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(Rev.12:17, Luk.10:19, Mat.28:19-20)
CONCEALED, FULL, OR CRESCENT
That is the question.
In this article we will examine the three different beliefs of when New Moon day is. We will bring in historical documents for each one and compare the information. Let us begin with the concealed moon.
In modern language the term “New Moon” refers to that little black dot on our calendars today. Modern astronomers adopted the name “New Moon” which is when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and is not visible. There are now two ways the “New Moon” is recognized; the “astronomical” New Moon and the “crescent” New Moon. “Astronomical” New Moon means New Moon as used by the astronomers, i.e. conjunction and “crescent” New Moon is used in the original meaning of the first visible sliver. Some people have sought Biblical support for this modern meaning of New Moon. Psalm 81:3 is usually used which says:
“Blow on a horn for the Hodesh (New Moon) On Keseh (Full Moon) for the Day of our Hag (Feast).”
According to this “concealed Moon theory”, the word ‘keseh’ is from the root k.s.y. meaning to cover and therefore means “covered moon” or “concealed moon”. Now according to that interpretation, the verse which says to blow on a horn on the day of Keseh is really saying “[blow on a horn] on the day of Concealed Moon”. However this argument is not supported for the second half of this verse also refers to the day of keseh as “the day of our Feast (Hag)”. In scripture the word Hag is associated with the three pilgrimage feasts set up by YHWH back in Exodus. The three Feasts are Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. New Moon day is never called a Hag and cannot possibly be synonymous with Keseh/Hag. It has also been suggested that Keseh refers to Yom Teruah which falls on a New Moon day. However, Yom Teruah is called a moed in the Bible not a Hag, so Keseh/Hag will not work there either.
What does Keseh really mean? It is quite likely that the word Keseh could be related to the word “Kista” from the Aramaic and also the word “Kuseu” from the Assyrian which means “full moon”. Hebrew, Aramaic and Assyrian are all Semitic languages and can often share common roots. This then fits in perfectly with Keseh as the day of the Hag since two of the three pilgrimage Feasts are on the 15th of the month, which is about the time of the full moon.
There is another point to consider. There is no actual ‘day’ of concealed moon. It is a fact that the moon stays concealed anywhere from 1.5 days to almost 3.5 days in the Middle East. It also was only 1000 years after Moses that the Babylonian astronomers discovered how to approximately calculate the conjunction. The Ancient Israelites would have no way of knowing when true conjunction was and therefore would not know what day to observe “Concealed Moon Day”. If you are thinking that they could have looked at the waning moon to determine it then remember there is a span of 1.5 to 3.5 days of no moon so what day would they be able to choose?
As to evidence in ancient documents or encyclopedias, I have found none. If someone has such evidence, please let me know. I am always willing to study for truth.
With this next one, there are not many who hold to this, but I want to cover something on it because questions do come up. The thought behind the full moon being New Moon Day is a little tough to explain. Most of what I have heard is that: firstly YHWH is a God of light and would therefore start a new month in total light. Secondly, the sign of the woman in the heavens with the moon at her feet is a full moon. Thirdly, the Sun being dark at the time of the death of Yeshua had to be an eclipse and could only happen with a dark moon which would put a full moon at the beginning of the month.
First let us examine the sign in the Heavens. The full sign is that she is ‘clothed’ in the Sun with the Moon at her feet. This sign is Virgo. She cannot be ‘clothed’ in the Sun with a full moon at her feet. The moon would be too close for it to be full. As the moon passes the Sun at conjunction, it begins to grow or wax in size. When the Sun is in Virgo with the moon at her feet it is in the Fall of the year. The Moon would be only about 2 -3 days from conjunction putting it at first visible crescent not full. In fact this sign happens every year at Yom Teruah. Now what about the eclipse? We know that an eclipse of the Sun can only happen when the moon is coming into conjunction with it. However, an eclipse has never lasted over a few minutes because the moon is always moving. To have the Sun be dark for three hours (Mat 27:45) is not a normal occurrence. It had to be supernatural by the hand of YHWH Himself. Therefore the event was not dependent on natural happenings and could happen anytime of the year. In looking for evidence in ancient documents or encyclopedias I also came up blank. Again, if there is such evidence please let me know.
First Visible Crescent
We now come to the final possibility for New Moon Day. It seems amazing to me that the most obvious sign in the heavens showing the new start of something is the first visible crescent of the moon. The natural course of growing out of obscurity and becoming brilliantly full and then declining in size as the month continues until disappearing and preparing to appear to start a new month is a smoothly planned pattern. It is like the Sun’s pattern of lightly dawning in the early morning heralding in the day and climbing to the utmost of the sky and then beginning its decent till all that is seen is the glow of final light. If you observe all creation it follows this same pattern. Everything appears from obscurity, climbing to full growth and then slowly lessening in color, brilliancy, size, strength, or volume. This seems to be the rhythm of life, the rhythm of the Earth, the rhythm of the Heavens. As I stated in the last “Theory”, the sign of Virgo is seen every Fall season (at Yom Teruah to be more precise) 2 -3 days after the conjunction of the Sun and Moon, which is when the first sliver of the moon becomes visible to the naked eye. It is hard to ignore the very sign YHWH put there for us to witness every year and then tell us to celebrate a special day of shouting on that very day every year.
Some would say that the crescent is a pagan symbol and should not be used. To this I must ask, who created the moon with all of the various phases through the month? Is it right to give credence to the enemy for corrupting that which was created by YHWH and then given to all nations (Deu 4:19), by calling it pagan?
As for evidence in ancient documents and various dictionaries and encyclopedias, there is much. I have given only a few for you to examine below.
ENCYCLOPEDIA JUDAICA, Vol. 12, p. 1039.
“Originally, the New Moon was not fixed by astronomical calculation, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon,” …The switchover from watching for the first visible crescent to calculating conjunctions to determine the month’s beginning came with Hillel II’s calendar revisions in the 4th century A.D. “By the middle of the fourth century, the sages had established a permanent calendar and the public proclamation of the New Moon was discontinued”
The appearance of the new moon inaugurated a new period, a new month….
The mean length of such a month is 29d 12h 44m 2.82s, and accordingly it was impossible that the determination of the month, as long as it rested on direct observation only, could arrive at any absolutely uniform result; the observed months inevitably varied in length between 29 and 30 days, and the order in which the months alternated had not yet been fixed even at the time when the Mishna was composed; even at that late date, in the second century A.D. the point was decided by the first visibility of the new moon.
CLEMENT OF ALEXADRIA Book IV chptr 5
"Neither worship as the Jews; for they, thinking that they only know God, do not know Him, adoring as they do angels and archangels, the month and the moon. And if the moon be not visible, they do not hold the Sabbath, which is called the first; nor do they hold the new moon, nor the feast of unleavened bread, nor the feast, nor the great day."
For more references read my book ‘Returning to the Ancient Paths of YHWH’ on this site.
We have so much to learn about what our Father has set in motion from the beginning. As time draws near for our King’s return, YHWH will be revealing more truth to those who seek after it. Don’t find yourself waiting for the bus at the wrong corner.
The Repairer of the Breach. - Helping restore Father's people to the Ancient paths of scripture.