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What is the significance of 3:00?


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#1 Wilson X. Lee

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 09:18 PM

I was at a Bible study one day and my youth leader brought up a very interesting point that really scares many people. This topic was about the time 3:00. I don't know if this was a.m. or p.m. I was struck with curiosity and really wanted to know why 3:00 is so feared by many people. Many people think of the supernatural events occur at that specific time along with 3:33 usually in the morning. I really don't understand why many people think of it like that. I know that in the Bible Jesus died on the cross at 3:00 p.m. if I'm not mistaken. Also when he was walking on water and calling towards his 12 disciples it was 3:00 a.m. It seems to me like 3:00 seems to have some significance in the way we see things in life that we live. May someone clarify this topic to me. I really want to understand what 3:00 really means. By chance if there is anything in the Bible related to this I would really like to get those verses please. Thank you for your help. God bless you.

#2 Mark Wood

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 03:15 AM

Hey Wilson,
Good question and welcome. When we study the Bible we first need to ask the question, "What did this passage or story mean to those who first heard it?" Its important to understand the culture and background of who portions of the Bible were written to. In this way we can 1) bring out symbols and meaning that we often miss in our own culture 2) We can avoid the mistake of imposing our understanding on a passage and mis-interpreting it.

First, let's look and see what is written so we can be sure what we are talking about. Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:33; and Luke 23:44 use the term the "ninth hour."

So let's ask the question, "What did the ninth hour mean to those who were originally reading the gospels?" Time was somewhat elastic a few thousand years ago, no where near as accurate as what it is today because there simply was not the means. Depending on the seasons and sunrise the time could be off by quite an amount. The ninth hour could roughly correspond to about 3 PM today, give or take several minutes. But still we have the question- why include the time? What did it mean?

I think there are three important reasons (although certainly more)
1) It communicates that the death of Jesus was a true historical event. It happened at a fixed point in time according to a specific plan (Gal. 4:4)
2) It communicates the uniqueness of the darkness that followed. (if it was 8 PM no big deal that it was dark but this was the expression of God on the death of his son)
3) At roughly the same time the evening sacrifice was given at the temple. This creates a stunning image, that at roughly the same time that a sheep is being slaughtered the Lamb of the World is ultimate sacrifice being given, once for all.

Is this hour an "omen" or to ask another way- is there a theme here? In looking at the examples, not really. Be cautious that although number have themes in scripture they do not carry "power." Power is found the God alone, there is nothing of greater "luck" in a number, this is magic.
Numbers have certain significance throughout scripture but not necessarily a specific time like 3. For instance three is a number of wholeness, however there is nothing spooky or hidden about it. This does not mean that time of day is not important. Night is strong theme of uncertainty in John along with the theme of light and dark. See the time Nicodemus comes to see Jesus, the time of prayer in the garden, the denials of Peter in contrast to the time of the resurrection- light.
As for Jesus walking on the water the 4th watch was from 3-6 AM. The time is not the key focus of the story but the sea is a powerful symbol. The sea was a symbol of uncertainty and death, this is amplified by the storm. Jesus demonstrates not only his power over nature but in a symbolic way shows his power over death.
The central theme of scripture is Christ, let that be the lens by which you see everything else. Ask yourself, "By what I am reading what does it reveal about who Christ is?"

"the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom"

Hope this helps you in your search

#3 Jay Turner

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 05:56 AM

I was at a Bible study one day and my youth leader brought up a very interesting point that really scares many people. This topic was about the time 3:00. I don't know if this was a.m. or p.m. I was struck with curiosity and really wanted to know why 3:00 is so feared by many people. Many people think of the supernatural events occur at that specific time along with 3:33 usually in the morning. I really don't understand why many people think of it like that. I know that in the Bible Jesus died on the cross at 3:00 p.m. if I'm not mistaken. Also when he was walking on water and calling towards his 12 disciples it was 3:00 a.m. It seems to me like 3:00 seems to have some significance in the way we see things in life that we live. May someone clarify this topic to me. I really want to understand what 3:00 really means. By chance if there is anything in the Bible related to this I would really like to get those verses please. Thank you for your help. God bless you.

I think it is 3.00 in the morning that you are talking about. When you look at that particular time, it is a time where typically most people are in a state of deep sleep. There are times where God will wake us up at times like that to pray for someone, laying them on our hearts. I know that at that time praying is one of the last things on my mind and I normally want nothing more than to go back to sleep, so first of all it is a time of testing to see if we will be obedient in the tough and inconvenient times. Also, from the stories that I have heard about experiences like this, the circumstances in which God wakes people and calls them to intercess are typically ones of dire need like for people who are on the verge of suicide or death, or because there has been some type of accident or disaster. I am sure there are other factors you could look at, but with these two alone, it is easy to see how many people could associate 3.00am with a sense of foreboding and dread.

God is looking for a people who are willing to be obedient in the hard times and for people who know His voice. It is through times like this that He tests us and proves us and prepares us for the greater things that He has in mind for our lives. Would God trust us with the greater things, when we haven't proven ourselves faithful in the smaller ones?

I do believe that there are times where God does use patterns like this tendency to wake people at 3.00 in the morning. Many times there are deeper meanings behind the things He does and how He works, but we need to be careful not to get so caught up in the patterns that we miss the underlying truths behind them. It seems to me that the deeper that we go into the hidden truths of God, the more we will realize that He hides in the simple thing. His greatest truths right there in front of our faces, but because we are so focused on looking in other places, we tend to miss the things that should be obvious to us.

Just take the idea of salvation. People spend their whole lives trying to earn God's forgiveness and figure out what they must do to go to heaven. When you look at Christ's death and resurrection, the entirety of sin was forgiven when Jesus died and was resurrected. We don't have to earn God's forgiveness. We just have to accept the fact that God has already forgiven our sins and begin to live in the light of that truth. The truth of forgiveness and salvation is hidden right there in front of our faces, but because we are so focused on trying to earn it or find it, we miss what it right there for the taking. God's truths are simple enough for the simplest of people, yet He hides them in a maze so complex that it takes the faith of a child to find.

#4 GERALD

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 06:12 AM

Good explanation, Mark. I enjoyed your writing. I have been awaken at 3:00 AM several times in the last month. It is a wide awake, alert, "wakeup". Is there any significance to this? I usually sleep through til morning.

#5 Wilson X. Lee

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 09:10 AM

Thank you for all your informative replies. I will take into consideration of sharing this with my youth leader. Now knowing that 3 a.m. has nothing to do with any super natural events I will be pleased to tell many people that time was the time the Lord died for us and we should not be afraid of that time, but rather seek him and do his will. Thank you all for your answers.

#6 Julie Daube

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 05:27 PM

This is an interesting topic. Often when God wakes my husband up to pray in the early morning, it is at 3:33 a.m. I am not sure why, it just seems to happen. So that particular time has become quite precious to my husband. Whenever he wakes up and sees that it is 3:33 a.m., he knows that God is calling him to pray. And he is not one to wake up in the middle of the night and feel awake, but whenever he wakes up at 3:33, he is wide awake and eager to pray.

#7 Debbi Meyer

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 08:04 AM

Acts 3:1 says, "One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer - at three in the afternoon." I've wondered about that - the time of prayer being 3:00 PM.
Daniel prayed "three times a day" and was caught praying by the "administrators and the satraps" that were trying to find charges against him. I wondered what his times of prayer were and if one of those times was 3:00 PM since those guys seemed to know when to catch him at prayer.
How was the 3:00 time of prayer established in the book of Acts? When was it dropped?
We are to pray without ceasing, but I've wondered if a three-times a day appointment with God in focused prayer would be a good goal.


#8 Tony Davison

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:00 AM

I have been awakened at 3 myself but never asked God if I should be praying, interesting thought. We are not always listening to that still small voice, especially that early in the morning. I have dreamed many vivid dreams that have come true or something has happened. I awoke one morning and told my wife she was pregnant and having twins and I was correct, she was not impressed with me at that moment.



#9 Tony Davison

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 03:31 AM

Well you never will guess who was awakened at 3 AM last night. I asked the Lord who he wanted me to pray for and my Pastors name came up (this is his last week). Pray that the LORD will give our Pastor wisdom in this change he is going through.