Col 2.16-17 says “Therefore, let no man act as our judge in regard to food or drink (Lev 11 list) or in respect to a festival or a new moon(Lev 23) or a Sabbath day-things that are a shadow (picture) of what is to come.” In this lesson we are going to talk about the New Moon, when it begins and its cycle.
The biblical name is “Rosh Chodesh” meaning head of the moon, or month. When the first sliver of the moon is seen, that begins the month and the moon was seen as “born again” or renewed. Other names for this festival is the “Festival of the Born Again” and “The day no man knows.” We know that most believers have never been taught about the New Moon. Num 10.10 says that two silver trumpets are blown on the New Moon. When the Temple stood, they were blown at the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, overlooking the city.
Some think this was the “pinnacle of the Temple” (We believe the pinnacle was the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount). Anyway, the silver trumpets were blown and in between them was a rams horn (shofar). This was done 12 times a year and it was a festival. In 1 Sam 20.5, David is talking to Jonathan and we see that there was a feast and formal dinner with the king and David’s family also had a gathering on the New Moon.
What does this feast mean? God was not calling them to worship the moon, but it was a picture. In Gen 1.14 it says that God placed the sun and the moon in the heavens for signs and seasons (festivals). The sun was the “greater light” and was symbolic of the Messiah (Psa 19.1-6; Mal 4.1-6), while the moon was the “lesser light” and symbolized the believer. Remember what John the Baptist said, “he must increase and I must decrease.” This was a direct reference to this concept. Messiah was the “light of the world” and Mal 4.2 says that “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing on his wings.” The word wings in Hebrew is “kanaf” which means “corners.” On the corners of Jewish garments you would find the “tzitzit” or fringes and we know the woman with the bloody issue, and many others, were healed by touching the “wings” of Yeshua’s tallit which held the fringes (Mark 5.25-34).
Why is this connected to the New Moon? Why did God give a day for blowing of the shofar, giving offerings, people coming together and a meal? The moon has no light of its own, it reflects the greater light (sun=Yeshua). In John 3.1-7 we see Nicodemus coming to Yeshua at night. Did he use the New Moon festival to teach being born again? In the first century, born again meant when a non-Jew became a Jew. They went through an immersion in water and received what was called the “Nefesh mi ha shamayim” or “soul out of heaven.”
Could the moon be a picture of us? When the New Moon starts out, you can barely see it. Two witnesses had to testify that they saw it as it reflected the sun. About 14 days later you have a full moon. As the moon turns toward the sun, it reflects more light till it reaches its fullness. Two witnesses were used to bring in the Sabbath, there were two witnesses at the transfiguration and resurrection, two witnesses in the Birth-pains, at weddings and the New Moon.
In the Scriptures, there is an “overlapping” of concepts, so simple a child could understand it (Psa 119.130). These things were not meant for great scholars, but for children. At the time of the New Moon, two witnesses sighted and declared the new moon before a court. The calendar needed to be set because God’s festivals were on certain dates and theses were seen as appointments and rehearsals. The court would wait in session for word of the New Moon. The witnesses would come as fast as possible, and horses were provided to get them to Jerusalem. The witnesses must be credible. Then, after giving their testimony, these two men will be honored as king before all the people. The people were waiting in anticipation. Signal fires were lit on the hills, from Jerusalem on out. Later they sent messengers instead of light8ng fires.
Yeshua made reference to this in Matt 5.13-16 because we are his messengers and we are all “new moons.” The good news that Messiah had come started out from Jerusalem, too (Acts 1.8). We are lights that receive our oil and light from Messiah (Zech 4.2-14). The Menorah had a middle candle called “the shammash” or servant candle. It lights all the others and was symbolic of the Messiah, who was the servant. He came not to be served, but to serve. He also said that he was the vine and we are the branches. All the wicks of the Menorah were turned to the shammash (middle) candle.
In the Jewish prayer book, called a siddur, there are prayers on the New Moon. One would go out into a field and read Psa 148 and Num 28.1-15. There are blessings that are read and one of the themes for the New Moon is resurrection. Each month, the moon is “born again” and it will reach its fullness, then it wanes but it will wax strong again. It is the same with us. We are born from above, then we wax strong, but then we weaken with age and eventually die. But, we will come back because of the resurrection.
The writers of the Gospels and Epistles were taught all this, and it was taught to others (Col 2.16-17; 1 Cor 11.1-2; 1 Thes 5.1-5). In 1 Tim 3.15-16 it says that Timothy was taught these things from the sacred writings as an infant and he was in his 30’s when this was written. What were the “sacred writings?” It was the Torah and it was how he was to gain wisdom. Just like the Bible has two calendars, one physical (civil year) and spiritual (religious year), we have a physical birthday and a spiritual one.
The New Moon is a picture of salvation of the believers, reflecting the sun as we grow. It also speaks of a resurrection and it rises to be “born again.” These were shadows of things to come. For example, in Lam 1.16 the Temple was destroyed and there was no “comforter” for Jeremiah. But, John 14.16 says that after Yeshua’s “temple” was destroyed, there will be another comforter not far away, for a believer. It is then we can reflect the sun (Messiah). It is not a coincidence that the new moon is shaped like a sickle used in a harvest!
In closing, the New Moon happens on the same day as another festival, Yom Teruah or Rosh Ha Shanah. It will have the same idiomatic names as Rosh Ha Shanah like Yom Ha Kiseh, the Day of Concealment and it teaches the concealment, or hiding, of believers. Other verses that teach this concept are Isa 26.20; 27.5 and Zeph 2.3. In other words, Rosh Ha Shanah (Yom Teruah) will be a New Moon, and it will be the day of the Natzal (Rapture/gathering) and the resurrection of the dead will occur, when the moon (believers) will be hidden in heaven to reflect the light of the sun (Messiah).