Posts Tagged Omer
In Part 2 of our discussion we will delve deeper into the Pharisaic influence on many, especially among the Sacred Name groups of today, regarding the practice of considering the maturity of barley to determine the month of Abib and the scriptural New Year.
Picking up from where we left off in Part 1, the month-name ha-Abib was next connected by the Pharisees with the day of the omer wave offering. An עמר (omer) is a dry measure or gathering of “newly cut grain,”32 as in “a heap.”33
Omer Wave Offering
The omer wave offering of newly cut grain was a requirement under the Torah of Moses as a gift to Yahweh, being the first-fruits from each year’s harvest. The offering occurs in the spring at the time of Unleavened Bread and is directly connected with the Promised Land. This offering is described in detail by the book of Leviticus.
When you come into the land (of Promise) which I am giving to you, and have reaped its harvest, and have brought in this omer, the beginning (first-fruits) of your harvest, to the priest, then he will wave this omer before Yahweh for your acceptance. On the day after the Sabbath the priest will wave it. (Lev. 23:9-11)
Technically, the instructions from Scriptures do not specifically mention which first-fruits from which harvest. It only indicates in a subsequent passage that the Israelites were not permitted to eat bread, קלי (qali; roasted whole grains),34 or כרמל (karmel; fruits and produce)—all indicating a variety of produce—derived from the new year’s crops until after the omer wave offering had been made.35
In our last post titled 17. Passover – Pentecost Clarity I we addressed the four approaches for keeping Pentecost. Of these four systems the oldest is the Aristocratic, which counted the 50 days from the day after the weekly Sabbath following Passover, Sunday to Sunday.
Its antiquity is demonstrated by the fact that both the ancient conservative Samaritan and Sadducean (Boethusian) priesthoods practiced the identical Pentecost system—this despite their loathing for each other.
This common approach among competing branches of the Zadokite priests reflects a common history, indicating that this system was used by the Zadokite priests prior to the fourth century B.C.E. (the time when the Samaritan schism took place).1
These Aristocratic priests were “heirs to the old Zadokite tradition in Jerusalem.”2 This Aristocratic system was later followed by the early Christian assemblies,3 demonstrating their belief in its antiquity as well.
As we continue our discussion regarding the connection between Passover and Pentecost, we discover that there were three other requirements attached to the Festival of Weeks:
(1) appearing and being worthy, (2) rejoicing, and (3) remembering.
An important part of the celebration of Passover and the seven days of Unleavened Bread was the day on which the high priest waved the עמר (omer) of freshly cut grain in front of the altar of Yahweh as an offering.
This event occurred on the first day of the 50-day count to the חג שבעות (Khag Shabuath; Festival of Weeks).
As a result, for the Jews and later the Christians, the events associated with the 50 days of the Festival of Weeks (also called Pentecost) were regarded as an important facet of the Passover celebration.
The term חג (khag) is also used when the entire seven days of eating unleavened bread is called the Passover.2
The first and seventh day of this khag are described as sacred מקראי (miqrai; gatherings for reading),3 i.e., a sacred convocation on a Sabbath or high Sabbath day during which Scriptures are to be studied.4
To understand the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread, we must first define the meanings of these two terms and explain what prompts them to be festival observances.
The first two tasks that shall be employed toward solving the Passover controversy will be to examine and define the different Jewish and Christian schools with regard to their observance of Passover, its seven days of Unleavened Bread, and Shabuath (Pentecost).
Different Jewish Schools
Our initial inquiry shall delve into the practices of the Jewish schools. In this effort, we will explore the history, culture, and origin of three major Jewish schools of thought regarding the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread and the Festival of Pentecost.
The three basic Jewish systems for observing the Passover and the seven days of Unleavened Bread were as follows:
At first thought, it would seem that the dates for the Passover supper, the seven days of eating unleavened bread, and the Khag of Shabuath (Pentecost) should hardly be controversial issues. Following are the instructions: