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Friday, June 24 2011
What Happened At Night?
Those who do evil tend to prefer the darkness because they think that it hides their behavior (which it might from man, but not from God), but night itself is not evil. God created the night as a means to mark one day from another: "1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Genesis 1:5 KJV). Biblical days begin and end at sunset i.e. the first half of the "day" is night. While, as with everything else in God's Creation, the night can be misused, there is no time of "darkness" for the righteous.
While many events of the life and Ministry of Jesus Christ occurred during the daylight part of the day, many others (including His most famous and widely-quoted teaching of all; see the section on John 3:16 below) occurred at night, either deliberately, or simply because there was nothing wrong, of itself, with that part of the day.
According to the Biblical record, it is probable that Jesus Christ was born at night. The birth announcement was given to the shepherds of Bethlehem when they were "keeping watch over their flock by night." The "for unto you is born this day" does not necessarily mean the daylight part of the day; if it does, why would the angel wait, for many hours, for the night to come to tell the nearby shepherds? As well, Joseph and Mary couldn't get a room at the inn for the birth because all of the rooms were occupied; inns are usually not full to capacity during the day - "no vacancy" usually happens for the night.
"2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem [see also Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?]; because he was of the house and lineage of David: 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Many other famous events of the infancy of the Christ also happened at night. The later arrival (the reason that Herod ordered the killing of all male infants two years old and younger) of "wise men from the east" to the house "where the young child was" (by that time, Joseph and Mary had obtained the use of a house) was made possible by a star (stars can only be seen at night) that had guided them for the entire way - the "wise men" had made their journey from the east by night. When Herod began his attempt to murder the Christ, the wise men and Joseph were all warned in dreams at night, after which Joseph "took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt."
"2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
"He went out into a mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God"
According to the Biblical record, Jesus Christ often prayed at night, perhaps primarily because it was a quieter time during which He could focus entirely upon prayer. The Messiah spent the entire night praying before choosing the Twelve (Judas was not a failure of prayer - he was a prophecy that the Messiah was fully aware of when He "chose" the one who would betray Him; see The Long Shadow Of Judas and The By-The-Book Messiah).
"6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
The famous "walking on water" incident happened at night i.e. "in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea."
"14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
The renowned "Lord's Prayer" was further explained by a parable of an importune friend (as depicted in the illustration) who comes late at night to borrow bread.
"11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
The setting of the parable of the virgins and their lamps is at night. The lesson is that we are to fill our lamps (see Growing In The Grace And Knowledge) at the right time, so that we won't be left in darkness at any time of the "day" (i.e. "25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" Matthew 25:30 KJV).
"25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
One of the Messiah's favorite places to pray, at night, was the Mount of Olives - the place where He will return (see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin)
"21:37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple [see also What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?]; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives." (Luke 21:37 KJV)
The Messiah permitted Himself to be taken by the mob at night, also on the Mount of Olives. The Christ's prophecy to Peter, "That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice" all obviously happened at night.
"26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 26:32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
And so too, just before His seizure by the mob, the Messiah prayed at the same place on the Mount of Olives that He is recorded to have done so frequently before that night.
"26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 26:39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:36-39 KJV)
The very famous "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" of John 3:16 and the "born again" teaching were both given to Nicodemus who "came to Jesus by night" (Nicodemus was later one of the two men who placed the Body of the Messiah in the Tomb: "19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury" John 19:39-40 KJV). Also included in that famous teaching (although many ignore it because they choose to disagree with Christ) is the plain statement that "no man hath ascended up to heaven" (see What Will Heaven Be Like?).
"3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees [see also Was Paul Among Them?], named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Fact Finder: The Holy Bible proves that the Son of God was both placed in the Tomb and resurrected from the Tomb as the sun was setting. How do we know that for certain?
This Day In History, June 24
109: The Aqua Traiana was inaugurated by Roman Emperor Trajan. The aqueduct delivers water from Lake Bracciano, 40 kilometers / 25 miles from Rome.
637: The Battle of Moira, the largest battle in the history of Ireland. The High King of Ireland fought the Kings of Ulster and Dalriada.
1292: Adolf of Nassau was crowned as German king at Aachen.
1310: Solomon ben Abraham Adret died at age 75. The religious leader of Spanish Jews of his time, he is remembered partly for his 1305 decree threatening to excommunicate all Jews under 30 (except medical students) who studied philosophy or science.
1322: Jews were expelled from France.
1340: During the Hundred Years war, the British fleet battled the French at Sluys.
1441: Eton College in England was founded by King Henry VI.
1497: John Cabot, navigator and explorer, sighted Cape Breton Island and claimed North America for England.
1509: Henry VIII was crowned king of England, the second monarch from the House of Tudor.
1527: King Gustavus of Sweden assembled the Diet of Wester's for the purpose of carrying through the Protestant Reformation in Sweden.
1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier landed on what is today Prince Edward Island, Canada.
1611: Henry Hudson, his son, and several sick men were set adrift in present-day Hudson Bay by mutineers. After more than a year at sea, the crew of Hudson's ship, the Discovery, were afraid of going any further. Nothing is known of Hudson's fate. The only record of the voyage and mutiny is an account by Abacuk Pricket, a survivor of the Discovery.
1664: New Jersey, named after the Isle of Jersey in Britain's Channel Islands, was founded.
1812: Napoleon began his invasion of Russia.
1813: The Battle of Beaver Dams during the War of 1812 (1812-1814). After being warned by Laura Secord of an impending U.S. attack on a British outpost at Beaver Dams, about 500 U.S. invaders, including their commander, were taken prisoner after a firefight. The site of the battle was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1921.
1916: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the First Battle of the Somme began. More than 1 million men were killed during the five-month battle.
1947: U.S. pilot Ken Arnold reported seeing strange objects in the sky over Mount Rainier (in Washington State) looking like "saucers skipping across the water." The incident led to the first use of the term "flying saucers."
1948: The Soviet Union began the Berlin Blockade.
1985: Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became the first Arab, and first Muslim, in space, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
1994: The European Union and Russia signed a landmark friendship accord in Corfu, Greece.