mercredi 27 mai 2015

SHAVUOT – PENTECOST 7weeks or 7weeks and 50 days more

7weeks or 7weeks and 50 days more
Daniel ben Ya’acov Ysrael

In this paper, I would like to approach the Feast of Shavuot as it is presented in the Torah. Today many believers have come to a new conclusion, saying that we should count seven weeks and add fifty days more in order to celebrate the Feats of Shavuot.
Further I will explain the SPIRITUAL aspect of the Omer and how it apply to our life today!
I will try to look from the Torah, writings from witness of the time and facts what we really know and how we can rely on this saying.
First what does the Torah says, does the Torah told us that the Ten Words (law) was given to the Children of Ysrael after Moshe descended  Mount Sinai after 40 days, thus making 7 weeks and 50 days more, or can we see a pattern of 7 weeks (shavuat) and the next day be the Chag (Feast)?

Exo 19:1  In the third month of the going out of the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt, in this day they have come into the wilderness of Sinai,
They left Egypt on the 15 of the first month, in this time every month had 30 days. So 15 days for the first month, plus 30 days for the 2nd month and we have 15 + 30 = 45 days. Let us read more:

Exo 19:2  and they journey from Rephidim, and enter the wilderness of Sinai, and encamp in the wilderness; and Israel encampeth there before the mount.
Exo 19:3  and Moses hath gone up unto God, and Yehovah calleth unto him out of the mount, saying, `Thus dost thou say to the house of Jacob, and declare to the sons of Israel,…………….
This makes it clear that Moshe went to Yehowah on the third month of coming out of Egypt and this Mount is Sinai.
(Exod 19:4 [KJV])
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.

(Exod 19:5 [KJV])
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

(Exod 19:6 [KJV])
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

(Exod 19:7 [KJV])
And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the Yehowah  commanded him.

(Exod 19:8 [KJV])
And all the people answered together, and said, All that Yehowah hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto Yehowah.

Here we see Moshe returning to Yehowah after having told to the Children of Ysrael what Yehowah told him !

(Exod 19:10 [NRKJV])
And יהוה said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,

(Exod 19:11 [NRKJV])
And be ready against the third day: for the third day יהוה will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

No error, Yehowah says that He will come down on the third day on Mount Sinai!

Exo 19:12  `And thou hast made a border for the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, going up into the mount, or coming against its extremity; whoever is coming against the mount is certainly put to death;
Exo 19:13  a hand cometh not against him, for he is certainly stoned or shot through, whether beast or man it liveth not; in the drawing out of the jubilee cornet they go up into the mount.'
Exo 19:14  And Moses cometh down from the mount unto the people, and sanctifieth the people, and they wash their garments;
Exo 19:15  and he saith unto the people, `Be ye prepared for the third day, come not nigh unto a woman.'

Exo 19:16  And it cometh to pass, on the third day, while it is morning, that there are voices, and lightnings, and a heavy cloud, on the mount, and the sound of a trumpet very strong; and all the people who are in the camp do tremble.
Exo 19:17  And Moses bringeth out the people to meet God from the camp, and they station themselves at the lower part of the mount,
Exo 19:18  and mount Sinai is wholly a smoke from the presence of Yehowah, who hath come down on it in fire, and its smoke goeth up as smoke of the furnace, and the whole mount trembleth exceedingly;
Exo 19:19  and the sound of the trumpet is going on, and very strong; Moses speaketh, and God doth answer him with a voice.
Exo 19:20  And Yehowah cometh down on mount Sinai, unto the top of the mount, and Yehovah calleth for Moses unto the top of the mount, and Moses goeth up.

Here the verse 13 show clearly in the Young Literal translation what the Hebrew text really says: (see picture below). The word “yovel” (Jubilee) is in the Hebreew text, many time not translated as in the KJV.

The first question coming to mind is: When dos the Yovel year comes?

(Lev 25:8 [KJV])
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

(Lev 25:9 [KJV])
Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.

(Lev 25:10 [KJV])
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

Something amazing! the timing of the coming to the Mount Sinai, at Shavuot to receive the Ten Words are directly connected to the Yovel year! How do we know?

Luk 4:14  And יהושע returned in the power of the Spirit to Galil, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding country.
Luk 4:15  And He was teaching in their congregations, being praised by all.
Luk 4:16  And He came to Natsareth, where He had been brought up. And according to His practice, He went into the congregation on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Luk 4:17  And the scroll of the prophet Yeshayahu was handed to Him. And having unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written:
Luk 4:18  “The Spirit of יהוה is upon Me,1 because He has anointed Me to bring the Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send away crushed ones with a release,
Luk 4:19  to proclaim the acceptable year of יהוה.”
Luk 4:20 and having rolled up the scroll, He gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the congregation were fixed upon Him.
Luk 4:21 and He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been filled in your hearing.”

The prophet Yeshyahu/Isayah
(Isa 61:1 [NRKJV])
The Spirit of the Master יהוה is upon me; because יהוה hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

(Isa 61:2 [NRKJV])
To proclaim the acceptable year of יהוה, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim; to comfort all that mourn;

The « liberty to the captive” is directly connected to the year of the Yovel!
(Lev 25:8 [KJV])
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

(Lev 25:9 [KJV])
Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.

(Lev 25:10 [KJV])
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

Yeshua didn’t mention the last part of Yeshyahu 61 :2 « and the day of vengeance of our Elohim » because it will be at another time period.

Yeshua was proclaiming the Yovel in the Land. We learn also that the coming to Mount Sinai, muts have happened in the Yovel year, what an amazing revelation, when Yehowah sent Moshe to set the captive free, the Children of Ysrael. Baruch HaShem Yehowah!

TRADITION (Judaism):
The traditional festival of Pentecost as the birthday of the Torah "the time our Law was given", when Israel became a constitutional body and "a distinguished people," remained the sole celebration after the Exile. The Shabu'ot prayers and Maḥzor have references to this and particularly to the precepts deduced from the Pentateuch. The cabalists arranged a special "tiḳḳun" for Pentecost eve, consisting of excerpts from the beginning and end of every book of the Bible and Mishnah, which abridgment they considered tantamount to the reading of the complete works, and accepted as the approval of the Law. Apparently the custom of studying the Law all night of Pentecost is old (Zohar, Emor, 98a); but there is no record of the practise prior to the Safed cabalists headed by Isaac Luria in the sixteenth century. The custom has since been observed in the eastern states of Europe, and particularly in the Orient.
The reading occupies the pious till morning; others finish it at midnight. The collection is called "Tiḳḳun Lel Shabu'ot" (="Preparation for Pentecost Eve"; comp. the "Tiḳḳun Lel Hosha'na Rabbah" for Tabernacles). The Pentateuch reading contains three to seven verses from the beginning and the end of every "parashah" ("sidra"). Some of the important sections are read in full, as follows: the days of Creation (Gen. i. 1-ii. 3); the Exodus and the song at the Red Sea (Ex. xiv. 1-xv. 27); the giving of the Decalogue on Mount Sinai (ib. xviii. 1-xx. 26, xxiv. 1-18, xxxiv. 27-35; Deut. v. 1-vi. 9); the historical review and part of "Shema'" (ib. x. 12-xi. 25). The same method is used with the excerpts from the Prophets: the important ch. i. of Ezekiel (the "Merkabah") is read in full. The Minor Prophets are considered as one book: the excerpts are from Hos. i.1-3, Hab. ii. 20-iii. 19, and Mal. iii. 22-24 (A. V. iv. 4-6). Ruth is read in full; and of the Psalms, Ps. i., xix., lxviii., cxix., cl. The order of the twenty-four books of the Scriptures is different from the accepted one: probably it is an ancient order, as follows: (Torah) Five Books of Moses; (Prophets) Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel; (Minor Prophets) [Hagiographa] Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Chronicles, Ezra = 24 books. Next, the excerpts from mishnayyot are read, the beginning and end of every treatise, in all sixty-three, with some important chapters in extenso; next, the "Sefer Yeẓirah"; the 613 precepts as enumerated by Maimonides (see Commandments, The 613). Later, excerpts from the Zohar bearing on the subject were added, with opening and concluding prayers. The whole reading is divided into thirteen parts, after each of which a "Ḳaddish di-Rabbanan" is recited.
The Zohar calls the time between Passover and Pentecost the "courting days of the bridegroom Israel with the bride Torah." Those who participate in the tiḳḳun celebration are the Temple-men = " of the King [God]." 
The Zohar has two epigrams on Pentecost: (1) "In the twin month [zodiac sign of Gemini] the twin Law [written and oral] was given to the children of twin Israel [Jacob and Esau]." (2) "In the third month [Siwan] the treble Law [Pentateuch, Prophets, and Hagiographa] was given to the third [best] people" (Zohar, Yitro, 78b). (source Jewish Encyclopedia)
Josephus Flavius (1st Century) Kohen and Historian. Antiquities of the Jews Book 3 chapter 10: 5-6:
5. In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries, (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians,) the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; on every one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram, and seven lambs. Now these lambs are entirely burnt, besides the kid of the goats which is added to all the rest, for sins; for it is intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those days. But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. And while they suppose it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first-fruits of their barley, and that in the manner following: They take a handful of the ears, and dry them, then beat them small, and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to God; and, casting one handful of it upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest. They also at this participation of the first-fruits of the earth, sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt-offering to God.
6. When a week of weeks has passed over after this sacrifice, (which weeks contain forty and nine days,) on the fiftieth day, which is Pentecost, but is called by the Hebrews Asartha, which signifies Pentecost, they bring to God a loaf, made of wheat flour, of two tenth deals, with leaven; and for sacrifices they bring two lambs; and when they have only presented them to God, they are made ready for supper for the priests; nor is it permitted to leave any thing of them till the day following. They also slay three bullocks for a burnt-offering, and two rams; and fourteen lambs, with two kids of the goats, for sins; nor is there anyone of the festivals but in it they offer burnt-offerings; they also allow themselves to rest on every one of them. Accordingly, the law prescribes in them all what kinds they are to sacrifice, and how they are to rest entirely, and must slay sacrifices, in order to feast upon them.
The Torah:
(Deut 16:9 [NRKJV])
Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.

(Deut 16:10 [NRKJV])
And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto יהוה thy Elohim with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto יהוה thy Elohim, according as יהוה thy Elohim hath blessed thee:

The Torah in the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) tells us that this Feast (Chag) is called “Feast of Weeks”.  (Celebration of weeks verse 10), and that the weeks are to be counted (verse9)
Another interesting point:
Exo 19:16  And it cometh to pass, on the third day, while it is morning, that there are voices, and lightnings, and a heavy cloud, on the mount, and the sound of a trumpet very strong; and all the people who are in the camp do tremble.
Exo 19:17  And Moses bringeth out the people to meet God from the camp, and they station themselves at the lower part of the mount,
Exo 19:18  and mount Sinai is wholly a smoke from the presence of Yehovah, who hath come down on it in fire, and its smoke goeth up as smoke of the furnace, and the whole mount trembleth exceedingly;
Exo 19:19  and the sound of the trumpet is going on, and very strong; Moses speaketh, and God doth answer him with a voice.
Exo 19:20  And Yehovah cometh down on mount Sinai, unto the top of the mount, and Yehovah calleth for Moses unto the top of the mount, and Moses goeth up……………………………………….

(Exod 20:18 [YLT])
And all the people are seeing the voices, and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking; and the people see, and move, and stand afar off,

In the days of Yeshua!
(Acts 2:1 [KJV])
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

(Acts 2:2 [KJV])
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

(Acts 2:3 [KJV])
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

(Jer 23:29 [NRKJV])
Is not my word like as a fire? saith יהוה; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

We see the similarity !

Opponent of these view says that it is not possible and we need to add 50 days in order to have the “sweet wine” and the harvest of wheat.

First of all the word for sweet wine:
(Acts 2:13 [KJV])
 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

New wine :
G1098 γλεύκος gleukos (glyoo'-kos) n.
1. sweet wine
2. (properly) fresh, unfermented juice, but used of the more sugary, fermented wine (and therefore highly inebriating)
For those like me who have experience in wine making (for 30 years wine was my business a,d I am born in a family of wine makers), they will know that in order to keep a wine sweet, you need to stop the fermentation, by adding alcohol, thus making the wine sweet from the remaining unfermented natural sugar from the grapes. If you don’t do that, every time the temperature goes over 28 degrees, the wine will again start its process of fermentation.
CONCLUSION: A wine to which the fermentation was stop can be kept from year to year in a jar or bottle today without problem. So the conclusion that it needs to be wine which was just harvested does not stand. Yeshua drank wine at the meal with his disciples before his trial! (Matt. 26:29)
Another details, sweet wine is and eventual was made from the “Muscat” grapes which find its origin in Greece and may have been planted during the Greek occupation before the Romans. Its harvest take place in the latest when the grapes have reached the full maturity around September , thus was probably from the former harvest.

The book speak about grain harvest and was probably during thee Feats of Shavuot. Here a details seems to confirm that the harvest of barley AND wheat were very close to one another:

(Ruth 2:22 [KJV])
And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.

(Ruth 2:23 [KJV])
So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.

Tob 2:1  Now when I was come home againe, and my wife Anna was restored vnto me, with my sonne Tobias, in the feast of Pentecost, which is the holy Feast of the seuen weekes, there was a good dinner prepared me, in the which I sate down to eate.

2Ma 12:26  Then Maccabeus marched forth to Carnion, & to the Temple of Atargatis, and there he slew fiue and twenty thousand persons.
2Ma 12:27  And after he had put to flight, and destroyed them, Iudas remooued the hoste towards Ephron, a strong citie, wherin Lysias abode, and a great multitude of diuers nations, and the strong yong men kept the wals, and defended them mightily: wherin also was great prouision of engines, and darts.
2Ma 12:28  But when Iudas and his company had called vpon Almighty God (who with his power breaketh the strength of his enemies) they wanne the citie, and slew twentie and fiue thousand of them that were within.
2Ma 12:29  From thence they departed to Scythopolis, which lieth sixe hundreth furlongs from Ierusalem.
2Ma 12:30  But when the Iewes that dwelt there had testified that the Scythopolitans dealt louingly with them, and entreated them kindely in the time of their aduersitie:
2Ma 12:31  They gaue them thankes, desiring them to be friendly stil vnto them, and so they came to Ierusalem, the feast of the weekes approching.
2Ma 12:32  And after the feast called Pentecost, they went foorth against Gorgias the gouernour of Idumea,
The spring harvest
Various herbs and legumes were harvested in spring, but the most important spring crops were cereals: barley and wheat. A spring ritual took particular note of the cereals: Newly harvested grain could not be eaten until the firstfruits of grain had been offered on the "day after the Sabbath" of the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:9-1, 14). Pentecost, near the end of the grain harvest, included grain and loaf offerings (verses 16-17). Pentecost was also called "the Feast of Harvest" (Exodus 23:16).
Although barley and wheat were both planted in the autumn, barley matured faster and would be harvested sooner. The firstfruits of grain offered during the Festival of Unleavened Bread would have been barley. "In the early stages of the Israelite settlement the most important cereal was barley...because of the necessity to settle fringe areas and barley's tolerance of harsh conditions" (Oded Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 1987, page 7).
"The amount and distribution of rainfall together with soil conditions limit the area in Eretz-Israel where wheat is cultivated to the coastal valleys, the Valley of Jezreel, the Upper Jordan Valley, and the Beth-shan Valley. [The Israelites did not conquer these areas at first (Judges 1:19).] In the northern Negev, wheat does well only in rainy years, which are not frequent" (page 89).
"Wheat ripens later than barley and, according to the Gezer Manual, was harvested during the sixth agricultural season, yrh qsr wkl (end of April to end of May)" (page 88; also see the chart on page 37 of Borowski's book, reproduced below).
"Where the climate is warmer, as in the Shephelah and the Jordan Valley, crops mature earlier than in regions where the climate is cool, as in the Judean hill-country and the Galilee" (page 57). In Galilee, for example, part of the grain harvest would be completed after Pentecost, especially in years in which Pentecost came as early as mid-May. Even though all the crop might not be harvested by Pentecost,  Pentecost celebrated the entire grain harvest, including the small amount of grain to be harvested shortly after the festival.

The summer harvest
After Pentecost, most of the harvest was fruit: grapes, olives, dates, figs, pomegranates and numerous fruits, seeds and vegetables of less importance.
Deuteronomy 11:10-11 contrasts Egypt's irrigated vegetable gardens with Canaan's hilly terrain and seasonal rains, implying that vegetables were less common in Canaan. Proverbs 15:17 indicates that vegetables were among the least-esteemed foods. The Bible has few references to gardens, cultivated vegetables and wild plants. "The small number of references to vegetables and the low regard in which vegetables were held suggest very strongly that vegetables...did not constitute an important part of the Iron Age diet in Eretz-Israel" (page 139).
Now let's look at the major crops after Pentecost. Grapes were the first major crop to ripen: "In a good year, when the [grain] yield was great, threshing and grape picking overlapped" (page 62). That would be in June, technically in spring, since summer doesn't officially start until the solstice, about June 22.
The importance of grapes and olives is illustrated by the fact that the Essenes had wine and oil first fruits festivals similar to the biblical firstfruits offering for grain. These festivals also indicate the relative timing of these crops. The new wine festival came 50 days or seven weeks after Pentecost. Until new wine was offered, no one could drink any of the new juice (Temple Scroll, columns 19-21). Fourteen weeks after Pentecost, shortly before the Feast of Trumpets, was the new olive oil festival. No one could use new olives until some oil had been offered (columns 21-22).
The grape harvest was usually completed before Tabernacles, but most of the olive harvest came after the autumn Holy Days.
In ancient Israel the primary harvest season extended from April to November. This harvest period might be subdivided into three seasons and three major crops: the spring grain harvest, the summer grape harvest and the autumn olive harvest. These harvests have a rough, rather than a precise, correspondence with the festivals. Some grain might be harvested after Pentecost, threshing and grape-picking might overlap, and the olive harvest came both before and after the Festival of Tabernacles.


Seven weeks during which time we are to eliminate all carnal nature as mentioned by Sha’ul/Paul:
(Gal 5:19 [YLT])
And manifest also are the works of the flesh, which are: Adultery, whoredom, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

(Gal 5:20 [YLT])
idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strifes, emulations, wraths, rivalries, dissensions, sects,

(Gal 5:21 [YLT])
envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revellings, and such like, of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that those doing such things the reign of God shall not inherit.

Toutes ces choses viennent de l’homme charnel pour lequel il nous est demandé de nous
Défaire !

Pour les remplacer et nous élever vers les attributs de YHWH

(2Pet 1:5 [YLT])
And this same also--all diligence having brought in besides, superadd in your faith the worthiness, and in the worthiness the knowledge,

(2Pet 1:6 [YLT])
and in the knowledge the temperance, and in the temperance the endurance, and in the endurance the piety,

(2Pet 1:7 [YLT])
and in the piety the brotherly kindness, and in the brotherly kindness the love;

(2Pet 1:8 [YLT])
for these things being to you and abounding, do make you neither inert nor unfruitful in regard to the acknowledging of our Lord Jesus Christ,

(2Pet 1:9 [YLT])
for he with whom these things are not present is blind, dim-sighted, having become forgetful of the cleansing of his old sins;


The “counting of the Omer” from Pesach (Passover) to Shavuot (Pentecost) is a process –
a daily task – that reflects like a mirror our spiritual lives.  If we are not counting the Omer as
God tells us to do, it is reflective of the fact that we are not overcoming sin and temptation and distractions in our lives.  If we fail to count one day, but repent, and begin counting from that time, then God forgives us, and we go onward and forward.  But it is better if we are faithful from beginning to end.  
  The Omer count is a reflection of our spirituality.  Are we developing the attributes of
God  and  His  Spirit/Ruach  in  our  lives?    Are  we  growing  daily,  constantly,  in  love  –  joy  –  peace  – longsuffering (patience) – gentleness – goodness – faith – meekness –  moderation (self control)?
  Each day of the forty-nine day Omer count is like a building block to salvation.  It is a
tool to develop and grow in spiritual maturity, so that we are ready when Christ comes, so that
we will be a pure and perfect “Bride” for the KING of the Universe!
  Think about such a high calling!  Are you faithfully “counting the Omer”?
  Even more, the Omer count is a pattern – a template – to TEACH us what we should be
  Each and every day should be an “Omer count” day in our journey to spiritual perfection. 
Each day we should “number the days,” and “count the days,” as we journey onward and upward to that thrilling time when Yehoshua HaMashiach will come again, bringing the Kingdom of God with Him!

The Spiritual Struggle
  The Believer life is a life of spiritual struggle.  We must learn to keep our eyes on the goal.
Paul understood that we must endure to the end – that we must be FAITHFUL till our
dying day, or till Christ returns (whichever comes first!).  Paul wrote, of his own spiritual battle: 
“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize?  RUN in such a way that you may WIN it.  Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreathe, but we an imperishable one.  So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified” (I Cor.9:24-27, NRSV).

Notice  this  in  the  Amplified  Parallel  Bible:    “Do  you  not  know  that  in  a  race  all  the
runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize?  So RUN [your race] so that you may lay
hold [of the prize] and make it yours. . . 
“Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim).  I do not box like one beating
the air and striking without an adversary.  But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things  pertaining  to  it,  I  MYSELF  SHOULD  BECOME  UNFIT  [not  stand  the  test,  be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].”
Seven Weeks of Concentrated Overcoming
  It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  there  are  “seven  weeks”  that  we  count  the  Omer.    These
provide us seven optimal weeks to work on ourselves – seven weeks of concentrated, distilled
“overcoming.” Paul also wrote about this battle in the second letter to the Corinthians.  He declared, “For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.  For the weapons of our WARFARE are not physical [weapons of flesh  and  blood],  but  they  are  mighty  before  God  for  the  overthrow  and  destruction  of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasoning and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the OBEDIENCE of the Messiah, the Anointed One, being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and OBEDIENCE [as an Assembly] are fully secure and complete” (II Cor.10:3-6).
Notice!  We are not yet “fully secure and complete.”
Rather,  as  Paul  himself  wrote  to  the  Philippians,  again  quoting  the  Amplified  Parallel
Bible, “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually TRANSFORMED [in spirit into His likeness even] to His  death,  [in  the    hope]  that  IF  POSSIBLE  I  may  attain  to  the  [personal  and  moral]
RESURRECTION  .  .  .  Not  that  I  have  now  attained  [this  ideal],  or  have  already  been  made perfect,  but  I  PRESS  ON  TO  LAY  HOLD  OF  (GRASP)  and  make  my  own,  that  for  which Messiah Yeshua has laid hold of me and made me His own.” (Phil.3:10-12).  
Notice Paul’s attitude!  He did not believe or claim to already have salvation, but sought
to progressively GROW up into the likeness of Christ, so that “IF POSSIBLE” he may attain to the resurrection of the righteous dead, or salvation!  
Paul goes on, saying, “I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my
own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]:  forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I PRESS ON TOWARD THE GOAL TO WIN the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.”  So, Paul declares, “So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also”
(verses 13-15).
Once we begin the Bliever life, there is a lot of overcoming to do – straining forward to
make sure that we will enter the Kingdom of God and attain to salvation!  We must “PRESS
ON,” we must “STRAIN FORWARD,” and make sure that we win the ultimate prize!
A Program for Overcoming Since counting the Omer pictures overcoming sin and developing the righteous-ness and character of God in our lives, and becoming more and more Christ-like (see Gal.4:19), we should use these days to pray about overcoming and growing in God’s holiness and righteous character.
  Each day it is helpful to pray that day especially about the characteristic of God which we
are working on developing in our lives, pertinent to that day.  For example, the Jews derive seven major characteristics of God which are mentioned in the Old Testament, which can be applied to the  Omer  count.    These  seven  attributes  are  also  characteristic  of  the  “seven  patriarchs” mentioned in the Scriptures – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, and David.  The characteristics are:
    Chesed                   Loving-kindness             Abraham    
    Gevurah                 Strength, Power    Isaac      
    Tiferet                    Harmony, Peace  Jacob      
    Netzach                  Victory, Triumph  Moses     
    Hod                        Glory, Majesty  Aaron      
    Yesod                     Foundation  Joseph     
    Malkut                    Sovereignty  David
Developing Positive Godly Character Traits

  We can also use each day to work on one of the attributes of God’s Holy Spirit in our
lives.   Paul wrote to the brethren in Galatia, these plain and instructive words:  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:  against  such  there  is  no  law.  And  they  that  are  Christ’s  have  crucified  the  flesh  with  the affections [or, “passions,” marginal reading] and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another”
(Galatians 5:22-26).

  There are actually nine fruits of the Spirit listed here.  But if we combine gentleness and   54
meekness,  which  go  together,  and  faith  and  self-control  (temperance),  then  we  have  seven combinations of Divine Attributes. The apostle Paul lists them in Galatians 5:19-20.  
1.  Love
2.  Joy
3.  Peace
4.  Patience (Long-suffering)
5.  Gentleness, Goodness
6.  Faith (Faithfulness)
7.  Meekness, Self Control        
   Counting the Omer, for forty-nine days, till Pentecost, helps us to concentrate during this
period  and  focus  our  minds  on  overcoming  our  sins  and  weaknesses  and  developing  the attributes of God in our lives.  This helps us to have a PLAN of overcoming!  It is Biblically-based!  And it will help you to be a true overcomer in your life!
  To make the most of the Omer season, and the days of counting the Omer, it is vital to
spend extra time in earnest, heartfelt prayer every day, to put your heart into your prayers for
spiritual  growth  and  overcoming.    As  Jeremiah  wrote,  “Arise,  cry  out  in  the  night,  at  the beginning  of  the  watches,  pour  out  your  heart  like  water  before  the  presence  of  YHWH!” (Lamentations 2:19).  Become the embodiment of prayer like David who wrote, “I am all prayer” (Psalm 109:4, Tanakh, marginal reading).  The apostle James wrote, “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:16, NRSV).
The Seven Sefirot and Fruits of the Spirit
   Chesed  –  loving-kindness.    This  is  also  known  as  Ahavah  (love).    This  quality  is
associated with Abraham, the father of the faithful, who loved God so much he was willing to
sacrifice Isaac, his true son, if God so required it.  Abraham was also noted for his hospitality. 
This quality refers to unconditional acceptance and love of others – out-going concern and care.
  Love is also the first of the fruits of God's Holy Spirit!  Love is the bedrock of the Law of
God – the first great commandment is to love God, and the second is to love our neighbor.  “For this  is  the  love  of  God,  that  we  keep  his  commandments:  and  his  commandments  are  not grievous” (I John 5:3).  “Love works no ill to his neighbor:  therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom.13:10).
   Gevurah – Strength.  This quality is also known as Yirah – awe or fear.  This quality is
connected with Isaac.  It refers to strength that comes from containment, the power to contain
and  hold  the  energy  of  love.    It  is  the  power  of  inhibition,  the  power  of  discrimination  and judgment that allows one to make wise, right choices.  Isaac’s name means “laughter.”  
  Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit of God – unbounded laughter and happiness.  God’s
Word says, “The joy of YHWH is your strength” (Neh.8:10).  Thus true joy is a source of
strength – gevurah.  “Rejoice in the Lord alway,” Paul wrote; “and again I say, Rejoice.  Let
your moderation be known to all men” (Phil.4:4-5).
    Tiferet –  Beauty. This quality is also known as Rachamim – mercifulness.  “It is also a
symbol of PEACE because it represents the perfect BALANCING  of  the  left and right sides,   integrating  love  and  containment  .  .  .  Tiferet  is  associated  with  Jacob”  (Joel  Ziff,  Mirrors  in Time, p.105).
  Peace is the third attribute of God’s Spirit!  Jesus Christ said, “In me ye shall have peace”
(John 16:33).  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  Paul also wrote: “And  the  peace  of  God,  which  passeth  all  understanding,  shall  keep  your  hearts  and  minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil.4:7).  Jacob was a man of peace.  He was noted as a peace-maker.  
    Netzach – Victory, Triumph.  This begins the second triad (or division of three qualities)
of the Sefirot.  This quality is associated with Moses, who triumphantly led Israel out of Egypt “with  a  high  hand.”    This  quality  translates  chesed,  gevurah,  and  tefirat  into  bold  action  and accomplishment with power, energy, planning, and activity.
  Gentleness  and  meekness  are  two  of  the  fruits  of  the  Spirit  of  God  which  seem  to  fit together.    These  also  are  defining  characteristics  of  Moses.    Why  did  Moses  achieve  such netzach – such victory and success?  Because he was a man God could use and work with, a man to whom “success” would not “go to his head” and cause him to swell up like a puffed balloon. 
We read of Moses:  “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon
the face of the earth” (Num.12:3).  And David writes of the quality of gentleness, speaking of
God Himself, “Thy gentleness hath made me great” (Psalm 18:35).  He wrote, “It is God that
girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect” (Psa.18:32).  
  The  apostle  James  tells  us:    “But  the  wisdom  that  is  from  above  is  first  pure,  then
peaceable,  gentle,  and  easy  to  be  entreated,  full  of  mercy  and  good  fruits,  without  partiality [favoritism], and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:17-18).
    Hod – Glory.  This is the quality that lights up a person's face, the inner strength that
causes the face to “glow” with confidence, peacefulness, serenity, dignity, honor, and majesty.  It is associated with Aaron, the brother of Moses.  Aaron was noted as a “peace” maker, and a man of honor.  Sometimes he went too far in seeking to be a “peace-maker,” as when he molded the golden calf for the rebellious Israelites.  He sought to preserve the people in unity, so he fell into a spiritual trap.  Nevertheless, he was a noteworthy man of God, and a man of wisdom and inner strength.  God’s word says of such a man, “Who is as the wise man?  and who knoweth the interpretation  of  a  thing?    a  man’s  wisdom  maketh  his  face  to  shine,  and  the  BOLDNESS [strength] of his face shall be changed” (Eccl.8:1).  God also says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in UNITY!  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard:  that went down to the skirts of his garments”  (Psa.133:1-2).    A  key  part  of  true  “glory”  is  humility,  meekness  –  otherwise  hod becomes puffed up pride and false glory – vanity!
  Goodness is the sixth fruit of the Spirit of God.  This also was a strong quality in Aaron,
and a quality we must strive to inculcate into our innermost character.  David writes, “Good and upright  is  YHWH:    therefore  will  he  teach  sinners  in  the  way”  (Psa.25:8).    Yeshua Messiah declared,  “A  good  man  out  of  the  good  treasure  of  the  heart  bringeth  forth  good  things” (Matt.12:35).  Paul wrote, “For we are his workmanship, created unto GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph.2:10).    
    Yesod – Foundation.  This quality is the integration of both netzach and hod, and is the
balance between power and presence.  Joseph, the son of Jacob, became the prime minister of
Egypt, and virtual ruler of the world, after suffering slavery as a teenager, and imprisonment for a  crime  he  never  committed.  Yet  after  these  harrowing  trials  he  rose  by  God’s  miraculous deliverance  to  an  exalted  governmental  position.    He  is  the  embodiment  and  epitome  of  this characteristic.  Joseph by his suffering and continual growth and strength through contact with God, and His Spirit, became the foundation of the world, delivering the whole earth from the ravages of the most terrible famine mankind had seen up to that time.  His wisdom and planning and spiritual strength provided a way to save his own family, and millions of others.  
  Longsuffering is the fourth fruit of the Spirit of God.  Certainly, this characteristic was
well-illustrated  in  the  life  of  Joseph.    Despite  his  trials  and  tests,  tribulations  and  suffering, Joseph  remained  faithful  to  God  and  worshipped  Him  through  it  all.    His  long-suffering  and patience and endurance in well-doing finally led to his exaltation to high office where he could serve  in  a  much  greater  capacity.    The  apostle  Paul  wrote:    “Cast  not  away  therefore  your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.  For ye have need of PATIENCE, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.  For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Heb.10:35-37).  James added, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [trials, sufferings]; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4).
  Connected with this trait is the quality of “self control” – self mastery – which is also one
of the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit.  Self-control and long-suffering go together like hash browns and eggs.  They are two aspects of the same quality – endurance – and constitute a “foundation” for true achievement!
    Malchut  –  Kingdom,  kingship,  royalty,  sovereignty.    This quality represents
manifestation,  the  translation  of  energy  into  action  and  activity  –  and  means  literally
“KINGDOM.”  Malchut is associated with the Shekinah – the “Presence” – of God.  King David is connected to this Sefirah as he is the one whom God used to bring the Kingdom of God to fruition and accomplishment as a type, in his day.  He was himself a type of the Messianic King, Yeshua – and the promised Messiah was to be born of his descendants, of his royal lineage.  
  These powerful Seven Sefirot of God – these SEVEN manifestations of the Holy Spirit –
are  mighty  vehicles  to  spiritual  growth  and  becoming  godlike.    If  we  will  meditate  on  these attributes of God, and ponder them, and reflect upon them, and study them in the Scriptures, and spend time thinking about them, and considering HOW we might express them more fully and completely in our own daily lives – these divine spiritual energies will provide us a powerful tool
to use to become the true SONS OF GOD in actual spiritual image and character likeness.
  What a glorious destiny God has in store for those who serve Him, obey Him, count the
omer  and  make  the  omer  count  in  character  growth  and  development!    One  day  soon,  God willing, we will shine like the sun in its glory, and endure like the sun, as masters of eternity, ever-ruling sons in the expanding family of God, forever and ever!  
  As  you  “count  the  omer,”  make  the  omer  counting  practice  really  COUNT  –  for you! 
Enter into the dazzling, radiant JOY of “counting the omer” faithfully, and you will be blessed!

Daniel ben Ya’acov Ysrael

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