Our portion this week includes the counting of the Omer in VaYikra, [Lev] and also a mandate in Kolossim not to follow the commandments of MEN.
If you have been following our Congregation’s web page and postings, you will see that our count is just now on 16 in the Omer, whereas among Rabbinic Jews the count today is 23 [as of 04/23/18 gregorian]. Why the difference? Why the apparent discord?
We realize that since we are late-comers in the ‘game,’ that our count appears to be off. But, the question, then, is why?
Once again, we have been accused of being anti-Semitic because we disagree with the Rabbinic community. Well, we are happy to be persecuted because of Yeshua, and as He was, as this is EXACTLY why we are persecuted. We follow Messiah Yeshua, and NOT man.
Here is a brief explanation of why we differ.
Our portion this week, among Jews the world over, is VaYikra 23, the chapter that anchors all the days that יהוה would have us observe. In that chapter, the “First Omer” is prescribed to be offered on THE Sabbath after Pesakh:
“And he shall waive the Omer before יהוה to be accepted on your behalf; ON THE MORROW AFTER THE SABBATH the Kohen shall waive it.”
An “omer” is a sheaf [bundle] of barley. It is presented along with a male lamb as a burnt offering.
This marks the beginning of fifty days of counting, and is effectively the start of the offering of ‘bikkurim,’ or ‘first fruits’. Sha’ul calls Yeshua both the ‘first fruits from among the dead’ and ‘the first born’ from among the dead in his letters. Bikurrim for firstfruits is the same Hebrew root word as ‘firstborn.’ It is the ‘first produce’ of anything that gives life.
So, since we believe all the Mo’edim [appointed times] are a ‘shadow’ predicting the ministry of Messiah Yeshua, as our portion in the Brit Khadasha declares, we firmly trust that He is the FIRST OMER offered to Elohim.
Yeshua clearly observed His Pesakh a full biblical day BEFORE the Rabbinic Pharisees. He was not the only one in Israel that did so, contrary to what today’s Rabbis would have us believe. [The Rabbis do NOT represent ALL JEWS; and we do NOT hate them; but we reject what they teach that contravenes Torah, because Messiah tells us to do so.] Yeshua rose from the dead AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK [this is perfectly clear in the Aramaic texts, but is also perfectly clear in the GREEK texts, to the unbiased mind, a mind that is willing to admit the possibility that it has been taught wrong: let Elohim be TRUTHFUL, and every man a liar]. The beginning of the week is right after the Sabbath. In the spring, when Pesakh occurs, this would be about 8:15 p.m. on Saturday night. The next day in the temple, they SHOULD have gathered to present the First Omer. But, they had MOVED the Pesakh, and they had also MOVED the First Omer. Even today the Rabbis observe the first Omer on the day after THEIR Passover. In Yeshua’s day, during His ‘savlanut,’ He held His Seder on ‘Tuesday’ night, was executed on Wednesday afternoon, and the Pharisees held their Seder on Wed night, and they started the Omer count on thur night and waived the Omer on fri, while Yeshua was still in the grave; THEY MISSED MESSIAH BECAUSE they were NOT following G-d, but MAN! They still do today. But, relax. Elohim tells us they will remain in PARTIAL BLINDNESS until just before Messiah comes back. When they SAY: “Blessed is HE [Yeshua] who comes in the Name of יהוה ,” then they will SEE MESSIAH. But, they won’t say His Name as yet [although even some Rabbinic Jews are now daring to say it!]. Notice that it is ONLY partial blindness, dear gentile friend. “What, then, is the advantage for the Y’hudi [Jew] ? Or what is the advantage of circumcision? Much in every way! First, because the Y’hudim were entrusted with the very words of Elohim.” But, our stance is that the Words of Elohim are ONLY the INSPIRED words! Those of the Torah! We, as Messianic believers, MUST seek out what it is that Yeshua taught and DID, and follow HIM, and NOT Rabbis who erred! Yeshua, many times over, scolded the Rabbis for their error, for wandering from the truth, for doing VIOLENCE against the Torah of G-d. And they killed Him for it.
For several months now, I have been mourning the inability to fellowship with the wider Messianic Jewish community, because they do not accept us, because we say His Name, and we observe the Mo’edim differently. They stand ONLY on the authority of the Rabbis to hold to their interpretation of the scriptures in EVERY CASE where we differ with them.
The sentence that establishes the first Omer reads this way in hebrew:
מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת יְנִיפֶנּוּ הַכֹּהֵן
Hakohen yenifeinu hashabbat mimakharat <<<<<<< read right to left
Mimakharat literally means ‘from the tomorrow of’ and haShabbat means THE SABBATH.
There is ONLY ONE THE SABBATH
Let the Rabbis argue over when that is, but we will allow Messiah to SHOW US, since HE is the First Omer from among the dead!
HE ROSE ON SATURDAY NIGHT, a FULL THREE DAYS AFTER THE RABBIS observed THEIR Pesakh a DAY LATE!
This fixes the first Omer to Saturday night at Motza’ei Shabbat [which is what it actually reads in the GREEK in Luke!] This means Shavu’ot ALWAYS falls on the first day of the week, 50 days later. During the ceremony to mark Motza’ei Shabbat [the exit of the sabbath], called Havdallah [separating between the Sabbath and the ordinary days, celebrated in Acts 20], we sing, “Hinei, El Yeshua’ti, evtakh v’lo ef’khad. Ki Ozi v’Zimrat Yah, יהוה , va’yehi li l’-Yehsua’ah…” BEHOLD, G-d is MY SALVATION [My Yeshua]! I will TRUST, and not be in terror!” For Yah, יהוה , is my strength and my song, and HE IS BECOME FOR ME YESHUA[h]!” [SALVATION]
This happened when Yeshua ROSE FROM THE DEAD on SATURDAY NIGHT!
This is why we count the Omer differently from the Rabbis. It does NOT mean that we hate the Rabbis. It does NOT mean that we are anit-semitic. It does NOT mean we are going to hell. It does NOT mean we are stupid. It means we reject their DOCTRINE. It means we see ONLY YESHUA AS “MY GREAT ONE,” “MY TEACHER,” “Rabbi,” the arbiter and living example of our halakha, since HE ALONE is the vessel of our Salvation!
“Let no one therefore create a disturbance among you about eating and drinking, or about the distinctions of feast days, the beginning of the khadashim [months], and of sabbaths. These are shadows of things to come; but the Guf is Mashi’akh.” [Kol 2:16-17]
Some of our congregants have been harassed by others this year [again] who follow the Rabbis in the counting of the Omer. Let no one therefore create a disturbance among you. Perhaps those in Kolos were suffering the same. The Galatian ‘issue’ was that the Jews who were PRETENDING to be Messianic were harassing Messianic, gentile believers for differing in their halakha! Perhaps they actually THOUGHT they were Messianic Jews. They certainly claimed they were. [Kolos is in/near Galatia]. They WERE Jewish, but Sha’ul called them FALSE ‘believers’!
Sha’ul’s words are indeed still confusing people today, just as they did 2000 years ago. [2 Peter 3:14-19]. Here, Sha’ul is clearly teaching that some people follow MEN, and NOT G-D. He goes on to say, “for these things are customs which are changeable [G-d’s WORD is immutable!] and they are the commandments and doctrines of men. And it appears there is some word of wisdom in these things when presented by the humble person in reverence for Elohim, provided they disregard the things of the flesh, not those things which are honorable, but only those things which satisfy the pleasure of the flesh.” Sha’ul shows us that man’s doctrines DO sometimes sound correct, right, honorable, even true. But, remember what he said just before: “And I say this so that no man may beguile you with enticing words.” (v4)
Men’s doctrines are enticing. They feed the flesh. Many Messianic Jewish people will NOT turn from Rabbinic error, because their flesh will not let them. They CLING to it, in spite of being shown clearly that Yeshua did not. [Mark 7] If the Rabbis were right on the first Omer, Yeshua would have risen on thursday night that week.
Yeshua WAS presented as the First Omer on ‘Sunday.’ He rose late Saturday night. Waited for the ladies to show up VERY early Sunday morning WHILE IT WAS STILL DARK. He told Miryam, “Do not touch me. I have not yet ASCENDED to Avi; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to Avi and Avikhem, my Elohim and your Elohim.” He goes to heaven that day, presents Himself as the first omer, the first born/first fruit from among the dead. He comes back that same evening and tells His Talmidim, “TOUCH ME, and SEE, that I am FLESH AND BONE.”
These things STILL remain a ‘shadow’ of what is to come. Sha’ul said they are a shadow, but the ‘GUF’ is Mashiakh.
That can be decently rendered as ‘essence,’ or some other similar word. But “Guf” is a ‘sod,’ and in this SAME letter, Sha’ul had already ‘revealed’ it, and it is the GREAT MYSTERY of the scriptures. Yeshua has now put this mystery in PLAIN SIGHT, but so many people, who believe, MISS IT!
“And now, rejoice in my sufferings for you, and make up that which is lacking of the sufferings of Mashi’akh in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the congregation, for which I became a shammash according to the stewardship of Elohim which has been given to me for you, fully to declare Davar HaElohim [The WORD of Elohim, NOT of the Rabbis!] everywhere. Even the Sod [MYSTERY] which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is revealed to His K’doshim [set apart ones; we are ONLY set apart by HIS WORD]; to whom Elohim wanted to make known the riches of the glory of this Sod among the Goyim; which is Mashi’akh in you, the hope of our glory.”
That is the GUF! Our Jewish people knew about the Guf, but missed it. They have the ‘idea’ of ONE MAN being the GUF. But they did not see Messiah!
I WISH I had time to elucidate this completely, but I do not. But, I will finish by saying that we, our congregation and others who count the Omer and observe Pesakh when we do, are NOT causing division in the GUF! The division is among MEN! Who do not follow the example of MESSIAH YESHUA! “As for me and my house, we shall serve יהוה .” “He who SAYS “I am IN HIM [in the GUF], ought himself ALSO to walk HIS HALAKHA!” NOT the halakha of the Rabbis.
I began this article with the original intent of discussing the anticipation of the Omer leading up to Shavu’ot. This year, I truly hope SOMEONE will ‘hear’ the WORDS OF ELOHIM, and SEE the simple, clear, undeniable example and supremacy of Yeshua over EVERY OTHER TEACHER. Do we need teachers today? YES! But, we need to make sure that THEY FOLLOW ONLY MESSIAH. MOST teachers today do not; and most people today do not look for teachers who do, but they clearly seek out teachers to scratch their itching ears, and to feed their flesh. We will unite with ANYONE who walks the Halakha of Yeshua. May those people increase in strength during this season of counting. May those who truly KNOW HIS WAYS be FILLED WITH THE RU’AKH HaKHESED this Shavu’ot. May we unite with HIS GUF, and not with those who reject Messiah Yeshua.