The Allegory of Food

From the fall of man to the last supper, food is at the center of so many crucial moments in the Bible. The more I read the word, however, the more I see that food serves as a stand in for something mcuh more important and our connection to food is heavily correlated to this more important object.

Major Events Centered on Food

The Fall of Man

Most people concerate on disobedience and pride when discussing the fall, but I've always found it fascinating that the test of man's obedience was a fruit. We don't know what type of fruit they eat—thanks to Paradise Lost most people are convinced it was an apple, despite there being no evidence for this. Let's say it was an apple, though, for argument's sake. Can you imagine throwing away paradise over an apple? Of all the fruits that exist in the world—and they had access to all the fruits—an apple is pretty basic. Now, of course I would say that because I've tasted one before and can easily compare it to other fruits. Nonetheless, Adam and Eve were given everything good to eat freely by God. Imagine standing in the grocery store and the manager says you can have anything you want in the store for the rest of your life as long as you don't take [insert a single item]. What item would it take for you to walk away from the deal? Where would you lose your self control? (I'm thinking I'd lose it at salt... How would I season all the food without salt!?)

Food seems like such a minor offense for us to be condemned over. This is probably why most pastors focus on obedience and pride, rather than the notion that our condmened existence is a consequence of eating the wrong fruit. Yet, there's quite the profound correlation between today and what happened then. The popular phrase "you are what you eat" is scarily true. Countless studies have proven that many of the health issues in the United States stem from poor diet. The standard American diet (aptly dubbed SAD) puts you at risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and so much more. People with these underlying conditions are more likely to experience severe COVID or death if infected with COVID-19. It follows (and studies have proven) that diet affects your life span. Also, what you eat provides your body with certain nutrients that help you function. Side effects of not consuming the proper balance of nutrients include fatigue, lethargy, moodiness, and more.

We were not created to consume certain foods!

Manna

In Exodus 16, we learn that while the Israelites were in the wilderness God provided them with a mysterious food called "manna." Manna was perfectly crafted by the Father to provide for their dietary needs and rained from the heavens faithfully everyday (except Sabbath).
And the house of Israel named the bread manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey. Exodus 16:31 NASB
The provision of manna took away the need and worry of foraging for food in the wilderness. Today, much of the Middle East is desert. I'm not sure exactly what the terrain between Egypt and Israel was during Moses' era, but even if it were rich with clean animals and bountiful with plants, it would have been a lot of work to hunt and forage. In my hometown, there used to be a blueberry farm—rows and rows of blueberry bushes kept by one man who used to sell the berries. When he died, no one took over the farm. In a year the weeds were so high it was hard to distinguish the blueberry bushes. Within two years it was a mess of weeds and baby pine trees, and by the third year it had been reclaimed by the forest. No doubt, there may still be blueberries buried in there somewhere, but the bushes are now competing for nutrients with the other plants now growing there and there are no longer neat pathways for one to get to the berries. Plus, some of the bushes likely died, making the quantity of berries drastically smalleer. Add in the fact that local wildlife no has free access to the berries and you can bet that it would be pretty hard to get a significant harvest in it's current state. The same concept would apply in any fertile wilderness.

Similarly, when humans raise cattle and other livestock for food, it may be messy, but it's fairly simple to corral the animals to slaughter. In the wild, one needs to first find the animal and then spear it from a distance as the animals wouldn't be tame enough for you to approach it. For a small family, perhaps this wouldn't be so bad, but for the entire nation of Israel plus the mixed multitude... How many wild animals would you have to find and kill to feed everyone?

The manna was a curcial gift from God that allowed Israel to continue even when they were in a position where they should starve.

Feeding the Multitude

There are multiple times in the New Testament that Jesus feed a multitude with a scant amount of food. I don't know what size the loaves of bread or the fish he carried were, but as someone who has eaten a whole large pizza by myself, I agree that it is miracluous to feed that many people with such a small quantity of food. Now I've heard pastors try to downplay the miracle by suggesting other people added to the meal, but regardless of how the miracle played out, the fact remains that a large group of people were brought together and able to join together from a small and finite quantity of food.

Example Prayer

In the example pray Christ gives us in Matthew 6, He says: "Give us this day our daily bread." Why do you think this was included?

The Last Supper

The final encounter Messiah has with His disciple is the last supper. We know that the early church often ate together and this likely stemed from Christ's example.

What is Food?

Food isn't just food though. Food is the Word of God!
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4 KJV
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35 KJV
Reflect back on the events mentioned above and substitute Messiah or the Word of God for food.

Rejecting God

In the garden, the forbidden fruit becomes a false god. The abundant fruits available to Adam and Eve are the true God. You could also think of the forbidden fruit as a forbidden word (it is after all from the Tree of Knowledge), and the other fruits as the pure Word of God. By choosing the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve choose a false god, a false narative, a false doctrine. In the same way, we pollute our bodies by eating foods not meant for the body, we pollute our minds by consuming words not meant for our soul. Our corrupted bodies is what leads to death, but it is our corrupted minds that cause the trouble of sin.

Salvation

Romans 5:8 tells us that even as sinners who may not have comprehended the gift, Christ died for us. The Word was made flesh (John 1:14) and dwealt with us even though we didn't earn it. This same Word, dubbed the Bread of Life, is what saved us from our sin. If sinlessness was the garden or will be paradise, could we not think of sin as the wilderness? In the wilderness (sin) we need saving (the Bread of Life). This is exactly what the Father demonstrated in Exodus 16 by giving the Israelites manna (bread) while in the wilderness (lost). His promise to them did not end when they created the golden calf or because they complained; He provided this salvation free of charge for whoever would accept it.

Spreading the Word

When Christ feeds so many people with only a few loaves of bread and a couple fish, the food is the Word of God. Although God is infinte, the words written in the Bible are finite. At first, God selected the Israelites to be the keepers of the message—a limited number of people—but after Christ's death and resurrection, the same message was preached everywhere. In short, there is enough of gospel to feed the entire world. What's more, is that although God gave us a finite story, it can be multiplied without being changed. For example, most of Messiah's parables are related to agriculture and farming because that is how his audience could relate. Today, we can relate the exact same message using new parables more applicable to our audience. In this way, the one message is multiplied to educate thousands of cultures the same way the one meal was multiplied to feed thousands of people.

Our Daily Bread

In the example prayer of Matthew 6, Yeshua/Jesus prays "Give us this day our daily bread." We see evidence of God literally giving daily "bread" in the Exodus when manna rained from the heavens everyday (except Sabbath) for 40 years while Israel wandered in the desert. We also see men of God, like Daniel, who understand that the daily "bread" needed is not physical food but spiritual food. These men pray and communicate with God multiple times a day. When we pray this prayer, truly we are asking for daily wisdom from God, daily surrender to His Will, and daily understanding of His Word!

Unity

All of the holy days declared by God included a feast. In the New Testament, we see that every time the disciples get together, there is breaking of bread (re: food). The Bible correlates oneness of the body, celebration, and food. It makes sense that the food is the Word of God. Only when we follow His Word can we acheive unity and peace.

Events Indirectly Related to Food

Eating the Scroll

Both Ezekiel and John are given scrolls to eat while receiving a prophecy from the Most High (Ezekeiel 2-3; Revelation 10:9-10). In both cases, the scroll is described as having a sweet, honey-like taste, and, although described in different ways, bitterness is the end result for both men. Ezekiel leaves feeling bitter, while John has bitterness in his stomach. It makes sense that the Word of God is sweet—the Gospel literally means "good news"—but it also makes sense that it is bitter. The bitterness comes from the reality that there are in fact consequences for not following God, and that we have all fallen short. Every prophet who approached the throne of God was immediately embarassed by their own sinfulness, as we would be if we were to be in His presence today. On top of that, the sweetness that is unconditional forgiveness also applies to our enemies. The same way Stephen was forgiven of his sins, Paul was forgiven for stoning Stephen. There is a bitterness in knowing you must forgive others to receive your own forgiveness. There is also a bitterness in knowing that despite the free gift, not everyone will accept it. As such there are horrible times ahead and those who have accepted the gift will have to endure to the end.

Fasting

Fasting is the process of denying yourself food. I find it such an interesting concept when thinking about the fact that much of the Bible is talking about the importance of "daily bread." Yet, science has shown that fasting is actually good for your body. It gives the digestive system time to heal and rest. Is this true of the Word too? Might there be times where we need to simply reflect on all that we've been given instead of plowing ahead?

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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