The Full Moon of His Cross and the New Moon of His Coming

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by Samuel D. Geroy

   The Lord Jesus Christ died during the Jewish Day of Preparation for the Yearly Sabbath according to John 19:19,42. That’s why His followers and Joseph of Arimathea were in a hurry to lay His body in the tomb. He died at about 3:00 P.M. and had to be completely laid on the tomb before 6 o’clock. At six starts the High Day Sabbath which is not a Saturday Sabbath but one that is celebrated once a year during Nisan 14 (or Abib 14) which corresponds to the Holy Week of us Christians today. This is also termed as the First Day Sabbath for the Ecclesiastical Year (mid March to mid April). Another First Sabbath marks the beginning of the civil year in the month Tizri (September-October). Nisan 14 is also called “Sabbath,” being the first day of the Feast of Passover (Leviticus 23:5) irrespective of the day of the week and is near the full moon. During the death of the Lord Jesus Christ in 30 A.D. (based on on-line Jewish calendar) it was Wednesday (Nisan 13), about 3:00 P.M. The women of Galilee followed his body to the tomb witnessing how it was laid by Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:55, 56). That had to be completed before 6:00 P.M., during which it would already be Thursday (Nisan 14) in the Jewish reckoning (John 19:31), the High Day Sabbath. Nissan 14 this year 2011 was April 18 and the full moon was on April 17 (Nisan 13)  while our Holy Friday was April 22.
This year 2012 the full moon will be on April 15, Thursday (Nisan 13) and the High Day Sabbath on April 16, Friday (Nisan 14).

   After that High Day Sabbath, the Pharisees went back to Pilate in order to ask permission to secure the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66), a Friday already. The women also went to gather the sweet spices to be used in anointing the Lord’s body (Mark 16:1). They must have consumed the whole day for that. Then another regular Sabbath (Saturday) required them to rest. They went back to the tomb early Sunday morning. But the Lord’s lying in the tomb for three days and three nights ended on Saturday at 6:00 P.M. On that hour or sometime after (God knows) the Lord arose from the grave. There were no human witnesses. When the women arrived at the tomb that Sunday morning His grave clothes were already folded (Luke 24:12, John 20:5-7). In the Jewish reckoning, that Saturday evening was already Sunday. This is how we recognize Christ’s resurrection day.


   What are the lessons that the Church can learn from these facts? First, Jesus was really three days and three nights in the tomb as Jonah was in the belly of the fish (Matthew 12:40). Second, in our modern reckoning based on the Bible record, Christ arose from the grave anytime after six that Saturday evening. It is already Sunday in the biblical and Jewish reckoning. This is why we believe Christ arose on Sunday as the Church of Jesus Christ always believed through the centuries and as the Bible confirms it in 1 Corinthians 15:4.


   His coming again is pictured by the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25; Rosh Hashanah) celebrated after an interval of about five months from the Passover. This is held on the first day of the seventh month Tishri and is immediately followed by the Day of Atonement. In Israel they have watchmen who wait for the appearance of that new moon. This year 2011 that new moon will appeared September 27 according to the calendar. They blow the two trumpets during this time to symbolize the testimony connected to the re-gathering and repentance of Israel, Numbers 29:1.


   For us Christians this blowing of the trumpets symbolizes two events- the Rapture of the Church and the Re-gathering of Israel. The trumpets shofar, a ram’s horn, herald the appearance of the new moon, as during the Feast of Trumpets (September-October, see Psalm 81:3) and the full moon as during the Feast of Passover (March-April). Does the first shofar blown during the Feast of Trumpets symbolize the Rapture of the Church? That we do not know. All we know is that the Lord will take the Church away in order that His plan for Israel in the last days will resume. Since there are two shofars being blown, does that mean one represents Israel and the other the Church? Only the Lord knows. But praise the Lord this assures us that He is coming soon.


   The Lord Jesus said that we do not know the day or hour of His coming (Matthew 24:42). Yet we also know He is near (Matthew 24:32-35) because Israel has returned to the land and one generation from 1948 is seventy years that will end in 2018, seven years from now as some scholars suggest. The United Nations may grant a part of Israel in succeeding years to become the Palestinian state. All these are realities that remind us He is coming soon. So come Lord Jesus.


References:

See footnotes in The New Scofield Reference Bible, pp. 156-158
Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Feasts of Israel pp. 350-363; Music- The Trumpets p.768
My Jewish Year, Celebrating Our Holidays, by Adam Fisher, Berhman House, Inc., West Orange, NJ 07052, U.S.A. pp. 116-133

The Jewish Sacred Year, The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, Editor Merrill C. Tenney, Zondervan Publishing House 1967, p. 281