Question:

When does the Sabbath begin and end?

Answer: The Sabbath day begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday or with the arrival of darkness. This is implied in the creation account in Genesis 1 and confirmed throughout Scriptures as the understanding. See Leviticus 23:32 (spoken about the annual holidays, yet applicable to the weekly Sabbath as well), Nehemiah 13:19 and Luke 4:40 which attests that the Jews at the time of Jesus kept it from sunset to sunset as they have consistently done throughout history.

The practical advantage of celebrating the Sabbath from sunset to sunset (or from the onset of darkness) is the consistency. No matter what time zone you are in, the Sabbath hours are easily measured every week. Throughout history, time has been counted and measured very differently even from city to neighbouring city, as it is even today because of daylight saving. Had God chosen midnight which can be measured as the darkest hour, the practical problem of course would be that we normally would not be able to welcome the coming of the Sabbath because we would be asleep!

For Seventh-day Adventists, the Sabbath is a very significant day for worshipping God, meditating on the Word of God and spending time with people.

The Bible teaches that God blessed the seventh day and made it holy (See Exodus 20:8-11 and Genesis 2:1-3) For these Biblical reasons Seventh-day Adventists attend church or participate in spiritually focused activities. During the Sabbath, Adventists refrain from doing things they normally do during the week such as working and shopping.

For more information on the Sabbath day, read our belief statement "The Sabbath"