The Season of the Omer

After celebrating the Passover, we shared with you about the tradition of “Firstfruits,” which is a special day celebrated on the first Sunday after the Passover (when we celebrate Easter). It was called “Reshit Katzit,” literally: “First of the Harvest.” In Jewish tradition, the Passover was the start of a ‘journey of redemption’ that leads us to ‘Pentecost’ or ‘The Feast of Weeks.” The two major holidays are linked by a 50-day countdown from one feast to the other. Out of all seven of the Lord’s Feasts, three major ones required all the men of Israel to ‘appear before the Lord,’ or come up to the Tabernacle/Temple. Two out of the three are the Passover and Feast of Weeks.

“You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord.” (Lev. 23:15-16)

During this same period, Jesus appears to his disciples and as many as 500 people for about 40 of the days. He is taking them through a journey that will prepare them for what will happen at “Pentecost.” Then He instructs them to go to Jerusalem and wait until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which happens on the 50th day, the day of the “Feast of Weeks.”

 When God sends Moses to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the reason that is given to Pharaoh for their freedom is “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness” (Ex. 7:16) It is for this same reason that God has brought us to a place of deliverance, that we would be ‘free’ to serve Him. When Paul explains this, he does not want there to be any misunderstanding, now we have been set free to become slaves of righteousness:

“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

For the Israelites, the season of the Omer was a time of purification after being in slavery until the revelation of God at Mount Sinai. We can recognize this as the season of purification in our own lives as God takes us from deliverance out of slavery to sin and prepares us for the outpouring of His Spirit at “Pentecost” or “The Feast of Weeks.” Everyone who is found in Christ has experienced His deliverance from slavery, let us also allow God to prepare us for the outpouring of His Spirit.

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