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?

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.
Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?
I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Galatians 3:1,3; 4:10,11,16,20.
I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech.
See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ
Therefore 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.
Colossians 2:4,8,16.

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:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel--
not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Galatians 1:6,7.

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:

But 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--
to them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
Galatians 2:4,5.

Just what sort of bondage was referred to here? Another brother, Cephas, was having some problems with these people and Paul mentions this:

For before certain men came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.
And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity.
But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
Galatians 2:12-14.

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:

But 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)
he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh,
how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;
for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Hebrews 9:11-14,24-26.

And similarly the Corinthians, who were having some moral problems, were told to

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:7.

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:

These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening, is the LORD'S passover.
And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the LORD; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
Say to the people of Israel, When you come into the land which I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest;
And you shall count from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven full weeks shall they be,
counting fifty days to the morrow after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a cereal offering of new grain to the LORD.
Say to the people of Israel, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.
On 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.
Say to the people of Israel, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the feast of booths to the LORD.
Leviticus 23:4-6,10,15,16,24,27,34.

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:

But 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.
And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the LORD.
And you shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, and one young bull, and two rams; they shall be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their cereal offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the LORD.
These are the appointed feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the LORD offerings by fire, burnt offerings and cereal offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day;
Leviticus 23:8,12,18,37.

That there were also generally sacrificial offerings connected with the new moon worship day can be seen from the following quote:

On 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;
Ezekiel 46:6.

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:

And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts.
Hosea 2:11.
Therefore 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.
Colossians 2:16.

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:

On 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.
It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves; on the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your sabbath.
Leviticus 23:27,32.

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:

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.
Genesis 1:14-18.
Thou hast made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
Psalm 104:19.
You created the moon to mark the months; the sun knows the time to set.
Psalm 104:19 Good News Bible.

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:

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.
Revelation 22:1,2.

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...

For 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 remain.
From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says the LORD.
Isaiah 66:22,23.

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:

Therefore 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.
These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
Colossians 2:16,17.

How are the days mentioned here a shadow of what was to come? We read more about this in Hebrews:

They 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."
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 8:5; 10:1.

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.


Isaiah 66:22, 23

Bible texts from:
REVISED STANDARD VERSION OF THE BIBLE, OT 1952, NT 1946, 1971.


Old Testament pic from
http://clipart.christiansunite.com/
lion from
http://aplaceforyou.typepad.com/
leopard from
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/
dove from Christian Art

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Stephen Buckley
E-mail: stephen@chodesh.info
Last revised: 22 Jul 2012.