posted by Jeffrey on Monday, May 02, 2005 at 9:24 PM

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Greetings on this 8th day of the Omer!! "What?!?" you say. That's right, the Counting of the Omer has begun! The days leading up to the Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) begin on the second day of the Ancient Hebrew Passover Festival and last 49 days. This celebration was originally a "first fruits" celebration where Israel rejoiced over their first crop of barley. This is why these 49 days are called the counting of the Omer--the omer is a unit of measure for barley. Over time, the focus became also on the giving of the Law of Moses (the Torah) at Mt. Sinai.

Let's read between the lines for a moment shall we. This time of festival begins with the Passover (celebrating Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt) and ends with Shavuot, a celebration of first fruits and the giving of the written Words of God. In the ancient Hebrew mind, the Exodus deliverance was not complete without God giving His Word...HELLO!!! It's a perfect picture of Jesus!!! Our deliverance from sin could not be completed without the giving of the Word who is the "firstborn from among the dead"--only with Jesus, it was the Word made flesh who was given (See John 1:1-5).
Read more about Passover and Shavuot in Exodus 23:14-19, Numbers 28:16-31; & Leviticus 23:4-22.

As we began discussing the book of Acts and beginning to see what the starting of the 1st century church was like, God took us on a wild journey as we dove into this ancient festival. Here's what's going on in Acts 1...Jesus is risen from the dead and has just spent 40 days appearing to His followers; He has his disciples meet Him at the mount of Olives (just outside Jerusalem) where He ascends back into Heaven; but not, however, before instructs them to wait in Jerusalem for the gift He had promised (the Holy Spirit). Why would He tell them to wait??? Feel free to answer in the comments if you'd like...


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