A question was asked regarding Isaiah 66 and Amos 8:5. They seem to say that the New Moon is a time to worship and restrain from work. Why don’t we observe new moons today?
Below is a response by Warren Zehrung that I thought would be good to share with you all.
The bible translators were not consistent. “Chodesh” [new moon] is translated “month” in more than two hundred other places.
Isaiah 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon [month] to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
The Feast of Trumpets always falls on the new moon – it is a day that God forbids buying and selling on the Holy Days. But nowhere does God require worship on the other new moons – new months. God’s list of “worship days” is Leviticus 23.
Amos 8:5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn?
Read Amos 8 in context and you will see that Amos is addressing a wrong attitude toward all of God’s holy things and against God’s way of love.
The Israelites in King David’s day kept what we call “God’s calendar” not just for church but also for business. They had a monthly business meeting on the first of each month – except on the Feast of Trumpets.
1 Samuel 20:5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.
I have studied the calendar issue extensively for years and have found there are very few men who have a good grasp for it. A large number of the brethren are being bothered by the question of the sighting of the moon and making calendar decisions for themselves. God has left so many questions unanswered with regard to the calendar. Today, many men make the mistake of deciding the meanings of technical terms from the bible. The bible does not even define precisely when the new moon occurs. We assume that it is when first sighted by someone, somewhere. That results in people on the East coast observing a new moon on a later date than those on the West coast when the moon becomes new in the central United States. That mistake alone causes the brethren to be divided when it comes to the keeping of the Holy days.
The answer then becomes that the new moon must be sighted from Jerusalem – but the bible does not authorize that decision for the individual either. Does the new moon have to occur after the vernal equinox or does Passover have to occur after the vernal equinox??? Lots of folks have opinions but the bible is not definitive? The calendar issue is very important – for some it is their test to see if they love the brethren. If God did not give the Hebrews the charge of defining the calendar – and tell us to follow it – every man might as well become an authority to himself (Romans 3:1-3).
The moon sighting calendar people decide for themselves when the moon is new, and they claim that the calendar authority is not an oracle of God.
Rom 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
Rom 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
God knew that the Jews were a bunch of carnal, unconverted politicians and yet, notice the words of Jesus:
Mat 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Jesus said that knowing that the Jews would be the only intact tribe 2000 years later. Jesus knew that the Jews were wrong in their observance. He kept Passover with His disciples at the beginning of the 14th of Abib.
I was called by God way back in the 1960’s when the Gospel was being heard and many were being called to our faith. If God did so much work and calling back when HWA followed the authorized Calculated calendar – why would God switch now – or were we all wrong back then? It is a difficult question for me. One thing that I know for sure is that those who are going off on the sighted calendar are nearly all forgetting the purpose of true faith. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians when there was a problem in the Church of following those who were dividing the brethren. His words apply to those today who forget to serve their brethren.
Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.
Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Gal 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
That is what the calendar people are forgetting to do.
Postponing the annual Feasts of God in order to observe them in their proper seasons of the year is fully scriptural and is based on the direct commands of God—and should never be condemned as an unscriptural tradition of Judaism. While the Jews understood the necessity to observe God’s Feasts in their appointed seasons, they, themselves were not faithful to all of God’s instructions concerning His Feast days. For one thing, going into captivity interfered with the keeping of Passover by the Jews because of the loss of the Temple. Their failure is most evident in their departure from the Biblical command to keep the Passover at the beginning of Nisan 14, and in their adoption of the Seder meal at the beginning of Nisan 15—the First Day of Unleavened Bread—as the traditional Jewish Passover.
God did not intend for man to serve the calendar – but for the calendar to serve man. It is like the Sabbath in Mark 2:27 “And He said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath:”
Do the people on the East coast observe the month differently than those on the West coast? The Bible does not tell us. But God did anticipate this common happenstance. Someone has to have been given the authority. So here is what happens: A number of variables are taken into consideration to facilitate the keeping of God’s holy time. The rules may sound a bit confusing to the novice, but they can be simply stated as follows: The Day of Atonement cannot precede or follow a weekly Sabbath—never on a Friday or Sunday, because it works a hardship by having two non-work days back to back. The determination of the new moon takes this factor into account—in Godly love—not rebellion. Another rule is that the Last Great Day cannot fall on a Sabbath. Passover can fall only on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Sabbath.
The reason for these rules in the calculated sacred calendar is so that the day of Trumpets (First of Tishri) will not fall on the day before or after a weekly Sabbath, which also applies to the day of Atonement, to allow a day to prepare either for the weekly Sabbath or the Holy day. There were other factors that allowed for adjustments by those who had the God given authority. If they found that the barley crop was not yet ripe, being slow or late, and that such tree fruits as usually sprout during the Passover season had not yet produced buds, they took these two conditions as a criterion and preceded to intercalate the year [by adding the month Adar II] and extending the length of the year in order that the barley crop might be available for the offering of the Sheaf of Wave offering (Lev 23) on the “morrow after the Sabbath,” and in order that the fruits might sprout as usual during the season of barley harvest” The intercalary month of Adar II serves to fulfill God’s instructions that His Feast days be observed each year “in their seasons” (Leviticus 23:4). It is absolutely necessary to adjust the calculated sacred calendar in some years by adding an extra month. Here is the question: Who decides for the people living all around the world so that God’s people will be in unison?
The Jews observe only the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which they have renamed incorrectly as “Passover.” They did not change the calculated sacred calendar—they simply left off observing the 14th and have rejected God’s original command for the observance of Nisan 14 as the Passover day. In Leviticus 23, the Scriptures clearly reveal that the Passover is one day, not seven days. It is the 14th day of the first month, called Abib, or Nisan (verse 5). The one-day Passover observance is followed by the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, which begins on the 15th day of the first month and continues until the end of the 21st day (verses 6-8). The entire observance of the two Feasts lasts a total of eight days—not seven, as practiced by Judaism today (Lev. 23:5 -8; Ex. 12:18-20). The calculated sacred calendar is not changed – only the incorrect Jewish observance of it.
Here is the correct way to Count Pentecost. When Passover Nisan 14 falls on a weekly Sabbath, it is the only weekly Sabbath that can be used to calculate the Wave Sheaf day. The wave sheaf is then offered “on morrow after” the Sabbath. Otherwise, the Wave Sheaf Day would fall on the first day of the week outside the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus is the Unleavened Bread of Sincerity and Truth. Therefore, the Wave Sheaf Day must always fall within the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is contrary to the symbolism and intent of Scripture to place the Wave Sheaf Day outside of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
I’m probably giving you way more than you asked for – and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. I’ve never know a person who takes the calendar authority unto himself to remain true to the Christian principles of God. It is an attractive trap that has carried many away.
Thank you for your questions.