The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
Does the Word of God pierce your heart like it does mine?
Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit cut your heart when you’ve read Scripture?
The circumcision of the heart.
I know for a fact that I will be in heaven forevermore. For all eternity.
To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Re 2:17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Once, quite a while back I said I wanted to taste in my mouth the manna Israel had eaten in the forty years wandering. But then I came to realize that the hidden manna is the Word and I have been eating it all along. Tasting Christ not only in my mouth but in my entire being.
Last night in Global University the hidden manna which we will receive in its full form when we see Jesus, Face to face, is our reward and my heart is pierced again through and through as tears swell in my eyes that I am so blessed.
48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jn 6:48–51). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood lhas eternal life, and mI will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Jn 6:53–58). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
1. Linguistic Data. mān is the OT term for the food by which Israel is fed in the desert (Ex. 16:31 etc.). Other terms for the food are “heavenly bread” (Ps. 105:40), “bread from heaven” (Ex. 16:4), “grain from heaven” (Ps. 78:24), and “angels’ bread” (Ps. 78:25). hē mánna in Greek is used for “morsel,” “grain,” and especially “grain of incense.” The LXX uses manna in Num. 11:6–7, Philo adopts the term, and the NT has tó mánna in Jn. 6:31, 49.
2. Manna in the OT. With water and quails, manna is part of God’s provision for Israel in the desert. In Ex. 16:4 it falls like dew, is a granular deposit like frost, resembles coriander seed, tastes like honey, and must be gathered each day. It may be baked after being ground down (Ex. 16; Num. 11), and becomes uneatable if kept (Ex. 16).
3. Manna in Later Literature. The rabbis believe that God created manna just before the seventh day. As the people owes the well to Miriam and the pillar of cloud to Aaron, it owes the gift of manna to Moses. Another view sees manna as a reward for keeping the law. With water, it accompanies Israel on her wanderings. The ark contains a little basket with manna which disappears when the ark is hidden and which Elijah will restore. Manna is now the heavenly food of the righteous. Although not needed, it will again fall from heaven in the age of messianic salvation. The messianic generation will enjoy the same food and drink as the wilderness generation.
4. NT Views of Manna.
a. The manna motif occurs in Jn. 6:31, 49. The term alternates with “bread from heaven.” After the feeding of the 5,000, the Jews want Jesus to give a sign which will accredit him as the Messiah as manna accredited Moses. Jesus, in his reply, points out that the messianic age transcends the wilderness age. Moses could not give true bread from heaven, for the people who ate manna still died. In contrast, the bread that Jesus gives confers eternal life. Jesus himself is this living bread (6:35, 48).
b. Heb. 9:4 refers to the manna which is contained in a golden urn in the ark along with Aaron’s rod and the tables of the law. This agrees with rabbinic tradition, but cf. 1 Kgs. 8:9.
c. Rev. 2:17 also reflects rabbinic tradition with its promise of hidden manna to those who triumph (cf. also the living water of Rev. 7:17).
[R. MEYER, IV, 462–66]
Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 563). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
kryptō [to hide], apokrýptō [to hide], kryptós [hidden, secret], kryphaíos [hidden], kryphḗ [secretly], krýptē [cellar], apókryphos [hidden]
A. Occurrence and Meaning. krýptō has the basic sense “to cover,” “to conceal” (either protectively or for selfish reasons). It then means a. “to bury,” and b. “to set” (of constellations, also used in eclipses). Figuratively it means “to keep secret” (with accusative, double accusative, or preposition, often shameful things), but also “to overlook” and hence “to pardon.” krýptein may also denote the keeping of entrusted secrets, as in the mysteries. apokrýrtō means “to cover,” “to conceal,” and figuratively “to keep secret” (usually in a good sense). Intransitively both terms may be used for “to disappear from sight.” kryptós means “covered,” “hidden,” and figuratively “secret. The kryptoí are secret police in Sparta, and the word at times acquires a nuance of cunning. Secret sins are particularly shameful or abominable. kryphaíos is a rare word for “hidden,” kryphḗ means “secretly,” krýptē is a “vault” or “cellar,” and apókryphos means “hidden” (e.g., treasure) or “secret.”
B. Theological Significance of the Terms.
I. The Greek and Hellenistic World.
1. Popular Religion. The hiddenness of deity produces a numinous element in Greek religion. The riddle of death and the related cult of chthonic deities and heroes strengthens this. Yet the numinous aspect should not be overrated, for the deity does not have absolute knowledge or control (being subject to fate). Indeed, the Greeks show great familiarity with their gods (who finally may become affable and even impotent), so that the group is not at first common in religious contexts.
2. Mysticism, Gnosticism, and Philosophy.
a. The mysteries do not stress secrecy. The Eleusinians are like a private cult society. Alien mysteries make a difference, but often with more reference to the secrecy of the cult than to the concealment of the deity.
b. Orphism teaches a deity that is visible in all things but also hidden inasmuch as the universal body of the deity is an esoteric doctrine. Greek and Near Eastern influences converge in Gnosticism with its concepts of hidden but self-revealing deity and of esoteric knowledge. apókryphos becomes here a technical term for secret books or inscriptions (written in cryptograms). Astrologers make much use of the group; thus apókrypha are dark affairs (either criminal or mantic) which mýstai alone can penetrate; these mýstai are grouped with mathematicians and athletes.
c. At a later period Greek philosophy is connected with the secret wisdom of the Near East. There is some truth in this, and although natural philosophy seeks a scientific explanation of things, it accepts the inscrutability of nature and the gods. The element of hiddenness increases as antiquity declines, but the kpýptō group is rare. The term “to conceal” is important in Stoic ethics; the Cynic differs from others in living an open life and having nothing to hide.
II. The Old Testament.
1. Hebrew has seven roots (see TDNT, III, 967) to express the idea of concealment, and their use is extremely loose and varied. A first theological use is to denote the essential distinction between God and us. God may show himself but he wills concealment (1 Kgs. 8:12), his works are hidden (Sir. 11:4), he knows hidden things (Dt. 29:28), and to see him is fatal (Is. 6:5).
2. Nothing is hidden from God (Dan. 2:22). Sinners cannot remain hidden (Jer. 16:17). God has total knowledge of his human creatures (Ps. 139).
3. Sinners try to flee from God. They lurk in darkness (Ps. 10:8), offend in secret (Ezek. 8:12), set up images in secret (Dt. 27:15), avoid God (cf. Adam, Cain, and Achan), and when judgment comes try to hide in the rocks (Is. 2:10).
4. The righteous disclose everything, and this opens the way to the restoration of fellowship (Pss. 32:1ff.; 19:12). The penitential psalms are formally parallel to those of Babylon, but the latter are polytheistic, ritual, and pessimistic.
5. When fellowship is restored, the righteous take comfort in knowing that their ways are not hidden from God. No less than their sin, their sighing is not hidden (Ps. 38:9). Only those of little faith think the contrary (Is. 40:27).
6. God gives the elect a share in his own hidden life. He covers them in his tent in times of trouble (Ps. 27:5; cf. Is. 49:2; 4:6). Even in Sheol Job thinks he might be hidden by God (Job 14:13). God teaches wisdom in the secret heart (Ps. 51:6). Yet there is no occultism; one must keep to what is revealed (Dt. 29:29).
7. God comes out of hiddenness in self-revelation to chosen individuals (Gen. 18:17; Is. 29:10) and to the whole people once this self-revelation is available in the law (Ps. 119:19). But he hides himself from the Gentiles (Is. 45:15).
8. God controls his self-revelation. He may hide his purposes even from the prophets (2 Kgs. 4:27). There is judicial self-concealment from a sinful people (Is. 29:10). The righteous, too, experience the hiding of God’s face (Job 13:24; Pss. 10:11; 44:24, etc.). This hiddenness can become intolerable (Lam. 3:6). But grace is not at an end (Lam. 3:22). One may still flee from the hidden God to the revealed God.
9. Since God’s word is a treasure, one must hide it in oneself (Ps. 119:11; Prov. 2:1). What is hidden is not cosmic gnosis but the historically given word.
10. Yet what is hidden in oneself is also to be declared to others (Ps. 40:10). Jeremiah finds it impossible to stop speaking about God (Jer. 20:9). God’s words and deeds are to be published among the nations (Ps. 96:2–3).
1. Palestinian Judaism. In the main, Palestinian Judaism thinks that present revelation has ceased. Apocalyptic tries to fill the gap, linking the discovery of hidden guilt or divine purpose with eschatology. In spite of their love for what is hidden, the rabbis have a strong sense of God’s presence in nature and history and of his revelation in the law. Yet the ways of God are mysterious, especially after A.D. 70. The tension of the secret and open comes out in exegesis. Secret guilt is to be openly punished and the secret hallowing of God’s name will be publicly recognized.
2. Hellenistic Judaism. Mystical influences may be seen in the theological use of the group in Hellenistic Judaism. Thus Reuben wants to reveal the hidden things of his heart in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, while Philo stresses God’s hiddenness, uses mystical terms for the knowledge that he reads into the OT, describes God as a mystagogue, and brings the group into his ethics.
3. Gnosticism Influenced by Judaism. The Essenes move in a Gnostic direction with their oaths of secrecy and secret writings. In later Jewish Gnosticism the idea that hiddenness confers honor, and the accessibility of deity only to a few elect, is a common theme. The Mandaeans speak of hidden mysteries and also of the offering to God of hidden prayers.
IV. The New Testament.
1. The Synoptists. In general the NT adopts the presuppositions of the OT, and in part of Judaism, but with the difference that eschatological expectation is now fulfilled. The kingdom is compared to hidden treasure (Mt. 13:44) or leaven (Lk. 13:21), for only God can reveal himself. Yet it has come out of concealment and God will publicly declare it (Lk. 12:2–3). Human unreceptivity forms an impediment (Lk. 18:34). God judicially withholds knowledge of himself from those who do not seriously seek it (Lk. 10:21; 19:42). This is stressed with grim severity in Mk. 4:11–12; cf. Mt. 13:34–35. Those who do find the treasure hide it again with joy (Mt. 13:44). In contrast to the Pharisees, for whose display of piety there is much rabbinic evidence, they give and fast and pray in secret, so that their Father who sees in secret may reward them openly (Mt. 6:4, 6, 18). On the other hand, they are not to conceal the talents that they receive (Mt. 25:18), but are to be like cities on a hill, or lamps on a stand, so that others may see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven (Mt. 5:16).
2. John’s Gospel. This gospel mentions secret disciples (19:38; cf. 3:2; 7:50; 19:39), but with understanding rather than reproach. In the main, however, the terms are used here for the mission of Jesus, who puzzlingly seems to work in secret while seeking to be known openly (7:4). Thus he visits the feast secretly (7:10), and hides when the people wants to stone him (8:59; cf. 12:36), yet he can also claim with truth that he has spoken openly and said nothing secretly (18:20).
3. The Other NT Writings. In 2 Cor. 4:2 Paul avoids anything underhanded. The wicked, however, try to hide from God (Eph. 5:12). In the last time rulers will try in vain to seek a hiding place in the rocks (Rev. 6:15–16). God the Judge will bring all hidden things to light, both good and bad (1 Tim. 5:25; 1 Cor. 4:5). God is hidden by nature, but he gives his people a share in his hidden life (cf. the hidden manna of Rev. 2:17). The mystery concealed for aeons is now manifest to the saints (Col. 1:26). The hidden treasures of wisdom are present in Christ (Col. 2:3). The gospel proclaims God’s hidden wisdom (1 Cor. 2:7ff.). Paul’s language here is well suited to those with Gnostic leanings but it has its basis in the OT. This hidden wisdom relates to the plan of salvation that finds historical fulfilment in Christ (1 Cor. 2:6ff.). If true faith is a hidden matter of the heart (Rom. 2:29), the true hiddenness of Christians is eschatological, i.e., their hiddenness with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).
4. Conclusion. NT usage is rooted in OT usage; the ten aspects noted under II. all recur in it. Echoes of Gnosticism may be heard, but the true NT distinction is between Creator and creature, not between Gnostic and non-Gnostic, and the concept of the hidden but self-revealing God leads to world mission, not to esotericism. Election is present, but it bears strongly the character of decision.
V. Transition to Church History. The first writings after the NT use the group mostly in biblical quotations. For the rest, God discloses what is hidden and we find the twin thoughts of revelation and judgment. A singular use occurs in Diog. 9.5 when the death of Jesus is said to hide the sin of many. [A. OEPKE, III, 957–78]
C. Supplement on the Canon and the Apocrypha.
I. The Canon and the Apocrypha in Judaism.
1. The Term Canon. In Judaism one may speak of a closed and normative canon from the beginning of the second centary (A.D.). This is the result of a process of collection, evaluation, and selection.
2. The Early History of the Canon.
a. The Law. This is fixed from 300 B.C. From the temple it comes into the synagogue, where it has a central role in worship, and functions as a normative code on which there can only be commentaries.
b. The Prophets. The rabbinic order lists Joshua to 2 Kings with all the prophetic books (except Daniel) in a second canonical group, but there is considerable freedom relative to them in the pre-NT period, and in the later cultus only selected portions are used, liberties are taken in reading, and edification is the primary goal in their use.
c. The Writings. These are the other books of the OT (mentioned in the Prologue to Sirach) as they are finally listed by the rabbis. At an earlier point Ruth and Lamentations are sometimes grouped with Judges and Jeremiah, Job and Daniel are reckoned as prophets, and Chronicles and Esther are also put among the historical prophets. In general, there is no fixed canon in the late second century B.C. Only the law has a secure place. This is accompanied by works of edification that are partly history and prophecy and partly poetry and instruction.
3. The OT in the First Century A.D. By this time we find the concept of a normative Scripture based on the law, although the full consequences of this idea are not yet drawn.
a. Canonical Works. Philo and the NT bear witness to the idea of Scripture as a totality. Philo refers to sacred writings, and the NT authors use the term “scripture” or “scriptures,” also “law” for the whole of the OT. Other titles are “law and tradition,” “law and prophets,” and “law, prophets, and psalms” (Lk. 24:44; cf. 24:27). Mt. 24:15 numbers Daniel among the prophets, and Mt. 23:35 is perhaps putting Chronicles at the end of the canon.
b. The Later Apocrypha. In NT times the line between canon and Apocrypha is not rigidly fixed. Philo puts Proverbs and Sirach on the same level, Josephus quotes from apocryphal works, Palestinian Judaism has a high regard for Sirach and apocalypses, and early Christian authors quote apocryphal works (cf. Jude 14).
c. The LXX as a Preliminary Stage. The LXX rests on the idea of OT Scripture as a totality, although it still includes 1 Maccabees and Sirach.
4. The Closing of the Canon by the Rabbis.
a. The Restriction of the Prophetic Age. A sense of decline after the exile promotes the formation of the canon (cf. Zech. 13:2ff.). The rabbis (also Josephus) see prophecy as ending in the fifth or fourth century B.C., with some debate about the status of Sirach. It is also postulated that no written work precedes Moses. Possible patriarchal writings are enshrined in the law.
b. The Sacramental Holiness of the Scriptures. The idea of a material holiness indwelling Scripture, associated in part with the holiness of the divine name, gives rise to the notion that true scriptures defile the hands. Defiling the hands becomes a technical term for the concept of canonical validity. A similar notion is that of the hiding of Scripture, i.e., its abandonment to natural corruption when it becomes unserviceable or is desecrated or has a blemish. In the case of a noncanonical work, e.g., Sirach, the concept has the different sense of a withdrawal from cultic use, i.e., in reading and exposition.
c. The Battle for Individual Writings. The closing of the canon is not without friction. Thus Ezekiel has to meet the objection that it is contrary to the law and that Ezek. 1 opens the door to theosophical speculation. Ecclesiastes is also attacked as antinomian and self-contradictory. Proverbs runs into a charge of inner contradiction. Canticles seems to be too worldly until its allegorical interpretation prevails. Esther is thought by some to be too nationalistic. In each case, however, the objections are finally overcome.
d. The Canon and Apocryphal Literature. With the closing of the canon there is discussion as to the number of books. The usual number is 24, but some favor 22, not treating Ruth and Lamentations separately. The division into the three groups of law, prophets, and writings establishes itself, but with initial debate as to the place of Job, Daniel, Chronicles, Lamentations, and Ruth. Excluded books are not necessarily heretical but their religious use is forbidden in order to make a clean break between the canon and other works. These other works may be used only for secular reading.
5. The Influence of the Noncanonical Writings. Although the apocryphal writings lose their equality with canonical works, they still exert an expository influence. Thus we find quotations from Sirach in the rabbis. Motifs from apocalyptic works, e.g., the rapture of the Messiah, or from apocryphal history, e.g., the martyrdom of the mother and her seven sons, also occur. [R. MEYER, III, 978–87]
II. bíbloi apókryphoi in Christianity.
I. The LXX and Hebrew Canon in the Early Church. Since Christianity develops in the Greek-speaking world, the LXX is its first OT canon. The NT mostly uses the LXX in quotations, as do the fathers. The NT, however, hardly ever quotes from the noncanonical works included in the LXX. The early fathers are less discriminating, but doubts about such works soon arise and quickly grow.
2. Apocryphal Quotations in the NT. The surest NT instance of reference to a noncanonical work is Jude 14 (cf. also Jude 9; Heb. 11:37). A possible apocryphal quotation occurs in 1 Cor. 2:9, but this is much debated and we perhaps have here a paraphrase of Is. 64:4. Gal. 6:15 is also debatable, and Eph. 5:14 is more likely a bit of ancient Christian poetry. The names in 2 Tim. 3:8 derive from apocryphal tradition. Jms. 4:5 contains a quotation of uncertain provenance, while Jn. 7:38 seems to be a paraphrase of a passage like Is. 58:11. Mt. 27:9 undoubtedly seems to have in mind Jer. 18:3 and Zech. 11:13, so that there is no need to postulate a Jeremiah apocryphon. As regards Lk. 11:49, cf. Jer. 7:25–26.
3. The Apocrypha in the Fathers.
a. The Apostolic Fathers. We should distinguish in these works between inexact OT quotations and genuine apocryphal quotations, of which there are a few instances, e.g., in Barn. 4.3; Hermas Visions 2.3.4.
b. Later Fathers. Justin, Irenaeus, and especially the Alexandrians Clement and Origen make use of apocryphal works (e.g., Justin Dialogue 120; Irenaeus Against Heresies 4.6.2; Clement of Alexandria Stromateis 184.108.40.206; Origen Commentary on Matthew 10.18 [13:57]). Origen defends the use of the Apocrypha in exposition of the NT, but after his day there is a sharp decline in the estimation of noncanonical works.
4. The Christian Preservation, Revision, and Canonization of the Jewish Apocrypha. Since the Jews tend to scorn Christian use of the Apocrypha, the church plays a big part in preserving noncanonical works, although not without revising them. Some such works pass into the canonical lists of various churches.
5. Christian Apocrypha. During the first centuries Christianity itself produces various Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelations that have been called apocryphal. The attitude of the church to such works is not wholly consistent. Hermas commands some early support, while Clement of Alexandria seems to accept the Gospel of the Egyptians (Stromateis 220.127.116.11). Yet apocryphal Acts are never thought to be valid, and even works that have initial support never gain entry into the canon.
6. The Term Apocryphal. In Judaism apocryphal works are noncanonical writings that are not only not to be read publicly, but are excluded totally from religious use. In the early church, on the other hand, the term occurs first in the struggle against false teachers and refers to their esoteric writings, with an implication of obscurity of origin and falsification. Later, the church comes to appropriate the term for Jewish works (especially apocalypses) that do not belong to the OT canon. When reaction against such works comes, the way is open for the application of the term to works that do not belong to the Hebrew OT but are acceptable because of their place in the LXX. But while Jerome and others offer a basis for this distinction, it is only in Protestantism that this usage establishes itself. In the patristic period the term finds varied use for prohibited Jewish and NT pseudepigrapha and for works that are not condemned as such but are simply not regarded as canonical (e.g., 1 and 2 Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp). By this final distinction, which does not necessarily amount to total avoidance, the church recognizes that it has all that is necessary in the canon and it protects itself from possible doctrinal danger. [A. OEPKE, III, 987–1000]
Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (pp. 476–481). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.