“Give us today our daily bread.”
These words fall off the tongue with such ease that the sense of them is often lost, because “the Lord’s Prayer” is perhaps the most frequently uttered prayer of Christendom, and indeed is much used by those who have never yet known Christ.
What does the original Greek say? All is well except for the word “daily”. It is EPIOUSIOS, and has the sense of “coming upon”, in other words something that hasn’t yet arrived. The best way of translating it is to say, “Give us today tomorrow’s bread.”
What then was the force of our Lord’s words? What was He asking us to request of His Father? One has to turn back to the Old Testament to obtain the reason for this statement. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, and when the Lord provided them with their “daily bread”, it was called “Manna”, and was made available every day. But each Friday they were obliged to gather double the amount, so that there would be no activity on the Sabbath. They were gathering “tomorrow’s bread.”
The “double” gathering was only allowed on Fridays. If anyone failed to gather double the required quantity, then he would have to go without on the Sabbath, because there would be no Manna to collect on the Sabbath. The lesson to be learned may now be seen and understood.
Jesus was saying in effect, “Tomorrow is the Sabbath, so it is necessary for you to ask my Father for a double portion today.” But He wasn’t speaking of 24-hour days. He was speaking of Millennial Days of 1,000 years. He was saying, “Treat the now as a Friday, and gather from my Father’s hand the fullness of what is coming next in the world, namely the Millennial Kingdom. Prepare yourselves now, lest when the Kingdom comes you will find yourselves bereft.”
Some may argue that 2,000 years has gone by since He uttered these words, and therefore the figure is meaningless. But no. He said quite distinctly to His disciples that no man knows the day or the hour of His coming, therefore everyone should behave as though it was going to be tomorrow. Watching and waiting was obligatory for all, and is still obligatory.
Was this the lesson of the ten virgins? Five of them hadn’t obtained enough oil to last until tomorrow.
(P.S. To find out what “tomorrow’s bread” is like, please refer back to Wellspring 13, “The Importance of Earnest.”)