Archive for the ‘Counting the Omer’ Category

Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts

Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts is a personal or group in-depth study guide/student manual that reveals the shadows and realities of the Messiah in the prophetic visions in the Feasts of the LORD. It will fill in the holes of your Bible when reading the words ‘Jewish feast’ or ‘the feast of the Jews.’  This study will illuminate often-overlooked phrases and idioms that allude to the ‘appointed times’ of God.

Both the prophet Micah and King Solomon state that without prophetic vision and knowledge, God’s people perish. Studying the Biblical holy days will revive the searching soul and bring insight and understanding into the complete salvation found in Yeshua – his past, present, and future work.

This newly revised study guide/student manual includes Scriptures from the Torah, Prophets, Psalms, Gospels, and Letters. It includes activities for families and children that will enhance celebrating the Biblical ‘appointed times’ as well as suggestions for digging deeper into traditional and Biblical Jewish customs surrounding Yeshua In His Father’s Feasts.

If you are doing a group study, a leader’s manual for the revised second edition student manual can be purchased that not only has the answers to the questions, but also ideas for spurring discussions.

May be purchased on amazon.com

Reviews:

“This is the best Bible study I have ever done. I can’t seem to put it down and I am learning more and more about my faith everyday. I have been a believer for 60 years and I am learning truths I was never taught in church. I even asked my pastor if he knew all of this and admitted, he did not.” (M. Graves)

“I have been growing in my faith from reading and studying the Feasts in this guide. Thank you for your faithfulness to Yeshua!” (S. Corben)

“Few Christians understand that the context for the Jewish Messiah of the New Testament of their Bibles is the culture and language and history of the nation of Israel. This book helps explain why that culture, language and history is necessary knowledge for understanding the identity of the Messiah and how knowing the Jewish Messiah enlarges the understanding of the Biblical feasts. Good, basic foundational information from which to launch further study. Very enjoyable and eye-opening.” (W. Lopez)

“Loved it. Will keep going back for future Wisdom that truly matters.” (J. Banta)

“I have learned so many things about the Bible that I never saw before. I loved learning about the fall festivals and I became aware of more and more people teaching about these special times. I especially learned that Christmas and Hanukkah are very different holidays. I am grateful to have done this Bible study.” (L. Herbert)

“My eyes are seeing so much more in Scripture, especially the new testament, after doing this study.” (M. Gravenhorst)

The ‘Cloud’ of Witness

“After saying this, he [Yeshua] was taken up before their eyes; and a cloud hid him from their sight. As they were staring into the sky after him, suddenly they saw two men dressed in white standing next to them. The men said, “You Galileans! Why are you standing, staring into space? This Yeshua, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come back to you in just the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). 

Forty days after being resurrected, Yeshua ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives –– hidden in a cloud.  If Yeshua is going to return in the same way that he left, then it is important to ‘see and understand’ this cloud with its multifaceted message.

The Greek word for ‘cloud’ is nephele and means a literal ‘cloud.’   According to Vines Expository Dictionary of Greek and Hebrew, the cloud is ‘a definitely-shaped cloud’.  Nephele comes from the word nephos with a symbolic meaning of ‘a dense multitude or throng.’  A nephele is a large physical cloud comprised of masses of clouds that covers the heavens.  

“For, brothers, I don’t want you to miss the significance of what happened to our fathers. All of them were guided by the pillar of cloud, and they all passed through the sea,  and in connection with the cloud and with the sea they all immersed themselves into Moshe” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). 

When the Hebrews left Egypt, they were guided by a nephele pillar giving the nephele a distinct spiritual implication. When they crossed the Red Sea, they were surrounded by the nephele and the water and immersed into Moshe.

The Hebrew word for ‘cloud’ is anan and means ‘cloud mass’.  Jeremiah describes the anan, “You have covered yourself with a ‘cloud’ so thick …” (Lamentations 3:44). It is used for the presence of Adonai and His ‘cloud’ sukkah over Israel –– His ‘sign of divine protection.’ The ‘cloud’  served as a barrier to hide the fullness of Adonai’s holiness and glory while giving Israel  divine protection from the Egyptians as well as the Red Sea itself.   

“Then he [Moshe] ascended Mount Sinai, as the LORD had ordered him to do. The LORD descended in the cloud, stood with him there and pronounced the name of yod-hey-vav-hey” (Exodus 34:4).

When Moshe ascended to the mountain, Adonai descended in the anan. From within the anan, He proclaimed His memorial name: Esher Ehyeh Asher (Exodus 34:4-5).  The ‘cloud’ along with His divine presence is the exact representation of the name ‘I am that I am.’

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them; and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5).

Nephele is used for the bright ‘cloud’ on the mountain where Yeshua was glorified in front of Peter, James and John.  Appearing with Yeshua were Elijah and Moses.  God spoke aloud to the three dicsiples from the ‘cloud’ that ‘enveloped’ them.  The Greek word for ‘enveloped’ is episkiazó and means ‘overshadow.’ According to Strong’s Concordance, this word is used in the new testament as “God’s over-shadowing presence – which always brings His plan to pass, His immutable will for physical circumstances.”

Both testaments describe the return of Yeshua to the earth. Both testaments support the witness of the ‘two men dressed in white’ who tell the disciples that Yeshua will return ‘in the cloud.’

“Look! He is coming with the clouds! Every eye will see him, including those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the Land will mourn him” (Zechariah 12:10). 

The prophet Zechariah uses the Hebrew anan for the ‘clouds’ on which Yeshua comes, the clouds of the presence of Adonai. Every eye will see him come in the thick ‘cloud’ of his glory, and all the tribes of the Land will mourn.

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise;  then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).

First Thessalonians uses nephele for the ‘cloud’ in which Yeshua will catch up his Bride.  In the nephele, the living and resurrected saints will be transformed from mortal into immorality.

The Firstfruits ‘Witnesses’

“Also the graves were opened, and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life;  and after Yeshua rose, they came out of the graves and went into the holy city, where many people saw them” (Matthew 27:52-53).

At the moment of Yeshua’s death when the Temple veil was torn, Matthew gives ‘witness’ to the holy people raised from the dead. These ‘firstfruits’ were called out of their graves to bear ‘witness’ to the reality of the resurrection of the dead. What happened to these resurrected people as there is no further mention of them?  They could not die again because “it is appointed for man to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Peter, James and John had already witnessed the ‘cloud’ of Adonai’s glory around Yeshua, Elijah and Moshe on the mountain. Could it be that Elijah and Moshe appeared as the same ‘cloud’ of witnesses as the holy ones?

Great Cloud of Witnesses

“So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement — and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

The word ‘witness’ in Greek is martus (English: martyr) and is used for a ‘witness’ in history and forensics. Torah requires that to convict a person of any offense or sin, there must be two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). Sha’ul admits that when Stephen was being stoned, he stood as a ‘witness’ in full agreement with other ‘witnesses’ (Acts 22:20).

From Vines Expository Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words, another meaning of martus is ‘one who does what he has seen or heard.’   Everyone born again into God’s Kingdom is a martry –– witness ––  to the Kingdom.  We either live as a martyr when we do what Yeshua did and listen to God’s Word or die as a martyr which means ‘to bear witness by their death.’

“And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying [witnessing] about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God” (Revelation 20:4).

This great ‘cloud of witnesses’ that includes Elijah, Moshe, and the holy ones challenges us to repent from sins that keep us from attaining our eternal goal: the glory of Adonai.   This great ‘cloud’ of firstfruits gives us hope in a coming resurrection. This ‘great cloud of witnesses’ promises that Yeshua will return with a ‘great cloud of witnesses.’ As ‘witnesses’ of Yeshua, we eagerly wait for that promised day when he returns and we enter the great resurrected ‘cloud of witnesses.’

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  

Count the Omer with Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is known as an alphabet acrostic poem as each section begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  In Hebrew it is referred to as ashrei temimei derech meaning “happy are those whose way is perfect.”   It is the prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Torah, God’s teachings and instructions.

Hebrew letters have pictures attached to them.  For example, the alef, or first letter, is a picture of an oxen’s horns and means ‘strong’ or ‘first.’  Tav, or the last letter, is a picture of crossed sticks and means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’   One way to count 22 days of the omer is to read one section of Psalm 119 each day along with a complimentary verse or two  from the Gospels, words spoken by Yeshua. For a little more in-depth look at the Hebrew letters, click on the letter.

Counting the Omer – Day 1

Alef – Ox: Strong, First – א

“How happy are those whose way of life is blameless, who live by the Torah of Yahweh” (Psalm 119:1).

“Yeshua told him, “‘You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’This is the greatest and most important commandment. And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39).

Counting the Omer – Day 2

Bet – House: Family – ב

“I seek you with all my heart; don’t let me stray from your commandments. I treasure your word in my heart so that I won’t sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Counting the Omer – Day 3

Gimel – Camel: Self-will or Pride – ג

“Open my eyes, so that I will see wonders from your Torah…. You rebuke the proud, the cursed, who stray from your commandments” (Psalm 119:18, 21).

“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear” (Matthew 13:16).

Counting the Omer – Day 4

Dalet – Door: Path or Door – ד

“Keep deceitful ways far from me, and favor me with your Torah…. I choose the way of trust; I set your rulings before me. I cling to your instruction….” (Psalm 119:29-31).

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Counting the Omer – Day 5

Hey – Behold or Reveal – ה

“Teach me Yahweh, the way of your laws; keeping them will be its own reward for me.  Give me understanding; then I will keep your Torah; I will observe it with all my heart” (Psalm 119: 33-34).

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17).

Counting the Omer – Day 6

Vav – Nails: Binding – ו

“May your grace come to me, Yahweh, your salvation (Yeshua), as you promised; then I will have an answer for those who taunt me; for I trust in your word.  Don’t take away completely my power to speak the truth; for I put my hope in your rulings; and I will keep your Torah always, forever and ever” (Psalm 119:41-44).

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

Counting the Omer – Day 7

Zayin – Weapon, Sword: To Cut or Pierce – ז

“Though the arrogant scorn me completely, I have not turned away from your Torah. I remember your name, Yahweh, at night; and I observe your Torah. This comfort has come to me, because I observe your precepts.” (Psalm 119:51, 55-56).

“You, therefore, pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven!  May your Name be kept holy” (Matthew 6:9).

Counting the Omer – Day 8

Chet – Fence: Protect or Guard – ח

“Even when the cords of the wicked close around me, I don’t forget your Torah.  At midnight I rise to give you thanks because of your righteous rulings” (Psalm 119:61).

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:23-24).

Counting the Omer – Day 9

Tet – Snake: To Twist– ט

“Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart…. The Torah you have spoken means more to me than a fortune in gold or silver” (Psalm 119:72).

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Counting the Omer – Day 10

Yod – Hand (closed): A Completed Deed or Work – י

“Your hands made and formed me; give me understanding, so I can learn your commandments.  Let your grace comfort me, in keeping with your promise to your servant …. for your Torah is my delight” (Psalm 119:73, 76-77).

“As he spoke, a could came and enveloped them … and a voice came out of the cloud saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love chosen.  Listen to him!” (Luke 9:35-37).

Counting the Omer – Day 11

Kaf – Hand (open like a palm): To Allow or Cover – כ

“The arrogant have dug pits for me to fall in; this is not in keeping with your Torah!  All your commandments show your faithfulness; they are hounding me with their lies.  Help me!” (Psalm 119:85-86).

“Let them be.  They are blind guides.  When a blind man guides another blind man, both will fall in a pit” (Matthew 15:14).

Counting the Omer – Day 12

Lamed – Shepherd’s Staff: To Prod or Urge Forward – ל

“Your Word continues forever, Yahweh, firmly fixed in heaven; your faithfulness through all generations; you established the earth and it stands.  Yes, it stands today, in keeping with your rulings; for all things are your servants.  If your Torah had not been my delight, I would have perished in my distress” (Psalm 119:89-92).

“Yes indeed!  I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yod or a stroke will pass from the Torah – not until everything that must happen has happened” (Matthew 5:18).

Counting the Omer – Day 13

Mem – Water: Chaos – מ

“How I love your Torah!  I meditate on it all day. I am wiser than my foes because your commands are mine forever. I understand more than my elders because I keep your precepts” (Psalm 119:97-98).

“Yeshua answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…. Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:10-14).

Counting the Omer – Day 14

Nun  – Fish: Life – נ

“Lord, give me life, in keeping with your word…. I am continually taking my life in my hands, yet I have not forgotten your Torah” (Psalm 119:108-109)

“Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

Counting the Omer – Day 15

Samech – Prop: Support or Encourage – ס

“I hate double minded people, but I love your Torah…. Support me; and I will be saved, always putting my attention on your laws” (Psalm 119:113, 117).

“Yeshua also said to them, “Pay attention to what you are hearing! The measure with which you measure out will be used to measure to you — and more besides! For anyone who has something will be given more; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he does have will be taken away” (Mark 4:24-25).

Counting the Omer – Day 16

Ayin – Eye: See or Understand – ע

“My eyes fail from longing for your salvation (Yeshua) and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. … The time has come for Yahweh to act, because they are breaking your Torah” (Psalm 119: 123, 126).

“But Yeshua came and touched them. “Get up! he said, “Don’t be afraid.”  So they opened their eyes, looked up and saw only Yeshua by himself” (Matthew 17:7-8).

Counting the Omer – Day 17

Peh – Mouth: Speak or Open – פ

“My mouth is wide open, as I pant with longing for your commandments. …Rivers of tears flow down from my eyes, because they don’t observe your Torah” (Psalm 119:131,136).

“Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of Yahweh” (Matthew 4:4).

Counting the Omer – Day 18

Tzadik – Fishhook: Pull Toward, Desire – צ

“Your righteousness is eternal righteousness, and your Torah is truth.  Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but your commandments are my delight” (Psalm 119: 142-143).

“Set them apart for holiness by means of the truth – your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Counting the Omer – Day 19

Koof – Back of the Head: Past, What Follows – ק

“The pursuers of carnality are getting close; they are distancing themselves from your Torah.  You are close by, Yahweh, and all your commandments are truth.  Long ago I learned from your instruction that you established it forever” (Psalm 119:151-152).

“…And many people’s love will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah.  But whoever hold out till the end will be delivered” (Matthew 24:12-13).

Counting the Omer – Day 20

Reysh – Head: Highest, Most Important Person – ר

“Look at my distress, and rescue me, for I do not forget your Torah.  Plead my cause, and redeem me; in keeping with your promise, revive me” (Psalm 119:153-154).

“I am praying for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given to me, because they are yours.  …I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word…” (John 17:9,20).

Counting the Omer – Day 21

Shin – Tooth: Consume or Destroy – ש

“Those who love your Torah have great peace, nothing makes them stumble” (Psalm 119:165).

“How blessed are those who make peace! for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Counting the Omer – Day 22

Tav – Sign, Mark: Sign, Seal or Covenant – ת

“I long for your deliverance, Yahweh; and your Torah is my delight. …  I strayed like a lost sheep; seek out your servant for I do not forget your commandments” (Psalm 119:174,176).

“Come, celebrate with me, because I have found my lost sheep!” (Luke 15:6).

All Scriptures from New International Version or Complete Jewish Bible (David Stern).

©2013 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Counting the Omer – Sefirat HaOmer

“From the day after the Sabbath — that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving — you are to count seven full weeks,  until the day after the seventh Sabbath; you are to count fifty days; and then you are to present a new grain offering to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:15-16).

The Omer of Barley

Counting the weeks between the Feast of Firstfruits of barley until the Firstfruits harvest of wheat is called Sefirat HaOmer meaning ‘counting the omer.’ The omer, also called a sheaf, is an ancient Temple period unit of dry measure equal to 1/10 ephah or about 3.7 quarts (3.5 liters) of grain.

Hiking the Omer

The Hebrews were redeemed by the blood of the lamb on Passover and the very next day on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, they began their exodus out of Egypt. While they hiked from Egypt to Mount Sinai, Adonai’s holy presence was with them in the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. They experienced His power as He began molding them into His holy nation. They walked across the Red Sea on dry land and then watched Pharaoh’s army drown. They received living water from a Rock that followed them. They learned about the Sabbath and trusting Adonai who rained down manna from heaven. An overabundance of quail that rotted and stank taught them not to grumble. Following their commander in chief, Moses, they defeated the Amalekite armies. Fifty days later, they stood at the foot of Mount Sinai. They had been transformed from slaves into a free nation walking with Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. They had been prepared through the early wilderness experiences to receive God’s instructions that would set them apart as a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. 

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession.  Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6).

The Omer and Naomi and Ruth

“So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning” (Ruth 1:22).

When Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem, it was the beginning of the barley harvest and the start of ‘counting of the omer.’ Naomi was bitter because of all the pain she suffered in Moab with the death of her husband and sons. She had no vision or hope for the future. She had no idea how ‘counting the omer’ would transform her life. She could never have pictured that within a mere fifty days her faithful daughter-in-law would be married to her kinsman redeemer. She could never have imagined that soon after the marriage of Ruth and Boaz, she would be the great-grandmother of Israel’s greatest king. She could never have envisioned that as the sheaf of barley was being waved by the priests in Jerusalem on the Feast of Firstfruits that one of her descendants would be the Redeemer of Israel.

The Omer and Yeshua

“Let them both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest-time I will tell the reapers to collect the weeds first and tie them in bundles to be burned, but to gather the wheat into my barn’” (Matthew 13:30).

For the nation of Israel, the ‘days of the omer’ were a time of great anticipation. The barley harvest began and the wheat harvest would soon follow. They would gather, thresh, and clean grain to store for the next year. For the disciples, forty ‘days of the omer’ were spent with the risen Yeshua; the final ten they waited in Jerusalem for his promise.

“In the first book,  I [Luke] wrote about everything Yeshua set out to do and teach, until the day when, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the emissaries whom he had chosen, he was taken up into heaven.   After his death he showed himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. During a period of forty days they saw him, and he spoke with them about the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:1-3).

On the first day of ‘counting the omer,’ Yeshua fulfilled the ‘appointed time’ of Feast of Firstfruits. As the Firstfruits sheaves of barley were being waved in the Temple, Yeshua ascended to his Father and became the Firstfruits sheaf offering for those who had been resurrected and those who would be resurrected at a later harvest.

“Yeshua said [to Mary], “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17).

That evening, at the start of the second day of ‘counting the omer,’ Yeshua miraculously appeared in a locked room where his disciples were hiding.

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Yeshua came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord”(John 20:19-20).

There was no denying the truth. Yeshua was alive and standing in front of the disciples. He had put his peace upon them and showed them his hands and feet. Their sorrow turned to joy. What would happen now?

“Shalom aleikhem!” Yeshua repeated. ‘Just as the Father sent me, I myself am also sending you.’ Having said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Ruach haKodesh! If you forgive someone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you hold them, they are held’” (John 20:21-23). 

Yeshua was sending his disciples into the world as his Father had sent him. They weren’t to remain in hiding; they were to go out and be witnesses to his resurrection. He breathed on them the ‘breath of Adonai.’ He anointed them with the same Spirit that proved that he and his Father are One.  He gave them the same authority that he had been given to preach the message of repentance and forgiveness.

Forgiveness of sins was an integral part of God’s promised renewed covenant with Israel. The disciples had already witnessed the power of the forgiveness through Yeshua healing the sick and raising the dead. Salvation was now going to be proclaimed by Yeshua’s disciples to ‘the lost sheep of the House of Israel,’ one by one  (Matthew 15:24). Adonai began his Firstfruits harvest with individual sheaves of grain.

On the eighth day of counting the omer,  Yeshua appeared to Thomas and showed him his scars.

“A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Yeshua came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe’” (John 20:26-27).

On another day of ‘counting the omer,’ Yeshua appeared to the disciples at the Sea of Galilee. After fishing all night and catching nothing, Yeshua told them to throw their nets over the right side of the boat. They did not recognize him, but they did what he said. The net filled with fish ––153. In Hebrew, the numerical value of 153 means “I am yod-hey-vav-hey.“ 

During following days of ‘counting the omer,’ Yeshua appeared to more than 500 people, including James and the rest of the apostles.

“After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles … (1 Corinthians 15:7-8).

“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:3-5). 

The Fortieth Day of Omer

Day 40 of ‘counting the omer’ arrives. 

“Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

The disciples ask Yeshua two questions. First, they want to know when the Kingdom would be restored to Israel. They obviously understand that the Kingdom the Messiah establishes would be with the Jewish people in Israel. Centuries of anti-semitism have distorted this understanding of Messianic Kingdom.  The Kingdom of Messiah will not be Roman Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Protestant, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu or even Palestinian. It will not be in the air, in Utah, in Turkey or China. The Kingdom will be established by Yeshua with the Jewish people and those gentiles who have joined the ‘Commonwealth of Israel’ –– in Jerusalem.

Second, his disciples want to know the timing for the coming Kingdom. Though the actual year of Yeshua’s return is known only by his Father, there is an ‘appointed time’ established for his return. We are supposed to be children of the light, and according to 1 Thessalonians 5, we should know the ‘signs’ of his coming and the seasons –– the ’appointed times’ established by God. 

“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1:7-8).

The disciples didn’t receive definitive answers to their questions, but they learn that they are going to receive power. The Holy Spirit would come upon them and they would be witnesses of Yeshua in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. These words must have seemed incredible to these men who only 40 days earlier were hiding in fear! The gospel message of salvation –– Yeshua –– would go to the ends of the earth through their testimony? How could that be?

From the Mount of Olives, Yeshua was taken up into heaven in front of them. Hidden in a cloud, they could no longer see him. As they stared into the sky,  two men dressed in white appeared and told them that Yeshua would return in the clouds the same way he left. 

“After saying this, he was taken up before their eyes; and a cloud hid him from their sight. As they were staring into the sky after him, suddenly they saw two men dressed in white standing next to them. The men said, ‘You Galileans! Why are you standing, staring into space? This Yeshua, who has been taken away from you into heaven, will come back to you in just the same way as you saw him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:9-10).

The Final Days of Omer

“If you love me, you will keep my commands;  and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever.  The world cannot receive him, because it neither sees nor knows him. You know him, because he is staying with you and will be united with you.  I will not leave you orphans — I am coming to you” (John 14:15-17).

At Passover six weeks earlier, Yeshua instituted the the new covenant through his broken body and blood.  This covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, promised that the Spirit of Adonai would change their hearts. They obeyed Yeshua’s command to return to Jerusalem and waited for the promise. They waited for him to fulfill another ‘appointed time.’

They continued ‘counting the omer’ –– ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one ….

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