the Fifth Week of Lent
Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
In Scripture language the word darkness is variously used. In the natural sense of the word, it means the obscurity, such as is described at the original state of things, when JEHOVAH went forth in acts of creation. It is said, "darkness was on the face of the deep." (Genesis 1:2) In a spiritual sense, darkness is frequently made use of in Scripture to denote the blindness and ignorance of the mind, by reason of sin. Hence Paul, when speaking of the conversion of the church at Corinth, saith, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6) The darkness of the grave, and the darkness of hell, are both also spoken of in Scripture. (Job 10:21-22; Matthew 22:13) The darkness which took place at the death of Christ, and which lasted from the sixth to the ninth hour, differed from all these, and was among the miracles which marked that momentous event. Profane writers, as well as the sacred Scriptures, have it upon record. Dionysius the Areopagite, in his epistle to Polycarp, makes mention of it with decided convictions on his mind, that the event was supernatural. And another writer, Suidas, relates, that the same Dionysius said concerning it, that God either suffered, or took part with one that did. But what are all the testimonies of profane writers to those which God the Holy Ghost gives of it? Some have thought, that this supernatural darkness was the Father's frown at the Jews' cruelty, in crucifying Christ. For my part, I believe it to have been the very reverse. For never was the Father more glorified than by those sufferings of the Lord Jesus. Never was Christ more glorified than by those sufferings. Then it was that Scripture was fulfilled, and Jesus set, as JEHOVAH'S King, "upon his holy hill of Zion." (Psalms 2:6) What was it, this darkness then, under these views, meant to imply? Surely, that Jesus the Son of God, when becoming the sinner's Surety, shall do all, and suffer all, the sinner deserved, and must have borne for ever, had not Christ interposed. Darkness, yea, darkness to be felt, shall be in the Surety's lot. Christ is now lifted up a spectacle between heaven and earth. The sinner's Surety is now appearing as one forsaken of both, and meriting the favour of neither. He is now suspended on the cross in the air, to represent his territories, who is the "Prince of the power of the air." (Ephesians 2:2) The cataracts of divine wrath were now opened. Christ is beheld in the very character he had taken at the call of God the Father; first, made sin, and then, a curse, (see these Scriptures,) 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13 then follows, darkness, soul-trial, and death. It was not necessary the sinner's Surety should go down into hell, to suffer there the torments of the damned: it is not the place that constitutes the suffering, but the manner: and here the judgment due to the sinner seized him. He saith himself, "The sorrows of death compassed me, the pains of hell gat hold upon me." (Psalms 116:3) Surely, if ever the face of hell was seen on earth, or the darkness of hell known, it was on that day. Hence, when the whole was passed, and this eclipse gone by; and day-light brake in again upon Jesus, he cried with a loud voice, "It is finished." (John 19:30) Reader! those cries of the Lord Jesus on the cross, during the dreadful darkness and desertion his soul endured, may serve to teach us somewhat of those eternal shrieks and cries of the damned, who are cast out of God's presence for ever!
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Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Darkness'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​pmd/​d/darkness.html. London. 1828.