Chag Sameach Rosh Chodesh!
"When will Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon) be past, that we may sell grain? And Shabbat (the Sabbath), that we may trade wheat?" (Amos 8:5, NKJV).
As we enter the last month of the current biblical year and await a month for the beginning of the next year, with the huge changes that are coming, I thought it might be a good idea to today rehearse a few truths about this festival before I give you the prophetic word for the month.
Of all Yahweh's moedim (appointments), Rosh Chodesh is probably the most neglected in the Messianic Movement. I think this is in large part because its importance has diminished since the Creation Calendar was abandoned by the Pharisees, by Judaism and by the bulk of Messianics who have largely copycatted the Jewish Romanised Biblical Calendar. There are very few of us - though our numbers are increasing, I am happy to say - who have understood the importance of the luni-solar calendar and therefore the New Moon which is its focus.
Historically, Rosh Chodesh was the very first mitzvah (commandment) given to the Nation of Israel as a whole. That in itself cannot be an accident. It means that Yahweh is setting a precedent. He's saying: 'Pay attention! Here's where we start!' The enemies of Eretz Yisra'el - the Land of Israel - understood it well so that during the Syrian-Greek persecution a millennium later, Rosh Chodesh was one of only three mitzvot (commandments) forbidden by the oppressor. The other two were the Sabbath and circumcision (the Old Covenant equivalent of baptism). The fact that Rosh Chodesh was regarded as being on the same level of importance as these other two surely is testimony of its importance and why the enemy has therefore set his sights on it it.
The fact that Rosh Chodesh was thus targeted is something we should especially note for not only does the New Moon set the sabbaths but all of the annual festivals too. Note that in today's passage that Rosh Chodesh is listed before the Sabbath. Thus in targeting Rosh Chodesh, the antimessiah forces of Antiochus Epiphanes effectively banned the festivals too. As each of these nine moedim (appointments) have as their primary spiritual function the renewal of the people, the banning of Rosh Chodesh was a direct attack on the principle of spiritual renewal. For it is at these times that we are to cease our regular activities and devote our time and mediations to assembling, worshipping and studying. This is a day to devote ourselves to Yahweh, as on the Sabbath.
I am frequently asked by people how Rosh Chodesh should be marked. As it is our goal to to have all the correct moedim (appointments) restored and observed by the end of the current year, I thought it time to try and answer some of these questions.
The first question is this: Is Rosh Chodesh a Sabbath? The answer to that is: 'almost' - it differs in only two respects that I have been able to determine from Scripture:
As we have seen from today's passage in Amos, Rosh Chodesh and the Sabbath were identical when it came to regular work and trading. The ungodly and carnal merchants of the time were itching for both festivals to be over so that they could get back to their first love of making money. In other words Rosh Chodesh, like the Sabbath, is not for engaging in any kind of regular work for earning a living unless it is essential work like feeding livestock or keeping hospital and police services running, for example which would otherwise endanger life.
- 1. There are no restrictions on travel as there are on the Sabbath; and
- 2. There are no restrictions on preparing meals as on the Sabbath which requires us to prepare them in advance before Sabbath begins as Torah teaches:
"Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to Yahweh. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning" (Ex.16:23, NKJV).
Yahweh highlights this rebellious attitude of the traders toward Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat in Amos by pointing out that this casual attitude to the mitzvot (commamndments) is one of the reasons the nation of Israel was being brought to an end. These are not, therefore, mitzvot (commandments) that we can either minimise or tamper with. Though there ought to be no reason other than a love of Yahweh that should motivate His people to obey Rosh Chodesh, one very good reason is that we will be very much needing His covering and protection and covering in the dark times ahead. And though I have said that the enemy will be defeated in this battle that is coming to a head, this does not mean that his defeat will occur in one day. It's likely going to be a process in which the borders of darkness are pushed back by Yahweh in behalf of those willing to stand in the gap and do what is right. Observing Rosh Chodesh - and observing it correctly - is very much a part of our obedience as an expression of our ahavah (love) for our Heavenly King.
There was a time that I once thought, in common with many Messianics, that this passage was a reference to Yom Teruah which is the only festival in the sacred calendar where Rosh Chodesh and Shabbat are on the same day. However, there is no indication in today's text that this is being referenced - rather this inner hostility is more directed against sabbaths and new moons in general - I can't imagine one day in the year is going to agitate these people but I can see how 60 0r 70 of these in a year might really get under their skin. So, no, I no longer believe this passage refers solely to Yom Teruah though obviously it would be included.
I have myself had several shakings this last week to remind me personally to get my spiritual act up to par and in order, not to mention a heavy fall on the ice yesterday. That is my principle message to you all today. This is not a time for slacking but one for getting ready for war. You do not want to be unprepared with the New Year begins on the first day of Aviv which this year is on 23 March on the Roman Calendar.
We do have one last calendar matter to resolve before this date, which I pledge to have done by the first of Aviv, and that is to establish conclusively whether the biblical day starts at sunset or at sunrise. This is a question that has been raised in the Messianic Community of late and is an important one in making sure we observe the moedim (appointments) at the right times. I am not going to say anything conclusively until I am 100% sure even though I am congniscent of the fact that time is short. There's a debate going in our discussion room and we have four weeks to get it right. Please keep us in prayer over this. This matter is, of course, important for establishing all the moedim and especially Rosh Chodesh which sets all the rest. I am at least glad that we resolved the debate over conjunction vs. first crescent moon early on so that we do not have to concern ourselves over that any longer.
But now to what this month holds for us, and my primary message today. I can say it in one short sentence: get all your emergency preparations completed. How significant Aviv 1 or 23 March will be on the global scene remains to be scene but I absolutely believe it will witness the marshalling of all the forces currently arraigned for battle. The Iran war has not erupted yet, and may yet be cancelled - I really hope so - or it may occur within the biblical New Year. There are plans by the European Union for Greece to default on its huge financial debt on Aviv 1 or 23 March with the banks closing for a day on 24 March. For Greeks, I want to pleade with them, if there are any here, to get all their money out of banks now and to convert it into food, medical and other supplies, and the rest into silver. But not just them, but everyone.
I don't think it is a coincidence that 23 March has been chosen. Of course, the Úlite may change their mind, not that that will prevent Greece going this way. This debt default will have huge repercussions for Europe and the world, setting off a fearsome process of decline with so many dangerous forces set in motion that no group of human beings will be able to fully control it. The Úlite think they can but they are in for some nasty surprises. For one thing, they have not taken Yahweh into account or the human love of liberty.
Last night I had a prophetic dream which has a bearing on all of this. It concerned a large ocean-going liner and it was coming into port. The sense I had was that it would be docking very soon. This means that a particular jouyney is coming to an end because it is reaching its destination. I was not shown what would happen at that juncture but you may with some confidence assume that all our lives are about to change. The real question will then be whether you have adequately prepared for this or not. And even though this is a very, very late hour, there is still time - though precious little - to repent and get straightened out.
I want to repeat, for the benefit of those who are new here, that what I am not saying is that the world is about to come to an end, that any mythical 'rapture' is about to take place, that the set-apart ones (saints) are to suddenly gather to the Holy Land, or that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is about to return, even though many unwisely believe this to be so. None of these things are about to happen. A lot of private prophetic chronologies are going to be overturned...once again. A lot of events are going to be taking place almost simultaneously for which people - including most believers - will not be prepared. My message is principally for the netsarim (branches) or remnant but also for those who are not but who may be listening to me or reading this later who will refuse to believe until it is too late for them. For this is one of those times spoken of by the prophet Isaiah who said:
It doesn't matter what calamities are striking, and are about to strike, the world because those of us who have sought for emet (truth) with all our levim (hearts), have been listening attentively to Yahweh Davar (Word) and have been responding obediently are going to be thriving while everyone else is struggling to survive. This is going to be a time of great simcha (joy) for us. And I so very much want everyone who is hearing and reading to come and join us by doing what is right now.
"Behold, My servants shall sing for simcha (joy) of lev (heart), but you shall cry for sorrow of lev (heart), and wail for grief of ruach (spirit). You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; for Yahweh-Elohim will slay you, and call His servants by another name; so that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the Elohim (God) of Emet (Truth); and he who swears in the earth shall swear by the Elohim (God) of Emet (Truth); because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hidden from My eyes" (Isa.65:14-16, NKJV).
We here worship the Elohim of All Emet (Truth) and we delight in Him and in His Davar (Word). We love Rosh Chodesh because Yahweh always speaks to us on it. And though I had a painful fall on the ice yesterday, in my ruach (spirit) I feel on top of the world. I my lev (heart) is not going to fail because of the anarchy and increase in evil in the world because I know who my Provider is and I know in Whom I am trusting, through Yah'shua (Jesus) our Master (Lord). This is a tov (good) time for the remnant - an excellent time, and we shall look back upon it one day with graditude while the rest of the world is cursing it. That is not because we will be rejoicing in their travail because we do not want this for the world - we want them to have what we have! However, this travail - this suffering - will not be all bad, for as ever it will be a learning experience for the rebellious. Some will repent because of it and return home.
This is my message for you all this Rosh Chodesh from Yahweh. Please get into action, get your Houses in order now. The sands of time for a huge chunk of prophetic time are fast running out. Amen.