‘To barley or not to barley . . . is that the question?’
Here is a little bit of interesting information from the Scripture concerning ‘barley’.
We want to preface this article with this statement. We do recognize that at times in this HR camp it is easy to get caught up into information rather than substance. We also understand the importance of unity over uniformity. With that said, we must be sure we are united upon a solid foundation of Biblical truth. The Word Says what It Says and we must dig a little to make sure that what we profess and practice is grounded solidly and solely on the information in The Word led by the Spirit. YES, we most certainly must love each other in the process. But what we practice and profess (because of love for each other and love for our Father) must be based on valid,solid Biblical information.
The word ‘barley’ (seorah – sheen, ayin, resh, hey) appears only four times in the first five books of the Bible. This word ‘barley’ appears once in Exodus where we are told the barley as well as the flax was destroyed (hint, hint) , once again when Scripture indicates the monetary value of a certain amount of barley seed, once more in Numbers 5:15** where it tells us ‘barley is as a reminder of sin’ (hint, hint) and fourthly, in Deuteronomy, where barley is mentioned as part of the description of the Promised Land.
** “ . . . he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth of an ephah of barley meal; . . . for it is an offering of jealousy . . . a reminder of iniquity.” (Num 5:15)
Early on, Scripture describes and makes a distinction concerning ‘fine flour’ and from what it is made. From a practical and experiential perspective, bakers understand that it would be extremely difficult to derive ‘fine flour’ from barley, since it is such a rough, coarse grain and is sometimes actually used as livestock feed. (1 Kings 4:28) In Numbers 5:15 above, you actually see a mention of barley as meal rather than barley as flour. If you’ve ever baked, you readily recognize the difference.
“ . . . and unleavened bread and unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil; you shall make them of fine wheat flour (chittah coleth). (Exo 29:2)
From this point on, virtually each time ‘fine flour’(coleth) is mentioned, the word ‘wheat’ (chittah) is not present, since it has already been determined and established that ‘fine flour’ is ‘wheaten’. (Principle of First Mention)
There are examples in Scripture that illustrate a distinction between ‘fine flour’ and barley. Here are a few.
Then Elisha said, “Listen to the word of YHVH; thus says YHVH, ‘Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour shall be for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.'” (2Ki 7:1)
And it came about just as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, “Two measures of barley for a shekel and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be tomorrow about this time at the gate of Samaria.” (2Ki 7:18)
Again in 2 Kings, we see a clear distinction between the bread of first fruits ( fine flour) and barley loaves.
“Now a man came from Baal-shalishah, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits (bikkurim), twenty loaves of barley (seorah) and that of the garden growth, orchard or plantation in his sack. And he said, “Give to the people that they may eat.” (2Ki 4:42)
And he shall bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests: and he shall take thereout his handful of the flour ( Hebrew – coleth – fine flour) thereof, and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof; and the priest shall burn the memorial of it upon the altar, to be an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: (Lev 2:2)
Now, let’s ponder some things for a few moments.
Leading up to the first Passover, God said He would execute judgment on all the gods of Egypt and strike down all the first born in the land, both man and beast, that were not covered by the blood over the door. He delivered His people from their bondage (sin) and their taskmaster (the enemy) and delivered them out, which is a picture of God’s reconciliation and His ultimate defeat and destruction of sin.
The barley was destroyed at the time leading up to Passover, an allusion to God delivering us from bonds of sin. In Numbers 5, the woman is suspected of sin and she is brought forth to be either delivered or judged, and barley is part of the offering as a reminder of sin. See any connection between the destruction of the barley and the ‘destruction of sin’ of which barley is a reminder?
Yeshua is the wave offering (the resheet omer – the First Sheaf) that is presented ‘that I/you can be accepted’. (Lev 23:11). “By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living, For the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?” (Isa 53:8) The wording of this passage would indicate He was cut down prematurely, ahead of the remainder of the crop, a crop which comes due around the time of Shavuot/Pentecost.
If the two loaves of Shavuot/Pentecost (Lev 23:17) represent the ‘I/you that can now be accepted/acceptable’, and those two loaves are made of ‘coleth’ (fine flour – wheat), and they are the first fruits (habikkurim) , then it would follow that the First Sheaf (Yeshua – the resheet omer of Lev 23:11) that was cut down out of the land of the living on behalf of the first fruits (habikkurim – us) would also need to be wheat.
Hopefully, we understand this one simple truth. ‘Fine flour’ is an allusion and representation of Yeshua. He is the ‘First Sheaf’ that is presented to our Father so that the rest of the crop (us) can be acceptable to Him. Therefore we too can become ‘fine flour’ for we too are wheat, just as was Yeshua, the First Sheaf, Who presented Himself on our behalf on the Day of the Resurrection.
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of the resurrection.” (Rom 6:4-5)
And remember, you cannot have fine flour until first the wheat is crushed . . .
“ He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities . . . (Isa 53:5)
“But YHVH was pleased To crush Him (Yeshua) . . .” (Isa 53:10)
And because He was The First Sheaf of the wheat that was crushed into fine flour, and we are planted, raised and seated with Him, we too are wheat become fine flour.
Like kind produces like kind . . . Wheat produces wheat. Wheat produces fine flour. Fine flour produces good bread. Yeshua, The Living Word, is the seed, the bread of heaven, the bread of life that quickens the dead and brings life. His life, death and living again produces life in us.
Just as an interesting side note. Referencing a letter dated 1983, written by Mr. N. Bar-Droma, the then Director of Field Crops Dept, Ministry of Agriculture, State of Israel, there is an intriguing statement concerning barley and wheat. Although both crops are planted normally in winter, around November, they are harvested at differing times. The barley would be ripening around the time of Passover whereas the winter wheat would be ripening around the time of Shavuot/Pentecost. Sometimes, based on temps and precipitation, barley may not be ripe for use in baking bread until end of April or mid-May, which was the case in 1983. If the barley crop was required for the wave offering during the week of Unleavened Bread, Passover could not have been observed until late April or mid-May.