The Promise of the Father

The Greeks called it Pentecost. In English we would understand it as the Feast of the Ingathering, and in Hebrew it is known as Shavu’ot—or the Promise of the Father. Another appointed season on God’s time clock, Shavu’ot is determined by counting seven Sabbaths from a particular day during the Pesach season.

However, there is controversy as to which day the counting should start.

Scripture says, You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering (the First Fruit offering); there shall be seven complete sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord (Leviticus 23:16).

The ancient day Sadducees took the position of starting the countdown from the first day of the week after the regular Sabbath after Pesach. The Pharisees started the countdown the day after the second day of the Passover Season—known as the Day of Unleavened Bread, a day deemed by God to be a high Sabbath. Since the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the 16th of Aviv, this special Sabbath could fall on any day of the week.

This counting of days is known as “counting the omer.” An omer is a measurement that was equivalent to one day’s portion of grain.

In this instance, counting is an exercise of reaching a certain goal. The goal represented by fifty omers of grain symbolizes the ultimate number of souls that we, the workers are bringing into the Kingdom of God. Yeshua alluded to this in the book of John:

Don’t you say, ‘There are yet four months until the harvest?’ Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white for harvest already (John 4:35 WEB).

Yeshua was the fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits which means He was the First One that came out of the ground from the dead. He said, In most solemn truth I tell you that unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains what it was—a single grain; but that if it dies, it yields a rich harvest (John 12:24 WNT).

He likens the souls of the Kingdom to those who will also experience life from the dead as they too will be resurrected when He comes back as Judge and King. This metaphorical description of seeds, harvest and grain is a practical lesson in learning the mathematical multiplications of “counting the omer.” If we all work to win souls, we can collectively produce a great harvest. And God is faithful to forgive all our debts as we bring more souls into His care.

The omer also has another meaning. It is the time of offering ourselves to God for a period of prayer and dedication for Him to work out His redemption in us. When we come to God we are usually broken in spirit and often clueless in our understanding. We work out our salvation by growing in God.

Forty days after His resurrection, Yeshua told His disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the Promise of the Father. Curiously, this ten-day wait landed on the Feast of Shavu’ot. (Luke 24:49)

As the disciples were gathered in the house of the Lord, praying, and preparing their hearts (working out their salvation), Jews from other lands began pouring into the city in obedience to God’s command to come up to Jerusalem three times a year to offer sacrifice (Exodus 23:14-17).

This special feast day had always been a joyous time of celebration and now as the Jews from the nations climbed up the southern steps to the Temple, they passed by a large group of Nazarenes intensely praying and proclaiming wonderful testimonies.

These pilgrims were curious. They had always commemorated this day that the Torah came down on Mt. Sinai some 1500 years before. They had been recalling how the mountain shook, the thunder roared, and the lightening lit up the sky. They had told the stories many times to their children – explaining to them how God gave them His Torah and wrote His Word on tablets of stone by His own finger. They would warn their children about God’s judgment, as it was at this same iconic event that Moses came down the mountain to find the children of Israel worshipping the golden calf. God punished the unfaithful ones by smiting 3,000 of them.

But this year was different! Their thoughts were interrupted by the new, and more recent testimonies of 120 people at the House of God. The pilgrims were hearing wonderful proclamations by these Jews in their own language! How?

On this anniversary of the Torah written on tablets of stone, God was manifesting by writing His Word on the tablets of many hearts. Peter preached the good news of Yeshua and the Jews from the nations began to rejoice as they received their promise! As 3,000 came to faith in their Messiah that day, Peter instructed them to be baptized. Archeologists have found hundreds of mikvah baptismal pools just below the southern steps.

What redemption—what grace—what a promise fulfilled!

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