The counting of the omer begins on First Fruits, in the midst of Unleavened Bread, and ends fifty days later on Pentecost. Pentecost is the day the Holy Spirit came to the 120 men and women in the upper room because they followed the commands of Jesus when He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Pentecost is celebrated fifty days after First Fruits. Pentecost is the wheat harvest that Israel depends on so heavily for survival. They count each day and praise God for a blessing that they have yet to receive demonstrating their strong convictions regarding the promises of God.
The desciples were not in accord with the authorities, but they were in accord with one another. They were despised by people who considered them disposable, yet Jesus was alive! They counted everyday a blessing and never resisted the opportunity to bless someone else with their presence. They learned from the Master's knee and after His resurrection, they actually heard Him. They knew that He would be leaving them and counted each day they were in His presence as the best days of their lives. Forty days after His resurrection, it was bittersweet to watch Him ascend into the Heavens; but how could they know the joy that would occur ten days later on Pentecost! Once they received the power of the Holy Spirit that came in great measure, thousands joined the church in one day. It was a great harvest of souls.
The Israelite nation was an agricultural society which depended heavily upon the harvest. Counting the omer began with the First Fruits barley harvest which at that time was used primarily to feed animals. It ended with the wheat harvest providing Israel's staple food. Israel could not survive without the wheat harvest. Therefore, the counting of the omer could potentially be very stressful for the Israelite nation. The promises in the covenant of God would have reduced their anxiety by the measure of their faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Each evening the person assigned the duty of announcing the omer would also recite a blessing. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to count the Omer. The sale of "omer-counters" increases during this season and so does the appearance of Omer-counters in Jewish synagogues. There are even electronic omer-counters that can be put on a cell phone or other device reflecting the times and the importance of the countdown.
People have been known to count or mark dates on a calendar when they are very eager for a date to arrive. Soldiers in battle frequently mark the days until they are scheduled to return home. Brides preparing for a marriage ceremony also mark the days until the blessed event. The message to us is that Pentecost is a day to long for with great eagerness. Pentecost marked the season of the wheat harvest. Jesus compared the end of the world to a wheat harvest. Matthew 13:39 According to Revelation 14:4, the 144,000 ascend to Heaven on First Fruits. Within the next fifty days, bringing in the sheaves, or the harvest of the saints will occur on Pentecost (Shavuot), sometimes known as Ingathering.
The saints will be living on a planet that is suffering from the wrath of God. It will be a time of trouble unlike anything the world has ever seen. Praise God, they will only have to behold with their eyes these horrible plagues that are being expressed as the wrath of God. The saints have the mark of Jesus so the angel of death will pass over their dwelling place and none of the plagues will come nigh. God will spread His wings over them offering protection from the things that are coming upon the earth causing men's hearts to fail them for fear.
The saints count each day that passes and sighs with relief and rejoices for their redemption is drawing nigh. It is not for them to know the day or hour of the coming of the Redeemer, but they know they will not have to suffer beyond the fifty days until Pentecost. Their Heavenly Father will not put more on them than they can bear so He will cut this time short for the sake of the elect. Matthew 24:21-33
In Revelation 15:2, 8 we see the great multitude standing on the sea of glass with harps of God ready to enter the temple of God where they will serve Him. However, they can not enter the temple until the smoke of the glory of God clears the temple. The time it takes for the smoke to clear is a set time of no more than fifty days that will be counted off by the saints as they near the blessed event of the harvest of the world.
The harvest of the world will happen after God's wrath is completely poured out through the seven last plagues. The time between First Fruits and Pentecost will be a very terrifying time for the saints. They must witness the wrath of God while they wait for their redeemer--The Word of God. This waiting time is known as the time of Jacob's trouble. It is such a horrific time that words can not describe it, but for the sake of the elect this time will be cut short.
Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:7
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. Daniel 12:1
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Matthew 24:15-22
The ungodly will do something so abominable that it will cause their cup of iniquity to fill to the brim. When this happens, the door of probation will close and there will be no more mercy. The Holy Spirit will no longer beckon to them leaving them desolate of the presence of God. This abomination of desolation will bring on the seven last plages. God will shelter the saints during the plagues providing them with great resistance to everything that is going on around them. However, the human body is flesh and the human mind is frail. In the flesh and prior to the change, there is a limit to the endurance of the saints because the clay vessel can only absorb so much trauma. God will not put upon us more than we can bear. Therefore, for the sake of the elect this time will be cut short of the full fifty days.
The wilderness tabernacle is a picture worth a thousand studies. It will help us understand the sea of glass the saints stand on. Revelation 15:1-8 In this picture you can see the furnishings in the outer court of the wilderness tabernacle. Moses built this according to God's command because it was to be a model of the heavenly sanctuary. In the heavely sanctuary God sits on His throne with Jesus at His right hand serving as our great high priest. Hebrews 8:1-6 We can only see the furnishings of the outer courtyard in this image which will suffice for our study of the sea of glass.
The gate into the courtyard is right in front. If you notice, there is only one way into the courtyard. There are many individuals critical of Christianity because it is so exclusive offering only one way to God. If there had been even one other way to God, He would not have sent His only begotten Son to die in such an insufferable manner. He would have expected us to use the other available ways. There is only one entrance to the courtyard because there is only one way into the kingdom. The entrance is an invitation to all the nations because they are descendents of Adam whom God formed from the earth. God longs to dwell with the clay vessel so in the form of the still small voice or the whispering wind, the Spirit of God beckons all the children of Adam and Eve into the courtyard.
Once you find the way into the courtyard (Actually, The Way finds you.), you are required to proclaim your acceptance of the sacrifice offered. Cain refused the sacrifice and offered the works of his own hands instead. The first piece of furniture in the courtyard is the altar of sacrifice burning with a sacred fire. The sacrifice that was offered represents the Lamb of God that was offered but once for our sins. We point our finger at others for the death of Jesus. However, it was the patriarch of the family not the priest that would slit the throat of a sin offering indicating that the blood of Jesus was shed for the one that caused His death. The guilty party is the person in the mirror.
The altar of sacrifice in the courtyard is also the place where we slay self. If you offer self on the altar, the fiery Spirit of God will burn away all the dross leaving faith like gold. How do you slay self? Not by shedding blood because none of the sheep, goats and even Isaac or any other man but Jesus was a worthy sacrifice. Revelation 5:2-5 The only way you can slay self and offer an acceptable sacrifice is to submit your will to the Father. Jesus did not want to partake of the cup of the crucifixion, but he subdued His will choosing the will of the Father. This is our example.
The next piece of furniture is the laver. The priests washed themselves before going into the inner sanctuary. Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet at the Lord's supper. When Jesus told him he would not be clean unless he was washed, Peter, remembering the priesthood, requested that Jesus wash his feet, face, and hands. The laver is where are sins are washed away never to be recalled.
The laver is the sea of glass that the victorious ones from Revelation 15:1-8 stand on because they have been made clean and their sins have been cast into the depths of this very sea never to be remembered anymore. Washing in the laver will empower you to walk on water. This washing will prepare the saints living in the last days for the trials during the feast of Unleavened Bread and the tribulations during the counting of the omer. The saints remain steadfast and unmovable standing upright on the sea of glass. They have been tried, found true and unlike the Israelites that griped and grumbled in the presence of Pharaoh's army, this body of believers will hold fast. This is the faith that Jesus is looking for at His return. Luke 18:8
The wilderness sanctuary represents the kingdom of God in the midst of the earth's wilderness of sin. The patriarch of the Jewish family entered the courtyard by faith because he was a sojourner like Abraham looking for a better place. Abraham walked on this earth for many years and never received the promise. Initially, Abraham was looking for an earthly Canaan, but he began to desire something greater--a heavenly city. Hebrews 11:8-10; 13-16; 39-40
The saints stand on the water in the laver because they are members of the heavenly kingdom, but they are still sojourneying in the wilderness of the earth desiring their heavenly place prepared for them; therefore, they are still in the courtyard. They will remain in the courtyard until the smoke from the wrath of God and the seven last plagues clears from the temple. Then they will enter Heaven to serve the living God in His temple as priests and kings. Revelation 15:8; Revelation 7:9-17
The laver itself offers no protection because it is just a brass vessel. This is true of all the furniture in the courtyard. The laver and altar, furnishings of the courtyard, are made of brass while the furnishings in the sanctuary are made of or covered with solid gold. Therefore, the furnishings of the courtyard are common, but they are common vessels containing that which is holy.
The altar contains a holy, consumable fire and the laver contains holy water. The fire and the water represent the Holy Spirit. During the seven last plagues, the saints stand on water in the laver which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. Standing on the promises of God delivered by the Spirit of God will shelter them during the seven last plagues. When they go through the fiery furnace at the end of days, they will be like the three young Hebrew men thrown into the fiery furnace--their hair will not be singed and their clothes will not smell like smoke. The fire of the last days will destroy the ungodly, but it is a refining fire for the saints.
As soon as God's wrath is poured out and the smoke clears, the temple is clean, and God's children are clean. God wants to bring his clean children into a clean habitat just like a new mother wants to bring her child into a clean nursery. Jesus said He would prepare us a place and it is His current work to prepare us a place in the heavenly sanctuary. The way is now made for the saints standing on the sea of glass and those of the ressurrection to cross over and enter into the temple to serve God. Once the 144,000 are ressurrected on First Fruits, the saints desiring their heavenly home begin counting the omer until Pentecost. On this glorious day, the clean saints will be harvested and brought to a clean heavenly sanctuary. Pentecost is also known as Ingathering which is a harvest term.
The Way to Heaven is a stairway commonly referred to as Jacob's Ladder. Genesis 28:10-22 Jesus is this Stairway to Heaven. John 1:51 The saints living at the end will reject Babylon and accept The Way before the door of mercy closes. God will read every heart and recognize when all have come out of the valley of decision. Then the angels with the seven last plagues prepare to pour out God's wrath. Every hard heart will, like Pharaoh, reach a place of no return and/or remorse. God will send the message to Jesus to mark His own and the angels with the plagues begin to pour out God's wrath in the form of the seven last plagues.
During the 6th plague The Way is made visible to earthly inhabitants. Satan sees Him and so do the ungodly, but only the saints will have access to The Way. Then the 6th angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. Revelation 16:12 In the 6th plague Satan prepares to make war against Christ in Armageddon, much like Pharaoh made war against Moses. Like Pharaoh Satan and his army will be conquered. Once the last angel with the seven last plagues steps off The Way the dead in Christ will be ressurrected. Then the saints that went through the tribulation will access The Way. Like Enoch they will walk right into the Heavenly sanctuary where they will serve God in His temple during the millenium. Revelation 7:9-17
Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world. When He left this world and went to Heaven, the disciples pleaded to go with Him. I know it broke His heart to leave them behind, but without the ministry of the desciples and the believers of the following generations, how could I have been in the harvest? How could there be a harvest? Jesus promised them and us that He would go and prepare a place for us so that we could be where He is. John 14:1-4
The kingdom that Jesus told us about is not of this world, and neither are the treasures I have invested in His kingdom. Praise God they are in Heaven where moth and rust do not exist. He is a king and has promised to make me a priest and a king. His kingdom and my part in it is east of our planet. Matthew 24:27; Revelation 7:2 (Christians bury their loved ones facing the east so they will rise up to meet Jesus when He comes.) I am one of those kings of the east, and when the river Euphrates is dried up, I will cross over and enter into that kingdom with Him during the millenium. The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Revelation 16:12 The kings from the east can now go home. At the end of the millenium they will come back to the earth made new which will become the new residence of man and God. Then the kings of the east will become kings of the earth.
The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, And strike it in the seven streams, And make men cross over dry-shod. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people Who will be left from Assyria, as it was for Israel In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.
Isaiah 11:15-16 NKJ
The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian Sea; with a scorching wind He will sweep His hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.
Isaiah 11:15-16 NIV
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