“So David said, ‘Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king. Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty’” (1 Samuel 20:5, 18).
Entering God’s ‘rest’ takes effort because the world never rests; even most church goers never rest. There will always be activities and opportunities for breaking the Sabbath command. Entering into the Creator’s Sabbath ‘rest’ takes purposed action, faith action that expresses itself through obedience.
Sighting the New Moon
According to rabbinical tradition during the Temple period, the Rosh Chodesh was determined by priests in Jerusalem who separately witnessed the ‘horns of the new moon.’ Fires were lit and then two witnesses from the Sanhedrin, who had seen the fires, went to the high priest. When everyone agreed to the arrival of the new moon, there would be a shofar blast from the Temple and the New Moon festival would begin. Up until the moment when the shofar sounded, no one knew when the New Moon celebration began.
There is no command in the Hebrew Scriptures for sighting the new moon whether it’s a conjunction, sliver or crescent. There is no command that a ‘sighting’ must come from Jerusalem, South Africa, Antarctica or Canada. There is no Biblical command that any one person –– rabbi, prophet, high priest, king or best friend –– has the authority to determine the sighting of new moon.
The Crescent Moon Controversy
Because of traditions created by men, there are many interpretations for when the New Moon actually occurs. With these various explanations controversy arises within the Body of Messiah to the point where people condemn others because they are celebrating holy days on the ‘wrong day.’ To be sure, there is a correct interpretation, and the Hebrew Scriptures along with the Spirit’s wisdom reveal the truth. The Body of Messiah must be in unity because God is not the author of this confusion.
The crescent moon has its roots in pagan cultures and cannot be considered the new moon. Crescents hung on the necks of the camels of the two Arab men that Gideon killed. Jeremiah warned about worshiping the Queen of Heaven who is depicted with a crescent moon or halo on her head. In Athens, Paul discourses about Artemis (Diana) who is also depicted with a crescent moon or halo. Islam derives its god-ideology from the moon-god, Allah, and a crescent moon sits on top of every mosque. Isaiah issues a prophecy of separation for those who attach themselves to the crescent moon, “In that day the LORD will snatch away their finery: the bangles, the headbands and their crescent necklaces” (Isaiah 3:18).
According to the command given in Leviticus 23, the ‘appointed times’ of Pesach and Sukkot begin on “the fourteenth day of the month.” This means they must begin on a full moon. Using this knowledge, 14 days before and after a full moon must be a new moon. Using astronomical calculations, this would make the new moon a conjunction moon, not a sliver or crescent. If the Israelites had counted 14 days from a sliver or crescent moon, the blood on the doorposts would have been on the wrong night and their firstborns would have died when God passed over Egypt. Yeshua was crucified on Passover at the end of “the fourteenth day of the month.” Counting 14 days from a crescent moon would have placed his crucifixion several days after God’s ‘appointed time’ of Passover.
The Tides Reveal the Lunar Cycle
Tides are created because the earth and the moon are attracted to each other. The moon tries to pull at anything on the earth to bring it closer. Earth’s gravity is able to hold tightly onto everything except water. Since water isn’t solid, the moon is able to pull and move large bodies of water. This rise and fall of the oceans is known as the tides.
There are two high tides and two low tides during a 24-hour period. When the sun and moon are aligned, stronger gravitational forces cause very high and very low tides. These are called ‘spring tides.’ When the sun and moon are not aligned, the gravitational forces cancel each other out and the tides are not as dramatically high and low. These are called ‘neap tides’.
‘Spring tides,’ which have nothing to do with the season, occur during the full moon and the new moon. From looking at tide charts, the ‘spring tide’ of the new moon falls on a concealed or conjunction moon. Also, the ‘spring tide,’ in the springtime of the year at the concealed new moon when the months of God’s year begin, is stronger than any other tide of the year.
We should not take it upon ourselves to determine the new moon apart from the information given in Scripture and even the creation. The Creator gave us everything we need to correctly establish His ‘appointed times’ and we should use them wisely.
David and Jonathan
“So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow” (1 Samuel 20:5).
How did David know that the next day was the New Moon festival? Did he see a sliver and know? Did he mention a crescent? Did he say anything about the blowing of the shofar from Jerusalem? The answer is ‘no’ to each question. He and Jonathan were at Ramah which is a short distance from Jerusalem. If there had been a shofar blast, David could have heard it if he was listening for it, but there was no Temple until his son Solomon would build it. So, how did David know that the next day was the new moon?
David probably would have done one of two things. Either he counted 14 days from the previous, obvious full moon or he understood looking at the final sliver of the waning moon. The following concealed dark moon would be the new moon. This concept is seen in David’s own writings.
Psalm 81 and the New Moon
“Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full on the day of our feast.”
This verse is taken from the New International Version. It would seem from this translation that the shofar is to be blown at the new moon and the full moon.
The same verse from The King James Version doesn’t mention the full moon, but acknowledges the ‘appointed time’ and ‘solemn feast day.’
“Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.”
Psalm 81 in the Hebrew language has only six words (read right to left):
תקעו בחדש שופר בכסה ליום חגנו
The Hebrew words are:
b’chodesh (in the moon)
b’kese (in appointed)
hachag (the festival)
Blow, in the moon, the trumpet in appointed day festival.
The Hebrew is pretty straightforward except that kese doesn’t mean ‘appointed’ as translated in the King James Version or ‘full moon’ as translated in the New International Version. The Hebrew root for kese is kacah. Kacah means ‘to cover, to conceal, to hide, to clothe.’ Kese cannot mean ‘full moon’ as a full moon isn’t hiding nor is it concealed. Kese must refer to when the moon cannot be seen or is the dark ‘new’ moon.
A more proper translation from the original Hebrew would be:
“Blow the shofar on the concealed, hidden moon of the festival day.”
Feast of Trumpets and the Concealed Moon
The Feast of Trumpets is the only ‘appointed time’ that occurs on a new moon. It is also known as Yom HaKeseh or ‘the day of our concealment.‘ This festival begins the ten days of solemn repentance leading to Yom Kippur –– the Day of Judgment –– which has been kept ‘hidden from the enemy.’ It is interesting that David hid from his enemy, King Saul, on a concealed new moon.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).
There are two Hebrew idioms for the New Moon festival. The first is ‘the day or the hour is not known.’ This has special significance for the Feast of Trumpets because it always occurs on a new moon when no one ever knew the day or the hour that the festival began until the moon was sighted. This is still true today and will continue to be true until Yeshua returns.
“In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
‘Twinkling of an eye’ is an idiom for the conjunction of the new moon. It is an ancient reference to when the sun, moon, and earth are aligned for a ‘twinkling of an eye.’ It is at this moment, on a New Moon festival, that the dead will be raised and changed.
The new moon can be determined by the tides of the seas or simply by counting backwards from a full moon. The new moon is not a crescent or a sliver, but a ‘concealed’ moon that carries with it the hope of being ‘concealed’ from the final judgment of the earth by God, the final judgment that is kept ‘hidden’ from the Adversary. The Hebrew idioms for the new moon are prophetic to the return of Yeshua, the dead in Messiah being raised to life, and their mortal bodies being transformed into immortality. The New Moon festival, though not a commanded ‘appointed time’ holds great significance in the lunar cycle of months and the timing of Yeshua’s return envisioned in the fall Feasts of the LORD.
For more about Yeshua fullfilling the ‘appointed times,’ purchase Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts.
©2005 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved. No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article, please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.