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The Biblical Calendar: Part 1

In the beginning God established a method of calculating time and identifying seasons by using the sun and moon.  God said that men should use the setting sun to end the previous day and begin a new day; while the moon was intended to establish months and the sun was intended to establish years, even before God created mankind.

God said: Genesis 1:14 Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them [the light of the sun and moon] be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years.   Thus God set in motion the means of dividing and measuring time.

This is very clear and it was understood by all people including later by Israel that God intended that the LIGHT of these bodies be used to establish days, months and years.  God clearly commanded that we use the LIGHT and not the darkness of conjunctions to be used to begin the months. 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

We know that the sun and moon already existed since God caused the light to shine on the surface of the earth – by removing the heavy fog and setting the bodies in motion – on the first day, therefore we know that the following refers to setting the bodies in motion and is not a reference to original creation. 

1:16 And God made [Strong’s 6213 to make, to attend to, to put in order] two great lights; the greater light [the sun] to rule [dominate] the day, and the lesser light [the moon] to rule [dominate]  the night: he made the stars [previously made the stars and now caused them to shine on the earth by removing the fog] also. 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven [caused them to be seen over all the earth by beginning the full rotation of the earth] to give light upon the earth, 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Dictionaries define the word CALENDAR as; A means of measuring the passing of time by Days, Weeks, Months and Years. 

God set in motion a simple astronomical calendar for all people.  It was not necessary to have clocks or watches or to rely on others to determine Days, Weeks Months and Years; one need only look and see the sun set to know that the day had ended and a new day had begun.  In the same way one need only see that there was no moonlight for a day or two and then see the first new light of the moon to set the end of the old month and begin the new month.

Days

God first defined days by concluding each creation day with the phrase  Genesis 1:5 . . .  And the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1:8 . . . And the evening and the morning were the second day etc. etc. 

In support of this fact the terms sunset and evening or end of the day are used synonymously in Joshua. 

Joshua 8:29  And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree,

Joshua 10:26  And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening. 10:27 And it came to pass at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded,

Weeks

Every Seventh Day was Set Apart by God for godly use and the continual cycle of sevens created the week.  This is covered in detail in the Sabbath Section.

Months

Originally everything that God had made was GOOD and there were 12 thirty day months in each solar year.  From creation the biblical years were a consistent 12 thirty day months making each year 360 days long.  Mentions of years during the Noachian flood and the various lives of the ancients, needs to be understood as being consistent 360 day years.

In the same way David and Saul [and everyone else] knew when the new moon would begin because the months were always a consistent 30 days long followed by the first visible light of a new moon. 

The Biblical New Moon is NOT the same as today’s astronomical new moon which is considered by astronomers to be the conjunction when there is no moonlight at all. 

No light at all cannot be the beginning of the first light of the moon, rather it has NO light whatsoever; Biblically the month begins with the first visible LIGHT of the moon..

Early civilizations around the world used calendars with months of 30 days and years of 360 days. These calendars functioned well until sometime in the 8th century BC when it suddenly became necessary to change the calendars. Then most civilizations around the world began to modify their calendars to allow for 5 extra days for the solar year and 6 fewer days for a lunar year of 12 full months; a modern lunar year is 354 days (12 months x 29.5 days).

The number of days in a year change was marked by the second King of Rome, Numa Pompilius, and by his Jewish contemporary, King Hezekiah. Later other civilizations adopted the new 365 day year as well. These events are thought by some to be  linked with the shadow on the sundial going back 10 degrees in the days of Hezekiah around 700-750 BC.

The change in the number of days in a solar year and in the lunar month as well, in about the 8th century B.C. necessitated the intercalation of a 13th month every so often to keep the lunar year in line with the seasons and the solar year.

This new more complicated calendric system began about the time of Hezekiah which after that would have been needed through the days of Jesus Christ and is still needed today. 

About the time of Hezekiah the Sanhedrin began to set the new moons at Jerusalem and also set the new year from Jerusalem. 

God Chooses Jerusalem

God gave Moses instructions that once they had entered the land they were to be careful not to sacrifice just anywhere they wanted but were to come before God at the place of his tabernacle or later the temple to sacrifice and worship.

Deuteronomy 12:5  But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come.

Later God chose Jerusalem during the life of David and Solomon built the Temple where the people were to go to seek God.

2 Chronicles 7:12 And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.

7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

7:15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.

7:16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

Micah 4:2  And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

God chose Jerusalem as the place to build his Holy Temple where he would dwell among his people. In the very near future, Messiah the Christ is coming and a new millennial Temple will be built (Ezekiel 40 – 48) and he will rule the world from the new millennial Holy Temple in Jerusalem. 

For the past nineteen hundred years since the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, observance of the first light new moons from Jerusalem has not been possible, and the Rabbins first calculated the first visible light of the moon and then later replaced the Biblical Calendar with what they themselves regard as a temporary expedient until a new Sanhedrin is formed or Messiah comes to restore the Biblical Calendar. 

Today we have access to Jerusalem and to sighting the new moon as God has commanded, from the city which will soon be the capital of  the whole earth; and today Jesus Christ is working to restore the Biblical Calendar of Holy Scripture and focus the eyes of the world on Jerusalem.

Isaiah 66:23 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.

In the days of Hezekiah when a calendar change was needed because of the orbital changes of the sun and moon, they did not begin to go searching across the nation looking for a place to see the first visible light of the new moon, but set the new months by the light of the moon as seen from Jerusalem in the vicinity of the Temple; because the nation was to look to Jerusalem and the Temple for guidance. 

In the same way they set the new year by the maturing barley in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem, where it would be cut when the nation was to gathered at Jerusalem for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Since after Hezekiah the moon’s cycle has been and still is no more than 30 days, therefore no month can be longer than 30 days; the Sanhedrin would simply count 27 days from the previous month’s sighting to begin looking for the next New Moon. 

Because of the necessity to declare the New Moons as soon as possible after sunset, observers watched for the first visible light of  the New Moon from the immediate vicinity of the Temple in Jerusalem.  Those who thought they saw the moon’s first light then rushed to give witness to a Special Calendar Committee of the Mosaic 70 [Sanhedrin] established for that purpose and when two or more credible witness were heard, the committee sanctified the new month and the news was sent out across the nation by signal fires. 

They could of course easily calculate the first visible light of the New Moon, but potential issues like possible cloud cover or a short lag time between sunset and moonset made actual sightings essential.  

Today the first visible light of the new moon as seen by normal eyesight unaided by optical magnification [binoculars or telescopes] from Jerusalem begins each Biblical Month.

 

The New Moon is the Head of the Month

The Head of the month is determined by the first visible light of the new moon, and is a New Beginning and a special time to remember the Headship of God over his Creation. We are to observe the first light of the new moon at Jerusalem to remember that the Creator is the true HEAD of the Ekklesia, remembering that it is the spiritual LIGHT of God which drives away the darkness of ignorance. 

The Moon being new, pictures a New Beginning and a monthly REMINDER to dedicate ourselves to godliness, to particularly repent of sin; and to acknowledge the Authority of God as our Sovereign King and HEAD. 

God in his wisdom has given us the weekly Sabbath to worship Him, and he has given us a monthly New Moon on which to worship Him, and he has given us His annual Festivals: All for our good, as a help to keep our hearts and minds always on Him and the Word that brings peace and life eternal!

The Blasting of Trumpets

In the law of God the blasting of the Silver Trumpets is enjoined: to call the people to God. The two silver trumpets were also to be sounded over all Sabbath, New Moon and Festival sacrifices offered by the high priest on behalf of the whole people; to call on God to remember the people and accept the sacrifices offered by the high priest on behalf of all the people. 

In spiritual New Covenant terms, the two silver trumpets were a figure of calling all people to Christ by God the Father; and of Christ calling all people to God the Father [therefore there are two silver trumpets]; and of calling on God the Father to remember  [see] and accept the sacrifice offered by Christ as our spiritual High Priest.

Numbers 10:10   Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days [Sabbaths, Appointed Times and Festivals] , and in the beginnings of your months [New Moons] , ye shall blow with the [the two silver] trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings [The special offerings of those days; not the personal offerings made at other times]; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God [To call you to remember and come to God]: I am the LORD your God.

The sounding of the silver trumpets called on God to remember the people and to accept the sacrifices made by the high priest for the whole people; this being a physical type of calling on God to remember the people and to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, offered by the eternal High Priest, for the people!

The Two Silver Trumpets and the Shofar

There are two different kinds of trumpets:  First the two silver trumpets to be blasted by the priests calling God to remember the people and calling the people to God [I.E. Reconciling the two] at the place that God has placed his name; and second, the shofar of rejoicing in every community throughout the land.

Leviticus 23:23  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23:24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets  [Strong’s 8643 Shout for joy, hence the rejoicing of sounding the shofar being added to the silver trumpets], an holy convocation. 23:25 Ye shall do no servile [work of any kind] work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

Numbers 29:1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets [8643 Shout for joy, hence the rejoicing of sounding the shofar being added to the silver trumpets] unto you.

When the temple was destroyed and the two silver trumpets lost; the sounding of the two silver trumpets was lost for a time, but the blasting of the shofars continues. 

The sounding of the silver trumpets was a type of calling God to remember the people and of calling the people to remember and come to God.   

 

The New Moon Sacrifices

Besides the blasting of trumpets on every New Moon day, certain sacrifices were ordered to be offered on the New Moon (Num 28:11-15).  

All sacrifices in the Sacrificial System are lessons and allegories of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

The sin offering atones for repented sin, the physical sin offering was representative of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who fully and completely atones for sincerely repented sin. 

The Burnt Offering signifies wholehearted service to God the Father; the Burnt Offering was entirely consumed by fire on the altar with the smoke rising as a pleasant odor to God the Father.

The spiritual significance of the Burnt Offering being a life of wholehearted service to God the Father; which is a very pleasant perfume of service to God the Father in heaven. 

The Burnt Offering is typical of the life of Christ in wholehearted service to God the Father, Jesus giving himself totally in service to God the Father; Which is an example that we are to follow.

The New Moon Day Burnt Offerings, consisted of bullocks which are typical of strong patient service bringing forth much increase.   The bullock or bull pictures the strong patient labor of Jesus Christ which brings forth much increase in bringing in the fruits of humanity into the family of God. 

Proverbs 14:4  Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

The ram pictures Jesus Christ as the HEAD of the flock of God; and the spotless lambs picture submissive meekness and humility before God the Father and a total complete innocence of any selfishness, guile or sin. 

Numbers 28:11-15 And in the beginnings of your months [on the New Moons] ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; 28:12 And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram;

The grain [unleavened bread] offering pictures Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life, and the wine offering pictures the shed blood of Christ; these two being explained by Christ at his last Passover in the flesh.

28:13 And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat [grain] offering unto one [each] lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.

28:14 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 throughout the months of the year.

The Passover offering by every individual applied to the called out of Egypt [an analogy of the spiritual first fruits] and may be a lamb or a goat kid: yet here at the beginning of every month, as at the Fast of Atonement, a kid of the goats is specifically commanded as a sin offering by the high priest for the whole people. 

28:15 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.

When we say the words “the Lamb of God” it is very important that we understand what is meant by the application of the term lamb to Jesus Christ.  Lamb means far more than some helpless creature; it means absolute pure innocence and guiltlessness of any sin.

All these sacrifices picture Jesus Christ in his service to God the Father, for the people; and are also an example that we should follow, purifying ourselves from all guile and sin and serving God the Father in Christ-like wholehearted zeal.

We are commanded to sanctify every month by these sacrifices, as long as the physical Temple stands; and in the absence of a physical Temple and in spiritual New Covenant terms, we are to sanctify each new month with a worship service [Bible Study], acknowledging that the Creator has made all things and that he alone is the personal Head of every called out individual; remembering the wholehearted service of Christ to God the Father – as an example for us – to save humanity from bondage to sin and eternal death.

Edershiem:These special New Moon sacrifices most appropriately mark ‘the beginnings of months’ (Num 28:11). It is a universal principle, that ‘the first’ always stands for the whole— And so the burnt-offerings and the sin-offerings at ‘the beginning’ of each month consecrated or sanctified [set apart and dedicated to God] the entire month.”

Brethren, by starting our months by the biblical first visible Light of the New Moon as seen from Jerusalem as the Creator commanded us in Genesis 1 and sanctifying what God has created and by coming before God with a Bible Study:  We are obeying God, acknowledging God as Creator of all things, and dedicating ourselves to godliness during the coming month. 

The weekly Sabbath is a time to dedicate ourselves to God and acknowledge His sovereignty as Creator; and the New Moons are a consecration of the month to God and a monthly re-dedication of ourselves to our Mighty God! 

 

The Order of Service on New Moon Days

 

A special committee of the 70, established as New Moon experts, examined witnesses in the early evening soon after sunset to determine the appearance of the new moon.  As soon as two or more credible witness were proven, the proclamation of the Council “It is sanctified!” consecrated the month and New Moon day. 

The council did not establish or set the New Moon day; they proclaimed what God had done and which had been seen by witnesses.  They took no decision upon themselves they merely authenticated the two or more witnesses on behalf of the whole nation.

Immediately afterwards, the priests blew the silver trumpets which marked the monthly New Moon Feast; and the watchers were rewarded with a meal.

Then in the morning after the morning daily sacrifice, the prescribed New Moon offerings were brought, the blood of the burnt-offerings being thrown round the base of the altar below the red line, and the rest poured out into the channel at the south side of the altar; while the blood of the sin-offering was sprinkled or dropped from the finger on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering, beginning from the east, the rest being poured out, as that of the burnt-offerings.

 

New Moon Observance

Nowhere are the New Moons commanded to be observed as Holy Days upon which no work may be done.  The New Moons are commanded to be observed just like Passover and Wave Offering are commanded to be observed; as Appointed Times without the status of Holy Days.

The New Moon observance is a sanctification of the beginning of a New Month and is commanded to be observed in the scriptures.  The New Moon should be observed with a special Bible Study and fellowship occasion.

This is a vital part of the worship of God about which little is known, perhaps because most have not been keeping it.  It is by the doing, that most learning comes.  All flesh will be required to worship on the New Moon in God’s kingdom.

What is the New Moon? What does God say about it in the scriptures?

What does it mean for us today?

Let’s look by beginning in the New Testament, there we will find that the Apostle Paul is telling the brethren in Colosse not to be worried about someone criticizing them over its observance.

Colossians  2:16 Do not let anyone judge [condemn] you in eating, or in drinking, or in part of a feast,or of a new moon, or of Sabbaths,

The Gentile converts in Colossae were learning to practice the keeping of the New Moons. And as they were doing so, some people were making fun of them for observing Jewish customs!  

Remember that at this time the Greeks were observing the Calendar of Meton (see the Rabbinic Calendar history section), the forerunner of today’s Rabbinic Calendar and were criticizing these converts for  observing God’s new moons instead of keeping what amounted to today’s Rabbinic Calendar! and Paul was defending them for rejecting today’s Rabbinic Calendar!

We see that they were observing the laws of God, and people were saying that they did not need to do so. But what we find here most interesting is the fact that the “New Moons” are mentioned along with the Feast Days, and the Sabbaths. Paul tells us that it was common practice for the Church of God to keep the New Moons.

Some people say that because the New Moon was not established as a Holy Day, it should not be kept!  Yet, the same thing could be said about the Passover not being a Holy Day!  Both the Passover AND the New Moons were commanded to be observed and neither are declared to be Holy Days!

Lets continue exploring the “New Moons” throughout the scripture and see what God leads us to understand as we seek to please him.

Jesus Christ will require New Moons to be observed when he comes

God tells us through Isaiah that all people will come to worship Him on the New Moons, just the same as on the Sabbaths!

Isaiah 66:22-24 For as the new heavens and the new earth which I make stand before Me, declares Jehovah, so your seed and your name shall stand. 66:23 And it will be, from new moon to its new moon, and from Sabbath to its Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says YHVH.

Ezekiel  46:1 So says the Lord YHVH: The gate of the inner court that faces the east shall be shut the six days of work. But on the Sabbath day it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.

The court of the Temple where people will worship will be closed on the regular week days. But on the Sabbath day, and on the “New Moon” it will be open!

And the people will be worshiping God on the New Moons and they will offer sacrifices to God during that day!!!

Ezekiel 46:3 And the people of the land shall worship at the door of that gate on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, before YHVH.

A sacrifice on the New Moons in the millennial Temple  Ezekiel 46:6 And in the day of the new moon: a bull without blemish, a son of the herd, and six lambs, and a ram, they shall be without blemish,

 

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