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Rumination #26: Without the Holy Temple, there is no pesach lamb. Without the pesach lamb, we cannot keep Passover. So, how can we celebrate Passover without the pesach lamb? We remember the Lamb.

Ever since the destruction of the Holy Temple in 70 CE, there has been no place for the Passover offering. As the Torah instructs us:

You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which HaShem your G-d gives you; but at the Place where HaShem your G-d chooses to make His Name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 16:5

Hence, we have been without the ability to offer the pesach [Passover] lamb. Technically speaking, for over 1900 years we have not been able to keep Passover. Like all of the Feasts of HaShem, we are left with memorializing them only. Remembering is an important part of our faith, because the Almighty is not bound by linear time and space. For Him it is always "Now" and the cycles of His calendar are points of remembrance for us. Remembering what He has done, reminds us of what He will do. Each time we celebrate His mighty acts, we prophetically speak with our lips and our deeds to what He will do in the future. His Feasts are all about Redemption. We await the Final Redemption and the return of Messiah. Each remembrance of our redemptive past as seen in the Feasts of HaShem in Leviticus 23 speak of our redemptive future.

We celebrate Passover. We remember the Lamb - Messiah. We await His glorious return to establish His Kingdom.

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the Merkavah [throne], the chayot [living beings], and the zekenim [elders]; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!" And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him Who sits on the Merkavah, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
Revelation 5:11-13

Passover and the Revelation of Gravitational Pull - Part 1

Pierre-Simon, Marquis de Laplace, was born in 1749. He was a brilliant French mathematician and astronomer who is sometimes referred to as the "French Newton" because he summarized and extended many of Sir Isaac Newton's theories with regard to mathematical astronomy.

Pierre-Simon Laplace's place as a great scientist and mathematician is assured by his five-volume work, "Celestial Mechanics," in which he describes the nature and movement of celestial bodies in mathematical language.

The primary focus of Laplace's work relates to gravity. Using the known effects of gravity's pull on celestial objects, Laplace was able to explain many things such as the movement of planets and stars. Knowing that gravitational pull reveals the mass of an object such as a planet or a star enabled him to be the first to describe the "invisible star" - or what is known today as a black hole.

When Pierre-Simon Laplace presented his work, "Celestial Mechanics" to Napoleon, the French leader asked him, "Monsieur Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator." Known for his arrogance, and confident of his mathematical process, Laplace responded, "I did not need to make such an assumption."

Sadly, Laplace did not understand that the heavens reveal their Creator. He did not understand that the very principle that he described of how the invisible force of gravity can reveal the presence of an otherwise invisible object is in fact a biblical principle. It is also a general principle of life that if you look for the "gravitational pull" you can begin to "see" things that otherwise would be hidden. This lesson is about "gravitational pull" and how it can help us rediscover something that otherwise may have been forgotten. This lesson will be about Passover.

Before we look into the idea of the "invisible" revealed by a "gravitational pull" let me tell you a story.

Imagine with me for a moment. It is about 2,000 years ago. We are Galileans traveling to Jerusalem for the annual Passover celebration. Three times a year we went to Jerusalem for three pilgrimage festivals mandated by the Torah. They were Pesach [Passover], Shavuot [Pentecost], and Sukkot [Tabernacles]. The first festival in the annual cycle is Passover. It is a weeklong celebration. It is a joyous time when we celebrate the fact that the Almighty rescued us from the bondage of Mitzrayim [Egypt].

The celebration begins with actual Pesach Seder, the Passover meal, and then continues through the next seven days in which we also celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of First Fruits. All of our celebration is outlined in the Torah in Leviticus 23 and other passages, and all of our traditions that surround this celebration are correctly focused on the Almighty and His redemption. As a people we have been celebrating this for nearly 1,500 years.

We normally travel in large groups from the villages we are from. We are coming from the village of K'far Nachum [Capernaum] on the shores of Lake Kinneret [Sea of Galilee]. To avoid Samaria, we travel the easy route down the river valley of the Yarden, and ascended from plains near Yericho [Jericho] to the mountains of Yerushalayim [Jerusalem].

When we came over the mountain and looked down at Yerushalayim from the village of Beit-Pagey [Beth Page], the holy city seemed to glow. Closest to us, where we descended from Har HaZeitim [the Mount of Olives] was the gleaming glory of the Beit HaMikdash [The Holy Temple]. The road from Beit Pagey winds down Har HaZeitim into the Eastern Gate of the Beit HaMikdash.

As we walked down the road, our Master rode on a small donkey. Many of us lined the way and sang the Hallel, the Psalms that are traditionally sung during Pesach. It is always wonderful to enter Yerushalayim at festival time - there are always Psalms that we sing as we approach the holy city - but this Pesach was even more exhilarating, as more and more people began to openly speak of our Master as the long-promised Mashiach [Messiah].

For the past few months, each morning, afternoon, and evening as we prayed with our Master we had begun to understand the importance and fulfillment of many of the memorized prayers and how our Master was in fact the One for Whom we were praying that HaShem would send. We wanted Mashiach, we prayed for Mashiach - and here He was in our midst. Our Master was the Mashiach!

During the week leading up to the actual beginning of Pesach we spent the night on Har HaZeitim with other villagers from the Galil region. It was wonderful being that close to the Beit HaMikdash. In the mornings we would walk across the Kidron and enter the Eastern Gate of the Beit HaMikdash to participate in Shacharit [the Morning Prayers] and the morning tamid offering. Afterward, our Master would teach in the Portico of the Beit HaMikdash.  In the afternoons we would pray Minchah [the Afternoon Prayers] with our Master, at the time of the afternoon tamid offering. Sometimes we would pray Ma'ariv [the Evening Prayers] there at the Beit HaMikdash, and sometimes we would pray from where we stayed on Har HaZeitim, facing the west and the Beit HaMikdash.

It was a very satisfying few days leading up to Pesach. There were a few moments of unease, but even those were quite satisfying. One of those was when our Master threw over some of the tables that merchants had set up within the Beit HaMikdash. It was something that pleased more than one chasid [pious one]. Over the years, the Tz'dukim [Sadducees] in the Priesthood, particularly in the Kohel Gadol [High Priest] office had turned the Beit HaMikdash into center for their political and monetary efforts. They had actually set up special Temple bazaars, with their own currency, using all manner of legal loophole to enrich themselves. Yeshua, our Master, pleased many with His cleansing of the Beit HaMikdash of that rabble - but in the meantime He had enraged the Tz'dukim and the Kohel Gadol [High Priest].

Yeshua, our Master (did I mention that He is Mashiach?), was always caring for us, even as we faithfully followed Him. Apparently, without our knowledge He had made plans for us to have our Seder in a house in the city, within the walls. This was no small feat during the week of Pesach, when Yerushalayim swelled to ten times its normal number of inhabitants.

It was a Seder to remember, which ironically is what the Seder is all about - remembering. The Pesach Seder is a meal that is focused upon the redemption of our people from bondage in Israel. Even before the official Seder begins, we first helped clean the house that we were to use for the Seder. Obedient to the command of removing leaven from our dwelling place, we were reminded of our miraculous and speedy exit from Mitzrayim [Egypt]. Symbolic of sin, it reminded us that our bondage in Mitzrayim can be compared to being enslaved to sin, and thereby repugnant to the Almighty. Removing the leaven reminded us how G-d prepares a way not only for redemption, but for removing from us what offends Him.

As we sat down for our Pesach Meal, our Master delighted us by leading the Seder memorial. It was joyful and satisfying. We enjoyed His recounting of the deliverance from bondage. We drank in His allusions to what we thought we understood regarding His soon-to-be-realized delivering of us from the bondage of our Roman occupiers. As we sang the Psalms we knew that we were on the threshold of something big regarding our Master's revelation as Mashiach. That made it especially joyous, so even when we left the city to go to pray Ma'ariv [Evening Prayers] on the Mount of Olives, we could not sense that He was wrestling with something deep and dangerous. After Ma'ariv, He went further back into the olive trees to pray alone, and yet we still did not realize the extent of that approaching danger.

We had sensed some of the danger in that the Master had angered the Tz'dukim and particularly the Kohen Gadol [High Priest] - and yet we did not anticipate what happened that night after prayers.

Of course, our Master always knew. It was ultimately His very plan that this night would be different from every other night. He had always planned that this would be the time. Our problem was not that the Master had been unclear - but that we were unaware how grand His plan of redemption from bondage really was.

The next day, merely hours after eating the Pesach r with us, our Master was hanging from an execution stake outside the city walls. Imagine our shock. The joy of the Seder, now replaced with horror. How was it possible that Mashiach would be put to death?

Of our number only Yochanan [John] witnessed the horrible scene that was beyond our worse nightmares. It seemed that at the threshold of redeeming us from the bondage of Rome, this One like unto Moshe [Moses], our Mashiach had failed. The powerful Tz'dukim had used their Roman collaborators to snuff out our redemption in the very season in which we celebrated our redemption from bondage. Maybe He wasn't Mashiach.

Three days later of course we had a much better understanding of what kind of Master it was that we had followed for these three years. It was after Shabbat [Sabbath] that it happened. Some of our women had helped prepare His body for the tomb, but had not finished because of preparation for Chag HaMatzah [the Feast of Unleavened Bread]. Now three days and three nights later, the sun had set on the night of the Seventh Day of the week, and all over Yerushalayim families concluded Shabbat with havdalah [separation prayers]. As it grew dark, the first day of the week began. The women went to the tomb that night, in the dark. When they arrived there, the tomb was empty, and the Master's body was gone!

By morning we had all been informed that the Master's body was gone, and some in our group began to understand that our Master had actually risen from the dead. By the end of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, all of us had seen Him - risen and very much alive. The joy of our Seder had been briefly interrupted by the horror of His death - but it soon returned all the more with the revelation that our Mashiach was far more than we had ever imagine.

He was Mashiach. He is Mashiach. For forty days He appeared to us and taught us from the Torah and the Prophets. On the forty-first day of the Omer, He gathered us together on the Mount of Olives again and told us to remain in Yerushalayim. Shavuot was only 9 days away...

Each year after that wonderful Pesach Seder, we remembered our Master during the Seder. Yes, we remembered our deliverance from bondage in Mitzrayim [Egypt], redeemed by the outstretched arm of the Almighty and led from bondage by Moshe [Moses] - but we also remembered that we have been redeemed from the bondage of sin by the outstretched arms of the Master - One who was like unto Moshe.

Each Pesach, one of our young children would recite the traditional questions. During each Seder we smiled as we remembered and answered the question, "Why is this night different from every other night... "

Yes Master, we still remember You..

Day 1 of the Omer

After the first day of Unleavend Bread, after sunset, begins Nisan 16. As the “day after the Sabbath [of Passover]” we begin the counting of the Omer tonight. Some count differently, however we count along with all Israel, because the Torah was meant to be lived out in community, not making up our own rules and traditions. If you want to know more about why Israel begins the count tonight, there is a Bereans Online study here: How You Count the Omer Matters.

Counting of the Omer

"Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before HaShem, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it... And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to HaShem.'"
Leviticus 23:10-11, 15-16

There are remarkable parallels between the Passover and Messiah's last Passover with His disciples in Jerusalem. There is great truth discovered in the Feast of First Fruits during that historical week as it relates to Yeshua's Resurrection and our ultimate salvation. These are often commented on in all manner of religious circles. Something missing from the mix however is the Counting of the Omer. Most Christians know at least a little about Passover and how it relates to Messiah. Some think they know about Pentecost [Shavu'ot]. What few understand is this mysterious connection between First Fruits and Shavu'ot. What connects these two feasts is the Counting of the Omer. And it is an eternal command of the Almighty.

Beginning with the Feast of First Fruits, we are to count each day (by tradition we do the counting in the evening when the day begins after sunset). Why count, why not just mark the fiftieth day on the calendar? Beloved, details matter. HaShem wants His people to count. It is a countdown, or rather a "count-up." To best understand the "count-up" we should go back to the historical time in the wilderness. The time between leaving the captivity from Egypt and the arrival at Mount Sinai were 45 days. On the forty-seventh day, Israel prepared to receive the Torah.  On the forty-ninth day, Israel accepts the Torah sight unseen. On the fiftieth day, the Almighty King of the Universe stepped into time and space and met Israel under the betrothal chupa at Mount Sinai. There He spoke His kitubah [wedding vow]. There He fulfilled His promise of the fourth "I Will" (corresponding to the Fourth Cup of the Passover Seder, the Cup of Praise).

Therefore say to the children of Israel: 'I am HaShem; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your G-d. Then you shall know that I am HaShem your G-d who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am HaShem.'"
Exodus 6:6-8

It is the marriage betrothal that takes place at Mount Sinai on the fiftieth day after freedom from slavery. It is the memory of this event that we are counting up to. Beloved, it is also portends for something that has not yet been. It is something that must follow the fifth and sixth "I will" from Exodus 6:6-8, which points to the Messianic Age where Messiah reigns from His throne in Jerusalem, where He says, " I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am HaShem."

The redemption secured for us by the blessed words of our Master Yeshua, when He said, "It is finished," will be finally realized. The work that He has finished, will be clearly evident to all creation. We await that day, and we are counting the days

And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped G-d who sat on the throne, saying, "Amen! Alleluia!" Then a voice came from the throne, saying, "Praise our G-d, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!" And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the L-rd G-d Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of G-d."
Revelation 19:4-9

The traditional prayers for the Counting of the Omer immediately proceed the bedtime Shema.

Blessed are You, HaShem our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us regarding the Counting of the Omer.

Today is ___ day(s) of the Omer.
Or after 6 days:
Today is ___ days, which are ___ week(s) and ___ day(s) of the Omer.

The Compassionate One! May He return for us the service of the Temple, to its place, speedily in our days. Amen, selah!

- ArtScroll Translation

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Standing in Prayer with all Israel,

Rick Spurlock
Bereans Online