The ‘SIGNS’ Of Time!
~ 'ôth ~
‘In The Sense Of Appearing’
In this article you will discover the very key to knowing the correct phase of the Moon to begin Months with as well as the key to unlocking ‘The Scriptural Method’ for sighting the New Moon Beacon from which Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) is established and Weekly Sabbaths and Annual Moedim are numbered.
I say ‘The Scriptural Method’ with joy in my heart for up to this time I have believed that the Scriptures were silent on the matter... I now know beyond a shadow of doubt that was NEVER true. In fact the Scriptures speak loudly and immediately in proclaiming ‘The Scriptural Method’ for determining the New Moon. The key to unlocking ‘The Scriptural Method’ for sighting the New Moon beacon has been hiding in plain sight for millennia and is found in the definition of the Hebrew word 'ôth used in Genesis 1:14 and usually translated into English as ‘signs’. An understanding of the true definition of 'ôth along with the lunar phase-defining verses of Genesis 1 leave nothing to remain in our quest to understand how Rosh Chodesh, the New Moon, is determined! Every detail is indeed provided! If the method for determining Rosh Chodesh is not found in the definition of the Hebrew word 'ôth then the method for determining Rosh Chodesh does not exist in Scripture, it’s just that simple! I challenge all, regardless of which phase of the moon you presently believe beacons the New Moon, to consider what this article has to say with sincerity, a Berean-like open mind and a whole lot of humility! There is most certainly a blessing waiting in the wings for those who do!
If you’ve spent any amount of time reading the ‘opinions’ of people, including mine, regarding Scriptural time reckoning then you are surely aware of the utter chaos that exists within that community of believers, especially in Facebook groups and Internet Forums. As a matter of fact, “utter chaos” is an understatement; there is a level of madness that renders the subject unapproachable! I’ll take it one step further... in many, if not most circles of calendar restoration, the discussion takes on a dark spirituality. It doesn’t take much time to feel the need for a shower! It’s a filthy mess!
Why is that? It should be clear that where truth is being revealed the Ruach HaQodesh will be present. Most of the debaters wouldn’t argue over that statement, but would not hesitate to argue ‘tooth and nail’ over what that truth actually is! They would do so as ‘arbiters of truth’, uncompromisingly promoting and defending perfectly opposing beliefs they’ve adopted over time, all the while believing they alone are being led by the Ruach HaQodesh of YHWH! I long ago came to the point where I began to abhor the nonsense I found in debating with others.
For some time now I’ve posited that Genesis 1 is the foundational, defining, debate-ending chapter on all things calendrical. The remainder of Scripture, as well as all outside sources, must align themselves with Genesis 1. All sources must pass across the chopping block of Truth found in the foundational verses of Genesis 1! I’ve also said repeatedly over the years that, “Truth is simple!” If anything, Scriptural or otherwise, contradicts the simple, straightforward interpretation of Genesis 1 then that source or interpretation is clearly false. Yes, it’s that simple... but unfortunately we can’t seem to see the forest for the trees, where is the Ruach HaQodesh? What, exactly, is that simple, straightforward interpretation of time established in Genesis 1? I’ll attempt to unpack that very thing in the remainder of this article!
With that said, let’s then take another look at what Genesis 1 says and let’s try to do that without bringing our preconceived, brainwashed, indoctrinated traditions with us! Let’s let the simple truths of Scripture speak for themselves, as difficult as that may be!
I’m going to touch on several subjects lightly with the intent of eventually concentrating my focus on a single word in Genesis 1:14 that I have been blessed to come to understand as an absolutely foundational element when considering THE TWO GREAT LIGHTS and how they go about their business of beaconing time. So let’s begin with Genesis 1:1... “In the beginning...”
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (The Scriptures 2009)
And then again from the KJV+...
Gen 1:1 In the beginning H7225 God H430 created H1254 ( H853 ) the heaven H8064 and the earth. H776 (KJV+)
It is in Genesis 1:1 that the entire creation has been brought into existence... including the time-keeping mechanisms of the rotating Earth, with its Eastern and Western Horizons, as well as the Sun and Moon, all in their proper orbits. As the chapter unfolds it’s clear that both the Sun and Moon haven’t yet been allotted their final status and the Earth is far from its final form, as will be noted in verse 2, but they exist and their ability to mark time exists! The beginning of time piggy backed the creation of the material world, you simply can’t have a material world without the existence of time and you simply can’t have the beginning of time without the Sun, Moon and Stars marking that beginning of time.
Because most people think the Sun and Moon weren’t created until Day 4 of the Creation Week we’ll need to consider here the first of two important words, bârâ' and ‛âśâh used in the creation narrative that are easily misunderstood as being equivalent, they’re not! That first word is used here in Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word bârâ' H1254...
A primitive root; (absolutely) to create; (qualified) to cut down (a wood), select, feed (as formative processes): - choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make (fat).
I’ve emboldened the portion of the definition that I want you to pay attention to. The sense of this word as it is being used in Genesis 1:1 is ‘to create from nothing’, ex nihilo. That word must be contrasted with another word used later in Genesis 1 which is often translated as ‘made’ and can be confused with bârâ', we’ll get to that later.
Gen 1:2 And the earth came to be formless and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters. (The Scriptures 2009)
And then again from the KJV+...
Gen 1:2 And the earth H776 was H1961 without form, H8414 and void; H922 and darkness H2822 was upon H5921 the face H6440 of the deep. H8415 And the Spirit H7307 of God H430 moved H7363 upon H5921 the face H6440 of the waters. H4325 (KJV+)
Notice in Genesis 1:2 that it is the earth that is formless and void, it says nothing about any other aspect of the creation event, in other words the words ‘formless and void’ are not applied to the Sun and Moon and yet it should be obvious that the Sun and Moon are not shining. Genesis 1:2 is telling us that the earth, although it exists in its entirety has not taken on its final form and is at that moment void or purposeless, i.e. incapable of fulfilling its intended purpose, which is to sustain the life forms which are yet to be created.
These two verses are used to promote ‘The Gap Theory’, used as an excuse for millions and billions of years of time to have taken place and of course the astronomical and biological evolution of the godless masses! Then and only then, according to the deniers of a recent creation event, does the Creation Week take place, but its not a ‘creation’ week because there are undetermined amounts of time that have provided the opportunity for life to evolve on its own, without a Creator. It’s all godless nonsense intended to undermine the authority of Scripture!
The remainder of Genesis 1 speaks of only ‘days’, no other increment of time is discussed in the sense of having transpired in the chapter... so what should we think Genesis 1:1-2 represents? Clearly, a period of time precedes the 1st Day of the Creation Week when light is brought into the equation in verse 3. We have absolutely no reason to believe Genesis 1:1-2 represent anything other than a single day that precedes the Creation Week, it is the 1st Day of the 1st Month of the 1st Year, no other conclusion is acceptable!
Gen 1:3 And Elohim said, “Let light come to be,” and light came to be.
Gen 1:4 And Elohim saw the light, that it was good. And Elohim separated the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 And Elohim called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, one day. (The Scriptures 2009)
And again from the KJV+...
Gen 1:3 And God H430 said, H559 Let there be H1961 light: H216 and there was H1961 light. H216
Gen 1:4 And God H430 saw H7200 ( H853 ) the light, H216 that H3588 it was good: H2896 and God H430 divided H914 H996 the light H216 from H996 the darkness. H2822
Gen 1:5 And God H430 called H7121 the light H216 Day, H3117 and the darkness H2822 he called H7121 Night. H3915 And the evening H6153 and the morning H1242 were H1961 the first H259 day. H3117 (KJV+)
Notice the light wasn’t necessarily created, it just came to be as though its presence was demanded by the command of YHWH! Just an interesting point! Make of it what you will. The point that I would like to make is that the 1st Day of the Creation Week began with the work of YAH introducing light into the creation world. THEN came EVENING and THEN came MORNING. The day began with the work hours of the day when work is naturally accomplished and then came evening and then came morning. So when did the day begin? The day began at sunrise when work can begin! That same theme is repeated for each of the six workdays of the creation week. Work is done sunrise to sunset and then you have evening and then you have morning when the next day begins at sunrise and the cycle of days repeats.
Now I’d like to jump forward in Genesis 1 to the narrative of the 4th Day, it is there that the focus and weight of this article resides.
Gen 1:14 And Elohim said, “Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and years,
Gen 1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it came to be so.
Gen 1:16 And Elohim made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars. (The Scriptures 2009)
And again from the KJV+...
Gen 1:14 And God H430 said, H559 Let there be H1961 lights H3974 in the firmament H7549 of the heaven H8064 to divide H914 H996 the day H3117 from H996 the night; H3915 and let them be H1961 for signs, H226 and for seasons, H4150 and for days, H3117 and years: H8141
Gen 1:15 And let them be H1961 for lights H3974 in the firmament H7549 of the heaven H8064 to give light H215 upon H5921 the earth: H776 and it was H1961 so. H3651
Gen 1:16 And God H430 made H6213 ( H853 ) two H8147 great H1419 lights; H3974 ( H853 )the greater H1419 light H3974 to rule H4475 the day, H3117 and the lesser H6996 light H3974 to rule H4475 the night: H3915 he made the stars H3556 also. (KJV+)
Before I begin to address verse 14 I’d like to talk about the word ‛âśâh H6213, which I mentioned earlier as being one of two words, bârâ' and ‛âśâh, in the Genesis 1 narrative that can be confused as being the equivalent of one another. That second Hebrew word, ‛âśâh, is used here in verse 16. The sense of the word is not to create from nothing as was the case with bârâ' H1254 but rather ‘to finish what you started’, ‘to fashion’ as a potter fashions and molds the clay, ‘to attend to’ as you would make your bed in the morning or ‘to appoint’ as in the discharge of duties...
1) to do, fashion, accomplish, make
1a1) to do, work, make, produce
1a1a) to do
1a1b) to work
1a1c) to deal (with)
1a1d) to act, act with effect, effect
1a2) to make
1a2a) to make
1a2b) to produce
1a2c) to prepare
1a2d) to make (an offering)
1a2e) to attend to, put in order
1a2f) to observe, celebrate
1a2g) to acquire (property)
1a2h) to appoint, ordain, institute
1a2i) to bring about
1a2j) to use
1a2k) to spend, pass
1b1) to be done
1b2) to be made
1b3) to be produced
1b4) to be offered
1b5) to be observed
1b6) to be used
1c) (Pual) to be made
2) (Piel) to press, squeeze
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
While ‛âśâh, with its many definitions, may leave us to wonder exactly what took place on Day 4 of the Creation Week regarding the Sun, Moon and Stars we can rest assured that they weren’t created from nothing on Day 4 of the Creation Week, for their creation took place in Genesis 1:1 on the 1st Day of the 1st Month of the 1st Year of Creation before the Creation Week began! The bottom line here is the Sun and Moon were created from nothing (bârâ') in Genesis 1:1 the day before the Creation Week began. Immediately upon their creation in Genesis 1:1 the Sun, Moon and Stars began delineating time and then on Day 4 of the Creation Week the Sun and Moon were advanced upon (‛âśâh) whatever that may mean. It is impossible to reckon Days 1, 2 and 3 of the Creation Week if days are reckoned by the rising and setting of the Sun but the Sun wasn’t created until Day 4. If that weren’t true then Day 4 couldn’t be Day 4... at best Day 4 would be Day 1 since the Sun supposedly didn’t exist until Day 4 of the Creation Week narrative. Is your head spinning yet? And the same can be said of the day that preceded the Creation Week as it is recorded in Genesis 1:1-2, which has to be the 1st Day of the 1st Month of the 1st Year of Creation for those are the time-keeping increments that the Creator uses!
Also in verse 16 we see that the ‘lights’ of verse 14 are actually GREAT LIGHTS, and that of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS there is a GREATER LIGHT and a LESSER LIGHT. A “Lesser Light”? Yes, a “Lesser Light” but still a “GREAT LIGHT”! Most of us acknowledge the TWO GREAT LIGHTS to be the Sun and Moon. I say, “Most of us...” because believe it or not there are those who can’t seem to find Scriptural support for the fact that the LESSER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS is a reference to the Moon, evidently their bibles don’t have Psalm 104:19 in them!
Psa 104:19 He made the moon for appointed times; The sun knows its going down. (The Scriptures 2009)
Psa 104:19 He appointed H6213 the moon H3394 for seasons: H4150 the sun H8121 knoweth H3045 his going down. H3996 (KJV+)
Why does YHWH emphasize that the lights he has made are GREAT LIGHTS? After all, the Moon doesn’t even produce its own light, it reflects the light of the Sun and does so in phases in accordance with its orbital position. Much of the time the Moon’s reflected light of the Sun is anything but GREAT, and as I’m sure you’ve noticed there are nights during the Lunar Cycle when the Moon is totally dark, hardly a GREAT LIGHT at all! Considering that reality we must acknowledge as a fact that when YHWH speaks of the LESSER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS He is speaking of a distinct phase of the Moon’s illumination that is comparable to the Sun, the GREATER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS. It should be obvious the LESSER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS is the Full Moon! This is further reinforced with the fact that the LESSER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS rules the night... just as the GREATER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS rules the day, there is only one phase of the Moon that rules the night just as the Sun rules the day, the Full Moon. There is no other phase of the Moon that comes even remotely close! The Full Moon reigns!
Also notice in Psalm 104:19 that the LESSER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS, i.e. the Moon, which YHWH has ‘appointed’ (there’s that word again ‛âśâh H6213), that rules the night, i.e. from Moon-rise to Moon-set, is in opposition to the Sun which knows its going down, thereby relinquishing its rule of the day to the Moon’s rule of the night. In coordination with one another they are marking the seasons or mô‛âdâh H4150, the ‘appointed times’ of YHWH. Psalm 104:19 along with the context of the entire psalm is portraying a rising Full Moon and a setting Sun by which the Moedim (plural form of mô‛âdâh) are established!
In all of this YHWH is putting into place criteria that define THE SCRIPTURAL METHOD for determining the Moedim of YHWH. My problem has been that I thought the Scriptures were silent in regard to any ‘method’ for reckoning Rosh Chodesh. I believed the method for determining Rosh Chodesh was intentionally left out of Scripture in order for YHWH to take away the Moedim from Israel when they became apostate, as He has done at least twice! For quite some time I have believed that the Full Moon is indeed the phase of the moon utilized to begin the months but couldn’t see the method for determining the day of Rosh Chodesh via the Full Moon fully developed in Scripture. A vacuum demands to be filled and I developed my own personal method, which I called ‘THE METHOD’, it was based on Scripture ‘and’ my own human reasoning. That’s not good enough and thankfully I was humble enough to know it and I never proclaimed it as an absolute fact.
But there has continued to be a growth in my understanding of Scripture and I now believe without a doubt the Scriptures do indeed proclaim, in an unequivocal manner, the very method for determining Rosh Chodesh via the Full Moon, I was just too blind to see it in Scripture. This understanding eliminates every ‘false phase’ used for reckoning Rosh Chodesh and it also eliminates every ‘false method’ for reckoning Full Moon Rosh Chodesh, including my own! When the Scriptures are rightly divided, they leave only ‘one phase’ of the moon for the beginning of months and only ‘one method’ for reckoning that phase left standing. All of the diverse opinions of men are totally destroyed! So let’s get to it!
Our center of attention must now return to Genesis 1:14 so I’ll re-post the verse here...
Gen 1:14 And Elohim said, “Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and years, (The Scriptures 2009)
And again from the KJV+...
Gen 1:14 And God H430 said, H559 Let there be H1961 lights H3974 in the firmament H7549 of the heaven H8064 to divide H914 H996 the day H3117 from H996 the night; H3915 and let them be H1961 for signs, H226 and for seasons, H4150 and for days, H3117 and years: H8141 (KJV+)
First off the only phase of the moon that can most effectively be said to either “separate” or “divide” the day from the night is the Full Moon. The Dark Moon Conjunction is totally impotent when it comes to dividing the day from the night. All other phases of the moon cross over from day into night or night into day and thereby ‘unite’ the day and night, not ‘separate’ or ‘divide’ them. The Full Moon, as it orbits the Earth in opposition to the Sun, is the only contender for this responsibility and will do so with minimal lapse.
I now come to the main point of this article which revolves around the word translated as “signs” in Genesis 1:14, the Hebrew word 'ôth. I’ll post the definition, which I’ve been well aware of for years, but obviously missed the fullness of its meaning... it’s subtle and yet revelatory!
Probably from H225 (in the sense of appearing); a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.: - mark, miracle, (en-) sign, token.
Total KJV occurrences: 79
Brown-Driver-Briggs lists it this way...
1) sign, signal
1a) a distinguishing mark
1d) miraculous sign
2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: probably from H225 (in the sense of appearing)
I’ve emboldened and italicized what I want you to pay attention to in both definitions above, i.e. (in the sense of appearing).
In the past I’ve understood 'ôth as a ‘sign’ that can be ‘seen’ or ‘must be seen’. Accordingly, I’ve ruled out any possibility of the Dark Moon Conjunction (DMC) as being the beacon for Rosh Chodesh, for in no sense can the DMC simply be ‘seen’, much less “in the sense of appearing”. I continue to stand by that conclusion. But when the definition of 'ôth tells us that the ‘sign’ must be considered “in the sense of appearing” does that simply mean that you can ‘see’ it? Or is there more to the story? Interpreting 'ôth as a ‘sign’ that can be ‘seen’ or ‘must be seen’ leaves the door open for Full Moon Rosh Chodesh proponents to devise multiple methods for reckoning the Full Moon beacon, which is exactly what has happened, the problem being half the time they arrive at different dates for Rosh Chodesh! I’ll discuss those methods in a moment. So again I ask, is there more to “in the sense of appearing” than first meets the eye? Answering that question is where the revelation begins! I don’t believe in either Astronomical Evolution or Biological Evolution but I do believe in the ‘Evolution of Thought and Understanding’ and over the course of time my thoughts and understanding certainly have evolved regarding this Hebrew word 'ôth!
In exchanges that I’ve had over the past two weeks with people regarding the time keeping mechanisms of YHWH and Scripture, my understanding of this Hebrew word 'ôth has evolved into something far more meaningful than just ‘seeing’ the Sun or Moon. It literally speaks of a ‘moment in time’ when something ‘appears’ that previously ‘was not visible’! Transitioning from unseen to seen. It is that ‘transitional moment’ when the Sun and Moon first rise into view; that is what “in the sense of appearing” means! It’s in that moment that 'ôth, understood as ‘signs’, that the TWO GREAT LIGHTS shine forth to beacon their respective time increments.
In that light we must then consider each of the words used to define 'ôth “in the sense of appearing”. To drive the point home allow me to cloak each of those defining words with the way they should be interpreted.
1) sign, signal, “in the sense of appearing”
1a) a distinguishing mark, “in the sense of appearing”
1b) banner, “in the sense of appearing”
1c) remembrance, “in the sense of appearing”
1d) miraculous sign, “in the sense of appearing”
1e) omen, “in the sense of appearing”
1f) warning, “in the sense of appearing”
2) token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof, “in the sense of appearing”
What you see above is what I was missing all along... yes ‘seeing’ is involved but that visual sign is inextricably tied to the moment of the ‘sign’s’ first appearance! That is the key to understanding ‘THE SCRIPTURAL METHOD’ for sighting the New Moon beacon! Those five simple words used to qualify every word used to define the tiny but amazingly powerful Hebrew word 'ôth... “in the sense of appearing” become the gatekeeper’s key to understanding ‘THE SCRIPTURAL METHOD’ for determining Rosh Chodesh!
What I’ve written above can be contentious enough but before I get into the really contentious stuff when I’ll bring the evidence I’ve already brought to bear regarding the definition of 'ôth against the different beloved New Moon phases people keep let’s talk about something most of us can agree upon, at least on some level! While the Jews and many Hebrew Roots Movement people believe ‘dates’ begin with Sunset I believe ‘days’ AND ‘dates’ begin with Sunrise. Are you with me? The Sun, “in the sense of appearing” marks the beginning of days. “In the sense of appearing” it rises into view, once obscured beneath the Earth’s horizon it now begins to appear above the horizon. “In the sense of appearing” is a transitional moment, a moment in time, when the Sun transitions from being out of sight below the eastern horizon to first ‘appearing’ above the eastern horizon. One moment it can’t be seen, the next moment it can be seen, this is 'ôth, a sign, “in the sense of appearing” that marks the beginning of the day!
The false tradition of beginning dates with the setting of the Sun has grown tentacles far beyond the beginning of days and dates, it has firmly fixed its grip on how we reckon the beginning of months as well, leading us to mark the beginning of months with the sighting of a setting moon in the First Visible Crescent phase. We must understand that days and dates begin with the rising of the Sun “in the sense of appearing” and use that as our standard in guiding us when it comes to establishing the beginning of months according to the rising of the moon. Should we think the Moon operates any differently? It doesn’t!
So how does that help us in discerning fact from fiction when it comes to reckoning Rosh Chodesh? Well, as I’ve already stated DMC is struck from consideration since it fails miserably “in the sense of appearing”! It’s DARK; it doesn’t “appear” in any sense of the word. And just so I cover all my bases... DMC proponents want to use the light of the quarter phases to mark their weekly Sabbaths leaving the DMC to mark Rosh Chodesh. The problem of that is according to 'ôth, the sign, “in the sense of appearing” the quarter phases are visible for hours. They don’t “appear” in the sense of a transitional moment where you can’t see the sign and then all of a sudden you can, i.e. “in the sense of appearing”. I’ve kept DMC for a couple of years and I can tell you from experience that the Quarter Phases and their orbital positions in the sky are rarely on point. Furthermore, all of the Annual Moedim are counted from Rosh Chodesh and the Sabbaths are too, falling on the 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th Days of every month. Establishing Rosh Chodesh via a sign, “in the sense of appearing” is the most vital time reckoning function that exists. Quarter phases are a red herring. The fact is, and it will never change, demanding the quarter phases of the moon to announce the Sabbaths pits you directly against Genesis 1:14-16, Psalm 81:3, Psalm 104:19, Revelation 12:1 and more, all of which demand a Full Moon as New Moon... There is no getting around that! Not even if Philo says so!
How about the First Visible Crescent (FVC)? A case can certainly be made for the FVC as an 'ôth, a sign, “in the sense of appearing” in that one moment you can’t see it and in the next moment it finally appears barely visible well above the western horizon still in the glaring atmospheric light of the sun that just set. I used to get a bit of a head rush every time I’d finally spot it. However, the FVC fails miserably as well in that it is certainly not a GREAT LIGHT that RULES THE NIGHT, rather than 'appearing' the FVC is actually in the process of 'disappearing'! It too, must be struck from further consideration.
That leaves us with the Full Moon as our final phase to reconcile to the Written Word of YHWH. Unfortunately, unlike both DMC and FVC the Full Moon proponents have developed more than one method for determining Full Moon Rosh Chodesh, which will lead people to keep different days for Rosh Chodesh, which then affects the weekly Sabbaths and Annual Moedim. As you can see, getting this right is vitally important! Can a proper understanding of the Hebrew word 'ôth, a sign, “in the sense of appearing”, help us to rightly distinguish between the multiple methods of Full Moon Rosh Chodesh reckoning? Which is true and which are false? First we need to familiarize ourselves with the different methods.
The method I was introduced to when first coming to Full Moon Rosh Chodesh reckoning was to use the first Full Moon to rise AFTER the setting of the Sun as the beacon for Rosh Chodesh coming with the rising of the next morning’s Sun. It’s simple, it makes sense, what more could a person want? And most importantly for me it helped me leave the constant confusion of Dark Moon Conjunction observance/nonobservance! I’ll get back to this Full Moon method later.
Disgustingly, it didn’t take long for me to discover another method being used to determine Full Moon Rosh Chodesh, one that concludes different dates half the time! I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating I considered that to be! This method is popularly known as the ‘Second Witness Method’. In this method a “1st Witness” is understood to be a Full Moon that is within 12 degrees of the horizon, either above or below, at the moment of Sunset (Upper Limb). The “2nd Witness” comes the next morning at Sunrise. For the “2nd Witness” to beacon Rosh Chodesh that very same day the Full Moon must remain above the western horizon until Sunrise. Calling this method the “Second Witness Method” is a misnomer of major proportions, it is clear that the 1st Witness in the evening is a contrived man-made tradition which has absolutely no bearing on their conclusions, the entire weight of which is placed on the Full Moon remaining above the western horizon until the Sun rises above the eastern horizon the morning after. A vacillating 1st Witness in the evening, being either above or below the horizon, is no witness at all! There are evidently variations on this method that eliminate the 1st Witness altogether putting all their weight on the Full Moon remaining above the western horizon until the Sun rises above the eastern horizon in the morning.
Let’s consider then the “Second Witness Method” and see how it fairs with an 'ôth, a sign, “in the sense of appearing”. I’ll first dispense with the vacillating 1st Witness in the evening. A Full Moon up to 12 degrees below the horizon is obviously not an 'ôth, a sign, “in the sense of appearing” since it can’t be seen at Sunset and its counter part, a Full Moon up to 12 degrees above the horizon at Sunset is not an 'ôth, a sign, “in the sense of appearing” since its appearing took place 12 degrees of rise time earlier. The 'ôth occurs at the horizon! The 1st Witness of the ‘Second Witness Method’ is a contrived man-made tradition that has no relationship with the Hebrew word 'ôth! Moving on to the 2nd Witness of the ‘Second Witness Method’ the Full Moon runs its course through the nighttime sky. It has been visible since either shortly before or shortly after the setting of the Sun the evening before. Does the Full Moon looming above the western horizon until Sunrise sound like a ‘sign’ at its first ‘appearance’? We’re talking about the Full Moon, not the Sun. The Full Moon has been hanging around all night long... does that sound like a ‘transitional moment’ when the Full Moon first reveals itself? No! It does not qualify as a sign “in the sense of appearing”, it is not an 'ôth. Yes, you can see it, but you could see it all night! It didn’t just appear! Furthermore, by being forced to wait until the day has begun with the rising of the Sun in the morning to determine whether or not that very day is Rosh Chodesh I have to ask, “Where is the beacon?” “Where is the signal?” “Where is the warning?” All of which should come BEFORE the day begins with the rising of the Sun in order for the Full Moon to be a beacon, signal or warning!!! We must rethink our understanding of what 'ôth means to harmonize it with “in the sense of appearing” just as the Sun marks the beginning of every day by rising above the eastern horizon!
So let’s now consider the first of the two aforementioned methods, which is the method I use! Please be reminded of the Sun beaconing the beginning of the day via its rising into view above the eastern horizon “in the sense of appearing”, it is the 'ôth, the sign that the day has begun. Now let’s see if we can find some harmony with that point which we can all agree on when it comes to reckoning the beginning of each and every New Moon!
The method I utilize, which has served me well, is to use the first Full Moon to rise AFTER the setting of the Sun. Because there may be two or three evenings when an indistinguishable Full Moon may rise, first BEFORE and then AFTER the setting of the Sun as the Full Moon rises later and later each evening, I therefore use the setting of the Sun as a line of demarcation in time with the first Full Moon to rise AFTER Sunset as the beacon for Rosh Chodesh. When I finally came to understand the importance of the definition of 'ôth I immediately knew it stood against every false phase and method for determining Rosh Chodesh, what I didn’t immediately understand is that this bird would come home to roost!
After spending a lot of time on my observation point watching the rising of the Full Moon and often times questioning myself when I would finally spot it already nearly fully risen, “I wonder how long that’s been up?” I decided it was too difficult to spot the rising Full Moon the moment it broke the plane of the eastern horizon on evenings when the Moonrise would be in close proximity to Sunset, the sky remained too bright. I reasoned that if I used the Lower Limb of the Full Moon to determine the moment of Moonrise I would have a better chance of spotting the rising Full Moon before it rose above the horizon. I then reasoned that neither the Full Moon nor the Sun could be considered GREAT LIGHTS if they were obscured by the horizon as their Upper Limb either just peeked over the horizon as would be the case with the rising Full Moon or disappeared completely beneath the horizon as would be the case with the setting Sun. It all seemed so reasonable. Therefore I switched to Lower Limb Rise and Set Times and thought I was a bright boy!
However, this new understanding of the Hebrew word 'ôth, a sign, “in the sense of appearing”, and my use of the Lower Limbs of both the Sun and Full Moon cannot be reconciled. My Lower Limb method has fallen on the chopping block of truth, never to rise again! These are the moments of true humility... for me, these are the best days of my life when I realize I have been wrong and I now have the opportunity to get it right and I will do just that!
I am now, according to my new understanding of the Hebrew word 'ôth, a sign, “in the sense of appearing” once again returning to using the Upper Limb Rise and Set Times of both the Sun and Full Moon to establish the beginning of months, when they both rise and send forth their beacon “in the sense of appearing”. It was agonizingly difficult to adopt Lower Limb Rise and Set Times knowing full well that I was sticking my neck out and likely to get my head chopped off and that is exactly what has happened! While my reasoning for using Lower Limb Rise and Set Times was well intended it was still human reasoning and it feels good to let go of it! The last two months have been burdensome for me with my honest acknowledgement of a need for a 31-day month in the fall of 2020 (I can hear the crowds screaming heretic, heretic, heretic!). But bearing that burden brought me to a moment when I felt a check in my spirit as I was recording a video to document the beacon for the 8th New Moon. As I was staring at the risen Full Moon ascending fully above the eastern horizon I spoke the words, “...still have sunlight on the hills, the sun has not yet set.” In that moment, there was a check in my spirit. With the words I spoke a rush came over me, and I was filled with doubt! Those words triggered an awareness that dogged me for the next couple of weeks; there was an inner sense of “I have a problem!” Over the course of time I realized I needed to dump Lower Limb Rise and Set Times, not because they were the problem causing the demand for a 31-Day month, they weren’t, but that they were the first thing I questioned in my mind. They were the weak link in my method and I instinctively knew it. I’ve always understood there would still be sunlight on the hills at the moment of Lower Limb sunset; that would always be the case, so why was that evening different? There are none so blind as those who are driven without the leading of the Ruach HaQodesh, but that night He showed up!
Just as the GREATER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS beacons the beginning of days by rising into view above the eastern horizon with its Upper Limb, the LESSER of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS also beacons the beginning of months by rising into view above the eastern horizon with its Upper Limb! According to the method I use, the first Full Moon that rises into view with its Upper Limb AFTER the setting of the Sun is the 'ôth, the sign, “in the sense of appearing” that beacons Rosh Chodesh the following morning. Just as the Sun transitions from being out of view beneath the eastern horizon to first appearing above the eastern horizon to mark the beginning of the day, so too, the Full Moon transitions from being out of view beneath the eastern horizon to first appearing above the eastern horizon AFTER Sunset to beacon the beginning of a New Month with the following Sunrise. By recognizing the first Full Moon to rise above the eastern horizon, “in the sense of appearing” AFTER Sunset, the Lesser of the TWO GREAT LIGHTS, the Full Moon, becomes the 'ôth, the sign, the only true phase and only true method for beaconing Rosh Chodesh!!!
Unlike the vacillating 1st Witness of the ‘Second Witness Method’ being either up to 12 degrees above or below the eastern horizon at Sunset in my method harmony is achieved in that we now have a Rosh Chodesh beacon that is in rhythm with the risings of the Moon in the last two weeks of each old month and with the first two weeks of each new month. The Moon always rises BEFORE the setting of the Sun for the last two weeks of every old month and the Moon always rises AFTER the setting of the Sun for the first two weeks of every new month. Every Moonrise that takes place BEFORE the setting of the Sun beacons another day of the Old Month, every Moonrise that takes place AFTER the setting of the Sun beacons a day of the New Month, a very simple, clean-cut method for beaconing days of the months beginning with Rosh Chodesh and now it’s Scripturally confirmed!!!
Harmony is also established between the 'ôth, the signs, “in the sense of appearing” of the Sun and Moon, the TWO GREAT LIGHTS for beaconing the beginning of days and months, both being accomplished by transitioning from below the eastern horizon to above the eastern horizon immediately shining forth their 'ôth.
Harmony is also established with the whole of Scripture that vividly proclaims the Full Moon as New Moon. The gold standard of Genesis 1:14-16 is now in harmony with Psalm 81:3, Psalm 104:19 and Revelation 12:1 among others, all of which proclaim the Full Moon as New Moon.
Harmony is also established between the words that Scripture uses to speak about Rosh Chodesh such as...
kese' (H3677) Full Moon,
lebânâh (H3842) White Moon, always in contextual reference to a Full Moon
selēnē (G4582) moon, as being Brilliant and Attractive... and once again always in contextual reference to a Full Moon.
Harmony should always be sought; never, ever, forsake Harmony!
It never ceases to amaze me that people don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that Scripture never mentions a Dark Moon Conjunction or First Visible Crescent, absolutely NEVER!
I believe this article has uncovered an extremely important factor in determining Rosh Chodesh, a ‘Scriptural Method’ directly from the first page of the Written Word of YHWH rather than the imaginations of men. While it has been abundantly apparent that Scripture proclaims the Full Moon as New Moon I can now say without reservation that Scripture is not silent in regard to 'how' the Full Moon must be sighted in order to establish Full Moon Rosh Chodesh. Genesis 1:14’s use of 'ôth, translated as ‘signs’, “in the sense of appearing” makes the case that both the Sun and the Moon beacon their respective increments of time “in the sense of appearing” the moment they rise above the eastern horizon with their Upper Limb! For the Full Moon to beacon Rosh Chodesh it requires the Sun’s setting as a line of demarcation that determines which evening the Full Moon sends forth is proclamation... It’s just that simple!
THE METHOD FOR DETERMINING ROSH CHODESH...
...IS 'LOUDLY' PROCLAIMED IN SCRIPTURE!''
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