Christian Churches of God
The New Moons
(Edition 2.0 19950708-19990810) Audio
The biblical importance of the restoration of the New Moons and the basis of the festivals under the law are examined in this paper. The early rabbinic practices are examined, as are the texts from which they worked. The New Testament adherence to the New Moon festivals is a matter of fact.
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 1995, 1999 Wade Cox)
(Summary by John Pierce Ed. Wade Cox)
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The New Moons
The year was made to commence in the month of sacrifice, which represented the Passover sacrifice of Messiah. This month commenced the first harvest, which was the barley harvest. There are three harvest periods: the Passover and Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles or Ingathering. The Feast of Weeks symbolises the harvest of the Church before the return of Messiah. This is an ongoing process.
General Historical Position
The New Moon Festival, known to the Jews as Rosh Hodesh, occurred on the first of the month, on the appearance of the first phase of the moon (Hayyim Schauss The Jewish Festivals History and Observance, tr. Samuel Jaffe, Schocken Books, New York, 1938, p. 275). It is thus tied to the appearance of the New Moon.
The Bible indicates that the New Moon was as important but not more so than the Sabbath. It was more important than the feasts as we will see.
The Bible clearly equates the New Moon with the festivals (Num. 10:10). The Festival of the New Moon was a feast day and it was allegedly celebrated on the day after the New Moon was sighted (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, McGraw Hill, NY, 1967, p. 382). However, we know this to be a later Jewish reconstruction. Philo tells us that the New Moon was according to the conjunction.
This is the New Moon, or beginning of the lunar month, namely the period between one conjunction and the next, the length of which has been accurately calculated in the astronomical schools (Judaeus Philo, The Special Laws, II, XXVI, 140, Treatise by F.H. Colson (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1937)
There is no doubt that the New Moon was anciently, at least as important as the Sabbath. The New Moon was definitely holy time, and was, if we are to believe some modern scholars, celebrated on the day after the sighting of the New Moon. This is conjecture based on later rabbinical propaganda. It was not done that way. This fresh beginning was marked by special sacrifices (Num. 28:11-15) over which the trumpets were blown (Num. 10:10; Ps. 81:3). Normal work was not done.
The New Year on the New Moon of the first month Abib was of special significance (Ps. 81:3-5; cf. The Moon and The New Year (No. 213)). The New Moon of the seventh month was also especially sanctified (Lev. 23:24-25; Num. 29:1-6).
2Kings 4:23 suggests that both New Moon and Sabbath were regarded as providing opportunity for consulting the prophets. Ezekiel marks out the New Moon as a special day of worship (Ezek. 46:1,3).
Psalm 121:6 suggests that the moon was capable of affecting the individual perhaps from the association with the mind as we understand the term lunacy.
New Moon festival lost its importance, yet the Jewish people did keep the New Moons as did the Church. The general populace was however spasmodic and looked to trade as they also did with the Sabbaths and the Feasts as we know.
When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale. (Amos 8:5)
The Biblical Position
The Feast of the New Moon is one of the feasts of the Lord. It is listed at Numbers 10:10.
The Sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ. The Feasts or Sabbaths themselves were not eliminated. Spiritual offerings are now required each day of the Holy Day sequence, from Sabbaths to New Moons to Feasts. The sacrifices under the law were provided for from a special levy allocated under the responsibility of the national authority. The Prince’s levy is examined in the paper Tithing (No. 161)).
This offering was a tithe of a tithe of oil and a half tithe of the tithe for the meat offerings. This was collected by the prince for the sacrifices on Sabbaths, New Moons, Holy Days and offerings (Ezek 45:14-17).
Thus it is incorrect to claim that the tithe was eliminated with the sacrifices because they were obviously provided for separately. This text also concerns the firstfruits from Ezekiel 44:29-30 and the orders are made for the restoration of Israel in its lands. Messiah will thus set up the system that he is alleged to have done away with from his crucifixion and Scripture cannot be broken.
The Feast of the New Moon was treated as a Shabbatown or Holy Sabbath. Sacrifices were offered as we see above as a memorial (Num 28:11-15). We see from this text that the New Moons were to be on every month throughout the months of the year. The same requirements apply to the New Moons as they do to the other Feasts and Sabbaths.
We see that the New Moons are in fact intermediary between the Sabbaths and the Feasts. Like the Feasts and the Sabbaths, the nexus between the sacrifices and the New Moons was fulfilled in Messiah. However, the observance of the moons themselves was not eliminated (1Chron 23:31). This observance is not to be construed with the worship of the moon, which is expressly forbidden (Deut 4:19; 17:3).
The observance of the Sabbaths and New Moons together with the set Feasts are given to mark the plan of God and the flow of the cycles of the creation. The solar calendar does not perform this function.
From the restoration of the Passover of Hezekiah after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Hezekiah restored the New Moons as well as the Feasts. No restoration will be complete until the New Moons are correctly restored to their rightful place in the system. Ezra 3:5 also notes the New Moons were restored under Ezra. Thus both major restorations involved the restoration of the New Moons (cf. 2Chron 31:3).
The New Moon is the beginning or the first day of the month (Num. 10:10; 28:11). No system which bases itself on the relocation of the beginning of the month is valid. The Hillel calendar is invalid because of this fact.
The lunar calendar is the mark of the Holy People. In its notation to Exodus 12:2 the Mekilta states that "the nations" reckon by the sun, but Israel by the moon.
The New Moon was noted as significant for the giving of visions and prophecy, perhaps from 2Kings 4:23 but certainly from Ezekiel 26:1; 29:17; 31:1; 32:1; (cf. Isa. 47:13; Hag. 1:1). This directly refuted the astrologers and stargazers of the Babylonian system as we see from Isaiah 47:13.
The Sabbaths and the New Moons both enjoined rest from work as we see from Amos 8:5. It was a day of rejoicing. The mirth intended for the Holy Days was removed from Hosea 2:11. This was because of unfaithfulness and idolatry. God destroys His people because they do not keep His laws. Then He destroys the wealth of the nation (Hos 2:12).
Fasting and mourning were suspended on the New Moons. We know that this occurred throughout Israel up until Messiah from the Apocrypha (Jth. 8:6). The ceremonies were proclaimed with trumpets (Num. 10:10; Ps. 81:3).
The New Moon of significant months is especially kept from the texts (1Sam 20:6). The New Moon of Nisan was significant and also the New Moon of Tishri was itself the Feast of Trumpets (see also the paper Trumpets (No. 136); cf. Ezek 45:18-20).
The cleansing of the sanctuary commenced on the New Moon of the First Month (Nisan) beginning the sacred year (cf. Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 243)). This cleansed the inner court and represented the elect as the inner wheel of Ezekiel’s vision. The cleansing of the simple and the erroneous was effected from the Seventh of First Month or Nisan. The priesthood had prepared themselves and the nation (cf. Sanctification of the Simple and Erroneous (No. 291)).
The New Moon of the Seventh Month was also important (Lev 23:24). It commences the restoration through the reading of the law, which occurs every seven years of the Jubilee cycle over every day of Tabernacles (cf. also Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)).
From Deuteronomy 31:10-12 and Nehemiah 8:18 the symbolism is that the seventh or Sabbath year represents the Millennial cycle of one thousand years. This commences with the return of Messiah, who issues the law from Jerusalem. The law then spreads throughout the world from the subjugation of the nations. The reading on the Feast of Trumpets in the restoration of Nehemiah was to point towards the restoration of Messiah and from Trumpets (cf. also the paper Outline Timetable of the Age (No. 272)).
The New Moons were kept in the Christian Church both under the apostles and in the dispersion. The method of keeping them is not a matter for judgment (Col 2:16-17).
The Church kept them in the dispersion and they were still being kept in Europe in the seventeenth century (see General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122); and The Sabbatarians In Transylvania by Samuel Kohn (1894), (English translation published by CCG Publishing, 1998). The New Moons were determined by actual observation until the Hillel calendar c. 358 CE. After the destruction of the temple, it was a function of the Supreme Rabbinic Council to designate the date. Since the sixteenth century, the day preceding the New Moon has been a fast day for the Jews called a little yom kippur (Interp. Dict. ibid.).
There is no doubt that the New Moons are still to be kept and that Judah knows that they are still to be kept. There is no biblical sanction, however, for the fast. The postponements of the Hillel calendar and this prior fast day, ensures Judah is actually fasting on the New Moon, which was forbidden during the Temple period.
The final restoration will be completed under Messiah at his return as we see from Isaiah 66:20-23. All of Israel will be restored and brought out of the nations in this last Exodus at the return of Messiah.
This restoration of the Sabbaths and New Moons will be accompanied by the restoration of the Feasts (Zec 14:16-19). The Sabbaths and the New Moons were treated in the same way for the conduct of business. The conduct of commerce or of buying and selling is and was prohibited on both the New Moon and the Sabbath (Amos 8:4-6). This restriction is a serious problem to modern day Israel.
Amos goes on to pronounce sentence upon Israel for the failure to keep the Sabbaths and the New Moons correctly (Amos 8:8-12).
The famine of the word comes as punishment for disobedience. The profaning of the Sabbath and the New Moons by traffic and commerce in dishonesty in breach of the law is the prime cause. The House of Jacob was dispersed for these offences yet they were kept and not lost as corn is sifted through a sieve (Amos 9:8-15).
This period is at the end as the last days noted as the day of the Lord. This activity is immediately prior to the Messianic restoration. This restoration follows the Holocaust of the World War, which we anticipate, as the global thermonuclear holocaust of World War III.
This horror can be avoided through the implementation of the plan of God upon repentance. The New Moons symbolise that system, as together with the Sabbath and the Feasts they illustrate the plan of God.