21ST of the 1st month 2018/2019
Today 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 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.
This year we also recognise that this day of the waving of the sheaf of the first also happens to fall on the last day, the 7th day, of Matzot and so, we are able to highlight the significance of both of these days in one.
In a message called, ‘OMER RĚSHIYTH AND DAY 7 OF MATZOT’ 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, as mentioned, 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”
The reason for me highlighting this passage 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’ and ‘day 7 of Matzot’ are 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 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 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!
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 or phrase, ‘Sheaf of the first fruits’ is written in Hebrew as follows: עֹמֶר רֵאשִׁית – ‘omer reshiyth’.
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 Shaḇuoth/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost.
The Hebrew 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 – Strong’s H1601 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 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 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 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? 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 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 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 we see both 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!
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 to celebrate and proclaim as Good News, for entrance into the reign of our Master has been opened 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 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 ‘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 of 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 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 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 publically 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 – He is our Passover Lamb – the Bread of Life and He is the First Fruit offering and The One who waves the omer rěshiyth 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 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 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!!!
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.”
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 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 Hebrew root word that used for ‘count’, in our instruction to count 50 days to Shaḇuoth, is the word סָפַר saphar – Strong’s H5608 – meaning, ‘to score, mark as a tally, record, inscribe, recount, celebrate, commune’.
It is used 161 times, also being translated into English as, ‘tell, told, number, tell me, declared, numbering’.
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.
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 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.
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 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 that we are to serve Him daily in Spirit and Truth!
As mentioned, this year’s omer rěshiyth happens to also fall on the 7th and last day of the Feast of Matzot, where we are commanded to have a set-apart gathering:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 28:25 “And on the seventh day you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.”
This is a set-apart day and closes the Feast that commemorates the redeeming work of our Master and Elohim who shed His blood for many and rose again that we may have life in Him and be equipped to be made ready into His Perfect Bride that He is coming back for.
So, what is it about this 7th day of Matzot, besides it being the omer rěshiyth this year, that we are to recognise as significantly different from the rest? Besides it being called as a Sabbath-like day and a commanded set-apart gathering, some may often ask what is unique about this day. Firstly, we know that the Hebrew word used here for ‘seventh’ is שְּׁבִיעִי – Strong’s H7637 ‘shâḇiy`iy’ which simply means seventh, which comes from the word שֶׁבַע sheḇa – Strong’s H7651 which means, ‘seventh’ which comes from the primitive root verb שָׁבַע shaḇa – Strong’s H7650 which means, ‘to swear, exchange oaths, take an oath, vow’.
An ‘oath’ is typically and obligation taken upon yourself rather than that which is imposed upon you. To “swear” in Scripture (which is also the root word שָׁבַע shaḇa) was to give one’s sure and promised unbreakable word in testimony, that the one swearing would faithfully perform some promised deed, or that he would faithfully refrain from some evil act. Occasionally we see in Scripture that one ‘swore an oath’ that he freely acknowledged a truth and would continue to acknowledge it in the future by sticking to what he has heard. In Hebrew, when one promises to complete something, it is considered ‘done’ and the word could be depended upon as that what was said would be accomplished. Our Master’s Word shall not return void, for the work that He who has begun a good work in you shall perfect it until the day of יהושע Messiah. We also take note that the 7th day of Creation, the day in which our Master completed His work and rested, clearly shadow pictures for us His Day when He comes in the 7th Millennium to complete His work so that we can all enter into His perfect rest forever! The number 7 represents for us completion or fullness, as pictured through the 7 days of the week, the 7 Feasts/Appointed Times of יהוה, the seven assemblies in Ḥazon/Revelation, the counting of 7’s to Shaḇuoth, the seven lamps of the Menorah/Lampstand which shines light on the showbread table.
But what is it about this 7th day of Matzot, a day which can fall on any day of the week?
I briefly want to share some insight into what I believe took place this day, based on Scriptural accounts, that gives us a better understanding as to the importance of guarding to keep the Appointed Times of יהוה.
We guard to keep this Feast of Pěsaḥ/Matzot as we remember the work that our Master has done in paying the price for our sin and we are also told to remember how יהוה delivered Yisra’ĕl from bondage in Mitsrayim and from the harsh slavery that they had been bound to, which pictures for us the prefect shadow picture of our release from bondage to sin and lawlessness!
As we therefore take a look at the events that took place when Yisra’ĕl was delivered from Mitsrayim we gain some insight as to what took place on this day during their exodus!
Let us take a quick look at:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 33:2-8 “And Mosheh wrote down the starting points of their departures at the command of יהוה, and these are their departures according to their starting points: 3 So they departed from Raʽmeses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, on the morrow of the Passover the children of Yisra’ĕl went out with boldness before the eyes of all the Mitsrites, 4 and the Mitsrites were burying all their first-born, whom יהוה had smitten among them. Also on their mighty ones יהוה had executed judgments. 5 Then the children of Yisra’ĕl departed from Raʽmeses and camped at Sukkoth. 6 And they departed from Sukkoth and camped at Ětham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 7 And they departed from Ětham and turned back to Pi Haḥiroth, which is east of Baʽal Tsephon. And they camped near Miḡdol. 8 And they departed from before Haḥiroth and passed over through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, went three days’ journey in the Wilderness of Ětham, and camped at Marah.”
Here we are able to see part of the recorded journey that took place from Mitsrayim and I have simply read to verse 8 for a specific reason, as we take note of the following scenario from the written text that we have, which makes perfect sense in teaching us a valuable lesson in regards to the work of our Master and our need to be working out our deliverance with fear and trembling.
Yisra’ĕl departed from Ra’meses on the 15th of the 1st month and then camped at Sukkoth. The Hebrew root word used for ‘camped’ is חָנָה ḥanah – Strong’s H2583 which carries the meaning of, ‘to decline, bend down, encamp, pitched, remain camped, lay siege against’. They pitched their tents and rested!
They then departed from Ra’meses on the 16th on the 1st month and camped at Ětham. They then departed from Ětham on the 17th and camped at Miḡdol. They then departed from Miḡdol/Haḥiroth on the 18th and they passed over through the Sea of Reeds. This would have been the 4th day of Matzot. After having come through the Sea of Reeds they went for 3 days and then camped at Marah. After 3 days journey they would have now come to Marah and camped on the 21st of the 1st month, this being the 7th day of Matzot.
While there may be various debates in regards to where the crossing of the Sea of reeds took place and, by some estimations, it may seem impossible for the journey from Ra’meses to Marah to be only 7 days, what I am sharing with you today is what I firmly believe is given to us in the text as a parable regarding this time of year, in order to teach us some vital lessons in our walk/journey of belief in our Master and Elohim.
Based on the text, we see a clear pattern of ‘point of departure then camping, point of departure and camping’ and then, between the Sea of Reeds crossing and Marah, there is a clear time given of 3 days journey before a camping took place and therefore we are able to deduce from Moshe’s account a parable type that could be further understood in expanding on the importance of the Appointed Times of יהוה. It is therefore with this concept of a parable in mind that I ask you to bear with me in this picture we have of the beginning of the exodus and glean some valuable insight from the stop at Marah and see how it can relate a powerful message for us today in terms of this 7th day of Matzot!
What took place at Marah?
Shemoth/Exodus 15:22-26 “And Mosheh brought Yisra’ĕl from the Sea of Reeds, and they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 And they came to Marah, and they were unable to drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. So the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Mosheh, saying, “What are we to drink?” 25 Then he cried out to יהוה, and יהוה showed him a tree. And when he threw it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a law and a right-ruling for them, and there He tried them. 26 And He said, “If you diligently obey the voice of יהוה your Elohim and do what is right in His eyes, and shall listen to His commands and shall guard all His laws, I shall bring on you none of the diseases I brought on the Mitsrites, for I am יהוה who heals you.”
After the victory at the Sea of Reeds, Yisra’ěl went on a 3-day journey and came to Marah, where they complained as they had no water as the water at Marah was bitter and so the people grumbled and rebelled against Mosheh.
Marah is a lesson for us in rebellion against the Word of Elohim and putting trust in His provision. Marah still exists today. There is a village there. The water is still bitter. But, guess what? The bitter water is not harmful. In fact, it has health benefits in that it kills parasites and bad bacteria in the digestive system, while not harming the good bacteria.
Could it be that יהוה wanted to cleanse their bodies internally from the effects of Mitsrayim?
What we take note of here is that the waters were made sweet when Mosheh threw the tree into the waters, which is a perfect picture of how the sacrifice of our Master has made our bitterness sweet! We also take note that the Word of Elohim is made sweet in Him. Many who do not acknowledge who our Master, Elohim and Saviour is, find the Word too bitter to swallow. Yet what we take note of on this day is that a conditional promise was given to Yisra’ĕl!
In verse 26 we see some very clear covenant language being spoken, as יהוה said that if they diligently obeyed His voice and did what was right in His eyes, listen to His commands and guard His laws, then He would bring none of the diseases that He brought on the Mitsrites upon them and He declared that He is יהוה who heals!
This same conditional clause applies to each of us who are grafted into Messiah by His own blood!
We have a deliverance to work out with fear and trembling and to do that we are to be on guard against bitterness and rebellion to His Word. They had been delivered and here on this 7th day they were given a clear conditional clause to which they would swear to guard to do! The complete work of our Healer has been made known to us, and His work comes with His clear conditions of obedience and when we guard to keep His Word we find how sweet it becomes to our taste.
Having said that we also take note that with the eating of His Sweet Word there comes a responsibility to proclaim His Reign, which may not always be sweetly received, yet we must hold fast to our belief in the One who made the waters sweet!
As we consider the events that took place we are able to see very powerful pictures and parables of our Master. As we consider the parable behind the exodus, we can take note that based on the assumption of this timing of journeying from stop to stop that took place during Matzot, that on the 4th day of Matzot the Sea of Reeds was split open!
How interesting it is that on the 4th day of Creation Week the lights were made to divide the day from the night, just as our Master came on the 4th Millennium, The light of the world, to call us out of darkness into His marvelous light, and now, here in this 7th day we are reminded that His work is sufficient for us and we are warned against bitterness and rebellion as we take heed to the conditions of the Covenant and swear to guard His commands.
There is much to celebrate as we set this day apart and recognise how sweet to the taste our Master’s Word is!
Tehillah/Psalm 119:103 “How sweet to my taste has Your word been, more than honey to my mouth!”
On this day we celebrate the sweet joy of redemption and the full work of our Master that will be competed when He returns! Our responsibility now is to guard the Word with joy and put off all bitterness as we live set-apart for He who heals us is set-apart!
We also take note how this day can picture for us many who will be bitter in the Day of יהוה and will blaspheme His Name while those who have accepted the work of our Redeemer will find refuge in Him and rejoice at His return.
What we recognise by this stop at Marah is that there was still a long journey that lies ahead and this journey required proper obedience and so as we close this Feast of Matzot today we too recognise the journey that lay ahead is long and needs proper steadfast endurance to walk and work out our deliverance with fear and trembling.
And it is in this season where we are commanded to count 7 competed 7’s, so therefor let us make sure that we are completely committed to living set-apart lives unto our Master, where there can be no room for compromise, lest bitterness sets in and causes rebellion, which is as witchcraft, and will be destroyed by our Master!
Today we celebrate the work of our King and how He has cleansed us and removed our sins from us, set us apart as a royal priesthood in Him, and continues to wash us through His Word so that we may be perfectly prepared for His return!
This day we celebrate His work and how He has made the bitter sweet, how He has taken the bitter sting of death for us, and therefore recognise our need to remain in Him lest our garments becomes defiled and we find that sin causes the sweet to become bitter!
This is a season of counting and counting you shall do as you count the cost of following our Master and serve Him in complete set-apartness and do so with joy and praise for His Mighty Name that saves!
As I meditated on the significance of this 7th day of Matzot and the clear call we all have to go and make taught ones of the nations, we realise and recognise the responsibility that we have in ‘eating the word’, which is a Hebraism which means ‘receive knowledge’.
I was reminded of two accounts we have in Scripture regarding the sweet Word we are to eat:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 3:3 “And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I am giving you.” And I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.”
As we read further we see the responsibility that comes with eating the sweet Word:
Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 3:4-11 “And He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall speak to them with My words. 5 “For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and of difficult language, but to the house of Yisra’ĕl, 6 not to many people of foreign speech and of difficult language, whose words you do not understand. If I had rather sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 “But the house of Yisra’ĕl is going to refuse to listen to you, for they refuse to listen to Me. For all the house of Yisra’ĕl are hard of head, and hard of heart. 8 “See, I shall make your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 “Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I shall make your forehead. Do not be afraid of them, nor be discouraged at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10 And He said to me, “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. 11 “And go! Come to the exiles, to the children of your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus said the Master יהוה,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.”
Ḥazon/Revelation 10:9-11 “And I went to the messenger and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it, and it shall make your stomach bitter, but it shall be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10 And I took the little book out of the messenger’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And he said to me, “You have to prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and sovereigns.”
The Hebraism of eating the sweet word is to grow in knowledge and with the sweet word becoming bitter in our stomach is another Hebraism that teaches us how many may not receive the Good News of Reign and what we will see happen in these days may reflect a bitterness on the part of many, yet we must endure and proclaim the Truth while holding fast to walking set-apart, knowing that we will be the fragrance of life to life to some and to others we will be the fragrance of death to death, yet our Master is the One who makes us competent for such a task as we eat of His Sweet Word and throw off all bitterness!
Let this day be a good taste of the sweet victory we have in our Master and while we realise that the days of distress are fast approaching and are already here we hold fast to the joy of our Master that strengthens us to proclaim His reign as we sojourn here as faithful ambassadors of our Mighty Healer and King!
This year we celebrate the omer rěshiyth on the 7th day of Matzot and, in many ways, is kind of a double celebration that highlights a clear need for us to have a continued committed and steadfast readiness as we begin our count to 50, counting the true cost of serving and worshipping our Master and Elohim in Spirit and Truth, as we cling to our Master and Head, יהושע Messiah, as we lift our hands in complete praise and surrender unto Him!
As you celebrate this 7th day of Matzot, which is also 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?
OMER RĚSHIYTH AND DAY 7 OF MATZOT – a day made sweet in our Master!
Let me close with the words of Sha’ul:
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!