|Written by Congregation Shema Yisrael|
n Acts 3:-21 Kefa (Peter) teaches that "The Messiah...has to remain in heaven until the time comes for restoring everything, as God saild long ago, when he spoke through the holy prophets." We are in this time of restoration. We have witnessed Israel being restored to the land. Jewish believers are being restored to their place in the body of the Messsiah through Messianic Judaism. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are being reactivated in the body of the Messiah. And among Messianic Jews, the Holy Days of Leviticus 23 are being observed again.
"Rosh Hodesh" is Hebrew for the "Head of the Month." It is the first day of the month in the Biblical calendar. This appointed time of the New Moon is being restored by Messianic Judaism. Just exactly what is it? Why celebrate it? How should we observe it? What is the meaning of the time of the New Moon? Is there a special significance to it? These are questions to which the right answers are being found.
The scriptures are filled with warnings about worshiping the moon. Needless to say: we do not worship the moon. What we do is worship the Creator at the divinely appointed time of the New Moon.Celebrating Rosh Hodesh
God appointed the moon to be a what Hebrew calls a moadim, an appointed time (see Genesis 1:14 and Psalm 104:19). This is underscored by Amos 8:5 where the time of the New Moon is reflected as a Sabbath day wherein there is no buying nor selling: "You say, "When will the new moon be gone/ so we may market our grain?/ and the sabbath, so we can sell wheat..." How should this appointed time be observed? To answer this question, one can obtain cues from how it was observed in the past as revealed in the Tenach.
During the observance of the time of the New Moon there was the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn, or trumpet). Psalm 81:3 reveals to us that not only was it an appointed time and a solemn feast day, but that it was a time of the blowing of the trumpet. "Sound the shofar at the new moon..."
We learn also that it was a time dedicated to worshiping God. Ezekiel 46:3 tells us: "The people of the land are also to prostrate themselves in worship before the Lord at the entrance to that gate on the sabbaths and on the new moons." And in Ezekiel 40:44 we learn: "Outside the inner gate, in the inner courtyard, were rooms for the singers..." The people worshiped and the singers sang.
It was a time of burning sweet incense before the Lord as shown in II Chron. 2:4: "Behold, I will build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel."
It was also a time to give a free will offering. Ezra 3:5 tells us "And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and of everyone that willingly offered a free will offering unto the Lord."
It was also a time to make reconciliation before God for the House of Israel. Ezekiel 45:17 says "The prince's obligation will be to present the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings at the feasts, on the new moons, and on the sabbaths--all the appointed times of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offerings, grain offerings, and the burnt offerings, and peace offerings to make reconciliation for the house of Israel." Oblations were also made during the New Moons (Isaiah 1:13) in keeping with the theme of reconciliation. (Also see First Chronicles 23:31, Second Chronicles 2:4, 8:13, & 31:3, Ezra 3:5, and Nehemiah 10:33.)
And with all this, Hosea 2:11 hints that it was also a time of mirth. The passage infers it: "I will also cause her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths...." (A temporary cessation due to judgement, since Second Chronicles 2:4 states that this is an "ordinance for ever to Israel.")
So in looking at how the time of the New Moon was observed, we see the following major themes:
- blowing of the shofar
- worship and singing
- sweet incense
- free will offering
- reconciliation for the House of Israel
It is clear from Isaiah 66:22-23 that celebrating Rosh Hodesh is appropriate for believers today and even during the Millennial reign of our Messiah: "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." So, how should believers celebrate Rosh Hodesh? Let us re-examine the list above.
Blowing of the shofar is important because this has an effect in the spirit realm by way of spiritual warfare, whose benefits ought to be pursued.
Sweet incense is a type for petitional prayer! We see this from Rev. 5:8: "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints."
A free will offering today can be money, but it can be an offering of thanksgiving or praise to go along with the time of worship. It can be an offering of a vow (but vows have to be kept, otherwise they are displeasing), or an offering of our personal time.
Reconciliation for the House of Israel can be made by way of intercession which is different from petitional prayer in that intercession is not for yourself, it is on behalf of someone else. And intercession includes identifying with those being interceded for, and travailing for them, and thereby coming to a place of authority before God on their behalf. That is what Yeshua is doing in heaven for us right now (see First John 2:1-2).
Of course, Yeshua is also our sacrifice, and our offering. So, that burnt offerings, drink offerings, meat offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and oblations are now replaced by a time of personal confession of sin and of repentance.
Mirth. Going into the House of the Lord with other believers and worshiping and praising is really a celebration. During these times, Israel was commanded to rejoice and be glad before the Lord. It is a command! "Serve the Lord with gladness. Enter his presence with joyful songs." -Psalm 100:2.The Significance of Rosh Hodesh
The Biblical calendar is a lunar calendar and not a solar calendar as we are accustomed to. The lunar month begins with the start of the New Moon--which is when the first sliver of light appears when the moon is in total darkness.
At first glance, it may appear strange that the time of the New Moon begins when the moon is basically in darkness. But when we consider the operation of God, it is not quite so strange. The creation of the universe began with total darkness. "Darkness was upon the face of the deep...And God said, let there be light: and there was light." (Genesis 1:2-3). Later on, the creation of the first day began with the evening. Genesis 1:5 says: "So there was evening and there was morning, one day." This verse is why a day of the Hebrew calendar lasts from sunset to sunset.
Furthermore, Isaiah 60:2 reads, "...darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people, but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee." We see that in God's economy, we move from darkness to light--and then from "glory to glory" (greater light to greater light) (Second Corinthians 3:18). The New Moon starts out with a dark moon after that the first sliver of light is seen, but it moves unto full light. It's prophetic. We are in darkness now, but we are moving unto his glorious light.
In the book of Ezekiel, there is an awesome revelation about the time of the New Moon. In Ezekiel 46:1 we read: "Thus saith The Lord God, the gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened." Now the prophet Ezekiel was speaking of what he was seeing in his day in the natural. But we know that the patterns that we see here on earth are types of the real (the heavenly). Moses was to follow the patterns given to him precisely. In Heb. 8:5 we read: "Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." And in Hebrews 9:24 we see: "For Messiah is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" This then is the awesome revelation of Ezekiel: that the gates of the inner court of heaven are open at the time of the New Moon!
What is the deeper meaning of the time of the New Moon? For one thing, it speaks of favor with God. The New Moon is a time of divine invitation. In the book of Esther, one quickly grasps what a difference the favor of the king makes! Now, what about the favor of the Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords?
In Esther 4:11, we read: "All the kings servants, and the people of the kings provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live..."
And in Esther 5:1-2 we read similarly: "Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood on the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre."
On the day of the New Moon, we have favor; the heavenly gate of the inner court is open unto us and we can enter in. We have a royal invitation to do so. We need to grasp this one thing: as New Covenant believers we have access to God at any time we choose to seek Him. But in the time of the New Moon, God is seeking to have access to us!
The inner court is no ordinary place. It is a place of glory! It is a place of divine visitation! Look at Ezekiel 10:3-4: "Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the hreshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord's glory."
I asked the Lord to give me one more thing to share about the time of the New Moon, and I heard the Spirit say: "If you love me, I will manifest myself to you." You see at this appointed time, you are not required to meet with God, though He has ordained this time to meet with you. You will meet with Him at this time for only one reason: that You love him.
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