New Year and the Glory of God

Here is a thought for this week of the biblical New Year, which is not in the autumn as Jewish tradition says, nor in January as secular tradition says; but this week, the first day of Nisan, the first month (Exodus 12:1).

On this very week, in the weekly Torah portion in Jewish tradition, the last section of the book of Exodus is read.  What do we find there? There was a significant event that took place on this date; that is, on the biblical New Year.

Exodus 40:2

בְּיוֹם־הַחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ; תָּקִים אֶת־מִשְׁכַּן אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד׃

In the first month on the first day of the month, you will set up the tabernacle tent of meeting.

This was the first month of the second year.  All the events from the exodus to the setting up the tabernacle took one year in preparation. At the New Year of the second year, the tabernacle with the tent of meeting in it, was finally ready and set up.

Not only was the tent and tabernacle set up, but the glory of God filled the tabernacle.

Exodus 40:34-35

וַיְכַס הֶעָנָן אֶת־אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד; וּכְבוֹד יְהוָה, מָלֵא אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן׃  וְלֹא־יָכֹל מֹשֶׁה, לָבוֹא אֶל־אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, כִּי־שָׁכַן עָלָיו הֶעָנָן; וּכְבוֹד יְהוָה, מָלֵא אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן׃

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, for the cloud was dwelling upon it; and the glory of YHVH filled the tabernacle.

Now that is a great meaning for the New Year.  The glory of God is to fill the place of meeting. Remember that the tabernacle and temple are priestly symbols that point to a wider spiritual meaning as well.

There is a prophetic promise here that the presence and glory of God will fill everything.  “The whole earth will be filled with His glory” (Numbers 14:21, Isaiah 6:3; 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14, Psalm 72:19). The first day of the year is to remind us of the ultimate goal of God, to fill all things and all people with Himself.  The end purpose is known from the first thought; the end from the beginning.

This is the background thought to be ready for the Passover, which comes immediately afterward, presenting Yeshua as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

If the biblical New Year’s day marks the filling of God’s glory, what does that mean for you and me personally this year? Let’s remember why we are here and what God’s ultimate purpose for us is.  May the Lord bless you with a godly new year and may His glorious presence fill you in everything you do!

This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, March 17, 2021, and reposted with permission.