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The Revelation of Jesus Christ: Chapter 15 - The Divine Food of Our Heavenly Life

By Horatius Bonar


      "To him who overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna." --Revelation 2:8-17.

      The angel of the Church in Pergamos is both commended and reproved. Not a little of evil, of laxity, of unsound doctrine, was found in that Church; yet not a little of steadfastness and martyr-boldness for Christ. She is rebuked, she is warned, she is encouraged; and she gets a glorious promise--of the hidden manna, of the white stone, and of the new name. It is to the first of these that we would now look--the manna 'hidden,' or 'treasured up'--as the reward of the conqueror; for these seven rewards are specially to 'him who overcomes.' As believers, we get eternal life; as warriors and conquerors, we get special rewards--the rewards of victory from our mighty Captain. For true religion is not a thing of ease, and luxury, and comfort; but of conflict, and effort, and wrestling. He who knows it only as the former, and not as the latter, ought to conclude that he does not know it at all. It is not for parade, or show, or a name, that Christ enlists His soldiers, but for stern battle, for hard toil, for wounds and pain, and continual facing of the enemy.

      I. The MANNA. The manna was wilderness-food--in connection with tent-life, water from the rock, and the journeyings of pilgrimage. Israel had not known it previously--they asked what it was. It was connected with the desert, but it did not grow there. It came down from heaven; it was 'angels' food;' the 'bread of the mighty.' It sustained Israel, but did not make them immortal; it was simply food for the body given them daily by God--until they reached Canaan. Let us keep these things in mind, for the manna of which our text speaks is in several aspects a contrast to all these.

      II. The HIDDEN manna. The word 'hidden' does not so much refer to a thing secreted or concealed, as to a thing carefully treasured up and preserved, like a precious gem--as when it is said, 'Your life is hidden with Christ in God.'

      This hidden manna is evidently Christ Himself, or something directly coming from Him, and connected with Him. Christ, as the heavenly food of our glorified being, may be said to be the hidden manna--just as He is the tree of life, and the morning star. Christ, as risen and glorified--Christ in certain peculiar aspects and relations connected with the future glory--is the hidden manna. Not simply Christ--for even here we feed on Him as the bread of life; we eat His flesh, and drink His blood; our daily hunger is satisfied with Him--but Christ, as connected with the holy of holies--the immediate presence and bosom of the Father.

      The word 'hidden' refers to the golden pot of manna which was preserved in the ark, under the mercy-seat, along with Aaron's rod and the tables of the covenant. The manna was taken from off the sands of the desert, put into an urn, and placed, for all ages, in the holy of holies, in remembrance of the desert food, and as a type of something better yet to be revealed.

      This 'hidden manna' was both like and unlike the manna of the wilderness--it was connected with it, yet also separate. It was of heaven originally (John 6:31); it came down to earth; it was taken into the holiest of all, the emblem of the heaven of heavens; and thus was both of earth and heaven. It was of the wilderness, yet not in it. It was originally corruptible, yet made incorruptible; once a daily gift, spread over all the sand of the desert, now gathered into one small vessel, and laid up there once for all. It was in the ark, covered with the blood, beneath the cherubim and the glory; food that could only be reached through blood, and could only be for those whom blood had redeemed. Man had eaten 'angels food'--but now this had become the food of men--not only of men here, in weakness and wandering--but of the glorified in the New Jerusalem.

      This hidden manna is (in conjunction with the tree of life) the special food of the redeemed; the nourishment of the new and glorified life, both of body and soul. It is set down on the great banquet table, in the high banquet hall. As in the upper-room in Jerusalem Jesus said, 'Take, eat, this is my body, broken for you,' so in like manner will He take the hidden manna, and present it to His own as their special food; and if the 'Take, eat,' from His lips below be so loving and precious, what will it be in the Jerusalem above--'Take, eat, this is my glorified self!'' And if that which symbolizes His death be so sweet and nourishing, what will that be which symbolizes His endless life! Then we shall fully know what the apostle meant when he said, 'We are saved by His life' (Romans 5:10). The bread of the Lord's Supper speaks of death, speaks of death--the hidden manna of life only. The one speaks of shame and humiliation--the other of glory and immortality.

      This hidden manna is food for the kingdom--the kingdom of the risen and the glorified. It is Christ's resurrection-life, for those who are partakers of His resurrection. It is the food of the royal priesthood--the food of the conquerors--food that reminds them of their desert weariness, and hunger, and warfare, yet food which assures them that they shall hunger no more, but shall feed on that which is immortal, incorruptible, and divine.

      It is food for eternity--everlasting nourishment. And all out of the one golden pot, the one Christ--the glorified Immanuel. That one golden pot is like the widow's cruse and barrel--it fails not. It will suffice for that multitude which no man can number, and it will suffice forever! Like the one tree of life, so this one pot of manna will supply millions eternally. Out of it we shall feed--out of Christ's glorified fullness we shall be nourished. Our life is hidden with Him in God; for it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell. 'The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them'--and feed them on Himself.

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Book of the Last Days
   Chapter 2 - The Grace and Peace of the Three-One God
   Chapter 3 - The Chief Among Ten Thousand
   Chapter 4 - The Great Advent
   Chapter 5 - The Fullness of the God-Man
   Chapter 6 - The Voice from Patmos to the Churches
   Chapter 7 - The Seven Golden Lamps
   Chapter 8 - The Glory of the Son of Man
   Chapter 9 - Fear and its Remedy
   Chapter 10 - The Symbolic Sevens
   Chapter 11 - Watchman, What of the Night?
   Chapter 12 - Self-Denial Christianity
   Chapter 13 - First Love Left
   Chapter 14 - Paradise and the Tree of Life
   Chapter 15 - The Divine Food of Our Heavenly Life
   Chapter 16 - The Morning Star
   Chapter 17 - The Fullness of the Holy Spirit
   Chapter 18 - The Key of David
   Chapter 19 - The Church's Little Strength, and the Lord's Great Love
   Chapter 20 - The Philadelphian Conqueror
   Chapter 21 - The Charity of the Lord Jesus
   Chapter 22 - The Heavenly Merchant and His Goods
   Chapter 23 - The Love and the Discipline
   Chapter 24 - Christ's Loving Earnestness
   Chapter 25 - The Victory and the Crown
   Chapter 26 - Glory to the Glorious One
   Chapter 27 - The Weakness and the Power of Christ
   Chapter 28 - How Long?
   Chapter 29 - The Recompense of Martyrdom
   Chapter 30 - Pent-Up Judgment
   Chapter 31 - The Great Multitude
   Chapter 32 - The Earthly and the Heavenly
   Chapter 33 - The All-Fragrant Incense
   Chapter 34 - The Cross of the Lord Jesus
   Chapter 35 - Strangership and Pilgrimage
   Chapter 36 - The Heavenly Song of Victory
   Chapter 37 - The Blood of the Covenant
   Chapter 38 - The Church Dwelling Alone
   Chapter 39 - The Model of a Holy Life
   Chapter 40 - The Everlasting Gospel
   Chapter 41 - The Swift and Sudden Advent
   Chapter 42 - The One Witness and the One Testimony
   Chapter 43 - The Great Prophetic Theme
   Chapter 44 - Messiah's Many Crowns
   Chapter 45 - The First Resurrection
   Chapter 46 - The Great White Throne
   Chapter 47 - Death and the Grave
   Chapter 48 - The Vision of the Restitution of all Things
   Chapter 49 - God's Tabernacle on Earth
   Chapter 50 - The Coming of the Perfect, and the Departure of the Imperfect
   Chapter 51 - The New Things of God
   Chapter 52 - The Conqueror's Reward and the Coward's Doom
   Chapter 53 - The Glorious Bride
   Chapter 54 - The Holy City
   Chapter 55 - The Light of the New Jerusalem
   Chapter 56 - The Life River
   Chapter 57 - The Tree with its Twelve Harvests
   Chapter 58 - The Serving and the Reigning
   Chapter 59 - The Curse Cancelled, and the Kingdom Begun
   Chapter 60 - The Vision of God
   Chapter 61 - Entrance Into the City
   Chapter 62 - Come, O Savior! Come, O Sinner!
   Chapter 63 - The Divine Word, and the Doom of its Defacers
   Chapter 64 - The Free Love of Christ
   Chapter 65 - The Last Amen

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