly state of soul.  In all correct eating there are three things: appropriation, mastication [i.e., the act of chewing], assimilation.  Let us consider each one separately.



Appropriation.  This is a point so obvious that many may think it is unnecessary to develop it.  And yet it is just here that so many of God’s children fail.  When I sit down to a well-spread table it is apparent that I cannot begin to eat everything before me.  Nor is that required.  The first thing necessary is to appropriate to myself a portion of the food before me.  No matter how excellent the quality of the food may be, or how tastily prepared, it will avail me nothing to sit and admire it.  I need to have a certain portion of it placed upon my own palate, and then to eat it.



It is so with the spiritual manna.  The Word of God is exhaustless in its contents.  In it is stored sufficient for the people of God in all ages.  There is far more in it than ever I can possible assimilate.  What I must do is make an appropriation to my own soul’s needs.  And this must be done just as definitely as the eating of my material food.  We are anxious to be of real help here to all our readers, so let us be very simple.



Our first need is to appropriate.  To appropriate means to take unto ourselves, to make our own.  This was the initial lesson in connection with our salvation.  The difference between an unbeliever and a believer is in the employment of the personal pronoun.  An unbeliever may speak of the Saviour, but only the believer can truthfully say “my Saviour  Faith personalises.  When I read in Isa. 53 concerning Christ that “He was wounded for my transgressions  This is what we mean by appropriation.  We appropriated Christ when we took Him as our own personal Saviour.



Now, just as we appropriated the Saviour, so we need to appropriate the promises and the precepts of God’s Word.  For example, when I read in Matt. 7: 7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you faith makes it personal, and applying to myself what I read there.  I say, “Ask, and it shall be given me; seek, and I shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto me  And again, I read in Rom. 8: 32, “He that spared not His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things and faith takes this to myself.  I apply it to my own case, and read, “How shall He not with Him also freely give me all things



A Scottish pastor once called on an aged saint of God.  At once she handed the minister the Bible and asked him to read some portion to her – would that we had more like her today; many a pastor’s heart would be rejoiced if, when he called on his members, they desired him to read and pray with them instead of wanting him to discuss the gossip and scandal of the town.  As the minister turned the pages he noticed that in the margin had been written the letters T. and TP., “Tried and Proven  She had learned to feed on God’s Word.  She had appropriated the promises unto herself.  Have you learned this lesson yet, dear reader?  God’s promises will afford you no comfort, and minister no strength to you until you make them your own.  For example, I read in Phil. 4: 19, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus and when I really appropriate this to myself I shall say, “My God shall supply all Arthur Pink’s need



It must be the same with the precepts of Scripture.  The commands, the exhortations, the admonitions of the Bible, are not so many abstractions.  No; they are a revelation of God’s will for me.  I must read the Scriptures as addressed to me personally.  When I come to some word of God which condemns my ways, I must not pass it over, but be honest and take it unto myself.  May God give all of us grace to daily appropriate both His promises and precepts.



Mastication.  After a certain portion of the food spread before me had been placed on my own plate and in my mouth, the next thing is to chew it, to chew it slowly and thoroughly.  But in this matter most of us are serious offenders.  We bolt our food.  We swallow it before it has been properly masticated.  We eat too hurriedly.  That is the chief reason why so many suffer from dyspepsia – they give their stomachs the work to do which the teeth were intended to perform.  A little food thoroughly masticated will supply far more nutrition to the system than a lot of food swallowed almost whole, and our general health would be much better, too.



This is equally true spiritually.  Thousands of God’s children are grievous offenders here.  They have never learned to use their spiritual teeth.  The Bread of Life must be chewed if we are to derive from it the substance we so much need.  What do I mean?  This: meditation stands to reading as mastication does to eating.  Re-read, and ponder this last sentence.  Dear reader, you will derive far more benefit from a single verse of Scripture read slowly and prayerfully, and duly meditated upon, than you will from ten chapters read through hurriedly!



Meditation is well-nigh a lost art.  And it is at the root of most of our troubles.  How many complain that they find it so difficult to remember passages of Scripture, passages which they have read perhaps many times.  But this is easily explained.  It is because the passage was not turned over in the mind; it was not duly “pondered” (Luke 2: 19).  Did you ever notice that the “Blessed Man” of Psl. 1 “meditated” in God’s Law day and night?  Meditation is a wonderful aid to fixing in our minds verses and passages of Scripture.



Let us give an illustration of what we mean by meditation.  We select one of the most familiar verses in all the Bible (Psl. 23: 4), “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will rear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me  Now, as I begin to meditate upon this I take each word or expression separately and then ask them questions.  The first thing that strikes my attention is the way in which the verse opens.  It does not say “When I shall walk through the valley,” but “Yea, thought I walk  I ponder this over.  I ask it a question; I say, why this indefinite language?  Is it not certain that I shall be called on to walk through the valley of shadows?  And then I remember that blessed word in 1 Cor. 15: 51, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed  Then I see why the Holy Spirit caused this Psalm to open thus.



Next I turn to the central thing in this verse – “the valley of the shadow of death through which the believer, who does die, passes.  I ask, Why is dying likened to walking through a “valley”?  What are the thoughts suggested by this figure?  As I turn this question over in my mind it soon occurs to be (as it should to anyone who gives it a little thought).  Why, a “valley” suggests peacefulness, fertility, beauty, and particularly, easy travel.  A “valley” is the antithesis of a “mountain which is difficult and dangerous to climb.  In contradistinction, then, from climbing a mountain which is arduous and hazardous, death is likened to walking through a valley which is delightful and safe!



Then I go back to the beginning of the verse, and note thoughtfully each single word.  As the believer comes to the end of his earthly pilgrimage he learns that death is simply like passing through a valley.  Note he walks, not runs, as though afraid.  Then, observe, “though I walk through  He does not stay in the “valley but walks through it.  Death is only a door through which the believer passes from these scenes of sin and sorrow to the realm of [‘Paradise’]*, glory and bliss.


[* See. Luke 23: 43. cf. 16: 23, 25, 30; Rev. 6: 9-11; Heb. 11: 35, 39, 40.]



Next I observe that this “valley” is called the “shadow of death  Why is this?  I must not hurry, or I shall be the loser.  Let me continue pondering each word separately, so that I may extract its own particular sweetness.  What is a “shadow”?  Ah, how often it terrifies!  How many of us, especially during childhood, were frightened by shadows!  But if we had only walked right up to them we should have quickly discovered they were powerless to injure us.  And how many a believer has filled the valley of death with terrifying phantoms!  How fearfully has he contemplated these images of his own unbelief!  O fellow-believer there is nothing, absolutely nothing, for thee to fear in death should it overtake you before the Lord Jesus returns.  This valley is called “the valley of the shadow of death” because a “shadow” is the most harmless thing there is!



And now, as though at last the believer has fully grasped the blessedness of these beautiful figures, having discovered that Death is not a difficult and dangerous mountain to climb, but a “valley” – peaceful and easy-going – to pass through; having learned that in this valley there is nothing more terrifying than a “shadow” he now cries with exulting confidence, “I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me



Here, then, is an example of what we mean by feeding on God’s Word.  Meditation stands to reading as mastication does to eating.  Take a single verse of Scripture at the beginning of the day; write it out on a slip of paper, and carry it with you wherever you go.  Refresh your memory as opportunity occurs by re-reading it.  Pray over it, and ask God to give you a blessing out of this verse; to reveal to you its beauty and preciousness.  Then ponder each word separately.  Ask the verse questions and seek to discover its deeper meaning.  Suppose you are meditating on Psl. 34: 7, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them  Ask such questions as these: Why “the angel”? who is it?  “Encampeth”; note the perfect tense (continuous) – what is suggested by this figure?  “Round about” – what is meant by this?  “Them that fear Him” – am I one of them?  “And delivereth them” – from what? – find answer from other Scriptures which speak of “deliver” and “deliverance



Assimilation.  This is the result of appropriation and mastication, and the chief end in view. The food which I eat is to supply the waste of the body.  The food which I have masticated and digested is now taken up into my system, and is transmuted into blood and tissue, thereby affording health and strength.  The food thus assimilated appears in the vigour of my step, the strength of my arm, the glow on my face.  And now equipped, my system is able to ward off the disease germs which attack my body.  All of this has its counterpart in the spiritual man.  The food which I have taken into my soul, if properly digested, will build up a new nature.  It will nourish faith, and supply the needed strength for my daily walk and service.  Moreover, it will be a safeguard against the germs of temptation which assail me – “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psl. 119: 11).



Here, then, is the grand end in view.  God’s Word is given us to feed upon, and this feeding is for the purpose of translating the Scriptures into the terms of daily living.  The principles and precepts of the Bible must be incorporated into my life.  The Word has not been assimilated until it has become the regulator of my walk and the dynamo of my service.



6. The manna was gathered daily.



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” (v. 4).  The manna which Israel gathered to-day would not suffice them for to-morrow.  A new supply must be secured each day.  The spiritual application of this is very evident.  The soul requires the same systematic attention as does the body, and if this be neglected and our spiritual meals be taken irregularly, the results will be equally disastrous.  But how many fail at this very point!  What would you think of a man that sat down to his Sunday dinner and tried to eat sufficient then, at one meal, to last him for the whole week.  And yet that is precisely the method followed by multitudes of people with their spiritual food.  The only time they get an adequate spiritual meal is on Sunday and they make that last them for the remainder of the week.  Is there any wonder that so many Christians are weak and sickly!  O let us face the fact that our souls are in urgent need of a daily supply of the Bread of Life.  Whatever else be left undone let us see to it that we regularly feed on the spiritual manna.  Remember, it is not the amount of time spent, but the amount of heart which is put into the time which counts.



7. The manna was gathered in the morning.



“And in the morning the dew lay round about the host.  And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing” (vv. 13, 14).  Here is a lesson which all of us need to seriously take to heart. It was in the early morning, before other things had time to occupy their attention, that God’s people of old gathered their daily supply of the manna.  And this is recorded “for our learning  The Divine Word must not be given a secondary place if we would have God’s blessing upon us.  What a difference it would make in many a Christian life if each day was  BEGUN in God’s presence!  How many, now weak and sickly, would become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might if they formed the habit of feeding each morning on the Bread of Life!  If the soul was fed at the same time as “the dew strength would be obtained and we should be equipped for the duties that lay before us and girded for the temptations which confronted us throughout the day!



Let no reader complain that he has not the time.  You may not have time for the careful study of a whole chapter each morning, though even that is to be seriously questioned, but certain it is that you have time to prayerfully select one verse of Scripture and write it out on a piece of paper and attempt to commit it to memory, consulting it during your spare minutes through the day, on the train, or the street-car, if needs be – the writer memorized the whole epistle of Ephesians on the street-car, a verse at a time.  Certain it is that you do have time to meditate on this one verse throughout the day, and to ponder each word separately.  And after the labours of the day are over you may sit down (if only for five minutes) and look up the parallel passages, given in the marginal references.  If you will do this daily you will be surprised and delighted at the incalculable blessing it will bring to your soul.  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6: 33).



8.  The manna was obtained by labour.



“We are reminded by the gathering of it, of the Lord’s words, ‘Labour for the meat  They did not indeed labour to bring it from Heaven; their labour was to gather it when rained down to them fro thence.  And here we find that they had to use diligence.  It would not keep; they could not lay up a stock for the future; every day they had afresh to be employed with it.  If they were not out early and the sun rose upon it, it melted.  And here is where diligence on our part is so much needed.  Would that we understood this, beloved brethren, better!  Manna did not fall into their mouths, but around their tent.  They had to use diligence to gather it.  Do we understand the necessity of diligence in the apprehension of Divine things?  Do we understand that the character of the Word of God is such, as that however plain in a sense it may be, yet it ministers in fact its fulness only to those who have earnestness of heart to seek it.  Only ‘if thou criest after knowledge’ says the wise man, ‘and lifted up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God  And yet He adds ‘for the Lord givest wisdom.’  But He gives it according to the rules of His own holy government.



“Labour is here, therefore, very specially needed; not that the labour simply by itself is anything; not that man’s efforts only can ever here procure for himself what God alone supplies, but still God seeks from us that diligence which shows our apprehension of the treasure that His Word is.  He does not give to carelessness or indolence of soul, nor is faith simply a receiver here but a worker with God.” (Mr. Grant.)  Before “an omer” could be gathered much labour was entailed, for them manna was “a small round thing



9. The manna was gathered by stooping.



It grew not upon the trees, but fell upon the ground.  In order to obtain it the Israelites had to go down on their knees.  How significant, and how accurate the type!  Diligence on our part is required if we are to appropriate from the Word that which our souls need.  But something more than diligence is necessary.  There must be dependence upon God, the Author of the Word.  There must be a seeking from Him.  We must get down on our knees and cry, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wonderous things out of Thy Law



10. Some gathered more, some less.



“And the children of Israel did so, and gathered some more, some less” (v. 17).  How like what we find around us to-day!  Some Christians confine themselves to the Psalms and the Gospels, rarely referring to any other section of the Bible.  Others study the Church Epistles, but neglect the prophetical portions.  A few study the Old Testament, as well as the New, and derive immeasurable delight in the wonderful types to be found there on almost every page.  It is also true with the spiritual manna that some “gathered more, some less



11. What was gathered must be used.



“Let no man leave of it till morning” (v. 19).  Divine truth is not to be hoarded up, but turned to present profit.  We are to use what God has given us.  We are first to walk in the truth ourselves, and then to recommend it to others.



As the Lord gives us opportunities it is our happy privilege to pass on to others what He has given to us.  It is in this way that Christian fellowship becomes most helpful – when we spend an hour, or even a few minutes, with a fellow-believer and discuss together the things of God, instead of the things of the world.



12. The manna was incomprehensible to the natural man.



“And when the children of Israel saw it they said one to another it is manna: for they wist (knew) not what it was” (v. 15).  There was something about this manna which the Israelites could not understand.  It was different from anything else they had ever seen.  They possessed no knowledge of it.  The very word “manna” means “What is it”?  “They wist not what it was  Thus it is also with that  which the manna prefigured.  The unregenerate are unable to comprehend the Scriptures: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2: 14).



13. The manna was despised by the mixed multitude.



“And the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?  We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely: the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: But now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all, besides this manna before our eyes” (Num. 11: 4-6).  Israel were not alone as they came forth from Egypt.  They were accompanied by “a mixed multitude” which had, doubtless, been deeply impressed by Jehovah’s plagues and interventions on Israel’s behalf, but who had no knowledge of God for themselves.  Just so it is today; side by side with the wheat grows the tares.  There is a “mixed multitude” in the Christian profession, and these like their ancient forefathers, despise the manna.  They have no relish for spiritual things.  They may own a Bible, perhaps one with an expensive binding and beautifully gilded; but its contents are dry and insipid to them.



13. The manna was preserved in the Ark.



“And Moses said unto Aaron, ‘Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord to be kept for your generations,’” (v. 33).  Heb. 9: 4 tells us that it was a ‘golden pot  This is very striking.  The manna was not to be stored up in the tents of the Israelites for a single day; yet here we see it preserved for almost forty years in the Tabernacle.  It was to be kept for the land of Canaan.  And so with the antitype: while we cannot feed on yesterday’s experience and make that satisfy the need for today, nevertheless, our experiences from day to day in the wilderness will be found again with rich and blessed fruitage.  The ‘golden pot’ in which the manna was to be stored tells of what a high value God sets upon that which is typified.  The fact that the manna was kept in the ark till Canaan was reached, tells of how God has preserved the Scriptures all through the ages.



15. The manna lasted until Canaan was reached.



“And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years until they came to a land inhabited: they did eat manna until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan” (v. 35).  This tells of what an inexhaustible supply God has for His people.  To the end of the wilderness journey the manna continued.  And thank God this is true of the spiritual manna.  The grass withereth and the flower fadeth, but the Word of the Lord endureth forever.  We may be in the “last days” of this age; the “perilous times” may be upon us; but we still have God’s blessed word.  May we prize it more highly, read it more carefully, study it more diligently.



Here is the general secret of a healthy and vigorous spiritual life.  It is by earnestly desiring the sincere (pure) milk of the Word, that we grow thereby.  It is by daily feeding on the Bread of Life that we obtain the strength that we need.  It is through having God’s Word in our hearts that we are kept from sinning against Him.  And it is in this way that we should be able to say with Jeremiah, “Thy words were found and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart”. (15: 16).



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Part 2





In our last paper we considered the “manna” with which Jehovah supplied the bodily need of Israel in the wilderness as a type of the Food which God had so graciously provided for the sustenance of our souls.  That Food is His own blessed Word.  But “the Word” is used both of the Scriptures and of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The two are most intimately related.  “In the volume of the Book said Christ, “it is written of Me” (Psl. 40: 7); and again, “Search the Scriptures … they are they which testify of Me” (John 5: 39).  Almost everything that can be postulated of the one can be predicted of the other.  But the chief value of the written Word is to set forth the perfections and bring us into communion with the incarnate Word.  It is only as we feed upon Christ Himself that we truly feed upon the written Word.  Therefore in this article we shall confine our attention to the manna typifying the person and perfections of the Lord Jesus Christ.



Beneath many a figure and behind innumerable shadows and symbols the anointed eye may discern the glories of our blessed Lord.  It should be our chief delight as we read the Old Testament Scriptures to prayerfully search for that which foreshadows Him of whom “Moses and the prophets” did write.  All doubt is removed as to whether or not the manna pointed to the incarnate Son by His own words in John 6: 32, 33.  There we find the Saviour saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that Bread from Heaven.  For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven and giveth life unto the world  May the [Holy] Spirit of God now condescend to open our sin-blinded eyes as we earnestly desire to behold “wonderous things” out of His perfect Law.



1. The occasions of the giving of the manna is both striking and solemn.



After being the recipients of wonderous mercies from the Lord, Israel arrived in the Wilderness of Sin.  But no sooner had they come thither than we find that the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fish-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” (v. 3).  A more fearful exhibition of unbelief, ingratitude, and rebellion could scarcely be imagined.  The marvel is that the fiery judgments of God did not consume them there and then.  But instead of pouring upon them His wrath, He dealt with them in marvellous grace by raining bread from Heaven for them.



Strikingly does this picture the condition of that world into which the Lord of Glory descended.  For four thousand years the temporal and governmental mercies of God had been showered upon the human race, making His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, seeing His rain on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5: 45).  And what had been man’s response?  “When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were they thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four-footed beasts, and creeping things” (Rom. 1: 21-23).  Little better was it with Israel, as a glance at the Old Testament history will show.  What wonder, then, if God had abandoned the whole race!  But no; in matchless, wonderous grace, He sent forth His own beloved Son to a world wherein every human creature had forfeited every possible claim upon His goodness and mercy.



2.  The Place where the Manna fell



The place where the manna fell is also deeply significant.  It was in the “wilderness of Sin” (16: 1) that the “bread from Heaven” first fell.  Surely it were impossible to select a more fitting title to accurately describe the character of the world into which the Son of God descended.  Verily, a wilderness of sin was this world to the Holy One of God!  A wilderness!  What is a “wilderness”?  It is a homeless place.  No one would think of building a house there.  And a homeless place was this world to the Son of God.  No room in the inn at His birth; not where to lay His head during the days of His public ministry; a borrowed grave for His crucified body, sums it all up.  A wilderness of sin!  Never was that more apparent than when the Sinless One was here.  How the Light exposed the hidden things of darkness!  How the murder of the Saviour demonstrated the sinfulness of Jew and Gentile alike!



3. The Glory of the Lord was linked with the giving of the Manna



“And it came to pass as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the Cloud” (v. 10).  This is very striking indeed.  It is the first time we read of the appearing of “the glory of the Lord not only in connection with Israel, but in Scripture.  Marvellously accurate is this detail of our type.  Not until the Son of God became incarnate was “the glory of the Lord” fully revealed.  But when the eternal Word became flesh and tabernacled among men, then, as the beloved apostle declares, “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father” (John 1: 14).  The “glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4: 6).



4. The manna came down from Heaven (1 Cor. 15: 48)



“Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold I will rain bread from Heaven for you  The manna was not a product of this earth.  It grew neither in the wilderness nor Egypt.  It was neither produced by human efforts nor manufactured by human skill.  It descended from God.  It was a gift from Heaven come down to earth.  As we read in Eph. 4: 10, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens  The first man (Adam was of the earth, earthly; but the second Man (Jesus Christ) was “the Lord from Heaven” (1 Cor. 15: 48).



5. The Manna was a free gift from God.



“And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat” (v. 15).  No charge was made for this manna.  It was neither a wage to be earned nor a prize to be won, but was a token of God’s grace and love.  No payment was demanded for it.  It was without money and without price.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3: 16).  Let us join with the apostle in saying, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift” (2 Cor. 9: 15).



6. The Manna was sent to the Israelites.



“Behold I will rain bread from Heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day” (v. 4).  Two truths are here illustrated.  First, the Manna was God’s provision for His elect people, and for none others.  We do not read of God raining manna upon Egypt nor upon Canaan.  It was given to Israel in the wilderness and to them alone, just as the Pascal lamb was for them and not for the Egyptians.  So, too, Christ is God’s Provision for those whom He “ordained unto eternal life  Listen to His own words in John 17: 19: “For their sakes I sanctify Myself” – set Myself apart unto death.  It was for “the sheep not the goats, that He gave His life (John 10: 11).



But second, this manna was also sent to a needy and foodless people.  Whatever food Israel had brought with them out of Egypt was, by this time, all consumed.  From the human side, they seemed in imminent danger of starving to death.  Had not God met their need they would have perished in the wilderness.  But from the Divine side everything was sure.  God had purposed to bring Israel to Sinai (3: 12), and His counsel cannot fail.  A complete provision did He make for His needy people.  It is the same now.  By nature, the elect of God are the “children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2: 3).  Shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, their lot is indeed a desperate one.  But praise be to God, full provision is made for them.  The Bread of Life is their all-sufficient supply.  Even before His birth it was announced, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1: 21).



7. The Manna came right down to where the Israelites were.



The Israelites were in immediate danger of starving to death, but as we have seen, God graciously made provision to supply their need and now we would notice that no long journey had to be taken in order to secure that which would satisfy their hunger – the manna fell all round the camp.  “And in the morning the dew lay round about the host; and when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing” (vv. 13, 14).  Here we have foreshadowed the blessed fact that, to the sinner conscious of his need and anxious to meet with the Saviour, God says, “Say not in thine heart Who shall ascend into Heaven (that is to bring Christ down from above) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is to bring Christ again from the dead).  But what saith it?  The Word is nigh thee  And out of this very nearness springs the sinner’s responsibility.  All around each tent door lay the manna.  Something had to be done with it.  It must either be gathered or trodden under foot!  Sinner [and Christian], what are you doing with the Christ of God?  Remember His searching words, “He that is not with Me is against Me



8. The Manna must be gathered by each individual.



“This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating” (v. 16).  It is so spiritually.  Receiving Christ (John 1: 12) is a personal matter.  No one can believe for another.  There is no salvation by proxy.  The gospel of Christ is, “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1: 16), and “he that believeth shall not be damned” (Mark 16:16).  Saving faith is that act whereby each awakened sinner appropriates Christ unto himself.  It is true that Christ loved the Church as a whole, and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5: 25), but it is also the happy privilege of each member of that Church to say with the Apostle Paul, “Who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2: 20).  Have you, dear reader, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ?



9. The Manna met a daily need.



“Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will reign bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day” (v. 4).  The manna which they gathered today would not suffice them for tomorrow.  They needed to obtain a fresh supply each day.  It is just here that so many of the Lord’s people fail.  We, too, need to feed upon Christ “every day”.  Just as in the physical realm the food which I ate yesterday will not nourish me today, so my past experiences and attainments will not meet the exigencies of the present.  Christ must be kept constantly before the heart.  “Give us day by day our daily bread should be the prayer of every child of God.



10. Appetite determined the amount gathered.



“This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded.  Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons take ye every man for them which are in his tents.  And the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less” (vv. 16, 17).  Thus we see that the appetite governed the amount gathered.  How strikingly and how solemnly true is this of the believer, “We all have as much of Christ as we desire, no more, no less.  If our desires are large, if we open our mouth wide, He will fill it.  We cannot desire too much, nor be disappointed when we desire.  On the other hand, if we are but feebly conscious of our need, a little only of Christ will be supplied.  The measure, therefore in which we feed upon Christ as our wilderness food, depends entirely upon our felt spiritual need – upon our affections” (Ed. Dennett).



11. The Manna was despised by those who were not the Lord’s people.



“And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting, and the children of Israel also went again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?  We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.  But now our soul is dried away; there is nothing left at all, beside this manna, before our eyes” (Num. 11: 4-6).  How these words remind us of the language of Isa. 53- “And when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire of Him.  He is despised and rejected of men  The sin-blinded eyes of the natural man are incapable of perceiving the attractiveness of the Lord Jesus: His wonderous perfections he is unable to discern.  So, too, he sees not the deep need, and how Christ alone is able to meet that need.  Hence he neither comes to Christ nor desires Him.



12.  The Manna fell upon the dew, not upon the dust of the ground.



“And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it” (Num. 11: 9).  Everything in the Scriptures has a spiritual meaning and application.  What, then, is the significance of the above?  Gen. 3: 19 throws light on this passage – “dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return”.  These words were spoken to fallen man and called attention to the corruption which sin had worked in him.  “Dust here, and onwards, speaks of fallen humanity.  Now the manna fell not upon “the dust but upon the dew.  How clearly this foreshadowed the uniqueness and incorruptibility of the Lord’s humanity!  The Word became flesh, but in His humanity the Lord Jesus shared not our corrupt nature.  He took upon Him the form of a servant, but the body which was prepared for Him (Heb. 10: 5) belonged not to the “dust” of this earth.  Before He was born the angel announced unto His mother, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1: 35).



13.  The Manna was white in colour.



We read in Ex. 16: 31, “And the house of Israel called the name thereof manna; and it was like coriander seed, white  This speaks of the spotless purity of our Lord as manifested outwardly in His daily walk.  He “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5: 21).  “He was without sin” (Heb. 4: 15).  “He did no sin” (1 Pet. 2: 22).  He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7: 26).  In 1 Pet. 1: 19 we are told that He was a lamb “without spot and without blemish  The former expression referring to the absence of outer pollution, the latter to the absence of inner defect.  In His walk through this scene of corruption He contracted no defilement.  He only could touch the leper without becoming contaminated.  He was “without spot pure, white.



14. The Manna was sweet to the taste.



“And the taste of it was like wafers of honey” (v. 31).  We need to go to the Song of Solomon for the interpretation of this.  There we read, “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons.  I sat down under His shadow with a great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste” (2: 3).  And again, “His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet as flowers; His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh … His mouth is most sweet; yea, He is altogether lovely” (5: 13, 16).  The Lord grant that our “meditation of Him shall be sweet” (Psl. 104: 34).



15.  The Manna was ground and baked.



“And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in and, and made cakes of it” (Num. 11: 8).  How this speaks to us of the sufferings of our blessed Lord!  Such expressions as “He groaned for their hardness of heart He “sighed” because of their unbelief, He “wept” over Jerusalem, and many others, tell of the grinding of the manna.  His treatment at the hands of the Jews and the brutal soldiers in Herod’s judgment-hall show us the beating of the manna.  On the cross we behold Him subjected to the fierce fires of God’s wrath.  Thus we learn that the manna, ground and beaten, speaks to us of Him who “was bruised for our iniquities



16.  The Manna was preserved on the Sabbath.



“And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, to-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord, bake that which ye will bake, and seeth that ye will seeth, and that which remaineth over, lay up for you to be kept until the morning.  And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade; and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein” (vv. 23, 24).  On the Sabbath day the manna was preserved, and in this, too, it speaks to us of our blessed Lord.  He is the only one who was preserved through death.*  He lay in the tomb on the Sabbath day and was “kept,” for God had said, “Neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psl. 16: 10).



[* Note. Messiah’s “flesh” did not “see corruption”; but just as important is the scriptural testimony of His “soul”  - that He (For the soul is the person) was not “left in Hades,” as the rest of the souls of all the dead are until the time of their resurrection: “for David ascended not into the heavens,” (Acts 2: 27, 31, 34; John 3: 13, R.V.. cf. John 13: 36-14: 3; 1 Thess. 4: 16; Rev. 6: 9-11; 20: 4, 5.)]



17. The Manna was laid up before the Lord.



“And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord” (v. 33).  Concerning the anti-type, we read, “For Christ is not entered into the holy place made with hands which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9: 24).  The golden pot in which the manna was preserved tells of how God is glorified in Him whom it foreshadowed.  “Although the Son of Man it is that gives it to us; although it is humanity here that we know, and humanity in the form in which we shall not find it when we shall reach Him above, yet it is humanity in which God is glorified now, and so He will be glorified in it forever.  We shall find in the One upon the Throne of Glory, though no longer ‘with a face marred more than any man’s,’ and a form more than the sons of men – the very One whose face was marred – the very One whose heart put Him into the sorrow in which we, of necessity there, learned to know Him thus.” (Mr. Grant).



18. The Manna was called angel’s food.



We read in Psl. 78: 25, “man did eat angel’s food; He gave them meat to the full”; the reference here is to the giving of the manna to Israel in the wilderness.  The anti-type of this is brought before us in several passages in the last book of Scripture.  Christ not only feeds the souls of those of His people who are upon the earth, but He also sustains the hearts of celestial beings.  The un-fallen angels find their chief delight in feeding upon Christ.  They worship Him, they serve Him, and they tell forth His praises.



19. The Manna was given in the night.



It was during the hours of darkness that the manna was sent to the Israelites.  It is while they were (picture of man’s helplessness, for we are never so helpless as when we are asleep) that the bread was given from Heaven.  So, too, it was when we were in darkness and unbelief, impotent, “without strength that Christ came to us.  Moreover, it will be at the close of this world’s night, when the “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people that the Bread of God shall return and give life to the world.



20. The Manna is now hidden.



In Rev 2: 17 we read, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna  So, too, Christ, of who the manna continually speaks, is now “hidden  Unseen by the eye of sense, He remains in Heaven till that day* when He shall be manifested before all the world.  “We shall not only ‘see’ the Heavenly manna, but we shall ‘eat’ of it again.  Fresher than ever will be our realisation of His love and the perfection of the grace which is manifested toward us.  It is then in fact, when we come to be there, that we shall have the full enjoyment; knowing as we are known, of all the experiences, which though they be experiences of the wilderness, yet, wait for the land to which we are hastening to find their full interpretation and blessing.  The meat endures to everlasting life.  The meat itself endures.  We are enjoying that which shall be our joy for eternity.  We are feeding on that which shall be our food for eternity” (Mr. Grant).


[*The‘day’ of the Lord will surely come, (2 Pet. 3: 8): let us wait for it with patience, “looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2: 13, R.V.): being actively employed in His service, and, as good and faithful servants, accounted worthy to eat and drink with Him at His table in His Kingdom, (Luke 22: 30).  Let us press on, experiencing His grace and strength in our lives and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit through the Word of truth.]



We are conscious that our treatment of this wonderful and precious type is most inadequate and unworthy.  But if it leads our fellow-believers to a more careful study of the written Word, and to a deeper longing to become better acquainted with the incarnate Word, our feeble efforts will be well repaid.