Posts Tagged ‘Moab’

Parashah 43: Masa’ei (Stages)

Numbers 33:1-36:13
(In a regular year, read with Parashah 42; in a leap year read separately.)

“These are the stages in the journey of the people of Isra’el as they left the land of Egypt divided into groups under the leadership of Moshe and Aharon. Moshe recorded each of the stages of their journey by order of Adonai; here are the starting-points of each stage …” (Numbers 33:1-2).

Reviewing the Wilderness Lessons

Every stop on the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was given a name.  Each name had significance to the stop –– some which are known and some which can only be inferred. Each stop and camp may be compared to the spiritual growth of the nation being formed as well as an individual’s personal growth in the nation. Some of the camps were overnight stays while others lasted months.  

From the beginning of the wilderness journey, Adonai tabernacled with His people and was their Provider and Protector. For most of the wilderness trek, they learned long-suffering as they watched members of their families die while new members were born, and knew they themselves would never see ‘the land flowing with milk and honey.’  By the end of the 40-year hike, they were moving together as a nation, pressing toward the Promised Land into regions beyond the wilderness.

Adonai tabernacles in our hearts through His Ruach haKodesh when we are born again. He becomes our Provider and Protector.  As we walk out our lives of faith, we experience times of spiritual growth that sanctify us. Some life lessons take only moments to learn while others take longer; we learn to suffer righteously in our trials. Parts of our lives pass away while other parts take flight and grow in ways unimaginable.  Always, we press on toward the goal of entering the presence of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh in His eternal Kingdom (Philippians 3:14).

There were 42 encampments or in Hebrew letters mem and bet –– מב –– meaning ‘mighty house’ in Hebrew Word Pictures. Forty-two has been associated with persecution, judgment, and death as well as redemption and salvation.  There were 42 young men who made fun of Elisha’s bald head and were torn to pieces by two bears (2 Kings 2:23-24). There are 42 months for the gentiles to trample Jerusalem and the beast to speak blasphemies (Revelation 11:2, 13:5). After 42 camps, before entering the Promised Land, the Israelites are reminded of the lessons they should have learned through each stage of spiritual growth.

  1. Ram’ses, Egypt (Begotten by Ra)
    The Hebrews are delivered from slavery on the fifteenth day of the first month, the morning after Pesach.

Egypt or Mitzrayim – מצרים – mem, tzade, resh, yod, mem
– mighty pull toward highest authority finished work of chaos

“The people left proudly in view of all the Egyptians, while the Egyptians were burying those among them whom Adonai had killed, all their firstborn; Adonai had also executed judgment on their gods” (Numbers 33:3-4)

  1. Sukkot (Temporary Dwelling)
    This is the first stop for the Israelites.  Elohim’s Sukkah began to cover them by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.

Sukkot – סכת – samech, kaf, tav
–support and cover the covenant sign

“The people of Isra’el moved on from Ram’ses and camped at Sukkot” (Numbers 33:5).

  1. Etam (Cleft)
    A stop at the boundary between the sea and the desert some distance from Sukkot.

Etam – עיטם – ayin, yod, tet, mem
– see the finished work twisting chaos

“They moved on from Sukkot and camped at Etam, by the edge of the desert” (Numbers 33:6).

  1. P’nei-Hachirot (Mouth of Caverns)

P’nei Hachirot – פני החירת – peh, nun, yod – hey, chet, yod, resh, tav
– source life finished work – reveal, protect the finished work, highest authority of the covenant

“They moved on from Etam and turned back to Pi-Hachirot, in front of Ba’al-Tz’fon, and camped before Migdol” (Numbers 33:7).

  1. Migdol (Watchtower)
    This camp was near Pi-Hachirot in front of Ba’al Tz’fon in front of Migdol.

Migdol – מגדל – mem, gimel, dalet, lamed
– mighty lifts up the pathway of the shepherd

“Between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Ba’al-zephon, opposite it, by the sea” (Exodus 14:2).

  1. Marah (Bitterness)
    Three days journey into the Etam desert, Elohim healed the waters of Marah so the Israelites would not become bitter (Exodus 15:23-26). 

Marah – מרה – mem, resh, hey
– chaos highest authority revealed

“They continued three days’ journey into the Etam Desert and camped at Marah” (Numbers 33:8).

  1. Elim (Palm Grove)
    There were 12 springs and 70 palm trees to refresh the 12 Tribes of Isra’el.

Elim – אלים – alef, lamed, yod, mem
– first strength urges forward the finished work of chaos

“They moved on from Marah and came to Elim; in Elim were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, so they camped there” (Numbers 33:9).

  1. Sea of Suf (Red Sea)
    Isra’el crossed the Red Sea on dry ground and the Egyptian army was destroyed (Exodus 14).

Sea of Suf – ים סוף – yod, mem, samech, vav, peh
– finished work chaos, support binding of the source

“They moved on from Elim and camped by the Sea of Suf” (Numbers 33:10).

  1. Desert of Tzin (Prick, Crag)
    Elohim sent manna and quail to feed Isra’el (Exodus 16).

Desert of Tzin – מדבר צן – mem, dalet, bet, resh – samech, nun
– mighty pathway of the house of highest authority – supports life

“They moved on from the Sea of Suf and camped in the Seen Desert” (Numbers 33:11).

  1. Dofkah (A Knock)

Dofkah – דפכה – dalet, peh, kaf, hey
– pathway source opened and revealed

“They moved on from the Seen Desert and camped at Dofkah” (Numbers 33:12).

  1. Alush (Knead, as in bread)

Alush – אלוש – alef, lamed, vav, shin
– first strength urges forward binding consume

“They moved from Dofkah and camped at Alush” (Numbers 33:13).

  1. Refidim (Spread, as to make a bed)
    There was no water for the people to drink. Isra’el fought with Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16). 

Refidim – רפידים – resh, peh, yod, dalet, yod, mem
– highest authority source finished work of pathway, finished work of chaos

“They moved on from Alush and camped at Refidim, where there was no water for the people to drink” (Numbers 33:14).

  1. Mount Horev (Waste or Desert)
    Elohim gave Isra’el the Ten Commandments along with His Torah (Exodus 19-20). They constructed the Mishkan (Exodus 25-30). Seventy elders we called to help Moshe govern the nation (Numbers 11:16-17). 

Horev – הרב – hey, resh, bet
– behold the highest authority of the family

“They moved on from Refidim and camped in the Sinai Desert” (Numbers 33:15).

  1. Kivrot-HaTa’avah (Graves of Craving)
    Many Israelites died because of a greedy craving for meat, hence an abundance of quail.

Kivrot-HaTa’avah – קברות התאוה – kof, bet, resh, vav, tav – hey, tav, alef, vav, hey
– what is behind the house highest authority binding the covenant –
behold sign first strong binding revealed

“They moved on from the Sinai Desert and camped at Kivrot-Ha’Ta’avah” (Numbers 33:16).

  1. Hatzerot (Courtyards)
    The Israelites learned this world is nothing but a courtyard to the world to come. 

Hazerot – חצרת – chet, tzade, resh, tav
– protect and pull toward the highest authority covenant

“They moved on from Kivrot-Ha’Ta’avah and camed at Hatzerot” (Numbers 33:17).

  1. Ritmah (Juniper)
    ‘Lashon hara’ or slander broke out in the camp against Moshe.

Ritmah – רתמה – resh, tav, mem, hey
– highest authority sign of chaos revealed

“They moved on from Hazarot and camped at Ritmah” (Numbers 33:18).

  1. Rimmon-Peretz (Pomegranate of the Breach)

Rimmon-Peretz – רמון פרץ – resh, mem, vav, nun – peh, resh, tzade
– highest authority of chaos binding life – source of highest authority pulling toward

“They moved on from Ritmah and camped at Rimmon-Peretz” (Numbers 33:19).

  1. Livnah (White-ish tree)

Livnah – לבנה – lamed, bet, nun, hey
– urge forward the house of life reveal

“They moved on from Rimmon-Peretz and camped at Livnah” (Numbers 33:20).

  1. Rissah (Dew)

Rissah – רסה – resh, samech, hey
– highest authority support revealed

“They moved on from Livnah and camped at Rissah” (Numbers 33:21).

  1. K’helah (Convocation)

Kehillah – קהילה – kof, hey, yod, lamed, hey
– what is behind reveals finished work urging forward behold

“They moved on from Rissah and camped at K’helah” (Numbers 33:22).

  1. Mount Shefer (Handsome)

Shefer – שפר – shin, peh, resh
– consuming source of highest authority

“They moved on from K’helah and camped at Mount Shefer” (Numbers 33:23).

  1. Haradah (Fear, Anxiety)

Haradah – הרדה  – hey, resh, dalet, hey
– reveal the highest authority pathway, behold

“They moved on from Mount Shefer and camped at Haradah” (Numbers 33:24).

  1. Mak’helot (Assemblies)

Machelot – מחלות – mem, chet, lamed, vav, tav
– mighty protects, urges forward the binding sign

“They moved on from Haradah and camped at Mak’helot” (Numbers 33:25).

  1. Tachat (Humble)

Tachat – תחת – tav, chet, tav
– the sign protects the covenant

“They moved on from Mak’helot and camped at Tachat” (Numbers 33:26).

  1. Terach (Abraham’s father)

Terach – תרח – tav, resh, chet
– covenant of highest authority protects

“They moved on from Tachat and camped at Terach” (Numbers 33:27).

  1. Mitkah (Sweetness)

Mitkah – מתק – mem, tav, kof
– mighty sign of what is behind

“They moved on from Terach and camped at Mitkah” (Numbers 33:28).

  1. HaShmonah (Fertile or The Eight)

Hashmonah – השמונה – hey, shin, mem, vav, nun, hey
– behold the consuming chaos the binding life revealed

“They moved on from Mitkah and camped at HaShmonah” (Numbers 33:29).

  1. Moserot (Correction)

Moserot – מיסרות – mem, yod, samech, resh, vav, tav
– mighty finished work supports highest authority binding the covenant

“They moved on from HaShmonah and camped at Moserot” (Numbers 33:30).

  1. B’nei Ya’akan (Sons of Ya’akan)

B’nei Ya’akan – בני ייעקן – bet, nun, yod – yod, yod, ayin, kof, nun
– house of life finished work – finished work, finished work, see what is behind life

“They moved on from Moserot and camped at Bnei-Ya’akan” (Numbers 33:31).

  1. Hor-HaGidgad (Hole of the Cleft)
    Moshe sees Adonai panim el panim in the crevice of the rock (Exodus 33:18-23).

Hor HaGidgad – הר הגדגד – hey, resh – hey, gimel, dalet, gimel, hey
– behold the highest authority – behold, lift up pathway lift up and behold

“They moved on from B’nei-Ya’akan and camped at Hor-HaGidgad” (Numbers 33:32).

  1. Yotvatah (Pleasantness)

Yotvatah – יטבתה – yod, tet, bet, tav, hey
– finished work twisting the house to the sign, behold

“They moved on from Hor-HaGidgad and camped at Yotvatah” (Numbers 33:33).

  1. Avronah (Passage)

Abronah – עברנה – ayin, bet, resh, nun, hey
– see house of highest authority of life, behold

“They moved on from Yotvatah and camped at Avronah” (Numbers 33:34).

  1. Etzyon-Gever (City of the Rooster)
    Near modern-day Elat.

ETziyon Gever – עצין גבר – ayin, tzade, yod, nun – gimel, bet, resh
– understand pulling toward the finished work of life – raise up the house of the highest authority

“They moved on from Avronah and camped at ‘Etzyon-Gever” (Numbers 33:35).

  1. Tzin Desert or Wilderness of Kadesh (Holy Sanctuary)
    This is where Miriam died and Elohim told Moshe and Aaron they would not enter the Promised Land. Kadesh comes from the same Hebrew root as chodesh or new. According to some interpretations, the New Moon of Yom Teruah happened in this fortieth year of the wilderness travels.

Kadesh (Holy) – קדש – kof, dalet, shin
– what is behind the pathway consumes

“They moved from ‘Etzyon-Gever and camped in the Tzin Desert, that is, Kadesh” (Numbers 33:36).

  1. Mount Hor (Mountain of Mountain)
    At Elohim’s command, Aaron went up on Mount Hor and died on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the people of Isra’el had left Egypt.  Aaron was 123 years old.

Hor Ha-Har – הר ההר – hey, resh – hey, hey, resh
– behold the highest authority – behold, behold the highest authority

“They moved on from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, at the border of the land of Edom” (Numbers 33:37).

  1. Tzalmonah (Shadow of Death)
    The Israelites complained against Moshe and fiery snakes attacked the community.

Tzalmonah – צלמנה – tzade, lamed, mem, nun, hey
– pulling toward and urging forward the mighty life revealed

“The Kena’ani king of ‘Arad, who lived in the Negev in the land of Kena’an, had heard that the people of Isra’el were coming; so they moved on from Mount Hor and camped at Tzalmonah”
(Numbers 33:40-41).

  1. Punon (Darkness)

Punon – פינן – peh, yod, nun, nun
– source of the finished work of life, life

“They moved on from Tzalmonah and camped at Punon” (Numbers 33:42).

  1. Ovot (Water Skins)

Ovot – אבת – alef, bet, tav
– first strong house sign

“They moved on from Punon and camped at Ovot” (Numbers 33:43).

  1. Iyei-Ha’Avarim (Plain of the Passes)
    At the border of Moab (Jordan)

Iyei Ha Abarim – עיי העברים – ayin, yod, yod – hey ayin, bet, resh, yod, mem
– understand the finished work, the finished work
– reveal and understand the house highest authority finished work of chaos.

“They moved on from Ovot and camped at ‘Iyei-Ha’Avarim, by the border of Mo’av” (Numbers 33:44).

  1. Divon-Gad (Pining, Sorrow)

Divon Gad – דיבן גד – dalet, yod, bet, nun – gimel, dalet
– pathway finished work house of life – raise up the pathway

“They moved on from ‘Iyim and camped at Divon-Gad” (Numbers 33:45).

  1. Almon-Divlatayim (Hidden )

Almon Divlatayim – אלמן דבלתים – alef, lamed, mem, nun – dalet, bet, lamed, tav, yod, mem
– first strength urges forward mighty life
– pathway house urges forward the sign of finished work

“They moved on from Divon-Gad and campled at ‘Almon-Divlatayim” (Numbers 33:46).

  1. Avarim Range (Dividing Line)

Ha Abarim – העברים – hey, ayin, bet, resh, yod, mem
– behold and understand the house highest authority, finished work of chaos

“They moved on from Almon-Divlatayim and camped in the ‘Avarim Range, in front of N’vo” (Numbers 33”47).

Plains of Moab

“They moved on from the ‘Avarim Range and camped in the plains of Mo’av by the Yarden, across from Yericho. Their camp by the Yarden extended from Beit-HaYeshimot all the way to Avel-HaSheetim in the plains of Mo’av. Adonai spoke to Moshe…” (Numbers 33:48-50).

When the community of Isra’el crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land, they were commanded to expel all the nations –– no negotiations, diplomacy or compromise. They were to remove all stone or metal idols and destroy every high place of pagan worship.

“If you don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land from in front of you, then those you allow to remain will become like thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides – they will harass you in the land where you are living” (Numbers 33:50-56).

Selah
This command was not only for the children of Isra’el coming out of Egypt and entering the Promised Land. As Elohim and His instructions exist until there is a new heaven and new earth, this command was for all time, including the modern state of Isra’el.

Hebrew Word Pictures
Beit-HaYeshimot
House of the Deserts – בית הישמת – bet, yod, tav – hey, yod, shin, mem, tav
– house finished work covenant
– behold the finished work consumed by the sign chaos

Avel-HaShittim
Iniquity-Acacia Tree – עול שטים – ayin, vav, lamed – shin, tet, yod, mem
– understand the binding urging forward
– consume and twist the finished work of chaos

Plains of Moab
Desert or aravah of Moab – ערבה מואב – ayin, resh, bet, hey – mem, vav, alef, bet
– see the highest authority of the house, behold
– chaos binding first strength of house

The Borders of the Promised Land

The borders of the Land promised to Isra’el are very specific. Though some of the places can be located on a modern-day map, many of them cannot and are disputed by scholars who study the ancient writings. One fact, however, is certain –– the land of Isra’el today does not encompass the entirety of the Land promised by El Shaddai to Abraham.

Southern Border
The southern side will include some of the desert of Tzin along the border of Edom. It will begin at the southern end of the Dead Sea on the eastern side, cross south of the Akrabbim ascent (Scorpion Pass) and continue on to Tzin. Then it heads south of Kadesh-Barnea to Hatzar-Adar and on to Atzmon where it will turn and join the Vadi of Egypt and end at the Mediterranean Sea.

Western Border
The western side is the Mediterranean Sea.

Northern Border
A line from the Mediterranean Sea goes to Mount Hor and from Mount Hor to the entrance of Hamat. The border goes out to Ze, then to Zifron and finally to Hatzar-Einan.

Eastern Border
From Hatzar-‘Enan to Shepham, the border goes south from Shepham to Riblah, on the eastern side of Ain, then down until it hits the slope east of Sea of Galilee.  From there it goes down the Jordan until it flows into the Dead Sea.

The Tribes Possess the Land

When the Land is divided into tribal inheritance, there are only ten tribes listed.  This is because Gad and Reuben had already received their inheritance on the eastern side of the Jordan River.  Eliezer, the cohen, and Y’hoshua will take possession of the Promised Land along with one leader from each of the tribes:

From the Tribe of Judah, Kalev; from the Tribe of Simeon, Sh’mu’el; from the Tribe of Benjamin, Elidad; from the Tribe of Dan, Buki; from the Tribe of Joseph: M’nasheh, Hani’el and Efrayim, K’muu’el; from the Tribe of Zebulun, Elitzafan; from the Tribe of Issachar, Paltu’el; from the Tribe of Asher, Achidhud; from the Tribe of Naftali, P’dah’el.

The daughters of Tz’lof’chad who had received land inheritance were not allowed to marry outside the Tribe of Manasseh so their land would never pass to another tribe in a Yovel. This regulation set a precedent for other women who were given land inheritance so that no inheritance would move from one tribe to another through intermarriage.   The daughters of Tz’lof’chad obeyed the command and married sons of their father’s brothers.

Cities for the Levites and Refuge

“Order the people of Isra’el to give to the L’vi’im cities to live in from the heritage they will possess, and you are also to give the L’vi’im some of the open land surrounding the cities. They are to have the cities to live in, while their open land will be for their livestock, for growing crops and for all their animals” (Numbers 35:2-3).

Though the Levites didn’t receive an allotment of land, they were given 48 cities in which to live as well as land outside each city’s walls so they could have livestock and gardens. Their land began 1,500 feet outside the city wall and ended at 3,000 feet. Six of these Levite cities became cities of refuge for those who had accidentally killed someone.

“In this way you will not defile the land in which you are living. For blood defiles the land, and in this land no atonement can be made for the blood shed in it except the blood of him who shed it. No, you are not to defile the land in which you live and in which I live; for I, Adonai, live among the people of Isra’el” (Numbers 35:33-34).

Murder is defined as intentional if the death was caused by an iron stone or wooden object large enough to kill. If an individual shoved another out of hate, threw something intentionally or punched them and the person dies, it is considered murder. The murderer must be put to death, but only upon the testimony of two or three witnesses (Numbers 35:30).  One witness does not constitute a testimony and is not sufficient evidence to render a death sentence. There was no ransom for the life of a murderer condemned to death or for a murderer who fled a city of refuge before the death of the high priest.

If a death sentence was rendered, the murderer was put to death by the family of the victim. They were allowed to avenge their family member’s murder if they encountered the murderer outside a city of refuge.

If an individual, native born or foreigner, threw an object unintentionally without seeing the other person, even it was an enemy, and caused death, the community (like a selected jury) would render justice between the individual who threw the object and the family of the victim. This is not murder, but manslaughter without intent to kill. If the individual fled to a city of refuge, he could live there safely until the high priest died. If the individual went out beyond the city limits and was found by a family member of the victim, the family member would not be guilty of murder for avenging the blood of their family. Anyone who committed manslaughter must remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. After the death of the high priest, all murderers were considered acquitted and allowed to return to their land inheritance.

The six cities of refuge were Bezer, Ramot, and Golan on the eastern side of the Jordan River; Kedesh in the Galilee; Shechem and Hebron were on the western side.

“These things shall constitute your standard for judgment through all your generations, wherever you live” (Numbers 35:29).

Yeshua and the Two Witnesses

“He told him, ‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot” (Matthew 22:37-40).

“Yeshua said to them, ‘This is what I meant when I was still with you and told you that everything written about me in the Torah of Moshe, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds, so that they could understand the Tanakh…” (Luke 24:44-45).

“Standing up, Yeshua said to her, ‘Where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ Yeshua said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and don’t sin any more’” (John 8:10-11).

“But now, you who were once far off [gentiles] have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood. For he himself is our shalom — he has made us both one [Jew and non-Jew] and has broken down the m’chitzah which divided us … in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom …” (Ephesians 2:13-15).

“You have been built on the foundation of the emissaries [apostles] and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua the Messiah himself” (Ephesians 2:20).

“Never listen to any accusation against a leader unless it is supported by two or three witnesses” (1 Timothy 5:19).

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this Torah portion, the weekly readings of the Prophets and New Testament, Study Helps, and springboard for midrash, please purchase Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah.

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 ….

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  For a hard copy of this blog post,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.