13 June 2010 (Rishon/Pesach)|
Day #90, 5934 AM
Rosh Chodesh IV 5934
In the Light of the New Moon
Today is the fourth month of the current year and we are gathered here today in obedience to the commandment to observe Rosh Chodesh. This month we are looking at a passage from the writings of the prophet Ezekiel which informs us that the East Gate of the Temple shall always be closed save on each weekly Shabbat and on each monthly Rosh Chodesh. Why was this gate only opened on these two moedim?
"Thus says Yahweh-Elohim: 'The gateway of the inner court that faces toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on Shabbat (the Sabbath) it shall be opened, and on the day of Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon) it shall be opened. The Prince shall enter by way of the vestibule of that gateway from the outside, and stand by the gatepost. The cohenim (priests) shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings. He shall worship at the threshold of the gate. Then he shall go out, but the gate shall not be shut until evening. Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the entrance to this gateway before Yahweh on the Sabbaths and the New Moons...On the day of Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon) it shall be a young bull without blemish, six lambs, and a ram; they shall be without blemish. He shall prepare a grain offering of an ephah for a bull, an ephah for a ram, as much as he wants to give for the lambs, and a hin of oil with every ephah. When the Prince enters, he shall go in by way of the vestibule of that gateway, and go out the same way'" (Ezek.46:1-3,6-8, NKJV).
As we have seen in previous studies, Rosh Chodesh is about the headship of husbands and fathers over wives and children, the headship of Yah'shua the Messiah over husbands and fathers, and the headship of Yahweh our Heavenly Father over the Ruach haQodesh and over His Son Yah'shua the Messiah, and how this is recognised and honoured around the table on the evening of this festival. You will recall that is is not unlike the Lord's Supper which is connected with the Sabbath at which time it is observed in the evening. And you will also recall that when three moedim coincide, namely, Rosh Chodesh, a high Shabbat and Yom Teruah, this is the time of the loud blast of twin silver trumpets announcing the return of Yah'shua the Messiah to inaugurate the Millennium.
Rosh Chodesh is 'almost' a Sabbath - it is like it in every way save that ordinary work is permitted when the people are not gathered in assembly to hear the prophets. I suspect many Messianic Israelites like ourselves choose to voluntarily observe it like a Sabbath when we can because we prize the day so highly. For me personally it has become a time when I anticipate a prophetic word from Yahweh and hold myself in readiness to hear it. A day which I did not at first understand, and which as a result I neglected, has for me now become a day totally set-apart like the remainder of Yahweh's moedim and which I totally delight in!
The East Gate of the temple, which physically opened each Sabbath and New Moon under the Old Covenant, and which spiritually opens each Sabbath and New Moon under the New Covenant, has great Messianic significance. We read in Zechariah the Prophet:
And we read in the last words of the Bible:
"And in that day His (the Messiah's) feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south" (Zech.14:4, NKJV).
As the sun rises in the east, so the "sun of righteousness" (Mal.4:2) shall return from the east. But what does this have to do with us, today, assembled at Rosh Chodesh? What does it mean for us practically? There is no physical temple and shall be none until Yah'shua has established His Millennial Kingdom. What was the symbolic significance of the eastern gate of the temple being shut every day except on the Sabbath and New Moon?
"He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Master Yah'shua!" (Rev.22:20, NKJV)
In our passage the gate opened for the "Prince" who represents the Messiah. In an event prefiguring His second coming, Yah'shua departed from the same spot on this earth as He shall return:
Why was the eastern gate of the temple always shut during the days of Israel apart from on the two moedim? Because a shut gate symbolises being cut off because of sin. The Sabbath and New Moon, being specially set-apart or holy, were meant to be devoted to seeking and worshipping Yahweh who is both our Sabbath Rest and our Rosh or Head. Ezekiel records:
"Now when [Yah'shua] had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men (angels) stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Yah'shua, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet (Mount of Olives), which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey" (Acts 1:9-12, NKJV).
The Sabbath and the New Moon represent spiritual states of sanctification in the Messiah. We may only enter into the Temple of Yahweh when we are thus sanctified, following in the footsteps of the Prince, Yah'shua, who not only gives access to the Temple, hitherto only reserved for the Cohanim or Priests, but also to the Holy of Holies hitherto reserved only for the Cohen Gadol or High Priest at Yom Kippur! In other words, a person who is "in Christ" (literally, not just symbolically, but for real) gains access to the Temple of Elohim - the Communion or Fellowship of the Saints (the set-apart ones) because he is in the Sabbath and in the New Moon, but he also gains access to the Heavenly Father.
"Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And Yahweh said to me, 'This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because Yahweh-Elohim of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. As for the prince, because he is the prince, he may sit in it to eat bread before Yahweh; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gateway, and go out the same way" (Ezek 44:1-3, NKJV).
The significance of of the Sabbath and access to the Holy of Holies is well understood by Evangelicals. They rightly teach that in Yah'shua we have our Sabbath Rest and have access to the Father through Him. But they neither observe the Seventh Day Sabbath (which is associated with physical as well as spiritual rest) nor Yom Kippur (which is our annual judgment before the Throne of Heaven and a final one when Yah'shua returns). This festival has not therefroe been prophetically fulfilled yet. Some say they observe a 'Sunday (First Day)' Sabbath because Yah'shua was resurreced on it (in fact, He was resurrected on Saturday evening - the First Day to be sure, but not Sunday but Saturday after sunset) though without any sort of scriptural warranty. Most claim the Sabbath has been 'done away with', and that believers can gather to worship anytime they choose (as is true) though pick out a non- biblically sanctioned day (Sunday) as a regular day for assembly. They say that Yah'shua has fulfilled the Sabbath so we no longer need to observe it. However, Yahweh has also commanded us to physically rest on the Sabbath and to assemble for worship on that day, just as Yah'shua and the apostles did in their day. We do indeed have inner rest when we are in Messiah but we still need outer, physical rest which is no better obtained than when we disconnect from the world and its cares and physically rest together. The Sabbath is therefore a communal rest too, something that will not be fulfilled globally until Yah'shua returns physically.
Evangelicals have no equivalent of Yom Kippur but only Pesach or Passover which they have rebaptised with the name of a pagan deity (Easter) and observe various pagan customs as well as observing it on the wrong day. And they definitely have no Rosh Chodesh and likely do not know what its spiritual meaning is. If 'inner rest' is the spiritual fulfilment of the outer Sabbath, then what is the spiritual fulfilment of Rosh Chodesh? What equivalent to inner rest do they suppose they obtain from it that no longer necessitates that they observe it?
We have now seen how the Sabbath and the New Moon are often treated together in Scripture, as though they were close relatives...which they are. Prince Messiah enters the Eastern Gate on them, and we behind Him because we are IN Him. To understand their relationship, we must consider with what heavenly bodies they are associated, for the Sabbath is tied to the sun and the New Moon obviously to the moon. Both are luminaries. However, the moon has no light of its own but uses the reflected light of the sun. As a spiritual type, then Rosh Chodesh must be the lesser, or only a shadow of Shabbat. This is confirmed by the fact that at Rosh Chodesh we do exactly what we do at Shabbat except from compulsory ceasing from regular work. Rosh Chodesh is how we approach Shabbat - indeed we 'approach' the four monthly Sabbaths by first 'going' to the New Moon. It is one of two important heavenly time-pieces in the Solar-Lunar Calendar of Yahweh.
In the story of Joseph we read of a dream he had in which the sun, the moon and the stars bowed down before him (Gen.37:9-11). The symbols were clearly understood by Joseph's father - the sun represented Jacob (the head or rosh of the family), the moon Joseph's mother and Jacob's wife, Rachel, and the stars his brothers (1 Cor.11:3). The moon represents the wife/mother, whose glory is in the light of her husband (1 Cor.11:7) as it is reflected light, but who nevertheless uses this reflected light to calculate all the moedim except the Sabbath which is governed by its own Light, the sun. Not only that, but Rosh Chodesh is not marked by the full moon (when the moon is bathed in the light of the sun) but by the new moon when it has no visible light at all. Why did Yahweh appoint the New Moon and nor the Full Moon to be the head of each month? The Full Moon is a lot easier to sight!
At Rosh Chodesh the moon (Mother) is invisible and only the sun (Father) is visible by day and the stars (Sons) are visible by night. All that are visible are the Elohim by day and the elohim by night - the heavenly and the earthly rulers. There is a great mystery hidden up in this - great and precious truths! For the glory of the moon is at Rosh Chodesh when she is invisible. Only at Pesach or Passover, the first of the festivals, is the moon totally visible, for the evening of the 14th day of Aviv is always at the vernal equinox and is a full moon. The full glory of the moon is only significant at this festival even though she is never mentioned - that Pesach coincides with the New Moon is a fact not recorded in Scripture. But the moon is not 'rosh' or 'head' at this time! She is only 'head' when she is invisibly acknowledged - or perhaps I should say she is only acknowledged as a 'head' when she is invisible...twelve times a year. Of what is she 'head'? Months and natural cycles.
I called this sermon 'In the light of the New Moon', a paradox of sorts since the 'light' I am speaking of is not physical but spiritual. Even though the moon is invisible she still exerts her invisible 'motherly' influence on the earth and its creatures, just as she is invisible to the child in her womb.
And now I will explain the spiritual meaning of the New Moon Festival called Rosh Chodesh and why it is that the months are measured from the new moon and not the full moon. When we view the New Moon it is in perfect alignment between the sun and earth, forming a straight line. The sun is behind it:
In this picture we see represented the proper alignment of headship in both the Godhead and in the family. Not until the Moon (Ruach/Wife) is properly aligned with or surrendered to her Head (Yahweh/Husband), being 'hidden in' her husband, can she fulfil her rôle as a light! She is unseen precidely because she is hidden in her Rosh or Head, thereby becoming a Rosh or Head herself by virtue of her proper alignment. Of what, or to whom, is she a Rosh or 'Head'? To the earth, meaning her child. As the mother overshadows her child, so the father overshadows the mother. It was in this way that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) overshadowed the Virgin Mary to cause that miraculous conception.
Why does Rosh Chodesh come before Shabbat? Because until the earthly or heavenly Bride is surrendered to the earthly or heavenly Bridegroom, there can be no sabbath rest. Scripture says that there is no rest or peace for the wicked (Is.48:22; 57:21) because every part that is unsurrendered to Yahweh-Elohim or to a husband-elohim, that is, to their headship, is by definition wicked, and cannot therefore have rest. Only when we have surrendered to our Rosh can we be changed and have shalom.
Now the moon is hidden in other ways too. For years I have been preaching that the Ruach haQodesh is female and is our Heavenly Mother. This has been hidden up - a closely guarded secret - until the end times, and even this secret is revealed at Rosh Chodesh but in a way that I did not realise until this morning. While I was meditating Yahweh spoke to me, saying that the twelve sons of Israel corresponded to the twelve biblical months of the with Jacob's daughter, Dinah, the 'missing link' because she represents the 'thirteenth' month that is added to bring the calendar back into alignment. He then said to write out the children in their birth order and then mark Dinah as the 13th month. When did this I realised that the first month corresponded to Joseph, the designated firstborn, because he replaced Reuben after his sin. The chart that follows shows the relationships:
|Moed / Festival
||Sibling of Israel
|5 Y Teruah
6 Y Kippur
There is obviously far more than I have included here for I wish to keep this as simple as possible. The essential truth is that Jacob's daughter, Dinah (which in Hebrew means 'judged' or 'avenged') marks out our calendar for us just as Rosh Chodesh does. She was born immediately before Joseph as a sign that Joseph would be the replacement firstborn and as a sign that female principle would determine the months when it is properly aligned with the male. Dinah is truly a missing link restored.
I am going to leave this with you to meditate and pray about for I have much more to say at another Tosh Chodesh. What is important is to understand why the east gate of earthly temple was firmly locked except at Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh. The reason it was shut is because we shut the gate of our own hearts to Yahweh because of sin and rebellion. We come out of pattern. We are no longer aligned with the Sun of Righteousness. We are no longer surrendered. That's why we are in desperate need of weekly and monthly grace so that we can petition the Most High for mercy, forgiveness and spiritual illumination. In the spiritual realm, these gates should be permanently open to all true believers...to those who are trusting in Yah'shua and obeying Torah! They only close when we sin and shut Yah'shua out.
Historically, Judah shut Yahweh out and were dispersed twice. The temple was desolated and they remain desolate today so long as they reject their Messiah. But Ephraim is no less desolate himself, having shut out Yahweh far earlier but at the same time having received His Messiah before Judah.
Whenever the east gate of our hearts is shut - the gate that opens to our King and Master, Yah'shua - a spiritual war is in full swing. Only when we repent, and swing open that door, allowing Yah'shua back in, does the spiritual war cease and we have our sabbath rest...our shalom! Opening that door - and keeping it open to Him - can only happen, though, when we have learned the lesson of Rosh Chodesh and have headship properly established and apportioned in our lives.
Today is the Head of the Moon - Rosh Chodesh. How did you dine last night at table? Whom, if anyone, did you honour and submit to? Did you honour your heads - your elohim?
Next Rosh Chodesh is the fifth New Moon of the year. I hope you remember its historical significance because it was on this day that both the houses and nations of Israel and Judah were destroyed because of apostacy. Thus the 5th Rosh Chodesh is a kind of 'New Moon Judgment'. I fully believe that this year in particular we will witness the divine judgment of many pretenders to the name of Israel.
May Yahweh speak to your heart this Rosh Chodesh as you swing open the east gate and let the Prince in! Amen.
Continued in Bright and Invisible: The Two Sides of being Seen