Bible Study Guides – The Pot of Manna

August 5, 2012 – August 11, 2012

Key Text

“There was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.” Hebrews 9:2–4.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 291–297; Early Writings, 32, 33.


“In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. … In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book.” Early Writings, 32.


  • What was one of the most important events in the history of Israel, and how was it commemorated each year? Exodus 12:11.

Note: “The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that, year by year, as the children should ask the meaning of this ordinance, the history should be repeated. Thus the wonderful deliverance was to be kept fresh in the minds of all.” The Desire of Ages, 652.

  • How long did it take to go from Egypt to the wilderness of Sin (which is between Elim and Sinai)? Exodus 15:27; 16:1.

Note: “Here they [the people at Elim] remained several days before entering the wilderness of Sin. When they had been a month absent from Egypt, they made their first encampment in the wilderness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 292.


  • Arriving at their next major resting point, what was the very first thing the children of Israel began to do, showing their complete sense of insecurity? Exodus 16:2.

Note: “Their [the Israelites’] store of provisions had now begun to fail. There was scanty herbage in the wilderness, and their flocks were diminishing. How was food to be supplied for these vast multitudes? Doubts filled their hearts, and again they murmured. Even the rulers and elders of the people joined in complaining against the leaders of God’s appointment. …

“They had not as yet suffered from hunger; their present wants were supplied, but they feared for the future. They could not understand how these vast multitudes were to subsist in their travels through the wilderness, and in imagination they saw their children famishing. The Lord permitted difficulties to surround them, and their supply of food to be cut short, that their hearts might turn to Him who had hitherto been their Deliverer. If in their want they would call upon Him, He would still grant them manifest tokens of His love and care. He had promised that if they would obey His commandments, no disease should come upon them, and it was sinful unbelief on their part to anticipate that they or their children might die for hunger.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 292.

  • As we consider all the murmurings during the wilderness sojourn, who was the real target of such grumblings? If we murmur today, who is the real target of our complaints? Exodus 16:6–10.

Note: “God is displeased with the disposition that some have to murmur against those who have fought the heaviest battles for them, and who endured so much in the beginning of the message, when the work went hard. The experienced laborers—those who toiled under the weight and the oppressive burdens when there were but few to help bear them—God regards; and He has a jealous care for those who have proved faithful. He is displeased with those who are ready to find fault with and reproach the servants of God who have grown gray in building up the cause of present truth. Your reproaches and murmurings, young men, will surely stand against you in the day of God.” Gospel Workers, 318.


  • After only a month on their journey, what were the Israelites already lusting for, showing how controlling our evil desires can become? Exodus 16:3.

Note: “In Egypt their [the Israelites’] taste had become perverted. God designed to restore their appetite to a pure, healthy state, in order that they might enjoy the simple fruits that were given to Adam and Eve in Eden. He was about to establish them in a second Eden, a goodly land, where they might enjoy the fruits and grains that He would provide for them. He purposed to remove the feverish diet upon which they had subsisted in Egypt; for He wished them to be in perfect health and soundness when they entered the goodly land.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1102.

  • With what did God supply their needs and wants? Exodus 16:11–15. What should we learn from His step-by-step method of leading?

Note: “We cannot expect worldlings to accept at once that which our people have been years in learning. Even now there are many of our ministers who do not practice health reform, notwithstanding the light they have had. We cannot expect those who do not realize the need of abstemiousness in diet, who have had no practical experiences on this subject, to take at once the wide step between self-indulgence in eating and the most strenuous diet in health reform.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 288.

  • How long were quails provided? Is there a record of any negative results from eating flesh food at that time? Exodus 16:12.

Note: “At the giving of the manna, just before Israel reached Sinai, the Lord had granted them flesh in answer to their clamors; but it was furnished them for only one day.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 378.

“Murmuring and tumults had been frequent during the journey from the Red Sea to Sinai, but in pity for their ignorance and blindness God had not then visited the sin with judgments.” Ibid., 379.


  • What was the manna like, how long was it to be used, and why? Numbers 11:7–9; Exodus 16:35; Joshua 5:10–12.

Note: “For forty years they [the children of Israel] were daily reminded by this miraculous provision, of God’s unfailing care and tender love.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 297.

  • What was the main purpose of this miraculous provision? Exodus 16:4, last part; Psalm 105:45; James 1:2–4, 12.

Note: “God’s children are always being tested in the furnace of affliction. If they endure the first trial, it is not necessary for them to pass through a similar ordeal the second time; but if they fail, the trial is brought to them again and again, each time being still more trying and severe. …

“Sorrow and trial must come to all, and is beautiful only as it works to polish, to sanctify, and refine the soul as a fit instrument to do service for the Lord.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1146.

  • How was this a test on the seventh-day Sabbath? Exodus 16:5, 16–20, 22–26.

Note: “A threefold miracle was wrought in honor of the Sabbath, even before the law was given on Sinai. A double quantity of manna fell on the sixth day, none upon the Sabbath, and the portion needed for the Sabbath was preserved sweet and pure, when if any were kept over at any other time, it became unfit for food. Here is conclusive evidence that the Sabbath was instituted at creation.” The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1884.

  • How does this experience show that the children of Israel already understood the law before reaching Mount Sinai? Exodus 16:27–30.


  • Because of God’s monumental miracle in the dry desert, what did He give for a continual reminder of His miraculous provisions? Exodus 16:32, 33.
  • Where was this pot of manna placed? How then are we to consider healthful diet in relation to the Decalogue? Exodus 16:34; Hebrews 9:3, 4.

Note: “In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. … In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book.” Early Writings, 32.

“In the ark, beneath where the angels’ wings were spread, was a golden pot of Manna, of a yellowish cast; and I saw a rod, which Jesus said was Aaron’s; I saw it bud, blossom, and bear fruit. Numbers 17:8.” A Word to the Little Flock, 16.

  • What does this manna preservation also tell us about our obligation to heed the instructions relating to the Sabbath? Exodus 16:23.

Note: “The Lord is no less particular now in regard to His Sabbath, than when He gave the foregoing special directions to the children of Israel. He required them to bake that which they would bake, and seethe (that is, boil) that which they would seethe, on the sixth day, preparatory to the rest of the Sabbath. Those who neglect to prepare for the Sabbath on the sixth day, and who cook food upon the Sabbath, violate the fourth commandment and are transgressors of God’s law. All who are really anxious to observe the Sabbath according to the commandment, will not cook any food upon the Sabbath. They will, in the fear of that God who gave His law from Sinai, deny themselves, and eat food prepared upon the sixth day, even if it is not so palatable. God forbade the children of Israel baking and boiling upon the Sabbath. That prohibition should be regarded by every Sabbath-keeper, as a solemn injunction from Jehovah to them. The Lord would guard His people from indulging in gluttony upon the Sabbath, which He has set apart for sacred meditation and worship.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 225, 226.


1 Why does insecurity over the future too often trigger fear in us, causing us to murmur against God and His chosen leaders?

2 How long was flesh given, compared to manna?

3 How does God lead people in progressive steps of reform?

4 What does the manna experience teach us about Sabbath keeping?

5 What should we learn from the fact that the manna was placed in the ark?

Extra Reading

“Many look back to the Israelites, and marvel at their unbelief and murmuring, feeling that they themselves would not have been so ungrateful; but when their faith is tested, even by little trials, they manifest no more faith or patience than did ancient Israel. … Though their present needs are supplied, many are unwilling to trust God for the future, and they are in constant anxiety lest poverty shall come upon them, and their children shall be left to suffer. Some are always anticipating evil or magnifying the difficulties that really exist, so that their eyes are blinded to the many blessings which demand their gratitude.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 293.

“God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: ‘God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people.’ Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: ‘They are joined to their idols, let them alone’ [Hosea 4:17], and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 187.

© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.