OBSERVANCE OF THE NEW MOONS

Like the weekly Sabbath and the  annual  observances, which  provide an opportunity for spiritual growth  and  nourishment,  God  designed the observance of the first day of each  new  lunar month as part of his plan for the spiritual nourishment  of  his people. Because God's Sacred Calendar is based on the lunar  cycle, the observance  of  the first day of each month  encourages  his people to maintain awareness of his calendar and his awesome plan for  humanity.   The New Moon, which is a sign that a  new  lunar month  has  begun, was observed by God's people  during  the  Old Testament times and the apostolic times and it will be observed by all mankind after the return of Jesus Christ.

The Sun And Moon

"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs,  and for  seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen.1:14 KJV). See  also Psa.89:34-37; 104:19; Lk.21:25.

In  order to gain a more accurate understanding of  what  Genesis 1:14  reveals about the New Moon, it is important to review verse 14  in terms of other translations and the Hebrew words of the text:

"Then God commanded, let lights appear in the sky to separate day from  night and to show the time when days, years, and  religious festivals begin. . ." (GNB).

It is obvious from the context of verse 14 that both the sun  and the moon must be used as devices to calculate the passage of  time, which is indicated by the Hebrew word 'ot'. Ot can mean a 'sign', 'mark', 'token', 'standard', 'proof' or  'warning.'  As  we will see, the new moon is  an  extremely important point of reference within God's  worship system.

The Mo-ed

Both the King James and the Good News Bibles use the words  'seasons'  and 'festival' for the Hebrew word 'mo'ed'.  However,  the Jewish paraphrased version called the  "Targum of Jonathan" gives a more  accurate understanding of the word 'mo'ed'  as  used  in verse 14:

"And let them be for signs and the times of the feasts, and to reckon with them the number of days, and sanctify the  beginnings of  years, and the intercalculations of the months and years and revolutions of the sun, and the new moons, and cycles."

The  word  'mo'ed' can have the meaning of an  'appointed  sign', 'appointed time', 'appointed season', 'place of assembly', or  'a set feast.'

Throughout the Hebrew scriptures, each of the annual festivals is called  a  'mo'ed' and sometimes appear with  the  Hebrew  word 'hag',  which  refers to a celebration. When  used  together, the words 'mo'ed' and 'hag' describe the annual festivals, each of  which is to  be observed in its specific agricultural season.  The word 'mo'ed'  as used in Genesis 1:14 does not refer to the four  seasons of  the lunar year; it refers to the  commanded  religious assemblies that are to be observed within three of these seasons.

Because  all of the annual festival seasons and  observances  are tied to the three yearly agricultural seasons of Palestine,  they can  remain  fixed  to certain dates within  a  lunar  calendar, whereas this relationship cannot be maintained  using  a  solar calendar, because fixed dates on a solar calendar are  not consistent  with the phases of the moon or the agricultural  seasons.

In order to help in gaining an understanding of what the will of God is concerning  the observance of the first day of the sacred  month, we have included articles in the New Moon topics list that answer the folowing questions:

Click here to be go back to the list of articles on the New Moon.

By B. L. Cocherell, file b5w13