The Manna from Heaven

By Markus Dammasch, Audio: mp3

The Israelites came out of Egypt and it’s an application to us. What does it mean for us to come out of Egypt? Following Jesus is not an outward show. It is not about what we do, what church we go to or the position we hold. It is certainly not what others think about us, but about what is going on in our heart. Outwardly many of us have left other churches behind, Babylon. We come and follow the truth where ever the Lord leads us. But what is going on in our heart? Leaving Babylon or the churches is outward, but what is going on in our heart? Do we continue to make progress in our journey coming out of Babylon or is there something in the way that hinders us? Is there something that prevents us from making continued progress? Let us turn our minds to the Israelites in the time of Moses in the Exodus. God had brought them out of Egypt. He had given them great promises and led them miraculously through the Red Sea. There is no way anyone could doubt that God Himself was leading them.

God provided for them the manna and water. He ensured that their garments and shoes would not wear out in the wilderness. He provide a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God did everything He possibly could to look after His people. Does He not do the same for us? He provides us with our temporal needs and Blessings beyond what we deserve. Blessings beyond what we know how to deal with correctly. One of those blessings is the manna which is called the bread of the angels. What a precious privilege for the Israelites to partake of the angel’s food. I have thought to myself, if I only I could have been there. I would like to have tasted it. But then I think the odds are against me of how many people? 2.4 million minimum and 600,000 men there were plus women and children and how many made it into Canaan? Two that were at the age of adulthood when they left Egypt. Maybe it’s best I wasn’t there but the relevance is exactly the same. Then or now, it makes no difference because their story is given for our learning. There are many lessons we will study throughout the course of this conference how their experience relates to us. How do we know that the Israelite journey had a spiritual significance for them? We know it had a spiritual experience for us. We have dealt with that but what about for them? What was the Lord’s purpose? This is the purpose since Adam and Eve and is still the same today and will be until the purpose is realised at His second coming.

Exodus 19:4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and [how] I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

What did the Lord want? He wanted the Israelites to be a kingdom of priests, a peculiar people. He wanted for the Israelites to be reunited with Him.

Deuteronomy 32:9 For the LORD’S portion [is] his people; Jacob [is] the lot of his inheritance. 10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: 12 [So] the LORD alone did lead him, and [there was] no strange god with him.

The Lord was wanting to lead the Israelites where to? To Himself. He wanted to lead them on eagle’s wings and bear them up to Himself. A spiritual journey because they couldn’t have physically travelled to heaven on their own. To learn what it means to reunite with God in spirit and in truth If we consider what kind of people that travelled out of Egypt. We read what the Lord did for them and does for us.

Hosea 11:1 When Israel [was] a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

God called his son, his daughter you and me out of Egypt, out of Babylon but who else out of Egypt? It wasn’t just the Israelites. God called the Israelites and they came but who else came out? Wasn’t it also a mixed multitude? Why were they permitted to come out as well? All have access to God’s righteousness if they desire it. The mixed multitude were not cut off, they were permitted to journey with the Israelites if they desired to serve God.

In a similar experience Judas one of the twelve disciples was not directly called by Jesus but yet was accounted one of the disciples. He had the opportunity to share in the same blessings as the others. There are many today who align with the truth and Israel and the disciples of Jesus but for what reason? Is it because they have been wooed by God’s love because God has called them? Or do they act by some selfish motive perhaps to promote themselves, perhaps out of fear? There are many reasons why people follow the truth and not all are genuine reasons.

And they went out, “about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them.” In this multitude were not only those who were actuated by faith in the God of Israel, but also a far greater number who desired only to escape from the plagues, or who followed in the wake of the moving multitudes merely from excitement and curiosity. This class were ever a hindrance and a snare to Israel. {PP 281.2}

What actuated them to leave Egypt? A desire to escape the plagues or mere curiosity and following the excitement? Many people do that. They follow Gods truth. They follow the church of God out of excitement. Everyone is excited here. The truth is being preached and I can see it’s the truth and let’s go along with the excitement. Or some say I have to do what is right as the plagues will come soon and I have to be ready. But it is not the ideal way to leave Egypt or the ideal reason to follow the Lord. What rebuke did John the Baptist give the Pharisees?

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

They were actuated out of what? Curiosity or fear or the wrath to come. They were not actuated out of love. In Gods church today there is also a mixed multitude. There always has been and there always will be. Jesus gave a parable of the wheat and the tares growing together until the harvest until the very end. Often we rationalise this parable and say it applies to Adventists.

There are some faithful there and some unfaithful. What about us? Does it apply to us? Are we all actuated out of a pure motive to serve the Lord or is the mixed multitude among us as well? I pray not but everyone must examine their own heart. I can only examine my own heart and you only yours. This class was constantly a hindrance to the Israelites. What did they do that hindered the Israelites?

Numbers 11:4 And the mixed multitude that [was] among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: 6 But now our soul [is] dried away: [there is] nothing at all, beside this manna, [before] our eyes.

Was the manna to be a blessing to them or a curse? The mixed multitude saw it as a curse. Why? They fell a lusting. What did they lust after? The flesh pots yes. That is what every good vegetarian will say. Notice all the other non-flesh things mentioned in the verse. Good things, healthy things and mind you, the fish were also healthy in that day. It was permitted, it was in Leviticus fish were listed and quails as well as healthy food. God said this was healthy food but it wasn’t the key point. The flesh or the onions or the garlic, the key point was that they fell a lusting. They lusted after the desires of their heart.

1 Corinthians 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

What was evil that they lusted after? In a theoretical manner there was nothing evil, it was good healthy food. But yet, the fact that they lusted made it evil. They were not going hungry. The Lord had provided them with food. When they said that was when they were already receiving the manna for some time and they were accustomed to collecting it, grinding it, baking it, and eating it. What was their experience in the wilderness? They lusted after the flesh but did they learn?

Psalms 78:29 So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire; 30 They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat [was] yet in their mouths, 31 The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen [men] of Israel.

They were not estranged from their lust.

Covetousness had not been cleansed from his heart, {ST, May 20, 1897 par. 1}

But he did not separate himself from sins so hateful, and purify his soul by obeying the words of Jesus. Instead of this, he took offense at the word spoken to correct the growing evils of the attributes of Satan. {ST, May 20, 1897 par. 2}

He took offence when Jesus spoke a word to correct his evil manner. Do we take offence ever?

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

Do we have great peace? These are signs and tokens that the Lord is showing is that he is either leading us, or we are walking a different way. When the manna was given, it was also one of the eight laws of health was particularly emphasised. What was said about the manna? How much was to be collected every day? One Omer. How much is one Omer? Approximately 2.2 litres but some other sources say up to 3 litres. But God gave a specific quantity which they knew at that time. This is how much you need for the day, this will strengthen you and supply your needs.

The law of temperance is very important when it comes to the health message which is the right arm of the gospel and three angel’s messages. We know the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance against such there is no law. Never is there an occasion to let go of temperance. Ellen White writes in regards to the importance of temperance;

The prosperity of a nation is dependent upon the virtue and intelligence of its citizens. To secure these blessings, habits of strict temperance are indispensable. The history of ancient kingdoms is replete with lessons of warning for us. Luxury, self-indulgence, and dissipation prepared the way for their downfall. It remains to be seen whether our own republic will be admonished by their example, and avoid their fate.–Review and Herald, Nov. 8, 1881.

The prosperity of a nation, the nation of Israel, did they prosper? They increased in number in Egypt didn’t they. But did they prosper? Did they prosper spiritually? Let us compare a few aspects of the Israelite wanderings and compare it with our experience. He wasn’t writing to the nation of Israel but spiritual Israel.

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

It is clear that the Lord designs for each one of us to be priests in His spiritual house. What was one of the examples that the priest gave us? We see the Israelite camp and in the middle was the sanctuary and the sanctuary is open and we see in the holy place three pieces of furniture. The altar of incense, the candlesticks and the table of shewbread.

Exodus 25:23 Thou shalt also make a table [of] shittim wood: two cubits [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 24 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. 30 And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me alway.

The bread was to be continually on this table. The priests only ate from this bread and as soon as he ate, he replaced it with freshly baked bread.

All the ceremonies of the feast were types of the work of Christ. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which the Passover was intended to keep in memory. The slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of first fruits, represented the Saviour. {DA 77.1}

With most of the people in the days of Christ, the observance of this feast had degenerated into formalism. But what was its significance to the Son of God! {DA 77.2}

Jesus said I am the bread of life. The bread which was always in the sanctuary needed to be unleavened, no taint of sin for the leaven is the sin. It needed to remain there at all times. It was always available but was it enough for the priest to minister in the sanctuary and clean the furniture and bring incense to the altar and admire the bread? No. he had to eat from the bread. This is very significant and we will come to it late.

Let us consider the great high priest Jesus when He ministered here on earth. Was He popular? For much of His time He was. We know that for some of the time He had 82 disciples and thousands of people followed Him. As soon as the word was out Jesus was there, people went there. They brought all their sick, those that were lame and blind, those that were eager to hear what He had to say, they went and followed Jesus. But I ask the question, did the people that followed Jesus eat from the living bread? Did they receive spiritual strength from Jesus or were they just caught up with the excitement and curiosity? The mixed multitude left Egypt because of excitement and curiosity.

Why were the disciples following Jesus? The fact that they all left Him every single one shows that none of them followed Him for the right reason. Why are we following Jesus? Will we forsake Him? Peter said never but he did. He didn’t know himself. Do we know ourselves? The Laodicean condition. We know not that we are poor, miserable, poor blind and naked. We don’t know our need. We don’t know our condition. What was the reason that they followed Jesus? The mother of James and John came to Jesus and what was her particular request? Some may say, the arrogance, how dare she, what about the other disciples they might want to be there. Can James and John be at your right hand? This was her desire. This would be a mothers dream to have her sons on the left and right hand of God but was her desire to eat from the bread of life or to increase the position of her sons to gain special favour for herself even?

Jesus did many miracles He turned the water to wine. He healed the sick and fed the five thousand but was that the reason why the multitude follow Him? Did the mixed multitude follow Him as they saw the miracles in Egypt and they went along with the hype or did they desire something more? Something happened in Jesus ministry that caused a problem.

John 6:66 From that [time] many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

Would they leave Him as well? What happened to cause the seventy disciples to leave? Many of them left.

John 6:2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

Why did they follow Jesus? Because they saw the miracles. It wasn’t because they were seeking for something more. No, they were Laodicean just like church is described to be.

Break thou the bread of life

Dear Lord to me

As thou didst break the loaves

Beside the sea

How did Jesus break the loaves beside the Sea of Galilee? This is something I’d like us to consider. More five thousand men besides women and children had gathered together and Jesus beforehand had wanted to go and rest awhile but the multitude followed and His heart went out in compassion to them. He couldn’t hide away from them as they were sheep without a shepherd. Jesus told the disciples to feed the multitude after He had been speaking all day and how did Jesus break the bread of life to them? Was it in fact the bread of life or was it just bread?

John 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered [them] together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

Here Jesus did a very great miracle with quite a few object lessons in it. Just as Jesus broke the loaves at this occasion so he desires to bless the word of God for us. Five thousand men plus women and children ate to their fill. They ate five barley loaves. How is that naturally possible? It isn’t possible. Not only did they eat and were filled or they ate until they did not eat anymore sustenance but there was more left over than what they began with. What was gathered up was twelve baskets full. Why was more leftover than what they started with? Isn’t that a well spring unto everlasting life? It becomes more and more and there is no stopping it. Jesus can multiply the bread, the word of life so much so that never does anyone need to go hungry. What kind of food was it that they ate?

The simple food passed round by the hands of the disciples contained a whole treasure of lessons. It was humble fare that had been provided; the fishes and barley loaves were the daily food of the fisher folk about the Sea of Galilee. Christ could have spread before the people a rich repast, but food prepared merely for the gratification of appetite would have conveyed no lesson for their good. Christ taught them in this lesson that the natural provisions of God for man had been perverted. And never did people enjoy the luxurious feasts prepared for the gratification of perverted taste as this people enjoyed the rest and the simple food which Christ provided so far from human habitations. {DA 366.1}

Jesus could have provided them with anything but he chose the humble fare, the humble food. When we come together for a spiritual conference or on Sabbath, we are to remember that our food is to be of simple substance and not for the gratification of appetite.

After the multitude had been fed, there was an abundance of food left. The lesson was twofold. Nothing is to be wasted. We are to let slip no temporal advantage. We should neglect nothing that will tend to benefit a human being. {DA 368.1}

How do we benefit one another? Remember we are applying this to spiritual food. If we receive spiritual food, what are we to do with it? Share it. There should be the same carefulness in spiritual things.

When the baskets of fragments were collected, the people thought of their friends at home. They wanted them to share in the bread that Christ had blessed. The contents of the baskets were distributed among the eager throng, and were carried away into all the region round about. {DA 368.1}

This is what God intends or desires of those who receive spiritual food from him. We are to take it with us from the conference all around Australia and abroad and share with our friends what the Lord has given to us.

After the wants of the people had been supplied, the fragments were gathered up, and Christ and His disciples ate together of the precious, Heaven-supplied food. {DA 369.4}

Couldn’t the disciples have eaten straighten away while they were handing the food out? Hand out, eat a little bit? No. when Jesus gives the bread of life to those that are ministering, they are to share it first and by sharing it, it multiplies so much so they have plenty for themselves as well.

We come back to the point of why did the disciples leave Jesus. What happened?

John 6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 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.

I am the bread of life Jesus reiterates. Did the disciples like that Jesus said that? They didn’t. they said it is a hard saying who can hear it? It’s too much. They didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about.

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

Without spiritual understanding, they are meaningless to us.

. It was Christ Himself who had led the Hebrews through the wilderness, and had daily fed them with the bread from heaven. That food was a type of the real bread from heaven. The life-giving Spirit, flowing from the infinite fullness of God, is the true manna. Jesus said, “The bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” John 6:33, R. V. {DA 385.5}

Even today, it is hard for us you and I to eat the spiritual bread the word of God. Why is it hard? Because it rebukes, reproves and corrects us but most of all and thanks to God it shows the way everlasting. What does it actually mean to eat from Jesus flesh? To drink from his blood? Some say it is to be partakers of His suffering. It could be but it means more than that. What does it mean for the priest to partake of the shewbread? Remember in his day as in today, the symbols had gone into formalism. Attending church has gone into formalism. Studying the Bible has gone to formalism. It is unfortunate but it is the reality. It is what the word of God says.

To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Saviour, believing that He forgives our sins, and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. {DA 389.3}

It doesn’t matter where you go to church or how much time you spend time studying the Bible or if you know the gospel inside out, if He is not a personal saviour it is of no benefit.

A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated. {DA 389.3}

This is what it means to eat from the bread of life.

A nominal acceptance of truth is good as far as it goes, and the ability to give a reason for our faith is a good accomplishment, but if the truth does not go deeper than this, the soul will never be saved. The heart must be purified from all moral defilement. “I know also my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness.” 1 Chronicles 29:17. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23, 24. {OHC 142.4}

This is what it means to eat from that living bread. To take Jesus as a personal Saviour so our religion is not a nominal acceptance of truth. Are we doing this? Isn’t that what we are doing here now? We come to conference as we love the word of God and we are eager to learn but are we actually eating from the bread of heaven? We know the end of the year is always a good time to reflect the past year. What has happened in my life? How has the Lord led me? What spiritual advancements are there in my life? Are there any? Have we been eating these past twelve months from the bread of life?

We know the parable from the ten virgins. They all slumbered and slept. They slept as they were Laodicean in condition and what happened as they slept? It is not in the parable but I will tell you. They had a dream. Have you ever had a dream either of good or bad that you are so sure it is reality? I had a dream once when I first got my license. A new car came out and I thought if only I could afford it and I had a dream one night and I went out and I was able to buy this car. I was driving around joyfully with my new prized possession and it was so real until the moment I woke up and realised how silly, I don’t have my car. I tried to go back to sleep to continue the dream. Why am I telling you this? The ten virgins had a dream and we can read it in Isaiah.

Isaiah 29:8 It shall even be as when an hungry [man] dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, [he is] faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.

They ate or did they? They came to the conferences, they studied their Bible, they knew the truth but they were dreaming, it wasn’t reality. There comes a time when everyone must wake up, everyone. Are we dreaming or do we have Jesus as our personal saviour? Has he led us in the past twelve months? Will He lead us or more to the point, we will let Him lead us in the next twelve months.

The earth’s history is fast coming to a close. We don’t have time to dream. Sometimes we can just day dream a little bit. Can we? Not in spiritual things. Day dreaming could cost eternity. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that by merely doing the right thing we are benefiting from the right thing. It isn’t so. The time is coming that the prophet Amos wrote of when he said that that men will search the entire earth looking for the word of God but will not find it. Unfortunately that will happen to those people that were dreaming and they thought they ate but they awoke and they were hungry. They had not eaten from the bread of life or the manna given freely to the Israelites. They did not gain sustenance from it. Don’t be a dreamer.

Amen.

Posted on April 21, 2012, in Hebrew Wilderness Wanderings, Sermons by a ex member. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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