"Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD" - Leviticus 23:16

Counting the Omer

The LORD commanded the Children of Israel to count the Omer for fifty days starting from Passover. On the fiftieth day they were to celebrate the Feast of Shavuot (Feast of Weeks or Pentecost)

Counting the Omer must be a very important principle and commandment in the biblical calendar since its observance is the longest of any commanded in the Bible. Counting the Omer requires fifty days of obedience from the children of Israel.

The yearly counting of the Omer starts at Passover, which marks the beginning of Israel’s life as a free, saved people and also prophesied the sacrifice of the Messiah.

Becoming a free person is the beginning of everything – until we are free we aren’t able to fulfil our destiny.

The yearly counting of the Omer culminates with Shavuot, which marks the presentation of FirstFruits and the giving of the Torah that established God’s covenant with Israel and also prophesied the giving of the Holy Spirit.

As believers we need the Holy Spirit in order to be able to present the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians) and to fulfil our destiny as born again children of God.

So every year the Lord reminds us through His word of the importance of this period by, counting fifty days until we celebrate Shavuot / Pentecost. It is at this time that we begin to prepare for the harvest, having brought forth the first fruits and having dedicated them to the Lord. Leviticus 23 v15

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 . From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD .

The agricultural origin of Counting The Omer

The Omer is a measure (a sheaf) of wheat or barley, and according to tradition the farmers would go out into the fields on the first day after Passover and tag the visible buds – the first fruit of the field. It is important to realise that this has nothing to do with ten percent of the buds (a tithe) but rather every single bud they spotted that first day after Passover in their fields. Then for the next fifty days they counted, going out every day and watering these first buds, weeding around them, tending them carefully, so that in fifty days these buds would grow into ripe grains – the first fruit. Then the farmers would gather all the marked buds and bring them to the Temple of the Lord to present them as an offering unto the Lord at the Feast of First Fruits (Shavuot.) God promised that if we brought these first fruits to him as He said – He would then bless us with a bountiful harvest.

An application of Counting the Omer in a believer’s life

Psalm 139 contains some of the most encouraging verses in the Bible because they tell me I am not a mistake. None of us was born by accident; not from God’s point of view.


13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

When we see ourselves in this way, as David did, we can have confidence that we have a purpose and a destiny from God and that he will provide all the gifts we need to fulfil that destiny!

God saw you in your mother’s womb, before you were born and recorded in His book, all your days, your giftings, your talents, everything you have going for you. This record was written before you made any mistakes and got discouraged, and it is still there. Here is the connection – you were born with these giftings – everything needed for your destiny. It is as if God say every year at Passover, “Remember I have given you all these first fruits – and your salvation – remember and celebrate them, start counting and nurturing every bud. These gifts are like seeds that the Lord has planted in you, but it is your responsibility to tend them, develop them water them and pull weeds out around them so they can grow.

What are the weeds? A bad character or a bad attitude will choke the gifts of God. One way to pull out the weeds of our character is to develop integrity in the smallest details of our lives. Spending the first fifty days of the year doing this is an investment towards a good harvest.

At the end of the fifty days;

When Shavuot arrives ? (Acts 2 v1 )

Just as the full grown ears are collected, we should collect our gifts and fruit of the Spirit as found in our lives (Galatians 5 v22) and dedicate them to the Lord, the Lord of the Harvest, and look to him for the harvest in due course (Sukkot). Remember this principle: the Lord is Lord of the Harvest but you are lord of your firstfruits – it is up to you to bring them.

The above is derived from one chapter of “To the Jew First” by Ari Sorko-Ram.

To obtain a copy, go to www.maozisrael.org .

 

Lag Ba’Omer

18 th of Iyar - 23 rd day of counting the Omer

This celebration originated in the times of Rabbi Akiva, whose students were killed during the Bar Kochba revolt of 132-135 CE.

Lag Ba’Omer is celebrated by lighting bonfires – as a symbol of remembrance.

Another tradition of Lag Ba’Omer, among ultra orthodox, is Upsheren – the first haircut for their three year old sons.

Created 5/07/08

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