Counting the Omer
Abba(Dad) are we there yet?
Have you ever been driving with your children in a car? Maybe you are going to visit their grandmother’s home or to a holiday destination. What is the most asked question by your children?
Dad are we there yet? And what do you say to them? At first you may tell them cryptically regarding the arrival time. “After we go through so and so town.” “Before tomorrow.” etc..
Finally, we tell them “Just wait it will happen.”
Tarry in Jerusalem
So Luke tells us at the beginning of the book of Acts that Yeshua has been seen many times, alive, by the apostles. In fact it has been forty days since the resurrection. The resurrection that happened on the Day of Firstfruits. That is why Paul says that Yeshua is the firstfruits of the resurrection. This is the day that starts the counting of the Omer – the morrow after the sabbath. Many have witnessed this resurrection and the attending wondrous signs.
It has been forty days of counting the Omer and so many things have taken place. Now Yeshua is giving His farewell speech. “John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Ruach ha Chodesh.”
However, disciples want to understand about the restoration of the kingdom. They know the prophecy in Ezekiel chapter 37:15-28, of the joining of the Two Sticks. David restoring the broken brotherhood of Zechariah 11:14 , the brotherhood between the House of Israel and the House of Judah and then David reigning from Jerusalem.
Yeshua tells them that the Father has not permitted them to know the times He has set for those things “but”, He say, ” I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power.[k] And you will be my messengers[l] to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces[m]—even to the remotest places on earth!”
We have often misread this passage and failed to understand what was in the heart of the Father. We think it is about a dispensation of grace to the gentiles and the answer to the disciples’ question is in the future. Whilst this is partially true, the greater truth is that the very act of the Son of God, in dwelling mortal man and causing them to go to the ends of the earth is the mechanism by which all Israel is to be saved. Over the last two thousand years the disciples, in every generation, have been finding the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel, in whichever continent they found themselves.
So, back to the story in Luke. After Yeshua is taken up in the clouds, two angels appear. “Galileans, why are you staring up into the sky? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but he will come back the same way that you saw him ascend.”
All they can do now is tarry or wait. They are still counting the Omer. Fifty days Leviticus states. Do they know it will be in ten days time? or as Leviticus also describes it…after seven sabbaths, the morrow after the seventh sabbath is the Feast of Firstfruits. It is also known as the Week of weeks or Pentecost. In Hebrew it is Shavuot.
The Son of God is the firstfruit of the resurrection. Paul tells us this in I Corinthians 15:20. The counting of the Omer bridges the beginning to the end. At the beginning it is at the time of unleavened bread. Yeshua is described as the sinless lamb that takes away the sins of the world. It is God Himself fulfilling this Holy Convocation. Now fifty days later another feast; this time it is the Feast of Firstfruits where two loaves are waved – loaves with leaven.
The disciples are told to wait tarry in Jerusalem until…… finally they have reached the final day of the counting of the Omer. They are not in some dingy upper room but they are in the House on the Hill. In other words they are in the Temple. They are in the temple waiting. The High Priest is waving the two leaven loaves of bread. In heaven the Great High Priest is sending the Holy Spirit to empower the disciples to start the process of the restoration of the kingdom of Israel – the reconciliation of the House of Judah and the dispersed, multi-nations disobedient House of Israel. Is He waving two loaves in heaven. We read that men who are Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—are declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues! We now know, as no doubt the disciples well understood, that these visitors to Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot, were part of pious gentiles who had once been part of the ten tribes of Israel. WE can now see this prophetic picture. Men from both the Houses of Israel being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Today they become sons of the living God – begotten of the Father through the gift of the Son. Now they start the process of going into Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and then to the ends of the earth. Now the process of reconciliation starts as the Jewish apostles go to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.
Acts 2:5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
What does it mean? The nations of the world are invited to partake of the goodness of God. Through the Blood of Christ (Messiah), the nations, who were far off are brought nigh. They are brought into the family again into the Commonwealth of Israel.
At the beginning of the 50 days, the Son of God is the Firstfruits of the resurrection.
At the end of the fifty days, the disciples are the Firstfruits of the Sons of the Living God, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Christ in us, the hope of glory.
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Not only is Christ in us but also we are in Christ.
In Romans 11 Paul makes claim “In this way all Israel shall be saved”. We, His body, have been tasked with restoring the Kingdom of Israel. It is by being baptized in the Holy Spirit and going to the ends of the earth that the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel takes place.
Eph 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
So, as we near the Feast of Firstfruits known as Shavuot by the Jews and Pentecost by the Christians, let us remember that we too have been resurrected. We have passed out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. We too have the very spirit which raised Yeshua from the dead living in us.
AND yes we have arrived and all of creation is thankful for that.
Acts 1 The Passion Translation (TPT)
2 Just before he ascended into heaven, he left instructions[d] for the apostles he had chosen by the Holy Spirit.[e] 3 After the sufferings of his cross, Jesus appeared alive many times[f] to these same apostles over a forty-day period.[g] Jesus proved to them with many convincing signs that he had been resurrected.[h]
Jesus instructed them, “Don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait here until you receive the gift I told you about, the gift the Father has promised. 5 For John baptized you in water, but in a few days from now you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit!”[j]
7 He answered, “The Father is the one who sets the fixed dates and the times of their fulfillment. You are not permitted to know the timing of all that he has prepared by his own authority. 8 But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power.[k] And you will be my messengers[l] to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces[m]—even to the remotest places on earth!”[n]
9 Right after he spoke those words, the disciples saw Jesus lifted into the sky and disappear into a cloud![o] 10 As they stared into the sky, watching Jesus ascend, two men in white robes suddenly appeared beside them. 11 They told the startled disciples, “Galileans, why are you staring up into the sky? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but he will come back the same way that you saw him ascend.”