The Biblical Day

Measurements of Time

Once people discover the set-apart days and calendar of The Creator, there seems to be a great number of divisions that form because of it.  In this manner, the Hebraic roots or Messianic Movement or whatever one might call themselves are no different than the Christian religion that they are coming out of.  When people divide themselves over the issue of time and dates without the realization that while we are still dispersed we can only memorialize and not observe the set-apart times, then we too are guilty of changing the days and times as prophesied in Daniel.

Why is this such a big issue that causes division throughout the communities?  Because it is our time that shows who our master truly is.  What we do with the time that we are given on this earth is one of the last lessons that Moses taught the people before they could enter the land.

Ps 90:1 יהוה, You have been our refuge In all generations.
Ps 90:2
Before the mountains were born, Or You had brought forth the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting You are Ěl.
Ps 90:3
You turn man back to dust, And say, “Return, O children of men.”
Ps 90:4
For a thousand years in Your eyes Are like yesterday that has past, Or like a watch in the night.
Ps 90:5
You have swept them away, They are as a sleep, Like grass that springs up in the morning.
Ps 90:6
At evening it is cut down and withered.
Ps 90:7
For we have been consumed by Your displeasure, And by Your wrath we are alarmed.
Ps 90:8
You have set our crookednesses before You, Our secret sin in the light of Your face.
Ps 90:9
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath, We spend our years like a whisper.
Ps 90:10
The days of our lives are seventy years; Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet the best of them is but toil and exertion; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Ps 90:11
Who knows the power of Your displeasure? And your wrath, according to the fear of You?
Ps 90:12
Teach us to number our days, And let us bring the heart to wisdom.
Ps 90:13
Return, O יהוה! How long? And be sorry for Your servants.
Ps 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with Your kindness, And let us sing for joy all our days!
Ps 90:15
Give us joy according to The days You have afflicted us, The years we have seen evil.
Ps 90:16
Reveal Your work to Your servants, And Your splendour to their children.
Ps 90:17
And let the pleasantness Of יהוה our Elohim be upon us, And confirm the work of our hands for us; O confirm the work of our hands!

The following is a personal commentary on how I understand what the Scriptures say, but it is in no way a condemnation of another’s understanding.

An Agrarian Society

Humanity’s connection to the earth is primal: we were created from the dust of the ground. But for most of us in the 21st-century Western world, that vital connection has become tenuous at best. Are we destined to grow ever farther from our agrarian roots?[1]

Scripture focuses on an agrarian way of life.  An agrarian way of life focuses on relating to fields or lands or their tenure or relating to and characteristic of farmers or their way of life.[2]  From the beginning, man’s purpose was to tend the flora and fauna (plants and animals) of a garden.

Gen 2:15 And יהוה Elohim took the man and put him in the garden of Ěḏen to work it and to guard it.

This mentality is foreign to us today as we have moved away from daily contact with the land and the work that is associated with it.  In order to better understand the instructions of our Creator, many people are seeking ways to return to a more agrarian mindset, but due to the majority of people living within cities, those understandings are still severely limited.  Because of the mentality that we are coming from, we are approaching Scripture from a backwards method as we do not currently understand the agrarian mentality behind most of our Creator’s instructions.

The Period of Creation

Often times what is stated in the text is overlooked due to unknown biases and baggage from previous understandings.  Throughout Genesis 1 and the recounting of the first six days of creation, a pattern is established.  The pattern established is as follows:

  1. An object(s) is created
  2. The work is completed
  3. The created object is named
  4. The recognition of evening, morning and the day on which it occurred

This pattern is very simple, but often overlooked when we begin to look at each day.  If multiple objects are to be created, steps 1-3 are repeated before the final step.

Gen 1:3 And Elohim said, “Let light come to be,” and light came to be.
Gen 1:4
And Elohim saw the light, that it was good. And Elohim separated the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 And Elohim called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the first day.

In Genesis 1:3, an object, light, is created.  The work is completed in verse 3 and the light is subsequently named in verse 5 followed by the final step of recognizing the first day.

Gen 1:6 And Elohim said, “Let an expanse come to be in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
Gen 1:7
And Elohim made the expanse, and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse. And it came to be so.
Gen 1:8
And Elohim called the expanse ‘heavens.’ And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the second day.

 In Genesis 1:6, an object, the heavens, is created.  The work is completed in verse 7 and named in verse 8 followed by the final step of recognizing the second day.

Gen 1:9 And Elohim said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it came to be so.
Gen 1:10
And Elohim called the dry land ‘earth,’ and the collection of the waters He called ‘seas.’ And Elohim saw that it was good.

 In Genesis 1:9, an object, earth, is created and the work is completed.  In verse 10, the object is named, but there are subsequent objects to be created as we see beginning again in verse 11.

Gen 1:11 And Elohim said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the plant that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth.” And it came to be so.
Gen 1:12
And the earth brought forth grass, the plant that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And Elohim saw that it was good.
Gen 1:13
And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the third day.

 In Genesis 1:11 additional objects are brought forth and the day’s work completed ending in verse 13 with the recognition of the third day.

This process continues in a repeatable format for the following 3 days.  The general understanding of the repeated phrase “there came to be evening and there came to be morning” is that this denotes the beginning of and the pattern of a day.  A day begins in the evening and progresses until morning and the following day begins at the next evening.

Day, Night and their Separators

Gen 1:3 And Elohim said, “Let light come to be,” and light came to be.
Gen 1:4
And Elohim saw the light, that it was good. And Elohim separated the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5
And Elohim called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night.’ And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the first day.

On the first day of Creation, light was created and an additional separation between the light and darkness was also created.  The light was given the name “day” while the darkness was called “night.”  The separators are also referred to in these passages as “evening” and “morning.”

Gen 1:16 And Elohim made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars.
Gen 1:17
And Elohim set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
Gen 1:18
and to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And Elohim saw that it was good.
Gen 1:19
And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the fourth day.

On the fourth day of Creation, we are told of the creation of two great lights and the stars.  The greatest light, which we understand to be the sun ,is to rule over the day and separate the light from the darkness.  Based upon the roles assigned to these objects and having the four periods of time previously defined (day, evening, night and morning),the day consists of when the sun is visible and the night is when the lesser light, the moon, and the stars are visible.  The separators between the day and night are the periods of light when the sun is not yet or no longer visible, morning and evening respectively.

When is Work Completed?

John 9:4 “It is necessary for Me to work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day – night is coming, when no one is able to work.

According to Messiah’s own words, work is completed during the day.  This understanding is confirmed in the actions taken during the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in the days of Nehemia.

Neh 4:21 So we laboured in the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of day until the stars appeared.

For another witness, we look to Solomon:

Eccl 2:18 And I hated all my labour in which I had toiled under the sun, because I leave it to a man who would come after me.
Eccl 2:19
And who knows whether he is wise or foolish? Yet he shall rule over all my labour in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. That too is futile.

In an agrarian society, work is completed during the day, and the same is found throughout Scripture.

A New Look at the Creation Model

The pattern previously established within Creation should now give the final recognition of the day a different meaning than previously understood.

  1. An object(s) is created
  2. The work is completed
  3. The created object is named
  4. The recognition of evening, morning and the day on which it occurred

If work is completed during the day, while the sun is visible, then steps 1-3 are completed during the day and step 4 becomes the conclusion of the whole day rather than the recognition of the day it occurred on.  This pattern changes the day from beginning in the evening to beginning at sunrise.  The story of the manna week supports this conclusion as well.

The Manna Week

Exod 16:21 And they gathered it (the manna) every morning, each one according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.
Exod 16:22
And it came to be, 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 Mosheh.
Exod 16:23
And he said to them, “This is what יהוה has said, ‘Tomorrow is a rest, a Sabbath set-apart to יהוה. That which you bake, bake; and that which you cook, cook. And lay up for yourselves all that is left over, to keep it until morning.’ ”
Exod 16:24
And they laid it up till morning, as Mosheh commanded. And it did not stink, and no worm was in it.
Exod 16:25
And Mosheh said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to יהוה, today you do not find it in the field.

The manna formed during the night and early morning, just as dew forms, and then melted under the heat of the day.  On the 6th day of the week, there was enough manna gathered for two days.  Moses then tells the people that the following day (to-morrow or on the morrow) is the Sabbath and that they are to keep the manna which they collected until morning.  It was only on the day of the Sabbath that the manna would not spoil.

Exod 16:19 And Mosheh said, “Let no one leave any of it until morning.”
Exod 16:20
And they did not listen to Mosheh, so some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Mosheh was wroth with them.

On previous days, the manna spoiled in the morning as they transitioned to a new day.  On the Sabbath day, the manna that was collected the day before did not spoil in the morning as they transitioned into the Sabbath, but rather was good to be used for the whole day until the sun arose the following morning on the 1st day of the week.

The pattern of the day as the starting point of the day is found all throughout Scripture.

The Patterns Throughout Scripture

Gen 7:4 “For after seven more days I am sending rain on the earth, forty days and forty nights, and shall wipe from the face of the earth all that stand that I created.”

Gen 8:21 And יהוה smelled a soothing fragrance, and יהוה said in His heart, “Never again shall I curse the ground because of man, although the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, and never again smite all living creatures, as I have done,
Gen 8:22
as long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.”

Exod 18:13 And it came to be, on the next day, that Mosheh sat to rightly rule the people. And the people stood before Mosheh from morning until evening.

Jer 31:35 Thus said יהוה, who gives the sun for a light by day, and the laws of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who stirs up the sea, and its waves roar – יהוה of hosts is His Name:
Jer 31:36
“If these laws vanish from before Me,” declares יהוה, “then the seed of Yisra’ĕl shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.”

Jer 33:19 And the word of יהוה came to Yirmeyahu, saying,
Jer 33:20
“Thus said יהוה, ‘If you could break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there be not day and night in their season,
Jer 33:21
then My covenant could also be broken with Dawiḏ My servant – so that he shall not have a son to reign upon his throne – and with the Lĕwites, the priests, My attendants.

In all of the above examples, the day comes before the night.  This does not occur if the cycle of a day is from evening until evening, but rather the only way this pattern rings true is if the day begins at the sunrise.

The Babylonian Influence[3]

After the conquest of Jerusalem (587 bce), the Babylonians introduced their cyclic calendar (see above Babylonian calendars) and the reckoning of their regnal years from Nisanu 1, about the spring equinox. The Jews now had a finite calendar year with a New Year’s Day, and they adopted the Babylonian month names, which they continue to use. From 587 bce until 70 ce, the Jewish civil year was Babylonian, except for the period of Alexander the Great and the Ptolemies (332–200 bce), when the Macedonian calendar was used.

In the religious calendar, the commencement of the month was determined by the observation of the crescent New Moon, and the date of the Passover was tied in with the ripening of barley. The actual witnessing of the New Moon and observing of the stand of crops in Judaea were required for the functioning of the religious calendar. The Jews of the Diaspora, or Dispersion, who generally used the civil calendar of their respective countries, were informed by messengers from Palestine about the coming festivals. This practice is already attested for 143 bce. After the destruction of the Temple in 70 ce, rabbinic leaders took over from the priests the fixing of the religious calendar. Visual observation of the New Moon was supplemented and toward 200 ce, in fact, supplanted by secret astronomical calculation. But the people of the Diaspora were often reluctant to wait for the arbitrary decision of the calendar makers in the Holy Land. Thus, in Syrian Antioch in 328–342, the Passover was always celebrated in (Julian) March, the month of the spring equinox, without regard to the Palestinian rules and rulings. To preserve the unity of Israel, the patriarch Hillel II, in 358/359, published the “secret” of calendar making, which essentially consisted of the use of the Babylonian 19-year cycle with some modifications required by the Jewish ritual.

The application of these principles occasioned controversies as late as the 10th century ce. In the 8th century the Karaites, following Muslim practice, returned to the actual observation of the crescent New Moon and of the stand of barley in Judaea. But some centuries later they also had to use a precalculated calendar. The Samaritans, likewise, used a computed calendar.

The Jewish calendar in use today is lunisolar, the years being solar and the months lunar, but it also allows for a week of seven days. Because the year exceeds 12 lunar months by about 11 days, a 13th month of 30 days is intercalated in the third, sixth, eighth, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 19th years of a 19-year cycle. For practical purposes—e.g., for reckoning the commencement of the Sabbath—the day begins at sunset, but the calendar day of 24 hours always begins at 6 pm. The hour is divided into 1,080 parts (ḥalaqim; this division is originally Babylonian), each part (ḥeleq) equalling 3 1/3 seconds. The ḥeleq is further divided into 76 regaʿim.

The synodic month is the average interval between two mean conjunctions of the Sun and Moon, when these bodies are as near as possible in the sky, which is reckoned at 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes 3 1/3 seconds; a conjunction is called a molad. This is also a Babylonian value. In the calendar month, however, only complete days are reckoned, the “full” month containing 30 days and the “defective” month 29 days. The months Nisan, Sivan (Siwan), Av, Tishri, Shevaṭ, and, in a leap year, First Adar are always full; Iyyar, Tammuz, Elul, Ṭevet, and Adar (known as Second Adar, or Adar Sheni, in a leap year) are always defective, while Ḥeshvan (Ḥeshwan) and Kislev (Kislew) vary. The calendar, thus, is schematic and independent of the true New Moon.


There is strong Biblical evidence supporting a day beginning at sunrise from the first days of creation and when the work was being completed.  The additional information that the sunset to sunset observation is Babylonian in origin, it is apparent that a unbiased look must be taken at the Biblical definition of when a day begins without the preplaced idea of sunset to sunset.

Prov 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
Prov 4:19
The way of the wrong is like darkness; They do not know at what they stumble.

Mal 1:11 “For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My Name is great among nations. And in every place incense is presented to My Name, and a clean offering. For My Name is great among nations,” said יהוה of hosts.

The period traditionally known as “erev Shabbat” is, according to the Talmud, the complete day preceding the Sabbath rather than the evening of the Sabbath.  For lack of a better example, this is how Christmas Eve precedes Christmas Day.

In however you are led to observe the days, do not divide over understandings or chasten those who have a different view than yourself.  When Messiah comes and restores all things, it will be at that point that we will have all these issues cleared up for us and we can then choose to either follow The Creator’s Calendar or our own understanding – until then, we must do the best we can with the information that we have.

This entry was posted in Scripture Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *