Thursday, May 28, 2020

Responding to a reader question about the Omer Count


Hello, Please may I ask a question about counting the omer as it's not clear to me.

If we count the omer from the day after the first day of unleavened bread and Yeshua is first fruits, wouldn't He will still be in the grave still as He is the pesach lamb and 3 days and 3 nights wouldn't have passed yet?  Sorry if my question isn't very clear.

Thank you. 


Thanks for asking.  It is a common misconception that Yeshua had to "rise" in Firstfruits and not just "be" Firstfruits.

There are many reasons for this misconception.

First, Christians have a long-held tradition that Yeshua rose on Sunday morning. But it is tradition only, based on an assumption and is not supported by scripture. Nevertheless, that perception led many to believe that Firstfruits is a Sunday, indeed, most all Christian denominations today observe Firstfruits on "Resurrection Sunday".

Second, the Jewish people can't agree on which day is the day of Firstfruits. The disagreement is so contentious that the differing groups in Yeshua's time (Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes) actually observed Firstfruits on different days! That certainly contributed to the myth that Yeshua rose on Firstfruits since the Sadducees of his day observed Firstfruits on the first Sunday after Passover.

Third, most assume that the "shabbat" in Leviticus 23:11 must be the weekly Shabbat without realizing that the weekly Shabbat is set-apart as its own moed, and that the "shabbat" of Leviticus 23:11 is the shabbat of Leviticus 23:7 & 15.  The assumption that the "shabbat" of Leviticus 23:11 is the weekly Shabbat misleads many to conclude that Firstfruits is always a Sunday.

Fourth, many assume that the "week" count of Leviticus 23:15 is from Sunday to Saturday, and thus the "Count" must begin on a Sunday.  This, too, has misled many. But the command to count the Omer,  Leviticus 23:15-16, specifically commands the counting of days, until a period of 49 days has passed - the 50th day is the next High Holy day, and is the next firstfruits offering. The Hebrew word in Leviticus 23:15 translated into English as "weeks" is actually "shabbatot" which in the context of the verse is a "count of seven". (The root of the word "shabbat" is "sheva" which means seven.) If all we had to do was count 7 weekly Sabbaths, then there would have been no reason for the commandment have been to count days.  

Finally, Firstfruits don't "rise", they are "presented". Yeshua did not need to "rise" on the "day of firstfruits" to be the firstfruits.  And since there is no requirement that "Firstfruits be 3 days and three nights from Passover", we can see that the connection that Yeshua has to "rise" on Firstfruits is simply a human misconception about what firstfruits means. 

In all three of the annual "firstfruits" offerings (barley at Passover, wheat at Shavuot, and fruits at Sukkot) the important aspect is that before humans get to eat of the new crops of the year, YHWH is to be recognized by presenting Him with the "first" of the crop. But we humans have somehow concluded that Yeshua had to "rise" on firstfruits, and we at The Refiner’s Fire contend that is wrong.  Only Yeshua had to be "3 days and 3 nights" in the grave, then he "became" the firstfruits and was "presented" to YHWH.

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