"when the sun was setting" (Lk. 4:40) = "when evening came, when the sun had set" (Mk. 1:32) then "early in the morning" (Mk. 1:35) is "while still dark" (Mk. 1:35) is described as "when day came" (Lk. 4:42). This the day had begun before sunrise.
Likewise Miriam of Magdala came to the tomb "while it was still dark" but this was already "the first day of the week" (Jn. 20:1). Again, the day had begun before sunrise.
Acts 20:7 is a great example.
"And on the first day of the week. the taught ones having gathered together to break bread, Shaul intended to depart the next day, was reasoning with them and was extending the word till midnight."
(Acts 20:7 ISR)
"And on the first day of the week, when we were assembled to break bread, Paul spoke with them, because the next day, he was ready to depart: and he continued to speak until the middle of the night."
(Acts 20:7 HRV)
Now this is a passage Sunday keepers have tried to use to "prove" that Paul was keeping a Sunday (First day) Sabbath. However, if this was a Sunday morning Church service, then Paul really was long winded when his teaching "extended... until midnight". Actuallu this was an evening Havdalah meeting on what we call Saturday night which on the Hebrew calendar is "on the first day of the week". Notice that Paul intended to depart "the next day" which referred not to the next calendar day (Monday) but to the "next daytime" (Sunday Morning) because he had rested on the Sabbath, and was sleeping by night, and would leave in the morning. This is also a great example of the meaning of MACHAR "the next day" which in Hebraic thought can refer either to the next calendar day, or the next daytime.
An alternate viewpoint for the open minded among us...
The best place to start is at the start. What does the creation in Genesis reveal?
Genesis: chapter 1:1-5
In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth. And the earth came to be formless and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of Elohim was moving on the face of the waters. And Elohim said, "Let light come to be," and light came to be. And Elohim saw the light, that it was good. And Elohim separated the light from the darkness. And Elohim called the light 'day' (yom) and the darkness He called 'night.' And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the first day.
The Light was not sunlight for the first 3 days and 3 nights, this is a picture of Yahushua, in the earth.
John 12:46 "I am come a light into the world..."
We know that the "light" (Yahushua) was the first creation:
...who is the likeness of the invisible Elohim, the first-born of all creation. Because in Him were created all that are in the heavens and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or rulerships or principalities or authorities - all have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all, and in Him all hold together.
LIGHT=Or=Yom, DARKNESS=Night=Layelah, EVENING=Erev, MORNING=Boker, FIRST=Echad.
Hebrew is cyclic rather than linear thinking.
Erev = mixing or a blending. You can't have it without both Light and darkness, which means the Light was there prior to the darkness.
Morning = Boker, boker is a breaking, dividing, separation, delineation or demarcation
All was stated as happening in order, then boker occurs, and that was the Echad or unified day. This is not the word Rishone for first.
So, to simplify:
The daylight part of a 24 hour period is called "DAY" (Hebrew: YOM).
EVENING (EREV) =Mixing of the Light and darkness after sunset
MORNING (BOKER) =break of day, which is the sun breaking the horizon.
Note: It is true that "yom" can mean an undefined period of time unless it is defined, as it is in the Genesis account ("there came to be evening and there came to be morning")
This account of day one is no different than describing the age of a child. You are not one year old to you have lived a whole year. Likewise, Genesis describes the events that took place, then night to morning an is called "the first day".
DAY (Create) - EVENING - MORNING. It's really that simple. A day is morning to morning.
At the end of the six days of creation we read:
Genesis 2:1-3Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their array. And on the seventh day (yom) Elohim completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day (yom) from all His work which He had made. And Elohim blessed the seventh day (yom) and set it apart, because on it He rested from all His work which Elohim in creating had made.
So to clarify when a day starts, scripture informs that Elohim rested and blessed the SEVENTH DAYLIGHT PERIOD (YOM). Not the sixth night!
This is NOT saying a day is 12 hours. A full "day" in the creation account is defined as 24 hours starting in the morning.
If you believe that "there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the first day" supports a day beginning in the evening then you must believe that a day is 12 hours. As we will see from Scripture this is not the case.
WHAT SAITH THE SCRIPTURES?
As we continue through Scripture, we find many narratives that define a 24 hour day beginning in the morning, The following are some of the most straightforward:
And Elohim made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars.
Note: Why would Yahweh start a day with the "lesser light"?
and to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness...
Note: The order: day-night, light-darkness...
So they made their father drink wine that night. And the first-born went in and lay with her father, and he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she arose. 34 And it came to be on the next day that the first-born said to the younger, "See, I lay with my father last night.
Note: The "next" day followed the night.
And Mosheh stretched out his rod over the land of Mitsrayim, and YHWH brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. Morning came, and the east wind brought the locusts.
Note: "that day" belongs to "that night", then the "Morning came"
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. And he said to them, "This is what YHWH has said, 'Tomorrow is a rest, a Sabbath set-apart to YHWH. 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.' " And they laid it up till morning, as Mosheh commanded. And it did not stink, and no worm was in it. And Mosheh said, "Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to YHWH, today you do not find it in the field. "Gather it six days, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there is none." And it came to be that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.
Note: Yahweh said "Tomorrow" was Sabbath, then "morning" comes and Mosheh said "eat it today, for today is a Sabbath".
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.
Note: the "next day" starts in the "morning".
And Aharon saw and built an altar before it. And Aharon called out and said, "Tomorrow is a festival to YHWH." 6 And they rose early on the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
Note: Aaron said "tomorrow" is a festival and the "next day" they "rose early". You don't rise at night.
This is the offering of Aharon and his sons, which they bring near to YHWH, beginning on the day when he is anointed: one-tenth of an e(phah of fine flour as a daily grain offering, half of it in the morning and half of it at night.
Note: The offering was to be brought to Yahweh in "the morning", the "beginning of the day".
As for the flesh of the slaughtering of his peace offering for thanksgiving, it is eaten the same day it is offered, he does not leave any of it until morning."
Note: How can you eat your peace offering "the same day" and "not leave any of it till morning" if your day starts at night!?
And the people were up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail. He who has least gathered ten omers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.
Note: "that day" belongs to "that night", then the "next day" comes
6 And Yehoshua tore his garments, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of YHWH until evening, both he and the elders of Yisra'e(l, and they put dust on their heads... 10 And YHWH said to Yehoshua, "Rise up! Why are you lying on your face?... 13 "Rise up, set the people apart, and you shall say, 'Set yourselves apart for tomorrow, because thus said YHWH Elohim of Yisra'e(l, "That which is under the ban is in your midst..."
Note: It was already "evening" when Yahweh told Yehoshua to set themselves apart for "tomorrow", so a day cannot begin at evening.
And the man arose to go, he and his concubine and his servant. But his father-in-law, the young woman's father, said to him, "See, the day is now drawing toward evening. Please spend the night. See, the day is coming to an end. Stay here, and let your heart be glad. And you shall rise early tomorrow for your journey, and you shall go to your tent."
Note: Rising "early tomorrow" implies the start of the day being morning.
1 Samuel 19:10-11
and Sha'ul sought to smite the spear through Dawid, and into the wall, but he slipped away from the presence of Sha'ul, so he smote the spear into the wall. And Dawid fled and escaped that night. And Sha'ul sent messengers to Dawid's house to watch him and to put him to death in the morning. And Mikal, Dawid's wife, informed him, saying, "If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you are put to death."
Note: Again, It was already "night" when Mikal told Dawid to flee for "in the morning", or "tomorrow" he was to be killed, so a day cannot begin at evening.
1 Samuel 28:8-19
8 And Sha'ul disguised himself and put on other garments, and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Please divine for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name."... 11 So he said, "Bring up Shemu'e(l for me."... 16 Then Shemu'e(l said, "And why do you ask me, seeing YHWH has turned aside from you and has become your enemy?... 19 "Further, YHWH also gives Yisra'e(l with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons are with me. YHWH also gives the army of Yisra'e(l into the hand of the Philistines."
Note: If Sha'ul came at "night" how could fight the Philistines "tomorrow"?
1 Samuel 30:17
And Dawid smote them from twilight until the evening of the next day. And none of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled.
Note: If a day were from evening to evening the Scripture would not read "the next day".
2 Samuel 24:13-15
Gad then came to Dawid and informed him. And he said to him, "Should seven years of scarcity of food come to you in your land? Or would you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or should there be three days' plague in your land? Now know and see what answer I take back to Him who sent me." And Dawid said to Gad, "I am in great trouble. Please let us fall into the hand of YHWH, for His compassion is great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man." And YHWH sent a plague upon Yisra'e(l from the morning till the appointed time, and from Dan to Be'e(rsheba seventy thousand men of the people died.
Note: The "three day" plague started in the "morning", not at night.
The kindnesses of YHWH! For we have not been consumed, For His compassions have not ended. They are new every morning, Great is Your trustworthiness.
Note: "new every morning", because morning is a new day.
And YHWH Elohim appointed a plant and made it come up over Yonah, to be a shade for his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Yonah greatly rejoiced over the plant. But as morning dawned the next day Elohim appointed a worm which attacked the plant so that it withered.
Note: "morning" starts the "next day".
And it shall be one day which is known to YHWH, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light.
Note: A 24 hour day is mentioned here with the day preceding the night.
Now after the Sabbath, toward dawn on the first day of the week, Miryam from Magdala and the other Miryam came to see the tomb.
Note: In all these examples the Sabbath ended at "dawn"
And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
And on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared
Note: The account given in John is the only one that disagrees with these three witnesses - John 20:1 And on the first day of the week Miryam from Magdala came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. The fact that 1 out of 4 disagrees means the translation of "still"dark may need to be examined. The Greek word "eti" Strong's# 2089 can also mean "no longer".
And when evening came, His taught ones went down to the sea, and entering into the boat, they were going over the sea toward Kephar Nahum. And it had already become dark, and Yahushua had not yet come to them. And the sea was rising because a great wind was blowing. When they had rowed about five or six kilometres, they saw Yahushua walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were afraid. And He said to them, "It is I, do not be afraid." They wished therefore to take Him into the boat, and at once the boat was at the land where they were going. On the next day..."
Note: This is straightforward. It was already dark at night when these things took place... the the next day.
And they arrested them, and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening.
Note: Again dark, then the next day.
And in the night a vision appeared to Sha'ul: A man of Makedonia was standing, begging him and saying, "Come over to Makedonia and help us." And when he saw the vision, immediately we sought to go to Makedonia, concluding that the Master had called us to bring the Good News to them. Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrake, and the next day came to Neapolis.
Note: The next day follows the night yet again.
31 So the soldiers, as they were commanded, took Sha'ul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 And on the next day they left the horsemen to go on with him, and returned to the barracks.
Note: Again, the next day follows the night
Having the night as the first part of the day seems to be a reversal of many of Yahushua's parables which He describes Himself as the us as "light of the world" (Jn 8:12, Jn 9:5, Jn 12:46, etc.) and we should "walk in the light" and "not in darkness" (Jn 8:12, Jn 11:9-10, Jn 12:35, Jn 9:4, etc.)
Many of the New Covenant letters likewise use similar parables.
1 Thessalonians 5:5
You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
See also: Rom 13:12-13, Eph 5:8, 1Thess 5:7-8. Why start a day when we all sleep?
With so many Scriptural references defining the day and when it begins, one wonders what compels some to hold to the traditions of the evening to evening Sabbath? To be fair there are a couple of references that can cause confusion if taken out of context.
And YHWH spoke to Mosheh, saying, "On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a set-apart gathering for you. And you shall afflict your beings, and shall bring an offering made by fire to YHWH. "And you do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before YHWH your Elohim. "For any being who is not afflicted on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. "And any being who does any work on that same day, that being I shall destroy from the midst of his people. "You do no work - a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 'It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you shall afflict your beings. On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you observe your Sabbath."
It is quite clear in the context of this Law that the Sabbath for the day of atonement differs from other Sabbaths, in that Yahweh Specified this particular High Sabbath to be kept from evening to evening. Notice that Yahweh makes it clear by numbering the days; that the day of atonement is on the "tenth day" but the fast commences on the "ninth day" at evening.
Why would Yahweh Command us to start the fast on the ninth day at evening if the tenth day started at evening anyhow? It also makes sense to keep this fast this way, as some children may find it difficult waking; having not eaten all night, to fast throughout the day and then another night; a total 72 hours.
Another exception is the night of the Passover in which Yahweh led His people out of Egypt:
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings, is the Passover to YHWH.
One glaring problem of the evening to evening observance is that it is impossible to celebrate your passover on the evening of the 14th and eat you celebration meal "that night"!
If your "day" starts in the evening then celebrate at night, then you have passed into the 15th according to an evening to evening reckoning...
Finally, it is significant that in the second Temple, throughout its entire existence, the practice seems to have been in all ritual matters to reckon the day from dawn to dawn, and not according to the later practice, from sunset to sunset...even the rabbis, who, themselves, reckoned the day from sunset to sunset, and refused to admit the legitimacy of any other practice, or rather, absolutely ignored all divergent practice, none the less had to admit the validity of the interpretation of Lev. 7:15...
the day was at one time reckoned from sunrise to sunrise...
The earlier practice, which continued until the time of the secondary strata of the Priestly code, was to reckon the day from dawn to dawn...
The later practice was to reckon the day from sunset to sunset...
It is impossible to tell exactly when this change in the mode of reckoning the day took place in Israel, and what causes brought it about. Possibly it may have had something to do with the introduction of the lunar calendar instead of the solar, for the lunar calendar naturally presupposes a reckoning of the day from nightfall to nightfall...
It was probably coincident with the revision of the festival calendar, which took place in the period after the time of Ezra, and was, in all probability, the work of the soferim or of the Great Synod in the fourth century B.C. This may also be inferred from the statement in the Talmud (Berachoth 33a) that the men of the Great Synod instituted the ceremonies of Kiddush and Havdalah, the solemn sanctification of the Sabbath on Friday eve, and its equally solemn ushering out on Saturday eve, in other words, ceremonies specifically marking the beginning and close of the Sabbath as at sunset. These were ceremonies for the Jewish home instead of the Temple. This, coupled with the fact that in the second Temple the old system of reckoning the day from dawn to dawn continued to be observed, as we have seen, may perhaps indicate that this entire innovation was the work of an anti-priestly group or party in the Great Synod..." (The Sources of the Creation Story - Gen. 1:1- 2:4, p. 169-212)
"A new stage in the investigation of the problem of the calendar of ancient Israel was marked by the appearance of a learned article by E. Koenig in 1906...He maintains that two distinct calendars were current in ancient Israel. The first, a solar calendar...This solar calendar was well adapted to the conditions of the simple, agricultural life which the Israelites lived during the first period of their sojourn in Palestine. It reckoned the day from sunrise...
The second calendar was a luni-solar year...The day now came quite naturally to be reckoned from sunset...This second calendar was obviously based upon Babylonian models and was adopted under direct Babylonian influence at about 600 B.C., when Babylonian religion and general culture began to affect with steadily increasing force the Jewish exiles in Babylonia and, through those of them who return from exile, the Jews who had remained in Palestine.
This broadly sums up Koenig's conclusions...
...the time of the transition from the reckoning of the day as beginning with morning to the reckoning of it as beginning with evening... ...that in the earlier calendar and in the literature which records this the day was reckoned from the morning, presumably from sunrise, while in the later calendar and the literature pertaining thereto the day was reckoned from the evening...must be eaten upon the day upon which it is sacrificed, and that nothing of it must be allowed to remain over until morning. Obviously the implication here is that the next morning is no longer a part of the day upon which the sacrifice was offered, but mark the beginning of the next day... ...Elsewhere we have presented quite a mass of evidence which establishes conclusively that the earlier practice in Israel during the biblical period was to reckon the day from sunrise to sunrise... ...That in the earliest period of Israelite sojourn in Palestine, under calendar 1, the day was reckoned from morning to morning is established by a superabundance of evidence...
...This in turn, together with other important considerations, would point to a time approximately about the beginning or the first half, of the third century B.C. as that of the introduction of the new system of reckoning the day." (Supplementary Studies in The Calendars of Ancient Israel, p. 1-148).
Note: It is interesting to note the wide variety of commentators who may not agree on many points of doctrine, but do agree that the Scriptural day begins at first light in the morning.
If you have any verse in Scripture that clearly states a day starts in the evening then we would love to know, but the conclusion of the matter is: If you have no Scriptures to support your belief then you have added to Yahweh's Commands and are practicing vain traditions.
May Yahweh bless you as you seek to obey...
Scriptures quoted are taken from "The Scriptures - 1998" (International Scripture Research) available through www.isr-messianic.org