Why Count the Omer?
The Omer Count always begins at sundown on the Feast of First Fruits, and ends on the day before Pentecost (Shavuot) – 7 weeks, 49 days. (See the dates here.)
So what’s an Omer? Why would Yehovah want us to count it? Is it still relevant today? Those were my questions, and these links discuss the answers I found in my search.
If you’ve never counted the omer, I encourage you to begin the journey and see how Yehovah answers these questions for you. If you’re counting the omer and looking for fresh insight, I pray He will use this teaching to enlighten your path. I hope you will leave a comment about what he’s taught you as well.
- Why Count the Omer? Part 1: The First 40 Days
- Why Count the Omer? Part 2: Nine Days of Prayer
- Why Count the Omer? Part 3: God’s Spirit Poured Out
Month 1 – Preparing Ourselves for the Spring Feasts, Part 1
The Spring Feasts begin with Passover during the Hebrew month of Nisan. On the Hebrew calendar, the Feasts always begin during the month of Nisan. But “Nisan” is a Babylonian name adopted well after the original command to observe Passover. In looking at the Hebrew name of the month, I found it was actually much more – more than a name or even a month. It’s a season, a designation, a process – the understanding of which brought all new revelation about the significance of the Spring Feasts. (more…)
Why Count the Omer, Part 1: The First 40 Days
Counting the Omer – most are familiar with the culmination of the count, which is Pentecost, also called the Festival of Weeks. “Weeks” is taken from the Hebrew word “shavuot” and refers to the seven weeks that precede Pentecost. Leviticus 23:15 tells us to count the weeks between the Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost:
“From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks.”
Keeping the Fall Feasts & Holy Days: When are they and how are they relevant today?
The Lord’s Holy Days, Feast Dates, Jewish Feasts, Appointed Times, Mo’edim — whatever term you use, don’t miss these days!
Feast of Trumpets / Yom Teruah
Day of Atonement / Yom Kippur
Feast of Tabernacles/Shelters/Harvest / Sukkot
The Eighth Day / Shemini Atzeret
This year the Fall Feasts occur in September and October. (For specific dates, visit this page.)
As a Christian seeking more intimacy in my walk with Yeshua, learning about, experiencing and keeping these feasts (including the Sabbath) brought me not only into deeper intimacy with him, but God has showered me with new understanding, unexpected blessings, strengthened faith and fresh excitement. I highly recommend it!
Following are my posts about the Fall Feasts.
First of all, this quick reference guide shows the 2022 Hebrew and Gregorian dates, the Hebrew names, the purpose of the Feasts and Biblical instructions for observing them from a Messianic understanding.
Although for me, the first time through the Feasts was more learning than experiencing, with each passing year, they grow in richness and revelation of Yeshua. In the following posts I’ve attempted to share some of those insights in the hopes that you will be encouraged to start or continue your pursuit of your own journey into intimacy with him.
- Why celebrate all these Jewish holidays? Haven’t those been done away with?
- The Feasts of the Lord: Going Through the Motions
- Preparing for Yom Kippur: 40 Days of Repentance – Part 1
- Preparing for Yom Kippur: 40 Days of Repentance – Part 2
- The Feast of Trumpets & the New Moon
- The Feast of Trumpets: “A day of complete rest for remembering”
- Yom Kippur/The Day of Atonement: Yeshua Already Paid for That
- Thank Goodness for the Feast of Tabernacles!
- The 8th Day – The Last Feast is Just the Beginning
Yeshua’s Ascension Brings a Double Portion on Pentecost
In a separate blog post I discuss how the day of Pentecost/Shavuot kicks-off the new covenant, guarantees our eternal inheritance, and brings new life through the Holy Spirit – enabling us to fulfill our mission and destiny on earth.
As believers in Yeshua, we already carry the Holy Spirit within us every day. But if we’re prepared for it, I believe there’s a double portion of Yeshua’s Spirit poured out on Shavuot. (more…)
The Day of Pentecost Guarantees Yehovah’s Promises
Pentecost, Feast of Weeks, Shavuot – the culmination of the omer count, the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit – all on one day. This is certainly something to celebrate!
My dad was a pastor. One day he was speaking to another pastor and they got on the topic of the Holy Spirit, which was one of my dad’s favorite topics. At one point this pastor asked, “So, what’s the big deal about the Holy Spirit?”
Well, my dad was so flabbergasted, he ended up writing a book to answer the question. It’s called, The Holy Spirit…So What’s the Big Deal?
It IS a big deal! And…in my opinion, it’s a big deal in a whole series of big deals. (more…)
Feast of Trumpets: “A day of complete rest for remembering”
On the Feast of Trumpets (also called Rosh Hashanah) we put aside our work and gather with other believers, share a meal, blow our shofars, present an offering and worship just as Yehovah commanded us in Leviticus 23.
But Leviticus 23:24 also tells us this is to be “a day of complete rest for remembering.” Remembering what, it doesn’t say. In fact none of the references to the Feast of Trumpets tell us what we’re remembering.
To get some perspective, let’s go back in time about 3,500 years when the observance of this day was first commanded. (more…)
Our Calling This Shemitah Year, Part 1: The 5 Primary Events of Wrath
In 2014, the Feast of Trumpets kicked off the Shemitah year. Nine days later was the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and just three days after that the second of four blood moons occurred. The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, the Shemitah year, the tetrad of blood moons – what do all these have to do with each other? What do they have to do with us? And what can we do to participate in God’s plan? (more…)
Preparing for Yom Kippur: 40 Days of Repentance, Part 1
How would you characterize the month of August? How about September? Or January? Just like the Gregorian calendar in which each month reminds us of the season and a mood, the Hebrew sages have determined the spiritual seasons of the year.
The Hebrew month of Elul is considered the start of the “Season of Repentance.” This season extends 40 days, from Elul 1 to Tishrei 10, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). (more…)
Preparing for Yom Kippur: 40 Days of Repentance, Part 2
In Part 1, we looked at the Hebrew understanding of the month of Elul, which begins 40 days before Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). From the days of the Israelites in the wilderness, this period has emerged as a Season of Repentance, specifically repentance from idolatry, and originally the idolatrous Golden Calf.
For us it may not be a statue, figurine or carved image, but idolatry can take many forms. Repentance is an ongoing process of discovery of sin in our lives and realignment with God’s ways. In my own journey I’ve found four places where idolatry can hide and have watched God realign my life as I walk through each one. We’ve discussed the first two: discontentment and following my own plans. Let’s continue with the third:
The Day of Atonement: Yeshua Already Paid for That
“…and forgive us our debts as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Matt. 6:12)
…”Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Forgiveness: Relinquishing our desire to punish another for their offenses. (Dr. Jerry Cook)
Easy to understand, hard to apply. But The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur in Hebrew) is all about forgiveness – God’s forgiveness of man, and man’s forgiveness of others. Yom Kippur (literally translated the Day of Atonements) is the sixth in the seven Biblical Feasts. It commemorates God’s annual forgiveness of the Israelites as a nation and God’s forgiveness of all through Yeshua’s death. Likewise, it’s a time when we are to forgive others. (more…)
Why celebrate all these Jewish holidays? Haven’t those been done away with?
There are seven Feasts or Holy Days commanded in the Bible – four in the Spring, and three in the Fall. It’s true, Jews had been observing these Feasts for 1,400 years before Yeshua’s birth. But what if Yehovah set those dates as days He intends to fulfill specific prophecies in Yeshua’s lifetime and His second coming? Wouldn’t you want to know which dates those were? Let’s recount what happened on the Spring Feast dates during Yeshua’s lifetime. (more…)
Thank Goodness for The Feast of Tabernacles!
A pandemic, economic uncertainty, fear, division – the headlines bombard us. The low level hum of a looming turmoil grows louder. Thank goodness for The Feast of Tabernacles!
The Feast of Tabernacles, called Sukkot in Hebrew, is the seventh and last Feast in God’s holy days. It looks back to God’s unlimited provision for the Israelites as they sojourned 40 years in the wilderness. During the seven days of Sukkot, we spend time in our flimsy, homemade shelters to remind us of our complete dependence on God. Sukkot also looks forward to the Millennial Age where we will “tabernacle” with Yeshua eternally.
But there’s an often overlooked aspect to this Feast. (more…)
The Feasts of the Lord: Going Through the Motions
Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles – lots of Feasts, each with different instructions for observing them. Sometimes when we’re just starting out observing the Feasts, or approach a new season of Feasts, we can easily think of all the instructions and do’s and don’ts, and forget the richness of each Feast. It can feel – and in fact become – like we’re just going through the motions.
I can imagine that’s how the Hebrews must have felt when they heard the instructions for the first time as well. Exodus 12 is 50 verses full of instructions for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the instructions are not exactly intuitive or logical. What were they to make of killing a lamb and smearing its blood on their door frames? Had that ever saved them from death before? Was this a common practice? And what’s so bad about leavened bread? What does that have to do with saving their firstborns? (more…)
The Spring Feasts: A Time to Remember, A Time to Anticipate
Typically we think of the Spring Feasts as a time to remember – the Exodus and Yeshua’s death on Passover, his resurrection on the Feast of Firstfruits, the giving of the Torah and the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Then, we think of the Fall Feasts as a time to anticipate – Yeshua’s return on the Feast of Trumpets, the Lamb’s Book of Life opening on the Day of Atonement and tabernacling with Yeshua on the Feast of Tabernacles.
However, I found there’s also more to anticipate in the Spring Feasts. There’s more to come. The remembering helps us understand what to anticipate in the future. (more…)
Why Count the Omer? Part 2: Nine Days of Prayer
In Leviticus 23:15 God instructs us to count the seven weeks (49 days) that occur before the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day) also called the Festival of Weeks and Shavuot in Hebrew. But counting days with no explanation? Why would this be important to God and to us?
For the Israelites, it pertained mainly to their harvest cycle and offerings to be presented. For us living after the time of Yeshua, and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, we can see the spiritual implications of this count. We know that on the 50th day after Yeshua’s resurrection, something unimaginably wonderful happened: The pouring out of the Holy Spirit not only on the disciples, but on all those who come to faith in Yeshua as the Messiah! The implications of that day reverberate even stronger in these last of the last days. The 50th day is one I want to be prepared for every year. (more…)
Why Count the Omer? Part 3: God’s Spirit Poured Out
This 3-part blog series focuses on the Lord’s instruction in Leviticus 23:15 to count the seven weeks (49 days) that occur before the Day of Pentecost (the 50th day) also called the Festival of Weeks and Shavuot in Hebrew. For the Israelites, the count was about the harvest, thus the word “omer” which was a unit of measure used to count and track grain harvests. Yeshua taught us the spiritual meaning of “harvest” as those ready to receive the good news of the Messiah (Matt 9:37). That’s what the third phase of counting the omer is about.
In Parts 1 and 2, I laid out a three-phase structure for the 49-day count:
- The first 40 days
- Days 41-49
- The 50th day
The first two phases prepare us for what’s about to happen on the 50th day and beyond. (more…)
Passover and Easter: What are You Celebrating?
Passover and Easter usually occur close together on the calendar, and presumably both commemorate the same event. Are they the same or what’s the difference? Up until a few years ago, I assumed Passover was Jewish and Easter was Christian. But what I found surprised me. (more…)
Pentecost: 2000 Years Ago or 2023?
The Day of Pentecost – we remember the supernatural flames appearing in the room where Yeshua’s followers were gathered. Inside the room, there was the sound of a “mighty rushing wind” and the speaking of other languages they’d never learned. It’s the pouring out of God’s very spirit into mere humans (Acts 2). That’s plenty to celebrate and remember right there. But what’s the purpose in our noting it every year? (more…)