Counting the Omer

The One Redeemed by the Passover Lamb

is maturing and counting the days until her betrothal to Messiah.







"You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh week . . .";
"You shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain" -
 Leviticus 23:16 ; Deuteronomy 16:9.


Each evening (at the beginning of the day), a blessing is offered:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,
Who has sanctified us by His Word, and instructed us to count the Omer.
Today is the
(10th) day of the Omer; it marks (one) week and (three) days of the Omer."

On the day First Day of Unleavened Breads, before the Omer is waved,

only matzot from the grain of previous years' crops may be used.

For the next six days, after the time for waving the Omer,

matzot from the new grain crop is used.



During (and immediately preceding) these fifty days, the five bread-grains become ripe for harvest:

first is barley, last and best is wheat.


The five bread-grains are barley, oats, rye, spelt and wheat.
Oats and rye are species of barley; spelt is a species of wheat.
These are the five grains whose leaven is prohibited on the Feast of Unleavened Breads.
They are not reaped before the Passover offering, not eaten before the Omer, and are subject to dough-offering:
the previous year's grain is used before the Omer.

Explanations in Talmud: Pesachim 35a and Eruvim 32a


From Waving Day, “You shall count for yourselves . . .”


This was the last day of Bread from Heaven (Manna) - Joshua 5:11-12.

11 On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes (matzot) and parched grain (barley). 12 The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the produce of the land of Canaan during that year.


In Israel, in Temple times:
After sunset, immediately following the Holy Day (the First Day of Unleavened Breads), three se’ahs (that is one ephah, about five gallons) of the new barley crop were reaped into three baskets. In the morning, it was winnowed and sifted, then parched over a fire, ground into flour, and sifted, yielding one omer (a tithe of an ephah, about one-half gallon) for the Omer offering. It was mixed with one log (about one-and-a-half cups) of pure olive oil. The mixture was sanctified by placement into a sacred vessel. In a procedure called haggashah, it was brought near to the copper-plated Outer-Altar, and then touched to its southwest corner.

A male lamb, between eight days and one year old, was slaughtered in the northern half of the Temple courtyard. Blood spurting from its neck was caught by a priest in a sacred vessel. The blood was then carried to the Outer-Altar by a priest, and thrown from the sacred vessel onto the northeast and southwest corners, such that all four sides of the Altar received blood.
The Omer grain offering was placed upon the lamb, and they were together waved (east-west-north-south-up-down) before the Altar (“before Yahweh”).
The lamb was dismembered, salted, and entirely burned upon the wood-fire of the altar (except the hide, which went to the priests). This is called an elevation offering, because its significance is the “sweet aroma” ascending to God.

A portion of the grain offering called kometz (three-fingers-full) was removed and, together with salt and frankincense, was placed into another sacred vessel, from which it was thrown onto the altar and burned. (The remainder of the grain offering went to the priests.)

This offering was obligatory, and it was communal - it was for the entire church (qehal). Yeshua’s righteousness, imputed to His own, ascends for them as a sweet aroma to God. Those, who are redeemed and imputed righteous, count down the days to their betrothal to Messiah - at Pentecost. “You shall count for yourselves - from the morrow after the rest day, from the day when you bring the Omer of the Waving - seven weeks, they shall be complete. Until the morrow of the seventh week you shall count, fifty days” – Leviticus 23:16 ; Deuteronomy 16:9.


Further explanation of Temple procedures may be found in

the Mishnaot: Tractate Kodashim ( Holy Things): Seder Menachot (Meal Offerings)




Nisan 17 - Resurrection Sabbath - See PASSION WEEK HARMONY



Iyyar 18 - Lag b'Omer (thirty-third of the Omer) - A special day in Judaism



Iyyar 27 - Ascension Day - See FEASTS




Sivan 6 - Betrothal - See FEASTS and YOM HaBIKKURIM

The fiftieth day of counting the Omer is called ‘Hag Shavuot’ – the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost (fiftieth).

This is the second ‘Feast of Yahweh’; it is also called ‘Yom HaBikkurim’ – the Day of the Firstfruits.

 At the Holy Temple, two lambs were waved with two leavened loaves of bread:
each loaf was baked using an omer of wheat flour, and was about three feet long and eight inches wide.




These days of the week are the same as at the Passover in Egypt,
and the same as at the Akeidah / Binding of Isaac.

 [ Also the same for years 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2009 ]


.       Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat


Nisan 15

Omer Offering
Day 1
Nisan 17
Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5
Nisan 21
Day 6

Day 7

Day 8
Nisan 23
Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13
            May 1

Day 14

Day 15
Iyyar 1
Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Iyyar 8
Day 23




Day 2

Day 2

Iyyar 15
Day 30






Iyyar 22
Day 37



Day 40

Day 41
Iyyar 27
Day 42

Iyyar 29
Day 44
Sivan 1

Day 45

Day 46

Day 47

Day 48

Day 49
Sivan 6
Day 50


Nisan 16: Some of the basis for this date.


The following histories from Temple times are condensed from the Mishnaot and Talmud.


Tractate Kodashim (Holy Things): Seder Menachot (Meal Offerings): Chapter 10: Mishnah 1


The reaping of the ephah of barley for the Omer offering was performed immediately following the First Day of Unleavened Breads – that is at nightfall, at the beginning of Nisan 16, whether it was a weekday or a Sabbath, because the specific commandment superceded Sabbath prohibitions.



Tractate Kodashim (Holy Things): Seder Menachot (Meal Offerings): Chapter 10: Mishnah 3


The messengers of the Beit Din used to go out, on the day before the Feast of Unleavened Breads (the Preparation Day, Nisan 14), before any reaping was performed, and tie bunches of the best barley.


When the First Day of Unleavened Breads was over (at the beginning of Nisan 16), the reaping was done with many onlookers and much ceremonial display. As soon as it was dark, the appointed reaper called out:

“Has the sun set?” The people answered, “Yes.” “Has the sun set?” “Yes.” “Has the sun set?” “Yes.”

“With this sickle?” “Yes.” “With this sickle?” “Yes.” “With this sickle?” “Yes.”

“Into this basket?” “Yes.” “Into this basket?” “Yes.” “Into this basket?” “Yes.”

If it were Sabbath, he added:

“On this Sabbath?” “Yes.” “On this Sabbath?” “Yes.” “On this Sabbath?” “Yes.”

“Shall I reap?” “Yes” “Shall I reap?” “Yes” “Shall I reap?” “Yes”


All of this was because of the Sadducees, who maintained that the reaping was not to take place at the conclusion of the First Day.



The Holy Temple existed for about a thousand years. The Sadducees, who denied most of the Bible, only existed for about the last two-hundred years of Temple times, and did not come into control of Temple events.



Talmud: Menachot 65b (Gemara on Menachot 10: Mishnah 3)


Deuteronomy 16:9 says, “Thou shalt number unto thee”, that is, the numbering depends upon the decision of the Beit Din; accordingly the Sabbath of the creation cannot be intended, (in the expression ‘the morrow after the Sabbath’) as the numbering would then be in the hands of all men. For inasmuch as the Beit Din fixed the date of the Festivals, it is left to them to inform the community of the time from which to commence counting the days of the Omer.


The Torah says. Count days (a month of days - Numbers 11:20) and sanctify the new moon, count days and sanctify the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15-16). Just as in regard to the new moon there is something distinctive at the commencement of the counting, so with the Feast of Weeks there is something distinctive at the commencement of the counting.


Talmud: Menachot 66a (Gemara on Menachot 10: Mishnah 3)


On the morrow after the Sabbath means on the morrow after the Festival. You say that it means on the morrow after the Festival, but perhaps it is not so, but rather on the morrow after the Sabbath of Creation! I will prove it to you. Does Scripture say, ‘On the morrow after the Sabbath that is in the Passover week’? It merely says, ‘On the morrow after the Sabbath’; and as the year is full of Sabbaths, then go and find out which Sabbath is meant.


One verse says “Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread,” whereas another verse says, “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread.” How are they to be reconciled?’ In this way: you may not eat unleavened bread of the new produce the seven days, but you may eat unleavened bread of the new produce six days (Deuteronomy 16:8). For after the offering of the Omer, on the second day of the Festival, there are left six days of the Festival on which one may eat unleavened bread of the new produce; thus the verses are reconciled. If, however, the Omer was always to be offered on a Sunday, then it would frequently happen that there would be less than six days from the offering of the Omer to the end of the Festival.



Bikkurim / Firstfruits


There are only three “Feasts of Yahweh” in the Torah (that’s Exodus 23:14 and Leviticus 23:39).


The Hebrew words bikkuri and bikkurim appear nine times in the Torah (according to my computer search program – BibleWorks®).


In Exodus 23:16 it refers to Hag Shavuot / Pentecost.

In Exodus 23:19 it refers to tithes (the final tithes of grain are due by Hag Shavuot / Pentecost).

In Exodus 34:22 it refers to Hag Shavuot / Pentecost.

In Exodus 34:26 it refers to tithes.

In Leviticus 2:14 it refers to early tithes of grain

(which are to be brought during the forty-nine days prior to Hag Shavuot / Pentecost).

In Leviticus 23:17 it refers to Hag Shavuot / Pentecost.

In Numbers 13:20 it refers to the time for grapes to become ripe.

In Numbers 18:13 it refers to tithes.

In Numbers 28:26 it is Yom haBikkurim -The Day of the Firsrfruits, and is called Shavuot - the Feast of Weeks.


Yom HaBikkurim / the Day of the Firstfruits is, specifically, Hag Shavuot / the second Feast – Pentecost.


The words bikkuri and bikkurim are never found relating to the day of waving the Omer of barley, regardless of how one views the day. The only Feast (Hag) covering that day is Hag haMatzot / the first Feast – Unleavened Breads.


The day of waving the Omer barley mixture is erroneously called (by many “Messianics”) “Yom haBikkurim” and “Feast of Firstfruits.” The greeting “Hag Sameach haBikkurim” which could only reasonably be applied to Pentecost, is being used for a day of Hag haMatzot. The Hebrew word reshit, which is sometimes translated in some versions as “firstfruits”, is being back-translated by some individuals in Leviticus 23:10 as “bikkurim”, which is deceitful. Referring to the Omer barley mixture that was waved as a “sheaf” just adds to the confusion of misunderstandings (and many English translators obviously had little understanding of the Feasts or Temple practices).


The misapplications of terms seem to be an attempt to prove that the word “firstfruits” of 1 Corinthians 15:20 refers to the day of waving the barley mixture. Then the day of waving is changed from the day practiced in Temple times, in an attempt to make it “Resurrection Sunday.” And Sadducees, who denied resurrection and most of the rest of the Bible, are typically used to justify the position – wow!





Karaites had their beginnings in the ninth century AD. They are offshoots of the eighth century Ananites. While their name means “Followers of the Scriptures”, their doctrine has varied widely. Though their claim is of independent interpretation, they borrow from Rabbinic Judaism, Sadducees, and Islam. They adopted Mohammedan (Abu Hanifah’s) principles concerning law, and thus consider speculation and analogy as authoritative. They are known for their rejection of Hebrew history, halachic authority, and ancient methods of interpretation, and are most extreme about legal requirements for such things as Sabbath and marriage.


They are anti-Messianic, and subjects like resurrection are taken allegorically.


Their relationship to the subject of the Omer is:

They take the position of the Sadducees, that the day of waving follows the Sabbath of Creation. Today we have “Messianics” who follow certain of their doctrines.


More detail at JewishEncylopedia.com





© 2003  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)