Ezekiel 2:8-3:4 But
thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that
rebellious house (Israel): open thy mouth, and eat
that I give thee.
9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
10 And He spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
3:1 Moreover He said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.
2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll.
3 And He said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
4 And He said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them.
God was commissioning Ezekiel to speak His Word to the house of Israel. But before he could speak the Word, it was necessary for him to eat the Word. The Lord was not telling Ezekiel to commit the Word to memory, for then it would only be transmitted on a mental level. The Word spoken had to be words of spirit and life (John 6:63). So it was necessary for Ezekiel to consume the Word with the inner man. Thus, he is told, Cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee.
By eating the Word, it became a part of Ezekielís being. It was assimilated by the inner man; that is, his spirit. This is how we should partake of the Word, too. We must feed on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the Word (John 1:1). We cannot speak a Word from God, if we do not first partake of it.
Revelation 10:8-11 And
the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take
the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the
sea and upon the earth.
9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10 And I took the little book out of the angelís hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
The apostle John, as well as the prophet Ezekiel, is commanded to eat the Word. It was necessary for him to assimilate the Word into his being, because he was being commissioned by God to prophesy before many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.
Johnís love for the Word made it sweet to his mouth. But it was bitter to his belly, indicating that the Word ingested brings a work of the cross to the self-life. It is a sharp two-edged sword that divides soul and spirit and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
Why did God tell Ezekiel and John to eat the Word? Why didnít He just tell them to remember the message and to speak it as it was related to them? Jesus said, The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63). John 1:1 says that "the Word is God." The Word carries the very presence and nature of God. Therefore, Ezekiel and John were not merely delivering a message from God to the people; they were delivering a Word that enhoused the very presence of the Lord. Consequently, it was necessary for them to partake of the Spirit of the Word. Just quoting the Word does not accomplish Godís purpose. The speaker must eat the Word and digest it; that is, partake of the Spirit of the Word. Only then will it carry the presence of the Lord. When one only memorizes the Word or commits it to his own interpretation and understanding, then the presence of the Lord is not transferred with the message.
We do not automatically know how to partake of the spirit and life of the Word (John 6:63). It is something we must learn how to do. Christians usually have great difficulty in finding the spiritual life in the Scriptures, because they are so accustomed to leaning upon their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). Many never find the hidden gold of the Word. Consequently, there is no spiritual growth. Change does not take place in their lives. The first step is to come to the place where we realize that there is a vein of divine life hidden in the Scriptures. Half the battle is won with that awareness.
Matthew 5:1-2 And
seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His
disciples came unto Him:
2 And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying...
The most important ministry of Jesus Christ was not the healings, deliverances, and various miracles. His most important ministry was His ministry to His disciples. He was training them. He knew that the time would come when He would disappear from the scene, and His disciples would have to carry out His ministry on the earth. When that time came, Jesus said, As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you (John 20:21).
Jesus saw the multitudes, but the ministry on the Mount was not a ministry to them. He was ministering the Word to His disciples: His disciples came unto Him, and He opened His mouth, and taught them.
We notice in Matthew chapter thirteen that when Jesus ministered the Word in the hearing of the multitudes He spoke in parables. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them in parablesÖ. Matthew 13:1-3.
The disciples knew the people did not understand what Jesus was saying, so they asked Him why He spoke to them in parables. And Jesus said, It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not givenÖTherefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive; for this peopleís heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Matthew 13:11,13-15.
The Jews were so locked-in to their religion that they were unable to comprehend the teachings of the Lord. They could not know the mysteries of the Kingdom hidden within the parables. They had their religious doctrines, and they were not open to something new. Seeing they could not see; hearing they could not hear. They were old wineskins unable to hold the new wine of Jesusí teaching (Matthew 9:17). It is the same today. People get so locked-in to the doctrines they formed by leaning upon their own understanding and intellect that they are unable to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches (Revelation 2:7).
Matthew 13:44 Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
The Scriptures are like the field with the hidden treasure. Hidden within them are the treasures of the Kingdom. God has them hidden because He doesnít want just anyone to find them. They are for those who are willing to sell all to buy the field. They are for disciples, those who hunger and thirst after the Lord. Peter said, Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:23).
Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I 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.
The Lord promises the hidden manna to the overcomers. The overcomers are those who have learned, or are learning, how to walk in the Spirit. They are not fulfilling the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Their spirit-food is the hidden manna of the Word.
The children of Israel ate manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:14-26). When they went out in the morning they gathered the manna that lay on the surface of the ground. This manna is a type of the letter of the Word. The letter of the Word is the surface reading (or surface interpretation). Since the majority of Christians are leaning upon their own understanding when interpreting the Scriptures, they are only gathering the manna that is on the surface. They are not feeding on the hidden manna, the spirit and life of the Word. Paul tells us in II Corinthians 3:6 that the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. When a person only gathers the surface manna, he is partaking of death. Jesus said, Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for everÖ. John 6:49-51.
The hidden manna is not, as some suppose, that which we receive after we go to heaven. It is the Christ-life that is available to all those who are overcoming the self-life by the work of the cross. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25.
Those who partake only of the surface manna are carnal Christians who walk on a soulish realm. And the soulish realm is a realm of envying, strife, and division. The majority of Christianity is on this realm. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? I Corinthians 3:1-4.
The ones who partake of the hidden manna are those who eat of the living Bread (John 6:51). They are partakers of the Christ-life. They have overcome the soul-realm and are walking in the Spirit. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16. The "lust of the flesh" realm is the soul-realm of carnal Christianity.
Galatians 1:15-16 But
when it pleased God, who separated me from my motherís womb, and called me by
16 To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen.
Paul had been highly educated in the Jewish religion. And he was no novice to the Scriptures, having been taught by Gamaliel. I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. Acts 22:3.
Paul was no heathen. He was very religious and very zealous toward God. He gave himself whole-heartedly to all that he felt God required of him. Judaism had mothered him; he was her child. But the time came that God separated him from his motherís womb; the bond with his religion was broken. Then God revealed His Son in Paul that he might preach Him among the Gentiles.
Jesus said, concerning the Jewish religion, Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead (John 6:49). They ate of the surface manna. They gave only a literal and soulish interpretation to the Scriptures. They did not eat of the hidden manna. They did not partake of the divine life in the Scriptures. Moses spoke of Christ, but they did not receive of His life. The Christ-life was not abiding in them, because they did not find Him in the Word. They thought the Scriptures themselves gave them eternal life. They did not realize that the eternal life was Spirit, not concepts and doctrines. And ye have not His Word abiding in you: for whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. (You) search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life. John 5:38-40.
All religion is on a soul-realm, whether it is the Jewish religion or Christian religion. Religion is sustained by the surface manna; that is, the Scriptures are interpreted by the will of man. Religion is based on the premise that every individual has a right to his own interpretation of Scripture, and to worship according to his own choice.
On the other had, those who are spiritual partake of the hidden manna, the Spirit and life of Christ (John 6:63). They lean not upon their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). They refuse to have their own private interpretations of the Scriptures (II Peter 1:20). Instead, they look to the Lord for revelation. They expect God to reveal to their hearts the Word of Truth. They accept the teachings of Jesus, that the Spirit of Truth will guide them into all truth (John 16:13).
We can manufacture our own interpretation of the Scriptures or we can receive revelational-truth from God concerning them. He will reveal the Christ-life to us, so that we may partake of the hidden manna. Religion manufactures its own interpretation and forms its doctrinal creeds.
Paul was separated from religion, and God revealed His Son in him so that he could preach Him to the Gentiles. This meant that Paul no longer taught precepts about the Lord, but he spoke Christ. That is, it was Christ speaking through him (II Corinthians 13:3). It is one thing to have Christ in your heart by faith; it is quite another thing to have the very life and Spirit of Christ dwelling in you, so that when you speak, your words are carriers of His life. Paul did not speak about Christ; he spoke Christ. We can speak Christ, too. Our words can carry His life so that others may partake of the hidden manna. We cannot only partake of the hidden manna, but we can be dispensers of the hidden manna. If we drink of His life, then we can become a living fountain so that others may drink of Him as we speak His Word. The living Water will flow from the Body of Christ. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:37-38.
Are you satisfied with the surface manna? Do you want to eat of the hidden manna? Itís available! If you want God to feed you the living Bread from heaven (John 6:51), He will not disappoint you. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? Luke 11:9-13.
Copyright © 1996 by Henry DuBose