Keith Hunt - When is the Sabbath to be Observed? Restitution of All
Things


  Home Navigation & Word Search

When is the Sabbath to be Observed?

Some claim it is from morning to morning


                      THE SIMPLE ANSWER

                             by

                         Keith Hunt



     There are some today who are loudly trying to proclaim to
all the Sabbath observing churches around the world, that the
Bible teaches the days really begin in the MORNING, from sun-rise
to sun-rise. They say we have been deceived in many ways,
to believe that we should observe the Sabbath from evening to
evening, from dusk to dusk.  They have their MANY arguments to
back their teaching that the day is from morning to morning. They
have their MANY technical arguments.  They have page after page
looking at technical words used in the Bible from the Hebrew and
from the Greek languages. They spend countless pages trying to
expound certain verses that to them are supposed to teach a
morning to morning time frame for the 24 hour day. They have
technical arguments, that quite frankly are at times very
difficult to follow, in answering the verses that are really
quite simple to read and believe, even by young children. They
have all this and more.
     It is not the purpose of this article to answer all the
technical arguments the above people put forth in advocating
their theory. Maybe one day, when I have the time, I will,
just for the sake of it, write an article to answer their
technical arguments. 
     But this article is for the simple minded, and I do not mean
that in any negative way, it is for the child-like minds, for
those who do not have the technical books, do not have a degree
in Hebrew or Greek, do not have any formal Theology training by
some "religious" school or college.
     I have said many times and I will say it once more, you can
understand the basic foundational doctrines of God, the ones He
wants you to be clear on, by just reading the Bible from cover to
cover. Yes, you will have to search the scriptures, collect all
the verses on any topic, let the easy plain ones help you to
understand the more difficult ones. But with those few keys to
Bible understanding, you can come to the truth on the issues and
topics of life that God wants you to know.

     Let's go to the beginning. Do you believe that the 7 days of
Genesis chapter one were SEVEN LITERAL 24 hour(near enough) days?

If you do, then you can continue reading. If you do not, then we
may as well say "goodbye" to each other right here, for
then your theology and mine are not the same.
     Let's work backwards from the 7th day God made and rested
upon and sanctified in the book of Genesis. Before that day
arrived there was a morning. After that morning God blessed and
sanctified the 7th day.  After the word "morning" in chapter 1:31
we are not told there was another evening or night before the
Lord blessed the 7th day and rested upon it.  Then before that
"morning" of verse 31 we are told there was an "evening."  In
this particular context when does the "morning" come after the
"evening"? Is it an hour later? Or is it four hours later? maybe
six hours later?  Well even a young child can understand that
morning does not arrive after whatever you think is the evening,
until the morning arrives, until the sun comes up. Morning does
not come at 12 mid-night, or at 2 p.m. Morning comes when morning
arrives, and as we are in this context talking about a literal 24
hour day, morning is obviously that part of the 24 hours when the
sun is up, and it is light.  I mean most small children know that
the day is divided up into TWO BASIC parts - NIGHT-TIME AND
DAY-TIME.  That gives us one day of about 24 hours. 
     Here in Genesis chapter one we are talking about 7 literal
days of approximately 24 hours to each day.
     Working our way back from the sixth day, the evening of the
sixth day comes AFTER the morning of the fifth day. Now when does
the dark or the night come? Well it comes AFTER a period of
daylight.  And the daylight of the fifth day is said to be after
the evening of the fifth day. When does the daylight part of a
day come? It comes after there has been a night part.  
     It is easy, you might like to try this with your young
children .  Say to them: "Now I want you to think of a 24 hour
day. What two parts is it divided into? "  I think they will
have no trouble with this question. They will answer, "Well it is
divided into NIGHT and DAY, or DAY and NIGHT."  Now take them to
the book of Genesis chapter one. Tell them that here God is
speaking of LITERAL 24 hour days.  Read verse 5 and 8 to them. 
Now ask them, "Is God dividing the day into two parts here?"  I
believe they will readily see the answer. Then ask them, "What do
you think the word 'evening' represents here in this one part of
the 24 hour day?"  I believe they will answer that it represents
the NIGHT part of the day.  Then ask them, "What do you think the
word 'morning' represents here?"  I think you will have a
response that it represent the DAY-LIGHT part of the 24 hour day.
     Now ask them, "Which part does God put FIRST?"  I believe
they will readily see and answer that it is the EVENING OR NIGHT
that comes first.  Ask them to read the rest of the chapter, and
see if God is CONSISTENT here at the beginning as to how he
divides the day into two parts. Ask them if there is a
consistency in which part is put FIRST.
     You may like to try this little test on some young child
that is not from a religious background, does not attend a
church, and has had no Bible training or teaching from anyone.

     There is no need to know the technical words of the Hebrew
in this passage for "evening" and "morning."  No need to go to
the Hebrew Lexicons.  It is quite obvious to those who believe
that these days of Genesis chapter one are literal 24 hours days,
that God is using whatever Hebrew word for "evening" to represent
that part of the whole day that is the one half of the day, the
NIGHT part. And it is just as obvious that whatever the Hebrew
word is for "morning" God was using it to represent that part of
the whole day that is the light or DAY part of the 24 hour day.

     It is just that SIMPLE my friends.  Right here in the
beginning, God tells us that the light was DAY, and the darkness
was NIGHT, then He goes on to give us the ORDER of those two
parts of the whole day. NIGHT or evening comes FIRST, and LIGHT
or morning comes SECOND!
     
     The Bible does not have to be complicated, not at all. If we
approach it with a child like mind, the Bible can be SIMPLE to
understand.  
     If God had chosen to start the day in the morning, and He
could have done, for He after all is God, and we are not. If He
had chosen to start the day in the morning, at sun-rise, He could
have easily had Moses write, ".....and the morning and the
evening were the first day."  It could have been very simple for
Moses to have written it this way, especially under the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

     What the Eternal is teaching us RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING, is
that He wants us to understand that the days BEGIN in the
EVENING, the darkness, the night, the time when the light of the
sun is no more.  As Jesus later when on earth said, "Are there
not 12 hours in the day, and the night comes when no man can
work."  Generally speaking, in round terms, two divisions to the
24 hour day, one called day or morning of about 12 hours, and one
called night or evening of about 12 hours.  In Genesis the word
evening representing the whole night, and the word morning
representing the whole day-light part of the day. For it takes
all that they represent before the second day can come, so those
words in this context represent about 24 hours of time.
     Yes, later those words "evening" and "morning" may be used
in more limited contexts, but the context of Genesis one is its
own context, and here they are terms for about 12 hours each.
Adding them together they make a 24 hour day. For only after that
length of time can the second day come.

     Now with all that clear in our minds, and as we come to the
very time of Moses and God instructing the children of Israel
about His Sabbath, or one particular Sabbath - the day of
atonement Sabbath in Lev.23:32, we find a simple statement that
says, "....form even to even shall you celebrate the Sabbath."

     What could be more clear to understand. It was not given
that we observe the Sabbath from morning to morning, but we are
to observe it from evening to evening.

     Now, will you agree with me that Israel was given the
Sabbath day to observe by God (you might like to read again
Exodus 16)? Yes, they were.  Will you agree with me that God
would have made it very clear to Moses from what time of the day
to start to observe the Sabbath, whether from the morning or from
the evening? Will you agree with me that Israel would have had
this truth of the time aspect, and they would have preserved it
as part of their culture?

     Yes, they went away from God at times, but the Eternal
usually brought them back, and in so doing His truth was
restored.  Yes, the house of Israel finally had to be taken
away and scattered among the nations, never as a block of people
returning to the Promised land. Yet, Judah remained faithful for
a time, with the basic truths of the Lord. Ah, yes, she also went
astray and God had to send her into captivity for 70 years to
Babylon.  But she was restored to Jerusalem under Ezra and
Nehemiah. They found the book of the law and truth and knowledge
was once more restored to Judah. Would you agree with me that the
truth of the Sabbath would have been restored, that God would
have revealed to them what hours to observe the Sabbath on, and
when the Sabbath started?  Would you agree with me that God would
have revealed to the MAIN body of Jewish leaders if the Sabbath
should have started from either the evening or the morning? We
are not here talking about an hour difference, but a whole bunch
of hours, I mean about 12 hours!  This is NO SMALL point!

     The basic correct time frame of keeping the Sabbath would
have been revealed to Ezra and Nehemiah.  From their time on the
Jews became fanatical about Sabbath observance.  They set up 600
or more rules and regulations for their followers to keep in
observing the Sabbath.  Most of the main religious bodies of
Judah, like the Pharisees and the Sadducees(and Jesus actually
said the scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses' seat - Mat.23)
agreed together as to WHEN to observe the Sabbath.  I know of no
argument between these groups that differed in as much as 12
hours as to when to start observing the Sabbath.  They may have
differed on HOW to observe the Sabbath, but no large difference
as to WHEN.

     We now move to the time of Christ. Oh, He had some
differences with the Pharisees on HOW to observe the Sabbath. He
was teaching and preaching for THREE YEARS and more around
Palestine and in their Synagogues.  We can read about how
the scribes and the Pharisees accused Jesus of HOW to observe the
Sabbath, claiming He broke the Sabbath. But the context of such
arguments shows it had NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH TIME, but
with what to DO on the Sabbath or what not to do.
     You can look in VAIN to find any verse in the four Gospels
where the Sadducees or the Pharisees came anywhere close to
accusing Jesus of not starting to observe the Sabbath at the
correct basic time period.
     Look, either way, if the Pharisees were keeping it from
morning to morning and Jesus was not, but evening to evening, or
the other way around, IT WOULD HAVE CAUSED SUCH A THEOLOGICAL
DEBATE  between the two(Jesus and the Pharisees), IT WOULD BE ALL
OVER THE NEW TESTAMENT!!  There would have been no way around it,
such a difference in Sabbath observing hours would have been
spoken about all over the four gospels. I mean this is the
Sabbath we are talking about, not how to cook your corn flakes,
or when to take out the garbage.
     Jesus said the scribes and Pharisees did sit in Moses' seat,
they did have some authority, they did have some knowledge of God
and some truths of the word. They were not totally in error on
everything. Even the Roman Catholic church understand certain
truths of the word, and they have never sat in Moses' seat. 
     We know from Jewish history that the Pharisees observed the
Sabbath from evening to evening, always did, and their literal
spiritual descendants to this day, still observe the Sabbath from
evening to evening, not morning to morning.  Jesus, had over
three years to tell His disciples and His followers that the
Pharisees were WAY OFF TRACK in observing the Sabbath from
evening to evening.  Can you imagine, something as important as
one of the very TEN commandments of God, being observed WRONG
by the main religious leaders of Judah, AND that they should have
been observing it from morning to morning, AND JESUS NOT SAYING
ONE WORD ABOUT IT TO THEM OR HIS DISCIPLES!  It just blows my
mind to think that Jesus would have just ignored such a mistake
on the part of the Pharisees. At least Christ should have wanted
His followers to know the truth of a morning to morning
observance of the Sabbath, if it had always been the Father's
intention and wish for the Sabbath to be kept between the hours
of morning to morning. 
     Somewhere in the four gospels there was plenty of time for
Jesus to have pulled His disciples to one side, and said, "Look
fellows, the scribes and Pharisees have for centuries been
teaching you to observe the Sabbath at the wrong hours. They
missed the boat by about 12 hours. They have taught the Sabbath
should be observed from evening to evening, but I want you to
know, so you can tell all the followers I shall have down
through the time to come, that the Sabbath should be kept from
the rising of the sun to the rising of the sun - those are the
true and correct hours."

     It is impossible for me to imagine that Jesus would not have
personally corrected during His over three years ministry, the
error of the scribes and Pharisees as to their wrong time in
observing the Sabbath hours.  Certainly His example of not
following them in such a matter, week after week, month after
month, would have had them breathing down His neck and arguing
with Him over the issue. They noticed how the disciples did
not fast, or did not wash their hands like they did, and came to
Him about it. They noticed how the disciples plucked the ears of
corn on the Sabbath day and wanted to argue with Christ over the
matter. To think they would have noticed that Jesus and His
disciples observed the Sabbath from morning to morning AND DID
NOT CONFRONT HIM ON THE MATTER IN OVER THREE YEARS, is beyond any
reasonable thinking or sound logic. No, such a life style by
Christ could not have been hidden.  The Pharisees would
have argued with Him about it over and over again. Such an
argument would have earned at least one verse in the gospels
somewhere, for sure.

     The scribes and Pharisees observed the Sabbath from evening
to evening and so did Jesus. They never argued over that point. 
Jesus never corrected them on it. He never instructed His
disciples any differently on that point of the Sabbath
observance. 
Jesus caused a lot of controversy in Judah, but not on WHEN to
start to observe the Sabbath. Jesus observed the Sabbath as did
all the main body of Judah, from evening to evening. They would
have known this from the days of Moses.  The main body of Jews
have observed this evening to evening Sabbath from the time of
Christ and the Pharisees that sat in Moses seat at that time.  
     The main body of Jews are a living WITNESS down from the
time of Moses, that the Sabbath is not observed from morning to
morning but from evening to evening. Then add to that:

                THE WITNESS OF THE NT CHURCH

     The Church of God is granted the Holy Spirit on the Day of
Pentecost(Acts 2). They go forth in POWER preaching. But at the
same time, they attend the Temple and Synagogues, move among the
accepted and main body of Jewish religious society. They perform
some pretty mighty healing miracles. But in short order they run
headlong into the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the leaders of the
Sanhedrin, the same group of people that had planned the death of
Jesus a few days before the Passover, and had been victorious in
having it carried out.  Soon, the anger of this Sanhedrin group
was furiously bent towards this group of people that were now
claiming this Christ, that had been killed, was alive and well. 
As you read through the first number of chapters of the book of
Acts, a few things are quite evident. 
     This newly formed group of people thought they belonged to
the overall culture of Judaism.  They moved among the main
established groups of Judaism.  They preached in the Temple, and
they did not dis-associate themselves from mainstream Judaism. 
They did have one unique doctrine and teaching, that stood them
out like a beacon on a hill, from mainstream Judaism, and that
was that the man called Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah,
was dead but is eternally alive, and has returned to His Father
in heaven, until He is sent back to rule the world. This teaching
also contained within it that only through this Christ could sins
be forgiven and people could be saved into eternal life.
     As far as Judaism, and certainly as far as the Roman Empire
was concerned, this new sect of people who were preaching Christ,
would have been thought of as just another group or sect within
Judaism.
     When you read through those early chapters of the book of
Acts, the main conflict you find between the NT church and the
Jewish leaders was over the man Christ Jesus. It was not over any
deep major doctrinal difference.  It was not over Feast day
observance, clean or unclean foods laws, tithing laws, sacrifices
in the Temple, a Levitical priesthood, any of the Ten
commandments being done away with, and other such things.  And
there is not one verse devoted to tell us that there was some
conflict between the NT church and Judaism concerning the hours
to observe the Sabbath on.  There is no conflict mentioned about
a 12 hour difference between when the body of Judaism and the
body of people who were following this man Christ, were to start
to keep the Sabbath. And it is very unlikely that Luke(who wrote
Acts) would not have mentioned such a discrepancy between the two
bodies of religious believers, when both founded their teachings
upon the same book - the law, prophets and writings - the Old
Testament. 
     The Sabbath command and its observance was as much a part of
Jewish life as was circumcision.  It could not have been ignored
in the NT if there was a 12 hour observance difference between
the NT church and Judaism. Just as the conflict over circumcision
was not ignored by the NT, and the Church of God.

     Then for the sake of argument, let us suppose that this
revelation of truth, that the Sabbath should be observed from
morning to morning, was not revealed to the Church until later,
some years later, after the Holy Spirit had come.  Before that
time, when this truth was revealed(supposing now it is truth),
the Church was observing the Sabbath from evening to evening as
were the Pharisee/Sadducee Jews and all mainstream religious
Jews of the time. Then the Spirit reveals to the Church its error
on when to start the Sabbath.  Would it be done when all the
Church was gathered together and all the ministers were there, so
everyone would clearly know the error and the new revealed
truth? How would the Spirit speak to such a gathering of people
and ministers? With an audible voice? I guess anything is
possible for God, so it is written, but that was not the
way it was done with the new truth on "circumcision" revealed to
the Church. No, they finally had to call for a ministerial
conference on the subject, because of the huge problems it was
causing, and the back and forth arguments from both sides of the
issue.

     Now, do you think a new revealed truth of observing the
Sabbath from morning to morning, and not evening to evening,
would have not caused just as much a conflict in the NT Church,
with endless arguments from both sides, as did circumcision?  Oh,
you bet your life on it, it sure would have!  With an institution
like the Sabbath, as with the institution of circumcision,  I
tell you all hell would have broken loose within the Church
over this time issue.  And another ministerial conference would
have been called, just like the one in Acts 15, to decide the
matter for the people of God. Letters to all the churches
everywhere would have been sent out to tell the people of God
that new light from the Spirit, had revealed to them that they
were in error in observing the Sabbath from evening to evening,
and now it should be from morning to morning.
     
     No such doctrinal conflict of time over the Sabbath(we are
talking about a 12 hour difference or there abouts) EVER CAME UP
IN THE NT CHURCH, NOR WITH JUDAISM AS TO WHEN THEY STARTED
OBSERVING THE SABBATH.  No such evening/morning conflict existed
in the Church of God under the apostles, or between the Church of
God and Judaism, simply BECAUSE THERE WAS NO CONFLICT PERIOD!
     
     The NT Church of God observed the evening to evening Sabbath
just like the mainstream religion of Judaism did. 

     Then we have the testimony of the apostle Paul, and his life
of religion in the world of the Pharisees and the Church of God. 
Paul tells us in his writings that he was indeed a Pharisee, and
a great one at that, excelling above many his equals, in the
Jewish religion, taught under the feet of the great Gamaliel.  He
then observed the Sabbath as the Pharisees did for many years.
They observed it from evening to evening, as their descendants in
Judaism do to this very day.  Then Paul was stuck down by Christ
and converted to the true light. He said all that he had before
he counted but as dung if he could win Christ Jesus. 
     Paul tells us in the book of Galatians, that what he
preached and taught was not from men, but that he was personally
taught by Christ himself.  Was Paul taught that the Sabbath was
being incorrectly observed as to TIME?  Was he taught by Christ
that the Sabbath should be observed from morning to morning?  If
so, and if he started to observe it that way, then the NT is
silent about it.  And do you not think that if Paul observed the
Sabbath from morning to morning it would not have been noticed by
others in the Church? Do you think Paul would have kept silent
about this new truth, if Christ had taught him about it?  There
is no way!  Again, through Paul this truth would have come out,
and wow!  You would have had TWO huge debates flaming their way
within the Church - circumcision and the time to begin Sabbath
observance.  Paul was revealed the NT truth about circumcision.
He knew the truth of that from the beginning of his ministry
and fought for it loud and clear. There is no word from his mouth
about the days having to be started from the morning, no word
from his mouth about observing the Sabbath from morning to
morning, or observing any of the holy days of the feasts of the
Lord from morning to morning.
     Paul alone is testimony that such an observance in the NT
Church of keeping the Sabbath from morning to morning NEVER
EXISTED! 
     Would God only NOW in this 20th century, decide to reveal
this truth about the Sabbath (supposing for sake of argument it
is truth, which it is not)?  The Spirit of God was working
POWERFULLY in the days of the apostles,  and they were really men
called of God to do His work, turning the world up-side-down as
one scripture says. Could such an important truth concerning WHEN
to observe the Sabbath be left unrevealed to them, and only now
be revealed to us right at the end time?  Did all those from
when....way back when, keep it incorrectly? When did the mistake
start, sometime after Moses, sometime after Ezra?  We know the
Pharisees observed the Sabbath from evening to evening as long as
they existed and they came before the time of Christ. We have
seen Christ and the NT Church had no conflict within themselves
or with the Pharisees over an evening/morning issue.  So if it
was wrong, if they were all in error, then this was a sin they
were all guilty of, EVEN JESUS CHRIST, and so we have no savior,
and no salvation!
     Yes it is just that important. This is no small matter these
teachers of a morning to morning Sabbath observance preach.

     Quite frankly this is a deceptive HERESY!   Jesus warned
that in the last days many would come saying He was the Christ
but would deceive many.  We have many deceptions out there within
the Christianity of this world, but we also have many deceptions
that are floating around the Church of God. They come in all
shapes and sizes.  You need to keep your nose in the Bible, for
Jesus said that before He returned deception would be so great
that only the very elect would not be deceived(Mat.24:24).
             
                    ..................................

Written January 1998


 
  Home Top of Page


Other Articles of Interest:
  Sabbath Arguments Answered The First day, is it the Lord's day? Festivals of the New Testament

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help