The ‘yom’ of Sabbath

Genesis 1:5 “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, one day.”

Genesis 1:8 “So there was evening, and there was morning, a second day.”

Genesis 1:13 “So there was evening, and there was morning, a third day.”

Genesis 1:19 “So there was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.”

Genesis 1:23 “So there was evening, and there was morning, a fifth day.”

Genesis 1:31 “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good. So there was evening, and there was morning, a sixth day.”

Each of the first six days of creation, included Day (light) and Night (darkness) and were part of one day beginning with evening.

Day

The Hebrew word for ‘day’ is yom. It is the period of daylight that contrasts nighttime.  In regards to creation, each yom was a 24-hour period that began in the evening at sunset and went through the morning (boker) until the next sunset (erev).  The original Sabbath yom did not have a time limitation, another nuance to the Hebrew word. The created Sabbath yom was never supposed to end.  Adam and Eve were to live in Gan Eden for all eternity; however, when sin entered the world through disobedience, the eternal Sabbath yom ended for them and their descendants.  It became a weekly Sabbath yom.

Light

The Hebrew word for ‘light’ is or and is first seen in Genesis 1:3.  It does not mean ‘day’ but is the opposite of darkness.

Night

The Hebrew word for ‘night’ is laila. It is the period of time that is dark.  During Biblical times, the laila was divided into three watches – sunset to 10 p.m., 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., 2 a.m. to sunrise. 

Darkness

The Hebrew word for ‘darkness’ is choshek and means darkness and obscurity.  The or was separated from the choshek.

Evening

The Hebrew word for ‘evening’ is erev.  This word represents the time of day immediately preceding and following the setting of the sun and was used in Genesis 1:5 on the first day of creation. Erev can also mean night and therefore, there was night and then there was day.  This is significant because darkness always comes before light whether it’s the first day of creation or that we, as sinners walk in darkness until we are called into the light of salvation. 

Morning

The Hebrew word for ‘morning’  or ‘daybreak’ is boker. It does not mean the period of time before noon, but that point in time which night is changing to day or the rising of the sun.  When it is used as the antonym for night, boker means  the entire period of daylight.

The Seventh Day

Genesis 2:2-3 “On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.”

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God.”

One of the ten commandments was to ‘remember’ the Sabbath yom – the eternal yom with a weekly yom.  The weekly yom of Sabbath became part of the seven-day cycle of the week with each yom beginning with evening (erev) and ending with morning (boker) as the days were created.

The importance of remembering the Sabbath yom was not so much about looking back to what was lost, but looking forward to the restoration of all things that would come at the end of time through the seed of the woman.  In other words, remembering the weekly Sabbath yom is a vision of the restoration of life Gan Eden which is found in Revelation 21 with the re-newed heavens and earth.

Evening to Evening, Sunset to Sunset

Matzah

In Exodus 12:18, the command to eat matzah went from the erev of the fourteenth day to the erev of the twenty-first day and lasted seven days.  Each yom was counted from evening to evening or sunset to sunset.

Exodus 12:18 “From the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day, you are to eat matzah.”

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement.  In Leviticus 23, the Sabbath yom is described.  The rest of the Sabbath is from evening until the following evening.  Since this holy day is called a yom, this is an excellent example of how God defines a Sabbath yom. 

Leviticus 23:32 “It will be for you a Shabbat of complete rest, and you are to deny yourselves; you are to rest on your Shabbat from evening the ninth day of the month until the following evening.”

Nehemiah had the gates of Jerusalem closed for the Shabbat.  When the sun began to set, the gates closed until after the Sabbath.  No loads were brought into the city during the nighttime hours or the daytime hours.

Nehemiah 13:19 “So when the gates of Yerushalayim began to grow dark before Shabbat, I ordered that the doors be shut; and I ordered that they not be reopened until after Shabbat. I put some of my servants in charge of the gates, to see to it that no loads be brought in on Shabbat.”

Yeshua’s Resurrection

In the gospels, it becomes clear when the Sabbath begins or ends.  In Matthew the ‘day was dawning’ or boker.  In Mark, ‘just after sunrise” or boker.  Both of these verses show that Sabbath was over and sunrise was coming.  In Luke and John, the ‘first day of the week’, ‘very early’ it was still dark.  This shows that the yom begins not in the morning or at daylight, but in evening (erev) when darkness falls.

Matthew 28:1 “After Shabbat, as the next day was dawning, Miryam of Magdala and the other Miryam went to see the grave.”

Mark 16:2 “Very early the next day, just after sunrise, they went to the tomb.”

Luke 24:1 “…but the next day, while it was still very early, they took the spices they had prepared, went to the tomb….”

John 20:1 “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Miryam from Magdala went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.”

Sabbath Eternity

Revelation 22:5 “Night will no longer exist, so they will need neither the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because Adonai, God, will shine upon them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever.”

In eternity, the restored Sabbath yom, laila will no longer exist nor will the or of a lamp or the sun because of the light of Yahweh.  Yet, the 24-hour Sabbath yom will still be celebrated along with a new moon Rosh Chodesh.   How will that be done?  Only God knows.  Until then, from sunset to sunset, God gave the weekly Sabbath yom to give us a vision of what is to come.  The light of the countenance of YHVH will make these days of Sabbath-keeping seem like darkness and we will enter an eternal light of Sabbath. 

Isaiah 66:22-23 ““For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making will continue in my presence,” says Adonai, “so will your descendants and your name continue. “Every month on Rosh-Hodesh and every week on Shabbat, everyone living will come to worship in my presence,” says Adonai.” 

©2014 Tent Stake Ministries and Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew and Greek Words

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