The Bible mentions new moons on several occasions. Because of this, some Christians are confused if new moons should be observed as a holy day. Do we need to take special time for new moons or is does it mean something else? Here is exactly what the Bible says on the practice.
New Moons in the Bible
The significance of new moons in the Bible is that it marked the beginning of a new month in the Hebrew calendar, which was lunar-based. Special messengers were appointed to watch for the first visible appearance of the new moon, instead of being known through astronomical calculations like we do now. As soon as the sliver of moon was seen, it was announced throughout the country by signal fires on the mountaintops and the blowing of trumpets. The Hebrew word for “month” (hodesh) translates to “new moon.”
The new month was a time for the Israelites to bring an offering to God. In Numbers 28:11, the New Moon offering is commanded for the first time: “On the first of every month, present to the Lord a burnt offering of two young bulls, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect.” Furthermore in verses 12-14, each of the animal sacrifices was supplemented by a drink and grain offering. Lastly, a goat was to be sacrificed as a sin offering (Numbers 28: 15). New Moon festivals were marked by sacrifices, the blowing of trumpets over the sacrifices (Numbers 10:10), the suspension of all labor and trade (Nehemiah 10:31), and social or family feasts (1 Samuel 20:5).
As history continued, the Israelites continued to observe the New Moon festivals despite turning against God. They would readily sacrifice their animals, however did not apologize for their sins. They relied on their acts of sacrifice and observance of the festival to cleanse them; however they did not have a true heart that followed the Lord. God saw through the façade and had severe words for their hypocrisy, stating “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them” (Isaiah 1:13–14). This kind of deceit is a sin against God. There is no amount of ritual, ceremony or sacrament can make up for a sinful heart. As stated in Psalm 51:6: “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being.”
New Moons in Modern Society
In the Bible, God condemned the practice of observing new moons because they quickly lost their true meaning. Luckily, God loved us so much that He gave us another way to show Him we love Him. We no longer have to sacrifice animals, and instead the earth was blessed with the perfect sacrifice of God’s one and only Son. Jesus appeased and died for all of our sins, and all the righteous requirements of the law were fulfilled by Him (Matthew 5:17).
His death on the cross means that we have an avenue to eternal life in Heaven with God. Paul reminds us of this fact: “Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (Colossians 2:16–17).
While watching a new moon can be beautiful, it no longer needs to be considered a holy day or be celebrated in a festival setting. We do not need to go back to using the Hebrew calendar. Only God can make things holy, and He gives us no direction into marking new moons as sacred. Instead, we can accept Jesus into our hearts and ask for forgives through Him.