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Eclipse of the Son

Luke 23:44-45


The God of creation who said, “Let there be light” on the first day, is Himself, the light.  God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. [1 Jn. 1:5]

James calls Him the Father of lights, and yet He didn’t create the sun and moon until day 4.  It was then that He ‘appointed’ them to take over the job of shining and reflecting light.  And they have never stopped doing their job.  But when this world has ended, they will be retired, and Jesus will be the light of heaven.

The sun is precisely 400 times larger than the moon, and it is precisely 400 times further away, which makes them appear to us to be precisely the same apparent size. [what a coincidence!]  God, with mathematical perfection, makes tomorrow’s eclipse possible, where we can see things we never get to see, like mountainous ridges on the edges of the moon, and the sun’s corona, a crown to the glory of God.  Not to mention the ‘diamond ring’ effect just as the sun begins to peek back out.

It’s no surprise that many cultures have worshiped the sun.  The Bible forbids this, and yet God says it will reveal clues about the end of the world.

Acts 2:20

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.

Luke 21:25

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations…

Matthew 24:29

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Critics and skeptics scoff and say we’re making too much of this by calling it a sign of the times.

2 Peter 3:3-4

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 

[eclipses have always happened…true!  But you combine heavenly signs with more major prophecies such as what is going on in Israel and suddenly you realize why Jesus said for us to look up!]

Psalm 84:11

For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Malachi 4:1-2

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings…

Notice the spelling of this reference to Jesus.  And He arose!  But those who don’t believe in v. 1 will be burned, but the Christians in v. 2 will be blessed.  The same sun which melts the ice hardens the clay.

Joel 2:31-32

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered…

Luke 23:44-45 – the crucifixion

“the sun was darkened”

ekleipo = ekleipo = eclipsed = to fail, to give out, to die out

Was there a solar eclipse while Jesus hung on the cross?  No.

It was Passover, which is always at full moon, which can only be seen when the moon is on the far side of the earth, opposite the sun.  An eclipse happens at ‘new moon’, when the moon is on the sun’s side.  For this reason, we won’t see the moon in the sky until we see its shadow pass in front of the sun.  You don’t see the moon moving toward the sun before an eclipse.  It isn’t visible.  No wonder the ancient Aztecs, Hindus, and other primitive peoples freaked out when suddenly a disc moved across the sun and the sky went dark.  “The gods must be angry with us!”

But when the sky went dark at the crucifixion, the moon would have been in the opposing sky.  Visible?  Possibly.  That is, unless God literally turned off the sun.  And maybe He did.  When you are the Creator of the universe, and the Creator of the laws of the universe, you can do what you want when you want.

Crucifixions were held in the morning. It would take hours for victims of crucifixion to die. If they were not dead by mid after-noon the Roman soldiers would break the victim’s legs resulting in a quicker death.

Mark [ch. 15] tells us that it began at 9 AM.  For the first three hours it was daylight.  Then from noon until 3 PM there was darkness over all the land.

Beginning at noon, when the sun was at its peak, this miraculously astounding event takes place.

But this was not a natural solar eclipse. This was a spiritual eclipse. This was an eclipse of the Son…where our sins blocked the Son of God as He bore the sins of the world.

Ancient Roman history records that there was a darkness over the known earth on that day. Luke 23:44 says "… there was a darkness over all the earth …" Just as the flood waters of Noah’s day covered the entire world so did the darkness of the cross.

The darkness of the cross was as the darkness in Deuteronomy when God told the people their disobedience would lead to many curses, including this one…

Deuteronomy 28:29

And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness…

For three hours the people stumbled around in darkness like the blind. The darkness was blinding.

This darkness was as the darkness that God caused to fall over the land of Egypt in Ex. 10 where it says, "Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:”

But on this occasion, here at the cross, it was God who stretched out His hand from heaven and caused a thick black darkness, that was felt by all the world for three hours. It was a blinding darkness. 

For the first three hours that Jesus was on the cross, when it was daylight there was a crowd of people at the foot of the cross mocking, belittling, and ridiculing our Lord.

Mark tells us it was right in the middle of their mocking that the sun went dim.  When the darkness came the mocking stopped.

1 Samuel 2:9

…the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

The darkness was God’s way of saying to the wicked mockers, “be quiet.” “You’ve said enough.” To shut them up He turned off the sun.

Biblical history shows that it is not unusual for God to interfere with the sun.

Once, he caused the sun to stand still.

On another occasion, he caused the sun to move backward on the sundial. Of course, in Egypt, he darkened the sun as a part of the plagues that fell.

In our text the sun failed to shine. When the Son of God had our sins placed upon Him the sun quit shining.  His own Father turned His back on Him.  God is light, but sin eclipses that light.  No wonder in heaven there’s no need for sun or moon, for the Lamb is the light!

Isaiah 24:23

Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.

It was as if the sun was ashamed of what man was doing to God’s Son. It refused to shed its light upon this wicked thing we were doing to our Creator.

The stars hid their faces. The earth moaned. All of nature wept. God the Father turned His back.

When Christ was born there was a great light. When he died there was great darkness.

Darkness in the Bible represents:

1. Death.

Matthew 4:16

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

2. Satan.

Satan is "the ruler of the darkness of this world," Eph 6:12

2 Corinthians 4:4

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

3. Hate.

1 John 2:11

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

4. Evil deeds of men.

John 3:19

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Proverbs 4:19

The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Romans 1:21

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

5. Hell.

Matthew 8:12

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

6. Judgment.

When Jesus hung on the cross dying for our sins those three hours represented God’s judgment of our sins.

The Bible speaks of God's salvation as being light. God's judgment is spoken of as darkness.

God was showing by the darkness that the cross was judgment, the place of the severest, most comprehensive divine punishment, on His son, Jesus Christ.

The flood of Noah’s day was a judgment upon man for his sins. The fire and brimstone that fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah was a judgment upon man for his sins. The darkness that fell upon Egypt was a judgment upon man for his sins.

But the darkness that fell upon the cross was the judgment of man’s sin upon God’s own Son. The judgment that we should receive for our sins, Jesus took for us. He who knew no sin became sin for us.

Isaiah says, he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace fell on him, and by his stripes, we are healed.

The darkness is God's way of saying I am judging Him so I won’t have to judge you. I’m condemning Him so you won’t be condemned.

After six hours of excruciating pain, and suffering and torture, three of them in darkness, experiencing the full fury of the wrath of God upon Him, as His suffering is coming to a climax, He begins to feel for the first time in eternity a dark separation from His Father.

Isaiah says our sins have separated us from God. God the Father, who is of purer eyes to behold evil, turns His face from his sin bearing son. At this very moment he cries out, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

And this is exactly what Psalm 22:1 predicted that He would say. A thousand years before Jesus was born David in Psalm 22:1 prophesied Jesus would say those very words from the cross.

The eclipse of the cross would not last long. Three days later, the light would resurrect.

Psalm 8:3-4

When I consider thy heavens [declare!], the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

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