45 killed by stampede. 

       On  April 30, 2021 The BBC reported that tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews attended an annual all-night religious festival known in Israel as  Lag B’Omer. Police sources told Haaretz newspaper, “It happened in a split second; people just fell, trampling each other. It was a disaster.” Videos posted online show “Over 1,000 people together tried to go down a very, very small place, very narrow road and they just fell on top of each other,” said Yanki Farber, a reporter with the Orthodox Jewish website, Behadrei Haredim. An emergency worker told AFP news agency that he saw, “I have not seen anything like this since I entered into the field of emergency medicine,” Lazar Hyman, a volunteer rescue worker, told AFP. Another first responder, Dov Maisel, told the BBC: “We just finished treating one of Israel’s worst disasters. 

Over 150 were treated and 45 died. 

    What is “Lag B’Omer?” What does it have to do with Pentecost? This year it was on May, 26th 2024. Lag BaOmer, the 33rd day of the Omer count mentioned in Leviticus 23:15,16 “ ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete”  

The Jews were commanded to count 7 weeks and on the 50th day to celebrate “Shavuot”/Pentecost. It was literally a Thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest which was a blessing from God for their obedience in giving Him the firstfruits, literally the first sprouts of the barley  50 days prior. It takes longer than 50 day from germination to harvest, so a few weeks before Passover a farmer starts watching the land he sowed. He marks the first small section that sprouts. As soon as it comes to a head he cuts and bundles an “omer” of it for the wave offering for the feast of first fruits. The omer (about two quarts)  of Barley is waved it before the Lord by the Priests imploring His blessing on the harvest to come. That’s day one of counting the omer. The fifty days of counting the Omer bring them to the date of Shavuot/Pentecost. 

The 50 days leading to Shavuot or Pentecost are marked by counting the Omer. Lag B’Omer is the halfway mark between First Fruits and Pentecost/Shavout. It is a festive day on the Jewish calendar.  It is celebrated with outings (on which the children traditionally play with bows and arrows), bonfires, and other joyous events. Many visit the resting place (in Meron, northern Israel) of the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who lived in the second century of the common era. He was the first to publicly teach the mystical dimension of the Torah known as the “Kabbalah,” and is the author of the basic work of Kabbalah. On the day of his passing, Rabbi Shimon instructed his disciples to mark the date as “the day of my joy.”  For 33 days of mourning there is a cessation of joyful activities, weddings, even haircuts, and listening to live music.  So each Lag BaOmer, they celebrate Rabbi Shimon’s life and the revelation of the esoteric soul of Torah, a book called the  Zohar.  Kabballah promotes  a “secret path of approaching God directly” through mystical experience. It involves a supposed divine numerology of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and “constitutes the 32 paths of secret wisdom.”  There is no other path than the written inspired words of God. Exo 24:3,4  “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD.” Josh. 8:34,35  “And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.”  

Jesus said, in John 5:38-47And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” He also answered, in   Mat 15:12-14   Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”  

Let’s look at this counting of 50 days in scripture.  Lev, 23:9-21     “Before any new grain product of the new crop may be harvested, a measure of ground barley must be brought to the Temple on the second day of Pesach/Passover as a meal offering, symbolizing that the prosperity of the field…is a gift from God, and we thank Him for it. This offering is known as the Omer. An Omer is the name of a dry measure, containing the volume of 43 average eggs. It is the amount of flour that must be brought and it is the name by which the offering is known.”i (Approximately 2-3 quarts) 

This happens the second day of Passover which is the Feast of the first fruits which is another Sabbath day with another lamb slain but this time is a burnt offering. It is the end of a Festival and begins the countdown of 49 days totaling 50 days from First fruit till Pentecost. Verse 15 says “you shall count unto you,” Rabbi’s have interpreted that each individual is responsible to count 49 days following First Fruits. The 50th day is Shavuot/Pentecost. Shavous means weeks. The two loves baked from the “Omer” of barley meal may not be offered on the altar because of the 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread. In their reckoning of the flight from Egypt to Sinai, Jewish scholars hold that the “Omer” of barley flour and the counting to the 50th day coincide with the giving of the Torah/ Law to Moses. Therefore, the reading of the Law commences on Shavuot/Pentecost. It is noteworthy that when the Law was given 3000 died due to their lewd idolatry around the golden calf. Sadly Kabbala has become a “golden Calf” of traditional “veneration”/worship of a dead Rabbi. 

For Jewish believers this Feast of Pentecost, as we know it in the NT, it  was the day that Peter preached the Gospel and 3000 Jews in Jerusalem believed and received the Holy Spirit marking the birth of the Church. For those Jews present it was the day ordered by God to bring offerings from their ingathering of the barley harvest.  It was 50 days after the 1st fruits offering which happened the day after Passover.   

The Picture and headline was in a Jewish online newspaper soliciting gifts to supply a feast for all who attend this big bonfire in Meron, N. Israel. It went on to promise salvation/Yeshuah. As you read you discover theses are “salvations” are miracles of healings from disease, barreness, poverty, and various human problems. Yes, you got it. Selling indulgences to get a prayer answered was not solely a Catholic thing. “Merit a yeshua”, literally earn your salvation from disease or trouble, summarizes all forms of religion outside of God’s plan of salvation.  

The Sadness of blindness and rejection of the true salvation.  Jesus perfectly fulfilled these types that pointed to Him. Tens of thousands of Jews in Jerusalem saw the light in the first century and spread the Gospel to us. 

The Spiritual significance of Israel’s Feast of First Fruits in light of Passover, and Pentecost. 

Modern Judaism in the diasporah has a lack of emphasis on this feast. Why is First Fruits almost non extant when it comes to modern Jewish observance? The answer can be found in the Jewish context of the conflict that developed between the first century Jewish believers and Jewish unbelievers. 

A close look at Leviticus 23 gives a clue as to why this feast had an uphill battle for recognition. It was sandwiched between two widely observed events in the Mosaic calendar of Judaism. To begin with, it lacked  visibility due to its proximity to Passover the most widely observed family oriented feast in Jewish history. It’s placement on the next day made it rather anticlimactic. In addition to being placed the day after the Passover Lamb was killed, First Fruits was on the first day of the 7 day feast of unleavened bread. There was also a delayed inauguration of this feast. From the time the instructions about this feast were written until it was observed in the promised land exceeded 40 years. Farm land, planting, sprouting then harvest are all requirements that couldn’t be met in the desert. Once in the land they were to offer to the Lord the first green heads of barley that had sprouted equaling about two quarts. A lamb was to be offered as a whole burnt offering. About two pints of wine were to be poured out before the Lord. Also flour mingled with oil was to be burned as a sweet incense to the Lord. Then and only then could eat new parched grain. This consecrated the entire harvest yet to come to the Lord. It was kind of a faith promise offering, giving Him the first and trusting Him to supply the rest.   

The main reason for the insignificance of this Feast is not that Heaven overbooked holidays. We are wont to say when we find ourselves burning the candle at both ends, “Who planned this?” God did. Then why? He must have had a reason for back to back feasts. But double lamb sacrifices? That’s right. The day after slain and roast Paschal Lamb was the entree’  they were told to bring “an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.” Leviticus 23:12 Rather than being consumed at a feast this lamb was to be totally consumed in the fire. Since the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD neither can a lamb be eaten at Passover nor can one be offered as a burnt offering. With no temple, altar, priesthood, or state of Israel for almost 1900 years there was also no harvesting the land. Nationally and agriculturally the feast all but disappeared. It has been reduced to a mere starting date that begins a count down to Shavuot/ Pentecost in modern Judaism. But did it diminish before 70 AD and for what reasons? 

Was there another reason that First Fruits went out of vogue in the first century? I believe there is. It has much to with what this festival was a type of. This feast was ordained by God to be a type of the greatest victory of His story in the future battle of the “seed”.  Just three chapters into Genesis we read of the prophecy of the seed of the woman who would defeat Satan as one would crush the head of a serpent. In the process, the seed of the woman according to Isaiah would be “wounded”, “bruised” and “cut off” indicating suffering and death. Messiah would die with the wicked yet “see his seed” prolong His life. Isaiah 53:9-11 Passover was to be immediately followed by the symbol of new life – First Fruits. Jesus was born as the seed of a virgin in Bethlehem and died on the cross. They buried Him on the eve of Passover. Like First Fruits follows Passover, His resurrection followed His death as the Lamb of God. Fifty days later on the Feast Day of Pentecost or Harvest, the Apostle Peter preached the Gospel of Jesus and 3000 accepted Jesus as their Messiah/Christ.   

In rapid succession, three feasts in seven weeks during the spring of 30 AD, became dominated by a mass movement of Jewish disciples of the resurrected Jesus. The Apostles were called before the panicked Sanhedrin, and were threatened, beaten and forbidden time and again from preaching Jesus as the Messiah. Acts 4:10-22; 5:40-42 Yet as they were threatened the movement grew exponentially. The elders said “you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” Acts 5:28 

       One of the great Rabbi’s of the first Century, Saul of Tarsus later codified what this burgeoning movement had been proclaiming. After meeting the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth and after studying the Tenach – Hebrew Scriptures for two years, now Paul the Apostle wrote; “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept… Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” 1Cor.15:20-23 Jesus alone fulfilled messianic prophecy and rose from the dead as proof that a greater harvest of resurrection is in store for all those who receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life through faith in Him. By the time He penned these words the New Testament records that over 8000 thousand Jews in Jerusalem had believed on Jesus as Messiah Savior, (Acts 2:41: 4:4) including a great company of Priests who believed on Jesus. (Acts 6:7) By the ninth chapter of Acts there were multiple assemblies of believers throughout Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Can you imagine the scenario in the Jewish communities the next year when these triple holy days rolled around? Great multitudes of Israelites who had believed the Gospel of the resurrected Jesus now celebrated these Jewish feasts declaring Him as the Passover lamb, The First Fruit of their resurrection and the giver of the Holy Spirit to a harvest souls at Pentecost. No more did those feasts foreshadow a lamb to atone for sins or a first grain offering to project a coming harvest or a Pentecost to symbolize an ingathering of agriculture. All of those types were fulfilled by Jesus. Could the waving of the barley sheaves in celebration of Jesus victory over death and the demonstration of their joyous expectation of their resurrection have been a sore reminder? Every year their unbelieving Jewish relatives and neighbors were reminded that Jesus of Nazareth was handed over to the Romans for death by Israel’s leaders. Every year it was reminder that Jesus arose in a glorified body. As they watched their Jewish friends, sons and daughters wave their sheaves of grain in praise to God declaring that Jesus is The First Fruit of eternal life. The implications of this inconvenient proof was undeniable. We read of the elders prohibiting the disciples from speaking in Jesus’ name. ( Acts:5:25-28) It would not be out of the realm of possibility that the celebration of the Feast was censored by the elders. (John 9:22; 12:42) These object lessons supernaturally fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth, presented an inconvenient proof annually to the Jewish feast goers who heard the proclamation of His followers accompanied by undeniable miracles of the Holy Spirit.  

Many times we have seen a football team just feet from the goal line fumble the ball only to have victory snatched away by the opposing team. But in this case the ball that was fumbled by the Elders of Israel was recovered by their own teammates. Unlearned fishermen, converted tax collectors and sinners picked up the message of salvation through Jesus and passed it on to thousands of their Jewish brethren in the stands. They in turn passed the ball on to Jews and Gentiles alike.  Now we gentile beneficiaries of a Jewish Messiah must not forfeit the opportunity to pass the ball back to Jewish people as we approach the goal line of Christ’s return in the Rapture. The end zone of the Tribulation foretold by Daniel the prophet will mean almost complete destruction of the inhabitants of Israel by the Anti-Christ before Jesus comes down to earth. We must reach them with the Gospel because many will not survive that time.  Jesus will deliver the Jewish remnant that remains by grace. They will then rule and reign with Jesus their Messiah as He sits on the throne of David in Jerusalem bringing peace on earth. We who are saved in this age of Grace will be resurrected and enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven on earth with our Lord and His brethren! 

We need to pray for and communicate these God ordained object lessons in the feasts of Israel. Because there is a Passover Lamb and a First born of Resurrection, there can be an ingathering of souls if we will be His witnesses to them of a Jewish Messiah who is Christ the Lord. In the Tribulation period due the preaching of this gospel by two Jewish prophets and the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, an innumerable multitude will respond in faith. We may be witnessing to the very ones who will later be saved and be the first fruits of that great final harvest.  “These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” Rev. 14:4 


Take Aways 

  • Has Jesus become your resurrected Passover Lamb to take away your sins? 
  • Have you received the promise of resurrection and eternal life? 
  • Have your received His indwelling Holy Spirit? 

If you have been “born again” you can answer yes to all three. 

  • Now are you looking for sprouts when you have planted no seed? 
  • Have you brought at least one soul to Jesus as your first fruits offering? 
  • If there is no sowing the seed there can be no harvest. 


Ultra-Orthodox Jews are praying for temporal salvations at the anniversary of the death of a Rabbi some 1900 years ago. You are saved because 1st Century Jews who believed and received eternal Salvation, shared the good news of a resurrected Messiah and Savior Jesus 2000 years ago.  

                  Sadly, most Jews and gentiles haven’t heard of any plan of salvation. 

  We should be counting the days since the seed was planted prayerfully expecting a harvest. 


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