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Gospel Gazette Online
Vol.  10  No. 12 December 2008  Page 16                    powered by FreeFind

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Questions and Answers    Louis Rushmore

Angels' Food

By Louis Rushmore, Editor

“Had rained down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full” (Psalm 78:24-25 NKJV).

References to the occasion of God giving manna to the Israelites in the wilderness appear in Exodus 16:4-5, 14, 31; Numbers 11:7-9. Jesus Christ referred to this circumstance in John 6:31-35 and used it as an example comparable to the Father in heaven sending Him into the world; our Lord concluded this discourse with saying that He is Bread from heaven, meaning that Jesus Christ is the bread of (eternal) life. The manna sustained physical life in the wilderness wandering of the Israelites, and Jesus Christ is makes alive spiritually those otherwise wandering through this sinful world.

Regarding manna being referred to as “angels’ food,” Barnes observes: “Food that came from heaven; food so directly and manifestly from heaven that it might be supposed to be the same kind that was eaten there, and that had now been sent down by a special miracle for man; food so delicate and so free from the ordinary coarse properties of food, that it might be supposed to be such as angels feed on” (emphasis added). “The manna is called ‘bread of angels’ …as being bread from heaven …the dwelling-place of angels” (Keil & Delitzsch).

The association of the source of this manna being from heaven rather than suggesting any knowledge of angels resorting to nourishing themselves by eating something is meant; we have no information that angels necessarily eat anything for their sustenance. To the contrary, the only references in the Bible of angels eating is when they were in human form and visited Abram (Genesis 18:1-8) and Lot (Genesis 19:1-3). Things are different in heaven than they are on the earth. For instance, angels do not marry (Matthew 22:30), and there is no reason to suppose that angelic beings, living in the spiritual realm of heaven would anymore eat than they would marry.

In addition, the word translated, “angels,” could be and sometimes is translated differently elsewhere in Scripture, referring to mighty men (Judges 5:22; Lamentations 1:15; Jeremiah 40:15), animals (Psalm 22:13) and princes (Psalm 68:31), according to Barnes. We conclude, then, that “angels’ food” has more to do with from whence the manna came than does it establish that angelic beings literally eat food of any sort in heaven. This question, though, is not of the sort that has anymore than curiosity value for men living today; that is, the question before us and our effort to provide an answer do not affect salvation, Christian worship, Christian living or Christian service.

Works Cited

Barnes, Albert. Barnes’ Notes. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition. CD-ROM. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996.

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