The Bible reports in three places that there was darkness for three hours while Jesus was on the cross. Mark 15:33 records it this way – “when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”
Thallus (in A.D. 52) wrote a history of the eastern Mediterranean world since the Trojan War. Julius Africanus in about A.D. 221 quoted Thallus’ history: “Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun – unreasonably, as it seems to me.” Note:
· Thallus would have been alive (and/or known others who were alive) when Christ was crucified and therefore would have known firsthand if there had been darkness or not.
· Thallus admitted the darkness occurred, but tried to explain it away by natural causes.
· Modern astronomy (with computers) can now tell us the exact moment when every eclipse would have occurred; and there was no such eclipse at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.
The same basic point came be made from Philegon (a Greek author from Caria writing a chronology soon after 137 A.D.) who reported that in the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e., 33 A.D.) there was “the greatest eclipse of the sun” and that “it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e., noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea.” (Matt 27:51 records the fact there was an earthquake when Jesus died)
· Thallus and Philegon were obviously not believers, therefore not biased toward Christianity, yet both admit (in effect) a great miracle occurred.
· So non-Biblical history records an extraordinary miracle, and the easiest of all miracles to falsify. Perhaps millions would have been able to confirm or deny the miracle firsthand.
· Furthermore, the timing of this miracle validates Jesus as being who he claimed to be (the Son of God).
· This miracle also confirms the Bible as the word of God. Without non-Biblical concurrence, this event could just be written off as myth by the atheists. This is important because if there is no evidence outside the Bible for the inspiration of the Bible, then the Bible’s claim for inspiration could be just branded as circular reasoning.
· If reliable history tells us that the earth went dark for three hours at Jesus’ crucifixion, shouldn’t common sense tell us we should take notice of Jesus and his teachings?