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Darkness at the crucifixion: metaphor or real history?

First published: 6 April 2007 (GMT+10)
Re-featured on homepage: 10 April 2020 (GMT+10)
After creationism.orgThe Death Of Jesus


The preternatural darkness reported at Jesus’ crucifixion was no metaphor. It was a real historical event based on eyewitness accounts and independently corroborated by a number of highly qualified ancient historians. And just as the darkness recorded in the gospels was based on real history, the reason for Jesus’s death is rooted in the real history recorded in the Book of Genesis.

According to a straightforward interpretation of Genesis as written and intended, there was a real Adam and a real Eve, a real Garden of Eden, a real fall into sin, and real consequences to wilful rebellion against the Creator. Death, suffering, disease, natural disasters, and sin were the real outcomes of the historical Fall in the garden (see also The Fall: a cosmic catastrophe). We live with the indisputable evidence of these historical events on a daily basis.

With its very foundation built upon the historical events of Genesis, Jesus’ atoning death was God’s historical antidote to mankind’s grievous sin. The God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ willingly died a brutal and humiliating death on the cross in order to atone for the sins of Adam and Eve, for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2)—available by grace, through faith in God’s promised sacrificial Lamb (Ephesians 2:8–9).

During the last three hours of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, an eerie darkness struck the land. This darkness is documented by the Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is also confirmed by three extra-biblical historians: Thallus, Phlegon, and Africanus. A closer look will reveal strong historical evidence for this unparalleled event.

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke

Each of these authors briefly records the three-hour darkness during Christ’s crucifixion (Matthew 27:45,
Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44–45). Matthew was one of Jesus’ apostles and an eyewitness to the event. Mark was a close companion of Peter, one of Christ’s three innermost apostles. Mark also travelled with Paul, Luke, and many of the earliest Christians in the Book of Acts. Luke was a Greek physician and historian who carefully investigated the events of Christ’s life. His historical investigation was based on direct and indirect eyewitness accounts from Paul, Peter, James, Mark, Mary (the mother of Jesus), and many of Jesus’ first female followers.1 Luke is considered to be one of the most reliable historians of all time.1

J.A.T. Robinson, a liberal New Testament scholar, conducted an in-depth study in which he discovered strong historical, textual, and logical evidence for dating all of the gospels betweenAD40–65.2 And Robinson was no friend of conservative biblical Christianity. Based on these dates, Matthew, Mark, and Luke would have written about the darkness a mere 7 to 32 years after the actual event.3 Compared to other ancient historical accounts, this is like a news flash. Suetonius, a Roman historian, wrote his account of Caesar crossing the Rubicon at least 110 years after the event, and it is considered to be generally reliable.4 The earliest biographies of Alexander the Great, by Arrian and Plutarch, were written over 400 years after his death, and they are considered trustworthy accounts.1 (Compare also Who was Luke and what did he write?)

Even more compelling is the fact that Rudolph Pesch, the German New Testament scholar, dates the source for Mark’s passion narrative no later thanAD37 based on language, style, grammar, and personal references.5 This is a maximum of four years after the actual event! It can be conclusively stated that the Gospel accounts of the darkness at the crucifixion are extremely early, reliable, and based on eyewitnesses.

Thallus, Phlegon, and Africanus

Thallus wrote a history of the eastern Mediterranean world since the Trojan War. Thallus wrote his regional history in aboutAD52.6 Although his original writings have been lost, he is specifically quoted by Julius Africanus, a renowned third century historian. Africanus states, ‘Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun—unreasonably as it seems to me.’ Apparently, Thallus attempted to ascribe a naturalistic explanation to the darkness during the crucifixion.

Phlegon was a Greek historian who wrote an extensive chronology aroundAD137:

In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e.,AD33) 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.’7
Image Locutus BorgSolar annular (ring) eclipse; an eclipse could NOT have caused darkness at the crucifixion because they don’t occur during the full moon
Annular (ring) eclipse. An eclipse could NOT have caused darkness at the crucifixion because they don’t occur during the full moon.

Phlegon provides powerful confirmation of the Gospel accounts. He identifies the year and the exact time of day. In addition, he writes of an earthquake accompanying the darkness, which is specifically recorded in Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 27:51). However, like Thallus, he fallaciously attempts to interpret the darkness as a direct effect of a solar eclipse.

Africanus composed a five volume History of the World aroundAD221. He was also a pagan convert to Christianity. His historical scholarship so impressed Roman Emperor Alexander Severus that Africanus was entrusted with the official responsibility of building the Emperor’s library at the Pantheon in Rome. Africanus writes:

On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Savior falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye. Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth—manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period.8

Africanus rightly argues that a solar eclipse could not have occurred during the lunar cycle of the Passover, as this diagram shows. He also questions the link between an eclipse, an earthquake, and the miraculous events recorded in Matthew’s Gospel. Eclipses do not set off earthquakes and bodily resurrections. We also know that eclipses only last for several minutes, not three hours. For Africanus, naturalistic explanations for the darkness at the crucifixion were grossly insufficient, as he showed by applying real science.

Local or global?

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’.

The Greek has the usual word for earth, ,9 here, from which we derive ‘geology’. The language of most translations appears to strongly suggest that the darkness was a local or regional phenomenon, which is a possible rendition in some contexts. All the same, if it was regional, it was over an extensive region. Dr Paul Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, notes ‘This phenomenon, evidently, was visible in Rome, Athens, and other Mediterranean cities.’7

On the other hand, Africanus writes of the darkness as a global event. Tertullian, the famous second century apologist, also hails the darkness as a ‘cosmic’ or ‘world event’. Appealing to skeptics, he wrote:

At the moment of Christ’s death, the light departed from the sun, and the land was darkened at noonday, which wonder is related in your own annals, and is preserved in your archives to this day.10

Apparently, Tertullian could state with confidence that documentation of the darkness could be found in legitimate historical archives.

It is plausible that future archaeological discoveries could lend stronger support to the notion that the darkness was indeed witnessed throughout the entire world.

Why aren’t there more sources?

Many skeptics ask why John’s Gospel does not mention the darkness at the crucifixion. Simon Greenleaf, of Harvard Law School, said it best about the gospels:

There is enough of a discrepancy to show that there could have been no previous concert among them; and at the same time such substantial agreement as to show that they were all independent narrators of the same great transaction.11

In other words, independent narrators will sometimes record different secondary details about the same exact event.

Many skeptics also ask why other early historians such as Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny the Younger fail to mention the darkness. But the skeptics are committing the fallacy of arguing from silence. It is unreasonable to expect every contemporary writer to include every event that happened—and there are good reasons not to expect these specific authors to mention the darkess (see Thallus: Darkness Rules). What we do have is a plethora of extremely early, historically reliable, and highly respected sources for the darkness during the crucifixion. The list of Matthew, Mark, Luke, Thallus, Phlegon, Africanus, and Tertullian is impressive indeed!


There is powerful evidence for the historicity of the darkness at Christ’s crucifixion. It was a real historical event, and its very existence was rooted in the real historical events in Genesis. As the last Adam
(1 Corinthians 15:45), Christ came to suffer the horrible and ignominious death of crucifixion in order to die for the sins of the world. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).’


  1. Craig, William Lane, The Evidence for Jesus, 2005; see also Luke: A consideration of Gospel authorship and publication date. Return to text.
  2. Robinson, John A.T., Redating the New Testament, Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2000. Return to text.
  3. Cf. Wenham, John, Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke, IVP, 1992; see review. Return to text.
  4. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars 1:31–33,AD121. Return to text.
  5. Strobel, L. The Case for Christ, p. 220, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998. Return to text.
  6. Habermas, Gary. The Historical Jesus, pp. 196-7, College Press Publishing Company, 1996. Return to text.
  7. Maier, Paul. Pontius Pilate (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1968), p. 366. Phlegon’s citation is a fragment from Olympiades he Chronika 13, ed. Otto Keller, Rerum Naturalium Scriptores Graeci Minores, 1 (Leipzig Teurber, 1877), p. 101.
    Return to text.
  8. http://www.christian-thinktank.com/jrthal.html Return to text.
  9. The Greek phrase in Luke 23:44 is καί σκότος εγένετο έφ ‘όλην τήν γήν (kai skotos egeneto eph holēn tēn gēn), ‘and darkness came upon the whole earth’. Return to text.
  10. Sanders, Oswald. The Incomparable Christ, p. 203, Moody Publishers, 1982. Return to text.
  11. Greenleaf, Simon. The Testimony of the Evangelists, vii, Baker, Grand Rapids, MI, 1984. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

Arby A.
Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, I think I see a potential counterargument that might be raised against one of the (arguably minor) lines of reasoning in this article.
We say something like: “The earliest biographies of Alexander the Great … written over 400 years after his death … are considered trustworthy …” and the “… account of Caesar crossing the Rubicon (written) at least 110 years after the event … is considered to be generally reliable.” In contrast, “...Matthew, Mark, and Luke would have written about the darkness a mere 7 to 32 years after the actual event. Compared to other ancient historical accounts, this is like a news flash.”

Here’s the counterargument I anticipate a biblioskeptic might provide for justifying the apparent double-standard of their acceptance of non-biblical history (despite relatively poor evidence) while not accepting the Bible (despite its superior manuscript evidence):
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The Bible describes extraordinary events that require breaking the laws of physics (i.e. miracles) whereas the historians of Caesar & Alexander the Great do not. Also, the consequences of accepting a potentially inaccurate account of Caesar’s life are negligible while the consequences of accepting the Bible's accounts are infinitely weightier. So there’s simply no harm in assuming the account of Caesar is true because it basically doesn’t matter if it isn’t. The same cannot be said of the Bible.

I think this counterargument has some merit so I often avoid the above line of reasoning but I'd love to hear if there's something I’m missing. Sorry that this is kind of a question rather than just a comment.
Jonathan Sarfati
The above type of argument supports the authenticity of the text. That is, text we have is very close to the original. If we doubt the authenticity of the biblical text, then we have no grounds for believing that any classical text is authentic. Authenticity is a different issue from whether the original is accurate in the first place. We have good independent evidence of accuracy as well: competence and honesty of the authors, and internal and external corroboration of the events, place names, and personal names and titles. See for example Should we trust the Bible? and the resources on the right of the article.

So the only thing left for the biblioskeptic is their double standard about the miraculous content. But G.K. Chesterton astutely pointed out:
The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.

Note that atheists must believe some things on (blind) faith, as explained in Atheism is more rational? For example, here are Five Atheist miracles showing that materialists really believe in magic.
Thomas C.
It seems that the darkness was everywhere not just in Israel. It seems to have been a supernatural event. The comment about it passover being close to a full moon event, would put the moon on the dark side of the earth at the same time. So darkness on the opposite side of the earth would be significant to that part of the earth. Also, Christ said it was finished and then gave up His spirit. Could it be that the darkness was the time of separation between God the Father and Christ the Son? And the phenomena of darkness was the manifestation of all sin dumped on the Son for three hours?
Then it might be that Christ’s journey to hell was to liberate and take captive to captivity in heaven. It says that the shedding of blood is for the remission of sins. And the references to Christ’s death could be for the time of separation between God the Father and God the Son. As eternal death of humans is the separation of humans from God.
Greg J.
This article does not explain how there was a 3 hour eclipse. the following article does.

I published an article in the 1994 Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Creationism.
Available on their site titled, “The Canopy, the Moon, the Earth's Tilt, and Pre-Flood Ice Age” by Greg Jorgensen. There I give good evidence that the darkness could have been a close encounter with a Planet (see Fig 10). Also there is evidence that the Romans observed what they described as a second moon. (See “Did earth have two moon”, NASA’s Unexplained Files Season 4 episode 6.)
Jonathan Sarfati
This article argues that the darkness was not a natural phenomenon, and could not have been a solar eclipse because this is impossible with a full moon.

The paper was reasonable given the creationist understanding of 26 years ago, but much has happened since then. The canopy theory has largely been abandoned by creationists for both biblical and scientific reasons, most creationist geologists believe in a single post-Flood ice age caused by the Genesis Flood, and that the earth’s axis must have always been tilted because there were seasons from Day 4 and would have been almost impossible to change by very much.
Jenny Y.
I wholly agree that the darkness at the time of Christ’s crucifixion was a supernatural event, not an ordinary eclipse of the sun, but there seems to be a general assumption, both in the main text and in a couple of the comments, that the crucifixion took place in AD 33. However, we know that Herod the Great died in 4 BC. Allowing for the fact that Jesus was between one and two years of age when the magi arrived in Bethlehem, it is now almost certain that he was born between 7 and 5 BC. That being so, he would have been in his late thirties by AD 33, which is too old.
Although Luke only says Jesus was about 30 years of age when he began his public ministry, 30 was the usual age for a priest to take up his official duties, so I very much doubt that Luke was out by more than a year or two, if at all. I suggest that, if people are searching for records of period of unnatural darkness, in ancient documents from around the world, they would do better to start looking in the late 20s AD.
Jonathan Sarfati
I agree with you about the year of Christ’s birth. Pilate was prefect in Judea Samaria AD 26–36, so Jesus must have been crucified in that time range, and most likely between AD 30–33. “About 30” could mean anything from 25 to 34, at least according to our rounding conventions. And this was at the beginning of His ministry, three years before the crucifixion.
Beverly R.
I heard a teaching that, per Jewish interpretation, the darkness after the crucifixion of Jesus makes Good Friday two days.
Jonathan Sarfati
I don’t think so, any more than a solar eclipse makes one day into two. Jewish days are defined by sunset, not by another interruption of the sun’s light.
Ian H.
Thanks Don H, the geographical location of the Chinese capital and the time difference indicates the Chinese observed both Eclipses.
This solar and lunar eclipse was recorded in the Record of Latter Han Dynasty. Gui Hai was the last day of the third month in the spring, during the 7th year of Han Emperor Guang Wu (reigned AD 25–57). That corresponds to AD 31, which means that this major eclipse happened 34 years after the astral events involving the magi! China’s imperial capital at the time was in Luo Yang about 5 hours east of Jerusalem. If the eclipse appeared from noon to 3 pm in Jerusalem, then in Luo Yang it would have been from around 5 to 8 pm. This explains why the Chinese experienced both a solar and a lunar eclipse.
Chelsea P.
In the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ that chronicles the lives of people and prophets living in the Americas from 600 BC to about 400 AD. In 3 Nephi, (from about chapters 10-23) you will find evidence of darkness in the Americas at the time of Christ’s crucifixion as well. They described it as a thick vapor where no light could penetrate the darkness. It is symbolic of the Light of the World, which is Jesus Christ, dying. The darkness was also accompanied by earthquakes and great tempests. More importantly, after Christ’s resurrection, he visited people in the Americas where he taught them, prayed with and for them, healed their sick and blessed them. It is an absolutely beautiful account. “Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
Jonathan Sarfati
Sorry, Mormonism is a false gospel. The true Jesus is God the Son, not the spirit brother of Satan. We are deeply concerned that you and other Mormons do not “honour the Son just as they honour the Father”, because that means that you do not honour the Father either (John 5:23), as Jesus said. We urge you to repent of the sin of not honouring the Son, of rejecting the Son of God (John 3:35–36); our loving concern is that otherwise you will see the wrath of God the Father on you. The Bible makes it clear that we are saved from the wrath of God by trusting in Jesus our Saviour (Acts 2:38, 4:12). That’s the only way we can be saved! How about it? Have you been forgiven for your sins? Are you safe from the wrath of God? I speak in genuine loving concern.

Yours in “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13),
Seathrún M.
Irish tradition claims that the darkness at the Crucifixion was visible in Ulster, at Eamhain Mhacha (Old Irish Emain Macha), commonly called Navan Fort by English speakers who do not know Irish, and that it coincided with the day Conchubar macc Nessa, King of Ulster, who had his capital there, died. This location is now on the outskirts of the city of Ard Mhacha (commonly called Armagh). Greenwich Time (Britain and all of Ireland) is today two hours behind Israel time, so noon in Jerusalem would be mid-morning (between 9 and 10 a.m.) in Eamhain Mhacha. More precisely, the difference in longitude is nearly 42 degrees, corresponding to a difference in local time by the sun of 2 hours 48 minutes. (Eamhain Mhacha is 6 degrees, 41 minutes, 50 seconds West while Jerusalem is 35 degrees 13 minutes East of Greenwich).

The Irish sources should first be checked for an indication of this difference in local time. If this indication is found, the Irish sources would be independent—at least to some extent—of the Biblical record; if the Irish time is given as noon, the story is probably copied from the Scriptures.

The Modern Irish versions of this story have the title of Oidheadh Conchubhair—Old Irish spelling Aided Conchubair—i.e. the Fate of Conchubar. The pious legend(?) claims that Conchubar asks his druids (Celtic pagan priests) what this darkness meant and he was told that in a distant land a righteous King was being slain by His enemies. Conchubar, on his physician's advice, was being kept quiet due to an old war injury, but he immediately jumped up, seized his sword and mounted his horse. He then rushed the a nearby wood, hacking at the trees with his sword to show what he would do to Christ's enemies, but his battle wound burst open and he bled to death.
Don H.
There is also evidence from ancient China in the History of Latter Han Dynasty, volume 1, Chronicles of Emperor Gaung Wu, 7th year. In the day of Gui Hai, the last day of the month, there was a solar eclipse. (The Emperor) avoided the Throne Room, suspended all military activities and official business for five days. He proclaimed:
My poor character has caused this calamity, that the sun and the moon were veiled. I am fearful and trembling.

Another imperial edict made a short time later, referring to the same eclipse, said:
Yin and Yang have mistakenly switched, and the sun and moon were eclipsed. The sins of all people are now on one man. (The Emperor) proclaims pardon to all under heaven.

Even more incredibly, a commentary in the Record of the Latter Han Dynasty said simply: 
Eclipse on the day of Gui Hai, Man from heaven died

These quotes are from Faith of our Fathers: God in Ancient China by Chan Kei Thong and Charlene Fu, pages 317–8.
This is powerful historical evidence both for the darkness and its global scope. As the article above says it couldn't have been an eclipse because it was passover but this is how the ancients explained the phenomenon.
Martyn R.
My speculation is that all the demonic powers of darkness clustered over the land, especially Jerusalem, to witness what they thought was their great triumph. A bit like CS Lewis’s depiction of the death of Aslan. Perhaps the rest of the world had a wonderful demon free day!
Andrew P.
Regarding Christian H.’s question, I have checked the Western Han records for this event and could not find it. It could be that it was dark already at that time, as Tim L. and Marc L. pointed out.

Best regards.
Brian H.
Amos 8:9
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:

This is a prophecy of that darkness. not brought about naturally but by the direct intervention of God
Bill P.
This comment I make is just something I've thought about for some time. I’m not dogmatic about this thought trying to force it upon others. I do w/ALL my heart believe The Word of GOD is TRUTH from cover to cover and see Scripture as true history. Reading from Scripture in Romans how even creation looks forward to the day when the sons of GOD will be revealed knowing that this event will at last lift “The Curse” that was placed on it because of man’s sin.
So I have often wondered that when (“This darkness came to pass and the earthquake took place”) was it possible that creation itself knew that its CREATOR was dying (on our behalf) as a result of our sin. Somehow it just makes sense to me. Again it’s just something I have wondered about for several yrs. I know at Christ’s return the world will be filled w/the knowledge of The Lord and be returned to the beauty it once enjoyed when GOD created the heavens and the earth. Today it groans for this curse placed upon it to be freed from the decay it is going through now.
Again folks it’s just a thought of mine that I wonder about at times.
Keep up the good work. GOD has blessed you people to do this work as you reveal the truth of GOD’S WORD and expose the falsehoods of evolution that the world is being indoctrinated with today.
VIA CON DIAS as you continue this good work.
Francis F.
What is truly remarkable about this event is that we have, counting the three gospels, seven sources for this extraordinary occurrence. Most ancient attestations, as the author pointed out, are accepted at face value with far less than that. Also, we have only a small amount of textual evidence about anything from that time period, beyond what we find in the Bible. It is quite possible others did write about this, but those records would likely be lost to the ravages of time, as most other documentation from the same time period has been.
Marc L.
Hello Christian H,

I am thinking with respect to your question about whether the Maya would have documented the darkness that it might be a question of time fo day in the western hemisphere. Noon in Jerusalem would be 8 hours earlier by modern timezone accounting, putting the start of the 3 hour window at roughly 4am in eastern Mexico, through 7am. According to one website, sunrise today (Good Friday) was 632 am in Cancun, Mexico. Given shifts in calendar accounting over the last 2000 years, this is not a perfect indicator. But based on this, the Maya might only have detected 30 minutes of unusual solar phenomenon before it lifted. While still about 25 mins longer than a typical solar eclipse duration, it may not have grabbed the attention of Mayan sky watchers as much as it would have elsewhere during solar daylight during that window of time. But it would be fascinating to search their records for such evidence, regardless.
David R R.
Since the sun is the overwhelming source of natural light upon the earth, I would have to assume that although the darkness was obviously a supernatural event and not associated with a solar eclipse, it also seems only reasonable to assume that the darkness would have gone essentially unnoticed by the residents of the Western Hemisphere at that time, as it would be nighttime. Any comments?
Tim L.
With regard to whether people in other places around the globe witnessed this event (e.g. the Maya and Chinese), it seems unlikely they would since I think it would very likely be dark at that time in those locations.
Wayne O.
In his work Practical Remedies Against Satan’s Devices,Thomas Brooks (1608–1680) has a footnote on a page which says:

Dionysius being in Egypt at the time of Christ's suffering and seeing an eclipse [sic] of the sun, and knowing it to be contrary to nature cried out Aut Deus naturae patitur, aut mundi machina dissolvitur, Either the God of nature suffers, or the frame of the world dissolves.

Brooks lived through the Great Fire of London. Perhaps some ancient writings were lost in that fire.
Christian H.
I have been curious for a long time if the Maya and the Han Chinese should be checked for these things. They kept extensive records of the astronomical workings of the heavens, so very likely we could find an AD 33 record if it’s indeed global.
Rodney P.
A Coptic Christian, friend of mine, told me that this darkness had also fallen upon Egypt, so when the first Christian missionaries to Egypt told the Egyptians of this darkness at the time of the crucifixion, they believed their testimony, and Christianity grew quickly in that part of the world.

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