As most Bible students know, the Jews of the Old Testament used a much different calendar than we do today. Originally, their calendar year began in the month of Tisri (our September). This was the time of the harvest and also the time of year in which the Jewish rabbis supposed that God had created the world.
In Exodus 12, the Lord rearranged the Jewish calendar. As He was about to liberate the Israelites from the cruel bonds of Egyptian slavery, the Lord told Moses and Aaron, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exo 12:2). This month was first called Abib by the Jews, and later Nisan. It corresponds to our March or April. The LORD also ordained a memorial Feast to be celebrated in the middle of this first month. The Jews were told to keep this Feast every year, “It is the sacrifice of Jehovah’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.” (Exo 12:27).
It is clear that God wanted the Israelites to remember their deliverance from bondage at the beginning of every year. The New Year was an occasion to recall that God’s grace and power had liberated them; they owed their lives and their freedom to Him.
Customarily, modern men begin the New Year with celebrations and resolutions. The focus is often on improving oneself. Might I suggest a different approach for this year? How about borrowing a little from a page in the Jewish calendar and begin this year by …“giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love; in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins” (Col 1:12-14).
Truly, our Passover has been sacrificed, Jesus Christ (1 Cor 5:7). What better way to set the tone for a New Year than by remembering our deliverance from Satan’s clutches and by determining never again to go back to the bondage of sin? “For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage” (Gal 5:1). Have a Happy (free-from-the-bondage-of-sin) New Year! — Steve Klein