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New Moon or Dark Moon?

When we read of the new moon, does it refer to the dark moon

 or the sighting of the first sliver of the moon?

1 Samuel chapter 20 tells the story of David hiding away from King Saul because he knew that Saul intended to kill him.

Verse 5 David said to Jonathan “See, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit with the king to eat. But let me go, and I will hide in the field until the third day at evening”.

Verses 17 to 19 And Jonathan again made David swear, because he loved him, for he loved him as he loved his own being. And Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed because your seat will be empty. On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid on the day of the deed, and you will remain by the rock Etsel”.

In the Scriptures the words “new moon” really should be “new month” as “month” is the abbreviated form of “moon-th”. The phases of the moon and the days of the moon-th are very closely related.

David said to Jonathan “Tomorrow is the new moon”. In the Hebrew writings this refers to the new month or Rosh Chodesh. The Hebrew scroll copyists and the translators of the scriptures have made it ‘new moon’ (moon-th) so that it appears to be a new or renewed moon, implying that we should be looking for the first sliver of the new moon. That does not sound as if it is a big deal but causes considerable spin-offs later, as we will see as we go into the subject further.

How did David know that the next day would be the new moon-th? Well, he did either of two things, he could have counted fourteen days from the previous full moon and known that the next night there would be no moon at all, a dark moon. Or as they were at Ramah, a few miles north of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) which is on a ridge with a clear view looking eastward over the Jordan valley with that wonderful panorama, early in the morning, David was able to see the last sliver of the old moon fading away into the sky as the sun rose over the horizon. From that sighting he knew that the next night there would be no moon at all, or a dark moon.

It was the day that King Saul was to begin his annual Rosh Chodesh Feast, and there was a place set at the table for David on two days, but David and Jonathan had devised a plan with an excuse for him not to have to attend. Saul was occupied the first two days of the feast and maybe quite affected by wine. David knew that Saul would be free to go out and find him on the third day, a dangerous time for David so he had to be very careful, as he went in fear of losing his life. We know the story from there on, how he survived the danger period and eventually went on to become the great King David, King of Yisrael.

It is not clear from scripture whether this month was referring to the Aviv month or the Seventh month of the year.

Wayyiqra (Lev.) 23: 4 - 6 These are the appointed times of Yahuah, set-apart gatherings which you are to proclaim at their appointed times.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings is the Passover to Yahuah. And on the fifteenth day of this month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, seven days you eat unleavened bread.

The Passover of Yahuah is not called a ‘Feast Day’. In the scriptures, it is always simply known as ‘the Passover’. However there is one exception to this scripture occurring as follows -

In the KJV Yohanan (John) 6: 4 And the Passover was near, the Feast of the Yehudim (Jews). Wrong!

 This was not the Passover, nor was it the feast of the Jews

 It was the day of Blowing of Trumpets

A special day for Yahuah’s people.

The day they have named in the KJV as “Passover” is actually the day of Blowing of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh month at the dark moon, and was unto Yahuah, not instituted by the Jews. The Scriptures translators named it “the Passover” here to make it fit in with their belief that Yahusha’s ministry lasted for 3½ years. Wrong again!

(Please see our article “The 70 Week Ministry of Yahusha” for the explanation).

David in Psalm 81: 3 says “Blow the ram’s horn at the time of the new moon (moon-th), at the full moon on our appointed festival day”.

There are two full moon Feast Days in the year “The Feast of Unleavened Bread” and “The Feast of Booths or Tabernacles”. These are on the fifteenth of the first month and also on the fifteenth of the seventh month, as David’s psalm has already told us, confirming the timing of both of these Feasts in Wayyiqra (Lev.) 23: 6 and 34.

Here we should note that Yahuah is the Master mathematician and the Master of logic. The time interval between the first day of the year, Rosh Chodesh, and the first day of the seventh month, the day of Blowing of Trumpets, is always 177 days, also the interval between the day of Blowing of Trumpets and the next Rosh Chodesh, which makes up the full year, is also 177 days, unless there is a thirteenth month added. When He does things to perfection such as this for the years, then why would He not do the same for the months? The period from Rosh Chodesh to the full moon is always 15 days, and conversely, the time from the full moon to the first day of the next month is 15 days and these are always on the odd numbered months. It is not logical to think that He would have made the full moon, the Feast of Unleavened bread, fall 13 or 14 days after Rosh Chodesh and the first day of next month to fall 16 or 17 days after that.

The dark moon after Equinox is the sign for Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the moon-th of Aviv,  otherwise there will be an additional 29 day month called Adar Bet. It is also the sign to observe Yom Teruah, the first day of the seventh month and also to indicate the first day of every other month of the year.

The Passover can not begin on the evening of the fifteenth as some have it; that must be the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a holy day of convocation. The Passover must be all of the 24 hours of the fourteenth day of the month.  

A very much debated issue arising from this error is whether Yahusha partook of the Passover meal on the evening of the 14th of Aviv, or the evening of the 15th. It is not possible to be the 15th as by then He had been crucified and His body was in the tomb. The meal that He took with the disciples was certainly the Passover, as it was the 14th day (which begins at sundown of our 13th) as stated in all of the Gospels including Yohanen (John). It has to be the 14th day to be scriptural as it states in Wayyiqra (Lev.) 23:4. To say that this was just an evening meal is quite wrong. (See our article “Last Supper or Passover”)

Allowing 24 hours from one evening to the next, reckoning14 days after the dark moon correctly places the Passover on the 14th, whereas 14 days after the sighting of the first sliver of the moon places the Passover on the sixteenth,

Also wrong! Observing the Passover on the sixteenth day of the month is not what the Torah instructs us to do.

Note that “the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon” is not mentioned in scripture at all. Apparently that teaching is from the Talmud, which is a compilation of Israeli and Babylonian Jewish Rabbinical opinions and traditions, written by dozens of authors from around the second century to the fifth century CE. These are written down from traditions that had been passed down orally over the centuries.

The Jewish calendar is always some days late and sometimes a month and two days either early or late, and is also 240 years behind the accepted time of the present day.

The Jewish calendar is calculated by a fixed formula.

An unfortunate result of counting the days from the first sliver of the new moon is that Rosh Chodesh and also the first day of every other month of the year is caused to be about two days late. The timing of the Jewish calendar is always about two days after the true day and is therefore incorrect right through the year. It also makes every appointed Feast Day of Yahuah for the whole year to fall late.

To follow Yahuah’s instructions for us we should get it right and not fit in with man’s traditions.

Rosh Chodesh, the Head Moon, the first day of the year must always be decided by the  dark moon immediately following Equinox, as this is the scriptural way.

Notice that if we follow the times and seasons the way our Creator instructed, and do not add or subtract, everything turns out orderly and predictable.

On our “pagan” Gregorian calendar the phases of the moon are higgledy-piggledy, and completely disorderly.

The calculation of the Biblical Hebrew Calendar

The Hebrew calendar year has 354 days, 6 months of 30 days and 6 months of 29 days alternately.

A 13th month of 29 days called AdarBet is added at the end of the twelfth month provided the Equinox is still to occur. After Equinox at the Dark Moon, the New month of the next Hebrew year called Aviv begins.

From the 1st day of Aviv to the 1st day of Ethanim is always 177 days, and from the 1st day of Ethanim to the first day of the next Aviv is 177 days, except in the year of the 13th month, Adar Bet when it is 206 days.

With this information it is a fairly easy matter to calculate all of the important Feast days of Yahusha’s ministry in Israel and 30½ years of life on this earth.

Neville Shaw


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