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Question:

Jesus was crucified at the third hour. From the sixth hour to the ninth hour, there was darkness over the land as He was judged for our sins, and the Father left Him. At the ninth hour, He cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" He cried out and breathed His last. ---Was it already light again, now that God's judgment had passed (and before Jesus died), or did it not become light until after Jesus died?

John does not discuss the time of darkness, but if Jesus said "I thirst" and then gave up His spirit, was this during the time of darkness? (Sometimes time elapses between verses.) Were the things that Jesus said on the cross (Why have you forsaken Me--said at or about the 9th hour, I thirst, etc.) said during the time of darkness, or had the darkness passed already, because the judgment had passed? ---People saw the sponge with vinegar lifted up to Him. Would they have seen that if it were dark?

Answer:

This is not an easy question to answer. I do know that we assume that things are written chronologically when often topics are developed in a subject matter context rather than in chronological order. This particularly seems to be Luke's way of writing (See Luke 1:3). Some scholars call this moral order, I would call it topical or subject matter order. The actual order of the cries seems to be:

1. FIRST CRY--Luke 23:34, Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

2. SECOND CRY--Luke 23:43, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

3. THIRD CRY--John 19:26, 27, Woman, behold thy Son!Behold thy mother!

4. FOURTH CRY--Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?

5. FIFTH CRY--John 19:28, I thirst.

6. SIXTH CRY--John 19:30, It is finished!

7. SEVENTH CRY--Luke 23:46, Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit.

Since the Lord was forsaken in the darkness and the forsaking was over at the time of the fourth cry, I have always assumed that it was light when he cried the fourth cry. His physical death was not a part of God forsaking Him as I understand it. Some of the Gospels say it was about the 9th hour. I would believe that he would have cried that cry after the time of forsaking or separation was over which would make “about the ninth hour,” a little after the ninth hour. Why HAVE you forsaken me? As I understand it, separation between the Lord and His God only occurred in the three hours. Afterward He commends His Spirit into the Father's hands which would indicate that the normal relationship that He had with the Father had been restored.

Since the burial was just before sunset according to Jewish custom and it is clear that Joseph asked for the body when even was come, the Lord died before sunset and was likely buried before sundown. Sundown would be the 12th hour. Therefore, the last four cries would all seem to be in the light. Actually the first three cries were probably in the light as well which means all seven cries were in the light. It is true that the veil being rent seems to be out of order in Luke but I think Luke is saying that one of the things that happened was that the veil was rent. I don't think he is implying that it necessarily happened in the order that he writes, it is just one of the important things that happened just like the darkness which the centurion observed.

This would be my thinking on the subject.  I hope this helps.

Bruce

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