The Hidden Manna

The mysterious box called the Ark of the Covenant was carried around in the desert by the descendants of Israel and was finally placed in the temple, built in Jerusalem. There were several things inside.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus says than we will be given some of the hidden manna. He is referring to a bowl of manna that was inside the Ark of the Covenant. But my question is this: How is it hidden?

This manna was food given by God. It was given when there was no other food to be found. And it was given faithfully every day by God.

So how would we eat the hidden manna? When Jesus was asked if he wanted some food that the disciples had obtained, he said, “I have food you don’t know about.” What did he mean by that? As we read the story, we see he was talking to a woman who was amazed by what Jesus had told her. Jesus found it very satisfying. Jesus found doing the will of his Father to be as satisfying as eating food.

Now, are we interested in eating the hidden manna? Eating the hidden manna is doing the will of God. And how is it hidden? It is hidden to those who are satisfied with other food.

Are you satisfied with your life? That is fine, but you won’t discover the hidden manna because you are already full. “That hidden manna sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out sometime.” But only when you are dissatisfied with your present food will you desire a better kind.

What do you think the will of God is for you? Maybe you don’t know but are pretty sure you won’t like it. It’s easy to think that. People tell us of a strict God who will have perfection only. But let’s look back at the story. Jesus spoke to a woman. But what a woman! She was obviously a Samaritan. Common wisdom said best stay away from those people. And since when was it proper to talk to strange women? Jesus had to step past local social boundaries to do this.

So, we find doing the will of God may involve getting out of our ‘comfort zone’. But many of us have such small comfort zones anyway. “But someone could get the wrong idea!” But Jesus has the right idea and he leads this woman with a bad history to hope for a new life.

Are you happy with what you were told would satisfy your heart? You will discover that those things are not able to feed your soul. If we reach out for the hidden manna, we will find real food to satisfy our appetite for life.

Think again of those in the desert so long ago. They saw nothing to eat around them. Then God could give them this wonderful food they called manna. As long as they desired something else, they would be unhappy. But when they ate the manna, they found it satisfying.

Finding the Hidden Manna


Out of Time

How many close friends do you have? I have trouble sitting at a table with three others and balancing my interest in the various viewpoints. I’m glad God is not like this at all.

He can maintain an unlimited number of personal intimate relationships at the same time. And why is this? Because they are not ‘at the same time’ to him. In the beginning, God created… So time and place came into being together. And before that, there was no Time. But there is Time now. But God is not subject to time since time is a subject of his and nothing God has made is ever outside his power and authority.

Do you think the world has gotten away from him? Has this world, full of so many people, slipped beyond his control? Some think so. But it is not true. Why doesn’t he stop bad people? He will stop all bad behavior in the future but He has made men responsible for all their actions and will exact an accounting from each of us for our time spent on earth.

But this great God who is not held back by time and space, has sometimes intervened. This may help us to understand several incidents recorded in the Bible.

  • Enoch disappears from time and space. It says, “he was not, for God took him”.
  • The creation may have run over eons. There were no humans to measure the time. It says “day” but had that word been defined? Yes, it came to mean 24 hours but try to keep track if you fly east or west through several time zones.
  • Moses held up his hands and that day lasted several hours more.
  • Hezekiah saw the shadow go back up the stairs.
  • Phillip moved instantly from a desert oasis to a city.

But Jesus was subject to time and space for thirty some years. Yet it says, “And no man has ascended up into heaven, but he that came down from heaven, the son of man who is in heaven.” John 3:13 Many have tried to explain this passage. “It can’t possibly mean what it says!”

And why not? Jesus cannot exist in two dimensions at once? Are angels no longer ‘in heaven’ when they appear on earth? Where is the line? He could be present on earth and also be ‘in heaven’ where there is no time. We know there is no time in the heavenly realm because the angels do not age. There is really no problem to be solved here.

Jesus says he is not like others in that he came from heaven. He also returned to heaven. But before he did, he demonstrated that his body was not limited by time and space. Jesus implies that he has not given up being ‘in heaven’ because he was here bodily. How does John speak of him as “The Word”? He says The Word became flesh. Did Jesus stop being The Word when he walked on earth? Now be sure of this: I am not saying I know exactly what all this means but I think you must agree that Jesus is a unique being and this allows his turning up in the past as “The Angel of the Lord”.

  • Adam hears him coming.
  • Abraham has him visit him at home.
  • Jacob has a unique encounter and wrestles with him.
  • Moses takes off his sandals is his presence and hears him speak.
  • He is seen as a Pillar of Cloud and a Pillar of Fire in the Exodus account.
  • Job sees him as a Whirlwind and bows.
  • Gideon is shocked to be called “a mighty, man of valor” by him.

And Daniel sees “one like the son of man” brought before the “Ancient of Days”. Now, do we see God the Father here? Remember, it is a vision. Daniel had also seen several strange beasts in a vision. But this passage remains one of the most significant in the Bible. Jesus quotes from it during his trial. They saw his implication and were angry that a man on earth should say this. But they had demanded he reveal who he was.

Is Jesus any different than he ever was? Not really. In his nature and his relationship to the Father, he has not changed. He is the same wonderful being who enjoys being the Son of His Father. But in relation to the creation and men, he has changed and will change again. He will receive all he has been given by the Father and all things will be under his feet. But look what he has done already!

  • The Word did become flesh and live among us.
  • He did fulfill much of Daniel’s prophesy.
  • He has dealt with sin in a final way.
  • He, the Messiah was cut off, but not for himself.
  • He “put an end to sin, and made reconciliation for iniquity”

If he has done all this, he will surely accomplish all things. He has been glorified with a body not subject to time and space. “All power in heaven and earth is given to me.” Matthew 28:18 Notice the use of the word “is” not “has been” or “will be” but “is”, a timeless word.

But the writer of Hebrews tells us two things: “You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” and “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

And we read these words: But we see Jesus…

  • Made lower than angels for the suffering of death
  • Crowned with glory and honor
  • Made perfect through sufferings

And also, “he that sanctified and those that are sanctified are all of one”

So how then can we expect to become like Jesus who was ‘made perfect’ through sufferings without suffering ourselves? Remember that Jesus said to a man who claimed to have kept the Law of Moses all his life, ‘give up your wealth’. But he said more than this. When the man asks, “What do I lack?” Jesus answers, “If you would be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Did the man do it? Sorry to say, he chose something else. But many have read these words and laid hold on Jesus. They gave up much and received more. They became rich before God. Does God require that everyone give up their wealth? He requires more than that. He that gives up his life will find it. Those than have left everything, have found a new life with a different reality that fills the soul and rejoices the heart.

Paul tells us, in Ephesian’s that we are seated in the heavenlies. Do you believe it? You have place in the heavenly realm. But I’m here, not there, we say. So was Jesus ‘here’ and not ‘there’. Yet, he enjoyed his Father as he willingly served him. You know, he has always done this: loved and served his Father. He is seated at the Father’s right hand, we are told. And the same God can hold you up and deliver you into the timeless eternity. And again, he said, “I will be with you always”. Another paradox. Seated there and with us, with you, here.


Blast from the Past

In 1969, a movement that was later called The Jesus Movement, began in several places in obscurity. One place was Detroit where a fellow and his wife felt they should go and do what God was leading. In Detroit, with it’s mild summer, hippies were hanging out at a local park. The guy who came from California joined them and sat at a picnic table and talked with those there.

As the weather became cooler, they rented a 3-bedroom house. Meetings were held there every night and the place was open by day to all visitors. “Come back at 7 if you want to know what’s happening.” The house soon became too small and was filled with people with others outside listening through open windows. And this was in the chilly Michigan winter.

We were just one group but this was happening all over the country. Our group spawned several other houses but no place was big enough. An unused church basement was rented. We used the classrooms for bedrooms and held meetings every night where hundreds gathered. And there were always new people.

Of those involved in this, several became pastors. I saw one of them doing a funeral. It was the day before the 2020 lockdown. We were always going out and never stopped to call it a church. The houses followed a simple pattern: a married couple would be house parents and single guys and girls would be divided by gender into the bedrooms. One large house in downtown Detroit had four girls upstairs and 10 guys living in the basement along with one rat who often annoyed us.

After a few years, people were getting married and moving on from the dorm style living. But during this 3-year period a lot happened. Many groups reached out and connected. Many churches and ministries were influenced by long-haired, bible carrying people who had now rejected the hippie lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It was marriage, sobriety and Christian Rock for them. Never in that three years did anyone ask for money, yet money was donated in abundance. Sometimes we would find bills tucked in the kitchen cupboards after a meeting.

People would say things like, “I read this book by a guy in Europe. I’m going to go study with him.” And he would do it. He came back years later with a Swedish wife. Others would read about far flung mission work and go and do it.

As far as I know, no one from our group or any other people I met ever asked anyone for money to support their ministry work. Guys often picked up jobs and contributed to the houses allowing others to keep the doors open to all.

One couple got married and ended up in China working with an underground movement that influenced many thousands of young Chinese tired of ‘Godless Communism’. Actually, almost everyone was tired of Communism in China. It had not worked at all.

I went visit my friends in Beijing and met many exuberant young Christians. I witnessed two events involving money. Once my friend opened a drawer to give someone some money. The large drawer was filled with Chinese 100 yuan bills. This was money used for ministry. They lived on their salary as English teachers, working sometimes at major universities in Beijing. Again, a fellow stopped by one evening and handed my friend a fat envelope. My friend looked inside and said, “This is a lot of money. Are you sure?” “Just use it for your ministry,” was the reply.

Another fellow ran an orphanage here in the States. He cared for a couple dozen children for two years and never asked for money.

Some started groups they were later kicked out of as the group matured. Others would leave the leadership to others and start something new somewhere else.

Our leader, and my mentor, was a strange fellow. He always dressed in costume and rarely ordinary clothes. He went through various phases and outfits. He maintained a full beard. The last time I saw him, he looked exactly like Santa with a long white beard. He said he couldn’t shave because his hands shook with tremors now. He even kept small toys in his pockets which he would give to children all year round.

He had several well-paying jobs and started two companies. He seemed to have a problem with success. As the company would grow, he would walk away and do something else. He worked for a government agency and set up classes in first aid training after he walked away from a ambulance company he started. The boss called him into the office and told him he needed to use all the money in the budget. But we have created all the classes you wanted and hired all the teachers and staff needed, he countered. But if we don’t use all the money, they will cut our budget next year was the reply. He resigned on the spot wanting no part of inflating costs for no good reason.

Of those I have kept track of, none became famous, few wrote books but just served quietly without fanfare. Some ended their lives in lonely places without giving up their faith.

I can only tell what I saw and heard myself during the years. One last note: a young man named Jordan, at our small, local fellowship, is a third generation result of a fellowship overseen by his Jewish grandfather, who was very important in my life. I still hold his memory dear. I say to myself, “He is no longer here. But I am and what am I doing to fill his space?”