Entering God’s Rest
(The Hidden Omer)
Anybody want to come up and give evaluating this passage a shot before I do the sermon? All you have to do is think of Christ and it will fall into place. Come up… please!
As I first looked over the passage, a feeling that comes from time to time took hold of me. How am I going to make a sermon out of this? For whatever reason, I figured it would be difficult to find a lot of hidden treasure in it. But as so often happens, I was completely wrong.
Even the last verse, which seemed wholly disconnected to the rest of the account made perfect sense by the time I was done typing. Like the last few verses of the book of Ruth, this verse seemed to be added on for no particularly good reason.
But there is always a perfectly good one when the Lord has determined it to be there. And so, let’s jump into the passage and see what wonderful things we can pull out of it.
Text Verse: “I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.” Psalm 119:162
As happens so often, with each new insight into Christ that showed up in these verses, I literally rejoiced as if having found great treasure. I hope you’ll rejoice over each nugget which is found here as well. What a wondrous and superior word! And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. A Holy Sabbath to the Lord (verses 22-26)
22 And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one.
The sixth day of the week is Friday. On this day, one of the miracles of the Manna is evidenced because twice as much Manna was available for gathering than on the other five days. Instead of one omer per person, there was mishneh shnei ha’omer or “double two, the omer.” This is what the Lord promised in verse 5 and this is what happened.
It would be unreasonable to assume that this is anything less than a double miracle. The Manna itself was neither natural, in either content or amount. The fact that it came to be twice as much on Friday only added to the miraculous nature of the event.
It should be noted that the Manna is called “bread” here and elsewhere. It isn’t merely called “food,” nor is it always specifically called by the name that it is given, Manna. Instead, it is called bread. It is a picture and a foreshadowing of Christ, who is the Bread of life.
22 (con’t) And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
This is what is recorded in verse 5 –
“And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16:5
There is one of two possibilities concerning the reaction of these elders. The first is that Moses relayed this information to them and they simply didn’t pay attention, or Moses didn’t tell them in order to see how they would respond to what happened.
Either way, it seems by their appearing before Moses to tell him about the great harvest that they weren’t sure what to do with the surplus. If they kept it, would it stink and be filled with worms in the morning? If they threw it out, would they be held accountable for wasting what the Lord had provided?
Either way, they seemed to be in a conundrum concerning what they should do with the double portion they had received. And so Moses explains, or re-explains, it to them.
23 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord.
This verse contains the first use of the word shabbaton or “rest” in the Bible. Literally, shabbaton shabbat-qodesh Yehovah makhar or “a rest – a holy Sabbath to Yehovah – (is) tomorrow.” Scholars are divided on how to present the Sabbath day here. Some argue that the Sabbath is to be considered an eternal institution based on Genesis 2:3 –
“Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:3
Some go so far as to say that there was confusion in the elders about what to do on the Sabbath because they had this double portion on Friday and they were confused about what to do with the second omer on Saturday. Would they be allowed to violate the Sabbath to prepare it?
This is nonsense. Nothing in Scripture shows that the Sabbath existed at all until this point in history. Not a single verse outside of Genesis 2:3 hints at this. And the text itself will disprove this.
Secondly, Genesis 2:3 only became a written fact at the giving of the law through Moses, and it will be written after this account in Exodus. Genesis 2:3 simply describes the fact that God sanctified the seventh day, but it goes no further than that.
There is nothing prescriptive added to the general statement which was made in Genesis. Thirdly, the reason is given for the Sabbath in the presentation of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5, but the reason for it is different in both. First it is based on Creation, and then it is based on Redemption.
Therefore, the Sabbath was uniquely revealed to Israel at the time of their organization as a nation to show that the Lord is Creator and Redeemer. Until this point, there was no need to mandate the Sabbath to the world. And to demonstrate that this is certain, the Lord told Israel that the Sabbath would be a sign between Him and them, a sign of sanctification. That is found in Exodus 31 –
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. Exodus 31:12, 13
Also, these words directly clue us into this because it says, “Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest.” It does not say ha’shabbat, or “the Sabbath.” Instead, it leaves off a definite article. If the people were aware of the Sabbath as an institution, it would have said ha’shabbat, “the” Sabbath. It does not. Instead, Moses was made aware of it in connection to the giving of the Manna.
Unfortunately, the KJV utterly mistranslated this verse and added in two definite articles which don’t exist in the Hebrew. They say, “To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD.” By adding these in, they have inserted inappropriate theology to the text which I believe has actually been harmful to the church.
And finally, in the same line of thought, Moses gives additional specificity by repeating the words and adding in the word “holy.” He says, “Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord.” The entire phrase smacks of, and implies, uniqueness and thus first-time instruction concerning Sabbath requirements.
The reason why it’s important to know this is because of the highly divergent teachings on the Sabbath within Christianity. Those who teach that a Saturday Sabbath is required for Christians will make the claim that it is an eternal standard of God that always existed for humanity. This verse shows that this is not true.
Much of this aberrant doctrine surely arose from the mis-translation of the KJV. Rather, only now is the Sabbath introduced into God’s redemptive plans for man. In the giving of the Manna is a picture of Christ. And, in the giving of the Sabbath in connection with the Manna is another picture of Christ. As He is our Bread, He is also our Rest. This is seen explicitly in Hebrews 4:3 –
“For we who have believed do enter that rest. Hebrews 4:3
By faith in Christ, our heavenly Bread, we enter into God’s eternal rest, pictured by the giving of the Sabbath. It is only a picture.
23 (con’t) Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’”
The Hebrew here is more expressive than our words. It reads “baking you shall bake and boiling you shall boil.” In this thought is more than just instruction for the Manna though. There is also a hint as to the unique nature of the substance. It wasn’t just something that one would eat uncooked.
It was also something that could be cooked in several ways. It could be baked or boiled. This means that it could be used as a base for other things like the addition of spices or sauces. One can bake bread, but boiling bread isn’t something we think of doing.
The nature of the Manna then shows that it could meet many different culinary needs and desires for the people to keep them from getting tired of the same thing. And yet, that is something they will actually complain about in the time ahead.
Moses’ instructions here are given for them to do all of the work for Saturday on Friday. In doing so, they would be able to keep the Sabbath holy to the Lord. Everything that “remains” would be kept for the following day. The Hebrew word for “remains” is adaph. It is the second use of it now in the Bible.
The first was in verse 18 and showed that there was no excess after the people gathered the Manna. Now it is used to show that there was not only excess, but an entire day’s worth of excess. It is a specific, miraculous exemption to the standard expected for the other five days.
24 So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.
Again we see the miracle of the Manna. It was either a miracle that caused the leftovers to stink through disobediently keeping them when they shouldn’t, or it was a miracle to keep the leftovers from stinking when they were obedient.
I showed in the previous sermon that is was a miracle that the Manna was caused to stink through disobedience. Thus it would picture our walk with Christ being corrupted through disobedience.
Christ is pure and undefiled. It is we who cause defilement through our sinful actions. Either way, a miracle occurred each week in the cycle of the lives of Israel during the time they received God’s bread from heaven. As Matthew Poole comments on this verse –
“So great a difference there is between the doing of a thing upon God’s command, and with his blessing, and the doing of the same thing against his will, and with his curse.” Matthew Poole
25 Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field.
Again, there is no article in front of Sabbath. It simply says, “a Sabbath.” However, this is the formal institution of the Sabbath for Israel as will be seen in the next verse, and so it actually precedes the giving of the law. It is implicitly so in several ways. First, through the giving of the name “Sabbath” to designate the day.
Second, because God provided in advance of the Sabbath for the Sabbath. And third, He directed that what was provided on Friday was to be prepared on Friday, in advance of the Sabbath. It is a picture of Christ coming after the giving of the law.
When He came, the law was annulled, and with it, the Sabbath day requirement was annulled. For now, the Lord expected rest when rest was given. The Geneva Bible states it this way –
“God took away the opportunity for their labour, to signify how holy he would have the Sabbath kept.” Geneva
It should be noted here that eating is not considered work. That may sound obvious, but fasting which is mandated elsewhere in the Bible has a specific meaning and intent behind it. Israel was not expected to fast each Sabbath, but when they were told to fast, it became an additional precept, wholly unrelated to the Sabbath.
26 Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.”
This verse confirms the thought that the first Sabbath wasn’t a one-time occurrence. Rather it was to become the standard at all times and as long as the Manna was provided. However, it could be inferred at this point that the Sabbath was then only to be observed during that period when the Manna was given.
It would be an incorrect conclusion, as we know. But at the time, they wouldn’t have known this. Hence, at the giving of the law, the Sabbath will be fully incorporated into what was expected of Israel, even apart from the times when Manna was given. Again, we might say now, “Who cares about that?”
But for Israel, all they have is an incremental giving of instructions as the Lord progressively reveals His intentions to the people. If the Manna ceased and no further definition of the Sabbath had been given, then there might be confusion as to whether they still needed the Sabbath or not.
Step by step, the Lord is methodically shaping Israel to become His obedient people. By giving them the Sabbath in connection to the giving of the Manna, He was preparing them for a time when the Sabbath would be required apart from the Manna.
Think about it! Which would have been easier for people to adjust to? Being given Manna and being told to prepare on Friday and then not work on Saturday, or simply being told to prepare food on Friday and not do anything on Saturday when houses were full of things they had stored up for through normal life?
The giving of the Manna for six days and withholding it on the seventh before entering a normal agricultural setting was a valuable preparation for the time when the Manna would no longer be provided. The wisdom of God is written all over this story.
Manna in the morning, what a wondrous sight
Day by day we get up and go into the field
And as occurs again, night after night
More is provided; a heavenly crop, a bountiful yield
And on the sixth day there is something even more
There is double the amount waiting for us to collect
It is a wondrous sight each Friday as we head out the door
Our Sabbath needs the Lord does never neglect
What a great God, one who provides a daily miracle
Our eyes behold what would otherwise not be believed!
But through the gathering of the Manna, the data is empirical
Any worries about what to eat on the morrow are always relieved
II. Israel called its name Manna (verses 27-31)
27 Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.
This verse implies one of two things. Either one or more of the elders was negligent in giving the instructions to those below him, or the people didn’t listen to the elders when they were instructed concerning what to do. One way or the other, there is either negligence or disobedience involved.
And either way, it is a reflection of the offenders’ attitude towards the Lord. We can very easily make this account into a useful example for us. There are churches all over the world whose preachers and teachers fail to convey the proper counsel of the Lord from His word.
That reflects an uncaring attitude by the one who is responsible for the people below him. It also shows disrespect for the sanctity of the word of the Lord. This in turn shows an uncaring attitude about his relationship with the Lord.
Or, it could be that the preacher or teacher is both capable and faithful and he diligently puts forth sound doctrine for those under his care. And yet, there may be some in his flock who simply disregard what they have heard. This shows an uncaring attitude towards the elder and the same towards the Lord and His word.
There are obvious variations on both scenarios, but we should honestly evaluate ourselves in relation to the word of the Lord from time to time. The care we show for His word is reflective of our ultimate concern about our relationship with Him. What a terrible thing to face up to on that great Day when we stand before Him and give an account of how we mistreated His superior word!
Concerning this act of disobedience on this first Sabbath, what is most surprising, and which is the exception rather than the rule, is that with the disobedience against a new commandment, there is no display of wrath upon the offenders. The Lord shows restraint towards these disobedient people. But, the next verse shows us that He, in fact, does care…
28 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?
This is a stinging rebuke framed in the form of a question. The first time the Lord asked such a question was through Moses to the defiant Pharaoh –
“Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.'” Exodus 10:3
It is as if the spirit of Pharaoh is dwelling in the people whom He delivered from Pharaoh. And it will continue to be seen in them almost constantly in the pages of the Bible. The next time this form of question is given will be in Numbers, after the giving of the law and as the people are being readied for entry into Canaan –
“Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?'” Numbers 14:11
Because of the rebellion, the Lord sentences the congregation to wander aimlessly in the wilderness until their bodies fall dead. Only two of them over the age of 20 will be spared because they defended the honor of the Lord. All the others perished without ever reaching the Land of Promise.
29 See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath;
The translation here follows the Hebrew properly. Reu or “see” is exactly what is being relayed. He is telling them that they are to perceive that the Sabbath has been given for a reason. It is for the people because they are His people. As I noted from Exodus 31 earlier, it was to be a sign that they were the people of the Lord.
Even though that hasn’t been stated to them yet, it is implicit in the fact that they are there with Him and He has given it to them. The Egyptians aren’t there, the Chinese aren’t there, and the people of Zimbabwe aren’t there. He is with Israel and He has given them ha’shabbat, or “the Sabbath,” for a reason.
It is now the first time in the Bible that the Sabbath has been used with a definite article, once again confirming that this is a new thing which has been introduced and which is now specifically defined by the Lord for the people. It has gone from the general to the specific. A new ordinance has been instituted for them.
29 (con’t) therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days.
What was implicit is now explicit. It is as if he is knocking on their gulgoleth (their sculls) and saying, “Hellooo, anyone home. I have given you bread for two days for a reason. I even told you the reason and what to do about it. Let’s go through this step by step…”
“Did I give you bread for two days any other day? No? Oh. Ok. And did I give you two days of bread on the sixth day? Yes? Good! And did I tell you that I wouldn’t give you any bread on the seventh day? Yes. So why would you go out looking for bread on the seventh day? Your new name is Filbert, because you’re a nut. Now listen closely Fil, because I have some instructions for you…”
29 (con’t) Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.”
Very few translations of these words convey the idea they relay properly. Two different words are translated as “place.” The ISV and a few others show the distinction. It says, “Let each person stay where he is; let no one leave his place on the seventh day.”
The first word is tahtaw which means “under.” The phrase says shebu ish tahtaw – “sitting man under himself.” It gives the idea of staying put. The second word is maqom which means “place.” It says al yetse ish mimmeqomow – “not let man go out of his place.”
There is a spirit and an intent that the people were to rest. However, there is a point to which these words were taken to absurdity. There are accounts of people having fallen down on the Sabbath and refused to get back up, lest they defile it. But in order to fall, they had to be up in the first place!
The Sabbath will be addressed and readdressed in the Old Testament, but it will be Jesus who truly defines what the giving of the Sabbath meant. In Mark 2, He says this –
“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
In the completion of His work, fulfilling the law, He is now our rest. The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath and we are in Him when we receive Him as Lord. Therefore, in Him, we enter our rest – a rest which truly was made for man.
This might be a bit complicated, but a picture is being made here that we shouldn’t miss. The Lord created Adam on the sixth day and it says in Genesis 2:8 that He then placed him in the Garden of Eden. It implies that he was made outside the garden and then placed in it.
The word used to describe placing him in the garden is yanakh. It carries the idea of “being set” and means the same as the word nuakh which means “rest.” It is then the same word used in verses 23 and 24 here for laying up the bread for the Sabbath.
Here we are being given a picture. God “rested” the man in the garden and this bread is being “rested” for the Sabbath, the day of rest. What we lost in the Garden of Eden, God’s rest, is being pictured here in the weekly Sabbath observance for Israel and which finds its fulfillment in Christ.
Again, Hebrews 4:3 is the key to this lovely picture – “For we who have believed do enter that rest.” It is a verse we should memorize and never forget. The picture was given for us to see and grasp today, while the instruction was finally obeyed by the people…
30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
This verse uses the verb form of the word shabath which conveys the idea of ceasing or desisting. The people ceased from looking for Manna on the seventh day. Again, it is a prophetic picture of redemptive history. Man had searched for heaven’s bread but it was out of our reach.
However, the Bread was provided in Christ. For those who have believed, we have received heaven’s Bread and have ceased from looking any further for it. For those who haven’t, they are still searching. But, in the millennium He will sit on His throne and the nations will stream to Him.
The six days of the week look forward to the seventh day of rest, just as the six thousand years of man under labor look forward to the last thousand years of rest under Christ. Verse 30 is given to show us Christ. It is offset to show us the marvelous picture of what He has done for us and what He will do for the world at large. Simply amazing!
Although they made no connection at all to Christ, Keil and Delitzsch say this about the gathering of the Manna –
“Through the commandments which the Israelites were to keep in relation to the manna, this gift assumed the character of a temptation, or test of their obedience and faith.” Keil and Delitzsch
They are exactly right and it is just what we are expected to accept in relation to our spiritual lives as humans. We cannot seize heaven, nor can we work for it. We must be obedient to the word of God and demonstrate faith in Christ.
The bread and the rest are completely tied together in this account because they both picture Christ and His work. If we have the Bread, we also have the Rest. If we lack one, we lack both. It breaks my heart that Seventh Day Adventists like Ben Carson have missed this. They have missed Christ.
31 And the house of Israel called its name Manna.
I explained this in last week’s sermon. The name is actually Man, not Manna. The name Manna comes from the Greek translation of the Old Testament. In Hebrew, man does not mean “what.” The meaning of the name is not agreed upon, but the name is Man.
31 (con’t) And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
The word for coriander seed is only used twice in the Bible and both times it is used to describe Manna. All translations agree that it is coriander, but some scholars don’t. However, it still is sufficient to describe the size of it, which is small and round.
Later in Numbers it will also describe it as resembling bdellium, a whitish transparent wax-like resin. Along with the other images given, we can have a pretty good idea of what it looked like.
As coriander seed is small and unnoticeable, it forms a picture of Christ – small in the eyes of the world and yet the only Source of true nourishment for the world. The color white may be used to describe Him as well. In the Song of Solomon, a poem about Solomon and his bride, picturing Christ and the church, we read –
“My beloved is white and ruddy,
Chief among ten thousand.” Song of Solomon 5:10
And interestingly, we’ve gone through over 2500 hundred years of human history so far, but the sense of taste in the verb form has never been mentioned until now. Meals have been cooked and consumed and fruits and grains have been eaten in the Bible’s pages, but until now, the mentioning of the ability to taste has been left off.
Manna is described as having the taam, or taste, of wafers with honey. But if you think of it, if you didn’t know what wafers and honey tasted like, you’d be kind of in the dark about the taste of Manna. However, honey is one of those foods that is found pretty much everywhere and throughout the entire world.
This is because honey bees have been domesticated in all places. Further, honey doesn’t spoil and so it can be transported anywhere. This probably isn’t coincidence. The taste of the very substance which is described as “bread from heaven,” and which pictures Jesus Christ, is pretty much universally known.
And therefore, we have another revelation from God’s word. The word is used to describe Jesus and it is said to be “sweeter than honey” to the mouth. Jesus is the subject of the word and is described in picture through the Manna as having the taste of honey. It is like a package which has been wrapped for the people of the world, even with a beautiful bow on top of it.
I will rest on the seventh day, in the presence of my love
Trusting in Him I will obey, I – His precious turtledove
He has given me bread to sustain me in His rest
I am filled with His goodness and have not a care
My tormented soul He has caressed
No more worries shall be found in there
I will eat of the Manna, heaven’s tasty bread
And sing praises in my rest to the Lord
I have not a trouble or a care, but instead
I am comforted as I sit and read His word
I have entered His rest; my soul has found a home
There at my Savior’s breast; never again shall I roam
III. An Omer for Your Generations (verses 32-35)
32 Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”
The last five verses of this chapter were actually written by Moses, prior to his death and before the Israelites entered the Land of Promise. The Lord told him that they were to fill “the omer” with Manna. There is a definite article in front of the word “omer.”
Although no commentary I read noted this, because of the article, and because of the words of verse 36 to come, I would suggest that “the omer” is referring to the exact measuring device that was used to establish what an omer is.
In other words, specific measuring devices for these amounts were maintained so that any deviations or cheaters could be challenged by comparing against the known standard maintained by the priests. “The omer” then is the standard by which all other omers were to be compared.
It was this particular omer which was used for measuring the Manna, and thus it is the perfect picture of Christ as the full and perfect measure of what sustains us from day to day. The omer for perfectly filling the hungry man equates to Christ for perfectly filling the hungry soul.
33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations.”
From this verse, we also know that this omer of Manna was collected prior to Numbers 33:38 which is where Aaron’s death and burial is recorded. That was in the 40th year after leaving Egypt and just before the recording of the book of Deuteronomy.
After his instruction from the Lord for the Manna to be collected, Moses in turn instructed Aaron to take the omer and put it in a pot. The reason for this might not seem evident, but it is explicitly stated in the verse – it was to be laid up before the Lord.
Only Aaron was allowed to enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle. It was a right that even Moses was not ordained for. Therefore, and for this reason, we are given the minute details of what has transpired. The Lord spoke to Moses and Moses instructed that the Manna be collected for this special purpose.
And then he instructed Aaron to take what was collected and place it in a pot because he was the one authorized to comply with the directive. This pot in which the omer was placed was made of pure gold, as we learn from Hebrews 9:4. The pot used by Aaron is called a tsintseneth, a word used only here in the whole Bible.
It comes from, tsen, which means “thorn.” Thus the Manna was to be adorned in a pure gold pot resembling a thorn. This then is a picture of Christ, the Bread of life, adorned in a crown of thorns.
According to Hebrews 9, this special jar was placed inside of the Ark of the Covenant. It is implied here that the bread in this golden pot would never corrupt throughout all generations. Thus it is a picture of the incorruptible Bread of life, Christ Jesus.
And this is confirmed by Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:3 concerning what is called “the spiritual food” that the Israelites fed on which, like the spiritual drink they drank, was Christ.
34 As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
Again, specificity is given here. The Lord commanded Moses, and Aaron completed the task. As the high priest, he is the human mediator for the people and the one to minister in the Holy of holies. And here it says he laid it up before the Testimony.
The wording is precise and it pictures Christ perfectly. The word for “laid it up” is the same word used in verses 23 & 24, yanakh, “to rest.” The Manna is “rested” before, or literally, in the face of the Testimony, meaning the Ten Commandments.
This is the first reference to them in the Bible. In Hebrew, they are called eduth. Thus the Ark is called arown ha’eduth, or the Ark of the Testimony. In other words, the Ark contains the Testimony. We’re still some chapters away from this, but the Ark in every detail pictures the Person and work of Christ – His life; His death.
As the Testimony is inside the Ark, it is a picture of Christ embodying the law. Therefore, the Manna being “rested” in the Ark next to the Testimony is again a picture of our “resting” in Him and what He has done. When we eat of the Manna, the Bread of Life then, as Colossians 3 says, our status before God changes –
“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3
We are literally, in the face of Christ, beholding Him through the gospel. This is stated by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4 –
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
Again, everything we have seen in today’s verses keeps bringing us back to the fact that in Christ we have our rest because of His work. His body, His crown of thorns, and His fulfilling the law. Memorize Hebrews 4:3, think on it, ponder it, revel in it, and be confident in it. We are in Christ and we have received our rest – a rest promised from the very foundation of the world itself.
35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
This would probably have been one of the last things ever written by Moses. The words of Deuteronomy were spoken to the people in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month. Sometime after that, as the forty-year period of wilderness time was ending, Moses then wrote these verses about the Manna.
There is no need to assume that someone else penned this after his death. Instead, he simply acknowledges that for the entire forty years when Israel was without a home, they were tended to by the Lord who brought them out of Egypt. In Joshua 5, the details of the ending of the miracle of the Manna are recorded –
“Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. 11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. 12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.” Joshua 5:10-12
Any later writer would have included that the Manna ceased, but this verse simply says that the Manna continued until they came to an inhabited land and to the border of Canaan, meaning the last spot where Moses stayed with Israel before his death.
He faithfully recorded the account and placed it here in Exodus 16 where it most perfectly fits with the pictures of Christ it is intended to make. Christ sustained their living bodies every step of the way.
And if this isn’t a perfect picture of us, receiving our spiritual nourishment until we pass over Jordan and into the true Land of Promise, I can’t think of anything else that would suffice. Every spiritual need we have is provided for in the Bread of life, Jesus our Lord, who is sufficient to nourish us until He delivers us unto our heavenly home.
*36 Now an omer is one-tenth of an ephah.
This seems like an unusual way to end a chapter which is so wonderfully used to picture Christ. Why on earth would the Lord simply add on a verse which seems so unnecessary? There are at least two reasons for this that I can think of.
The first is that Moses is explaining the word now, and yet retroactively from the end of the wilderness journeys so that when it is never used again, the people would know what an omer is by volume. The second is dependent on the first reason. It is that the word omer, as a measurement, is used only six times in the Bible and all six times are in this chapter.
After this chapter, the term “one-tenth of an ephah” will be used to describe this measurement. Why would the Lord do this instead of simply carrying on with the set measurement known as an omer? The answer is, of course, Christ. The number six in the Bible is the number of man. EW Bullinger describes the number –
“Six is either 4 plus 2, i.e., man’s world (4) with man’s enmity to God (2) brought in: or it is 5 plus 1, the grace of God made of none effect by man’s addition to it, or perversion, or corruption of it: or it is 7 minus 1, i.e., man’s coming short of spiritual perfection. In any case, therefore, it has to do with man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ.” E W Bullinger
An omer is what sustains a man for a day. Hence there are six mentions of the omer in the passage. But that is insufficient to sustain a man, isn’t it. There are actually seven days in a week. What about the seventh day?
It is there, tucked away for us. When the omer is mentioned in verse 22 it says “two omers.” Thus there is a hidden omer in the text. The miracle of the Manna is that because of the Man, Christ Jesus, there is always a sufficient amount of Bread to sustain us.
And because of the Man, Christ Jesus, we have now entered into God’s rest. The hidden omer is always enough to sustain the people of God, because the hidden omer is.our.rest.in.Christ the Lord – having entered into His rest as have we, entering into it through faith in Him.
Never underestimate the marvel of what God has concealed in His word. It is beyond imagination. I am sure for every picture and detail that the Lord has revealed for this sermon, I’ve missed 20 more. This wondrous treasure we call the Holy Bible is truly God’s majestic and superior word.
Now think of it… if God has put such tender and minute care into His word for us to see His Son, and people keep missing such details, even thousands of years after they were penned, then how much more do you think that He wants You to see the open and revealed message about His Son. It is a message of love and reconciliation. It is a message of hope for the weary human soul.
If you have never simply reached out and grasped this hope and made it a reality, let me tell you how you can – even today! Let me tell you about Jesus Christ the Lord…
Closing Verse: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:9
Next Week: Exodus 17:1-7 (Water from the Rock) (48th Exodus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
Entering God’s Rest
And so it was, on the sixth day
That they gathered twice as much bread
Two omers for each one, by the way
And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses instead
Then he said to them, at his behest
“This is what the Lord has said, His spoken word:
‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest
A holy Sabbath to the Lord
Bake what you will bake today
And boil what you will boil
And lay up for yourselves all that remains, I say
To be kept until morning, and it won’t spoil
So they laid it up till morning
As Moses commanded; as he did submit
And it did not stink
Nor were there any worms in it
Then Moses said, “Eat that today
For today is a Sabbath to the Lord
Today you will not find it in the field, I say
So do according to my word
Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day
The Sabbath, there will be none, so to you I say
Now it happened
That some of the people, out they went
On the seventh day to gather
But they found none, no Manna had been sent
And the Lord said to Moses, with no hems or haws
“How long do you refuse
To keep My commandments and My laws?
What is this disobedient path you choose?
See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath
Therefore He gives you for two days on the sixth day bread
Let every man remain in his place
Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day instead
So the people rested on the seventh day
Because the Lord wanted it this way
And the house of Israel called its name Manna
And it was like white coriander seed
And the taste of it was like wafers made with honey
Sweet and tasty it was indeed
Then Moses said, “This is the thing
Which the Lord has commanded to do
‘Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations
That they may see the bread with which I fed you
It was there in the wilderness, from my open hand
When I brought you out of Egypt the land
And Moses said to Aaron
“Take a pot and put an omer of Manna in it
And lay it up before the Lord
To be kept for your generations, not just a minute
As the Lord commanded Moses, he did relay
So Aaron laid it up before the Testimony
To be kept just as the Lord did say
And the children of Israel ate Manna forty years
Until they came to an inhabited land
They ate Manna until they came, surely with cheers
To the border of the land of Canaan, a sight so grand
Now an omer is one-tenth of an ephah, we are told
And that omer of Manna was kept in a pot of gold
What a marvelous passage of the Lord’s tender care
Of the people He redeemed, Israel
Out in the wilderness is the place where
These marvelous events occurred as the story does tell
The Manna fed them throughout those years
And the true Bread of life feeds us as well
So let us have no frets, worries, or fears
As we walk in this fallen world for a spell
Christ will surely bring us to the Promised Land
And when He does, it will be marvelously grand
Until that glorious, marvelous day
We will praise our God through Jesus the Lord
And we daily look to see what it does say
In His wondrous, superior word
Hallelujah and Amen…