Posts Tagged With: Calendar

Moonthly Cycle

For the past five years, I’ve been very intentional about celebrating the new moon. One result was publishing my first book, The Biblical New Moon: A Guide for Celebrating in 2016. Another unexpected outcome was discovering patterns within the monthly cycle. I’ll get to that in moment, but first, I’ll give you a comparison.

Most of my readers have been following the weekly Torah portions through multiple years. Those first several years garner more questions than answers as one’s heart adjusts to the Creator’s paradigm. But, as the years pass by, the Words of the Torah become more and more familiar, a comfort to the soul rather than a contention. Those questions from the early years have long been satisfied by the Words of Life.

Each year, the Spirit highlights certain words, phrases, or sections in the portions as He leads one through the wilderness. It’s always the perfect instruction in due time. I often say that as I follow the Torah portions, they also follow me. It’s like the water giving Rock that followed the children of Israel in the desert. I can see the themes from the portions playing out in my life, testing and encouraging me each week. I can’t imagine walking through life without their guidance, as they are my daily bread, just as sure as Yeshua is the embodiment of the same.

I have had a similar experience on the larger cycle of the months. Much like the Torah portions, they each have a personality (so to speak) that thematically links to real life. And, just as the Ruach HaKodesh highlights certain words, phrases, and sections new every year in the weekly Torah portion, He does the same for the months. The first few years I didn’t notice these patterns because all the information was fresh and new. I had more questions than answers as I attuned myself to this greater cycle through practice.

In the fourth year of being intentional, something shifted, just as it did when I first committed to the Torah cycle. If you’ve read my book (linked above), then you know that I included a great deal of Jewish tradition.[1]For example, I used their assignments of the twelve tribes of Israel for each month, and I included the twelve constellations (mazel) that fall in the ecliptic with the sun and moon each month.[2]There are generally four Torah portions within the months, giving even more layers that make up the personality or theme for the month. Moreover, many months have Biblical and/or traditional feast or fast days. All of these things and more are quite fascinating to meditate upon, and will lead to more understanding.

I think of it as zooming out from the weekly cycle to get a fresh perspective. On an even larger scale, one could zoom out to the yearly festivals, then to the seven-year cycle (Shemittah), and even further to the Yovel (Jubilee) cycle. Wheels within wheels all powered by the Spirit of God. All these cycles are constantly moving around you, your family, your assembly, and the greater Body. And, all these cycles have an order. They are NOT random or arbitrary, they are part of what Adonai has revealed to His people. But, we must choose to either move with them, swim against their current (which gets you nowhere), or ignore them altogether. (Ignorance is not bliss in this case; the cycles are there and working in our lives regardless of whether we choose to follow Him or not.)

Dt. 29:29 (NASB) “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

I had the privilege of reading Barry Miller’s book, Know the Time Change Your World: The Reappearance of the Seven- and Fifty-Year Biblical Cycles, during these intentional years of celebrating the new moon. His book is very helpful at explaining how the rhythms of these cycles affect not only our spiritual lives, but also our tangible lives in the market, workplace, and finances. After all, Adonai is concerned about the whole person, mind, body, and soul.

If you’ve been keeping the yearly feasts of Adonai for some time, you’ve probably noticed that things (good and bad) cycle around and around in the seasons. This is because judgment begins in the House of God. Feast days (including the weekly Sabbaths and new moons) are not just times of celebration. They are tests! We will be examined at the appointed times. As such, there are certain themes related to specific times. Perhaps you’ve already noticed this phenomenon on social media.

Every year, after the fall feasts, the identity of the Messiah is questioned, challenged, debated, and reimagined. Whether He is divine or not, Messiah or not, becomes explosive social media fare, destroying our witness regardless of how we view Him. Meanwhile, winter, Chanukah, and Purim are approaching. People in general begin to grow weary about their own identity. They question their purpose and struggle with foundational issues in life and in Bible study. Those that minister to others, really notice these patterns. It’s not chance.

Consider that after Sukkot, it is the “turn of the year.” It’s a type of new beginning. What’s at every beginning? A foundation must be built– whether physical or spiritual. If one has a shaky foundation, there is usually a great identity crisis. If one’s foundation was damaged in the previous year, they too, will struggle with a rebuild. What many consider “basic” or “foundational” issues will be challenged in this season. The Hebrew month’s that span this time frame are Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, and Adar.

Also consider the traditional winter festivals of Chanukah and Purim. They are all about the Jewish people fighting for their right to exist! Foreigners seek to wipe them off the map or conform them into an image of their making. The basic, foundational rights bestowed upon Israel by the Creator are being challenged. Is it a surprise that Messiah is challenged around this season? Or, that individuals search and struggle with who they are? I don’t believe so, because it’s part of the cycle. Sin and rebellion will exacerbate these issues.

That’s one example, I have many. I’ve been journaling about the monthly cycle for a while. I’ve written about my own struggles, and those that others have revealed to me at these seasons. I’ve also tried to pay attention to social media debates (in the Torah keeping world) and the months and seasons in which they occur. I have a dear friend that has given me more insight, and I hope to continue to collaborate with her. We hope to produce something more formal in the future.

Why would something like this be valuable? Testing and trials will not vanish, of course. They are part of our refinement. However, it would be encouraging to know that you are not alone, and that Adonai has good purposes and intentions towards us. It will also be a great resource for prayer! Many claim to be a watchman. A watchman can see what’s coming, sound the alarm, and prepare the army. If you are aware that certain issues in the natural or spiritual will be challenged or tested, then you know how to pray. You know how to stand. Your faith is built up to overcome. I believe the cycles of the Creator reveal these things to His people, so they can do just that: observe all His instruction. And, do so with a different heart, like Caleb, trusting that though there be giants, fortified cities, and Amalekites, we can overcome!

Num. 13:30 (NASB) Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”

For now, I have a request for my readers. That is actually the point of this post! I wonder who would be willing to journal alongside me? I’d really like as much feedback as possible. I don’t need you to write a book, just notes about each month. What did you battle with? How did this compare to the weekly Torah portions that month? To the traditions from the Sages? To the feasts or fasts? What “blew-up” on social media? What did people need prayer for? What other patterns did you notice? To streamline what I’m looking for, I’ve devised the following chart. Feel free to print it out to use as journal pages or use it to create your own template.

Moonthly Cycle Chart

New Moon Main Menu

 


[1]If you are anti-Jewish, anti-tradition, or fear things that are mystical, you need read no further. I believe in balance and using good Bible hermeneutics. However, I also believe the Sages and Jewish sources are valuable and have great wisdom.

[2]This NOT astrology. It has nothing to do with divination or deciding one’s fortune. That’s the perversion. Pagans didn’t put the stars in the heavens, HaShem did. The luminaries declare the glory of Elohim, which is the Good News. (Ps. 19) They also govern His moedim, His calendar, His appointments, and give Light to the earth as a testament to His authority over all the earth. (Gen. 1:14-19)

Categories: Messianic Issues, Moedim, new moon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Moonbeams and the Moedim Part II

We discussed YHWH as the Master Time keeper and the relationship between women and the moon in Part I. This post will compare the four primary moon phases to the feast days and women’s cycles. 

supermoon_01Quick Review

The Creator’s purpose for placing the great luminaries in the sky is to govern our TIME (and calendars).

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse 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 for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth“; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. (Gen. 1:14-19)

The moon is given a unique role in setting our calendars; it keeps, guards, protects, and marks out our moedim or appointed times with the Creator. These roles mirror those of the female and the ezer kenegdo.[1] These “appointed times” or appointments with God were meant to be important and relevant to God’s people in all generations (Lev. 23).

He made the moon for the seasons (moedim)… (Ps. 104:19)

In this post, we are going to focus on the various moon phases that mark out our months. Have you ever considered what phase the moon is in at various biblical festivals? Do you think it’s possible that the Creator meant for us to consider not only the season of each feast, but also the phase the moon would be in? Since the moon was given for the moedim, I believe there is great significance to be gleaned by these observances.

Moon-PhasesThe moon actually changes (from our perspective) a little each night. Science generally categorizes these changes into four principal lunar phases. In between each of these quarters, there are also four intermediate phases.[2] All together, they are:

  • New moon (astronomical)
  •      Waxing crescent
  • First quarter
  •      Waxing gibbous
  • Full moon
  •      Waning gibbous
  • Last quarter
  •      Waning crescent

For our purposes here, I will be using the four principal lunar phases as section titles. Where a feast day falls during an intermediate phase, it will be noted. But first, let’s define the new moon more clearly.[3]

As I’m sure most of my readers understand, there is a difference between the astronomical new moon and the biblical new moon. The astronomical new moon occurs when the moon is completely invisible or dark. Most of the time, you can see this phase with the naked eye. The moon appears “full” but it has no illumination. This may help us to understand a fascinating contranym (a word that can mean its own opposite) in Hebrew with regard to the moon. That word is the Hebrew keseh. This Hebrew word may sound familiar to you in the form Yom HaKeseh, the Hidden Day — a day referring most particularly to the new moon feast of Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah).

Truly, the moon is “hidden” just before the first sliver of the new crescent reveals the return of light and the biblical new moon. But the word keseh means much more than “hidden”. It is used here in the Psalm 81:

Blow the trumpet at the new moon (chodesh), at the full moon (keseh), on our feast day (chag). (Ps. 81:3)

Chodesh (New Moon) is a Hebrew word derived from the root meaning new or renew.[4] The Crescent New Moon is called chodesh precisely because it is the first time the moon is seen anew after being concealed in darkness. What seems to cause confusion is the uncertainty of the root behind the Hebrew word keseh (translated as full moon). This is Strong’s definition followed by its root.

H3677 כּסה    כּסא kese’  keseh Apparently from H3680; properly fullness or the full moon, that is, its festival: – (time) appointed.

H3680 כּסה kâsâh A primitive root; properly to plump, that is, fill up hollows; by implication to cover (for clothing or secrecy): – clad self, close, clothe, conceal, cover (self), (flee to) hide, overwhelm. Compare H3780.

Obviously, keseh means to be full or fully covered. Is not the full moon full of light and the new moon covered in (partial) darkness? Can you detect the contranym in keseh? This word denotes both revealed fullness and concealed coverings. Keseh is like kos, cup. The full moon is like a cup overflowing with abundance. Likewise, the new moon is “covered” with the same abundant force. Thus, the moon (from our perspective) is in a continual state of keseh. Like many Hebrew words, keseh can mean its own opposite. The moon is both revealed and concealed in a cycle. This activity is mirrored by women, both in their appearances in the biblical narratives (their movement in and out of the text) and in their physical bodies (menses/flow).

According to the Bible and Hebraic history, sighting the very first sliver of the waxing moon crescent marks a biblical new moon. This makes sense considering that when the moon is still black, there is not yet an indication of renewal. Only when the first visible sign of light returns can the moon be considered “renewed”. Historically, each new month began with the sightings of two reliable witnesses. Once announced, two silver trumpets heralded the day. Signal fires were then lit from mountain to mountain to spread the news throughout the Kingdom. And a new moonth began.

Rosh Chodesh (New Moon)

Phase One

The Biblical New Moon honors God as the Creator, the Master of TIME and new beginnings. The moon is a symbol that emphasizes our move from darkness unto light. At the head of every new month, we have an opportunity to live out this truth anew. The moon’s cycle of waxing and waning reminds us that even in our failings, when our light decreases, there is always hope for renewal. Rosh Chodesh offers us the opportunity to begin anew every month. This is just one more way that we may join YHWH as masters of TIME in the wheel in the middle of the wheel.

In Jewish tradition, women are given special honor during Rosh Chodesh. Some women celebrate it as a special Shabbat from certain types of labor and gather together with other women for study. There are several stories from tradition that make these associations quite fascinating. You can read about them in the links in this footnote.[5] Regardless of whether the traditional stories are true or not, the physical nature of women’s cycles weren’t lost to the Sages. Though shrouded in some mystery, women’s bodies align themselves with YHWH’s mystical lunar clock.

shfar manYom Teruah

Although Chanukah extends into a new moon phase, there is only one feast day that begins at the New Moon: Yom Teruah or Rosh Hashanah (Trumpets). It may now be very obvious why trumpets are blown at this date. Since weather can affect the sighting of a new moon sliver, this day has been dubbed, Yom HaKeseh, the Hidden Day at which no man knows the hour or the day of its occurrence. Yom Teruah heralds the seventh month, the coming Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Ingathering.

This day calls the ones sleeping in darkness to hear the great alarm of the shofar. Wake from slumber and know the season and phase you are entering. The Father desires that none perish, but many will choose otherwise. There are exactly ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These days are called the Days of Awe and throughout this time, the moon grows fuller and fuller. In other words, the new moon brings promises of more light, more awareness. There is an escalation that begins with this New Moon Feast that will culminate at Sukkot. Remember that first sliver of light is visible at this feast and moon phase. It brings with it the potential for growth and restoration.

Women

Many women have their menses either during the dark/new moon or during the full moon. They shed the old, so they can begin building the new. Obviously, menses can occur at any time during the month, but when a woman bleeds during the new moon, she will be fertile at the full. And when she bleeds at the full moon, she will be fertile during the new moon. Studies show that the more women are exposed to natural light (rather than artificial), the more consistent their cycles align with the moon phases.[6] The new moon is certainly a type of renewal, just as the woman’s womb continually renews itself.

To simplify our analogy with women and the moon, let’s consider a woman that ovulates during the new moon. If the egg is met with seed, new life will begin to form.

First Quarter

Phase Two

 As soon as the first sliver of the new moon reveals itself, the moon begins to grow increasing fuller in the night sky.

Shavuot and Yom Kippur

Shavuot (Pentecost) is the fourth feast on YHWH’s calendar. It is the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah and the Holy Spirit. Every year, this spring harvest festival falls at the waxing moon. The implication is that this season and phase of the moon is a time of growth, harvest, and blessing.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, also falls at this time as the sixth feast. As the most holy day of the year, it behooves us to ask why it arrives during the waxing moon. I believe the answer is revealed when we also consider the other two festivals that sandwich this feast (fast) day in the seventh month. We’ve already looked at Rosh Hashanah as the new moon. It calls us to awaken from our slumber and to hear the shofar’s call, warning us of coming Judgment. Ideally, the call will lead us to life.

Yom Kippur is the Day of Judgment. Too often we associate judgment with finality. The moon speaks to us that that is not what the Creator has in mind. There is more to the story. His desire is that we are judged favorably as pictured in this waxing/growing moon phase. Judgment leads us to something. It points us to eternity as visualized in the following feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles).

Women

If an egg was fertilized at the new moon, then at this phase, the zygote will be implanted into the womb and growth will rapidly occur. Conversely, if no seed was received, the womb will prepare to shed in menses.

The Full Moon

Phase Three

The full moon falls around the fourteenth or fifteenth day of Hebrew months. The important thing to remember is that when the moon is full, we have the most light in the darkness. It’s easier to SEE.

lulavPesach and Sukkot

Two of the three pilgrimage festivals, Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (Tabernacles), occur at the full moon. If we looked at all seven festivals together, these feasts would bookend YHWH’s entire calendar. The light of the moon offers a bright night sky for worshippers and pilgrims to gather together. Interestingly, Sukkot commemorates the original Passover and the succeeding wanderings in the wilderness. The two feasts with the most light in the darkness are linked and connected by their memorials, light, and completeness.

Mystically speaking, there is more “spiritual” light on the earth at these appointed times. In my experience, it is the two festivals of Passover and Tabernacles that people are more curious about and willing to participate in.

Women

If a woman ovulated during the new moon, she will begin menses at this time if she didn’t receive seed. If she did conceive, her body will pause her cycle at this moon and full gestation will begin. I believe Passover and Sukkot both impregnate the true spiritual seeker with a desire to seek the Creator more diligently through obedience.

Last Quarter

Phase Four

The moon’s light begins to decrease.

Unleavened Bread, Early Firstfruits, Shemini Atzeret, and Chanukah

Holidays that fall during the waning days of diminishing light include Chanukah (which extends into the new moon) and Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, the eighth day of Sukkot. This holiday also marks the end of the Torah cycle and its beginning. These are holidays of new beginnings, cleansing and renewal, and portals from death into life.

In the spring, just after the full moon of Passover, come the days of Unleavened Bread and Early Firstfruits. The moon light begins to gently decrease during these days as well. The theme of these festivals mirrors Shemini Atzeret and Chanukah. This isn’t surprising since they all occur during the same waning moon phase. Harvest, rebirth, resurrection, and renewal are all present.

While decreasing in light can be considered a negative thing, sometimes it is a very necessary and holy act. Perhaps that is why more feast days occur at this moon phase than any other. Consider John the Baptist’s words:

John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. “You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. “He must increase, but I must decrease. “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. (John 3:27-31)

I wonder if John had the analogy of the moon in mind when he said these words. If you carefully read the above passage, you can clearly see the moon phases. John was sent ahead of the Messiah as the “sent one”. His job was to testify (reflect) the true light:

 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. (John 1:6-8)

The imagery of the moon reflecting the true light of the sun (Son) is unmistakable here. The fact that the Hebrew month begins in the evening with the moon in the sky also testifies to this. The moon precedes the sunlight just as John preceded the Messiah. His job? To testify or reflect the coming Light. This is the job of all “sent ones”. Remember to think cyclically and not linearly. In Hebraic thought, this imagery doesn’t occur once, it is ongoing and repetitive. This cycle didn’t begin with John the Baptist nor will it end with him; just as the daily cycles of evening and morning repeat every day and the moon phases repeat every month.

In Jewish literature, the moon is not only associated with women, but with Israel as a nation. This shouldn’t surprise us since God’s people are often given feminine metaphors in the Bible. Israel and Judah are sisters; Israel/Judah is a bride, a woman, and a wife. As I’ve mentioned many times, both men and women are revealed in the Woman of Scripture. This is true whether you are a harlot or a righteous woman.

John knew that he had no real light of himself. The people didn’t need to be distracted by him, a mere man. The Mashiach, the Light of the World, was in their midst. To Him alone all glory belongs. This is a test for all “sent ones”. The moment a “sent one” believes that people must come to them for “light” is the moment they pass from truth to the realm of a false apostle.

angel-lightThis brings us to the other side of the coin of diminishment. Not all light is good or holy light. We know that the enemy masquerades as an “angel of light” and Messiah told us to “watch out that the light that in you is not darkness”. (Luke 11:35) The first wicked spirit that lights a dark lamp is pride.[7] We all suffer from this malady and it must be diminished as a wicked or dark lamp. Repenting and humbling ourselves, we have the promise of renewal and rebirth as seen in the coming new moon.

Women

Women also have this same promise if the conception of life didn’t occur earlier in the month. The new moon is coming, but not before darkness. I believe this is true for women desiring to conceive children and for those trying to birth other (good) things into the world. The cycle teaches us that sometimes we must endure the darkness. Sometimes our light is dim. But praise Adonai; the promise of His light is near. We need only to look up. Our salvation draws nigh.

“For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me,” declares the LORD, “So your offspring and your name will endure. “And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from Sabbath to Sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the LORD. (Is. 66:22-23)

Recap

Women connect us to sacred time. Their bodies tell the same story as the great luminaries in the sky. It is a message of life, death, and renewal. It is the gospel spoken through the flesh. Let’s put together what we know about the moon, the feasts, and women thus far. Here, I’ve given the analogy of a woman that is in menses at the new moon. Here are the festivals and their associated moon phase. I’ll let you make your own assessments for the feasts of the people: Chanukah and Purim.

Passover/Full Moon = Shedding of blood. Death is cleansed by blood, so new life can begin. All people must pass through the bloody opening of their mother’s womb, just as people of faith must leave Egypt through the bloody door of the covenant. Light is separated from the darkness. A woman is separated (niddah) by the blood, whether it is menstrual or from birth. Both speak to life, birth, and renewal.

Unleavened Bread/Waning Moon = Leaving an old life for a new one is difficult. All must eat the bread of affliction and struggle with this phase of repentance and cleansing. The light may “appear” dimmer as we walk through this process. As the uterus continues to shed death and decay, a woman experiences a level of discomfort and separation.

Early Firstfruits/Waning Moon = The moon continues to wane during this week. But the darkness of the tomb has light. The separation process isn’t indefinite. Gathering unto life is promised. (As pictured in Isaac and Messiah’s resurrection.) Though the days ahead may be dark, a new dawn is coming. The waters of immersion wash us in the Red Sea just as a woman is cleansed from her blood flow in the mikveh. Newness and cleansing preps us to receive life. We begin to count our days to fullness, to Shavuot.

Pentecost/Waxing Moon = When the day of Pentecost has “fully come”, the moon waxes toward fullness and we begin to overflow with the fullness of the Torah and the Holy Spirit. This likened to a woman that has received Seed. There is promise that a New Life is forming. This is why the moon isn’t yet full. We have our instructions and the filling of the Holy Spirit to see us through to the harvest.

Rosh Hashanah/New Moon = During the long hot summer, the harvest grows and ripens. Eventually, the darkness of this present world seems as if it will engulf us in wickedness. Alas, the trumpet sounds (Rosh Hashanah) announcing the arrival of the king. The tiny new sliver brings with it the promise of the bright full moon to come. But first, judgment must come to pass. The shofar calls the Bride to make herself ready. She is fertile and ready to receive her King.

Yom Kippur/Waxing moon = As the moon begins to reach fullness, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement arrives. The harvest is gathered, bundled, and placed in the covering of the Master’s barn, but the chaff is burned outside. Likewise, two goats are marked. One for Adonai and the other is sent into the wilderness of sin to die for Azazel. The woman has been judged. Will she bear fruit fit for the Kingdom or will she only have the curse of a swollen belly because of the bitter waters?

Sukkot/Full Moon = After judgment, the marriage feast takes place under the bright harvest moon. What was promised in the betrothal at Shavuot is consummated under the chuppah. The bridegroom is joined with his bride. She recalls their time in the wilderness of her youth and her redemption from slavery. Everything about this festival recalls the great work and preparation of her Maker, her husband. Though He seemed to delay, the harvest is great. The guests are dressed in clean white linen. What was once a seed has become new and eternal life.

Shemini Atzeret /Waning Moon = The last great day occurs. Though the moon is waning once again, it won’t last long. The cycle will continue, but the moon’s light will no longer be diminished. YHWH is making all things new. There will be no need for the light of the earthly luminaries. He is our Light and His people know their appointed times. The trees (His people) will produce fruit every month because they are nourished from the River of Life that flows from the throne of God. (Ezek. 47:12, Rev. 22:2)

Chanukah = Waning Moon and New Moon

Purim = Full Moon

My hope is that you will now begin to meditate on the moon phase as you celebrate the moedim cycle. While men do not have a menstrual cycle that keeps their physical body attune with the moon, they no doubt have women in their lives that do. As a part of the greater assembly, both men and women (as a Bride) go through cycles of shedding death and nourishing good seed. In a very real sense, both men and women birth things in both the natural and the spiritual realms. The next post in this series will take this concept a bit further by examining the moedim within the framework of a human gestation cycle.

Part III



[1] The Biblical Role of Women Part I and Part II.

[2] The word crescent refers to the phases where the moon is less than half illuminated. The word gibbous refers to phases where the moon is more than half illuminated. Waxing means “growing” or expanding in illumination, while waning means “shrinking” or decreasing in illumination.

[3] In the camps of those returning to the Torah, the moon can cause a bit of controversy in the realm of calendar keeping.  Many divisions and splits have resulted from differing opinions and research of new moon sightings. Many a paper and teaching have sought to prove that their view of when a “new moon” actually occurs is the right one. There are others that adamantly claim that once the new month begins, the count for the weekdays should begin. This makes the weekly Shabbat, fall on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th of a month instead of the usual reckoning of Saturday (Sabbath). Confused yet?

We can truly act like LUNATICS in our pursuit of truth. I encourage you to seek balance in these areas through humility. Our Greek mind-sets desire absolutes, black and white answers, and “rightness”. But Hebraic thought allows for more than one understanding even when they appear contrary to our finite minds. Be careful when you feel the need or desire to draw line in the sand. No one has yet cornered the truth no matter how thoroughly researched the topic may be. Ask yourself what type of fruit will be manifested by your “belief” or “actions”. Will your stand produce life or death in the Body? Will your conviction build or destroy? I’m not calling for compromise, but sacrificial love. We don’t have to sacrifice our convictions in order to love others or respect their conclusions. We will be known by our fruit. May our fruit NOT reek of division, confusion, bickering, self-righteousness, and pride.

So, in regards to the “right” way to observe, mark, or calculate the new moon, humbly follow your convictions, but be careful when you judge someone else’s if it is contrary to yours. If your local Body doesn’t keep the moedim on the dates you do, I encourage you to join with them anyway. Separation that doesn’t lead to gathering is DEATH. (You can always keep the dates you feel are most accurate at home.) In this same spirit, be careful when you “judge” Jewish laws in this area as well. In light of this, I will not engage or allow others to mete out their fierce convictions on this issue in the comments on my blog. I see nothing but rotten fruit in such endeavors.

[4] Strong’s Definitions: H2320 חדשׁ chôdesh From H2318; the new moon; by implication a month: – month (-ly), new moon.

       H2318 חדשׁ châdash A primitive root; to be new; causatively to rebuild: – renew, repair.

[5]  http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Rosh_Chodesh/Women/Moon.shtml

http://www.aish.com/jl/hol/o/48972041.html

[6] See The Garden of Fertility by Katie Singer

[7] See Proverbs 6:6-8 and The Creation Gospel Workbook Two, by Dr. Hollisa Alewine.

Categories: Moedim, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

April Fool

april 1

Have you ever been at the butt end of an April fool’s joke? Why do people play jokes on each other on April 1st anyway? Where did this weird tradition originate? Interestingly, according to most resources, this strange practice originates with a calendar issue![1] Those returning to the Hebraic Roots of our faith are VERY aware of the multitude of calendar problems, issues, and debates.

Our current western calendar is called the Gregorian calendar. It was introduced in the year 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, as a refinement to the previous Julian calendar by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. The Julian calendar was also a reform, but of the old Roman calendar. The reason for a revision of the Julian calendar had to do the dating of Easter:

“The motivation for the reform was to bring the date for the celebration of Easter to the time of the year in which the First Council of Nicaea had agreed upon in 325. Because the celebration of Easter was tied to the spring equinox, the Roman Catholic Church considered this steady drift in the date of Easter undesirable. The reform was adopted initially by the Catholic countries of Europe. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time, for the sake of convenience in international trade. The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece, in 1923.”[2]

That’s right! Like it or not, our current western calendar is focused on Easter and its proper dating. But before we explore why that may be a problem, let’s look at what the original April fool really was.

When the Catholic Church decided to reform the Julian calendar, the ancient world didn’t have moment to moment communication like we have today. Even restructuring of major endeavors like a new calendar took time to spread and reach the various parts of the world. Although the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars were minor at 0.002%,[3] there was one observable major difference. That discrepancy was when the New Year began.

During the Middle Ages, under the influence of the Christian Church, many Western European countries moved the start of the year to one of several important Christian festivals—25 December (the Nativity of Jesus), 25 March (Annunciation), or Easter (France),[23] while the Byzantine Empire began its year on 1 September and Russia did so on 1 March until 1492 when the year was moved to 1 September.[4]

Thus, depending on where you lived during the middle ages, the New Year would be celebrated at different times. At this point in history, the calendar wasn’t nearly as uniform as it is today in the western world. Since Rome was the center for the Universal Church at the time of the calendar reform of 1582, mostWestern European countries changed the start of the year to January 1st before they adopted the Gregorian calendar.

What was the date of the New Year prior to this reform? Well, it varied from country to country. But most celebrated the New Year in accordance with Easter or the vernal equinox. When the calendar reform of 1582 took place, the New Year was set for January 1st — like it is today. However, there were many people still observing the New Year around April 1st. Those who had already adjusted to the calendar reform called those “less enlightened” April fools!

If you were a farmer detached from the mainstream city living, you may have been an April fool too. Although this accounting of April Fool’s Day is completely plausible, its historicity is still debatable. Many believe that April Fool’s Day has a much more ancient root in the old Roman celebration of Hilaria, which was a festival borrowed from the Greeks.

You can probably guess the English derivatives of this word, like hilarious. This festival was centered on goddess worship with games, amusements, and masquerades. I personally feel that while April Fool’s may have originated with these pagan activities, it evolved and took on new hilarity when the calendar reformed.

 

YHWH’s Calendar

What I find very fascinating is that the Gregorian calendar was initiated to keep the dating of Easter in accord with the First Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. There were in fact several main Christian dogmas established at this early council, and if you haven’t studied this point in history I highly urge you to do so. It is impossible to understand Christian doctrine without first investigating these early centuries.

Many beliefs and traditions of the “Church” can be traced back to Rome, Greece, and Babylon, and not the Bible or Israel. It is quite amazing that these early “Christians” were compelled to align their calendar with a pagan fertility goddess (Easter/Ishtar/Astarte/Ashtoreth). Now, I know most Christians don’t associate the resurrection of Jesus with a fertility goddess, but the symbols reveal the root. Egg laying bunnies and colored Easter egg hunts are not found in Scripture but in traditions associated with this fertility goddess. Even the traditional Easter ham (a mockery of the Passover Lamb) can be traced back to Tammuz.[5]

Conversely, the Hebrew calendar in effect today was established after the destruction of the Temple in order to keep the Feasts of YHWH in their proper season according to Passover. Jews in the early centuries were being heavily persecuted under Constantius and needed a solid and unified calendar to keep the people unified in exile. The current Hebrew calendar is attributed most often to Hillel II.[6]

The western Roman calendars are solar whereas the Hebrew calendar is lunar and solar. The latter is more aligned with the purpose of the sun, moon, and stars given in Genesis chapter one. But I digress. This article isn’t meant to be a detailed history of calendars or a long treatise on developing a “correct” calendar. What I find very disturbing is that there are so many varying “biblical” calendars that have been developed in the past decade.

There are many self-proclaimed calendar authorities out there that only promulgate strife and division in the Body. I urge you to use caution when they pontificate how accurate and right their calculations are. As for me and my family, we will stick with Judah. Judah holds the scepter, so right or wrong, they have been given authority in certain areas by the CREATOR that we simply shouldn’t try to usurp. The multitude of various new (corrected) calendars has done nothing to bring Unity to the Body. Instead, it has brought only division and confusion; of which, I know YHWH is not the author.

Speaking more broadly, our calendar is vitally important. Our days, months, and years are tracked by the calendar we keep. But even more significant, our holidays (Holy Days) are carefully marked on our calendars. In a nutshell, our lives revolve around a calendar! Our Creator is well aware of this cycle and He cares deeply about how we walk, live, worship, and play. This is why He graciously details the appropriate “sanctuaries in time” that He desires to meet with us. (Lev. 23)

We can and should worship the Creator every day; however, that does not replace His appointed times. YHWH’s moedim (feast days/ appointed times), are first given to us in seed form in Genesis:

Gen. 1:14-19 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; (15) and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. (16) God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. (17) God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, (18) and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. (19) There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.(NASB)

We could learn much by dissecting these few verses, but our focus will remain on the moedim. In this section of Scripture, the moedim are translated as “seasons”. One of the reasons for the natural “lights” in the sky is to give us a CALENDAR. Within that calendar there will be moedim (seasons/feast days/appointed times). The purpose of these appointments is to govern our lives and separate the light from the darkness. The early Patriarchs and Matriarchs followed this cycle, but the form was hidden like a seed in the earth. If you look closely, you will see the pattern and evidence even though it is immature.

Later the seed of the moedim begins to sprout in Scripture and we can discern the green sprout and its leaves more clearly. This happens in Exodus as the nation of Israel bursts forth from the death and slavery of Egypt and Pharaoh. The sprout begins to grow into a young sapling in the wilderness and later with the Judges, Kings, and Prophets. But the sapling is still immature. Sometimes the people tend to the sapling, sometimes they forget. The evidence of the moedim however, is undeniable.

The enemy knows the importance of our lives being focused on the Creator’s calendar too. This is why his utmost desire is to rule or sit in the governing seat of authority over our appointed times. This is evidenced prophetically with the king of Babylon in Isaiah.

Is. 14:12-14 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! (13) “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. (14) ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

Again, there is a lot of symbolism to explore in these verses, but we will stick with one area: the moedim. The underlined verse, “I will sit on the mount of the assembly” has some interesting Hebrew words behind this English translation. The word “assembly” is actually MOED! What is the “mount” of the moed or moedim? Where are we told to gather thrice in a year? The Temple Mount. The enemy desires to place his throne at the center of the worship of YHWH. (BTW, what’s sitting on the Temple Mount right now?)

The mount of the assembly is not just a place of worship; it is a sanctuary of time. It is the place of the divine appointments. Time and space are involved in the worship of YHWH. Time is marked by our calendars. Thus, the enemy desires to sit in authority over YOUR calendar! This perverts our worship of YHWH. Control someone’s calendar and you control their life! From the early centuries of Christianity, the true calendar of YHWH has been governed by an unholy spirit — the king of Babylon. Why else would our western calendars be initiated by the “holy day” of Easter? Easter’s roots can be traced back to Babylon and Nimrod, not the Bible or Israel. This is why it is intriguing that our current Gregorian calendar was designed around Easter. Is it any wonder why John the Revelator MARVELED at the whore of Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18?

Wow, these are strong words. I’m sorry, but it is on my heart today. I am not condemning those that ignorantly keep another calendar, nor am I suggesting that these precious souls are doomed. However, why we do what we do and how we do it does matter. I believe YHWH is shaking His people awake. His desire is for us to “Repent”! The seed of the moedim has been growing to maturity and we’ve been so focused on another tree that we’ve missed its beauty, protection, and fruit.

If you are newer to the Father’s calendar, the tree, its smell, and its fruit may seem “strange” at first. You may even long for the familiar taste of the “other” tree. It will hurt and you will grieve when you chop down the imposter because of its familiarity. But soon, you will realize the healing that is found in the fruit of YHWH’s moedim. Your vision, walk, and resolve will be sharper, straighter, and stronger.

Have we been April fools? If so, wake up! Take a stand this year to keep the Creator’s calendar as best you can. Instead of marveling at the immense treasures of Babylon, marvel at the graciousness, love, and majesty found in the Feasts of YHWH.

 

feasts 2

 

You can learn about the moedim and the king of Babylon by studying The Creation Gospel by Dr. Hollisa Alewine.

 

[1] This is not a definitive answer, however. The most widely accepted tradition is that April Fool’s Day began with a change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Other sources aren’t so sure and believe them to be more ancient. For the sake of other points in this article, I will assume the majority is right and that this was in fact a calendar change issue. That does not imply that I think I know the whole truth of the matter. J

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] I recommend two books by Richard Rives for a thorough investigation of this history. His book Too Long in the Sun and Time is the Ally of Deceit are great resources. The latter book also has a full DVD series that accompanies it. http://www.toolong.com/cart/proddetail.php?prod=046.5 Richard’s website is: http://www.toolong.com/

[6] http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3920-calendar-history-of

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