Article Summary: Rosh Chodesh (meaning, Head or First of the Moon or Month) refers to the feast God instituted for Israel at each new moon throughout the year. (Numbers 10:1-10; 28:11-15) Each new moon marks the passage of time in the form of a new month according to the biblical, lunar calendar. Because New Covenant believers are free not to observe Rosh Chodesh, we sometimes wonder if there is any reason to celebrate the Creator in a special way at the new moon. I believe there is and here’s why.
To be sure, a plethora of rabbinic traditions abound concerning Rosh Chodesh. Unfortunately, more than a few derive from Jewish mysticism of a nature forbidden in Scripture. (Leviticus 19:31; 20:2, Deuteronomy 18:10-14) Christians eager to connect with their Hebraic roots can sometimes overemphasize these tantalizing, mystical traditions. This article focuses instead on the Word of God and its Author.
In context of the new moon, it is important to note the word for “new” comes from the Hebrew root chadash. Chadash is used in Scripture to mean “renew,” such as in Psalms 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” The Hebrew word accurately reflects that the moon is “new” only from our earthly perspective. In reality, God does not create a whole new, lunar entity every month. The concept of a renewed moon at the new month suggests Rosh Chodesh could be a time when not just the moon, but God’s people, can be renewed in Him.
The Scriptures teach that God created the moon to mark times and seasons. (Genesis 1:14, Psalms 104:19) New moons set the time for all other biblical feasts and cyclical seasons or events.They serve as markers for consecrating or sanctifying the dimension of time.
Time does not exist in eternity, but is a means by which YHVH uniquely expresses Himself on earth and blesses humankind. Perhaps Yeshua hinted at this blessing when He said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) If that is the case, and time was created for man, our rededication of it to the Creator at Rosh Chodesh might serve to subdue and sanctify time as it impacts all Creation. (Could it be that one reason many of us feel we never have enough time is we do not exercise God-delegated authority over it? Could one way of exercising this authority be simply to observe His appointed new moon feast?)
Scriptural guidelines for celebrating Rosh Chodesh are simple in this current, post-Temple era when animal sacrifice no longer exists. We are to rejoice, blast silver trumpets or rams’ horns or both, and present offerings to God—such as a sacrifice of praise. (Numbers 10:10; 28:11-15, Psalm 81:3) A festive meal is seen in 1 Samuel 10:5. As implied by Psalm 89:35-37, we can reaffirm Messianic covenant in a spirit of glad thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:16 expresses the freedom we have to observe the new moon as New Covenant believers. We’re not to let anyone judge us if we choose to celebrate (or not) on that day. To be sure, we do not celebrate the new moon but the glorious One who created it. Sadly, occultists, wiccans and others have long recognized that different stages of the lunar cycle have spiritual significance. At full or new moons they conduct ritual ceremonies they hope will empower their gods. We could speculate as to whether the spiritual climate of regions might be altered if Yeshua’s followers intentionally worshiped Him at Rosh Chodesh, dedicating to Him the new month.
The new moon marks important times of worship in the future, Messianic Age. “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, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:23) Ezekiel 46:1 suggests we will have special access to God’s inner court at Rosh Chodesh. “The gate of the inner court that looks toward the east will be shut for the six working days; but on the Sabbath it will be opened, and in the day of the new moon it will be opened.” Apparently, God is not done with Rosh Chodesh—nor has He done away with it.
A new moon and month (Kislev) began yesterday, November 8. Some of us were richly blessed to observe it. Your next opportunity to celebrate Messiah at Rosh Chodesh is December 9. Meanwhile, a Holy Spirit filled Kislev to you!