Ex 16:15                    Manna, the Bread of Life                          11/1/2009      ßà   

  • Christ the Word, the Food for Our Souls (John 6:31-34,47-58, Heb 9:28, 10:7, Psalm 40:7, John 5:39, Luke 16:31, Psalm 119:18)




#1.       The Glory of God’s Grace (Ex 16:3, John 1:11, Matt 8:20, Ex 16:10, John 1:14, 2Cor 4:6, Eph 4:10, 1Cor 15:47)




  • A Free Gift to the Elect of God (Ex 16:15, Isa 55:1, John 3:16-17, 2Cor 9:15, Ex 16:4, John 17:19, 10:11, Eph 2:3, Matt 1:21, John 1:13, Ex 16:14, Matt 12:30)




  • Individual Needs (Ex 16:16, John 1:12-13, Rom 1:16, Mark 16:16, Heb 3:17, Eph 5:25, Gal 2:20, Ex 16:4, Luke 11:3, Ex 16:16-17, Isa 53:3)




  • The Spotless Lamb of God (Num 11:9, Gen 3:19, Heb 10:5, Luke 1:35, Ex 16:31, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 7:26, 1Pet 1:19, Song 2:3, 5:13,16, Psalm 104:34)




  • Remember His Atonement (Isa 53:5, Ex 16:23-24, Psalm 16:10, Ex 16:33, Heb 9:24, Psalm 78:25)




  • A Gift to Helpless People (Rom 5:6, Rev 2:17)




Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 6:31 (2X). Last week I showed you 15 different ways in which the manna was a picture of the written Word of God, also known as “the Scriptures.” And while I was doing that you might have wondered why I forgot to mention that the manna also represented the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, I did not forget. I wanted to reserve all the time today to speak of the manna as a type or a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to show you this in twenty different ways. So, today I want us to focus on:

  • Christ the Word, the Food for Our Souls (John 6:31-34,47-58, Heb 9:28, 10:7, Psalm 40:7, John 5:39, Luke 16:31, Psalm 119:18)

The children of Israel enjoyed their manna primarily as food for the body. They were grateful for God letting them stay alive. But then the Lord Jesus told them that manna represented the spiritual bread from heaven, which is worth far more than the physical bread to stay alive. We read in John 6:31-34,

Joh 6:31-34  Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

Two things the Lord touched upon: First, the manna came not from Moses, but it came down from heaven from God the Father. Secondly, the manna can be called the bread of God who gave them physical life; but the bread of God is also Christ who came down from heaven, and who gives spiritual life to the world. Christ is that “Bread of Life”. Please drop down to verse 47. We read in John 6:47-58,

Joh 6:47-58  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Not only the Jews, but many Christians today misunderstand this passage altogether. The Roman Catholic Church has derived from this passage the doctrine of “Transubstantiation”, which means they believe that the bread, or the unleavened wafers, and the wine, or the grape juice, are changed into the literal flesh and blood of Christ every time that they celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The consequence of this belief is that Christ is crucified again every time that they have a mass. But this is contrary to the Bible, for in Heb 9:28 we read, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” This fact that Christ was offered only once is repeated seven times throughout Heb 7, 9 and 10. Therefore the Roman Catholic mass is an accursed idolatry, and this was already stated in the year 1563, in the Heidelberg Catechism. What then is the Lord Jesus speaking about in this passage in John 6:47-58? When the Lord said, “I am that bread of life” He was referring both to the manna and to the Scriptures as representing Himself. We become partakers of Christ when we read and absorb the Scriptures, which is the spiritual food for our soul. This is the type of food which God has so graciously provided for 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. That is why we read in Heb 10:7, as well as in Psalm 40:7, “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.” And that is why we also read in John 5:39, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Therefore 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 on Christ Himself that we truly feed upon the written Word. And so, in this sermon we shall confine our attention to the manna typifying the person and perfections of the Lord Jesus Christ. It should be our chief delight to find in the OT Scriptures those types and figures which foreshadow Him of whom Moses and the prophets did write (Luke 16:31). We join with the writer of Psalm 119:18 who said, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law”.

#1.       The Glory of God’s Grace (Ex 16:3, John 1:11, Matt 8:20, Ex 16:10, John 1:14, 2Cor 4:6, Eph 4:10, 1Cor 15:47)

Please turn now to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 16:3 (2X). We are now going to focus on four events which show us parallels between the descent of the manna and the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ, and which show us the glory of God’s grace instead of His wrath. #1. The first parallel between the manna and Christ was the occasion of the giving of the manna. What was the occasion? We read in Ex

Ex 16:3  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.

This was a horrible show of unbelief, and ingratitude, and rebellion against God. God should have stamped them out then and there. But instead God gave them the manna. And look at the condition of the world into which the Lord of glory descended. We read in John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” He came to the Jews in the physical sense, and the Jews rejected Him. He came to the elect of God, which were His own people in the spiritual sense, and even they did not want Him. The Bible says, “there is none that seeketh after God, no not one!” If God wanted to save some people,

then God has to do it all by Himself; and that is what He did. Christ saved us in spite of our rebellion.

#2.            The place where the manna fell is highly significant. It was in the Wilderness of Sin that the manna fell. And although this word Sin was an Egyptian word, it would have been impossible to select a more fitting title to describe the character of that world where the Son of God descended. A wilderness of sin was this world to the Holy One of God. What is a wilderness? A wilderness is a homeless place. This world was a homeless place to the Son of God. At His birth there was no room for Him at the inn. During His ministry there was no place where to lay His head, for the Lord Jesus said in Matt 8:20,

Mt 8:20  And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

When He died He occupied a borrowed grave for His crucified body. A wilderness of sin. Never was it more apparent than when the Sinless One walked on this earth. This tells us how the Light of the world exposes the hidden sins of darkness. It always does.

#3. The Glory of the Lord was linked to the giving of the manna. We read in Ex 16:10,

Ex 16:10  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.

This is the first time that we read in the Scriptures of the appearing of “the glory of the Lord.” And look how accurate this typology is. Not until the Son of God became incarnate was the glory of the Lord fully revealed. When the eternal Word became flesh and tabernacled among men, then the Apostle John declared in John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Moreover, we can read in 2Cor 4:6 that “the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”

#4. The manna came down from heaven. The manna was not a product from this earth. It came down from God. It was a gift from heaven. Likewise the Lord Jesus Christ was not a product from this earth. He came down from heaven as a gift from God for unworthy sinners. We read in Eph 4:10, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.” This refers to Christ who descended out of heaven, and which is the same Person who also ascended up after His resurrection far above all created heavens, that He might be the Lord of heaven and earth. We read in 1Cor 15:47, “The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy: the second Man (Jesus Christ) is the Lord from heaven.” He is called “the Lord from heaven.” Let us now look at:

  • A Free Gift to the Elect of God (Ex 16:15, Isa 55:1, John 3:16-17, 2Cor 9:15, Ex 16:4, John 17:19, 10:11, Eph 2:3, Matt 1:21, John 1:13, Ex 16:14, Matt 12:30)

#5. The manna was a free gift from God. And Moses said unto them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat” (Ex 16:15). They did not have to do anything to receive this manna. It was given without money and without price (Isa 55:1). It was a token of God’s grace and love for His elect. “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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17) That is the world of the elect. Let us join with the Apostle Paul in 2Cor 9:15 in saying, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”

#6. The manna was sent only to the Israelites. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 17:19 (2X). We need to remember that the children of Israel were a picture of the elect of God. And thus, when God showers them with gifts, God indicates thereby that He will shower His gifts on His elect, who are the remnant chosen by God from all nations of the world. God said in Ex 16:4, “Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you.” Two truths can be seen in this verse. First, the manna was God’s provision for His elect people only, and for none others. So too, Christ is  God’s provision for those whom He ordained to eternal life. The Lord Jesus said in John 17:19,

Joh 17:19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

I sanctify Myself, I set Myself apart unto death for them”, meaning it was for the sheep only and not for the goats that He gave His life. The Lord Jesus said in John 10:11,

Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

And so, it was for the sheep only, and not for the goats that He gave His life. These verses clearly set forth the doctrine of Limited Atonement, meaning that Christ suffered and died only for His elect.

Secondly, the manna was also sent to a needy and foodless people. They were about to starve to death. But God has purposed to bring Israel to Mount Horeb, and His counsel cannot fail. And so, He made a complete provision for His needy people. It is the same now for the elect of God. “By nature, the elect of God are children of wrath, even as others” (Eph 2:3). We were shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin. But praise be to God, for He has made full provision for us. The Bread of life is our all sufficient supply. Therefore, when we read in Matt 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins”, we understand that “His people” does not refer to the Jews but refers to His elect people, whom God chose from before the foundation of the world. It cannot refer to the Jews, for we must always remember “Not of blood”, from John 1:13, which means “Not of bloodline.” No one goes to heaven on the coattails of his predecessor.

#7. The manna came right down to where the Israelites were. The manna fell all around 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 (Ex 16:14). And out of this nearness springs the sinner’s responsibility. All around each tent door lay the manna. Something has to be done with it. It must either be gathered, or trodden under foot. Sinner, what are you doing with the Christ of God? What are you doing with the Bible? Do we cherish and love our Bible? Do we have an earnest desire to do what is pleasing in His sight? Remember His searching words in Matt 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” It means, if we are not gathering souls together with Jesus, we are not proving to ourselves that we have been saved.

  • Individual Needs (Ex 16:16, John 1:12-13, Rom 1:16, Mark 16:16, Heb 3:17, Eph 5:25, Gal 2:20, Ex 16:4, Luke 11:3, Ex 16:16-17, Isa 53:3)

#8. The manna must be gathered by each individual. God says in Ex 16:16, “Gather of it every man according to his eating.” Likewise it is so spiritually. Receiving Christ is a personal matter. That is the essence of John 1:12, where we read, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Unfortunately, John 1:12 has been taken out of context too many times, and then it becomes a proof text for the Arminian theology. But clearly, the next verse John 1:13 corrects that misunderstanding. But the purpose of John 1:12 is that receiving Christ is a personal matter. Every person is saved individually. God says in Rom 1:16 that the Gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”, and God says in Mark 16:16 that “He that believeth not shall be damned.” This states clearly that unbelieving Israelites are not saved, and God says in Heb 3:17 that most of them died in the wilderness in unbelief. Even if we belong to a church we need to examine ourselves to see if we have been saved. It is true that Christ loved the church as a whole, and gave Himself for it (Eph 5:25), but it is also the privilege of each member of that church to say with the Apostle Paul from Gal 2:20, “Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” And so, we must remember to worship Christ individually, and do not compare yourself with the person next to you.

#9. The manna met a daily need. God says in Ex 16:4, “The people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day. The manna which they gathered today will not be useful tomorrow. They needed to obtain a fresh supply every day. 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. Christ must be kept constantly before the heart. And so, the prayer of every child of God should be, “Give us day by day our daily bread”, from Luke 11:3. Every morning, early in the morning, is the best time for it. Later in the day tends to slip away.

#10. Individual appetite determined the amount that was gathered. We read in Ex 16:16-17,

Ex 16:16-17  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.

Thus we see that the appetite governed the amount that was gathered. How true this is today of those who serve Christ. We all have as much of Christ as we desire, no more and no less. We cannot desire too much, nor be disappointed when we desire. On the other hand, if we are conscious of only a little need for Christ, then do not be surprised if we shall receive only a little for our spiritual needs. The measure therefore, in which we feed upon Christ as our wilderness food depends entirely upon our felt spiritual needs.

#11. The manna was despised by those who were not the Lord’s people. We read in Ex 16:2 that the whole congregation of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron. But there were some of the mixed multitude that was among them who were the instigators of this rebellion. They wanted more than just this manna. They despised the manna. And likewise, we learn of Christ that He was despised and rejected of men. We read in Isa 53:3,

Isa 53:3  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

The sin-blinded eyes of the natural man are incapable of seeing the attractiveness of the Lord Jesus. So too he sees not his deep need and the damnation that is waiting him. He sees not how Christ alone can meet his needs. And therefore he neither comes to Christ nor desires Him.   Let us now look at:

  • The Spotless Lamb of God (Num 11:9, Gen 3:19, Heb 10:5, Luke 1:35, Ex 16:31, 2Cor 5:21, Heb 4:15, 7:26, 1Pet 1:19, Song 2:3, 5:13,16, Psalm 104:34)

#12. The manna fell upon the dew, not upon the dust of the ground. We read in Num 11:9,

Nu 11:9  And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it.

What does that mean? Everything in the Bible has been put there for a reason, and most of the time  it is there for a spiritual reason and application. Gen 3:19 sheds some light on this passage. There we read “for dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.” These words were spoken to Adam after the fall, and the dust that God spoke of referred to the corruption of sin that was at work within Adam. Therefore dust speaks of the fallen humanity. Now, the manna fell not upon the dust, but upon the dew. And herein we see the uniqueness and incorruptibility of the humanity of Christ. The Word became flesh, but in His humanity the Lord Jesus did not share 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 the earth. Before He was born the angel announced to His mother in Luke 1:35, “

Lu 1:35  The Holy Ghost 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.

That holy thing” must remain holy, meaning special and separate from sinful mankind.

#13. The manna was white in color. 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 the Lord Jesus Christ. And even during His atonement He remained spotless as is reflected in 2Cor 5:21, “He who knew no sin”. God says of Christ in Heb 4:15, “He was without sin”, and in Heb 7:26, “Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”. And in 1Pet 1:19 we are told that He was a Lamb without spot and without blemish. In His walk through this world of corruption He contracted no defilement. He could touch the leper without becoming contaminated. He was without spot, pure, white.

#14. The manna was sweet to the taste. We read in Ex 16:31, “and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. Let us read a few verses from the Song of Solomon.

So 2:3  As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

So 5:13  His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

So 5:16  His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

The Lord grant that our meditation of Him shall be sweet (Psalm 104:34)

  • Remember His Atonement (Isa 53:5, Ex 16:23-24, Psalm 16:10, Ex 16:33, Heb 9:24, Psalm 78:25)

#15. The manna was ground and baked. This speaks to us of the sufferings of our blessed Lord. His treatment at the hands of the Jews and the cruel soldiers in Herod’s judgment-hall show us the beating of the manna. On the cross we behold Him enduring the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. And thus, we learn that the manna ground and baked speaks to us of Isa 53:5, where the Lord Jesus Christ “was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

#16. The manna was preserved on the Sabbath. God says in Ex 16:23-24,

Ex 16:23-24  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 to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; 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.

On the Sabbath day the manna was preserved. This also speaks to us of our blessed Lord. He is the only one who was preserved through death, for God had said in Psalm 16:10, “neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” In the grave He was preserved through the Sabbath until the first day of the week.

#17. The manna was laid up before the Lord. We read in Ex 16:33,

Ex 16:33  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.

Concerning the Lord Jesus Christ we read in Heb 9:24,

Heb 9:24  For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Moreover, the golden pot in which the manna was preserved tells us of how God is glorified in Him whom it foreshadowed. Although it is the Son of man who gives it to us; although it is humanity here that we know, and humanity in a form that we shall not find in heaven, yet it is humanity in which God is glorified now, and so He will be glorified in it forever.

#18. The manna is called angel’s food. We read in Psalm 78:25, “Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full”. This refers to the giving of the manna to Israel in the wilderness. But look now at Christ in the last epistle of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Christ not only feeds the souls of those of His people who are upon the earth, but He also satisfies the hearts of celestial beings. The elect angels find their chief delight in feeding upon Christ. They worship Him, they serve Him, and they tell forth His praises.

  • A Gift to Helpless People (Rom 5:6, Rev 2:17)

#19. The manna was given in the night. It was during the hours of darkness that the manna was sent to the Israelites. It was while they were asleep, which is a picture of man’s helplessness, for we are never so helpless as when we are asleep. So too, it was when we were in darkness and unbelief, impotent, and “without strength” (Rom 5:6) 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 Life shall return and give life to the world of the elect.

#20. The manna is now hidden. In Rev 2:17 we read,

Re 2:17  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.

So too Christ, of whom the manna is continually speaking, is now hidden. He is not seen with our eyes, and He remains in heaven until that great day of the Lord when He shall descend out of heaven with a great shout. Then we shall not only see the heavenly manna, but we shall eat of it again. Fresher than ever shall be His love and perfection of the grace that is manifested toward us. When we are in the NH&NE we will have arrived at the time of full enjoyment. We will be enjoying that which shall be our joy for eternity. We will be feeding on that which shall be our food for eternity.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.