THREE DAYS CAN BRING RESURRECTION
(This article on COUNTING THE OMER is continued from Parts One and Two:
The day of Early First Fruits arrives approximately three days after the night of the Passover seder. It will be at the end of the second day of The Seven Days of Unleavened Bread. Three days is just enough time for Christ to bring Resurrection power into a spirit that is humble and willing and ready to yield into whatever God has purposed for them to be.
COUNT 50 DAYS FROM THE DAY OF EARLY FIRST FRUITS
To keep these days of God’s calendar you start counting each day for 50 days on the day of the Early First Fruits. That is how you know which day is going to be Pentecost. (The secular calendars don’t keep time by the moon like God does. You might look up the date on the secular calendar and find the wrong date is written in there. You can only tell this time correctly by COUNTING THE DAYS for each and every season that passes.)
THE DISCIPLES FOLLOWED JESUS INSTRUCTIONS FOR THAT DAY OF PENTECOST WHEN GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT WAS GIVEN
I’m so thankful that Peter and all of the first disciples of Jesus were on their toes and doing just what they were supposed to be doing. They were right there where they were supposed to be; counting the days after the giving of the omer offering.
They came to the Day of Pentecost where God fulfilled the promise of Jesus; that great day when God gave us a Comforter called The Holy Spirit. They knew to be in Jerusalem on that day.
Jesus had told them where to wait.
Jesus had told them this day would happen.
He spoke of it just before the Crucifixion and Resurrection and before He ascended into Heaven to go to the Father. He told us that He would not leave us alone. He would send a Comforter. This Comforter would stay with us after The Ascension and until Jesus could physically be with us again.
This gift from Christ via God The Father actually worked like an engagement ring; committing Christ to His Bride (the Church) forever. It was an engagement present!
THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING GOD’S CLOCK DURING THE SPRING HOLY DAYS
Are you beginning to grasp how important these spring holy days are?
I will go into the symbolism of the Seven Days of Unleavened Bread in another (soon to be published) article; but for now just realize that these days all take place simultaneously during the season of Passover within God’s Spring Holy Days. It is very helpful to understand the specific order of the days.
This celebration of The Passover, Early First Fruits, and The Seven Days of Unleavened Bread that eventually led up to Pentecost are all ancient customs and very old traditions of Israel. However; that doesn’t mean they are not still relevent for us today. I want us to contemplate the reasons and the original purpose for the custom of “counting the omer” and begin to think of all the legitimate reasons why we should still be doing so today.
REASONS FOR COUNTING THE OMER
A TIME FOR GROWING
The first thought that comes to mind is that this practice, done properly, (without the intention of using it for self gain or magic) helps us to grow as individuals.
It is a growing season that God has timed out into our lives.
The fifty days between Passover and Pentecost are days when we should be meditating on our purposes for being on this earth, and meditating on our growth before God The Father. We should be seeking God’s guidance and wisdom in the ways that He would have us to live. He designed each of us with a specific purpose and destiny. He will reveal that to you if you ask Him to do so; but you must first prepare yourself and spend time in prayer and meditation seeking God’s answer.
If you desire to be useful for God’s Kingdom; you must not resist growth, and you must not remain stagnant.
Like a little seed that has been planted in the springtime; you must be reaching for the sun and drinking in the water and stretching yourself up through this gravely earth as you reach out for heaven. You must be resurrected from the old self into the new self. You must transform from a seed to a flower and grow before God.
Like all good Fathers’ God desires to see all of his children in the process of a beautiful growing season that brings them into maturity and the next season of life.
It has been noted by some that the formula for staying young is to always continue growing. This is a physical concept that is also a spiritual concept. We should never want to quit growing and maturing in Christ. Losing that capacity to continue growing at any age is tragic. Yet, when you stop to think about it, any time we’re not growing and changing, we’re not living; we’re just existing.
MOVING TO A SPIRITUAL PLACE THAT IS HIGHER THAN JUST EXISTING
The proper counting of the omer is actually about moving to a spiritual place that is higher than “just existing.”
It is looking forward to what God is going to do next with us.
It is NOT the practice of elevating ourselves, but it IS the process of letting God work inside of us in order to bring us to a better plane of existence in our daily lives as we live as the people of His Kingdom.
YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO COME BEFORE GOD WITH YOUR DAYS
All of this “growing” and counting of days makes me thing of Abraham. I love that much often misquoted passage of scripture found in Genesis 24:1 that says: “Abraham was old; he came with his days”
“He came with his days” teaches us that Abraham used each of his days to the fullest extent. At the end of his life, he came to old age “with all his days” in hand. No day was without its own unique growth.
In other words, Abraham had something to show for all his days of living.
Remember the parable about the talents? At the end of our days we need something to show for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. We don’t need more human achievements; not at all. We need God’s transformations. These transformations can only happen if we cooperate with God in His work. This isn’t for God’s sake; it is for our own happiness and joy. God loves happy and joyful children!
Abraham had produced spiritual fruit from the labor of his soul on this earth. He could go to God at the end of his days on earth and say: with your help I have produced a nation of your people!
This is what we hope to achieve in the counting of the omer; to number our days for the goodness of God’s Kingdom in our lives. It is to participate in a holy process that gives God glory.
THE PROCESS BRINGS A FORM OF RESURRECTION TO OUR SOULS
Just as Christ was resurrected on the day of Early First Fruits; this practice of numbering our days brings a form of resurrection to our souls. It renews our spirits toward God’s way of living every year all over again. Christ made us acceptable; these days show our willingness to follow God to a more perfect way of living with Christ living from within us.
GOD OFFERS MORE; BEYOND THE WONDERFUL GIFT OF SALVATION
This all sounds great, but it isn’t always easy.
Some people do not want to move any further spiritually than reaching the place of knowing there is a Messiah, believing in Him and receiving and enjoying the gift of salvation.
Salvation is, after all, the greatest gift ever given, and by all means the most important gift.
It surprises many to learn the fact that there are even more gifts beyond salvation!
Why is this such a surprise and why is it so hard for so many to understand?
When you first married your husband or wife; did your life end with the marriage on your wedding day; or was that day only the beginning?
There is so much more!
God is such a giver!
GOING FURTHER WITH GOD
Going further with God is a choice we all have to make for ourselves. Do we want to stay warm and cozy with all we have already attained through the granting of the greatest gift; or do we want to keep moving on into even more adventures with God?
Salvation is an awesome and very important gift; and it is free for the taking, but if you value it, you will more than likely also value another gift called sanctification.
THE GIFT OF SANCTIFICATION
Sanctification can only arrive AFTER Salvation. It is yet another gift from God.
Unlike salvation, sanctification is not free.
Salvation required no effort on our part. Jesus did all of the work for us.
Sanctification does require input from us.
Jesus is the giver of both gifts; salvation and sanctification. Neither gift is possible without Him.
Sanctification is the work of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives and it is just as miraculous a gift as the process of regeneration that comes from being “born again.”
SANCTIFICATION IS NOT ABOUT WORKS; IT IS THE PROCESS OF HONESTLY HUMBLING OURSELVES BEFORE GOD AND SUBMITTING TO HIS WILL
Jesus did many good and worthy things as He walked the earth; but His destiny in God’s Kingdom was to do the work of the cross. We all have a destiny. God will show us this on the path to sanctification. It isn’t about works; but it does involve specific work; God’s work that He alone knows and maps out for us.
This is nothing that we can earn by performing good deeds. God isn’t interested in the act of good deeds merely for their own sake. If that were the case; every actor in Hollywood would be labeled a saint. It goes much deeper than that. No; sanctification comes from humbling ourselves before God and turning to the Messiah for righteousness. That is our part of the work. After that; we must trust Him to finish in us what He has started.
ANY GIFT FROM GOD IS MADE POSSIBLE FROM THE WORK OF CHRIST
It is only through Christ working inside of us that either gift (salvation and/or sanctification) is made possible.
His blood is ALL that makes us holy before God. Make no mistake that it is His blood that saves us and only His blood that makes us holy before God.
None of our own works will ever attain our salvation or sanctification. Our own efforts are like filthy rags before God, but that doesn’t mean that we should not make an effort.
We are always sanctified by God’s grace and never some outward show of religious practices. Our efforts must come from a deep desire in our hearts to be like Jesus. We must imitate Him in all that we do.
GOD DESIRES FOR US TO WANT TO BE HOLY
The truth of the matter is that God desires for us to want to be holy like Him.
Sanctification will cost you your attitude!
You will have to surrender your will and succumb to the will and nature of God.
God wants us to turn from the old man and begin to be the new man. This is the beginning of spiritual resurrection!
This process of being made new after salvation is called sanctification. Once we are covered with the blood of Jesus, this process becomes possible. It is His suffering and His afflictions and His humility that God sees when He looks upon us. It is impossible to obtain sanctification without the blood of Jesus. There is nothing within the soul of a human being living outside of Christ that will ever reach this state of being.
SANCTIFICATION HELPS NEW LIFE TO BEGIN
Please hear me out on this again because it is very important; once we have been saved; it is sanctification that makes new life begin in us. Growing closer to God through sanctification increases the working of God’s Holy Spirit that resides inside our souls. This breathes new life into our very beings!
Sanctification is how God transforms us from the old person we were in the past to the new person that He originally created us to be.
ANOTHER TYPE OF HARVEST
Here again; we see a time of harvesting.
A seed must die to itself, be buried in the ground and endure until the sun and water and nutrients that make it grow before it can do its work.
We are counting the omer during this time of lying dormant, the time before resurrection comes, that is unseen; the time that the little seed becomes a small plant and begins to push itself to the surface and come into the world as a new plant.
Some of us are afraid of walking down this path of sanctification and new growth.
MANY PEOPLE FEAR FAILURE; BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS CANNOT FAIL
There are many reasons. We are often afraid of failure, but we must continuously keep in mind that we are covered by the blood of Jesus. This is perfect, flawless blood that is full of everlasting life. It cannot fail!
We must continuously remember the fact that His blood is so righteous that it cannot fail.
So many are afraid of failing in life that they refuse to ever start to live. How ironic! This is so sad. It causes people to settle for dust when they could obtain pure gold.
LOOK AT THE EXAMPLE OF THE ROSE
One of my favorite songs was made popular in the market place by a lady named Bette Midler and it is called “The Rose.”
There is a verse that goes: “Just remember in the winter far beneath the frozen snow lies the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.”
That is a perfect picture of sanctification.
This example underlines our the purpose for counting our days and seeking God’s face for resurrection.
With God all things are possible, even when it looks totally impossible.
LET GOD SET THE GOALS
Setting too lofty and unattainable goals is often another reason people fail.
When we set our goals too high and too soon, we inevitably fall short and get discouraged. We forget to lean on God and we put too much trust in our own ways.
We MUST keep leaning into the grace and mercy and love of Christ. Things are easier and less frustrating if we simply face them one day at a time.
TAKING LIFE ONE DAY AT A TIME AND TRUSTING GOD
God knew this fact about us.
He made us to be this way.
This day-to-day process is the building method God uses in sanctification. That is the method emphasized in “counting the omer.”
It is all about learning and growing one day at a time.
This is how God teaches us to be holy; one day at a time and one life experience at a time.
Each lesson builds as we go through the 50 days annually meditating on God’s nature and determining to imitate Him as best we can.
SIMPLY REMEMBER TO KEEP LOOKING TO GOD
The only way to fail is to take your eyes off of Him.
We are told in the scriptures to count the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost), beginning on the day of Early First Fruits and ending on The Day of Pentecost.
God doesn’t ever waste His words.
His breath is holy and the things uttered from His mouth are true.
They are never wasted on those who are listening. If He said to count the days; then we SHOULD be counting the days!
THE TIME IN THE MIDDLE IS IMPORTANT
The counting of the 50 days is so like so many other times in that we tend to be more aware of the beginning and the end (Passover and Pentecost); but it is actually the part in the middle that is required to bring about true and lasting transformation.
Therefore; the counting of the days from Passover to Pentecost is very much an effort in which THE PROCESS is in and of itself of great value.
Why not go through this process of coming closer to God and allowing God to come closer to you?
EACH YEAR BRINGS AN UNFORGETABLE EXPERIENCE
After 40 years of participating with God in this process; I can tell you it is an experience you will never regret.
It is like taking a 50 day pilgrimage with God.
My life could NEVER be the same without the process of counting the days up to Pentecost each year as I reach out for the face of God.
I am now able to say like Moses that I have been and seen places that words cannot describe, and I have learned that there are only more and more of these events to come.
The more you reach out to God; the closer He will come toward you.
Counting these days from the offering of the omer brings joy and hope for continuing on the highway to heaven.
NOTE TO THE READER: This was Part Three of a series of articles. You may read the other related posts here: https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/seasons-coming-into-the-spring-holy-days-counting-the-omer-part-one/; https://theinseasonlifestyle.com/seasons-coming-into-the-spring-holy-days-counting-the-omer-part-two/