Counting the Omer was not our idea, and it was a source of contention in first century Israel. This mitzvoth in Leviticus 23:15-16 concerned counting the days between the Feast of Firstfruits and Shavuot / Pentecost. But, in Yeshua’s day, there were three contending schools of thought concerning when to begin the Omer count.
The Pharisees started counting on Nisan 16, the day after Passover. The Sadducees and Herodians began counting on the Sunday after the beginning of Passover. The Essenes understood that the counting began on the Sunday following all eight days of Pesach – a full week later than the other groups.
Joshua and the Israelites evidently set the Pharisaic tradition into play. They celebrated Passover in the land of Canaan after crossing the Jordan. The very next day, they ate some of Canaan’s grain (Joshua 5:10-12). They fulfilled Leviticus 23:14 which forbids eating the grain until the firstfruits offering is waved before the Almighty. The Jewish people today follow Joshua’s example and begin Counting the Omer on the day after Passover. They believe the letters in the word Omer describe the pathways which proceed from the Father.
Counting seven days a week, for seven weeks, is a multiplication of sevens. Seven times seven is not simply about wholeness, completion, perfection, holiness, wisdom, and divine Kingdom order. The counting recalls the days of courtship when the Israelites were making their way toward a wedding at Mount Sinai. They were days of trial, yet resurrection from Egyptian slavery. They were days of hungering for leeks, yet finding renewal in manna.
May the days of the Omer count be stages of resurrection when the obedient are confirmed as subjects in a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6).
Published April 19, 2018