THE NEW MOON AND THE SCRIPTURAL CALENDAR
The Calendar that was established from the beginning:
Gen 1:14-19 And Elohim said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 Elohim made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 Elohim set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And Elohim saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning–the fourth day.
The first word that we are going to look at in this study is signs:
Signs: [used 79 x’s] OT:226 ‘owth (oth); probably from OT:225 (in the sense of appearing); a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.: KJV – mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.
Gen 4:15 15 And Yahweh said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And Yahweh set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
Gen 9:13 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
Ex 4:30 30 And Aaron spake all the words which Yahweh had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.
Ex 10:1 10:1 And Yahweh said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
As we can see the moon and the stars were established to be seen just like the rainbow was established as a sign between the covenant.
The second word we need to look at is Seasons:
OT:4150 [used 223 x’s] mowed` (mo-ade’); or moed` (mo-ade’); or (feminine) mow` adah (2 Chron 8:13) (mo-aw-daw’); from OT:3259; properly, an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; specifically, a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): KJV – appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synogogue, (set) time (appointed).
2 Chron 8:12-15 12 On the altar of Yahweh that he had built in front of the portico, Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings to Yahweh, 13 according to the daily requirement for offerings commanded by Moses for Sabbaths, New Moons and the three annual feasts-the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles.
So, Yahweh made the sun and moon as signs (to be seen like the rainbow) to establish the Feasts, days and years. Essentially He established his calendar at creation (Day 1).
Question: What does the moon establish and the sun establish?
Answer: Ps 104:19 19 The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.
Two time periods can be deciphered here: the first one is the fact that the moon marks (establishes the months which are connected to the festivals) The moon marks off the seasons (festivals/months)
Lev 23:4-7 4 “‘These are Yahweh’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 Yahweh’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month Yahweh’s Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast.
Lev 25:8-12 8 “‘Count off seven sabbaths of years–seven times seven years–so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
The second part of verse 104 says that the sun knows when it goes down, it does not say that it knows when it rises, this is significant because this tells us that the Biblical days begin and end at the setting of the sun.
Lev 23:28-32 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before Yahweh your Elohim. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”
OT:6153 ereb (eh’-reb); from OT:6150; dusk: + day, even (-ing, tide), night. Used 134 times always referring to the evening.
So the moon, marks of the months and the sun marks off the days and together with months and days they culminate to a year….and so that is how time moves forward: cycles of days and months and years.
Before we proceed, let us deviate for a minute and discuss the cycles of life, this will in turn help us understand the calendar much better. In the Hebrew mindset, nothing of itself is in a vacuum; meaning that everything is related to something else. Kind of like you can’t have life without food…everything is related to something else. You cannot have salvation without righteousness….can you guys think of anything else that is related?
The cycle of creation/life:
Every living organism has it’s life calendar: Life and death; baby is born, we call that birth (goes through stages of life and then we die-fall asleep) Plants go through their yearly cycle of spring, they spring out their shoots and then in the winter they die. Although there may be some bulbs or seeds that we know are in the ground in a dormant stage, we really don’t acknowledge them until we see their shoots come out. People don’t look down and say oh wow look at the dead seeds under ground, look how pretty they look. We all get excited when we first notice or witness the seedlings protrude out of the ground and that is when we become happy that there is life.
We already learned from Genesis that the moon marks or is a sign for the months. We also remember that the rainbow was also something that could be seen. Since the crescent is the first thing that we see or witness of the moon, we therefore say that it is the crescent that that signals the beginning of the months.
Now let’s take a look at the word moon: There really is no Hebrew word for the phrase New Moon; however it is correctly understood as new moon by implications and definitions and common sense.
The Hebrew word for Moon is OT:2320 chodesh (kho’-desh); from OT:2318; the new moon; by implication, a month: -month (-ly), new moon.
This word is used 283 times in the OT in reference to the moon, month and/or the months (plural).
This word Hodesh, correctly implies a rebuilding or renewing: which is OT:2318 hadash (khaw-dash’); a primitive root; to be new; causatively, to rebuild:
This word Hadash is only used 10 times in the OT and it is never used in reference to the moon. This means that it holds a lot of weight when we are speaking of the moon especially at the beginning of the month. Remember that in the Hebrew there is no word or phrase for the term new moon, so when Yahweh said to Moshe (Moses) 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Ex 12:2-3. Moshe knew that Yahweh was talking about two things, the entire month and the beginning of the month. So Moshe would have known that it was the rebuilding which is implied in Hodesh which covers the first part of it, and the rest of the entire month which is also understood by Yahweh’s comments.
So Moshe understood that as soon as he witnessed the crescent part of the moon, that signaled the beginning of the months. The scribes or recorders would then count the days until the next month or new moon. The recorders would then keep track of the days, the months and of course the years.
It is commonly understood that the moon will orbit around the earth anywhere between 29 to 30 days; when our timeline begins at sunset. There is significant evidence which indicates that at one time, the moon took its orbit around the earth every 30 days. That however is not the case today and so we now have the possibility of having a 29 or 30 day scriptural month. The only way for us to know which however is for us to have somebody go out and spot the new moon either on the 29th or 30th day.
Now the Israelites were also in a habit of going to spot the new moon to establish the calendar, in fact when the new moon was spotted by the two, trained and trusted witnesses,
Deut 19:15 …. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Those witnesses would then report to the High Priest their sighting; it would be recorded, and then recognized. After it was recognized they would then signal the beginning or establishment of the month to those in the outskirts by a series of fires which would be lit through out the Diaspora or outskirts. Now in most cases of course the people go out and spot the new moon themselves and if they saw it they would then go and give the signal, much like it is today; only we do it through phone calls, e-mails and websites.
How to keep a record of the days of the month:
Keeping a record of the days of the month is quite simple; you simply take note of the evening when the new moon was seen or reported to be seen and then you take a calendar and you simply count the following day as day 1, keeping in mind that days begin and end at sunset. When you notice that you are on the 29th day of the month you then go back out to see if you can spot the new moon and if you do the cycle begins again.
How to spot the new moon:
The practice of spotting the new moon can be a very exciting one! You must first find an area where you have a view of the sunset without extreme obstacles. After the sun has set you then purposely and intently examine the area to the east, west and north of the sunset until you can spot the new moon. Because the visualization of the new moon is sometimes quite difficult you should take account of where you saw it and how the horns or crescent points were located. That way If there is any question as to whether or not you saw it, you can then compare notes with other people. Once you have seen it you blow the shofar to signal the beginning of the month and then we report it to other brethren via whatever means of communication we have available.