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The New Moons and the New Moon Festival


"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." Revelation 12:1.

"Frequently in the Scriptures a woman is used to represent the church." (Bible Readings for the Home, p.206). In the above Scripture the True Church is pictured as standing on the moon. Since the church is not literally meeting upon the moon, we must consider this Scripture as having symbolic significance. One is easily convinced that to be "clothed with the sun" is to have "the wedding garment" or the pure character of Christ's Righteousness. It is commonly considered that the "crown of twelve stars" represents the twelve apostles or possibly the twelve tribes of Israel. However "the moon under her feet" has not been explained in a satisfactory manner.

The first time the moon is referred to in the Bible is Genesis 1:16; "...the lesser light to rule the night...(v.17) And God set them [the sun, moon, and stars] in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, (v.18) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness...". We see clearly then that the functions of the sun, moon, and stars as created by God are 1) light-bearers, and 2) rulers. In symbol, all these "light-bearing rulers" are used by John in Revelation 12:1 with respect to the "sign [margin] in heaven" which is focusing on the "True Church" of the last dispensation.

Christ declares Himself to be "...the light of the world...the light of life." John 8:12. John magnifies this thought in John 1:4,5; "In Him [Christ] was life; and the life was the light of men [mankind or the church]." So the life of the Church is the Son of God or the "Sun of Righteousness" (Malachi 4:2). "[Christ] was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light." Matthew 17:2. The True Church knows that "YAH is OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS". Jeremiah 33:16. "...He that glorieth, let him glory in YAH." 1 Corinthians 1:31.

Does the moon glory in and of itself? God forbid! The glory of the moon is the sun. The "Sun of Righteousness" is the glory of the Church. The moon possesses no life in itself and produces no light of itself. As a dead body, the moon travels its prescribed course ordained by the Creator. There is no deviation from the path. "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye appear with Him in glory...ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him [the new man]." Colossians 3:3,4,9,10. "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion ...'". Genesis 1:26. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:11. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure...That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without blemish, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." Philippians 2:13,15. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16. "Trials patiently borne, blessings gratefully received, temptations manfully resisted, meekness, kindness, mercy, and love habitually revealed, are the lights that shine forth in the character in contrast with the darkness of the selfish heart, into which the light of life has never shone." (The Mount of Blessing, p.44). The "Sun of Righteousness" says, "Ye are the light of the world." Matthew 5:14. But "without Me ye can do nothing." John 15:5. "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John [the Baptist]. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light...He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light." John 1:6-8. In this respect John the Baptist was a "lesser light"--as it is written of him, "...to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1:79. So we conclude that the moon has significant meaning in symbolizing the humanity of the church and the church's function as "a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness...". Romans 2:19. Every true believer catches the beams from the Morning Star and transmits the light to those who sit in darkness, whether they be in their own neighborhood or in regions beyond. Christ and His people are co-partners in the great work of saving the world.

What then of The New Moons? Let our discussion begin with some documentation of their historical background.

1) The Temple, by A. Edersheim, p. 288.

Scarcely any other festive season could have left so continuous an impression on the religious life of Israel as the "New Moons"....It was intended to give a hallowed character to each month.

2) The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 8, p. 171.

NEW MOON, the first day or beginning of the month, which had a ritual significance from the earliest times. In the pre-Exilic period all work and trade ceased on the New Moon, as on the Sabbath (Amos 8:5)...At that time the New Moon had not yet been fixed for all time by means of astronomical calculations, but used to be solemnly proclaimed each month after the reappearance of the crescent of the moon...It was not until the middle of the 4th cent. B.C.E. that the astronomical calculation of the new moon, which had, for a long time, and up to that period, been guarded as the secret knowledge of the dynasty of the Patriarchs in Palestine, was made public.

3) The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. IX, pp. 243-244.

The period of New Moon was, in pre-exilic times, celebrated by cessation of labor; it was superior even to the Sabbath-day...but it lost its importance during the Exile and was observed mainly as the determining factor of the calendar with its festivals...In the Temple, New Moon was celebrated by special sacrifices, and by the blowing of the trumpet...The waxing and waning of the moon reminded the sages of Israel's renewal, especially with reference to the prophecy that in the future the "light of the moon will be like the light of the sun" (Isa. 30:26), as well as of the Messiah, who for certain times is concealed and then again revealed.

4) New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol.X, p. 382.

The antiquity of the feast [of the New Moon] is clear from allusions in the Prophets, and a New-Moon dinner at the royal court, requiring ritual purity for participation, is described in 1 Sm 20:5-29. Like the Sabbath, it was a day of rest from work...The New Moon Day was observed throughout OT times (e.g., Ezr 3:5; Neh 10:33) and in NT times as well (Col 2:16), but it gradually lost its importance and disappeared from Jewish life.

5) The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VII, p. 494.

The new-moon festival as an occasion of joyous character seems to belong to the oldest stratum of Hebrew observance...it was in popular practise a day of assembling at the sanctuaries with offerings...that the new moon was regarded as one of high observance is shown by the directions to blow the trumpets...

6) Shadows of His Sacrifice, by Leslie Hardinge, pp. 79-80.

Every month had a new moon festival marking the first day....Each month, as the new moon was sighted, the priest took the trumpet and sounded a blast. On the Mount of Olives he would light a fire, and all over Palestine these would be strategically placed on mountain tops. When they saw that flame, they would know the new month had been sanctified. The day that followed...the people had a holiday...New moon day was especially a festival for women. If they wished to have a Bible study they might visit the prophet. (II Kgs 4:23). The Sabbath and the new moon are two festivals we shall observe in the New Earth. (Isa. 66:23). Each "New Moonth" day we shall go up to Jerusalem to eat the new fruit from the Tree of Life. (Rev. 22:1). The purpose of that fruit is for the healing of the nations. Then "there will be no more curse." Every month God provided a day in which the women could look forward to the time when the curse would be over. The healing power for the life cycle of humanity will be restored in the new heavens and the new earth. Every month in this festival the mystic church (symbolized by a virtuous woman) was to look forward to the time of her complete restoration.

7) SDA Bible Commentary, Encyclopedia, Vol. X, p. 735.

Moon. The chief luminary ordained by the Creator "to rule the night" (Gen 1:16; Ps 136:9). The Hebrew calendar, like that of most ancient nations, was based on the repeated circuit of the moon around the earth as marked off by successive new moons...Among the Hebrews the day of the new moon, or the 1st of the month, was set apart as a day for special worship and feasting (1 Sa 20:5). Trumpets were blown to announce the day (Ps 81:3; cf. Num 10:10), ordinary labor was suspended (Amos 8:5), and additional sacrifices were prescribed (Num 28:11-14)...

8) Liberty, "Answers to Sabbath Questions", Vol. 86, #5, p. 25.

[With reference to Col. 2:14-16] We conclude then that the document nailed to the cross is not the law in general or the Sabbath in particular, but rather the record of our sins. Any attempt to read into it a reference to the Sabbath, or to any other Old Testament ordinance [including New Moons], is unwarranted, gratuitous fantasy. (Brackets supplied.)

We may conclude from the foregoing references that the New Moon was a significant day in the experience of Israel, both in Old Testament and New Testament. No where in the Bible did God cancel Israel's obligation to observe it, and "type" has never met "anti-type". In fact, Sabbath-keepers have only one text in all of the Scriptures to prove the sanctity of the Sabbath in the future New Earth. It is written, "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 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." Isaiah 66:22,23. Notice that the New Moon is connected with the Sabbath in the earth made new. In a reference above, Leslie Hardinge suggests that New Moon Day will be the day when the redeemed will eat from the Tree of Life.

The woman who stands on the moon in Revelation 12:1 knows about and observes the New Moon Festival of Humility. To the "remnant of her seed" this festival is an integral part of their sanctification and preparation for translation at the second coming of Jesus, the Christ. A popular Christian author writes, "Humanity has in itself no light. Apart from Christ we are like an unkindled taper [candle], like the moon when her face is turned away from the sun [at the time of the New Moon]; we have not a single ray of brightness to shed into the darkness of the world. But when we turn toward the Sun of Righteousness, when we come in touch with Christ, the whole soul is aglow with the brightness of the divine presence." (Brackets supplied; The Mount of Blessing, p.40).

The New Moon Festival of Humility is understood by Christ's Church to be His sign of humility and our dependence on Him for life, both now and forever. The Ordinance of Humility and the Lord's Supper are observed monthly to keep fresh in our minds the scenes of Calvary and the coming day of redemption and the soon appearing of our blessed Savior. We eat of the Tree of Life (in symbol) every New Moon Day because Christ is our life--we partake of the flesh and blood of the Sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is eating of the fruit of the Tree of Life. The living oracles of God, "It is written", are leaves of the Tree of Life, which human beings are to eat in order to gain spiritual life. As we eat the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, they become unto us eternal life, "The words that I speak unto you", He said, "they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). The restoring, vital current from Christ heals the wounds that sin has made. "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3.

"The kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for His Son....many are called but few are chosen." Matthew 22:2-14. The trumpet is to be blown throughout the land announcing the wedding feast. Only those who have the proper preparation will be allowed in attendance. We are called to make preparation, blow the trumpet with a "certain sound", and help others in their preparation. YAH has given His people, "the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17), the New Moon Festival of Humility as a "sign in heaven".


RELATED LINKS

New Moon Study
Feast Days Tract

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