Chodesh Answers to Objections
Should Christians keep or observe the New Moon worship day?
Why should Christians be interested in the old Jewish New Moon worship day? Aren't these mentioned in Galatians and Colossians in a negative light?
foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus
Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
At first reading it definitely does look like these verses are condemning certain practices, such as the observation of days and months, festivals, the new moon, and sabbath days. Perhaps from Colossians we could also conclude that the new moon worship day is a personal choice whether a person wants to keep it or not, we are not to judge them either way. Is this what it means? However, the verse from Galatians seems a lot stronger.
Apparently the foolish Galatians had been led backwards from the Gospel into observing days, and months and seasons etc. The months no doubt here would link into the new moon worship days as you can't observe Bible months without the New Moon day as this gives the start of the month. So that's it then. If we don't want to be like the foolish Galatians then we had best leave the old Jewish New Moon days behind and move forwards with the Gospel of Christ!
Are we on track here. Let's revise what was happening back then:
am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in
the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel--
The Galatians were troubled by some who wanted to pervert the Gospel of Christ. Paul had met this earlier in his travels. Talking about an earlier experience Paul stated:
because of false brethren secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy
out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring
us into bondage--
Just what sort of bondage was referred to here? Another brother, Cephas, was having some problems with these people and Paul mentions this:
before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but
when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the
It was a good question. The issue was clearly Jewish rituals; especially circumcision. Paul was saying that the new Gentile converts did not need to be circumcised. That the complete sacrificial system linked with the yearly Jewish feast days had also come to an end is clear from Hebrews:
when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have
come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with
hands, that is, not of this creation)
And similarly the Corinthians, who were having some moral problems, were told to
out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are
unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.
Other Bible versions give “Christ our Passover.” The Passover was one of the yearly Jewish feasts. On the Jewish feast days animal sacrifices were given:
are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which
you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.
John Darby's Synopsis on this section (Leviticus 23:1-44) gives:
We have now come to the feasts (chap. 23). It is the full year of the counsels of God towards His people, and the rest which was the end of those counsels. There were consequently seven-a number expressive of perfection well known in the word: the sabbath, the passover and the feast of unleavened bread, the firstfruits of harvest, Pentecost, the feast of trumpets in the seventh month, the day of atonement, and the feast of tabernacles. If the sabbath be separated and reckoned by itself, the passover would be distinguished from the feast of unleavened bread, which would make the seven.
We would probably count the feasts separately as seven. However, of this section, Darby also gives an extremely interesting footnote:
The series of the feasts embraced the whole year, inasmuch as they returned regularly each consecutive year. This shews too the difference of the sabbath, God's rest-only here of creation; and, I may add, of the new moon-figure I doubt not of Israel's restoration.
A very interesting point of adding the new moon to the creation scenario with the sabbath day.
Now of these feast days there were mostly sacrificial offerings connected with them. Only a few quotes will be necessary to show this:
you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD seven days; on the
seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work.
That there were also generally sacrificial offerings connected with the new moon worship day can be seen from the following quote:
the day of the new moon he shall offer a young bull without blemish,
and six lambs and a ram, which shall be without blemish;
Admittedly from here it would be easy to write off a Christian approach to the New moon worship day according to Galatians with respect to these sacrificial quotations given above. But there are some interesting points that need to be considered. First consider the following 2 quotations:
I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her
sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts.
Note that the Colossians verse is one of the main verses used to negate the new moon worship day for Christians. Now consider the following very carefully. Just what days are mentioned in these verses?
The feast days, the new moon days, and the sabbaths. Now as New Testament Christians we are to move forwards away from these Jewish days which involve animal sacrifices. Why? Because the sacrifice of Jesus is all sufficient and the fulfillment of all the animal sacrifices given in the Old Testament. We are told that Jesus Christ is our Passover sacrifice. No other is needed. Now tick the days off. The feast days. Check. The new moon days. Possibly check. The sabbath days. Now wait a minute. There is a small possible problem here. Admittedly the feast days were considered as sabbath days or rest days:
the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall
be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict
yourselves and present an offering by fire to the LORD.
But what about the seventh-day sabbath? For the Jew this was the general weekly day for worship ordained from the creation of the world. And the Christian world acknowledges this fact as one day in seven is still kept for worship. Most of Christianity keep Sunday and some keep the old sabbath day. And it is a weekly cycle that takes us back to the creation of this world well before the institution of animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. The point is made that this cycle of worship dates back to creation and is not dependent on the Jewish sacrificial system which Christians believe came to an end at the cross. But for the Jewish dispensation no doubt animal sacrifices were offered on the seventh-day sabbath each week at Jerusalem. Could the new moon worship day be in a similar category?
Of the creation of this world we are told:
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,
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. It would be very hard to argue that this was not before the Jewish sacrificial system was instituted. Further there are references to the months well after the Jewish sacrificial system ended. Well, certainly since the cross we have had months. Many of them. And they are mentioned in the new earth and ages of eternity:
he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
These are of course, Bible months. 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. The Bible month starts with the new moon worship day.
Also the very verses that began this whole investigation...
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
It is clear from the verses previously investigated that the Jewish sacrifices are not to be undertaken by Christians who want to be true to Jesus and not follow another gospel. That the Jewish sacrifice days were feast days and also involved sabbath days and the new moon days is clear.
However, a study of the Bible also shows that two of the worship days were instituted before the Jewish sacrificial system came into existence. And these two worship days would also be in existence long after the Jewish sacrificial system came to an end.
For Christians in general we can refer to these two worship days as the weekly rest or sabbath worship day, and the new moon worship day. As worship days separate from the Jewish sacrificial system they do not come under any condemnation of verses from the New Testament. And we mean here the verses in Galatians or Colossians. Note the condemnation does come in if these days are kept by Christians with Jewish sacrifices offered on them. These came to an end at the cross.
Further, this is clear if we look at the verses in Colossians more closely:
let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or
with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.
How are the days mentioned here a shadow of what was to come? We read more about this in Hebrews:
serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was
about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See
that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you
on the mountain."
Clearly the shadow had to do with the sacrificial system which was to pass away. The Jewish sacrifices would give way to the final sacrifice of Christ and His work in the heavenly sanctuary of which the earthly sanctuary was only a copy and shadow. So the new moon days mentioned in Colossians were specifically linked with the sacrifices. Once the sacrifices came to an end the new moon worship days would revert back to being ordinary worship days unhindered by any sacrifices. As such, like the weekly day for worship, the new moon worship day could be engaged in by Christians without any negative aspects for the Gospel of Christ.
And according to Isaiah and the book of Revelation the new moon worship day will be kept by God's people for eternity in the new earth.
Bible texts from:
REVISED STANDARD VERSION OF THE BIBLE, OT 1952, NT 1946, 1971.
Old Testament pic from
dove from Christian Art
Last revised: 22 Jul 2012.