“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”
“They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day: for it was about the tenth hour [from midnight].”
Order of Contents
Collection of Historical Quotes
When did the Sabbath Start before Christ’s Resurrection?
As is demonstrated in detail in the articles below, the two most likely answers to the question of when the Lord’s Day begins, are:
(1) that the evening-to-evening, Old Testament pattern has fallen away with Christ’s resurrection. This unique timing-pattern (according to the wisdom of God in the history of redemption) has now become indifferent, and natural days remain. Natural days may be understood to begin at midnight, the morning, or according to civil usage.
(2) Or what is more likely: days (and hence the weekly Sabbath) were normally counted even in the Old Testament from morning to morning, in accordance with Gen. 1, and this continued unaltered into the New Testament.
See especially Price’s exegetical article and Myers’ instructive collection of historic quotes below.
A Collection of Historic Quotes
Myers, R. Andrew – When Does the Lord’s Day Begin? 2010, a one page introduction with 33 excerpts from puritans and other historic, reformed writers
Richardson, John – On Gen. 1 See on Gen. 1:5 in Choice Observations and Explanations upon the Old Testament, containing in them many remarkable matters, additional to the large Annotations made by some of the Assembly of Divines d. 1654
Richardson was reformed and printed this only a few afters the second edition of the English Annotations (which were nicknamed the Westminster Annotations as 6 of the 11 commentators were Westminster divines), to which it was designed as a supplement.
** ‘Of secondary importance, and very short; yet good. Frequently bound up with Leigh [as Edward Leigh wrote a commentary on the whole N.T.].’ – Spurgeon
Durham, James – An Exposition of the Ten Commandments, p. 247-251 1676
Keach, Benjamin – ‘When the Lord’s Day Begins’ 1700 5 pp. in The Jewish Sabbath Abrogated, or, The Saturday Sabbatarians Confuted in two parts
Keach was a calvinistic baptist. He follows, and summarizes, Owen on the topic.
Price, Greg – When Does The Sabbath Begin? Morning or Evening? 1995, 38 paragraphs, with an Appendix 23 paragraphs long
This is the best exegetical argument on the subject.
Note: Price’s article is very helpful, though do be aware that he is part of the Reformed Presbytery in North America (General Meeting), which group of a few churches are Steelites. The Still Waters Revival Bookstore (which name is more well-known) is loosely associated with them and holds to the same doctrinal distinctives. Steelites (from David Steele) have unBiblical views regarding covenanting and separatism, which are very spiritually dangerous.
More Quotes in addition to those in Myers’ article above
William Perkins 1558-1602
A Digest or Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament, in The Works of William Perkins, Volume 1, ed. Stephen Yuille, Reformation Heritage Books, 2014, p. 9-10
A Hebrew day is either natural or artificial.
A natural day is the space of 24 hours, containing also both the morning and the evening. The morning and the evening are the bounds of every day, and the evening is of two sorts. The first is from the ninth hour [counted from 6 am, that is, 3 pm] to the setting of the sun. The second is from the sun-setting [roughly 6 pm] unto the shutting in of the night. “In the first month and the fourteenth day of the month, between the two evenings shall be the Passover of the Lord” (Lev. 23:5).
A natural day according to the diverse uses thereof is either a work day or a holy day. A work day is that which is appointed for our civil business, and (as it seems to me) this day among the Jews, lasted from the sun-rising to the sun-rising, that is, it began at the morning: “Why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand about thee from morning to even?” (Ex. 18:14). “In the end of the Sabbath when the first day of the week began to dawn” (Matt 28:1). It is not likely that Matthew spoke these things after the manner of the Romans, seeing that he wrote his gospel especially for the Hebrews.
A holy day is that which is appointed for holy uses. A holy day is only made by God to whom only it belongs to bless and hallow the times. A holy day begins at the evening and ends at the evening: “From even to even shall ye celebrate the Sabbath” (Lev. 23:32). The holy day common to all ages is the Sabbath, which according to the moral law is a certain seventh day set apart for divine worship. Here is to be noted that sometimes the word Sabbath is put for the whole week: “I fast twice a Sabbath” (Luke 18:12); “The first of the Sabbath” (1 Cor. 16:2).
An artificial day is the space of time from the rising of the sun to the setting (John 11:9-10), wherefore it is longer in summer and shorter in winter.
[Perkins above, speaking of the Sabbath being kept evening to evening, has specific reference to the Old Testament economy, as his book deals primarily with the Old Testament. See also volume 2 of Perkins’ Works, as quoted in Myers’ article above, where Perkins argues that the Lord’s Day follows natural days and is to be kept morning to morning.]