Finding Hidden Manna and Grasping The Cup of Salvation (updated May 2015)
Today's Theme: Only Faith Reveals The Hidden Manna And The Cup of Victory
Consider how hidden by this world is God's manna, God's food, off the table of the Lord. We are called to seek out this new covenant food in faith, with eyes that see and spirits that taste all the bread and cup are and represent, to discover both this new hidden manna and this new victory cup.
The blessed bread from the table doesn't seem like much, doesn't seem supernatural in origin, just as the Israelites didn't think much of the manna whne they asked Moses "What is it?" (Exodus 16,15). The people were like kids looking at a new vegetable.
Moses had to tell them that it was from the Lord! Had to tell them what it was, and that it was good for them, and where it came from.
Then they had to learn to eat it daily in obedient faith- and to go searching for it tommorow (but not on the Sabbath).
Exodus16,4 tells us that God tested his people with the manna to discover their human and shared need for his sustenance, his bread, day by day.
They were each tested daily to find and eat only as much as each one of them needed (Exodus 16,18).
God used the manna to wean his people off of the false nourishment of Egypt. Oh, that we Christians would be weaned from all that is worldy and come to the table crying out for our risen Jesus found here.
Consider how hidden also is the cup of salvation, resting on the table of the Lord, inviting us each to seize Jesus as our salvation, as our portion and inheritance (Psalm 16,5), and to bear the kingdom away right now by faith (cf Matthew 11,12), and just like the Apostles, to be one with him by sharing his and our kingdom cup (Luke 22,18).
Likewise the example Judas teaches the eternal benefits of the cup are not automatic. He took Jesus' victory cup without any repentant faith. So for him it was judgment. He chose the cup of the world (Revelation 17,4-6), and sided with the powerful who told him "Jesus isn't enough for you, or us!"
But we come to the table for "real food" and "real drink" (1Corinthians10,3), enough for those who have the eyes and ears of actual faith to actually taste and see such such excellent fare.
Exodus 16, 32-34: "And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commandeth. Fill an omer [two quarts] of it to be kept for the generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt. v.33 And Moses said unto Aaron, take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, to be kept for your generations. v.34 As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the testimony, to be kept.
If this manna wasn't supernatural in origin, as is the fare of the table by way of our blessing, why would God demand that it be saved as a memorial in the Temple, as a testimony, as something that the future generations of teh faithful must see?
Revelation 2,17: "He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give him some hidden manna to eat."
1Corinthians 10,16: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [gr. koinonia] of the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ."
Psalm 16,4-5: "Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take up their names on my lips. v.5 O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot."
Psalm 27,5: "For in a time of trouble. He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of his tabernacle [presence] He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
Are you ready to learn something about the secrets, the hidden things, of how and where our Lord protects us, at the table of the Lord?
Psalm 116,13: "I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
Like no other "place" in our faith, around the table we are reminded that we are God's Spiritual Temple, his Spiritual House [gr. naos], his one holy priesthood, and as such called to celebrate Spritual sacrifices, of which the Lord's Supper is the pre-eminent memorial (1Peter 2,5, 1Corinthians10-12)
But the physical bread that we bless isn't just physical or symbolic of Jesus' body. It becomes a real Spiritual substance, "living bread come down from from heaven" (John 6,51), his risen body, by way of our faithful blessing. One can't have this actual Spiritual fellowship of 1Corinthians10,16, this communion, this koinonia, this actual Spiritual fellowship with a symbol or just a piece of physical bread. One can't have this actual fellowship around the table by way of Luther's mystical fundamentalism, or with Calvin's raising of heart and spirit to heaven in the eating and drinking, or the Vatican recitation of Jesus' words at the last supper, or by way of Zwingli's reduction of the table to mere symbols (see Table Meditation N.16 from this same series for what Christians teach about the supper).
We worship a God who was bread in heaven, then was bread come down from heaven in his bodily or fleshly incarnation, so why are we so reluctant to agree with his word that He feeds us on his risen bodily flesh?
Our actual fellowship comes by way of the communal blessing of 1Corinthians10,16: "the cup of blessing, that we bless..." Our status as temples of the Holy Ghost comes by way of an actual blessing of God, usually after the blessing of faithful water baptism.
Both these baptisms actually unite our souls in communion with God, and so does the blessing bestowed by God upon our faithful blessing at the table. Just as we recognize the communion afforded by the blessing of our one baptism, by the like precious faith we also can recognize this communion at the table where we taste and see the finest wheat..
At Revelation 2,17 the risen Lord promises the persecuted church at Pergamum "hidden manna." This interesting phrase may helpsus to describe the always seeking faith we need to experience the actual fellowship, koinonia, of His Spirit with our spirit, His Spirit among his body of spirits, that the scriptual Lord's Supper assumes and describes.
The hidden manna refers to the two quarts of manna that God required to be set aside in a pot according to Exodus 16,32-34 (see also Hebrews 9,4) and placed in the Ark of the Testimony, a most beautiful chest put in the Jerusalem Temple filled with the first treasures of Israel's faith, as lesson and memorial to future generations of Israelites.
As the story goes, when the temple was destroyed in 586 BC the manna pot was hidden by Jeremiah underground at Mount Nebo (2Maccabees 2,4-7, see The Book of Revelation, NICNT, George Mounce, Eerdmans, 1998, 82).
The point in relation to the Lord's supper is this: the overcomers in Pergamum were to be rewarded with a heavenly-Spiritual "food", something living and nourishing for them, something real, something actual right then at that time and right there, at that particular place, Pergamum (and also thereafter) but they were going to have to seek this food out, and want it more than the unclean "food" of Balaam (an insipid sell out faith that prophesies for money) and the unclean "food" of the Nicolaitans (an insipid food of dominating the people with legalism and political power).
This spiritual gut-check preaching that the risen Jesus put to the church at Pergamum sounds a lot like the spirituaLgut-check he put to the folks at Capernaum pre-resurrection when the people were being taught hidden knowledge about the post resurrection Lord's supper: "Unless you eat my flesh [1Corinthians15,44 Jesus had physical flesh in physical life and Spiritual flesh after He rose] and drink my blood [John19,34 everflowing as is the Spirit and Revelation 5,6 sacrificed and risen lamb always has Spiritual blood] you have no [everlasting] life in you."
In this most famous discourse, Jesus even goes beyond the manna, and particularly points to His risen body and blood: John 6,55-58:
"For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. v.56 He who eats my flesh and drinks My blood abides in me, and I in Him. v.57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me [has an appetite- ie really seeks and faiths] will live because of me. v.58 This is the bread which came down from heaevn- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."
In both the contexts of Revelation 2,17 and John 6 and back in Exodus16,32ff, there is a you-have-to-seek-God and be-really-hungry-for-God type of faith that we are to bring to the table of the Lord.
It is this keen faith quality that will reveal the somewhat hidden quality of actual fellowship with God, His Spirit to our spirits, while faithfully there at his salvation table, as commanded by the Lord.
Perhaps there is no other image more powerful and revealing in the bible than the cup.
A cup can only hold so much (Bruce Malina, Harper Collins Bible Dictionary, "Cup" San Francisco, 1999).
So, the cup of salvation (as Psalm 23,5) overflows with life and abundance.
But, the cup of God's wrath (Isaiah 51,17, Habakuk 2,16; Jeremiah 25,15. Ezekiel 23,31; Revelation 17,4; Lamentations 4,21) will soon overflow with judgment.
There is also a cup of staggering in spiritual-moral drunkeness (Isaiah 51,22 and Zechariah 12,2; Revelation 17,4).
This cup of wrath-staggering (overflowing with judgment) is filled with the libations of idolatrous hill-top debaucheries to Baal and Asherah in Israel, and the blood of the saints spilled by those who have chosen this cup of the world and its various idolatries and libations.
A cup also represents consolation in pain (Jeremiah 16,7).
But for us faithful the cup represents salvation (Psalm 116,13).
And in the Lord's Supper we thankfully lift this cup of redemption, the joyous cup of his and our victory (Psalm 116,13) over sin and death, and we shout in faith "All my trust, is in you, And I'm going to live with you forever and ever. Amen."
The cup also represents our portion or lot in this life, and our inheritance in the next and the kingdom. Psalm 16,4-5.
The Priests and Levites had no inheritance in the physcal land of Israel. Their portion was the Lord and their earthly inheritance was not in the tribal or family territory of Israel, but in the Lord's Zion kingdom (Micah4,2).
So likewise us Christians, who are all priests (1Peter2,5), our portion now is the Lord himself, and our future inheritance by faith is both Spiritual Zion now and physical Zion when Jesus institutes the kingdom by judgment.
There is no more concrete expression of our faith portion and inheritance than confidently grasping- for ourselves- the cup of salvation, off the table of the Lord, the one cup of victory revealed to us by faith and the grace of God.
And then we joyfully raise (bearing the kingdom away by faith) this cup of his risen Spiritual blood to our lips, and drinking it in to our fitting temples, to the glory of our risen King and Lord Jesus.
Most churches insist that somebody hand you the cup, or they distributes little cups to everybody, and there are many practical and hygenic questions as to these various customs, but when we are talking about the cup of victory it would be best if everyone came himself or herself to the table-altar and knowingly took the victory in his or her own hands and imbibe the victory in faith.
When we do so we are clearly stating to the world that "Jesus is My Lord and Lord of All, My King and My Victory."
Conclusion: The Table Reveals Hidden Blessings And Also Tests Our Faith
All this about the Table of the Lord sounds too good to be true, and yet it's all biblical revelation that is still somewhat hidden by our human lack of faith, or worse, ignored and or obscured in light of non biblical church politics.
Just as God tested Israel's faith obedience to him by forty years of eating a real and new sustenance from heaven (Exodus 16,4), so Jesus tests us today, at the table of the Lord.
Will we come to it with spirits open to what the word and the Spirit say about it?
Finally, around this table, Lord Jesus with our spirits challenged and open to the fullness of scripture, and the Holy Spirit, and hidden in You (Psalm 27,5), our rock, our temple and High Priest, open our eyes again to the wisdom and strength of your risen body and blood off this table.
In Jesus' NAME I Pray, the same NAME called down on the bread and the cup.
For video of the Lord's Supper:
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...