|The Biblical New Year and 2004 A.D.|
|Written by arkwriter|
|Friday, 23 October 2009 18:25|
The Biblical New Year and 2004 A.D.
Recently I came across a New Year card that has been impressed in my mind quite a lot. It has the picture of a clock with the hands pointing to one minute before twelve o’clock. It has these words: “Time passes and years change but our God is eternal.” The Holy Bible states: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we shall have a share in His eternity because He is the only one who gives us eternal life.
Many Christians are not aware of it but there is a Biblical New Year and this is what I would like to share with you. In the Creation narrative we read: “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years.” (Gen. 1:14) In His mighty powers and infinite wisdom the One True God created the solar system with planets making complete revolutions around the sun. Our earth takes 365¼ days to make one complete revolution around the sun. It is universally accepted to count 365 days in each year for three years and 366 days on the fourth year that is called the leap year. 2004 is a leap year.
Since there is no fixed starting-point in the cycle of the year, we find among different nations, religious and cultural groups, and among the same at different epochs of their history, a great variety of dates with which the New Year began. The opening of spring was a natural beginning, and in the Bible itself there is a close relationship between the beginning of the year and the seasons.
Among the Jews the first day of the seventh month, “Tishri “ (about the end of September), began the civil or economic year with the blowing of the trumpets (Lev. 23:24; Num. 29:1). In the Holy Bible this day is not mentioned as New Year's Day, but the Jews have called it “Rosh Hashannah” which means "head of the year" in Hebrew. The sacred year began with Nisan (early in April), a later name for the Biblical “Abib”, i.e. "month of new corn", and was memorable because in this month the Lord thy God “brought you out of Egypt by night .” (Deut. 16:1). Barley ripens in Israel during the early part of April; and thus the sacred year began with the harvest, the civil year with the sowing of the crops.
There is a Biblical New Year and here is how God has pointed the exact month for the year to begin. “Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, ‘This month shall be your beginning of the months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Ex. 12:1-2) The Passover falls on the fourteenth day of the First Month (Lev. 23:5). The Bible also gives God’s instructions on the activities in the New Year. “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.” (Ex. 40:1-2) We find that it is not a one-time event. “Thus Moses did; according to all that the LORD had commanded him, so he did. And it came to pass in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up.” (Ex. 40:16-17) The New Year is the time to raise up or set the Church in order.
Although the date of the New Year that is celebrated universally on January 1 differs from the Biblical calendar but the counting of the years begins from the year of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. This year is 2004 A.D. that stands for Anno Domini meaning Year of our LORD.Some do not think Christians should celebrate the New Year on January 1 because it is not the biblical New Year. Let us consider this. At present the nation of Israel and Jews all over the world celebrate their civic New Year “Rosh Hashanah"about six months later than on the Biblical New Year.
Since the Jews do not make a big issue about it Christians should not argue against celebrating the New Year on January 1. After all the New Year is purely a secular celebration that is determined by the culture of that nation or ethnic group.
Some others also object to the months in the Gregorian calendar that have pagan names. Let us try to understand the calendar is only a system of calculating the days and months of the year and tells us when the year begins and ends. Since the names of the months in the Gregorian calendar do not affect the faith and salvation of believers it should not be made an issue at all. We are living in the world where the Gregorian calendar is recognized and used by most civilized nations.
New Year is a time of reflection, anticipation and making resolutions. We reflect on the year that is past and anticipate the year to come. But, probably the most common thing you hear about at the New Year is resolutions. . . . things you hope to change.
Let us reflect on the past year. How was your year? Just collect your thoughts together for a moment and reflect on the past year. If in the past twelve months you have received blessings, benefits, rewards and healings do give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ in the One True God.
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! See the LORD and His strength; Seek His face evermore! Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” (Psm.105:1-5)
God wants His people to witness to the whole world about His greatness and His goodness. The Church should reflect on its efforts on evangelism and see what needs to be done to make the Lord Jesus Christ and His truths be preached, received and be accepted by the people all over the world.
“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings; . . . Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.“ (Heb. 10:32, 35-36)
Not every Christian has had a good year. Some have struggled to make a living, others have struggled to stay healthy but they should continue to persevere in their Christian faith and conduct. We don’t usually think of suffering as good for us, but it can build our character and our patience. During times of great stress, we may feel God’s presence more clearly and find help from Christians we never thought would care. Knowing that Jesus is with us in our suffering and that He will return one day to put an end to all pain helps us grow in our faith and our relationship with Him (Rom. 5:3-5).
Next, we would like to project our thoughts to the future. What would you like to do in the coming year? Here is the apostle Paul’s exhortation on how to think about the future.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14)
In a Christian’s life there are certain things that they can reflect and recall from their past mistakes and learn how to make improvements for the future. However, there are also some other things that they would rather forget and hope they had never happened. Those things either cause pain or make them feel ashamed of themselves. We have all done such things, and we live in the tension and stress of what we have been and what we want to be. Because our hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ, however, we can let go of the past guilt and look forward to what God will help us become. Don’t dwell on the past. If 2003 had been a bad year for you, just write it off as a bad dream. Wake up! You are now in 2004.Hope for a better year ahead and press forward. “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isa. 43:18-19) Our God is truly great!
Here is what God has promised you for the coming year!“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:11-13)
May God bless you
This article is a presentation of Paul Wong
to the ARK Forum on January 5, 2004
Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
|Last Updated on Friday, 23 October 2009 20:08|