September/October: The Harvest Moon

Behind everything in creation is the mind of God.  Therefore each created thing reveals an aspect of God’s thoughts and, in some cases, tremendous insights into God’s plans for the human race.  The moon is by far one of the most important tools in all creation to examine the thoughts and intentions of Almighty God.  Romans 1:20 tells us, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…”

God put tremendous thought into every single created thing.  Therefore each thing can help us get to know our Creator, if we care to learn, by using the Bible as a text book and creation as a classroom full of props, examples, metaphors, and allegories.

At the very beginning of the Bible, God revealed that the moon was meant to have tremendous meaning and significance for mankind.  Let’s read Genesis 1:14-18: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light 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; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so.  Then God made two great lights:  the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.  He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.  And God saw that it was good.”  [Emphasis added.]  These few Scriptures are brimful of important information for humanity.  They can also be misconstrued and used by certain people to cast doubt upon the validity of the Bible as God’s inspired word.

Let’s take a moment to disprove the argument that the Bible is in error by saying the solar system is only 6000 years old, which of course does not square with scientific fact.  This argument is a total red herring because God’s Word nowhere says that the earth and solar system are 6000 years old.  This fallacious argument examines the genealogy (generations) of Jesus Christ back to Abraham in Matthew 1, which is approximately 2000 years, plus the 2000 years from Christ’s to the present day, plus the 2000 from Adam to Abraham (Genesis 5, Genesis 11:10-26), and arrives at the wrong conclusion about the first chapter of Genesis.  They wrongly assume Genesis 1:1-3 speaks of creating the earth and the solar system 6000 years ago.  A careful reading of Genesis 1:1-3 reveals that the Spirit of God was hovering over an earth already in existence but in ruins.  The span of time between verse 1 and verse 2 is not given in Scripture, but science provides the answer.  The earth’s geological record, fossil records, carbon dating, and astronomical calculation all point to the earth being 3 to 5 billion years old and the universe 13 to 15 billion years old.

Reading Genesis 1:1-3 with careful consideration quickly solves the conundrum.  Verse 1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Note that Scripture does not say how far back into the distant past that was, but it is likely science has a good ballpark estimate.  Verse 2:  “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

At this point we need to define a few Hebrew words used in verse 2 in order to see how the misconceptions arise.

  • Without form:  Without form is tohuw in Hebrew (Strong’s #8414), meaning to lie waste, a desolation of the surface, a desert or a worthless thing.
  • Void:  Bohuw (Strong’s #922) means a vacuum or indistinguishable ruin.
  • Darkness:  Choshek (Strong’s #2822) means misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, and wickedness.
  • Hovering:  Rachaph (Strong’s #7363) means to brood.

Therefore the Spirit of God was clearly hovering and brooding over an earth that had been ruined by sin and ignorance.  After careful thought and planning, God the Father and Jesus Christ came up with a plan which was initiated when Christ, the Word, uttered the famous words in verse 3, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  Many Scriptures correlate light with God’s truth.  (See the May-June 2012 issue of A Word in Season entitled “The Bible as Light.”)  By clearing up this conundrum, we can examine verses 14-17, already quoted, for some exciting insights!

The bright light God let shine upon the earth was the light of His truth, which is embodied by the Holy Scriptures.  This is the light that cuts through the darkness exposing sin and ignorance.  In His grand design, God decided to use the sun and moon to represent how He would bring truth to the earth.  Right on the first page of the Bible, God reveals that from that point in time, the sun and moon would have profound significance attached to them.  God wanted the sun and moon to keep track of time in three ways.

The complex relationship between the sun, moon, and earth provide the mechanism for three types of calendars.  Two are well-understood by mankind and used around the world by virtually everyone.  The most common is the solar calendar based on the 365-day solar year.  The second is the 354-day lunar year based on the phases of the moon that repeat every 29 ½ days, equaling a lunar month.  With these two extremely useful time pieces, man keeps track of hours, minutes, days, years, and seasons.  Each nation or culture keeps track of significant events in their histories, holidays, and religious observances.  Our trains, planes, work days, commuting, indeed every aspect of our lives are calibrated according to the sun and moon.

The third calendar is far more profound than the first two.  The third calendar holds the key to understanding the whys and wherefores of human existence.  Astoundingly, the opening chapter of your Bible reveals how to keep track of spiritual time.  The most important prophetic events in human history are encoded in the annual cycle of the sun and moon.  How the sun and moon interact with each other and the earth depicts God’s plan for the human race and how He implements His plans!

The moon does not produce its own light but merely reflects the light of the sun.  Likewise God’s people, first ancientIsrael and more recently the body of Christ, reflect the light of Christ.  John 1:1-5 helps us understand this beautiful thought of God: “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

I Corinthians 5:7 tells us Christ came to this earth as our Passover sacrifice to take away the sins of the world.  He came to set us free from sin and to teach us by the light of His word how to live well.  Passover was a holy day first established between God and ancient Israelwhen they were set free from the tyranny of Pharaoh as explained in the Book of Exodus.  Passover is one of seven annual holy days that God established and placed on the annual physical lunar calendar.  These seven days depict critical events in human history when God would intervene in human events with direct contact with the human race.  Isn’t it amazing that God uses the monthly phases of the moon to determine the placement of His holy days on the annual cycle?  Each holy day falls in a season of the year that directly correlates with a season in church history!  God is using the earth and the people who dwell on it to produce a bountiful harvest—a harvest of human beings who care to do what is right and who want to live by the light of His truth.

For a long time the earth has been predominantly covered in darkness.   We have arrived at the point in time when God’s light will spread around the world dispersing ignorance, darkness, fear, and evil.  Genesis 1:14, if you recall, mentioned that the great lights of the sun and moon would be for keeping track of signs and seasons.  Signs in Hebrew is owth, meaning a flag, beacon, monument, evidence.  Seasons is the Hebrew word mowed, meaning an appointment, fixed time or season, specifically a festival for God’s congregation to assemble—in other words, the prophetic occasions in which God has planned to intervene in human affairs as part of His plan of total deliverance.

The next full moon to rise is the one that depicts the time when God will begin the long-awaited Millennium of peace.  There are four fall holy day periods that portray the vast conversion of humanity, which God compares to the fall harvest.  It’s no wonder that the next full moon to rise is called the harvest moon.  I would like to quote Night Watch, A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson, Firefly Books: “Probably the best-known but least-understood lunar phenomena is the Harvest Moon—the full Moon that occurs nearest the autumnal equinox, the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere, usually September 22.  For northern-hemisphere observers, the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox seems to linger in the sky night after night.  To farmers of earlier generations, the Harvest Moon was an unexplained but welcome bonus of light.”  Now you know why the harvest moon exists—it’s because God made it that way.  Soon the church will reflect the light of God’s truth to chase away the darkness once and for all, so the earth will enjoy the promised Millennium of peace.

During the time of the harvest moon find a comfortable chair, kick up your heels, and stare in wonderment at the sheer beauty of God’s plan.

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