Here are some reasons why Chodesh is important to Christians.
Time in general
Of the creation of this world we are told:
And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens
to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for
seasons and for days and years,
and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so.
And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also.
And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth,
to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Thou hast made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
You created the moon to mark the months; the sun knows the time to set.
Psalm 104:19 Good News Bible.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude.
And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.
Genesis 2:1,2 NRSV.
It would seem that the moon was set in motion at the creation of this
world to mark seasons, or as the Good News Bible states, months. So
from Genesis we have definite time periods mentioned: the day, the
Bible month relating to the moon, years relating again to the sun,
and of course the week. The week is clearly outlined in the creation
of this world. God finished His work of creation on the seventh day and rested
and this of course gives us the first week. The day of course is the period of time it takes the
earth to complete one rotation which we could define for example as from say mid-day to
mid-day. The Bible definition is of course from sunset to sunset but you get
the idea. The period defined as 24 hours is from one point of any day
to the next same point the following day.
It may come as a surprise to many Christians that the Bible month is not the same as the calendar month that we are familiar with. The Bible month is actually lunar based the length of which is clearly from one phase of the moon to the same phase the next cycle. And the Bible definition is from New Moon to New Moon. See Isaiah 66:23. The Bible month actually starts with the New Moon worship day. That's chodesh. So you can't have these months without chodesh. So no chodesh, no Bible month.
And we investigate this a bit further in the next section...
There are months mentioned in the New Testament after the death and resurrection of Christ. And these are months mentioned referring to different periods of Bible history: Old Testament, early Christian, yet future, and eternity. All still Bible months, no change:
At this time Moses was born, and he was beautiful before God. For three months he was brought up in his father's house;
He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.
where he stayed for three months. He was about to set sail for Syria when a plot was made against him by the Jews, and so he decided to return through Macedonia.
Three months later we set sail on a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian ship with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead.
You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years.
By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
They were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion when it stings someone.
They have tails like scorpions, with stingers, and in their tails is their power to harm people for five months.
but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months.
The beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
And just what is the point of all of this? Well all these months mentioned here are Bible months. They are not the solar calendar months that we are familiar with. They are lunar
months. Biblical lunar months. And as we mentioned above the Bible lunar month starts with the new moon worship day. So if no chodesh, then none of
these verses make any sense.
So if Christians want to reject the new moon worship day then whenever they read any of these verses, they will have to ask themselves, just what does the month period of time mentioned in this verse actually mean? Is it 28 days long or 31 days long or maybe even 120 days long? Of course this sounds silly but without the Bible definition it could be any length!
And the Bible of course gives the answer. From new moon to new moon. See Isaiah 66:23. And that of course means the new moon worship day!
Note: the prophetic months are covered in more detail in the Bible Prophecy section.
New Moons are mentioned in the new earth. Isaiah 66:22,23; Revelation 22:2 [see next section].
as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain
before me, says the LORD; so shall your descendants and your name
From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the LORD.
Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
There is also a very curious companion verse mentioned in Ezekiel which appears to have some sort of connection with the verse mentioned above in Revelation:
And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds
of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail,
but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for
them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and
their leaves for healing.
Again it is very clear that there are months mentioned in the new earth. These are Bible months. The Hebrew word translated as month here is Chodesh. The Apostolic Bible Polyglot uses the Greek word μήν and means month. And this is the same Greek word used in Revelation. And you can't have Bible months without the New Moon because that is how the Bible month is defined: from New Moon to New Moon. See Isaiah 66:23.Health
This basically follows on from the previous reason. In Revelation 22:2 we are told about "the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month." The RSV also tells us that the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. The month mentioned here is a Bible month. The Greek word used is μήν with Strong's number G3376 and is the same identical word in Isaiah 66:23 in the Apostolic Bible Polyglot. Strong's comment on this word is
A primary word; a month: - month.
Thayer gives more information:
1) a month
2) the time of the new moon, new moon (the first day of each month, when the new moon appeared was a festival among the Hebrews).
In Hebrew the word is Chodesh. You can't have a Bible month without chodesh. The word is mostly translated as month but sometimes as new moon. The Bible month starts with the new moon. You can't have a Bible month without the new moon. If the tree of life is yielding its fruit every month then we have new moon days in the new earth. And Isaiah tells us that the new moon days are for worship.Bible Prophecy
Revelation 11:2; 13:5. 42 months. This prophetic time period is mentioned quite a few times in the book of Revelation. Generally those who study these time periods link it with the time periods in chapter 12: the 1260 day period of verse 6, and the time, times, and half a time of verse 14. These are basically worked together as 42 months times 30 days gives 1260 days, and the three and a half times meaning years translate to 3.5 times 12 months = 42 months and again we obtain 1260 days:
3.5 times = 3.5 years = 3.5 x 12 months = 42 months = 42 x 30 days = 1260 days
How is this generally explained? That's easy we just call these months prophetic months of 30 days each and every one is happy. Not so fast. The 30 days is obviously correct but where does the idea of approximately 30 days to the prophetic month come from? Would you like to have a guess? The Bible lunar month is a period with an approximate average of 29.53 days. Well if you are in for half a day you may as well count the day so we would use a value of 30 days. That's right. The so-called “prophetic month” is based soundly on the Bible lunar month! And guess what we need for the Bible lunar month? Chodesh. Or to put it more simply: no chodesh, no 42 month Bible prophecy!
Note: the Good News Bible translates the 3 and a half times as 3 and a half years.
Some other versions that translate this period as 3 and a half years:
The Revised English Bible
The Amplified Bible [bracketed]
The New English Bible
There is also mention of a 5 month prophecy in Revelation 9:5 and 9:10. So again, no chodesh, no 5 month prophecy.The general Christian worship day
Most Christians keep Sunday,* and some keep the old Jewish seventh-day Sabbath.
This no doubt is a little debatable but for arguments sake both worship days point back to the creation of this world. Christians keep one day in seven [whatever their arguments for the "Lord's" day] and this approach can be traced back to the creation week where God rested after six days of work. This has already been mentioned above. The week and the month come from the creation of this world.
If it is wrong to have a monthly day of worship would not this possibly suggest that it may also be wrong to have a weekly day of worship?
If you do not believe it is right to keep the new moon worship day then perhaps you should give some thought as to why you are keeping a weekly worship day.
For Sunday keepers, this line of reasoning gets even harder!
If the majority of Christians believe it is OK to worship on the first* day of the week, then what could they possibly see wrong with worshiping on the first day of the month?
Further for those who want to keep any weekly worship day why would you not stand condemned by the following verses of scripture?
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?
You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years!
I am afraid I have labored over you in vain.
Galatians 3:1,3; 4:10,11.
A weekly day of worship is a day that is observed.
So just what possible answer could Sunday keepers [or Sabbath keepers] give?
But Stephen someone will say, we don't give Jewish sacrifices when we go to church each week so we do not come under condemnation of these verses.
Really? Well neither do I.
Certain Christian festivals are timed according to the lunar month. So if no chodesh then you should say goodbye to these festivals too. Now Stephen you're just being plain nasty someone may say. But to be fair at least read the quotes:
lunar calendar, a calendar based on the variations of the phases
of the Moon as seen from Earth. The lunar year contains 12 synodic
these consisting of 29.5305882 days, the synodic month being defined as
the time interval (synodic period) between new moons.
Therefore, the lunar year of 354.3672 days is about 11 days shorter
than the solar year of 365.24219 days.
A true lunar calendar quickly gets out of step with the seasons and is
often replaced by a luni-solar calendar in which every third or
fourth year contains 13 as opposed to 12 lunar months, a leap month
being intercalated (added) as required.
Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and all Christian festivals except
Christmas itself are timed according to the lunar calendar.
Excerpted from The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia.1
Yet just as vital an influence on the calendar is the fact that the Christian Church grew up in the Roman Empire, which followed a calendar controlled by the sun.
... when the Church began to institute festivals which were of unique importance for itself and not originally Jewish, they were observed on dates in the Roman calendar. ...
This is the reason why the Christian calendar is a complicated one. Unlike all others it is a double calendar, governed in some parts by the moon and in others by the sun. The Church distinguishes between 'fixed' and 'movable' feasts, but in reality the movable feasts, such as Easter, are fixed according to the Jewish lunar calendar, while the fixed festivals, such as Christmas, run according to the Roman solar calendar.
For ten months, from Septuagesima to the last of the Sundays after Pentecost (which vary from twenty-two to twenty-eight), the Christian calendar is lunar. The movable festivals during this period depend upon the date of Easter.2
In 325CE the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. From that point forward, the Easter date depended on the ecclesiastical approximation of March 21 for the vernal equinox. Easter is delayed one week if the full moon is on Sunday, which decreases the chances of it falling on the same day as the Jewish Passover. The council's ruling is contrary to the Quartodecimans, a group of Christians who celebrated Easter on the day of the full moon, 14 days into the month.
So there it is. At least for Easter. If you think the New Moon worship day is wrong for Christians then you should consider doing away with Easter also as its determination is dependent on the lunar month. The Bible lunar month is dependent on the New Moon worship day. And no doubt we may as well add Christmas to the list also.Conclusions
There are so many wonderful things in the Bible connected with the lunar month that it should be just about impossible for the average Christian not to give the New Moon worship day at least some sort of consideration. Further since most of Christianity already keep at least one day of worship each year the timing of which is based on the Biblical lunar month there is really little reason for Christians to feel any sort of trepidation with respect to keeping a monthly day of worship!Work problems
But Stephen someone will say, my employer has finally relented and let me have a day off each week so I can keep my weekly worship day and attend church.
Worse yet, since the length of the lunar month is not a multiple of seven the New Moon worship days will cycle through the week nearly twice each year.
There is just no way I could get most of these days off!
Answer: you don't have to. The New Moon worship day is not a sabbath rest day necessitating the complete cessation of work activities. See our companion studies on this.
1. The Oxford Interactive Encyclopedia. Developed by The Learning Company, Inc. Copyright (c) 1997 TLC Properties Inc. All rights reserved.
2. L.W.Cowie and John Selwyn Gummer, The Christian Calendar: A complete guide to the seasons of the Christian year, 1974, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, pp. 7,8.
Bible texts from:
NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION OF THE BIBLE, 1989.
* There is some debate whether the first day of the week is really the correct day for Christians to worship on. See the related studies:
A study investigating if there is a weekly day of worship for Christians; and a comparison of the Christian Sabbath, The Lord's Day in the New Testament with the Jewish Sabbath in the Old Testament.
E-mail: stephen [at] chodesh.info
Last revised: 14 Mar 2020.
Construction: Dec 2011.
Page design/construction Stephen Buckley 2011.