Does the Bible mention that Sabbath starts at sunset?

Author: BibleAsk Team

The Sabbath in the Old Testament

Since the creation of the world, a day began when the preceding day closed, at sunset. The dark part of the day came first, then the light part. We read in the book of Genesis, “The evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). Literally this verse means “evening was, morning was, day one.” This is repeated five more times in the first chapter of Genesis (vs. 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

Also, the yearly feasts or sabbaths were kept “from even to even” (Leviticus 23:32). And the same truth that evening is sunset is presented in the book of Deuteronomy. Moses wrote, that “In the evening, at the going down of the sun …” (Deuteronomy 16:6).

In the Hebrew language, the word for “even” is “‘ereb”, or “עָרַב”, which by definition means “evening, night, sunset.” More information on that can be found by referring to the Strong’s Concordance, and seeing that reference to “even” as being from עָרַב (H6150): See Blue Letter Bible.

Also, we read that the prophet Nehemiah after the Babylonian captivity ruled that the gates of the city were to be shut some time before the actual beginning of the Sabbath at sunset. In so doing, he purposed to protect the “fringes” of the sacred hours of God’s holy seventh day. For it is a desecration of the spirit of the that day to carry on secular pursuits to the last permissible moment. He wrote, “…So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath…” (Nehemiah 13:15-19).

The Sabbath in the New Testament

Likewise, in the New Testament, the seventh day was kept when the sun becomes even with the horizon, which we call sunset. The apostle Mark documented, “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed” (Mark 1:21, 32). So, it is clear from both the Old and New Testaments that the sacred day hours starts at sunset on Friday evening and ends at sunset on Saturday evening.

For more on the Sabbath, please check (Lessons 91-102) of our Bible Lessons.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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