The First Day of the First Month

The First Day of the First Month

R. E. Harlow

The first month and the first day speak of a new beginning. Christians do not observe days, months, seasons or years (Gal. 4:10). We do break bread and take up an offering on the first day of every week. It could be helpful, however, on the first day of the first month to reconsider the passage of time and our use of it. Perhaps make a new beginning.

1. The month Abib was the first month for Israel. Their calendar began not with the creation of Adam, or the call of Abraham. The beginning of months for Israel dated from their departure from Egypt (Exo. 12:2).

Most of the readers of FOOD FOR THE FLOCK can look back to the day when life began, the new life in Christ. If you do not know the day, you can prove you have been born again by living the life. A native in New Guinea might not know the day of his natural birth in the Western calendar. If someone tried to explain to him that since he did not know when he was born he probably never had been, he would get up and walk away mystified. Walking would at least prove he had been born. So with the new life. The fact is more important than the date. But if you are not sure of the fact, you can come to Christ as you read this just where you are and accept Him. Life begins with God.

The first day of the first month speaks of Redemption. We who are redeemed can praise the Lord for redeeming us. We can also consider the millions who have never heard of the Redeemer. We could pray that 1967 will be the beginning of years for many.

2. The Tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month of the second year (Exo. 40:2, 17). The Tabernacle speaks of worship in the presence of God. Believers do not have to wait any length of time to go to any central point to worship. The necessaries for worship are: the blood of Jesus, a great Priest and clean hearts. We can have boldness to enter, we can draw near in full assurance of faith (Heb. 10.19-22). Wonderful privilege! A question for the first day of the first month: What do we know about true worship?

3. It may be necessary to resanctify, renew, rededicate, 2 Chronicles 29:17. The clutter and debris of years may have choked the way of access to the holiest, and hindered the flow of worship. It has been said that all failure begins at the altar. Certainly there is a constant tendency to let things slip.

It took the priests of Israel sixteen days to clean out the temple. You could start on the first day of the first month and carry to the brook Kedron whatever has kept you from God.

4. Perhaps the first day of the first month finds you in a far country. Ezra started back to Jerusalem that same day (Ezra 7:9). In 458 B.C. it took four months to make the journey. Today flight 341 would get you from Baghdad to Amman in two hours and forty minutes. You could get back to God from the far country even more quickly. A prayer of confession travels faster than the speed of light. So does God’s answer of forgiveness.

5. It may be necessary to put away what is false. Ezra realized God’s blessing would be withheld unless the people were separated from evil (Ezra 10:17). An idol is anything that keeps the heart from God.

Ezra called on the people to renounce their false alliances with Canaanitish {pb 9 wives. Within eight days they started to rectify these things. Two months later on the first day of the first month 457 B.C. the business was complete. A dishonor list of 113 names is incorporated in the eternal record: priests, Levites, people. Some of these names are found in the honor lists of chapters 2 and 8. They had returned with the faithful. Now they are listed again as having taken strange wives.

These heathen wives may symbolize anything false in the believer’s life. Influenced by the “new” morality (immorality) of the day, really older than Judah, some have succumbed to the embellishments of an evil woman or a wicked man. The bitter fruits are described by the Holy Spirit (Proverbs 2:18, 19; 5:4, 5, 9; 6:26, 27, 34; 7:23; 9:18).

Far more basic, more cosmic, more serious, of agelong importance, is the teaching of the mother of harlots, Babylon the Great. She speaks of Religion as unified, centralized, and organized in the last days. The union of churches and religions today is preparing the way. The son who hears the Father’s voice will surely come out from her (Revelation 18.4).

6. For those who serve the Lord the reward is future and certain. God revealed to Ezekiel that Nebuchadnezzar would be used to punish proud Tyre (Ezek. 26:1-7). Sixteen years later on the first day of the first month, God announced Nebuchadnezzar’s reward for this service: the land of Egypt (29:17-20).

Some golden daybreak, perhaps in 1967, the Lord Jesus will come bringing His reward with Him (Rev. 22:12). Nothing however insignificant will have escaped His watchful eye. Every man will receive praise of God, but some more than others.

7. The day but not the year when the millennial temple will be cleansed is given in Ezekiel 45:18. This could speak of the inauguration of eternal worship. We the worshippers will be finally prepared at the instant of Christ’s return. We will see Him, be like Him, transformed into His image.

This hope too will purify us today, as He is pure. We can prepare now for our eternal home, our eternal occupation.

So on the first day of the first month let us consider our ways, learn the lessons of Scripture, forget the things which are behind, press forward to what lies ahead. Every new day can be a fresh opportunity to go on for God.