Are Christians obligated or commanded to keep the New Moon worship day?

A simple question

with a simple answer

No

There is no command in the New Testament for Christians to keep the new moon worship day.

However, having said that we need to note that there is also no command for Christians not to keep the new moon worship day either.

Probably one of the main reasons that Christians haven't fully embraced this day of worship are the verses in Colossians:

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 RSV.

These verses are of course pretty strong on this point but again it needs to be noticed that the guidance here is in both directions. If a person wants to keep the new moon worship day they should likewise not be judged! Now we are not going to dwell on this but in our other studies we have found that if the annual festivals and yearly sabbaths are kept with the animal sacrifices then Paul gave a warning that Christians who kept these days were in danger of following another gospel. These sacrifices came to a meaningful end with the death of Christ and there is no call whatsoever in the New Testament for these days to be kept by Christians.

However, the new moon worship day appears to be in a slightly different category. We could lump it in with the feasts and yearly sabbaths but this day just keeps popping up in other parts of the Bible:

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 RSV.

Along with a weekly cycle of worship, there is mention of the new moon worship day in the ages of eternity!
And 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 RSV.
Thou hast made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
Psalm 104:19 RSV.
You created the moon to mark the months; the sun knows the time to set.
Psalm 104:19 Good News Bible.

Here we are clearly told that the moon was set up at the creation of this world to mark months. Now note that the following quotation shows us that the new moon was the first day of each Bible month:

Western nations observe the solar year, based on the time the earth takes to run its course around the sun. Throughout history the Jew has followed the lunar year. His month is regulated not by the sun but by the moon, the word from which "month" is derived. It is a most obvious and easy way of reckoning the passing of time. The phases of the moon can easily be recognized by everybody. The new moon indicates the beginning of the new month.1

And from Isaiah we know that the new moon day is a worship day. But more than this there are also verses from the New Testament that imply the Christian existence of the new moon worship day. A sample of verses follow:

He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Acts 18:11.
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.
Acts 28:11.
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.
Revelation 11:2.
The beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
Revelation 13:5.
Then the angel 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. 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.
Revelation 22:1,2.

Except for the last two verses which are again in the ages of eternity, we have mention of months here during the Christian dispensation. That is, after the time of Christ.

The point?
Well as we have already mentioned the new moon worship day is the beginning of the Bible month. These are all Bible months mentioned here. And in the Christian dispensation and the ages of eternity the new moon worship day must be in existence else you could not have Bible months being mentioned as that is how the Bible month is defined. From new moon to new moon.

And it is also the generally recognized construction for the lunar month outside the Bible. With only some minor exceptions most references to the lunar month are given as from new moon to new moon:

the mean synodic month (New Moon to New Moon)
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phases2001.html

The New Moon phase is uniquely recognized as the beginning of each calendar month
http://www.mreclipse.com/Special/SEprimer.html

A synodic month is 29.53059 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.8 seconds) and is measured from New Moon to New Moon.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_month

Lunar Month: The period between successive new moons (29.531 days).
TheSage Dictionary/Thesaurus.

lunar month. the period of a complete revolution of the moon around the earth, as the period between successive new moons (synodic month), equal to 29.531 days
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/synodic+month

The month was originally defined as the time between one new moon to the next, a period now called the synodic month.
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/Month.html

But there appears to be no direct command in the New Testament for Christians to keep the new moon worship day. However, even just a cursory study of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation shows this worship day being in existence from the very creation of this world, through the fall and the Jewish dispensation and on into the Christian period and further into the very ages of eternity.

But even given the perpetuity of this day of worship there still appears to be no direct command in the New Testament for Christians to keep it. Just what sort of a worship day is this?

The main day that Christians keep follows a weekly cycle. Every week Christians generally attend church and rest from work. The concept of this weekly cycle can be traced back to the week of creation where God rested from His completed work. Christians follow this pattern by resting one day in seven and using the day for a day of worship.

And there is good reason for doing this. The Bible tells us to enter God's rest and not fail like the ancient Hebrews did in the wilderness:

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "As in my anger I swore, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" though his works were finished at the foundation of the world.
For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works."
...
So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God;
for those who enter God's rest also cease from their labors as God did from his.
Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.
Hebrews 4:1-4,9-11.

Basically the weekly worship day is considered to be a rest day and no work is to be undertaken on this day. Obviously the beliefs on this vary through Christianity but there are no doubt many Christians who hold the day reasonably strictly in consideration of the admonition given in the Old Testament for the weekly day of worship. If you worked on this day or engaged in business activities this was considered as breaking God's Law. Now as I said not all Christians consider the weekly worship day as strictly as this but nevertheless there are quite a few Christians who do.

But this approach does not hold for the monthly cycle of worship—at least not for the new moon worship day according to the Bible. There apparently are some Christian groups that do consider the day to be kept rigidly as a sabbath day of rest but the inference from the Bible is that this is not the case at all.

The weekly worship day answers the human dimension of work by being a day of rest from work activities. And as we read above from Hebrews, God does command his people to rest from work on a weekly basis and have the day as a day of worship. Well the suggestion there is pretty strong. But there appears to be no command to keep the monthly new moon worship day. Just what conclusion could we draw from this?

It looks like the new moon worship day is completely optional. This no doubt means that the worship day has nothing to do with rest from work. It's something completely different altogether. This also means that the nature of the day is completely different from the concept of a sabbath rest.

And no doubt the completely different nature of this worship day gives the fundamental basis of why this day is completely different from a sabbath rest and is instead optional, at least at this point in time. For more information about the nature of this day, see our Home page.

So given all this, just who is going to keep this day?

We are told that from new moon to new moon all flesh will worship the Lord, that is, God.

Some translations give: all mankind, all people, everyone, everyone living.

Sure, there is no command in the New Testament for Christians to keep this day and if a person does not keep it no command has been broken. And we are not to judge anyone whether they want to keep the day or not. However, the Bible does infer that this day will be kept so the only conclusion we could draw from this is that there must be some Christians somewhere who keep the day.

And it looks like that in the ages of eternity, all of God's people are going to keep this day!

Isaiah 66:22, 23

Bible texts from:
NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION OF THE BIBLE, 1989.
References
1. R.Brasch, The Unknown Sanctuary: The Story of Judaism—It's Teachings, Philosophy and Symbols, 1969, Angus and Robertson, p. 19.

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: 24 Oct 2012.