1. What and When is Shavuot / Feast of Weeks / Pentecost

“Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed: Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” Deuteronomy 16:16-17

Leviticus 23
“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:

  • The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month…
    [This would be the day Jesus was crucified 2,000 years ago]
  • On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins…
  • When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God… [That is the Feast of First Fruits – It would be Resurrection Day for Jesus]
  • “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord…” [This is called Shavuot / Feast of Weeks / Pentecost]

Passover is one month behind us and Pentecost is set to arrive this Sunday evening May 16th and will continue through Monday evening May 17th.

We have 2 significant and interesting issues this year: A Lot of War & Two Calendars

A Lot of War and the Biblical Calendar

Over half of the 50 days of the Omer occur during the second month called Iyar.
It’s one of the most significant months of the year for Israel.

On Omer Day 16 we begin the month of Iyar 1 [ee-yar]
IYAR (I am God your healer) It’s a month of healing. In Exodus 15 Israel has just crossed the Red Sea and are three days into the wilderness with no water and come to Marah where the water was bitter (undrinkable). God told Moses to throw a stick in the water and the water was made fit to drink. God then tells them if they obey, they will not suffer any of the diseases the Egyptians suffered from – because, “I am the Lord, who heals you.” This took place on Iyar 1.

In Kings 6, it’s called the month of Ziv (blossoming of flowers or readiness to reproduce).
Iyar reminds us to live our lives expecting good to bloom and burst forth.

But it is also a time of war, like we have been experiencing this week as missiles rain down on Israel from Gaza.

In the month of Iyar:

  • Germany surrendered in WWII [Last Thursday marked the 76th anniversary of the Surrender of Germany in WWII (1945)]. It followed a fierce seven days of battles and truces across Europe.

  • The nation of Israel was re-established in 1948 [1948 was just 3 years after the decimation of one third of the Jewish people in the Holocaust.]

  • Jerusalem was captured in 1967. From bitter to sweet.
    Psalm 30:12, “You turned my lament into dancing, you undid my sackcloth and girded me with joy.” Iyar is the month that gives us hope.

The last 10 days of counting the Omer (historically) have been war-torn:

Sunday and Monday of this week – marked the beginning of the 6-Day War in 1967 when Egypt, Syria, and Jordan simultaneously attacked Israel and were soundly defeated in only 6 days as Israel seized the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Hebron, from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.

The Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were both liberated. The day is marked in Israel as “Jerusalem Day.”

For Muslims, this week was the last week of the month of Ramadan (it ended on Wednesday – the last 3 days of Ramadan is a massive party [for extremists it often turns into mayhem and violence – and sometimes terrorist attacks]) – Muslims believe it was during this month that the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Mohammed.

For the Jews, Sunday is Shavuot (when God gave the Torah to Moses at Mount Sinai). It tends to cause a bit of ideological clashes and violence.

Thursday was the day God first called Israel His “Chosen People”.
It’s called the Day of Distinction. Moses ascended Mount Sinai for the first time and God told him to tell the people of Israel: “You shall be My chosen treasure from among all the nations”.


2. Two More Calendars & Way Too Much Confusion

On the Biblical Calendar we are just days away from the Feast of Shavuot on May 16th and 17th.
It begins Sunday evening and continues through Monday afternoon.

But the world doesn’t operate on the Biblical Calendar. We use the Gregorian Calendar, which creates a rather significant problem.

You may have noticed last month that Passover occurred at the end of April, but Easter didn’t arrive until early in May, a week later. If we Google, “when is Pentecost 2021”, Google will check the Gregorian Calendar and tell us Pentecost is coming up on May 23rd. That’s confusing.

Leviticus 23 –
The Lord’s Passover
begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month…

Bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord…
on the day after the Sabbath…[This is the Feast of Firstfruits]
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord…”
[This is called Shavuot / Feast of Weeks / Pentecost]

If we count 50 days from the day after Passover (Passover began on Saturday – the evening of March 27th this year – so the counting on the Jewish Calendar began on the next evening [Sunday – Now that’s NOT how the Torah said to count the omer] so then Monday the 29th was the first full day of the Omer). Fifty days from the 29th brings you to this Sunday night, May 16th. Unfortunately, the Gregorian Calendar also refuses to count the omer according to the Torah when they determined that next Sunday May 23rd is Pentecost.

Is that really a big deal? Yes!
All Feast Days occur on specific days which God set apart long ago, and so they are to be treated like Sabbaths
. They are special, and God says that honoring them

“Is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.”

So, we can certainly add extra days to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit whenever we want, but we can’t disregard God’s appointed times without missing something that He has set aside for us to receive.

Let’s talk about Calendars. I’ll show you why Passover matters, all the days of counting the Omer matter, and why even the date we celebrate Pentecost matters so much.

Genesis 1:14, “And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.”

From the 4th day of creation God gave us a Biblical Calendar based on the moon, with appointed times, which are like road signs, that are based on the cycles of the moon. These appointed times are Festivals which remember great moves of God or significant events.

The Biblical Calendar began at Creation (on day 6) in the month of Tishrei (Sep/Oct). The Exodus from Egypt was about 2,500 years after creation, when God changed the calendar so that the first month would focus on Passover, rather than creation. So, Nissan became the first month, and Passover occurred on the 14th Day.

Julius & Gregory

After 4,000 year of a Lunar based calendar, the Romans created a new calendar that was Solar. There is a big difference between measuring time by the sun and measuring it by the moon.

By 130 AD, the church was centered in Rome, where there was great animosity toward the Jews,
and they had no desire for their holidays to coincide with Jewish Feast Days.

But they still needed specific days to officially remember the death and resurrection of Jesus and Pentecost.

Since Jesus rose on a Sunday, the Empire set aside the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox as Resurrection Day or Easter,
with Pentecost following 50 days later, as determined by Solar Dating, not the Biblical Lunar system.

By 197 A.D., the Bishop of Rome insisted that all churches celebrate Easter rather than Passover.
Then at the Council of Nicea, (325 A.D.) Constantine, as Emperor of Rome, established his infamous ‘Easter Edict,’ which made observing any Jewish tradition a heresy punishable by persecution and death.”

The Julian Calendar became the official calendar of the Christian churches of the Roman Empire. In the 1,500’s the Gregorian Calendar, another solar one, became the standard.

So, “the Pentecost” that is marked on our calendars is counting 50 days from Easter.
Both Passover and the true Pentecost is nowhere to be found.

Does it matter to God? Should it matter to us? Yes to both questions.

If we ignore Passover, the Counting of the Omer, and neglect the real Pentecost, we are missing something very significant that God has set aside for us.

And we don’t want to be like Adam and Eve who missed out on their normal walk with Jesus in the cool of the day because they were deep into a dangerous distraction.

The 3rd Calendar – Talmud Time

Leviticus 23, “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord…”

From the time of Moses till the resurrection of Jesus the priests who maintained the Temple (known as Sadducees) determined that Shabbat in this passage is a proper noun referring to the weekly Shabbat on Friday/Saturday.

So, Firstfruits and the Omer Count always began on the first Sunday following the first Friday/Saturday Shabbat of Passover.

In 30 AD, Jesus was crucified on the afternoon of Nissan 14 (which was a Thursday).
His resurrection occurred three day later on Nissan 17 (which was early on Sunday morning following the weekly Shabbat).

Sometime after the resurrection of Jesus, but before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the Sages and rabbis who compiled the Talmud changed the way these dates were decided.

Since God declared that all Feast days were to be considered holy days or Shabbats, they determined that “shabbat” in Leviticus 23 referred to Nissan 14, the Feast Day of Passover.

Which meant that Firstfruits and the Omer Count would no longer wait until the weekly Sabbath to end. Instead, it would begin on the first day of Unleavened Bread (the evening of Nissan 15).

As a result, Shavuot/Pentecost now always falls 50 days from Nissan 15 on Sivan 6, and most Jewish people today see no connection whatever between the Feasts and the Jesus.

Ironically, this year the date of Pentecost on the Gregorian Calendar is Biblically correct because Pesach/Passover fell on a Saturday night in March, so the Omer Count rightly started one week later. It’s purely by accident that they chose the correct date since they intentionally uses a solar counting method.

 

3. How Do You Celebrate Pentecost / Feast of Weeks?

We have talked War and Calendars – Let’s talk Farming and Counting!

Passover is one month behind us and Pentecost is set to arrive this Sunday evening May 16th and will continue through Monday evening May 17th.

We are between those two harvesting seasons right now, in a period called:
Sefirat HaOmer (sif-a-ret haw-omer) – the Counting of the Omer.

Spiritually speaking, when you are counting days or weeks, you are counting “to” something,
and that “something” you are arriving at is a promise.

An omer is a measure of grain (a sheaf). There were two primary grains grown in Israel –
barley and wheat. The barley ripened first and was harvested at the Feast of Pesach or Passover (that was last month).

The wheat took a bit longer to ripen, so they were commanded to count 7 weeks after Passover before harvesting the wheat.
The Feast for the wheat harvest was called Shavuot
(Hebrew for “weeks”, since they had to count the omer for 7 weeks). In Greek the feast is called Pentecost – “pente” is the Greek word for 50.

Is there more to this then a harvest festival? Yes, the command to “count the omer” was given at Mount Sinai after they arrived from Egypt, and that long journey was actually the true inspiration.

The Counting of the Omer remembers the 50 days between the Passover in Egypt and the giving of the Word of God on stone tablets at Mount Sinai 3,500 years ago.

But there’s still more. Jesus was the true Passover Lamb 2,000 years ago and after his crucifixion and resurrection, He walked the roads of Israel for the first 40 Days of the Omer. The next 10 days the apostles were on their own counting.

They surely didn’t realize what was coming, but they were representing the “church era” on the earth which we are still in. On day 50 Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit and birthed the church.

Just as tablets of stone were turned into the very Words and Laws of God at Sinai, so were hearts of stone turned to hearts of flesh as the Holy Spirit came upon them in Jerusalem. There is always more to the story.

At Pentecost, nothing from that year’s wheat harvest could be eaten until after the wave offering was made. Why? God established these festivals as times of Divine renewal or newness – what was forbidden becomes permissible.

When Jesus came out of the grave, He presented to His Father the wave offering of all the souls who had been locked away in Hades. He opened the door into eternity with God for all mankind who had been trapped in sin and death. We who were forbidden to approach God became acceptable and part of the Divine harvest.

When He poured out the Holy Spirit, He enabled us to go from redeemed to empowered, from indwelt to overflowing. He is always taking us from glory to glory. We are not done when we are saved, and we are not done when we are empowered. There was no salvation or infilling of the Holy Spirit without the cross. There is no power apart from the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It’s so easy to doubt that God will intervene for us, but it’s why are we to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”. It’s not about what you had, or have, or will have. He is among us and wants to sustain us – from our breath – to the beating of our heart – and every single aspect of life.

The clothes and shoes of the Israelites didn’t wear out in the 40 years of wandering the desert; bread appeared in the mornings, and water came out of a rock for them to drink their fill. He has said, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Every Promise Has Been Fulfilled

Joshua 23:14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”

For almost all the Two Million slaves that came out of Egypt with Moses, only two actually got to see the promises of God fulfilled with their own eyes and walk the land two separate times 40 years apart, Joshua and Caleb.

They believed the promise despite the presence of giants but couldn’t go in then because the people lacked faith. They had to wait 40 years for a new generation to arise. As God reigned down great boulders from heaven on the heads of the giants, only Joshua and Caleb could see God’s promise come to pass.

As the apostles prayed that morning of Pentecost awaiting what Jesus promised, they didn’t know quite what to expect, only to expect an outpouring of God upon them. In an instant, the Holy Spirit fire fell on them and they began speaking in languages they did not know. Joy filled them, and courage and boldness soared within them. They were empowered to be who Jesus had prepared them to be.

4. Omer Day 0 – Passover (Nissan 15) – On That Very Day

You can’t have Pentecost /Shavuot without Counting the Omer for 50 days;
and you can’t count the Omer without Passover telling you when to begin counting.

The Most Important Day In The History Of The World Is The Day We Know As Passover.

God established covenants and made promises to His servants over hundreds of years.

He made them all on the same specific day of the year. Throughout most of history (in the natural) it all looked random.

  1. About 4,000 years ago, several hundred years after Noah’s Flood, Abram was becoming a friend of God. He was sad because he was pushing 80 and had no son to give his inheritance to, only his servant Eliezer.

So, he told God, who then promised him, “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” [God made a covenant with him.]

“Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.

But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age…

In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here. To your descendants I give this land…” Genesis 15:4-18

Question, what biblical day in history was it (meaning we celebrate it every year),
when Abram had that conversation?

“The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord [all the Lord’s divisions /all the armies of the LORD] went out from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:41-42

That verse is God describing the very first Passover. But it had been Passover for 430 years on God’s Calendar. The specific day that God made the covenant with Abram at Hebron, was set aside by God as holy.

So, God kept his promise to Abram 430 years later in Egypt, to the very day.

  1. Five years later, his nephew Lot had just been taken captive by the four kings who conquered the “five cities of the plain”. Abraham and his servants chased them all the way into Syria and defeated them.
    What date in history? The same as the day of the covenant – Passover.

  2. Fourteen years pass, and God visits him (in the form of three angels). Sarah makes unleavened bread for them to eat. God tells him he will have a son in one year, and then negotiates with him about destroying Sodom.)What date in history? The same as the day of the covenant – Passover.

  3. One year passes and Isaac is born. What date in history?
    The same as the day of the covenant – Passover.

  4. Fast forward 157 years and we meet Jacob returning home after 20 years. He wrestles with God (in the form of an angel) and He is blessed and renamed Israel. It’s nighttime. As the sun comes up and the day fully comes, Israel meets Esau and they reunite and forgive. What date in history? The same as the day of the covenant – Passover.
  1. 242 years later, exactly one year before the Exodus, Moses meets God at the Burning Bush.
    What date in history? The same as the day of the covenant – Passover.
    (Some sages argue that this occurred on Firstfruits/Resurrection Day).

  2. 1 year later, at midnight, the last of the 10 plagues falls on Egypt as the first born are slain in any location without the blood of a lamb sprinkled on the doorposts.

Inside the homes with blood, they are eaten a sacrifice for the first time. Several million Israelites leave Egypt after plundering it for its wealth. What date in history? The same as the day of the covenant – Passover.

  1. 941 years later in Persia, the prophet Daniel was cast into a den of hungry lions by Darious I.
    He was unscathed. What date in history? The same as the day of the covenant – Passover.

  2. 7 years later and also in Persia, Queen Vashti is executed by King Ah-hash-ver-ous, paving the way for a new queen.
    What date in history? The same as the day of the covenant – Passover. It’s also the Sabbath.

    After searching the kingdom for the next four years,
    a Jewish girl named Hadassah, using her Persian name Esther, wins the heart of the king and becomes the next queen of Persia, saves her people from utter destruction from the evil Haman, and becomes the mother of Darius II, who would carry her bloodline, and later help rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
  3. 369 years later in Jerusalem, Yeshua Jesus, the true Passover Lamb, is crucified on Calvary, fulfilling a promise made to Abram nearly 2,000 years before.
    On what date in history? The same as the day of the covenant – Passover.

***We can enjoy Easter and Christmas and all the other special days on our calendar,
but God has been keeping a calendar of His promises for 6,000 years and He is keeping them according to that calendar. But there’s More.

5. He Was The Omer

Clearly Passover is a crucial date throughout history. But what about the other 50 days in the omer?
Are these days more special than others in the year? Yes! Because it’s not just about Moses or Israel. Day 0 is Passover, which means:

Pre-Omer
Jesus died on the afternoon of Nissan 14 and was placed in the grave before twilight of Nissan 15 when the Passover meals begin.

Jesus was in the grave / in Hades preaching to the dead. 

Omer Day 1 is Nissan 16

 Jesus was in the grave for the 2nd night / in Hades preaching to the dead. 

And there’s more…in history it was the day:

Israel is Ordered Out of Egypt
They are told to take their flocks of animals and possessions with them.
Israel plundered livestock, food, and possessions from the Egyptians on their way out.

Israel Made First Camp of Exodus at Succoth

Sodom was Overturned
The wicked cities of the Sodom valley, were destroyed in punishment of their sins.

The Manna Stopped
Six days after entering the Promised Land, the remaining supply of the “bread from heaven,”
which had sustained them for 40 years, ran out.

Queen Esther Appeared Before King Ah-hash-ve-rosh unsummoned on the 3rd day of her fast.
She held the first of two dinners for the king and the wicked Haman that night.

Levi was Born
He was the forefather of the Levites and Priests who served in the Tabernacle and Temple.

Omer Day 2 – Nissan 17

Jesus was in the grave for the 3rd and final night / in Hades preaching to the dead. 

The Resurrection of Jesus Just Before Sunrise
With all of the saints who died before Him, that he just preached to.

First Fruits Wave Offering Occurs

Noah’s Ark came to rest on Ararat (2457 BC)
The Flood waters begin to recede, and Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat on this day.

Israel leaves Succoth and spend their First official Day out of Egypt

The Commander of the Lord’s Army Instructs Joshua at Jericho
This is the Pre-incarnate Jesus

Haman was Hanged (357 BCE)
The second meal with Esther and the King did not go well.

Omer Day 3 – Nissan 18

Pharaoh mobilized his army and pursued the Israelites, to bring them back to Egypt.
We know how that will go…

Jesus is now alive and walking the earth again for the days of the Omer.
He appears to the apostles and breathes on them to receive His Spirit.

You see…We are just counting the omer.
We are remembering what God has done for us. There is a lot of value in these memories.

Think about this: For most of His 33 years on earth Jesus counted all 50 days of the Omer, with His family and friends. But on the 33rd year, He was the Omer. 

We know most of the apostles were scared and hiding after Jesus was arrested. But surely some of His followers remembered that He said that He would rise again after 3 days.

Maybe they were counting the omer in faith, each night: Barukh ata   Adonai   Eloheinu   Melekh   ha’Olam   asher kid’shanu   b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu  al sif-a-ret haw-omer.

Blessed are you, Adonai, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments
and commanded us to count the omer.

And the follower would say, “today is day one of the Omer.” He is 1 day in the grave…
And somewhere in Hades Jesus scratched a mark on the wall…1 day

And the next day the follower would say, “today is day two of the Omer.”
He is 2 days in the grave…
And somewhere in Hades Jesus scratched a mark on the wall…2 days

And the next day the follower would say, today is day three of the Omer.”
He has been 3 days in the grave…It’s time

And somewhere in Hades Jesus scratched a mark on the wall…3 days

Jesus wasn’t counting anymore. He was the Omer.  And those who walked out of the grave with Him were the Omer. 

Romans 6:3 tells us, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that,
just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

John 1:12, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.“

So, we are now the Omer that we’re counting. Somewhere tonight there is a Jewish man or woman counting the omer, and they don’t realize they ae actually counting you – a sheaf risen with Christ.

6. He Walked With Them After Rising

 Think about it this way

The first 40 days of the omer are the same days that Jesus walked the earth after His resurrection. And day 40 is when He ascended into heaven. At the same place He will return. And the same place the scapegoat disappeared with the sins of the nation on the Day of Atonement.

When the Jews count the Omer for Day 40, nothing significant happens. There’s no significant historical tie-in. Which begs the question, why did Jesus ascend on that day? The question is kind of answered if you read the story.

Jesus walks them up the Mount of Olives and says “Bye, it’s time for me to go and almost time for you to go into all the world”. And He disappears. But they just keep standing there.

Jesus has to send angels back to say, “The movie’s over. He’s done here. It’s you now. You’re the Omer. Day 41 is you. Go and pray and get ready for day 50. You’re gonna do greater works because He has gone. Peter, Be the Omer.”

And on Day 50 the church was birthed. You were birthed.
Counting the Omer was never about barley or wheat. It was always about you.

On Day 35 of Counting The Omer they finally Journeyed From God’s Mountain
Nearly a year after the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, the Children of Israel departed their encampment near the Mountain.

The pillar of cloud rose for the first time from over the Tabernacle,
to signal the resuming of their travels.

The journey to near the Promised Land took just 40 days.
They arrived and Moses sent 12 spies out on Sivan 29.

40 days later, during on the 9th Av, the Spies Returned With a Bad Report

Israel would wander and die in the desert for the next 40 years, until their children crossed the Jordan and defeated the giants that had terrified their parent’s generation.

What is the Lesson we should gain from Counting the Omer?

I believe the Exodus journey is the very roadmap for a life of faith. Nearly every lesson you need is part of their journey, over and over. I think the ultimate lesson is Waiting. Waiting isn’t wasting time. We have an important relationship to time.

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because
the days are evil
.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

Why are we to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread?”
What if you’re on salary and get a check every other week – should you pray a different prayer? Nope.

The Israelites were shepherds and had great herds of animals. They would have had to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of Pesach lambs for the first Passover in Egypt. Yet, over and over they are murmuring from hunger on their travels through the desert.

On day 38 they whine that their flocks will die without water, till God gives them Water from a Rock at Rephidim. So, why didn’t they eat their flocks and herds and continue making bread from the grain they brought?

Our “daily bread” (from that prayer) was literally the manna that fell on Day 30 after leaving Egypt. They weren’t without flocks. They still had flocks after wandering for 40 years in the desert.

Habakkuk 2:3-4
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.”

“Wait for it though it linger…” Being full of faith, while you wait, is part of being upright.

7. Wait For it Though it Linger

Why was it wrong to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?
Obviously it was sin and led to death, but what else did it cause?

Because there would be no end to that pursuit. They condemned themselves to solve their own problems.
When we seek knowledge instead of truth and life, we are dead men walking.

It was the same way for the Israelites in the desert, their flocks would never had lasted or satisfied them. It was always God’s plan to be their Jireh – their provider. Jesus was the manna. The manna was not what Jesus could or would do for them.

But Moses said, “Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?

The Lord answered Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.” Numbers 20

We are never satisfied with what we have. We are forever on the wrong pilgrimage. We think the end is the goal. But the blessed man is the man on pilgrimage (not just when he arrives).

The Pilgrimage road was the path from the pool of Siloam to the temple. You cleansed yourself in the pool. Then took your sacrifice to be burned. The journey was about the sacrifice that would bring restoration of relationship and intimacy.

We hate to wait! Counting the Omer was and is all about waiting.

What was the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost?

In the desert it was lots of sacrifices, giving your firstfruits, waiting to eat from your harvest
till you could fully give thanks to God.

What was it in the end? Waiting and then…Receivingthe Holy Spirit!
To receive power, unity, and purpose.

Every day of our lives is retracing the days from the Firstfruits of the barley harvest (Passover)
to the firstfruits of the wheat harvest (Pentecost).

He takes us from Resurrection, to receiving, to outpouring so we can pour out.

Teach Us To Number Our Days

Psalm 90:8-10-17
“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”
[Keep in mind Moses wrote this at 120, at the end of a very rough life.]

v 11: “If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.” [You might rephrase this: If only we knew you well enough to recognize when we were troubling you, so you didn’t need to punish us.]

v 12,17: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom). May the favor (beauty) of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.”

We all need to remind ourselves that the number of our days is limited.
The Hebrew word used here for number, “manah”, also means to appoint or ordain.

So, we should be asking God to help us appoint our days with vision, ordain our days with meaning,
consecrate our days as few and precious, and set apart our days for His purposes.

Unless we consider the potential significance of our days, they will fly by until life itself has flown by us without us gaining or applying the meaning or wisdom that God had made available to us.

These verses are part of The Prayer of Moses. Essentially, he is asking God to keep eternity in our focus daily,
so we aren’t consumed by His judgment forever.

A Priest Without Oil & A Mountain Without Dew

Psalm 133 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”

What is a priest without oil? He is unfit to enter the presence of God and minister.
What are the mountains without the dew? They are dry and barren.

Being in unity and one accord, precedes every moving of God in the church in scripture.


8.
The Counting of the Omer

In the Old Testament – It Was a Countdown to a Wedding that never occurred.
Leaving Egypt as free men, Israel is on what will be a 50-day journey to the Mountain of God

where every one of them hear God’s voice and receive His Law on stone tablets.

From everything we see, I don’t believe that this was the original plan of God. It was to be like Adam and Eve.
That encounter at the mountain was to be the wedding between God and His people. They just weren’t receptive.

They couldn’t imagine that God loved them and was for them. They could not believe that they could become one with God. They could only see a great God and a bunch of slaves.

So, every year we are commanded to count 50-days (day by day) from Passover to Pentecost. Counting the Omer.

After the resurrection of Jesus, we finally got to see a part of the wedding – when Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles and the new church, as a deposit of what was to come in eternity.

Hearts of stone were turned to hearts of flesh. And we realize that God wants to be even closer to us, so He fills us with the Holy Spirit. The Letter of the Law on stone had killed 3,000 at Sinai and the Spirit gave new life to 3,000 in Jerusalem. While Moses was forced to hide the glory behind a veil, Jesus tore down the veil and made the glory visible to all.

But the short version of the story starts in the Garden on Day 6 when everything was good, but it wasn’t good that Adam should be alone, so we encounter the first marriage – of Adam and Eve. They were created to be so close that she isn’t even given a name. If you cheat and skip ahead to the end of the story in Revelation, you will find another wedding, between the church and Jesus. And again, she has no name – just the Bride.

In the New Testament – Counting the Omer was a countdown to be a Partaker in the Divine.
Counting the Omer was always a countdown to something.

Nothing from the year’s barley or wheat harvest could be eaten until after the wave offering was made. Why?
God established these festivals as times of Divine renewal or newness – what was forbidden becomes permissible. When Jesus came out of the grave, He presented to His Father the wave offering of all the souls who had been locked away in Hades.

He opened the door into eternity with God for all mankind who had been trapped in sin and death. We who were forbidden to approach God became acceptable and part of the Divine harvest.

When He poured out the Holy Spirit, He enabled us to go from redeemed to empowered,
from indwelt to overflowing. He is always taking us from glory to glory.

We are not done when we are saved, and we are not done when we are empowered. There is always more of Him to pour out and He wants us to live our lives counting the days till our next encounter, waiting expectedly for another promise to come, confident in faith that we will pass right through the trials of life because our hearts are set on pilgrimage.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14) He wants us to grow up in Him, not remain children forever.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit doesn’t make a different kind of Christian, He fills us with His presence, empowers us with His presence, equips us with His presence, comforts us with His presence, etc.

The original outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost is told in Acts 2. But soon, these same people, are seeking to be refilled again: “On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God…After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:23-31

It was not a one-time experience, but rather a constant refilling of the Spirit which they needed to change their world. They continually sought to be empowered to accomplish whatever task God assigned to them, so they kept getting filled – and refilled — and refilled.

The Counting of the Omer is our yearly reminder that there is an endless supply of “more” for those who keep asking, seeking, and knocking.

“But if from there you will seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. Habakkuk 3:2

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7

9. Count the 50-Day Omer (Part 1)

We have looked intently at Passover and the first 3 Days of the Omer through Nissan 18.
Let’s check out a few highlights of the rest of the 50 Days.

Omer Day 5 – Nissan 20

Pharaoh cornered the Israelites at the Red Sea

Omer Day 6 – Nissan 21

At Evening Time, The Red Sea Parted
All that night, a pillar of fire stood between the Egyptians and the Israelites. When the Egyptians followed, the waters returned and utterly overwhelmed the army. This led to the drowning of the Egyptians.

Moses Departed Midian (One Year before the Exodus)
He would demand that the Pharaoh let God’s people go.

Omer Day 7 – Nissan 22

Isaac was Circumcised
Eight days following his birth on the 15th of Nissan, Isaac was circumcised, becoming the very first child to enter the covenant of circumcision.

Joshua and Israel Encircled Jericho
The Israelites marched around the city walls, led by the priests who carried the Ark, and sounded the shofar. This was repeated for seven days, until the walls of the city collapsed.

Omer Day 8 – Nissan 23

The Walls of Jericho Fall on Seventh Day of battle

Omer Day 11 – Nissan 26

The Death of Joshua
He died at the age of 110, in the 28th year of his leadership. He was buried in Mount Ephraim.

On Omer Day 16 – The month of Iyar begins – Iyar 1

The Waters of Marah Made Sweet
God declares, “I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Omer Day 18 – Iyar 3

The Death of Adam
At 930 years in 3184 B.C.

Birth of John the Baptist
He also began his ministry at age 30 on his birthday

Omer Day 20 – Iyar 5

State of Israel was Proclaimed (1948)
The British mandate to govern the Holy Land expired on Friday, May 14, 1948.
That afternoon, the state of Israel was proclaimed in Tel Aviv.
Four neighboring Arab countries declared war but were soundly and quickly defeated.
The date of Iyar 5 is celebrated as the Israeli “Independence Day.”

Omer Day 23 – Iyar 8

Jesus Cleanses the Temple for the first time
He returned 3 years later before crucifixion

Omer Day 29 – Iyar 14

Second Passover (1312 BCE)
A year after the Exodus, “There were, certain persons who had become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, and could not, prepare the Passover offering on Nissan 14.

They approached Moses and Aaron and God established the 14th of Iyar as a “second Passover” (Pesach Sheini) for anyone who was unable to bring the offering on its appointed time.

The day represents the “second chance” achieved by teshuvah (the power of repentance and return).

Enoch taken into heaven without dying
Enoch was 365 years old when God took him alive into heaven without dying (3127B.C.).

Omer Day 31 – Iyar 16

God Promises Meat and Bread From Heaven
It’s one month after the Exodus began. Food supplies are almost depleted, and the people begin to complain.

Omer Day 32 – Iyar 17

Quails Came Up and Covered the Camp & it is the First Day of the “Bread From Heaven”

Omer Day 35 – Iyar 20

Journey From Sinai
Nearly a year after the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, the Children of Israel finally depart from their encampment near the Mountain.
The pillar of cloud rose for the first time from over the Tabernacle, to signal them to move.

The journey to the Promised Land should have taken just 40 days, but because of the bad report brough by the 10 spies, they would wander and die in the desert for the next 40 years,
until their children crossed the Jordan and defeated the giants that terrified their parent’s generation.

Omer Day 38 – Iyar 23

Water from a Rock at Rephidim
The Children of Israel arrived at Rephidim, 38 days after their Exodus from Egypt.
Rephidim was a desert land and waterless, the people grumbled that they and their flocks were in danger of dying of thirst. God commanded Moses to take the elders of the people to a rock which he was to strike with his staff. Moses struck the rock and from the dry stone, a well sprang forth.

10. Counting the 50-day Omer (Part 2)

Omer Day 39 – Iyar 24

In Modern Times – Germany Surrendered (1945)
In Rheims, France, the Chief-of-Staff of the German Armed Forces High Command signed the unconditional surrender documents for all German forces to the Allies, thus marking the official end of World War II in Europe, following a fierce seven days of battles and truces across Europe.

Omer Day 43 – Iyar 28 Flag Day

Jerusalem Liberated (1967)
This was the day the 6-Day War began in 1967 when Egypt, Syria, and Jordan simultaneously attacked Israel and were soundly defeated in only 6 days as Israel seized the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Hebron, from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.

The day is marked in Israel as “Jerusalem Day.” The Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were both liberated.

Omer Day 44 – Iyar 29

Hebron Liberated (1967)
One day after Israeli forces liberated Eastern Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, another holy city, Hebron (where God made His covenant with Abraham), was liberated.

Omer Day 45 – Sivan 1

Flood Waters Recede
150 days after the rains stopped falling in the Great Flood, the waters which covered the face of the earth began to subside (one cubit every four days)

Encampment at Sinai
Six weeks after their Exodus from Egypt, the Children of Israel arrived at Mount Sinai and camped at the foot of the mountain “as one man, with one heart” in preparation for meeting with God.

On this day, however “Moses did not say anything to them, because of their exhaustion from the journey.”

Korach Swallowed
Korach, who led a rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron, was killed when, at the request of Moses, “the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households” (Numbers 16).

Omer Day 46 – Sivan 2

Called the Chosen People
It’s called the Day of Distinction. Moses ascended Mount Sinai for the first time and God told him to tell the people of Israel: “You shall be My chosen treasure from among all the nations, for all the earth is Mine. You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:4-6).

Israel Captured Golan Heights (1967)
Until the Six-Day War, the Syrian army was deployed in strong fortifications on the Golan Heights, and repeatedly shelled Israeli settlements below.

On the fifth day of the war, the Israeli Army broke through the Syrian front, scaled the steep rugged heights, and after more than 24 hours of heavy fighting, the Syrian deployment collapsed and the Syrian forces fled in retreat.

Omer Day 47 – Sivan 3

Israel Prepare to Receive Torah
God instructed Moses to “set boundaries for the people around, saying, ‘Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge…'” (Exodus 19:10-12) in preparation for the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai three days later.

To this day, they mark the “Three Days of Hagbalah (‘Boundaries’)” leading to the Giving of the Torah on Sivan 6.

Omer Day 48 – Sivan 4

Moses Transcribed the first part of the Torah
Moses wrote down the first 68 chapters of the Torah, from Genesis 1:1 (“In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth”), to the Giving of the Torah in Exodus 19 (Exodus 24:4).

The Angel of the Lord Appeared to Gideon
Gideon begins 40 years as a Judge of Israel

Omer Day 49 – Sivan 5

Israel Accepted the Torah
Moses made a covenant with the people at the foot of Mount Sinai at which they declared,
“All that God has spoken, we shall do and hear” (Exodus 24:7)

Omer Day 50 – Sivan 6

At the first Pentecost, the Torah Was Given
Seven weeks after the Exodus, God revealed Himself on Mount Sinai.

The entire people of Israel (600,000 heads of households and their families),
as well as the souls of all future generations of Jews, heard God declare the first two of the Ten Commandments and witnessed God’s communication of the other eight through Moses.

Moses then ascended the mountain for 40 days, to receive the remainder of the Torah.

And it’s worth noting, at Pentecost we also remember the Passing of King David (age 70)
David, from the line of Judah, was anointed King of Israel by Samuel in 878 BCE. All legitimate kings of Israel were David’s descendants, as is Yeshua Jesus the Messiah.

Counting the Omer is different for everyone and different each time you do it.
Let God shine a light on your heart, your hidden places, and your empty spaces.

You are the Omer, and you are in the omer. In the waiting and seeking, you will call yourself forth and hopefully call some others into the Kingdom.

If you are steady, eventually your counting will end, and you will arrive at Pentecost and His promises


11.
Offerings

In the annual Pentecost Festival, they were commanded to make more sacrifices then at any other festival.

There are 4 offerings or sacrifices – Sacrifices are taking the place of you dying – they are the ultimate judgment – Look for the contrast (it’s life or death – Jesus or destruction)

The Burnt Offering
it’s all burned – the life and death of Jesus perfectly accomplished the will of God.

The Meal Offering
of leavened bread that’s waved – flour, frankincense, oil, salt – At Passover the bread was unleavened because leaven represented sin. But Jesus was holy and made us holy – or unleavened. So we Count the Omer – live life. Then we arrive at Pentecost – where the bread is now leavened – it has leaven. But the leaven represents the Holy Spirit now – not sin.

At Passover, Jesus became sin for us and took our punishment. At Pentecost we are holy from the blood of Jesus
we are made from the finest flour
so we can receive the Holy Spirit – the Power to Live.

Leavened Bread represents an unblemished life, this leaven is the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Who convicts us and continually leads us to repentance – but we are leavened – we are overcoming sin daily.

“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:33-35

The Sin Offering – for the remission of sin – First comes salvation then the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:36-39

The Fellowship or Peace Offering – He became our peace or substitute

Pentecost was when the words of the Holy Spirit poured out of the mouth of His church,
the fruit of their lips was praise and the gospel which led to revival.

In Acts 2, Peter showed no fear – no hiding – no denying – no going fishing
It’s about the harvest – you will chose fear or faith –
That’s why the spirit of fear is here and taking as many prisoners as possible.

The focus of Pentecost is on wheat, but they brought the first fruits all their crops.
There were 7 common crops at Pentecost (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates). There are 7 Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit.

“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 23:22

Pentecost is the day the Holy Spirit came upon the believers gathered together.
What happens when the Holy Spirit comes into your life? You manifest the Fruit of the Spirit.

The Feast of Weeks is fulfilled in the empowering of the Church to bring the harvest of the Gospel and the end time harvest by Jesus.

“I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand…the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.” Revelation 20:14-16


12.
What He Begins…

Leviticus 23
“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times:

  • The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month…
  • On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins…
  • When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God…
  • “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord…”

Passover was the crucifixion – on a Thursday. The Friday night to Saturday night Sabbath comes next. So, the day after the Sabbath (when you start counting to 50) was Resurrection Day. Jesus comes out of the tomb and into us. 50 days later the Holy Spirit comes out of heaven and into us.

John 20:19-23 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, Jesus 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. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

This can be a little confusing because of how He says two things. It’s really only confusing in English, not in Hebrew. It’s the Perfect tense concept. Jesus is beginning something that will actually happen later.

Receive the Holy Spirit

This was not the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this was salvation, the receiving of Christ.
They had followed Him and put their faith in him but could not receive Him until He rose.
Same perfect tense concept. Were they saved for the last three years? Yes, but not yet.

  • “But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness.”—Romans 8:10
  • “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”—Galatians 2:20
  • “My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you.”—Galatians 4:19
  • “That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith.”—Ephesians 3:17

I am sending you

He told them to wait until they received the Holy Spirit before they went anywhere. (tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high). Again, this is the first day of the 50 days, not the baptism, this is receiving Christ This all happens on the evening of Resurrection day – Day 1 of counting to 50

The whole 50 days counting to Pentecost is all about Jesus showing that He is Faithful.
What He Begins He Finishes.
That’s how we think of it using the English language.

In Hebrew you would think of it like this: What He Does, He Does

Day 1 Jesus Rises to Life Again
We count 7 weeks – Seven is the number of completeness and perfection

If Week 1 was about resurrection power
Week 2 is twice as powerful
Week 3 doubles that power, etc

Something powerful is coming. It’s not just about Jesus having more power, He already had all power. He’s getting ready to give us power. We are His body on the earth – greater things will we do. How much greater – 7 times greater.

John 14 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing,
and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father
.


13. Voices and Fire

On the first Pentecost, signs and wonders accompanied the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. There was smoke, fire, and cloud on the mountain. The mountain trembled and the blast of a shofar sounded louder and louder. The voice of God was audibly heard by the entire nation.

According to the Midrash (a traditional Jewish interpretation of Scripture), the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai was accompanied by several wonders.

  1. Flames of fire which came to each individual at Sinai: “On the occasion of the giving of the Torah, the Children of Israel not only heard the LORD’s Voice, but actually saw the sound waves as they emerged from the LORD’s mouth. They visualized them as a fiery substance. Each commandment that left the LORD’s mouth traveled around the entire camp and then came back to every Jew individually.”
  2. The voice of God speaking in every language known to man (in Rabbinic lore, there are 70 mother languages.) It says: “And all the people witnessed the thunderings” (Exodus 20:15). So it is said that God’s voice, as it was uttered, split up into seventy voices, in seventy languages, so that all the nations should understand.

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear.” (Exodus 20:18). In Hebrew, the “thunder and lightning” in this passage literally reads “voices and (torches or fires or lights).”

Voices” was translated “thunders”, because voices are normally heard rather than seen, and “torches” was translated “lightnings” to perhaps match logically.

The word “voices” is plural. What the people heard was one God, but many voices or languages. This means that everyone heard the Torah in a way that they could understand it in the language that they spoke, even though they were a “mixed multitude” (Exodus 12:38).

In Acts 2:1-4, we have: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. (a large fire of some sort came down from heaven and then divided and covered each one of them) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” You have voices and torches again.

Acts 2:5-8 “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?”

The Bible says the people heard in their language, but it doesn’t say they spoke in that language.
Just like at Sinai, everyone heard in their own language as God spoke.

The disciples and followers of Jesus were all aware of the giving of the Torah at Shavuot. They knew the story of the “words of fire” resting on each individual at Shavuot. They knew the story of God’s voice speaking to all mankind in every language at Shavuot.

Therefore, the miracles and signs and wonders they experienced in Acts chapter two, carried deep significance and prophetic fulfillment. The tongues of fire and the speaking in every tongue were both direct allusions to the Mount Sinai experience and to the receiving of the Torah.

Was the Baptism of the Holy Spirit an event in history – Yes
Has it continued to happen even to our current day – Yes
Is it a one-time occurrence or a constant refilling – More is always available

In a very practical sense, we countdown the 50 days to Pentecost because 2,000 years ago was not a one-time experience for the disciples, but rather the first experience of a constant refilling of the Spirit.

As we arrive at Pentecost let’s seek together to encounter the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for those who never have and ask for even more of the wonderful manifest presence of Jesus for those who have encountered the Baptism but are still longing for more of His touch.

If your particular church upbringing has left you confused or even hesitant about the possibilities of such encounters and experiences in our day, listen to Jesus describe what the average Christian life would look like just before He ascended:

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents [that’s not an invitation or encouragement to handle snakes by the way]; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them [likewise, that’s not an invitation or encouragement to handle to drink poison]; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18


14. Necessary

Earlier in Mark 16 we can see why they needed a significant encounter. When the women first came to the tomb after the resurrection and encountered an angel, “they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

Then when Mary Magdalene finally gained the courage to tell the apostles, “they did not believe.” When the two disciples who walked with Jesus on the road shared their story, “they did not believe them either…Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”

Obviously, Jesus doesn’t want any of us to repeat the mistakes of the apostles or fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 28 “Whom will He teach knowledge? And whom will He make to understand the message…For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, to whom He said, “This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest,” and, “This is the refreshing”; yet they would not hear.”

Forty-one years ago, on the second Friday of August in 1980, when I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, I was utterly shocked that other languages which I didn’t understand or speak were suddenly pouring out of my mouth.

A moment before I had been standing in a field worshipping in the only language I have ever spoken, English. I had never heard anyone speak in tongues before or heard anyone teach on it.
The Holy Spirit massively changed my life in much the same way Jesus had the year before when I gave my life to Him.

Catch The Wind

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

The Hebrew word for wind or breath is ruach. It’s also the word for Spirit. Obviously, we can’t dictate the moving of the wind or the Spirit. Thankfully, we don’t have to catch the wind to be filled with the Spirit. I have known many people who have earnestly sought the Baptism of the Holy Spirit but still haven’t received.

Some went away bitter, some went away offended, some stopped seeking and plunged into denial declaring that they had received the Baptism when they were saved and no tongues were required. Sadly, I also know of teachers who claimed to be filled with the Spirit and intentionally deceived other seekers into mumbling repetitious phrases and declared it a move of the Spirit.

Striving in the flesh for a move of God is agonizing. So is screaming at the wind to blow where we want it to blow. Micah 6:8 tells us, “He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

We need to be like a windmill, which is designed to be propelled by the wind, no matter which direction it’s blowing in order to generate power. If we want to be filled, then we need to be sensitive to which way He is blowing, and then we will not only be filled, but empowered by the Holy Spirit to do His will.

“You make your messengers into winds of The Spirit and all Your ministers become flames of fire.” Psalm 104:4

“Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’

I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:5-13


15. Gifts of the Father, Son, and Spirit

When Peter began preaching after the Holy Spirit fell on them in the temple grounds, he spoke of King David, whose tomb was right beneath them. Peter quotes David saying, “I saw the Lord always before me, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my TONGUE rejoices; my body also will live in hope.” Peter was pointing out that this gift of tongues was a fulfillment of what King David saw prophetically. And he adds, “The Lord said to My Lord [The Father said to the Son], sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool to your feet.” Peter was saying that the purpose of the infilling and empowering was happening to cause all the Sons’ enemies to be subjugated.

The Holy Spirit Baptism can occur any time after Jesus comes to dwell in our heart. He doesn’t get buried in our hearts; He plants Himself in order to bear fruit.
We literally become a tree that bears spiritual fruit. All we have to do is ask and receive. Sometimes that includes asking until we receive.

The nine fruits listed in Galatians 5 all come as the result of “life” on a tree which requires us to grow. Controlling the tongue is not easy; our unruly tongues require revival. Faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, longsuffering, love, peace, and self-control are all expressed many ways, but never so beautiful as with the tongue. Proverbs 18 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Still, there’s more to the Spirit than tongues or what and how we speak. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us, “there are many spiritual gifts including: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, different kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.”

The Spirit distributes them individually as He wills. Why does He give them? These nine gifts require us to minister to others in order to use them. They are not for keeping or storing up, but rather for using and giving away. And Deuteronomy 30 reminds us, “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.”

Acts 1:4-8 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

  • There has been more conflict throughout church history on this one subject then probably every other issue combined because it is not intellectual and can’t be understood or argued or controlled by man. It requires faith and obedience.
  • The experience was different for me, then it was for Kelly, and then it was for Corrie.
  • Wait for the promise – no matter how long it takes –
  • No matter what others experience, don’t assume God will do things the same way with you.
  • Worship Him constantly – ask to be filled
  • When opportunities arise for the laying on of hands – have faith and see what happens.
  • Don’t stop till you are full.

No Tongues But Other Gifts

Can you be baptized in the Holy Spirit and power without speaking in tongues?
If you don’t speak in tongues, but obviously have gifts and anointing then they are coming from God, but not from what is known as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Gifts of the Father
Romans 12:4-8 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Gifts of the Son
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Gifts of the Holy Spirit
1 Corinthians 12:7-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Passover is behind us, Counting the Omer and Pentecost are almost behind us, but the Summer Months Are Filled Significant Dates and Sad Memories

4th month: Tammuz

The 1st of Tammuz is the day Moses struck a rock in anger while seeking water for the people.

The 17th of Tammuz is a fast day to commemorate when Moses broke the tablets when he saw the people worshipping the Golden Calf.

Moses had ascended Mount Sinai on Shavuot and remained there for forty days.
Aaron made the Golden Calf on the afternoon of the 16th of Tammuz and Moses descended the next day (the 17th) and smashed the tablets when he saw them violating the laws he had just received from God.

The Levites rose up and killed 3,000 people who rebelled – they are then set apart as the Priesthood

5th Month: Av

The 9th of Av the Spies Returned With a Bad Report

Let’s Be About Unity

Psalm 133 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”

What is a priest without oil? He is unfit to enter the presence of God and minister.
What are the mountains without the dew? They are dry and barren.

Being in unity and one accord, precedes every moving of God in the church in scripture.

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3 thoughts

  • Debora

    Ray,
    As a Messianic Jewish Believer I just want to let you know how excited I am that you are incorporating more and more “appointed biblical times” in your teachings. I want everyone to know how fulfilling it is when the two covenants are taught together!

    I do have one comment/question: In the beginning you said, “ For the Jew, Sunday is Shavuot when G-d gave the Torah to Moses at Mt. Sinai. It tends to cause a bit of ideological clashes and violence.” I have never heard of any Jewish denomination Traditional otherwise fighting about this- it is antithetical to our religion. Can you please clarify?

    Overall, I enjoyed the teaching and appreciate the work you did- thank you!

    DH
    Roswell

  • Debora

    Ray,
    As a Messianic Jewish Believer I just want to let you know how excited I am that you are incorporating more and more “appointed biblical times” in your teachings. I want everyone to know how fulfilling it is when the two covenants are taught together!

    I do have one comment/question: In the beginning you said, “ For the Jew, Sunday is Shavuot when G-d gave the Torah to Moses at Mt. Sinai. It tends to cause a bit of ideological clashes and violence.” I have never heard of any Jewish denomination Traditional otherwise fighting about this- it is antithetical to our religion. Can you please clarify?

    Overall, I enjoyed the teaching and appreciate the work you did- thank you!

    DH
    Roswell

  • Ray Haynes

    Hey Debra,

    Sorry for the long delay in replying. I just never saw your comment.

    If you read back in the beginning of that paragraph, I was comparing the two holidays of Ramadan and Shavuot. One Muslim and one Jewish, and both believe their God spoke to them on that day, but two very different messages, which causes ideological clashes and conflicts since they are celebrating at the same time and in the same space in many circumstances by two groups that approach God quite differently.
    I was not saying Shavuot or the Sabbath or Moses receiving the Torah caused any issues among the Jews themselves.
    I hope that clears up your question and so glad you are enjoying the teaching:)

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