16th of the 1st month 2022/2023.
Today, on this 1st day of the week after the Sabbath during the Feast of Matzot, we have come to the day of the waving of the sheaf of the first fruits, and each year I always like to share briefly with you, the significance of this day and what it reminds us of and the clear importance of understanding the great value of the events that took place on this day, as we continue to keep this day, before the face of our Mighty Master and Elohim..
In a message called, ‘OMER RĚSHIYTH’ I would like to once again share with you some key Hebrew and Greek words, and the symbolic pictures that they bring to us, in revealing the powerful redemptive work of our Master, יהושע Messiah. .
Much of what I will share with you today is, as mentioned, that which I have shared in the past, regarding this day, yet we understand the need to be continually reminded of the great work of deliverance that our Master has brought to us and the price that He has paid, so that we may have abundant life in Him.
What we must take note of, is that much of what we read in the Torah that Mosheh wrote, is that we find very clear shadow pictures of our Master and Elohim, and our Master made this clear to us, as we see in the words that He spoke to the Yehuḏim who were seeking to kill Him, because He was healing on the Sabbath and because they accused Him for making Himself equal with Elohim:
Yoḥanan/John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think you possess everlasting life in them. And these are the ones that bear witness of Me.”
Yoḥanan/John 5:46 “For if you believed Mosheh, you would have believed Me, since he wrote about Me.”.
Moshe wrote of Messiah and in the letter to the Iḇ’rim, we take note of what is said in:
Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 9:7-9 “But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for sins of ignorance of the people, 8 the Set-apart Spirit signifying this, that the way into the Most Set-apart Place was not yet made manifest while the first Tent has a standing, 9 which was a parable for the present time in which both gifts and slaughters are offered which are unable to perfect the one serving, as to his conscience”
The reason for me highlighting this passage, is to simply point out the English word ‘parable’, as seen in verse 9.
What this passage is teaching us, is that the design and function of the earthly Tabernacle was a parable for us, as it is one that teaches us of the redemptive work of our Master.
The Greek word that is used here for ‘parable’ is παραβολή parabolē – Strong’s G3850 which means, ‘a placing beside, comparison, parable, proverb, symbol, type’.
This Greek word is used in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of Tanak) for the Hebrew word for ‘proverbs’ which is the word מִשְׁלֵי – Mishlĕ, which comes from the root noun מָשָׁל mashal – Strong’s H4912 which means, ‘a proverb, parable, a byword’, which, in its primitive root form, means, ‘to compare, to represent, be like’, and comes from the root verb מָשַׁל mashal – Strong’s H4911 which means, ‘to use a proverb, speak in parables or sentences of poetry’. .
That is why we understand the words of Messiah, when He spoke ‘in parables’, by using terms such as, “The reign of the heavens is like…”, or, “The reign of the heavens shall be compared to…”.
A ‘parable’ actually presents the truth very clearly, by putting a fresh light on the matter, as it is often presented in a ‘story’ format that represents the message being given, using imagery that is known to the hearer, in order to illustrate and shed light on the result of past, current and even future events, as determined by the choices that are made.
Parables can only be understood by the attentive hearer and doer of the Word, while those who do not hear, in order to do, are never able to fully understand the teachings of or Master!.
When we look at the pictograph of the Hebrew word for ‘proverbs’, מִשְׁלֵי Mishlĕ, we are able to clearly see the powerful work of redemption that our Master has brought us, through His Blood, as we see this word being depicted in the ancient script as follows:.
Mem – מִ:
The ancient script has this letter as 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 then, that this letter also represents ‘water’, we are able to see how this can render for us the meaning of ‘washing’ or ‘cleansing’...
Shin – שְׁ:
This is the letter ‘shin’ which in the ancient script is pictured as, , which is ‘two front teeth’ and carries the meaning of ‘sharp or press, chew or devour’; which is what the teeth do, and also speaks of the sharpened word that comes forth from the mouth as the teeth ‘chew’ or ‘meditate’ on the Truth, making what comes forth pure and sharp! It also carries the understanding of consuming or destroying – as teeth do to food..
Lamed – לֵ:
The ancient script has this letter as , and is pictured as a ‘shepherd’s staff’, can give the meaning of ‘to or toward’ and can represent that which pushes or pulls a flock in a direction, and can speak of authority or a yoke that is used to lead and guide, as well as the ability to bring back by Authority. .
Yod – י:
The ancient script has this letter as which is ‘an arm and hand’, and carries the meaning of ‘work, make, throw’, from the primary functions of the arm and hand, and it also represents worship or giving thanks in the extending of hands as a gesture of this.
The work of one’s hands is the basic meaning of this letter!
And this letter also pictures for us the outstretched Arm and working Hand of Elohim, that is not too short to save!.
When we consider this pictograph for the word that means ‘parables’, we are able to recognise the following, being declared:
CLEANSED BY THE WASHING OF THE WORD
OF THE SHEPHERD’S WORK OF REDEMPTION.
Our Master and Good Shepherd, came to cleanse us, through the washing of His Word, by coming in the flesh and revealing to us the arm of יהוה. And His Word and the revelation thereof is given to us in order to know the secrets of the reign of Elohim, for the light is for those that are in The House!.
As we study and meditate on the Torah and are diligent in obeying the clear instructions of Elohim, and as we guard to keep His Appointed Times, we are enabled to understand the clear lessons that the Feasts of יהוה teach us, as the parables that are contained therein, are made plain to us who are in Messiah! .
With that being said, we can therefore understand that the ‘the sheaf of the first fruits’ and ‘day 7 of Matzot’ are also very clear parables of Messiah!
Parables that are perfectly told through the clear instructions that are to be guarded and done, as they establish for us the proper timing that reflects the work of our Master. .
Sadly, there are many who are blinded to the importance of the Appointed Times of יהוה, as a veil remains over their eyes when ‘Mosheh’ is read, while those who have turned to the Master, the veil of ignorance is taken away!
Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 3:14-16 “But their minds were hardened, for to this day, when the old covenant is being read, that same veil remains, not lifted, because in Messiah it is taken away. 15 But to this day, when Mosheh is being read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 And when one turns to the Master, the veil is taken away.”.
Our Master made it clear to His taught ones, that they are able to understand the parables, as it has been given to those who are ‘in Him’ to know the secrets of the reign of Elohim, while to those outside, parables are heard but not understood..
As we guard to keep the Sabbaths and Appointed Times of יהוה, we get greater clarity in our understanding and we gain great insight by the powerful parables that are contained within the instructions regarding His Feasts. .
Today, we are looking at the waving of the sheaf of the first fruits, that was to be done on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath during Matzot/Unleavened Bread! .
Let us take a closer look at the commands regarding this day, as found in:
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:9-15 “And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 ‘And he shall wave the sheaf before יהוה, for your acceptance. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it. 12 ‘And on that day when you wave the sheaf, you shall prepare a male lamb a year old, a perfect one, as a burnt offering to יהוה, 13 and its grain offering: two-tenths of an ĕphah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to יהוה, a sweet fragrance, and its drink offering: one-fourth of a hin of wine. 14 ‘And you do not eat bread or roasted grain or fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your Elohim – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 15 ‘And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths.”.
As we can see from verse 10, we are told that a sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest was to be brought to the priest, which he was to wave before יהוה.
Verse 11 tells us that this takes place on the morrow after the Sabbath!
This waving of the sheaf of the first, will therefore always take place on the 1st day of the week.
These instructions were clearly given by Elohim, in order to let the events that take place on this day, shadow picture the parable of the waving of the sheaf, in order for us to understand and recognise the work that our Master did, on this day, by being both the sheaf of the first as well as being the High Priest who would offer and wave the sheaf of the first!
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:4 “These are the appointed times of יהוה, set-apart gatherings which you are to proclaim at their appointed times.”.
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 16:16-17 “Three times a year all your males appear before יהוה your Elohim in the place which He chooses: at the Festival of Matzot, and at the Festival of Shaḇuʽoth, and at the Festival of Sukkot. And none should appear before יהוה empty-handed, 17 but each one with the gift of his hand, according to the blessing of יהוה your Elohim which He has given you.” .
THIS IS THE DAY WHEN THE 1ST OF THE 3 TIMES A YEAR EACH ONE WHO IS REGISTERED APPEARS BEFORE YAHWEH WITH THE GIFT OF HIS HAND, ACCORDING TO THE BLESSING OF YAHWEH WHICH HE HAS GIVEN THEM!.
HOW HAS YAHWEH BLESSED YOU?
THIS IS THE DAY TO SHOW IT THROUGH THE GIFT OF YOUR HAND
I would like us to look at a couple of the Hebrew words, in regards to the instructions of this day, in order for us to see the wonderful and powerful pictures of our Master, so that the parable of this waving of the sheaf, can be greatly understood and celebrated with joy.
The term or phrase, ‘Sheaf of the first fruits’ is written in Hebrew as follows:
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘sheaf’ is עֹמֶר omer – Strong’s H6016 which means, ‘sheaf, omer’ and is also understood to be a dry measure of 1/10th of an ephah.
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘first-fruits’ is רֵאשִׁית rěshiyth – Strong’s H7225 which means, ‘beginning, chief, first fruits, foremost’ and comes from the primitive root word ראֹשׁ rosh – Strong’s H7218 which means, ‘head, beginning, top, chief’.
This day is often called ‘Bikkurim’ by some, yet what we must take note of, is that the term bikkurim is only found to be used in reference to what will take place in 50 days’ time, at the Feast of Shaḇuoth/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost.
The Hebrew term ‘Bikkurim’ is found in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:17, where we are commanded to wave the two loaves of bread on Shaḇuoth, as the word in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:17 for ‘first fruits’ is not ‘reshiyth’ but is בִּכּוּרִים bikkurim – Strong’s H1061 which means, ‘first fruits, early ripened thing, ripe fruit’, and comes from the root word בָּכַר baḵar – Strong’s H1069 which means, ‘to bear new fruit, to constitute as first born’.
So, while the bikkurim – Strong’s H1061 is waved on Shaḇuoth, it is on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath, during Matzot, that we in fact wave the sheaf of the first, or better understood as the first of the first, or it could even be understood as the first of the bikkurim; and this waving of the first of the first gives us the full assurance of the fullness of the harvest that is still to come.
What is vitally important for us to realise, is that without this day there is no assurance that there will be a first fruit harvest and offering; and if there is no first fruit harvest and offering, then there is no assurance for the end-time harvest, making the remembrance and celebration of this day extremely important.
How much is an omer?
The ‘sheaf’, which is called and ‘omer’, in Hebrew, was the dry measure of food stuffs, and was 1/10th of an ĕphah, as mentioned, which is a dry measurement of grain, equalling to the approximate amount of 22 litres. Therefore, an omer (sheaf) was around 2,2 litres dry equivalent.
Let us therefore, look further into Scripture and discover the value of an omer:
Shemoth/Exodus 16:36 “And an omer is one-tenth of an ĕphah.”
Wayyiqra/Leviticus 27:16 “And if a man sets apart to יהוה a field he owns, then your evaluation shall be according to the seed for it – a ḥomer of barley seed at fifty sheqels of silver.”
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 45:11 “Let the ĕphah and the bath be of the same measure, so that the bath contains one-tenth of a ḥomer, and the ĕphah one-tenth of a ḥomer. Let their measure be according to the ḥomer.”
From these verses, we are able to see something very significant, in the sheaf that is waved, as a first of the first!
Here, we see the terms omer, ĕphah and ḥomer.
We know that the sheaf is an omer, yet we take note that Wayyiqra/Leviticus 27:16 tells us that the evaluation of a field that is set apart to יהוה, is done according to the seed for it and a ḥomer of barley seed is 50 sheqels of silver!
That being said, we take note that an ĕphah is 1/10th of a ḥomer, which would make an ĕphah of barley seed to be valued at 5 sheqels.
Are you with me so far?
With an omer being 1/10th of and ĕphah, that would make an omer of barley seed to be valued at half a sheqel of silver!
Why is the half a sheqel of silver important for us to understand?
Well, let us read from:
Shemoth/Exodus 30:12-14 “When you take the census of the children of Yisra’ĕl, to register them, then each one shall give an atonement for his life to יהוה, when you register them, so that there is no plague among them when you register them. 13 “Everyone among those who are registered is to give this: half a sheqel according to the sheqel of the set-apart place, twenty gĕrahs being a sheqel. The half-sheqel is the contribution to יהוה. 14 “Everyone passing over to be registered, from twenty years old and above, gives a contribution to יהוה.”
The half a sheqel was the price of atonement for each one who was registered in Yisra’ĕl and this atonement price, was to be taken as a remembrance before יהוה.
The grain that was associated with the ‘sheaf’ (omer) of first fruits, was barley, as it was the first grain that would be harvested each year.
The Hebrew word for ‘barley’ is שְׂעֹרָה seorah – Strong’s H8184 and comes from the root word שֵׂעָר sear – Strong’s H8181 which means, ‘hair, hairy’; and from this root word we get the word for goat which is שָׂעִיר saiyr – Strong’s H8163.
Why am I mentioning this?
The sheaf of barley that is waved, was estimated at the price of atonement for each person registered and we are able to therefore see the relationship between the goat that is slaughtered for the sin offering, in order to make atonement, being a shadow picture of the atonement that our Master bought for us by His own Blood, in order that we may be counted in Him!.
What I also found very interesting and certainly a significant nugget of truth, is that when looking at another word that has similar lettering to the root word, from which we get the words for goat and barley. .
The root word שֵׂעָר sear – Strong’s H8181 is spelt with a ‘sin’(שֵׂ), ‘ayin’ (עָ) and ‘resh’ (ר).
A word that has the similar letters, is the word we get for ‘gate’, which, in Hebrew, is the root word שַׁעַר sha’ar – Strong’s H8179 which means, ‘gate, door, entrance’ and comes from the root verb שָׁעַר sha’ar – Strong’s H8176 which means, ‘to think, split open, reason out, calculate, reckon, estimate’. .
These words are spelt with a ‘shin’(שַׁ), ‘ayin’ (עָ) and ‘resh’ (ר).
So, when looking at these two root words, for hairy and gate, we take note that one has a ‘sin’ (שֵׂ) and the other a ‘shin’(שַׁ)! .
Why did I find this interesting and significant, in terms of this day?
Well, the Hebrew word for gate – שַׁעַר sha’ar – Strong’s H8179 – is the word that is used for the ‘gate’ of the courtyard of the Tabernacle. .
The Greek equivalent that is used in the LXX (Septuagint), is the word πύλη pulē – Strong’s G4439 and this word is used in describing the narrow gate that we are to strive to enter through:
Luqas/Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I say to you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able.”.
Ok, so what does this have to do with barley and atonement and the sheaf (omer)?
A great deal… and I will show you why I say this!
We all know that Messiah is the Door, and we also know that it was at the gates of a city where right-ruling and justice was administered and where a proper check was done before anyone could enter in. .
Our Master, therefore, has provided for us the entrance into His Reign, according to His proper right-ruling and justice. .
As I began to ponder on these various words and the significance thereof, I searched the Word and found a very powerful passage, which echoes the news of deliverance, which some will not hear, while others will.
Melaḵim Bět/2 Kings 7:1 “And Elisha said, “Hear the word of יהוה. Thus said יהוה, ‘About this time tomorrow a seah of fine flour for a sheqel, and two seahs of barley for a sheqel, at the gate of Shomeron.’”
Here in this verse, we see both of the root words for barley: שְׂעֹרָה seorah and gate: שַׁעַר sha’ar, being used in Elisha’s words.
Elisha was proclaiming ‘the good news of deliverance’ to the people in Shomeron.
They were surrounded by the Arameans and were facing a severe famine and a lack of provision, as they were under the immense attack and threat of the enemy.
One of the officers of the sovereign did not believe this good news and died in the gate, as he was trampled underfoot! .
I encourage you to go and read this account, of how it took four leprous men, who went to see if they could find food and when they came to the enemy camp the enemy was gone, but all the provisions had been left behind!
What you will notice, from the words of Elisha, is that the price that was being declared for wheat and barley, was a lot lower than it had been and this is why some did not believe. .
What is worth taking note of here, is the relationship between the barley and the gate.
The price of two measures of barley was 1 sheqel, making the price of one measure of barley a half of a shekel, which is the price for atonement for each person, as one measure, or omer, of barley is a half a sheqel!
This is a clear parable of deliverance, being proclaimed through the events that took place here! .
Who has believed our report, we might say, as we consider these events, especially in light of this day of the waving of the sheaf of the first that we gather in His Name in order to celebrate and proclaim as Good News!
For entrance into the reign of our Master has been opened to us, by His life, death, resurrection and the waving of the sheaf of the first!
The omer price has been paid and we can legally be grafted into Messiah, as His Body, in order to serve Him forever – and have the assurance that if we stay in Him, we shall be lifted up when He comes again!!!.
Therefore, an omer, or sheaf, also symbolises a single person and is, in fact, a picture of oneself being turned over to יהוה, for the process of becoming useful to His community – His Bride!
Shemoth/Exodus 16:16 “This is the word which יהוה has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, an omer for each being, according to the number of beings. Let every man take for those who are in his tent.’”
Shemoth/Exodus 16:36 “And an omer is one-tenth of an ĕphah.”.
In the Hebrew text the phrase, ‘Wave the sheaf before יהוה’ is written as follows:
וְהֵנִיף אֶת־הָעֹמֶר לִפְנֵי יהוה
veheyniyph eth haomer liphney יהוה
This phrase can literally be expressed as –
“…and wave/present the sheaf/omer before the face of יהוה”
The Hebrew root word for wave is נוּף nuph – Strong’s H5130 and its fuller meaning is to, ‘move to and fro, shake back and forth, sprinkle, wave’ and is essence carries the broader meaning ‘to present’.
It is from this root verb that we get the word for the ‘wave offering’ which is תְּנוּפָה tenuphah – Strong’s H8573 which means, ‘a swinging, waving, offering’, which is done to the first fruits on Shaḇuoth..
This waving of the sheaf offering of the first of the first, was a public acknowledgement of the great and perfect goodness, provision and protection of יהוה, and was done with a sure belief in the One who is the provider for all we need! .
This day of the omer rěshiyth is a day where each one gets to publicly declare their acknowledgment of Elohim, their Redeemer and Saviour and Provider, and they get to do it physically with their goods!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 3:9-10 “Esteem יהוה with your goods, and with the first-fruits of all your increase; 10 then your storehouses shall be filled with plenty, and your vats overflow with new wine.”
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 44:30 “And the first of all the first-fruits of all, and every contribution of all, of all your contributions, belong to the priests. And the first of your ground meal you give to the priest, so that a blessing rests on your house.”
In fact, I will even go so far as to say that if you are not bringing a wave offering to the priest then you are not guarding this day as commanded. .
What we are to remember and celebrate, is that Messiah, as High Priest, offered up, on this day of omer rěshiyth, the wave offering the first of the first fruits, when He presented those who were raised after His resurrection! .
This offering of the sheaf of the first fruits, secures for us the fullness of the harvest to come, for without this wave offering of the sheaf of the first, we would not have complete assurance of the promise!
And so, what took place on this day assures us that we have an expectation that is sure and will not fail, as it is waved before the face of the One in whom we put our trust and who is our trust!.
In Bemiḏbar/Numbers 8:11 we see how Aharon was to ‘wave’, that is: ‘to present’ the Lěwites before יהוה, as a ‘wave offering’ from the children of Yisra’ĕl, and from this very clear picture, we are able to see how Messiah, as High Priest and first of the first, being first born of all creation and first born from among the dead, presented the first fruits of the new priesthood in the order of Malkitseḏeq – on this day!!!
This, in itself, is a powerful revelation, as to the great significance of this day, as we recognise that when Qayapha, who was high priest at the time of Messiah’s death, tore his garments just before the sentencing and death of Messiah, that he, in a manner of speaking, tore away his office of high priest in this act of rebellion and, in the process, a clear change of the priesthood would take place and Messiah could therefore become the True High Priest forever, in the order of Malkitseḏeq, after His death and resurrection and His Blood would be used to cleanse and set-apart His own priesthood forever!.
By His life, death and resurrection, He, as High Priest, presented the first of the first fruits before the Father, and symbolically therefore, presents us as a royal set-apart priesthood that is able to serve and worship the Father in Spirit and Truth!
When we consider this, we realise how significant this day was, and is for us to continually remember – causing us to remember that we are a royal, chosen and set-apart priesthood and should therefore live as such!.
As a called out and set-apart priesthood that has been cleansed by the Blood of Messiah, we get to present our lives, as a wave offering, before the Master and publicly declare our loving-commitment to Him, shown in the wave offering that we present before His face, in total faith! .
This day of the omer rěshiyth reminds us very clearly that we are to put יהוה first, and in putting Him first, we declare our all unto Him!
יהושע has fully met the requirements for these Feasts that we are celebrating and speaking of right now – we remember that He is our Passover Lamb – the Bread of Life and He is the First Fruit offering and The One who waves the omer rěshiyth (First of the first) of souls to everlasting life!
יהושע was resurrected at the end of Shabbat and at the start of the first day of the week (at sunset), offering Himself as the first of the first fruits to all generations, by fulfilling the sign of Yonah (Jonah) – 3 days and 3 nights, and becoming the first born among those who sleep!
יהושע is the head of the first fruit of the Barley Harvest that was ripe and ready to be presented and waved before the face of Elohim! .
Let us look at a few other Scripture references that speak of Messiah, as the ‘first’:
1. יהושע is the firstborn of Miryam/Mary:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 1:23-25 ““See, a maiden shall conceive, and she shall give birth to a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanu’ĕl,” which translated, means, “Ěl with us.” 24 And Yosĕph, awaking from his sleep, did as the messenger of יהוה commanded him and took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she gave birth to her Son, the first-born. And he called His Name יהושע.”.
2. יהושע is the first-born of the Father:
Iḇ‘rim/Hebrews 1:6 “And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, “Let all the messengers of Elohim do reverence to Him.” .
3. יהושע is the firstborn over all creation:
Qolasim/Colossians 1:15 “who is the likeness of the invisible Elohim, the first-born of all creation.”.
4. יהושע is the firstborn from the dead:
Ḥazon/Revelation 1:5 “and from יהושע Messiah, the trustworthy witness, the first-born from the dead, and the ruler of the sovereigns of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,”..
5. יהושע is the firstborn of many brethren:
Romiyim/Romans 8:29 “Because those whom He knew beforehand, He also ordained beforehand to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, for Him to be the first-born among many brothers.” .
6. יהושע is the first fruit of those who have fallen asleep:
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:20 “But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep.”.
7. יהושע is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Aleph and the Taw:
Ḥazon/Revelation 22:13 “I am the ‘Aleph’ and the ‘Taw’, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”.
8. יהושע is the head of the body, the assembly – First in all:
Qolasim/Colossians 1:18 “And He is the Head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that He might become the One who is first in all.”.
He is the Most Set-Apart One of ELOHIM and He is both the first born of ELOHIM and the first fruit unto ELOHIM.
In Messiah, the assurance that we have, is that ‘in Him’ we are redeemed:
Pěsaḥ speaks of our redemption, Matzot or Unleavened Bread speaks of our sanctification – that is – being set-apart and cleansed from leaven of sin; and the waving of the sheaf of the First Fruits is the assurance of our promise of eternal life and resurrection in Messiah. .
Blessed are those who have part in the first resurrection for the second death has no power over them!!!
Ḥazon/Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and set-apart is the one having part in the first resurrection. The second death possesses no authority over these, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 15:20-24 “But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep. 21 For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man. 22 For as all die in Aḏam, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah. 23 And each in his own order: Messiah the first-fruits, then those who are of Messiah at His coming, 24 then the end, when He delivers up the reign to Elohim the Father, when He has brought to naught all rule and all authority and power.”
A wonderful passage that Sha’ul is writing to describe what we are truly celebrating on the waving of the sheaf of the First Fruits – Messiah is the first fruit among those who have fallen asleep (died) and it is in Messiah that we are made alive. .
This passage is read, as a commentary on the order of resurrection, but Sha’ul is also referring here to the waving of the sheaf of the First Fruits: in that יהושע, in being the first to be raised, has fulfilled this Feast – securing the future harvest. .
So, at this Feast, we celebrate the resurrection of יהושע and in doing so, we also celebrate the assurance of the future completed resurrection of His Bride, that is to come when He comes again, as each are made alive in Messiah, each in his own order!.
יהושע’s resurrection was, in effect, a sheaf wave offering that was presented before the Father, as first fruits of the harvest to come!
He also, as High Priest, presented His sheaf of the first-fruits offering, as High Priest, to the Father on this day:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 27:52-53 “and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the set-apart ones who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they went into the set-apart city and appeared to many.”
These verses from Mattithyahu/Matthew 27 is a scripture that is not often understood and even very quickly skipped through due to a lack of understanding.
יהושע presented a waving of the sheaf of the first fruit offering of souls unto the Father, as He presented those who were raised as a sheaf of the first fruits.
Those graves, that were opened when He died, lay open for 3 days and 3 nights and after His resurrection, the dead from the tombs that were opened came out of the tombs and appeared unto many! .
Can you picture the scene for a moment and imagine what this must have been like? .
At His death the temple veil was torn and there was a huge earthquake and the tombs of many were opened and they stayed open for 3 days and 3 nights until יהושע was raised, after which the dead of those who were in those tombs came out and appeared to many.
These raised ones were then taken up the next day when יהושע ascended and presented the sheaf of the first fruit offering unto the Father, on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath during Matzot – fulfilling this Feast and its requirements:
Wayyiqra 23:12 “And on that day when you wave the sheaf, you shall prepare a male lamb a year old, a perfect one, as a burnt offering to יהוה.” .
He is our High Priest who presented the wave offering, being the ‘year old perfect lamb’ who ascended up to the Father!.
Yoḥanan/John 20:17 “יהושע said to her, “Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My Elohim and your Elohim.’” .
That day, He ascended and presented the sheaf of the first fruit offering and the next evening, He came and stood in the midst of His taught ones and breathed on them and they received the Set-Apart Spirit – a first fruit of the Spirit that would later be poured out on many at Shaḇuoth!
A first fruit of the bride of Messiah, and a commissioned and equipped priesthood, in the order of Malkitseḏeq! .
It is also on this day of omer rěshiyth that we are also commanded to begin our COUNT TO 50!!!
We are commanded to count 7 completed Sabbaths – until the morrow after the 7th Sabbath – 50 days from omer rěshiyth – where we will celebrate Shaḇuoth!.
The number 50 is symbolic of the Yoḇel and signifies release and so, in our counting to 50, we are reminded that, as a cleansed and presented priesthood, we are to count the cost of following the Master and endure until He comes again!.
The Hebrew root word that is used for ‘count’, in our instruction to count 50 days to Shaḇuoth, is the word סָפַר saphar – Strong’s H5608 which means, ‘to score, mark as a tally, record, inscribe, recount, celebrate, commune’.
This root word 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.
This word is used 161 times, also being translated into English as, ‘tell, told, number, tell me, declared, numbering’.
This Hebrew word סָפַר saphar – Strong’s H5608 (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 pictographic script, we get a wonderful picture of what it means to truly count the cost of being built up in righteousness: .
THE ANCIENT FORM OF WRITING THE WORD “COUNT/RELATE/TELL” – SAPHAR!
Samek – סָ:
The ancient script has this letter pictured as , 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 to that which is secure..
Pey – פָּ:
This is the letter ‘pey’, which is pictured as , 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 , 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 and relate the Truth to others!
This ancient grouping of letters can carry various meanings for us, and in terms of being a people who count and who relate the Truth of the Word to our children, 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 the following:
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!
Covenant family, this is a season and time to prepare – let us prepare with great joy, 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!.
יהושע is the omer rěshiyth that was waved and He is our High Priest that waved the omer rěshiyth!
He is the Bread from heaven who paid the atonement price for us all, so that we can be numbered in Him. He is the first fruit and the beginning and the end!
He is our Deliver and Redeemer of our beings. .
If we do not properly count the cost of following our Master then we may end up being unable to finish what we so eagerly started!
And this is why this season of counting to 50 is extremely important, in teaching us to number our days and walk in the wisdom of Elohim!.
I would like to once again, as I do each year, summarise what this period, between the wave offering during Matzot and Shaḇuoth, pictures for us; and to do that, let us take a brief look at what we are able to learn, when looking at the bread making process.
This process, which looks 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 keep growing in our understanding of this season of counting!
During Matzot there is a wave offering of the sheaf of barley that takes place, which we are celebrating today and at Shaḇuoth there is a wave offering of leavened bread!
So, let us therefore take a look at the process of making bread and what this typically entails in preparing it for a wave offering unto יהוה! .
There are several steps or processes which, as we look at each one, I hope that we are all once again reminded and realise just what is expected of us, in being a part of the body or loaves, if you will, of Messiah!
1 – SOWING OR PLANTING:
The Hebrew term that is used for sowing or planting also carries with it the meaning of ‘scattering’ – as pictured by a farmer who ‘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 that 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 your attitudes, your thoughts, your actions or even your priorities – do not expect to get something out from that which you did not sow!
If 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/Hosea, which I encourage you to read.
Scattered but watched over – for this scattered seed will bring in a bountiful harvest for reaping!
The Hebrew root word for sow or sowing is זֶרַע zera – Strong’s H2233 which means, ‘a sowing, seed, offspring’ and comes from the primitive root זָרַע zara – Strong’s H2232 meaning, ‘to sow or scatter seed’.
We also recognise through the process of becoming an acceptable Priesthood and Bride, we are to sow righteousness and seek יהוה:
Hoshěa/Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap according to loving-commitment, break up your tillable ground, it is time to seek יהוה, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”.
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 – we inherited 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 Hebrew root words that are translated as ‘grow’ or ‘growing’ are
1) הָלַךְ halaḵ – Strong’s H1980 which means, ‘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 צֶמַח tsemaḥ – Strong’s H6780 which means, ‘a sprout, growth, branch, shoot’ and is used in prophetically referring to Messiah who shall come forth from the Branch of Dawiḏ. .
When looking at these words for grow, or growing, 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! Our ability to grow as we should can only be done as we stay in Messiah..
For more on Messiah, the Branch of יהוה, please see the notes of the message called, ‘YAHWEH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS – THE BRANCH REVEALED!’ under the sermons 2017/2018 on our site (https://atfotc.com) or by clicking on the following link:
3 – REAPING:
This reaping process is simply a separating of 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!
The word ‘reaping’ is translated from the Hebrew root word 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 a 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 have been separated from the system – threshed out in other words – which is not always painless I might add – and we 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 it is 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, in Hebrew, is the word דַּיִשׁ dayish – Strong’s H1786 and comes from the primitive root verb דּוּשׁ dush – Strong’s H1758 which means, ‘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 blows away the unneeded stuff in our lives, as we immerse in His presence – letting that which is useless to 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 – edifying the body and in doing this it elevates others to a place where the Spirit can remove the chaff!
Winnowing is translated from the word זָרָה zarah – Strong’s H2219 which means, ‘scatter, fan or winnow’.
6 – PARCHING:
After being separated from the lighter elements – all that ‘airy fairy fluffy junk’, so to speak, 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’ kind of 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, and so, as one lets go off selfishness and pride – the removal of moisture happens!
To parch, in Hebrew, comes from the root word קָלָה qalah – Strong’s H7033 which means, ‘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 for crushing.
Grains were crushed between two stones – and, in many ways, the two stones of a millstone can picture for us 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 – which is 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, in Hebrew, comes from the root word טָחַן taḥan – Strong’s H2912 which means, ‘to grind’ and the word טַחֲנָה taḥanah – Strong’s H2913 is translated as a grinding mill!
8 – SIFTING:
In the 2nd Temple times the wheat for the offering at Shaḇuoth was sifted 13 times!!!
Each time becoming finer and finer!
13 is the numerical value for the Hebrew word ‘eḥaḏ’ – 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!!!
The Hebrew word for sift is נוּף nuph – Strong’s H5130 which 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 complete bread.
This is everyone’s responsibility to become a part of!
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 and compromise, then you may, as I have said, simply be 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!
The Hebrew root word נָסָה nasah – Strong’s H5254 means, ‘to test, prove, try’ and is used in:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 13:3 “do 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, which is at the feast of Shaḇuoth and is 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. .
There are a couple of different Hebrew words that are used for what we translate as ‘bake’ and 3 of these are:
1) אָפָה aphah – Strong’s H644 meaning ‘bake, cook’;
2) בָּשַׁל bashal – Strong’s H1310 which means, ‘bake, boil, seeth, ripen, grow ripe’ and
3) שָׂרַף seraph – Strong’s H8313 which means, ‘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 form it 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 how 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 2:17 “He 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 that 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 Shaḇuoth 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 H3899 ‘Bread with leaven’
3 – From impurity to purity
4 – From Mitsrayim to Mount Sinai/Mountain of יהוה (see Torah notes from Wayyiqra/Leviticus 25 on the Mountain of יהוה)
What we see, is that this truly is a significant time for us to remember and recollect on 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 we have been 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 that is pleasing and presentable before Elohim..
The English word ‘count’ you will find being used 31 times in the Scriptures 2009 Edition, and is translated from 4 different Hebrew words, which are
1 – מָנָה manah – Strong’s H4487 which means, ‘weigh out, allot, enrol, appoint, number, prepare, set, tell’.
It is used 28 times and is also translated as number, appointed, prepare. It is first used in the promise given to Aḇram in:
Berěshith/Genesis 13:16 “And I shall make your seed as the dust of the earth, so that, if a man could count the dust of the earth, then your seed also could be counted.” .
2 – סָפַר saphar – Strong’s H5608 which means, ‘to score, mark as a tally, record, inscribe, recount, celebrate, commune’, which we have already taken a look at in the ancient script. It is used 161 times also being translated into English as tell, told, number, tell me, declared, numbering..
3 – כָּסַס kasas – Strong’s H3699 which means, ‘estimate, compute, divide, make your count’.
It is used only once, which is 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 which means, ‘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 expanding on all of 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 Hebrew word that is used for ‘count’, in our instruction to count 50 days to Shaḇuoth, comes from the root word סָפַר saphar, as already discussed.
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 3:8 “But, 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 we 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 have easily found himself in a place where he contaminated his cleansed state and had 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 10:26 “For 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 also see various words being used to translate into English as ‘count’.
The first Greek word that I would like to look at is the word ψηφίζω psēphizō – Strong’s G5585 which means, ‘to count or calculate, to compute’ and this root word is used only 2 times in the Renewed Writings and helps understand our need to be able to count with understanding..
On the topic of counting, and taking up and bearing our stake as we should, יהושע uses the following imagery in the following parable:.
Luqas/Luke 14:28-30 “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? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation, and is unable to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was unable to finish.’”.
When we become followers of יהושע we may even ask,
“Do I have what it takes to finish?”
And typically, the answer is always no!
But it is not our resources that are necessary, for Elohim provides all we need for life and reverence.
What יהושע is talking about here is total commitment – an enduring persevering heart – not giving up when the times get bad and the going gets rough.
Do not be one who gives up on following wholeheartedly after יהושע; for if you do others will then look on and say that you began but couldn’t finish it or follow through.
Let me tell you that a true follower of יהושע does not shrink back and get destroyed, even when setbacks come, but a true follower is one who believes and is saved, one who lives by faith with works (Torah observance), even when it is rough and the chips are down! .
Often, people are committed, but only for a while then, through various reasons, they drift away and walk away from following the Truth and walk away from יהוה.
Do not be one of those.
Are you willing to pay the price for true discipleship?.
The other time we see this word ψηφίζω psēphizō – Strong’s G5585 being 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! .
If we do not properly count the cost of following our Master then we may end up being unable to finish what we so eagerly started!
And this is why this season of counting to 50 is extremely important in teaching us to number our days and walk in the wisdom of Elohim!.
Another Greek word that is translated as ‘count’ is ἡγέομαι hēgeomai – Strong’s G2233 which means, ‘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 is the word that is used in a verse that we all have heard many times, especially when facing tough times:
Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:2 “My 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 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 sheaf of 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, as pictured through Pěsaḥ And Matzot; and now, in this period of counting, we are 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 Shaḇuoth – in 50 days’ time!!!
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’..
With the sheaf of the first having been waved, by our Master Himself, we recognise that the harvest has therefore begun and it is plentiful.
We are to ask the Father of the harvest for workers!
As we acknowledge this day and the work of our Master, we also publicly declare before His face that we will be workers in the harvest, as we lift up our hands before His face and bring before Him our declaration of our best, as symbolised by our act of faith, in bringing a sheaf of the first before His face..
As we give remembrance to this day, and the importance thereof, may we be reminded to put first things first and make sure that our priorities are in proper order, as we put our Master and Elohim first in all!.
On this day of the waving of the omer rěshiyth what do you bring before the face of יהוה?
יהושע has indeed fully met the requirements of this Feast and as Yoḥanan says, that we who claim to stay in Him ought also to walk even as He walked.
So, we too must come and give our best, declare our best, giving our all unto יהוה, being continually prepared to be part of a Bride who makes herself ready – a Bride that is rid of the leaven of sin, yet is becoming permeated with the good leaven of the Kingdom, and this day is a wonderful opportunity in declaring, your commitment, thanksgiving and determined belief in the Master!.
On this day of the ‘sheaf’ offering of the first, that is waved before the Master, we give a great shout and thanks to our Master, Elohim and King, for lifting us up from death to life, being fully enabled to serve Him as a set-apart priesthood. .
As we consider the significance of this great day, may this waving of the first and the symbolic lifting of our hands before our Elohim, remind us of how we are His and that we are to serve Him daily in Spirit and Truth!.
This year, as we celebrate the omer rěshiyth, let us be reminded of the need for us to be committed and steadfast, as we begin our count to 50, counting the true cost of serving and worshipping our Master and Elohim in Spirit and Truth, clinging to our Master and Head, יהושע Messiah, as we lift our hands in complete praise and surrender unto Him!.
As you celebrate this day of the waving of the omer rěshiyth this year, what do you bring, as you begin your count to 50, as a sheaf of the first before the face of יהוה?.
This is now time to present your wave offering before the face of our Master!.
Let me close with the words of Sha’ul, before performing the wave offering before the face of our Master:
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Messiah also has loved us, and gave Himself for us, a gift and an offering to Elohim for a sweet-smelling fragrance.”.
Romiyim/Romans 12:1-2 “I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.”.
יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and give you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!..