Sabbath 17/1/35/120                                                                                                     

Dear Friends,

On the Sabbath of 18/1/29/120 the following message was issued concerning the Omer count by one of our US Coordinators. Tomorrow is the Wave Sheaf which begins the Omer Count and we should study the paper on the Wave Sheaf which will be done at every one of the Passover Feast sites of the CCG using the paper The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106b). This Message is always appropriate.

Leviticus 23:9-12: And the Lord said to Moses, 10. "Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest; 11 and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, that you may find acceptance; on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall it. 12. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the Lord. (RSV)

This was the first fruits of the barley harvest. The offering of the male lamb and the waving of the first fruits symbolised Christ as a first fruits ascending into heaven to his Father. This ascension occurred on the morning after his resurrection at John 20:15-17.

John 20:15-17: Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 16. Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-boni!" (which means Teacher). 17. Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (RSV)

After Christ returned from heaven, he allowed the women to hold his feet in Matthew 28:9. He was the first fruits as the first person to be raised to spiritual life from the dead at 1Corinthians 15:20-23.

1Corinthians 15:20-23: But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (RSV)

This day on which the Wave Sheaf is offered begins the Omer count to Pentecost. Instead of a countdown, it is a count up of 50 days. The word Pentecost comes from the Greek which means fiftieth. This period of time is for spiritual preparation for Pentecost, which on that day involved the receipt of the Law at Sinai in the Old Testament and the receipt of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. This preparation includes prayer and fasting (cf. The Omer Count to Pentecost (No. 173). This count is found in Leviticus 23:15-16.

Leviticus 23:15-16: And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be, 16. counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the Lord. (RSV)

After his resurrection Christ spent 40 days preparing his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit. During this time he spoke of things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. After his final ascension they were to wait an additional 10 days for their baptism with the Holy Spirit. These 10 days complete the preparation and conclude with Pentecost. We find these things in Acts 1:3-5.

Acts 1:3-5: To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. 4. And while staying with them he charged them not depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me, 5 for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (RSV)

Let us use this Omer count to prepare ourselves for Pentecost that we may grow in the Holy Spirit of God.

In brotherly love,
Donovan Schricker
Online Service Coordinator US Conference

Remember this Sabbath we are all at the Passover in the Feast of Unleavened Bread and it is wise to study the significance of the Feast also as well as the Omer Count (see the papers The Old and the New Leaven (No. 106a)and The Omer Count to Pentecost (No. 173).

Remove the old leaven of malice and wickedness and replace it with the new leaven of sincerity and truth and take it on to the New Leaven of the Holy Spirit as symbolised by the Loaves at Pentecost.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General