Counting the Omer

The counting of the Omer is a little known aspect of the Moedim amongst Christians. The Omer was the quantity of barley grain used during the ceremony on the Day of Firstfruits. That Day of Firstfruits (a Sunday) was day one of the count to Shavuot (the next of the Moedim).

As explained in Leviticus 23:15-16a, seven sabbaths are to be counted, which equals 49 days (7 weeks x 7 days). Shavuot is then to be the day after the seventh Sabbath – the 50th day, which will always be the first day of the week.

It is commonly thought that the Israelites traveled from the Red Sea to Mt Sinai during this time of the Omer count (prior to it actually being given as an ordinance).

For us, the days of the counting of the Omer is a time to remember the resurrected Yeshua. All of His post-resurrection appearances occurred during this time. He appeared on the first day of the Omer count, of course, then to over 500 people in the following days until His ascension on day 40. Prior to his ascension, He told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father – the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 20:7 is an interesting verse to consider in relation to the counting of the Omer. Most bibles read “on the first day of the week” or something similar. However, it is very possible that this should be “on the first of the Sabbaths” or “on one of the Sabbaths”.  If this is the case, the only Sabbaths that are counted are the seven Sabbaths of the Omer count. So this story of Eutychus falling from the window likely occurred on day eight of the Omer count. The evidence that makes this rendering of the phrase very likely is found in the previous verse, where it is stated that they sailed for five days after the days of Unleavened Bread, arriving in Troas – assumedly in time for the Sabbath.

Our family has begun a tradition during the Counting of the Omer, where we display a 50-word portion of Scripture on our wall. Each day a numbered card with the next word is stuck onto the wall until it is completed on Shavuot.

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