Starting on First Fruits (i.e., Bikkurim), the days are counted for 50 days until the next Biblical Festival (Leviticus 23:15-16). The event is most commonly known as the “Counting of the Omer.” In Hebrew, it’s called Lag B’Omer, which mean “counting of the sheaf.” Another title of this season is the “filling up of the measure.”
On each day, the priests would cut 10 omers, or sheaves, of barley from the valley of Mohtzah near the Temple. As the 50 days progressed, the time of the barley harvest ended, and the time of the wheat harvest came. The first ripe omers were cut, then they were brought to the Temple and threshed (beaten with rods or paddles). Then the grain was put through 13 sieves, each one tighter than the last until one omer of flour passed through the last sieve. That flour had to be so fine that it would not stick to the hand of the treasurer in the Temple.
All of this is a picture of the Messiah, who is our First Fruits. Yeshua (i.e. Jesus) was “cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due” (Isaiah 53:8). Just as the scythe cut off the living wheat, then beaten, Yeshua was the substitute beaten for the transgressions of mankind.
Just as the grain was burned by fire, then put through descending sieves, so was Yeshua. He endured the questions of the Jewish elders, the questions from Gentiles, the pain of being alone, and the fleeing of His disciples during the hours of His greatest physical, mental & spiritual tortures. This He did without a word: “He was oppressed and afflicted, but did not open His mouth, like a lamb to slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7). Truly, Yeshua was/is worthy to be the First Fruits of the resurrection.
~ Robin Main
Top Photo: Counting of Omer – Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam
Commentary: Micha’el Washer (with some slight modifications), Messianic Jewish Art Calendar 1993-94
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