Counting the Omer – most are familiar with the culmination of the count, which is Pentecost, also called the Festival of Weeks. “Weeks” is taken from the Hebrew word “shavuot” and refers to the seven weeks that precede Pentecost. Leviticus 23:15 tells us to count the weeks between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost:
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.”
It’s called “Counting the Omer” because the omer was the unit of measure used in this counting process of tracking the grain harvest.
In 2014, the Feast of First Fruits occurs on Sunday, April 20th. Pentecost occurs on June 8, seven weeks or 50 days later – thus the name Pentecost.
For the past few years, I’ve kept count of the 50 days, although not understanding why. I was like a child – obeying my Father because he’s my Father. As with all the Feasts, God has been faithful to teach me little by little each year in accordance with my desire for His revelation. Last year brought insights about the count that I had never seen or heard of in my research. (more…)
To many, the account of Abraham offering up Isaac to God in Genesis 22 is one of the hardest stories in the Bible to read and comprehend. You don’t have to be a parent to feel the anguish Abraham must have felt, to question how he could attempt such a heartbreaking act, and even to doubt the goodness of God.
In addition to the emotion it raises, there are several unanswered logical mysteries as well. What did Abraham tell Isaac they were doing? Was Isaac really that gullible? The fact that Abraham had Isaac carry the wood up the mountain indicates that Isaac was stronger than Abraham. How did Abraham wrestle him onto the altar? Furthermore, the surrounding information indicates Isaac would’ve been an adult, probably near 37 years old. Just how did Abraham get him to go along with this preposterous plan? There are enough holes in the report to make us wonder if we’re really hearing the whole story. (more…)
In my last blog I discussed the balance between stewarding our resources while remaining completely dependent on God during the increase in economic or political turbulence and especially natural disasters.
A wonderful example of this principle is Joseph. His leadership during the great famine of his time not only demonstrates his response to and preparation for hard times, but has additional significance for us today because of the fact that he is a foreshadow of Yeshua Himself. I believe Joseph’s story provides us a glimpse of what’s ahead for Yeshua’s followers as end-time events escalate. (more…)
In our review of Numbers 11, we’ve seen how rejection of God’s provision (Part 1) and replacement with their own desires (Part 2) forces God’s presence out of the Israelites’ wilderness camp. But that’s not all. The story includes details that provide clues about something more God had planned.
In His mercy, I believe God hid a blessing in the midst of the incident for those who would pursue the path He laid out. While, there’s no account of any of the Israelites doing so, it serves as a lesson to us today of how God provides us a way to correct our path when we’ve gone astray. It’s a testament to God’s patience and tenacity in His pursuit of us and shows us how to stay in His will and presence. It’s a revelation the Israelites missed. (more…)
Upheaval sweeping through country after country, global financial instability, impending and seemingly unavoidable wars, an increase in natural disasters and manmade dangers – the headlines bombard us. The low level hum of a looming turmoil grows louder. Thank goodness for The Feast of Tabernacles!
The Feast of Tabernacles, called Sukkot in Hebrew, is the seventh and last Feast in God’s holy days. This year it takes place from sundown October 9 through sundown October 16, 2014. It looks back to God’s unlimited provision for the Israelites as they sojourned 40 years in the wilderness. During the seven days of Sukkot, we spend time in our flimsy, homemade shelters to remind us of our complete dependence on God. Sukkot also looks forward to the Millennial Age where we will “tabernacle” with Yeshua eternally.
But there’s an often overlooked aspect to this Feast. (more…)
“…and forgive us our debts as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Matt. 6:12)
…”Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Forgiveness: Relinquishing our desire to punish another for their offenses. (Dr. Jerry Cook)
Easy to understand, hard to apply. But Yom Kippur is all about forgiveness – God’s forgiveness of man, and man’s forgiveness of others. Yom Kippur (translated the Day of Atonements) begins at sunset on October 4, 2014 and is the sixth in the seven Biblical Feasts. It commemorates God’s annual forgiveness of the Israelites as a nation and God’s forgiveness of all through Yeshua’s death. Likewise, it’s a time when we are to forgive others. (more…)
Reflecting on the topic of my recent blog series about our spiritual journey through the tabernacle, I find it impossible to overlook Yeshua’s portrayal of Himself. The parallels between His identity and the tabernacle are no coincidence.
The tabernacle the Israelites built and carried through the wilderness before entering the Promised Land includes ten pieces that God instructed Moses to arrange inside the courtyard – seven created by man with God’s specific blueprints, and three pieces created by God alone. The first thing we understand from this is that the tabernacle is a combination of God and man, a place where God and man come together, a foreshadowing of both God and man on earth – a foreshadowing of the Messiah, Yeshua. (more…)
To this point in our series we have progressed through the tabernacle courtyard into the Holy Place. We stand in front of the Altar of Incense participating in the spiritual realm to bring about God’s purposes on earth through intercession.
In the Hebrew scriptures intercession was the role of the prophets and priests. This is a lofty position and a wonderful place to be. But YHWH wants us even closer. However, there’s an elephant in the room: (more…)
In Parts 2 and 3, we’ve looked at God’s gift of faith that enables us to enter through the fence enclosing the tabernacle, representing His kingdom. We’ve been forgiven because He offered His own Son at the Bronze Altar.
Saved and forgiven – this is a great place to be. Some people stay at this place for years, maybe forever. But God has so many other gifts He wants to provide us to bring us into deeper intimacy with Himself. (more…)
In Part 2 of this blog series, we looked at the first obstacle that separates mankind from a holy God – represented by the fence enclosing the courtyard of the tabernacle. The fence reminds us of how God gives us the faith to believe in Yeshua as the only entrance into God’s kingdom, so that we can accept His invitation of communion with Him.
But our sin keeps us from dwelling in his kingdom, keeps us from living in full relationship with Him. Once we’ve entered into relationship with Him through faith, we become aware of our sinfulness as compared to His righteousness. (more…)
As I stated in Part 1 of this blog series, the tabernacle is a physical representation of the spiritual process that God has created for mankind to draw near to Him and for Him to dwell with us. However, there are several things that separate mankind from a holy God. The first thing that comes between God and man is faith. Until we have faith, we cannot know God. However, what we see as a barrier, God sees as an opportunity for blessing. (more…)
I had always received things from God in terms of their value for others, not fully embracing their value for myself. There had to be a practical reason for everything, including the talents and desires God gave me. As an example, although I wanted to take voice lessons, I found it difficult to get motivated, because I didn’t know what I would do with the singing once I learned how. It wasn’t enough that I just wanted to learn to sing.
One day in casual conversation, I found that a friend of mine spent a lot of time growing bamboo. My first question was, “What’s the commercial market for bamboo?” (more…)
Whenever I heard, “Jesus died for your sins,” I often thought, “What sin did I commit that would deserve death?” I’m a good person; I keep the 10 commandments; I try to love God and love my neighbors as myself. Then I heard, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). So I asked, “Which sins can I die from?”
For a long time I understood this to mean that if I live sinfully, I will live separate from God, not enjoy His abundant life, and maybe eventually die from a destructive lifestyle. All of those are true, but later I asked, “What did it mean to those who first heard it shortly after Yeshua’s death?” (more…)
The Day of Pentecost – we remember the supernatural flames appearing in the room where Yeshua’s followers were gathered. Inside the room, there was the sound of a “mighty rushing wind” and the speaking of other languages they’d never learned. It’s the pouring out of God’s very spirit into mere humans (Acts 2). That’s plenty to celebrate and remember right there. But what’s the purpose in our noting it every year? (more…)
Remember the story in Mark 5 of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years? She touched Yeshua’s clothing and was not only healed, but captured the attention of Yeshua despite the throng of people crowding Him. While obviously a great account of Yeshua’s compassion and supernatural power, this story leaves me with a few questions:
- Why did the woman think if she touched Yeshua’s clothes she would be healed?
- Why did Yeshua feel the power go out from Him when she touched Him and not everyone else who was crowding around?
- And after a wonderful miracle, why was the woman fearful of Him? (more…)
Passover and Easter usually occur close together on the calendar, and presumably both commemorate the same event. Are they the same or what’s the difference? I assumed Passover was Jewish and Easter was Christian. But what I found surprised me. (more…)
There are seven Feasts or Holy Days commanded in the Bible – four in the Spring, and three in the Fall. It’s true, Jews had been observing these Feasts for 1,400 years before Yeshua’s birth. But what if God set those dates as days He intends to fulfill specific prophecies in Yeshua’s lifetime and His second coming? Wouldn’t you want to know which dates those were? Let’s recount what happened on the Spring Feast dates during Yeshua’s lifetime. (more…)
In Leviticus and other sections of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), we read about the myriad of offerings and sacrifices, the ceremonial cleansings, and the stipulations for coming near to a holy God. On The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), for example, the high priest would’ve prepared for weeks ahead of time to perform the duties prescribed for the one day — with all its garments, offerings, animals, his family and other priests involved and contingency plans in case something didn’t go as planned. Then on the actual Day of Atonement, it would probably take him all day to perform the list of duties.
Granted, The Day of Atonement was the most holy day of the year, but there were six other holy days equally as rigorous in their requirements, not to mention the daily and weekly procedures of the temple and the offerings and sacrifices brought in by the people of Israel that were also required.
In Yeshua, we see the fulfillment of all of these requirements. (more…)