Homily for the Second Sunday of Easter – A countdown to maturity

Updated: Apr 1

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Good morning bus riders!


Last Sunday was Easter Sunday. Today is the second Sunday of the Easter season. Did you know that?


Did you know Easter was a season … more than just a day?


<Look for nodding heads or quizzical looks.>


The Easter season begins on Easter Sunday and always lasts through Pentecost Sunday. This year, Pentecost Sunday will be May 23rd. So, there are eight total Sundays covering the Easter season, with us today being at number two.


Does everyone know why there are eight Sundays in the Easter season?


<Look for nodding heads or raised hands.>


The Greek word “pentékosté” means “fiftieth.” Thus, Pentecost is the Fiftieth Day. The seven Sundays between Easter Sunday and the seventh Sunday of Easter amounts to forty-two days (six weeks). So, the following Sunday is the fiftieth day!


Do you know why we recognize the Fiftieth Day as Christians?


<Look for nodding heads or quizzical looks.>


Well, it seems to be because the Jews have a festival that recognizes that day, made popular by the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, when all the disciples and followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in tongues.


There is a branch of Christianity known as Pentecostals, who take that name because they say their members also can speak in tongues. But, that name says they are all Fiftieth Dayers.


The Jews recognize Pentecost as the feast of "Weeks," which they call Shavuot [Hebrew for "Weeks"]. Christians recognize Pentecost as when the first Christians began to preach God's Word. Both Jews and Christians recognize [generally] the same things, but neither seem to want to figure out how both should be the same.


The whole aspect of Easter and the Easter season is really a statement about how Christians will go to great lengths to be God’s chosen people, without being Jewish. In doing that, they make up things that are based on their conception of what the Gospels and the Book of Acts say, without any desire to understand the religious mores of Judaism.


The Jews see no need for anything beyond the Old Testament.


<Look for shocked faces.>


I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I think all of this is some kind of planned rejection, as both religions are guilty of failure to serve Yahweh. I believe the initial wave of Christianity that swept over Gentiles, where the first Christians were Jews, probably was a state of religion that has been lost over the centuries. Christians today are no longer merged as one religion that understands the Torah and Mishna.


Along that road of history to now has been some natural phenomena taking place, much like a jar of oil and vinegar will mix together (somewhat) when shaken; but let the jar stand still and over time the two will separate.


That analogy says Christians today do not fully recognize what Yahweh told the first Israelites, through Moses, relative to what to do that pleases Him, in order to remain His chosen people.


Those Israelites were neither Jews nor Christians. They were those who served Yahweh. The same devotion applies today, as Yahweh does not recognize dogma written on paper as proof of relationship to Him. Yahweh is more concerned about the Acts of His people proving he or she is one of His wives [and they call Him their Husband].


It seems that those instructions have been lost over the [according to the Hebrew calendar] past five thousand seven hundred eighty-one years, when Yahweh first told the Israelites to mark time. Both the Jews and the Christians have gotten a lot of things mixed up from waywardness over the centuries.


We know Judaism was pretty mixed up when Jesus was alive, because the Father sent him to set things straight. Then, after Jesus ascended and Christianity began and evolved, after two thousand years or so Christianity has reached the same place of ineptitude as where Judaism was [and still is]. The Jews lost their land and their right to claim Yahweh as their Husband [as a religious designation], with Christianity just as lost and in danger of the same recognition as a divorcee.


Not too long ago, I signed up to be a member of an online Christian group. I wanted to share with those calling themselves Christian what I discovered, relative to the name Bethphage.


When I was browsing the many threads established on that site, I commented my opinion on one. I misunderstood what someone had posted, so I mistakenly wrote something that was based on Pentecost, when the post was speaking about a time prior to the Passover. I realized my mistake and apologized. However, in accepting my apology the person said something about “ten days.”


He was not the only one who commented, in support of the “ten days,” which was supposedly relative to an after Easter Sunday period, before Jesus returned to spend forty days with his disciples.


In Acts 1:3 we are told, “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”


Because fifty minus forty leaves ten, these Christians were saying the ten days was the time after Easter Sunday, before Jesus appeared to his disciples. The person accepting my apology was correcting me as to the timing he thought I misunderstood. I needed to add in the "ten days" to be correct.


That is wrong, and I explained it on that thread … not that anyone was willing to accept anything I offered there.


One poster mentioned his information came direct from the “Acts Bible Studies Class,” where “ten days” is taught [and therefore learned].


The problem with this “missing ten days” comes from Christians not realizing a ritual that the Jews observe every year, beginning on the second day of the festival of the Unleavened Bread. It is a ritual called the “Counting of the Omer.”


I first became aware of this by doing a crossword puzzle, back around 2008. The clue I was unable to answer stated: “Counting the ­­­_ _ _ _”. The puzzle had four empty spaces in need of filling; and, I had the “o” and the “r,” but no idea what to put in between. When I found out the answer was “omer,” I looked that up on the Internet.


Learning what the Counting of the Omer meant made so much that was confusing about the Gospels become crystal clear. It was as if knowing how to think like a Jew made the Gospels make more sense.


The Counting of the Omer begins on the second day of Passover – on 16 Nisan, at nightfall – and goes nightly for seven weeks – 49 days counted. The Jews say a prayer each evening, which addresses the specific day in the count. That count is done each night, leading to the eve of Pentecost, which is the Fiftieth Day.


This time period is based on what Yahweh told the Israelites to do, based on two of the three commandments to remember feasts and festivals: Pasch, Shavuot, and Sukkot.


When I went onto that Christian website to talk about my realization of Bethphage, I posted that Pentecost was when the First Fruits were ripe and announced ready to be eaten. One of their members began attacking me, saying I was a fool, because the feast of the First Fruits was the same as Passover.


He began copying and pasting the Book of Leviticus as his proof. I told him we were using the same information, but one of us did not understand what he was quoting. I pointed out the Jews live by Leviticus, with the feast of the First Fruits a recognition of unripe fruits being left in the Temple, presented there for blessing during the week that is the festival of the Unleavened Bread. That feast recognizes unripe fruit that will be ripe and good to eat on the Fiftieth Day.


There are two ends to the First Fruits pole, one is green and unripe, the other is ripened and good to eat. The pole is fifty days long.


The word Bethphage means “House of Unripe Figs.” It is unripe grains and fruits that were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem before the Passover feast. On the second day the counting was relative to the time it would take for those first fruits to become ripe and ready to eat. That announcement was the Fiftieth Day.


The feast of the First Fruits was one evening meal held during the week of festival that officially recognized unripe fruits having been accepted by the Temple priests and thereby awaiting the final declaration as good fruits. That day of the feast did not have anything to do with the count, which always began on 16 Nisan, the second day of the festival.


An “omer” is a dry measure, thus Jewish farmers brought omers of unripe fruit. I pointed out in my post on that Christian site that no tree only grows unripe fruit. All fruit is unripe until picked and allowed to ripen, or left on the tree until if falls to the ground ripened. Thus, the House of Unripe Figs was known for sending omers of the First Figs to the Temple, for blessing as ready to eat on Pentecost.


The disciples, I pointed out, were the First Fruits who had been set before the Temple as unripe figs, who matured on Pentecost Sunday … the Fiftieth Day in the Counting of the Omer. The disciples stayed at Bethphage upon returning with Jesus for the Passover, coming from across the Jordan. I pointed out that symbolism, which I had never been told that by anyone before.


In my explaining of the “ten days,” that was how long it took Moses to lead the Israelites to the foot of Mount Sinai. The whole Passover feast and the escape from Egypt was eight days. It was the time it took to cross the Red Sea and wander through the wilderness of Sin. Then, they stopped at a place where some fruit trees were available to them [Elim]. Then, after ten days, Moses spent forty days atop the mountain with Yahweh, while the children of Israel waited for Moses to come down with the Law.


The whole Easter season is a duplication of that timing. Nothing has changed. Saturdays [the Sabbath, a Shabbat] never transformed into Sunday. Sunday is still the first day of the week. It is all the same. No Laws were changed in the making of Passover and Pentecost [a Commandment of Yahweh]. Easter and Pentecost are a Christian adaptation, where a new focus is put on Sunday, but the Sabbath never dissolved into nothingness. No days were lost. No days were added. Everything that was before is still important, and always will be.


The meaning remains the same, forever.


Now, in John’s Gospel today is read, “A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them.”


That is a mistranslation that can only be attributed to a Christian mindset forcing its will upon what John wrote.


What John wrote was this: “Kai meth’ hēmeras oktō,” where the capitalized presentation of “Kai” says, “Sit up and pay attention to this that follows!”


The following words say, “after … of days … eight.”


The important thing to note is this: John is speaking as a Jew to others Jews, who would immediately know “after of days eight” did not mean “a week later.” Instead, a Jewish mind would clearly hear him importantly saying, “when the evening came around to count the omer it was day eight.”


Easter Sunday was day seven. Inside the tomb, the risen Jesus would have said a prayer and announced at the end of the Sabbath, "this is day seven in the counting of the omer."

So, that Sunday evening, when it was clearly night [around 6:30 PM, to be safe], it became the eighth day out of fifty to be counted. That is what John wrote.


When you think about Jesus appearing before all his followers, including Thomas, think about that in terms of Moses taking the Israelites to the place called Elim. It becomes important to read Exodus 15:27 and relate that story of old to the eighth day after Jesus had been the sacrificial lamb.


There, Exodus states: “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.” That means date palm trees. They came to trees that were full of fruits fit to eat.


The name “Elim” means “Big Trees.” Those who followed Jesus would become the first “Big Trees” of Christianity, but it would take some time before they would bear good fruit.


When it is read in First John: “We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us-- we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”


That mouthful of words [rather poorly translated, I believe] needs to be heard like coming from one of those “Big Trees,” one who knows all of the “Big Trees” have born good fruit, with more coming, year after year.


When John wrote, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin,” he spoke as a “Big Tree” that was speaking to his “unripe figs,” knowing that given time they would mature and ripen. Upon their figurative "Pentecost," they would all be found repeating the process of eternal life, as Yahweh’s wives.


All would mature into being just like the other “Big Trees” – Jesus Christ reborn anew – full of fruits to feed those in need of spiritual food.


When that concept is grasped, look at how it says in the mandatory Acts reading for today [also poorly translated, I do believe], “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul.” That speaks of the reproductive process of trees and vines. A “whole group” of figs will always be “of one heart and soul” – that of the fig tree.


When one realizes Luke wrote [the stated author of Acts] as a “Big Tree” descended from the ‘Tree of Jesus’ or the ‘Vine of Jesus,’ then we can see he said ‘the whole group believed exactly as did Jesus. His words say all had been reborn as the good fruit of the vine – Jesus reborn – so they all had Yahweh the Father in their hearts and the Holy Spirit merged with their souls.


That represents the marriage between a soul and Yahweh, which is seen in David singing, “Oh, how good and pleasant it is, when brethren live together in unity!”


All who are reborn as Jesus, no matter what human sex one has, means being reborn as “brethren united.” When David penned the words “live together in unity,” that reflects the marriage that unites a soul with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, they each soul lives together with the Holy Spirit, as one wife of Yahweh, collectively all being brothers by being the Son reborn.


When David ended his Psalm 133 by singing, “For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: life for evermore,” that speaks of the reward of eternal life. It is that reward that makes being the good fruit of a “Big Tree” of Yahweh be worth praising.


This is at the root meaning of the Easter season. Those who are such good fruit, although still unripe, they can count on being declared fit and matured on the Fiftieth Day, when ministry officially begins.


Now, earlier I quoted from Acts 1:3 [written by Luke], about the forty days being stated. There Luke said, “he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days.” Today, John says the same thing [differently], as he wrote: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples.”


This has to be seen in the same terms of the fruit of a tree, as the “Big Tree” is present in the makeup of the good fruit. Even after a “Big Tree” might be cut down, after bearing fruit that has been gathered, the “Big Tree” will appear again in the reproduction of another “Big Tree” just like it … through the seeds produced by the “Big Tree.” Even though the original “Big Tree” will have died and ceased to be, it lives on in the fruit. As unripe fruit, that replanted in good soil, the good fruit will show “signs” of maturing into another “Big Tree.”


What Luke wrote and what John wrote needs to be read in terms the forty days. During that period of time the disciples – the unripe figs of Jesus – began to understand the knowledge of Yahweh was the same within them, as was in Jesus. Moses spent the same amount of time with Yahweh, so when he descended with the Law, Moses word the face of Yahweh. Jesus was born wearing the face of Yahweh. All his good fruit would then mature into wearing that same face of righteousness.


There was nothing new that Jesus could teach them, as what more than rising from death can be proof of God? Thus, his disciples spent forty days absorbing the face of Yahweh, by being in God's presence on earth.


The “kingdom of God” Luke said Jesus “spoke about” was themselves. Each of the twelve springs of water [the eleven, plus Matthias] and the seventy palms [the followers and family of Jesus] would become the temples of flesh that totally served Yahweh, just as was Jesus. Think of these numbers in terms of the commissions by Jesus: first the twelve disciples; and, then the seventy sent out in pairs.


Each would know Yahweh as the Father, with each of them [women and men] becoming Sons of man. Just as the “Big Tree” Jesus had been, they would become a forest of “Big Trees,” all in the name of Jesus, the good fruit of his born unto Yahweh.


This is the reason we have an Easter season. It coincides with the Jewish Counting of the Omer. Everything is leading to a countdown to maturity.


Just as the Apostles suddenly were filled with the Holy Spirit and stood in unison to speak the Word, which set on fire nearly three thousand other Jews, the multiple languages spoken were representative of the multiple types of First Fruits set in the Temple for blessing. Some were figs, some were olives, some were grapes, and some were barley grains; but all were the fruits of Yahweh, with all being His Anointed Sons, reborn in the name that says, “Yahweh Saves” [the meaning of “Jesus”]


The second Sunday of Easter is then, as John wrote, the “eighth day” in the counting to fifty. The countdown is well underway. If you are to be good fruit of Yahweh, it is time to start showing signs that Jesus is in your blood.


Amen