By Buel Hallpike
(Note: All Scripture quotations are shown in blue italics. Unless otherwise indicated, they are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Substitution of words, phrases, Hebrew names and titles in Biblical quotations has been made at the discretion of the author and are inserted within square brackets […] for identification. Parts of some quotations are shown in bold or capitals for author’s emphasis. Non-Biblical quotations are indicated in brown.
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Important Note: In our companion article entitled ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’ we have examined the Scriptures in order to determine the duration of the Biblical day and of the Sabbath day. It is very important to read that article in conjunction with this one, as it will help you to understand when the Sabbath day ends.
Yahweh commanded us in Exod 20:8-11, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of [Yahweh] your [Elohim]. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days [Yahweh] made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore [Yahweh] blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
The Bible does not give names to the days of the week, as we now have on our calendars. Rather it denotes a specific day by a numeral. Thus we hear of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh day of the week, mentioned in different parts of the Bible. The seventh day is the only weekly day in the Bible that has a name. It is called ‘the Sabbath day’. Please read our article 'Is the Biblical Sabbath day now Sunday'. The Bible tells us the Sabbath day is a holy day of rest on which no work must be done. In order to obey this command correctly, we need to know not only which day is the seventh day, but also when that day begins and ends.
There are four main views of when a day begins and ends. These are 1) midnight-to-midnight 2) evening-to-evening 3) dawn-to-dawn and 4) dawn-to-sunset.
Midnight is the popular transitional point that separates one day from another, and is used in civil time throughout the world. However as this practice does not appear to have a Biblical basis, we will only consider the evening-to-evening, dawn-to-dawn and dawn-to-sunset as the possible Biblical start and end of each day.
We can expect that since Yahweh has given us a specific command to honour His Sabbath day, that He has also provided the essential information required to carry out such instruction. We will therefore be seeking in the Bible to find the guidelines Yahweh has given so that we can know beyond doubt when His days, (and the weekly Sabbath day in particular) begin and end.
As in seeking for any other Biblical truth, we shall have to fulfil some pre-conditions if we truly desire to find out what the Bible says. We must be willing to divest ourselves of any beliefs we may have previously held and allow the Bible to teach us. Yahshua said in Luke 14:33 "Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple". We are not really seekers or followers of the truth if we are reluctant to give up old customs and doctrines, which are found to be in error. Also if we are confident that we already know the answer, then we have no need to be taught. Yahshua explained, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick" Matt 9:12. You only deceive yourself, if you think that you want to hear or see but keep your ears plugged or your eyes closed to the truth contained in His Scriptures so as to protect some traditional doctrine. If you want to be certain when Yahweh’s Sabbath day begins and ends, you must be willing to consider ALL the information provided in the Scriptures, before you can come to a Biblically correct conclusion. We have tried our best in this article and the companion article ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’ to cover all relevant aspects of this subject, and we invite you to study these articles with an unbiased mind that is genuinely searching to know the Biblical truth.
How the First Day Began
We will start our study using the King James Version, beginning with the first day of creation in Genesis chapter 1. In verses 3 and 4, we learn: And [Elohim] said, "Let there be light": and there was light. And [Elohim] saw the light, that it was good.
The first thing Yahweh did on day one, as He did on each of the six days of work, was to speak. You will find these three words being repeated to introduce each day: And [Elohim] said. What He said on each day introduced the work He intended to do for that day. So on the first day His emphasis was on LIGHT, for He said, "Let there be light": and there was light. The other details we are given of His work on the first day were simply telling us what He thought of or did with the light He made. But keep in mind that day 1 is all about LIGHT.
At His command the light He called forth came. The primordial curtain of darkness that had enveloped the earth up to this point was removed and the floodlights were turned on. Day one of creation had begun.
Verse 4 tells us that the light was absolutely perfect, as He had intended: [Elohim] saw the light, that it was good.
His next act was to do something with the light He had made. Verse 4 continues: [Elohim] divided the light from the darkness. This verse gives us the added information that although Yahweh’s first act was to create light, He now also in His wisdom created an interval for the absence of light, when it would be dark.
The Darby Version puts it this way: [Elohim] divided between the light and the darkness. This suggests that Yahweh may have placed a divider between light and darkness and between darkness and light, keeping the two apart. We shall return to this concept later.
Verse 5 explains, And [Elohim] called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.
Yahweh called the period of light, ‘day’. The word ‘Day’ as used here is therefore the interval of daylight and is not to be confused with the same word in other parts of the Bible that refers to a 24-hour period. (Please see our article ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’ for many Biblical examples of each usage.)
In verse 4, we are told that Yahweh separated the light, which He had called ‘Day’ from the darkness, which He called ‘Night’. Day and night are thus separate and distinct periods that serve different purposes. Verse 5 tells us the last thing that Yahweh did on the first day. It would seem that His work on day 1 ended here, so there is neither need nor reason to look for or expect to find some further explanation of how the first day began. That matter is definitely settled. We move on now to the conclusion of the first day.
How the First Day Ended
The rest of verse 5 gives us some final information to round off the remaining interval that would take us to the start of the second day, when once again we will meet the words of introduction: And [Elohim] said. Just as at the beginning we had the prelude And [Elohim] said, so now for the first time we are given the finale, which will be repeated for each day, namely the evening and the morning were the … day.
What is this ‘evening’ and ‘morning’ that have suddenly come to the fore and what does the phrase mean?
The English word ‘evening’ is a translation of the Hebrew word ‘ereb’ or ‘erev’, which describes the time of the day, when the daylight is diminishing or growing dusky to the point where it will be eventually replaced by the darkness of night. It is the dividing intermission between day and night, which Yahweh had put in place when He divided between the light and the darkness (verse 4b).
How about the word ‘morning’? The Hebrew word is ‘boqer’, whose meanings include ‘dawn’. Its primary root is ‘baqar’, which generally means to “break forth”.
The morning in this verse is the breaking forth or dawning of light to begin a new day. The morning or dawn is the other dividing period, this time separating darkness (night) from light (day). It is the result of Yahweh having divided between the light and the darkness (verse 4b).
With this insight, let us now try to understand the meaning of the expression at the end of verse 5 that states: And the evening and the morning were the first day.
It is generally agreed by Bible scholars that in this instance, the King James version is not an accurate rendition of the Hebrew and that a better translation is, there was evening, and there was morning--the first day, as is given for example in the New International Version NIV). The New Living Translation (NLT) renders this, evening passed and morning came, marking the first day. The Schocken Bible, Volume 1 (called ‘The First Five Books of Moses’) renders this, There was setting, there was dawning: one day. Whichever version is used, it must be recognized that this phrase does not stand alone, but is a continuation of verses 3-5a. It tells us that after Yahweh created light, and separated light from darkness, calling the light day and the darkness night, then evening came and passed into night. When night passed into the dawning (morning), the twenty-four hour day had come to its end and a new day had begun.
Those persons, who think that the day begins and ends at evening, invariably use this phrase to justify their stance. But the phrase does not say or even imply any such thing. We have already seen that Yahweh’s pivotal work on day 1 was not the creation of evening, but of LIGHT, which started the first day. So the expression the evening and the morning were the first day is not going back to tell us an entirely different way of how the day began. It is not there to re-start the day that had already begun. Rather, it is developing the account by telling us how the first twenty-four-hour day that had begun with light, ended, and the second day began.
It is like a signature tune tagged on at the end of each day to close that particular scene and pave the way to the next. When we see that phrase we know that Yahweh had completed what He intended to do for that day then evening passed. The last glimmer of light faded allowing the entry of darkness (night). When the first rays of light emerged to start a new day, morning came, bringing an end to the previous day and night, and the account concludes the first day. Immediately after this we are returned to the prelude of each new day: And [Elohim] said…
There is definitely no implication in the expression evening passed and morning came, marking the first day that a new day begins at evening. Furthermore Yahweh had made it unmistakably clear from verse 3 that the day began when He commanded, "Let there be light": and there was light, and He called the light ‘day’. The context of this word suggests that this ‘day’ means daylight.
Therefore it would seem thus far that anyone who concludes from this phrase that evening begins a new day, is ignoring the information we have been given in verses 3-5a, and is clutching at straws to eke out of the phrase a meaning that is neither stated nor suggested.
It was only after light appeared that there was daylight and night. Without the light that came at the beginning of the first day, there could not have been evening. Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament observes,
"It was not till after the light had been created, and the separation of the light from the darkness had taken place, that evening came, and after the evening the morning; and this coming of evening (lit., the obscure) and morning (the breaking) formed one, or the first day. It follows from this, that the days of creation are not reckoned from evening to evening, but from morning to morning. The first day does not fully terminate till the light returns after the darkness of night; it is not till the break of the new morning that the first interchange of light and darkness is completed".
Two Different ‘Days’
As we stated at the start of our article ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’ the word ‘day’ has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. In verse 5 it has two different uses. We had stated earlier that when Yahweh called the light ‘day’, that word was referring to the period of daylight. After He completed His work, evening [and night] passed and morning came, to complete the first day. The two usages of ‘day’ thus had different meanings. The first ‘day’ in verse 5a was the interval of light. The second ‘day’ in verse 5b was a longer period that included not only daylight, but also evening and night up to just before dawn. In other words this second ‘day’ is a twenty-four hour period. This same word covering a twenty-four hour period is regularly used in the Bible. Examples are given in our companion article ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’
It is important to bear this in mind, as there are groups of Sabbath keepers who believe the word ‘day’ relates only to the daylight period and is not a twenty-four hour period. Likewise they observe Sabbath from dawn to evening. But since according to Genesis 1:5, and other examples we shall give later, the day ended at the following dawn, the Sabbath is not from morning to evening, but from dawn to dawn.
The creation account divides a week into seven equal parts, each of which is called a ‘day’. This is later developed in Yahweh’s ten commandments to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai:
Exod 20:9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
Exod 20:11 For in six days [Yahweh] made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore [Yahweh] blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
The seventh day, which is the weekly Sabbath, is one seventh – not one fourteenth of the week. This is the same as for each of the six days of work. When Yahweh gave us the command to work for six days, He did not specify day or night, so one is free to work day or night for six days. We have shown in ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’ that there are Biblical examples of persons working at night, as is the case today. Since for each of the six days the whole twenty-four hour period is available for working, then it follows that the whole twenty-four hour period of the seventh day is to be the Sabbath. Yahweh’s plan was not for us to have the benefit of six and a half days for working and give only half a day to Him! He made it quite clear in Exodus 20:9,11 that six-seventh of a week is ours to work and one seventh is a holy day of rest.
Sun, moon and stars
The creation account advanced with each passing day. Yahweh moved from one stage to the next, without going back to change what He had previously done.
On the fourth day another progression took place: Hitherto we had been hearing of a light, but we were not told of a body that was emitting or reflecting light. On day 4, this is changed. Verse 14 tells us, Then [Elohim] said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;
15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.
16 Then [Elohim] made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.
17 [Elohim] set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And [Elohim] saw that it was good.
19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
On the fourth day we are taken farther and deeper into Yahweh’s unfolding plans. Day and night continued as before, but Yahweh added another dimension by creating luminous bodies that would not only continue the work of causing light (day) and darkness (night), but would also control the seasonal and annual changes. He created the sun to rule (control) the day. This means that from this day onwards the sun governed the beginning and ending of each day, while the lesser lights (the moon and stars) ruled or presided over the nights. Observe that the sun is referred to as the "greater light".
Science now gives us detailed evidence of why Yahweh said that the sun was the greater light:
- The sun has 99.86 % of the total mass of all the planets, asteroids, and moons in our solar system combined.
- It has a diameter of 860,000 miles compared to a mere 2,200 miles diameter of the moon.
- It would take 76 million moons to fill the space occupied by the sun.
- The moon does not have any light in itself but merely reflects the light of the sun.
In most places of the earth, when this greater light is just six degrees below the horizon, we get the sun’s first rays of light; the radiance of the moon and stars diminish, and darkness beats a hasty retreat. At that time, the night comes to an end and a new day begins. The sun’s rays become brighter and brighter and its heat increases as it rises higher and higher above the horizon. As the day progresses, it reaches its peak above the horizon, then begins a gradual descent and returns to the horizon, where we say it has ‘set’. Its light diminishes as it continues its decline below the horizon to the point at which the rays of the sun are no longer visible; darkness returns; the moon and stars are luminous and continue to be lustrous until the earliest rays of the sun outshine them and tell us that another day has begun. This is the daily cycle that Yahweh advanced on day four of creation, and He later said that it would not cease for as long as the earth remains (Gen 8:22).
Whether or not one chooses to agree that the sun rules the start and end of each day, it is nevertheless the daily sequence, which Yahweh developed on the fourth day from His initial creation of light on day one. Since He has explained to us how days begin and end, we have no right, basis or authority to challenge what He has said. It is an affront to the information Yahweh has provided in Genesis 1:3-5,14-18, and to Yahweh Himself, if one arbitrarily says that the sun does not determine when day begins; or that day begins when the lesser lights are in charge; or that darkness tells you when a day begins and not the sun! Let us not forget Satan’s subtle challenge to Yahweh, when he asked Eve in the Garden of Eden "Has [Yahweh] indeed said…?" Yahweh indeed said, "let there be light" and there was LIGHT – not evening!
Although Yahweh from the first day of creation, gave the light (sun from day four) to be the start of each day nevertheless, there are persons who choose to ignore verses 3-5a of Genesis 1 and skip straight to the evening and morning were the first day to find out or prove how the first day began. So let us consider that view. We know from Gen 1:2 that before Yahweh created light the earth was engulfed with darkness. Now evening is the fading of light, so if the first day began at evening, where did that light come from that faded at the ‘start’ of the first day to bring on the evening? There had to be light before there was fading of light! So the evening could not have come before the light, could it? The day began in Gen 1:3 when Yahweh Almighty said it began, not when some persons in their ignorance, disbelief or by tradition say it began - calling light darkness and darkness light. It began when Yahweh said, Let there be light and darkness recoiled until Yahweh had completed His work for that day, then He allowed darkness to return. This is what the Bible says. Furthermore if the expression "the evening and the morning were the first day" is the only valid information of what occurred on the first day, (for the sceptics must of necessity discard the details in Genesis 1:3-5a) then when that first ‘morning’ was over, was that the end of the day, creating an unexplained gap in time between the end of the day at morning and evening when the new day was supposed to begin? Or did ‘morning’ cover the period from dawn to evening? Once again this is not what the Bible says. Furthermore what was morning anyway without the light that was supposed to have started the first day, if we are to ignore verses 3-5a? It seems to be one big and inexplicable muddle brought about by choosing to deny Yahweh’s simple and unmistakable explanation that the first day of creation started from the moment the light, which He had commanded, appeared.
Nevertheless the Bible tells us, by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established Deut 19:15. We have already found one "witness" in Genesis 1 of when a day begins and ends, but for the benefit of any disbelievers who still think the day begins at evening we will allow the Bible to provide further unquestionable evidences. This writer had originally accepted the fashionable evening-to-evening day, but the wealth of Biblical support for a sunrise start was too overwhelming to be overlooked. Here then are more proofs that cannot be ignored.
There is one occasion in the Bible when Yahweh gave an unequivocal confirmation of when a day and especially the weekly Sabbath day begins and ends.
The children of Israel had lived in Egypt for four hundred and thirty years (Exod 12:41), and had become accustomed to the Egyptian way of living. Of this, four hundred years were spent as slaves to the Egyptians (Gen 15:13). There is no evidence that they observed Yahweh’s Sabbath day during that time. Indeed as slaves that would not have been allowed. When once they had left Egypt, Yahweh used their demand for food in the wilderness, as the opportunity to impress upon their minds His Sabbath laws, and to make it absolutely clear to them when Sabbath begins and ends. Because of the importance of this event in defining the beginning and end of a day and in particular the Sabbath day, we quote at length the whole account in Exodus 16: 2-35. It is essential for readers to read these verses carefully in their entirety so that they will fully understand what is said and be able to conclude for themselves exactly when Yahweh Himself says the Sabbath (and a day) begins.
Exod 16:2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
3 And the children of Israel said to them, "Oh, that we had died by the hand of [Yahweh] in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."
4 Then [Yahweh] said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.
6 Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, "At evening you shall know that [Yahweh] has brought you out of the land of Egypt.
7 And in the morning you shall see the glory of [Yahweh]; for He hears your complaints against [Yahweh]. But what are we, that you complain against us?"
8 Also Moses said, "This shall be seen when [Yahweh] gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for [Yahweh] hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against [Yahweh]."
9 Then Moses spoke to Aaron, "Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, ‘Come near before [Yahweh], for He has heard your complaints.'"
10 Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of [Yahweh] appeared in the cloud.
11 And [Yahweh] spoke to Moses, saying,
12 "I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am [Yahweh] your [Elohim].'"
13 So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.
14 And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.
15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which [Yahweh] has given you to eat.
16 This is the thing which [Yahweh] has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.'"
17 Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less.
18 So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need.
19 And Moses said, "Let no one leave any of it till morning."
20 Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
21 So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.
22 And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23 Then he said to them, "This is what [Yahweh] has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to [Yahweh]. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.'"
24 So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.
25 Then Moses said, "eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to [Yahweh]; today you will not find it in the field.
26 "Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there will be none."
27 Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.
28 And [Yahweh] said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?
29 "See! For [Yahweh] has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."
30 So the people rested on the seventh day.
31 And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
32 Then Moses said, "This is the thing which [Yahweh] has commanded: 'Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.'"
33 And Moses said to Aaron, "Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before [Yahweh], to be kept for your generations."
34 As [Yahweh] commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.
35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
So when, according to this passage, did Sabbath begin? Find the answer for yourself in the above verses. For six days they gathered manna EVERY MORNING (verse 21) and for five of these days, they would collect only enough for each day - none was to be left until the following morning, as it would stink and grow worms (verses 19-20). This means that they could eat manna at night as well as in the daytime, providing none remained when it was time to gather fresh manna in the morning. In other words it would be their ‘bread’ for day and night until they received another supply the following morning. On the sixth day however they gathered twice as much so that they would not have to collect any on the seventh day (Sabbath). We repeat Moses’ instructions in verses 23-26 for emphasis:
23 Then he said to them, "This is what [Yahweh] has said: 'Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to [Yahweh]. Bake what you will bake TODAY, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.'"
24 So they laid it up TILL MORNING, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it.
25 Then Moses said, "Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to [Yahweh]; today you will not find it in the field.
26 "Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there will be none."
On the sixth day Moses said, "Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to [Yahweh]. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning" (verse 23). Observe that Moses had said, "Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest". He did not say, "at evening today is a Sabbath rest"; and by "Tomorrow" he clearly meant in the morning when they would have normally collected fresh manna. When morning came that they would usually have gathered manna in the field, he said, "Today is a Sabbath"! So here we have it explicitly explained and demonstrated to the children of Israel in the Wilderness that the Sabbath Day, like all other days started in the MORNING - not at evening. Having taught the people by means of the manna, which day was the Sabbath, and when it began, Yahweh reminded them in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) at Mount Sinai that they should keep on practising what they had learned. He said,
8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of [Yahweh] your [Elohim]. In it you shall do no work".
The continuous weekly lessons of the manna would have been indelibly impressed upon their minds, but Yahweh did not want them to ever forget it. He said, "the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not" Exod 16:4. Some of them had failed the test. So for forty years in the wilderness the Israelites gathered manna every morning of the first six days and none on the seventh day. In that time the dumbest of them would have got the message – "Sabbath begins IN THE MORNING of the seventh day!" This account makes it so clear when a day begins that it is incredible how anyone including some of us, could have missed the point. There is absolutely nothing in Exodus 16 that could support the belief that Sabbath begins at evening on the sixth day.
If you had been there with the children of Israel in the Wilderness would you have contradicted Yahweh and Moses that the days and including the weekly Sabbath day begin in the morning?
Now whereas the verses in Exodus 16 provide unquestionable verification that a day begins in the morning, there is no such incontestable confirmation anywhere in the Bible that the Biblical days start in the evening – NONE!
We have already had our "two witnesses" to establish the truth, but in case that still does not suffice, here are some more:
Exod 10:4 if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory.
13 When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them.
"Tomorrow" came in the morning and locusts filled the land as Moses had said to Pharaoh. This did not happen at evening on the day Moses had spoken to Pharaoh.
Josh 7:13 "Get up, sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says [Yahweh] [Elohim] of Israel: There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.
14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which [Yahweh] takes shall come according to families; and the family which [Yahweh] takes shall come by households; and the household which [Yahweh] takes shall come man by man'".
16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken.
Yahweh instructed Joshua to sanctify the people tomorrow, and gave instructions that 'In the morning … you shall be brought according to your tribes'. Undeniably, 'tomorrow' (the following day) came early in the morning. Joshua rose early in the morning (not at evening), and carried out Yahweh’s command. The Bible NEVER speaks of ‘tomorrow’ as meaning the evening of the current day. CHECK THIS OUT FOR YOURSELF. YOU WILL NOT FIND ONE INSTANCE!
1 Sam 9:19 And Samuel answered Saul and said, "I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and tomorrow I will let you go and will tell you all that is in your heart".
26 They arose early; and it was about the dawning of the day that Samuel called to Saul on the top of the house, saying, "Get up, that I may send you on your way." And Saul arose, and both of them went outside, he and Samuel.
Observe that on the day Saul met Samuel, Samuel said to him, "eat with me today; and tomorrow I will let you go and will tell you all that is in your heart".
When Samuel said 'tomorrow', he did not mean evening of that same day. When 'tomorrow' came "They arose early; and it was about the dawning [start] of the day”. THE START OF THE DAY SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED THE PREVIOUS EVENING IF THE DAY BEGAN AT EVENING. Instead it happened at about dawn, when they arose. Evening is not the time for arising, and it is not the start (dawn) of the day.
1 Sam 11:9 And they said to the messengers who came, "Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have help.'"
10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, "Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do with us whatever seems good to you."
11 So it was, on the next day, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and killed Ammonites until the heat of the day.
Once again, ‘tomorrow’ or ‘the next day’ came in the morning not at evening.
1 Sam 19:11 Saul also sent messengers to David’s house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, "If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed."
Michal made a distinction between "tonight" and "tomorrow". 'Tonight' was not the same as ‘tomorrow’. ‘Tomorrow’ was to come after ‘tonight’, and when it came in the morning, Saul sent to kill David as He had planned. The day did not begin at evening, but in the morning.
Jonah 4:7 But as morning dawned the next day [Elohim] prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered.
When did the worm appear? Answer: as morning dawned the next day.
Mark 16:2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
Luke 24:1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
Matt 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
Combining all three accounts, it is clear that the women went to the tomb early in the morning, at dawn on the first day of the week. The evangels did not say at evening on the previous day. However having the mindset (without proof) that Sabbath ends at sunset, some persons try to twist what is clearly a dawn visit into an evening visit so as to make this account fit in with their erroneous theory that Sabbath ends at sunset.
READ FOR YOURSELF AND ACCEPT THE ACCOUNT OF MATTHEW, MARK AND LUKE. IT IS NOT YOUR TASK TO REWRITE THE BIBLE SO THAT IT WILL MATCH YOUR PARTICULAR BELIEF. Your doctrines will have to change - not the truth of Yahweh that endures forever (Ps 117:2).
Acts 4:3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
ALTHOUGH IT WAS EVENING ‘THE NEXT DAY’ HAD NOT ALREADY COME!
Acts 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together.
9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.
10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, "Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him."
11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed.
Note that although Paul had spoken up to midnight, it was still not yet "the next day". He continued until daybreak, when "the next day" on which he had planned to depart (verse 7), came, then he departed as he had intended. As in all of the cases we have examined, the next day did not come at evening, but in the morning.
The foregoing verses all confirm that day begins in the morning and not at evening. There are many more Scriptures too numerous to include here, which confirm quite clearly that the day begins in the morning. On a previous day or night when the Bible refers to the ‘next day’, ‘tomorrow’, or the ‘morrow’, without exception, it ALWAYS means the next daylight period that begins in the morning. There is not even ONE instance in the Bible where it is stated or implied that the ‘next day’, ‘tomorrow’ or the ‘morrow’ began at evening. Check this for yourself! It is irrefutable confirmation that the Biblical day consisting of twenty-four hours begins at dawn and ends the following morning at dawn. When reference is made to the day ending at evening, it is indicating the end of the daylight period. Luke 24:29 "But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." This verse tells us that the light was fading, and as it was time to end the journey, they were offering Yahshua (the Stranger whom they had not recognised), some hospitality. It does not mean that the twenty-four-hour period had come to an end. Please see our articles ‘He arose on the THIRD day’ and ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’
Since this is clearly the Biblical explanation of how a day begins and ends, why do many Sabbatarians reject this and believe the day begins and ends at evening?
There are six main reasons for this:
- A misunderstanding of "the evening and the morning were the … day";
- Generalising from Day of Atonement, Passover and Unleavened Bread;
- Nehemiah’s shutting of the gates;
- Reading more into the timing of solving Samson’s riddle than stated;
- False assumptions regarding Mark 1:32;
- Jewish Practice.
We have already considered the meaning of "the evening and the morning were the … day". Now we will look into the other five points that are sometimes put forward to ‘support’ the evening-to-evening view.
27 Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to [Yahweh].
28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before [Yahweh] your [Elohim].
29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people.
30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people.
31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.
The above Scripture is often cited as one of the key reasons for thinking that all Sabbaths and indeed all days run from evening to evening. There are three main reasons why that is not the truth.
It relates specifically to the Day of Atonement. Verse 32 explicitly says you shall celebrate your sabbath (singular). Nowhere in Scripture is it stated or even implied that the weekly Sabbath day and all Holy days begin at evening. On the contrary the preceding verses might suggest rather that other Sabbaths may have started at some time other than the evening, why Yahweh specifically said that this fast should begin from the evening. If it were well known that all Sabbaths began at evening then it would not have been necessary to specify the starting and finishing times of this one and fail to do the same for the other Sabbaths. Many possible reasons could be advanced why Yahweh singled out this particular Holy Day of fasting to commence from the evening of the previous day. But we will not guess at His motive. The fact is He said that the fast intended for the tenth day should begin from the evening of the NINTH … interesting!
Yahweh never said that the starting and finishing times of this Sabbath fast would apply to all other Sabbaths. It is pure conjecture on the part of those who have read a simple instruction that appertains to one specific day, and then apply it of their volition to all Sabbaths as though Yahweh had said that. This is the danger of inductive logic – making a generalisation from a specific observation, and then concluding that it is the truth. Yahweh is the Lawgiver and when He is silent so should we be also.
- Instead of proving from verse 32 that the days begin in the evening it actually proves the opposite for the following reasons: In verse 27, Yahweh said, "the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement." However we are required to fast from the evening of the ninth day. If Biblical days really begin at evening, then the evening that comes at the end of the ninth day is not the evening of the ninth, but of the tenth day. Why therefore would Yahweh specifically say the ninth day of the month at evening, if He actually meant the evening, which is at the start of the tenth day? If the Biblical days really started at evening, then the evening on which the fast begins would have been the evening that starts the tenth day, but this is not what Yahweh has said. He said the ninth day of the month at evening. This confusion is not of Yahweh’s making, but is caused by the impossibility of reconciling Yahweh’s commands with unfounded theories of when a day begins. It is completely cleared up when we believe the evidence of the Bible that the Biblical day begins at sunrise.
Applying Biblical truth to Biblical truth, we obtain the following results: the morning of the tenth would be the start of the tenth day, and the previous evening would indeed have been the evening of the ninth, which matches perfectly with what Yahweh had said. So the fast was to run from the evening of the ninth, to just when the evening returned after sunset on the tenth. There is no problem in understanding and applying Yahweh’s instructions when we accept the fact that Biblical days start in the morning and not at evening. Doors to Yahweh's truths are easily unlocked when we use Yahweh's keys and not our own.
Passover & Unleavened Bread - Exodus 12:6-28
The fourteenth night of the first month, at midnight is when the death angel swept through Egypt destroying the firstborn. The children of Israel were given instructions to kill a lamb at evening and use the blood to daub their doorposts and lintels so that the death angel would not destroy their firstborn. The meat was to be eaten that evening, together with unleavened bread (Exodus 12:6-13). Eating of unleavened bread would continue thereafter until the twenty-first day of the month.
Exod 12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.
Persons who maintain that the days begin and end at evening, use this account of eating Passover at evening to support their belief. But none of the verses in the Bible referring to Passover or Unleavened Bread suggest their timing was in any way linked to the commencement or end of a normal day. They do not serve as proof of when a day begins.
In order to properly address this, we will need to examine the events of the Passover night and the exodus. Yahweh had commanded for the Passover to be held at evening, because on that night the Death Angel would ‘pass over’ His people. That was the reason for Yahweh’s timing. It was not because evening was the start of the day. We must not read into the Bible more than it actually says.
Subsequent commemoration of the Passover night and of leaving Egypt included the Passover meal and eating unleavened bread commencing from the evening of the fourteenth. They were to serve as reminders of the order of events when they were leaving Egypt.
Exod 12:25 It will come to pass when you come to the land which [Yahweh] will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service.
26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’
27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of [Yahweh], who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.'
Deuteronomy 16:6 in several translations repeats this instruction but also seems to introduce a further extension, which persons could use to show that not only was evening the time when the Passover was to be eaten but that it was also the time when the children of Israel left Egypt. That verse says, "at the place where [Yahweh] your [Elohim] chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt." The rendition of this important verse in the NKJV and some other versions could cause some confusion since it says that the Passover sacrifice should be held "at twilight … at the time you came out of Egypt". This is definitely incorrect for three reasons: Firstly Deut 16:1 distinctly said that in the month of Abib [Yahweh your Elohim] brought you out of Egypt BY NIGHT.
Secondly the original Passover was held on the evening of the fourteenth day, since on that same night the death angel went through Egypt destroying the firstborn in all homes where the blood had not been applied to the lintels or doorpost. It was not on that same evening that the children of Israel came out of Egypt as might be understood from the expression in the NKJV and some other versions.
Thirdly, if we thought by this quotation that the Israelites stayed on in Egypt until the following evening, at the same time as they had eaten the Passover the previous evening, then that would be in contradiction of Deuteronomy 16:1 that clearly stated they left at night. It would also be ignoring the whole series of events that had occurred on that memorable Passover night. Something is wrong.
Eleven other versions we have examined have provided the answer. These are the CJB, ASV, BBE, HNV, KJV, NIRV, NIV, TMB, TNV, WEB and YLT. These all use words such as ‘season’, ‘anniversary’ or ‘time of year’, instead of ‘time’. They give a more accurate meaning of what the verse was intended to say, since they do not indicate or suggest that the children of Israel left Egypt on the evening of the Passover or on the following evening. Linking Deut 16:6 with Deut 16:1, it is obvious that the verse was telling us that the Passover was to be held at the same time of each year in the month of the Abib barley in commemoration of their Passover meal in Egypt. The misleading translation of this verse in some Bible versions is no proof that the Israelites left Egypt at twilight. Indeed there is no other verse in the entire Bible that remotely suggests they left Egypt at twilight on the fourteenth or fifteenth of the first month. This is being stressed because Deut 16:6 could be erroneously used as proof that the Israelites left Egypt at twilight, which was not the case.
Deuteronomy 16:1 tells us that they left at night. Action to kick-start their exit began after the death angel had struck.
Exod 12:30 Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve [Yahweh] as you have said".
33 The Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, "We shall all be dead".
The Israelites understood they were being thrust out. Exodus 12:34 tells us that the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.
Exod 12:39 reaffirms the haste: And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and COULD NOT WAIT nor had they prepared provisions for themselves.
When Yahweh first gave instructions to Moses concerning the Passover, He said, "thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is [Yahweh's] Passover" Exod 12:11. This was forewarning the Israelites that at the time of eating the Passover they should have been in readiness to leave. With the pressure on the Israelites to leave Egypt, they neither tarried there, nor would have been allowed to do so. We are told that they WERE DRIVEN OUT OF EGYPT AND COULD NOT WAIT (verse 39). Yahweh had already instructed them in Exod 11: 2-3 "let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold." And [Yahweh] gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Yahweh could only have given them favour in the sight of the Egyptians if they had done as He had instructed.
When therefore during the Passover night Pharaoh demanded them to leave, there was nothing holding them back. They had been forewarned and forearmed, for the hasty exit. Before morning came they would have been ready to leave or would have started to leave, since Deut 16:1 tells us that [Yahweh] your [Elohim] brought you out of Egypt by night. No verse anywhere tells us that they delayed, and we must not assume that they did delay. If however the day began at evening, the children of Israel would have had to tarry in Egypt until the evening following the night of the Passover when the fifteenth day would have begun. There is no evidence apart from the misleading translations of Deut 16:6 that this was indeed the case. On the contrary, the evidence is conclusive that during the night of the fourteenth, was when the hasty exodus began.
In Exodus 12:17 Yahweh said, "you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt".
This flow of events is only possible if the day started at dawn. The morning after the Passover would have been the start of the fifteenth day of the month, on which Yahweh would have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt.
The combined Passover and eating of unleavened bread for seven days was a unique commemoration of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt’s bondage. Yahweh’s instruction to all generations is that the timing of this celebration (at twilight) should be the same as had occurred on that memorable first Passover in Egypt. But He did not state, or imply that all Sabbaths should likewise commence at evening. This is one of many unfounded generalisations made by adherents of the evening-to-evening day from specific cases in the Bible. It is like concluding that all men are tall because two had met a particular criterion. The celebrations of Passover and Unleavened Bread were to be like re-enactments of the original events. The Passover was the time of the evening meal before the death angel destroyed all of the firstborn of Egypt where there was no blood on the lintels and doorposts.
The Unleavened Bread was to celebrate the exodus from Egypt and the necessity to eat unleavened bread because of the haste with which they left Egypt. The weekly Sabbath day on the other hand, is a weekly remembrance of the seventh day on which Yahweh rested after His work of creation. It is not in any way a replay of the exodus, so the Passover and Unleavened Bread timing (at evening) cannot be assumed to be pertinent to the weekly Sabbath day or to indicate when the days begin. It is not a proven Biblical fact, but merely an unjustified supposition to bolster the erroneous argument for an evening-to-evening day.
Apart from Atonement, Passover and Unleavened Bread, each of which was unique, there were no other instances when it was even hinted that evening was the beginning of a Holy Day, or weekly Sabbath observances.
Nehemiah 13:19 – the closing of the gates
19 So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day.
The Scripture has specified: "as it began to be dark before the Sabbath". It does not start to be dark before sunset. From Gen 1:5 we learn that light is day and darkness is night. Therefore the expression as it began to be dark suggests that the day's light had gone, and it was becoming dark. If the Sabbath began at evening, then when "it began to be dark" would have been surely evening or night, and the Sabbath would have already begun. Such a time would not have been "before the Sabbath". It would have been the Sabbath. But the Scriptures say the Sabbath had not yet come, so although it was getting dark, it was still not Sabbath! You cannot maintain that the Sabbath day begins at evening, and also say that in this case although the light had gone and it began to be dark, it was evening, but it was not yet the Sabbath day. This verse is definitely not the desired infallible proof that the weekly Sabbath day begins at evening. It works against and does not support the argument.
The expression before the Sabbath, does not tell us how soon the Sabbath would take place. As it was already getting dark it would be right to close the gates, so that merchants could not sneak in to Jerusalem at night as they had attempted to do before.
20 Now the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice.
21 Then I warned them, and said to them, “Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on they came no more on the Sabbath. Nehemiah 7:3 gives us another instance when the gates of Jerusalem were closed at evening. By closing the gates as it began to be dark, and posting guards at the gate, Nehemiah had effectively prevented the merchants from entering Jerusalem to trade on the Sabbath day, which the Scriptures show began in the morning at dawn. If he had left the closing of the gates till the morning, that would have involved working on the Sabbath day and it would also have been too late. The merchants would have been already in Jerusalem. This was a prudent action by Nehemiah, so as to maintain the sanctity of the Sabbath day, but it certainly does not prove that the Sabbath day begins at evening.
Judg 14:12, 18 – Samson’s riddle
12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me pose a riddle to you. If you can correctly solve and explain it to me within the seven days of the feast, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing".
18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down: "What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?" And he said to them: "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle!"
These verses are used by some persons in the defence of their belief that the Biblical twenty-four hour day ends at evening. So let us consider this. Samson had said they should solve the riddle within seven days. They provided the answer before sunset on the seventh day. So what does that prove? If the Bible had stated "before sunset when the seventh day would have ended…”, there would have been no doubt of the meaning. But we do not get this sort of clarity regarding a day beginning and ending at evening, which we find in abundance with regard to the morning being the start of the day. Now let us suppose the seventh day would have ended at dawn next morning, then the men solving the riddle near sunset would not have proved when the seventh day ended any more than if they had solved the riddle at midday on the seventh day. The important thing is that they provided the answer within the agreed time, and this is all that the Bible has told us - nothing more or nothing less. It is no basis for determining when a day begins and ends.
Mark 1:21, 23-34 (See also Luke 4:31-40 ASV)
Mark 1:21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.
23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
24 saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Yahshua of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of [Yahweh]!"
25 But [Yahshua] rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!"
26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.
27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him."
28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.
29 Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.
31 So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.
33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door.
34 Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.
Many persons use verse 32 as evidence that the Sabbath day ended at sunset. They will quote from the notes in their Study Bibles and commentaries that state the Sabbath had come to an end. Some will even assert that it was because the Sabbath had ended why the authorities raised no objection to Yahshua’s healing many at that time. But what does the Bible tell us?
- Yahshua went into the synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath day and taught.
- In the synagogue He healed a man who had an evil spirit.
- The people in the synagogue who saw the healing were amazed, and His fame spread around the region.
- From the synagogue He went to Peter’s home and healed Peter’s mother in law.
- "At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed … then He healed many".
That is all the Bible states - nothing more! We are not told here or elsewhere that the weekly Sabbath ended at sunset. It is an assumption made by those who associate the setting sun with the end of a Biblical day. They take it for granted that the people waited until the Sabbath was over to bring their sick folks, and that it was because the Sabbath had now passed that the authorities did not object to the healing in this instance as they had done on other occasions. There was no objection raised earlier that same day in the synagogue to the healing of the man with an unclean spirit. Now let us just suppose that the healing in the synagogue had taken place soon after midday. Then using a similar reasoning, someone who thinks the Sabbath ends at midday could argue that the absence of objections by the authorities to this healing confirms that the Sabbath ends at mid-day. Such thinking would be no worse than making the same assumption that Sabbath ended in the evening because of the absence of any opposition from the authorities. We should base our beliefs on what the Bible actually says and not on what we think it may have meant, or what we would like it to say. When we approach the Bible with a certain mindset, we funnel everything we read into this narrow channel of our preconceived ideas then say, "This is what the Bible says!" Preposterous!
This particular event would have been an ideal occasion for the Bible to tell us that it occurred after the Sabbath as for example in Matt 28:1. But when the Bible is silent, we should not fill in the words that we think are missing.
Other 'evidences' often used
Other references often cited are taken from Lev 11:24-25, Lev 22:6 Deut 23:11 and relate to washing and making ones’ self clean by evening, or Deut 24:13 where a pledge taken should be returned before sundown. But none of them provide any proof that evening was the end of a twenty-four hour period. Indeed someone who thought that a Biblical day consisted of approximately twelve hours from sunrise to evening could also use these verses to make their case. So in themselves they do not tell us when a day begins and ends. Once again, as in the case of Atonement or Passover it is just surmise or at best inductive logic that is used in desperation, to make a case where none exists.
The persistent difficulty faced by persons who believe the days including the Sabbath days, begin and end in the evening, is that the Bible has consistently failed to give them the support they need. On the other hand as we have shown, the Bible provides all the assistance required to prove that the days begin and end at dawn in the morning.
The Jewish Example
In the absence of any Biblical proof supporting an evening-to-evening day, some Sabbatarians may still want to cling to a Friday evening to Saturday evening Sabbath, because that is the time the Jews keep Sabbath. But that is not a Biblical reason. The Sabbath is not the Jewish Sabbath. It is Yahweh’s Sabbath, and He expects us to remember this day in the manner and for the duration He has commanded.
The Israelites have at many times in their history shown a propensity to abandon the commands of Yahweh and to take on instead the customs and lifestyles of heathen countries around them.
Judg 2:12 and they forsook [Yahweh] the [Elohim] of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other [idols] from among the [idols] of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked [Yahweh] to anger.
Judg 10:6 Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of [Yahweh], and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the [idols] of Syria, the [idols] of Sidon, the [idols] of Moab, the [idols] of the people of Ammon, and the [idols] of the Philistines; and they forsook [Yahweh] and did not serve Him.
2 Chron 24:18 Therefore they left the house of [Yahweh] [Elohim] of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass.
1 Kings 9:9 "Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook [Yahweh] their [Elohim], who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other [deities], and worshiped them and served them; therefore [Yahweh] has brought all this calamity on them.'"
2 Kings 17:15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom [Yahweh] had charged them that they should not do like them.
2 Kings 17:32 So they feared [Yahweh], and from every class they appointed for themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places.
33 They feared [Yahweh], yet served their own [idols]--according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away.
34 To this day they continue practicing the former rituals; they do not fear [Yahweh], nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances, or the law and commandment which [Yahweh] had commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel.
Jer 22:9 Then they will answer, "Because they have forsaken the covenant of [Yahweh] their [Elohim], and worshiped other [deities] and served them."
Ezek 11:12 "And you shall know that I am [Yahweh]; for you have not walked in My statutes nor executed My judgments, but have done according to the customs of the Gentiles which are all around you."
Ezek 20:21 Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness".
In view of the many evidences of their constant tendency to stray from or forsake Yahweh, it would be wrong and foolish to assume that all their beliefs and practices today are in accordance with Yahweh’s commands. In Yahshua’s day, Yahshua spoke out against the contrived traditions of men and made it clear that the traditions of men were not equal to the written law. Not every thing that has been venerated with time is holy. We need the direction that comes directly from studying and meditating on Yahweh’s written word, with an open mind and heart that is willing to learn and obey Yahweh rather than men.
Some scholars and Rabbis claim that the Israelites had originally observed a sunrise-to-sunrise day, and that when in exile they adopted the start and end of each day as was practiced in their captor’s countries. The Rabbinical Essays by Jacob Z Lauterbach Hebrew Union College Press Cincinnati 1951 state,
"There can be no doubt that in pre-exilic times the Israelites reckoned the day from morning to morning. The day began with the dawn and closed with the end of the night following it, i.e., with the last moment before the dawn of the next morning".
Another quote from Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament asserts "The reckoning of days from evening to evening … arose not from the days of creation, but from the custom of regulating seasons by the changes of the moon."
There are also counter claims by scholars supporting the evening-to-evening view. It is difficult if not impossible to verify from history, when and what changes the Israelites may have made to the start of their day.
So-called 'evidences' of what the Israelites may have done throughout their history are of little more than academic interest. We do not need to find out how or when the Israelites drifted away from the Biblical day, as if we needed to use their case history as evidence of the authenticity of the Biblical dawn-to-dawn day. There are many theories of how such a change came about, and it is difficult to know which explanation is correct. It is enough to understand when the BIBLE says a day begins, and it is not essential to find out why, how or when others deviated from Yahweh’s standards and from the correct observance of His Sabbath day. The Sabbath is Yahweh’s Sabbath. It is He who made the day holy and it is Him we must follow and no other. No one has the authority to make a day or part of a day holy. The prophet Haggai told us that unlike uncleanness, holiness cannot be acquired or transferred by an act of man (See Haggai 2:11-14). That is Yahweh’s prerogative. So if He clearly tells us when His holy Sabbath day begins and ends that should settle the argument. Indeed even if there were no evidences that the Israelites ever kept a sunrise-to-sunrise Sabbath, our confidence in what the Scriptures say should be solid, firm and strong. We can do no better than build our beliefs upon the enduring rock of truth. We ought to obey [Elohim] rather than men Acts 5:29.
Sunrise to evening Sabbatarians
Thus far we have focused our attention mainly on refuting the evening-to-evening Sabbath day. We also briefly referred to another group of Sabbath day keepers, who believe the Sabbath Day begins at sunrise and ends at evening. In our article ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’, we have detailed some of their reasons and examined them in the light of other Biblical information. The question of whether the Sabbath ends at sunset or at sunrise, is really a matter of whether the Sabbath day is twelve hours or twenty-four hours. Therefore in order to avoid repetition, we are asking our readers to read that article so as to understand our reasons for rejecting a twelve-hour Sabbath day.
Summary and Conclusion
We have examined the evidences often cited to prove that days including the weekly Sabbath day begin and end at evening. In every case the examples were based on assumptions, which could be used to support the counter arguments. They were not specific as in the example given in Exodus 16 or the many other instances when it was expressly stated and demonstrated that a day (including the weekly Sabbath) began/would begin in the morning. Those who still believe that a day begins in the evening are invited to provide just ONE Biblical verse, which actually states or demonstrates unmistakably that evening is the start of each new day. With that one evidence we would be prepared to rescind all we have stated in this article. We cannot obey Yahweh by guessing at what He may have meant. He wants us to obey Him and He has made Himself quite clear to those who have ears and are willing to hear. But those who are already well do not need a physician. Neither do those who think they are already well-informed need to be taught.
The evidences we have found in many verses of the Bible corroborate what had been apparent in Genesis 1, namely that each day begins and ends at dawn.
The fact is, NO Scripture distinctly says the days (and weekly Sabbath) begin in the evening. On the other hand countless verses including Exodus chapter 16 are very clear in telling us that morning marks the new day.
We have examined the Scriptures that are usually put forward in support of an evening-to-evening day, and discovered there is NONE that substantiates the claim. Instead proponents of this erroneous teaching apply inductive logic or assumptions to Scripture in order to establish a case that could not be made otherwise. It is better to know what the Scriptures actually say than to assume you know what they had meant to say.
In spite of our deep and sincere love of the Jews, and our empathy of and outrage at all they have suffered, we have to admit that the Jews (may Yahweh bless them) cannot be relied upon as suitable models for obeying Yahweh, since their history has been frequently punctuated with intervals when they practised the customs of heathen nations, which Yahweh had forbidden. Also the written laws of Yahweh have been at times made secondary to their oral (Rabbinic) laws. Our safest recourse is to believe and follow the Bible.
In this article we have mainly set out the proof that the days begin at sunrise. In our article ‘Is the Sabbath day 12 or 24 hours?’ we have shown why the Sabbath day is twenty-four hours. Together these articles present the Biblical evidence that the Sabbath day begins at sunrise, and ends with the first glimmer of light that starts the next day.
You have read the facts. Now you can either choose to believe what the Bible consistently teaches or to follow a non-Biblical path. Remember the pathway to error is generally paved with the Satanic question "Has [Yahweh] indeed said…?" Now you can boldly, unequivocally and firmly declare that Yahweh indeed said, "Let there be light"; and there was light, … then evening passed and morning came, marking the first day Gen 1:3,5 the New Living Translation (NLT).
BUILD ON THE ROCK OF TRUTH, AND NOT ON THE SAND OF POPULAR OR TRADITIONAL FABLES.
"Our beliefs must fit in with the Scriptures especially when the Scriptures do not support our beliefs". Buel Hallpike
©Buel Hallpike February 2011. Revised June 2013