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Does the Name of a Day Make a Difference?

The calendar was very important in Yeshua’s Jewish world. A week in his life consisted of seven day, just like our weeks today. There were some important differences, however. Each week reminded Yeshua and his fellow Jews of the seven-day period of creation recorded at the beginning of the TORAH scroll. The creation of the first day is recorded in Genesis 1:5 (the words in bold type are transliterations of Hebrew words; ELOHIYM is usually translated “God”):

ELOHIYM called the light “Day” (יום - YOM) and the darkness He called “Night” (לילה - LAYLAH).  And there was evening, and there was morning — YOM RISHON (First Day).

A Jewish day begins and ends at sundown -- “and there was evening, and there was morning.” Every afternoon, as the sun disappeared beyond the western horizon and the first three stars appeared, Yeshua viewed it as the beginning of a new day – a day that begins and ends with the fading of light in the western sky. The beginning and end of a day was, and still is, determined locally.

The Jewish calendar follows a seven-day weekly cycle, which runs concurrently but independently of monthly and annual cycles. The names of the days of the week were simply the day number within the week. Below are the names and order of the days of the week with the corresponding time period of our American calendar today.

Yom Rishonיום ראשון (meaning "First Day”) began at sundown on Saturday and ended at sundown on Sunday.  

Yom Sheniיום שני (meaning "Second Day"”) began at sundown on Sunday and ended at sundown on Monday.

Yom Shlishiיום שלישי (meaning "Third Day") began at sundown on Monday and ended at sundown on Tuesday.

Yom Reviʻiיום רביעי (meaning "Fourth Day") began at sundown on Tuesday and ended at sundown on Wednesday.

Yom Chamishiיום חמישי (meaning "Fifth Day") began at sundown on Wednesday and ended at sundown on Thursday.

Yom Shishiיום ששי (meaning "Sixth Day") began at sundown on Thursday and ended at sundown on Friday.

Yom Shabbatיום שבת (meaning “Rest Day”) began at sundown on Friday and ended at sundown on Saturday.

The calendar of Yeshua’s world was a reminder of the Creator’s work on each day. Also keep in mind that in Yeshua’s world the new day began at sundown.

Roman Emperor Constantine the Great established the seven-day week in the Roman calendar in 321 and each day reminded people of a planet and a different god:

Sunday corresponds to the Sun and honors the “Sun god.”

Monday corresponds to the Moon and honors the “Moon god.

Tuesday corresponds to Mars and honors the god of war. The Saxons named this day after their god Tiw and called it Tiw's day. "Tuesday" comes from the name of this Saxon god.

Wednesday corresponds to Mercury, later named in honor of the Teutonic god Wedn or Woden.

Thursday corresponds to the planet Jupiter, later named in honor of the Teutonic god Thor.

Friday corresponds to the planet Venus, later named in honor of the Teutonic goddess Frigg or Freia, the wife of Odin.

Saturday corresponds to Saturn in honor of the Roman god Saturn.

The names of the days on Yeshua’s calendar reminded people of the Creator’s work on each day of the first week of creation. Constantine’s calendar reminded people of a different god each day.

Does it make a difference? Try thinking like Yeshua and using the names of the days from his calendar for a week or two. Simply take a few minutes at sundown to remember the act of creation that corresponds to that day (find the day in Genesis 1:1-2:4a).

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