“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that this day should overtake you like a thief.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4
As the Feast of Trumpets approaches, especially if it looks like the Church Age is winding down, there will even be debate on what day will be the real new moon. Israel’s current calendar places the day of the new moon, or Tishri 1, as being September 9, 2010. The Feast of Trumpets is the only festival that relies on the establishment of the new moon. The problem is that there is another view. The current calendar is based on when the moon has passed conjunction or rather crossing the line between the earth and the sun. The other view and the same view of Islam, is that the new moon is declared when the first crescent is sighted some days (usually two to three days) after conjunction. This of course lends to confusion in the ranks as to what may indeed be the precise day.
As with anything like this there is much debate as to who may be right, especially since the Hebrew use of this calendar was switched to pure calculation by Hillel over 1,600 years ago. But upon further analysis there does seem to be a position that makes the most sense of the debate.
For those who favor the first visible crescent, this is viewed as the fail safe way to determine the new moon. The argument is that it was the only way to truly verify the moon and that the Hebrews before could not use any other advanced method to calculate when the moon was at conjunction. But was this the case? And then again, how would it all play out for the remaining part of the month?
One Scripture to consider is 1 Samuel 20:5:
And David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat...”
By the context of the story and this statement, David knows the day before the day of the new moon. If Israel had determined the new moon by first visible crescent, then this would have been impossible under the visible crescent theory, for the next day begins at sundown after which it is only possible to see the first crescent in the western sky after sunset. But if the observations of the moon are conducted before sunrise by looking for the last visible crescent, then during that day it would have been the last day of the month with the new moon day being tomorrow. Only by using the last visible crescent method the morning before conjunction, could one anticipate a declared new moon day as being tomorrow. To wait for the first visible crescent, the declaration and beginning day of the month would be immediate allowing no lag time for David to declare the new moon as being tomorrow.
The other way that shows that the new moon was equated with conjunction and not the first visible crescent, is the way that this would impact the rest of the month. Two of the Lord’s Feasts are to begin on the 15th of the month at the full moon. By using the first visible crescent method, the full moon would actually end up being on the 12th or 13th day of the month. For the monthly calendar to work properly, the beginning of the 15th day at evening must align with the full moon. This is only possible with the new moon being declared at conjunction. This would mean that the current calendar in use is the most accurate method.
There is also another thing to consider. The tradition of the Hebrews was to observe two days for the Feast of Trumpets since they did not know what day may actually be correct. This slight doubt can only work with the new moon being declared at conjunction and not the first visible crescent, for if they had used the first visible crescent there would be no reason to have that unknown factor requiring two days.
The truth is that there are no specific directions in Scripture that lay out how the new moon is to be determined. All that there is beyond that is the history of Israel’s traditions on how this was done. There are excellent articles that examine the history. Here are two: Using the Last Crescent Moon to Anticipate Conjunction like all the Jewish Rabbis and The Darkness of the First Crescent Moon.
And then there is a final argument to be added here with regards to the new moon. All of the calendar findings and events that have been determined here in the book or articles, have all relied on the modern calendar in use. For example, World War 1 started on the 9th of Av. A visible crescent calendar would make that “coincidence” null and void. So to be consistent with the findings, the modern calendar of the new moon, at just past conjunction, has provided the track record to show that this is the calendar that is “in use”.
Therefore, historically and logically it would appear that the new moon is when it is at conjunction and hence not seen. It is the concealed moon just as we will one day be hidden on that day via the Rapture to avoid the wrath of God. In that regard, September 9 is the day of the concealed or new moon. But more importantly, will we be concealed in the room that the Lord has said he was going to prepare for us?
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
NKJV Isaiah 26:19-21
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
NIV John 14:2-3