Counting the Omer
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The Counting of the Omer (Sfirat HaOmer) is the counting of the days that separate Passover and Shavuot (Feast of Weeks/Pentecost), as stated in Leviticus 23:15-16. For those forty-nine days, the priests would lift a sheaf of barley before God for and then present it as an offering in the Temple. In Bible times "Counting the Omer" was an act of faith, prayer and sacrifice, seeking God's blessing and a bountiful harvest. In our day the "Counting of the Omer" is still observed and creates an atmosphere of positive anticipation.

Spiritual Significance:

  1. It is a reminder that the Land of Israel will yield its fruit, and of God's provision for His people.
  2. It creates a positive expectancy for a good harvest, which always seems to come as a happy surprise.
  3. It is a prophetic picture of resurrection from the dead. Yeshua (Jesus) became the first fruit of resurrection by overcoming the powers of death. Through Him we shall all be resurrected.
  4. The daily counting of the Omer can be compared to putting our faith into action in everyday life.

In Genesis 26:1-3 God gave a strange instruction to Isaac in the middle of a famine. Isaac was a shepherd, not a farmer. Nevertheless, God instructed him to stay in the land and cultivate it. Through his obedience the land yielded fruit.

"Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold." (Genesis 26:12)

We also can lift our sheaves of faith, and expect a joyful spiritual harvest! After His death and resurrection, Yeshua continued to appear to His disciples almost on a daily basis. He sowed into their hearts a vision for a great spiritual harvest that was set in motion on Shavuot when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit seemed to come unexpectedly, even though it had been prophesied by the prophet Joel centuries before the time of the apostles.

Return to Zion's Youth Ministry

The sheaf (omer) that Return to Zion is lifting up before God this year is our congregation's youth ministry. We are joyfully expecting its first fruits to appear! For many years we have been searching for effective ways to enhance our youth programs. Now God has begun to answer our long-felt need by bringing a young man with a warm, pastoral heart. His name is Yevgeni. He has served in the Special Forces of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), and worked as a security guard in an Israeli embassy abroad. He is married and has two children.

We are lifting the sheaf of faith, that God would, through Yevgeni, build up our youth and change them into the image of Yeshua, that they would be able to fulfil their part in the calling of Israel. Please join us in prayer, that we would have the means to employ this fine young man.

Youth group celebrating Purim Yevgeny and wife Alina

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