God’s plan for the world He will recreate: “‘All people will come to worship me every Sabbath and every New Moon,’ says the LORD.” (Isa. 66:22-23)
|New Moon in the Bible|
Source: Torrey, R.A., Reverend. “Entry for ‘Feast of the new moon,'” The New Topical Text Book.
Just as with the other appointments God makes with humanity, Rosh Chodesh, Hebrew for “head of the month,” is another that provides a visible cycle of nature for keeping track of when the celebration will take place. The instruction for observing the celebration is in the Bible: Numbers 29. Historically, God’s people would determine the New Moon by the sighting of the first sliver of the waxing crescent by at least two people. Since the Middle Ages, astronomical calculations have allowed for the anticipation of the celebration worldwide.
God doesn’t give us much of a clue as to what He wants to teach us on each New Moon. Visibly the disc of the moon goes through phases from full reflection to full shadow and back again, and wise people have speculated it has something to do with renewal of ourselves. Just as the Creator said He made the first couple in His image and sought to restore them when they foolishly wandered after what they thought was something better, we can remember that He continually recreates us to fully reflect the light — true wisdom and righteous living — that He gives to us.
Unlike those who pay homage to the “mystic rhythms” of the sun, moon and stars because they detect something greater than the sum of the “parts” at work, we worship the Creator of those celestial works of engineering prowess and beauty.
Hallel Fellowship gathers on the New Moon to celebrate God’s blessings and seek His sustaining power in prayer, contemplate on of the chapters from the Bible book of Psalms and enjoy a meal together. We’ve noticed by keeping a log of the blessings asked for and received from one New Moon to another that perhaps that is what God is after, wanting us take time to remember Who in our lives really matters above the busyness that saps our energy and time.
If you would like to celebrate the New Moon with Hallel Fellowship, visit the calendar page and look for the tentatively scheduled New Moon meeting for each month, usually held at 6 p.m. If you have questions about the New Moon or any other of God’s appointments with the world, contact Richard Agee.
A detailed exploration of these passages can take a lot of time and space, and others have tackled the question already.2 However, a simple answer to this question of whether apostle Paul is commanding believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) to abandon the “feasts of the LORD” is to read the entire chapter and sometimes the whole letter — a good idea anyway — to get the context of statements such as these. An example of the importance of context is Col. 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
- Is Paul talking about God’s Word being “empty deception” and “tradition of men”?
- Consider Yeshua’s words to the Pharisees when they had extrapolated Bible instructions to exclusionary ends, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:8 NIV). If the Pharisees’ problem was putting their traditions and interpretations ahead of the plain meaning of God’s written Word, how can Yeshua take issue with them if large parts of God’s Word — the foundation for all the writings of the prophets, psalmists and Gospel writers — now was “traditions of men”?
- The key issue in Colossians and Galatians is putting tradition ahead of the “spirit” of God’s Word, barring new believers from the congregation until they comply with the traditions. Please read Acts 15 and pay close attention to who required what of whom and at what stage of the spiritual life.
- What were the requirements for new believers?
- How were they expected to grow spiritually?
- If the requirements on new believers were to be minimal “for [because] Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21), does that sound like the early assembly of believers in Yeshua considered the teachings Moses conveyed, including the New Moon and other “feasts of the LORD,” to be “philosophy” and “elementary principles of the world”?
2 McKee, J.K. “Does the New Testament Annul the Biblical Appointments?” 2002. Hegg, Tim. “Are the Festivals (Moedim) for Today?” (PDF) 2001.