Counting the Omer to the Resurrection

Can you imagine the harvest season of Judea in AD 30? The events of the days prior to the normally joyous Feast of Bikkurim had been unbearably difficult as the followers of Yeshua went through a time of overwhelming confusion, sorrow, and then great fear. Their teacher and friend, whom they believed was the Messiah, had willfully subjected Himself to be seized, beaten, and then executed—horribly crucified. I’m sure the group was discussing all the events of the action-packed year among themselves “What about all his talk about His Kingdom and authority? What about all those miracles he performed- they were real right? He even raised the dead! So, why did he not even try to save himself?  Was he insane? Are we insane?”


These trusted followers had laid everything on the line, and now their relationships, reputations, and very lives were hanging in the balance. They had left their families and their jobs to follow this teacher – the One they came to know as the Messiah. And now he tragically allowed himself to be overcome by ruling authorities, and rumors were that now the Jewish and the Roman government were after them. Traumatized, forlorn, and depressed, they wondered if they could have been wrong about Him. Were they duped? Was Yeshua just another false Messiah?


Then, just as He said He would, Yeshua came to them from “the other side.” The glorified and triumphant Messiah overcame the grave and was once again present with them! He bizarrely came through a wall like a ghost! His body miraculously restored, except for the scars on his side, wrists, and feet (as a token of a cut covenant), seem to glow as if other worldly. Shocked and terrified, His friends struggled to comprehend what he was saying…Shalom everyone! I’m hungry. You have any food?” Trying to absorb their unconceivable circumstance they began to realize it was Yeshua! The Divine was there from a celestial and transcendent Kingdom, for a visit and time of solidarity with his friends. He was once again walking on the Earth, dwelling with His creation – man.


For the next 40 days, the astonished followers of Yeshua experienced the most powerful and unique revelatory experiences as the Risen, Son of God, poured into them mind-blowing biblical insight and astounding spiritual truths. Mysteries unfolded as manifold numbers of brothers and sisters were added to the community of believers – His family. United and unwavering in their faith, there was no longer room for doubt. The proof was all around them. He was present, building His Kingdom. And all of this was happening during the time known as The Counting the Omer.”


A Marked Time

The Omer (Hebrew: עֹ֫מֶר‎ ‘ōmer) is an ancient Israelite unit of dry measure used in the era of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is used in the Bible as an ancient unit of volume for grains and dry commodities. Sadly, the dramatic importance of Counting the Omer was lost to the Church and in many ways to the Jewish community as well. The Christian Church knows practically nothing about it, and the significance of this time to the Jewish community has become just a rote tradition. It would seem as though God has been hiding this spectacular revelation and its wonderful implications, revealing it to only those who desire to seek and understand it!


For Christians, it’s important to remember that the very days of Yeshua’s ministry on earth (after He rose from the dead) was 40 days, after which He gave explicit instructions for His followers to wait in Jerusalem for ten more days for the promise of the Father. The timing of these events is significant as this puts the disciples in Jerusalem on the day of Shavuot, 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits, the same day Christians have learned to call Pentecost as detailed in Acts 2.


Counting the Omer in ancient Biblical times occurred during the Spring harvest. The first day of the harvest is marked by Bikkurim or the Feast of First Fruits. Bikkurim was a joyful time of offering God the first stalks of barley that appeared from the ground some weeks before. These stalks were tagged by a reed as soon as they were noticed, and then, when it was time, they were the first to be cut down (before the harvest) to be offered to God as His First Fruit wave offering. It was only after this offering the people were allowed to harvest the rest of their crop.


The tradition of Counting the Omer starts after the first fruit Bikkurim wave offering.


“Then you are to count from the morrow after the Shabbat, from the day that you brought the Omer of the wave offering, seven complete Shabbatot. Until the morrow after the seventh Shabbat, you are to count fifty days and then present a new grain offering to Adonai (Leviticus 23:15-16 TLV).


Can you imagine the hustle and bustle of the city and the temple as pilgrims flowed in to give their baskets of barley stalks to the priests and then hurry back home to start the great harvest?


The grain harvest would take about seven weeks to complete. So, the instructions were to measure about 2.5 quarts of new grain (not stalks) each day for the Lord. This grain offering was given and stored in the Temple so that there would be food in the House of the Lord for the widows, orphans, and the poor. This Torah instruction should still be followed as God warns us not to neglect giving our first fruits to Him so that He could provide for those who are less fortunate and in need.


Note that the timing when Yeshua met the women who came to finish preparing His body while it was still dark on Bikkurim. He told them to not touch Him for He had not yet been presented to the Father in Heaven. This would be near the time when the High Priest would be presenting to God the untouched first fruit barley wave. The function of waving the untouched barley was for the blessing on the rest of the harvest. Yeshua presented Himself as the Holy first fruit from the dead so that rest of the souls of man could be accepted before the Father – to be born from the dead.


The spiritual magnitude that Yeshua was raised from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits is central to the feast and profound to the faith. He was the first to come out from the ground (that is, the grave). His resurrection on the Feast of First Fruits points to the promise that we, too, like the rest of the crop, will also be resurrected (or harvested) in the Great Resurrection at the End of Days.


This promise of resurrection is hinted in the counting of the omer by Yeshua’s comment to His disciples.


Then he said to his talmidim, “The harvest is rich, but the workers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers to gather in his harvest” (Matthew 9:37 CJB).


After the glorious 40 days, many workers had assembled to see Him off. But before He left them for His Throne He promised that He would send power to carry out the mandate of sharing the Good News of the Kingdom. Ten days later, while the followers waited, the Holy Spirit fell on them and equipped them with all they needed to be witnesses, even the immediate ability to speak to the Jews from other nations in their own languages. (See Acts 2:5-11)


The last 10 days of Counting the Omer are indicative of the end times connecting the 10 Days of Awe just before the “Gates” close to end of the soul harvest. It will be in that last days when Messiah comes with His Kingdom and all who belong to the Lord will be finally resurrected to live with Him in Glory.


We are now living in the Age of the Workers. And you, dear reader, are one of them! If you have received the Holy Spirit, you have all that you need to be an effective witness and worker of the harvest of souls. Ask the Lord to lead you and always to be prepared to share the Good News.


May we all be faithful to building the Kingdom so that we will be a complete grain offering resurrected into the Golden Age of Messiah at the End of the Age.

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