This past Shabbat we were blessed to host a couple local fellowships and have 50-60 people here for worship and food. I invited our good friends, Tommy and Dorothy Wilson, to come do the teaching according to whatever the Father placed on their hearts. We were not disappointed. Then, today, a feature writer for Breaking Israel News, Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, posted an article that perfectly meshed with our lesson, even providing confirmation and pictures!! More in a minute.
Tommy and Dorothy had been digging deeper into the meaning and reason for counting the omer and what might be the spiritual significance. In her research, Dorothy found a terrific lesson on the omer which included a part she titled 10 Steps to Making Bread:
(The abbreviated version follows. For the full notes she found, go here, but understand I have not read anything else on the site and therefore do not necessarily endorse…. yada yada…)
Being part of the people of God, if we desire to be one of those two loaves waved at Shavuot, then we need to consider the process of bread making.
1 – SOWING OR PLANTING: The Hebrew term used for sowing or planting also carries with it the meaning of ‘scattering’ – picture as a farmer ‘scatters his seed. The ancient practice of scattering was called to ‘broadcast’ the seed from a bag that was hung over ones shoulder. We as a people of Elohim have been scattered over the whole earth and long to be replanted, if you will, into our native soil. I am sure we are all aware of the sowing and reaping principle – nothing can be reaped from what was not sown and you cannot reap something different from what has been sown – you reap what you sow – be it attitudes, thoughts, actions or even priorities – do not expect to get something out from that which you did not sow! You want an intimate growing relationship with יהוה – then sow the time and effort in seeking Him! יהוה scattered Yisra’ĕl and we get a greater understanding of this from the book of Hoshěa which I encourage you to read. Scattered but watched over – for this scattered seed will bring in a bountiful harvest for reaping!
The root word for sow or sowing is זֶרַע zera – Strong’s H2233 and means, ‘a sowing, seed, offspring’ and comes from the primitive root זָרַע zara – Strong’s H2232 meaning, ‘to sow or scatter seed’.
2 – GROWING: There is always a season or period between sowing and reaping – it never happens immediately. It is during this time where growth occurs and this season of growth is a time in a sense for us to think about what was done wrong and how we can do better. One of the keys to overcoming the period of growth or period of ‘exile’ if you will, is simply just that – grow and grow and grow – and to grow we have to realise that we have inherited some lies – ok more than just some – a whole lot!!! But in realising this we also begin to grow and realise and know יהוה’s power and more importantly – His NAME!!! To ‘know’ is to walk in His Torah – for as Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:3 says that we know that we know Him when we guard His commands! And as love for יהוה and one another grows through obediently guarding his commands we can ‘outgrow’ our ‘exile’ from the Promised Land – the more the world grows dim before our eyes and has no effect on pulling us away from obedience and therefore be ready to be lifted up when He comes and be replanted where we belong – together with Him in His Land!!!
Two root words translated as grow or growing are 1) הָלַךְ halak – Strong’s H1980 meaning, ‘walk, to go or come, grow, wander, travel’ and 2) צָמַח tsamach – Strong’s H6779 meaning, ‘to sprout, spring up, grow’ – we know that a derivative of this word is used in prophetically referring to Messiah who shall come forth from the Branch of Dawiḏ. When looking at these two words it makes the verse in Yoḥanan Aleph 2:6 very clear: The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked. – as we stay in and walk in Messiah we will grow!
3 – REAPING: This reaping process is simply separating the harvest from the field that it grew in. Grain must be reaped or else it cannot be used. We too, just as Aḇraham, may have to be reaped out of our circumstances and even our families. Grain when reaped is gathered into storehouses – and this is a wonderful picture of what we see happening more and more in these last days – pretty much the equivalent of Him gathering or assembling His grain into communities – because to put is plainly – a single kernel of grain cannot make much bread – and certainly not enough for an offering unto יהוה! Once gathered together this is when the real preparation begins – say what – yes this is when it begins! What has erroneously been taught in the church today is that this is the final stage for those blinded hopefuls and they do not realise what lies ahead in the process of making bread! This is only the beginning and the next steps are what shape us into what we need to become in order to be presented to יהוה as a prepared Bride! This is His storehouse or rather one of His storehouses where He will gather together much grain – grain that is ready to be prepared to be made into an acceptable offering of bread unto יהוה!
Reaping is translated from קָצַר qatsar – Strong’s H7719 – ‘to reap, harvest’
4 – THRESHING: Ouch – the sound of this word already makes you realise why the church chooses to stop blindly at reaping, and why they developed a false rapture teaching that sadly for them seemingly removes them from the rest of the bread making process! Admittedly most would prefer to stay at the reaping stage – sitting quietly in a barn being no use to anyone at all and it is easy to understand why – nobody likes to be ‘threshed’. It almost sounds like ‘thrashing’ and guess what – it is!!! Boy – many who have left the reaping stage into threshing or thrashing soon want to jump back to the safe old barn of no good premature stop! The Hebrew word for ‘teach’ literally means to ‘prod with a stick’ and so it is with threshing – which is simply the applying of pressure to grain – be it from beating it or grinding it or letting heavy animals trample on it – with the purpose in mind to loosen the shells and separate the grain from the chaff – or the stalks from the husks – which is still pretty much useless at this stage. It is the stalk that represents that which attached us to the field that we came out of and we do not want that to be an ingredient in the bread!!! Most of what we bring in from the field – be it dogmas of Rome, doctrines of man, theologies, misguided moral codes and even wrong priorities that we have picked up along the way – is no longer useful to us once we have grown enough and been separated from the system – threshed out in other words – not always painless I might add – and are now threshed out enough to begin studying the Torah. The omer basket is filled with kernels and each one has a husk that has to be removed. All too often though we don’t want this to happen as we can so often find ourselves hiding from one another behind the husks so to speak – those very things that need to go! We cannot be a part of the bread if we hang on to the ‘hull’ – the ‘hull’ is the outer part of a seed or fruit. We must begin to be honest and give an account for ourselves and ask, “What am I still attached to that is useless to the Kingdom?” In this threshing process we must allow other trusted brothers and sisters in the body to ‘loosen’ our kernels – after all in the process of making bread it is people who do the job!!! Each of us is responsible to help one another in these processes – and is a great honour and privilege that requires faithfulness and trustworthiness! For we are in effect taking what ‘protects’ people into our hands and whatever we learn about them in the process must be used to help them and build them – not harm or destroy them! We need to be ‘threshed’ out of the field from which we have come from and we must realise that we cannot keep holding on to those things that previously shaped our thinking, especially when it contradicts the Torah! All we can do is repent, which is a critical step in being able to move on – threshing is a must – not easy but a must – those husks and hulls must be loosened off of us and we need to let go of those things that we thought gave us security as we realise that in our vulnerable state our only security is in יהוה!
Threshing is the Hebrew word דַּיִשׁ dayish – Strong’s H1786 and is from the primitive root דּוּשׁ dush – Strong’s H1758 meaning, ‘to tread, thresh or trample’
5 – WINNOWING: Another step in the process, that involves a ‘fork’ that looks like a rake. The threshed grain is thrown up into the air in order to expose it to the wind which will blow away the lightweight particles and the heavier – that is the more important – will be left behind! This process worked better on a hill top and so you find many threshing floors being on higher ground to allow this process to take place after threshing. This process reflects to us an elevating of one another – lifting one another up in prayer and edifying each other up into the presence of the Almighty where the ‘wind’ or Ruach blow away the unneeded stuff in our lives as we immerse in His presence – letting that which is useless be blown away and what will simply be left is better refined kernels with no chaff! Sha’ul said to the Corinthians that he desires that they all speak in tongues but he would rather prefer that they all prophesy – why? Because prophesy builds up the body – tongues is for the individual unless there is an interpretation for the body but prophesy in itself is there to edify others – edify the body and in so doing elevates others to a place where the Spirit can remove the chaff!
Winnowing is translated from the word זָרָה zarah – Strong’s H2219 meaning, ‘scatter, fan or winnow’.
6 – PARCHING: After being separated from the lighter elements – all that airy fairy fluffy junk that just clogs up our lives and is actually of no use – all the ‘hot puffed up air’ so to speak – once that is gone guess what? The heat is turned up!!! What – seriously? Yes – it gets hotter! Once we are a taught people who have been elevated we can be exposed to things that we would never have considered before. It is interesting to note at this stage that is would be useless to ‘parch’ a single kernel – so we are all parched together! No one has to go through this alone! This is not a ‘burning’ of the grain but rather a process of removing moisture from the kernels and makes the grain even lighter, and what this pictures for us is that at this stage we begin to give less weight to the ‘me, myself and mine’ attitude and rather consider what is best for one another and the whole bread, so to speak! You know it is so difficult to ‘give up’ individual rights – but we can when we are in it together! Parching may cause tears – in fact more often than not it will as one lets go off selfishness and pride – the removal of moisture!
To parch in Hebrew is the word קָלָה qalah – Strong’s H7033 meaning, ‘to toast, parch, and scorch slowly’.
7 – CRUSHING: Come on Craig, crushing… when does it stop? This is even a scarier process I know! In Ancient times all bread was what you would call, ‘stone ground’. In fact at many archaeological sites many ancient ‘millstones’ were found. A millstone is where two huge concrete stones are used from crushing – grains were crushed between two stones – the two stone of a millstone picture the two stone tablets upon which the Torah was written. The kernels are not destroyed in this process – far from it – they in fact now become very useful and fully useable – for now all the kernels have actually become part of one flour mix – inseparable – a picture of a people with the same purpose. It is at this stage where we can safely say that a bird cannot come and snatch away a single kernel as there is no way to identify the part of a single kernel as they are now so mingled and mixed in together. You see it is like this – as we obey the Torah, love יהוה and love one another – what happens? We become inseparable and become as one!
To crush or grind is the Hebrew word טָחַן tachan – Strong’s H2912 meaning, ‘to grind’ and the word טַחֲנָה tachanah – Strong’s H2913 is a grinding mill!
8 – SIFTING: In the 2nd Temple times the wheat for the offering at Shavuot was sifted 13 times!!! Each times becoming finer and finer! 13 is the numerical value for the Hebrew word ‘echad’ – meaning one or unified and יהושע Himself prayed that we would be one! The closer we get together through obedient living and fellowship, the more refined we become. Those who are crushed with us are our true neighbours!!! One thing we must realise is simply that if I do not bring my part and am causing disruption in the body causing the refining of the body to stumble then as it is sifted again I may just be sifted out!!!
Here we have the Hebrew word for sift as נוּף nuph – Strong’s H5130 and means, ‘to quiver, move to and fro, shake’
9 – TESTING: Then comes the testing – as a body or as a loaf! The Temple treasurer would come at this stage and plunge his hands into the refined flour and it needed to be so fine that no flour was to be seen on his arms. In fact they were so strict that if any adhered to his flesh it would have to be sifted again. This although seemingly a strict procedure pictures for us that we are in this together – it is not a case of ‘well that is their problem’ or ‘it is someone else’s problem’ – no – until all of us are sufficiently refined together none of us can become the bread – this is everyone’s responsibility to become a part! If you do not bring your part into the body or for sake of this teaching the loaf and the batch is failing the test due to your inconsistency then you may, as I have said, be simply sifted out. Satan is the one who desires to sift us out – he asked יהושע if he could sift Kěpha! Let us be careful that we are not sifted out by continually failing the tests!
נָסָה nasah – Strong’s H5254 – ‘to test, prove, try’:
Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 13:3 “do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for יהוה your Elohim is trying you to know whether you love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being.”
10 – BAKING: Once tested it can now be baked and presented fresh unto יהוה as the first fruit of wheat. It is at the feast of Shavuot leavened bread – why? Because it has been permeated with the Kingdom:
Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:33 “Another parable He spoke to them, “The reign of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until all was leavened.”
This bread is leavened with the Kingdom – not with sin as leaven represents for us at this feast we are in of Unleavened Bread. At Shavuot 2 loaves are presented representing the 2 houses of Yisra’ĕl which once were scattered but now are being brought back and the promise of this is seen in the fulfilment of both these first fruit offerings of the barley and the wheat.
A couple of different Hebrew words are used for what we translate as ‘bake’ and 3 of them are: 1) אָפָה aphah – Strong’s H644 meaning ‘bake, cook’; 2) בָּשַׁל bashal – Strong’s H1310 – ‘bake, boil, seeth, ripen, grow ripe’ and 3) שָׂרַף seraph – Strong’s H8313 meaning, ‘burn or to be set on fire’. I find that all of these collectively give us a great idea of how the ultimate process of bringing us together as being presentable as an acceptable offering of Bread before the Father is that we are to grow and ‘be on fire’ for Him.
Another word which for me carries wonderful significance in the baking process is the Hebrew word לָבַן laban – Strong’s H3835 which means ‘to make bricks’ and in its primitive root means, ‘to make white’. This word was used in Berěshith/Genesis 11:3 when the men wanted to build a tower to the heavens and wanted to male bricks and bake them. This was a wicked time and a wicked plot which caused יהוה to come down and confuse the languages! But when we see these words in use in reference to how the bricks would be made through baking, I reflect on who we have been called to be as living stones being built up in Messiah as a Living Tabernacle/Dwelling Place for the Most High and Messiah tells us that those who overcome shall be given a white stone:
Ḥazon/Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I shall give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I shall give him a white stone, and on the stone a renewed Name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”
The process of making bread carries great significance for us in understanding how we are to be overcomers in Messiah and be on fire for Him, aměn!
Guys this is a season and time to prepare – let us prepare as we celebrate and recognise the very work our Saviour has done in becoming our Passover Lamb, our First Fruit and the very Living Bread of which we are His body and in Him we are one able to be presented to Elohim as a pleasing offering!
At this First Fruit Feast what do you bring unto יהוה? יהושע has indeed fully met the requirements of this feast and as Yoḥanan says that we are claim to stay in Him ought also to walk even as He walked and so we too come and give our best, our all unto יהוה, prepared to be part of a Bride who makes herself ready – rid of the leaven of sin, yet becoming permeated with the good leaven of the Kingdom. Praise יהוה all you servants of יהוה and bless His mighty Name –
Our discussion was lively and full of insight, not the least of which is that we must walk together and grow together instead of separating ourselves from each other. Two or five grains of wheat do not make much bread!! It takes thousands and tens of thousands of grains to make any reasonable quantity of bread. Therefore, we are to grow together, be harvested together and threshed, winnowed, parched, crushed and tested together. There won’t be any rebels or lone wolves when we get to the final stages. The House of Israel will be one stick, not a bunch of twigs before the Messiah takes it with Judah in His hand. Lots top ponder here, and we did… But, on to Eliyahu’s related article…
Besides being very interesting in regard to the continued advances of the Sanhedrin and the growing desires of the Jews to see Temple worship reinstated, this article has a number of nice pictures of the exact process spelled out in the above lesson that we discussed on Shabbat!
Like one of the commenters, one thing that caught my eye as a detail that should not have been overlooked: pallets for the fire? Really? I do appreciate the desire and fully understand how easy it is to not get the mitzvot right. I fail often. I am so glad our Father judges our hearts, even when we may not bring Him the very best.
All told, it is cool to again see this little convergence between our lesson and the re-enactment in Jerusalem.