Christian Churches of God
Frequently Asked Questions: The New Moons
(Edition 4.0 20000405-20000909-20100318-20110925)
One of the most difficult aspects of the Law of God is that of the New Moons. Should they be kept? If so how? Should they be kept as Sabbaths? If so, what about our jobs? The world system operates in such a way as to make it very difficult for the New Moons to be kept as Sabbaths and the world’s calendar hides them. There are many questions raised on this issue.
FAQ: The New Moons
Before we look at the questions regarding the New Moons we should have a brief look at the Calendar as set down by God.
The Sacred Calender is based entirely on the new moon. The first new moon of the year is critical in that it sets the calendar for the year.
Exodus 12:1-2 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 "This month shall be for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. (RSV)
If we do not know when the 1st day of the month is, we can not obey God in the keeping of any of His ordained festivals – Passover, Pentecost or Tabernacles. We can not properly prepare for them. For instance on the First Day of the First Month is the New Year and a Solemn Feast Day (Psalm 80: 3-5).
Psalm 80: 3-5 Blow the Trumpet in the new moon at the glorious day of your feast. For this is an ordinance for Israel and a statute of the God of Jacob. He made it to be a testimony in Joseph, when he came forth out of the Land of Egypt: … (Brenton, Hendrickson, 1992 print).
On the Seventh day of the First Month we must sanctify the simple and erroneous (Ezek. 45:20); the Tenth day of the Seventh Month is the Day of Atonement; the 14/15th days of the First Month are critical to the keeping of Passover and Unleavened bread, and so on. Each of the important dates for keeping the Feasts as laid down by God is stated in the Bible as a particular day of a particular month.
How do we know when the First New Moon occurs?
God’s Sacred Year begins with Abib or Nisan (Ex. 12:2). This is determined from the New Moon nearest to the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, which begins the summer season. The autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere begins the winter season. These are the two seasons mentioned by the Bible (Gen. 8:22; Ps. 74:17).
The method of determining the month of Abib, which means spring, is that the Passover may not precede the equinox. Thus the First Day of the Passover season, the preparation day of the fourteenth of the First Month may fall on the equinox but the First Holy Day of the Passover on Fifteen Nisan must fall after the equinox. Thus the first day or preparation day may fall on the equinox, but cannot precede the equinox and fall into the Northern Winter season and the 15th must fall after the equinox. These were the two governing rules until the Hillel revision of 358 CE.
The New Moon is a precise astronomical event, which is perfectly predictable. The event can occur on different days because of the rotation of the earth. The determination of the New Moon, therefore, must be determined from the time in which it occurs in Jerusalem to ensure the uniformity of religious worship throughout the world, given increased communication. This is based upon the Scriptures that place Jerusalem as the throne of the Lord (Jer. 3:17), the centre of the law and the point from which it will issue under Messiah (Isa. 2:3) and through the waters of the Spirit (Zech. 8:22; 14:8-21). God has placed His name there for ever (2Chr. 33:4).
As mentioned, Psalm 81:3 refers to the New Moon of the First month yet the RSV and other translations have rendered the text: “at the new moon, at the full moon (Kehseh) ...” If “full moon” is correct then it must refer to another feast day. How can we explain this away?
This whole issue rests on the proposition that the word Kehseh (SHD 3677) refers to the full moon. Yet in the KJV it is translated to read at the appointed time and the full moon is not mentioned in that translation.
The word Kehseh (SHD 3677) is derived from the root at SHD 3680 which is Kacah. That word is a pre- root meaning: to plump or fill up hollows and to cover for clothing or secrecy meaning to clad self, to close, clothe, conceal, to cover (self), to flee, hide or overwhelm. It has nothing to do with the full moon but rather to a time when the moon is “concealed” from our sight.
Strong also falls into the trap of including full moon as a base meaning leading to appointed but specifically says it means appointed (rather than full moon).
However, it should be noted that the Hebrew word “Kehseh” does not mean “at the appointed time”. It means “when it is hidden”. This is proven in the Babylonian Talmud, page 13:
“It is written [Psalms, lxxxi. 3]: "Blow on the new moon the cornet at the time when it [the new moon] is hidden on our solemn feast day."
The Talmud’s interpretation re-establishes (along with Philo), that the New Moon is to be celebrated when the moon is hidden (at conjunction), and not on the sighting of the crescent moon. Since the Talmud was written in the second century, long before the 4th century change of Psalm 81 to say “at the full moon”, it is a very important historical piece of information.
Some people render the text as full moon because to not do that means that they have to keep the New Moon of Abib as a solemn feast day. This does not suit the Jews, or the Trinitarians, or the Karaites. Green for example gets sucked into this error.
The Karaites particularly do not wish to do this because they corrupt and pervert Scripture and have done since the twelfth century. Their particular little heresy did not exist until then.
In the Temple period the New Moon of Abib was the New Year and was a solemn feast and it was determined according to the conjunction as we know from Philo and the ancient authorities and from the Talmud as we see above. See also the paper The Moon and the New Year (No. 213).
The Bible makes mention of some of the names of the months but not all of them. It also makes mention of some of the months by their Canaanite names as well. It is normal practice for the Samaritans, for example, to use the numbers such as The First Month, Second Month etc. The Modern Jewish practice is to use the names, most of which are derived from the Baylonian. They are:
1. Nisan (March-April) or Abib (Canaanite)
2. Iyyar (April-May) (or Ziv; Canaanite)
3. Sivan (May-June)
4. Tammuz (June-July)
5. Ab (July-August)
6. Elul (August-September)
7. Tishri (September-October) (or Ethanim; Canaanite)
8. Marcheshvan (October-November) (or Bul; Canaanite)
9. Chislev (November December)
10. Tebeth (December-January)
11. Shebat (January-February)
12. Adar (February-March)
The cycle of twelve lunar months (354¼ days) falls short of the solar year (365¼ days).
The spring Passover-Mazzoth festival, which begins the cycle of agricultural feasts, needs to be kept at a set time in the year, at the beginning of the Barley harvest. The Wave Sheaf was the firstfruits of this harvest and represented Christ being presented before God as the firstborn from the dead (see The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106b)). It is thus obvious why the intercalary month is placed in Adar at the end of the year and not the First Month, Nisan (March-April) (or Abib; Canaanite).
The intercalary month is WeAdar (or and Adar) according to M. Ned VIII.5 (see Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1, p. 487). The rabbinical calculations show seven out of every nineteen years have an extra month, which we term Adar II.
(Much of the above is taken from the paper. God’s Calendar (No. 156), which should be read in full.)
New Moons with the Sabbath
Should New Moons be kept as Sabbaths?
It has been argued that it is not for one to disprove that the New Moons are Sabbaths, but to find sufficient evidence to prove that they are. The New Moons were kept as Sabbaths in ancient Israel.
The New Moons are all significant and important days. They are days of sacrifice, and of worship. Acknowledgment of them is vital for keeping them. But does this mean that they are Sabbaths? We have seen above that the first New Moon of the year is a Solemn Feast Day. Thus one of them is a Sabbath at the very least. The New Moon of the Seventh Month is also the Day of Trumpets and hence also a Solemn Feast Day.
We will see in the other texts that the New Moons were days of assembly and God dealt with Israel and the world on these New Moon days. He spoke through His servants the Prophets on these days.
Where can it be shown that the New Moon is a Sabbath - that no trade or heavy labour can be done on this day?
The clearest texts we have are in Exodus at the Sanctification of the Temple as a Day of Solemn Assembly and also in Amos 8:5. Amos castigates Israel for wanting the Sabbath and New Moon to be ended so that they could commence trading. They were keeping them, but God was unhappy that they were not keeping them with a whole heart and they wanted them to end to begin trading.
Amos 8:5 saying, "When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great, and deal deceitfully with false balances, (RSV)
Amos 8:5 which is the only other place which talks of trade and a New Moon is ambiguous. Is it a general reference to all new moons or could it relate to Trumpets only, or could it even be a reference to a seasonal requirement as with new and old harvest restrictions marked by the offering of the wave sheaf?
There is nothing in this verse to indicate that it is dealing with any specific harvest or Trumpets. Therefore, the text should be read as it is written, as a general statement in relation to New Moons and Sabbaths. Taking the verse in context, the chapter is dealing with God’s displeasure with His people. He is angry that the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts are not being kept correctly and that the people are not dealing justly with each other.
Numbers 10:10 states that the trumpets should be blown at all New Moons.
So you are saying that Christians today need to keep the New Moons as Sabbaths? I.e. no servile work and gathering with others if this is possible?
Yes. They do need to be kept as Sabbaths and Messiah will reintroduce and enforce them with the Sabbath when he returns (Isa. 66:20-23) together with the other feasts of God (see Zech. 14:16-19).
This issue is a complex one and the New Moons are the last part in the restoration of the understanding of the individual. There are a series of papers on these New Moons. Refer to the list of papers at the end of this paper.
Why does Leviticus not mention it? Why does Nehemiah 10:31, which talks about not trading on Sabbaths and Holy Days, not mention New Moons and then 2 verses later talks of the sacrifices and here does mention the New Moons with the Sabbaths and Holy Days?
It is mentioned in Numbers 10:10:
Numbers 10:10 On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts, and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; they shall serve you for remembrance before your God: I am the LORD your God." (RSV)
To understand Nehemiah 10:31 we first have to look at Exodus 3:5 and all verses dealing with this, from Nehemiah 10:31-33 as a block.
Exodus 3:5 And he said, “Draw not nigh hither: put off they shoes from off thy feet, for this place whereon thou standeth is holy ground.”
Nehemiah 10:31-33 And if the people of the land bring ware of any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt. 32 Also we made ordinances for us, to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God; 33 For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.
The word used for holy, hodesh (SHD 6944), means set apart, as separated and refers to all days set apart to the Lord and is not simply a reference to the high days of the Feast, and has to be taken to include New Moons and Atonement. We see this by the Sabbath year being included in the reference and in 10:32 there is direct reference to Atonement. In 10:33 the entire structure of the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts is incorporated, thereby showing that the text in 10:31 is specifically explained in the subsequent two verses, to incorporate all the Holy Days as well as New Moons and Feasts.
This should be taken as further proof that the restoration of the law under Nehemiah is involved in the restoration of New Moons. We know this to be an historical fact, as the New Moons were kept from Nehemiah right through to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE and we know they were also kept by the early church at the same time (Col. 2:16-17). This is a second witness to Amos 8:5.
Is the fact that we are required to Sacrifice and worship on New Moon days sufficient proof that these days should be treated as Sabbaths? What about other days which are similar, such as the days inside the Holy Days of the Feasts, which are also days of sacrifice and worship?
During the Millennium all people will be keeping the Feasts, therefore all preparation will have to be done in advance, because there will be nobody to trade with during those days.
There will be punishment for not keeping them then, which will be visible and immediate. Now the punishment is death and confinement to the Second Resurrection, which is not immediately visible. It is nevertheless very real.
We should look at past history and what the practice was. The trade that went on between the Feast High Days was only partial activity or work of a limited nature. People did not do heavy work for trade. There was only minimal activity done on these high days. If we can’t go to work in the middle of Tabernacles, then we certainly can’t go to work on the New Moons either. It is very clear. That is the way it was viewed anciently.
Why did Israel the Nation do heavy labour on the New Moons in building the temple and travelling? For example, Exodus 40:2,17-18.
Let’s examine the context. Exodus 40:2-16 is dealing with a ceremony that needed to take place on the first Holy Day of the Sacred Year, the First Day of the First Month. In this instance the tabernacle was to be prepared so that the items inside the tabernacle could be sanctified and then the ordination of Aaron and his sons took place and they were anointed into the priesthood.
In other words this was not the normal weekday work; it was not trading, it was the preparation of the tent of meeting in order to hold the services of the day.
Exodus 40:2-16 "On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. 3 And you shall put in it the ark of the testimony, and you shall screen the ark with the veil. 4 And you shall bring in the table, and set its arrangements in order; and you shall bring in the lampstand, and set up its lamps. 5 And you shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and set up the screen for the door of the tabernacle. 6 You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, 7 and place the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 8 And you shall set up the court round about, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court. 9 Then you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture; and it shall become holy. 10 You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar; and the altar shall be most holy. 11 You shall also anoint the laver and its base, and consecrate it. 12 Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tent of meeting, and shall wash them with water, 13 and put upon Aaron the holy garments, and you shall anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve me as priest. 14 You shall bring his sons also and put coats on them, 15 and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests: and their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations." 16 Thus did Moses; according to all that the LORD commanded him, so he did. (RSV)
The chapter then skips to the next First Day of the First Month a year later. The work for the tabernacle had been taking place all year. This was the final putting together of the tabernacle and on this occasion it was readied for the Presence or the Glory of God. Again this was not the weekday work, but the readying of the place of meeting.
Exodus 40:17-35 And in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. 18 Moses erected the tabernacle; he laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars; 19 and he spread the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent over it, as the LORD had commanded Moses. 20 And he took the testimony and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above on the ark; 21 and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the screen, and screened the ark of the testimony; as the LORD had commanded Moses. 22 And he put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil, 23 and set the bread in order on it before the LORD; as the LORD had commanded Moses. 24 And he put the lampstand in the tent of meeting, opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle, 25 and set up the lamps before the LORD; as the LORD had commanded Moses. 26 And he put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the veil, 27 and burnt fragrant incense upon it; as the LORD had commanded Moses. 28 And he put in place the screen for the door of the tabernacle. 29 And he set the altar of burnt offering at the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the cereal offering; as the LORD had commanded Moses. 30 And he set the laver between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, 31 with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet; 32 when they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses. 33 And he erected the court round the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work. 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (RSV)
This text shows that they were assembled for the object of worship at the tabernacle. It is actually a proof text for the keeping of the New Moon as a Day of Assembly and dedication to the Lord, as part of the Sanctification of the Tabernacle (see Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241)). This was all about Christ and the cleansing of the Temple prior to the Passover, which Temple we are.
Why is the concept of New Moon being a Sabbath not directly referenced in more places in the Bible as the Holy Days and Sabbath are?
There are many examples in the Bible of significant events taking place on a New Moon. Let’s look at some of these events.
After the flood, the waters were first seen to be abating on the First Day of the Tenth Month.
Genesis 8:5 And the waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen. (RSV)
In the year 601, on the First Day of the First Month the land became dry and the ark could be opened up.
Genesis 8:13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. (RSV).
Moses was given charge of the tabernacle and the instances of its control and use in the wilderness, which began with the New Moon.
Exodus 40:2 "On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. (RSV)
Exodus 40:17 And in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. (RSV)
The Feasts are major examples:
The New Year in the First Month (see above):
Psalm 81:3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. (KJV)
On the Day of Trumpets in the Seventh Month:
Leviticus 23:24 "Say to the people of Israel, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. (RSV)
Numbers 29:1 "On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets, (RSV)
For the Sanctification of the Temple:
2Chronicles 29:17 They began to sanctify on the first day of the first month, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the vestibule of the LORD; then for eight days they sanctified the house of the LORD, and on the sixteenth day of the first month they finished. (RSV)
The Temple was sanctified for seven days and on the Seventh Day they sanctified the Simple and the Erroneous and Israel was sanctified. Then they proceeded for the next period to the Passover from the Eighth Day to the Tenth when they laid aside the Passover Lamb. Then on the fourteenth they went out of their gates (Deut. 16:5-7) and all Israel kept the Passover from the beginning of the Fourteenth Day and through the night of the Fifteenth Day in watching and then on the Holy Day of the Fifteenth Day, they kept service and sacrifice and completed that evening on the Sixteenth day. Unleavened Bread continued then for another six days, with the last day being a Holy Day.
The New Moon of Trumpets was also used as a day of restoration of the Law of God.
Nehemiah 8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. (RSV)
The New Moon was a day to speak to the people as a whole in common assembly.
Numbers 1:1-5 The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 "Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by families, by fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head; 3 from twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go forth to war, you and Aaron shall number them, company by company. 4 And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers. 5aAnd these are the names of the men who shall attend you. (RSV)
We see here the concept of the New Moon being a focal point for the assembly of the army of God.
Numbers 1:18 and on the first day of the second month, they assembled the whole congregation together, who registered themselves by families, by fathers' houses, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head, (RSV)
This highly significant event took place on a New Moon and God spoke through Moses to Israel in common assembly. This was a day used for prophecy.
Deuteronomy 1:3 And in the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them, (RSV)
Many significant activities took place on this day.
Exodus 19:1 On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. (RSV)
Reading on here we find that Israel stops travelling and Moses goes up the mountain to talk to God. Moses having received his instructions speaks to the people on this day.
Aaron was also taken to God on the New Moon of the Fifth Month of the Fortieth Year of the Exodus.
Numbers 33:38 And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. (RSV)
The restoration of the building of the Temple, like the restoration of the Law, took place on the New Moon of Trumpets.
Ezra 3:6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid. (RSV)
The commencement of the restoration journey of Nehemiah began to take place on the New Year at the New Moon. The beginning took place on a New Moon. Thus he did not simply set out, he began. Like all major restorations it was effected by and on these New Moon ceremonies.
Ezra 7:9 for on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was upon him. (RSV)
He arrived on the New Moon of the Fifth Month. Are we to assume no significance in this event and simply say that he happened to travel, or are we to assume it was a day of assembly and he timed his arrival for this event? Nothing is without consequence or symbolism in the Bible narrative.
Ezra 10:16-17 Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men, heads of fathers' houses, according to their fathers' houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter; 17 and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women. (RSV)
There again, it is a day when Ezra and the selected men were not at their weekday work, but were dealing with the matter of the church. They commenced on the New Moon and by the New Year they had Israel ready for the Sanctification of the Temple of God.
Here we see Nisan or Abib again listed as the First Month.
Esther 3:7, 12 In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasu-e'rus, they cast Pur, that is the lot, before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. 12 Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month.
Were the Prophets consulted on Sabbaths and New Moons?
The book of Ezekiel is clear that it was this First Day and of a month that God spoke to him. God speaks to us when we are able to listen, not when we are busy with the everyday affairs of our lives.
Ezekiel 26:1 In the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: (RSV)
Ezekiel was before God on the New Moons and was then given prophecy because he was obedient to God.
Ezekiel 32:1 In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: (RSV)
Ezekiel 29:17 In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: (RSV)
Ezekiel 31:1 In the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: (RSV)
The same applies to Haggai.
Haggai 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerub'babel the son of She-al'ti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehoz'adak, the high priest, (RSV)
The Bible makes it very clear that it is on these New Moons that God spoke with the prophets when they were before Him, or in His service. Why was Zerub’babel, prince in Judah, consulting a prophet on the New Moon? The answer from the multiple texts shows it was because they went before God on these days and he gave revelation through the prophets on these days.
The story of Jonathon and David in 1Samuel indicates that this was a day when David would be missed if he did not attend the King’s table on the New Moon.
1Samuel 20:4-18 Then said Jonathan to David, "Whatever you say, I will do for you." 5 David said to Jonathan, "Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king; but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, `David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city; for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.' 7 If he says, `Good!' it will be well with your servant; but if he is angry, then know that evil is determined by him. 8 Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a sacred covenant with you. But if there is guilt in me, slay me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father?" 9 And Jonathan said, "Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that evil should come upon you, would I not tell you?" 10 Then said David to Jonathan, "Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?" 11 And Jonathan said to David, "Come, let us go out into the field." So they both went out into the field. 12 And Jonathan said to David, "The LORD, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the LORD do so to Jonathan, and more also, if I do not disclose it to you, and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the LORD be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the loyal love of the LORD, that I may not die; 15 and do not cut off your loyalty from my house for ever. When the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth, 16 let not the name of Jonathan be cut off from the house of David. And may the LORD take vengeance on David's enemies." 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 18 Then Jonathan said to him, "Tomorrow is the new moon; and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. (RSV)
1Samuel 20:24 So David hid himself in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. (RSV)
Obviously the New Moons were known days in advance and people were punished for not attending. They were commenced by banquets.
It was usual to seek guidance from the prophets on the New Moons and Sabbaths. This cannot be done if one is working that day.
2Kings 4:23 And he said, "Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath." She said, "It will be well." (RSV)
Sacrifices and Offerings
What was meant by cleansing the Sanctuary on the New Moon of the First Month?
The entire system of worship in Israel was based around the Tabernacle and the Temple. This physical Tabernacle and Temple was a copy of the heavenly structure, which is a spiritual edifice and Moses was shown a plan on which to build the physical Tabernacle.
The worship of God had to be pure and He desired to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The physcial system pointed towards Messiah and the spiritual Temple which was the Church. We as the church are the spiritual Temple.
The physical had to be cleansed and the priesthood made ready for the Passover, as we have to be cleansed and made ready for the second Sacrament. Only those who have been baptised as repentant adults into the body of Christ are able to partake of the first and ‘Lord’s Supper’ element of the Passover.
This was the significance behind Christ cleansing the Temple, both at the beginning of his ministry and before the Passover of his death, when he established the Lord’s Supper on the Preparation Day of the Cagigah meal.
Thus the physical cleaning pointed towards us as the spiritual Temple of living stones. By our action we intercede for the simple and erroneous of Israel and thus assist in the protection of the nation. We assist in the spiritual cleansing of the Temple and so help to sanctify the nation in which we reside. Sunday communion entirely trivialises this process and negates the Law of God.
The New Moon of the First Month is the start point of this process and the Moon represents the church. Judaism negates God's Law in this regard also, by their Babylonian practice of Rosh Hashanah in Tishri.
Christ’s actions in cleansing the Temple were in accordance with Scripture. Christ effected the cleansing of the Temple of God as a physical act in cleaning out the moneylenders and this came from the law and the cleansing of the Temple of God.
Ezekiel 45:18 "Thus says the Lord GOD: In the first month, on the first day of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary. (RSV)
This cleansing began the process of reconciliation of man to God. It was first a physical act in a physical Temple, to point towards the spiritual cleansing of the spiritual Temple. We are that spiritual Temple and the cleansing begins with us on the First New Moon of each year. It then goes on throughout the year from New Moon to New Moon. This will continue in the Millennium.
Numbers 28:11-15 "At the beginnings of your months you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD: two young bulls, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; 12 also three tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a cereal offering, mixed with oil, for each bull; and two tenths of fine flour for a cereal offering, mixed with oil, for the one ram; 13 and a tenth of fine flour mixed with oil as a cereal offering for every lamb; for a burnt offering of pleasing odor, an offering by fire to the LORD. 14 Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, a third of a hin for a ram, and a fourth of a hin for a lamb; this is the burnt offering of each month throughout the months of the year. 15 Also one male goat for a sin offering to the LORD; it shall be offered besides the continual burnt offering and its drink offering. (RSV)
It is now a spiritual act in a spiritual Temple which makes it more powerful and just as mandatory.
Will the New Moons Continue?
These New Moons stand with the Sabbaths and Feast Days forever or continually before the Lord.
1Chronicles 23:31 and whenever burnt offerings are offered to the LORD on sabbaths, new moons, and feast days, according to the number required of them, continually before the LORD. (RSV)
2Chronicles 2:4 Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the LORD my God and dedicate it to him for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him, and for the continual offering of the showbread, and for burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of the LORD our God, as ordained for ever for Israel. (RSV)
This process continues in the three feasts. Trumpets is a New Moon and hence only Atonement is left out here. It is fast day.
2Chronicles 8:13 as the duty of each day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses for the sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts -- the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles. (RSV)
The Prince’s Levy is made for the sacrifices and it is the prince’s own responsibility to provide these from the levy.
2Chronicles 31:3 The contribution of the king from his own possessions was for the burnt offerings: the burnt offerings of morning and evening, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, the new moons, and the appointed feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD. (RSV)
Ezra 3:5 and after that the continual burnt offerings, the offerings at the new moon and at all the appointed feasts of the LORD, and the offerings of every one who made a freewill offering to the LORD. (RSV)
Nehemiah 10:33 for the showbread, the continual cereal offering, the continual burnt offering, the sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts, the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God. (RSV)
Ezekiel 45:17 It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, cereal offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, cereal offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel. (RSV)
(See the paper Tithing (No. 161).)
This is a particularly important example because it shows clearly that Ezekiel shut the gate of the inner court on the working days, but it was open for worship on Sabbaths and New Moons.
Ezekiel 46:1-6 "Thus says the Lord GOD: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days; but on the sabbath day it shall be opened and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 2 The prince shall enter by the vestibule of the gate from without, and shall take his stand by the post of the gate. The priests shall offer his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening. 3 The people of the land shall worship at the entrance of that gate before the LORD on the sabbaths and on the new moons. 4 The burnt offering that the prince offers to the LORD on the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish and a ram without blemish; 5 and the cereal offering with the ram shall be an ephah, and the cereal offering with the lambs shall be as much as he is able, together with a hin of oil to each ephah. 6 On the day of the new moon he shall offer a young bull without blemish, and six lambs and a ram, which shall be without blemish; (RSV)
The prince enters by that gate on these days because it symbolises Messiah acting in entrance to Israel on non-working days; on days set aside as holy to God. Christ enters the church and deals with us on Holy Days, Sabbaths and New Moons. This is another very important example relating to the New Moons and their importance in the Holy Spirit entering us and beginning to reorganise and to cleanse us. That is the symbol of the gate being open and Messiah entering.
Notice that worship is directed on both days. Ezekiel is directed to the millennial system also.
Was the New Moon done away with the Sacrifices?
The Sacrifices were continued on all Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days. The Fourth Commandment stands. Only the actual Sacrifices were eliminated once and for all, because Christ by his crucifixion and death nailed our bill of debt of sin, or the Chierogriphon, to the stake once and for all.
To argue that the New Moons were eliminated with the Sacrifice is to argue the elimination of the Fourth Commandment, which is plainly false.
Why does God allow these Holy Days not to be kept?
The Bible is written so that people not called into Israel will not understand. That is why Christ spoke in parables (Mat.13:10-14; 10:34-35; Mk. 4:11).
God hates the corruption of His Holy Days.
Isaiah 1:13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and the calling of assemblies -- I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. (RSV)
Isaiah 1:14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. (RSV)
Isaiah 47:13 You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons predict what shall befall you. (RSV)
Here the false prophets corrupted prophecy with star gazing and divination. God then said He would put an end to those sorts of Feasts, New Moons and Sabbaths. Did that mean God would eliminate the Sabbath or New Moons or Feasts? No, it meant He would eliminate false worshippers from keeping them.
Hosea 2:11 And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts. (RSV)
Amos is clear that the populace saw the New Moons and Sabbaths as an impediment to their worldly trade and duties.
Amos 8:5 saying, "When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great, and deal deceitfully with false balances, (RSV)
God does not allow people to keep His feasts and New Moons and proper calendar because they are false worshippers and only those of the First Resurrection Church of God are allowed to keep them. The rest worship false gods, on false days, under a false calendar and know no better. They are simply not under judgment now.
We see from David and Jonathan that the New Moon was a compulsory banquet in Israel. David knew that the only valid excuse he would have for not being there at a compulsory event, known well in advance, was to be keeping it with his family in another location in Israel. It was the very practice of having these observatory meals and then trying to resume normal duties and trade on the Sabbaths and New Moons that Amos is specifically condemning. These people were keeping the New Moons, but they were trying to end the day quickly, so they could trade. God condemned them through the prophet Amos for such activity, even though they kept them. How much more in condemnation are those who keep banquets or special meals, acknowledging them and yet still trade on the Sabbath or the New Moon? Would any argue that they could trade on the Sabbath because they have a special meal on the Sabbath evening? How then can such logic apply to the New Moon?
Will Christ keep the New Moons when He returns?
During the Millennium, the Sabbaths and New Moons will be kept.
Isaiah 66:23 From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the LORD. (RSV)
The New Testament also mentions them. This is not stating an option as to whether they are kept or not, but simply the manner in which they are kept. However, the injunction to keep them with the law is clear from previous Scriptures.
Colossians 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. (RSV)
These Scripture clearly show that the New Moons were important in Israel all through its history. We know from Josephus that they were kept during the entire Temple period and the High Priest attended in the Temple on the New Moons and Sabbaths. The New Testament church also understood them. It was not addressed in the New Testament because it was not an issue. All the epistles of the Apostles deal with the problems, which arose in the various churches. The Church of God has kept it for centuries. We know for a fact that at the Reformation the Church was keeping the entire calendar intact as it was in the Temple period (cf. the paper The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170) and Kohn The Sabbatarians in Transylvania, CCG Publishing 1998).
The New Testament is commentary on the Old Testament.
It may not be a requirement to prove that the New Moons must be kept, but given the evidence it is impossible to prove that they only need to be acknowledged.
The New Moons are critical to the calendar. God has said He will not allow false worshippers to hold their apostasy on His feast days, as we have just seen. From these texts here it is quite obvious that Israel was keeping the New Moons. They were keeping them as days of assembly. To read that any other way is wilful manipulation of Scripture.
The understanding of the New Moon is the last phase in the restoration of the individual to the knowledge of the one true God and Jesus Christ, or Joshua the Messiah, whom He sent (Jn. 17:3). The New Moon is essential to the keeping of the original calendar and hence the true feasts of the one true God. By making this the last and most difficult of the restoration only those with the true faith can return to God and keep His feasts on His days under His terms and laws.
We have to be diligent in trying to keep the Laws of God. We have to be diligent in understanding the faith in order to be allowed to keep the Feasts of God, because it is an honour and the New Moons are part of that system. Until we understand them we cannot fully understand the system of God.
Further study should be done from the following papers:
Christian Churches of God
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