18th of the 1st month 2017/2018
Today we have come to the day of the waving of the sheaf of the first fruits, and I want to share briefly with you what the significance of this day 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 RESHIYTH’ I would like to share with you some key 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 that which I have shared in the past, regarding this day, yet there are a couple of new thoughts or aspects that I would like to share with you in order for us to expand our understanding of this day. What we must take note of is that much of what we read of 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 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”
This is part of the passage that we read yesterday on the Sabbath, and the reason for me highlighting this section is to simply point out the 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 that teach 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’ – מִשְׁלֵי – Mishlĕ, which comes from the root noun מָשָׁל mashal – Strong’s H4912 and 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 known to the hearer, in order to illustrate and shed light on the result of past, current and even future events as determined by 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!
As we study and meditate on the Torah and are diligent in obeying the clear instructions of Elohim and guard to keep His Appointed Times we are enabled to understand the clear lessons that the Feasts teach us as the parables 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’ is a parable of Messiah! A parable that is perfectly told through its clear instructions that are to be guarded and done, as it establishes 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 clarity in our understanding and 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 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 and the High Priest who would offer and wave the sheaf of the first!
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 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 ‘Sheaf of the first fruits’ is in Hebrew as follows: עֹמֶר רֵאשִׁית – ‘omer reshiyth’.
The word translated as ‘sheaf’ is עֹמֶר omer – Strong’s H6016 and the word 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 recognise is that the term bikkurim is only found to be used in reference to what will take place in 50 days’ time at Shaḇuoth/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost.
The term ‘Bikkurim’ is found in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:17, when 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 H1601 meaning, ‘first fruits, early ripened thing, ripe fruit’, and comes from בָּכַר baḵar – Strong’s H1069 which means, ‘to bear new fruit, to constitute as first born’.
So while the ‘bikkurim’ is waved on Shaḇu’ot, 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 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 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 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 ‘omer’ in Hebrew, was the dry measure of food stuffs, and was 1/10th of an ĕphah, 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 further 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?
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 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 can be counted in Him!
What I also found very interesting and certainly a significant nugget of truth is 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 שַׁעַר sha’ar – Strong’s H8179 meaning, ‘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). 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)? We 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 we see both root words for barley שְׂעֹרָה seorah and gate שַׁעַר sha’ar being used in Elisha’s words.
Elisha was proclaiming good news of deliverance to the people in Shomeron. They were surrounded by the Arameans and were facing severe famine and a lack of provision as they were under 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! 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, 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! Who has believed our report, we might say, as we consider these events, especially in light of this day that we are here to celebrate and proclaim as Good News, for entrance into the reign of our Master has been opened by His life, death, resurrection and waving of the sheaf of the first!
The omer price has been paid and we can be legally grafted into Messiah as His Body, in order to serve Him forever!
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.”
Wave the sheaf before יהוה: וְהֵנִיף אֶת־הָעֹמֶר לִפְנֵי יהוה – ‘vehayniyph eth haomer liphney יהוה’
This can literally be expressed as – “…and wave/present the sheaf/omer before the face of יהוה”
The Hebrew 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 ‘wave offering’ is תְּנוּפָה tenuphah – Strong’s H8573 and means, ‘a swinging, waving, offering’, which is done to the first fruits on Shaḇuoth.
This wave sheaf offering of the first of the first was a public acknowledgement of the great and perfect goodness, provision and protection of יהוה, done with a sure belief/faith in the One who is the provider for all we need!
This day 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 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 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 is our trust!
In Bemiḏbar/Numbers 8:11 we see how Aharon was to ‘wave’ – that is 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. 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 fact 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 be used to cleanse and set-apart His own priesthood forever!
By His life, death and resurrection He, as High Priest, presented 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 – that we are a royal, chosen and set-apart priesthood!
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 publically declare our loving-commitment to Him, shown in the wave offering that we present before His face in total faith!
This day 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 we are celebrating and speaking of right now – He is our Passover Lamb – the Bread of Life and the First Fruit offering!
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 some Scriptures 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 we have is that ‘in Him’ we are redeemed – Pesaḥ speaks of our redemption, Matzot or Unleavened Bread speaks of our sanctification – that is – being set-apart (cleaned up from leaven) and 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!!!
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 truly what we are 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 so doing we also celebrate the future completed resurrection of His Bride as each are made alive in Messiah, each in his own order!
יהושע’s resurrection was in effect a sheaf wave offering 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.”
A scripture 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.
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? At His death the temple veil was torn and there was a huge earth quake 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 taken up when He 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!
It is also on this day 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 today – where we will celebrate Shaḇuoth!
The number 50 is symbolic of the Yoḇel and signifies release, and so in our count 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 word used for ‘count’ in our instruction to count 50 days to Shavuot 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’:
– THE ANCIENT FORM OF WRITING THE WORD “COUNT” – 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 and 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! 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!
Guys this is a season and time to prepare – 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!
יהושע is the omer reshiyth that was waved and He is our High Priest that waved the omer reshiyth! 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. 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 of the first 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, our all unto יהוה, prepared to be part of a Bride who makes herself ready – rid of the leaven of sin, yet becoming permeated with the good leaven of the Kingdom, and this day is a wonderful opportunity in declaring publicly your commitment, thanksgiving and determined faith in the Master!
As each ‘sheaf’ offering of the first is waved we give a great shout and thanks to our Master, Elohim and King for lifting us up from death to life, enabled to serve Him as a set-apart priesthood. May this waving of the first and the symbolic lifting of our hands before our Elohim remind us of how we are His and are to serve Him daily in Spirit and Truth!
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!