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Before Jesus cried out to God on why he had abandoned him.The Bible tells us that it was noon which means that it was midday, and darkness covered the whole land for three hours till the ninth hour. Then the power of the sun was restored and life continued. I sometimes interpret this to mean that God was angry with the Jews for crucifying Jesus and it was a warning alongside the earthquake that they had done something terribly wrong to provoke God's wrath but then, I really feel like there is some spiritual significance behind this event. Did the sun go off because God's anger was provoked or was it a foreshadow of what would happen right before his second coming?

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    My own understanding is that a veil is being drawn and the transactions between God and his own Son are veiled from prying, unbelieving, human eyes. But by faith we may perceive the Righteousness of God being expressed upon his own Son for the sake of others and for righteousness' sake. This is what I have been taught and believe but I could not prove it from scripture so this is not an answer, just a comment which you may find helpful. Regards. (And up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 19:42
  • @NigelJ, Thanks. I too have also wondered why upon crucifixion, the same thing that should happen to the sun before his second coming happened? Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 19:49
  • This darkness is linked to the darkness in Genesis 15:12 and 15;17. Here ( in Matthew27:45) God is showing that he has paid the penalty for all humans who broke the covenant the Lord God had made with them in Genesis 15. ( To be clear God did not break the covenant, it was Abraham's descendants who broke it and The Lord God in Jesus Christ paid the penalty.)
    – dezkev
    Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 4:42

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OP: Did the sun go off because God's anger was provoked or was it a foreshadow of what would happen right before his second coming?

This 3-hour period of darkness in the middle of the day was a fulfillment of a prophecy from Amos. Tertullian mentions this in An Answer to the Jews.

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. Amos 8:9-10

Darkness was from noon to 3pm (fulfills sentence one), and which would have coincided with the Levities and priests slaying the Passover lambs for the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th Nisan (fulfills sentence two). That is the significance of the darkness, to change festivals to mourning of an only son.

Thus, was fulfilled the prophecy of Amos.

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Significance of the darkness before Jesus' death?

Many claim that the darkness of the Crucifixion of Jesus was caused by a solar eclipse. However a solar eclipse cannot occur during a full moon!

Many have pondered whether or not the darkness was a regional or global phenomenon. A vast majority of biblical translations records that the darkness was ‘over the land’, ‘over all the land’, or ‘over the whole land’. However, some translations of Luke’s account state the darkness was ‘over all the earth’ or ‘over the whole earth’. In any case, it was at least a local preternatural darkness that existed over the Crucifixion of Jesus.

As Jesus hung dying on the cross, the world seemed to be plunged into darkness. While the midday sun failed, the Son of God achieved perfect victory in His work of atonement.

In his Apologeticus, Christian apologist Tertullian in 197 AD considered this not an eclipse but an omen, which is recorded in Roman archives. In his apologetic work Contra Celsum, the third-century Christian scholar Origen offered two natural explanations for the darkness: that it might have been the eclipse described by Phlegon of Tralles in his Chronicle or that it might have been clouds.

Why the three hours of darkness:

Only the fourth point seems to be fitting here.

As the Romans striped Jesus of his clothes in order to crucify him, God covered the whole earth to hide the nakedness of Our Savior. This is the real reason for the three hours of darkness over the place of Christ’s Crucifixion.

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  • Also, a solar eclipse lasts less than ten minutes, and never three hours.
    – Teepeemm
    Commented Dec 30, 2023 at 15:13
  • Do you have any Biblical evidence to support your claim that there was silence in heaven while Christ was dying on the cross? Commented Mar 24 at 17:56
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The idea of signs in the sun and cosmic events associated with HaOlam HaBa (The World to Come) has roots primarily in Jewish culture and traditions. These beliefs are derived from interpretations of Jewish sacred texts, especially the prophets of the Old Testament (Tanakh), such as Joel, Isaiah, and Zechariah.

  1. Signs in the Sun in Jewish Tradition:

    • Book of Joel: The Book of Joel in the Old Testament speaks of the "sun turning into darkness, and the moon into blood" as signs preceding the great and terrible Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31). These images are often associated with eschatological events and the Day of Judgment.

    • Book of Isaiah: Isaiah also contains passages mentioning signs in the heavens. For instance, in Isaiah 13:10, it describes the sun darkening and the moon not giving its light, an image that can be interpreted symbolically or literally, depending on the interpretative approach.

    • Book of Zechariah: The prophet Zechariah also references cosmic events, including the sun and moon, in messianic and apocalyptic contexts (Zechariah 14:6-7).

  2. HaOlam HaBa in Jewish Tradition:

    • The concept of HaOlam HaBa is deeply rooted in Jewish eschatology, involving the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of a messianic era characterized by peace, justice, and divine knowledge.

    • For some, HaOlam HaBa is associated with dramatic and cosmic events accompanying the arrival of the Messiah and the final redemption.

  3. Diverse Interpretations:

    • Interpretations of these texts may vary among different Jewish denominations. Some interpret these descriptions more literally, while others adopt a more symbolic approach.

    • It's important to note that Judaism is a diverse tradition, and interpretations may vary among Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and other denominational streams.

While Christianity also shares some prophecies and eschatological concepts with Judaism, the specific emphasis on signs in the sun and cosmic events associated with HaOlam HaBa has a more prominent basis in Jewish traditions, especially within the Tanakh.

One thing that comes to mind is the rising of the dead from the graves at the end of Matthew 25:52-53.

The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

This is one of the signs of the arrival of HaOlam Haba, "The World to Come".

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That scene may actually have multiple meanings. But I am sure that it is an antitype of the short story in Numbers 25:

While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.” And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped.

Jesus hanged on the cross as an innocent leader of His people and therefore was not exposed to the sun. He was the judge that took their punishment upon Himself. He was also the priest who was pierced Himself for the sins of the Jew and the gentile (the whole humanity).

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In Exodus, the final two plagues against Egypt were the plague of darkness and the death of the firstborn. The conclusion of Jesus’ life on earth mirrors these final plagues and also testifies to his identity as the light of the world and the firstborn son of God.

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5, ESV)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15, ESV)

When Jesus became sin for us and suffered in our place, all the wrath of God poured out across all time fell on him, including the judgments against Egypt. The purpose of those plagues was to force Pharaoh to set the Hebrew people free. The purpose of Jesus’ death was also to set select people from all nations free.

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  • I can't believe this was a foreshadow that whatever God did with the Egyptians firstborn, He intended to do the same with his first born. Thanks for the insight Commented Dec 31, 2023 at 3:52
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I sometimes interpret this to mean that God was angry with the Jews for crucifying Jesus and it was a warning alongside the earthquake that they had done something terribly wrong to provoke God's wrath

"In a little wrath I hid my face from thee" (Isaiah 54:8)

I really feel like there is some spiritual significance behind this event. Did the sun go off because God's anger was provoked or was it a foreshadow of what would happen right before his second coming?

Jesus Christ is the Light of the world (John 8:12). At His sufferings, His crucifixion and death, the Sun simply could not shine. At the time when the Light of the world left the world, darkness was all that could remain for a time.

I can't say it wasn't also a foreshadowing of the Second Coming, in which it is foretold that the Sun will be darkened again.

In the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there was a prophet in the Americas who reiterated a lost Biblical prophecy that there would be three days of darkness given as a sign to the scattered tribes of Israel of the death of the Son of God, symbolizing His three days in the tomb (see 3 Nephi 8-11). Many catastrophic destructions also ensued.

And the rocks of the earth must rend; and because of the groanings of the earth, many of the kings of the isles of the sea shall be wrought upon by the Spirit of God, to exclaim: The God of nature suffers. (1 Nephi 19:12)

The three days of darkness were also the opposite bookend given in the Western hemisphere to a day, a night and a day without darkness that had also been prophesied and given previously as a sign that the Messiah should be born that night:

Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born. And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you. And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven. (Helaman 14:4-6, see 3 Nephi 1:4-21 for the account of the fulfillment)

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  • An upvote for the three hours signifying Jesus' presence in the heart of the earth Commented Dec 30, 2023 at 15:13
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One of my favourite book on the life of Christ describes the darkness in the following words:

Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father's acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father's wrath upon Him as man's substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God. With amazement angels witnessed the Saviour's despairing agony. The hosts of heaven veiled their faces from the fearful sight. Inanimate nature expressed sympathy with its insulted and dying Author. The sun refused to look upon the awful scene. Its full, bright rays were illuminating the earth at midday, when suddenly it seemed to be blotted out. Complete darkness, like a funeral pall, enveloped the cross. "There was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour." There was no eclipse or other natural cause for this darkness, which was as deep as midnight without moon or stars. It was a miraculous testimony given by God that the faith of after generations might be confirmed. In that thick darkness God's presence was hidden. He makes darkness His pavilion, and conceals His glory from human eyes. God and His holy angels were beside the cross. The Father was with His Son. Yet His presence was not revealed. Had His glory flashed forth from the cloud, every human beholder would have been destroyed. And in that dreadful hour Christ was not to be comforted with the Father's presence. He trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him. In the thick darkness, God veiled the last human agony of His Son. All who had seen Christ in His suffering had been convicted of His divinity. That face, once beheld by humanity, was never forgotten. As the face of Cain expressed his guilt as a murderer, so the face of Christ revealed innocence, serenity, benevolence,—the image of God. But His accusers would not give heed to the signet of heaven. Through long hours of agony Christ had been gazed upon by the jeering multitude. Now He was mercifully hidden by the mantle of God. The silence of the grave seemed to have fallen upon Calvary. A nameless terror held the throng that was gathered about the cross. The cursing and reviling ceased in the midst of half-uttered sentences. Men, women, and children fell prostrate upon the earth. Vivid lightnings occasionally flashed forth from the cloud, and revealed the cross and the crucified Redeemer. Priests, rulers, scribes, executioners, and the mob, all thought that their time of retribution had come. After a while some whispered that Jesus would now come down from the cross. Some attempted to grope their way back to the city, beating their breasts and wailing in fear. DA 753.2 - DA 754.2

Excerpt from The Desire of Ages.

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