When Does the Biblical Day Begin?

Before my family started keeping the seventh day Sabbath set apart, my understanding of a whole day was first there was morning, then afternoon, followed by evening and ending with night. In my mind the day had four parts: morning, afternoon, evening, and night; it always began in the morning and ended at night.

However, when we started keeping the seventh day Sabbath set apart, we automatically switched to an “evening-to-evening reckoning” because for some reason we had it in the back of our minds that a whole “Biblical day” began in the evening when the sun went down. I think it’s because of the verses in Genesis 1 that say, “And there was evening and there was morning – the [#] day.” Thereafter, we started paying more attention to sundown on Friday & Saturday nights for the start/end of our day.

After about a year and a half, someone posed the question on a blog I frequent, “When does the day begin: sunrise or sunset?” The author was putting forth the idea that Scripture taught it began at sunrise, not sunset. Needless to say, he was swimming upstream, as most of the readers commenting believed the contrary.

This caused me to dig a little deeper into the subject.

It Just Ain’t Natural

I had to admit, the whole evening-to-evening reckoning seemed very unnatural because to me it felt like I was splitting up two different days to come up with one new day…stopping one day at about 6:00 pm, calling that the beginning of a new day, then eating dinner and doing whatever after-dinner activities we did until bedtime, then going to bed at night, waking the next morning and going through the next day until about 6:00 pm again, calling that the end of the day, even though I’d still be awake for many more hours.

But I chalked all this up to getting used to changing from the “world’s way” to the “Biblical way”. I kept telling myself it was uncomfortable because it was new.

As I started digging deeper into Scripture and praying continually about the subject, I found myself seeing all sorts of references that the morning was the beginning of the day, but I couldn’t use that as my definitive defense, because even with the evening-to-evening reckoning, folks contend that a day can also begin in the morning…”it depends on the context.”

It was very frustrating because I could argue the objections away, where folks claim Scripture says the day begins in the evening, since depending on how you read it, it could also mean it begins in the morning. But these arguments were not conclusive one way or the other. So I was left with, “let’s just agree to disagree.” That is, until I went back to the beginning (Genesis) and a light bulb was turned on in my understanding.

Genesis 1:3-5 says,

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Scripture defines the “light” that has been separated from “darkness” as “day”, and the “darkness” that has been separated from “light” is called “night”. The Hebrew words for “separated from” are “badal beyn”.

When I looked up this phrase to see where else in Scripture this appears, I had an a-ha! moment. Another way to translate these words is “make a distinction between”.

The other items that are “badal beyn” are: the waters above the firmament and the waters beneath the firmament, day and night, the holy and the unholy/profane, the clean and the unclean, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, God and sin. Do you see what I was seeing? None of these things would ever be considered rolled together and called one or the other. For example, we would never combine the holy and the unholy and call it all holy. Why not? Because Scripture says there is a distinction between the two. Either its holy or its not, it can’t be both.

This was huge in my mind. For one thing, I no longer considered “night” as a part of the day. Night stood alone. Why? Because Scripture said so.

But what about, “And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day”?

And There Was Evening… 

First of all, we have to recondition our minds to see that this is not saying, “And there was night, and there was day…” or “And there was darkness, and there was light…”. Evening and morning are totally different words (Hebrew: ereb and boqer) than night (layil), day (yom), darkness (choshek), and light (or).

Secondly, the phrase translated as “the first day” in this verse is “yom echad” in Hebrew. “Echad” does not mean “first”. There is another Hebrew word translated as “first” in Scripture, it is “rishone”. “Echad” means “one” denoting something as being a unit. This phrase can be translated more accurately as “one day” or “day one”.

It is my current understanding that this part of the verse is telling us that the evening and morning are one with day, leaving the night to stand alone. I certainly could be wrong in this understanding and am open to hear other thoughts and teaching on this. However, I cannot believe that this is saying the day includes the night. Here’s why:

  • The author just got done saying the light and darkness is separated, a distinction has been made between the two, they are separate.
  • The author has defined the light as day and the darkness as night. He did not say the light plus darkness is day.
  • A few “days” later, lights/luminaries are put in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night (make a distinction between the two). There’s a greater light to govern the day and a lesser light to govern the night.

So now, where does that leave us on the subject of when the day begins? Clearly according to Scripture, the day does not include the night because they are “badal beyn”. The most logical conclusion that I can find is that the day begins in the morning and ends in the evening, and then there is night. When morning comes, a new day begins.  So simple that a child can understand.

What do you think?

29 thoughts on “When Does the Biblical Day Begin?

  1. Hannah

    Now you’ve got me thinking! I keep Sabbath from sunset to sunset. I think we have to include the night and the day as 1 day. I am interested in seeing other comments. Shaolm!

    Reply
  2. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Hi Hannah! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    Why do you think we have to include the night and the day as 1 day?

    As I stated above, I originally thought that the day included the night (the fourth part of the day) as if a day meant a 24-hour period and the night was the latter part of the day, the darkest part. But that’s because I learned growing up that a day is a 24-hour period. That’s what our society teaches.

    But then, when I look at Scripture, while *trying* to remain objective (which is really hard after a lifetime of a particular perspective), it clearly states there is “day” and “night”. They are defined as two separate things. One is not defined as part of the other. The greater light rules the day, it does not rule the night. The lesser light rules the night, it does not rule the day. The lights in the sky are there to make a distinction between day and night. Right? Isn’t that what Genesis 1:4-5,16 say?

    I still subconsciously consider the night an extension of my day, but when I consciously approach Scripture to see what it has to say, I feel I need to consider the night separate from the day because that is how Scripture defines it.

    😉 Shalom!

    Reply
  3. Warren Johnson

    Glad to see someone who diligently studies the Word and strives to live by it! Might I make a suggestion? It seems to me that there is a difference between a day (24 hours) and daytime (daylight hours). One is a span of time and one is a period of time. Both could be called “day” in Scripture and in today’s language. Nightime (dark hours) would also be period of time. Daytime and Nightime would be considered subsets of a day. When Scripture talks about a span of time in terms of days, it is referencing 24-hour segments of time. It may describe it as from one period of daytime to another, or it may describe it as from nighttime to nighttime. The way to know the difference in meaning of “day” would be the words used and the context. The Orthodox Jews have always considered that the 24 hour span of time that we call a day begins at sunset (approx. 6:00 PM) and ends at sunset. Of course, in their calculations of time they would also consider any portion of a day to be a day. Four days for them might not actually be exactly 96 hours. They weren’t as concerned about such literalness as we western, scientific, modern-minded folks are. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Hi Warren! Thanks for stopping by.

    I used to think it could go both ways in reading Scripture (both a day[24 hours] and daytime[daylight hours]), but in retrospect I think that was because I was reading into Scripture my understanding gleaned from outside sources. If I were to stay true to just what Scripture teaches, I think Genesis teaches there is only day [daylight hours or “light”] and night makes up the rest of the 24 hours [“darkness”]. Is there anything in Scripture that teaches “daytime and nightime would be considered subsets of a day”? I haven’t found it yet.

    As for the span of time in terms of days, I think when there’s a reference to “in three days”, it’s referring to three daylight portions passing. The night is assumed as being included in the passage of time, since the night falls in between each day. For example, If I say I’ll see you in two Tuesdays, it’s understood that Tuesday still remains defined as the third day of the week, but in the passage of time, the days that fall in between the two Tuesdays are included without saying each of those days. That’s my take anyway.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    🙂 Shalom!

    Reply
  5. Warren Johnson

    Languages aren’t woodenly rigid. We use words differently sometimes depending upon the context. In Gen. 8:22 uses “yom” (day) to mean daylight hours (a portion of a full day). However, in Gen. 39:10, it uses “yom” to mean a full 24-hour period of time. And, furthermore, Gen. 2:4 uses “yom” to mean the whole period of time of creation (literally, “at the day (translated “time”) that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.”

    The writers of Scripture didn’t have to explain every detail of their lives or their use of language because these things were commonly understood. Mankind has always counted the passage of time by the rising or setting of the sun or moon. From one rising or setting to the next was considered one unit of time, no matter what you called it.

    In the creation account, “yom” is used all three ways. The first part of Gen. 1:5 defines “yom” as the daylight hours. But “yom” at the end of the verse can legitimately be interpreted to include daylight, night, evening and morning as “one day.” It was the completion of that first day and would have included all portions of the 24-hour period of time. When you look at the end of the next period of time (Gen. 1:8), it says “yom ehad” (the second day). This implies a second full completion of time. If you only wanted to consider “yom” the daylight hours, it is certainly used here to mean that time has progressed from one period of daylight to another period of daylight. Thus, “yom” (daylight) is being used as a full solar day (24-hours). And then, as I mentioned earlier, “yom” is used in Gen. 2:4 as a summary of the entire multi-period of time of creation.

    Of course, what throws a monkey wrench into this whole discussion of literalness of terms, especially “yom”, is that according to the creation narrative in Genesis, the Sun and Moon and the stars weren’t created until the fourth “yom.” This begs us to be even less rigid with defining the word, “yom.”

    Reply
  6. Hannah

    I searched the Bible for morning and night. I found morning until evening. I will keep searching.

    Ex 18:13 The next day Moses was settling disagreements among the people. The people stood around Moses from morning until evening.

    Shalom! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Warren Johnson

    I guess why it didn’t say that they stood around Moses any longer was because they were tired after a long day at the Peoples’ Court with Judge Moses and had to go to sleep! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Warren Johnson

    Perhaps I’ve muddied the waters with all my comments, but I’m not sure from your last post what exactly you’re looking for.

    Reply
  9. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Warren, you said, “In the creation account, “yom” is used all three ways. The first part of Gen. 1:5 defines “yom” as the daylight hours. But “yom” at the end of the verse can legitimately be interpreted to include daylight, night, evening and morning as “one day.” ”

    I don’t agree. “Yom” cannot legitimately be interpreted to include night. Simply because there is an action that took place by God himself and it is clearly stated in Scripture: “And God separated the light from the darkness.” Ignoring that action so we can make our interpretation is not legitimate but rather inappropriate.

    What right do we have to ignore what God has done in order to make our interpretation stand? I don’t believe we have that right.

    I can agree that a period of time has passed between the first “And God said…” and the second “And God said…”. However, the enumerated days are stating it was one day (light) for the first “And God said…” and a second day (light) for the second “And God said…” While night (darkness) may naturally fall between the two days (light), the definition of day (light) does not change to include night. It can’t. They are polar opposites. Remember, “badal beyn”.

    All throughout Scripture “day and night” is used as metaphors for light and darkness, life and death, good and evil, awake and asleep, etc. That is because it is generally understood that they are separate — a distinction has been made between the two; day is not night, and night is not day.

    I do believe there are times that day is used as a *figure of speech* to denote a period of time (ie. a brief time, a long time, a really long time, etc.), but the literal meaning of the word does not change.

    As for the fact that the sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day, that is why I think it is important that we recognize the definition of “light” as “day” and the definition of “darkness” is “night”, regardless of time (ie 24-hours).

    Personally I believe all of God’s creative work took place in the day, and that is why “night” is not mentioned in “And there was evening, and there was morning – [#] day”. What is enumerated during creation week is not six or seven 24 hour periods, what is enumerated are seven days (lights): six days (lights) of creative work and one day (light) of ceasing from creative work.

    When Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5), what did he mean? (This is a rhetorical question.) Hmm. I think I’m going to revisit John and study for a while.

    😉 Shalom!

    Reply
  10. Warren Johnson

    I’m not trying to take away from God’s created work or His Word. Those stand by themselves and no one can diminish or increase their magnitude by any amount of his or her own words. Praise Yah! Nor am I trying to take away from the powerful imagery of daylight, goodness, and holiness vs. night, darkness, and evil. I’m merely saying that in Gen. 1:5 as in other places, the term “yom” can be used either literally as day/daylight, or figuratively, as a 24-hour period of time. It seems to me to be used both ways in that verse, the first occurrence literally and then the second time figuratively.

    When a word is used figuratively, it doesn’t change the definition of the word, merely the way it is used or meant to be understood in context. It is sound biblical exegesis to first understand words literally, as you have done, but then it is important to examine the context (verse, paragraph, chapter, book, Testament, Bible) and how it is used elsewhere in Scripture to see if it could possibly be used another way in the verse being studied. Strong’s concordance is a good resource to see how many ways and how many times a particular word is used. Vines Expository Dictionary is also a good resource to help translate words. When we aren’t native speakers or readers, we have to rely on and trust others who know the languages.

    Again, my intent is not to diminish or add to Scripture, but for us to better understand it so that we can better live by it, keeping in mind that in this world, at this time, we can only know in part, because we are “seeing through the glass, darkly.”

    Shalom!

    Reply
  11. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Ah, figuratively a 24-hour period. I hear you. I could live with that. Thanks for clarifying. You were probably saying that in your previous comments and I was missing it. I’m sorry if that’s the case.

    My point of contention is with the teaching that a literal day begins in the evening, and I think that’s what Hannah was referring to in her second comment. Scripture demonstrates the day begins in the morning and ends in the evening all over the place, yet there are those who insist Scripture supports a literal day beginning in the evening, and Genesis 1:5 is where they turn to for proof.

    Thanks again for taking the time to share your position (and being patient with me!).

    😉

    BTW, I’m learning Hebrew — of course, I’m in the early stages, but I am learning.

    Reply
  12. Warren Johnson

    The Jewish sources that I have examined concerning the figurative, 24-hour day beginning at sunset (with the visibility of at least 3 stars) seem to base this on two events. The first is that the first “day” of creation began in darkness. They then point to the idiomatic phrase that concludes the six “days” of creation, “And the evening and morning were the (x) day.” But like you, the latter has never satisfied me. The rabbis have also said that it only makes sense to end the “day” at sunset when a person has “finished” his day of work. If that ends the “day,” then according to them it is logical that it also begins the next.

    There are Scriptures that mention night coming before day, and Scriptures that mention day coming before night, but I don’t think that there is any Scripture that was written with the purpose of defining when a “day” begins. It really doesn’t matter, except for special days, like the Sabbath or holidays and feasts. In those cases, everyone needs to know when to start, especially if there are exceptional rules to follow, like “no work” on the Sabbath.

    With your new understanding of the “day” beginning in the morning, how does that affect your observance of Sabbath and the other feasts and holidays of Scripture? Do you just delay the beginning for 12 hours and extend them for the same amount of time? Also, what do groups like Jews for Jesus do?

    Reply
  13. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Regarding the two events most Jewish sources point to…

    (1) the problem I have with the day beginning in darkness as being justification for an evening start is that the beginning in darkness is more indicative of a morning start. In order to have “evening” there needs to be a turning *away* from light. Creation could not have started with a turning away from light (because light had not been created yet) but rather it must start with light breaking forth from darkness. The notion that a day begins at evening because everything started in darkness is impossible. Now if someone wants to suggest the day begins at night, that would be more plausible. However, I don’t agree with that either, because night is not defined until after light has been called into existence *and* light is separated from darkness.

    (2) I’ve already shared why I don’t like the justification that the phrase of “And there was evening and there was morning – #day” is an idiom. Plus, this “idiom” doesn’t appear anywhere else in Scripture.

    I agree that it makes sense to end the day when the sun goes down, but it also makes sense to start the day when the sun comes up. The problem I have with their “logical conclusion” is that they roll night and day together and call it all day. (Have I beaten that horse enough yet? LOL)

    I always thought it was strange why Sabbath-keepers insist the Sabbath begins at sundown when Scripture teaches that it began in the morning. The first mention of the Sabbath is in Exodus 16 when manna was instituted. The Israelites were expected to gather their manna in the morning. They did this for six days, but on the seventh day they were told not to go out to gather. It’s pretty clear on the sixth day, Moses said “tomorrow” is your Sabbath. The next morning they saw that the leftover food didn’t spoil, and Moses said “today” is your Sabbath. If the Sabbath was to start in the evening, then wouldn’t Moses have said so?

    The next mention of the Sabbath day is on Mt Sinai…they were commanded to remember it and keep it set apart. How? Don’t do any work! I think man has made it more complicated than it is.

    I don’t typically work at night, but occasionally my daily chores stretch over into the night. I recognize the Sabbath day on the 7th day. I work on the 6th day, and if my work stretches past the evening into the night, so be it. But when I wake in the morning, I don’t do any work (my work consists of laundry, cleaning, cooking, teaching, shopping, paying bills, etc.) and I “rest” [cease work] all the way until the next morning.

    As for the other feasts, I do whatever Scripture instructs. Passover begins the evening of the 14th day. With my understanding of the day beginning in the morning, then it’s obvious that the Passover meal happens at the end of the 14th day into the night. The next morning (which would be the 15th day) is the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and lasts for 7 days. The Day of Atonement is the 10th day of the 7th month. The actual “day” of atonement is during the daylight hours because that is when the High Priest would go into the Most Holy Place to make atonement for Israel, however the “afflicting of souls” and refraining from work begins on the evening of the 9th day and stretches through the night into the 10th day. As for the various “holy convocations”, they are typically held during the day, so it is not usually an issue with meeting with others who reckon a day from evening-to-evening.

    I really have no idea what “Jews for Jesus” do. I do fellowship with other believers (non-Jewish) who reckon the day from evening-to-evening, but again it’s not usually an issue because most of the times for fellowship take place during the daylight hours. The only time it gets tricky is Passover. There is controversy over whether the meal takes place at the beginning of the 14th or the end of the 14th when folks reckon the day starting and ending in the evening, but for me it’s a no-brainer. If the day always begins in the morning and ends in the evening, there’s no confusion at all.

    😉

    Reply
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  15. vance tremaglio

    you have a great sight,I went from genesis to revelation and there is no doubt in my mind day starts at dawn or morning the bible proves it.Genesis 19:34 going back to genesis 8:22 day and night covenant.Exodus 16:23,I could go on and on but a good chapter and verse is numbers 11:32 proves a day starts at morning time.Out of all the verses the best one if you read it very closely it was shown to me when a day started. In samuel 24:13…3days pestilence.Noticed the starting point verse 15 from the MORNING TO THE TIME APPOINTED. Thanks for your article

    Reply
  16. hedwards

    If you look at Lev. 23:32, it is talking about “Yom” Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. Scripture says,

    “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.”

    If the dark portion is not considered part of the “day”, why would YHWH tell us that we need to keep one of his appointed holy days (literally called “DAY” of Atonement) during the “dark” hours? From even unto even?

    Just some food for thought. 🙂

    Reply
  17. Carrie Wigal Post author

    Just as the light hours serve a purpose, so do the dark hours. We see the Passover meal is to take place in the night as a memorial. A memorial of what? The *night* that death passed over the children of Israel.

    Is not darkness pictured as “death” throughout Scripture?

    Just like the passover meal is not part of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, since the Feast of ULB begins on the 15th *day* of the 1st month and the passover lamb is to be completely consumed before morning, the dark portion of the “sabbath of rest” is not part of the Day of Atonement.

    Why include the darkness in this particular “sabbath of rest”? Scripture doesn’t say, but my conjecture is that it’s to help put us in the right frame of mind in preparation for what is to take place the next day…humiliating our beings reflecting on our sin as a nation/people.

    Reply
  18. vance tremaglio

    Thank you carrie for mailing me.To me the day of atonement means to be spiritually clean.In certain chapters and verses in the bible if a person was unclean he or she would have to wash and be clean at evening.This special sabbath day of atonement,it seems is applied to all other sabbaths but reading all scripture a sabbth begins at daytime even though the evening before like day of atonement could mean be clean for the start of the day which is after night fall.Not 1 chapter or verse did I read when evening came a new day started,none.Just like it says in exodus 12:6 and you shall keep it until the 14th day….kill it at dusk. The 14th day already is past most of it anyway now it is dusk.I noticed it did not say a new day begins.Notice the passover is still eaten past evening into night but can not remain the next morning.It seems numbers 33:3 the 15th day the morrow after passover.What I get out of day of atonement is this the evening of the 9th is the day is declining the 9th night begins the 10th day starts at daytime.I noticed nehemiah 8:3 he read out of the book of the law early morning to midday.Also 9:3.People talk about a new moon and so called holy groups watch for it but 1Chronicles 8:9 says differently the newmoon marries the double dawn or dawn.To me if new moon is before dawn thats the new day if its after dawn you go the next day. Thank you very much for writing to me and letting me voice my opinion.

    Reply
  19. Bracso

    I had some of your problems many years and I read Moses Ben Maimonides, “The Guide for the Perplex”; There he states that when reading the Bible if it has sense, then you should go on; when it doesn’t make sense you should refer to the synonyms. When you read “there was evening and there was morning, one day” he explains that the term “evening” means: confusion, disorder and, in general, it is the prelude of the darkness; the term “morning” means: “calm, order and, in general, it is the prelude of the light.
    When God saw I was good, he really see that His order gave a result that was functional, and then He gives another command producing a new evening. Each day of creation begins with a disorder; otherwise the command makes no sense.
    It seems to me that there is confusion with the term “day” where there shouldn’t be any. God did not “separated” the light from the night, in the sense we understand this word in English, but He named them, doing so he separated them. The term Day is and span of time that is undetermined in length and involve to subset nighttime and daytime. These subsets are name for convenience night and day. Nobody could find such a teaching in Scripture, because we did not have the concept of subsets at that time, you have to try to understand and if you do you will find it.
    Ex 18:13 is totally out of place, they could stay from the third hour to sunset, but not, they stayed that day from morning to evening.
    It is wrong to believe that God made His creative work during the day, should He did that there was no need for His commands; Each command creates a chaos, it brakes the state of things creating darkness, lack of order, disorder and it is when the morning came (when the order is fulfill) that He sees that the new state of things is functional (it is good) that He gives a new command.
    John 9:4 is an example of the various uses of the words “day” and “night”, I am glad you were back to revisit this verse. I studied Scripture for many years and I couldn’t find any verse demonstrating that the day begins in the morning while it is true that there are many verses that demonstrates that it ends on the sunset (evening). Mamon is one of the sages of jews and he is one of those that support a day beginning on the evening, and the Lord asking to keep His Sabbath day from eve to eve, so Gen 1:5 is only one reference.
    Vance presents like a good chapter and verse is numbers 11:32 to proves a day starts at morning time; I have read this verse and I cannot find that Vance’s proof; we have to be careful not to understand what it is not said. One of the problems of using so many Biblical references is that it could impress people that has no the time to dig into it.
    Yashua died at the sixth hour and he was lower from the cross in rash because the beginning of a holy Sabbath was to begin in few minutes, you can work on the “meal before morning” but it doesn’t change anything. Yashua was to be in the tomb for three days and three nights to abound in precision, it is, three complete days.

    Reply
  20. vance

    I notice some ministers and evangelists want jesus to be buried before evening to fit their day theory starts at evening. But not my words but the bible says differently.Matthew 27:57 says when evening came.It does not say before evening.From all the events from verse 57 to 61 asking for the body,wrapping it in clean linen,laying it in a new tomb,and rolling the great stone in the entrance of the tomb,I find it very hard to believe this took place before evening according to the bible we are deep into evening because the bible says in matthew also notice mark 15:42 evenig came. Being well into evening it says it was Preperation day,day before the sabbath.Going back to matthew 27:62 The next day,that is day after preperation etc. These are events that happened after evening started not before.Mark says it is still preperation day well into evening before the sabbath proving to me any way sabbath did not start evening.

    Reply
  21. Uri

    Interesting discussion. It’s good to see people striving to understand the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. I strive to do the same. I offer these two points as a result of my own efforts.
    1) I’ve always heard that JC died on the day of Passover (14 Nisan according to the Hebrew calendar), not the day after Passover (15 Nisan). That’s why some people proclaim him to be the human manifestation of the Passover lamb. If the day begins at dawn or sunrise, and JC’s disciples prepared the Passover meal at dusk of that day, the 14th, ate the meal that evening, still the 14th, and then JC was killed the next day, then JC died on the day after Passover, the 15th, not the day of it, the 14th. The day ‘after’ Passover is the ‘high’ day as it is the first of the seven-day “feast of unleavened bread”, with the first and seventh days being the high days.
    For JC to have celebrated the Passover on its proper date (the 14th) with his disciples and then to have died on the same day of Passover (daytime), the change of the calendar ‘date’ had to be at sunset, not morning. The disciples would have thus prepared the meal at dusk at the beginning (sunset) of the 14th, eaten the meal that same evening of the 14th, and JC would have died the daytime of that same day, the 14th, before the sun set on that day. If the day begins at any other time than sunset, then JC could not have eaten the Passover meal and then have died on the same day.
    2) The apostle Paul was a Pharisee (Acts 23:6). He said that God entrusted the Jews with the His oracles (Romans 3:2). JC said the Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses so practice as they tell you (Matthew 23:2-3). As they have proclaimed and practiced the new calendar date beginning at sunset, even as observant Jews do today, it is a practice with merit and validity.
    I caution against changing it just because it feels better, seems more logical, or because it lacks a more direct biblical statement to support it.
    Happy studying!

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  22. vance

    In the gospel of john it seems to say in 19:14 it was the day of preperation of the passover and says it again in verse 31.Paul says jesus is our passover.The catholic church says this was the sadducee calendar while theother gospels were pharisees way.I jusy feel a can of worms are opened up on this subject were you get some people starting the 13th going into the 14th or the 14th going into the 15th starting preperation. All I know is if someone could show me in the bible were it says when evening came a new day started.Leviticus 23 says from evening of the 9th to evening of the 10th you shall keep the sabbath of day of atonement it does not say a day starts here or says when the evening of the 9th started the 10th began.Say I do not use Numbers 11:32.To me there are many references a day starts at dawn but there is one chapter and verse that all it had to say was evening and I would of believed it but did not.2 Samuel 24 verse 13 says 3 days pestilence….God chooses for david the 3 days pestilence,verse 15 from the morning to the time appointed.
    Reading the bible through ther to me it seems in most chapters and verse a day is just daylight hours but also about 5 per cent it is also day and night.Genesis to me putting it together is light day evening darkness morning.After the light evening became after dark morning became.I am voicing my opinion thank you.

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  23. vance

    I believed years ago by reading exodus 12 the starting point of unleavened bread started on the evening of 14th the 15th started.Reading the 17th verse it says observe the feast of unleavened bread for in the selfsame day have I brought you out of egypt therefore shall you observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance forever.To me the bible interpreting itself says in numbers 33:3 says they journeyed on the morrow after the passover.Going back to chapter 12 it says in verse 6 kill the lamb at dusk the 14th day.Verse 8 says they shall eat the flesh in that night,no mention of the number 15 starting after the the 14th at evening,and verse 11 says it is still the passover.Verse 29 says at midnight the lord smote the first born.So numbers 33:3 says the 15th on the morrow after the passover.Going back to Exodus `12:18 it is not saying the feast of unleavened bread starts at this point it says you shall eat unleavened bread from the 14th evening to the 21st day at evening.Leviticus 23 says the 15th day is the first day of unleavened bread.Going back to verse 8 it says you shall eat unleavened bread in that night.This is still passover and the bible always said passover is on the 14th.So there eating unleavened bread with passover festival but the first day of unleavened bread is the 15th of the morning.Verse 10 says nothing of the lamb shall remain in the morning.This would end in this particular day a day than night then the 15th starts.Numbers 33:3 says the 15th is after the passover.It seems there was the 14th evening then night it is still called passover according to verse 29 the lord passed over at midnight and numbers 33:3 says the 15th says the morrow after the passover.Actually putting all this together you get a 24 hour day and night 15 th day,15th night until you get to the 21st evening.so 6 full day and nights and the last day of unleavened bread ends at evening being just the day light hours proving a day starts in the morning could be a 24 hour cycle or just the daylight hours depending on chapters and verses, again carrie thank you.

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  24. Uri

    Vance, I see you have thought this through. I admire your learning and presentation. You gave me a newfound appreciation for the difficulty of this topic. I concede that many scriptures can fit either belief, and on the surface some tend to support your view better. I don’t expect to change your mind, and mine is pretty well made up, but for the sake of learning here’s my further rationale for a ‘sunset’ beginning:

    In the creation account, dark preceded light. Night preceded day. Evening represented night and morning represented day. Together, they constituted a full day.

    Following this logic, Deuteronomy 16:6 states: “in the evening at sunset, the time of day you departed from Egypt” (NRSV). Note the reference to the time of sunset as ‘evening’ and as the ‘time of day’ the Israelites departed. It was not referring to the daylight hours before sunset, but the time after sunset. And Exodus 12:41-42 which states: “At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. That was a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.” The night of vigil is the very “day” they left–the 15th (Numbers 33:3)–at sunset (Deu 16:6), the day after Passover. Note in these verses the juxtaposition of the word “evening”, “sunset”, “day”, and “night”, seemingly referring to the same approximate time period. It’s as if they are used interchangeably, but yet each has its own significance.

    When considering all applicable verses together, I believe this scenario emerges: They killed the Passover offering at sunset (beginning of 14th), ate it that night, stayed in their homes until morning (Exodus 12:22), organized themselves “company by company” (Exodus 12:51) during the daylight hours, and left Egypt in the evening at sunset (the end of the 14th, after Passover, and the onset of the 15th), and it was a night of vigil for them (before the daylight hours of the 15th). This may help explain the verse in Exodus 12:18 which states: “from the evening of the 14th day until the evening of the 21st day.” This is a total of 7 days—the 7 days of unleavened bread. The evening of the 14th meaning the end of that day and the beginning of the 15th and going through the end of the 21st when the 22nd began. This could have also read “from the evening of the 15th to the evening of the 22nd”, as the sunset marks the end and beginning of a day. This also helps with Leviticus 23:32 regarding the Day of Atonement, which begins at the sunset which ends the 9th and begins the 10th, and goes through the end of the 10th at sunset which begins the 11th. It’s a fairly consistent approach.

    The day of Passover is a time in which no leaven can be eaten with the sacrifice (Exodus 34:25). The same is true for all sacrifices made by fire (Leviticus 2:11). So although one may be in possession of leaven on the day of Passover, one may not present or eat leaven with the offering. But on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread all leaven had to be put out of one’s possession and continue to be avoided through the 7th day (Exodus 12:15).

    Although beginning the day at dawn may fit, with some presumptions, it presents an unnecessary difficulty. If the Passover offering is killed at sunset on a day that begins at dawn, and the next morning is a new day, then ending the 7-day feast at evening (sunset) would be ending it in the middle of a day. The Feast would then be only 6½ days, not 7. If one ended the Feast at dawn, then it appears to violate the “evening-to-evening” direction. One may presume that part of a day is like a full day, but with a sunset-to-sunset concept such a presumption is unnecessary. And regarding the Day of Atonement, it would certainly not be true.

    One more supporting verse is Deu 16:7 which states that those who offered the Passover sacrifice (at twilight) could return to their tents the next morning. How so if the next morning is the 15th, the high day, which is one of the two days of assembly? If the day begins at sunset, this problem is resolved too.

    In reference to the use of the word “Passover” in the New Testament: It was common to call the days of unleavened bread “Passover” by the time of the NT. Acts 12:3 tells of Peter’s arrest “during” the Festival of Unleavened Bread. As the story continues, Herod intended to bring him out “after” the Passover. Since the Festival of Unleavened Bread technically occurs after the Passover (Leviticus 23:4-8), it would not make sense to say Peter was arrested during the Feast and was to be brought out after the Passover, as the ‘date’ of Passover would have already passed. In this usage, however, the Feast and the Passover both refer to the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread collectively. The same is true today.

    Furthermore, Mark used the phrase “on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is to be sacrificed”. But we know from Leviticus 23:4-8, that the sacrifice is offered the day “before” the first day of Unleavened Bread. One way to reconcile Mark’s statement is to understand his usage of “Passover” as the days of “Unleavened Bread”.

    Regarding John 14:19: The day of preparation is the day of Passover, which is in preparation for the day of assembly after Passover, the 15th. The 15th is the high day and the 14th is the ‘Passover and the day of preparation’ for the assembly. The use of the word “Passover” inclusively refers to the days of unleavened bread. Passover in this usage actually refers to the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

    To the scenario of JC’s death–I tried to fit his last day, inclusive of the Passover meal, into the day-beginning-at-dawn scenario. I can’t make it fit. Please help me. In order for him to eat the Passover offering in its appointed time (Exodus 13:10) and to have died on the same day of Passover (the day of preparation), which the gospels seem to indicate, it seems to me the day would have had to begin at sunset, when the Passover offering was to be made. I don’t know what effect the Sadducee and the Pharisee calendars had on this aspect. I researched it and found the difference between the two was mainly when the First Fruits (Leviticus 23:11) were offered. The Sadducees said it was offered the day after the weekly Sabbath, while the Pharisees said it was the day after the high-day Sabbath, which equates to the 16th. I don’t understand how this would explain the scenario of his death. It would be more apropos to a discussion regarding the day of resurrection, as JC is presumed to represent the first fruits (1st Cor 15:20), and whether or not it was on the first day of the week. Those saying yes would likely take the Sadducee position. Those saying no would cite the Pharisees. But on the day of his death, if the day begins at dawn, then either JC kept the Passover a day early or he died a day late. However, an evening to evening concept would resolve these difficulties.

    The lack of a direct statement does not deter me from believing a day begins at evening. I believe the preponderance of evidence strongly suggests it. By way of analogy, I may not find a direct statement confirming the day known as Saturday is the 7th day of the week or that Sunday is the 1st. I accept these days as a result of history and practice. Bible translations that use these common names do so for the same reason.

    Perhaps there is no direct statement that a day begins at sunset. Neither is there a direct statement saying a day begins at sunrise. Should we overturn one practice for lack of a direct statement, only to begin another which itself lacks a direct statement (and presents new difficulties)?

    And that’s my opinion. 🙂 Yes, posted with a smile… and with appreciation for the discussion.

    Carrie, I add my thanks to Vance’s for initiating this exchange of ideas on your forum. As this is the week of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Happy Passover! And happy learning.

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  25. vance

    dear Mr. Uri, How are you.I could be wrong but to me tradition is very strong.I have a stone edition bible and an old synagogue bile and the synagogue bible says in deuteronomy 16 at the season though came forth out of egypt and the stone version the reference at the bottom says In the afternoon,when the sun descends,the appointed time of your departure.The verse gives three conflicting times for the observance of the pesah-offering:the afternoon:when the sun descends,the evening of the seder:and timeof your departure the next, when the nation marched out of egypt.These three timesrefer to different facets of the commandment: The sacrificial service was performed in the afternoon:the flesh of the offering was eaten at night:and if anything was leftover until morning it became disqualified and had to be burned.These are not my words but the words of the author of the stone edition.My question or questions is this,I will quote scriptures in Genesis7:12And the rain was upon the earth 40 days and 40 nights.It seems god is making a covenant with Noah not to curse the ground anymore for mans sake. Genesis 8:21,verse 22 says while the earth remaineth,seedtime and harvest,and cold and heat,and summer and winter,and day and night shall not cease.Leviticus 8:35 And at the door of the tent meeting shall ye abide day and night seven days,and keep the charge of the lord,that ye die not for so I am commanded.From here I will not quote complete chapters and verse but shorten them.Numbers 28:3 day by day a continual burnt offering… verse 4 one lamb in the morning the other at dusk.1 samuel 19:11…Saul wants to slay David in the morning.Davids wife says If thou save not thy life tonight, Tomorrow thou shalt be slain.To me it seems the day tomorrow is associated with the word morning.Jeremiah 33..If you can break My covenant with the day, and my covenant with the night,So that there not be day and night in their season.It seems to repeat Genesis 8:22 with Noah.Zechariah 14:7And there shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord not day and not night.Job 38:12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days began…There are other nuggets in the bible but these are the ones to me that stick out,again thank youUri and carrie.

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  26. Uri

    Hi Vance, I agree, tradition is strong.
    I think you may have unknowingly discovered desired proof as to a day/date beginning at night. In the “Stone Edition Chumash” notes, page 354, it speaks of Matzah being compulsory only on the “Seder night”, which, by tradition, is the night after the Pesach offering is made–the festival night. If indeed the sacrifice is made on latter part of the afternoon of the 14th, after the sun begins to descend, and is eaten that “night”, the festival night of the 15th, then the 15th had to begin at sunset/dark. According to this tradition, participants could not leave the next morning as stated in Scripture because it was still the festival day (Ibid, page 1021, note 7). That means the daytime was still the 15th. Therefore, the night and the day following it were the same date according to “Stone” and traditional understanding.
    My reading of the Passover scenario does not reflect this particular tradition. Both perspectives, however, result in the same conclusion regarding the topic of when a day begins.
    Thanks again to you, Carrie, and everyone, for the discussion.

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  27. Jerry

    Yes I have known this day begin in the morning as dawn! Since 2003? Approx. I knew this wasn’t easy for everyone who believe either agree or disagree? I’m DEAF. I thanking our Heavenly Father and his Son Messiah which showed me the truth! I find that Friday evening is nothing wrong if they want practice is OK? If going out to store on Friday evening is NOT Sin! Only on Sabbath dawn to dark on isa.58:13? Is SIN! On moses time they went out on 7th day and find no manna? That is! Clear! 6 days they get manna! But 7th none!

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