Thursday, 24 February 2011 20:10

The 'Hidden Manna'

AfikomenIn our analysis of the 'Letter to the Church at Pergamum' that will be posted in a few more days, I mention the 'Middle Matzah' from the Passover Seder meal that Christ referred to as the "hidden manna" in that letter. But since that post was getting rather long, it seemed appropriate to shorten it by moving the analysis of the word 'Matzah' to the 'Hebrew Studies' section, where it really belongs anyway. So when you read that lesson in a few days, you can refer back to this one for context.

The 'hidden manna' that Christ mentions in that letter alludes to a Jewish tradition during the Passover meal that went something like this; during the meal, the Seder leader would take a linen bag with 3 Matzah wafers in it, remove the middle matzah, and break it in half. Then, they would place one half back in the linen bag, and wrap the other half in a linen napkin and hide it in the house while the children covered their eyes. Then, after the meal was over, the children would be turned loose to find the matzah, known as the 'Afikomen'. When it was found, the child who discovered it would receive a reward.

Hmm. Does this sound familiar somehow?


At this point, your Christian antennas should be in the fully upright position, because the symbolism here is taken directly from Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. And in a way, it amazes me that this tradition is still not associated with Jesus Christ within the Jewish community. It would seem to me that it could refer to nobody else, no matter how far we stretched the symbolism. Here are the associations;

1) Jesus is the 'Son of Man' that was the middle figure of the 'bread of life' Godhead (Father - Son - Spirit). He indeed was the middle matzah.

2) Jesus was broken for our transgressions, just as the middle matzah was broken.

3) Jesus was wrapped in linen after he was crucified, just as the middle matzah was wrapped in linen, becoming the 'Afikomen'.

4) Jesus was hidden away in a tomb, just as the Afikomen was hidden away.

5) The child that found the Afikomen would receive a reward, just as those with "faith like a child" find Jesus Christ and receive the reward of eternal life.

There is a bit more to this tradition that I'll probably explore in a separate lesson during Passover week this spring, but for now it sets the table for the following word study on the underlying meaning of 'matzah'. Given the above tradition, this meaning is REALLY interesting, which you'll see in a moment. Personally, this has ended up being my favorite Hebrew word study so far.


MatzahI accidentally stumbled across the Hebrew for 'matzah' tonight while preparing for another lesson, and the individual letters struck me as being quite significant, based on my current understanding of the tradition of the Afikomen.

In the adjacent Hebrew text, we see that this word 'matzah' begins with a 'Mem', followed by a 'Tsade', and ending with a 'Hey', reading from right to left. And in the original Hebrew pictographs that are the backbone of this study, these letters would be illustrated in the following way;

MemThe 'Mem' is a picture of water, or specifically, waves of water.  This letter carries with it the potential meanings of chaos or mighty or blood, or it can simply mean water or waves. In this instance, it appears to mean 'mighty', which will become apparent in a moment.

TsadeThe 'Tsade' is a picture of a man laying on his side, which seems rather strange at first. But the picture illustrates the potential meanings of wait, chase, snare or hunt, all of which can be related to a man resting in this position.  In this instance, we'll use the idea of hunting, or to 'seek'

HeyThe 'Hey' we've seen many times in these studies, and it's a man trying to get our attention. It has the potential meanings of look, reveal, or breathe, but can also mean behold. In this instance, we'll use the meaning of 'reveal'.


When we consider the context of the hidden manna, which is the middle matzah of the Seder dinner tradition, the implied meaning is clearly apparent, suggesting the following;

"The Mighty One you seek was revealed."Cross

Notice how the mnemonic meanings of the pictographs coincide perfectly to the tradition of hiding and then finding the 'matzah', known as the 'Afikomen'. The children would seek the matzah, which would be revealed ONLY to the seeker. If you did not seek, you did not find. Does that remind you of any particular scripture?  It should.

But you might wonder why I used the words "WAS revealed" in the meaning above, instead of "IS revealed", which would be another possibility. The answer is simple. You see, Afikomen is not even a Hebrew word, but rather a Greek word, and it's the only Greek word that has found it's way into the Seder tradition. This tradition began in the first century A.D. after Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, and while this word is generally associated with 'dessert', ironically enough, Afikomen simply means"I came."

In other words, the Lord announced to the Jewish community that while they still seek their Messiah even to this day, their Afikomen "WAS revealed" back in the first century. He has already come, and He died on a cross to save them, and the rest of us, from our sins.

One day soon when the 'sign of the Son of man' appears in the sky, the Jewish community will finally find their Afikomen, Jesus Christ, and on that day, they will receive their reward of eternal life.
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