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What are the falling stars before Jesus returns?

What are the falling stars before Jesus returns?

Jesus said in Matthew 24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” This verse can lead to the conviction that an asteroid will hit the earth. Should these verses be understood literally or was Jesus speaking in figurative language? Bible commentaries do not agree on this matter.

The figurative explanation

In the Old Testament, the same phenomena are mentioned by prophets in a number of places: Isaiah 13:10; Isaiah 34:4; Ezekiel 32:7, Joel 2:10 and Amos 8:9. Some scholars argue that the language used by the prophets was probably figurative. It seems that Jesus is echoing the same words, so He is probably also speaking in metaphors and not literally referring to falling stars and a darkening sun. In that case His words could refer to political upheaval or judgment.

The literal explanation

Or was Jesus referring to visible phenomena? Was He talking literally about the stars falling down from heaven? It is possible. The sun had been darkened before, like in Exodus 10:21-23 when there was total darkness in Egypt for three days as part of God’s judgment on the Pharaoh of Egypt, and during the hours that Jesus hung on the cross, Matthew 27:45. Furthermore, the Bible speaks in various places of this present heaven and earth making place for a new heaven and earth; the present heaven will be rolled up like a robe or scroll (see Hebrews 1:12, 2 Peter 3:7,10,12 and Revelation 6:13-14). In Revelation 21:1-8 we find a description of the new heaven and earth, and the ‘first heaven and the first earth had passed away’ (verse 1).

Interpret the stars as asteroids

Or you could interpret the falling stars as asteroids, which are minor planets that are sometimes visible to the naked eye and look like falling stars. But it seems that if Jesus is talking about the passing away of the first heaven and earth in a literal way, then maybe we should not understand the stars to be asteroids but to be real stars.

It’s all about the return of Jesus

In whatever way you want to interpret these verses, it is certain that Jesus was talking about phenomena that will be seen the world over. The verse following the one talking about falling stars and the darkened sun and moon, mentions the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven ‘with power and great glory’. Of course, the Son of Man is Jesus. When He returns, everybody will know it and every knee shall bow to Him (Romans 14:11). And then it matters in whom you have put your trust. Do you trust Jesus with your soul or do you have faith in your own powers? When the Lord comes back, all will be revealed and only those who have put their trust in Him, will not be found wanting but will be with Him for all eternity.

How does this Bible teaching speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Also read What is the great tribulation?

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Esther Visser

Esther Visser

Esther Visser (1972) was raised in Waddinxveen. She did a 2-year masters degree at Tyndale Theological Seminary in Badhoevedorp, to prepare for the mission field. In 2000 her husband and she were sent to Thailand as church planters, in cooperation with OMF and GZB. They lived and worked there for 15 years, together with their two children. At this time Esther is editor-in-chief for De Waarheidsvriend, the house magazine of the Gereformeerde Bond. She is also active in church life, as a youth worker, and as an artist.

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What are the falling stars before Jesus returns?