“And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.” (Acts 9:8-9)
The background of Saul’s blindness for three days is explained in Acts 9:1-7. Saul was on his way to the City of Damascus to arrest and bind any that were associated with “the way.” (This is what the early church was called.) However, on his journey, 9:3b says, “…there shined round about him a light from heaven.” Saul fell to the ground and Jesus spoke to him (verses 4-5), and asked Saul “…why persecutest thou me?” Saul replied, “Who art thou, Lord? … I am Jesus whom thou persecutes…” Saul replied (verse 6) “…what wilt thou have me to do?” Jesus told him to “Arise (for Saul had fallen to the ground), and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”
But verse 8 records when Saul opened his eyes, “he saw no man,” and they had to lead him by his hand to Damascus. In other words, he was now blind. Verses 9-18 reveal that this blindness stayed with him for three days.
The Scriptures are loaded with type and shadow using the terminology of three days and three nights:
(Jonah 1:17) “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
(Matthew 12:40) “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
This is a picture of the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Paul later wrote in Romans 6:1-23, about those who have been raised from “spiritual death,” to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4); that this was on the basis of Christ being the believer’s Substitute, Sacrifice, and Savior. That is, being in His Death, Burial, and Resurrection; whereby the sinner’s sin debt and punishment was satisfied in Christ’s vicarious (substitutionary) and expiatory (satisfying) Sacrifice on the Cross (Romans 3:24-25).
Why did God blind Saul for three days? I believe the answer lies in God’s education school.
(John 6:44-45) “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”
This Scripture reveals first that God must draw people to come to Christ; and second, all those that hear, are taught and learn of Christ. Saul was first approached by God in the light and the voice, in which Saul was revealed that it was Jesus speaking and asking all the questions. This is indicative of the quickening of a sinner dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1; John 6:63). When one is quickened (or made alive), he is given the capacity to hear God and discern spiritual truth (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). He has now the capacity to be taught of God and learn of Him. The sinner must first see, or perceive, that he is a sinner (Romans 3:23), which come by facing the law of God (Romans 3:19-20).
Paul wrote in Romans 7:4-14, when the law came, it slew him. It brought on Godly sorrow which worketh repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). Acts 5:31 says that repentance is given by God. Repentance is a turning 180 degrees in direction (from sin to sanctification). It is a change of direction. In the case of a quickened sinner, he is made to face the law; he is brought to Godly sorrow; he is brought to see his unworthiness in the sight of a Holy and Pure God. He sees that his unrighteousness is as filthy rags (or rags of menstruation of a woman). He sees his rebellion to God and his own hopelessness in atoning for his own sins. He is made to spy Christ as his Substitute, Sacrifice, and Savior from the curse of spiritual death (or his separation from God) (John 3:14-15). The Spirit of Christ quickens, draws, teaches the sinner, and then births him (John 3:3-8) which is proven in the sinners’ confession (Romans 10:9-10).
This is what happens in the three days of spiritual darkness. See John 9, where Christ gave the blind man sight (equal to quickening; opening the eye of perception); then later Jesus revealed to the blind man who He was (John 9:3, 25-26, 30, 35-39). From quickening to confession was a period of time. Then see John 11, which presents the same truth (John 11:4, 40, 41-44).
Therefore, Saul went through God’s School of the Darkness to The Light:
(Acts 9:17-18) “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. (18) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”
Question: Reader, have you ever been carried to and through God’s School of the Darkness?