THE OMER – Counting Up to Revelation

COUNTING UP TO REVELATION

Teach us to number/count our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

Counting the fifty days from the second day of Passover to the Jubilee day of Pentecost, or Shavuot, is called Sefirat Ha’OmerCounting the Omer. Two questions immediately spring to mind: “What is the Omer?” and “Why should we count it?” The Hebrew word omer literally means ‘measure.’ Biblically, it is associated with the offering of the first sheaf of the barley harvest in the Temple on the sixteenth day of Nissan, which is the second day of the festival of Passover.

And you shall count from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be, counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwellings two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, they shall be baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord (Leviticus 23:15-17).

The date of the Festival of Shavuot/Pentecost or Weeks is set according to this date. Forty-nine days, or seven weeks /shavuot, which gives the festival its name, are counted and Shavuot is celebrated on the fiftieth day. The Greek term related to the word fifty is pentekostei, from which we derive the English name Pentecost. These concepts – the “measure” of the omer, the counting of days, the symmetry of the weeks – instill within us an awareness of the balance, harmony and stability of God’s appointed times. Nothing is haphazard or insignificant. The biblical calendar is a measured walk through time that is made holy by His Presence with us.

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The question remains, “Why should we, in our modern times, count the days between Passover and Pentecost?” We can find answers to the question on many levels. When, for example, we consider the agricultural cycle of the Land of Israel we see that this is the time between the first harvesting of the barley crop and the final grain harvest of the wheat. It is a critical time for the grain farmers; indeed for the nation, as bread is a staple food. Each day the growing crops are carefully checked, the weather is anxiously observed, the days to harvest are counted. If anything fails, a famine could ensue. How does this apply to us today, however? We can buy bread ready packaged, even sliced, every day!

Let us consider the important spiritual application Yeshua made regarding bread, when he quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “…man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Y/H/V/H.”

At Passover the whole sheaf of the first-fruits of the harvest is waved as an offering to God, chaff and all! Passover is the season of Deliverance. We receive the gift of salvation from God’s mighty outstretched arm and, as those enslaved to sin, all we can bring before Him as an offering is ourselves, with the chaff of our sin and all! Then, we immediately set out on our journey of freedom and new life. Every day we learn something new. God draws us, with great longing, ever closer to Himself.

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When the Israelites were redeemed from slavery in Egypt, they needed to be set free from an engrained slave mentality. After witnessing the miracles of God and proclaiming Him as their God and King, their passage from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai was a time of preparation. Their minds were being renewed in order that they might receive the great revelation of God that awaited them at the mountain. So it is with us. When we are redeemed from sin and death by our Father’s loving grace, through the perfect sacrifice of the blood of the Passover Lamb, we need a season of transformation – a renewing of our minds and hearts – before we can stand in the place of greater revelation of the glory of God. We must consciously move forward on our journey, covered by the cloud of His mercy, before we can stand at the Mount in the fire of His glory.

FIFTY DAYS OF PREPARATION

The walk from redemption to revelation is not a random wander. God is a God of purpose and order. His greatest gift to His children, after the gift of life, is the potential and the ability to change and to grow as we learn of Him and follow His ways. After his crucifixion and resurrection at Passover, Yeshua appeared to his disciples and taught them through forty days of the Omer. He then told them to wait in Jerusalem until Shavuot, when they would ascend the Mount of the House of God and would receive the “promise of the Father” that would empower them to do all they were called to do.

To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the Kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, saying, “…you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit, …you shall receive power when the Spirit of Holiness has come upon you” (Acts 1:3-5,8).

The disciples spent the days after Yeshua’s ascension waiting purposefully for the power that the Father had promised. We are told that they “…with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1:14). Power is a serious responsibility. A good parent, for example, will not give the keys of his or her car to an underage or untrained child. As we grow in knowledge and understanding through the study of His Word and walk in faith after the Shepherd of our souls, our Father enables us to more effectively exercise the power of His Spirit of holiness.

True freedom that has worth, reality and meaning is only found through the Word of God and the power of the Spirit of holiness given at Shavuot. At the first Pentecost on Mount Sinai, God gave His eternal Word, the Bread of Life, to His redeemed people through Moses and sealed it on two tablets of stone. At the Pentecost on Mount Zion, through His Word made flesh in Yeshua, the fire of the Holy Spirit rested on the disciples and sealed the Word in their hearts, and filled them with power to bear witness to the Risen Messiah.

Those redeemed, as a “new creation” in Messiah, are assured of two things on the journey of faith: (i) Yeshua is with us. He said, “…I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20), and (ii) our Father God has provided us with all we need for the journey. He has given us the map and instructions in fine detail in His Word, and the power, the comfort and the counsel of His Spirit of Holiness. It bears an awesome responsibility to realize that the same resurrection power by which God raised Yeshua from the grave is available to us, working in us and with us.

Counting the Omer, the significant days between Passover and Pentecost – Salvation and Revelation – reminds us that our journey of faith is a daily walk, and we must actively participate with our Father in it. He provides us with the “raw materials”, comparable to the sheaf of first fruits waved at Passover. At Shavuot, however, two freshly baked loaves of bread are waved as an offering. The production of loaves of bread that sustain life – the harvesting, winnowing, grinding, mixing, kneading, baking – requires man’s efforts. If we work with Him, we can joyfully offer our Father the “two fragrant loaves” of the fruit of our labor at Pentecost.

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HOW TO COUNT THE OMER

Traditionally, the count of the day and the blessing is said in the evening, but if this is missed it can be done during the following daylight hours.

Blessing to recite:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu be’mitzvotav ve’tzivanu al Sefirat ha’Omer. Ha’yom, yom echad [sheni, shlishi…] ba’Omer.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us through Your commandments, and has commanded us to count the Omer.

Today is the first [second, third…etc.] day of the Omer.

It is advisable to print out calendar pages, or have a means of checking off the days as you count from the first evening through, the fiftieth day, when the festival of Shavuot is celebrated.

As our focus is centered upon the Scriptures, it is traditional to read through Psalm 119, a few verses a day, during the Counting of the Omer. The psalm is divided according to the 23 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the AlephBet. The Word of God is made up of combinations of the individual letters and each one is considered holy. This is also an opportune time, therefore, to study some Hebrew!

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Thou hast made known to me the ways of life;
Thou wilt make me full of gladness with Thy Presence.
(Acts 2:28)

As we count the days in anticipation of the revelation of God at His appointed time this coming Pentecost, let us also meditate on the direction of our lives and the influence we are having on those our Father has placed in our path. May we allow Him to reveal the “chaff” that is stubbornly clinging to our lives that we may repent of it and release it. As we walk and work with the Lord through this season, may the Spirit of holiness give us “clean hands and a pure heart” that we may ascend the mountain of the Lord at Shavuot and receive all He longs to share with us (Psalm 24:3-5).

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~ Keren Hannah

 

5780 / 2020 Counting The Omer Calendar

SPIRALING UP TO HOLINESS – KEEP CLIMBING!

Sefirat Ha’Omer – Counting the Omer between Passover and Shavuot

BETWEEN REDEMPTION AND REVELATION

“The number seven is code for two things in the Torah – wholeness and holiness – and it’s the base unit for the way sacred time is arranged in the biblical view. The seventh day is the day of rest. When the priests get the tabernacle ready to be G-d’s house, they do a seven day ritual to prepare. Harvest festivals last seven days, and a baby boy gets seven days in the world before undergoing circumcision. When we count the Omer, we count seven sets of seven, each week building on the one before, like a spiral staircase, helping us to make the climb up to wherever it is that revelation happens for us.”*

Download 2020 Omer Calendar

 *Rabbi Sara Brandes, What’s an Omer, and Why are We Counting Them?

JUBILEE – 50 – Revelation and Restoration

JUBILEE in Hebrew is YOVEL (יובל).

In biblical times, the special shofar used by shepherds to call the sheep together before they returned home to their sheep-pen was called a yovel. It was made from a gazelle horn and, unlike the curved shofars used for ritual purposes, it is straighter and dark in color.

 A Dorcas gazelle, Israel – Wikipedia

The concept of ‘return’ blends well with a central commandment of God concerning a jubilee year. We see in the book of Leviticus:  

It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan” (25:10) “In this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his property.” (25:13)

The reason God gives as to why no one could make a permanent claim to the land of Israel is: “The Land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the Land is Mine.” (25:23) In a Jubilee year things are restored to their original, God-intended place!

In this generation, we celebrate the restoration of the Land of Israel and of her people to their God-intended place.  We also celebrate the Jubilee of the restoration of Jerusalem – the reunified City of God to its rightful place. In 1967, during the Six Day War, when Israel was attacked by the armies of the surrounding Arab nations, a brigade of the Israel Defense Forces broke through the Lion’s Gate of the Old City, which had been held by Jordan since the War of Independence in 1948.  Against impossible odds they were victorious and the city, including the holiest place for the Jewish people – the Temple Mount with the Western Wall, was restored to Israel’s sovereignty. 

Jerusalem is a place to which one returns – a place of connection and meeting. Here, in this city, heaven meets earth; the past and the present meet with the future. This Holy City of God is where we will meet our soon-coming Messiah; a day when this fleeting life will meet eternity. Then God’s purpose for the city, the one envisioned from before the very Beginning, will be fulfilled in radiance —the establishing forever of the eternal Dwelling Place of the Holy One of Israel.

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for lo I come and will dwell in the midst of you,” says the Lord.

(Zechariah 2:10)

The Lord’s Sanctuary will be established with powerful praise and unshakable strength in His city, which is the heart of the universe—the City of the Great King. There, His throne will be set and the light of Zion will shine forth to the nations, bearing the vision of eternity in the spirit of kindness and truth.

A new song will flow forth, a pure haunting melody carrying luminous words of redemption and hope; and this Holy Place will finally become a House of Prayer for all nations.  King Solomon knew God’s purpose for His Dwelling Place on earth and the vision of promise it contained. When he dedicated the first beautiful Temple in Jerusalem – built as designed by his father King David in accord with God’s specific instructions and plan, Solomon proclaimed:

“… that all the peoples of the earth may know Your Name and fear Thee,  as do Thy people Israel, and that they may know that this House which I have built is called by Thy Name”  (I Kings 8:41– 43).

Also, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah, the Great Shepherd’s yovel is sounding and he is gathering his flock from the nations and leading them home where they belong, to be one flock with the family of God.

“And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast My covenant—
these I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer;
…for My House shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” (56:6-9)

May we soon all rejoice together in grateful praise, thanksgiving and joy in the City of the Great King – the eternal, golden, filled-with-His-glory, Jerusalem ~ YERUSHALAIM SHEL ZAHAV.

~ Keren Hannah Pryor

Artwork:

  1. Baruch Nachshon, Israel – www.nachshonart.com 
  2. Alex Levin, Jerusalem – https://artlevin.com

5779 / 2019 Counting The Omer Calendar

COUNTING UP TO HOLINESS – KEEP CLIMBING!

Sefirat Ha’Omer – Counting the Omer between Passover and Shavuot 

BETWEEN REDEMPTION AND REVELATION

If we are merely counting down to something, then that thing is, by definition, finite. It is limited; it disappears as quickly as it arrives. But if, instead, we “count up” to something, we desire it to be infinite, to be unlimited, to be everlasting. And so we celebrate the timelessness of Torah [the Word and ways of G-d] and the importance of each and every day when we commit ourselves to counting the Omer, because, “In matters of holiness we should always ascend, and never descend.” *

Download: 2019 Omer Calendar

 

* Rabbi Joel Seltzer, Counting Up, Not Down, Toward the Omer

5778 / 2018 Counting The Omer Calendar

You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain [barley harvest – Passover]. Then you shall keep the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot] for YHWH your G-d, contributing a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from YHWH your G-d.
Deuteronomy 16:9-10

Download 2018 Omer Calendar

5577 / 2017 Counting The Omer Calendar

You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain [barley harvest – Passover]. Then you shall keep the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot] for YHWH your G-d, contributing a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing that you have received from YHWH your G-d.
Deuteronomy 16:9-10

Download 5577 / 2017 Omer Calendar

Daily Omer Thoughts – Seven Weekly Segments

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download Omer Thoughts Week Three
Week Four – Download Omer Thoughts Week Four
Week Five – Download Omer Thoughts Week Five
Week Six – Download Omer Thoughts Week Six
Week Seven – Download Omer Thoughts Week Seven

 

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Six

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download Omer Thoughts Week Three
Week Four – Download Omer Thoughts Week Four
Week Five – Download The Omer Week Five
Week Six – Download The Omer Week Six

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Five

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download Omer Thoughts Week Three
Week Four – Download Omer Thoughts Week Four
Week Five – Download The Omer Week Five

 

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Four

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Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download Omer Thoughts Week Three
Week Four – Download Omer Thoughts Week Four

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Three

10172603_10202153706790891_5907656854998900633_n

Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two
Week Three – Download The Omer Week Three

Daily Omer Thoughts – Week Two

10172603_10202153706790891_5907656854998900633_n

Join HIS-ISRAEL as we count the Omer – the significant days between Passover and Shavuot.

We trust, as we journey from Redemption to Revelation, that our Daily Omer Thoughts will give pause for meditation and help add inspiration during the 7 weeks.

Week One – Download Omer Thoughts Week One
Week Two
 – Download Omer Thoughts Week Two

CELEBRATING JERUSALEM DAY – Yom Yerushalaim

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CELEBRATING THE RESTORATION AND REUNIFICATION OF JERUSALEM 

Yom Yerushalaim  ~ 28 Iyar 5775  / 17th May 2015  ~ Jerusalem Day

 

Following is an excerpt from the historic JERUSALEM COVENANT, written to acknowledge the miraculous return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem in June 1967.

The original Jerusalem Covenant is displayed alongside Israel’s Declaration of Independence in the Knesset and for the past twenty years has been signed by hundreds of visiting dignitaries.

Once again, ‘our feet stand within your gates, O Jerusalem –
Jerusalem built as a city joined togethe
r’
which unites the people of Israel to one another
and links heavenly Jerusalem with earthly Jerusalem.

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Jerusalem – peace and tranquility shall reign in the city:

‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you be tranquil. May there be peace within your walls, and tranquility within your palaces.’

Out of Jerusalem, a message of peace went forth and shall yet go forth again to all the inhabitants of the earth:
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.

In the future, The Holy One, the Blessed, will comfort Jerusalem only with Shalom.

From this place, we once again take this vow:

‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its strength; may my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not raise up Jerusalem at the very height of my rejoicing.’

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And with all these understandings, we enter into this Covenant and write:

‘We shall bind you to us forever;
we shall bind you to us with faithfulness,
with righteousness and justice,
with steadfast love and compassion.’
 

We love you, O Jerusalem,
with eternal love, with unbounded love,
under siege and when liberated
from the yoke of oppressors.
We have been martyred for you;
we have yearned for you,
we have clung to you.
Our faithfulness to you we shall
bequeath
to our children after us.
Forevermore our home shall be within you.”

Amen and Amen.

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