Should Christians Observe the
Should God's people today be concerned about observ-
ing the "New Moon" festivals? Were New Moons -- the
first day of each Biblical month -- observed in ancient
times? How were they
observed by ancient
about in New Testament times? Will New Moons be
observed in the Messianic Age, the World Tomorrow?
William F. Dankenbring
We read an astounding thing in the book of Colossians, which thousands of God's people have overlooked, ignored, and misunderstood. In their attempt to refute the gainsaying and heresy of those who try to do away with God's laws and holy days, they have stumbled and overlooked a vital TRUTH!
Notice this remarkable passage! Paul writes, “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival [margin, “FEAST DAY”] or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance [lit., “body”] is of Christ” (Col.2:16-17). The King James Version says in these verses: “Let no MAN, therefore, judge you in food, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day, or of the new moon, or of a sabbath day, which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is [note: these italics are not in the original, meaning the word “is” has been supplied by the translators and is not in the original Greek version] of Christ.”
Let us notice three things in these verses. First, we are to allow no human being -- be he Gentile, or Jew, rabbi, or minister -- to “judge” us regarding these things, or to sit in judgment over us.
Secondly, these days -- festivals of God, new moons, and sabbath days -- are (present tense, meaning they STILL EXIST and have not been done away or abolished!) “shadows” of things to come. That is, they all foreshadow and picture elements in God's plan, future events still to come. Therefore, they have great meaning and significance for us, today!
The fact that the weekly Sabbath day is a “shadow” of the millennial reign of Christ, picturing the seventh “day” of God's seven-thousand year plan (see II Peter 3:8-10), is a wonderful truth, one we should appreciate as we “rest” every Sabbath day, as God commands. This fact does not lessen the importance of the weekly Sabbath, but strengthens and magnifies it! And so it is with all the other holy days, which picture vital elements in the overall Plan of God.
Thirdly, notice the last expression of this passage: “But the body (is) of Christ.” What does this mean? If we take this whole passage together, it becomes clear. Paul says, “Let no man, therefore, judge you . . . . but the body of Christ.” If we leave out the “is” supplied by the translators, the passage becomes clear. It is the body of Christ that is to "judge" us -- that is, the true Church of God, led by the divinely appointed servants of God (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, etc. -- see Eph.4:11-13 and I Cor.12:12-30), inspired and led by the Holy Spirit of God (Rom.8:9-11, 16-17; compare also Hebrews 12:7, 17, I Pet.5:1-3).
The “body of Christ” means the Church, led by the ministers, who teach the word of God, and explain it. As Paul writes, “And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom.10:14-15). Therefore, it is the Church of God, led by God's Spirit, which leads us into “all truth” (John 16:13), which is to “judge” our actions and conduct regarding how we observe the holy days of God, new moons, and sabbath days!
But in so doing, during the past fifty years or so, has the End-time “church of God” been negligent? Have the ministers of God overlooked, and ignored, vital truth and a command which God gives in these verses?
A New Look at the “New Moons”
Notice! Among the days the Church is to “judge” us in respect to is the subject of NEW MOONS! According to the original calendar God gave His people, each month of the year is a lunar month and begins with a NEW MOON! In ancient Israel, every new moon the trumpet was blown -- the shofar was sounded -- to call the people to celebrate and observe the new moon, the beginning of the new month.
In ancient Israel, special sacrifices were offered on every New Moon, signifying the importance of the day to God's people. In the book of Numbers we read:
"And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto
the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year
without spot; and three tenth deals of flour for a meat [meal] offering, mingled
with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat [meal] offering
for one ram; and a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat [meal]
offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made
by fire unto the LORD.
"And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the
third part of an hin unto a ram,, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is
the burnt offering OF EVERY MONTH [NEW MOON] throughout the months
of the year.
"And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered,
beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering" (Numbers 28:10-15).
The Custom in Ancient Israel
In ancient Israel, before the Exile to Babylon, the New Moons -- the first day of each month -- were observed as "minor festivals." Evidence for this is found in the account of David and Saul. Notice:
"And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, tomorrow is the NEW MOON [marginal
reference, "A time of rejoicing"], and I should not fail to sit before the king at meat:
but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.
"If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he
might run to Bethlehem, his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice [margin, "feast"]
there for all the family" (I Samuel 20:5-6).
The word for "sacrifice" in this verse is zebah. Notice what Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says about this word:
"The basic meaning of zebah is 'sacrifice.' When a 'sacrifice' had been slaughtered
by the priest, he then offered it to God. . . . The zebah was not like the burnt offer-
ing (olah), which was completely burnt on the altar; and it was unlike the sin offering
(hatta't), where the meat was given to the priest, for most of the meat of the zebah was
returned to the person who made the 'sacrifice.' The fat was poured on the altar (Lev.3:2).
The person who made the zebah had to share the meat with the officiating priest (Exo.
29:28); Lev.7:31-35; Deut.18:3).
"In view of the fact that the people shared in the eating of the
zebah, the 'sacrifice'
became A COMMUNAL MEAL in which the Lord hosted His people. . . . Apart from
the sanctuaries, the Israelites also celebrated God's goodness together in their native
villages. The story of Samuel gives several good illustrations of this custom (cf. I Sam.
`9:13; 16:2-3)" (p.210).
In I Samuel 9:12 we read, ". . . he [Samuel the prophet] came today to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people today in the high place: as soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden" (I Sam.9:12-13).
Each New Moon therefore, with its extra sacrifices, was regarded as a "mini-festival," not unlike the annual holy days of God. Feasting and worshipping were part of the festivities. Says the Soncino Pentateuch & Haftorahs, "In Pre-Exilic times, the New Moon was celebrated as a minor Festival" (p.695).
During the time of Elisha, the son of a woman died unexpectedly, and she asked for her husband to send for Elisha, the man of God. He replied, "Wherefore wilt thou go to him today? it is neither new moon nor sabbath" (II Kings 4:23).
A Day of Worship and Rejoicing
Being a festive occasion, and a special time for worship, when the New Moon arrived trade, buying and selling, and handicraft work stopped, and the Temple was opened for public worship services.
We read in the book of Amos, God says to His people:
"Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to
fail, 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?" (Amos 8:4-5).
On the New Moons, the trumpets were blown at the offering of the special sacrifices of the day. God commanded Israel, "Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months [New Moons], ye shall BLOW WITH THE TRUMPETS over your burnt offerings, and over your sacrifices of your peace [fellowship] offerings; that they may be to you for a MEMORIAL before your God: I am the LORD thy God" (Numbers 10:10).
Notice that the New Moon is listed right along with the annual Holy Days, the days of "gladness" and "solemn days." The Hebrew word for "solemn" here does not mean stern, foreboding, grave, or serious-minded, but rather "festive," "feast day." It is the Hebrew word moed, meaning "an appointment, i.e., a fixed time or season, spec. a festival, by implication, an assembly."
Although there is no Scriptural commandment in the Torah designating the New Moons as a day in which work was forbidden, as it was on the weekly Sabbath, and to a lesser extent on the annual holy days, nevertheless, since it is listed right along with the Holy Days as a day of worship and blowing of trumpets, and was a day to assemble for the special sacrifices of that day, in ancient Israel most labor and business activities ceased on the New Moons.
Almighty God says, in His Word:
"SING ALOUD unto God our strength; make a JOYFUL NOISE unto the God
of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the
psaltery. Blow up the TRUMPET in the NEW MOON, in the time appointed,
on our solemn feast day. For this was a STATUTE for Israel, and a LAW of the
God of Jacob" (Psalm 83:1-4).
This reference to the NEW MOON is very significant. Although we know that the only Holy Day that falls on a New Moon is Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the seventh month, Tishri, which is also called Yom Teruah, the "day of blowing" of trumpets, nevertheless, the trumpets were also commanded to be blown on EVERY New Moon throughout the year, marking each New Moon as a festive and joyous occasion!
Says Peloublet's Bible Dictionary:
"The mentions of the new moons shows that they were regarded as a peculiar class
of holy days, distinguished from the solemn feasts and the Sabbaths. I Chron.23:31;
II Chron.2:4; 8:13;31:3; Ezra 3:5; Neh.10:33; Ezek.45:17: ("New Moon," p.445).
The New Moons were celebrated with special rites on the first day of each lunar month, in ancient times, as part of the worship due to God by His people. They were highly regarded and observed by family get-togethers, communal meals, and community sacrifices. The people would enjoy them, with a fellowship meal, with eating and drinking and fellowshiping before God. There would be singing of hymns, and spiritual songs, and songs of praise and worship.
But what about in the future? The fact is, Biblical prophecy also indicates that New Moons will be observed during the Messianic era -- during the 1,000 year reign of the Messiah!
New Moons To Be Observed
in the Kingdom of God
In the prophecies regarding the Temple services which will be re-instituted during the Messianic Age, we read in Ezekiel:
"All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. And
it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat [meal] offerings, and
drink offerings, in the feasts, AND IN THE NEW MOONS, and in the sabbaths,
in all solemnities of the house of Israel . . ." (Ezek.45:16-17).
"Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh 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. And the prince shall enter by
way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and
the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings., and he shall
worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be
shut until the evening.
"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" (Ezekiel 46:1-3).
Notice! During the Millennial Reign of the Messiah, there will be WORSHIP SERVICES ordained for all the people -- all Israel! They will worship God ON THE NEW MOONS!
In fact, a prophecy in the book of Isaiah makes the truth even plainer. Not only al Israel, but ALL MANKIND will worship God during the Millennial Reign of Christ, the Messiah, "from New Moon to New Moon"!
"For as the new heavens and the new earth , which I will make, shall remain before
me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
"And it shall come to pass, that FROM ONE NEW MOON TO ANOTHER, and
from one Sabbath to another, SHALL ALL FLESH COME TO WORSHIP BEFORE
ME, SAITH THE LORD" (Isaiah 66:23-24).
Clearly, the New Moon observances and celebrations are very important, in God's plan, and in His eyes. But among the people of God the remembrance and observance of the New Moons of God has fallen into disuse, and disregard. The end-time churches of God by and large totally neglect and ignore worshipping God on the New Moons!
Is this one reason why most professing people of God, today, are SORELY LACKING in SPIRITUAL POWER, FAITH, and dynamic spiritual IMPACT in their lives?
Should we, as the people of God, observe the New Moons, today?
Should We Observe New Moons Today?
Says Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, a multi-volume work and authoritative:
“The celebration of the New Moon belongs to the most ancient of Hebrew
rites. . . Lagarde held that the generic Heb. term for ‘joyous praise’ was derived
from an old name of the New Moon. . . In the time of the earlier prophets, the
New Moon stood in the same line with another lunar observance, the Sabbath.
No work or business was attended to on either day (Amos 8:5). Hosea (2:11)
speaks of the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and festival assemblies as
passing away with the national independence; and a similar connection between
the New Moons and the other solemn days is found is Isaiah 1:13.
“Just as the New Moon occupies a prominent place with the prophets, so does it
with Ezekiel and in the Levitical legislation. Ezekiel, who curiously enough
frequently dates his prophecies on the New Moon (26:1, 29:17, 31:1, 32:1, cf.
Hag.1:1), describes the gate of the inner court of the temple looking eastwards
as kept shut for the six working days, but opened on the Sabbath and New Moon
(Ezek.46:1). The prince, besides making special arrangements for the great New
Moons of the first and seventh months (this is the probable meaning of Ezek.45:
18-20), was also to provide offerings for ordinary New Moons (Ezek.46:10-7).
The gate was open till the evening, and while the people stood without the prince
was allowed to stand by the threshold. According to Ezekiel (46:6), the New Moon
offerings consisted of a young bullock, six lambs, and a ram without blemish (the
Sabbath burnt-offering was less, v.4), as burnt-offerings; an ephah for the bullock
and for each ram, a handful of flour for each lamb, and a hin of oil to an ephah as
a meal-offering (vs.7-8). In Numbers 28:11 the burnt-offering consisted of two
young bullocks, one ram, and seven he-lambs of the first year without blemish;
fine flour, oil and wine carefully proportioned (vs.12-14), and a he-goat as a sin-
offering (v.15). The offerings here, as in Ezekiel, are more important than for the
Sabbath (Num.28:9-10). An additional detail is added in Numbers 10:10, where
the law ordains that ‘in the days of your gladness, and in your set feasts, and in the
beginnings of your months’ the two silver trumpets were to be sounded during the
sacrificial rites as a ‘memorial before your God.’ Some authorities have held that
Psalm 81:3, ‘Blow up the trumpet in the New Moon, at the full moon, on our
solemn feast day,’ refers to the ordinary New Moon. . . But the LXX . . . omits
“every.’ The Targum refers the passage solely to the New Moon of the seventh
month (Lev.23:24); and this, the traditional Jewish view, has been adopted by
modern commentators” (“New Moon,” vol.3, page 521-522).
The Encyclopedia Judaica says regarding the observance of New Moons:
"The Torah placed its observance ON A PAR WITH the observance of the festivals,
declaring, 'Also in the day of your gladness, and in your appointed seasons, AND
IN YOUR NEW MOONS, ye shall blow with your trumpets over your burnt offer-
ings . . . .' (Numbers 10:10). A special Musaf sacrifice was ordained for the day
(Num.28:11-15). The Bible mentions various practices observed on it, including
festive MEALS . . . abstention from business transactions (Amos 8:5), and the practice
of visiting the prophet (II Kings 4:23). When foretelling the chastisements that will
come upon the Jewish people, Hosea says that the joys of the New Moon will cease
(Hos.2:13). The redemption is viewed as a time when 'from one new moon to another,
and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me saith the
Lord' (Isa.66:23)" ("New Moon," vol.12, p.1039).
Obviously, the New Moons were important in ancient Israel. Judging by the sacrifices offered on them, they were uniquely important, requiring more sacrifices than the weekly Sabbath. The prophet Amos says, “Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land fall, saying, ‘When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat?’” Thus commercial activity ceased on this day (Amos 8:4-5). Although the New Moons were not Sabbath days in which no work was permitted, the people of God did not go about their normal occupations of buying and selling on that day.
Because of the sins of His people, God warns in the prophecies of Hosea, that He will punish Israel (Hos.2:2-10), saying, “I will also cause all her MIRTH to cease, Her feast says, her New Moons, her Sabbaths -- all her appointed feasts” (v.11).
Truly, Israel forgot all these wonder observances of the Law of God when she went into exile and captivity in 718-721 B.C., and to this very day, modern Israel neglects all these holy days and festivals of God!
In Isaiah 1:14, God tells His people Israel, who have forsaken Him (Isaiah 1:4, 10), “When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies -- I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons, and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them” (Isa.1:12-14).
Why was God so upset? Because of their hypocrisy and iniquity! They professed to worship Him, but they twisted and distorted and subverted His Holy Days, Sabbaths, and New Moons! Today, most people don't regard these days of God as of any importance whatsoever. Instead, they celebrate the world's pagan holidays of "Christmas" (the ancient Roman Saturnalia, all dressed up as to appear "Christian"!), Easter (whose very name is that of a pagan sex goddess of spring and fertility), and "Halloween" (a day of demonic revelry and wickedness).
What must God think of modern Jews and Christians alike who neglect and ignore His Holy Days, Sabbaths, and New Moons?
Yet, notice that these Scriptures all place the New Moons on a par with the annual festivals, as observances of God! They were celebrated in ancient Israel, at the Temple, and will be celebrated in the Temple in the Kingdom of God. God says through Ezekiel, “Thus says the Lord GOD: The gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and on the day of the New Moon it shall be opened” (Ezek.46:1). Ezekiel goes on: “The prince shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway from the outside, and stand by the gatepost. The priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings. He shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening. Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the entrance to this gateway before the LORD on the Sabbaths AND THE NEW MOONS” (Ezek.46:2-3).
Hastings goes on to comment on the observance of the New Moons in Israel:
“As to the manner in which the New Moon was observed, there were other
features besides the sacrifices. There was no ‘solemn convocation’ on the
New Moon, but it is usually inferred from II Kings 4:23 that visits were
paid to the prophets on that day. . . . The New Moon was apparently the time
for changing David's officials, according to I Chron.27:1. It is not easy to
gather the full significance of the incident related in I Samuel 20:5. David
evidently refers to a FAMILY FEAST ON THE NEW MOON, but it is not
clear that the king had a special feast on that day” (p.522).
During Christian times, Hastings points out, the observance of New Moons ceased among the vast “Christian” church. Its observance fell into disuse, in the church which began to avoid all things “Jewish.” However, the Jews continued its observance.
“Fasting was avoided on the New Moon (Judith 8:6). The observance of
the New Moon fell into disuse in the Christian communities (Col.2:16).
In the medieval Jewish circles the New Moon, however, retained its impor-
tance. Women did not work, fasting was prohibited, and in the synagogue
liturgy many special features were introduced. On the Sabbath before the
New Moon the event was publicly announced, on the day itself a reading
from the law (Num.28:1-15) was introduced, special Psalms (forming part
of the Hallel, Psalm 113-118) were chanted, and other liturgical passages
were added. These are retained in the modern synagogue” (ibid.).
How, then, should true Christians, desiring to obey God and to keep His commandments, handle the question of observing the New Moon?
The New Moons and Christian Observance
New Moons, of course, are the first day of each month of God's sacred calendar. This passage of Scripture in Colossians 2:16 definitely connects them with observance of the annual holy days, God's festivals, and the weekly Sabbath! Although we are commanded not to allow any "MAN" to sit in judgment of us as to how we observe the New Moons -- such as pastors, ministers, rabbis, or neighbors -- we are to remember that Almighty GOD is our Judge, and we are to seek to please HIM in everything we do!
As Paul wrote, "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do ALL to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).
Paul also wrote, "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
Paul also reminds us, ". . . for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom.14:10-12).
What about New Moons? Clearly, they are a BIBLICAL INSTITUTION! They were ordained by God, and they will last FOREVER -- so long as the days, months, and years, last! As God said of David's descendants, "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips. Once I have sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established FOREVER AS THE MOON, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah" (Psalm 89:34-37).
Since the MOON is established "forever," it follows logically that the NEW MOONS also are ordained and established forever!
As God's people, then, we ought to be celebrating them every month, on the New Moon, by holding special worship services, where possible, and family festive banquets and feasts.
What about the Example of Christ and the Apostles?
What example did Jesus Christ and the apostles set for us, concerning the New Moons?
Although there is no specific mention of New Moons in the Gospels, nevertheless, we can know that Christ both observed them and taught His followers to do so. The New Moons were ordained by God as a statute forever, as part of His holy calendar. And Christ Himself taught, "Think NOT that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy [or do away with, abolish, or abrogate or rescind!], but to fulfill [i.e., fill up to the brim!]:" (Matt.5:17).
Notice! Jesus -- Yeshua our Saviour -- went on, saying, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, ONE JOT OR ONE TITTLE shall in NO WISE pass from this law till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall DO and TEACH them shall be called GREAT in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt.5:18-19).
Jesus Christ and the apostles and early Church observed the New Moons. James, the apostle in charge of the Jerusalem Church, told Paul when he visited Jerusalem, circa A.D. 60, that the Church of God was very zealous to obey God's Law -- the Torah. This would, of course, include the New Moon ceremonies and services. Notice! James said:
"Thou seest, brother, how many thousands [Greek, myriads, meaning, literally,
tens of thousands) of Jews there are which believe: and they are all ZEALOUS
OF THE LAW [that is, the Law of God, or the Torah] . . ." (Acts 21:20).
Paul himself later witnessed to the Jewish leaders in the Sanhedrin,
"I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, and brought
up at the feet of GAMALIEL, and taught according to the PERFECT MANNER
OF THE LAW OF THE FATHERS, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are
this day" (Acts 22:3).
Later, in Rome, Paul witnessed to the Jewish leaders in a similar fashion, saying, "Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans" (Acts 28:17).
As followers of the Messiah, and the early church, therefore, should we not also highly regard God's Law, and the customs of obedience to God's Laws, handed down by our forefathers? Should we not also highly regard and worship on the New Moons of the Biblical, Hebrew calendar?
By all means! As Paul also wrote, "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the DOERS of the law shall be justified" (Romans 2:13). He added, "Do we then make void the law through faith? GOD FORBID! Yea, we establish the law" (Rom.3:31).
Observing the NEW MOONS Today
True Christians, then, should observe these days, and to keep them in remembrance, in a fashion that would be approved and pleasing in the sight of God.
Therefore, we should be “observing” or “marking” the passage of each New Moon -- that is, we should be observing time in accordance with God's sacred calendar, and keep track of each New Moon (new month) as God counts time -- not as the Roman and Gentile world does. And we should hold a memorial observance -- at the least a family dinner, with appropriate Bible readings and study, together with a sumptuous meal, whenever possible, on the New Moons, with singing of psalms and spiritual songs and songs of praise to the Lord.
It would certainly be appropriate to hold a "Kiddush" -- the wine and bread ceremony which Jesus held with His disciples at the "Last Supper" -- as part of the festivities connected with the fellowship or communal meal served on the New Moons. The "Kiddush" goes at least back to the time of Abraham and Melchizedek (see Genesis 14:18-20).
Let's notice this verse in Colossians again, as it is our only reference to the New Moons found in the New Testament. Notice two things about this verse: 1) We are to allow NO MAN to judge us in respect to HOW we observe these things, including the New Moons. That would mean, we should allow NO PAGAN to judge us or condemn us for observing them, and we should allow NO JEWISH rabbi or leader to sit in judgment of us, to condemn or judge us regarding these things, either!
Obviously, the professing Christian/pagan Churches, masquerading as Churches of God, don't observe the New Moons at all, and would tend to condemn us for observing them, calling us “Jewish.". Jews, on the other hand, might tend to judge us as to “how” we observe them -- do we go to synagogue, to mark their passage? Do we observe them at home as a special “minor festival”? Do we light candles, say the prescribed Jewish prayers, etc.?
Clearly we should observe them in a fitting manner, in a way pleasing to God -- not man. We don't need to become "Orthodox Jews" or "Ultra-orthodox" in order to obey God, and celebrate His New Moons in a godly and holy manner. We don't need to adhere to various "traditions of men" which have accreted to the Jewish rabbinical observance of these days. Christ clearly warned us to avoid the "traditions of men" which often in effect nullify God's Law by their deleterious and noxious effects (Matt.15; Mark 7). The various rabbinic accretions added to the original Torah -- the many "do's and don'ts" added in the Mishnah and through rabbinic halackha or "rules" -- are not necessary. As Peter told the disciples at the Church conference in Acts, chapter 15, "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" (Acts 15:10).
It is clear from the Scriptures that the New Moons are NOT holy days of God, nor are they “commanded convocations.” Therefore it is not necessary for us today to hold regular religious worship meetings on these days, as we do on Sabbath days. Nor are we commanded to “rest” or “cease from all work” on them, either. The New Moons are not Sabbath days. However, they are days which should be given special attention, and celebrated, and normal routine work minimized when and where possible.
A Festive Family Meal
One of the main things we can do to observe each New Moon, today, is to hold a family feast, or festive dinner. It would be good to have an introduction, and Bible readings for the occasion, and ask a special blessing on the evening and the day.
At the special dinner prepared for the New Moon celebration, it would be all right to light candles, as some do on Shabbat eve, together with the meal, and then thank God for the blessing of the New Moon observance and laws He ordained. We should also ask God's special blessing on our families, children, friends and relatives, and not forget to ask His blessing on His Church, His Work, and to pray for the soon coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom.
Unfortunately, the present Jewish fixed calendar does not accurately give the dates of new moons, as the dates are “averaged” out in a nineteen year time cycle. The present Jewish calendar calculates the dates in advance, and therefore is often a day or two off. However, Karaite Jews in Jerusalem, descended from the ancient Karaites and Sadducees, do faithfully observe the new moons each month. We publish each year a calendar of projected new moon dates for each upcoming new year. Once in a while the new moon cannot be definitely known in advance, due to borderline sighting conditions. However, we post the notice of each new moon on out website as soon as it is witnessed. Our calendar generally can be used for the vast majority of new moon dates in advance.
If you are interested in studying more thoroughly into the Calendar subject, and why the present Jewish calendar cannot be relied upon, then read our book, “The True Bible Calendar,” and our article on “Calendar Postponements – Are They Biblical?”
How can we celebrate the New Moon, today?
On the New Moon, we can have a special meal, beginning with the special “bread and wine” ceremony that Jesus Christ instructed us concerning at His Last Supper. At that supper, He used artos, regular leavened bread, as a symbol of His body. This bread would have been similar to the modern Jewish Sabbath bread, or "challah."
At the beginning of the meal, soon after sunset, we can pray especially that evening thanking God for His “New Moons,” the beginning on His month, blessing God who has given us the New Moons and months which are in His hands, and asking and praying for His guidance, protection, help, and strength, and prosperity, and blessing, upon us, our household, our children, God's people, His Work, and His Church, and that we might live peaceably with our neighbors and communities.
We may also use this as an opportunity to remember Christ, as we break the bread, praying over it, as He is our “bread of life” (John 6:48-51). We eat it, remembering His broken body, given for us (Matt.26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; I Cor.11:24). We then partake of the wine, symbolizing His shed blood in our behalf, the blood of our Messiah, Saviour, Redeemer, and Friend (Matt.26:27-28; Mark 14:23-24; Luke 22:17-18, 20; I Cor.11:25-30).
At this New Moon celebration meal, also, it would be good for us to make a special point to regularly pray as Paul declared: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of THANKS be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim.2:1-3).
God has given us the “New Moons” to help us mark the passage of time. They are intimately involved with His holy calendar. As David wrote, “My times are in Thy hands” (Psalm 31:15). Also, God instructs us: “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). The Psalmist goes on: “So TEACH US to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (verse 12).
Observing the New Moons helps us to “number our days” according to God's calendar and system of time-keeping, as opposed to the pagan Roman calendar! It helps us to think in terms of God's calendar, and in relation to HIS time-table for our lives!
New Moons -- an Official Time to Worship
God tells us through Isaiah the prophet that during the days of God's Kingdom on earth, when the Temple of God is restored, “And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, ALL FLESH shall come to worship before Me, says the LORD” (Isaiah 66:23).
Obviously, New Moons will be observed and celebrated during the Kingdom of God, with people coming up to Jerusalem, to the Temple, to worship before the LORD.
However, the Kingdom is not here, yet, and there is no Temple in Jerusalem, today. When there is, no doubt there will be official ceremonies held to commemorate the occurrence of each officially sanctioned “New Moon.” These will be visually observed by appointed “spotters” at the Mount of Olives, who will report their sightings to the future Sanhedrin, who will then announce and cause to be published the fact of the New Moon's occurrence.
The New Moons - An Observance for Today!
Jesus Christ said He did not come to abolish God's Law, but to fulfill it -- to fill it to the brim, to magnify it and make it to “run over” (Matt.5:17).
He also said, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called LEAST in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever DOES and TEACHES them, he shall be called GREAT in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt.5:19).
Do you want to be LEAST in the Kingdom? Or do you want to be considered GREAT in the kingdom?
Most, if not all, of the End-time churches of God have seriously neglected and ignored the real meaning and celebration the New Moons which God ordained. As part of restoring the truth of God, and His laws and observances, we need to begin observing these days as God Himself commands.
The apostle Jude exhorts us, saying, "Beloved, when I gave diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should EARNESTLY CONTEND for the faith ONCE DELIVERED unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 3-4).
God's New Moons are important. They are ordained of God. If we neglect them, we will pay a price. If we observe them, in a manner pleasing to God, He will surely bless us and inspire us, and shower His race, and favor, upon us, and shelter us under the
protective canopy of His Shekinah Presence. If we observe them properly, the New Moons will add a special dimension of joy and peace, and spiritual POWER in our lives.
Are we ready for it?