WHAT IS THE “ANGELS’ FOOD” OF PSALM 78:24-25?
by Shawn Brasseaux
“What is the angels’ food of Psalm 78:24-25? Was it manna, and what exactly was manna? Is that some kind of corn ‘the corn from heaven’, or bread as on earth (Exodus 16:4; Numbers 11:6-9)? Or, was it the meat of verse 25? Is there any other reference to angels needing or wanting to eat?”
Thank you for the submission. You have a fascinating set of questions here. Let us search the Scriptures for answers!
Okay, Psalm 78:24-25: “ And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.  Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.” “Manna,” “the corn of heaven,” “angels’ food,” and “meat” are all different ways of describing the same food. It might be best to answer your question by analyzing each of these four terms.
1. “MANNA” (Psalm 78:24a)
You probably recall that, after God delivered the nation Israel from Egyptian bondage, she was in the wilderness under Moses’ leadership. Throughout Exodus chapters 15-17, on several occasions, Israel complained and murmured against God. The Jews wanted water and food. In chapter 16, God promised to rain down “bread from heaven” (verse 4). The LORD informed Moses that He would provide Israel with quail in the evening and bread in the morning (verse 12). That evening, quails covered Israel’s camp, but the following morning they collected the manna.
When God rained down the manna, the children of Israel saw it on the ground and asked in verse 15, “What is it?” “Manna” is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew, man, literally meaning, “What is it?” Moses responded, “This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat” (verse 15). Moses defined “manna” as “bread.”
In John chapter 6, notice the discussion that the Jews and Jesus had: “ Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to me.  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” Jesus affirmed Moses’ words that “manna” was a type of bread.
Now, please understand, manna was a bread similar to but not entirely like our earthly bread. Remember, the Jews did not recognize it as bread (hence the question about it and their title for it). Manna did not resemble earthly bread in appearance. In fact, it tasted much better than any bread they had (or we ever have) ever eaten! Manna was “like the coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey” (Exodus 16:31). Another verse says that manna tasted like “fresh oil” (Numbers 11:8)—that is, olive oil.
2. “THE CORN OF HEAVEN” (Psalm 78:24b)
Since manna is a type of “bread” (see point #1), it naturally follows that manna would be made of “corn.” Please make note of this term. “Corn,” in older English (as in the King James), is used to refer to any type of grain, not necessarily “corn” (“Indian corn”) as we commonly think of it. Strangely, there are evidently crops growing in heaven! After all, we read of people in heaven holding palm branches in their hands (Revelation 7:9). There are palm trees in heaven as well. Surely, in order to have manna (bread) coming from heaven, there must be raw ingredients (grain fields) in heaven to harvest and process into a finished product (bread).
When God says He gave Israel “the corn of heaven,” He is talking about the grains from which the bread was made. They were the pure grains of heaven, highly nutritional, untainted by fallible human bakers. The Jews could do with it what they wanted in terms of preparing it, but the manna was already grains and other ingredients formed into a bread-like substance. The Bible says that the Israelites ground it, or beat it, or baked it, or made cakes with it (Exodus 16:35; Numbers 11:8).
The angels harvested heavenly grains and used them to make the manna. This brings us to our third point.
3. “ANGELS’ FOOD” (Psalm 78:25a)
Yes, brother, it is strange but it is true. Angels eat! Save this verse, there is no other reference in the Bible to angels eating. Still, this single verse is sufficient to prove that they eat just like us. They consume different foods from us, but they eat. They eat special types of bread (and maybe other foods as well, but the Bible does not say).
While “scholars” may reduce “manna” to being nothing more than some gum resin from certain trees, their naturalistic explanation is unnecessary. We do not have to explain away something in the Bible simply because the human mind cannot understand it. We just need to believe the Bible and stop taking away from its miracles. Would angels really need to come to Earth and eat tree gum resin?! It is highly unlikely! “Manna” was not some earthly substance, but a heavenly substance. When the manna rained down, Israel saw “a small round thing,” tiny flakes covering the wilderness landscape (Exodus 16:14). Would gum resin from trees form into “small round things?” I doubt it! The fact that Moses and Jesus called manna “bread” is proof enough for me that it was not a gum resin.
A related, interesting Bible account can help to better understand this topic. When the Prophet Elijah was hiding from wicked Queen Jezebel who had threatened to take his life, an angel cooked for him out in the wilderness. Do you want to guess what type of food the angel prepared? We read in 1 Kings 19:4-8: “ But he [Elijah] himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.  And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.  And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.  And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.  And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.”
This angel baked a cake for Elijah—yes, angels can cook food! They make their own food in heaven (they certainly made food for Israel in the wilderness for 40 years)! While the Bible does not say that Elijah ate manna, he may have eaten it or something very similar. Note that that single meal of one cake was so highly nutritional that Elijah was able to live off of it for 40 days and 40 nights! Like we commented earlier, the food from heaven is drastically different from the earthly food we know. Angels know how to cook food properly and they are using some amazing ingredients!
4. “MEAT” (Psalm 78:25b)
Similar to our comments in point #2 concerning the term “corn,” “meat” is a general term for any type of food (flesh or vegetation). Even today, we use the word “meat,” not just to apply to animal flesh, but also in reference to the edible parts of fruits or nuts (vegetation). In the case of the 1611 translators, they are using older English, and in older English, “meat” is a general term for any type of food (animal flesh as well as vegetation). For example, Colossians 2:16 talks about, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” This word “meat” would not only apply to animal meat but to all foods; “meat or drink” encompasses all foods and all drinks.
Psalm 78:24-25: “ And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.  Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.” Concerning Psalm 78:24-25, “meat” and “manna” are interchangeable—it is not “meat” as in flesh but “meat” as in “manna.” Verses 24-45 are one thought. “Man did eat angels’ food (colon, an explanation follows) he sent them meat to the full.” “Meat” would apply to all the comments of verses 24-25.
We know that “meat” in Psalm 78:25 is not talking about flesh in the sense of the quail, because Psalm 78:27-30 says: “ He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:  And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.  So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;  They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,  The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.”
Note how “meat” in verse 30 is general—it is the bread and the quail in their mouths.
SUPPLEMENTAL: “GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD” (MATTHEW 6:11)
Although God raining down manna (bread) for Israel to eat is very well known, the prophetic aspect is seldom realized: God will feed Israel again with manna during the seven-year Tribulation. The following Scriptures have a dual application—they are history and prophecy. “ Feed thy people with thy rod,…  as in the days of old. According to the days of [Israel’s] coming out of the land of Egypt…” (Micah 7:14-15). The psalmist recounted God giving manna to stubborn, ungrateful Israel under Moses’s leadership (Psalm 78:19-20): “Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?  Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?” The psalmist David wrote, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” (Psalm 23:5).
When the Jews in the area of Judaea hear the news of the Antichrist desecrating the newly-rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, God through the Scriptures will instruct them to flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20). Their evacuation is urgent, and they are not to waste time gathering their material possessions. These Jews will escape into the wilderness, lacking food, shelter, and extra clothes. God will miraculously provide for them, just as He did for Israel in Moses’s day. Revelation 12:6 supplements: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”
God will take care of this believing remnant of Israel or the last three-and-one-half years of the Tribulation (the 1,260 days referenced). This “hidden manna” of Revelation 2:17 will rain down for the last 42 months of the seven years. As Jesus Christ taught in the so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” Israel’s believing remnant will literally rely on God for their daily food; thus, their third petition is, “Give us this day, our daily bread,” reminding themselves that He will meet all their physical needs as He promised (Matthew 6:24-34; Luke 12:22-32). Again, manna was a type of bread.
- “What is the angels’ food of Psalm 78:24-25? Was it manna?” Yes, the angels’ food was indeed manna. The “meat” of verse 25 is another title for the same food.
- “What exactly was manna? Is that some kind of corn ‘the corn from heaven’, or bread as on earth (Exodus 16:4; Numbers 11:6-9)?” Yes, manna, according to Moses and Jesus Christ, was bread, but not exactly like what we have on earth. It could be baked, formed into cakes, ground up, et cetera; it was round and white and tasted like honey or olive oil.
- “Is there any other reference to angels needing or wanting to eat?” No, but this one reference indicates angels do eat and they eat exactly what God gave the Jews under Moses, to eat out in the wilderness. Angels can also prepare food.
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