Now, what is the place of Israel in the Body of Messiah? What is God’s order in relationship to the nations? Numbers 23:19 says that, “God is not a man that should lie; neither the son of man that should repent.” What God is doing today is not a new thing in His Eyes. It may be new to us, but not to God. It was His plan all along; a plan for the nations . We have to function in God’s order; nothing hinders the anointing of God more than when things are out of order. If I put the power system out of order, then no matter how much power comes in, we don’t have the benefit of that power because the circuit is out of order. Similarly, if a family is out of order, the anointing will not flow. And that’s why the enemy will try to keep your family out of order. God will continue to love us anyway whether we are in order or not, but God’s ability to work through us is limited if we are not in His Order.
The Principle of Firstfruits and Harvest
Our purpose on this earth is to be fruitful and to multiply. Once we are born again, we are given a new heart and new spirit; we have to renew our minds. The principle of harvest relates to how the Body of Messiah relates to Israel. The Biblical calendar starts with the month Nisan, a month in spring. The 14th day of Nisan is the day of Passover. It begins the most important season of the year. Passover is the celebration of our deliverance. This is the season of the year that God has given the longest commandments in the Bible. He commanded Israel to do something for 50 days. Apparently, that’s very important. God commanded Israel to count the omer for 50 days when they came into the land; it’s called “Counting the Omer.”
Counting the Omer
What is an omer? An omer is the measure of wheat, barley, or some kind of fruit. What was customary to do was that, the first day after Passover, when Israel celebrated the great deliverance, they would go out into the field and they would tag all of the buds. This is not a tithing; not the ten percent of everything. Firstfruits is one hundred percent of something. So, you need to determine what that something is that God wants one hundred percent of. They would go out into the field and tag all these first buds the first day after Passover. It’s not all the crops, just the ones that budded on the first day; for the next 50 days, they would count and water these buds.
It says in Leviticus 23:15-16 that, ‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.‘ So, the Lord says, if you do this, I will do that. So, for 50 days they would work and do everything they could to make sure these buds became a fruitful harvest.
We are the Lord of the Firstfruits
The Lord is the Lord of the Harvest. Who, then, is the lord of the firstfruits? The Israelites. The Israelites had to count the omer, water, pull the weeds, and plough the ground. God is responsible for the harvest, but Israel is responsible for the first fruits. In Exodus 23:19 it says, “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.” But actually in Hebrew, it’s “milk fat,” not the word “milk.” In the Scripture the Lord says, the fat around the heart and around the lungs, the milk fat belongs to the Lord. Because the Canaanites had a pagan practice in which they celebrated the pagan feast of Astarte, the fertility goddess. They would take a young kid goat and boil it in the milk fat of the mother and eat it to be more fruitful. The Lord says, don’t do that pagan practice, just bring me firstfruits. Don’t do religious things, just take care of the firstfruit. If Israelites would have neglected the firstfruits, God would have neglected the harvest. By the way, the firstfruits never went to the market. It went to the priesthood; to the temple. The first fruit is never the best fruit, but God loves them because it’s fifty days of our effort.
Now that we are in the New Covenant, Israel celebrates the exodus out of physical Egypt, and we celebrate the exodus out of the spiritual Egypt. Now we have the opportunity for the next 50 days to count our personal omer. How do I identify my omer? The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Seek from God as to what gifts and calling are given to you. They might be the former buds you have to develop, and gifts that God has given you so that you can give to others. The best thing that God gives us is the ability to give what He gives. And how can you develop this ability? For example, water them with daily prayer and pull the weeds -that is the bad character. If you take 50 days out of the year and work on the character, pull out the weeds, you will transform your life. Plough the ground up around you-it’s the process. I put my past behind me and race to the mark. When you present the firstfruit to God, He will anoint them and you will begin to see the harvest.
Yeshua also counted His omer. The very first thing He did when He rose from the dead, was that He went to the disciples and for the next thirty-seven days He counted His omer up until ten days before the Pentecost; Pentecost means fifty. It’s all about fifty days of counting the omer. Yeshua counted His omer, He watered them with prayer. He prayed to the Father and prayed for His disciples. He pulled the weeds, pulled out the fear, worry, personal ambition, pride, doubt and unbelief of the disciples.
The Bible says in Exodus, speaking of Israel, “you are my firstborn.” Israel is the firstfruit of the Body. If the Body recognizes Israel as the firstfruit and counts that omer, waters, and pulls the weeds, ploughs the ground around, makes sure it grows and presents it to God, then God will bring the Harvest to the body. The firstfruit doesn’t look great, but the Harvest is beautiful.
You are the lord of the firstfruits in your personal life and in the congregational life of the Body of Messiah. In Romans 11:11, Paul said, “I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy.” We have to get Israel back into the right spiritual place so that God’s plan for the nations can be accomplished.
The Former and the Latter Rains
It says in Joel 2:28, “It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all fl esh; And your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.” In verse 23, speaking of Israel, it says, “Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.” (NIV) God has given the former rain, that is the Law. He has given us so that we can understand. In the Bible, when talking about the former rain, we’re talking about the Old Testament, the Mosaic covenant; while the latter rain talks about the New Testament. In the verses, it says the latter rain was in the first month, and the first month is Nisan, the Passover. But here it is not about the first Passover when the Israelites left Egypt. It’s about when Israel comes into their spiritual Passover. The latter rain in the first month means the New Testament anointing. And verse 24 affirms it, “The threshing floors will be full of wheat. And the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.“ Regular wine is Mosaic covenant, New wine is New Covenant; so, children of Zion will come into the New Covenant.
In verse 25, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The great locust, the grasshopper, and the caterpillar, My great army, which I sent among you.“ In other words, it was the time when nations started to destroy Israel. But the Lord said, I will restore that. Then it says, “You will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied, And will praise the name of the Lord, your God,” That is the New Covenant. It will be a nation of praise and worship with new wine and new oil. “And praise the name of the Lord, your God Who has dealt wondrously with you; And my people will never again be put to shame. And you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, And that I am the Lord, your God, and there is no one else; And my people will never again be put to shame.” Physical and spiritual revival. “And it will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;” To the Jew first. Bring Israel back into the right Biblical order, in the right spiritual place, the firstfruit back to God; then the Harvest.
God never changes his mind. Isaiah 49:22-23 says: “Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. Kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers: they shall bow down to you with their faces toward the earth, and lick the dust of your feet; and you shall know that I am the Lord and those who wait for me shall not be ashamed.” We are not waiting for Israel, we are waiting for the Lord. We have to take our responsibility as kings and queens of the Kingdom and minister to the Firstfruit who is now an infant child but will grow quickly and lift up the nations. That’s the Heart of our Father, all of this is for the nations, not for Israel; Israel is God’s tool. So, if we minister to Israel, God will minister to us. That’s why, “to the Jew first.” It is not for the Jew’s sake but for our sake. That’s why the devil wants to kill the Jews, -why the world hates Israel. Anti-Semitism is actually anti-Messiah, anti-plan of God. He is the Lord of the Harvest, but we are the lord of the firstfruits. ■ (Excerpt from Rabbi Ari Sorko-Ram 18 June 2014, Class lecture)