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Feast of Weeks of the Firstfruits

Culmination of COUNTING the OMER

 

 

This will be May 29 in AD 2009

TITLES for the DAY

Hag Shavuot - Feast of Weeks
"And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks of the Firstfruits of wheat harvest" (Exodus 34:22 ).
Feast of Firstfruits is a commonly used title condensed from Feast of Weeks of the Firstfruits.

Pentecost - Fiftieth Day
"Even to the next day after the seventh week shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two omers: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the firstfruits to Yahweh" (Leviticus 23:16-17).

Yom HaBikkurim - Day of the Firstfruits
"Also in the Day of the Firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the Lord, after your weeks are ended (the day after seven weeks from Passover High Sabbath), you shall have a solemn assembly; you shall do no servile work" (Numbers 28:26).

Feast of Leavened Bread, ending the Passover season, contrasts to the beginning Feast of Unleavened Bread.

HISTORIC EVENTS of the DAY

Languages divided (3750+ years ago)
"Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because Yahweh did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did Yahweh scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth" (Genesis 11:8).

Torah given in languages of all nations (3300+ years ago)
"And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because Yahweh descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the shofar sounded long, and grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice" (Exodus 19:18-19)."And God spoke all these words, saying, I am Yahweh your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:1-3).

Gospel given in languages of all nations (1900+ years ago)
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, . . . every man heard them speak in his own language. . .'we do hear them speak in our own languages the wonderful works of God.' . . and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Act 2:1-41).

WAVING the FIRSTFRUITS

The day after the Passover Seder is called Waving Day, and it is the first day of Counting the Omer (tithe). On that day a lamb is waved, with cakes made from the first omer of barley - the first grain crop to ripen.

Today is the fiftieth day of Counting the Omer. On this day the first omers of wheat - the last grain crop to ripen - are baked into leavened bread and brought to wave before Yahweh.

Each loaf is made with an omer of fine wheat flour, about a half-gallon.
Each is about three feet long and nine inches wide.

    Leader: Did you start counting the weeks after sundown at the end of Passover High Sabbath?
    Congregation: Yes.
    Leader: Is this the day after seven complete weeks?
    Congregation: Yes.
    Leader: You have reached the fiftieth day of counting the omer?
    Congregation: Yes, the Day of Pentecost is fully come; we may wave the omers.

To the singing of Hallel Psalm 113, the loaves are waved from South to North over Jerusalem ("Ye His servants"), East to West ("from dawn to sunset"), heavenward ("high in heaven") and downward ("who humbles himself").

MESSIAH'S BETROTHAL

Today is an annual rehearsal for the betrothal of the Bride (Israel / the Church) to Messiah. This Festival is an engagement party.

On Passover, Yeshua redeemed a slave-girl (Israel / the Church) to be His future bride. Then He told her to "count the days." On day forty-two, He left this earth, saying, "I go to prepare a place for you". When the fifty days were fully counted (Pentecost means fiftieth day), He gave her an engagement stone. This is that day. On the Feast of Tabernacles, the marriage will be celebrated.

Incidentally, it was on that forty-second day of counting that Noah left the Ark to build his new house (Genesis 8:14).

On Passover, we drank four cups.

God said, "I am Yahweh and I will make you special to me:" we drank the Cup of Sanctification;
"I will deliver you from slavery:" we drank the Cup of Deliverance;
"I will pay your dowry:" we drank the Cup of Redemption;
and "I will take you for my bride and live with you forever:" we drank the Cup of Glorification.

Now, fifty days later, God hands us another cup, saying: (Deuteronomy 6:4)

"Yahweh, your Lord, shall be your only husband (a betrothed one was called husband or wife),
and you shall love your Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind,
and you shall diligently teach your children His words,
and you shall praise Him when you are in His house and when you are walking outside."

Today we drink that cup, saying, (Exodus 24:7)
"Whatever my Lord speaks, I will obey, and I will learn to please Him.

He answers, "This is my covenant with you, to always seek what is best for you," and hands us the stones with the ten commandments, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

"Thy maker is thine husband; Yahweh of Hosts is His name; and thy redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called" (Isaiah 54:5).

A TALMUDIC STORY UNFOLDS

Noah’s family left the Ark, and grew to 70 families. God told them to cover the Earth. But they went east to a land we call Iran, and built a city. They had one language, and were of one purpose - to make a name for themselves, and they started building a tower. But one day God gave each family a different language, so that they could not understand each other and would disperse throughout the Earth. This is that day!

Centuries later, the children of Israel - a mixed multitude from the 70 nations, were delivered from Egyptian slavery on Passover. Fifty days later, they were encamped around Mt. Sinai. Hear what the Hebrew people have been taught and believed about this for 3300 years.

God spoke to them His commandments in Hebrew and in the 70 languages of the nations. A tongue as of fire came to each of them and said, "Do you accept?" They answered, "Whatever our Lord says, we will obey, and we will learn."

This is that day!

1900 years ago, Yeshua was sacrificed on Passover. When the 50 days were fully counted, that is on Pentecost, people from all the nations were gathered at Jerusalem to rehearse this according to God’s commandment. Amazingly, they saw centuries old teaching unfold before their eyes! Everyone heard the Hebrew apostles speaking - in their own language - about Yeshua being their Passover sacrifice; and tongues as of fire appeared, and they had a decision to make: would they accept? The Holy Spirit was given as "earnest" - the promise of the future marriage.

This is that day!

For several weeks, studying on the Triennial Torah Cycle from the Holy Temple, we have been looking into the details of the Exodus from Egypt, and their significance to us, especially relating to this Festival season.

On the evening of Nisan 15 / March 27, we celebrated the redemption from “Egypt”, the “Land of Sin”. The following day, we started “Counting the Omer” each day. Today is the Fiftieth Day of Counting the Omer – it is therefore called Pentecost.

This year (2003), we “prepared the Passover” on a Wednesday, the same day of the week as the crucifixion of Yeshua. Three days later, we observed the Sabbath, remembering the Sabbath resurrection of Yeshua. The Sabbath when we read that “Moses went up to God” (on Mt. Sinai) preceded the fortieth day when Yeshua ascended into the heavens. And now, on the same day of the week as 3314 years ago at Sinai, and the same day of the week as Pentecost (approx.) 1960 years ago – eight days after Yeshua’s ascension, we celebrate Pentecost on this Friday.

Between the Passover celebration and Pentecost, there are exactly seven weeks: therefore it is called Hag Shavuot – the Feast of Weeks. The seven weeks are for the redeemed slave-girl (Israel) to mature enough for her betrothal to Messiah at Shavuot.

For seven weeks, Israel would face trials in the wilderness.

  1. [Foresight] The redeemed people (Israel) appeared trapped by the world (Sea), couldn’t see the way to the promised land, and sin’s Treasure City wanted them back. (Egypt symbolizes sin, and Rameses means Treasure City) They said, (Ex 14:12) “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians (sin) than to die in the wilderness (learning to serve God).” But Moses said, “Do not fear: stand still and see Yeshua Yahweh! (the salvation of Yahweh)” After the Sea was parted for them, they sang “MiChamocha – Who is like You?” Then, at this Festival time, 3314 years ago, the Ten Commandments were given at Mt. Sinai in the hearing of millions of people, so that we would believe the Torah and the Prophets. They were not secretly given to one man! (1 Corinthians 5:7) For we walk by faith, and not by sight.
  2. [Water] After traveling three days without taking time for hearing the Word of God, when they finally came to a resting place, the Word seemed bitter to them. Then God showed Moses how to make it taste sweet.  We need to daily consume the Word of God, and it will stay sweet. David said (Psalm 119:97), “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day”, and (Psalm 119:103) How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
  3. [Bread] Having been forced to work seven-days-a-week for sustenance in Egypt, they now could not see how they were to feed themselves. Instead of praying, they complained. God provided “Bread from Heaven” for them to collect each morning, with twice as much on Friday so they could observe Sabbath. Even with such goodness, the people called the bread a derogatory name – “manna / what’s-this-stuff?” – and some of them tried to collect it on the Sabbath.  We need to learn to trust God daily for provision – remembering that we are created, redeemed, and sustained for His service.
  4. [Luxuries] They wanted the luxury-food of Egypt, so God sent quail in the evening.  (1 John 2:15-17) Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.
  5. [Idolatry] They became lax in their faith – “loosened their grip on the Torah” (Rephidim), and were attacked by Rome’s religious system (Amelek / Esau-Edom-Rome). (1 Peter 4:12-13) Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Messiah, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.

Now, since the time of our redemption, we should have matured. At this time for betrothal, we should be prepared to say, “Whatever my Lord says, I will obey, and I will learn” (Exodus 24:7).

The Torah is the Betrothal Contract (Shitre Erusin). This should not be confused with the Marriage Contract (Ketuvah), which relates to a later Festival 

On the day after the Passover Seder (Sivan 16) we started counting Day One – Waving Day: on that date the “manna” stopped and the first of the new grain harvest (barley) was waved and then eaten “unleavened”. (It was during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.) Now we have reached Day Fifty, and we have grown to maturity – the bread is leavened, and become large loaves. We wave two two-omer loaves from the new wheat harvest, then we may eat of that harvest. (An omer is dry measure, about a half-gallon of flour.)

Paul says, (1 Peter 2:1-3) Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

To recap the story, as it relates to our redemption:

On Nisan fourteen the Passover Lambs were slain and the blood put on the doorposts, prefiguring Yeshua’s crucifixion on that date. That evening began the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover was eaten.

The next day, Israel traveled from the Egypt’s Rameses – “the world’s Treasure City”, to Sukkot – “Temporary Dwellingplace”, where they could begin to mature in God’s way. Then they traveled to Etham – “Away from Them”. Next they came to Pi-hachirot – the “Mouth of Freedom”, on the date that Yeshua would be freed from the grave.

After three days, the Pharaoh’s armies caught up with them. On the seventh and last day of Unleavened Bread, they were baptized in the split Red Sea. Israel went from the Sea to the Wilderness of Shur – “Vision”, the name implying that there the people could be close to God. After three days travel without water – the “Word of God”, they came to a place of bitter water, so it was called Marah / Bitterness. The people therefore complained to Moses. Even after witnessing such miracles as God had just performed for them, they had trouble believing that God would provide for their mundane needs, such as water and food. Like our society that trusts in money instead of God. Because the lack of Torah study had caused a disaster, God gave the people commandments – “added because of transgression”.

One month after their departure from the world’s Treasure City, they came to the Wilderness of Sin (pronounced “seen”). Here the people all complained about the lack of bread. God said that He would give them “bread from heaven”, to teach them to trust Him for their needs day-by-day, and to trust Him for provision for Sabbath without working on that day.

(V.28-29) Then Yahweh said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments (Mitzvot) and My instructions (Torah)?


 

© 2003  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)