As we step one day closer towards Shavuot, Yah continues to build upon the foundational lessons taught between First Fruits and the paradise of Elim, where we had been camped.
On day one, we were forever liberated from the bondage of sin, and we became uniquely positioned for re-training. At Marah, Yah taught us that He will be our healer if we will only listen to Him and do what He says—which means no longer leaning upon our own understanding. Our own false understanding of who we are (or more accurately who we aren’t) is what enslaved us in the first place. He has shown us mighty miracles, as well as subtle ones—such as the miracle of the missing Tzade. He also taught us the importance of being released from “the fugitive spirit”. All of these lessons are designed to release us from the mindset of being slaves to the systems of the world.
So here we are, entering a new phase described in Exodus 16 in great detail. This test is one that requires practical action on our part. It is one thing to be asked to “listen and see” as He did at Marah, but as we move on YHWH is now giving us something to DO. Please read Exodus Chapter 16 yourself, especially if you are truly counting toward Shavuot as you read these posts. There is so much to gleaned directly through the scriptures and the Holy Spirit, that my social-media-condensed paraphrases are quite pathetic by comparison.
The overview of this next lesson is simple. The people grumble (for the third time since Pesach) but there’s no evidence that Yah’s grace is running out. He sends quail in the evening, but in the morning there is something resembling frost on the ground—it melts, but it can still be collected. No matter how much each family needs to get them through the day, there is exactly that much available. If they take more than enough, it goes bad and stinks! This bread from heaven is so mysterious, that the people call it “manna” (Strongs H4478), which in Hebrew means “What is it?”
Importantly, on the sixth day of collecting the Manna, Yah tells them something further—they are to collect TWICE as much on that day—because the Manna will not be there on day Seven. He will preserve that extra Manna, extending the supernatural expiration date, until the end of day Seven. Then the normal daily pattern will resume, with a renewed count of 1,2,3,4,5,6, Rest.
Rather than focusing on the physical nature of the Manna, I think what is really being taught here is the nature of Holy time. Spoiler alert, after 40 years, the Manna literally stops landing on the ground once the people land on Holy ground, the Promised Land (Joshua 5:12). However the Holy count of “1,2,3,4,5,6, Rest” remains even once the training wheels are removed. Manna was put into the Ark of the Covenant to show that the Holy count to 7 was not a temporary idea; it becomes a permanent sign of His Covenant for all generations forever.
Thematically, Yah inserted this lesson in at the perfect place to mirror the pattern set in Genesis. Notice how the order of operations described in the plot of Exodus chapters 10-16 aligns with the exact order in which He first created things in Genesis:
Darkness and Light (Darkness in Egypt/Light for Israel).
A wind (or a spirit) a ruach in Hebrew, moves over the water.
Separation of Waters (The Red Sea parts).
Dry land appears (Israel passes over on dry land).
Humans are Made (Israel born–“Yah’s Firstborn”).
Tree of Life (The ETZ).
A Garden Paradise (The 12 springs and 70 palms of Elim).
Sabbath (Exodus 16, where we are currently camped).
The deliverance from Egypt is a re-birth, a resurrection, a baptism. A similar pattern of orderly recreation also happens during Noah’s flood. I left “animals” off of the list above, although we know Israel came out with lots and lots of animals, and the firstborn male livestock were also subject to death on Pesach. There is a deeper truth embedded in sharing creation day six with land-dwelling animals, being re-born with them on First Fruits, and only at that point being faced with the miracle-method of the Manna. Biblically, the number 6 represents our animal instincts, while the number 7 represents Holy perfection.
Keeping Holy time is not something other non-human creatures can comprehend. Yes, we know that animals can observe various signs and seasons. Amazing migrations, for example, are based on the sun, moon, stars, gravitational fields, and likely endless still unknown natural mechanisms. Built into creation are uncanny methods of survival, unique to each species. But, no matter how wonderfully and fearfully made animals are, they cannot count to seven. They cannot choose to pause their survival instincts for any 24-hour period on a fixed, deliberate schedule. Animals are purely instinctual—if you want to train them properly, it’s typical to use food as a tool to create new patterns in them. The Manna lesson is proving that exact rule for Yah’s yet-to-be tamed Israelites.
We are made in Yah’s image. He cares deeply about time-management. Counting to seven, as HE did, and setting that 7th day apart for rest, as HE did, is designed to be a primary sign that sets Yah’s people apart from the animal kingdom as well as set us apart from other humans in the world.
Remember that Moses’s cry of “Let My People Go!” was not only about borders—it was about allowing Israel to live a Holy lifestyle. In Egypt there were no work breaks, and when Moses tried to organize a union, they made the work even harder and more unbearable.
Entering into this Holy pattern of “1,2,3,4,5,6, Rest” reminds us that we are no longer slaves in Egypt, but we do still have a Boss. He even offers a benefits package with mandatory vacation, and even a health plan.
If you’ve attempted it, resting on a schedule is a surprisingly difficult habit to embrace, but He is adamant that the healing He desires for us is conditional upon keeping the schedule He sets. Holy-time management is a chief requirement for His people, and just like the original forbidden fruit, keeping this command forces us to lift ourselves above our “fleshly nature” (our animal instincts). Keeping this Holy beat aligns us with our Creator, maintaining a rhythm that began the same day LIGHT itself began (yet before the sun had even been created!)
This “1,2,3,4,5,6, Rest” count will come in quite handy. Eventually, our people learn there are an additional 7 days of rest per year, plus an entire season focused on rest every 7 months, and another entire year of rest every 7 years. Always playing the long game, there’s even a feast every 7 sets of 7 years—mirroring the Shavuot path we are currently on during these introductory 7 Holy weeks.
Not surprisingly, Messiah Yeshua aligned with this rhythm so perfectly that He declared Himself to be “Lord of the Sabbath”. (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28 and Luke 13:15.) That is a STRONG endorsement! Remember that the Feast of Shavuot supposed to be training us in The Way. Teaching us the pattern at the start of the second week of the journey isn’t too late at all. Like Sabbath itself—it’s actually perfect timing.