Hi All I have a brother who lives in Israel who e-mails me occasionally. This is from one of his books which I found very interesting.
HOW TO COUNT TO SHAVUOT / THE OMER OFFERING
We are told to count 50 days to Shavuot (Pentecost) starting with the day after the Sabbath during Unleavened Bread. But which Sabbath do we start our count from; the Holy Day of Aviv 15, or the weekly Sabbath? A close look at Scripture will clear up the debate!
Lev. 23:15 “And you shall number to you from the next day after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the Sheaf of the Wave offering; they shall be seven complete Sabbaths; to the next day after the seventh Sabbath; you shall number 50 days.”
This can be cleared up very easily if we look at the original Hebrew. There is one Hebrew word for the weekly Sabbath which is Strong's Concordance #7676 ‘Shabbat’. There is another Hebrew word for a Holy day Feast or Sabbath. This is Strong's 7677 and is 'Shabbatown'. This second word for a Holy day Sabbath is also used in Lev. 23:24 for the Feast of Trumpets, and in Lev. 23:39 for the Holy day Sabbaths during the Feast of Tabernacles. It is not used for the Day of Atonement because this is a fast day and not a feast day; however it still is a Sabbath.
Interestingly enough for the Holy days of Unleavened Bread in Lev. 23:7-8, no word for Sabbath appears, so as not to confuse the reader. It simply states that you are to have a holy convocation. This would assure that we should begin our count from the weekly Sabbath. But in Lev. 23:15-16, that tells about when to start the Pentecost count, the word for the weekly Sabbath is clearly used, 7676 “Shabbat ”. You are to count seven perfect Sabbaths, Strong’s 7676, which is the weekly Sabbath. This would have to refer to the weekly Sabbath as there are not seven Holy day Sabbaths (Strong’s 7677 which is Sabbatown’s) between Unleavened Bread and Pentecost.
Then, the day after the seventh weekly Sabbath, would have to be on the first day of the week called Sunday according to the Roman calendar. Notice the Hebrew word for week, which is Strong’s 7620 'Shabuwa' is never used in Lev. 23:15-16; only the word for the weekly Sabbath 7676. The day after the 7th Sabbath would have to be a Sunday, the first day of the week! One other point in the Shavuot count is that the word used in Hebrew is ‘Ha’ Shabbat”, using the perfect article ‘Ha’ (meaning “the” in English) which denotes only THE 7th DAY SABBATH. This is conclusive proof that the count to Shavuot according to Scripture is after the weekly Sabbath and not the set apart first day of Unleavened Bread as when the perfect article “Ha” is used before the word Sabbath it can only refer to the weekly Sabbath and no other day.
How did the modern Jews go wrong? In ancient times during the days of Yahshua when the Sadducees controlled the priesthood at the sanctuary of Yahweh, they always calculated the start of the count to Shavuot after the weekly Sabbath according to Scripture, and NOT starting the count after the first day of Unleavened Bread as the rabbis incorrectly do today. Look at the following quote from The New Bible Dictionary Second Edition:
“The Sadducees celebrated the 50th day (inclusive reckoning) from the first Sunday after Passover, taking the Sabbath to be the weekly Sabbath. Their reckoning regulated the public observance so long as the temple stood, and the church is therefore justified in commemorating the first Christian Pentecost on a Sunday.”
“The Pharisees however, interpreted the Sabbath to be the first day of unleavened bread and their reckoning became normative in Judaism after 70AD, so that in the Jewish calendar Pentecost now falls on various days of the week.”
The word Pentecost means count 50. It is the only Holy Day in Scripture that does not have a specific date attached to it, because it will change from year to year depending on the date you start the count. If you always started the count, the day after the Holy Day (Aviv 15), Pentecost would always be on Sivan 6, the 6th day of the third month Sivan. There would be no reason to count, and Scripture would have listed this date as the yearly Pentecost. But it didn't, because the day will vary depending on which day of Unleavened Bread that the first day of the week will fall. Sivan 6 is never mentioned in Scripture.
Early Israelites started their count the day after the weekly Sabbath. History shows the Priest coming to wave the firstfruit omer before YHWH on Saturday evening of Passover week. Since Yahshua was resurrected at this time (and He is the firstfruit waved omer, the firstfruit to YHWH, 1Cor. 15:20) it was too obvious to 1st century Jews, that Yahshua was the Messiah. So they changed the date to Sivan 6 not to make it look so obvious. Firstfruits are holy unto Yahweh. They would wave the first ripe grain of the year. If this first waved omer was accepted, than all the rest of the harvest of the year would be blessed. This is exactly what Scripture tells us about Yahshua. He was the first fruit (waved omer), and then we can only be accepted by Yahweh after His sacrifice was received. Leviticus 23:14 tells us that no new grain could be eaten until the firstfruit waved omer was accepted, just as the New Covenant could not begin until Yahshua was accepted by His Father Yahweh as the firstfruit sacrifice.
Lev 23:14 And you shall not eat bread, nor roasted grain, nor fresh ears, until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your Elohim; it is a never ending statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Rom 11:16 Now if the first-fruit is holy, so also the lump. And if the root is holy, so also the branches.
1Co 15:20 But now Messiah has been raised from the dead; He became the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep.
1Co 15:21 For since through man came death, also through a Man is a resurrection of the dead;
1Co 15:22 for as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah all will be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Messiah, the first-fruit; afterward those of Messiah at His coming.
That is why in Jn. 20:17, Yahshua as the first fruit waved omer, told Mary Magdalene not to touch him, as He had not ascended to YHWH to be officially accepted yet as the first fruit, and first born again from the dead.
Joh 20:16-17 Yahshua said to her, Mariam! Turning around, she said to Him, Rabboni! (that is to say, My Great One). Yahshua said to her, Do not touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My Elohim, and your Elohim.
These scriptures clearly show that the whole wave-sheaf ceremony was only instituted as a fore-shadow of the perfect one to come, as the perfect offering to Yahweh, as the forgiveness of our sins, and by His sacrifice being perfect and accepted, then at the resurrection, so will we be accepted into the family of Yahweh, and accepted as His brethren.
Yahshua was the perfect High Priest. This is why from His resurrection, Saturday evening, which started the first day of the week, we count 7 perfect Sabbaths, not weeks, as we already showed the Hebrew word for week is not used in Lev. 23:15-16. The counting of 7 Sabbaths of seven days bringing us to 49 days shows Yahweh’s completeness with His plan of redemption and then on the 50th day, it is representative of the Jubilee and return of Messiah, and the completeness of the other first fruits to also be given immortality.
The spiritual meaning of the counting of Shavuot both disqualifies starting the count on the second day of Unleavened Bread and also clearly rules out the false lunar Sabbath theory, as it is impossible to come up with any 50 day count going by a false, lunar Sabbath calendar.
Scripture is very clear! You start your count after the weekly Sabbath, Strong's 7676. Then, after 7 perfect Sabbaths (7x7), the day after the 7th Sabbath can only be a Sunday, the first day of the week! One other New Testament proof is in John 20:1. In the original Greek it states that “Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on the first of the weeks” (plural). This most undoubtedly is a reference to the 7 week count to Shavuot (Pentecost) showing Mary came to the tomb on the Feast of Firstfruits and the beginning of the seven week count to Shavuot.
The problem is that believers are going to non-believers, who have no understanding to what the wave-sheaf and barley truly represent. When the barley became harvestable in most of the land, then each person was to take the first of what he cut and take it to Jerusalem, to the priest, to be accepted by Yahweh, on the Feast of First-fruits during Unleavened Bread.
Then, the way that was used to get the omer ready was to beat the sheaf. Each person had to cut his own sheaf, as each one of us need to have the wave sheaf (a type of Messiah’s sacrifice for our sins) accepted by Yahweh, and the people could not bring the offering themselves, only the priest (type of Yahshua) could bring the sacrifice on behalf of the people and then, wave the omer up to heaven. Also, the beating of the sheaf by each person represents the beating that Yahshua had to take, for each one of our sins to be forgiven.
Then, on Shavuot, the wave-sheaf was ground into flour and made into two leavened loaves, one for the house of Ephraim, and one for the House of Judah. Since the loaves represented people, they were leavened, as only Yahshua, the true wave-sheaf was without sin.
You will notice that the “omer” was to be lifted up and waved toward heaven, as a symbol of something actually being transferred to heaven, to be presented and accepted by the One who sits on the throne of the universe. An omer is an actual measurement of grain and not a sheaf. When you understand the true meaning behind the barley and wave-sheaf ceremony, it is crystal clear that the wave sheaf could not be issued on behalf of one or two fields, or even one area, of only one tribe, because He is the wave-sheaf of “all 12 tribes of Israel ”.
So it stands to reason that in order to be Aviv that the barley would have to be ready in the majority of the land of Israel, a fact that the Karaites, being nonbelievers in Yahshua as Messiah, would not understand. Also, since the waved omer represented Yahshua as the first-fruit of those born from the dead, then, it would have to be completely mature, as Yahshua was not an immature or imperfect sacrifice.
Heb 2:11 For both the One sanctifying and the ones being sanctified are all of one nature; for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, Since the whole wave sheaf ceremony was a foreshadow of Yahshua as Messiah, it is impossible that either the wave-sheaf would come from only a small field or part of Israel or that the barley would not be perfectly ripe and mature as a perfect offering to Yahweh, which Yahshua was. In biblical times barley had to be ripe in the Shefelah area near Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley near Jericho and also in the Galilee in the north.
Let’s also look at Exodus the 16th Chapter to see about the omer sacrifice
Exo 16:15 And the sons of Israel looked. And they said, each one to his brother, What is that? For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, that is the bread which YAHWEH has given to you for food.
Exo 16:16 This is the thing which YAHWEH commanded. Gather from it, each one according to the mouth of his eating; an omer for a head. By the number of your souls you shall take for each man who is in your tent.
Exo 16:17 And so the sons of Israel did. And they gathered; the one gathering much and the one gathering little.
Exo 16:18 And they measured with an omer. And the one gathering much did not have too much. And the one gathering little did not have any need. Each one gathered according to the mouth of his eating.
Exo 16:19 And Moses said to them, Do not let anyone leave from it until morning.
It is quite interesting, that the manna that was collected was an omer by each person. This connects the manna to the omer sacrifice that we just referenced. Also, look at the fact that the manna could not be left till morning, just as the Passover could not be left till morning, as both of these provisions supplied by Yahweh was to symbolize Yahshua as the lamb of Yah and true provider of His covenant children.
Now look at what Yahshua states about the manna in John the 6th chapter.
Joh 6:29 Yahshua answered and said to them, This is the work of Elohim, that you believe into Him whom that One sent.
Joh 6:30 Then they said to Him, Then what miraculous sign do You do that we may see and may believe You? What do You work
Joh 6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written "He gave them bread out of Heaven to eat." (Psa. 78:24)
Joh 6:32 Then Yahshua said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses has not given you the bread out of Heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread out of Heaven.
Joh 6:33 For His bread, that of Elohim, is He who has come down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Joh 6:34 Then they said to Him, Master, always give us this bread. Joh 6:35 Yahshua said to them, I AM the Bread of life; the one coming to Me will not at all hunger, and the one believing into Me will not thirst, never!
Clearly, Yahshua was showing that He was the “I Am” that rained the physical manna from heaven as He was the living manna (bread) that was beaten to represent the Passover matzah that true believers take each Passover in acceptance of His sacrifice.
The children of Israel were a shadow of the true firstfruit of Yahweh being Yahshua and through acceptance of Him paying the penalty of our sins so we also can be accepted by the Heavenly Father. This is why the Feast of Firstfruits is so important as it not only shows the resurrection of Yahshua but it also shows the acceptance of Him as the true firstfruit and also our acceptance by Yahweh through His sacrifice.
By calculating the 7 weeks count to Shavuot from the second day of Unleavened Bread you would never have the Messiah being resurrected after 3 days and 3 nights on the Feast of Firstfruits, which is also called resurrection day. Clearly the count to Shavuot starts on the day after the weekly Sabbath according to Scripture and after 7 complete Sabbaths, the day after the 7th Sabbath can only be the first day of the week or Sunday according to the Roman calendar.