Rosh Chodesh – New Month

New Moon

New Moon

“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).

New Moon celebrations are mentioned throughout the Scriptures.  In Hebrew, the New Moon is called Rosh Chodesh. According to Vine’s Dictionary of Biblical Terms, the Hebrew word rosh means ‘head’ and chadash means to ‘renew’ in the sense of ‘refresh.’  The noun form of chodesh means ‘moon’ making Rosh Chodesh literally mean the ‘renewing of the moon’ at the beginning of each month.  Using the calendar God gave to the Israelites, there are 12 months of 28 days in a year.  Each month is determined by the lunar cycle and begins with the new moon; 14 days after the new moon, there is a full moon.

Sighting the New Moon

According to Rabbinical tradition during the Temple period, the Rosh Chodesh was determined by people 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 all 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 provision that any one person: rabbi, prophet, high priest, king or best friend of any of those people has the authority to determine the sighting of new moon for anyone else in any other part of the world.

The Crescent Moon Controversy

Because of  traditions created by men, there are many interpretations about when the New Moon actually occurs. With these various  explanations comes controvery 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 right interpretation and the Hebrew Scriptures along with the Spirit’s wisdom reveal the Truth.    Believers 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 camels’ necks of the two Arab men that Gideon killed.  Jeremiah warned about worshipping the Queen of Heaven who is depicted with a crescent moon or halo on her head.   Paul discourses about Artemis, also known as Diana, in Athens, Greece 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 3:18 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.”

According to the command given in Leviticus 23,  the ‘appointed times’ of Passover and Sukkot must begin on a full moon as they begin on the 14-15th day of the month.   With this knowledge, 14 days before 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.  Had the Israelites counted from a sliver or crescent moon, they would not have put the blood on their doorposts on the correct night that God passed over Egypt and  the firstborns of Israel would have died.  Yeshua was crucified on Passover on the 14-15th day of the month.    Counting 14 days ahead 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, there are strong gravitational forces causing 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.  What is interesting from looking at tide charts is how the spring tide of the new moon falls on a concealed moon.  Also, the actual 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 of the Universe gave us everything we need to correctly establish His ‘appointed times’ and either we use them wisely or wait until Messiah returns when there will be no question.

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?  No, to all of the above.  He and Jonathan were at Ramah which is a short distance from Jerusalem.  If there had been a shofar blast, he could have heard it if that is what he was listening for, but there was no Temple at this time as it is his son Solomon who would build the first Temple.  So, how did David know that the next day was the new moon?

David would probably 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  concealed dark moon to follow would be the new moon.   This concept can been seen in David’s own writings.

Psalm 81

“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 Bible.   It would seem from this version that the shofar is to be blown at the new moon and the full moon.

This same verse from The King James Version doesn’t mention the full moon, but says ‘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:

taqa (blow)

b’chodesh (in the moon)

shofar (trumpet)

b’kese (in appointed)

yom (day)

hachag (the festival)

Blow, in the moon, the trumpet in appointed day festival.

This is pretty straightforward except that kese doesn’t mean ‘appointed’ as translated in the KJV or ‘full moon’ as translated in the NIV.   The root word 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 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 feast begins the 10 days of solemn repentance leading to Yom Kippur and the Day of Judgment which has been kept ‘hidden from the enemy.’  It is an interesting type and shadow 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 interesting 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 falls 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’ also is an idiom for the conjunction of the 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 celebration, that the dead will be raised and changed.

The New Moon can be determined by the tides of the seas or  simply by counting back from a full moon.  It 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  kept ‘hidden’ from the enemy.   The Jewish idioms for the New Moon are prophetic to the return of Yeshua, the dead in Messiah being raised to life and their mortal bodies transformed into glorious immortality.  The New Moon, though not a commanded ‘appointed time’ holds  great significance in the lunar cycle of months, the month of Passover and the timing of Yeshua’s return envisioned in the fall Feasts of the LORD. 

©2005 Tentstake Ministries, chapter from Journey with Jeremiah on amazon.com

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