22nd of the 1st month 2015/2016
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.”
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.
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. But which Sabbath you may ask? Well when we look at the clear pattern and order of the Feasts of יהוה it becomes very clear that the weekly Sabbath for us to have marked off as the one being referred to here is the weekly Sabbath that we have during the Feast of Matzot. What remains very clear is that we are to perform the Pěsaḥ, have the Pěsaḥ Meal and then a Sabbath will follow after the Meal somewhere in the week of Matzot, and it is then on the morrow after that weekly Sabbath that we bring the sheaf of the First-Fruits to be waved. This year in 2015 Matzot began at the end of the weekly Sabbath and the 15th of the 1st month began at sunset after the weekly Sabbath, beginning the 1st day of the week, which means that the weekly Sabbath that is found during the 7 day Feast of Matzot would be the 7th day of Matzot, bringing us to today, the morrow after that Sabbath, which happens to fall on the day after the Feast has ended. The point I am trying to make is this, as many get confused as to the timing of this day, is that we always have the Pěsaḥ Meal, and keep a night of watches on the 1st night of Matzot. Then there will be a Sabbath that will follow during the next 7 days, after which we bring this wave offering. In 2012 the Pěsaḥ Meal happened to take place on the weekly Sabbath, with the 15th day of the 1st month that year beginning at sunset of the 6th day of the week and entering into the weekly Sabbath, and therefore the sheaf of the first fruits was brought on the morrow after that Sabbath (on the 16th of the 1st month in 2012). While it may sound repetitive, I hope that it is clear! Pěsaḥ Meal and night of watches, then a Sabbath day follows and then the sheaf of the first fruits!
Let us now look closer at what this day signifies and entails.
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 rěshith – 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 Shaḇu’ot/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost.
The term ‘Bikkurim’ is found in verse 17, when we are commanded to wave the two loaves of bread on Shaḇu’ot, as the word in Wayyiqra/Leviticus for ‘first fruits’ is not ‘omer 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 if no first fruit harvest then there is no assurance for the end-time harvest, making the remembrance and celebration of this day extremely important.
יהוה commanded the people to bring a sheaf of the harvest. The word ‘sheaf’ in the Hebrew is ‘omer’, which was the dry measure of food stuffs, and was a 1/10th part of an ephah – a dry measurement of grain equalling to the approximate amount of 22 litres, therefore an omer was around 2,2 litres dry equivalent. It is described as the measure of the seed resulting from one sheaf of grain. An omer was also deemed by יהוה to be the sufficient measure of ‘manna’ that an average person could eat in one day. An ĕphah basket which was made up of 10 omers represents a quorum or complete community and each omer represents an individual.
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 Shaḇu’ot .
This offering 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.
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, 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 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 Saturday 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! 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 fruits 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 what assurance we have is that ‘in Him’ we are redeemed – Pěsaḥ speaks of our redemption, Matzot or Unleavened Bread speaks of our sanctification –being set-apart (cleaned up from leaven) and 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 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 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 lack of understanding – יהושע presented a first fruit offering of souls unto the father. Those graves that were opened when He died lay open for 3 days and3 nights and after His resurrection, after which 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, there was a huge earth quake and 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 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’ 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 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 Shaḇu’ot!
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 Shaḇu’ot!
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!
So what we are celebrating is the fact that Messiah, the first born, is the first fruit and is our High Priest in whom we have redemption and the promise of eternal life with Him. But what does this season also mean for us – His Body? This counting of the omer from the start of the barley harvest unto the start of the wheat harvest reflects a great lesson for us – this speaks to us about a time of being refined – making oneself count for the Kingdom and taking an honest account of where one fits in and how well one is progressing toward fulfilling the calling of the Father in one’s life:
Counting the omer is not a time to sit back and relax and in a sense have the misconceived idea of ‘once saved always saved’, no – this is a time of diligent preparation and humble obedience to walking in and becoming more effective as part of His Bride who has prepared Herself. I hope that you are still with me here as now I want to share something that is so very profound in understanding the process of preparation. As we consider during this time that we are to pay closer attention to the fields we find ourselves in – be it a literal farm or the workplace/field you find yourself in – let that field teach you, as we recognise that these days are a time to transform us into a more refined people, in order that we can be easily mixed together and made into a unified loaf of Bread so to speak unto יהוה for Him to enjoy and be satisfied and pleased in. This waving of the sheaf of the first-fruit feast is a wave offering of the sheaf of barley and at Shaḇu’ot there is a wave offering of leavened bread – a Bread mixed with the good leaven of the Kingdom.
Let us look at the process of making bread and preparing it for as a wave offering unto יהוה! There are several steps or processes which, as we look at, I hope will cause us all to be reminded and realise just what is expected of us in being a part of the body or loaves, so to speak, of Messiah!
1 – SOWING OR PLANTING: The Hebrew term used for sowing or planting also carries with it the meaning of ‘scattering’ – picture as a farmer ‘scatters his seed. The ancient practice of scattering was called to ‘broadcast’ the seed from a bag that was hung over ones shoulder. We as a people of Elohim have been scattered over the whole earth and long to be replanted, if you will, into our native soil. I am sure we are all aware of the sowing and reaping principle – nothing can be reaped from what was not sown and you cannot reap something different from what has been sown – you reap what you sow – be it attitudes, thoughts, actions or even priorities – do not expect to get something out from that which you did not sow! You want an intimate growing relationship with יהוה – then sow the time and effort in seeking Him! יהוה scattered Yisra’ĕl and we get a greater understanding of this from the book of Hoshěa which I encourage you to read. Scattered but watched over – for this scattered seed will bring in a bountiful harvest for reaping!
The root word for sow or sowing is זֶרַע zera – Strong’s H2233 and means, ‘a sowing, seed, offspring’ and comes from the primitive root זָרַע zara – Strong’s H2232 meaning, ‘to sow or scatter seed’.
2 – GROWING: There is always a season or period between sowing and reaping – it never happens immediately. It is during this time where growth occurs and this season of growth is a time in a sense for us to think about what was done wrong and how we can do better. One of the keys to overcoming the period of growth or period of ‘exile’ if you will, is simply just that – grow and grow and grow – and to grow we have to realise that we have inherited some lies – ok more than just some – a whole lot!!! But in realising this we also begin to grow and realise and know יהוה’s power and more importantly – His NAME!!! To ‘know’ is to walk in His Torah – for as Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3 says that we know that we know Him when we guard His commands! And as love for יהוה and one another grows through obediently guarding His commands we can ‘outgrow’ our ‘exile’ from the Promised Land – the more the world grows dim before our eyes and has no effect on pulling us away from obedience and therefore be ready to be lifted up when He comes and be replanted where we belong – together with Him in His Land!!!
Two root words translated as grow or growing are 1) הָלַךְ halaḵ – Strong’s H1980 meaning, ‘walk, to go or come, grow, wander, travel’ and 2) צָמַח tsamaḥ – Strong’s H6779 meaning, ‘to sprout, spring up, grow’ – we know that a derivative of this word is used in prophetically referring to Messiah who shall come forth from the Branch of Dawiḏ. When looking at these two words it makes the verse in Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:6 very clear: The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked. – as we stay in and walk in Messiah we will grow!
3 – REAPING: This reaping process is simply separating the harvest from the field that it grew in. Grain must be reaped or else it cannot be used. We too, just as Aḇraham, may have to be reaped out of our circumstances and even our families. Grain when reaped is gathered into storehouses – and this is a wonderful picture of what we see happening more and more in these last days – pretty much the equivalent of Him gathering or assembling His grain into communities – because to put it plainly – a single kernel of grain cannot make much bread – and certainly not enough for an offering unto יהוה! Once gathered together this is when the real preparation begins – say what – yes this is when it begins! What has erroneously been taught in the church today is that this is the final stage for those blinded hopefuls and they do not realise what lies ahead in the process of making bread! This is only the beginning and the next steps are what shape us into what we need to become in order to be presented to יהוה as a prepared Bride! This is His storehouse or rather one of His storehouses where He will gather together much grain – grain that is ready to be prepared to be made into an acceptable offering of bread unto יהוה!
Reaping is translated from קָצַר qatsar – Strong’s H7719 – ‘to reap, harvest’
4 – THRESHING: Ouch – the sound of this word already makes you realise why the church chooses to stop blindly at reaping, and why they developed a false rapture teaching that sadly for them seemingly removes them from the rest of the bread making process! Admittedly most would prefer to stay at the reaping stage – sitting quietly in a barn being no use to anyone at all and it is easy to understand why – nobody likes to be ‘threshed’. It almost sounds like ‘thrashing’ and guess what – it is!!! Boy – many who have left the reaping stage into threshing or thrashing soon want to jump back to the safe old barn of no good premature stop! The Hebrew word for ‘teach’ literally means to ‘prod with a stick’ and so it is with threshing – which is simply the applying of pressure to grain – be it from beating it or grinding it or letting heavy animals trample on it – with the purpose in mind to loosen the shells and separate the grain from the chaff – or the stalks from the husks – which is still pretty much useless at this stage. It is the stalk that represents that which attached us to the field that we came out of and we do not want that to be an ingredient in the bread!!! Most of what we bring in from the field – be it dogmas of Rome, doctrines of man, theologies, misguided moral codes and even wrong priorities that we have picked up along the way – is no longer useful to us once we have grown enough and been separated from the system – threshed out in other words – not always painless I might add – and are now threshed out enough to begin studying the Torah. The omer basket is filled with kernels and each one has a husk that has to be removed. All too often though we don’t want this to happen as we can so often find ourselves hiding from one another behind the husks so to speak – those very things that need to go! We cannot be a part of the bread if we hang on to the ‘hull’ – the ‘hull’ is the outer part of a seed or fruit. We must begin to be honest and give an account for ourselves and ask, “What am I still attached to that is useless to the Kingdom?” In this threshing process we must allow other trusted brothers and sisters in the body to ‘loosen’ our kernels – after all in the process of making bread it is people who do the job!!! Each of us is responsible to help one another in these processes – and is a great honour and privilege that requires faithfulness and trustworthiness! For we are in effect taking what ‘protects’ people into our hands and whatever we learn about them in the process must be used to help them and build them – not harm or destroy them! We need to be ‘threshed’ out of the field from which we have come from and we must realise that we cannot keep holding on to those things that previously shaped our thinking, especially when it contradicts the Torah! All we can do is repent, which is a critical step in being able to move on – threshing is a must – not easy but a must – those husks and hulls must be loosened off of us and we need to let go of those things that we thought gave us security as we realise that in our vulnerable state our only security is in יהוה!
Threshing is the Hebrew word דַּיִשׁ dayish – Strong’s H1786 and is from the primitive root דּוּשׁ dush – Strong’s H1758 meaning, ‘to tread, thresh or trample’
5 – WINNOWING: Another step in the process, that involves a ‘fork’ that looks like a rake. The threshed grain is thrown up into the air in order to expose it to the wind which will blow away the lightweight particles and the heavier – that is the more important – will be left behind! This process worked better on a hill top and so you find many threshing floors being on higher ground to allow this process to take place after threshing. This process reflects to us an elevating of one another – lifting one another up in prayer and edifying each other up into the presence of the Almighty where the ‘wind’ or Ruach blow away the unneeded stuff in our lives as we immerse in His presence – letting that which is useless be blown away and what will simply be left is better refined kernels with no chaff! Sha’ul said to the Corinthians that he desires that they all speak in tongues but he would rather prefer that they all prophesy – why? Because prophesy builds up the body – tongues is for the individual unless there is an interpretation for the body but prophesy in itself is there to edify others – edify the body and in so doing elevates others to a place where the Spirit can remove the chaff!
Winnowing is translated from the word זָרָה zarah – Strong’s H2219 meaning, ‘scatter, fan or winnow’.
6 – PARCHING: After being separated from the lighter elements – all that airy fairy fluffy junk that just clogs up our lives and is actually of no use – all the ‘hot puffed up air’ so to speak – once that is gone guess what? The heat is turned up!!! What – seriously? Yes – it gets hotter! Once we are a taught people who have been elevated we can be exposed to things that we would never have considered before. It is interesting to note at this stage that is would be useless to ‘parch’ a single kernel – so we are all parched together! No one has to go through this alone!
This is not a ‘burning’ of the grain but rather a process of removing moisture from the kernels and makes the grain even lighter, and what this pictures for us is that at this stage we begin to give less weight to the ‘me, myself and mine’ attitude and rather consider what is best for one another and the whole bread, so to speak! You know it is so difficult to ‘give up’ individual rights – but we can when we are in it together! Parching may cause tears – in fact more often than not it will as one lets go off selfishness and pride – the removal of moisture!
To parch in Hebrew is the word קָלָה qalah – Strong’s H7033 meaning, ‘to toast, parch, and scorch slowly’.
7 – CRUSHING: Come on Craig, crushing… when does it stop? This is even a scarier process I know! In Ancient times all bread was what you would call, ‘stone ground’. In fact at many archaeological sites many ancient ‘millstones’ were found. A millstone is where two huge concrete stones are used from crushing – grains were crushed between two stones – the two stone of a millstone picture the two stone tablets upon which the Torah was written. The kernels are not destroyed in this process – far from it – they in fact now become very useful and fully useable – for now all the kernels have actually become part of one flour mix – inseparable – a picture of a people with the same purpose. It is at this stage where we can safely say that a bird cannot come and snatch away a single kernel as there is no way to identify the part of a single kernel as they are now so mingled and mixed in together. You see it is like this – as we obey the Torah, love יהוה and love one another – what happens? We become inseparable and become as one!
To crush or grind is the Hebrew word טָחַן taḥan – Strong’s H2912 meaning, ‘to grind’ and the word טַחֲנָה taḥanah –
Strong’s H2913 is a grinding mill!
8 – SIFTING: In the 2nd Temple times it is believed by many that the wheat for the offering at Shaḇu’ot was sifted 13 times!!! Each time becoming finer and finer! Whether this is true or not I do find it interesting to consider as 13 is the numerical value for the Hebrew word ‘echad’ – meaning one or unified and יהושע Himself prayed that we would be one! The point is that sifting takes time and the more sifting that is done the finer the flour. The closer we get together through obedient living and fellowship, the more refined we become. Those who are crushed with us are our true neighbours!!! One thing we must realise is simply that if I do not bring my part and am causing disruption in the body causing the refining of the body to stumble then as it is sifted again I may just be sifted out!!!
Here we have the Hebrew word for sift as נוּף nuph – Strong’s H5130 and means, ‘to quiver, move to and fro, shake’
9 – TESTING: Then comes the testing – as a body or as a loaf! The Temple treasurer would come at this stage and plunge his hands into the refined flour and it needed to be so fine that no flour was to be seen on his arms. In fact they were so strict that if any adhered to his flesh it would have to be sifted again. This although seemingly a strict procedure pictures for us that we are in this together – it is not a case of ‘well that is their problem’ or ‘it is someone else’s problem’ – no – until all of us are sufficiently refined together none of us can become the bread – this is everyone’s responsibility to become a part! If you do not bring your part into the body or for sake of this teaching the loaf and the batch is failing the test due to your inconsistency then you may, as I have said, be simply sifted out. Satan is the one who desires to sift us out – he asked יהושע if he could sift Kěpha! Let us be careful that we are not sifted out by continually failing the tests!
נָסָה nasah – Strong’s H5254 – ‘to test, prove, try’:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 13:3 “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. It is at the feast of Shavuot leavened bread – why? Because it has been permeated with the Kingdom:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:33 “Another parable He spoke to them, “The reign of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until all was leavened.”
This bread is leavened with the Kingdom – not with sin as leaven represents for us at this feast we are in of Unleavened Bread. At Shavuot 2 loaves are presented representing the 2 houses of Yisra’ĕl which once were scattered but now are being brought back and the promise of this is seen in the fulfilment of both these first fruit offerings of the barley and the wheat.
A couple of different Hebrew words are used for what we translate as ‘bake’ and 3 of them are: 1) אָפָה aphah – Strong’s H644 meaning ‘bake, cook’; 2) בָּשַׁל bashal – Strong’s H1310 – ‘bake, boil, seeth, ripen, grow ripe’ and 3) שָׂרַף seraph – Strong’s H8313 meaning, ‘burn or to be set on fire’. I find that all of these collectively give us a great idea of how the ultimate process of bringing us together as being presentable as an acceptable offering of Bread before the Father is that we are to grow and ‘be on fire’ for Him.
Another word which for me carries wonderful significance in the baking process is the Hebrew word לָבַן laban – Strong’s H3835 which means ‘to make bricks’ and in its primitive root means, ‘to make white’. This word was used in Berěshith/Genesis 11:3 when the men wanted to build a tower to the heavens and wanted to make bricks and bake them. This was a wicked time and a wicked plot which caused יהוה to come down and confuse the languages! But when we see these words in use in reference to how the bricks would be made through baking, I reflect on who we have been called to be as living stones being built up in Messiah as a Living Tabernacle/Dwelling Place for the Most High and Messiah tells us that those who overcome shall be given a white stone:
Ḥazon/Revelation 2:17 “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!
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!
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!