Sunday, May 12, 2013

Yeshua in the Counting of the Omer part 4: Doubting Thomas

The period of time on the Biblical Calendar known as the Counting of the Omer is the 50 day period from the day after the regular weekly Sabbath which falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot.  In Christian circles this holiday is known as Pentecost but is little known beyond recognition as the day the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and they spoke in tongues.  But this Feast has great significance in the life and ministry of Jesus (Yeshua) and in the lives of his disciples including those of us who follow Him today.  Yeshua was very active during this time teaching and preparing His disciple to go out into the world and preach the Gospel.

Yeshua first appeared to His disciples after His resurrection on the Feast of Firstfruits, the day after the Sabbath. The command is then to count the days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath.

Leviticus 23:15-16 NIV 15 "'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.

Yeshua’s next appearance is exactly one week later on the eighth day of the counting of the Omer. What happened during that week? First, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was still ongoing. There were still four days left of the Feast. People were still bringing their firstfruit offerings and their peace offerings. This was still a time to celebrate their deliverance from Egypt. Each day, there were additional offering at the temple. Also, the counting of the Omer had begun. Each day an omer of new grain from the barley was prepared and offered on the altar. Each day began with the words “today is the ____ day of the counting of the Omer.”

At the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the pilgrims who lived close enough would return to their homes and count the days of the Omer until they had to return to Jerusalem for the culmination of the count at the Feast of Weeks. The Feast of Weeks is the second of the Feasts of the LORD that all men had to appear before God bringing their offerings.

Deuteronomy 16:16 NKJV 16 "Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.

The disciples also should have headed for Galilee as the angels told the women at the tomb to relate to the disciples on the day of Yeshua’s resurrection.

Matthew 28:6-7 NKJV 6 "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 "And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you."

Yeshua reinforced their words as they ran to tell the disciples.

Matthew 28:10 NKJV 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me."

So what happened? Why didn’t they go to Galilee? We know that at first they were frightened and didn’t quite believe the message that the women brought. The disciples whom Yeshua met on the road to Emmaus didn’t quite believe the women’s report.  Their doubt is evident in their words as they explain to Yeshua what happened in those three days and in Yeshua’s response to them.

Luke 24:24-25 NKJV 24 "And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see." 25 Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Yeshua chides them again when He appears to the eleven in the room where they were staying.

Luke 24:38-39 NKJV 38 And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

Yet here it is a week later and they are still in Jerusalem! The Feast of Unleavened Bread has ended; there is no excuse for them to have lingered. But, we know that at Yeshua’s earlier appearance, Thomas was not with them and did not believe.

John 20:25 NKJV 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

So, Yeshua generously appears before them once again; this time Thomas is present. Yeshua understands Thomas’ doubts and displays the wounds in His hands and His side.

John 20:27-28 NKJV 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"

Thomas proclaims Yeshua His Lord and God! He saw in Yeshua not just a man risen from the dead; he had seen that in Lazarus. In Yeshua, he saw His God! God’s name is Yahovah or Yahweh. In the ancient Hebrew, a form of which was in use in this day, it is spelled like so:  *

His name is the “Hand revealed, the nail revealed.” Thomas saw His redeemer. Finally, all eleven believe.  The next time Yeshua appears before them, they are in Galilee as He commanded them. While in Galilee away from all the crowds, Yeshua could teach them. Luke records the purpose of Yeshua’s appearances.

Acts 1:1-3 NKJV 1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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* In most English Bibles God's name, which in Hebrew is יהוה, is most often translated as "LORD" in all capital letters.  When you see LORD in your Bible, think of the Hand Revealed Nail Revealed!

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