The Sun, Moon, and Stars

Recently I have heard a lot of questions and interpretations concerning the prophecies about the darkening and falling of the sun, moon, and stars at the time of Jesus’ return. Here are the two passages usually mentioned:

“Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”
~Matthew 24:29

“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.”
~Revelation 6:12-13

The only way we should understand these things is by turning to God’s word for the explanation.

Prophecies are written using a figurative language, they are not supposed to be understood literally. In fact the same events where prophesied to take place at the time of the first coming:

“All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved 
and the sky rolled up like a scroll; 
all the starry host will fall 
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.” 
~Isaiah 34:4 (and Isaiah 13:10)

Did the physical sun, moon, and stars turn dark and fall to the earth at the time of Jesus’ first coming? Did God lie when He gave His word to the prophet Isaiah? If we can’t understand how these heavenly bodies fell at the time of the first coming, then how can we be so sure that we will be able to recognize it taking place again at the time of Revelation’s fulfillment?

So what are the sun, moon and stars referring to?

In Genesis 32:28 Jacob is given the new name “Israel”, because he had struggled with man and with God and had overcome. We know that ‘Israel’ then has 12 sons. In Genesis 37:9-11 one of Israel’s sons, Joseph, has a dream in which his household (Jacob [Israel], his wife, and the 11 other sons) are represented by the sun, the moon, and the stars. God uses these heavenly bodies to represent His chosen people. The 12 tribes of Israel are created after each of the 12 sons.

So how did the sun, moon and stars turn dark and fall at the first coming?

God’s chosen people were the Physical Israelites, the Jewish nation. However, they refused to accept their Messiah. Jesus came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him (Jn 1:11). Because God’s people, the spiritual sun, moon and stars, had turned their backs on God, the kingdom of God was taken away from them and given to a people who would produce its fruit (Mt 21:43).

The Physical Israelites turned dark by refusing to accept the light (Jn 8:12), and so they fell from their position of being God’s chosen people. They fell from heaven, a place of dwelling with God, to the earth, becoming mere men no longer God’s people.

Now God has to establish a new chosen people. Those who received and believed in the name of the one who was sent now become the spiritual children of God, those who are born of God. It is no longer dependent on lineage, or physical descent (Jn 1:12-13). Those who are spiritually born of God are His new chosen people – the new sun, moon and stars.

Philippians 2:15 says, “…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…”

However, this is what we have to understand. Once again, at the time of Revelation’s fulfillment, the sun, moon and stars turn dark and fall (Rv 6:12-13). Once again, those who belong to God turn their backs on Him, fall from their position in ‘heaven’, and return to the ‘earth’.

Did the Pharisees and Jews understand the prophecies at the time of the first coming? Did they realize they were the ones actually fulfilling the scriptures? If we don’t understand how this is going to happen, then how can we make sure it isn’t us that fulfill this part of scripture?

~~~
Do you enjoy star gazing?

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12 thoughts on “The Sun, Moon, and Stars

  1. It’s one the spirit of truth translated for me and a secular song. U probably wouldn’t know it. :) Now tell me about eating flesh and drinking blood?

    • Ha, I’ll take your word for it that I don’t know the song :)
      Maybe I will write a post on the eating and drinking of Jesus’ flesh and blood… a good chapter to go and read is John 6.

      Ultimately Jesus’ body was describing spiritual bread – something that would feed us spiritually.
      Jesus was sent by heaven, therefore his body was “bread from heaven”. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer “give us today our daily bread” and if you think back to the time the Israelites were wandering in the desert, God sent them daily bread from heaven to sustain them – Manna.

      Physical food is eaten with the mouth, but spiritual food (bread from heaven) is ‘eaten’ with the ear. This spiritual bread that we have to ‘eat’ with our ear (Jesus’ body) is referring to his teachings and his words.

  2. I am so speechless with this one because I don’t even have a single inkling about the deep meaning of these passages in the book of ‘Revelation’. What i innocently believe is the literal translation of the sun, the stars, and the moon coming to end.

    I am a Physics teacher and the book of Revelation has some truth even in science in its literal meaning, There are many times when I tried to connect the life of the universe and its end to the prophecies in the bible and I was already comfortable believing that science and religion have no conflict after all if you only open your heart to the ultimate truth that lies therewith.

    But thanks so much for sharing this. The next time I am going to teach space and universe, I should know where to limit my interpretation of the bible and science.

    • Hi Earlie, so good to hear from you!

      Because the book of Revelation is a prophecy given to Apostle John in visions, it is really hard to understand how the physical fulfillment of these things is going to take place.

      However, if we end up creating our own understanding instead of turning to God’s opened word for the answers then we will miss the events because they are not what we are expecting – like the Israelites were waiting for a king, born in a palace, with great authority, to lead them and save them, but what did they get instead?
      A baby born in a stable, who was not physically attractive (Is 52:13 – Is 53:2), a carpenters son, and he was not highly educated. He rode into town on a donkey – not a majestic horse – he hung out with the prostitutes and tax collectors, and he broke so many of the rules that the believers (God’s nation) at that time held to so firmly.

      Because they didn’t clearly understand the prophecies they missed the coming of their Messiah.
      It would be awful if we didn’t learn from history (1 Cor 10:11), and made the same mistakes that were made by God’s people 2000 years ago.

      Earlie, I love your humility and your hunger. Thank you for taking time to read and comment, my friend

  3. Thanks for writing this post. Definitely, a mindset that I want to continue to move towards. More people need to read this one HL. The Word has so much in it…

    I do like star gazing..especially on those spring/summer nights (except extremely hot nights)

    • Hey Jon,
      I agree, the Word has so so much in it – we should keep our focus on it because there is so much else out there that can cause confusion.
      I remember star gazing with my cousins once when I was younger…we got really bored, and only saw like 2 shooting stars (we were camping). BUT I think it is pretty awesome to just stare at the night sky these days, so pretty out there!

  4. How does one come to all these conclusions though?

    Isn’t the bible full of both literal and figurative? It’s kind of hard to figure out what is literal and what is figurative and that leads to all the different interpretations in a way. How can a believer be sure? I mean, what you’ve said makes sense when it’s all there, but is it really the one answer: the truth?

    Do you also think that the sun rising in the west at the end of days is a metaphor for something else? I actually met someone who believed that the sun would literally rise in the west (he followed the Koran).

    • Hi Heart, so good to hear from you! This is a really great question, probably one of the best ones I have been asked. I like the fact that you question, and that you don’t just take anything and everything without testing. Reminds me of the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who were of more noble character because they accepted the word with eagerness, but then they tested everything they heard against Scripture to check that Paul was teaching the truth.

      First off, about the “sun rising in the west” thing you mentioned… I am not sure I completely understand what you are referring to in Scripture. Maybe you can clarify… (?)

      About the figurative/spiritual vs literal understanding… prophecy is often written in a complicated way. Hosea 12:10 tells us how the prophets saw visions and spoke in parables. Matthew 13 has 6 parables about the kingdom of heaven. One of them tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that was planted and grew into the largest garden plant, and the birds of the air came to perch in its branches… however, if I asked you to draw me a picture of heaven, I doubt you would draw a tree with a bird perched in its branches…so what is this parable talking about?
      This is the figurative language that we need to understand. But how are we supposed to understand it?
      All of God’s word, the Bible, is actually God’s WORD and so all the answer have to be in the Bible. We should turn to His word for the understanding and not simply man’s teachings.

      There are so many different interpretations, commentaries and books out there, you ask a very valid question…how are we supposed to know which one is the truth?
      The answer: the one that relies ONLY on God’s word, the revealed teaching that is promised in the New Testament (Jn 16:25).

      I am sorry I can’t explain more and in greater detail in this reply, BUT what I will do is write a post on this topic. And once I have written it (Saturday probably) I will post the link on you BC wall :) I hope this helps a little. Thank you for asking, I am always open to chatting about my posts :)
      Much love ~

  5. Yes, star gazing is wonderful out in the farm lands where there are no street lights or lights from the city. It is just you and the stars, and it is beautiful on a clear night! Praise His beautiful creation the stars!

    • Hi Betsy, that is the best way to gaze at the stars – the city lights really destroy the night sky (or at least what we see of it).
      His creation is beautiful and majestic!

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