By Heather Riggleman, Crosswalk.com
Are you missing out on the daily spiritual feast of the Lord’s hidden manna? You might be if you aren’t spending time with the Lord. Your first question is what is hidden manna?
We know about the manna that fell from the skies in the book of Exodus. During the 40 years between the time the Israelites left Egypt and entered the Promised Land, they encountered harsh conditions like the scarcity of food. They began complaining about how it was better to be in Egypt because at least they weren’t starving. In case you didn’t notice, the Israelites were stubborn, ignorant, and sometimes arrogant people. They had the Lord leading them, dwelling among them, and let’s not forget how God freed them from 400 years of slavery. Instead of asking God to provide for them, they complained. But God provided anyway. To alleviate the problem of hunger, God miraculously provided the Israelites with, “bread from heaven,” called manna.
The word manna in Hebrew translates to literally mean, “What is it?” “When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat’” (Exodus 16:15). This bread from heaven appeared every morning and God provided specific instructions on how to gather it.
What Is Hidden Manna in the Bible?
Hidden manna refers to the bible verse Revelation 2:17, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’”
To put it in simple terms, the hidden manna mentioned here is in a letter to Pergamum is an example of a symbolic illustration of Jesus. As the manna God provided to sustain and strengthen the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the desert, Jesus is the manna that strengthens and sustains us daily in our spiritual walk. Revelation 2:17 isn’t to be taken literally but to be interpreted as the benefits we receive of salvation by faith. This hidden manna is given exclusively to Jesus’ followers. Only those who believe in Christ will receive the benefits of it. In other words, Jesus is not speaking of something we literally eat. Rather, this passage references Christ as the Bread of Life as something we “ingest” spiritually.
When Jesus provided bread on two marked occasions in the New Testament, He also broke bread at the Last Supper, as a representation of how He would break His body for us so we would no longer suffer from spiritual starvation and provide salvation. This is also why we take communion—we take and eat the bread in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for us! Jesus became our manna.
What Is Manna? What Is the Manna in Revelation?
We know from the Scriptures that manna was the bread of heaven. It appeared every morning in just the right amount as food fuel for that day. Gathering any more than what was required would cause the manna to spoil. What did it taste like? Was it enough to sustain them? All we are told is that the manna was “like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers infused with honey,” (Exodus 16:31). Psalms 78:24 says manna is the “grain of heaven” while the next verse calls it the “bread of angels.”
We can conclude that manna was the literal bread of heaven.
What Is the Context of Revelation 2:17 and Hidden Manna?
During Jesus’ ministry, He often spoke of His mission: why He came to earth and how He would sacrifice His body for the sake of the world. After Jesus miraculously feed the 5,000, the crowd wanted Jesus to “give us this bread” as a new way to sustain them (John 6:34). Jesus told them He was the bread of life.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world…I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:32-35).
Jesus tried to get their attention off the miraculous bread He provided and to understand that He came to give Himself as the spiritual bread they desperately needed. But the people were too blinded by their physical needs of nourishment to see that Jesus was offering them something much better—true salvation and enteral life. The crowds couldn’t get their minds off the physical bread to understand what Jesus was offering (John 6:36-59).
As mentioned earlier, the bread Jesus was speaking about was the foreshadowing of the sacrifice Jesus would make on the cross and it is a reference to the manna believers need today. It is also the same manna mentioned in Revelation 2:17. This spiritual manna saves us from eternal death. “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die” (John 6:49-50). Jesus is the spiritual fuel, the spiritual sustenance we need—and it is promised to be new and fresh every morning with just what we need for the day.
What We Should Know about Hidden Manna before the End Times
The book of Revelation often sends us into a panic. We worry about what the last days will be like. We wonder when the end times will come. However, we are living in the end times. The end of days began the day Jesus ascended into heaven 2,000 years ago.
Luke 21:11 lists some of the natural signs that will occur before Jesus’ second coming: “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” While we cannot interpret every earthquake to mean the end is near, we can interpret these signs as well as the social and political signs as birth pangs. But we have no need to fear or worry, God has already gone before us to provide us with the tools we need to keep our faith foundationally strong.
In John 16:12–13, where the Lord Jesus said: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.”
These prophecies tell us Jesus will speak more truths to us and tell us all the mysteries we don’t know as well as things to come as we bend our ears to the Holy Spirit. This means the “hidden manna” we are looking for is actually at our fingertips. As followers of Jesus, we are given the bread of life as we read our Bibles, spend time with Jesus, listen to the Holy Spirit, and when we pray. We are remembered that God’s Word is “living and active,” meaning it provides us with God’s guidance, understanding, knowledge, faith, encouragement, wisdom, and nourishment to sustain us.
If we are not doing any of these things, we are literally starving ourselves of the rich nourishment Jesus is providing. Jesus has set a feast before us—if we are spiritually underweight, it is up to us to take a seat at His table.
Photo credit: Pexels/Mariana Kurnyk
Heather Riggleman is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor for Crosswalk. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 22 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and a contributor to several books. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.