See DAY AND NIGHT for the natural usage and the various terms.
1. In the Old Testament:
The word "night" (laylah or layil is sometimes used figuratively in the Old Testament. Thus, Moses compares the brevity of time, the lapse of a thousand years, to "a watch in the night" (Psalms 90:4). Adversity is depicted by it in such places as Job 35:10; compare Isaiah 8:20; Jeremiah 15:9. Disappointment and despair are apparently depicted by it in the "burden of Dumah" (Isaiah 21:11,12); and spiritual blindness, coming upon the false prophets (Micah 3:6); again sudden and overwhelming confusion (Amos 5:8; Isaiah 59:10 the King James Version, nesheph, "twilight" as in the Revised Version (British and American)).
2. In the New Testament:
On the lips of Jesus (John 9:4) it signifies the end of opportunity to labor; repeated in that touching little allegory spoken to His disciples when He was called to the grave of Lazarus (John 11:9,10). Paul also uses the figure in reference to the Parousia (Romans 13:12), where "night" seems to refer to the present aeon and "day" to the aeon to come. He also uses it in 1 Thessalonians 5:5,7 where the status of the redeemed is depicted by "day," that of the unregenerate by "night," again, as the context shows, in reference to the Parousia. In Revelation 21:25 and 22:5, the passing of the "night" indicates the realization of that to which the Parousia looked forward, the establishment of the kingdom of God forever. See also Delitzsch, Iris, 35.
Henry E. Dosker
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