The Third
refers to Exodus. The promise is, "I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it" (ii.17).

It is in this third Epistle, which refers to the wilderness period and Balaam's counsel, that we have a special reference to the manna, the wilderness sustenance, of which Exodus contains the record. "Bread from Heaven" and "Angels' food" (Ps. lxxviii.24,25) are set over against the lusts of the flesh and spiritual idolatry. The manna was to be "hidden" in the Ark of the Covenant, "that they may see the bread wherewith I have fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt... so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony to be kept" (Ex. xvi.32-34). This "hidden" food is for remembrance; to remind them that God can supply the remnant of His People in the coming day, when none shall be allowed to buy or sell (Rev. xiii.16,17), and therefore to buy food to eat, unless they consent to bear the "mark of the Beast."

God supported His People in the wilderness, where they could obtain no food: Why not here? The false prophets will eat to the full at the table of another Jezebel: Why should not God "furnish a table" (Psa. lxxviii.19) for His own in that coming day, in that wilderness whither they will flee (Rev. xii.14)? The one was literal: why not the other? Why go out of our way to seek for a strange interpretation alien to the subject, when we have one ready to hand in the Old Testament Scriptures which are being referred to? That manna was to be "hidden," and "kept," to remind them that God can still, and will again "furnish a table in the wilderness," that they may again be "nourished for a time, and times, and half a time" (Rev. xii.14).

There is a further promise as to the "white stone" and the "new name." Again we ask, Why go to our own imaginations, or to Pagan customs, for interpretations, when we have in this same book of Exodus [51] the account of the stones on which the names of the Tribes were engraven: Two on the High Priest's shoulder, with six names on each (collective); and twelve on the breastplate, with one name on each (individual). The individual names being placed "upon his heart" (the place of love), and the collective names "upon his shoulders" (the place of strength) (Exod. xxviii.8-30).

Besides these stones there were the stones of the "Urim and Thummin," of which little or nothing is known. These may have "white" for aught we know; but we do know that they were associated with a hearing and answering God dwelling in the midst of His People.

Here, amid their scenes of trial and tribulation, when God's people will find themselves in another wilderness, they are reminded, by this Exodus-promise, of Jehovah's presence with them; and of the blessed fact that He has their names in remembrance; that His love is everlasting; that His strength is almighty, and able to nourish them when their enemies might prevail and human resources fail.


[51] In the Hebrew Canon Exodus is called the Book of "the Names." See Names and Order of the Books of the Old Testament, by Dr. Bullinger.

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