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Truth is Bread
The typical use of Bread is well established by bible evidence. That the Lord teaches spiritual things through the natural is apparent to many. One phrase of this fact is seen in the advantage taken by the Saviour of natural wants as illustrations.
When men were gathering to the great annual feast, under the influence of heat and toil, when water would naturally be the uppermost thought, He stands up and exclaims, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” John 7:37. So when the multitude had long been with him, and were hungry, He not only had compassion, and fed them, but he took advantage of the occasion to lead them higher: “Labor not for the meat (food) which perisheth but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” John 5:2-7. This is but temporal and used as a steppingstone. That is superior and is of real and abiding importance.
In the wilderness journey of the children of Israel they were fed with manna. That people and their journey were typical of the true church and their journey to the Heavenly inheritance, and their manna was an appropriate representation of our “Daily Bread.” As theirs came from above like a shower, so ours is the True Bread that came down from Heaven. The mind of the carnal Jew failed to see any more than the natural—the manna—though regarding it as a miraculous “work,” and “sign” of Moses, being a leader appointed of the Lord. So when Christ suggested the idea of feeding them, and the importance of their believing on him, they answered: “What sign showest thou then that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” John 6:30-31. Mark the answer of Jesus: “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” The manna was bread, but it was not the true bread, it was but a shadow. “For the bread of God is he that cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world.” And in answer to their request, “Lord, evermore give us this bread,” He said, “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger,” &c., &c. 32-35.
Nothing could be clearer than that the manna was given as a type of the Lord Jesus—the Word of God. He led them in the wilderness, suffered them to hunger, and fed them with manna that they might learn the important lesson, “That man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Deut. 8:3.) They were dull scholars, however, and like many now, saw only the letter, and valued the natural far more than the spiritual. The type could sustain the natural life only for a brief season, but the real bread sustains spiritual life forever. In either case, however, the bread must be eaten, hence the contract. Your fathers did eat manna and are dead: This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. “If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world.” “Except ye eat … ye have no life,” but “Whoso eateth … hath eternal life.”
By a careful consideration of the whole passage, it will be seen that the natural terms, Bread, eat, drink, flesh, blood and life, are used to represent spiritual things, and to discern this distinction is very important. To confound the natural and spiritual is easy, and to see only the natural, is to be as the Jews were, who counted the words of Jesus hard sayings, and murmured saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Even the disciples had difficulty, and many of them could not appreciate his explanation: “It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing, the words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life.” Nothing can be explained only to such as are able to receive it, by previous leading or training, and hence many walked no more with him. To the twelve Jesus said: “Will ye also go away?” Oh! that Peter’s answer may be the language of our hearts: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” Truth is adapted to the various conditions of christian life from conversion onward,—from milk to the strongest meat; and it is necessary that we receive it, digest and assimilate; and use the strength which the Lord thus supplies.
Are we feeding on God’s truth? Is it our daily bread? If so, we are his disciples indeed. John 8:31.
The idea that we are all right, and sure of the kingdom because of an experience we had five, ten, twenty or forty years ago, is a dangerous one. What is our condition now? That seems to be the great question. “He that eateth me shall live by me.” It is not enough to eat once, or once a year, but constantly.
“If ye continue in my word then are ye my disciples indeed.” “If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love.” “By the which ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you.” “If ye live after the flesh ye shall die, but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live.” This must refer to the spiritual life; and that it needs support or it will be lost is true, or words have no meaning. Many are sickly and dying for want of the bread. Those who are living on the good word, are “strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” Feed us until we shall want no more.
J. H. P.
— October, 1879 —