One of the most well-known journeys in the Bible is when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. They traveled for forty years in the wilderness. During that time, God rained down bread from Heaven (Exodus 16:4). He sustained them with a heavenly grain called “manna,” and they ate the bread of angels (Psalm 78:24-25).
When I started to research manna, I found myself on an unexpected journey through Scripture. Many of my questions found answers. For example, according to the Strong’s Concordance, I learned that the Greek word manna is described as “an edible gum.” In Numbers 11:7, it is like coriander seed and has the color of bdellium (KJV). So, what is bdellium? The Hebrew word says it is “a fragrant gum.” It is also described as “a pearl.” I immediately thought of the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem, since each one will be made of a single pearl (Revelation 21:21).
I had no idea there was such a debate among scholars about bdellium, and, therefore, manna. Some hold the view that it is an edible gum or resin. Others, however, believe it is a precious stone. I am going to share my very humble opinion. I think it is both.
In Looking Glass, The City God Loves, I discovered that the two main miracle pictures illustrate the heavenly temple. In Revelation 21:22, the beloved disciple says, “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
In order to understand the temple in Heaven, I am going to share a few of the details. Let's begin with the tree of life. My husband, Kirk, pointed out the tree to me.
The picture is upside down.
It is important to note that the pictures have to be turned upside down to see the temple from the west side of the city. The whirlwind is near the bottom of the picture, in the center. This makes up the trunk of the tree, along with the crack in the foundation. And all the greenery makes up the leaves. The tree takes up most of the space in both pictures.
Please note how the tree is in the center of the picture, which is similar to the tree of life in the garden.
When we look at the picture from the east side, we see a pearl gate. Isn't it interesting how the pearl looks like an igloo?
I have often wondered about the small round circles on the side of the pearl. Initially, I thought it was a natural pattern or design within the pearl. Now I think it could represent resin or fruit from the tree of life.
Pliny the Elder lived around the time that the Book of Revelation was written. In one of his writings, he explains where one could find the best bdellium. Pliny says that it comes from the commiphora wightil tree, which is “black in colour and the size of the olive tree; its leaf resembles that of the oak and its fruit the wild fig.”
In Looking Glass, The City God Loves, I considered the possibility that the tree of life could be an olive tree. It could also be the commiphora wightil, described by Pliny the Elder. I imagine trees in Heaven are similar to what we have here on earth. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the tree of life is more glorious than anything we have yet to see. It likely has heavenly characteristics.
During the last six months, I have often wondered about the pearl gate on the west side of the two main pictures. It looks like it is hanging on the side of the tree trunk. The other night, I suddenly realized that it could represent manna, which we have learned was like coriander seed and had the color of bdellium. While in the dew-form, the manna could have resembled pearls.
In Exodus 16:13-14, it says that "in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp." This indicates moisture was present. Remember, the Lord told Moses that He would rain bread from Heaven (v. 4). I began to think about the east side of the pictures. The river of life is clearly flowing from under the east gate (the pearl). The Greek word for "pearl" is margarites, which, according to the Strong's Concordance, is "a pearl-oyster." Therefore, it has to come from a water source. In the millennial kingdom, as well as the eternal kingdom, I believe God will create many salt water creatures to live in fresh water (Ezekiel 47:8-9). The pearls will likely come from the river of the water of life, which flows from the throne of God (Revelation 22:1). They will be freshwater pearls.
When we turn the pictures upside down, we, of course, see the tree of life. We also see the gum resin, which I believe is the manna.
When the Lord God planted the Garden of Eden, He placed the tree of life in the middle of it (Genesis 2:8-9). Verse 10 says that “a river watering the garden flowed from Eden.”
In the New Jerusalem, we read about the river of the water of life. The King James Version tells us that “on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2). We are talking about one enormous tree or, perhaps, several smaller trees being fed by the tree of life. In Genesis and Revelation, the river and the tree of life have a close connection. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that the pearl (from the river) and the edible gum (from the tree) also have a close connection.
This post came from pages 3-8 in Eyeglass, Face to Face.
Copyright © 2016 Heidi Rabe