Christian Churches of God

Start of the Month and the Day (No. 203)

(Edition 1.0 20000930-20030921)


Understanding when the Month and the Day commence is important for correctly keeping all of the weekly Sabbaths, the monthly New Moons and God’s annual Holy Days. The twenty-four hour day starts at the end of evening nautical twilight (EENT), at dark. This paper is written to complement the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156) and should be read with that paper.

Christian Churches of God




(Copyright ã 2000, 2003 James Dailley: Ed. Wade Cox)

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The Start of the Month and the Day

Members and associates of Christian Churches of God follow the natural astronomical cycle for assigning a lunar/solar cyclical annual Holy Day calendar. This is as it was during the Ancient Temple period.

Psalm 104:19-20 19 He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting. 20 Thou dost appoint darkness and it becomes night, In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about. NASV (cf. Ps 8:3; Ps 89:37)

The annual calendar is set by the alignment of both the monthly lunar cycle and the annual solar cycle. The lunar cycle sets the seasons based on the solar equinoctal cycle. The moon and sun together are governing signs.

Genesis 1:14-19 14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. NASV

The seven-day week does not fit evenly into the lunar month of 29.5 days (4 weeks x 7 days =28 days) and neither fit into the solar year of 365 1/4 days (52 weeks x 7 days =364 days) and (12 months x 29.5 days =354 days). These cycles continuously overlap and this feature of the astronomical cycle sets the Holy Days apart.

These days are sanctified or set apart for worship and this is why it is so important that they be correctly identified and observed. The New Moons, Holy Days and Feasts are held at appointed set times for our assembly and for us to make our offerings (Ex. 13:10; Ex 23:14-17; Ex. 34:18-23; Lev. 23; 2Chron. 2:4; Neh. 10:33; Eze. 44:24; 45:17).

SHD 4150 d[eAm or d[emo or hd'['Am (moed or moed )

Meaning: appointed time, place, or meeting

We blow the shofar as a call to attend services at these appointed times (Num. 10:7-10) and the natural astronomical cycle cannot be lost, (Jer. 33:20) only neglected. We will keep these Holy Days correctly, even if no one else will (Lam. 1:4) so that God’s anger is turned away from His people (Lam. 2) and so that all may repent (Zep. 3:12-20) and not be rejected (Hos. 9:1-9).

The basic formula for what is termed the "Jewish" calendar is a 19 solar year cycle, which equals 235 lunar months. That is, 19 ordinary solar years having twelve months, with seven of these years having an additional or intercalated lunar month. This additional month keeps the solar year correctly aligned with the spring or vernal equinox. The Greeks called this the Metonic Cycle. This means that every 19 years the civil Gregorian date and the Jewish date coincide either exactly or deviate by one day.

Philo, the Jewish historian and contemporary of Jesus Christ and the apostles, writes in his book, The Works of Philo, On the Life of Moses II, chapter XLI, Part 222 and 224, "Moses puts down the beginning of the vernal equinox as the first month of the year....."

The Start of the Year

Exodus 12:1-5 1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household: 4 and if the household be too little for a lamb, then shall he and his neighbor next unto his house take one according to the number of the souls; according to every man's eating ye shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old: ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 and ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at even. (Ereb SHD 6153)

Deuteronomy 16:1-6 1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. 2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there. 3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. 4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, (Ereb SHD 6153) at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.


The month of the Passover is the first month, called Nisan or Abib and it is specifically commanded by the Lord as being the beginning of the year from Exodus 12:2 (see also Num. 9:1-3; 33:3; Josh. 4:19; Ezek. 45:18, 21).

"The observation of the autumnal equinox, i.e., ‘the going out of the year’ (see Ex. 23:16), and of the spring or vernal equinox, called ‘the return of the year’ (1 Ki. 20:26; 2 Ch. 36:10 AV), was important for controlling the calendar and consequently the festivals. Thus the year began with the new moon nearest the vernal equinox when the sun was in Aries (Jos., Ant. 3.201 [better to see Ant. (Antiquities of the Jews) III.x.5], and the Passover on the fourteenth day of Nisan coincided with the first full moon (Ex. 12:2-6)". (The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, J D Douglas & N Hillyer, editors, IVP, 1980; art. Calendar, Vol. 1, p. 223).

From the New Moon at full dark or at the conjunction, there can be a larger number of thirty-day months in a year. This would return to the pre-tradition observations of up to eight thirty-day months. The Passover must always fall after the vernal equinox. The New Moon may be up to thirteen days before the equinox.

The Passover festival, to be celebrated at full moon in the month of Nisan (14 Nisan), should in any case fall after the vernal equinox [metaisemerian earinen] when the sun stood in the sign Aries. This explanation is characterized by Anatolius, in a fragment of decided importance in relation to the history of the Jewish calendar given in Eusebius Hist eccl. vii 32. 16-19, characterizes this as the unanimous view of all the Jewish authorities... With this also agree the statements of Philo and Josephus. If one therefore toward the close of the year noticed that the Passover would fall before the vernal equinox, the intercalation of a month before Nisan would have to be resorted to.

(Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, First Divison, Volume II, Appendix III).

The rule is that the fourteenth day could fall on the day of the equinox but that the fifteenth day, which is the first day of Unleavened Bread or catagorized as the full moon, must fall after the day of the equinox. This is and was calculated months and years in advance. The Samaritans have used this rule for 2500 years and Anatolius says it was the unanimous view of all of the Jewish authorities. This is remarkable (see the Encyclopedia Judaica under Samaritans and John Bowman, Samaritan Documents Relating to Their History, Religion and Life, Pittsburgh Original texts and Translation Series).

Josephus says also that it was while the sun was in Aries and this makes the system more precise. It is important that Schurer notes that the Greeks and the Babylonians (the Egyptians with their solar year were not involved here) had for centuries possessed a fixed calendar based on accurate computation. The Babylonians had such a calendar under the Persians, and the Samaritans and Sadducees determined the calendar long in advance according to the conjunction.

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, III, 10 reference is quoted in full:

In the month of Xanthicus, which is called Nisan by us, and is the beginning of the year, on the fourteenth day of the moon, while the sun is in the sign of Aries (the Ram), for during this month we were freed from bondage under the Egyptians, he has also appointed that we should sacrifice each year the sacrifice which, as we went out of Egypt, they commanded us to offer, it being called the Passover.

This places the first day of the first month sometime during the Roman time from March 7th to April 5th.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia comments:

Since the majority of the early Christians were Jewish converts, it is understandable that from the outset the Christian calendar was governed by the fact that the death and Resurrection of Christ had taken place at the time of the chief Jewish feast, the Pasch, or Passover, celebrated on the 14th day of the month of Nisan, i.e., at the full moon following the Spring equinox.

The first month of the year must have the 15th day Passover, the full moon, fall after the vernal equinox. If Passover, being the first Day of Unleavened Bread, falls on the day of or before the equinox, then an extra or intercalary month is added to the year.

This important rule will not be found anywhere in Scripture (see God's Calendar (No. 156)).

The Start of the Month

Philo of Alexandria [tr. by F H Colson (Harvard University Press, Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, MA, 1937); The Special Laws, II, XI,41] writes: "The third [feast] is the new moon which follows the conjunction of the moon with the sun". And in II, XXVI,140: "This is the New Moon, or beginning of the lunar month, namely the period between one conjunction and the next, the length of which has been accurately calculated in the astronomical schools". It should be noted that the popular Hendrickson Publishers edition (1993) of C D Jonge’s 1854 translation does not have the same information that the Colson translation gives. The indications are that the conjunctions were the determining factors in deciding the first day of the month.

The lunar solar conjunction is the precise alignment of the sun, moon, and planet earth; meaning the meeting of two or more heavenly bodies in the same longitude or the right ascension. At the time of the new moon the sun, moon and earth are in complete alignment.

The lunar solar conjunction can take place at any time during the solar rotation. The time this event takes place at Jerusalem sets the New Moon day apart as a Sabbath and as the day that begins the new month.

The first day of the month begins from the conjunction, or alignment, of the sun and the moon and the planet earth. They would look like three balls having their centres pierced and hung on a taut string. At the time of the full moon the positions would have the sun and the earth in the middle and moon now in alignment on the outside.

The precision with which this event could be predicted allowed all seafaring communities and naval forces to gauge their coming and going. The fact is that we are coming out of a Trinitarian induced dark age that has removed most of the knowledge people had from ancient times (see the papers The New Moons (No. 125); The New Moons of Israel (No. 132)).

The immense structures which were built in North West New Mexico at Chako canyon, show the ability of people over one thousand years ago to build massive building complexes positioned in some cases almost twenty miles apart in precise solar and lunar alignment. Together they are a lunisolar calendar with their walls having precise alignment with the sun and the moon’s courses.

On the canyon walls the builders also show streaks of light filtered through numerous set rock structures. These light streaks shine on many rock engraved or carved graphs appearing at the peak of the equinoxes and solstices. Also, some calendars function with shadows as identification markers.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th edition, article Calendar, explains some of the controversy:

The [spring] equinox is fixed on the 21st of March, though the sun enters Aries generally on the 20th of that month, sometimes on the 19th. It is accordingly quite possible that a full moon may arrive after the true equinox, and yet precede the 21st of March. This, therefore, would not be the paschal moon of the calendar, though it undoubtedly ought to be so, if the intention of the Council of Nice [Nicea] were rigidly followed. The new moons indicated by the epacts [extra days needed to determine Easter Sunday] also differ from the astronomical new moons, and even from the mean new moons, in general by one or two days.... The epacts are also placed so as to indicate the full moons generally one or two days after the true full moons; but this was done purposely, to avoid the chance of concurring with the Jewish Passover, which the framers of the calendar seem to have considered a greater evil than that of celebrating Easter a week too late (p. 599).

The debate regarding the fourteenth day, the Lord’s Supper and Easter, also had the effect of altering the correct astronomical New Moon and the start of the month for religious purposes. The religious authorities did know when the true new moon at the conjunction was, as did the ancient Chinese and all naval peoples.

Christian Churches of God accept the natural astronomical cycle as governing the calendar. There is no confusion and a calendar may be set years in advance. Care must be taken when the conjunction is close to the start of the day, which is at dark, at the end of evening nautical twilight at Jerusalem.

These monthly New Moon and Holy Day dates are published for the seven-year cycle, the septenante, which concludes in the Roman year 2005. This will be the 28th year of the 40th Jubilee from Messiah’s baptism and the 120th Jubilee from Adam (see the paper The Meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision (No. 108).

Modern Judaism and Islam have not kept the New Moon day as holy, and both have fallen into crescent observation and false worship. Because the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ has not been accepted, they are not permitted to worship on the days set aside in honour of the One True God. The correct observance of these days and the complete Jubilee covenant system will provide humanity with liberty.

The postponement system developed from Hillel II prevents the Jews from keeping Atonement and Passover correctly. Judaism often is one complete month late in determining the start of the year. In 1997 the Catholics kept Easter one week after Christian Churches of God kept the Wave Sheaf, while Judaism was one complete month later.

See Vol. 25, No. 1, 1997 Jewish Bible Quarterly for Saul Leeman, WHY IS PESACH SO LATE THIS YEAR? (Published with permission in the paper Why Is Passover So Late in 1997? (No. 239) (CCG, 1997).

In 1997 they were one month late with the start of the year as their calculators know, and they admit their determinations are incorrect. They feel that it will take Messiah’s return to correct the calendar issues. If Judah knows they are in error, but accommodate the error to retain their traditions they will still once again be facing grave difficulties along with physical Israel. When the Churches of God find they are in error regarding when they worship, they must repent and take corrective action (see the paper The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195)).

In Maimonides' book, "Sanctification of the New Moon", (Book Three, Treatise 8, page 89, chapter 6) which was written about 1200 CE, states: "the molad is defined as `the moment in which sun and moon, in their uniform motion, become conjoined in a certain part of the sky, which occurs in the same way everywhere - in contrast to the varying times at which the new crescent first becomes visible - in different areas'." This statement defines the conjunction. At the same time Judaism in general did not keep the New Moon as a Holy Day, and started the month by crescent observation.

Levi’s and Judah’s authority was removed when Christ appointed the new Sanhedrin and re-established the order of Melchisedek (Lk. 10:1-20). This removed the authority of the Levitical priests in Judah.

Luke 10:1-20 1 Now after these things the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself was about to come. 2 And he said unto them, The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways; behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no wallet, no shoes; and salute no man on the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye shall enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if a son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in that same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 10 But into whatsoever city ye shall enter, and they receive you not, go out into the streets thereof and say, 11 Even the dust from your city, that cleaveth to our feet, we wipe off against you: nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh. 12 I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment, than for you. 15 And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? thou shalt be brought down unto Hades. 16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me. 17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us in thy name. 18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you. 20 Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

The spirits are subject to us and we should have no fear of anything, but desire to live for and love our Father.

The Levites have no authority today as it was transferred to the Churches of God, as the Body of Christ. They are against us and they are only appealed to for authority by the idolatrous Churches, as their rebellion and false calendar will prevent them from keeping the correct days along with Judah.

Acts 19:11-17 11And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 insomuch that unto the sick were carried away from his body handkerchiefs or aprons, and the evil spirits went out. 13 But certain also of the strolling Jews, exorcists, took upon them to name over them that had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, a chief priest, who did this. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said unto them, Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and mastered both of them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, that dwelt at Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

The sons of Sceva, who was a chief Priest, were no longer recognized by the demons as they had lost their authority. The authority was passed to the Priesthood of Melchesidek, which now included Paul, a Benjamite and all future Gentile converts.

The Churches of God must worship the Father alone on the correct days and in the correct ways. We have been given authority to identify and set apart the date of the second sacrament, the Lord’s Supper, which will establish the first month and the start of the year. There is verifiable historical information for the rule, but this is not to be found identified in Scripture.

The Start of the Day

We do not have a specific clear Scripture to define and explain the start of the year with its intercalation and the start of the month at the conjunction.

We do have Scriptures to define the start of the day. Therefore we can keep the Sabbaths cleared of business, which includes eating out at restaurants, and observe the fasts for the correct time periods.


Just before sunset, a low flat, dark blue band rises up from the eastern horizon. This is the earth’s shadow and it stretches for nearly 180°. It is bounded above by the pinkish antitwilight arch and below by the horizon. The earth's shadow is best seen when the sky is clear and our line of sight is long. As the sun sets, the boundary between the earth’s shadow and the antitwilight arch rises in the sky and becomes progressively less distinct. With the disappearance of the antitwilight arch, the shadow blends smoothly with the deepening blue night sky.

For a shadow to be seen, it must be cast upon something. The earth shadow is cast upon the atmosphere. Eventually the antitwilight arch fades to blue. Its strong color and brightness near sunset originate in backscattering by the relatively thick lower atmosphere, being illuminated by direct (reddened) sunlight. But as the twilight rises, so does the lower bound of the atmosphere, being illuminated by direct sunlight. Being higher and thinner, it scatters less red light and a point is reached where the strong bluish airlight, the same multiply scattered skylight making the earth shadow blue, becomes the dominant source of light reaching our eyes.

This feature of the setting of the sun caused the Jews to use a wound red and blue thread, which was held up to the diminishing light to determine the time of dark. This was the start of the Holy Day, as the time when the colours could no longer be distinguished. This is not an unreasonable method to indicate when they could no longer conduct even verbal business. This is sneered at by some, but if we test this we will find that the colours merge very closely to the end of evening nautical twilight. This will also depend upon atmospheric conditions.

The definition of twilight includes:

1. the soft diffused light occurring when the sun is just below the horizon esp. following sunset;

2. the period in which this light occurs;
3. the period of time during which the sun is a specified angular distance below the horizon (6, 12 and 18 degrees for civil twilight, nautical twilight and astronomical twilight respectively). C15: literally: half-light (between day and night), from old English twi - half + light or two lights;

4. any faint light (Collins English Dictionary).

When the sun first sets on a clear night, we notice that although the light is diminishing, we can generally see perfectly well for up to 28 minutes. This is during the period of civil twilight.

Dusk is twilight or the darker part of the twilight. (Collins English Dictionary)

Elsewhere the term twilight is used to identify a more defined period of time: the period just before it becomes completely dark in the evening. (Cambridge International Dictionary)

Generally in North America, the term ‘twilight’ is used in the sense of the civil more than the nautical time frame. In England, Australia and New Zealand it is used as the nautical time, or for what North Americans would refer to as ‘dusk’.

There are often words used in one part of the Commonwealth of Israel, the British derived nations, that may have a different usage and meaning in others.

In North America a pub is a bar or tavern, but is a seldom-used term. In Australia and New Zealand it means a hotel. This is from the old British public house. (see Collins English Dictionary)

If people are unaware of different uses of terminology, confusion can ensue. Protest today means to be against but originally it meant for truth. Pro meaning "for" and teste meaning "truth."

The ‘going down of the sun’ is a term in this category. To North Americans it is usually understood as speaking about the time the sun is going below the horizon. It was not used solely in that way by Hebrew speakers.

Deuteronomy 16:4-6 4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.

Exodus 12:6-11 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening (Ereb SHD 6153). 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover.

The above use of ereb in both Scriptures means 3 p.m. in the afternoon, or the Hebrew ninth hour. Elsewhere it refers to different periods of time, this being understood from the context.

Josephus Wars of the Jews (book 6, chapter 9, verse 3)

……… So these High Priests, upon the coming of the feast that is called the Passover, when they slay the sacrifices, from the ninth hour to the eleventh, [Our western three to five p.m.] but so that a company of not less than ten belong to every sacrifice for it is not lawful to eat singly by themselves and many of us are twenty to a company ……….

Strongs 6153 definition is not a specific point in time such as sunset. As we saw earlier the going down of the sun referred to mid afternoon or our 3 p.m. and not when the sun has set below the horizon.

6153 `ereb {eh'-reb}
from 06150; TWOT - 1689a; n m
AV - even 72, evening 47, night 4, mingled 2, people 2, eventide 2, eveningtide + 06256 2, Arabia 1, days 1, even + 0996 1, evening + 03117 1, evening + 06256 1, eventide + 06256 1; 137
1) evening, night, sunset

Proverbs 7:9 In the twilight (SHD5399), in the evening (SHD3117 + 6153), {or the day at evening} in the black and dark night:

5399 nesheph {neh'-shef}

Meaning: 1) twilight 1a) evening twilight 1b) morning twilight

Origin: from 05398; TWOT - 1434a; n m

Usage: AV - twilight 6, night 3, dark 1, dawning of the morning, dawning of the day 1; 12

3117 ~Ay yowm {yome}

Meaning: 1) day, time, year 1a) day (as opposed to night) 1b) day (24 hour period) 1b1) as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1 1b2) as a division of time 1b2a) a working day, a day's journey 1c) days, lifetime (pl.) 1d) time, period (general) 1e) year 1f) temporal references 1f1) today 1f2) yesterday 1f3) tomorrow

Origin: from an unused root meaning to be hot; TWOT - 852; n m

Job 7:4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night <ereb 06153> be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.

Jeremiah 6:4 Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening <ereb 06153> are stretched out.

Ezekiel 12:7 And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even <ereb 06153> I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought [it] forth in the twilight (5939), [and] I bare [it] upon [my] shoulder in their sight.

From the above Scriptures it is clear that ereb (SHD 6153) covers a broad period of time from the afternoon to well into the dark and it does not present grounds to assert that days begin at sunset. It could be read that way in some of the numerous texts though.

In Scripture the Hebrew word ereb is frequently used. Evening, between the evenings, twilight, sunset and night are all used in translation. They carry a variety of different time frames in their use and ereb cannot be used to declare that the day begins with the sun setting below the horizon.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 22 "And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. NAS

Deuteronomy 2l:23 does not allow a dead body to remain hanging overnight, but is to be taken down the same day which is before dark, so that the land does not become defiled. A new day began at dark and the bodies were to be removed before that time.

This removal carried out by Joshua with the king of Ai and also with the five kings.

Joshua 8:29 And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening [the eventide ASV] <ereb 6153>; and sunset [at the going down of the sun ASV] <SHD8121> Joshua commanded and they took his body down from the tree, and threw [cast ASV] it at the entrance of the city gate, and raised over it a great heap of stones that stands to this day.

Joshua 10:25-27 25 Joshua then said to them, "Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight." 26 So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening <ereb 6153>. 27 And it came about at sunset [the going down of the sun ASV] <SHD8121> that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and put large stones over the mouth of the cave, to this very day.

In each case the dead kings were removed from the trees at the going down of the sun. The word rendered sunset SHD 8121 is shemesh meaning "the brilliance" in verses 8:29 and 10:27, and disposed of. This would have taken some time and makes it clear that it was not the sunset or the going down of the sun that Joshua was concerned about, but the approaching dark. This fulfilled the principle in Deuteronomy that they were to be removed and buried on the same day. Hence the going down of the sun is still construed as being the same day until it becomes dark. This has been the constant view in Ancient Israel, Ancient Judaism and also in the Koran. It is only in the Hadith and late Judaism do we start to comply with the late Roman system.

In Joshua 10:26 we learn that Joshua had the dead kings hung on five trees until evening <ereb 6153>. Verse 27 says that at the going down of the sun [rendered as sunset in some texts] Joshua commanded that they be taken down from the trees and thrown into a cave.

At the very first day of a twenty-hour period on a round rotating planet, there cannot have existed any light reflecting off the atmosphere from a setting sun. How can there have been?

This is made clear at the beginning and from the Scriptural definition for the day, or for one solar rotation, which we are presented with.

Genesis 1:1-5 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness <SHD 02822> was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. <SHD 2822> 5 And God called the light day, and the darkness <SHD 2822> He called night <SHD 3915>. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

<02822> (choshek) (365a)

Meaning: darkness, obscurity

Origin: from 2821

Usage: dark(5), darkness(73), obscurity(2).

<03915> (layil or lel or layelah) (538c)

Meaning: night

Origin: of unc. der.

Usage: midnight*(6), night(200), nights(14), nocturnal(1), overnight*(2), tonight(10).

The darkness at the beginning of the first new day was called night. Night and then light or evening and then morning comprised the first complete day. The sky is not dark at the time the sun drops just below the horizon, termed by North Americans as sunset, and not for close to one hour afterwards in the first and seventh months, which are near the spring and the autumn equinox. The sky is dark at the beginning of the new day.

September 16th 2002 was the Day of Atonement. We began the fast the evening before, on the Roman 15th day at the end of evening nautical twilight, at dark.

In central Canada, using Eastern Standard Time close to the 43rd longitude, the sun set at 18:25 or 6:25 p.m. on the 15th and at 18:24 on the 16th. Civil twilight ended at 18:54 on the 15th and 18:52 on the 16th. Nautical twilight ended at 19:27 on the 15th and at 19:26 or 7:26 p.m. on September 16th with daylight saving active.

Moslems must listen; the Koranic definition is the same as is given in Genesis.

Sura [2.187] It is made lawful to you to go into your wives on the night of the fast; they are an apparel for you and you are an apparel for them; Allah knew that you acted unfaithfully to yourselves, so He has turned to you (mercifully) and removed from you (this burden); so now be in contact with them and seek what Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn, then complete the fast till night, and have not contact with them while you keep to the mosques; these are the limits of Allah, so do not go near them. Thus does Allah make clear His communications for men that they may guard (against evil). M.H. Shakir and published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an, Inc

In order to understand the Prophet’s recitals, all of Islam must read and study the Scriptures.

These are termed the Old and New Testaments, but this means the first and the second testimonials. If these Scriptures are not studied, Moslems will not be able to understand the Prophets instructions.

Lines seven to ten are translated by most others as is found on




[187] Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments. Allah knoweth what ye used to do secretly among yourselves; but He turned to you and forgave you; so now associate with them, and seek what Allah hath ordained for you, and eat and drink until the white thread of dawn appear to you distinct from its black thread; then complete your fast till the night appears; but do not associate with your wives while ye are in retreat in the mosques. Those are limits (set by) Allah: approach not nigh thereto. Thus doth Allah make clear His Signs to men: that they may learn self-restraint.



In making this distinction between light and dark Moslems in the sixth century used the ability to discern white and black thread in the morning to commence their fast. They fast for the daylight period. This means they must fast from dark to dark and not until sunset as the Hadithic writers state. This distinction is used in the same way that the Jews used the inability to discern red and blue thread in the evening, to break the fast at dark.

Many Moslems today end the fast five or ten minutes after the sun has set just below the horizon. During this civil twilight period we can readily distinguish black and white thread. Therefore this is incorrect and not according to the Prophet’s instruction. "Till the night appears’, verse 187, does not mean shortly after sunset. The clarification of the Calendar in Islam will deal with the months in their sequence. The modern Islamic calendar is quite incorrect.

This discerning of colours was a method of measuring the end of evening nautical twilight along with seeing three medium size stars.

In North America there is legislation that covers the firing of guns by hunters. It is declared that this activity must cease with the end of the civil twilight or thirty minutes after the sun sets. There is still enough light and time to see for the hunters to get safely out of the field, but all shooting must cease.

On a clear night in the Northern Hemisphere, close to the End of Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT), three medium size stars become visible. If we try viewing this, we will find that with 20/20 vision we will see these stars within minutes of the published EENT times for our locality. With the more complete blackness the smallest stars begin to show themselves.

The viewing of three medium sized stars was used as a measure to end the day and the fast by Judaism and by the Churches of God during the inquisition (see Appendix II, Talmudic Definitions and see Appendix III, Edict of Faith, Agreement concerning the Familiars of the Inquisition, Valencia, 1568, at the end of this paper and also the paper Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170)).

The website above will provide us with local data for Sundown, Civil and Nautical twilight in our precise geographic locations. We have also used the definitions in use at the U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department (see Appendix I).

Monday 16th September 2002 Yom Kippur
What is it all about?

Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) falls on the tenth day of Tishrei, in the Jewish calendar, and brings to an end the 'Ten days of Repentance' which began on Rosh Hashana. Yom Kippur is a fast day, which lasts for approximately twenty-five hours, from sunset, until the stars come out on the following night.

This modern statement published by the World Union of Jewish Students shows that Judah ends the fast at dark, when the stars come out. They start it at sunset, before the change of the day and end it about twenty-five hours later. They end the fast and start the new day after the Day of Atonement at dark and not at sundown.

Genesis 15:17-18 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates

This is another example of the sun went down. Here, the sun going down is tied to dark for the change of the day. It is not tied to the beginning of diminishing light at sunset or the North American term "twilight."

Let us turn to Nehemiah 13:19

And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark (SHD6751) before (SHD6440) the Sabbath (SHD7676), I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the Sabbath: and [some] of my servants set I at the gates, [that] there should no burden be brought in on the Sabbath day.

Clearly this text is dealing with the Sabbath (SHD7676). First we notice that prior to Sabbath the gates were to be shut. Here we see the text stating, it began to be dark. This more than implies that Sabbath would follow this initial period of diminishing light, then proceeding on to twilight and dusk. There is no other conclusion to be reached, but that the Sabbath would start at dark. This is in line with the principle given by the definition in Genesis 1:5.

We often speak of "after sundown a day commences" and we will have to change this to "at dark" so we are not causing confusion especially in North America.

In today’s society there are specific names for the phases associated with these phases of twilight.

They are referred to as:

1) Civil twilight is defined to begin in the morning, and to end in the evening when the center of the Sun is geometrically 6 degrees below the horizon. This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished.

2) Nautical twilight is defined to begin in the morning, and to end in the evening, when the center of the sun is geometrically 12 degrees below the horizon. In the absence of other illumination, detailed outdoor operations are not possible, and the horizon is indistinct.

3) Astronomical twilight is defined to begin in the morning, and to end in the evening when the center of the Sun is geometrically 18 degrees below the horizon. For a considerable interval after the beginning of morning twilight and before the end of evening twilight, sky illumination is so faint that it is practically imperceptible.

Nehemiah 13:19 is describing a period prior to Sabbath when it began to be dark, which we would call dusk. It does not begin to be dark until the end of civil twilight.

The Sabbath would begin at dark, or in today’s terms, at the End of Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT).

All should be able to see that we are speaking about dark, or the end of evening nautical twilight, when operational work would have generally ceased every day. From Joshua we can see that this closing the gates at dark was the standing procedure.

Joshua 2:5 And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark (SHD 2822), that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.

6751 tsalal {tsaw-lal'}
began to be dark
a primitive root [identical with 06749 through the idea of
hovering over (compare 06754)];
TWOT - 1921; v
AV - began to be dark 1, shadowing 1; 2
1) to be or become or grow dark
1a) (Qal) to become or grow dark
1b) (Hiphil) to shadow

Let us turn to Leviticus 23:32  

It [shall be] unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth [day] of the month at even (6153), from even (6153) unto even (6153), shall ye celebrate your Sabbath.

During the first and seventh months, which are near the equinoxes, the day begins at dark and is followed by an approximate 12-hour period of the dark and then the approximate 12 daylight hours. This makes up one 24-hour day, or one solar rotation. This is from the evening, or the end of nautical twilight on one day, to the evening, or end of nautical twilight the following day. This period of initial full light at sunset and the developing half-light and on to dark, is close to one hour in length during the first and seventh months.

There are well over one hundred instances of verses containing Strong's number 6153. From the summary of the usages of 6153 we see the time of day varies greatly in various texts and it is not restricted to a specific point such as sunset in North America, when it is often understood as dropping just below the horizon. Compare the verses to see the different usages of ereb (SHD 6153). The Greek use of ninth hour is the same as the Hebrew.

Matthew 27:45-50 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

The Hebrew ninth hour is our western 3:00 p.m., which every one should understand.
(Ex. 12:6; Deut. 16:6).

The Hebrew wording translated as the ‘going down of the sun’ does not equate to our western or North American ‘sundown,’ which means to us when the sun drops down below the horizon. Twilight is then produced for a period of time and this is a reflection of the sun’s rays. This is a reflection of or from the previous day, and could not have existed on the first day in Genesis 1. Our new day begins with dark and not with a reflection of light from a previous day.

Most historical evidence will show that most modern Jews keep the days from sunset to sunset. The exception is for Atonement or other fasts, which end on the following day at dark. This is a twenty-five hour day depending on the latitude. Hadithic Moslems generally keep their days from sunset, and they also keep the months from the crescent observation and not from the conjunction. It was not so originally, however, as we see above. The Arab day was from end twilight to end twilight and the moon was from the conjunction to the next conjunction.

They are both wrong and keep incorrect days, because their worship is not accepted by our Father, due to their rejection of Christ’s sacrifice and the adoption of traditions. Hadithic Islam has introduced an interpretation that conflicts with the Koran, as well as with Scripture.

We should all be aware that there also are groups that teach that the day starts at sunup. This has dramatic effects on the timing of the Lord’s Supper and Day of Atonement and it is a gross error.

Acts 27:20-33 20 And since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned. 21 And when they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, "Men, you ought to have followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete, and incurred this damage and loss. 22 "And yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 "For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, 24 saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.' 25 "Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God, that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. 26 "But we must run aground on a certain island." 27 But when the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land. 28 And they took soundings, and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29 And fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak. 30 And as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship, and had let down the ship's boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, "Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved." 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat, and let it fall away. 33 And until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing.

We can understand from the Acts that the Apostle Paul understood that the twenty-four hour day began at the night-time (verse 27) and then carried on through the daytime (verse 33).

Leviticus presents us with the definition for the period of time in which to observe a Sabbatized Sabbath.

Leveticus 23:27-32 27 "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. 28 "Neither shall you do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. 29 "If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 "As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 "You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 "It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening (ereb) until evening (ereb) you shall keep your sabbath." NASB

Verse 32 means from dark on the ninth day until dark on the tenth day of the seventh month we must fast. If we do not we may be destroyed and removed from the first resurrection and placed in the second resurrection.

With our preparation we often commence our fast early, without eating and drinking up to the last possible minute. We do not order this but maintain that the fast be kept from dark on the ninth day to dark of the tenth day of the seventh lunar month after the conjunction.

These ‘day begins at dawn’ groups agree that Leviticus 23:27-32 means after the sun has set, which Scripture defines as commencing at dark (Gen. 1:5). They then fast from sundown to the second sunup, which is a thirty-six hour, uncommanded and modified fast. This is adding to Scripture and this is condemned (Deut. 4:2; Deut. 12:32).

These groups are also intending to keep the full moon as the beginning of the month. This will have the effect of damaging some peoples’ faith. This will affect their ability to learn by having altered the correct sequence of the Holy Days and subsequently the Feasts.

The western start of the day at midnight is from the Napoleonic era and was introduced from the Roman Catholic Ecclesiastical time frames (see pages 97-100 in John Brady’s Compendious Analysis of the Calendar, third edition, 1815).

Most people are not aware of how recent some of this continuing changing of the times and the seasons for correct worship is. Every attempt has been made to have us not worship the One True God on the days and at the times, which He set apart.

The full determination of the Calendar is covered in the work God’s Calendar (No. 156) and this paper is designed to clarify and supplement these two aspects of that paper.

This recent assault on the calendar should show all covenant-keeping Christians how important these Holy Days and time frames are. We may not postpone the Holy Days, New Moons and Sabbaths. We must correctly keep the Holy time periods sanctified. If we have been making an error, then change and keep the days correctly in the future.

All re-newed covenant-keeping Christians will keep these Sabbaths, New Moons and Holy Days sanctified from dark to the following dark at the end of evening nautical twilight in our specific locality.

Appendix I

Rise, Set and Twilight Definitions

U.S. Naval Observatory

Astronomical Applications Department

Horizon: Wherever one is located on or near the Earth's surface, the Earth is perceived as essentially flat and, therefore, as a plane. The sky resembles one-half of a sphere or dome centered at the observer. If there are no visual obstructions, the apparent intersection of the sky with the Earth's (plane) surface is the horizon, which appears as a circle centered at the observer. For rise/set computations, the observer's eye is considered to be on the surface of the Earth, so that the horizon is geometrically exactly 90 degrees from the local vertical direction.

Rise, Set: During the course of a day the Earth rotates once on its axis causing the phenomena of rising and setting. All celestial bodies, stars and planets included, seem to appear in the sky at the horizon to the East of any particular place, then to cross the sky and again disappear at the horizon to the West. The most noticeable of these events, and the most significant in regard to ordinary affairs, are the rising and setting of the Sun and Moon. Because the Sun and Moon appear as circular disks and not as points of light, a definition of rise or set must be very specific, for not all of either body is seen to rise or set at once.

Sunrise and sunset conventionally refer to the times when the upper edge of the disk of the Sun is on the horizon, considered unobstructed relative to the location of interest. Atmospheric conditions are assumed to be average, and the location is in a level region on the Earth's surface.

Moonrise and moonset times are computed for exactly the same circumstances as for sunrise and sunset. However, moonrise and moonset may occur at any time during a 24 hour period and, consequently, it is often possible for the Moon to be seen during daylight, and to have moonless nights. It is also possible that a moonrise or moonset does not occur relative to a specific place on a given date.

Transit: The transit time of a celestial body refers to the instant that its center crosses an imaginary line in the sky - the observer's meridian - running from north to south. For observers in low to middle latitudes, transit is approximately midway between rise and set, and represents the time at which the body is highest in the sky on any given day. At high latitudes, neither of these statements may be true - for example, there may be several transits between rise and set. The transit of the Sun is local solar (sundial) noon. The difference between the transit times of the Sun and Moon is closely related to the Moon's phase. The New Moon transits at about the same time as the Sun; the First Quarter Moon transits about 6 hours after the Sun; the Full Moon transits about 12 hours after/before the Sun; and the Last Quarter Moon transits about 6 hours before the Sun.

Twilight: Before sunrise and again after sunset there are intervals of time, twilight, during which there is natural light provided by the upper atmosphere, which does receive direct sunlight and reflects part of it toward the Earth's surface. Some outdoor activities may be conducted without artificial illumination during these intervals, and it is useful to have some means to set limits beyond which a certain activity should be assisted by artificial lighting. The major determinants of the amount of natural light during twilight are the state of the atmosphere generally and local weather conditions in particular. Atmospheric conditions are best determined at the actual time and place of events. Nevertheless, it is possible to establish useful, though necessarily approximate, limits applicable to large classes of activities by considering only the position of the Sun below the local horizon. Reasonable and convenient definitions have evolved.

Civil twilight is defined to begin in the morning, and to end in the evening when the center of the Sun is geometrically 6 degrees below the horizon. This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished; at the beginning of morning civil twilight, or end of evening civil twilight, the horizon is clearly defined and the brightest stars are visible under good atmospheric conditions in the absence of moonlight or other illumination. In the morning before the beginning of civil twilight and in the evening after the end of civil twilight, artificial illumination is normally required to carry on ordinary outdoor activities. Complete darkness, however, ends sometime prior to the beginning of morning civil twilight and begins sometime after the end of evening civil twilight.

Nautical twilight is defined to begin in the morning, and to end in the evening, when the center of the sun is geometrically 12 degrees below the horizon. At the beginning or end of nautical twilight, under good atmospheric conditions and in the absence of other illumination, general outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but detailed outdoor operations are not possible, and the horizon is indistinct.

Astronomical twilight is defined to begin in the morning, and to end in the evening when the center of the Sun is geometrically 18 degrees below the horizon. Before the beginning of astronomical twilight in the morning and after the end of astronomical twilight in the evening the Sun does not contribute to sky illumination; for a considerable interval after the beginning of morning twilight and before the end of evening twilight, sky illumination is so faint that it is practically imperceptible.

The preceding definitions are agreed upon internationally.

An excellent review, by Rabbi David Bassous, is copied completely here below. It is a review on the Talmudic opinions regarding the start and the end of the day. This is relevant to our discussion.

Keep in mind in reading the study that two twilights are under discussion. Often this has not been made clear in the quotes and the discussion.

The first twilight which develops after the sun has set, is listed as covering some 18 to 24 minutes. This would coincide with our civil twilight which would usually be four to six minutes longer and during which normal work could continue. The second twilight discussed coincides with our evening nautical twilight, which ends at dark. They are also discussing twilight in Judea and also in northern France, which would have a different time frame outside of the first and seventh months.

The time it takes to walk 3/4 of a mile was also utilized but even the 18 or 24 minute time frame is too short for the civil twilight period.

Night and a new day are generally seen as distinct from civil twilight in the review. Also the statement that three medium stars must be seen at the start of the day fits readily with the dark at the end of evening nautical twilight.

Shekia: Twilight, either of the two twilights, which are discussed (our Civil or Nautical).

Minhag: A minhag is a custom that evolved for worthy religious reasons and has continued long enough to become a binding religious practice.

Mitzvot: Are commandments that are based primarily on the list compiled by Rambam, or Maimonides, in the Mishneh Torah. There are other sources used as well.




Appendix II

Talmudic Definitions

Twilight, Sunset and Night
By Rabbi David Bassous
Congregation Etz Ahaim Highland Park NJ

Topics to be discussed:

1. Introduction
2. Sources
3. Contradictions and resolutions
4. The hours of the day
5. The Time Taken to Walk a Mil
6. Tosefet Shabbat
7. The Opinion of Shulhan Arukh
8. The Minhag Today

As is true about many things Judaism has its own system of measuring time. The Bible in Genesis 1 states "and it was evening and it was morning the first day", this has been taken to mean that the Jewish day starts the previous evening. Our discussion concerns the start of the Jewish day - nightfall and its preceding twilight. Twilight is the period between sunset and dark. This may seem pretty straightforward however, there are various opinions of what is the definition of sunset and dark. As in many other topics dealt with by the Talmud and its commentators there is a fair amount of discussion and debate.

There are various opinions as to the definition of sunset:

(a) When the sun starts to go below the horizon.
(b) When the orb of the sun is completely below the horizon.

(c) When the sky is dark except for the western extremity which is red.

So too there are various opinions as to the definition of dark:

(a) When the orb of the sun is completely below the horizon.

(b) When three medium stars appear.
(c) When there is no redness left in the western sky after sunset even though the sky may not be totally dark.

(d) When all the stars can be seen even the smallest ones.

Many mitzvot which have to be performed at a set time of the day depend for their veracity on the time of day. The following are just a few examples:
a) The start and end of Shabbat and Haggim (festivals).
b) The time to add to Shabbat and Haggim (festivals).
c) The length of the Jewish day and thus the length of the Jewish hour, which are daylight hours divided by twelve. There are two main opinions regarding the length of the Jewish day they have become known as the opinions of: Magen Avraham from dawn to dark, and Gra (Gaon of Vilna) sunrise to sunset. Both the opinions rely heavily on the either the definition of sunset or the definition of nightfall.
d) All the halakhic times of the day are a consequence of the above, e.g. for the latest time to fulfil the mitzvah of reciting the morning Shema (three hours of the day) the latest time to say the blessings of the Shema and the best time to complete the amidah by (four hours of the day) are all indirectly dependent on the time of shekia.

The Talmud Shabbat 34b offers three possibilities as to the status of twilight:
a) It is day.

b) It is night.

c) It is a combination of day and night.

The Talmud's conclusion is that its status is doubtful and as such must be treated as a 'safek'. Generally 'safek deoraitta lehumra' and 'safek derabanan lekula' - a doubtful Torah law or application is treated strictly and a doubtful rabbinical law or application is treated leniently.

2. Sources

I. Talmud Shabbat 34b-35a

Our Rabbis taught: As to twilight, it is doubtful whether it is partly day and partly night, or the whole of it [belongs to the] day, or the whole of it night: [therefore] it requires the stringency of both days. And what is twilight? From sunset as long as the face of the east has a reddish glow: when the lower [horizon] is dark and no longer red but not the upper, it is twilight; [but] when the upper [horizon] is dark and the same as the lower, it is night: this is the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah.

Rabbi Nehemiah said: For as long as it takes a man to walk half a mil from sunset.
Rabbi Yossi said: Twilight is as the blink of an eye, one entering and the other departing, and it is impossible to determine it...

This is a contradictory statement. You said, 'What is twilight? From sunset as long as the face of the east has a reddish glow.' Hence, if the lower horizon is dark but not the upper, it is night. Then it is taught, 'When the lower [horizon] is dark but not the upper, it is twilight'?

Rabbah answered in the name of Rabbi Yehudah in Shemuel's name: Combine [them] and learn: What is twilight? From sunset as long as the face of the east has a reddish glow, And if the lower [horizon] is dark but not the upper, that too is twilight. But when the upper horizon is dark and the same as the lower, it is night.

Rabbi Yoseph answered in the name of Rabbi Yehudah in Shemuel's name, This is what he teaches: From sunset as long as the face of the east has a reddish glow, it is day; if the lower [horizon] is dark but not the upper, it is twilight; when the upper is dark and the same as the lower, it is night.

Now, they follow their views. For it was stated: How long is the period of twilight? Rabbah said in the name of Rabbi Yehudah in Shemuel's name. (As long as it takes to walk) three...quarters of a mil. While Rabbi Yoseph said in the name of Rabbi Yehudah in Rab's name: Two...thirds of a mil. What is the difference between them? One half of a sixth. ...
Abaye saw Raba gazing at the West. He said to him, but it was taught, 'As long as the face of the east has a reddish glow?'

'Do you think that the face of the east is meant literally?' Raba replied. '[It means] the face which casts a red glow upon the east, comparable to a window.'

Rabbi Nehemiah said: For as long as it takes a man to walk half a mil from sunset.' Rabbi Hanina said: One who wishes to know Rabbi Nehemiah's period should leave the sun on the top of the Carmel, descend, dip in the sea, and re-ascend, and this is Rabbi Nehemiah's period...Rabbi Yehudah said in Shemuel's name: At twilight, as defined by Rabbi Yehudah, unclean priests may perform tevillah. According to whom? Shall we say, according to Rabbi Yehudah [himself]? But it is doubtful! But if it means twilight, as defined by Rabbi Yehudah, according to Rabbi Yossi; [why state] priests may perform tevillah then-it is obvious! I might think that twilight, as defined by Rabbi Yossi, is a continuation of Rabbi Yehudah's; [therefore] we are told that Rabbi Yehudah's twilight ends and then Rabbi Yossi's commences.

Rabbah ben Bar Hanah said in Rabbi Yohanan's name: The halakhah is as Rabbi Yehudah in respect to the Sabbath, and the halakhah is as Rabbi Yossi in respect to Terumah. Now, as for the halakhah being as Rabbi Yehudah in respect to the Sabbath, it is well: this is in the direction of stringency. But in respect of Terumah, what is it? Shall we say, for tevillah? It is doubtful! (Since he rules that the halakhah is as Rabbi Yehudah in respect to the Sabbath, he must regard Rabbi Yehudah's view as possibly correct). Rather it is in respect of the eating of Terumah, viz., the priests may not eat Terumah until twilight, as defined by Rabbi Yossi, ends.

Rabbi Yehudah said in Shemuel's name: When [only] one star [is visible], it is day; when two [appear], it is twilight; three, it is night. It was taught likewise: When one star [is visible], it is day; when two [appear], it is twilight; three, it is night. Rabbi Yossi ben Avin said: Not the large stars, which are visible by day, nor the small ones, which are visible only at night, but the medium sized.

Rabbi Yossi son of Rabbi Zebida said: If one performs work at two twilights, he incurs a sin-offering, whatever view you take.

Raba said to his attendant: You, who are not clear in the Rabbinical standards, light the lamp when the sun is at the top of the palm trees. (i.e. while it is still daylight) How is it on a cloudy day? - In town, observe the fowls; in the field, observe the ravens or Arone.

The conclusion of the Talmud is that the law follows the more stringency of both Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Yossi i.e. on Shabbat eve one should follow the earlier opinion of Rabbi Yehudah and on Motzaei Shabbat the opinion of Rabbi Yossi.

II. The Talmud in Pesahim 94a discusses the thickness of the horizon. It was assumed in those days that the sun rotated around the earth and when it disappeared below the horizon would actually go through a hole in the horizon. The sun would actually travel through the hole, around the earth and then back through a hole on the other side at dawn of the next day.

Raba said: The world is six thousand parsaot, and the thickness of the heaven [rakia] is one thousand parsaot the first one [of these statements] is a tradition, while the other is [based on] reason. [Thus:] he agrees with Rabbah ben Bar Hanah's dictum in Rabbi Yohanan's name: What is an average man's journey in a day? Ten parsaot. From daybreak (allot or ammud hashahar) until sunrise (netz hahamah) five mils, and from sunset (shekiah) until the stars appear (or nightfall, ztet hakokhavim) five mils: hence the thickness of the heaven is one sixth of the day's journey.

An objection is raised: Rabbi Yehudah said: The thickness of the sky is one tenth of the day's journey. The proof is this: what is an [average] man's journey in a day? Ten parsaot, and from daybreak until the rising sun four mils, [and] from sunset until the stars appear four mils,: hence the thickness of the sky is one tenth of the day['s journey]. This is a refutation of Raba, and a refutation of 'Ulla...

3. Contradiction and Resolution

A. Rabbenu Tam answers the apparent contradiction between Talmud Pesahim and the Talmud Shabbat by explaining that there are two different shekioth (sunsets) in a day. The first shekia starts as soon as the orb of the sun disappears below the horizon and ends when the sun is totally below the horizon and most of the sky is dark. The amount of time this takes is three and a quarter mil. The second shekia starts when the sky is dark, except for its western extremity which glows red due to the sun below the horizon. This second shekia ends when the whole sky is totally dark (tzet hakokhavim). The period of time between the second shekia and dark is twilight or 'bein hashemashot' and is equal to the time taken to walk three quarters of a mil. The Gemara in Pesahim which states that according to Rabbi Yehuda between the shekia and tzet hakokhabim there is four mil, that is going from the first shekia until tzet hakokhabim. The shekia mentioned in Tractate Shabbat that states in the name of Rabbi Yehuda that between shekia and tzet hakokhavim there is a time period of three quarters of a mil refers to the second shekia until tzet hakokhavim.

B. The Gaon of Vilna (Gra) gives another answer to this contradiction. He explains that both Gemarot discuss the same shekia (which is when the orb of the sun totally disappears below the horizon) where the tractates differ is the time of tzet hakokhavim i.e. there are two different tzet hakokhavim being addressed. The opinion of Rabbi Yehudah in tractate Pesahim which gives a measurement of four mil between shekia and tzet hakokhavim is describing the tzet hakokhavim when all the stars come out and even small stars are seen. Tractate Shabbat, however, which gives a measurement of three quarters of a mil between shekia and tzet hakokhavim is describing the tzet hakokhavim when three medium stars are seen. According to Gra there is only one shekia which begins when the west portion of the sky is red and ends when the whole sky is equally dark. This time period is 'bein hashemashot.'

4. The Three Main Opinions of Shekia.
A. Geonim twilight starts straight after the orb of the sun sets behind the horizon this period lasts for the time it takes to walk three-quarters of a mil (either 131/2 or 18 minutes). This period of uncertainty is followed by night.

B. Rabenu Tam states that there are two sunsets dealt with by the Talmud. The first sunset starts, like the opinion of the geonim, when the orb of the sun sets behind the horizon. This period does not however, signify the start of twilight, rather all the time that it is bright outside, despite the lack of direct sunshine, it is day and on Fridays one may still perform melakhah (work forbidden during Shabbat). This daylight period lasts for the time taken to walk three and a quarter mil, which is followed by the second sunset. This is when the majority of the sky is dark except for the western extremity. This is the onset of twilight, which lasts the time taken to walk three-quarters of a mil. This twilight period is followed by darkness.

C. Re'em, Rabbi Eliezer of Metz holds that shekia starts three quarters of a mil before the orb of the sun totally disappears below the horizon (shekia of the Geonim) and according to him tzet hakokhavim starts when the orb of the sun totally disappears below the horizon (shekia of the Geonim).

5. The Time Taken to Walk a Mil

The time taken to walk a mil is the subject of debate among the Rishonim. There are two basic opinions 18 minutes or 24 minutes, the various opinions follow:

Responsa Terumat Hadeshen states that the time taken to walk a mil is eighteen minutes this is quoted by Bet Yoseph Yoreh Deah 69 and Shulhan Arukh Orah Hayyim 459 and Rema Orah Hayyim 261. This view is shared by Rambam in his Commentary on the Mishnah at the beginning of Tractate Berakhot. This is also the opinion of Rav Saadiah Gaon in his siddur and is the opinion most widely followed by the legal authorities. According to this the time taken to walk 3/4 of a mil is 131/2 minutes.

B. Rambam in his Commentary on the Mishnah in Chapter 3 of Pesahim states that time taken to walk a mil is twenty-four minutes. This opinion is followed by the famous Mishnaic commentator Rabbi Ovadia Bartenura and other poskim. According to this the time taken to walk 3/4 of a mil is 18 minutes.

When dealing with Torah law especially those with severe penalties like Shabbat and Yom Kippur, it is preferable to follow this stricter opinion. When the talmud discusses this length of time for shekia it is talking about the months of Nissan and Tishri when the daylight and night hours are more or less equal, then shekia lasts for the time take to walk 3/4 mil, however in the other months of the year this eighteen minute period is measured by 'shaot zemaniot' variable halakhic hours depending on the length of daylight. After these eighteen minutes past sunset it is definitely night according to Rabbi Yehudah and one should then add another minute to account for the stricter opinion of Rabbi Yossi. After these 19 minute (some round it out to twenty) it is definitely 'tzet hakokhavim' according to the opinion of the Geonim? Some add another ten or so minutes for the weekday to the Sherbet as 'Tosefet Shabbat.' In total adding thirty minutes after shekia of the Geonim to obtain a strict time for dark.

6. Tosefet Shabbat

In Tractate Rosh Hashanah 9a the Talmud states that there is a mitzvah to add from the weekday to Yom Kippur at its commencement and end. The Talmud in Tractate Yoma 81b states that this mitzvah also encompasses Shabbat. Rif and Rosh learn from here that one should add from the weekday to Shabbat at its commencement and end. Rambam Hilkhot Shabbat Chapter 5:3 states that a person should light Shabbat candles before sunset. The Maggid Mishnah (commentator on Rambam) states that Rambam is of the opinion that the addition from the weekday to Yom Kippur only applies to the laws of affliction on Kippur but not to other laws, therefore this addition would not apply to Shabbat. Bet Yoseph, Orah Hayyim 261 states that according to Rambam there is no mitzvah of adding to Shabbat even from Rabbinical edict.

The halakhah however, follows the majority of halakhic decisors. So states Rabbi Yoseph Karo in Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim 261 that there is a mitzvah to add from the weekday to Shabbat, Yom Tov and Yom Kippur at their commencement and end. The prevailing opinion among the halakhic decisors is that there is no set time for this addition and it is sufficient to add even a small quantity of time to fulfill this mitzvah.

7. The Opinion of Shulhan Arukh

Shulhan Arukh addresses this issue in two places:
A. In the laws of Shabbat, Orah Hayyim 261 he states:
"Some are of the opinion that one is obliged to add from a weekday to a holy day. The time that is eligible for this addition is from the beginning of sunset (Shulhan Arukh refers to the first shekia of Rabenu Tam as 'tehilat hashekia' or the beginning of shekia. There is only one shekia albeit a long one which ends with the majority of the sky dark.) until when twilight starts. This time period is (the time taken to walk) three and a quarter mil, one may add this whole time period to Shabbat (tosefet Shabbat) or part of this time. The time period of twilight lasts for three-quarters of a mil the time taken to walk 1,500 amot before dark."

This is obviously the opinion of Rabenu Tam. The Rema who normally comments if he dissents is silent on this issue he must therefore agree.

B. In the laws of Berit Milah Yoreh Deah 266, 8-9 Shulhan Arukh states: A boy born during twilight which is doubtful whether day or night we count (the eight days to his berit) from the night. He is circumcised on the ninth day, which is doubtful eighth day. If he was born on twilight of Shabbat eve his berit is not held on the following Shabbat (but on Sunday). Since we do not perform a berit on Shabbat in doubtful cases. Similarly, we do not perform a berit on Yom Tov, even the second day of Yom Tov (outside of Israel) in doubtful cases…
Shulhan Arukh is also referring in this case to sunset and twilight of Rabenu Tam.

8. The Minhag Today

The minhag among Sephardim today is not like the Shulhan Arukh but like the Geonim in all areas whether in the laws of Shabbat or the laws of Berit Milah.

Therefore the prevailing custom today is to end Shabbat half an hour after sunset (variable hours). This half an hour includes 18 minutes of 'bein hashemashot' of the Geonim, the mil being taken as 24 minute plus 2 minutes for the 'bein hashemashot' of Rabbi Yossi with an additional ten minutes added for 'Tosefet Shabbat', to add to the Shabbat from the weekday.

There are no Sephardim who are lenient and rely on Rabenu Tam's opinion to start Shabbat and Yom Tov later however, there are those that are strict to follow Rabenu Tam's opinion to delay the end of Shabbat and Yom. This is the opinion advocated by Rabbi Ovadia Yoseph, who, while acknowledging that the minhag follows the Geonim states that because of the stricture of Shabbat it is fitting not to perform Torah prohibited forms of work (melakhah) until Rabenu Tam's time has elapsed at the conclusion of Shabbat. This is a stricture since the prevailing minhag is like the geonim.

In the case of a berit the minhag is totally like the geonim even in leniency to perform a berit on Shabbat. For example if a boy was born on Friday night after sunset (the first sunset according to Rabenu Tam) during twilight according to the Geonim the Sephardic custom is to delay the child's berit to the following Sunday. If the child was born after dark according to the Geonim during the period which Rabenu Tam still considers day the minhag is to perform the berit on the following Shabbat.

Among Ashkenazim there are those that follow Rabenu Tam and Shulhan Arukh's opinion consistently in both leniency and stricture. While there are those who follow the Geonim, there are also those who are strict on both accounts, following the Geonim at the commencement of Shabbat and Yom Tov, and Rabenu Tam at the conclusion of Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Rabbi Shalom Messas present Sephardic Rabbi of Jerusalem raised the following concerns regarding those that are strict to conclude Shabbat according to the opinion of Rabbenu Tam.
(a) In actuality we see with our own eyes (in Israel) that sunset is reasonably quickly followed by darkness like the opinion of the Geonim.

(b) Rabenu Tam only gave his explanation to apply in Northern France that is why the Hatam Sofer who lived in a Northern Country followed Rabenu Tam.

(c) By following Rabenu Tam's opinion only at the end of Shabbat while following the stricter opinion of the Geonim at the commencement of Shabbat one is making a mockery of those great Rabbinical leaders throughout the ages. Including Rabbi Joseph Karo who followed the leniency of Rabenu Tam's opinion both on the commencement of Shabbat and if a male child was born on Shabbat after our sunset according to Rabenu Tam it is still daylight of Shabbat and the baby would be circumcised the following Shabbat, this would be prohibited according to the Geonim and would be transgressing the laws of Shabbat. The baby should be circumcised on the following Sunday instead.

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef in Yalkut Yoseph answers the above questions as follows:
(a) The Shulhan Arukh himself lived in Israel nevertheless after observing the actual conditions of sunset and nightfall still followed the opinion of Rabenu Tam he must have been of the opinion that Rabenu Tam's opinion applied equally to the physical conditions of Israel. Rabenu Tam's time for nightfall could still be accurate in that this would be the time where one could observe three medium stars. But we are not expert in knowing what medium stars are. If one would go out of town into an open area one would be able to observe the fact that one can start seeing medium stars at around the time when Rabenu Ram states that it is dark.

(b) Rabenu Tam did not invent this time he just answers the contradiction between Rabbi Yehudah's opinion in Talmud Shabbat and Pesahim. Rabbi Yehudah who was a Tanna (a Mishnaic authority) lived in Israel and was discussing nightfall in Israel and not France. Obviously there were messengers who went backward and forward between Israel and France and Rabenu Tam knew the actuality of nightfall in Israel. Furthermore Rabbi Yoseph Karo, the Peri Hadash and many other Sephardic greats who lived in the Middle East followed Rabenu Tam's opinion and accepted his resolution of the Talmudic contradiction as law.

(c) There are approximately thirty Rishonim who are of the same opinion as Rabenu Tam how can we just ignore their opinions as they apply to the laws of the holy Shabbat. Shulhan Arukh also follows Rabenu Tam. There is no la'az when it comes to following strictures.

Mahari Navon and Hida give testimony that the reason we Sephardim do not follow the Shulhan Arukh's ruling on this particular halakhah is because the prevailing minhag at that time in Jerusalem and Hevron was like the Geonim. It is interesting that Shulhan Arukh does not even mention that there was a prevailing minhag at all. In fact Bet Yoseph does not even mention the opinion of the Geonim at all!!! He only quotes the Ran and Rabenu Tam. The first one who quotes the opinion of the Geonim is Maharam Elshakar in his responsa 96. Is it possible that Maran was either unaware of this minhag or never had any written sources on which to base himself? The Spanish minhag was most likely like Rabenu Tam as the leaders of Spanish Jewry, Ramban and Rashba follows Rabenu Tam's opinion.

Rabbi Bension Abba Shaul in his responsa Or Letzion Volume 1, Yoreh Deah 10 states that we clearly see that from the time of sunset till dark is approximately 25 to twenty minutes and not 13 1/2 minutes as mentioned by the Talmud. Therefore we have to decide whether our time for shekia is right and our time for dark is wrong or our time for dark is right and our time for shekia is wrong. Today there is room for doubt as to what the shekia mentioned in the Talmud is. Is it the time when the orb of the sun disappears below the horizon or perhaps while you can see the redness of the sun's rays in the sky even though its orb is below the horizon it is still day? Therefore even a male baby born after or between thirteen and a half and twenty-seven minutes after sunset on Shabbat eve cannot be circumcised the following Shabbat because of doubt. However, he admits that the minhag is that twenty minutes past shekia is nightfall in Israel. Similarly Rabbi Bension Abba Shaul allows a person to pray Minhah up to twenty-four minutes past shekia.

Rabbi Tukatzinsky author of the widely used calendar states that dark is approximately 27 to 35 minutes after shekia.

Rabbi Ovadia Yoseph forcefully disagrees with these above opinions and states that the opinion of the Geonim and the minhag is quite clearly based on the Talmud that thirteen and a half minutes after the orb of the sun is hidden below the horizon is considered dark (zteit hakokhavim). This is the same time mentioned in Talmud Shabbat that the lower and upper portions of the sky are equally dark which is also the time mentioned by the Talmud Shabbat that three medium stars can be seen.

We are not expert today on the exact timing of these criteria.


In 1568 the Churches of God ended the Fast on the Day of Atonement after star rise, meaning when three medium sized stars could be seen. This is at dark, at the end of evening nautical twilight and not at sunset. No stars except Venus, the day star, and another large star can ever be seen at the time of the sun setting.

We were identified by the Office of the Inquisition as those who "cultivated and observed the Law of Moses (as being renewed covenant-keepers) or the Mohammedan sect (as believers in One God alone)". There are still remnants of the Paulicians, who were of the Churches of God, who hid amongst Moslems and who subsequently converted to Islam in Bosnia.

Appendix III

Edict of Faith

CONCORDIAS: Hechas, y firmadas entre la jurisdicion real, y el santo Oficio de la Inquisicion.

DECLARATIONS, Acts and Edicts of the royal Jurisdiction, and the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

Valencia, 1568 (collection of the Author).

"We, Doctor Andres de Palacio, Inquisitor against the heresy and apostolic perversity in the city and kingdom of Valencia, etc.

"To all faithful Christians, both men and women, chaplains, friars and priests of every condition, quality and degree; whose attention to this will result in salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ, the true salvation; who are aware that, by means of other edicts and sentences of the Reverend inquisitors, our predecessors, they were warned to appear before them, within a given period, and declare and manifest the things which they had seen, known, and heard tell of any person or persons, either alive or dead, who had said or done anything against the Holy Catholic Faith; cultivated and observed the law of Moses or the Mohammedan sect, or the rites and ceremonies of the same; or perpetrated diverse crimes of heresy; observing Friday evenings and Saturdays; changing into clean personal linen on Saturdays and wearing better clothes than on other days; preparing on Fridays the food for Saturdays, in stewing pans on a small fire; who do not work on Friday evenings and Saturdays as on other days; who kindle lights in clean lamps with new wicks, on Friday evenings; place clean linen on the beds and clean napkins on the table; celebrate the festival of unleavened bread, eat unleavened bread and celery and bitter herbs; observe the fast of pardon (Day of Atonement) when they do not eat all day until the evening after star-rise, when they pardon one another and break their fast; and in the same manner observe the fasts of Queen Esther, of tissabav, and rosessena; who say prayers according to the law of Moses, standing up before the wall, swaying back and forth, and taking a few steps backwards; who give money for oil for the Jewish temple or other secret place of worship; who slaughter poultry according to the Judaic law, and refrain from eating sheep or any other animal which is trefa; who do not wish to eat salt pork, hares, rabbits, snails, or fish that have not scales; who bathe the bodies of their dead and bury them in virgin soil according to the Jewish custom; who, in the house of mourning do not eat meat but fish and hard-boiled eggs, seated at low tables; who separate a morsel of dough when baking and throw it on the fire; who become, or know of others who become circumcised; who invoke demons, and give to them the honour that is due to God; who say that the law of Moses is good and can bring about their salvation; who perform many other rites and ceremonies of the same; who say that our Lord Jesus Christ was not the true Messiah promised in Scripture, nor the true God nor son of God; who deny that he died to save the human race; deny the resurrection and his ascension to heaven; and say that our Lady the Virgin Mary was not the mother of God or a virgin before the nativity and after; who say and affirm many other heretical errors; who state that what they had confessed before the inquisitors was not the truth; who remove their penitential robes and neither remain in the prison nor observe she penance imposed upon them; who say scandalous things against our holy Catholic Faith and against the officials of the Inquisition; or who influence any infidel who might have been drawn towards Catholicism to refrain from converting; who assert that the Holy Sacrament of the altar is not the true body and blood of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and that God cannot be omnipresent; or any priest holding this damnable opinion, who recites and celebrates the mass, not saying the holy words of the consecration; saying and believing that the law of Mahomet and its rites and ceremonies are good and can bring about their salvation; who affirm that life is but birth and death, and that there is no paradise and no hell; and state that to practise usury is not a sin; if any man whose wife still lives, marries again, or any woman remarries in the lifetime of her first husband; if any know of those who keep Jewish customs, and name their children on the seventh night after their birth and with silver and gold upon a table, pleasurably observe the Jewish ceremony; and if any know that when somebody dies, they place a cup of water and a lighted candle and some napkins where the deceased died, and for some days, do not enter there; if any know of the effort of a Jew or convert, secretly to preach the law of Moses and convert others to this creed, teaching the ceremonies belonging to the same, giving information as to the dates of festivals and fasts, teaching Jewish prayers; if any know of anyone who attempts to become a Jew, or being Christian walks abroad in the costume of a Jew; if any know of anyone, converted or otherwise, who orders that his dress shall he made of canvas and not of linen, as the good Jews do; if any know of those who, when their children kiss their hands, place their hands on the children’s heads without making the Sign (of the Cross); or who, after dinner or supper, bless the wine and pass is to everyone at the table, which blessing is called the veraha; if any know that in any house, people congregate for the purpose of carrying on religious services, or read out of bibles of the vernacular or perform other Judaic ceremonies, and if any know that when someone is about to set out on a journey, certain words of the law of Moses are spoken to him, and a hand placed on his head without making the Sign (of the Cross). And if any know of anyone who has professed the Mosaic creed, or awaited the coming of the Messiah, saying that our Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ was not come and that now Elijah was to come and take them to the promised land; and if any know that any person had pretended to go into a trance and wandered in heaven and that an angel had conducted him over green fields and told him that was the promised land which was being saved for all converts whom Elijah was to redeem from the captivity in which they lived; and if any know that any person or persons be children or grandchildren of the condemned, and being disqualified, should make use of public office, or bear arms or wear silk and fine cloth, or ornament their costumes with gold, silver, pearls or other precious stones or coral, or make use of any other thing which they are forbidden and disqualified to have; and if any know that any persons have or possessed any confiscated goods, furniture, money, gold, silver, or other jewels belonging to those condemned for heresy, which should be brought before the receiver of goods confiscated for the crime of heresy. —All these things, having been seen, heard or known, you, the above-mentioned faithful Christians, have, with obstinate hearts, refused to declare and manifest, greatly to the burden and prejudice of your souls; thinking that you were absolved by the bulls and indulgences issued by our holy father, and by promises and donations which you had made, for which you have incurred the sentence of excommunication and other grave penalties under statutory law; and thus you may be proceeded against as those who have suffered excommunication and as abettors of heretics, in various ways; but, wishing so act with benevolence, and in order that your souls may not be lost, since our Lord does not wish the death of the sinner but his reformation and life; by these presents, we remove and suspend the censure promulgated by the said former inquisitors against you, so long as you observe and comply with the terms of this our edict, by which we require, exhort and order you, in virtue of the holy obedience, and under penalty of complete excommunication, within nine days from the time that the present edict shall have been read to you, or made known to you in whatsoever manner, to state all that you know, have seen, heard, or heard tell in any manner whatsoever, of the things and ceremonies above-mentioned, and to appear before us personally to declare and manifest what you have seen, heard, or heard tell secretly, without having spoken previously with any other person, or borne false witness against anyone. Otherwise, the period having passed, the canonical admonitions having been repeated in accordance with the law, steps will be taken so give out and promulgate sentence of excommunication against you, in and by these documents; and through such excommunication, we order that you be publicly denounced; and if, after a further period of nine days, you should persist in your rebellion and excommunication, you shall be excommunicated, anathematised, cursed, segregated, and separated as an associate of the devil, from union with and inclusion in the holy Mother-Church, and the sacraments of the same. And we order the vicars, rectors, chaplains, and sacristans and any other religious or ecclesiastical persons to regard and treat the above-mentioned as excommunicated and accursed for having incurred the wrath and indignation of Almighty God, and of the glorious Virgin Mary, His Mother, and of the beatified apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and all the saints of the celestial Court; and upon such rebels and disobedient ones who would hide the truth regarding the above-mentioned things, be all the plagues and maledictions which befell and descended upon King Pharaoh and his host for not having obeyed the divine commandments; and the same sentence of divine excommunication encompass them as it encompassed the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who all perished in flames; and of Athan and Abiron who were swallowed up into the earth for the great delinquencies and sins which they committed in disobedience and rebellion against our Lord God; and may they be accursed in eating and drinking, in waking and sleeping, in coming and going. Accursed be they in living and dying, and may they ever be hardened so their sins, and the devil be as their right hand always; may their vocation be sinful, and their days be few and evil; may their substance be enjoyed by others, and their children be orphans, and their wives widows. May their children ever be in need, and may none help them; may they be turned out of their homes and their goods taken by usurers; and may they find nobody to have compassion on them; may their children be ruined and outcast, and their names also; and their wickedness be ever present in the divine memory. May their enemies vanquish them and despoil them of all they possess in the world; and may they wander from door to door without relief. May their prayers be turned to maledictions; and accursed be the bread and wine, the meat and fish, the fruit and other food that they eat; likewise the houses they inhabit and the raiment they wear, the beasts upon which they ride and the beds upon which they sleep, and the tables and napkins upon which they eat. Accursed be they to Satan and to Lucifer and to all the devils in hell, and these be their lords, and accompany them by night and by day. Amen. And if any persons incurring the said excommunications and maledictions, should persist therein for the space of a year, they should be regarded as heretics themselves, and shall be prosecuted by the same process as against heretics or suspects of the crime of heresy.

Given on the _____ March, in the year of our Lord God, one thousand five hundred and twelve."

Nullus omoveat sub pena excommunicationis.

(Item: Of no avail is the confession made to the confessor for procuring absolution from the sentence of excommunication to which the heretic might be subject, from the time the crime is committed.)

(Item: All who know anything of the things mentioned in this present edict, or of other heresies, and do not come forward to denounce and declare the same, are hereby excommunicated and may not be absolved by their confessors.)

El doctor De Mandato sue Palacio, inquisidor. Reverende paternitatis, Petrus Sorell, notarius.