Questions and Answers - Part 4

Scripture: Genesis 1:, Leviticus 23:27-32, Proverbs 23:21
In this continued series on Bible questions sent in by listeners, the first question is: "Will you please explain the way a day is reckoned in the Bible?" Another question, "Do you think it is a sin to eat too much?"
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For several days now we have been answering the Bible questions which our listeners have been sending in, and even though we deal with a variety of subjects, these broadcasts are proving to be very interesting and informative.

Our first question today has to do with the length of a Bible day. Here it is: Will you please explain further about the way a day is reckoned in the scripture?

This is an interesting question which we have referred to from time to time without, perhaps, giving enough Biblical evidence. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that the evening and morning constitute a day. We read there, "The evening and the morning were the first day, ...the evening and the morning were the second day, ...and third day," etc. Notice that the evening introduces the dark part of the day and the morning introduces the light part of the day. Practically speaking, of course, twelve hours of darkness and twelve hours of light make up a twenty-four-hour day. All through the Old and New Testaments we find the day begins at sunset and ends at sunset. That is quite different, of course, from our midnight-to-midnight reckoning, which is the Roman way that came in much, much later, after the days of the New Testament. To put it another way, then, a day begins at evening and ends at evening. That is why in Genesis it says, "The evening and the morning were the first day."

In Leviticus 23:27, 28, speaking of the Day of Atonement, it says, "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: ...and ye shall do no work in that same day." Now, let's look at this particular day that has been mentioned in the Bible and find out how it is measured according to the Scripture. That day, as do all the other days, had to have a starting time and an ending time; so in verse 32 we read: "It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." "Even" means "evening," of course.

This is talking about that same Day of Atonement that was to come on the tenth day of the seventh month. But please notice this, they were to celebrate the tenth day of the month, and that day began on the ninth day at "even." The ninth day lasted until the evening and then it was no longer the ninth day, but the beginning of the tenth day. Then when the sun set the next evening, that tenth day was gone, and the eleventh day began. So when they were going to keep the tenth day, it says they began on the ninth day at even. Now, having proven that a day begins at evening and ends at evening, let's prove that evening is introduced by the going down of the sun. In Joshua 10:26, 27 we read this: "They were hanging upon the trees until the evening. And it came to pass, at the time of the going down of the sun, that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees." This clearly proves that evening comes at the going down of the sun, and then, of course, it is the beginning of another day.

In Psalm 104:23 we find these words: "Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening." Now that certainly doesn't mean until midnight, does it? But it does mean until the close of day. In various parts of the United States this word "evening" is used in many different ways, but we are interested in the way the Bible uses it; and according to the Scripture, the evening comes at sunset. Now we are ready to go to the writers of the New Testament and we will prove that the death of our Lord never had anything to do with the changing of the beginning or the ending of the day. In Mark 1:32 we read this: "And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils." That day was the Sabbath, as you will find in verse 21, and the Jews objected to the people coming to be healed on the Sabbath. That explains why they waited until the sun had set. It was then the first day of the week, for the Sabbath was past.

Luke was a Gentile who didn't recognize the Roman time of midnight to midnight, but rather, the divinely-inspired beginning and ending of the day just as we find it in the Scriptures. Especially in his writing do we have the record of the beginning and ending of the first day of the week. On the afternoon of the first day of the week, the day of the resurrection, two of the disciples of Jesus were walking to Emmaus. Here is what we read in Luke 24:15, 16: "And Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him." Then in verses 28 and 29: "And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." This proves that the day would be spent when evening came on at sunset, and after evening it would no longer be the first day of the week. He didn't say, "for it's toward midnight and the day is far spent"; he didn't say at all that the day would end at midnight, but at evening; and if it were spent at evening, it was gone, and the second day of the week began. Perhaps this is enough Scripture to show you just how the Bible considers a day. Unfortunately, back during the Dark Ages this new, pagan system of reckoning from midnight to midnight was introduced and we have continued to follow that way. But remember when reading your Bible and considering days in the Scripture, it is always evening-to-evening or sunset-to-sunset.

Our next question is a very interesting one, also, and it brings us back to the subject of diet once again. Here it is: Do you think it is a sin to eat too much?

I'm convinced that four things are killing the American people, too much food, bad food, wrong combinations of food, and then worry and anxiety that stems from lack of faith. Notice this text of the wise man in Proverbs 23:21: "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty." Here in this verse the wise man yokes the glutton, the man who eats too much, with the drunkard. Another verse written by the wise man says that a person puts a knife to his throat when he overeats, or when he becomes a glutton.

Perhaps that is quite sufficient to answer the question of our listener, but you know, friends, the psalmist says that a man is wonderfully and fearfully made. Man has never made a machine with a motor that would run 969 years like the heart of Methuselah did. The human body is the only machine that will repair itself if given the proper cooperation. How much does the average individual know about his own body and how to take care of it? Millions of Americans are almost literally digging their graves with their teeth. Doesn't it seem strange to you that the average parent knows more about the physical needs of the chickens in the pen or the dog in the house than he does about the needs of his own children? The average man knows more about his automobile than he knows about the physical needs of his own child. Why is there such an incredible amount of ignorance concerning the way to take care of this sacred body temple? The Bible assures us that the human body is sacred and has been created for a holy purpose. It is to be taken care of, preserved and maintained according to the rules laid down in the Bible. The trouble is that most Americans simply follow their appetites in matters of eating and drinking. Very few human beings are willing to exercise a measure of self-control and self-denial when it comes to the indulgence of the appetite.

Every one of us has been born with a depraved appetite. We can't help ourselves on that point. It is a part of human nature, and that is the reason a baby will eat dirt, trash, roaches, pins, tacks, almost anything that he can get his hands on. But when we get to the age of accountability and responsibility, we should be able to curb and control our appetite and our physical craving so that we conform to the rules and standards and regulations of God.

I know some people are always saying that it doesn't make any difference how they take care of themselves. They feel their body is their own and they can take care of it as they please. That really doesn't make much sense when you analyze it. To me, it would be just as foolish for you to be flying with a pilot friend over the Rocky Mountains and look down at the gauge on the panel and say, "Well, it looks like you are about out of oil or gas, but it doesn't make a good deal of difference, I suppose." The fact is, it would scare you to death! And then if that pilot landed at the airport and told the mechanic to put some coal oil into the high-compression engine and some used oil into the crankcase, how far would you want to ride with that pilot after that? There is a manual that goes with this body of ours, just like there is a guidance manual for the airplane. If God tells you to burn 100 aviation octane, don't try to get by with 80; and if He tells you to be careful about over-indulging the body with rich foods and not being gluttonous, then you had better pay attention to that, also. The man who puts salt water in the radiator or sand in the crankcase is a fool, but not any bigger fool than the man who puts alcohol, dirt, or too much rich food into his human system.

And by the way, if you haven't sent for the Information Folder entitled, "You Wouldn't Do This," be sure to send for it right away. It describes the program of heaven for keeping your body fit and strong. I'm sure you can see how foolish it is for a man to drive into a service station and ask for the best permanent antifreeze to put in his radiator and then go next door and get a bottle of liquor and put it in his human system to enter the delicate lining of his stomach, to pass through the bloodstream into the liver, to begin cirrhosis of the liver and paralysis of the brain. Yet thousands and thousands of people are doing this very thing. Millions of them are doing it, in fact. They seem to have no concept whatever of how to take care of the delicately balanced body that can be so easily destroyed. Why can't we return to the simple things that God gives, friends?

Even though man has despoiled the ground and polluted the air, I'm still sure that man can have a good, large measure of health. The food situation is sort of like the gospel. It has been glamorized, but at the same time it has been refined and de-lifed. It looks good, tastes good, and lasts long without spoiling, and the American people are sort of like a little bird when the mama bird comes home. He just throws his mouth wide open and apparently it doesn't make any difference whether a beetle or a bumblebee goes down his throat. The cook stove is a murderer in most homes; and after our foods are poisoned, cooked, killed, fried, baked, boiled, mashed, hashed, and seasoned, we don't get much of the original good that was in them when they were harvested. So, in answer to your question, indeed, gluttony is a sin which goes right along with the sin of the drunkard.

Jesus was undoubtedly referring to this same evil when He spoke of the antediluvian world. He said, "As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the coming of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they were given in marriage," etc. Luke 17:26, 27. Jesus was certainly not speaking about the ordinary pursuits of those activities. He was talking about the perversion of them and how the eating and drinking had been turned into an occasion of sin and gluttony. And by the way, you will recall that it was the indulgence of appetite which introduced sin into the human family the first time. By giving way on this point of physical indulgence and appetite, Adam and Eve forfeited their rulership of this world. When Jesus came to wrest the world back from the hands of Satan, He overcame on this same point of appetite. It is very interesting to see how Jesus, the second Adam, came and won the victory that had been lost because of the failure of the first Adam. This is exactly the way the Bible pictures it. It has well been said that the man who can control his appetite will also be able to control every other appetite of his nature.

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