“From the day after the day of rest — that is, from the day you bring the sheaf for waving — you are to count seven full weeks, until the day after the seventh week; you are to count fifty days; and then you are to present a new grain offering to Adonai.”-Leviticus 23:15-16
We’re in the midst of studying the Biblical feasts.
Here’s a quick snapshot of where we’re at:
NISSAN 15=1st Day of Unleavened Bread
NISSAN 16=Feast of Firstfruits (NOW WE ARE HERE!)
So currently we’re focusing on BIKKURIM or Firstfruits which occurred on Nissan 15 right after the Feast of MATZA (unleavened bread).
We’re told on this day that the first “omer” from the Spring Barley Harvest is to be brought to the priest for sacrifice to YHVH.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term “omer”, it means a sheaf of new barley.
Now in Judaism, the day of bringing the first OMER holds very special significance.
If you’ve ever heard of the Jewish community speaking of the “counting of the first omer”, that’s what this festival is all about.
BIKKURIM or Firstfruits is the day of that first OMER.
The reason the first OMER had to be sacrificed to God was because the Levitical Laws dictated that the spring crops could NOT be eaten until they had first been dedicated to YHVH.
This is basically what BIKKURIM was all about.
It signified Israel offering the first of her harvest.
They couldn’t begin eating any of the fresh produce from their fields until AFTER this first dedication.
The anticipatory nature of this feast was great because for many long months since the end of the fall harvest, the Israelites had been subsisting on preserved dried and roasted grains.
While they were certainly edible and packed with nutrients, they weren’t any substitute for fresh produce.
Hence, when Firstfruits came around, the Israelites were ecstatic as they would be able to enjoy the fruits (pun intended) of their labors.
Now there is another big-time important reason why Firstfruits is so important.
Firstfruits was the beginning of the countdown clock to SHAVUOT or the Feast of Weeks.
You’re probably more familiar with the Greek term for SHAVUOT: Pentecost.
So from Nissan 16 (2 days after Passover), 50 days are to be counted off with the 50th day being SHAVUOT or Pentecost.
Every day during this 50-day period, an OMER is presented to the Lord with the 50th one falling on SHAVUOT.
Hence, a total of 50 OMER were presented to the Lord in dedication.