What is the purpose of counting the Omer?
What is an omer?
We know that the omer is a measurement the Hebrew nation used in the times of the Bible. Today we use cups, liters, pounds, kilograms. This counting starts from the waving of the firstfruits offering until you get to Shavuot (Pentecost) 50 days later. We know this to be the day when the coming of the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) dwells in temples no longer made with hands but inside the heart of man.
Jesus being our Passover Lamb and the first fruits among all men brings perspective to holidays we are familiar with celebrating. God did not intend to redeem mankind through something called easter. For many, the traditions we grew up with have been mingled with pagan festivals that have nothing to do with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We forget that God’s ways are higher than our ways. He wants a relationship with a people that he is making holy. In Leviticus 23 the various appointed times and seasons help define how the Israelites would become a set apart people for God. Why? In order to help the world know who the true God is. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Becoming a people of God is a process of obedience and understanding of who God is and what he asked us to do.
God's ongoing fulfillment of Leviticus 23 encourages us to do so in remembrance of Him. The law has clearly shown us where we are flawed. The grace of the Lord Jesus and his sacrifice as the Passover lamb redeem us.
The disciples would have understood that the counting of the omer was to be a time of anticipation of something to come. That counting and waiting for the Holy Spirit to come had been celebrated for several thousand years before the Holy Spirit came and dwelt inside of man. This time frame is 7 days and for 7 weeks, plus one day equal to 50 days. This is the something the disciples were waiting for.
During this counting of the Omer, we remember each day what God is revealing to us about ourselves, joy, hope, and future.
Jesus exhorted us to wait for the comforter, teacher, the guide. When we wait, we know that God has something good to give us. He is urging us to come into a relationship with him. He is coming again just like the prophecies say he will come.
I encourage you to search the Hebrew idiom that we have been taught about "no one knows the day or hour" of the return of the Messiah. Could that be a similar scenario to Shavuot? The Feast of Trumpets is also known as "no one knows the day or hour". Just like the disciples were waiting in anticipation of that "something", we know who we are waiting for, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Maybe we could know the season of the return through a proper understanding of Hebrew idioms and the appointed times and seasons in God's calendar.