“Do not forsake the Torah, and it will protect you; love it, and it will safeguard you.” Proverbs 4:6
Well, now that we have come through Pesach and the Pesach Seder, we now begin the process of the daily ‘Counting of the Omer’ as we head towards the next Feast of HaShem in fifty days i.e. Shavuot, Baruch HaShem!
At this time in Biblical history, Israel has been liberated from Egypt and are now in the Wilderness. HaShem has a very specific plan in play and since He is unchanging, reveals the end from the beginning and there is nothing new under the sun, means, this plan still applies to each of us today and I will explain!
I have no doubt there are many out there who may be asking what the significance of Counting of the Omer really is and how to apply it to our own lives. These are very good questions, which I plan on sharing what HaShem has shown me in relation to these questions.
But as always, before we jump deeper into this topic, never forget the following eternal characteristics of HaShem:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is the ONLY truth there is per Psalms 119:142
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
Before we can tackle the Counting of the Omer questions, we first have to understand what is going on with the omer in the first place. HaShem commands in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:9-14 says “HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: When you shall enter the Land that I give you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring an omer from your first harvest to the Kohen (High Priest). He shall wave the omer before HaShem to gain favor for you; on the morrow of the rest day the Kohen shall wave it. On the day you wave the omer; you shall perform the service of an unblemished lamb in its first year as an Olah (Burnt) korbonot (Offering) to HaShem. Its minchah (Bread) korbonot shall be two tenth-ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, a fire korbonot to HaShem, a satisfying aroma; and its libation shall be wine, a quarter hin. You shall not eat bread or roasted kernels or plumb kernels until this very day, until you bring the korbonot of your Elohim; it is an eternal decree for your generations in all your dwelling places.'”
This is where we have to be learning about the functions of the Temple of HaShem in Jerusalem as these offerings are brought by each person as an acknowledgment of HaShem’s goodness, sustenance and provisions for that year. Notice also HaShem commands this is an ETERNAL DECREE. The only reason we are not doing this in full today is because sadly we are not in the Land of Israel and there is no Temple standing in Jerusalem…may it be so very soon in our days!
With this said, let’s quickly address the Counting of the Omer. HaShem commands us in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:15-16 the following: “You shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day, from the day when you bring the omer of the waving, seven weeks, they shall be complete. Until the morrow of the seventh week you shall count, fifty days.” HaShem is commanding us to begin counting the omer the day after Pesach i.e. the rest day, since Pesach itself is a Shabbat.
Counting of the Omer is done today via prayers in which we acknowledge before HaShem. The most basic explanation of Counting of the Omer I can give is we are counting down each day towards Shavuot, such as “Today is day three of Counting of the Omer towards Shavuot” and so on.
At this point, this is where we can begin to address the question concerning the significance of Counting of the Omer. Mitzvah #306 from the Book of the Mitzvot says “The underlying purpose of the mitzvah (Counting of the Omer), according to the basic understanding is its focus on the anticipation of the day of our receiving the Torah i.e. HaShem taking us to Mt Sinai on Shavuot. For the sole purpose of Israel is its adherence to the Torah, and in fact, it is for the sake of the Torah that the heavens and earth, and Israel, were all created, as it is written in Jeremiah 33:26 ‘If not for My covenant of day and night, I would not have established the statutes of heaven and earth.’ The covenant of day and night refers to the Torah, which must be studied day and night as per the verse in Joshua 1:8 ‘You shall contemplate it (Torah) day and night.’ This is the purpose and the reason for which the Jewish people were redeemed and went out of Egypt, namely so as to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai and fulfill it; as HaShem said to Moshe at the Burning Bush on Mount Sinai, when He sent him to redeem the Jewish people per Exodus 3:12 ‘And this is your sign that I have sent you. When you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve Elohim on this mountain.'”
We must remember what the Torah is! It is not just a bunch of do’s and don’t’s, it is THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT between HaShem and His bride, Whom He calls ‘Israel!’ So, we are counting the omer in anticipation of the marriage contract!
Over the years I have heard Replacement Theology teach that G-d is married to Israel and ‘Jesus’ is married to the Church. This is utterly absurd and in no way accurate. There is only ONE bride i.e. Israel comprised of everyone who wishes to serve HaShem! There is only One Bridegroom i.e. HaShem, Whom He deals with Israel via His Agent i.e. Yeshua (Not Jesus). Remember the Law of Agency from the previous Op? I digress.
The commentary from Or HaChaim when discussing Vayikra 23:15-16 is very interesting and descriptive. It says “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, etc. That which it says for yourselves is because in our verse, HaShem is instructing the Jewish people to count seven weeks from Pesach until Shavuot for the following reason: For the sages explain that the Jewish people had to wait seven weeks from the Exodus until the giving of the Torah because they had been steeped in the impurity of Egypt for so many years, and HaShem wished to join together with this nation in marriage, so to speak, through the giving of the Torah. He therefore dealt with the people according to the law that applies to a niddah (A woman impure due to her cycle), who is required to count seven clean days before being permitted to her husband per Vayikra 15:25-30. In the same manner, HaShem commanded the Jewish people to count seven weeks after they had left Egypt and were no longer subject to the impurity of Egypt, and then, after this interval, they would be worthy of being brought like a bride to the Chuppah, and join together with HaShem at Mount Sinai by receiving the Torah. And although, there with regard to a niddah, the Torah requires only seven days, and here the people waited seven weeks, that is because of the intense level of impurity that the Jewish people endured in Egypt, which is greater than that of the niddah; and also because the impurity was not only in one individual, but in the nation of Israel as a whole.”
Very interesting! So the counting of the omer is a purification process in preparation for going to Mount Sinai and receiving the Torah i.e. the Marriage Contract! Keep this in mind going forward!
The Or HaChaim commentary continues “You shall count for yourselves, the Torah alluded to a spiritual benefit resulting from the fulfillment of this mitzvah. This is in accordance with what the sages say in Tractate Shabbos 105b (Talmud Bavli), that the souls of the people, the Children of Israel, are, in one aspect, like the Luchos (Tablets the Commandments were enscribed upon). And by means of the diseases of the soul and abominable impurity into which a person sinks when he sins, these luchos become soiled and their brightness is dimmed. Now, our sages, say that the Luchos were made of sanpirinon, a luminous stone. Sanpirinon is translated as ‘Sapphire’. Therefore, our verse says, ‘You shall count for yourselves’, which, aside from the literal meaning, means you shall cleanse your souls of impurity and thereby cause yourselves to shine once more like a luchos of sapphire.”
There is so much here we could discuss more in-depth such as the comparison to sapphire! But it should be pointed out that our being made clean is a combination of our striving to stay away from sin and impurities, something none of us are perfect at, but ultimately it is by faith in HaShem that renders us righteous in His eyes because of His Agent, Yeshua. Point is, we do have to work to cleanse ourselves of impurity, as we will see shortly from the Apostolic Writings!
Consider the following from the Shir HaShirim (Song of Solomon) Midrash Rabbah when discussing the significance of a sapphire: “If you say that sapphire is soft, come and see that you are mistaken, for there was once an incident that happened with a certain person who brought a sapphire to Rome to sell it. The purchaser said to him: ‘I will buy it on condition that you consent to test it and prove its genuineness. He tested it by trying to break off a small piece from it. He placed it on an anvil and started to beat on it with a hammer. The result was the anvil split and the hammer became flattened, but the sapphire was in its place, an was not lacking a single piece.” So, we can see sapphire is a very strong element…keep this in mind!
The commentary continues and says “The Choshen (Breastplate) worn by the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) had four rows of three stones, each of which was engraved with the name of one of the twelve tribes per Exodus 28:17-21. The middle stone in the second row was a sapphire. It was thus the fifth stone on the Choshen, and it bore the name of the fifth tribe i.e. Issachar. Issachar was renowned as the Tribe of Torah, devoted exclusively to Torah study and instruction. The Roman conquerors (Remember Rome is always a picture of Esau/Replacement Theology Christianity) sought to crush the Torah and its observance, decreeing that Israel should not study Torah, nor perform circumcision, nor observe the Shabbat. Surely those were not the only terrible decrees of the Romans against Israel and its Torah, symbolized by the sapphire of Issachar. Offered for sale, scattered through the vast empire, the sapphire of Israel was placed between the Roman hammer and the Roman anvil, which with brutal force sought to crush the precious stone in between. But the anvil was split and the hammer dulled and the sapphire remained unchanged. And in the millennia since, many hammers and many anvils have sought to crush the sapphire, but to no avail. ‘Master of the Universe, if not for Your Torah that You gave us, the nations would have long ago destroyed us.’ The pages of world history are filled with the scattered remains of blunted hammers and fragmented anvils, and the sapphire remains unchained!”
The point for all of this, it is HaShem Who has chosen to preserve His Bride i.e. Israel, in this very long and very difficult exile! Now more than ever it is very difficult to strive to walk in His Torah in a country and a world consumed with utter depravity, debauchery, vile wickedness and abominable violence and cruelty! Therefore, for His Name’s sake, He must rescue out His Own so that we can keep His Torah as His Bride, uninfluenced by the depravity and impurities consuming us. Thus, counting of the omer, is not just some obscure, unimportant commandment by HaShem, it is the purification process we are to engage in as we grow closer to receiving His Torah on His Feast of Shavuot!
Now does the following verses in Revelation 19 make more sense: Verses 7-8 says “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him praise, for the MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB HAS COME, AND HIS WIFE PREPARED HERSELF. And to her it was given to be dressed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteousness of the set-apart ones.” Remember the marriage is on Shavuot!! The bride has prepared herself i.e. purified herself…a connection to Counting of the Omer? Shining bright and clean a connection to the understanding of comparing Torah and Israel to a sapphire? This is why in order to correctly understand the Apostolic Writings we MUST know the Torah, the Writings, the Prophets i.e. the Tanakh (Erroneously called the Old Testament), for without the Tanakh as the foundation for the Apostolic Writings, all we have is Replacement Theology, which will lead a person to their ruin.
So, with all this said, I encourage you to look further into this time of counting of the omer for there is much to learn and apply to our lives! HaShem is teaching us so much as of late, for those with ears to hear and eyes to see, that is. May He continue to open our ears, eyes, mind and spirits to the wonders which are contained in His Torah as we continue to count the omer towards Shavuot…Baruch HaShem!
Much to consider.
- The Scriptures by the Institute for Scripture Research
- Proverbs by Artscroll
- The Book of the Mitzvos by Artscroll
- The Midrash Shir HaShirim Rabbah by Artscroll
- Or HaChaim by Artscroll
- Tractate Hagiga Talmud Bavli by Steinsaltz
- Tractate Pesachim Talmud Bavli by Steinsaltz