- Counting of the Omer
- Every act of obedience is preceded by a blessing
- The Wave Offering
- Only after the Wave Offering could the crop be harvested
- When was the Wave Sheaf Offering Made
- The witness of the Wave Offering
- The Joyous anticipation of receiving the Gift of Torah
- The fermentation process of Humility
- The Bread of Humility precedes the Bread of Glory
- Only the presence of the Humble Man can make the Glory Rise!
- Consuming day by day the Manna (Teaching ) of the Humble Man
- Open up the Gates and let the King of Glory come in!
- The Unity (Echad) of the Assembly, Messiah, and Adonai
- Transformed from glory to glory
Counting of the Omer:
מָשְׁכֵנִי אַחֲרֶיךָ נָּרוּצָה הֱבִיאַנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ חֲדָרָיו נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בָּךְ נַזְכִּירָה דֹדֶיךָ מִיַּיִן מֵישָׁרִים אֲהֵבֽוּךָ׃
Draw me after you and let us run together!
The king has brought me into his chambers.
“We will rejoice (נָגִילָה-nagi’la) in you and be glad (nismecha-נִשְׂמְחָה);
We will extol (with praise) your love more than wine.
Rightly do they love you.”
From the first day of the week (Yom Ree-Shon, Sunday) that falls after the night of Passover until the day before the festival of Shavuot, the Jewish people are required to engage in a unique mitzvah called sefirat ha’omer (counting of the omer). The Torah commands the children of Israel during this time each year to count seven complete weeks for a total of 49 days. At the end of the seven-week period the Festival of Shavuot is celebrated.
Every act of obedience is preceded by a blessing:
The Counting of the Omer is considered a mitzvah, so the count which takes place each night is preceded by a blessing.
The blessing, however, may be pronounced only if the participant has not missed a single night of counting. If the counting is omitted even one night during the 49 day window of time the participant who committed the infraction may no longer recite the blessing but instead must listen to one who has not erred in the counting to say the blessing and do the counting. This reminds us that there is only one permanent King of the Yehudim (Melekh HaiYehudim) who has never erred in all that He has said and done and only He may say the blessing and do the counting for us. He is the Humble Man that Adonai delights in forever. He is Ha-Mashiach!
The Wave Offering:
During the times of the Holy Temple, at the end of counting the fifty days, a special grain offering was brought.
This offering was waved in different directions, similar to how the lulav is waved during the fall Festival of Booths (Sukkot). This is done to illustrate the all-encompassing Presence of Adonai Elohim. This is done so that through our faith we might symbolically lift up the sacrifice of the Mashiach to Adonai on our behalf so that we might be received with approval by our Father in heaven; even as the Humble Barley sacrifice of the perfectly Humble Man was received with great approval by Avinu Shebashamayim.
Only after the Wave Offering could the crop be harvested:
On Hakikkurim the priest would wave a sheaf (omer) of green barley of the new harvest before Adonai (north, south, east, then west).
The priest waved the sheaf of green barley according to the Sign of the ancient Hebrew letter Tav. This was a symbolic gesture of dedicating to or heavenly Father the firstfruits of the grain that comes out of the ground. A male lamb was then sacrificed as a burnt offering (olah) to Adonai along with a minchah (unleavened bread mixed with oil) and wine (Leviticus 23:13):
וּמִנְחָתֹו שְׁנֵי עֶשְׂרֹנִים סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה בַשֶּׁמֶן אִשֶּׁה לַיהוָה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ וְנִסְכֹּה יַיִן רְבִיעִת הַהִֽין׃
“Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah (a little over a bushel) of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to Adonai for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine (a hin is approximately one gallon).”
Only after the wave offering was performed could the crop begin to be used (Leviticus). On this day, the first day of the week (Yom Rishon – יום ראשון), a male lamb without defect was offered along with bread and wine. These are the very same two symbols the Suffering Messiah Ben Yosef used to bring to our remembrance His once-in-eternity sacrifice for us.
When was the Wave Sheaf Offering Made?
The wave offering, called Tenufat HaOmer (תנופת העומר), was performed the day after Shabbat on Yom Rishon (יום ראשון-Sunday).
This was the interpretation of the Tzedukim (צְדוּקִים) priestly cast who interpreted the Torah literally. The wave offering, therefore, occurs on the first Sunday after the regular weekly Shabbat (the Prushim rabbinate and their successor rabbinates created a less literal interpretation of their own referenced in the discussion that follows).
Since the Tzedukim controlled the Temple worship schedule we know that in the first century (CE) time of Messiah’s first appearance the wave offering would have occurred on the Sunday (Yom Rishon) immediately following His sacrifice as the Korban Pesach; literally the day after the weekly Shabbat.
This is the day when the Resurrection of Messiah occurred and at the time of day when He had appeared to His disciples. In other words, the initial time of the appearance of the Resurrected Messiah and the time of the wave offering occurred at about the exact same time of the day. The wave offering of Messiah occurred on Nisan 16 (Hidden: Nisan 17) the day following the High Shabbat of the first day of Chag HaMatzot (cf. Joshua 5:10-12):
וַיַּחֲנוּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּגִּלְגָּל וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת־הַפֶּסַח בְּאַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר יֹום לַחֹדֶשׁ בָּעֶרֶב בְּעַֽרְבֹות יְרִיחֹֽו׃ וַיֹּאכְלוּ מֵעֲבוּר הָאָרֶץ מִמָּֽחֳרַת הַפֶּסַח מַצֹּות וְקָלוּי בְּעֶצֶם הַיֹּום הַזֶּֽה׃ וַיִּשְׁבֹּת הַמָּן מִֽמָּחֳרָת בְּאָכְלָם מֵעֲבוּר הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא־הָיָה עֹוד לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מָן וַיֹּאכְלוּ מִתְּבוּאַת אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בַּשָּׁנָה הַהִֽיא׃
“While the B’nai Israel camped at Gilgal they observed Pesach on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho. On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the B’nai Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.”
The Messiah was raised from the dead on Nisan 16 (with the Hidden Day, Nisan 17). Messiah is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (death is referred to as sleep in the Tanakh). Just as by the fallen first Adam came death, so by the unfallen-perfect-sinless new Adam has come the resurrection of the dead. For as in the first Adam all die, so also in Messiah, the last Adam (HaAdam Ha-acharon), shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits, then at His coming all those who belong to Messiah.
The witness of the Wave Offering:
The symbolic wave offering, therefore, is prophetically linked with the resurrection of the Messiah.
Messiah’s resurrection was the actual “wave offering” that was presented before our Father in heaven (Avinu Shebashamayim) as the “firstfruits” of the harvest to come. Moreover, Messiah presented His firstfruits offering to the Father of all (Avi-khol) on this day when several other tombs in Jerusalem were also opened. When many resurrected, glorified bodies of the Jewish saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming out of the tombs after Messiah’s resurrection these righteous ones (true tzadikim) went into the holy city (Jerusalem) and appeared to many. The Messiah offered up to the Father of all (Avi-khol) this small token of what will one day be (we pray soon) an overwhelming harvest at the end of the age (acharit hayamim). Messiah is the first-begotten of the Father, the Firstborn of the dead (Habekhor hakam min-hametim):
At conception the Messiah was born out of eternity into creation.
Then after His death and resurrection the Messiah was born out of creation back into eternity. This is our Father in heaven’s plan that one day, through the resurrection of Messiah, there might be many resurrected “sons of glory” (1, 2). Messiah is the Firstfruits of all those who are to be resurrected. HaBikkurim represents, therefore, the resurrection of Messiah. It is proof of our own future glorified state that will be manifest as part of the coming harvest of souls that will occur at the end of the age.
The Joyous anticipation of receiving the Gift of Torah:
The counting is to demonstrate the Joyful anticipation of our receiving through the Humble One, the Messiah of Israel, the gift of the heavenly Father. The gift of our Father in heaven is the gift of Living Torah that He gave to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob on Shavuot. This time of counting is also meant to spiritually invigorate, refine and mature the redeemed people of Israel.
The fermentation process of Humility:
It was during this period of just 49 days that the children of Adonai underwent a radical transformation. This transformation is depicted in the process of the refining process of the barley sacrifice that is harvested from the ground on Shabbat, ground into fine flour and presented as an offering to the heavenly Father on the morning of the first day. Thereafter for the following 49 days the refined barley flour undergoes a transformation of fermentation. When the process is complete then the fermented barley yeast is mixed in with the refined (perfected) harvested grain of the wheat harvest to produce two loaves of wheat.
The Bread of Humility precedes the Bread of Glory:
This commandment of the Torah is not meant merely to be celebrated as a static historical event but instead it should be celebrated in the dynamic sense of an ongoing life-process:
The Torah must be freshly baked, received, and ingested in an attitude of humility each and every day.
Then will the accumulated glorious life of its commandments rise like the brilliant illumination of the morning sun within our plain, ordinary, humble bodies. This transformation of the ordinary to the extraordinary is seen in the progression of the humble barley flour—the poor man’s bread (humility)—being fermented and inserted into the rich man’s bread of wheat, so that the two loaves of golden grain (gold in Torah is a symbol of the Divine Presence) are made to rise; thereby becoming the Bread of Glory (i.e. indicating holiness, maturation, glorification, and eventually immortal perfection).
Only the presence of the Humble Man can make the Glory Rise!
This dynamic (transformative) cause and effect chain of humility first, then second glorification is symbolized in the two loaves of glorious golden wheat when they are joined together in union with the barley yeast (derived from the sacrificed barley grain.):
Only the good yeast of humility is qualified to make the golden grain rise and become the Bread of Glory!
Without the fermenting work of humility the glory of the Lord will not rise among us! Humility is not bad leaven like chametz. The Humble Life of the Humble Man (Ha-Mashiach), only His Life will make the glory of the Lord arise. The leaven of Messiah is the Leaven of Humility. The leaven of chametz is the Leaven of Pride (the leaven of the Prushim rabbinate). The Holy One gives abundant favor (grace, chesed, chen) to the Humble Man. The Holy One opposes the Proud Man. This is why the Humble One is favored (blessed) above all men. This is why the Most Favored one alone is called the King of Glory!
Consuming day by day the Manna (Teaching) of the Humble Man:
It is the Life of the Humble Man that is (feasted on) “consumed” on Shavuot. And it is the Glorious Life of the Holy Spirit that we receive on Shavuot. Moses ascended the Holy Mountain here on earth and secured for us the Torah inscribed on Stone. Messiah ascended to the Father’s throne high above the highest heavens and secured for us the Gift of the Living Torah. Therefore, the ministry of the Messiah is far superior to that of the Great Prophet. Therefore, father David said of this his greater descendant, the Salvation of Adonai, Yeshua Ben David, that it is for all of us to “open up the gates” of our hearts, souls and minds that we might let the “King of Glory” come in (cf. Psalm 24):
Open up the Gates and let the King of Gory come in!
שְׂאוּ שְׁעָרִים רָֽאשֵׁיכֶם וּשְׂאוּ פִּתְחֵי עֹולָם וְיָבֹא מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבֹֽוד׃
“Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the Melekh HaKavod (King of glory, מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבֹֽוד) may come in!”
So too from HaBikkurim to the time of Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks) we must open up the Gates and let the King of Glory come in! We let this governance of Messiah and the Spirit occur by our participating in the messianic exercise of Counting of Omer. This we do by ingesting each day the manna of the teaching of the Humble Man, who came from heaven’s eternal glory to earth, not at first as the exalted Conquering King (although that day quickly approaches) but as the lowly, humble, Suffering Servant.
The Unity (Echad) of the Assembly, Messiah, and Adonai:
It is specifically during this 49 day period of time (Firstfruits) that we strive to grow and mature in our spiritual state. Therefore, during this sacred time we choose to set aside in each and every day a special time to meditate on the Teaching (manna) of Messiah, our Righteous One. This is the manner in which we are to daily consume the Bread of Heaven.
Messiah gives us the Bread of Life and He gives to us the New Wine of the Holy Spirit.
In this spiritual way we consume the body and the blood of the Lamb of Ha-Elohim who takes away the sin of the world. We consume the living Word and Life of Messiah and the Holy Spirit in the blessed hope that one day soon, when He appears to us in glory, that we will become like Him. For on that yet future glorious day we will be resurrected, translated alive into Heaven, as were Enoch and Elijah before us. So then will we gloriously be transformed into His likeness. In remembrance and honor of Ha-Mashiach who is the Bread of Affliction that has become our Bread of Healing, we count (with Him) the 49 days of Counting the Omer. For this is the symbol of the Divinely appointed process that necessarily must begin in our identification with Messiah’s humility and end with our being united with Him in His glorification, so that one day there might be many sons of glory for Abba Avinu.
Transformed from glory to glory:
The growth that occurs during this time is akin to the work of a farmer and a baker.
We begin by cutting down the chosen stalk of barley. We harvest its grain. Remember where the grain is located. It is located in the Head of the stalk (the Messiah is the Head of the Assembly. It is Mind of Messiah that we are growing and harvesting within and without ourselves:
The soil produces crops by itself (the Grace of Adonai);
First the blade (the Testimony of Messiah),
Then the Head (the Mind of Messiah),
Then the mature grain in the Head (the works of the Holy Spirit).
When the crop permits,
The Farmer (Abba Avinu) immediately puts in the sickle,
Because the harvest has come.
Then the Baker receives the grain and refines it into a fine flour. The flour of humility is then further processed by fermentation into a barley yeast. Then is the glorious golden grain harvested and refined and the good yeast of humility added to its flour to make the bread of glory rise.
It is our privileged task, therefore, by the Grace of Adonai through the Help of Messiah and the Spirit of Holiness, to practice a spirit of humility each day as the day approaches when we are most blessed to be united with the glorious Presence of the Living Torah of the Holy One. This we do, according to the Living Torah of the Spirit, by beholding with an unveiled face His Face that is always present in our spirits. So it is His Face of unmatched beauty, the Face of our Father who dwells in heaven, that is reflected through our souls onto the imperfect surface of our consciousness; which is like an imperfect mirror that does not yet perfectly reflect the beauty of the Image of the Holy One that it sees.
This means we are not anymore like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face. The veil is removed in Messiah.There is no longer a veil over our hearts. For whenever a person turns to Adonai through the Messiah, the veil is taken away. Now the Spirit of Adonai dwells (permanently) within our spirits (hearts), and where the Spirit of Adonai is, there is liberty. Now we all with unveiled face, behold as in a mirror (the mirror of our not yet perfected bodies), the glory of Adonai. We are now being transformed “from glory to glory” (מִכָּבוֹד אֶל כָּבוֹד) in the same Image (of Abba Avinu) that already fully-resides in our hearts but is not yet fully seen in the very limited consciousness of our (temporal) bodies.