Counting the Omer by Christine Beadsworth
A Displaying of First-fruits on Mount Zion
May this article add understanding to you concerning God’s present timetable for those who fear the Lord. It was first released in May 2007. Remember 50, the number after 49, is the number of jubilee- representing the freeing of those calves in a stall in Malachi 4. It is also time for the firstfruits to God to be seen on Mount Zion, anchored there with His name on their foreheads!
God ordained that seven weeks or 49 days after the beginning of Passover, His people were to celebrate Shavuot. Christians called this season Pentecost because it occurred fifty days after Passover (Greek for fifty) and also marked the time when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 gathered in the upper room. I want to draw out and compare what was occurring in this Old Testament feast and what happened at Pentecost.
Besides its significance as the day on which the Torah was given by God to the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai, Shavuot is also connected to the season of the grain harvest in Israel. In ancient times, the grain harvest lasted seven weeks and was a season of gladness (Jer. 5:24; Deut. 16:9-11; Isa. 9:2). It began with the harvesting of the barley during Passover and ended with the harvesting of the wheat at Shavuot. Shavuot was thus the concluding festival of the grain harvest.
Shavuot was also the first day on which individuals could bring the Bikkurim (first fruits) to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Bikkurim were brought from the Seven Species for which the Land of Israel is praised: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates (Deut. 8:8). In the largely agrarian society of ancient Israel, Jewish farmers would tie a ribbon around the first ripening fruits from each of these species in their fields. These first-fruits would continue to grow and ripen in the field. At the time of harvest, the fruits identified by the ribbon would be cut and placed into baskets woven of gold and silver. The baskets would then be placed on oxen whose horns were gilded and laced with garlands of flowers, and who were led in a grand procession to Jerusalem.
A first-fruits wave offering was also required at Passover, when the barley harvest was brought in. This Firstfruits celebration that occurs the day following the Sabbath after Passover is considered Early Firstfruits. Jesus fulfilled this, becoming the first-fruits offering that was presented to the Father after His resurrection on the third day. Fifty days later, the Latter Firstfruits occurs, called the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost).
The time between Early Firstfruits and Latter Firstfruits is called the “Counting of the Omer”. Omer” is a Hebrew word that means “sheaf, measure”. It was during this counting of 49 days, the counting of the Omer, that Jesus appeared to His disciples and taught them. It was during this time that He appeared to over 500 people in one setting, as well as to His chosen disciples and close friends. What were the disciples doing during these 7 weeks? What were they studying together, what was tradition of the time? From what I have learned, Psalm 67 was read daily at the time of the evening prayers – The theme of harvest, of letting the nations be glad and sing for joy as all the earth fears Him speaks not only praise to the Creator, but of inclusion of the nations in the worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
So we see there was a continual emphasis on harvest throughout the time between Passover and Pentecost. Jesus Himself spoke to the disciples about them becoming witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth in order to bring in the harvest. Then they remained in Jerusalem after the ascension, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2 we read that there were Jews from every nation under heaven in Jerusalem at the time. What were they doing there? These men had come, bringing their latter first-fruits offerings to the temple in Jerusalem as the Lord had instructed.
The early first-fruits were waved before the Lord in their natural state. The latter first-fruits were waved in a prepared state. At Passover the first-fruits offering was a sheaf which was waved before the Lord. However, at Shavuot, the wheat first-fruits offering was presented as two large loaves of leavened bread. The wheat had been harvested and ground to flour and made into bread.
Just as the people had brought their first-fruits offerings in a prepared state to Jerusalem; so too Jesus had brought His prepared first-fruits offering there. The shadow and the fulfillment were present together mirroring each other on that first Pentecost. The disciples had been prepared by forty days of teaching following the resurrection. They had different mindsets and understandings concerning the scriptures than those they had possessed before the resurrection. They were not like grains of wheat, still containing the husks or soulish understandings of the Word, but had been turned into loaves which could offer the true Bread of Heaven to a hungry world.
In the same way, at this time, there are those who have been receiving instruction on how to rightly divide the Word of Truth directly from the Spirit of God. They have not received this instruction at the hands of man but by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. They words they speak are spirit and life. This company has undergone ten days of waiting in the upper room, the place of heavenly understanding. Ten stands for trial and testing. The trial has been in order to bring them to a singleness of position and mindset (in one accord in one place). To put it in other words, to bring them to a place of possessing the mind of Christ, in unity with the Head, Who is seated in heavenly places.
The Word tells us that ‘when the day of Pentecost had fully come’, the Holy Spirit filled them. There was a process of counting the days of the omer, a process of measuring 49 days and when this was complete, then the Holy Spirit arrived. Forty nine days is seven weeks or seven measures of seven days. Seven is the number of completion. The counting of the Omer signifies a complete measuring before the Spirit was poured out. A measuring unto what?
Do you remember the vision I shared of a crucible with silver inside it and a complete refining taking place. The refining continued UNTIL the measure was complete, until Christ came forth. This ten days of waiting in the upper room was a refining time in which complete understanding and revelation of Christ was formed within the waiting group. Then it was time for the Spirit to fill them. The measuring that you have been undergoing and the trial that has been refining you is to last only until the end of the counting of the Omer, only until you are brought to a singleness of mind and a heavenly position. Then day 50 arrives. Fifty refers to jubilee, to a setting free. The waiting 120 were filled with the Spirit and liberated from their waiting room and spilled out onto the streets with such joy that those watching thought they had been drinking new wine.
Beloved, the new wine of the revelation of Christ is going to be poured forth from vessels who have made themselves ready. Shavuot was also connected to a wedding ceremony when Moses brought the Israelites to Mount Sinai to meet with their Bridegroom and He presented His vows. They were not ready but in this season, as with the disciples at Pentecost, there are those who have made themselves ready. They have received instruction and revelation from the resurrected Christ; they have been obedient to wait patiently during the ten day trial period (feeling separated from Christ) in the upper room. This is the place of not leaning on your own understanding, an earthly mindset. When Day 50; the appointed day of release, has fully come; the Ho ly Spirit will mark each of these with a tongue of fire upon their heads and they will be released and displayed to every nation under heaven as His jewels.
We find a reference to these tongues of fire, called the flame of the Lord in Songs 8:6 Set me as a seal on Your heart, as a seal on Your arm; for love is strong as death. Jealousy is cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, the flame of the Lord.
There is a wedding spoken of this chapter, between the Bridegroom and the Shulamite. The flame of fire on the 120 in the upper room was a personal seal of the jealous love of the Bridegroom for His Bride. It was a mark that set the Bride apart as holy unto Him, a vessel that would never belong to another. Paul spoke of Himself as having received the first-fruits of the Spirit. The word ‘first-fruits’ signifies that there is more to come – there is also a fullness of the Spirit. The first-fruits Bridal company spilled out of the upper room, full of the Holy Spirit. In these days, there is coming a release of the fullness of the Bridal Company, marked and sealed with the fire of God and operating in the fullness of the Spirit.
They will bring revelation that will cause the Body to grow to full measure – ‘a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4). They will bring revelation, new wine from the Father, to quench the thirst of the Body and bring it to full measure; they will operate in the seven Spirits of God, the fullness of the Spirit. Every nation under heaven will be touched by them; every nation under heaven will hear the great works of God in their own language, in a way they can understand. This time, the spilling forth is not from the upper room in Jerusalem below but from the upper room in Jerusalem above. This upper room has been the womb of preparation on Mount Zion; where the church of the firstborn are recorded in heaven.
Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are written in Heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect
In Revelation, we read of the Bride, the heavenly Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God as a Bride prepared for her husband. The bridal company will descend from heaven, having made herself ready! From this place will emerge a revelation of Christ carried in vessels of gold and silver, in a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. The fullness of Pentecost will be manifested in the earth in this day. This will be in order to bring in the fullness of the harvest in the earth. Once again God will be sealing with His approval, a first-fruits company, and sending them into all the earth.
‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ Rev 14