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.’”
“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.”
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?