The Calendar: Part 4
The New Moon Scriptures

John Plunkett
 March 15, 2014


During the past couple of weeks since I last spoke to you on this subject, I admit that I have found myself getting terribly frustrated as I delved into the various historical and astronomical details with regards to the issue of the Sacred Calendar. 

I became frustrated with all of the different timings from various Church of God leaders and members with their different ideas and opinions.

As I was praying about my frustration one morning, it came to me that I might have been spending way too much time researching the opinions of men and not enough time or effort going to the Source of all truth.

So, although I know that I mentioned at the end of Part 3 that this time I would go into the details of the various opinions and the various methods of calculating the New Moons and New Years, I believe that our time today would be better spent delving into the Word of God to see what He has to tell us on this subject.

In today’s study, then, I would like to take something of a mid-course correction and go through the various scriptures that specifically mention the two phrases “New Moons” and “the beginning(s) of months.”

Many of you who are listening today will be familiar with a lot of these scriptures, so some of this might be "old hat" to you.  But it's not "old hat" to me.  In fact, I believe that I have probably been ignoring these scriptures for way too long. 

I would like to begin with the very first appearance of the English term "New Moon" in God's Word.  It is surprisingly far along into “the Book.”  The timing of it was during the time of David, Jonathan and Saul – approximately 1000 BC, which was (arguably) three thousand years after Genesis 1:1:

I Samuel 20:
5:  And David said unto Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even”….
18:  Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the new moon: and you shall be missed, because your seat will be empty”….
24:  So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.

The English phrase “new moon” is translated as such twenty times in the King James Version from the Hebrew word "chodesh" (Strong's 2320), which also appears in the King James Version as the word "month" (254 times)  and "monthly" (once). 

The word "chodesh" first appears way back in Genesis 7:11 during Noah’s time.  It stems from the very closely related root verb "chadash" (Strong's 2318) which is, interestingly, translated in the King James Version as "renew" (7 times) and "repair" (3 times).

These three verses that we just read in Samuel 20 are really interesting because they come with a very big question – especially for brethren who insist on the naked-eye sighting of the New Moons.  I am certainly not criticizing or ridiculing that method, of course; but this really is a big, valid question:

If the new moons were always to be sighted and never to be calculated, just how did David, Jonathan and Saul know so absolutely certainly that the new moon would come on the following day?

Please notice that both David and Jonathan said, “Tomorrow is the new moon.”  No ifs, ands, buts or maybes!  Notice that they did not say, "We think that tomorrow might possibly be the new moon; but we’re really not sure because we don’t know if our timing or the weather will be quite right for a visual sighting."

Also, verse 24 says that the new moon did come – evidently right on time, according to their expectation.

Did these three men necessarily know what the calendar rules were – specifically about the timings of the New Moons?  We’ll discuss this question shortly.

Another point that we can learn from these three verses is in the sub-category of "How should we keep the New Moon days?"  From these verses, we see that Saul held a special dinner to mark the New Moon days.  Is this perhaps an indication of something that we might do too?  Maybe!  There is no specific command that tells us that.  It is only their example; but it appears that it was a regular event that they did on the New Moon days.

Now let’s move on to the next new moon verse – this one concerning the well-known Shunammite woman:

II Kings 4:
22: And she called unto her husband, and said, “Send me, I pray you, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.
23: And he said, “Why will you go to him today?  It is neither new moon, nor Sabbath.” And she said, “It shall be well.”

This woman was asking her husband (possibly not a believer) that she wanted him to help her make arrangements to go to seek the aid of the prophet Elisha, (referred to here as “the man of God”) because their son had died.  The husband, for some reason that we aren't told, didn't yet know.

The implication here, from her husband's words, is that the Shunammite woman commonly visited Elisha on Sabbath days and on New Moon days.  The husband’s words may be another indication of how we might spend the part of the New Moon days – that is, with a minister of God – either in person or in whatever way possible, whether in person, over the phone or via the Internet.  There is no actual command here; but there is an indication that this woman did this on the New Moon days as well as on the Sabbath Days. 

The next New Moon verse refers again to David who, although in his senior years by this time, was still involved in the planning of the new stone temple and in the ongoing arrangements for the Aaronic priests and other Levites.  The keeping of the New Moon days was included in this planning:

I Chronicles 23:
27:  For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
28:  Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God…
31:  And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD.

Here we read of the duties of the Levites (including the Aaronic priests) being reiterated by David.  Please notice how the New Moon days are listed right along with God’s Sabbaths and Feast days.  Over and over again as we go through the "new moon" scriptures, we shall see these three sets of days grouped together.   Although it is true that the New Moon days are not holy days, per se, as are the weekly Sabbaths and annual Holy Days as listed in Leviticus 23, neither are they just ordinary days.  They are repeatedly, clearly marked as being something special.

Again the question comes up: Did David necessarily know what the rules were about the timing of the New Moons?  Was he an expert or an authority on God’s laws and rules?  Well yes, he certainly was!  Please take the time to read Psalm 119 and then come back and tell me that David was not an expert on God's Holy Laws. 

But here, when he was making these plans, David wasn’t vainly relying on his own relatively “modern” opinions when he said these things.  Please especially notice the phrase in verse 31: “according to the order commanded unto them.”  

Question:  Commanded unto them when?  Commanded unto them by whom?  Answer:  These things were commanded to the Israelites way back in Moses’ time by the LORD in Exodus 12:2, Numbers 10:10 and 28:11, all of which we will come to shortly. 

Just like the weekly Sabbaths and the annual Feasts, this command to keep the New Moon days was not something new that David came up with here.  He was referring to commands that went all the way back to Moses' time.

After David’s death, the monarchy was passed down to his son Solomon.  Just as David made the plans for the Temple and its procedures, Solomon's job was to put those plans into reality.  When he was doing this, he reiterated the importance of the continued observance of the New Moon days:

II Chronicles 2:
4:  Behold, I build a house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God.  This is an ordinance forever to Israel.

Once again, we see the New Moon days listed right along with God’s weekly Sabbaths and His annual solemn Feast Days.

Some have opined that these mentions of the New Moon are only referring to the seventh New Moon on the Feast of Trumpets.  I believe that that opinion is both very illogical and grammatically unlikely.  Why would God specify "the Feasts" and then, without further explanation, single out the Feast of Trumpets?

Please note also the last sentence here: “This is an ordinance forever to Israel.”  It is likely that many Church of God ministers, including myself, have quoted this verse over the years to prove that the weekly Sabbaths and annual Holy Days are still required for the people of modern Israel today – both physical and spiritual Israel.  But how many of us have read over – or even totally ignored – the inclusion of the mention of the New Moon days?  I’ll hold up my hand as being one of the guilty ones!  I think that, perhaps, we have all done it.

Still with Solomon, now in his later life, please jump over to chapter 8:

II Chronicles 8:
12:  Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch,
13:  Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.

Yet again, for the fourth time here, still during Solomon’s reign, we see the New Moon days listed along with God’s weekly Sabbaths and His annual Feast Days.

Please note that the offerings commanded for these days – including the New Moon days – were not a new command by Solomon or the priests of His day; but they were commanded by God "according to the commandment of Moses."  Where do we read of this being commanded to Moses?  Let's look first at Numbers 28:

Numbers 28:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
2:  “Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, ‘My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto me, shall you observe to offer unto me in their due season….
9:  And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof… 
11:  And in the beginnings of your months you shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot’”…

The Hebrew term here for "in the beginnings of your months" is "Rosh Chodesh."  We’ll look at this terminology in more detail later; but suffice it to say for now that this is referring to all of the New Moon days, not just the seventh one of the year on the Feast of Trumpets.

Two centuries had flown by since Solomon’s reign before the New Moons was mentioned again in the scriptures, this time during the 7th Century BC during the reign of Judah’s King Hezekiah, who, we are told, was a comparatively good king:

II Chronicles 31:
2:  And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD.
3a:  He appointed also the king’s portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts…

Was this appointed according to Hezekiah's own ideas?  No!...

3b: ... as it is written in the law of the LORD.

In Hezekiah’s righteous reforms, the restoration of the proper observance of the New Moon days as well as those of the weekly Sabbaths and annual Holy Days was counted among his highest priorities.

The “as it is written in the law of the LORD” points us back once again to Numbers 28, which we just read.

This is the fifth time that we have seen the New Moon days included alongside the weekly Sabbaths and the fourth time that we have seen them included alongside God’s annual Feast days.  

We all agree that we must continue to keep God’s weekly Sabbaths and His annual Holy Days; but with the evidence we have seen so far, can we be justified in continuing to ignore the requirement for keeping the New Moon days?

Now we are going to jump forward another two centuries or so from Hezekiah’s time to the post-exile days of Ezra and Nehemiah.  We know that Israel had been split into two "houses" during the time of Rehoboam and Jeroboam; also that the northern house of Israel had been taken into captivity by Assyria and the southern house of Judah had been taken into captivity in Babylon.  By the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, many Jews had returned from their exile.

Had the Jews been permitted to keep God's weekly Sabbaths, annual Holy Days and New Moon days during their seventy years of captivity in Babylon?  I am not 100% sure, although there are some indications that, to some limited extent, they might have been.  However, the important thing at this point in their history is the restoration of the observances of these days after their release and return to Judah and Jerusalem:

Ezra 3: 
1:  And when the seventh month was come
{please note that detail}, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.
2a:  Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon…

Again we ask the question: Was this according to some new command?  No!...

2b:  ... as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God….
4a: They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number… 

Again, according to some new command?  No!...

4b:  according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;
5:  And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD…

The timing of this restoration of the proper keeping of the Holy Days and New Moon days is very interesting.  Now let us continue in verse 6::

6a:  From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD….

Some people will take this scripture (as well as some others) and they will try to make it sound as though all mentions of New Moons are always referring to the Feast of Trumpets.  But again, such an opinion is totally illogical and goes totally against the research of many reliable Bible scholars and commentators.  

The first day of the seventh month is only mentioned at all here because this restoration was enacted on the Holy Day and  New Moon day of the Feast of Trumpets – the first day of the seventh new moon of the year.  Please note also the mention of "new moons" in the plural in verse 5.  All of the new moons.  Not just one per year.

Now let’s move on to the book of Nehemiah, where we find our next mention of New Moons.  Here, we find the returned exiles from Babylon making a special covenant with God.  The contents of this covenant were not all new.  Many of its contents were repetitions of the promises to obey God’s commands as given many centuries earlier by their forefathers at Sinai.

This special, post-exile covenant was made after a period of confession for their sins, many of which involved neglect of those commands of God that had been given through Moses.  These Jews who were coming out of exile knew very well why God had taken them into captivity.  Because of their disobedience.  

In the first part of chapter 10, Nehemiah records all the names of the people who signed off on this special post-exile covenant.  These Jews put their names to it and made this promise to God that they were not going to commit those same sins again; but that they were going to obey Him and were going to stick to all they had promised.  Then in verse 29, Nehemiah documents the contents of the covenant itself: 

Nehemiah 10:
29a:  They clave to
{joined with} their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath {in effect, a doubly-binding promise} to walk in…

To walk in what?  To walk in something brand new?  To walk in a new set of rules that were especially designed for these returned exiles?  No!

29b: … to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and His judgments and his statutes… 

That is pretty clear.  But what was included in that?  Lots of things; but please note especially:

Verse 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.

There it is again!  Listed right up there with the weekly Sabbaths and annual Feast days!  I think this is becoming a priority!

Now, although going forward in the traditional Bible order – but actually going back in time, let's go to the book of Psalms.  This is a well-known New Moon verse which was written by a man by the name of Asaph who was a musician and who served under David:

Psalms 81:
1:  Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
2:  Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
3:  Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

I’m sure that many of us will recognize this as the origin of one of our favourite hymns that we often sing on the Feast of Trumpets.  Perhaps many of us, when we read this verse, automatically think exclusively of the Feast of Trumpets – the seventh New Moon of God’s year.  This is quite a natural and logical association, because of the mention of “the time appointed” and “our solemn Feast day.” 

But could it also be applied to the other new moons of the year?  The trumpets, by the way, were blown on every New Moon day (Numbers 10:10).

The term translated in the King James Version “in the time appointed” is a very interesting one to look into.  This four-word English phrase is translated from the single Hebrew noun "kehseh" (Strong's 3677).  The only other scripture that includes this word "kehseh" is this one in Proverbs 7:

Proverbs 7:
19: For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
20: He has taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed
{yowm kehseh}.

Just as a point of potential interest – a side issue in relation to the Feast of Trumpets – if we were to relate these two verses from Proverbs to Jesus’ Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 and Mark 13:34; and if the man who goes on the journey symbolizes Jesus, then “the day appointed” for his return might well symbolize the timing of the Feast of Trumpets and its fulfillment by Jesus’ return to this earth from His “long journey.”  

However, quite a lot of Bible versions (I counted thirteen!) render the word "kehseh" as "full moon."  

My three Hebrew lexicons say that the word "kehseh" stems from the primitive root verb "kacah" (Strong's 3680) which is variously rendered in the King James Version as: cover, covering, hide, conceal, closed, clad and clothed.  However, when I read through those seven words, I am not really sure how the translators of those thirteen Bible versions developed the idea of a full moon from these interpretations of the words "kehseh" and "kacah." 

When I read these seven words relative to the moon, if I picture the moon’s orb as being covered, hidden, closed, clothed or concealed, in my own opinion, it is more like the relative dark of the New Moon than the brilliance of the full moon. 

Still, giving those eleven translators the benefit of the doubt, if there really is some hidden allusion to full moons in this word that I am unable to see, then this verse could also apply to other Feast Days in addition to the Feast of Trumpets, those that would fall on full moons.  This would include the First Day of Unleavened Bread which, as you know, falls on the 15th day of the first month and the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, which falls on the 15th day of the seventh month.

Let's move on and look at a couple of “New Moon verses” in the book of Isaiah:

Isaiah 1:
13:  Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14:  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

Please note again the listing of the New Moons alongside those of Sabbaths and Feasts.  But in this case, are they actually the Feasts of God?

What is God telling us here?  Is He telling us that He doesn’t want His people to keep His Feasts, Sabbaths, church services or New Moon days any more?

The context reveals that in the time of Isaiah’s ministry in the 8th Century BC after the northern house of Israel had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians, the people of the southern house of Judah were rebelling against the laws of God, perhaps similar to the way modern physical Israel is rebelling today.

Many were paying lip-service to God.  Many today are paying lip-service to God.  We need to be careful in God's true church that we are not just paying lip-service to God.  The daily lives of those Jews at that time were at great variance with the holy symbolism of God’s Sabbaths, Feasts, worship services, offerings and New Moons.  

Maybe they were keeping these days to some extent.  Or maybe they were keeping their own watered-down versions of them.  Or maybe there was something else about what they were doing on those days that they were doing wrong.

Notice the two appearances of the word “your” in verse 14.  The LORD seems to be vociferously declining ownership of their New Moons, their appointed Feasts, their Sabbaths, their assemblies, their incense, their offerings and their oblations.  Yes, their Sabbaths, their Feasts, their Holy Days, etc. as opposed to the LORD’s terms mentioned in many other scriptures, “My Sabbaths,” “My Feasts,” “My Holy Days”; also as written or spoken by others, “The Feasts of the LORD” and “The Sabbaths of the LORD,” etc.

Why might we draw this conclusion?  Why would we think this?  For two possible reasons, at least:

First, because those Jews were purporting to be keeping God's days, while at the same time living depraved, adulterous and idolatrous lifestyles that were abominations to God.  In God's eyes, one of the worst sins that we know of is that of hypocrisy!  They tried to appear as though they were living God's way; but in reality, they were walking in the opposite direction.

Secondly, there is a possibility that they might have been keeping these days, not only in wrong, watered-down, pagan-influenced ways; but perhaps even at the wrong times.  Times which suited themselves better than God! 

“Impossible” you say?  But why not?  We know that this is exactly what the house of Israel did under Jeroboam I and what the Jews did under Hillel II starting in the 4th Century AD and have continued to do so until the present day.  We know also that the Jews were keeping Passover at the wrong time in the year of Jesus' crucifixion and still do today, as well as their erroneous timing of Pentecost.

Let’s leave Isaiah for a minute.  We’ll come back to him again shortly; but I want to skip over to a similar scripture in the book of Hosea, a prophet who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel under the wicked King Jeroboam II, around the same time as Isaiah (who lived in the southern kingdom of Judah):

Hosea 2:11: 
“I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts”…

This is very much like a parallel scripture to Isaiah 1:13-14.  Please note that the New Moons are listed yet again with the Sabbaths and the Feasts.  Secondly, please note the inclusion of the possessive pronoun, "her."  Again, these new moons, Sabbaths and solemn feasts were hers.  They were not God’s.  Verse 13 gives us further proof of this fact:

13: “And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgot me,” says the LORD.

This is similar to what God was again comparing their behaviour to through Amos, who was another contemporary prophet at the time of Isaiah and Hosea.  Amos lived and served God in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of the evil King Jeroboam II:

Amos 8:
4:  Hear this, O you that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
5:  Saying, “When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn?   And the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
6:  That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?”

What was happening here?  Were these dishonest trades-people keeping the New Moon days and Sabbaths properly?  Or were they keeping counterfeit versions of them, as suggested in the Isaiah and Hosea scriptures just mentioned?

There are two possibilities.  The first is that this one particular New Moon verse is referring to the 7th New Moon Day – the Feast of Trumpets.  We know that, other than the 7th New Moon of the year, the other eleven are not Holy Days in which all work, buying, selling and trading is prohibited by God.

The second possibility is that these people had added a spurious rule of their own – one not commanded by God – similar to the Traditions of the Elders that were frequently condemned by the human Jesus.

Still, even though God, through their captivities, put a stop to Israel and Judah’s keeping of pagan celebrations and counterfeits of His special days (at least temporarily), we can be sure that He did not want His peoples to permanently cease from keeping His true Sabbaths, Holy Days and New Moon days.  He most certainly did want their continuance, as is proved by many subsequent scriptures, including this one:

Isaiah 66:
22:  “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me,” says the LORD, “so shall your seed and your name remain.
23:  And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon
{chodesh} to another, and from one Sabbath {shabbath} to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me,” says the LORD.

The context of these verses shows that the time setting is obviously in the future in the Kingdom of God.

If we take the wording literally, we can logically deduce that, if the keeping of the Sabbaths and the New Moons will be required in the future Kingdom of God, and that they were also required during the Old Testament times, then why wouldn’t they also be required in the intervening age, in other words in our New Testament era today?

Some will read this verse, however, and will not take it literally; but will say that, in their opinion, it just means that, in the Kingdom, there will be representatives of all nations who will come up to the LORD’s Jerusalem palace regularly – from one week to another and from one month to another.  Although it is true that the Hebrew word "chodesh" can mean both “new moon” and "month," this argument does not hold much water because the Old Testament Hebrew word for "week" is always "shabuwa" – never "shabbath" as it is in Isaiah 66:23.

Now we move on to a few “New Moon verses” in the book of Ezekiel.  Ezekiel was an Aaronite priest.  His book was written during the time he was in Babylonian captivity with the Jews.  In chapters 40 to 48 of his book, he was inspired to describe in detail a temple, its furnishings and procedures.  That temple was to be rebuilt some time in the future (i.e. from his time of writing) – evidently during the Millennium:

Ezekiel 45:17: 
And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.

Please note once again the inclusion of the New Moon days along with the weekly Sabbaths, the Feast days and other “solemnities.” 

Could this have been a vision of one of the Old Testament temples (i.e. Solomon's or Zerubbabel's) rather than a future one to be built in the Kingdom of God?  Or could it have been a vision of Herod’s enhanced Temple which was built during Jesus' human lifetime?  The context says “No.”  The details of this temple (the description of which was given to Ezekiel in a prophetic vision) were not fulfilled in Zerubbabel's temple which was built shortly after the Jews’ return to Jerusalem from their seventy year exile in Babylon.  Neither was it fulfilled in the magnificently adorned temple that was being worked on by Herod’s craftsmen during Jesus’ human lifetime.  Rather, please read what we are told back in Ezekiel 43.  This prophecy shows us that this temple – still in our future – is something very, very special.  All of the temples were very special, of course; but this one will be super-special.  Look what the Lord God says about it:

Ezekiel 43:
4:  And the glory of the LORD came into the house
(temple) by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.
5:  So the Spirit took me
(Ezekiel) up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.
6:  And I heard Him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.
7:  And He said unto me, “Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever”…

This temple is going to exist forever!  In chapter 46, Ezekiel describes some of the procedures commanded for this wonderful future temple:

Ezekiel 46: 
1:  Thus says the Lord GOD; “The gate of the inner court that looks toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 
3:  Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the Sabbaths and in the new moons
{N.B. plural}.
4:  And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the LORD in the Sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish.
5:  And the meat offering shall be an ephah for a ram, and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah.
6:  And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish.”

There it is again, as mentioned in verse 17 of chapter 45, in this wonderful temple of the future, God's people are still going to be keeping the New Moons. 

That is the last of the twenty Old Testament "New Moon" scriptures.  Please remember, though, that there are also 255 other instances of the words “month,” “months” and “monthly,” also translated from the same Hebrew noun “chodesh,” some of which may likely be some significance. 

In the New Testament, there is only one appearance of the term “new moon.”  I believe that it’s an important one and we’ll come to it shortly.  But before we do, let’s go back in the Old Testament and take a look at a few verses containing the term “beginning(s) of months.”  The first one is a very key verse in the determination of God’s calendar:

Exodus 12:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2:  “This month
{chodesh} shall be unto you the beginning of months {rosh chodesh}: it shall be the first month {rishown chodesh} of the year to you.”

It seems like the LORD is kind of pushing the "chodesh" word on us over and over again here.

Four scriptures tell us that this first month of God’s sacred year was to be named “Abib,” the root of which means tender, young or fresh. 

Exodus 13:4:  
This day came you out in the month Abib.

Exodus 23:15: 
You shall keep the feast of unleavened bread: (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)

Exodus 34:18: 
The feast of unleavened bread shall you keep.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month Abib: for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 

Deuteronomy 16:
1: Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the LORD your God: for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night. 

Two scriptures tell us that its later, post-exile name was “Nisan” which means “their flight”:

Nehemiah 2:1: 
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king...  

Esther 3:7: 
In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.

Back in the book of Numbers, we see for the first time "the beginnings of the months" – the New Moon days – listed alongside (N.B. not in place of) God’s Feast Days:

Numbers 10:10: 
Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days
{i.e. Feast days and fast days}, and in the beginnings of your months {rosh chodesh}, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

Many Bible scholars and commentators agree that the trumpets were blown on every New Moon day; not just on the seventh one.

The phrase “in the beginnings of your months” is also mentioned in Numbers 28:11, which we covered earlier.  

Now let’s finish today's study with our only New Testament "New Moon" scripture which, as many of you know, happens to be one of my current favourite scriptures.  It doesn't matter what our differences or disagreements are, we all need to go by what God is telling us here:

Colossians 2:16: 
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

This again is very revealing in that it lists the New Moon days alongside the Holy Days and the Sabbaths; not not in place of them.

If, as some claim, the New Moon scriptures only refer to the Feast of Trumpets, would Paul logically have written (substituting here) “in respect of an holyday, or of the Feast of Trumpets, or of the Sabbath Days”?

The Feast of Trumpets certainly is an important Holy Day.  But is it any more important than the others that it be singled out and repeatedly mentioned using the vague, ambiguous "code name" of "New Moon"?  I think not.

But let us finish our study today by once again repeating the main message of this little verse.  Please do not let anyone unrighteously judge you for your individual stance on when and how you have chosen to keep the Holy Days, the New Moon days and the New Year – that is, of course, as long as you are striving to keep them according to your best understanding of God's Word.

Some listeners or readers might say, "Yes, but I don’t keep the New Moon days!"  Well, whether or not you think so, yes, you do! – that is assuming that you keep God’s Holy Days at all. Because, if you keep God's Holy days according to the traditional methods and timings of the mainstream Churches of God, then you’re keeping them (in part and with a few exceptions) according to the Jews’ Calculated Rabbinic Calendar (CRC) along with its postponements and other inaccuracies that we discussed last time in Part 3 of this series. 

If you are happy to continue keeping the Holy Days according to that CRC calendar, please go ahead and do so; and don’t let anyone unrighteously judge you about it.  I certainly will not.

If you wish to keep the Holy Days according to a New Year New Moon that begins on the Conjunction (Dark Moon) day, or on the first full day following the Lunar Conjunction time, or on the first calculated or actual sighting of the New Moon, whether from Jerusalem or from your own home location, then go ahead and don’t let anyone unrighteously judge you about it.  Again, I certainly won’t.

Also, whether you’ve chosen the New Year New Moon that occurs closest to the Spring Equinox, or is the first one after the Spring Equinox, or is the first one after the Israeli barley reaches a certain level of ripeness, then go ahead and don’t let anyone unrighteously judge you about it.  I certainly will not.

But conversely, it is important that you and I are not the ones to unrighteously judge other brethren with whom we might disagree on these things.

Some of you might claim that "it’s all so simple" and that "the scriptures are perfectly clear" on these matters.  Well, I'm sorry; but I don’t think so!  And I know that there are many other sincere and concerned brethren out there who don't either.

Maybe there is one or more “releasing scriptures” somewhere in the Bible – verses that would "trigger" the truth on these things and perfectly clarify them for all of us.  If there is such a scripture, I haven’t found it yet.  If you know of one, please let me know and I’ll happily pass it on to all of our listeners and readers!

But please, let’s not fall out with each other over this.  We think that we are on the right track in these matters; but if we disagree with other brethren on the details, let’s not get into vain, accusatory contentions with one another. 

If we’re going to discuss it, let us do so in peaceful, quiet, friendly conversations. 

And finally, let’s get our priorities right.  Let’s do what Jesus repeatedly commanded us to do.  Let’s love one another!


JHP/pp/jhp