What Is A True Biblical Day?
In this modern day and age most people are accustomed to a full day being equal to a 24 hour period beginning at midnight. However in the scriptures this is not so. Often times most people don’t even consider that the Hebrew Israelite’s were accustom to observing time differently. A full day first begins at sunset into the night and ending at sunset completing a whole day.
Where Did Time Keeping Originate?
Now we are not sure if this was an Israelite custom handed down from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to Abraham and to his offspring being Israel, or if this was straitened out by YHVH Himself through the books of Moses at Mt. Sinai. Also many think it is a natural observation of the God given common sense used to interpret the works of Gods creation. Ether one of these are excellent possibilities.
But as for the source of the method of time keeping used today beginning a day at midnight and ending a day at midnight was started with the Babylonian custom of sunrise to sunrise to honor their god. A time method adopted later by the Romans that was again later modified to midnight to midnight. Rome too used this method of time keeping to honor their god of which was a clone of the Babylonians god but instead with a Roman Latin name, attire, and character traits. The Roman Catholic Church still today marks this form of time keeping by holding at the midnight of Christmas a mass noting the beginning of another day and the birth of Jesus. In the ancient republic of Rome they did this also to commemorate the rebirth of their sun god.
What Is The Creation Order Of A Hebrew Day?
Lets start with defining what a Hebrew day is. We can easily do this in [Genesis 1:2-4] first by establishing its creative order;
“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of Elohim was moving over the surface of the waters. Then Elohim said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. Elohim saw that the light was good; and Elohim separated the light from the darkness.”
So by this we first see in YHVH’s creative order that “darkness”=(H2822: ‘choshek’) was over the surface of the deep. After this then YHVH said “Let there be light, and light became”.
So by this order “light”=(H216: ‘ore’) was created after the existence of darkness to “separate the light from darkness.”
So now that we know the creative order of a day lets now figure out what a FULL day consist of.
*What Is The Whole Of A Hebrew Day?
This is important because some think night is not a part of a full day through several misunderstandings of scripture based on not looking closely at the detail of the Hebrew.
We can figure this out by looking first at Genesis 1:5;
“Elohim called the “light”=(H216: ‘ore’) “day”=(H3117: ‘yom’), and the “darkness”=(H2822: ‘choshek’) He called “night”=(H3951: ‘layil’). And there was evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’) and there was “morning”=(H1242: ‘boqer’), “one-day”=(H259: ‘echad’ + H3117 ‘yom’).” ~(Genesis 1:5)
Now note that YHVH called “light” a different Hebrew word, and “day” a different word, also note that He called “darkness” a different Hebrew word, and “night” a different word.
This is important to point out because anywhere in the scripture where the word “day”(H3117: ‘yom’) is used, it could also be used to define only the period of light in a day, and not a WHOLE day which first includes a night.
Note: Day=“yom” in the Hebrew is often added to pair up with other words for a context to help signify what is revealed, and brought to light. Darkness however is not often used for such a contextual clarification.
So how do we know that a Whole day consist of a night and also a day?
First where it says “Elohim called the light day, and the darkness He called night” …it notes a full cycle and its order. But again in the same passage to clarify the fullness of a day He again says,
“..And there was evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’), and there was morning=(H1242: ‘boqer’)”
…which the two come together to make “ ..One=(H259: ‘echad’) Day=(H3117 ‘yom’)”, One-Day.
In the Hebrew “echad yom” would be best translated into the English as “First Day” which is a complete day containing both the evening, and the morning. Now this was not vain counting. These were names of each day of the week. In the Hebrew they would say “First Day” just like we would say “Monday”. Now most of us who speak English have no clue what the word “Monday” means, but the Hebrews knew what “echad yom” ..the ”first day” meant.
Note: “One”=(H259: ‘echad’) in the Hebrew could also signify the making of two different things into one=”echad” by joining them together as if they are “echad”/one. (Read: Genesis 2:4, & Ezekiel 37:17)
Now this pattern of complete days repeats itself and continues on for all 7 days in Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31, and also Genesis 2:2;
“Echad Yom” = First Day -(H259)
“Shnee Yom” = Second Day -(H8145)
“Shleshie Yom” = Third Day -(H7992)
“Rabiee Yom” = Forth Day – (H7243)
“Chmishee Yom” = Fifth Day – (H2549)
“Hshshie Yom” = Sixth Day – (H8345)
“Hshbeiee Yom” = Seventh Day -(H7637) …also known as Sabbath.
All for these days consist both of an evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’) and a morning=(H1242: ‘boqer’)” forming a complete day.
Now some have made the argument the “evening”=(H6153: ‘ereb’) does not mean evening, but that it means morning, or the “breaking of day”. This argument is wrong and luckily YHVH designed Hebrew to be a self defining language where each letter defines each Hebrew word.
ARB/’ereb’=Ayin(meaning: eye, to see), Resh(meaning: a person), Beth(meaning: house, or covering)
(H6153: ‘ereb’) could easily translate to: “Covering a persons eyes to see”, or “the seeing of a person is housed”.
Even similar words like (H6150 & H6151: ‘areb’) means: “to mix together and grow dark”
So just in the defining of the Hebrew word alone this argument is full of error.
Is Their Scripture based proof?
Yes much more…
“By these, moreover, you will be made unclean: whoever touches their carcasses becomes unclean until evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’), and whoever picks up any of their carcasses shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’). “ ~(Leviticus 11:24-25)
…A person considered “clean” on the next day.
In this its specifically notes that after “Sun set” “Sun”=(H8121 ‘shemesh’) “sets”=(H935 ‘bo’) …that a person is clean;
“No man of the descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or who has a discharge, may eat of the holy gifts until he is clean. And if one touches anything made unclean by a corpse or if a man has a seminal emission, or if a man touches any teeming things by which he is made unclean, or any man by whom he is made unclean, whatever his uncleanness; a person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening, and shall not eat of the holy gifts unless he has bathed his body in water. But when the “Sun”=(H8121 ‘shemesh’) “sets”=(H935 ‘bo’), he will be clean, and afterward he shall eat of the holy gifts, for it is his food.” ~(Leviticus 22:4-7)
Very obvious is the following,
"It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’), from evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’) until evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’) you shall keep your sabbath." ~(Leviticus 23:32)
Again “Sun”=(H8121 ‘shemesh’) “sets”=(H935 ‘bo’) ..after “Sun set” a man is clean, but this scripture notes that when evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’) is approaching he may cleanse himself;
"If there is among you any man who is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, then he must go outside the camp; he may not reenter the camp. But it shall be when evening=(H6153: ‘ereb’) approaches, he shall bathe himself with water, and at “Sun”=(H8121 ‘shemesh’) “set”=(H935 ‘bo’) he may reenter the camp.” ~(Deuteronomy 23:10-11)
Here you also can get no obvious or descriptive in the definition of what a full end of a Hebrew day as the “day light slackens to evening” day=(‘yom’ meaning: light), slackens=(H7503), (‘areb’: H6150 = H6153: ‘ereb’)
Even defineing middle of the day light as noon=(H5186: ‘natah) day=(‘yom’) …or the stretching out of the day time, aka: middle of the day;
“On the fifth day he arose to go early in the morning=(H1242: ‘boqer’), and the girl’s father said, "Please sustain yourself, and wait until afternoon"; so both of them ate. When the man arose to go along with his concubine and servant, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, "Behold now, the day has drawn to a close; please spend the night. Lo, the day is coming to an end; spend the night here that your heart may be merry. Then tomorrow you may arise early for your journey so that you may go home." But the man was not willing to spend the night, so he arose and departed and came to a place opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). And there were with him a pair of saddled donkeys; his concubine also was with him.” ~(Judges 19:8-10)
Now in (Judges 14:12) Samson gives the men of Philistine time to answer his riddle for a reward,
"Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes.”
…After a series of messing with Samson’s wife again “Sun set” “Sun”=(H8121 ‘shemesh’) “set”=(H935 ‘bo’) …is used here again showing that the men of the Philistines came back with a answer at the very last moment of the final day at its end,
“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 found out my riddle." ~(Judges 14:18)
In (Mark 1:21) it notes that a “immediately on Sabbath Yeshua was teaching in the Synagogue” and when a man with an unclean spirit disrupted the synagog Yeshua rebuke the spirit. Late Yeshua went to visit Simon’s Mother-in-law and raised her by the hand, removing her fever. Then she immediately began ministering to them. Verse 1:32 of Mark makes it clear, “When evening came, after the sun had set” …Sabbath was obviously over .
Even the people who were observing the Sabbath would not drag their sick around, it appears that sabbath had ended until they brought them.
More “NT” proof;
“But they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over." So He went in to stay with them.” ~(Luke 24:29)
In (Matthew 27:57) it notes that after waiting till evening then Joseph then bandaged Yeshua.
In (Luke 23:53-56) Shows a the preparation day before the High Sabbath of Passover begins.
Note also: (Mark 15:42, and John 19:31)
…there are several more scriptures to prove this but these should be enough.
The Proofs Found Outside Of Scripture:
-Take into account the long noted 1500 years and beyond of Judian tradition in keeping Sabbath from evening to evening .
-The Book of Jubilees – (2nd Century B.C.E.) –
"Remember the commandment which the Lord commanded thee concerning the Passover, that thou shouldst celebrate it in its season on the fourteenth of the first month, that thou shouldst kill it before it is evening, and that they should eat it by night on the evening of the fifteenth from the time of the setting of the sun."
"Let the children of Israel come and observe Passover on the day of its fixed time, on the fourteenth day of the first month, between the evenings, from the third part of the day to the third part of the night, for two portions of the day are given to light, and a third part to the evening."
"This is that which the Lord commanded thee that thou shouldst observe it between the evenings. And it is not permissible to slay it during any period of the light, but during the period bordering on the evening, and let them eat it at the time of the evening until the third part of the night, and whatever is left over of all its flesh from the third part of the night and onwards, let them burn with fire." (Each ‘part’ was approximately 4 hours long). ‘Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English’ by R.H. Charles, chapter 49.
This shows that, as early as two centuries before Messiah, there were Jews who believed the Passover was to be sacrificed at the end of Abib 14 and eaten on the 15th. This also shows that this practice did not begin after the destruction of the second temple in 70 C.E.
-Josephus – (late 1st century C.E.) –
"… accordingly, on the occassion of the feast called Passover, at which they sacrifice from the ninth hour to the eleventh hour , [3 p.m. to 5 p.m.] and a little fraternity, as it were, gather round each sacrifice, of not fewer than ten persons" War 6.9.3.
Josephus also wrote about the time of the evening sacrifice that was offered between the evenings as was the Passover.
"…but did still twice each day, in the morning and about the ninth hour [3 p.m.], offer their sacrifices on the altar;"
Antiquities of the Jews 14.4.3
This was the practice in the days of Pompey (65 B.C.E.). It continued this way until the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E.
Writing on the subject of offering incense as it was practiced in Moses’ time, Josephus says;
"… but incense was to be offered twice a day, both before sunrising and at sunsetting ." Antiq. 3.8.3.
The phrase "at sunsetting" has led some to believe that incense and the evening sacrifice were offered originally at sunset, but later changed to mid-afternoon. Note that Josephus does not say "sunset" or "sundown", but "sunsetting." To a Jew, the sun is setting from noon until it disappears below the horizon. Even to an American today, the sun is continually descending until sundown. So Josephus does not contradict himself, nor does he teach that a change was made.
-Philo – (early 1st century C.E.) –
"After the New Moon comes the fourth feast, called the Crossing-feast, which the Hebrews in their native tongue call Pascha. In this festival many myriads of victims from noon till eventide are offered by the whole people … The day on which this national festivity occurs may very properly be noted. It is the 14th of the month …" ‘De Specialibus Legibus, 2,’ 145, 149.
Again, these offerings took place at the end of the 14th. Philo wrote from about 20 B.C.E. to 45 C.E. So this would have been the practice in Messiah’s day.
Another treatise ascribed to Philo, ‘Quasestiones et Solutiones in Genesin et in Exodum,’ states the time of the Passover sacrifice to be after 3 p.m.
-The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge says: "The civil day was reckoned by the Hebrews from sunset to sunset, so that the day began at that time both on ordinary occasions and on Sabbaths and feasts."
-Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary as it explains how the Israelites determined their day:
"The Israelites, who divided the year according to a lunar calendar, considered the day to start in the evening and end the following evening. Accordingly they celebrated the Passover at sunset (Ex. l2:l8 and Lev. 23:32; Neh. l3:l9). To them a 24-hour day consisted of a night followed by a day (‘evening and morning,’ Dan. 8:26 ; ‘a night and a day,’ 2 Cor. ll:25)," p. 266.
-Septuagint – (3rd Century B.C.E.) –
Lev.23:5 gives a literal translation of the Hebrew "ben ha-erebim" (Greek: anameson ton hesperinon = "at between the evenings.") However, in Ex.12:6,12 and Num.28:4,8, ben ha-erebim is translated as "toward evening," (Greek: pros hesperan). Ex.29:39,41 translates ben ha-erebim as ‘to deilinon’ in Greek meaning "in the afternoon" or "toward evening."
This shows that the Hebrew phrase ben ha-erebim was understood to mean the evening at the end of the day approximately 300 years before Messiah.
"Eustathius, in a note on the seventeenth book of the Odyssey, shows that the Greeks too held that there were two evenings, one which they called the latter evening, at the close of the day; and the other the former evening, which commenced immediately after noon . . ." McClintock and Strong, vol. VII, 1877, p.735.
-Irenaeus – (120 – 202 C.E.) –
"Of the day of His passion, too, he was not ignorant; but foretold Him, after a figurative manner, by the name given to the passover; and at that very festival, which had been proclaimed such a long time previously by Moses, did our Lord suffer, thus fulfilling the passover. And he did not describe the day only, but the place also, and the time of day at which the sufferings ceased , and the sign of the setting of the sun, saying: "Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any other of thy cities which the LORD thy God shall choose that His name be called on there, thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, towards the setting sun ." Ante-Nicean Fathers, Vol.1, pg.473.
I hope this full study on what a full Hebrew day is has helped increase your understanding. If you enjoyed please “like” our Facebook “Protestant Hebrews” Thank you, and Yah Bless!