Morning, noon and night is commonly considered the order of each day. A.M. and then P.M. are also familiar terms used, short for “ante meridiem” and “post meridiem”—indicating that noon is the middle of each day. Man’s calendar day begins at midnight and is completed 24 hours later.
This well-known system affects how we live, what we do and when we do it, and how we go about our daily lives. Having been born into this world, we will never completely realize the powerful influence it has had over us until Christ returns and the wonderful World Tomorrow begins. Then we will look back to now and see the contrast between two different worlds.
Do we realize the significant differences and benefits of beginning and ending each day as God our Father intended?
In this fast-paced society, time is of the essence. There is not much time left to count, with less than one hour to go until the return of Jesus Christ. We need to ensure that we begin each day at the correct time in order to get the most out of it. If your day begins when you get out of bed in the morning, or when you wake up, as it does for most, then it will not be as profitable as if you had started it at the right time.
Our Creator’s Example
The earliest account of recorded days in the Bible is in Genesis 1. During creation week God established not only the seven-day week, but also how to separate each day. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). The same phrase “evening and the morning” is used at the end of each day of creation in this chapter. Each day started in the evening, or more specifically, at sunset. This is when God intended each day to begin. He set many laws in motion during creation week, and established much for the sustenance of physical life on this planet. Our Creator had a highly productive week; everything we see and more was brought into existence during these seven days of creation. God desired abundant and healthy living for His creation (Genesis 1:28-30), and still does. To fully receive that, requires beginning the day as our Father does.
“The days of the week are counted from sunset to sunset, according to the measuring of time in the first chapter of Genesis. It is stated each day that the ‘evening and the morning were the first day’—‘the second day,’ and so on. Nowhere does God’s Word say ‘The first 24 hours was the first day! and the next 24 hours was the second day,’ etc. God does not count time according to man-made watches and clocks! God counts days according to the setting of the sun” (Herbert W. Armstrong, Has Time Been Lost?).
We know that God changes not (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). So if we consider each day to begin when we rise in the morning, maybe it is time for us to change, and get in time with our Creator!
There are many more places in your Bible with proof of the day beginning at sunset. Of course, the seventh day Sabbath and the holy days all begin at sunset: “… from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath” (Leviticus 23:32). When the daily sacrifice was taken away for 2,300 “days” (Daniel 8:11, 14), the margin shows this was actually referring to each day as “evening and morning” (verse 26), making 2,300 “evenings and mornings,” or 1,150 days.
King David sets us an example of prayer in Psalm 55:17, but not only that—he recognized when the day begins: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray ….”
An account in Acts can also be used to clarify the beginning of the day. “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. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together” (Acts 20:7-8).
After drawing attention to Paul continuing his speech until midnight, here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote about this incident: “It was after sunset, prior to midnight, the first day of the week. Now at that time the first day of the week did not begin at midnight, as men begin it today. It began, and the seventh day ended, at sunset. All Bible days begin and end at sunset. Throughout the Greek world at that time, and for a few hundred years afterwards, days began and ended at sunset. The practice of beginning the new day at midnight was started much later” (Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?).
How We Benefit
In this hectic society we oftentimes do not get the opportunity to relax. When we do, often it is the time when we need to be most productive, or when we actually have the time to do something productive. We all have busy days at work, school, and going about our daily routine, and we just long to get home in the evening, put our feet up, take it easy, turn the tv on, and “vegetate.” After a busy day, we may not feel like doing anything else and thus waste precious hours. A contributing factor to this condition is that we think our evenings are the end of our day! We allow ourselves to be in the wrong mental state to do anything more.
Man’s system of beginning each day is contrary to the way God intended us to live. When we get home from work or school, and the sun goes down, we are right then and there beginning a new day. Living this way, and having the correct mental approach when the day really starts, will make our evenings much more productive. Just try it! This practice will take time to get used to, but you will soon begin to see the benefits.
Once you see how much more productive your day will become, you will gain more satisfaction having successfully completed each day. You will feel like you have more time, because you will waste less time! Having a productive evening at the start of the day will help you to go to bed at night knowing you have already done something for the day. You will be in the right frame of mind, leading to more effective sleep. The benefits of effective sleep are also invaluable.
Living as though our day starts in the morning does not allow us to be totally mentally prepared for the day ahead. We have to plan our day while it is in progress. Many people are not very alert in the morning, or may take a long time just to wake up. A productive day requires productive planning from a productive mind. Because our day begins at sunset the evening before, we should plan for it while we are still alert at the end of the previous day. It really does help to know that during a busy day, after dealing with so much, in a few hours, when the sun sets, we get to start a brand new day. Try it; you’ll notice the difference. You’ll be motivated to start each new day on the right note!
A productive evening, and effective sleep, will then produce an enjoyable morning. When you wake up in the morning, knowing that day started the previous sunset, and that you have already accomplished much that day, you’ll be motivated to continue doing more.
A Prosperous Sabbath
It is easy for us to consider the Sabbath day beginning at sunset. Because that is the way we live that day. But we still live the other six days according to man’s system of keeping time. We all long for the sanctuary of the Sabbath after every busy week we live. What a relief it is to arrive there every Friday evening. Beginning each day at the correct time won’t just lead to a more prosperous day, as we have just covered, but a more prosperous week. Especially the Sabbath!
Part of having a profitable Sabbath is ensuring that we make the most of our preparation day. Now if we stand back and have a look at how long our preparation day is, we might get quite a shock! If our Friday begins in the morning when we rise, by the time sunset arrives that evening and the Sabbath starts, then we have cut our preparation day approximately in half. When should preparation day begin? Of course it should begin Thursday evening, thus allowing us one complete day to prepare for the Sabbath.
The Time Ahead
Many of us have physical circumstances in our lives that don’t easily allow us to begin the day ideally. Many are still at work, and some are even just starting as the sun sets. But we are talking about having the correct mental approach, God’s approach, to the beginning of the day. If we consider the World Tomorrow and how productive that will be, part of the reason will be because we will live according to God’s time and calendar, not man’s.
That time still awaits us, though it is not far away. But in order for us to be involved in these incredible events, we need God’s perspective on time management—especially in this last hour. Ready, even, to teach this world when to begin each day!