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The ancients needed no clocks to tell them when they passed the boundary line between day and night—sunrise began the day and sunset ushered in the night. Therefore a day in the calendar is measured by one complete rotation of the earth on its axis, including a day and a night. Each full day ran evening-morning, dark-light, night-day (Leviticus ; 22:6, 7; Mark , 32).
Also certain other ancient peoples, like the Babylonians, began their day at sunset, although the Egyptians counted from sunrise.
At the summer and winter solstices occur the days of longest and shortest sunlight, when the sun is seen farthest north and farthest south in the sky; at the spring and fall equinoxes, when day and night over the whole globe are equal, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west.
And despite the difficulty in determining the precise length of the year, the veriest savage can tell its passage by the cycle of the seasons, marked by unmistakable signs.
We see the sun once more at the dividing line that we call sunrise.As our local spot approaches the point directly opposite the sun, that fiery orb appears to rise higher in our sky until it is on our meridian at noon.Then it appears to decline as we move farther around the sunlit side, and we complete one circuit as we again reach the sunset line—the edge of the shadow. And so it was, for in His time an hour meant one twelfth of the interval—varying with the seasons—between sunrise and sunset. A period marked off by five days, or any number of days, cannot disregard the intervening nights.When God set this globe spinning on its axis and sent it on its yearly course around the sun, accompanied by its smaller attendant, the moon, He decreed that these heavenly bodies should govern the earth’s day and night, and, further, that they should be “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis ).Thus time is measured for the earth by these motions.