“It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.” (Proverbs 25: 2)
Summary of this article: In the Jewish world, this is the time of “Sefirat Ha’omer,” the Counting of the Omer, which is all about counting days. The Church world has not taught on this fascinating interval between Passover and Pentecost = Shavuot, meaning weeks. We’re in a period of 7 weeks between festivals, and 7 is the Torah’s holy number. It’s fascinating that Yeshua (Jesus) didn’t finish the 49 days in his post-Resurrection appearances but ascended to the Father on day 40 of counting the omer. Scholars speak endlessly on the meaning of 40 in the Bible, but basically the use of 40 seems to emphasize a spiritual truth. In eternity we’ll contemplate these deep things. “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90: 12)
Are you interested in the Rapture of the Church, the catching away of believers to be with the Lord Jesus forever? This subject has captivated me for years because I have experienced many dreams about the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus. These dreams have generally depicted the “snatching away” Rapture, when Jesus comes for us suddenly in the atmosphere. Let’s look at one of the concealed types and patterns found in the Levitical Feasts of the Lord concerning end time events and the Rapture of the Church… concealed but quite possibly unsealed in this hour…
But first, when I speak of the Rapture, I am referring to the event described in the New Testament as the coming of the Lord in the atmosphere to catch away believers who are looking and waiting for Him to appear. By the way, another word for Rapture is “translation”….the church will be translated to heaven in the same way that Elijah was translated out of here…. alive in a fiery chariot….or like Enoch in the Old Testament who was also translated without dying. The Bible says Enoch walked with God, and one day he vanished alive, because God just took him home with him due to the fact that they were such close friends. [Some people say the Rapture is a preposterous idea because we’re talking of potential millions of persons disappearing, whereas the type and shadows, Enoch and Elijah, were just single individuals. However, I heard Chuck Missler say that the Rapture will be the Body (singular) of Messiah!]
I will share some musings only….I don’t claim dogmatic truths, but rather let’s explore some interesting Scripture-based ideas.
After all, we are living in a time of unprecedented revelation, a time when the prophet Daniel said many Scriptures would be unsealed. In the last chapter of the Book of Daniel, Chapter 12, Daniel wrote about the End Times. He said, “And I heard revelations but I did not understand; then I said, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed til the time of the end. Many shall be purified and made white and tried, but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand but the wise shall understand.”
Are you among “the wise who shall understand?” If you have received the Lord, you are already wise. And clearly in the above verse, we are promised that the wise will understand many revelations that have been sealed in the Bible. So why not have faith and believe that we WILL understand?
One of my Israeli friends named his son Omer because he was born during the 49 days of the counting of the omer between the Passover Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Feast of Shavu’ot, or Pentecost. Today Omer is an Israeli Army officer but when I first met him, he was just a boy, and so understanding his name was the very first time I’d ever heard about the counting of the omer, as mentioned in the Torah, although I’ve been a Bible believer from my crib. In Hebrew the Counting of the Omer is ספירת העומר Sefirat Ha’omer, or The Day of Waving, or Waving the Omer.
1.a Hebrew unit of dry measure, the tenth part of an ephah.
2. ( usually initial capital letter ) Judaism . the period of 49 days extending from the second day of Passover to the firstday of Shavuoth.
The first day of counting is called the Early Firstfruits when sheaves of grain are lifted and waved before the LORD. The final day is called the Later Firstfruits where a similar process takes place. This final day is called Pentecost by Christians and Shavuot (Weeks) in Scripture. Shavuot is the day that the Holy Spirit was sent to the believers and the day that the Apostle Peter spoke to all the pilgrims who came to the Temple in Jerusalem for the festival in Acts 2. Omer counting is an unknown to 99.9 per cent of the churches who do not yet have a solid foundation in the Hebraic roots of Scripture. Even as we are learning, it is not a concept easy to grasp. But since the 50 days between Passover & Shavuot is a time set apart in Holy Scripture, surely it is a concept for us to study! During this time the omer is counted daily and there are scripture readings. There is a great count-down, or count up?, to Pentecost!
Omer-counting is something religious Jews know about but because Christians have been divorced from our Hebraic roots for centuries, many believers in the churches hardly and sadly know anything about the counting of the omer. To many of us, it is a totally foreign concept, yet the counting of the omer has always been in the Bible… and it was a practice that Jesus and his disciples would have been very familiar with.
“Judaism 101” explains the counting of the omer:
“According to the Torah in Leviticus 23:15, the Jewish people are obligated to count the days from Passover to Shavu’ot [ Shavuot in English is Pentecost]. This intervening period is known as the Counting of the Omer. An omer is a unit of measure.
On the second day of Passover, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering. This grain offering was referred to as the Omer.
Every night, from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavu’ot, we recite a blessing and state the count of the omer in both weeks and days. So on the 16th day, you would say “Today is sixteen days, which is two weeks and two days of the Omer.” The Orthodox Union has a chart that provides the transliterated Hebrew and English text of the counting day-by-day.
The counting is intended to remind us of the link between Passover, which commemorates the Exodus, and Shavu’ot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah. It reminds us that the redemption from slavery was not complete until we received the Torah.
Every night, from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavu’ot, practicing Jews recite a blessing and state the count of the omer in both weeks and days. . . .”
Here is basic info about the omer count at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counting_of_the_Omer
My friend Michael Beer also has a thought-provoking article about counting the omer at this link: http://www.wildolive.co.uk/counting%20the%20omer.htm
And a link on the 33rd day in the counting when customs of mourning are finished in the countdown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lag_BaOmer
Over the past decades, followers of Jesus/Yeshua have been discovering that all of the Levitical Feasts of the Lord have deep meanings concerning Messiah. The New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.
At the time of this writing (revised 1 May 2014), we are in the midst of the counting of the omer…during the 50 days from Passover to Pentecost. Pentecost, in fact, means 50. As of this evening, May 1, 2014, at the time of this writing, this is day 17 on the omer calendar and what follows at this link are prayers for this day at a Jewish website: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/sefirah/omer-count.asp?date=5/1/2014
A friend sent me a book that is full of revelation about chronology in the Bible and is available on the Internet:http://www.shiloah.co.uk/miracle%20of%20time/Miracle%20Of%20Time.htm
In “Miracle of Time” author Frank L. Paine mentioned something that I have often mused upon by revelation but I had never seen nor heard anybody else articulate. That is…… by the spirit of revelation, I have been expecting that near the event known as the Rapture, what Paul referred to as the catching away, there will be a period of time in which those who have died in Christ will be resurrected FIRST and therefore it is conceivable that they may appear and walk beside those of us who are still alive and remaining on the earth just prior to the Rapture. So I’m musing about the possibility of a short time span similar to the time in the New Testament when the saints came out of their tombs after the resurrection of Jesus and appeared to many.
Jesus, when he ascended to heaven on the 40th day, broke the pattern of the counting of the Omer. He, in fact, left 9 days uncounted……Could it be that he left those days for later ….for similar conditions on earth?
Now let’s look further into this fascinating matter further. In First Thessalonians Chapter 3: 13, the Apostle Paul refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all of his saints. The word “coming” in New Testament Greek is “The ‘Par-ou-sia'” which literally means “presence, being alongside of.”
Paine’s book, Miracle of Time, poses this interesting question….If we are at the culmination of church history, surely we should ask whether the Bible holds any clear information concerning the order of events when the Rapture takes place. First of all, the New Testament speaks of resurrections “each in his order.” Paul said in 1 Cor. 15: 23, “But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.”
Secondly, let’s look at the fact that Paul was given the word of the Lord concerning the translation of believers in First Thessalonians 4: 15-16. I want to undercore something that perhaps you have never noticed before. Paul expressed an undefined space of time between the descent of our Lord and the catching up. He said Jesus comes “from heaven with a shout…and then….with the trump of God,” at which moment “the dead in Christ” would “rise first.” I checked all of this and Weymouth’s New Testament is a translation that uses the word “afterwards.” The King James says the dead in Christ will be raised first, then we who are alive and remain will be caught up. But now let’s read Weymouth’s translation, “the dead in Christ will arise first…..Afterwards we who are alive and are still on earth will be caught up in their company amid clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
So here’s a question to examine— How much time can elapse between the dead in Christ shall arise ‘”first” and “afterwards” we who are alive and still on the earth will be caught up? Most Bible scholars and believers have assumed ALL of these events will happen in the twinkling of an eye—in a nano second–simultaneously. But if there is a pause in that verse, we know that some pauses in Bible chronology have been quite lengthy! So we have to consider the blessed possibility that for a period of time, however short, possibly, possibly, POSSIBLY, for Yeshua’s uncompleted 9 days of the counting of the omer, we who are alive and part of the Bride of Messiah may see resurrected saints and the Lord in the same manner that He appeared to His disciples at various times. He walked through walls, appeared and vanished, up to the 40 days of the counting of the omer after His Resurrection.
Turn with me to a totally fascinating passage, one that I have frequently pondered, and hardly anyone ever preaches on, Matthew 27: 52-53. Here we read “many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Imagine what it was like here in Jerusalem at the resurrection of Jesus! There was darkness, the renting of the thick temple veil, an earthquake and saints rising from their graves as firstfruits from the dead and appearing to many, startling them! Wow, that must have been more than awesome….
From the perspective of counting the omer, the coming of the Lord in the Rapture is the second and still unfulfilled part of the Resurrection of Christ. The first part of his Resurrection was perfectly fulfilled when He, the head of the Church, was raised up at the beginning of the seven weeks to the Pentecost festival. Upon rising from the dead, one of the first things Jesus did was to wrap up “the napkin, that was about His head” and neatly put it aside “in a place by itself.” Frank Paine in “Miracle of Time” makes a fascinating suggestion that Yeshua’s action of folding away the napkin that had been on his head in death was a prophetic act to signify that He, the Head of the Church, had finished with death, and the Church, “which is His body,” was figured in the shroud & would come later!
The seven weeks to Pentecost were, of course, the harvest season.
Rabbi Shaul, the Apostle Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees, participated year by year in the Levitical feasts, including the Feast of the Firstfruits. That’s why, in a very Hebraic way, Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 15: 20, “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
Let’s examine this great annual type of the resurrection of Christ pictured in Leviticus 23.
Those who have read these verses with understanding have seen that the harvest has special reference to the Church, which is the Body of Christ–springing forth from that one “grain of wheat” which fell in to the ground and died– Jesus himself. The seven weeks to Pentecost begins with “a sheaf of the firstfruit” and end with the “bread of the firstfruits” being “waved,” that is, ascending upwards, to the Lord. The Levitical Feasts are no longer a mystery when we know Jesus/Yeshua has literally fulfilled Passover and Firstfruits.
Jesus indeed, died and fell into the ground as the grain of wheat that he prophesied in John 12: 24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” In resurrection, Jesus the Bread of Life “bore much fruit.”
Now let’s go back to the early Resurrection morning of the “first day of the week” that leads up to Pentecost, to examine the account as reported in John Chapter 20. As soon as Mary Magdalene recognized the Lord and heard Him call her by name, her first instinct was to do what the other women did an hour or so later — they held him by the feet and worshiped him. But at this point in time, Jesus had a reason that he could not allow the Magdalene to touch him, and He tells her why it was impossible at that particular moment: “Touch Me not for I am not yet ascended to My Father.”
Why couldn’t He allow her to touch him then, when just an hour or so later, he does permit the other women to touch him? The reason according to Paine is that Jesus, and those resurrected saints who were raised up at the time of his Resurrection, were destined to constitute the sheaf of the firstfruit harvest, which must be presented to God. This is because God is a harvester and his harvest ultimately is souls, and, my friends, it is Harvest time, big time. According to Leviticus 23: 14 it was forbidden for anyone to touch the new harvest until the first sheaf had been offered to God. Furthermore, this holy offering was to be presented in the morning, and without a doubt, Jesus the Bread of Life, ascended to His Father at the hour of the morning sacrifice. This hour was the “third hour of the day”–that is, from 8 a.m. to 9 oclock in the morning.
It was from this hour of the firstfuits presentation to God that the 49 days to Pentecost began to be counted, according to the divine instruction in Leviticus 23: “begin to number the seven weeks from such time as you begin to put the sickle to the corn,” and we know that it was at this hour (9 o’clock in the morning) that the day of Pentecost In Acts Chapter 2 was also marked at its opening by the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Now, going back to resurrection morning, Jesus ascended to His Father, as the “firstfruits” of a mighty harvest throughout history that will soon be completed. Multitudes of souls are being gathered from every nation on the earth. After being presented to the Father, Jesus returned to the Resurrection garden, in time to greet the other women who came to visit the now empty tomb. This time He did not forbid the women to touch Him, because “the weeks” of harvest had begun after the firstfruits had been presented to the Father.
For 40 days after his resurrection, Jesus at certain times appeared to his disciples—behind closed doors, and in the open air, and in encounters such as his conversation with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, or on the shores of the Sea of Galiee where he cooked and ate breakfast with his disciples. On one occasion more than 500 of his followers saw Him simultaneously, many of whom were probably interviewed by the apostle Paul, because Paul recorded some of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in 1 Corinthians Chapter 15.
But here’s an infinitely fascinating fact: let me remind you that by ascending back to heaven after 40 days, Jesus broke the type of counting the omer, that is, after “forty days” He ascended to Heaven, leaving His disciples but they were promised that He would return “in like manner” as they had seen Him depart. The “type” of the full omer count has been on hold while Jesus has been absent from the earth. Here’s my question: Will the remaining 9 days up to the full 50 days be completed?
Earlier I quoted 1 Thessalonians 3: 13 and Paul’s words: “the coming, the parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” This word parousia simply means “being present” or “being alongside.” Is it possible that Jesus, and all His saints who have been in the graves for the past nearly 2,000 years will soon be alongside us in their resurrected immortal bodies, while we are still in our mortal bodies, immediately prior to our translation to His Father’s House?
If the “type” (picture) of the harvest is to be fulfilled, nine more days must elapse, when the same conditions of the first 40 post-resurrection days are restored, suggests Frank Paine in his book “The Miracle of Time.” I find this to be not only fascinating but plausible because our God is so accurate in his types and shadows and meanings of numbers. No number is casually in the Bible by accident. That could possibily mean that the graves of believers who died in Christ would forst be emptied and then afterwards we who are alive and who still remain would be rejoicing over our soon departure home without ever having to die.
“Afterwards,” during the relatively short space of time while Jesus is with the resurrected saints & the living believers on earth, “at the last trump…we shall be changed incorruptible,” in order to journey into the heavens; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
At the time when the Bride of Messiah is removed from the earth by translation,. . . . .redemption chronology on earth will continue centered around the nation of Israel. God will officially return to the nation of Israel for the very last of the last days before the Lord’s millienial reign on earth from Jerusalem.
I know this is much to take in, but it is my ardent and main hope you are continually ready for the coming of the Lord. Repent of any known sins. Live a righteous and holy life in the reverential fear of the Lord. If you are not sure if you’re ready or if you are not sure that you know Him, call upon the Lord Jesus (Yeshua). All who call upon the name of the Lord shallbe saved!
Epilogue: I invited author and Pastor Derek Walker, who holds a master’s degree in mathematics from Oxford University, to review this note and to make comments, which I share additionally below:
“Great Stuff Christine. I am with you on this 100%. Will the real Rapture feast stand up! – it’s Pentecost not Trumpets! (based on Sinai-Marriage and Harvest typology)
“I am very familiar with the work of AW Ware and Frank Paine. In fact I have studied it in great detail. I believe they were pioneers of God in this area. However their work does have some errors, but I have been able to do a revision of it that keeps what is good. You might be interested in my section on Bible Chronology:
especially the messages on Firstfruits, Pentecost and Tabernacles”
Additionally, my Rapture-ready friend Dr. Pitcher in the comments below made an insightful point that could transcend the typology of the Fall Festivals, of which many believe are the true types and shadows of the Rapture: “How I love a good mystery! God has certainly left us one! Could the final countdown of the Omer transcend the ages? Could it transcend the calendar? Could the final 9 days be in fact transcended to the Days of Awe between a future Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (in the fall instead of the spring)? Both have a 9-day period. Both have a similar focus. Oh how much there is left a pondering within my heart!”