Hebrew Roots/New Moon
"God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night; they shall serve as
signs for the set times - the days and the years; and they shall serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon
the earth.' And it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to
dominate the night, and the stars." Gen .1:14-16
These two great lights are the sun, and the moon, respectively. The word for 'set
times' here is moedim (appointed times) which is the very word that Yahweh chooses to use to describe His festivals. One
more passage that speaks of these two lights is found in Psalms 104:19: "He made the moon to mark the seasons; the
sun knows when to set."
This passage clearly sets the moon apart as the main marker of the
seasons, while the sun is to mark the day. The moon that reflects the light of the Sun confirms throughout the month as
it waxes and wanes that the created order is not chaotic. Its visible rebirth each month is very orderly and precise, but
not absolutely predictable. Therefore, each month has a degree of expectancy about it.
The months in the Sacred
calendar are established as lunar months. Therefore the sighting of the new moon was ordained to establish the beginning
of the monthly cycle and therefore the first day of the month. The moon's full cycle of illumination lasts a little over
29 days. Thus we have our biblical months of either 29 or 30 days.
The New Moon is a precise
astronomical event and 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 scripture which places Jerusalem
as the throne of Yahweh (Jeremiah 3:17), the centre-point of the law which will be given under Messiah (Isaiah 2: 3) through
the waters of the Spirit (Zechariah 8:22; 14:8-21). God has placed His name there for ever (2 Chronicles 33: 4) Before the
time of modern calendars, the new moon was vitally important as it was the official announcement of when the new month had
begun. Because Yahweh gave commandment to observe the feasts and festivals in their given times it was vital to keep accurate
count of when the new month began to celebrate the festivals correctly.
“Yahweh spoke to Moses,
saying: Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: Yahweh’s appointed festivals that you are to designate as
holy convocations — these are My appointed festivals.” (Leviticus 23:1-2) “These are the appointed festivals
of Yahweh, the holy convocations, which you shall designate in their appropriate time.” (Leviticus 23:4).
God is very clear that the
festivals are to be celebrated not because they are for man but because they are His appointed times. These festivals are
holy not because man makes them so, but because Yahweh Himself declares them holy. Since Yahweh is the One who instituted
them, it is a reasonable act of worship and obedience to observe them when He designated.
Sanhedrin, which was the council of elders in Israel, would confirm the sighting of the new moon based upon reliable witnesses
and shofars were blown in accordance with the scripture to announce the beginning of the month. Today, the rabbinical calendar
is based on calculations set up by Rabbi Hillel the second in the mid fourth century. Around this time, the Sanhedrin (the
high court of ancient Israel) ceased to exist. Hillel felt that the New Moon could not be declared visually without a Sanhedrin
to affirm its sighting, so he decided it must be calculated. Rabbis now know that Hillel's calculations were/are off, sometimes
as much as two days, which means the festivals are not celebrated on the correct day. But they have decided to wait until
a Sanhedrin is established again to change it.
The annual calendar is set by the alignment of both
the monthly lunar cycle and the annual solar cycle. The lunar cycle sets the seasons based on the solar equinoctal cycle.
The moon and sun together are governing signs. God’s Sacred Year begins with Aviv or Nisan (Exodus 12:1-2).
"And Yahweh spake unto
Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month [Abib] shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the
first month of the year to you".
This is determined from the New Moon nearest to
the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, which begins the summer season,(Note all scholars within the Hebrew Roots
believe this statement is totally correct. Herb Solinski who has researched this quite indepth says this should be the new
moon crescent on or after the vernal equinox , www.biblicalcalendar.org . At this website you will find his sources quoted
in 300 plus pages of documentation) at which time the barley crop will be "in the green" ready for harvest at Passover.
This month Abib or Nisan was to be the first of months and, hence, its determination would set the start and finish of the
year and, hence, the calendar. The autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere begins the winter season.
These are the two seasons mentioned by the Bible which are used to determine the beginning of the
year to coincide with the festival harvests. (Genesis 8:22; Psalm 74:17) The day of the New Year is to be kept as a solemn
feast day. A record of the festival of the New Moon is found in the Temple Scroll (11Q19-20). In column 14 we see that the
sacrifices for the first day of the month, that is the New Moon, are listed, as are the special instructions for the New
Year of the first day of the First Month. Thus, the Dead Sea Scrolls quite clearly identify the New Moon of the First Month
(Nisan) as the New Year and as a day of solemn assembly and sacrifice. These ordinances are followed by the requirements
for the seven day purification of the annual ordination of the priesthood. This is what column 14 says of the New Year of
Nisan: "On the first day of the [first] month falls the beginning of months; for you it is the beginning of the months]
of the year. [You are to do] no work, [You shall offer .. .. .."
Judaism changed the New Year
from Nisan to Tishri, which is the seventh month, based on a man-made system derived from the rabbinical determinations introduced
from Babylon in 344 CE and sanctioned by Rabbi Hillel II in 358 CE.. The Dead Sea Scrolls, the LXX and modern scholarship
have exposed this change which was made. However, even rabbinical scholars such as Rabbi Kohn, the Chief Rabbi of Budapest
writing in 1894, states categorically that the New Year of Rosh haShanah in Tishri is a late third century post Temple period
innovation (Sabbatarians in Transylvania, CCG Publishing, 1998, p. v et. seq). The Bible gives instruction that Israel kept,
as we are to keep, the Feast of Nisan (New Year's Day) as a feast day.
Various factors such as atmospheric
pressure, temperature, humidity along the light path, altitude, latitude and longitude, fog, cloud/dust cover, glare etc.
can all affect a first sighting. No one can infallibly predict the moment when the new moon will become visible to the naked
eye. The general consensus of authoritative opinion is that a first sighting of the new moon could occur any time between
about 15 and 48 hours after a conjunction. The conjunction being when the earth is between the sun and the moon in perfect
alignment. The first sighting of the moon will be after the moon has moved out of this alignment.
In sighting the New Moon, one faces the western sky at sunset, drawing an imaginary line from the zenith overhead
toward the setting sun, seeking the thin scimitar of light on either side of this imaginary line. The sun sets in the west
slightly right of where the new moon will be seen. As the sky darkens the first star is seen which is actually the planet
Venus. Gradually the crescent appears as a sliver just above the horizon. The faint New Moon will bulge out to the right,
with the horns pointing toward the left. However, in early spring (autumn in southern hemisphere) the “Passover moon”
will appear much like a saucer with both horns pointing upward. Variations of this New Moon may be seen in springtime. Biblical
months are either 29 or 30 alternating days in length; at times two consecutive 30-day months may occur. Only on the new
moon will the moon be invisible until the sun sets. It is as if Yahweh is concealing it so we will intentionally have to
look for His sign in the sky.
The New Year is determined by the New Moon which falls
nearest the equinox, which ensures that the Full Moon falls after the equinox, while the sun stands in the sign of Aries.
In the Gregorian system the equinox can fall on 21-23 March. The earliest date for the New Year has to be 14 days before
21 March, so that Passover will be at the full moon – i.e. 8 April. This was the earliest date for 1 Nisan. The latest
date is determined by 15 Nisan and the sun in Aries. The sun leaves Aries on 19 April. Thus, the day 19/20 April is the last
day in which Passover can begin. The 15th Nisan cannot be later than 20/21 April. According to the ancient rules of the
Hebrews, 1 Nisan, or the start of the sacred year, was not earlier than 8 March and not later than the Hebrew day on 8/9
April (Gregorian) in the case of a thirty day month falling with an equinox on 23 March. It is impossible, therefore, for
there to be a Passover earlier than the vernal equinox (21 March) or one later than 20/21 April.
Philo, the Jewish historian and contemporary of Yeshua the Messiah and the apostles, says that Moses established
the moon of the vernal equinox as the first month of the year (The Works of Philo, On the Life of Moses II, chapter XLI,
Part 222 and 224) Josephus the Jewish historian also confirms this and defines it as "when the sun was in Aries"
(Josephus, Ant. 3.201; III.x.5].
Because harvests are governed by the seasons, which are controlled by the movements of the heavenly bodies, the
maturity of the barley crop in Israel will coincide with these calculations and is the necessary factor for establishing
the new year so that there is the required grain to be offered at Firstfruits.
Psalm 81 tells us that Joseph
instituted the Rosh Chodesh during his tenure as the viceroy of Egypt. Joseph had the power to declare the decree and the
people of Egypt, principally the sons of Israel, were delighted to make the recognition of the new moon as a joyful feast.
The testimony was to honor Joseph for what he did as a righteous deliverer, who in many ways prefigured the coming Messiah
of Israel and the redemption that He would ultimately bring. All of Yahweh's feasts are a role play of eternal truths in
His eternal purposes and keep His redemptive plan before us. What Joseph set in place as a testimony, has been established
as a "statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob" (Psalm 81: 3-4)
In numbers 10:10 it is recorded
that the trumpet is to be blown to sanctify the new Moon as a feast day. "At the beginnings of your months you shall
offer a burnt offering to Yahweh: .. .. this is the burnt offering of each month throughout the months of the year .. ..
it shall be offered besides the continual burnt offering and its drink offering. (Numbers 28:11-15 RSV) Moses called the
people to assembly on the new moon and spoke to them according to the commandments he had been given by Yahweh, exhorting
them to faith and obedience. (Deuteronomy 1: 3) It is also recorded that Yahweh chose this sabbatical day to speak to Moses
and give him instructions for Israel. Numbers 1: 1-5
Moses commanded the keeping of the new Moons. 2
Chronicles 8:12-13 Solomon said that it, as well as the other feasts, were "an ordinance forever to Israel" 2
Chronicles 2: 3-4
The kings of Israel kept the feast of the new moon with its stipulated temple procedure. 1 Chron. 23:31; 2 Chron.
find a record that Saul held feasts on the new moon, according to the law. When Saul turned against David and he fled and
hid in the country, David gave instructions to explain his absence from the feast, indicating that this was a day when David
would be missed, if he did not attend the King’s table on the New Moon. (1 Samuel 20:4-18, 24)
It was usual during the Temple
period to seek guidance from the prophets on the New Moons. ( 2 Kings 4:23)
In the restoration of the
law under Nehemiah the New Moons were re-instituted and kept from that time through to the destruction of the Temple in 70
CE. Josephus records 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, hence the reference in Colossians chapter 2 when the Gnostics were
criticising them for their festivities, contrary to their ascetic practices. "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". (Colossians 2:16
The Church of God kept it for centuries. We know that at the Reformation the true followers of Messiah were still
keeping the entire sacred calendar intact, as it was in the Temple period.
During the Millennium, the Sabbaths and New Moons will
be kept. Isaiah tells us the entire world will be honoring the New Moons and the Sabbaths as they worship Yahweh in the
coming Kingdom. "From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me,
says Yahweh". (Isaiah 66:23 RSV) - see Zech. 14:16-19
Also in Ezekiel 45:17 - the aspect of temple service for the new moons
in the millennium
- 46: 1,3 - enforcement
of the New Moon as a Sabbath and for worship
As sincere followers of Yahweh’s word, we
should be observing them now and preparing ourselves as His Bride, fully adorned in all righteousness.
The word used for New Moon in Hebrew is 'Rosh Chodesh' literally means “beginning,
head, or renewal” and thus. the beginning or head of the month. It is a time of spiritual renewal.
All through the scriptural
record, the New Moon was a day when the prophets heard from Yahweh, being a day designated for waiting upon Yahweh, for discerning
His purposes and for prophetic revelation. Ezekiel 26:1; 29:17; Haggai 1:1.
They were days of assembly and God dealt with Israel at
these times, speaking through His servants, the Prophets.
We are also told in the New Testament these days are prophetic and foreshadow
future events. (Colossians 2:16-17) The celebration of the new moon has great prophetic significance for Israel as the Bride
of Yahweh and it was/is an appointed time of His choosing to give prophetic revelation to His people of His purposes for
The New Moon and the Sabbath were closely linked as both were holy, set-apart days
unto Yahweh Himself and the celebration of the new moon is placed in importance in the scriptures alongside keeping the
Sabbath. It is not cited in the Torah until Numbers chapter 10 because it is a celebration based upon the testimony of Yahweh's
corporate people being established as His luminary in the world. Yahweh called Israel to be a light to the Gentiles, a holy,
set-apart nation which reflected His glorious light (Exodus 19: ; 1 Peter 2: 4-5). At the beginning of each month they
were called to come aside from their normal functions for existence in this world, to reflect upon their ordained purpose
of reflecting His presence in the world and revitalizing their spiritual lives in Him.
was given a dream of the sun, moon and stars as it related to their initial household of faith (Gen. 37: 9). This is carried
through into its fulfillment in Revelation 12 with the woman (God's corporate people) arrayed with the glory of the sun
(representing the glory of the Father), with her feet standing upon the moon (the reflected light of the sun), and the deputation
of the twelve stars of His government assigned to her. This portrays that the woman (Yahweh's Bride) in the end days will
have come into the glory of the Father in her witness and testimony as the light-bearer of the Son (sun) in her earthly commission
(standing upon the moon - i.e. established in her testimony as being THE light to this world).
As His Bride keeps this feast of her appointment with Yahweh and comes into alignment with Him, she will reflect
His light in ever increasing degrees of magnitude, until she actually shines with the glory of the Son of righteousness.
"But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same
image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of Yahweh." 2 Corinthians 3:18
The beginning of the month
is determined by the first visible sighting after the conjunction of the moon and for it's commencement the shofar is blown
in one long blast. Numbers 10:10 states that the trumpets should be blown at all New Moons to sanctify the day and the offerings.
The new month is announced and brethren commence to fellowship. After the blessing is said, greetings of peace are given
to one another. A traditional greeting of peace is Shalom Alechem! (peace be with you) The response is Alechem Shalom! (upon
is a time of fresh dedication of ourselves to Yahweh and of blessing Him and seeking His direction for the new month ahead.
We also take this time to ask His blessings on the planned endeavors for the coming month.
days are sanctified or set apart as days of sacrifice, for worship, for assembly and for us to make our spiritual offerings
to Yahweh. (2 Chronicles 2:4; Nehemiah 10:33; Ezekiel 44:24; 45:17)
It is now a spiritual act in a spiritual Temple, which makes it more
powerful and just as important, as now we see its real significance in preparing us for the kingdom to come.
Traditionally there is singing
and dancing in celebration of the occasion, and the partaking of a festive meal together with suggested scripture reading
of Deuteronomy 4: 7-9; Psalm 104; and Psalm 81
They were days of festivity, as Psalm 81 portrays
-- To the chief Musician upon Gittith, (guitar) A Psalm of Asaph. "Sing for joy to God our strength! Shout to the God
of Ya`akov! Start the music! Beat the drum! Play the sweet lyre and the lute! Sound the shofar at Rosh-Hodesh and at
full moon for the pilgrim feast, because this is a law for Isra'el, a ruling of the God of Ya`akov." Ps. 81:1-4 [As
the Hebrew word kece' means 'to cover' it is twice incorrectly translated as 'full moon'. A more literal
rendering from the original language would be "Cover our feast day with the sound of the shofar!"]
They were a "joyous
occasion" (Numbers 10:10), so much so that Yahweh threatened to take away these festive times, in punishment for their
disobedience (Hosea 2:13).
The New Moon of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) was also a day of restoration (or reading) of the Law of God. (Nehemiah 8:
A cleansing process began in the physical temple with the commencement of the new year and this points towards
the spiritual cleansing of the spiritual Temple. We are that spiritual Temple and the process of cleansing begins with us
on the First New Moon of each year as a preparation for the coming Passover season. It then is repeated throughout the year
from New Moon to New Moon as we each come before Yahweh and renew our life in Him. (Ezekiel 45:18; Numbers 28:11) This will
continue in the 1000 year reign of Yeshua. (Isaiah 66:22-23)
The New Moons of the other months of the year are similar to Sabbath
days in which no trade or unnecessary work is done. (Amos 8:5; Nehemiah 10:31) [work which has to be done is allowed on
the new moon]
Yahweh keeps His appointments with those who choose to meet with Him at His
designated times and He enters His assembly at these times on these holy days of the Sabbaths and the New Moons to fulfill
the spiritual reality of these feasts in the lives of His people. (Ezekiel 46: 1-6)