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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

Section I. The Tabernacle

Ex. 25:8, 9; 29:43; 40:33–36; Num. 9:15–23

1. TIME AND OCCASION OF THE ERECTION OF THE TABERNACLE.—The first great group of laws (Ex. 19–23) had been given, the covenant had been concluded, and the divine glory had appeared visibly (Ex. 24), when the outward history of the tabernacle began (Ex. 25). Moses had before him the great problem of choosing fitting symbols in which to embody the great truths, without the preservation of which the nation would relapse into political nothingness, and would even sink into brutal idolatry. Here it was that the divine help was offered to the lawgiver, showing him the pattern of the tabernacle in all its details, even as an architect conceives the details of a building before he begins its construction. The form and measurement of the material, the order of the ritual, the apparel of the priests, were one and all determined by God himself. Beseleel of the tribe of Juda and Ooliab of the tribe of Dan (Ex. 31) were the two chief artists chosen for the work. But then the sin of the people interrupts the regular course of proceedings (Ex. 32); for a while the people seems to be destined to live without the divine presence, or, at least, without any outward symbol of it (Ex. 33:3). As in a transition period, a tent is pitched outside the camp which must serve as the “tabernacle of meeting,” without any definite priesthood or any defined ritual. The execution of the former plan depends on the penitence of the people and on the earnestness of their leader’s prayer.

Then another outline of the law is given, another period of solitude follows, before the work can be resumed. The needed workmen and workwomen (Ex. 36:2–25) place themselves under the direction of Beseleel and Ooliab; the people offer suitable material in excess (Ex. 36:5, 6); the parts of the structure are completed separately, and on the first day of the second year from the Exodus the tabernacle itself is erected and the ritual, appointed for it, begun (Ex. 40:2). The tent stood in the middle of the camp: the priests on the east, the other three families of the Levites on the other three sides, were closest in attendance. In the wider square, Juda, Zabulon, Issachar were on the east side; Ephraim, Manasses, Benjamin on the west; the less conspicuous tribes, Dan, Aser, Nephtali on the north; Ruben, Simeon, and Gad on the south. Even when the Israelites marched, the ark retained its central position: the tribes of the east and south were in front, those of the north and west in the rear (Num. 2). Upon it there rested the symbolic cloud, fiery by night, and dark by day (Ex. 40:38). When the cloud removed, it was a signal for the march (Ex. 40:36, 37; Num. 9:17); as long as the cloud remained, whether for a day, or a week, or a month, or a year, the Israelites remained in the same place (Num. 9:15–23).

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE TABERNACLE.—The tabernacle comprised three main parts: the tabernacle more strictly so called, the tent, and the covering (Ex. 35:11; 39:33, 34; 40:19, 34). These parts are very clearly distinguished in the Hebrew text, but they are confounded in several instances in our versions. The tabernacle itself consisted of curtains of fine linen, woven with colored figures of cherubim, and a structure of boards which contained the Holy Place and the Most Holy; the tent was a true tent of goats’-hair cloth, and was destined to contain and shelter the tabernacle; the covering consisted of red rams’ and tachash skins, and was spread over the goats’-hair tent as an additional protection against the weather. As to the description of the single parts of the tabernacle, see Ex. 26 with its commentaries.

3. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE TABERNACLE.—The New Testament repeatedly refers or alludes to the tabernacle as typifying mysteries of the Christian dispensation. Thus we read in John (1:14): “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt (‘tabernacled,’ according to the Greek text) among us; and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only-begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.” But the Apostle of the Gentiles is more explicit on this point (Heb. 8:1, 2): “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high-priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of majesty in the heavens, a minister of the holies, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man.” Again, in Heb. 9:6, 7, we have another explicit testimony of the Apostle: “Now these things being thus ordered: Into the first tabernacle the priests indeed always entered, accomplishing the office of sacrifices; but into the second the high-priest alone, once a year, not without blood, which he offereth for his own and the people’s ignorance.” A few verses further on (vv. 11, 12) the same testimony is repeated: “But Christ being come an high priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand, that is, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the holies, having obtained eternal redemption.” To omit several other citations from the Apostle in which this typical character of the tabernacle is inculcated, we must conclude with a passage in which St. Paul in so many words calls the tabernacle a pattern of the heavenly things: “It is not necessary therefore that the patterns of heavenly things should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Jesus is not entered into the holies made with hand, the patterns of the true, but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:23, 24).

EX. 25:8, 9

And they shall make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in the midst of them; according to all the likeness of the tabernacle which I will show thee, and of all the vessels for the service thereof and thus you shall make it.…

EX. 29:43

And there will I command the children of Israel, and the altar shall be sanctified by my glory.

EX. 40:33–36

Neither could Moses go into the tabernacle of the covenant, the cloud covering all things, and the majesty of the Lord shining, for the cloud had covered all. If at any time the cloud removed from the tabernacle, the children of Israel went forward by their troops; if it hung over, they remained in the same place. For the cloud of the Lord hung over the tabernacle by day, and a fire by night, in the sight of all the children of Israel throughout all their mansions.

NUM. 9:15–23

Now on the day that the tabernacle was reared up, a cloud covered it. But from the evening there was over the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire until the morning; so it was always: by day the cloud covered it, and by night as it were the appearance of fire. And when the cloud that covered the tabernacle was taken up, then the children of Israel marched forward; and in the place where the cloud stood still, there they camped. At the commandment of the Lord they marched, and at his commandment they pitched the tabernacle. All the days that the cloud abode over the tabernacle, they remained in the same place. And if it was so that it continued over it a long time, the children of Israel kept the watches of the Lord and marched not for as many days soever as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle. At the commandment of the Lord they pitched their tents, and at his commandment they took them down. If the cloud tarried from evening until morning, and immediately at break of day left the tabernacle, they marched forward; and if it departed after a day and a night, they took down their tents. But if it remained over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a longer time, the children of Israel remained in the same place, and marched not. But immediately as soon as it departed, they removed the camp. By the word of the Lord they pitched their tents, and by his word they marched, and kept the watches of the Lord according to his commandment by the hand of Moses.

1. As Jesus Christ is the only true high-priest of the New Testament, so is the presence of his Father represented by the Holy of Holies; for as the high-priest obtained in the Most Holy Place the remission of sins for the nation once a year, so did Jesus Christ obtain for us remission of our sins by presenting himself as victim in the presence of his Father.

2. As in the tabernacle there were daily offerings in the Holy Place and the Court, so in the New Testament the merits of our high-priest’s sacrifice are daily applied to the faithful by means of the unbloody offering of the victim offered once in a bloody manner.

3. As in the Old Testament God was visibly present over his tabernacle under the appearance of fire by night and of a cloud by day, so in the New Testament God is visibly present in our churches under the appearances of bread and wine.

4. As in the Old Testament the visible presence of God freed Israel from Egypt, led it through the desert, and brought it into the Promised Land, so does, in the New Testament, Christ’s sacramental presence free us from sin, lead us through the wilderness of life, and bring us to the eternal land of promise.

Section II. The Mercy-Seat

Ex. 25:17–22; Ps. 79 (80):1

1. DESCRIPTION OF THE MERCY-SEAT.—The Propitiatory or Mercy-Seat, in Hebrew “kapporeth,” was according to all writers a covering of the ark. The Hebrew verb “kaphar” signifies to cover, and in this simple meaning it is used in its Qal form in one passage of the Old Testament with reference to the covering of Noe’s ark (Gen. 6:14). In the Piel form (kipper) the verb is used nearly seventy times, and always in the sense of forgiving or reconciling. Now the question arises: must “kapporeth” as applied to the ark be taken in its simple sense of covering, or has it a different meaning? Many recent writers, both Jewish and Christian, have preferred the simple meaning of “a cover,” so that “kapporeth” is nothing but the cover of the ark (Kimchi, Mendelsohn, de Wette, Gesenius, Schott, Fürst, Zunz, Knobel, Herxheimer, Leeser, Benisch, Sharpe, etc.). But Wogue and Kalisch among the Jewish writers, and a number of Christian interpreters, do not follow this opinion of Josephus and Saadia; they regard the “kapporeth” as something quite distinct from the ark. The following reasons incline us to adhere to this second opinion.

a. The inspired text always represents the Mercy-Seat as being placed above, upon the ark (Ex. 25:17–22; 26:34), and it never calls it the “cover of the ark,” but always supposes a distinction to be made between the “kapporeth” and the ark (Ex. 30:6; 31:7; 35:12; 37:6–9; 39:35; Lev. 16:13; Num. 7:89, etc.). b. The Holy of Holies is called in Par. 28:11 the house of the “kapporeth,” and in Lev. 16:2 it is called the place within the veil before the “kapporeth” which is upon the ark. These expressions do not represent the “kapporeth” as a merely subordinate part of the ark. c. The word “kapporeth” is closely related to “kippurim,” atonements. No part of the sanctuary is so closely connected with these “kippurim” made on the Day of Atonement as the “kapporeth” (Lev. 16:2, 13, 14, 15). d. The oldest Jewish tradition favors the view that “kapporeth” is to be regarded as a derivative of the Piel form “kipper.” We have already seen that the Piel form of the verb expresses the idea of atonement. This same meaning must, therefore, be given to the “kapporeth.” This argument may be based on the LXX. rendering, on the words of Philo, and on the Targums on 1 Paral. 28:11. e. The New Testament, too (Heb. 9:5; Rom. 3:25), supposes that “kapporeth” is not the mere cover of the ark, but has a meaning of its own.

In external form, the Mercy-Seat was a plate of gold with the cherubim standing on it, the whole being beaten out of one solid piece of metal (Ex. 37:7). It was placed on the ark, and so took the place of a cover.

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE MERCY-SEAT.—a. In Heb. 9:5, the Apostle refers to the Mercy-Seat in general: “And over it [the ark] were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the propitiatory, of which it is not needful to speak now particularly.” But in another passage of the same epistle (4:16) St. Paul explains the meaning of the Mercy-Seat: “Let us go, therefore, with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.” And writing to the Romans (3:24, 25) St. Paul has a similar allusion to the Mercy-Seat: “Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to the showing of his justice, for the remission of former sins.” St. John (1 John 4:10) agrees with St. Paul’s application of the Mercy-Seat: “In this is charity, not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.”

EX. 25:17–22

Thou shalt make also a propitiatory of the purest gold, the length thereof shall be two cubits and a half, and the breadth a cubit and a half. Thou shalt make also two cherubim of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle. Let one cherub be on the one side, and the other on the other. Let them cover both sides of the propitiatory spreading their wings, and covering the oracle, and let them look one towards the others their faces being turned towards the propitiatory wherewith the ark is to be covered, in which thou shalt put the testimony that I will give thee. Thence will I give orders, and will speak to thee over the propitiatory, and from the midst of the two cherubim which shall be upon the ark of the testimony, all things which I will command the children of Israel by thee.”

PS. 79:2

Give ear, O thou that rulest Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep, thou that sittest upon the cherubim, shine forth.

God present on the Mercy-Seat is truly the type of God forgiving sins in the sacrament of penance. Both the atonement at the propitiatory and the sacrament of penance presuppose confession (cf. ritual for Day of Atonement), and in both the sin is remitted through the merits of the sacrificial blood.

Section III. Aaron, the High-Priest

Ex. 28:1; 30:1, 10; Num. 16:39, 40

1. LIFE OF AARON.—Aaron was the son of Amram and of Jochabed, of the tribe of Levi, and was born in Egypt, three years before his younger brother Moses (Ex. 7:7), under the Pharao who began to persecute the Hebrews (Ex. 1:8–11), and who was probably Seti I., the father of Ramses II. We shall divide the life of Aaron into two periods: the time in which he was prepared by God for the priesthood, and the period during which he was high-priest.

a. The time previous to the period of Aaron’s priesthood may be divided into four preparatory stages, for all else has been omitted in the inspired history. 1. Aaron is made the mediator between God’s own vicar, Moses, and the Israelites on the one hand and the Egyptians on the other. When Aaron receives this office, his name is mentioned for the first time in the Bible by the mouth of God himself (Ex. 4:10–16; cf. 7:1). Moses had objected to his choice as leader of Israel on the ground that he could not speak to the people nor to Pharao. Aaron is then assigned him as his spokesman. At this time Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three (Ex. 7:7). The readiness with which the people received the mission of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 4:29–31) shows the great authority that Aaron must have gained over his brethren during the absence of Moses (Ex. 2:15). The two brothers went immediately to Pharao, who seems to have been Menephtah I., whose father, Ramses II., had died a short time before (Ex. 2:23–25; 4:19). The difficulties they encountered at the court of the ruler are so well known that we need not repeat them here in detail. The miracles which took place by reason of these difficulties established the authority of Aaron so firmly that the work of deliverance was commonly assigned to both Moses and Aaron. God addresses his last commands in Egypt to both alike (Ex. 12:1); the Holy Ghost joins their names together as Israel’s deliverers (Ps. 78:21); Menephtah addresses to both alike his promises and threats (Ex. 8:28; 9:27, 28), and the Israelites in the desert murmur and revolt against both brothers as the cause of their having left Egypt.

2. The second step in the preparation of Aaron for the priesthood consists in his becoming the announcer and the guardian of the manna. The occasion of the manna-rain (Ex. 16:2) is too well known to need description here. God spoke to Moses and Aaron to announce the manna and to promulgate the regulations that were to govern the gathering of the heavenly food. Moreover, Aaron receives the special command to gather a “gomor” of manna and to keep it in the tabernacle as a perpetual memorial of God’s loving goodness for Israel (Ex. 16). This was an express sign of the future connection of Aaron with the sanctuary.

3. The third fact mentioned in the Scriptures serving to prepare Aaron for his exalted office occurred during the attack on the Israelites by the Amalecites. While Josue with all the bravest men of Israel fought against the foe, Moses with Aaron and Hur ascended the summit of a mountain and there prayed for the success of the Hebrew army. As long as Moses held his hands lifted up to heaven the Amalecites were defeated, and it is well remembered how Aaron and Hur supported the arms of Moses till the army of the enemies had been destroyed (Ex. 17:8–16). This was an important lesson for Aaron, showing him the power and the necessity of intercessory prayer on the part of him who represents the people before Almighty God.

4. There is a fourth most important preparatory step which precedes Aaron’s final election to the priesthood. After the great theophany mentioned in Ex. 24:10, Moses with Josue ascended the mountain, and Aaron with Hur had charge of the public affairs of the people during the time of Moses’ absence (Ex. 24:9–14). Then it came to pass that the people desired to have an idol such as they had seen in the land of Egypt, and Aaron was weak enough to yield to the wishes of the people (Ex. 32:1, 2, 5; Ps. 105:19, 20). It is of little import here whether Aaron and the people really adored the idol made of metal, or whether they considered the idol as an image of God; the grievousness of the offence is sufficiently plain from the words of Moses (Ex. 32:21) addressed to his brother, and from the punishment inflicted on the unhappy people (Ex. 32:28; Deut. 9:20). God thus showed the future pontiff of the Old Testament, even as later on he showed to the future Vicar of Christ, that left to ourselves we are capable of any sin and crime, even those which by the grace of God we abhor the most.

b. What the Scripture tells about Aaron’s priesthood may be reduced to five heads: 1. Aaron is formally consecrated as high-priest. The ceremonies accompanying this consecration may be seen in Ex. 29:1 the solemn blessing of the people was no doubt given in the words of Num. 6:24–26; the ratification of Aaron’s consecration and its divine attestation by means of the fire that fell from heaven are told in Lev. 8 and 9.

2. Aaron receives a severe lesson concerning the importance that God attaches to the faithful observance of the ceremonial rites. On the very day of their father’s consecration, Nadab and Abiu, the oldest two sons of Aaron, failed to observe the ceremonies prescribed by God (Num. 3:4; 26:61). A flame of fire, bursting forth probably from the altar of incense, killed them immediately, and whatever may have been the grief and awe of the afflicted father, Lev. 10 imposed silence on the pontiff.

3. The third fact referring to Aaron after he had received the priestly dignity shows how God defended the authority of Moses against him and his sister Mary. It was at the second station after the Israelites had left Sinai that Aaron and Mary began to speak against Moses on account of his Ethiopian wife (Num. 12:1). Both Mary and Aaron may have been elated by the divine favors they had received (Num. 12:1, 2); but the punishment seems to imply that Mary was the more guilty one of the two, since she alone was stricken with the leprosy (cf. Num. 12).

4. After thus upholding the authority of Moses against Aaron and Mary, God defends also the authority of Aaron against all attempts of his ambitious rivals. It had been a tradition in oriental families that the eldest son exercised the rights of the priesthood. Whatever might have been the predictions of the dying patriarch Jacob concerning the future fate of the tribes, when the time of their fulfillment arrived the tribe of Ruben found it extremely irksome to resign this hereditary right. But besides this radical predisposition on the part of the Rubenites against acknowledging the newly conferred dignity of Aaron, there was Core the cousin of Moses and Aaron, who excited open revolt in Dathan, Abiron, and Hon, all of Ruben’s tribe. The fate of these insurgents—for it is well known that they were swallowed up by the earth opening beneath them—terrified the people for an instant into submission; but them loud murmuring broke out against Moses and Aaron as being the authors of this chastisement. It was on this occasion that the cloud of the divine presence covered the two brothers, and that God expressed his solemn purpose of destroying the whole nation (Num. 16:43–45). Only the incense and the prayer offered by Aaron appeased the divine anger. And to confirm Aaron’s authority still more, God made the rod of Levi spring forth into blossom (Num. 17).

5. Finally, the inspired text tells us of the death of Aaron. Thirty-seven years after the events last related—for Moses tells us only of the first, the second, and the fortieth year of the wandering in the desert—in the first month of the fortieth year, the Israelites had encamped at Cades, in the desert of Sin, where Mary, the sister of Moses and Aaron, died and was buried. During the stay in this place the water began to fail, and the people murmured against their leaders, as they had done so often during their journey through the desert. God promised to give the people water from the rock, and it was precisely at this juncture that the confidence of Moses and Aaron seems to have failed in the presence of the people. Hence they were condemned by God never to enter the Promised Land, but to die in the desert (Num. 20:2 ff.; Ps. 105:33). About four months later the Hebrews came to Mount Hor, and here God revealed to Moses that the end of Aaron had come. Moses took Eleazar, Aaron’s son, and Aaron himself to the top of the mountain, and there he invested Eleazar with the high-priestly dignity. Then Aaron died, and when the people heard of his death, they mourned for him thirty days throughout all the families of Israel (Num. 20:24–29).

2. TYPICAL CHARACTER OF AARON.—The typical character of Aaron has been unmistakably pointed out by St. Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews (5:4, 5): “Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was. So Christ also did not glorify himself that he might be made a high-priest, but he that said unto him: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.” The same doctrine is again stated in the same epistle to the Hebrews (9:11, 12): “But Christ being come an high-priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hand, that is, not of this creation; neither by the blood of goats, or of calves, but by his own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption.” And in the latter part of the same chapter (vv. 24–26) St. Paul repeats the typical meaning of the Hebrew priest: “For Jesus is not entered into the Holies made with hand, the patterns of the true, but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us; nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high-priest entereth into the Holies every year with the blood of others; for then he ought to have suffered often from the beginning of the world; but now once at the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin, by the sacrifice of himself.”

EX. 28:1

Take unto thee also Aaron thy brother with his sons from the children of Israel, that they may minister to me in the priest’s office: Aaron, Nadab, and Abiu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

EX. 30:1, 10

Thou shalt make also an altar to burn incense, of setim-wood.… And Aaron shall pray upon the horns thereof once a year, with the blood of that which was offered for sin, and shall make atonement upon it in your generations. It shall be most holy to the Lord.

NUM. 16:39, 40

Then Eleazar the priest took the brazen censers, wherein they had offered, whom the burning fire had devoured, and beat them into plates, fastening them to the altar, that the children of Israel might have for the time to come wherewith they should be admonished, that no stranger or any one that is not of the seed of Aaron should come near to offer incense to the Lord, lest he should suffer as Core suffered and all his congregation, according as the Lord spoke to Moses.”

As Melchisedech is the type of the priesthood of the New Testament in so far as it offers an unbloody sacrifice, so Aaron is the type of our high-priest who has by a bloody sacrifice, by the oblation of his own blood, entered once into the Holies, i.e., into the presence of his heavenly Father, and given satisfaction for all. Even the details of the life of Aaron may be applied to the life of Christ; but this development would lead us too far for our present purpose.

Section IV. The Manna

Ex. 16:1–15; Ps. 77 (78):24, 25

1. COMPARISON OF THE MANNA OF EXODUS WITH THE NATURAL PRODUCT OF THE NAME.—a. Points of Agreement. There is a general resemblance between the manna of Exodus and the natural product in color, in taste, in shape, and in the time and place of the appearance. The natural manna of the peninsula of Sinai is the sweet juice of the tarfa, a species of the tamarisk. It exudes from the trunk and branches in hot weather, and forms small round white grains. In cool weather it preserves its consistency; in hot weather it melts rapidly. It is either gathered from the twigs of the tamarisk, or from the fallen leaves underneath the tree. Its color is a grayish yellow. It begins to exude in May, and lasts for about six weeks. The Arabs cleanse it from leaves and dirt, boil it down, strain it through coarse stuff, and keep it in leather bags. It is used as honey with bread, for it tastes sweet and has a slightly aromatic flavor. Ehrenberg believes that it is produced by the puncture of an insect. In rainy seasons it is abundant, but in some years it is altogether wanting. The whole quantity now produced in a single year does not exceed 600 or 700 pounds. It is found especially in the Wady Gharandel, i.e., Elim, the Wady Sheich, and in some other parts of the peninsula. Seetzen in 1807 was the first who described the natural product with scientific accuracy (cf. Kruse’s notes on Seetzen, v. iv. p. 416; Cook, Speaker’s Comment. I. p. 320 f.).

b Points of Difference between the Natural Product and the Manna of Exodus.—1. The manna of Exodus was not found under the tamarisk tree only, but on the surface of the desert, after the disappearance of the morning dew. 2. The quantity gathered by the Israelites in a single morning far exceeded the total amount gathered now in a whole year. 3. There was no supply of the manna on the Sabbath day. 4. The manna of Exodus could be ground, baked, and in other respects treated as meal. 5. The manna of Exodus was found in an area of territory larger than that of the natural product; for the manna lasted till Israel reached the land of Canaan.

c. It follows that the manna of Exodus must be regarded as a miraculous phenomenon, brought about by God’s special interposition. We have all the necessary conditions for such a miracle. α. The people of Israel should have perished of hunger, had not God supplied them with the needed food in a supernatural manner. β. The preservation of this people entered into God’s supernatural providence, since the Saviour of the human race was to be born of Jewish blood. γ. Finally, the manner in which the miracle was worked agrees exactly with the common way in which God interposes specially in the events of nature: he supplied such food as could be naturally expected in the regions through which the Hebrews were passing, though he increased the quantity and altered the quality according to the special needs of the people.

2. TYPICAL CHARACTER OF THE MANNA.—The typical character of the manna may be learned from the gospel according to St. John (6:31–35): “Our fathers,” the Jews said to Jesus, “did eat manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, Moses gave you not bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven; for the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. They said therefore unto him: Lord, give us always this bread. And Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me, shall not hunger, and he that believeth in me, shall neverthirst.” And again, in vv. 48–50: “I am the bread of life; your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that if any man eat of it, he may not die.” St. Paul (1 Cor. 10:3) confirms this typical interpretation of the manna where he says: “and [they] did all eat the same spiritual food.”

EX. 16:1–15

And they set forward from Elim, and all the multitude of the children of Israel came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, the fifteenth day of the second month, after they came out of the land of Egypt. And all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them: Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over the flesh-pots and ate bread to the full. Why have you brought us into this desert, that you might destroy all the multitude with famine? And the Lord said to Moses: Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; let the people go forth, and gather what is sufficient for every day, that I may prove them whether they will walk in my law or no. But the sixth day let them provide for to bring in: and let it be double to that they were wont to gather every day. And Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel: In the evening you shall know that the Lord hath brought you forth out of the land of Egypt; and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord. For he hath heard your murmuring against the Lord; but as for us, what are we, that you mutter against us? And Moses said: In the evening the Lord will give you flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full. For he hath heard your murmurings with which you have murmured against him, for what are we? your murmuring is not against us, but against the Lord. Moses also said to Aaron: Say to the whole congregation of the children of Israel: Come before the Lord, for he hath heard your murmuring. And when Aaron spoke to all the assembly of the children of Israel, they looked towards the wilderness; and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in a cloud. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: I have heard the murmuring of the children of Israel; say to them: In the evening you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God. So it came to pass in the evening that quails coming up, covered the camp; and in the morning a dew lay round about the camp. And when it had covered the face of the earth, it appeared in the wilderness small, and as it were beaten with a pestle, like unto the hoar-frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another: Man-hu! which signifieth: What is this! for they knew not what it was. And Moses said to them: This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

PS. 78:24, 25

And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them the bread of heaven. Man ate the bread of angels, he sent them provisions in abundance.

The particulars in which the manna may be regarded as a type of the Holy Eucharist need not here be discussed. Both are given by God in a miraculous manner; both serve as food for poor human pilgrims in the desert, on their way to the Promised Land; both nourish the partaker according to the disposition of his soul; both assume that particular taste, spiritual or physical, which the partaker most desires.

Section V. The Rock of Horeb

Ex. 17:5, 6, 7; Num. 20:10, 11; Ps. 104 (105):41

1. THE INCIDENT IN ITS HISTORIC SETTING.—Ex. 16–19 describes the journey of the Israelites from Elim to Sinai, including the particulars respecting the quails and the manna in the wilderness of Sinai (ch. 16); the miraculous supply of water at Rephidim, and the conflict with Amalec at the same place (ch. 17); the meeting with Jethro, and the counsel he gave to Moses (ch. 18).

2. MESSIANIC APPLICATION OF THE EVENT.—The Apostle, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, clearly and unmistakably applies this miraculous event to Jesus Christ: “And all drank,” he says (1 Cor. 10:4), “the same spiritual drink: (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ).”

EX. 17:5, 6, 7

And the Lord said to Moses: Go before the people, and take with thee of the ancients of Israel, and take in thy hand the rod wherewith thou didst strike the river, and go. Behold, I will stand there before thee, upon the rock Horeb; and thou shalt strike the rock, and water shall come out of it that the people may drink. Moses did so before the ancients of Israel; and he called the name of that place Temptation, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and for that they tempted the Lord, saying: Is the Lord amongst us or not?

NUM. 20:10, 11

And having gathered together the multitude before the rock, he said to them: Hear ye, rebellious and incredulous: Can we bring you forth water out of this rock? And when Moses had lifted up his hand, and struck the rock twice with the rod, there came forth water in great abundance, so that the people and their cattle drank.

Ps. 104 (105):41

He opened the rock, and waters flowed; rivers ran down in the dry land.

1. In this passage we meet the word “rock” in the meaning in which it occurs in many Old Testament passages that have been somewhat modified in our version; for we find that instead of the Hebrew “rock,” the person denoted by “rock,” God or Lord, is substituted. We may refer to Deut. 32:4, 15, 18; Ps. 17:3; 2 Kings 22:2; Ps. 41:10; Is. 17:10; 26:4, etc.

2. As the rock in the desert was the touchstone on which the faith of Moses and Aaron was tried and found wanting, so in the New Testament the person of Christ crucified is the stone of stumbling for all the feeble in the faith.

3. As the rock in the desert was always ready to give the needed water-supply to Israel, so is Christ in the New Testament always ready to supply our every need. But we must strike his Sacred Heart with acts of faith, hope, and charity in order to receive the needed assistance.








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