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Spring 2010: The New Moon on the New Earth
Publish date: Dec 8, 2010
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Why did Isaiah have to go and ruin a perfectly good proof text showing future Sabbath keeping on the earth made new by throwing in that Jewish “new moon” bit? That only serves to confirm in many minds that the Sabbath is just a Jewish festival, a relic of the pre-Christian era. “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 66:23).
Where else do we see the new moon talked about in Scripture? Colossians 2:16–17 says, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
According to Paul, the holyday, the new moon, and the sabbaths shadowed things to come such as the sacrifice of Jesus, outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the beginning of the investigative judgment. So, what did the new moon shadow?
Why will we worship monthly on each new moon as well as weekly on the seventh day Sabbath on the earth made new throughout eternity? Whatever the new moon was a shadow of; it must be something extremely significant for us to commemorate for eternity what it foreshadowed. I stumbled upon what could be a possible answer while reading the book of Ezekiel recently.
Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same (Ezekiel 44: 1-3).
Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened. And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without... Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons (Ezekiel 46:1-3).
The eastern gate was to be closed all week and opened only on the Sabbath and on the new moon. It says only the prince shall enter this gate. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people...” (Daniel 12:1). The gate faces east. Is this calling to mind anything of significance that is yet to transpire?
Let’s look at a few more clues:
And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east (Ezekiel 43:4).
For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24:27).
Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob (Psalm 81:3-4).
The night of the new moon is just after the darkest night of the month.
The coming of the bridegroom was at midnight–the darkest hour. So the coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth’s history” (COL, 414).
What is the new moon a shadow of? Unlike the annual feast days, it occurred every month, showing the immense importance attached to whatever this feast typified. It appears to foreshadow that most stupendous, colossal event, the Second Coming of Jesus. And I would not be surprised if Jesus’ Second Coming actually occurred on a new moon. If it did, this would give immense significance to the new moon mentioned in Isaiah 66:23: “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.”
Why will we meet, not only once a week but also once a month on the new moon? The new moon gathering would commemorate our deliverance from this world at the Second Coming of Jesus while providing opportunity to partake of the new variety of fruit that the tree of life will produce each month (Revelation 22:1-4)—a commemoration of the deliverance from the sting of death (which the tree of life provides) that took place at the Second Coming of Jesus.
There is much inspired evidence that supports the final aspect of the gospel, that is the redemption of our bodies at the second coming of Jesus, as being very significant. All the sleeping saints waiting for that final change calling out (figuratively) how long Lord (Revelation 6:10). The last enemy is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:54), God’s people are fully comforted (1 Thessalonians 4:18). Glorification as being the final realization of the gospel, Paul himself stated that our “faith is vain” without it (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 17)! Christ is in fact called the “firstfruits” in regard to the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23). In other words, we gather every new moon to worship God and eat of the fruit of the tree of life for healing and immortality as a monthly commemoration of the Second Coming and resurrection.
In the Middle East the moon stays concealed anywhere from 1½ to 3½ days. It was waited for with anticipation. No Israelite could know the day or the hour when the new moon would be spotted. They could, however, know when it was near. This is powerful Second Coming imagery.
And could the moon itself be representative of the Son of God? We cannot look upon the sun as we can the moon; its brightness would be blinding. The moon is the outshining of the sun’s glory:
It will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky (Psalm 89:37)
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5).
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night (Genesis 1:16).
The sun hid itself at the cross of Christ, symbolic of the Father hiding His presence from His Son. And how fitting that the moon be turned into blood, reminding us of the blood God’s Son shed for our redemption. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come” (Acts 2:20).
Inspiration, speaking to the fulfillment of prophetic feast days says this:
These types were fulfilled, not only as to the event, but as to the time. On the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which for fifteen long centuries the Passover lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover with His disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate His own death as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world... In like manner the types which relate to the second advent must be fulfilled at the time pointed out in the symbolic service (GC 399).
As the spring feast antitypes occurred in the exact order in which they occurred in the Jewish types, we would expect the three autumn feasts, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles, to also occur in order and at the time pointed out in the symbolic services. We know that the antitypical Day of Atonement occurred on October 22, 1844, coinciding perfectly with the typical Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month, commemorated each year by the Israelites.
After the Day of Atonement in the Jewish festival year came the Feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. And in antitype it will follow the Day of Atonement:
The people of Israel praised God at the Feast of Tabernacles, as they called to mind His mercy in their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and His tender care for them during their pilgrim life in the wilderness. They rejoiced also in the consciousness of pardon and acceptance, through the service of the Day of Atonement, just ended. But when the ransomed of the Lord shall have been safely gathered into the heavenly Canaan, forever delivered from the bondage of the curse, under which “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22), they will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Christ’s great work of atonement for men will then have been completed, and their sins will have been forever blotted out (PP 541—542)
So the seven day Feast of Tabernacles is typical of that period of time when all our labors on planet earth are ended and we are finally at rest.
What was the Feast of Trumpets that fell on the first day of the seventh month a type of? Whatever it is it would have to have come before October 22, 1844, the Day of Atonement.
Here is the only comment of Ellen White on the Feast of the Trumpets:
It was the time of the Feast of Trumpets. Many were gathered at Jerusalem... “And the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.” They listened, intent and reverent, to the words of the Most High. As the law was explained, they were convinced of their guilt, and they mourned because of their transgressions. But this day was a festival, a day of rejoicing, a holy convocation, a day which the Lord had commanded the people to keep with joy and gladness; and in view of this they were bidden to restrain their grief and to rejoice because of God's great mercy toward them. “This day is holy unto the Lord your God,” Nehemiah said “Mourn not, nor weep... Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (PK 661—662).
The Feast of Trumpets was an occasion of joy and gladness. It occurred on the new moon which appears to be a type of the second coming of Jesus and it took place just before the Day of Atonement. It involved the blowing of trumpets which served as an announcement and has Second Coming imagery. Was there anything that took place just prior to October 22, 1844, that might correlate with the joy and feasting occasioned by the Feast of Trumpets? Is there anything in history that could be seen as the fulfillment of this Feast?
Just prior to October 22, 1844, there was a worldwide movement announcing the Second Coming of Jesus. This movement grew into the Seventh-day Adventist Church which has continued proclaiming the soon coming of Jesus. Those who were involved in this movement before 1844 were unaware that they were heralding the start of the pre-advent judgment that would begin on October 22, 1844. They believed Jesus was coming and with that knowledge they were joyfully yet solemnly preparing their lives for this event. They proclaimed the message, “behold the bridegroom cometh go ye out to meet him.” For this reason the Feast of Trumpets had that element of feasting, joy and rejoicing connected with it. If the Feast of Trumpets was primarily an announcement of the Day of Atonement’s investigative judgment we would expect there to be solemn fasting and affliction of soul similar to what was practiced on the typical Day of Atonement.
Could it be that the Feast of Trumpets typified this worldwide proclamation of the Second Coming of Jesus? This understanding would give added significance to the rise of the Seventh-day Adventist Church having been foreshadowed on a yearly basis through this Jewish feast. The faithful amongst this prophetic Seventh-day Adventist movement who die before Jesus comes are honored to be raised to life in a special resurrection before the general resurrection: “The graves were opened, and those who had died in faith under the third angel’s message, keeping the Sabbath, came forth from their dusty beds, glorified, to hear the covenant of peace that God was to make with those who had kept His law” (EW 285). Could there be any greater honor than this?
Could it be that the new moon upon which the Feast of Trumpets was held typified that glorious event—the Second Coming of Jesus, which we will commemorate once a month throughout eternity? “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another (Adventist), and from one sabbath to another (Seventh-day), shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 66:23).
John Witcombe is a pastor in the Oregon Conference.
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