A Special Surprise for the Biblical New Year

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This year, April 2 marks the first day of Nissan. Nissan is the first month of the year according to the Torah. The first day of the first month is in effect “New Year’s Day.” While secular and religious traditions make great fanfare about other dates for the New Year, you don’t often hear about this one, which is THE primary new year’s day according to scripture.

Perhaps it doesn’t mean that much. There is no ordained appointed feast on that day, except for the monthly “new moon.” Some connection can be made with Yeshua’s turning toward Jerusalem before the Passover, which would start on the 14th of Nissan; but there is not much written on that aspect of the date.

However, on the first new year after the exodus from Egypt, something very special happened.

שמות מ’:2, 17

2 בְּיֹום־הַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשֹׁון בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ תָּקִים אֶת־מִשְׁכַּן אֹהֶל מֹועֵד׃

17 וַיְהִי בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשֹׁון בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הוּקַם הַמִּשְׁכָּן׃

Exodus 40:2, 17

On the day of the first month, on the first of the month, you shall set up the tabernacle tent of meeting…

And it was on the first day of the month, of the first month of the second year, that the tabernacle was set up.

This is the closing chapter of the book of Exodus and of the Exodus story. After months of preparation, donations and craftsmanship, the tabernacle was finally completed. Obedience had been demanded for every detail of the holy utensils. Moses was given a pattern from heaven, which means the tabernacle was a replica of something in the heavenlies above.

When all these elements came into alignment, on the first day of the year, a miracle took place.

שמות מ’:34-35

34 וַיְכַס הֶעָנָן אֶת־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וּכְבֹוד יהוה מָלֵא אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן׃ 35 וְלֹא־יָכֹל מֹשֶׁה לָבֹוא אֶל־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד כִּי־שָׁכַן עָלָיו הֶעָנָן וּכְבֹוד יהוה מָלֵא אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן׃

Exodus 40:34-35

And the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of YHVH filled the tabernacle. And Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud was dwelling upon it, and the glory of YHVH filled the tabernacle.

The tabernacle was completed, and the glory of God filled it on New Year’s Day. That is a hugely significant event.

The “first” day of the “first” month is simply the date. Yet I think it also speaks of a certain priority. It is the first thought, the first intention, the first purpose. And what is that priority?

The Spirit filled the dwelling place. The Hebrew root for fill is M-L-A, מ-ל-א, and the idea of God’s fullness dwelling in the earth is developed throughout the Law and the Prophets. (See for example, Numbers 14:21, Isaiah 6:3; 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14, Psalm 72:19.)

The idea of “filling” is carried on into the New Covenant through the Greek word, pleroma. God put His pleroma fullness in Yeshua (Colossians 2:9); and through Yeshua that fullness is passed on to us (John 1:16), until we also are filled with God’s fullness (Ephesians 3:19).

We could say that according to the heavenly pattern, God’s first priority is to fill us totally with Himself. Now that’s a New Year’s message worth celebrating. (Don’t be filled with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 5:18.)

God’s top priority is His total presence in us. Therefore, our top priority should also be His total presence in us.

Tabernacle in Hebrew is mishkan, משכן, which comes from the root sh-k-n, ש-כ-נ which means to dwell. That’s why tabernacle can also be translated as dwelling place.

Here is the point: a spiritual God makes a physical universe and then intends to invest Himself into that creation. The creator wants to dwell inside His creation.

The primary part of God’s creation that He wants to dwell in is us: the human race. God made human beings in His image so He could dwell in us. We are to be His tabernacle, His dwelling place.

On this biblical New Year, let’s meditate on the heavenly pattern, and obey God in all the little details of our lives, so that He can fulfill His top priority, to have His presence dwell inside us.

This article originally appeared on Revive Israel – Tikkun Global, March 31, 2022, and reposted with permission.