NEW MOON - Chodesh - Explained!



new moon

'New Moons' of Scripture

full moon




It has been taught that 'New Moons' were days which were celebrated
at the start of each month.


Is this correct?
There has also been a common belief that months in God's ordained calendar were in harmony with the cycles of the moon.
Is this correct?

LUNAR MONTHS ?


The moon rotates around the earth on a cycle of about 29.5 days. This
means that calendars based on the lunar pattern would have months of
varying length. (The length of months would usually rotate between
durations of 29 days and 30 days.)

For this reason, if the lunar teaching was correct, one would expect
to see in Scripture a few examples of such a pattern. 

Some areas of text have been construed to reflect such a pattern.
For example the account of the exodus of the children of Israel
out of Egypt. That is, from the start of their journey in the first
month to their arrival at Mt Sinai early in the third month. 

However, other scholars have noticed that there is also indications
that months were of fixed length duration. Each month being 30 days
in length.

   - The chronology of the Flood appears to depict 30 day
     months. From the 17th day of the 2nd month (Gen 7:11)
     to the 17th day of the 7th month (Gen 8:4) appears to
     have taken 150 days (Gen 7:24).
     Refer to the page The Genesis Flood Chronology.

   - Prophetic texts in the book of Revelation suggest 3.5
     years would equate to 42 months or 1260 days.

   - In the book of Daniel the 'seven times' of Dan 4:16
     has been explained as shadowing a greater prophetic
     period of 2,520 years, that is 7 years of 360 days
     per year.

   - Other prophetic periods are also divisible by 30,
       Ezek  4:5  - 390  days (equals 13 x 30 days)
       Dan  12:11 - 1290 days (equals 43 x 30 days)
       Dan  12:12 - 1335 days (equals 44.5 x 30 days)

   - The biblical account of the departure from Egypt to
     the arrival at Mt Sinai can also be viewed in such
     a way that both the first and second months reflect
     a duration of 30 days.


So with this in mind, let us consider just what is being described by
the term 'New Moon'.


NEW MOON - 'CHODESH'


The Hebrew word 'chodesh' corresponds to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
reference 2320.


Strong's 2320
What we can notice is the three references 2818, 2019 & 2320 only differ according to the assumed vowels. As vowels are not present in the received Hebrew Old Covenant the scriptural context is used by translators to decide the most appropriate rendering. We can also notice that all three words essentially carry the notion of 'new'. Only Strong's reference 2320 has a meaning of 'month'. Hence, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance 2320 does not strictly mean 'new moon'. Rather it means 'month'. So when a translation of 'month' (or 'new') does not make sense then the expression 'new month' would have been appropriate. However, since it has been commonly accepted that Jewish months were lunar based the translation "new moon" has become normal. In any, case, one should not try to prove the existence of a literal 'New Moon' solely using this Hebrew word. In practice the Hebrew word, corresponding to '2320', has been rendered: - 'month' : The most common translation of the word 'chodesh' is simply as 'month'. - 'New Moon' : Translators noticing that Scripture uses the word 'chodesh' in a second religious context have chosen in these cases to simply render the Hebrew word as 'New Moon'. The notion 'New Moon' has generally been viewed at a literal level. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe this term is being applied figuratively to reflect new phases in the plan of God! [ NB: It is worth noting that the symbol of the 'moon' is also used in a symbolic manner in Scripture (refer, Gen 37:9-10, Psalm 121:6, 148:3 and Rev 12:1). The moon is often thought to represent the feminine aspect of the church; due to the fact that the moon does not generate its own light but rather reflects the light of the sun (which is a symbol for Christ). ] The Hebrew does have a word for 'moon', Strong's reference 3394. So if Scripture wanted to clearly refer to a "new moon" it could have done so by combining the Strong's references 2318 and 3394. What we can observe is that translators have elected to render the Hebrew 2320 as 'month', unless the rendering would not make sense. Therefore, it is likely they have in some cases confused the true meaning of some verses. By incorrectly rendering 'month' when 'New Moon' (or 'New Month') was actually being discussed.

THE NEW MOON - A SABBATH


There are a number of New Moon verses, but two of the most interesting
are;

    Amos   8:4   Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, And
                 make the poor of the land fail,
            :5   Saying: "When will the New Moon be past, that
                 we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we
                 may trade wheat? Making the ephah small and
                 the shekel large, falsifying the scales by
                 deceit,

    2King  4:23  So he said, "Why are you going to him today?
                 It is neither New Moon nor Sabbath."
                 And she said, "It is well".


These verses are defining the New Moon days, as being days of commanded
rest and religious assembly.

So these "New Moon" days have a religious aspect.

This being the case, should we would not expect to see all the individual
months named!
Should not the month names also carry significant meaning.
Perhaps the month names as they progress through the year might be
expected to reflect the fortunes of Israel through the eras that God
is working with them. This would lead to the expectation that latter
month names would mirror aspects of end-time prophecy.


However, what do we see?


THE OLD TESTAMENT - PRE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY;
                                                    STRONG'S DEFINITION
   1st month - Abib      Exod 13:4, 23:15,
                         Exod 34:18, Deut 16:1    - be tender
                                                  - green, ie young ear
                                                              of grain
   2nd month - Ziv       1Kings  6:1,37           - prominent,
                                                    brightness,
                                                    month of flowers
   7th month - Ethanium  1Kings  8:2              - permanent, to continue,
                                                    eg the permanent brooks
   8th month - Bul       1Kings  6:38             - yield - rain
                                                          - produce

THE OLD TESTAMENT _ POST BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY;

   1st month - Nisan     Neh  2:1, Esth 3:7       - ? (foreign origin?)
   3rd month - Sivan     Esth 8:9                 - ? (Persian origin?)
   6th month - Elul      Neh  6:15                - ? (foreign derivation?)
   9th month - Chislev   Neh  1:1, Zech 7:1       - ? (foreign origin?)
  10th month - Tebeth    Esth 2:16                - ? (foreign derivation?)
  11th month - Shebat    Zech 1:7                 - ? (foreign origin)
  12th month - Adar      Ezra 6:15, Est 3:7,13,
                         Est 8:12,9:1,15,17,19,21 - ? (foreign derivation?)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

  In the New Testament no month names are quoted.



What this shows is that only four months were named in Scripture prior
to the Babylonian captivity. Names after the captivity, according to
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, appear to have been of foreign origin.
What one finds when reading Scripture is that months are usually referred
to by their number in the year, not by their names.

All this means that months were not fully named. What names we have were
linked to the harvest or season. This is not what one would expect if
Old Covenant Scripture was indeed requiring monthly 'New Moon' commanded
rest days and religious gatherings.

The conclusion is apparent, the view that all the months and all their
associated New Moons carried significant religious importance is not
justified.


So let us now look for a symbolic form of 'New Moon'.


THE RELIGIOUS SYMBOLIC 'NEW MOON'


Leviticus chapter 23 lists the appointments of the LORD.

    Lev   23:2   Speak to the children of Israel, and say to
                 them: The feasts of the LORD, which you shall
                 proclaim to be holy convocations, these are
                 my feasts.

            :4   These are the feasts of the LORD, holy
                 convocations which you shall proclaim at
                 their appointed times.

            :44  So Moses declared to the children of Israel
                 the feasts of the LORD.

            [ The word rendered 'feasts' in these verses is
              Strong's 4150 and means 'appointments'. ]


That which is being listed in this chapter is all the appointments which
the children of Israel had with God. Occasions of worship at the temple.
(Prior to the building of the temple, these were gatherings at the Tent
of Meeting.) 


The observances mentioned are;

                    - weekly Sabbath
                    - 14th Passover
                    - 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread
                    - wave sheaf day
                    - Feast of Weeks
                    - Day of Trumpets
                    - Day of Atonement
                    - 7 day Feast of Tabernacles
                    - 8th day (day after Feast of Tabernacles)


With the exception of the wave sheaf day, all of these are defined as
times of 'holy convocation' (times of 'holy meeting').
[ NB: The wave sheaf ceremony had to be performed by the priesthood
  at the temple, but it was not a day when the children of Israel
  had to gather before the LORD. In this chapter the wave sheaf
  day is mentioned because it directly effects the timing of the
  subsequent Feast of Weeks. ]


When one looks more closely at Leviticus chapter 23 the actual days
of holy convocation (meeting) are;


   - the weekly Sabbath
   - 14th Passover
   - first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (15th, 1st month)
   - last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (21st, 1st month)
   - Feast of Weeks (50th day starting from wave sheaf, ie 3rd month)
   - Day of Trumpets (1st, 7th month)
   - Day of Atonement (10th, 7th month)
   - first day of Feast of Tabernacles (15th, 7th month)
   - Eighth Day (22nd, 7th month). 


This list leaves out a) the 2nd - 6th days of Unleavened Bread, and
                     b) the 2nd - 7th days of Feast of Tabernacles.


Look even closer at Leviticus chapter 23 and we see that these days can
be divided into three groups.

   Days requiring no work be done;

   - the weekly Sabbath                         - Lev 23:3
   - Day of Atonement                           - Lev 23:28,30,31

   Days requiring no customary (occupational) work be done;

   - first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread - Lev 23:7
   - last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread  - Lev 23:8
   - Feast of Weeks                             - Lev 23:21
   - Day of Trumpets                            - Lev 23:25
   - first day of Feast of Tabernacles          - Lev 23:35
   - eighth Day                                 - Lev 23:36

   Days upon which work could be done;

   - 14th Passover                              - Lev 23:5
   - 2nd day to 6th day of Unleavened Bread
   - 2nd day to 7th day of Feast of Tabernacles


With this in mind one can begin to grasp what days are being referenced
in the following texts.

    Ezek  46:1   Thus says the Lord GOD: "The gateway of the
                 inner court that faces toward the east shall
                 be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath
                 it shall be opened, and on the day of the New Moon
                 it shall be opened.

            :3   Likewise the people of the land shall worship at
                 the entrance to this gateway before the LORD
                 on Sabbaths and New Moons.


So we have three classifications of religious days,

- Days requiring no work to be done 
- Days requiring no customary (occupational) work be done
- Days upon which work could be done.


Reflecting upon this in the light of the above Ezekiel 46:1,3 verses
we can see that there is the implication that the following definition
applies:


   ***     SABBATHS  - Days requiring no work to be done              ***

   ***     NEW MOONS - Days requiring no customary work to be done    ***


What we are concluding is that the following six annual days were the
religious "New Moon" days of Scripture.

   - first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread    - 1st month
   - last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread     - 1st month
   - Feast of Weeks                                - 3rd month
   - Day of Trumpets                               - 7th month
   - first day of Feast of Tabernacles             - 7th month
   - eighth Day                                    - 7th month


To confirm these days were indeed the "New Moons" we shall review
'New Moon' verses and associated narratives.


A  NEW MOON  EXAMPLE


A New Moon illustration is provided by the narrative of David hiding
from Saul in the field.

    1Sam  20:5   And David said to Jonathan, "Indeed tomorrow is
                 the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with
                 the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide
                 in the field until the third day at evening.
            :12  Then Jonathan said to David: "The Lord God of
                 Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my
                 father sometime tomorrow, or the third day,
                 and indeed there is good toward David, and I
                 do not send to you and tell you,
            :13  may the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan.
                 But if it pleases my father to do you evil,
                 then I will report it to you and send you away,
                 that you may go in safety. And the Lord be with
                 you as He has been with my father.
            :18  Then Jonathan said to David, "Tomorrow is the
                 New Moon; and you will be missed, because your
                 seat will be empty.
            :24  Then David hid in the field. And when the New Moon
                 had come, the king sat down to eat the feast.
            :25  Now the king sat on his seat, as at other times,
                 on a seat by the wall. And Jonathan arose, and
                 Abner sat by Saul's side, but David's place was
                 empty.
            :26  Nevertheless Saul did not say anything that day,
                 for he thought, "Something has happened to him;
                 he is unclean, surely he is unclean."
            :27  And it happened the next day, the second day of
                 the month[New Moon], that David's place was empty.
                 And Saul said to Jonathan his son, "Why has the
                 son of Jesse not come to eat, either yesterday
                 or today?"
            :34  So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger,
                 and ate no food the second day of the month, for
                 he was grieved for David, because his father had
                 treated him shamefully.
            :35  And so it was, in the morning, that Jonathan went
                 out into the field at the time appointed with
                 David, ...

                 [ NB: In verse 27 the Hebrew word for 'month'
                       is once again 'chodesh' and so can also
                       be translated 'New Moon'. ]


In this account we see David hiding in the field, suggesting a time
prior to the start of the grain harvest. We also observe that there
were temple ceremonies which spanned two consecutive days. Ceremonies
which the king and his associates were expected to attend.


So let us consider the layout of God's revealed festivals. We have
two important evening feasts occurring on the nights of the 14th and
the 15th of Abib.
The 14th evening feast is the temple based Passover celebration.
The 15th evening feast is the holy convocation of the first day of
the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Refer Lev 23:4-6.


According to Ezek 46:1-2 the prince (in this case Saul) was expected
to attend on Sabbaths and New Moon days. Following our new perspective
on the meaning of 'New Moons' the 15th of the first month, being an
annual rest day, was one of these commanded religious 'New Moon' days.

The text of 1Samuel chapter 20 is a little confusing and can be better
understood after a few explanations.


    1Sam  20:5   And David said to Jonathan, "Indeed tomorrow is
                 the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with
                 the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide
                 in the field until the third day at evening.
                 (This was the 14th day. The next day would be
                 the 15th.) 
            :12  Then Jonathan said to David: "The Lord God of
                 Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my
                 father sometime tomorrow, or the third day,
                 and indeed there is good toward David, and I
                 do not send to you and tell you,
                 (A more literal rendering of the Hebrew reads as
                 follows: "and-he-is-saying Jonathan to David
                 Yahweh Elohim-of Israel that I-shall-investigate
                 father-of-me as-time tomorrow the-third and
                 behold good to David and not then I-shall-send
                 to you and I-reveal ear-of-you"
                 What Jonathan is saying is that when he knows
                 from his father, at the same time (ie, in the
                 morning) he will convey this information to
                 David. Jonathan would be sounding out his father
                 over the approaching two evening celebrations
                 and be advising David the next morning or the
                 morning after that.
                 If Saul showed anger at the feast of that night
                 he would indicate this to David the next morning.
                 If Saul showed anger or goodwill on the second
                 evening he would signal this to David on the
                 morning of the third day.) 
            :13  may the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan.
                 But if it pleases my father to do you evil,
                 then I will report it to you and send you away,
                 that you may go in safety. And the Lord be with
                 you as He has been with my father.
            :18  Then Jonathan said to David, "Tomorrow is the
                 New Moon; and you will be missed, because your
                 seat will be empty.
                 (The next day would be the 15th - a symbolic
                 New Moon.)
            :24  Then David hid in the field. And when the New Moon
                 had come, the king sat down to eat the feast.
                 (Not 'had come', but 'was coming', this was the
                 Passover feast and it occurred just prior to the
                 start of the 15th day.)
            :25  Now the king sat on his seat, as at other times,
                 on a seat by the wall. And Jonathan arose, and
                 Abner sat by Saul's side, but David's place was
                 empty.
            :26  Nevertheless Saul did not say anything that day,
                 for he thought, "Something has happened to him;
                 he is unclean, surely he is unclean."
                 (It was not permitted for unclean people to
                 attend the 14th Passover observed at the temple.
                 As was expected, David's absence did not become
                 an issue until the evening feast of the 15th day.)
            :27  And it happened the next day, the second day of
                 the month[New Moon], that David's place was empty.
                 And Saul said to Jonathan his son, "Why has the
                 son of Jesse not come to eat, either yesterday
                 or today?"
                 The Hebrew text is "the second the chodesh".
                 The meaning is not "the second day of the
                 month" or "the second day of the New Moon",
                 but "the second, the day of the New Moon".
                 The 'second' being a reference to the 2nd day,
                 2nd evening, and 2nd convocation.)
            :34  So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger,
                 and ate no food the second day of the month[New
                 Moon], for he was grieved for David, because his
                 father had treated him shamefully.
                 (Again, the meaning is not "the second day of the
                 month", but "the second, the day of the New Moon.
                 Jonathan ate no food at the 15th day evening feast.)
            :35  And so it was, in the morning, that Jonathan went
                 out into the field at the time appointed with
                 David, ...
                 (This occurred on the 16th day. The 16th day being
                 the 'third' day mentioned in verse 12.)


The outline is as follows:

       First day  - 14th  -   morning -  David and Jonathan talk
                              evening -  Formal temple Passover

       Second day - 15th  -   morning -  signal if Saul angry at Passover
                              evening -  Temple setting, 1st U/L Bread

       Third day  - 16th  -   morning -  signal if Saul angry or not
                                         at prior nights U/L Bread.


[ NB:  Many may have difficulty properly understanding this text
       and also the explanation provided. This is because they
       have been incorrectly taught that the 24 hour biblical day
       ended at sunset. The actual 24 hour biblical day ends at a
       later time!
       This is why it is possible for the 14th day celebrations to
       occur after the daylight hours of the 14th. Also why the 15th
       evening celebrations occur after the expiry of the daylight
       hours of the 15th day. ]



SABBATHS, NEW MOONS, FEASTS


The term 'New Moons' is commonly encountered in connection with the
notions of 'Sabbaths' and 'set feasts'.

    1Chr  23:31  and at every presentation of a burnt offering to
                 the LORD on the Sabbaths and on the New Moons and
                 on the set feasts, by number according to the
                 ordinance governing them, regularly before the
                 LORD;

    2Chr   8:13  according to the daily rate, offering according
                 to the commandment of Moses, for the Sabbaths,
                 the New Moons, and the three appointed yearly
                 feasts; the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast
                 of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

    ( Also refer to 2Chr 2:4,31:3, Ezra 3:5, Neh 10:33, Isa 1:13-14,
                    Ezek 45:17, Hosea 2:11 & Col 2:16. )

In Hosea 2:11 these three groups are stated to be all the appointments.

    Hos    2:11  I will also cause all her mirth to cease, Her
                 feast days{2282}, Her New Moons{2320}, Her
                 Sabbaths{7676}; All her appointed feasts{4150}
                 [appointments].


Let us further investigate the meaning of such words as 'feasts' and
sabbaths'.

'FEASTS'

In the 'Sabbaths, New Moons, Feasts' texts the Hebrew words translated
'feast' are Strong's 2282 and Strong's 4150.

2282 - Ezek 45:17, Hosea 2:11

4150 - 1Chr 23:31, 2Chr 2:4,8:13,31:3, Ezra 3:5, Neh 10:33, Isa 1:14


2282 - 'chag'
The word 'chag', when used in relation to God's designated appointed
observances, is only ever applied to one of the following;

        -  the feast of Passover   (14th or 14-20th, 1st month)
        -  the Feast of Unleavened Bread   (15-21st, 1st month)
        -  the Feast of Weeks   (variable date 4-10th, 3rd month)
        -  the Feast of Tabernacles   (15-21st, 7th month).

4150
Apart from being translated 'feast(s)' or 'set feasts' is also commonly
rendered 'appointed' or 'meeting'.
In some verses such as Lev 23:2 and Num 28:2 the word is used broadly.
Nevertheless, in the context of 'Sabbaths, New Moons, Feasts' the word
relates to the three annual feasts;

        -  the Feast of Unleavened Bread
        -  the Feast of Weeks
        -  the Feast of Tabernacles

As shown by the following verse;

    2Chr   8:13  according to the daily rate, offering according
                 to the commandment of Moses, for the Sabbaths,
                 the New Moons, and the three appointed yearly
                 feasts; the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
                         the Feast of Weeks, and
                         the Feast of Tabernacles.

'SABBATHS'

The plural form of Sabbath is encountered in the 'Sabbaths, New Moons,
Feasts' verses. (Isa 1:13 being the exception, although commonly rendered
in English as plural.)

The question arises as to whether the plural form is representing multiple
weekly Sabbaths or multiple forms of sabbath.

Many people realize there are several forms of sabbath;

         - weekly
         - Day of Atonement (Lev 16:31, 23:32)
         - other annual rest days
         - land

So a plural use of the word sabbath may refer to several, or all of,
these different forms. However, considering the 'day' context of these
'Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts' verses it is apparent that the land
sabbath, being a year in duration, would have to be excluded.


Those who have taught the common New Moon perspective have tended to
consider 'Sabbaths', in the 'Sabbaths, New Moons, Feasts' context,
as being a reference to both weekly and annual sabbaths. This of course
would be a necessary requirement of the common New Moon view, otherwise
the absence of any mention of the annual sabbaths would raise questions.


After consideration of the 'Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts' verses it
seems these terms are to be understood as follows;

         - 'Sabbaths'  - full sabbaths,
                         ie, the weekly Sabbath and the Day of Atonement,
         - 'New Moons' - lesser sabbaths,
                         ie, the six commanded rest days
         - 'Feasts'    - the three annual feasts.

                         [ NB: 1) The 'full sabbaths' required that no
                                  manner of work be done, refer Exod
                                  35:2,3 and Lev 23:31.
                               2) The 'lesser sabbaths' required only
                                  that no customary work be done,
                                  refer Lev 23:7,8,21,23,35,36.
                                  Food preparation was allowed. Refer
                                  Exod 12:16. ]


NUMBERS 10:10


The Numbers 10:10 verse is similar to the above 'Sabbaths, New Moons,
Feasts' verses, but uses a slightly different form of expression.

    Num   10:10  Also in the day of your gladness, in your
                 appointed feasts, and at the beginning of
                 your months [or 'beginning of your New Moons'],
                 you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt
                 offerings and over the sacrifices of your
                 peace offerings; ...

In this verse;

        - 'day of your gladness', a reference to
           the temple based Passover of the 14th.
        - 'appointment' NOT 'appointed feasts',
           a reference to the Day of Atonement.
        - 'beginning of your New Moons' - referring
           to the 6 annual rest days.

        [NB: Together these eight days represented the
             annual appointments Israel had with God. ]
 

NB: This helps us to understand that the silver trumpets were
    not blown at the beginning of their calendar months.  

OTHER  NEW MOON  VERSES

PSALMS 81:1

    Psalm 81:1  Sing aloud to God our strength; Make a joyful
                shout to the God of Jacob.
            :2  Raise a song and strike the timbrel, The pleasant
                harp with the lute.
            :3  Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
                At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.
            :4  For this is a statute for Israel, A law of the
                God of Jacob.
            :5  This He established in Joseph as a testimony, When
                He went throughout the land of Egypt, Where I heard
                a language I did not understand.
            :6  "I removed his shoulder from the burden; His hands
                were freed from the baskets.
            :7  You called in trouble, and I delivered you;
                I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
                I tested you at the waters of Meribah." Selah

                [ NB: The rendering of the Hebrew 'chag' in
                      verse 3 as 'solemn feast' is obviously
                      inappropriate, given the context of
                      joyful songs and music. ]


The background context is the exodus of the children of Israel from
Egypt. (The exodus was an event which was initiated in the middle of
the first month.)

The above Psalms text introduces another thought 'the full moon'.

This has caused concern for those who take literally the notions of
'New Moon' and 'full moon'. Since both these thoughts are clearly
being presented alongside each other and in the context of 'a law'
and 'a testimony'

Some go on to say that this proves that at least this first month
of the year, must have been initiated by a literal new moon.
(A literal 'new moon' on the 1st of the month and a full moon by
the 15th.)

However, as the notion New Moon is being used in a figurative sense,
it is likely that the notion 'full moon' is also figurative. That
is to say, it is merely reflecting that the 15th of the first month
was a time of departure of a great gathering of God's people. That
such a unified gathering would symbolically be like a 'full moon'.

ISAIAH 66:23

   Isa   66:23  And it shall come to pass that from one
                New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath
                to another, All flesh shall come to worship
                before Me," says the LORD.

In the Old Covenant the lay people annually journeyed to where God had
placed His name. This gathering was to celebrate the Passover feast.

   1Sam   1:3   This man (father of Samuel) went up from his
                city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the
                LORD of hosts in Shiloh.

   Luke   2:41  His parents (Joseph and Mary) went to Jerusalem
                every year at the Feast of the Passover.

It seems therefore that the above Isaiah 66:23 verse, which talks about
'all flesh shall come', is referring to the Feast of Unleavened Bread
(refer Lev 23:6-8). The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted 7 days, 15th
to 21st. This feast is a seven day feast which overlapped the Feast of
Passover (the broader definition of the Feast of Passover is a period
spanning the 14th to the 20th - this represented Israel's continuous
days of travel prior to stopping and offering sacrifices on the 21st.).

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is delimited by two annual rest days,
observed on the 15th and 21st of the first month. These appear to be
the New Moon days referred to in Isa 66:23.

HOSEA 5:7

The following 'New Moon' verse embodies a prophetic teaching.

    Hos 5:7  They have dealt treacherously with the LORD,
             For they have begotten pagan children. Now a
             New Moon shall devour them and their heritage.


The text is directed toward the 'house of Israel' and Judah, refer
to the prior verses 5:1,3,5 and the following verses 5:9-14. The
greater destruction is coming upon the 'house of Judah'! Hos 5:14,
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, And like a young lion to the
house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away;

Verse 5:8 mentions the blowing of the ram's horn, something associated
with the Day of Atonement and jubilee (ie, the notion of release from
bondage), refer Lev 25:9. However, this verse is talking about a New
Moon. The Day of Atonement is an annual Sabbath, not a New Moon. So
how are we to understand this jubilee reference?
The answer lies in the text of Jer 34:8-22. In understanding that as
this text applied in the past, so it will also apply in the end-time.
That God will again proclaim a judgmental form of liberty, "Behold,
I proclaim liberty to you, says the Lord - 'to the sword, to pestilence,
and to famine! And I will deliver you to trouble among all the kingdoms
of the earth'.

The theme of the Hosea text is the anger of God upon His rebellious
people. This is a theme also reflected in the end-time period known as
the 'day of the Lord'. (Refer Ezekiel 13:3-5.)
After this period God will again have mercy on His people (Hos 5:15)
and raise them up again (Hos 6:2). The raising of God's people is a
concept associated with the last annual assembly day, ie the 'last day'
(refer John 6:39-40,44,54). 

In the seventh month we encounter the final three New Moons. These are,
the Day of Trumpets (1st day), the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles
(15th day) and the Last day (22nd day). The Day of Trumpets is associated
with the going forth of the end-time warning. The Last day with the final
completion of prophesied events.
So that leaves us with the second of the three days, the first day of
Tabernacles. It is this day that marks the initial time of the pouring
out of God's anger. It is for this reason those being 'called out' of
Jerusalem have to start a time of tabernacling.


The specific New Moon day referred to in this verse is the first day of
the Feast of Tabernacles.


NUMBERS CHAPTERS 28 & 29


The verses that have largely been responsible for causing people to
believe that there was a command to observe the appearance of the
moon are;

    Num   28:11  At the beginnings of your months you shall
                 present a burnt offering to the LORD: ...

            :14  Their drink offering shall be half a hin of wine
                 for a bull, one-third of a hin for a ram, and
                 one-fourth of a hin for a lamb; this is the
                 burnt offering for each month throughout the
                 months of the year.


What was not apparent to many readers was that these verses could also
be rendered;

    Num   28:11  At the beginnings of your NEW MOONS you shall
                 present a burnt offering to the LORD: ...

            :14  Their drink offering shall be half a hin of wine
                 for a bull, one-third of a hin for a ram, and
                 one-fourth of a hin for a lamb; this is the
                 burnt offering for each NEW MOON throughout the
                 NEW MOONS of the year.


The Numbers 28:11,14 texts do not stand completely on their own. In
the subsequent discussion the New Moon is again mentioned.

    Num   29:1   And in the seventh month, on the first day of
                 the month, you shall have a holy convocation.
                 You shall do no customary work. For you it is
                 a day of blowing the trumpets.
            :2   You shall offer a burnt offering as a sweet
                 aroma to the LORD: one young bull, one ram,
                 and seven lambs in their first year, without
                 blemish.
            :6   besides the burnt offering with its grain
                 offering for the New Moon, the regular burnt
                 offering with its grain offering, and their
                 drink offerings, according to their ordinance,
                 as a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to
                 the LORD.


This very clearly shows that the Day of Trumpets was a New Moon.
(The specified offerings for that day, verses 29:2-5, were to be
in addition to the New Moon offerings (NOT 'monthly offerings')
previously specified in Num 28:11-15.) 

The above text describes this 'Day of Trumpets' as the first day
of a month. Hence, on the surface, giving credibility to the common
lunar cycle belief.

However, many biblical teachers in the past have failed to give
adequate consideration to the fact that this day was also one of
the annual commanded assemblies.

Since in the text of Numbers chapter 28 none of the other annual
assembly day texts happen to mention that their specified burnt
offerings were to be in addition to those required for the 'New
Moon' (listed in Numbers 28:11-15), there was also the implication
that the other annual days were not New Moons.

What many have not considered is that the burnt offerings specified
for the days of Unleavened Bread, and the following Feast of Weeks,
were identical to that of the New Moon offering. Two young bulls,
one ram and seven lambs; along with their specified grain and drink
offerings.

Indeed it is interesting, that only once the offering for the Day
of Trumpets is defined, do we see recorded any difference from the
offering specified for the New Moon (found in Num 28:11-15).

So, one could initially be of the view that the New Moon offering
and the offerings for the first three commanded annual rest days
were simply the same offering.


This reasoning appears to be valid until we read in Numbers 28:24
that the designated offerings were offered over all the seven days
of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

    Num   28:24   In this manner you shall offer the food of the
                  offering made by fire daily for seven days, as
                  a sweet aroma to the Lord; it shall be offered
                  besides the regular burnt offering and its drink
                  offering.

This is also confirmed by Leviticus 23:8.

    Lev   23:7    On the first day you shall have a holy convocation
                  (the 15th); you shall do no customary work on it.
            :8    But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the
                  Lord for seven days.  ...


So, was there another difference between the New Moon offerings and
those of the first three commanded annual rest days?


Was there a timing difference? Offered at a different time of day?


The Feast of Unleavened Bread offerings were offered along with
the regular daily offerings around sunrise. However, the New Moon
offerings were made many hours earlier at the beginning ('head')
of the day.

    Num   28:11   At the beginnings (literally 'head') of your
                  months (New Moons) you shall present a burnt
                  offering to the Lord: two young bulls, one ram,
                  and seven lambs in their first year, without
                  blemish;  

    Num   10:10   Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed
                  feasts, and at the beginning (literally 'head') of
                  your months (New Moons),  you shall blow the
                  trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the
                  sacrifices of your peace offerings; ...


New Moon days represent major milestones in the past/future of the Old
Covenant faith, so it was only appropriate that New Moon offerings be
presented at the very start of these days.


[NB: This site teaches that the biblical days began and ended at
     midnight - so this would mean on New Moon days the silver
     trumpets would initially be blown at a time after midnight.
     When after midnight? As the trumpets were to have been blown
     firstly over the specified 'New Moon' offerings, the actual
     time was probably around 3:00 am.
     After this the trumpets would have blown a second time, over
     the other morning offerings about sunrise. ]
          


GENESIS 1:14


The following verse is often quoted as supportive proof of a lunar based
calendar.

    Gen    1:14  Then God said, "Let there be lights in the
                 firmament of the heavens to divide the day
                 from the night; and let them be for signs
                 and seasons, and for days and years;"

However, the word for 'seasons' in this verse is Strong's Ref 4150, a
word which is commonly rendered 'meeting', 'feasts' or 'appointed time'.
So rather than suggesting a true 'season' of the year, allusion is being
made to the commanded observances.

Therefore, lights in the firmament were for 'signs and appointed times',
and for days and years'.


  [ NB: Note the idea 'appointed times', referring to holy days
        and assemblies, corresponds well with the idea 'signs'.
        Both of these alluding to the more significant prophetic
        message. ]


However, it has been reasoned by some that the lights God set in the
sky were to be utilised to derive the appointed times.

Verse 16 mentions the sun, the moon and also the stars.

    Gen    1:16  Then God made two great lights: the greater
                 light to rule the day, and the lesser light
                 to rule the night. He made the stars also.


For many this has been perceived to grant permission for bible students
to jump into all sorts of speculation. It has been used as a basis for
the adoption of both solar and moon based calendar systems.


So what is actually being stated in the first chapter of Genesis?


Genesis chapter one is often taken to be literal account of creation.
It is indeed very understandable that it is viewed that way.

Nevertheless, it may also be an outline of God's spiritual creation.
Spiritual creation being the unfolding development of God's work.
Genesis chapter may be providing an introduction to the subsequent
content of Scripture.

It can not go unnoticed that the entities of sun, moon and stars
do carry symbolic meaning.

    Rev   12:1   Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman
                 clothed with the sun, with the moon under her
                 feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
                 ...


So what is being said?

The creation of the entities in the symbolic heaven of God.
The sun representing the 'Prince' (a king or ruling judge or governor),
the moon representing the 'Levitical System' (the religious system).
(In the absence of an appropriate 'Prince', in a time of spiritual
darkness, religious leadership can still provide some light.)


The authoritative powers were to act as signs (ie 'beacons') and be
involved in the conducting of required appointed gatherings!


These gathering could be divided into two groups - those connected
with 'days' and those connected with 'years'.

The 'days' were those which reoccurred every year.
- eg, Passover, the annual sabbaths and festivals. 

The 'years' were those which occurred only in certain years.
- eg, Formal renewal of the covenant and Jubilee year commemoration.


It should be kept in mind that the bible does not talk about equinoxes
nor the 'looking out for' the first slither of literal new moons.
 


CONSEQUENCES OF THE NEW DEFINITION


Defining the term 'New Moons', as a reference to the six annual rest
days, means that it is NOT possible to utilise the New Moon verses
to justify the practice of observing months based upon the lunar cycle.


It also means that at this time it is impossible to know exactly what
day should begin a Hebrew month, or the Hebrew year. A starting point
for God's 30 day cycle simply no longer being known.


So while some (ie, Jews and a few Christian groups) have desired to
observe all (or some) of these annual holy appointments, it would
likely require God's assistance to ascertain their proper timing.







----------------------------------------------------------


Email contact

c-heath@bibleinsight.com
              
Bible Study Index page
Other Topics