Unlike today, wall calendars were not available among the ancient Israelites. Instead, the priesthood was entrusted with the knowledge of the sacred calendar. The priests were able to calculate in advance the beginning of new civil years and the beginning of months. They also officially confirmed those events by visual sightings, as weather permitted. When the new moon came, marking the beginning of each new month or the beginning month of the year, they officially announced each sighting of the new moon to the people. In case weather prevented the actual sighting, the calculated time was acknowledged and was even more precise than the visual sightings.
On the day of the new moon, a special rite (to show the people that a new month had started) kept them up-to-date so that they could prepare in advance for any up-coming annual Holy Days, festivals and seasons. God preserved His sacred calendar (the Hebrew calendar) anciently through the work of the Levites, and as has been preserved today by the Jewish peoples. It is therefore unnecessary, in our modern times, to specially assemble on the first day of each month. (You may wish to read our booklet The Truth About God’s Calendar.)
In Colossians 2:16-17, the apostle Paul exhorts us, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” This scripture has been interpreted by some to mean that we can eat or drink anything and that we can decide for ourselves which days are holy. This misinterpretation is the result of a translation error. The word “is,” italicized above, was not part of the original Greek text, but was later added by translators, who believed they were enhancing the meaning. Instead, the meaning was altered. It actually meant that only the Body of Christ—the true Church—was to judge or advise one with respect to a Holy Day, the timing of the new moon or Sabbath days (both weekly or annual), which represent past, present and future stages of God’s Plan of Salvation.
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