327: Amos 8:9


365 Prophecies: Prophecy 327

When the Messiah is crucified, the Sun will darken at noon.

Old Testament Prediction:

Amos 8:9 “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord GOD, “That I will make the sun go down at noon, And I will darken the earth in broad daylight…”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.

Application:

Jewish timekeeping for a day begins at 6 a.m. as the “first hour.” Therefore, the “sixth hour” would be 12 noon. The testimony of those who were present at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is that it became dark at noon, and it remained dark until the “ninth hour” or 3 p.m.

The purpose of the sun turning dark at noon and remaining dark until 3 p.m. was very likely a physical demonstration by God of the darkness that fell upon Jesus, as He became the sin of the world during those three hours. Jesus had committed no sin Himself, yet the Bible states that He had to be “made sin” in order to make our salvation possible.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

When Jesus cried out from the Cross at the 9th hour, “It is finished,” at that point, all the sins of the world were placed upon Him. It was at that moment that one of the great mysteries of the universe occurred. A break in the eternal fellowship of God took place. As the Son becomes the sins of the world, the Father turns away. Since God can have no fellowship with sin, the Son felt this break of communion that in eternity had never occurred—in those final three hours of horror of the cross—that none of us could possibly comprehend.

We can only Imagine the terror that Jesus experienced as the horrifying sin of the world was placed in Him. There was an immense sorrow and extreme devastation in the heart of Jesus as He lost what was most precious to Him: the perfect unity that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit had enjoyed forever.

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

As the Light of the world is put to death when all of the sins of the world are placed in Him, darkness covers the land for three hours, signifying the attempt of evil, sin, and death to smother and eradicate the light of God. In the same way for three days, the word remained in spiritual darkness and hopelessness until, on the third day, Jesus burst forth from the grave, defeating sin and death forever. Having completed our salvation, Light reigned over all the forces of darkness once and for all.

It seems important to suggest that the darkness also had a second purpose as Jesus was made sin for us. When the fellowship that Jesus had enjoyed with the Father was broken, perhaps there was a sadness, a mourning in that darkness that followed. Those three hours were certainly not pleasant for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We should remember that it was not only Jesus the Son of God who suffered on the cross. The Father and the Spirit felt the same broken fellowship that ensued from Jesus being made sin for us. Surely, they were all afflicted as a result of Jesus being made the sins of the world and His resulting separation from God.

We should not miss the fact that when Jesus was made sin for us during these six hours that He was on the cross, the full wrath of God was poured out on Him as the penalty for all of our sins were fully atoned for.

The eyewitness testimony of those who were present at the crucifixion of Jesus is that from the sixth hour (12 noon) until the ninth hour (3 p.m.), darkness covered all of the land. This is a confirmation that the prophecy of Amos 8:9 was written for Jesus and for this specific moment in time when the Messiah bore all the sins of the world.

As the darkness passes and the sins of all people for all time are fully paid for by Jesus’ death, there is a remembrance of His promise that in three days, He would rise from the dead. The cross, the darkness, and the suffering that Jesus endured would have been meaningless if He had not risen. This event is the single greatest moment in the history of the universe.

On the morning of the third day, when the disciples and Mary arrive at the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, they find that the burial cloth that was wrapped around Jesus—is empty, and the Lord’s body is no longer there.

All the prophecies of the Bible and every prediction that Jesus made concerning Himself—that He would rise on the third day—became a reality that will affect all creation from that moment and forevermore.

The first morning after Jesus rose from the dead was the first day of man’s freedom and forgiveness from all sins. Light had triumphed over all darkness. Death was no longer the curse that mankind could not overcome. Sin nevermore would be the master over man’s heart.

The darkness of Jesus’ crucifixion, testified to by the Bible, is also recorded by other sources in secular history.

There are many Biblical and extra-biblical sources that describe a period of darkness over the earth during the time that the gospels detail Jesus’ crucifixion. One early church historian from the third century was Sextus Julias Africanus who described in the “chronicle of Thallus” that this time of darkness was a “solar eclipse.”[1]

During the reign of Tiberius Caesar, a second century record from Phlegon of Tralles describes a complete solar eclipse that happened during the time of the full moon, exactly as the gospels record: “from the sixth to the ninth hour.”[2]

In a commentary by Tertullian in his “Apologeticus,” he writes that there were many who were in attendance at the crucifixion of Jesus who had no knowledge of the prophecies of Amos and Isaiah. They believed that the darkness was an eclipse. Tertullian wrote that the evidence for this is still available in the archives of Roman history.[3]

This claim by Tertullian is extraordinary, as it provides confirmation outside of the Bible that documentation of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection existed in the records of Rome as early as the first century.

One of the first historians of this period, Rufinus of Aquileia—in a portion of the work he completed on Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, contains a section that describes a defense given to Maximus, by Lucian of Antioch—before his death by martyrdom in 312 A.D. This writer was quite certain that the darkness described by the gospels that is said to have taken place at the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, was a part of the historical record of the Roman archives.

“Search your writings and you shall find that in Pilates time, when Christ suffered, the sun was suddenly withdrawn and darkness followed”.[4]

This fact not only substantiates from history that the darkness happened at Jesus’ crucifixion, but also that documents of antiquity other than the Bible record the crucifixion of a man called “The Christ.”

Christian historian Paulus Orosius (375–418) recorded the following:

“Jesus voluntarily gave himself over to the Passion but through the impiety of the Jews, was apprehended and nailed to the cross, as a very great earthquake took place throughout the world, rocks upon mountains were split, and a great many parts of the largest cities fell by this extraordinary violence. On the same day also, at the sixth hour of the day, the Sun was entirely obscured and a loathsome night suddenly overshadowed the land, as it was said, ‘an impious age feared eternal night.’ Moreover, it was quite clear that neither the Moon nor the clouds stood in the way of the light of the Sun, so that it is reported that on that day the Moon, being fourteen days old, with the entire region of the heavens thrown in between, was farthest from the sight of the Sun, and the stars throughout the entire sky shone, then in the hours of the day or rather in that terrible night. To this, not only the authority of the Holy Gospels attest, but even some books of the Greeks.”[5]

When we examine the entire Biblical and Secular record of the events that took place during Jesus’ crucifixion, we are stunned to discover that the whole world, at that time, was aware of what happened on the hill outside Jerusalem. The Son of God died for the sins of the world, while darkness and a great earthquake signaled the completion of salvation that is now available to every person who will believe it.


[1] George Syncellus, Chronography 391
[2] Chronicle, Olympiad 202, trans. Carrier (1999)
[3] Tertullian, Apologeticus, Chapter 21, 19 cited in Bouw, G. D. (1998, Spring). The darkness during the crucifixion. The Biblical Astronomer, 8(84). Retrieved November 30, 2006 from [2]. Tertullian, Apologeticus, Chapter 21, 19
[4] Rufinus, Ecclesiastical History, Book 9, Chapter 6 Ussher, J., & Pierce, L. (Trans.)(2007). Annals of the World [p. 822]. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Publishing Group. ISBN 0-89051-510-7
[5] Orosius, P. (A.D. 417). The Seven Books of History Against the Pagans. In, R. J. Deferrari (Trans.) & H. Dressler, et al. (Vol. Eds.) (1964). The Fathers of the Church – Vol. 50 (1st short-run printing 2001, pp. 291-292). Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press. ISBN 978-0-8132-1310-1.

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