The Queen’s official birthday took place on Saturday June 11 as part of her 90th celebration year, and although it was the Biblical Sabbath Day (Saturday) it was also Pentecost in the Biblical or Hebrew calendar.
At sunset on Saturday the celebration of Pentecost or Shavuot in Hebrew, which means Feast of Weeks, begins and ends the following day, as all Biblical days do, at sunset.
The word ‘shavua’ in Hebrew, meaning ‘week,’ is taken from the word ‘sheva,’ meaning ‘seven,’ and ‘Shavuot’ is plural for ‘weeks’ or ‘sevens,’ as the holiday takes place seven weeks, or 49 days after Passover and celebrates the wheat harvest. It is also known as ‘First Fruits.’
It is on this day that the Holy Spirit fell in the Book of Acts upon those gathered in Jerusalem and about 3,000 were added to the Church that day. This is often regarded as the ‘birthday’ of the Church, so how appropriate for it to be also the official celebration of the 90th birthday of Her Majesty.
It is called Pentecost from the word for ‘fifty’ as “when the Day of Pentecost had fully come,” it was the fiftieth day. This was a Jewish holiday long before it was observed by the Church and still is today. Ironically though, the Church celebrates it on a totally different date to the Biblical one as it connects it to ‘Easter,’ which is a man-made tradition, named after a pagan deity, Ishtar, whereas, Shavuot is connected to the Passover of the LORD, (Nisan 14th), the date on which Jesus (Yeshua) was crucified and had His final Passover meal (the preceding evening and following day making up one day).
It was on this date He asked us to remember His death, yet in reality few ever do, since ‘Easter’ focuses on the Resurrection, even though Yeshua never asked anyone to venerate that.
It seems we have lost the Jewish roots of the Church, despite Yeshua being a circumcised Jew. Perhaps this Pentecost we will pause to think why the Church had to celebrate this on 15th May instead of 12th June. In reality both Christians and Jews could observe this holiday together, if for markedly different reasons. If the Hebrew calendar was good enough for Jesus / Yeshua it should be also be good enough for us.
Happy Pentecost / Shavuot, Colin Nevin, Chef, Hilton Tel-Aviv, Israel 1991-2002.