ARE YOU COUNTING AS YOU SHOULD!

6th of the 2nd month 2017/2018

Shalom all,

As we consider the clear call to count given in Scripture, in regards to the instruction for us to count from the morrow after the weekly Shabbat during Matzot (Unleavened Bread) to Shaḇuoth (Feast of Weeks/Pentecost), we are clearly reminded that we are to be a set-apart people that have counted the cost of following our Master and Elohim and therefore not give up the process of being properly built up in Him but rather keep our eyes fixed on Him and run the race with endurance and complete commitment to being steadfast in our set-apartness!

We are now in the third ‘seventh’ in our count to 7 completed Sabbaths and as I was counting this day I felt it necessary to remind you all of the need to be counting, as commanded, and in doing so be actively engaged in meditating on the Truth and earnestly taking a good look in to the mirror of the Word in order to make sure that you know what you look like and are therefore being properly equipped and dressed in righteousness!

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:16 “Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to יהוה.

Count 50 days is the clear command and we are now at day 18 with 32 days to go! Have you been counting correctly so far or have you found that you had forgotten to count and are just being reminded now?

What we recognise from the period from Matzot/Unleavened Bread to Shaḇuoth/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost is that by counting as we should, we are able to learn some very vital lessons of counting the true cost of following our Master each and every day.  

As we consider the powerful and awesome works of Elohim and His redemption that He brought to us by His own Blood, we cannot help but stand in awe of who He is and earnestly stop and think about how our lives ought to be lived out in complete set-apartness without compromise. During this time of counting to 50 we should be learning the vital need for us to be working out our deliverance with fear and trembling, in order to be the ready and prepared Bride that He is coming for, with lamps trimmed and filled with oil and our light burning bright, each and every day! 50 as we know from Scripture symbolically signifies for us the wonderful promise and assurance of a release and the ability to take hold of our inheritance with joy, as it was in the Yoḇel year (that is the 50th year) that debts were cancelled and land and property was returned to the original owners, picturing for us the joy of the soon return of our Master that we wait for, so that He Himself will take us into our promised inheritance.

We are to be a ‘counting people’ and must understand how that we are continually reminded of how we are to know how to count or else we may be in great danger of being in a place of not understanding His great plans for us. We are able see and acknowledge how He has taught us to count to 3, which we previously were unable to do so when we were enslaved by false traditions! Our Master has also taught us to count correctly to 7 in order to keep His Shabbat and set it apart so as to firmly establish the sign He has given to us to know that He is יהוה our Elohim (Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 20:12,20). Now that we can count to 3 and 7 – it does not stop there – we learn to take a great step forward in our counting ability by being able to count to 50!

The word Shaḇuoth means, ‘weeks, sevens’ and is the plural for the word שָׁבוּעַ shaḇua – Strong’s H7620 which means, a period of 7 (days, years)’, which comes from the denominative verb -  שָׁבַע shaḇa – Strong’s H7650 which means, to swear, exchange oaths, take an oath, vow’; and from this root we get the Hebrew word for seven, which is the word שֶׁבַע sheḇa – Strong’s H7651.

Shaḇuoth (Feast of Weeks) is therefore the Feast that comes as the result of ‘counting 7 – 7’s’, but also has a great shadow picture for us, as is pictures for us the great promises we have in Messiah who has, by His Blood, brought us near to the ‘oaths’ made with Aḇraham, Yitsḥaq and Ya’aqoḇ.

The word used for ‘count’ in our instruction to count 50 days to Shaḇuoth is the word סָפַר saphar – Strong’s H5608 – meaning, ‘to score, mark as a tally, record, inscribe, recount, celebrate, commune. It is used 161 times also being translated into English as, ‘tell, told, number, tell me, declared, numbering’.

סָפַר  saphar is the denominative root verb of the word סֵפֶר sepher – Strong’s H5612 which means, a missive, document, writing, book, scroll, letters, and is used to describe the Book of the Torah!

As we consider the clear importance of this commanded ‘counting period to 50’ we recognise how this is a great season that teaches us to continually be a ‘counting people’ who daily ‘count the cost’ of following our Master and Redeemer, יהושע Messiah. And to be faithful in being a ‘counting people’, we need to realise that we cannot do this without the Word of Elohim – as we are to meditate on His Torah day and night and allow this סֵפֶר sepher or Book of the Torah to lead us each and every day:

Yehoshua/Joshua 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Torah depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you guard to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and act wisely.

If we do not count we cannot be cleansed! To count means to reflect on where we are and repent of our sin.

The word סָפַר  saphar (spelt from right to left is with a סָ - samek, פַ - pey, ר – resh).

Now when we see these symbols as written in the ancient script we get a wonderful picture of what true cleansing entails when we ‘count’:

reshpeysamek- THE ANCIENT FORM OF WRITING THE WORD “COUNT” – SAPHAR!

Samek - סָ:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as samek, which is a thorn and has the meanings of ‘pierce and sharp’ and can also carry the meaning of ‘a shield’, as thorn bushes were used by shepherds to build a wall to enclose their flock in the night against the attack of predators. Another meaning would be ‘to grab hold of’ as a thorn is a seed that clings to hair and clothing.

The Word of Elohim is sharper than a doubled edged sword and when we find that we do not grab hold of His Word and allow His Word to be our shield of faith, we may find ourselves being pierced through with sin and compromise! Our praise we have for our Master is that in Him we are upheld forever, for He is the shield of our Help, as He Himself took the crown of thorns upon His head, bearing our sin and shame that we may be found to be shielded in Him! It can also give a meaning of ‘turning’, for it is the thorn that turns us away from danger and to that which is secure.

Pey – פָּ:

This is the letter ‘pey’, which is pictured as pey, which is an ‘open mouth’ and carries the meaning of ‘speak and blow’, from the functions of the mouth, and can have the meaning of ‘scatter’ by blowing. It can also mean sword or beard as in things with edges, as well as a region in depicting a place with edges or boundaries. It also can represent that which has been spoken forth from the words of one’s mouth, as being established!

Resh - ר:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as resh, which is ‘the head of a man’ and carries the meaning of ‘top, beginning, first, chief’, as in being the top of the body or the head of a tribe and the one who rules; and also speaks of possession or inheritance that is decided by the chief. Our true life of praise unto יהוה, our Head, begins when we fear Him, for He is the beginning of our strength, and true separated praise entails a true fear of the One who is Chief over us!

When seeing the construct of this word for count in its ancient form we have a clear picture of how cleansing entails true repentance through being able to correctly count! This ancient grouping of letters can carry various meanings for us, and in terms of being a people who count, we realise that this can only be done when we:

GRAB HOLD OF THE WORD OF THE HEAD!

This picture, in terms of counting, teaches us that our shield and refuge is in our Head and Master, who teaches us through His Word to number our days and we recognise that When we bring our sins (pictured by the thorn) and confess them (open mouth) to יהושע our Messiah (head of a man); then He is the one who cleanses us!

In Tehillah/Psalm 90 we see the following words:

Tehillah/Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, and let us bring the heart to wisdom. 

The title of this very powerful Tehillah/Psalm is written in the Hebrew as – תְּפִלָּה לְמֹשֶׁה אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים‘Tephillah lemosheh iysh ha’Elohim’, which in English can be rendered as: ‘A prayer of Mosheh, the man of Elohim’.

The Hebrew word translated as ‘prayer’ is תְּפִלָּה tephillah – Strong’s H8605 and comes from the word פָּלַל palal – Strong’s H6419 which means ‘to intercede, intervene, make supplication, and judgement made favourable’ and in essence carries the meaning ‘to apply to a judge for a favourable decision’. This prayer of Mosheh is a powerful prayer of intercession for sinful man, as he asks Elohim to teach man to number his days correctly so as to apply wisdom and not act as a foolish sinner! Mosheh was the first to be called ‘The man of Elohim’, after which we see this being used in reference to Dawiḏ as well as some of the greatest prophets that brought the Truth with great confidence and boldness without compromise. All of these being a clear shadow picture of Messiah who came in the flesh to be the perfect sacrifice and the One who could faithfully intercede for us and cause us to be a people who are counted in Him. The Good Teacher came down to teach us how to number our days!!!

This verse ought to certainly get our clear attention when considering our need to be a counting and numbering people, and the words of this prayer are very clear and are words that we should be able to ask our Master and Elohim, and that is “Teach us to number our days!” This is the only way that we are truly going to be able to understand the fear of Elohim and find a proper refuge for our lives!

The Hebrew root word used here for ‘teach’ is יָדַע yaḏa – Strong’s H3045 meaning, ‘to know, to acknowledge, clearly understand, to perceive, distinguish and discern’, and is a verb written in the ‘hiphil’ tense, which is the causative tense which can render the meaning, make known, declare.

This verb can also render the ability to know by experience, and while we recognise that יהוה certainly ‘knows’ all things, we also realise that in terms of יהוה knowing those who take refuge in Him, or that He knows those who are His, there is a deeper intimacy being expressed here or called for by desiring to have the clear experience of a faithful and fruitful relationship between the Creator and His Created beings, that follow and adhere to His clearly prescribed ways for functioning as they should, by being faithfully obedient to His instructions for living set-apart lives unto Him!

In being able to be in a fruitful and faithful relationship, by being caused to number our days as we should, we can be effective in being a Bride that prepares herself and calls for Her Husband to come.

The second part of this verse is very powerful in recognising why we must be effective in numbering our days, for this prayer and intercession is clear – teach us to number our days and let us bring our heart to wisdom!

The Hebrew root word translated as ‘let us bring’ is בּוֹא bo – Strong’s H935 which means, to come in, go in, bring in, enter, to cause to come in, to bring near. This being said what is clear here is that we must learn to number our days so that we cause our hearts to have the True wisdom of Elohim! We need to number our days so that we may apply our hearts to wisdom and not be found to be foolish maidens that lack oil!

We need the wisdom of Elohim, and we are clearly instructed repeatedly in Scripture to be a people who get wisdom, and with all our getting, get understanding, for it is better to get wisdom than gold, and getting understanding is preferable to silver. Ya’aqoḇ tells us that if any lacks wisdom then they should ask Elohim who give generously to all, yet

This should be asked in belief without doubting! What is clearly being implied here is that to ask, get and receive the wisdom of Elohim means to do what His Word commands, for it is the doing of His Word that we get understanding and grow in His wisdom!

When we are able to be taught to number our days, and walk in the fear of Elohim, as we work out our deliverance with fear and trembling, and are growing in wisdom and understanding as we guard to do all He has commanded us to do, we are able to begin to embrace the reality of Him being our refuge and be strengthened with His joy that causes us to sing for joy all our days.

The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘wisdom’ comes from the primitive root word חָכַם ḥaam – Strong’s H2449 meaning, to be wise, skilful, make wise. Wisdom, at its core, speaks of one’s ability to clearly separate the good from the bad, right and wrong, left and right, and up and down; and this we are to be able to do as we exercise true discipline – the discipline of separation!

To be wise is evident of one who is increasing in their learning, as he gives his ear – that is his full attention – to hearing instruction and living as a taught one of the Master:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 1:5 “The wise one hears and increases learning, and the understanding one gets wise counsel

In the ancient pictographic alphabet, this Hebrew word for ‘wisdom’ - חָכְמָה ḥoḵmah – Strong’s H2451 looks like this:

heymemkaphchet

etחָ:

The ancient script has this letter as chet which is a tent wall’, and carries a meaning of SEPARATION’, as a tent wall separates two halves of the tent; or it can also reflect the outside walls that separate the people inside from that which is outside and so can also symbolise protection and security to those inside, while picturing a cutting off of those who are outside. Hence this letter can mean ‘established, secure’ as well as ‘cut off, separated from’. As a tent wall we are also able to recognise the picture of stones being built up to make a complete wall, having been separated from the world and built up in the master!

Kaph - כְ:

The ancient form of this letter is kaph - meaning ‘the open palm of a hand’. The meaning behind this letter is ‘to bend and curve’ from the shape of a palm as well as ‘to tame or subdue’ as one has been bent to another’s will (under their hand), as an open hand symbolises submission. This also can picture for us a palm or palm branch from the curved palm shape. The hand also speaks of one’s work, or under whose hand you submit and obey!

Mem - מָ:

The ancient script has this letter as mem and is pictured as ‘water’, and also carries the meaning of ‘chaos’ (from the storms of the sea) and can also picture that which is mighty or massive as well as the unknown.

We are also able to understand this letter as representing the nations, for the nations are often likened to the seas in Scripture. Knowing this letter represents ‘water’, we are also able to see how this can render for us the meaning of ‘washing’ or ‘cleansing’.

Hey – ה:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as hey, which is ‘a man standing with his arms raised out’. The meaning of the letter is behold, look, breath, sigh and reveal or revelation; from the idea of revealing a great sight by pointing it out. It also carries for us the meaning of surrender, as we lift up our hands and submit to יהוה as we lift our hands in praise, declaring His authority under which we humbly submit!

As we consider these pictographic letters that render for us the term for ‘wisdom’ we are able to clearly see that wisdom entails a separation, as pictured through the tent wall. We can render the meaning of the construction of this word, in terms of true wisdom, as meaning:

WE ARE BUILT UP IN THE MASTER AS WE SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM THE WORLD AS WE SUBMIT UNDER THE HAND OF OUR MASTER AND DO WHAT HIS WORD INSTRUCTS AS IT WASHES US, AND ENABLES US TO LIFT OUR HANDS TO HIM IN CONTINUAL PRAISE!

Wisdom, in the ancient text, can speak of a clear separation by the washing of one’s hands; and as we consider the design of the Tabernacle, we need to be reminded that the bronze laver was used for the serving priests to wash their hands and feet; and clearly pictures for us how we are to be continually washing our work and walk through being immersed in the Word that transforms us!

As taught ones of Messiah who are hearing as we should and are increasing in learning, we recognise that the command to count goes further than just the obedience of counting to 50, which we are to do, but it also teaches us to be sober in our calculation of following the Master:

Luqas/Luke 14:28 “For who of you, wishing to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

The Greek word used here for ‘count’ is ψηφίζω psēphizō – Strong’s G5585 meaning, ‘to count or calculate’ It is used only 2 times in the renewed writings and helps understand our need to be able to count with understanding. The other time it is used is in:

Ḥazon/Revelation 13:18 “Here is the wisdom! He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

This is pretty awesome stuff!!! Our need to count properly requires us to have wisdom and understanding, and as we know, we are instructed to get wisdom and understanding:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 4:5 “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

We now begin to grasp a little more of our need to be able to ‘count’ and ‘count’ correctly, so as to gain a proper and clear understanding of the Word, so that we are able to calculate and discern what is the number and mark of the beast, who has attempted to change the Appointed Times (Feasts of יהוה) and Laws (which would amount to lawlessness), and caused so many to be drunk and unable to count correctly, causing them to not be properly grafted in to the True Body of Messiah!

I would like to once again summarise what this period between the wave offering during Matzot and Shaḇuoth pictures for us, and to do that we are able to learn a great deal when looking at the bread making process, from the seed to the wave offering of two loaves done at Shaḇuoth before יהוה. I know that many of you have all heard this, but it is well worth summarising in order to refresh and grow in our understanding of this season of counting!

During Matzot there is a wave offering of the sheaf of barley that takes place and at Shaḇuoth there is a wave offering of leavened bread, so let us look at the process of making bread and preparing it for a wave offering unto יהוה! There are several steps or processes which as we look at I hope that we are all reminded and realise just what is expected of me in being a part of the body or loaves if you will of Messiah!

10 steps:

1 – SOWING OR PLANTING: The Hebrew term used for sowing or planting also carries with it the meaning of ‘scattering’ – picture as a farmer ‘scatters his seed’. The ancient practice of scattering was called to ‘broadcast’ the seed from a bag that was hung over one’s shoulder. We as a people of Elohim have been scattered over the whole earth and long to be replanted, if you will, into our native soil. I am sure we are all aware of the sowing and reaping principle – nothing can be reaped from what was not sown and you cannot reap something different from what has been sown – you reap what you sow – be it attitudes, thoughts, actions or even priorities – do not expect to get something out from that which you did not sow! You want an intimate growing relationship with יהוה - then sow the time and effort in seeking Him!

יהוה scattered Yisra’ĕl and we get a greater understanding of this from the book of Hoshěa which I encourage you to read. Scattered but watched over – for this scattered seed will bring in a bountiful harvest for reaping!

The root word for sow or sowing is זֶרַע zera – Strong’s H2233 and means, ‘a sowing, seed, offspring’ and comes from the primitive root זָרַע zara – Strong’s H2232 meaning, ‘to sow or scatter seed’.

 

2 – GROWING: There is always a season or period between sowing and reaping – it never happens immediately. It is during this time where growth occurs and this season of growth is a time in a sense for us to think about what was done wrong and how we can do better. One of the keys to overcoming the period of growth or period of ‘exile’ if you will, is simply just that – grow and grow and grow – and to grow we have to realise that we have inherited some lies – ok more than just some – a whole lot!!! But in realising this we also begin to grow and realise and know יהוה’s power and more importantly – His NAME!!! To ‘know’ is to walk in His Torah – for as Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3 says that we know that we know Him when we guard His commands! And as love for יהוה and one another grows through obediently guarding His commands we can ‘outgrow’ our ‘exile’ from the Promised Land – the more the world grows dim before our eyes and has no effect on pulling us away from obedience and therefore be ready to be lifted up when He comes and be replanted where we belong – together with Him in His Land!!!  

Two root words translated as grow or growing are 1) הָלַךְ halaḵ – Strong’s H1980 meaning, ‘walk, to go or come, grow, wander, travel’ and 2) צָמַח tsamaḥ – Strong’s H6779 meaning, ‘to sprout, spring up, grow’ – we know that a derivative of this word is used in prophetically referring to Messiah who shall come forth from the Branch of Dawiḏ. When looking at these two words it makes the verse in Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:6 very clear: The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked. – as we stay in and walk in Messiah we will grow!

 

3 – REAPING: This reaping process is simply separating the harvest from the field that it grew in. Grain must be reaped or else it cannot be used. We too, just as Aḇraham, may have to be reaped out of our circumstances and even our families. Grain when reaped is gathered into storehouses – and this is a wonderful picture of what we see happening more and more in these last days – pretty much the equivalent of Him gathering or assembling His grain into communities – because to put it plainly – a single kernel of grain cannot make much bread - and certainly not enough for an offering unto יהוה! Once gathered together this is when the real preparation begins – say what – yes this is when it begins! What has erroneously been taught in the church today is that this is the final stage for those blinded hopefuls and they do not realise what lies ahead in the process of making bread! This is only the beginning and the next steps are what shape us into what we need to become in order to be presented to יהוה as a prepared Bride! This is His storehouse or rather one of His storehouses where He will gather together much grain – grain that is ready to be prepared to be made into an acceptable offering of bread unto יהוה!

Reaping is translated from קָצַר qatsar – Strong’s H7719 – ‘to reap, harvest

 

4 – THRESHING: Ouch – the sound of this word already makes you realise why the church chooses to stop blindly at reaping, and why they developed a false rapture teaching that sadly for them seemingly removes them from the rest of the bread making process! Admittedly most would prefer to stay at the reaping stage – sitting quietly in a barn being no use to anyone at all and it is easy to understand why – nobody likes to be ‘threshed’. It almost sounds like ‘thrashing’ and guess what – it is!!! Boy – many who have left the reaping stage into threshing or thrashing soon want to jump back to the safe old barn of no good premature stop! The Hebrew word for ‘teach’ literally means to ‘prod with a stick’ and so it is with threshing – which is simply the applying of pressure to grain – be it from beating it or grinding it or letting heavy animals trample on it – with the purpose in mind to loosen the shells and separate the grain from the chaff – or the stalks from the husks – which is still pretty much useless at this stage. It is the stalk that represents that which attached us to the field that we came out of and we do not want that to be an ingredient in the bread!!! Most of what we bring in from the field – be it dogmas of Rome, doctrines of man, theologies, misguided moral codes and even wrong priorities that we have picked up along the way – is no longer useful to us once we have grown enough and been separated from the system – threshed out in other words – not always painless I might add – and are now threshed out enough to begin studying the Torah. The omer basket is filled with kernels and each one has a husk that has to be removed. All too often though we don’t want this to happen as we can so often find ourselves hiding from one another behind the husks so to speak – those very things that need to go! We cannot be a part of the bread if we hang on to the ‘hull’ – the ‘hull’ is the outer part of a seed or fruit. We must begin to be honest and give an account for ourselves and ask, “What am I still attached to that is useless to the Kingdom? In this threshing process, we must allow other trusted brothers and sisters in the body to ‘loosen’ our kernels – after all in the process of making bread it is people who do the job!!! Each of us is responsible to help one another in these processes – and is a great honour and privilege that requires faithfulness and trustworthiness! For we are in effect taking what ‘protects’ people into our hands and whatever we learn about them in the process must be used to help them and build them – not harm or destroy them!

We need to be ‘threshed’ out of the field from which we have come from and we must realise that we cannot keep holding on to those things that previously shaped our thinking, especially when it contradicts the Torah! All we can do is repent, which is a critical step in being able to move on – threshing is a must – not easy but a must – those husks and hulls must be loosened off of us and we need to let go of those things that we thought gave us security as we realise that in our vulnerable state our only security is in יהוה!

Threshing is the Hebrew word דַּיִשׁ dayish – Strong’s H1786 and is from the primitive root דּוּשׁ dush – Strong’s H1758 meaning, ‘to tread, thresh or trample’.

 

5 – WINNOWING: Another step in the process, that involves a ‘fork’ that looks like a rake. The threshed grain is thrown up into the air in order to expose it to the wind which will blow away the lightweight particles and the heavier – that is the more important – will be left behind! This process worked better on a hill top and so you find many threshing floors being on higher ground to allow this process to take place after threshing. This process reflects to us an elevating of one another – lifting one another up in prayer and edifying each other up into the presence of the Almighty where the ‘wind’ or Ruaḥ blow away the unneeded stuff in our lives as we immerse in His presence – letting that which is useless be blown away and what will simply be left is better refined kernels with no chaff! Sha’ul said to the Corinthians that he desires that they all speak in tongues but he would rather prefer that they all prophesy – why? Because prophesy builds up the body – tongues is for the individual unless there is an interpretation for the body but prophesy in itself is there to edify others – edify the body and in so doing elevates others to a place where the Spirit can remove the chaff!

Winnowing is translated from the word זָרָה zarah – Strong’s H2219 meaning, ‘scatter, fan or winnow’.

 

6 – PARCHING: After being separated from the lighter elements – all that airy fairy fluffy junk that just clogs up our lives and is actually of no use – all the ‘hot puffed up air’ so to speak – once that is gone guess what? The heat is turned up!!! What – seriously? Yes – it gets hotter! Once we are a taught people who have been elevated we can be exposed to things that we would never have considered before. It is interesting to note at this stage that is would be useless to ‘parch’ a single kernel – so we are all parched together! No one has to go through this alone! This is not a ‘burning’ of the grain but rather a process of removing moisture from the kernels and makes the grain even lighter, and what this pictures for us is that at this stage we begin to give less weight to the ‘me, myself and mine’ attitude and rather consider what is best for one another and the whole bread, so to speak! You know it is so difficult to ‘give up’ individual rights – but we can when we are in it together! Parching may cause tears – in fact more often than not it will as one lets go off selfishness and pride – the removal of moisture!

To parch in Hebrew is the word קָלָה qalah – Strong’s H7033 meaning, ‘to toast, parch, and scorch slowly’.

 

7 – CRUSHING: Come on Craig, crushing… when does it stop? This is even a scarier process I know! In Ancient times, all bread was what you would call, ‘stone ground’. In fact, at many archaeological sites many ancient ‘millstones’ were found. A millstone is where two huge concrete stones are used from crushing – grains were crushed between two stones – the two stone of a millstone picture the two stone tablets upon which the Torah was written. The kernels are not destroyed in this process – far from it – they in fact now become very useful and fully useable – for now all the kernels have actually become part of one flour mix – inseparable – a picture of a people with the same purpose. It is at this stage where we can safely say that a bird cannot come and snatch away a single kernel as there is no way to identify the part of a single kernel as they are now so mingled and mixed in together. You see it is like this – as we obey the Torah, love יהוה and love one another – what happens? We become inseparable and become as one!

To crush or grind is the Hebrew word טָחַן taḥan – Strong’s H2912 meaning, ‘to grind’ and the word טַחֲנָה taḥanah – Strong’s H2913 is a grinding mill!

 

8 – SIFTING: In the 2nd Temple times the wheat for the offering at Shavuot was sifted 13 times!!! Each time becoming finer and finer! 13 is the numerical value for the Hebrew word ‘eḥad’ – meaning one or unified and יהושע Himself prayed that we would be one! The closer we get together through obedient living and fellowship, the more refined we become. Those who are crushed with us are our true neighbours!!! One thing we must realise is simply that if I do not bring my part and am causing disruption in the body causing the refining of the body to stumble then as it is sifted again I may just be sifted out!!!

Here we have the Hebrew word for sift as נוּף nuph – Strong’s H5130 and means, ‘to quiver, move to and fro, shake

 

9 – TESTING: Then comes the testing – as a body or as a loaf! The Temple treasurer would come at this stage and plunge his hands into the refined flour and it needed to be so fine that no flour was to be seen on his arms. In fact, they were so strict that if any adhered to his flesh it would have to be sifted again. This although seemingly a strict procedure pictures for us that we are in this together – it is not a case of ‘well that is their problem’ or ‘it is someone else’s problem’ – no – until all of us are sufficiently refined together none of us can become the bread.

This is everyone’s responsibility to become a part! If you do not bring your part into the body or for sake of this teaching the loaf and the batch is failing the test due to your inconsistency then you may, as I have said, be simply sifted out. Satan is the one who desires to sift us out – he asked יהושע if he could sift Kěpha! Let us be careful that we are not sifted out by continually failing the tests!

נָסָה nasah – Strong’s H5254 – ‘to test, prove, try’:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 13:3do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for יהוה your Elohim is trying you to know whether you love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being.

 

10 – BAKING: Once tested it can now be baked and presented fresh unto יהוה as the first fruit of wheat. It is at the feast of Shavuot leavened bread – why? Because it has been permeated with the Kingdom:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:33 “Another parable He spoke to them, “The reign of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until all was leavened.

This bread is leavened with the Kingdom – not with sin as leaven represents for us at this feast we are in of Unleavened Bread. At Shaḇuoth 2 loaves are presented representing the 2 houses of Yisra’ĕl which once were scattered but now are being brought back and the promise of this is seen in the fulfilment of both these first fruit offerings of the barley and the wheat.

A couple of different Hebrew words are used for what we translate as ‘bake’ and 3 of them are: 1) אָפָה aphah – Strong’s H644 meaning ‘bake, cook’; 2) בָּשַׁלbashal – Strong’s H1310 – ‘bake, boil, seeth, ripen, grow ripe’ and 3) שָׂרַף seraph – Strong’s H8313 meaning, ‘burn or to be set on fire. I find that all of these collectively give us a great idea of how the ultimate process of bringing us together as being presentable as an acceptable offering of Bread before the Father is that we are to grow and ‘be on fire’ for Him.  

Another word which for me carries wonderful significance in the baking process is the Hebrew word לָבַן laḇan – Strong’s H3835 which means ‘to make bricks’ and in its primitive root means, ‘to make white’. This word was used in Berěshith/Genesis 11:3 when the men wanted to build a tower to the heavens and wanted to make bricks and bake them. This was a wicked time and a wicked plot which caused יהוה to come down and confuse the languages! But when we see these words in use in reference to how the bricks would be made through baking, I reflect on who we have been called to be as living stones being built up in Messiah as a Living Tabernacle/Dwelling Place for the Most High and Messiah tells us that those who overcome shall be given a white stone:

Ḥazon/Revelation 2:17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I shall give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I shall give him a white stone, and on the stone a renewed Name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

The process of making bread carries great significance for us in understanding how we are to be overcomers in Messiah and be on fire for Him, aměn!

This period of counting to 50 is a season that teaches us how important it is for us to be a counting Bride who is preparing herself – let us prepare as we celebrate and recognise the very work our Saviour has done in becoming our Passover Lamb, our First Fruit and the very Living Bread of which we are His body and in Him we are one, able to be presented to Elohim as a pleasing offering!

This commanded period of counting is truly a time of assessing our own lives as we become more and more integrated into His Body being able to be presented before Elohim. From Pěsaḥ to Shavuot we see several progressions in Scripture:

1 – From barley to wheat

2 – From מַצָּה matstsah –Strong’s H4682 ‘unleavened Bread’ to - לֶחֶם Leḥem – Strong’s H3899Bread with leaven

3 – From impurity to purity

4 – From Mitsrayim/Egypt to Mount Sinai/Mountain of יהוה (see Torah notes from Wayyiqra 25 on the Mountain of יהוה)

What we see is that this truly a significant time for us to remember and recollect at how we have been called out of darkness into His marvellous light, how we have been delivered from bondage to slavery in Mitsrayim/Egypt – that is the world’s systems and enslaved dogmas and set free to live according to the very Torah of freedom! It represents for us a time of recognising how the impurity of sin is removed from our lives and how we are then filled with the good leaven of His Torah that brings us together as a body presentable before Elohim.

The English word ‘count’ you will find being used 31 times in the Scriptures 2009 Edition, is translated from 4 different Hebrew words which are

1 - מָנָה manah – Strong’s H4487 – meaning, ‘weigh out, allot, enrol, appoint, number, prepare, set, tell’. It is used 28 times and is also translated as number, appointed, prepare.

2 - סָפַר saphar – Strong’s H5608 – meaning, ‘to score, mark as a tally, record, inscribe, recount, celebrate, commune, which we have already taken a look at in the ancient scrip. It is used 161 times also being translated into English as tell, told, number, tell me, declared, numbering.

3 - כָּסַס kasas – Strong’s H3699 – meaning, ‘estimate, compute, divide, make your count’. It is used only once in Shemoth/Exodus 12:4 “And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the beings, according to each man’s need you make your count for the lamb.

4 - חָשַׁב ḥashaḇ - Strong’s H2803 meaning, ‘to plait, weave, plot, think, regard, value, compute’. It is used 124 times and is also translated into English as intended, thought, the designer.

Why am I telling you all these various root words that we often translate as ‘count’? It is important for us to gain a greater understanding as to what it means to ‘count’. The word used for ‘count’ in our instruction to count 50 days to Shaḇuoth is the word סָפַר saphar. This same word is used in the command to count 7 days for the cleansing of the being who has any discharge:

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 15:13 “And when he who has a discharge is cleansed of his discharge, then he shall count for himself seven days for his cleansing, and shall wash his garments, and shall bathe his flesh in running water, and be clean.

Notice how the command is given to count, after he has been ‘cleansed’ of his discharge. He has been cleansed of his discharge yet must still count 7 days and then wash his garments and bathe in water and then be clean. This is a wonderful picture for us here as we understand the thing that Kěpha/Peter told us not to be hidden from us:

Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 3:8But, beloved ones, let not this one matter be hidden from you: that with יהוה one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

We have been cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, and have been cleansed of our ‘discharge’ of sin/lawlessness yet we must still ‘count’ 7 days - as it is only on the 7th day (7th Millennium) when we will finally be clean and our deliverance made complete!!! In our ability to learn how to count we will continually guard ourselves from becoming defiled during the counting time! If the one who had been cleansed from his discharge had not ‘counted’ or had forgot to count, how will he have known when his being declared fully clean would come and if he did not count he may easily find himself in a place where he contaminates his cleansed state and has more discharges which would render the 7th day of no effect for him and this is a picture warning for us as described in:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:26For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins.

If we do not count we cannot be cleansed!

In the Greek text, we see also various words being used to translate into English as ‘count’. I have already mentioned the word ψηφίζω psēphizō – Strong’s G5585 and its use in the Renewed Writings. The other Greek word that is translated as ‘count’ is ἡγέομαι hēgeomai – Strong’s H2233 meaning, ‘to lead, command, consider, account, suppose, think carefully upon, count’. This is used 30 times and is also translated as governor, think, thought, esteem. It us the word used in a verse we all have heard many times, especially when facing tough times:

Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:2My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.

Ya’aqoḇ did not waste time in his letter to make it clear we are to be a counting people; and when we link the concept of counting to counting to Shaḇuoth – a joyful harvest feast of the wheat being brought in and the joy of the bread being made as a pleasing wave offering unto Elohim, we see how Ya’aqoḇ encourages us to count it joy – the end result is worth it and we ought to go through the counting period until our Messiah comes again with great joy and perseverance!

When we look more closely at our Master’s commands to count the cost of following Him we recognize that it does come with some real heavy decisions to consider – in fact He tells us that if any one of us comes to Him and does not hate father and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life too, is unable to be His taught one; and whoever does not bear his stake and follow after Him is unable to be His taught one.  Hard words they may be, but what He is saying in effect is that we are to put our total trust in Him and not in others and to do that may cost us some things that we will find hard to count as lost! When we count the cost of walking in Him we will be hated!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:22 “And you shall be hated by all for My Name’s sake. But he who shall have endured to the end shall be saved.

As much as none of us like to or want to be hated – we must consider the cost of being made into the Bread/Body of Messiah, which is presented before Elohim; and Shaḇuoth is a picture of the Yoḇel release that will be fulfilled at The Second Coming of Messiah on Yom Kippur, where He will take up His ready Bride, and we have this very assurance by the fact that the first fruit offering has already been given as a guarantee of the full harvest that will be brought in.

While we are to be counting during this period we find and start to see how this is a great training for us to readily be a counting people every single day who will gladly ‘work out our deliverance’ with fear and trembling!

In the process of counting we also see the need for us to be an alert, and active people in our counting.

The time of counting to 50 is about having been rid of sin and lawlessness and being permeated with the good leaven of the Kingdom that many will taste and see that יהוה our Saviour is Good!

Learning to count as commanded gives us wisdom and understanding that we may be a united loaf in Messiah which we will look at and celebrate this coming Shavuot!

Counting requires a concentrated effort and it requires a daily choice of choosing life over death, blessing over curse and the joy that this responsibility brings must result in our alert ability to call many out of darkness – for we know the times – after all we can now count! The only way to be a part of his body is to ‘count’.

ARE YOU COUNTING AS YOU SHOULD? Have you denied self? Are you following Messiah? Are you taking up your stake daily? ARE YOU COUNTING AS YOU SHOULD?

 

The ability to count and the responsibility of obedience that goes with it will lead us to Shaḇuoth – and ultimately lead us to the final Yoḇel – where a Bride comes face to face with her Husband – lets be a counting people, aměn!

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you shalom!