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Bible verses about Assimilating Spiritual Food
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 16:16-18

The recommended daily amount per person was an omer (about a large bowlful or two quarts). In the same way, ministers often recommend a certain amount of daily Bible study as a guideline. This guideline serves as a motivator to help a person study God's Word, which in the end is the important thing.

Of the Israelites the Bible says that those who gathered little did not lack, and those who gathered much did not have any wasted. In the same way, some days even just a verse or two carefully pondered is adequate to sustain us for that day. It could be exactly the thought we need. On the other hand, an intensive three-hour Bible study session does not leave us feeling we have overfed. You cannot overindulge on God's Word. Nor does a long session today eliminate the absolute need for fresh Bible study tomorrow! The Israelites could not store the manna over from day to day, as it would breed worms (verses 19-20). God made sure they went out every day for their manna to teach us we need to study the Bible fresh every day.

No wonder Jesus teaches us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). The same is true physically: We can gorge ourselves one day and still need to eat the next. God wants us to learn from the physical here: A hearty feeding on God's Word over the Sabbath, for example, is simply not enough to last the whole week. The very next day, and each day thereafter, we must gather fresh manna and eat it.

The only exception is the Sabbath (Exodus 16:22-26). We are not to earn or work for our physical bread on the Sabbath, and even considering this spiritually, it is often true that we have less time to do intensive personal study on the Sabbath. Yet God still feeds us His Word, does He not? We are fed by the sermonette, sermon, songs, and fellowship at church!

Staff
Have You Had Your Manna Today?


 

Judges 6:13

Invaders were infiltrating the country and destroying Israel's food. Notice the attention that God draws to this. What is the food of a Christian? The Word of God—the teaching, the doctrines, what we are fed from the pulpit. What God is showing is that, when the general character and spirituality of the people within the Body of Christ begins to deteriorate, the whole Body begins to weaken. with what? Instead of Midianites or Canaanites, the church begins to be invaded by false ministers who bring false doctrines—and a Christian cannot live on falsehoods. They will not strengthen or nourish him.

We are strengthened by the truth. We must have faith in the truth. It takes truth to keep a Christian headed in the right direction and strong enough to resist the wiles of Satan, who is invading—infiltrating—the church with deception and lies.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 1): God and HWA


 

Luke 2:40

Even Jesus, though He was God—Deity—had to increase the same way that we do. He had to study God's Word, to question, to grow.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 19)


 

John 4:31-34

The disciples expect Jesus to be both physically tired and hungry. John notes in verse 6 that he was indeed wearied from the journey, but when they urge Him to eat, He is no longer weary. In the meantime, doing the work of God and seeking His Kingdom had become His food; it drew Him, filled Him, energized, and strengthened Him. It is exhilarating to know God's will and to know that we are doing it! What a sense of satisfaction and well-being it adds to our lives!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Three)


 

John 6:31-40

John 6:31-40 is an encouraging passage, showing that we are never alone. Therefore, guidance and help in governing ourselves is ever-present as we walk the path toward God's Kingdom.

These verses give people of faith solemn assurance that Christ is always present in our lives and always willing to help. Jesus makes the ironclad promise in Hebrews 13:5 that He will never leave nor forsake us. A large portion of Jesus' preaching in John 6 is a comparison between food that satisfies a person's hunger and also provides strength and energy to carry out his responsibilities. At the same time, we understand that food enters the body as one eats and becomes a more or less permanent part of the body as the body uses it.

The illustration is drawn from Israel's pilgrimage through the wilderness when God mercifully and miraculously provided food in the form of manna. God produced that daily miracle for the Israelite's benefit so that they could physically make it to the Promised Land, in addition to giving us encouragement by His assurances.

Jesus' concern for us is spiritual, and accomplishing our pilgrimage to the Kingdom of God is the goal we strive for. Producing fruit along the way greatly pleases the Father. Bread symbolizes the means of internal, spiritual strength and energy, whereas the fruit metaphor of John 15 is external, something seen and produced because the individual uses the spiritual strength and energy drawn from the "bread."

(We may understand Jesus' instruction in this important discourse more clearly if we focus, not on the term "bread" specifically as bread, but more broadly as including a wide range of strengthening and energizing food.)

Jesus begins in John 6:32 by declaring that He is the true bread. In John 13 and I Corinthians 11, bread is specifically used as a metaphor in a different circumstance. Here, bread is figuratively used as the source of spiritual nourishment, strength, and producing fruit by those making the pilgrimage.

The manna is a type of Jesus Christ. It descended, as it were, from heaven, but the Father was the real Giver. Thus, in the wilderness Moses did not literally provide the manna but only gave instructions for its use. The manna indeed satisfied their immediate need for nourishment for physical strength and energy, but by way of contrast, Jesus, the true bread of God, gives life, not mere nourishment. Verse 34 shows that the Jews, as with virtually everything else He taught, did not grasp His teaching spiritually.

Thus, in verse 35, Jesus says, "I am the bread of life." He explains His mysterious teaching more plainly, essentially saying, "I am the One who both imparts and sustains life." He is, of course, emphasizing spiritual teaching. The Greek shows that He completely identifies Himself with the bread, as it actually reads, "I am the bread of the life." It is not mere life but everlasting spiritual life. He means that through faith and an intimate, spiritual union and relationship with Him that, as the body assimilates actual bread physically, so spiritual assimilation with Him gives everlasting life (John 6:63).

Continuing in verse 35, He adds that "he who comes to Me"—meaning the one who believes in Christ, coming with nothing but sin and needing everything—will in no way become spiritually hungry or thirsty. In other words, he truly will be fed, unlike those in the wilderness who became hungry. Those who come to Him will be given complete and enduring spiritual satisfaction.

Verse 36—where Jesus says to the Jews, "You have seen Me and yet do not believe"—is interesting in that it shows that God does not hold unconverted man guiltless. Indeed, as soon as a person sins, the death penalty immediately falls on his head. Here, Jesus places the entire blame for the Jews' rejection of Him on them. Why? Because, being of Israel, they should have known better by recognizing the fulfillment in Him of familiar scriptures. Thus, their rejection of Him contained a large measure of deliberateness.

Verse 37 ought to be especially encouraging to us because John 6:44 implies that a calling must be given for fuller understanding of what Jesus is teaching. Obviously, we do understand what He is saying, or we would not be in our present circumstance in relation to Him. Verse 37 is a strong promise that He will make every effort to provide us with salvation.

Verse 38, then, asserts to us that, if God calls a person, it is definitely God's will to do so. It is no mistake or happenstance. God's will is being worked in the called one's life. In verses 39 and 40, Jesus adds that it is the will of the Father, and therefore the Son's also, that all those given to Christ should be resurrected to everlasting life!

Verses 39-40 are the closest statements regarding a guarantee of salvation as one will see in God's Word. Verse 58 confirms His words, "This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."

God has appointed Jesus Christ as largely responsible for our salvation. He has already given His life's blood for us so our sins can be forgiven. He has paid the penalty that inhibits us from receiving everlasting life. Once that penalty is paid, the responsibility falls on us to give of our energies to change our lives so that they exhibit consistent obedience.

Whereas in times past we did not care much about our responsibilities to God, it has now become incumbent upon us to be very concerned. In making the New Covenant, we owe submission to the Father and Son, to conform our conduct to agree with theirs. Thus, we will be formed into their image. We must submit to their rule, then, as well as those parts of their rule that they have assigned to others.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Fully Accepting God's Sovereignty (Part Four)


 

John 6:45-46

More is here than readily meets the eye because we must understand it in its wider context. He is not speaking of merely being taught by God but rather indicating the entire transformation process.

This section of the discourse begins with Jesus saying that He will do everything in His power to save the person God gives to Him. He then establishes that the Father begins the process through a powerful drawing. He goes on to declare that the transformation from human glory to divine glory is also from God. Paul writes in II Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." Jesus thus encapsulates the entire salvation process as driven from above. Christians are still responsible to do works of submission, but the Bible always shows God in control and driving the entire process.

Our human responsibility resides in the word "heard" (verse 45), which encompasses not only hearing but also believing and producing faith. This touches again on "eating" the Word of God. Paul says in Romans 10:17 that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Through the work of hearing and analysis, we assimilate God's Word into use in our conduct.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Four)


 

John 6:47-51

Verses 47-51 reinforce the strategic role eating—listening to and believing in—God's living Word, Jesus Christ, plays in producing everlasting life. The knowledge that one gains by listening to and applying God's Word results in the greatest of all possible blessings: everlasting life. Remember, eternal life is quality of life as God lives it, as well as endless life.

Notice also that those who believe already have this life. It is the gift of Jesus Christ. Those who have believed have "eaten" Him, and thus He calls Himself the Bread of Life. This Bread does what no other bread, even manna, can do. It works to impart spiritual life and banish spiritual death. He adds that He is the "living bread," implying that He lived in the past, is living in the present, and will live in the future. He will always be there to provide nourishment. Further, we must not just taste this Bread. Once the process begins, we must eat it continuously so that we can assimilate Him into us and begin living life in Him and He in us.

Up to this point, Jesus has insisted that He, not manna, is the true Bread of Life. Now, He adds a new thought: This Bread will give His life in the flesh so the world may also live. He means that we cannot have everlasting life without also "eating," believing, accepting, assimilating, His voluntary, vicarious death by crucifixion for us. The Father gives the Son, and the Son gives Himself. Apart from this sacrifice, Christ ceases to be bread for us in any sense.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Four)


 

John 6:53-56

Jesus Christ explains that both the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood are required if we are to have eternal life. As we symbolically drink His blood when we partake of the wine at Passover, we acknowledge our individual part in the shedding of His blood, and reconciliation with God occurs. But the process does not stop here. Once we are reconciled, we must also feed on His flesh, His words, to gain eternal life. Still, this is not enough—we must continually repeat this process as long as we live.

Staff
Discerning Christ's Broken Body


 

John 6:53-58

These people knew well that Leviticus 17:10-11 forbids the eating of blood. They should have understood that He was not speaking of literally drinking the blood coursing through His body. If they knew Him from His youth, as they had earlier claimed, they should have known He was the most law-abiding person they had ever witnessed. What Jesus means is: "He who accepts, appropriates and assimilates, and understands My sacrifice as the only ground of his salvation remains in Me and I in Him." This is why He adds, "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood dwells in Me and I in Him." He is the living Word.

As physical food and drink are offered, accepted, and eaten, so also must Christ's sacrifice be offered, accepted, and eaten. As the stomach assimilates the physical, so His sacrifice is spiritually assimilated in the heart of believers. As food nourishes and sustains the physical body's life, so Christ's sacrifice nourishes and sustains spiritual life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Four)


 

John 6:62-63

Jesus' answer to their incomprehension is to point them to His authority, saying in effect, "If you see the Son of man ascending to heaven, will this not prove where He came from, as well as the authority of His words that you just heard? My flesh cannot benefit you. Stop thinking that I was literally asking you to eat My flesh or drink My blood. It is My spirit, My person in the act of sacrificing Myself, that bestows and sustains spiritual life, even everlasting life. The words that I have spoken to you are full of My spirit and therefore My life." Unbelief lay at the root of their problem, so they could not understand.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Four)


 

1 Corinthians 10:3-4

Yes we walk in the flesh—meaning we have fleshly bodies. God has made us physical. But, we are not really supposed to walk according to the flesh. "We walk by faith, not by sight."

We live in physical bodies. We have physical lives. We have our physical problems. But the battle we wage is not physical at all! The battle is fought in the realm of belief, ideas, philosophies, teachings, words, principles, and laws. To sum it up, we could say, "We fight the battle in our minds."

That is where it is—in our minds. Or as the Bible often says—within our hearts, our emotions, our personalities, our developing character. Why is that where the battle lies? "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). A person is what goes through his mind, what he allows himself to do, all the decisions that he makes.

We say, "We are what we eat." We know that what we put into our mouths goes into our bodies, and supplies our bodies' needs as energy or raw materials for building and maintenance. We know that our bodies over time replace all the cells that we have! That is the way that God has made us. Our food is the raw material—fuel—that makes us what we are physically.

Well, spiritually it is the same thing. We are what we think! We are what we allow into our minds. René Descartes said, "I think therefore I am [Cogito ergo sum]." It is essentially a true statement because it is our thoughts, and the character that our thoughts have helped to form, that will pass through the grave. Our essential being beyond our physical flesh and blood is what is going to be preserved by God.

Job 32:8 informs us that "there is a spirit in man," and Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then [at death] the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." And God does whatever He does with it. What is recorded on that spirit? The person's thoughts, his memory, his beliefs, his desires, his habits, and his character traits!

God does not work with us through however many years of our lives just to throw away what He accomplished in us through His Spirit.

When we die, He takes what He has made, and He stores it for the resurrection, so at that time, He can return it to us in a spirit body that will live for eternity with Him. What He stores is what goes on in our minds with the human spirit coming into alignment with God's Spirit: what we think, what we believe, all the experiences we have gone through, the habits we have formed, and the character traits that God, by His Spirit, has created in us. Those are the things that pass through the grave.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Is God in All Our Thoughts?


 

1 Peter 2:2

This is a clear teaching. The Word of God is necessary for growth. We do not have it instantaneously upon conversion; it increases in us little by little through study.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 19)


 

Revelation 10:8-10

This little book is the Word of God. When we first hear the truth—when we first eat it—it is marvelous and exciting to us, and we try to devour even more of it. But as we begin to make it a part of our lives, begin to assimilate—digest—it, we find that putting it into practice is not always easy. Sometimes it is downright painful!

Jesus says it is "the strait way, the difficult way, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). In addition, we find that the Word of God contains things within it that are very bitter indeed in terms of what it says in Revelation—terrifying, painful, oppressive, horrible things described in symbolic language. God is not at all pleased that such things must happen.

And, of course, Scripture can bring upon us a great deal of sadness as well. It may taste good going in, but once in, we find it can be very bitter in application to our lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 10 and the Laodicean Church


 

Revelation 10:8-10

The eating of the little book is critical to understanding the message'what it is, how it works, and what it produces. Actually, Revelation 10:8 through Revelation 11:2 should be one section because the eating of the little book and the measuring of the Temple are tied together.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 1)


 

Revelation 10:8

Who is the "angel" holding this book in his hand, who stands on the sea and on the land? It is none other than Jesus Christ. The symbolism of verse 1 proves it cannot be anyone else.

We see a time element begin here: The Angel speaks first, roaring, then the seven thunders take up from where He left off and utter their message in turn after Him, in succession. The seven thunders, then, are sequential, not contemporary.

Now, who in the Bible gives the words for His ministers? Jesus Christ. He is the Word! He is the Logos. And the Bible is His authoritative message, which He gives to His prophets and to His apostles to teach others.

So the Head of the church, the original "Lion that roared" (Amos 3:8; Revelation 5:5), the original "thunder," as it were, gives to His servant, John—who was both an apostle and a prophet—a book—His words—to eat, to ingest.

I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. [Who went up in a cloud?] And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun [Whose face is like the sun?], and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. [Who is the lion of the tribe of Judah?] When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 1)


 

Revelation 10:8-10

Ezekiel 1:26 through Ezekiel 3:27 is the Old Testament version of the "Little Book Prophecy" of Revelation 10, though it is called the "Scroll Prophecy." There is little difference between a scroll and a book. Both of them are full of words. Both of them are made into a delectable food for the prophet to ingest, and both Ezekiel and John have the same reaction. Ezekiel's prophecy helps to fill out the details of what happens to John.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 1)


 

 




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