Rosh Chodesh, the original "New Moon"

  • WHAT IS ROSH CHODESH?
  • WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ROSH CHODESH?
  • SHOULD I OBSERVE IT?
  • WHEN DID IT START?

 

With many people today discovering the Hebraic roots of the faith, it is very understandable that there would be many questions. One question that normally takes a month or two to get around to asking is: “What is a Rosh Chodesh?” There are many articles on this subject that you may be able to find on the web. Actually the abundance of articles is why I haven’t written about it before. This article will hopefully explain some of the basic concepts of Rosh Chodesh to you and let you examine the Scriptures to find deeper relevance to your walk.

Let’s start with a little background. With any society it is important that we be able to communicate with one another. One aspect of communication is being able to meet with one another. We all use a calendar date and a time when we are expecting to meet with someone. This is no different in Biblical times. In the 4th century C.E., Hillel II established a calendar that all could use for the purpose of reckoning days and time. Prior to this the calendar (month) was established by what we know as Rosh Chodesh.

Where does the name Rosh Chodesh come from? Let us look at Numbers 10:10 KJV

     

    Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

 

The Hebrew word that is used for “beginning” is “Rosh”. In the Strongs concordance it is word #H7218ראשׁ          rô'sh – meaning head or beginning. The second word is Chodesh, it is the Strongs concordance word #H2320     חדשׁ      chôdesh         kho'-desh- meaning: the new moon; a month: - month (-ly), new moon.

 

When Scripture normally speaks of Rosh Chodesh it normally just says  Chodesh. Chodesh is from the word Chadash which means “new”. So the phrase “Rosh Chodesh” means a new head. This was the terminology used in speaking of a new month.

 

The Calendar that was used in ancient Biblical times is a Lunar Calendar. This means that the calendar is based on the phases of the moon. In Biblical times, the evening of the day came before the day. In other words, evening comes first.  When we were in school and we were taught how to reckon the days, we were taught to count the days from midnight to midnight. Biblically speaking, that is not correct. In the Scriptures the evening comes first. We see in the creating account in Genesis (B’resheit) that during the creating there was evening THEN there was morning, and that is what constituted a day.

 

Genesis 1:5 KJV -  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

 

To help us keep track of the days, the lights were put up in the sky on the fourth day. It was then said they would be used to determine the day and night, signs and seasons, and for days and years.

Genesis 1:14-19 KJVR  And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:  (15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.  (16)  And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.  (17)  And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,  (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.  (19)  And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

 

At the beginning of the new month, the “new moon” (YHWH had it first people) would be spotted in the sky from the temple mount. The people would be looking for the very first visible sliver of the moon. Once it was spotted, the trumpets were blown and offerings were given to Yah in thankfulness that another month is here and He is leading us through another time. In the middle of the month would be a full moon.

The moon moves in phases or “cycles” much like the world in which we live does. Have you ever noticed that the sun and moon rise and set every day? That after one week comes another week? That after a few weeks comes a month? That a month comes after another month? That a succession of months makes a year? And so on.

We are given many reminders of the goodness of Yah all around us. A new month is a reminder of a new month, a new cycle, a new time, a reminder that though time marches on, Yah is the one who is leading us through it!

 

Lamentations 3:22-24

(22)  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

(23)  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

(24)The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

 

If we look at this just up to this point it would be easy to say “so what’s the big deal?” “I already know the days of the week and I already know the months. How is that related with my daily walk?”

We also see in Psalms 104:19 KJV - 

He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

This Scripture tells us that the moon was appointed for seasons. The word seasons here does not mean Summer or Winter, it is the Hebrew word “mo’ed”. This word moed is the word that is used for the appointed times of the LORD from Leviticus 23. The short definition of a moed would be a set apart time that was celebrated as a festival or a Holy convocation to YHWH.

            Included in these times are Shabbat, Pesach (Passover),Chag HaMatzah (feast of unleavened bread), Bikkurim (FirstFruits), Shavuot (Pentecost), Yom Teruah (feast of trumpets), Yom Kippur

(day of atonement) and Sukkot (tabernacles). Think about this for a minute. If we didn’t know the parameters of a day, how would we know when Shabbat was? If we don’t know how to determine a month, how will we know when the appointed festivals are upon us?

            We see in Exodus chapter 12 that Moses and Aaron were told that Pesach would be counted in the first month.

Exodus 12:1-2 KJVR  And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,  (2)  This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

Each year Pesach is celebrated in the same month, Aviv which means Springtime.

 

If we look at the Scriptures, we will see that Rosh Chodesh was not only mentioned but observed. Which brings up a question of should we observe it?

Ecclesiastes 3:15 KJV -  That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

 

If we see where Yah was honored in something in the Scripture, by His say, should we still honor Him in it? Do we see where this will be honored in times to come? The answer is yes! In the scripture below, look at the time that it is set in.

 

Isaiah 66:21-24 KJVR  And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.  (22)  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.  (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.  (24)  And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

 

Did you notice that this is in a time yet to be? Did you also notice that in v.23 it says that “from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.” If all of this is yet to happen and we see that it is the desire of the Father to see it happen, Should we be observing it?

 

Below I will list some scriptures that speak of Rosh Chodesh. This , of course, is not an exhaustive list. I encourage you to look deeper into the word of YHWH.

 

Scriptures that are pertinent to Rosh Chodesh

 

Exodus 40:17  And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up.  (the first day of the new month)

 

 

1Samuel 20:5  And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.

 

1Samuel 20:18  Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.

 

1Samuel 20:24  So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.

 

1 Chronicles 23:31 And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD:

 

2 Chronicles 2:4  - Behold, I 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.

 

2 Chronicles 8:13  Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.

 

2Chronicles 31:3  He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD.

 

Ezra 3:5  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 every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.

 

Nehemiah 10:33  For the shewbread, and for the continual meat offering, and for the continual burnt offering, of the sabbaths, of the new moons, for the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offerings to make an atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.

 

Psalm 81:3  Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

 

 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.

 

Ezekiel 45:17  And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.

 

Ezekiel 46:1  Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.

 

Ezekiel 46:3  Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons.

 

Ezekiel 46:6  And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish.

 

Amos 8:5  Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?

 

Colossians 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: ( in your observance of them, not your non-observance of them.)

 

Isaiah 65:17  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Isaiah 66:21-24 KJVR  And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.  (22) 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.  (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.  (24)  And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

 

Until next time,

Shalom

Dr. David E. Jones