Pearls of the Word

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The twilight of the Sabbath

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"It was the day of Preparation and the twilight [epiphosko] of Sabbath" (Luke 23:54 Darby).

The Greek word epiphosko means 'increasing light'; it comes from the Greek name phos meaning starlight and sunlight. This word appears therefore with both meanings: in Luke 23:54 to talk about the star's appearance (twilight) and in Matthew 28:1 to talk about the sun's appearance (dawn).

According to the Jewish Tradition, a new day begins when we can distinguish at least three stars in the sky. Thus, Friday evening, Sabbath begins when at least three stars appear in the sky. In the context of Luke 23:54, Jesus was taken down from the cross and buried before the Sabbath, that is to say on Friday afternoon. And when women came back after Sabbath, it was dawn, which is to say on Sunday morning.