Editorial - A New Beginning

There was a momentous day in Israel's history when the Almighty, the God of Israel, said to His people, "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Exodus 12:2). He was about to redeem His people from slavery, and He was setting the wheels in motion to effect the most marvellous deiverance for them, a deliverance they would remember and commemorate throughout their generations.

The month was actually the seventh month of the year, the month Abib in the Egyptian calendar, and Moses said to the people, "Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place . . . on the day you are going out in the month Abib . . . " (Exodus 13:3,4).

For the people of Israel it was to be day one, month one, year one! The Lord was changing His people's calendar from the seventh month to the first month, as they were to become a new and mighty nation under His strong hand. The name Abib was later changed to Nisan, the name by which it was known even in Nehemiah's time (Nehemiah 2:1).

Talk about a new beginning! A slave nation was set free, and led by God out from Egyptian bondage into the land which as Moses taught them "he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey."

As we come to the end of this millennium our thoughts automatically leap ahead to the new millennium, as it too is a new beginning – certainly calendar-wise. It is a matter in which we have no say, and over which we have no control. The year 2000 will follow the end of 1999 regardless.

The Messiah of Israel taught about a new beginning. He called it the new birth, and He said that unless we had this new birth, that is being born of the Spirit of God, we would not see the kingdom of God. And His apostle Paul reiterated this concept of a new beginning when he wrote to the people of Corinth in his second letter: "Therefore, if anyone is in the Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (5:17).

That is a wonderful way to launch ourselves into the new millennium – with a new beginning, through the new birth, an experience that is available to all who would call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.