Friday, July 27, 2018

What is the Hidden Manna of Revelation 2:17?

The Lord Jesus tells the Church of Pergamum, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches. To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna and I will give him a white stone and in the stone a new name written which no man knew except the one that receives [it]).”  (Rev. 2:17)

Some identify the expression, “having been hidden,” with the pseudepigraphal books of Second Maccabees and Second Baruch which speak of the hidden ark of the covenant that the Messiah alone knows the location and will remain hidden until He returns. The ark contains the two tablets of the law, Aaron’s rod which budded, and a pot of manna (Heb. 9:4). ( Paige Patterson, The New American Commentary: Revelation (Nashville: B& H, 2012), p. 109)

There is another tradition within Judaism that fits the subject of hidden manna for the believer today. This tradition is also not in the law and no one knows when it came to be observed in the Passover, but it mysteriously appears within Judaism and incredibly points to Christ. The Passover meal is celebrated with three pieces of bread. Before the meal, one piece of bread is taken from the middle partition of a three partition cloth called the matzah tosh. The unleaven bread is broken in two and wrapped in cloth and hidden in the house. The hidden piece of bread is called the afikomen (Hebrew Habba’ “the coming one”).  After dinner the children of the house search for the afikomen as a game and are rewarded when found. Then the bread is broken and all partake of it.

The present participle of Revelation 2:17, “to conquer, overcome,” has the sense of,  “one who is right now overcoming,” or, “a person who is known as an over-comer.” The person who overcomes the world and its sway will in the future be given the hidden manna.   The expression, “I will give to him to eat out of the manna, having been hidden,” moves us back to the wilderness wandering and the manna that the Lord provided daily to the Israelite. It served to provide the necessary food for the two million or so Israelis moving through the wilderness. It can be assumed that the manna promised here is not for physical sustainment but for spiritual sustainment. Moses makes this clear as he says in Deuteronomy 8:3:

And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. (Deut. 8:2-3)

Our Lord applies this manna to Himself as He declares, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). The hidden manna here is Christ!

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. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:33-35)

As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.  58 This is the bread which came down from heaven - not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:57-58)

It is at this point that the Lord tells the disciples that He will return to heaven,

What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?  63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:62-63)

This hidden manna, is given in the future to the over-comer who overcomes in this life. That is, the manna of God is provided with three tenses: the past tense is Christ has come in the flesh, His body broken, He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, raised three days later, and ascended to the right hand of the Father (John 6:53-63).

The manna is present with the believer as Christ is the very One who sustains life as one partakes of Him in his or her daily walk (John 6:53). The present manna is called in theology our sanctification – our walk in newness of life, sustained by Him as we are tested and moved to maturity in Him.

Finally, there is the future tense of Christ as the manna. Christ our future manna deals with our final redemption where we will be delivered from our flesh to a glorified body in the resurrection. It is this future “state of being,” spoken of here. When our bodies will be transformed into something acceptable for presence of heaven – the dwelling place of God, where sin is not allowed and the corruption of an earthly fleshly body must be transformed into a body that is incorruptible and proper for the presence of God. Our future presence with Christ in glory will be fulfilled in the future as life itself has its source from Christ

The three tenses of Manna:
Past (John 6:33-35).    Christ’s broken body died on the cross, was buried, was resurrected three days later, and ascended to heaven. Our salvation accomplished in the past, trusting in this truth assured our indwelling presence in Christ.

Present (John 6:35,63).    Christ is the bread of life that sustains those that appropriate Him in their daily walk. Our sanctification is accomplished in Him and through Him, and by Him as we participate in the daily presence with Christ.

Future (John 6:39-40; Rev. 2:17)
.      Christ was the firstfruits of our future resurrection.  Our presence in heaven with Christ is secure as Christ is our firstfruits of the resurrection. Our future presence with Christ in glory will be fulfilled in the future as life itself has its source from Christ. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Jesus - The Son of David

The title "Son of David," is related to the humanity of Christ and the Messiah - the promised Anointed One of the Old Testament. That is to say,  Israel expected one from the line of David to be the promised Anointed Savior, Deliverer and  Ruler over Israel. This expectation was due to the promise made to King David that Bible scholars call the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:11-17, and 1 Chronicles 17:10-15). The Son of David was prophesied to come and establish righteous rule in a future eternal Messianic kingdom.

Davidic Covenant Promises (2 Sam. 7:11-17; 1 Chron. 17:10-15)

           Provision                                                                                                  Verse
  • David was promised an eternal house (dynasty)                         2 Sam 7:11, 16; 1 Chron 17:10
  • One of David’s sons (Solomon) was to be established on the throne after David    2 Sam 7:12
  • Solomon would build the Temple of the Lord                                            2 Sam 7:13
  • The throne of David was to be established forever                                     2 Sam 7:13, 16
  • Solomon would be disciplined for disobedience                                         2 Sam 7:14-15 
  • The Messiah will come from the seed of David                                            1 Chron 17:11
  • Messiah’s throne, house, and kingdom will be established forever               1 Chron 17:17-14

    The anointing (appointing) into the office of prophet, priest, and king was essential in the Old Testament economy.  The Son of David is essential to the incarnation of Christ and is essential to the requirement of a righteous branch which only the Son of God can fulfill. The fact of Jesus’ virgin birth is especially important with regard to the rightful reign of the Son of David over Israel upon the throne in Jerusalem since it was declared to the last sitting king of the royal seed of David that none of his descendants would ever reign again (Jer. 22:30). However, since both Mary and Joseph were from the line of David, Jesus is not a legal descendent by  blood, through the father, but by adoption. “Thus, by adoption, Joseph was able to convey the legal right to the throne upon Jesus, without passing on the curse of Jeconiah, while Mary conveyed physical descendance from David.” (Mal Couch, gen. ed., Dictionary of Premillennial Theology, p. 394).  Thus Jesus in His incarnation is uniquely both the Son of David through birth and legally able to fulfill the promise of seating on the Throne of David.

    Jesus is called the Christ (Χριστός) which is Greek for “anointed,” and is equivalent to the Hebrew  מָשִׁיחַ  (machiyach) “messiah.” The name Jesus (Ἰησοῦς) is from the Hebrew Joshua (יְהוֹשׁוּעַ “yehoshua” or Hoshea)  and means, “Yehovah is salvation,” and is likewise related to the promised Anointed One who will save His people. The unique link made in John 7:42 of Christ to the Son of David is foundational to Jesus coming in the flesh to deal with the sin issue, to die for the sins not only of Israel, but of the world. However, Jesus was raised from the dead in order to be our anointed priest today, who is at the right hand of God. But Jesus will come again as the anointed King and savior of Israel who will rule with a rod of iron from mount Zion. Amen.  

Jesus in John 7:42; Luke 1:31-33 quoted from Jeremiah 23:5-6   

40 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the Prophet."  41 Others said, "This is the Christ (Χριστός)." But some said, "Will the Christ come out of Galilee?  42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"  (John 7:40-42)

5 "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  6 In His days Judah will be saved (יָשַׁע , yasha’), And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jer. 23:5-6)

31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS (Ἰησοῦς).  32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."  (Luke 1:31-33)  

Jesus in Matthew 1:16 quoted from Daniel 9:24-27 (cf. Ps. 2:2)

16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ (Χριστός). (Matt. 1:16)

24 Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 25 "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah (מָשִׁיחַ, mashiyach, “anointed”) the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.  26 And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.  27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate. (Dan. 9:24-27)

Jesus in Matthew 1:21-23 quoted from Isaiah 7:14

21 "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."  22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:  23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." (Matt. 1:21-23)  

14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (עִמָּנוּאֵל “God with us”). (Isa. 7:14)