OBSERVANCE OF THE NEW MOONSBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Chapter Index
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 purpose of this study is to discover some of the meanings of the New Moon observance.
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.
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 will consider the following questions in this study: