10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest: 11 and he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted for you. On the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 On the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb without defect a year old for a burnt offering to Yahweh. 13 The meal offering with it shall be two tenth parts of an ephah of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire to Yahweh for a pleasant aroma; and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, the fourth part of a hin. 14 You shall eat neither bread, nor roasted grain, nor fresh grain, until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God. This is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 15 “‘You shall count from the next day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be completed: 16 even to the next day after the seventh Sabbath you shall number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meal offering to Yahweh. Leviticus 23:10-16
Okay, so what does all this mean?
This is where we are given the instructions for First Fruits, which determines when we start the count to Shavuot. There is some confusion surrounding “On the next day after the Sabbath.” Some believe this is the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread because that day is a High Sabbath, and no work is to be performed. Others believe the Sabbath spoken of is about the weekly Sabbath. We believe it is the later and could spend a considerable amount of time backing up our belief, but that is not the purpose of this resource. The day after the weekly Sabbath is always The First Day (Sunday), so this is the day we start our count to Shavuot. After seven Sabbaths, we end up on day 49 and the following day is Shavuot, day 50.
So What Does Omar Have To Do With It?
Omar is a person, but an omer is a dry unit of measurement used in biblical times. In Exodus 16:16, an omer was what they gathered as a day’s worth of food. When you see the word sheaf in your Bible, that is the Hebrew word omer. This is the amount of first-fruits of the grain harvest that Israel was commanded to bring to the temple that the priest would wave before YHWH. The Israelites were not allowed to eat any of their newly harvested grain until they offered the first omer to YHWH as the First Fruits offering (Leviticus 23:14). It’s customary to recite a blessing and state the count every night during the counting of the omer. So on the 15th night, you would say, “Today is fifteen days, which is two weeks and one day of the Omer.” For more in-depth information on the omer, The Jewish Encyclopedia has a great article HERE.
Shavuot was one of the three pilgrimage feasts that required people to come to Jerusalem to observe. We say, WAS because today there is no temple. It is also a High Sabbath, so no work is to be done on this day. Traditionally this is believed to be the day that the Torah was given to Israel at the base of Mt. Sinai. That becomes very interesting because it is also the day that the Holy Spirit was sent to help all believers to follow the Torah (See Acts 2). That brings up another question…Yes, Pentecost and Shavuot are the same. That means that Y’shua’s disciples were still keeping the Feast after his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Just more proof that the Feast of YHWH were not done away with and are still relevant to the lives of believers today.
If you would like to know more about how to celebrate this Feast, please check out our resource, Celebrating Shavuot as a Family.