Why the Countdown?
The Bible tells us that we should count the days starting from the Resurrection to the Feast of Pentecost, meaning fifty. This is called counting the omer (Leviticus 23:15-16). So why do we count? Let’s take a closer look.
The Holiness of Pentecost
Let’s start by what Yeshua (Jesus) tells us about Pentecost. In John 14:16-17 Yeshua tells His disciples, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” Yeshua, after His ascension (which was the 40th day of the Omer), tells His disciples to wait in Jerusalem till the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4).
Joel writes about this promised Holy Spirit in Joel 2:28-29, “And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, and even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” Fifty days after the Exodus from Egypt is when the people gathered at Mt Sinai and God gave the Israelites the Holy Torah, and at the time of the apostles God gave the Holy Spirit. So is there a connection between the two? YES! We need the Spirit of truth to lead us in the truth of God’s Word, and He can only help us when we walk by the Spirit.
So we count for the same reason we have Advent in the mainstream churches, and that is to prepare–not for the baby Jesus, but for His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the Logos or the Word that was made flesh. The Word of God and the Spirit of God’s Word work hand-in-hand because they are both God’s truth, for God is one God. Paul tells us in describing the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” So as we count, we must prepare our hearts, change our lives, draw closer and closer to God. Let’s take a closer look.
The Road to Pentecost
We want to look at what we need to do so that we can not only prepare for the Feast of Pentecost, but for us to receive the Holy Spirit and the blessings of the Lord. Yeshua tells Nicodemus, as recorded in John 3:5-7, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I say to you, ‘You must be born again.'”
So we see that we must start by being born again and how are you born again? Well we know that the flesh and the Spirit are opposed to each other, and so because of this we need to do all that we can to first live by the Spirit and then to walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:1 tells us, “It was for freedom that Messiah set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” What is this yoke of slavery? Romans 6:6-7 tells us, ” Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” Galatians 5:24 tells us, “Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
So what are the deeds of the flesh? Paul tells us in Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Verse 16 says: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.”
How do you walk by the Spirit? Galatians 5:13-14 says, “For you were called to freedom brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor.'” You see the deeds of the flesh are generally self-serving, but the deeds of the Spirit are for your good and the good of others. These deeds are called the fruit of the Spirit. These deeds show that you are of the Spirit of God, for God is love. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us what the fruit is: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.”
Just like any other fruit, we must spread the seed of the Spirit and not of the flesh. Galatians 6:7-8 tells us, “Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Paul tells us in Galatians 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 6:6, 9-10 tells us, “And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches him… and let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
As we countdown to Pentecost, let us examine ourselves and take this time to prepare our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit, so we may live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit, which is living by the Word of God.
The Passover is on the 14th day of Nisan/or look on the regular calendar. This year it was April 10, 2017. Then on the 16th day of Nisan, April 12, 2017, is Resurrection Day and now you begin counting, “Today is the First Day of the Omer,” and so on, till the 50th day which is the Feast of Pentecost which is May 31st, 2017. For more information, see our page on Counting the Omer.