It has become very clear to me that this internal controversy in the body of Messiah is bearing the fruit of division. That is our first clue that it MUST be reconciled with the Word of God.
(sorry I know this is a bit long, (original intended audience is my church) but I pray you hear the reason this is relevant to this discussion group)
You see, there are many things that we don’t see clearly. And we edify each other by sharing our different views and searching the Word together for clarity. These are what I would refer to as the mysteries of God. There are vast ‘hidden’ treasures in the Word. We share these treasures with each other and this actually grows our faith. From faith to faith.
But there is another category of controversy which only serves the agenda of the father of lies. I’m sure you can readily think of many doctrines out there that are simply contrary to the Word. You, having studied the Word, can show many scriptural witnesses to refute false doctrines. And you should, every time you are given the opportunity to guide someone to the Truth in the Word. (out of darkness and blindness into His Light)
Yet – you will quickly remember many heated arguments where each side is quoting the bible. How can we speak opposites from the same source? Because that is precisely how pride and deception are meant to work. So we must choose whether we go to the Word for Truth versus personal validation.
Paul compared the fruits of the different kinds of leaven this way: The doctrines of man produce an attitude “... vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” which is different from the leavening of Spirit and Truth which results in the edification of the body which “increaseth with the increase of God.”
So I have studied the testimonies from both sides of this debate about when the Day begins. I will not entertain any notion of this being a mystery of God. Certainly not. This is something that is written and abundantly witnessed throughout the scripture. And obtaining Truth on this will bring not only unity but I can testify, it brings deep Revelations in the prophecy.
The Truth side of the debate has too many witnesses to count and gather into one essay. The False side of the debate has a few verses which are quoted, but in order to make doctrine from them, the False side must reach for supposed history, traditions or cultural assumptions and many unfamiliar words.
My bias is totally in favor of Truth from the Word. I am eager to dismiss the false. And I long for the day when it is hard to even remember the false.
I want to present the Word and let the Word settle this debate. But I know that I will have to argue against the False where that side has learned to twist the scripture.
Partly I am writing this because if you search online, you will find emphatic claims in both directions appearing to have scriptural references backing their claim. I hoped I would find one that answers the counterclaim sufficiently. But my quick search came up empty.
I will make a brief positive case for the Truth in the Word. And then I will make the case against the False.
The Truth: The Lord’s Day begins with the rising sun. And before there was a sun in the firmament, the Day still began with Light. What we’re really focusing on is which transition, from Light to Dark, (evening) or Dark to Light (morning) is the time signature which separates one day from another.
From Genesis 1 we can get our first witness to the Truth.
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Gen 1:3
This was the first work of creation. You are familiar with these scriptures. But notice how each day is summarized. For example Gen 1:5 “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
The united Day is: 1-Work 2-Evening 3-Morning “The First Day”. Now we can count 6 work days. I like to recognize the provision of a Rest period within each day. Psalm 104:23 “Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.”
1-Work 2-Evening 3-Morning “The Second Day”
1-Work 2-Evening 3-Morning “The Third Day”
1-Work 2-Evening 3-Morning “The Fourth Day”
1-Work 2-Evening 3-Morning “The Fifth Day”
1-Work 2-Evening 3-Morning “The Sixth Day”
What you see here is 6 days of work, and evenings and mornings BEFORE the Seventh Day begins chapter 2.
We can be sure that the Seventh Day included an evening and morning. But Moses was not commanded to mention them.
“2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
So this witness from Moses shows us the order of the days and the week. Moses has more to give us on this subject. But right here we should notice that every day ENDS with the morning.
Moses taught Israel again how to recon the work week with the gathering of Manna.
11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.
13 And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.
16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.
17And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
19 And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.
20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.
21 And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.
22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
The above scripture is another important witness from the testimony of Moses. He was teaching them and us about the time for working and when a new day begins. This scripture also testifies which day of the week they should prepare for sabbath: the sixth day.
You may also recognize an interesting parallel with the Manna and the Passover Lamb. That it must be consumed by sun up.
“And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.”
Moses gives many more witnesses to the timing when the new day begins so I will choose just a few more.
While we’re in Exodus 12 look at verses 6-7.
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
Numbers 33:3 (my favorite)
“And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.”
Now Moses has abundantly testified about the time of day that separates one day from another.
But Moses has more to say because he gave us the appointed times and in teaching how to observe those days, Moses testifies again about when the day begins.
We will start with the Day of Atonement. This is a 1 day (24 hour) appointment.
26 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
32 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.
God commanded a day of rest which is called sabbath. But this one does not need to occur on the seventh day of the week. Plus it is different than a normal sabbath in that it is observed from evening to evening. And because of that orientation, part of it in is on the “ninth” day, and part of it is on the “tenth”. The day part is on the tenth. Therefor he begins by placing the Day of Atonement on the “tenth”. But in explaining how it should be observed, he shows that is began at evening on the ninth.
The only time signature in between the two evenings is the morning, which is characterized by sunrise (not sunset).
Moses did not command to observe every sabbath this way. Here is the instruction from Leviticus 23 for the regular weekly sabbath. Verse 3 “Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”
Notice that the weekly sabbath instruction makes no mention of an evening. This is just like Genesis. It was not needed to discuss an evening here in Leviticus except when Moses was teaching about a certain High sabbath which is observer differently than the weekly sabbath.
So in the Torah, we already have abundant answers to this question but technically they’re all from Moses, with some agreement in David’s Psalm. And if you are someone who loves the Prophets, you will find exciting insights when you see how time signatures are incorporated into all their writings.
But can we find more witnesses in the gospel writings? Yes, plenty. But I’m trying to keep this concise. So it is best to focus on where it is relevant to Feasts and Prophecy. Lets let the gospel writers testify together.
Matthew Chapter 26, quoting Yahshua 2 “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”
5 “But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.” We learn later that they chose to take Him after the feast (dinner).
As we read the gospels it might be necessary to review some more from Moses because they are referencing what we find in Torah.
“17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.”
Matthew called it the first day of unleavened bread when they eat the passover. “ And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning …”
Is Matthew mistaken here? Because Leviticus 23 says “5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.”
Matthew is not mistaken. Because in Exodus 12:18 Moses explains. “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.”
Remember how Moses taught about the Day of Atonement, it was on the tenth but because it is oriented evening to evening, it begins on the ninth. Moses and Matthew are in total agreement. And Matthew remembers verse 19 from Exodus 12: “Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.”
Mark is speaking of the same day when he testified this way in chapter 14, “12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?”
We should recognize that Mark is calling the lamb ‘passover’ and rightly so. He’s not speaking of bread or anything else that can’t be killed to eat on that night.
Then in verse 14, Mark quotes Yahshua saying “And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?”
In Mark’s terms, he is showing that Yahshua said “I shall eat the passover (lamb) with my disciples”.
This analysis may not appear to witness to when the day begins. But rather upon which day this dinner occurred. And in Verse 30 Yahshua Himself testifies about the Day.
30 “And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.”
He combined this day and this coming night into the same Day.
Luke and John echo these details and they offer more from each of their testimonies.
Luke 22:7 “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.”
15 “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:”
John tells us another important detail about that night. John shows us that this night was the night that the passover (that is the feast of lamb) must be finished before sun up.
27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.
28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.
So the gospel writers have abundantly testified about which day Yahshua had His “Last Supper”, and in doing so they have confirmed that the new day always begins after the morning sunrise. So their testimony of the Resurrection is totally consistent.
John 20:1 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”
When it was yet dark, the first day is still yet to come.
Luke testifies in similar fashion, recognizing the coming day ahead
Luke 24:1 “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”
But Mark chose to acknowledge the passing day AND the coming day – BOTH connected to that morning.
“1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.”
And Matthew’s testimony helps dismiss any lingering doubts.
Matthew 28:1 “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”
As earlier stated, the witnesses in the scriptures are too numerous to count with regard to the truth in this debate. But it’s time to look at the scripture again to test the opposing doctrine.
The False: The days are separated at sunsets. The sunset marks the end of the previous Day (24 hours) and it begins the new Day. So every Day begins with a decent into darkness. And the morning sunrise marks the mid-point of a Day, so that the sixth Day ends at sundown and that evening and night is the beginning of Sabbath.
To address the False, I want to acknowledge the scriptures which are used to support that doctrine. But I have already given the proper representation of some of them so I will try not to repeat unnecessarily.
Genesis 1: “...And the evening and the morning were the first Day.” Whether it’s because this is in Genesis or they think this is the best scriptural foundation, this is always the first quoted in support of beginning the day with evenings. The implication here is that the last phrase of each day’s summary is setting the order of the day. But if so, then it’s not possible to place the creation works on the correct numbered day where the first work was “Let there be Light”. And also fit 6 evenings and mornings before the Sabbath. Obviously from evening to morning only describes night. So it’s not very coherent to exclude the work period from the summary of the day.
Day of Atonement:
This section of Leviticus 23 is sometimes referenced to support the False because it says “… from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” so the one referencing this verse is being deceptive in leaving out the rest of the instruction about this particular High Sabbath.
Unclean until the evening:
Deuteronomy 23:11 “But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.”
This and probably a few other verses show an end to something at evening. Sometimes its a fast or a period of uncleanness. The answer to these is the Day of Atonement. God chose to orient those times as a reflection of Atonement.
“6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. 7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”
Usually only verse 7 is quoted for this argument. The claim about this is that Paul is keeping a Jewish tradition of breaking bread on the evening following the sabbath daytime. We call it Saturday night. And the concept is that Paul started preaching in the evening which began the first day of the week and went until midnight.
I included verse 6 because there’s a great clue there. This is 12 days after unleavened bread. If we remember that unleavened bread began on Wednesday, and ended Wednesday, counting that day plus 11, we land on Sunday. As the scripture says, this preaching was the night on the first day of the week. Sunday night. If we don’t count Wednesday then we land on Monday, even further from Saturday night.
If Paul is teaching on Saturday night then Unleavened bread began even before Passover. And definitely not the day after.
It takes too long to slaughter all the passover lambs at evening:
In Exodus we read that they are commanded to kill the lamb at sunset on the fourteenth (which in the false doctrine starts the day of passover). The False side of this debate will explain that it would be impossible for Yahshua to have eaten the passover that evening because the first lamb is killed at evening and then it takes a long time to roast it that same night. And when the priest says “it is finished” is when he kills the final lamb. And that, according to the false doctrine, just so happens to fall on the 9th hour of the day (which follows the fourteenth’s night in their doctrine). So it lines up with Yahshua’s final breath. And this they claim is proven by Yahshuah being called the Lamb, our passover.
This is nice sounding but it is non-scriptural. This only blinds you from seeing Yahshua not only as the Lamb, but also as the Unleavened Word.
There are many more problems with this telling. It ignores the gospel writers who are using the word “passover” to represent the lamb, which they all say that they did eat with Yahshua. This also ignores the scriptures which compress the eating of the lamb into the same night of the day it was slain.
So how could they kill all the lambs at evening and still have time to cook and eat it that same night?
Well, I would ask, why does the ‘kill at evening’ rule only apply to the first lamb? And then I would go to Leviticus 23 and recognize that the ‘kill at evening’ rule was not repeated there. So the disciples must have prepared the passover before the evening and there was nothing wrong about that. There were some instructions that were only needed for that first passover. Traditions may have been inspired by them, but it was not commanded.