Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 27, 1952

The Evening Service

Howard Wooldridge, Palmetto, Florida

Similar articles appeared in the Guardian June 12 and July 17 under the title "Lord's Supper at the Evening Service". My present one and that of June 12 contain all I shall say on the subject.

Brother Watts article of July 17 was a reply to what was said in the June 12th article, and by his statements one would gather that he doesn't know that any meeting of disciples on the "first day of the week to break bread" is "exemplified in Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20." This is certainly what the early church did, and there is no proof they only met between the rising and setting of the sun. True, they met on the first day of the week, but "day" does not mean (always) "daylight", or "sun rise to sunset".

According to our brother from Craig, Colorado the "evening" of John 20:19 cannot refer to a time after sunset, though Henry Thayer says the word for "evening" (opsios) in the particular passage refers to a time between 6 p. m. and night. Passages such as Matthew 14:15 clearly demand an earlier time than sunset, but there are others that just as clearly demand a time after sunset. Let's notice a few of these passages.

Matt. 26:20; Mk. 14:17: These refer to the time when Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover. Surely no one will deny that this occurred after sunset, yet it was "when the evening (opsias) was come".

Mark 1:32: "Evening" (opsios) "when the sun did set" certainly cannot refer to an earlier time.

Mark 6:47: "Evening" is too closely associated with the fourth watch of the night" of verse 48 not to include time after sunset.

John 20:19: This passage is used by Thayer as proof that "opsios" ((evening) refers to a time after sunset. Others have said the events of this verse occurred about 8 p. m. There is no authority for what brother Watts said about the meaning of this Greek word as used in this passage. Remember, this very passage is used in Thayer's list showing that "opsios" refers to time from 6 p. m. tonight, and this is most certainly a time after sunset.

But Brother Watts thinks we can't have TWO evenings in the same day, but according to any method of measuring the day there were "two evenings". See Thayer on the meaning of the Hebrew words for "in the evening" (Ex. 12:6). He says, and so does the margin of the Bible, that it means "between the two evenings".

Have you not wondered just how Brother Watts knows that the Jews continued, under Rome's rule, to measure their days according to the sunset-to-sunset method? True, they so measured their observance of the Sabbath, but did they always follow such method of all days contrary to Rome rule and authority?

However, were we to accept all our brother says about the measure of the day by the Jews, during their Theocracy, we cannot agree that the Gentiles were ever so bound unless he can show where inspired men so taught. The first Gentile converts were Romans and did not follow the sunset method of measuring the day, yet they were never told anything as to how it was to be done. The Spirit was sent to the apostles to guide them into ALL truth (Jn. 16:13), but he didn't lead them to tell these Romans to change their measure of the day. It is correct, therefore, to conclude that such a change was not essential to the truth. Many times arguments have been made (and correctly so) that mechanical music, etc. is no part of the truth since the Spirit never led an inspired man to teach or practice it in Christian worship or work. This should hold true for anything believed or practiced religiously, and if God never instructed them to change their method of measuring the day, it was not wrong to follow that method.