January 10, 2022
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matthew 24:29).
One of the tensions a student of Scripture has when reading prophetic and apocalyptic literature is deciding what is to be interpreted literally and what is to be interpreted figuratively. There is no doubt both the literal and figurative are involved in interpreting the Revelation. Case in point, the churches in Revelation 1. The 7 churches listed were literal, physical, local churches that had literal, spiritual, local issues. But do they also represent the Christian church as a whole? Many would say yes - literally and figuratively.
How are we to understand today’s passage? It is difficult, if not impossible to interpret correctly if taken out of context, as is any passage taken out of context. What is the context? The end of the age. The current age, the age of grace, the church age, is moving toward what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called ‘the Omega Point’ - the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. We are led to believe that when Jesus returns it will be a glorious, triumphant, magnificent, and wonderful event. Not so. As He comes, the entire universe will experience cosmic convulsions. Jesus called these climactic disturbances ‘the beginning of sorrows’, literally ‘birth-pangs’ (Matthew 24:8). Anyone who has witnessed the birth of a child knows how violent it can be for the mother and child as the infant is being born.
Isaiah 13:6-13 describes this event as well. Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, every man's heart will melt, and they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; they will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; they will be amazed at one another; their faces will be like flames. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. "I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, a man more than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger.
But the Christian has the promise from Jesus Christ, given to the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:10), Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
“Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You are coming again to establish Your Kingdom on earth. And thank You that the Christian and the church will be saved from Your wrath as You come to take back Your creation from Satan, his antichrist, and his ministers. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen”