What Does the Bible Say About Sunrise and Sunset?

The Bible has much to say about sunrise and sunset, the sun, and even darkness. Sun and light usually represent goodness. Sunset and darkness often signal warning or even evil. 

The first time that I watched the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee, I imagined Peter, John, and the other fishermen seeing a similar sight. It was an unforgettable moment. 

Whether we witness sunrise on a cloudless morning or sunset over the waters of the sea, the Lord of Hosts uses the heavens as His canvas.

What Sunrise Symbolizes Biblically

Sunrise in the Bible reveals profound significance. Among other things, it symbolizes new beginnings, hope, and His divine presence. 

C.S. Lewis once said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” 

From the glory of God to physical light, to new beginnings, the Bible offers a wide variety of symbolism regarding sunrises.

52 powerful Tuesday morning blessings and Bible verses

1.  Sunrise as a New Beginning

The biblical meaning of sunrise usually signifies a new day or new beginning, both spiritually and physically. How many of us feel the hope of God as we start a new day with a blank sin slate?

All of life awakens with a fresh start in the morning light. It brings a sense of universal awe inspired by God’s creations. 

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy” (Psalm 65:8). 

The beginning of the day also signifies the cycles of life and nature. The light of dawn and the rising sun often signify a time marker or starting point for a new day or new week.

And 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‘” (Genesis 1:14).

The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises” (Ecclesiastes 1:5).

thursday prayers and blessings

2. Sunrise Evokes Worship

When was the last time you intentionally set an alarm to watch a sunrise? When I visited the rim of the Grand Canyon in 2008, I did precisely that. 

Grabbing my Bible and journal, I headed to perch on a rock overlooking the Canyon at 5:00 a.m. Words simply fail to describe the sense of awe and splendor I experienced that morning.

The sheer beauty and universal awe of a sunrise inspire us to worship the God who created life. God’s glory is physically present as He finger-paints the light of the morning across the sky. The prophet Isaiah understood this well.

Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea” (Isaiah 24:15, NIV).

Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; exalt the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea” (Isaiah 24:15).

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul. Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples” (Psalm 108:1-3).

What is the Biblical meaning of rainbows?

3. Sunrise Invites Prayer and Guidance

Even a cursory reading of Scripture reveals that the transition from darkness to light often symbolizes spiritual enlightenment. How many times have you felt a sense of sadness or spiritual darkness, stopped to pray, and received instant relief from the Lord? 

As the new light shines each morning, it is wise to pray for God’s presence and great power to guide your day. Here are two of the best Bible verses to pray: 

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8).

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3). 

Even if a sunrise is cloaked in thick clouds that hide the sun from view, we never doubt that the sun has risen and shines above the clouds. We can count on the bright morning star to appear just like the tender mercy of our God.

Best Christian Prayer Room Ideas to Strengthen Faith

4. Reminder of God’s Mercy and Faithfulness

Sunrises are not simply a daily free gift of God; they are hand-painted canvases of divine messages of God’s faithfulness. God did not have to give us sunrises. He wanted to delight us and provide a daily reminder of His faithfulness,

The predictable regularity of sunrise provides a powerful reminder of God’s unwavering faithfulness. Even the lamenting prophet understood that God’s love and mercy faithfully arrive with each new day. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in him” (Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV). 

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the following morning” (Psalm 30:5).

For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 108:4-5).

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). 

powerful Wednesday prayers and blessings

5. God’s Victory in the Light of Day

Joshua understood the importance of persevering through the deep darkness of night to celebrate victory in the bright morning. He had the bold faith to even ask God to make the sun stand still!

At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies” (Joshua 10:12-13).

How often have you battled an addiction or “terror” through the night? Worry and anxiety are sleep destroyers. Trusting the Lord to bring victory after we have trusted Him and persevered is an extraordinary faith builder.

David understood the need to persevere a full day and through the shadow of death at night, as well.

David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled” (1 Samuel 30:17). 

Warriors in the Bible: 13 Essential Life Lessons to Learn

6. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The most important sunrise in all of human history was when God raised Jesus from the dead so that we have the hope of eternal life with Him. 

The disciples thought all was lost as the body of the Lord Jesus was laid in the tomb on Good Friday. But the Son of Man and light of the world did not stay in the grave for long.

Early on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance” (John 20:1). 

Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away” (Mark 16:2-4).

Christ Jesus rose from the dead and shone the everlasting light of hope and the good news of eternal liberty from the wages of sin. I have never attended an outdoor Easter sunrise church service outside, but it is on my bucket list!

resurrection he is risen easter

Are There Sunrises in Heaven?

When our hope in Christ is fulfilled by faith at our earthly death, He will instantly welcome all believers into heaven.  

God is light and all light emanates from Him. Consequently, there will not be sunrises or sunsets in heaven.

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5, NIV). 

After all, we will finally be standing in the presence of the Lord! I don’t know about you, but my eyes will be plastered on Jesus, not looking for any other source of great light.

rainbow blessings

What Sunset Symbolizes Biblically

Just as the sunrise begins each day afresh, the sunset signifies the end of a season, a life, or a day. It is also a perfect time to reflect on what the Lord has done during each day.

1. Sunsets Inspire Reflection and Worship

If you are reading this at night, what good thing (or several things) did the Lord do for you today? I once heard a friend say, “Thank you, Lord, for counting my blessings because I can’t count that high.” Sunset is a beautiful time for reflection and worship.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat” (Psalm 19:1-2, 6). 

Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” (Psalm 113:2-3, ESV).

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).

sun globe

2. Sunsets Offer Reconciliation

How often have you worked all day and welcomed the setting of the sun after completing your good works that day? As the day declines, we rest from our labor. 

We spend time with family or friends as we wind down. It is also a time to settle accounts, so to speak, for that day. A final opportunity to make things right before falling asleep.

In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27). 

If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset” (Exodus 22:6).  

Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin” (Deuteronomy 24:15). 

sunset greece

3. Evening Offers Rest

Scripture tells us that God never sleeps: “Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleep” (Psalm 121:4, NLT). 

However, the Lord gives us sleep because He knows that we need it. Rest is vital! And we can sleep peacefully knowing that God is ever watchful over us.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul” (Psalm 23:1-3a).

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him” (Psalm 91:1-2).


4. Evening Offers Peace and Restoration

During Jesus’ three years of public ministry, His work never ceased. In fact, it often continued through the night until the next day.

At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them” (Luke 4:40).

What a beautiful example for Christians to follow! Just because the sun has set does not mean our calling to share the Good News clocks out. Time is short.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” (Matthew 9:37-38).

reading space peace

5. Significant Biblical Events After Sunset

Whether your day was wonderful or heartbreaking, the Lord walked through every moment with you. He never left you alone. He watches, moves, and works after the sun sets each day.

Throughout the Bible, some of the most significant events took place after the sun had set.

  • Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover Meal in the Upper Room. (Mark 14:16-18)
  • Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. (John 18)
  • Jesus calmed the night storm that threatened to capsize the disciples’ boat. (Mark 4:35-41)
  • During Jesus’ ministry, he would heal people during the day and spend the night in prayer with His Father. (Luke 21:36-38)
  • The resurrected Jesus first appeared to the disciples at night. (John 20:19-10)

From the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:6).

Sunrises and sunsets are gifts from God. Through them, we gain a glimpse of His artistic beauty that we will one day experience for all eternity.

Related Posts:

About the Author

Donna is a sought-after speaker, multi-published author, and Bible teacher. Her path from being unchurched to becoming passionate about sharing Jesus was not easy. Read about her God-breathed journey: “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, then visit her here.

{Some of these links are affiliate links. If you purchase through that link, the ministry may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.}