As the picture indicates, the abib, the green ear of barley, has been sighted in Northern Negev of Israel on March 19th and the Jordan Valley on March 23rd. In Israel, the barley ear will be green and almost ready to harvest in March or April because of the warmer Mediterranean climate as compared to a September harvest in cooler alpine climates.
What significance is the barley to this time of year? Two important events have occurred in the month of Abib/Aviv, at the time when the green ear of barley is sighted.
The first event was the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. When the seventh plague of hail hit Egypt, the barley was struck while it was in the abib = green ear (Ex 9:31). Days later, the New Year was established at the time of the New Moon (Ex 12:2). Two weeks later when the Israelites were to leave Egypt, Moses told the people “On this day you are going out, in the month Abib (chodesh abib).” (Exodus 13:4)
The second event was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Two weeks after the abib had been sighted, the Passover would have been observed with the ultimate Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, sacrificed.
The importance of the abib was recognized by the ancient Hebrew pictograph and by the importance of the concept of First Fruits.
The paleo-Hebrew pictograph for abib () represents the ‘strength of a house’. By his strength, the Lord delivered Israel from the ‘house of bondage’ so they could abide in Him. Likewise, Jesus has been sent to deliver humanity from the ‘house of bondage’ so we could abide in Him.
Not only was the timing of the First Fruit important agriculturally, but barley was also the first crop to be harvested. We can see this concept of the beginning of harvest depicted throughout the Scriptures. While the Israelites became the First Fruits of God’s deliverance during the Exodus, Jesus was the First Fruits of the Resurrection on Easter/Pascha/Resurrection morning.
The visual importance of the barley ready to be harvested would serve to remind the Jewish people of their past deliverance from the house of bondage, to point to the Messiah, and to remind all of the death and resurrection of Christ.