Copyright © The Master's Table
There's a book out titled "The Scriptural weekly Sabbath is NOT from sunset to sunset." By: Gary C. Miller; of the International Congregation of Yahweh. There are others also such as Neil Gardner that state the same thing. What is being used by these men is much like a shell game where the hand is quicker than the eye. Here they think the word is quicker than the mind. Well the truth is that if we don't look close at the points being presented and the way they present them we can be deceived. I'm not going to judge why these people want to start a new religion based on the Sabbath being kept on the time frame they claim however I will judge their points and show how they are deceiving others and even perhaps themselves.
The first point I want to make here is that salvation is by our belief that Jesus the Messiah is the Son of God and He shed His blood for our justification! We can not be saved by ANY other means so the points I will address here are more to refute error and bring the truth to light so we can be in keeping with the truth as Jesus would want. Let's look at some statements by Neil Gardner and ask some questions. I will, out of necessity, list a few of the scriptures in the book of Genesis that cover this topic and then I will comment on some points that reveal the truth using other scriptures as we go along.
Gen 1:5. "God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day."
Gen 1: 8. "And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day."
Gen 1:12-13. "And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day."
Gen 1:17-19. "God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day."
Gen 2:1-3. "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them,
were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done,
and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God
blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all
His work which God had created and made."
First let's notice that the word "Evening" was used first by the author of the book of Genesis. The statement the evening and the morning were the first day shows the sequence of events, night first and then morning.
Neil Gardner and others would have us believe that evening is still light so therefore must be daylight. Neil Gardner stated..."The Biblical definition for a day as defined by God Himself can be stated in 6 words. "And God called the LIGHT DAY ". Does this definition seem too simple? Please stay with me and I believe that you will find that it is very simple." If we keep in mind that LIGHT = DAY, pure and simple, numerous scriptures will become crystal clear. Neil Gardner states "Take Genesis 2:3 for an example. Here, God blesses and sanctifies the seventh DAY. (In other words, God blesses and sanctifies the 7th LIGHT PERIOD). Please note that God does NOT bless or sanctify the 7th NIGHT (Darkness). Only the 7th LIGHT (we will cover day and night in greater detail shortly).
Notice that he wanted us to keep in mind that LIGHT = DAY. If he can
get us thinking only on that statement then he can so-say prove his point, but
he does not want us thinking about what I will present here.
First let's examine why Neil Gardner failed to mention that the Hebrew word
used here which is yowm (yome); stated as from an unused root meaning to be
hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literal (from sunrise to sunset, or
from one sunset to the next), The term "whether literal" here
means the same as "Regardless" which would state "Regardless
the Hebrew word denotes from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next."
Neil Gardner is trying to use his shell game of what a day is (Light) but never seemed to realize that the author of these scriptures meant day and night when the author used the word day alone as was pointed out when God blessed the Sabbath DAY. The below scripture proves this out as we know the evening and morning was stated in all the creation of the first six days and nights, but here in Exod 20:11 there's no mention of night. Exod 20:11. For in SIX DAYS the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." Just because the author writing the book of exodus did not mention night, does not mean the author was not aware that the night portion comes before the light portion of the day.
Let's look at a scripture that will answer this in John 20:1 where the author
stated; "On the first day of the week" and then stated it was
still dark! Let's read it for ourselves. "On the first day of the
week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark,
and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb." The Greek word
that is used here is skotia (skot-ee'-ah); and means obscurity or dark (-ness).
The author (John) referred to the time as day because the light and dark parts
are the day which is a 24 hour period. Jesus had already risen by the time Mary
had arrived at the tomb before the sun had came up. It was still dark. By the
fact we know Jesus was crucified on the day portion of the Passover at
the ninth hour (3:00 P. M. our time today) and the bodies had to be off the
stakes and buried before the 1st day of unleavened bread (Which started at sunset.)
shows that He was in the tomb at sunset on what we know of today as Wednesday
evening. Question is why were the Jews so concerned that the bodies be taken
down before sunset? Because the Holy day (High Sabbath) would start at that
Also let's check out Luke 2:11 which states; "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." When was Jesus born? Light portion or night portion of the day? Let's read it "Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11. The above scripture again states "This Day" even when referring to the night portion of the day.
Also let's notice the very words recorded as Jesus speaking and how He used the term day in Mark 14:30. "Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." It was dark when Jesus spoke these words but He used the word "Today" so we see here that Jesus understood that a day is a 24 hour period. Now with this understanding we can read Lev 23:32 and see it for the truth that is plain. "It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath." The Hebrew word here is `ereb (eh'-reb); and means dusk or even (-ing, tide). The key word in the Old and New Testament is "Dusk" which is a time period between light and darkness. This word is like the Hebrew word `arab (aw-rab'); which means to grow dusky at sundown or to be darkened, (toward) evening. The greek word used for dusk is opsios (op'-see-os); which means early eve, nightfall or late in the evening.
Gary C. Miller; of the International Congregation of Yahweh.
Gary teaches that a Sunset Sabbath is Rooted in Paganism. He starts by quoting Unger's Bible Dictionary, under "Day", page 1098, which states; "From a very early period the time of reckoning the day was from sunset to sunset, and this became the Jewish method...the Phoenicians, Numidians, and other nations of the East are said to have followed the same custom, if it was not indeed the custom generally followed in remote antiquity."
This could be true, but is it?
Notice Gary used the statement that Phoenicians, Numidians, and other nations of the East are said to have followed the same custom, to prove his point but the source he used does not state that the Hebrew or Jewish people used the pagan keeping of time, just that Numidians, and other nations of the East are said to have followed the same custom. He also wanted you to see the statement "this became the Jewish method." Consider the following quote from the jewishencyclopedia.com under the heading, "Eve of Holidays". It states Unlike the early Babylonians, whose day began with sunrise, the Jews began theirs with sunset. Some critics, Dillmann among them, attempted to find traces of the Babylonian reckoning in the early portions of the Bible, but there is no doubt that with the spread of the Law the reckoning from evening to evening became established among the Jews.
See Ibn Ezra's poem on the Sabbath, in which he decries the custom of a certain sect which began the Sabbath and festivals with sunrise; Rosin's edition, ii. 78, Breslau, 1885). The eve of Jewish holidays is therefore not the evening of the festival, but the day preceding it; in conversation, the expression "ereb yomob" is even extended to denote an indefinite period preceding the holiday. It is observed as a day on which is prepared such work as it is not permitted to do on the holiday or on the Sabbath. The announcement of Beginning states The Rabbis enjoined that the celebration of holidays should begin some time before sunset, in order "to add from the profane to the holy."
Remember that the pagans worshipped the sun god and as a result they would start their days at sunrise.
We find a very important scripture in Neh 13:19 that denotes what the Hebrew Nation considered as the beginning of the Sabbath day that should silence all gainsayers! It states "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. Then I posted some of my servants at the gates, so that no burdens would be brought in on the Sabbath day."