What Is It?

The moment of truth had arrived – the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Sinai.

"And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt.

"The whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:1-2)

God's awesome power aside, the children of Israel admitted that life in Egypt wasn't so bad. This wilderness trekking, however, was totally unnecessary, a complete waste of resources and time. If the dry, howling conditions weren't bad enough, the lack of food and water was a serious problem, which reflected badly on the leadership, not just Moses and Aaron, but the whole community. Reason and logic argued, "Anyone leading over one million people into a desert without adequate provisions and proper planning was crazy? Surely, this was a death march. And, if dying was the objective, why not die a martyr's death in Egypt where it would have had more of an impact, rather than dying at their own hand, in the wilderness. If they had died in Egypt it could have been for a "good"cause, but to die of hunger in the wilderness–why?!"

"And the children of Israel said to them, 'Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate the bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.

"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 16:3-5)

The complaint revealed more than finding fault with the leadership. Their hunger for the bread and meat of Egypt exposed a deeper problem. By saying that they were full in Egypt, the children of Israel admitted that Egypt had become more than a physical home, it was the backdrop for spiritual development as well.

This is significant when considering that the Kingdom of Egypt was a spiritually dark place. Remember, Pharaoh summoned his wise men and magicians to challenge the God of the Hebrews. The Egyptian magicians were well-educated in the black arts. They could manipulate and orchestrate the forces of the unseen world in order to intimidate and to impose the rule of the Pharaoh. Whilst, the children of Israel struggled to preserve their Hebrew identity in this darkened world, they believed that they could survive, just as they had for centuries. The problem, however, was that they had been tainted.

The statement, " . . . we sat by the pots of meat and . . . we ate the bread to the full!" was indicative of the effect of living in a foreign place. Egypt was home, both physically and spiritually. Despite the noble efforts to remain separate, the children of Israel were intertwined with the fabric of this dark society cultivated in the land of Egypt. Unwittingly, Israel had succumbed and were not aware of the spiritual blindness. They had eaten, and believed they were spiritually full. Their affirmation, " . . . we ate the bread to the full!" begs the question, "What more can you give us?" In another way, "We ate and were satisfied in Egypt; what more can you do to show us that this wilderness trekking is necessary, even beneficial?"

The Lord's response to the children of Israel's claim was, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven . . . "

Though quail would be provided in the evening, it was primarily through the provision of bread from heaven, in the morning, that the children of Israel would be tested. "So I humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD." (Deuteronomy 8:8)

The importance of this symbolisim can not be overlooked. As part of man's staple diet for survival, bread represents the sustainer of life. Man works the ground to produce bread. The bread rained from heaven is God's gift, and represents His Word, and therefore, of far greater value to mankind. Since earthly bread is vital for man's temporal survival, how much more then the heavenly bread–the Word of God–to man for eternal life?

Man toils in the field to produce bread. How much more should man apply himself to eternal things?

Man is sustained in this life and the World to Come, when he seeks "first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).

"I will rain bread from heaven for you . . . " The bread from heaven was symbolic of the Word of God coming from heaven. It is God's Torah–the instructions for life–which Israel received at Sinai. The children of Israel were free from Egypt, but in order to be the people of God, a kingdom of priests, they were required to study the Word of God, and be diligent to implement it into their lives, daily. God's Kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness.

Recall the command given to Joshua when he led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. "This book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." (Joshua 1:8)

Likewise, King David charged his son Solomon, saying: "I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, his commandments, his judgements, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Torah of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn . . . " ( 1 Kings 2:2-3)

The bread that rained from heaven in Moses' day also pointed to the Messiah, because He is the full expression of God's Word. The Messiah is the ultimate 'Manna', the Bread of Life from heaven.

The Messiah pointed to this truth. During the days of His rejection, the Messiah was asked what work would He do, or what miracle would He perform, since, "Our fathers ate manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' ?

"Then Yeshua said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give 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 heaeven and gives life to the world.'" (John 6:31-33)

The Messiah is "the true bread from heaven" . He is the Bread of Life, the Manna from heaven.

Moses and Aaron told the children of Israel to watch . . . the evening, and the morning . . . because, " . . . the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full . . . " (Exodus 16:8)

When the quail arrived in the evening, the children of Israel feasted and rejoiced.

However, in the morning "the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children 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, 'This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.'" (Exodus 16:13-15)

While the evening was a feast, the morning was quite different. A strange unfamiliar substance lay on the ground. And the children of Israel asked one another, "What is it?" .

The response of the children of Israel is in keeping with the bread from heaven symbolizing the Word of God. Their response is typical of one who is ready to learn the right and good path–a student of the Word. Innocent and inquisitive, the student searches the Word as one who is in pursuit of the richest of treasures.

Significant too is that the children of Israel asked one another. The study of the Word of God is for the benefit of the community, and will be seen working through the people of God. Open discussion and regular debate are encouraged in the house of God because every individual is important to the formation and development of the Kingdom.

The children of Israel were told to gather bread for each person in the family tent. One omer was the daily portion for each individual.

Daily, family members would gather as much as they were able, and bring it to be measured. "So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one's need." (Exodus 16:18)

Note, that even though some brought more, and others less, everyone received the same amount–one omer. Not only was the provision of bread from heaven a miracle, but also in its distribution, there was no lack or excess. Everyone received the same. An omer is the perfect daily portion.

There was an incident involving Yeshua of Nazareth and a multitude of five thousand men, plus women and children, which was remarkably similar to the event in the Wilderness of Sin, and which was a confirmation that Yeshua was the Messiah.

The multitude followed Yeshua and His disciples to a deserted place, in the region of Bethsaida, the home of Philip, Andrew and Shimon Peter.

Yeshua "said to Philip, 'Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?' But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, 'Two hundred denarii is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.'

"One of His disciples, Andrew, Shimon Peter's brother, said to Him, 'There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?'

Then Yeshua said, 'Make the people sit down.' Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Yeshua took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

"So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, 'Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.'

"Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.

"Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Yeshua did said, 'This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.'" (John 6:5-14)

The similarities between the two events are amazing: the desert, the multitude, the hunger, the lack of bread, the appearance of the bread, the miraculous provision, the distribution, and the adequate supply for all. And as if to seal the sign, the twelve baskets–clearly a reference to the twelve tribes of Israel–gathered up so that all are saved, a clear reference to Israel's dispersion among the nations and being "gathered up" in the end days. "And so all Israel will be saved . . . " (Romans 11:26)

In the Wilderness of Sin, the children of Israel ate the bread from heaven which was symbolic of the requirement to study and implement the Word of God in their lives daily. Similarly, the bread from heaven looked forward to the Messiah who became the Word in the flesh. Messiah Yeshua is the Living Word, and the True Bread from heaven.

May there be many who see the sign and testify that Yeshua is the Messiah, to the glory of God the Father.