Favor in Celebrating God's Feasts
Today is a significant day on the Hebrew calendar because of the convergence of three events: Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and The Feast of Weeks (Omer 1)
At sundown on the eve of April 22 (Nissan 14) Passover (Pesach) began. All those who celebrated retold the story of how the blood of the Passover lamb protected the firstborn of God's people from death as judgment fell on all the gods of Egypt. (Exodus 12:12) We, as Christians, can identify Messiah Yeshua as our Passover Lamb. He has delivered us from the bondage of sin and guided us into liberty.
April 23 began the seven-day celebration (Nissan 15-21) of Unleavened Bread. For the next seven days nothing with yeast should be consumed. Yeast or leaven represent sin, and Yeshua is our sinless Savior. On the second day of Unleavened Bread and the third day from Passover (Today/Nissan 16) we have the celebration of Firstfruits. This was celebrated by the Jewish people as they brought God a firstfruits offering of their spring barley harvest.
Scripture says, "Bring the best of your firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God." (Exodus 23:19) Notice that God's people are expected to bring Him the best. Likewise, on the third day God gave us His best--His perfect Son. Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples while He walked the earth. He became Father God's firstfruits offering when He rose from the dead on the day when His people celebrated Firstfruits. The resurrection of Jesus foreshadowed our resurrection. As it says in 1 Corinthians 15:20--He is called the firstfruits of those who will be resurrected.
The day gets even richer when we remember that Yeshua told His disciples that they would receive power through the Holy Spirit who would be given to them so that they could witness for Him to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) So, it is traditional to count the 50 days from Firstfruits to Pentecost. It is called counting the Omer, which means sheaf. We, as God's people, are to count our blessings for the next 50 days. "From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off 50 days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord..." (Leviticus 23:15-17)
These holy days are shadows meant to reflect God's heart and plans for our world. Is it not significant that these festivals occur in Nissan, the month associated with praise? Position yourselves well by giving God an offering of praise as you count the Omer. Being intentional about counting the Omer makes our desire for revelation known to God. Counting--giving thanks and praise--open the door for wisdom and direction in our lives as God takes us deeper into His presence.
Use your next 50 days to count your blessings and bless God with thanksgiving and praise. This is a time for us to grow and prepare for spiritual increase. Look at how Psalm 89:15 in the Amplified Bible expresses the joy of celebrating God's feasts. "Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound (who understand and appreciate the spiritual blessings symbolized by the feasts); they walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of your countenance!" This time of the year is a gift from God. This, combined with the fact that we are in the year of Jubilee, makes it a time of abundant blessings for us. Give daily thanks and receive the blessings of the Lord.
Joan E. Mathias