Matthew 24:29 Study Archive

..the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.


Matthew 24:29

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Samuel Hinds (1829)
“It requires but a slender acquaintance with the writings of the Old Testament prophets to enable us to observe the peculiarity. It is not only figurative, but the figures are of the boldest kind, involving analogies so remote, as in some instances to be scarcely discoverable. If revolutions in empires be the subject, the prophetic representation is filled with disturbance of the laws of the natural world, and the sun, moon, and stars, are exhibited in commotion. If a deliverer is promised to the Jews, the prophet expresses the promise by the rising of a star, and the like” (Hinds, pp. 209-210)

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
“The figurative language of the prophets is taken from the analogy between the world natural and an empire or kingdom considered as a world politic. Accordingly, the world natural, consisting of heaven and earth, signifies the whole world politic, consisting of thrones and people, or so much of it as is considered in prophecy; and the things in that world signify the analogous things in this. For the heavens and the things therein signify thrones and dignities, and those who enjoy them: and the earth, with the things thereon, the inferior people; and the lowest parts of the earth, called Hades or Hell, the lowest or most miserable part of them. Great earthquakes, and the shaking of heaven and earth, are put for the shaking of kingdoms, so as to distract and overthrow them; the creating of a new heaven and earth, and the passing of an old one; or the beginning and end of a world, for the rise and ruin of a body politic signified thereby. The sun, for the whole species and race of kings, in the kingdoms of the world politic; the moon, for the body of common people considered as the king’s wife; the starts, for subordinate princes and great men; or for bishops and rulers of the people of God, when the sun is Christ. Setting of the sun, moon, and stars; darkening the sun, turning the moon into blood, and falling of the stars, for the ceasing of a kingdom.” (Observations on the Prophecies, Part i. chap. ii)

Thomas Scott (1817)
“The language of these verses is suited, and probably was intended, to lead the mind of the reader to the consideration of the end of the world, and the coming of Christ to judgment: yet the expression, ‘immediately after the tribulation of those days,’ must restrict the primary sense to them, to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the events that were consequent to it.” (Scott, Notes, Is xiii, 10; xxxiv, 3-7)

“The darkening of the sun and moon, the falling of the stars, and the shaking of the powers of the heavens, denote the utter extinction of the light of prosperity and privilege to the Jewish nation; the unhinging of their whole constitution in church and state; the violent subversion of the authority of their princes and priests; and the abject miseries to this the people in general, especially their chief persons, would be reduced, and the moral darkness to which they would be consigned.” (Scott, vol. 1)

Dr. Warburton (1787)
“that this language was borrowed from the antient hieroglyphics: for as in hieroglyphic writing, the sun, moon, and stars were used to represent states and empires, kings, queens, and nobility; their eclipse and extinction, temporary disasters, or entire overthrow, &c. so in like manner, the holy prophets call kings and empires by the names of the heavenly luminaries; their misfortunes and overthrow are represented by eclipses and extinction; stars falling from the firmament are employed to denote the destruction of the nobility, &c. In a word, the prophetic stile seems to be a speaking hieroglyphic. These observations will not only assist us in the study of the Old and New Testaments, but likewise vindicate their character frin the illiterate cavils of modern libertines, who have foolishly mistaken that for the peculiar workmanship of the prophets’ heated imagination, which was the sober, established language of their times, and which God and his Son condescended to employ as the properest conveyance of the high, mysterious ways of Providence in the revelation of themselves to mankind.” (Warburton’s Divine Legacy, vol. 2, book 4, section 4, quoted by Nisbett, pp. 22-23)

“This therefore being one of the most important aeras in the economy of grace, and the most awful revolution in all God’s religious dispensations; we see the elegance and propriety of the terms in question, to denote so great an event, together with the destruction of Jerusalem by which it was effected.” (Warburton’s Julian, book i, chap. 1.)

Lorraine Boettner (1998)
“Premillennialists of both schools relate the prophecy concerning a Great Tribulation to a future period, holding that it occurs at the very end of the age, and are so blind to the fact that it already has been fulfilled literally in the year 70 A.D.

One reason that it is so difficult for some people to realize that the Great Tribulation had its fulfillment in the siege and fall of Jerusalem is what a landmark in history the break-up and abolition of the Old Testament economy really was.  For a period of 1500 years God had worked with and through the Jewish people exclusively in matters pertaining to salvation.” (The Millennium, rev. ed., Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, [1957] 1984, p.201)

Adam Clarke (1837)
“Immediately after the tribulation, &c. Commentators generally understand this, and what follows, of the end of the world and Christ’s coming to judgment: but the word immediately shows that our Lord is not speaking of any distant event, but of something immediately consequent on calamities already predicted: and that must be the destruction of Jerusalem…

“In the prophetic language, great commotions upon the earth are often represented under the notion of commotions and changes in the heavens: –

“The fall of Babylon is represented by the stars and constellations of heaven withdrawing their light, and the sun and moon being darkened. See Isa. xiii. 9,10.

“The destruction of Egypt, by the heaven being covered, the sun enveloped with a cloud, and the moon withholding her light. Ezek. xxxii. 7,8.

“The destruction of the Jews by Antioch Epiphanes, is represented by casting down some of the host of heaven, and the stars to the ground. See Dan. viii. 10.

“And this very destruction of Jerusalem is represented by the Prophet Joel, chap. ii. 30,31, by showing wonders in heaven and in earth –Darkening the sun, and turning the moon into blood. This general mode of describing these judgments leaves no room to doubt the propriety of its application in the present case” (Clarke, on Matt 24:29)

Gary DeMar (1996)
“The darkening of the sun and moon and the falling of the stars, coupled with the shaking of the heavens (24:29), are more descriptive ways of saying that “heaven and earth will pass away” (24:35). In other contexts, when stars fall, they fall to the earth, a sure sign of temporal judgment (Isaiah 14:12Daniel 8:10Revelation 6:139:112:4). So then, the “passing away of heaven and earth” is the passing away of the old covenant world of Judaism led and upheld by those who “crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8). (Taken from: The Passing Away of Heaven and Earth )

“Before the advent of speculative exegesis, most Bible commentators who studied the whole Bible understood the relationship of collapsing-universe language with the destruction of the religious and civil state of the Jewish nation.”  (Last Days Madness, GA: American Vision, 1997, p. 137)

F.W. Farrar (1886)
” The powers of heaven were being shaken. Suns and moons and stars- from Roman Emperors down to Jewish Priests – were one after another waxing dim, and shooting from their spheres. Clearly the day must be at hand of which the Lord had said that it would come ere that generation passed away, and that all the things of which He had spoken would be fulfilled” (p. 414)

John Gill (1809)
“Ver. 29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days, &c.] That is, immediately after the distress the Jews would be in through the siege of Jerusalem, and the calamities attending it; just upon the destruction of that city, and the temple in it, with the whole nation of the Jews, shall the following things come to pass; and therefore cannot be referred to the last judgment, or what should befall the church, or world, a little before that time, or should be accomplished in the whole intermediate time, between the destruction of Jerusalem, and the last judgment: for all that is said to account for such a sense, as that it was usual with the prophets to speak of judgments afar off as near; and that the apostles often speak of the coming of Christ, the last judgment, and the end of the world, as just at hand; and that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, will not answer to the word “immediately”, or show that that should be understood of two thousand years after: besides, all the following things were to be fulfilled before that present generation, in which Christ lived, passed away, #Mt 24:34 and therefore must be understood of things that should directly, and immediately take place upon, or at the destruction of the city and temple.

Shall the sun be darkened: not in a literal but in a figurative sense; and is to be understood not of the religion of the Jewish church; nor of the knowledge of the law among them, and the decrease of it; nor of the Gospel being obscured by heretics and false teachers; nor of the temple of Jerusalem, senses which are given into by one or another; but of the Shekinah, or the divine presence in the temple. The glory of God, who is a sun and a shield, filled the tabernacle, when it was reared up; and so it did the temple, when it was built and dedicated; in the most holy place, Jehovah took up his residence; here was the symbol of his presence, the mercy seat, and the two cherubim over it: and though God had for some time departed from this people, and a voice was heard in the temple before its destruction, saying, “let us go hence”; yet the token of the divine presence remained till the utter destruction of it; and then this sun was wholly darkened, and there was not so much as the outward symbol of it:

and the moon shall not give her light; which also is to be explained in a figurative and metaphorical sense; and refers not to the Roman empire, which quickly began to diminish; nor to the city of Jerusalem; nor to the civil polity of the nation; but to the ceremonial law, the moon, the church is said to have under her feet, #Re 12:1 so called because the observance of new moons was one part of it, and the Jewish festivals were regulated by the moon; and especially, because like the moon, it was variable and changeable. Now, though this, in right, was abolished at the death of Christ, and ceased to give any true light, when he, the substance, was come; yet was kept up by the Jews, as long as their temple was standing; but when that was destroyed, the daily sacrifice, in fact, ceased, and so it has ever since; the Jews esteeming it unlawful to offer sacrifice in a strange land, or upon any other altar than that of Jerusalem; and are to this day without a sacrifice, and without an ephod:

and the stars shall fall from heaven; which phrase, as it elsewhere intends the doctors of the church, and preachers falling off from purity of doctrine and conversation; so here it designs the Jewish Rabbins and doctors, who departed from the word of God, and set up their traditions above it, fell into vain and senseless interpretations of it, and into debates about things contained in their Talmud; the foundation of which began to be laid immediately upon their dispersion into other countries: and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; meaning all the ordinances of the legal dispensation; which shaking, and even removing of them, were foretold by #Hag 2:6 and explained by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, #Heb 12:26,27 whereby room and way were made for Gospel ordinances to take place, and be established; which shall not be shaken, so as to be removed, but remain till the second coming of Christ. The Jews themselves are sensible, and make heavy complaints of the great declensions and alterations among them, since the destruction of the temple; for after having taken notice of the death of several of their doctors, who died a little before, or after that; and that upon their death ceased the honour of the law, the splendour of wisdom, and the glory of the priesthood, they add {g};

“from the time that the temple was destroyed, the wise men, and sons of nobles, were put to shame, and they covered their heads; liberal men were reduced to poverty; and men of violence and calumny prevailed; and there were none that expounded, or inquired, or asked. R. Elezer the great, said, from the time the sanctuary were destroyed, the wise men began to be like Scribes, and the Scribes like to the Chazans, (or sextons that looked after the synagogues,) and the Chazans like to the common people, and the common people grew worse and worse, and there were none that inquired and asked;”

that is, of the wise men there were no scholars, or very few that studied in the law.

{g} Misn. Sotah, c. 9. sect. 15. (in loc.)

John Lightfoot (1889)
“The destruction of Jerusalem is phrased in Scripture as the destruction of the whole world; and Christ’s coming to her in judgment, as his coming to the last judgment.  Therefore, those dreadful things, spoken of in Matt. 24:29,30 and 31, are but borrowed expressions, to set forth the terms of that judgment the more.. v.30 – “then shall they see” – not any visible appearance of Christ, or of the cross, in the clouds (as some have imagined); but, whereas  Jews would not own Christ before for the Son of Man, or for the Messias, then by the vengeance that he should execute upon them, they and all the world should see an evident sign, and it was so.  This, therefore, is called “his coming,” and his coming in his kingdom.” [A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, ed. Rev. John Rogers Pitman (London: J.F. Dove, 1825), p.141]

“That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state is described as if the whole frame of the world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt. 24:29,30, ‘The sun shall be darkened &c. Then shall appear the ‘sign of the Son of man,’ &c; which yet are said to fall out within that generation, ver. 34. 2 Pet. 3:10, ‘The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,’ &c. Compare with this Deut. 32:22Heb. 12:26: and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal 4:9, Coloss. 2:20: and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks only of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses” (vol. 3, p. 452).

Thomas Newton (1754)
“‘immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not giver her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.’ Commentators generally understand this, and what follows, of the end of the world, and of Christ’s coming to judgment; but the words ‘immediately after the tribulation of those days,’ show, evidently, that he is not speaking of any distant but of something immediately consequent upon the tribulation before mentioned, and that must be the destruction of Jerusalem.”

Stafford North (1991)
“Jesus next explains events which “following immediately” after what He has just described.  Since we are still before verse 34 and since these events happen immediately after those which so clearly apply to the destruction of Jerusalem, we must conclude that the figurative language in verses 29-31 must refer to events which happened immediately after the fall of Jerusalem.

Eight events are listed: (1) the sun shall be darkened, (2) the moon shall not give her light, (3) the heavens shall be shaken, (4) the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, (5) the sign of the Son of Man in heaven shall appear, (6) all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, (7) they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, and (8) He shall send forth his angels to gather the elect from the four winds.

Some expressions among these eight might, at first, seem to apply to Jesus’ second coming.  But because of “immediately” and “this generation” we must ask if all of the eight can apply to what happened soon after the fall of Jerusalem.  As we shall see, the answer is, “They can” (Armageddon Again? A Reply to Hal Lindsey, Oklahoma City, OK: Author, 1991, p. 7-10)

Dr. John Owen (1721)
“Not to hold you too long upon what is so plain and evident, you may take it for a rule, that, in the denunciations of the judgments of God, through all the prophets, heaven, sun, moon, stars, and the like appearing beauties and glories of the aspectable heavens, are taken for governments, governors, dominions in political states, as Isa. 14:12-15Jer 15:951:25Isaiah 13:13Ps. 68:6Joel 2:10Rev. 8:12Matt. 24:29Luke 21:25Isa 60:20Obad. 4Rev 8:1311:1220:11.” (vol. 8, p. 255, in a sermon entitled Shaking and Translating of Heaven and Earth, preached on April 19, 1649)

Rev. William W. Patton (1877)
“Before entering upon the taking and destruction of the city and the temple, it is important that we have a clear understanding of the meaning of this remarkable statement of our Lord, which forms the motto of this chapter. There are mainly three interpretations of this passage:

1. That it refers to the final judgment, and has no necessary application to the destruction of the city and temple.
2. That it has reference only subordinately to the city, but mainly to the general judgment, the destruction of the city being only emblematic of the final judgment.
3. That the language is primarily and emphatically applicable to the overthrow of the city, the burning of the temple, the destruction of the civil polity of the Jews, and the closing up of the old dispensation.

It seems probable to my mind that the third is the true interpretation. As the subject of the Lord’s discourse was the destruction of the city and the temple, with the dissolution of the civil nationality of the Jews, and as all the other circumstances of the prophecy refer to these events, it is in keeping with unity to apply this prediction to the same.” (The Judgment of Jerusalempp 147-148)

Bishop Pearce (18th Century)
“Distress of nations, refers to such nations as inhabited the several countries called by the name of Judea in its widest extent, including Jews, Galileans, Samaritans, &c” (in loc.)

James Stuart Russell (1878)
“What, then, is the great catastrophe symbolically represented as the shaking of the earth and heavens? No doubt it is the overthrow and abolition of the Mosaic dispensation, or old covenant; the destruction of the Jewish church and state, together with all the institutions and ordinances connected therewith. There were ‘heavenly things’ belonging to the dispensation: the laws, and statutes, and ordinances, which were divine in their origin, and might be properly called the ‘spiritualia’ of Judaism – these were the heavens, which were to be shaken and removed. There were also ‘earthly things:’ the literal Jerusalem, the material temple, the land of Canaan – these were the earth, which was in like manner to be shaken and removed. The symbols are, in fact, equivalent to those employed by our Lord when predicting the doom of Israel. ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days (the horrors of the siege of Jerusalem) shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken’ (Matt 24:29). Both passages refer to the same catastrophe and employ very similar figures; besides which we have the authority of our Lord for fixing the event and the period of which He speaks within the limits of the generation then in existence: that is to say, the reference can only be to the judgment of the Jewish nation and the abrogation of the Mosaic economy at the Parousia.” (p. 289-290).

Moses Stuart (1836)
(On Heb. 12:25-29) “That the passage has respect to the changes which would be introduced by the coming of the Messiah, and the new dispensation which he would commence, is evident from Haggai ii. 7-9. Such figurative language is frequent in the Scriptures, and denotes great changes which are to take place. So the apostle explains it here, in the very next verse. (Comp. Isa. 13:13Haggai 2:21,22Joel 3:16Matt. 24:29-37). (Hebrews, in loc.)

Milton Terry (1898)
“The language is appropriated in the main from the books of Isaiah and Daniel, but also from other prophets. The following passages are particularly in point:

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (Isa. 13:10)

And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. (Isa. 34:4)

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13,14)

In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. (Zech. 12:11-14)

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. (Isa. 27:13)

If thy dispersion be from extremity of the heaven to extremity of the heaven, Thence shall the Lord thy God gather thee. (Sept. of Deut. 30:4)

For from the four winds of the heaven will I gather you, Saith the Lord (Sept. of Zech. 2:6)

“From these quotation it is apparent that there is scarcely an expression employed in Matthew and Luke which has not been taken from the Old Testament Scriptures.

“Such apocalyptic forms of speech are not to be assumed to convey in the New Testament a meaning different from that which they bear in the Hebrew Scriptures. They are part and parcel of the genius of prophetic language. The language of Isaiah 13:10, is used in a prophecy of the overthrow of Babylon. That of Isaiah 34:4, refers to the desolation of Edom. The ideal of “the Son of man coming in the clouds” is taken from a prophecy of the Messianic kingdom, which kingdom, as depicted in Daniel 7:13,14, is no other than the one symbolized in the same book by a stone cut out of the mountain (Dan. 2:34,35). It is the same kingdom of heaven which Jesus liken to a grain of mustard seed and to the working of leaven in the meal (Matt. 13:31-33). The other citations we have given above show with equal clearness how both Jesus and his disciples were wont to express themselves in language which must have been very familiar to those who from childhood heard the law and the prophets “read in the synagogues every Sabbath” (Acts 13:2715:21). A strictly literal interpretation of such pictorial modes of thought leads only to absurdity. Their import must be studied in the light of the numerous parallels in the Old Testament writers, which have been extensively presented in the foregoing part of this volume. But with what show of reason, or on what principle of “interpreting Scripture by Scripture,” can it be maintained that the language of Isaiah, Joel, and Daniel, allowed by all the best exegetes to be metaphorical when employed in the Hebrew Scriptures, must be literally understood when appropriated by Jesus or his apostles?

“We sometimes, indeed, are meet with a disputant who attempts to evade the force of the above question by the plea that if we interpret one part of Jesus’s discourse literally we are bound in consistency to treat the entire prophecy in the same way. So, on the other hand, it is urged that if Matt. 24:29-31, for example, be explained metaphorically, we must carry that same principle through all the rest of the chapter; and if the words “sun, moon, and heavens” in verse 29 are to be taken figuratively, so should the words “Judea,” and “mountains,” and “housetop,” and “field” in other parts of the chapter be explained metaphorically! It is difficult to understand how such a superficial plea can be seriously put forward by one who has made a careful study of the Hebrew prophets. Every one of the Old Testament examples which have been cited above stands connected, like these apocalyptic saying of Jesus, with other statements which all readers and expositors have understood literally. The most proasic writer may at times express himself through a whole series of sentences in figurative term, and incorporate the extended metaphor in the midst of the plain narrative of facts. …

“Our fourth and concluding proposition is that this apocalyptic passage is a sublime symbolic picture of the crisis of ages in the transition from the Old Testament dispensation to the Christian era. The word picture must be taken as a whole, and allowed to convey its grand total impression. The attempt, in a single passage like Mark 13:24,25, to take each metaphor separately and give it a distinct application, ruins the whole picture. … The picture of a collapsing universe symbolizes the one simple but sublime thought of supernatural interposition in the affairs of the world, involving remarkable revolution and change. The element of time does not appear in the picture. So the Son of man coming on the clouds means here just what it means in Daniel’s vision. It is an apocalyptic concept of the Messiah, as King of heaven and earth, executing divine judgment and entering with his people upon the possession and dominion of the kingdoms of the world. Here again the element of time does not enter, except it be the associated thought of Daniel’s prophecy that “his dominion is an everlasting dominion” (Dan. 7:14). It is the same coming of the Son of man in his kingdom which is referred to in Matt. 16:27,28, the inception of which was to occur before some of those who heard these words should taste of death. The mourning of all the tribes of the land is the universal wail and lamentation of Judaism over its national overthrow. In the fall of their city and Temple the priests, scribes, and elders saw “the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power” (Matt. 26:64), and thus it was made manifest to all who read the prophecy aright that “Jesus the Galilean” has conquered. The gathering of Christ’s elect from the four winds is the true fulfillment of numerous prophecies which promise the chosen people that they shall be gathered out of all lands and established forever in the mountain of God (comp. Amos 9:14,15Jer. 23:5-832:37-40Ezek. 37:21-28). The time and manner of this universal ingathering of the elect ones cannot be determined from the language of any of these prophecies. As well might one presume to determine from Jesus’s words in John 12:32, where, when, and in what manner, when the Christ is “lifted up out of the earth,” he will draw all men unto himself. The point made emphatic, in the eschatological discourse of Jesus, is that all things contemplated in the apocalyptic symbolism employed to depict his coming and reign would follow “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29); or, as Mark has it, “in those days, after that tribulation.” That is, the coming of the kingdom of the Son of man is coincident with the overthrow of Judaism and its temple, and follows immediately in those very days.

“Whatever in this picture necessarily pertains to the continuous administration of the kingdom on the earth must of course be permanent, and continue as long as the nature and purpose of each work requires. When, therefore, it is affirmed that “this generation shall not pass away until all these things be accomplished,” no one supposes that the kingdom and the power and the glory of the Son of man are to terminate with that generation. The kingdom itself is to endure for ages of ages. It is to increase like the stone cut from the mountain, which itself “became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” It is to grow and operate like the mustard seed and the leaven until it accomplish its heavenly purpose among men. The entire New Testament teaching concerning the kingdom of Christ comtemplates a long period, and the abolishing of all opposing authority and power; “for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (I Cor. 15:25). The overthrow of Jerusalem was one of the first triumphs of the Messiah’s reign, and a sign that he was truly “seated at the right hand of power.” …

“But what ought to settle the question of time beyond all controversy is the most emphatic declaration: “This generation shall not pass away until all these things be accomplished.” These words are clearly intended to answer the disciples’ question, “when shall these things be?” Their meaning is substantially the same as that of Mark 9:1, and the parallels in Matthew and Luke. The words immediately preceding them show the absurdity of applying them to another generation than that of the apostles: “When YOU SEE THESE THINGS coming to pass, YOU KNOW that he is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say UNTO YOU, this generation shall not pass away,” etc.

“But not a few expositors presume to nullify the import of these words by affirming that they are glaringly inconsistent with what follows in Mark and Matthew: “But of that day or hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” It is difficult to understand how any interpreter, uninfluenced by a dogmatic prepossession, can insist on making one of these statements contradict or exclude the other. But it is not difficult to see that, when one has it already settled in his mind that the kingdom of Christ is not yet come, that the “Parousia” is an even event yet future, and that “the end of the age” is not the close of the pre-Messianic age, but “the end of the world,” such a weight of dogma effectually obliges him to nullify the simply meaning of words as emphatic as Jesus ever spoke. If the language of Mark 13:30, and its parallels in Matthew and Luke are to be so arbitrarily set aside on such ground we see not but it is just as proper a procedure to reject the statement of Jesus’s ignorance of the day and the hour, which indeed does not appear in Luke at all. Why not reject Mark 13:32, which has no parallel in Luke, rather than verse 30, which appears in all the synoptic gospels? Such an arbitrary procedure is a two-edged sword which may smite in one direction as well as another. (Biblical Apocalyptics, pp. 238-245)

(In Reference to the shaking of heaven and earth and Psalm 18)
“The simplest reader of this psalm observes that, in answer to the prayer of the one in distress, Jehovah reveals himself in marvelous power and glory. He disturbs for his sake all the elements of the earth and the heavens. He descends from the lofty sky as if bending down the visible clouds and making a pathway of massive darkness under his feet. He seems to ride upon a chariot, borne along by cherubims, and moving swiftly as the winds… In the psalmist’s thought winds, fire, hail, smoke, clouds, waters, lightenings, and earthquake are conceived as immediately subservient to Jehovah, who interposes for the rescue of his devout servant.” (Biblical Apocalyptics, p. 25)

Terry gave a footnote on this by Perowne which said:
“David’s deliverance was, of course, not really accompanied by such convulsions of nature, by earthquake, and fire, and tempest; but his deliverance, or rather his manifold deliverance, gathered into one, as he thinks of them, appear to him as marvelous a proof of the divine power, as verily effected by the immediate presence and finger of God, as if he had come down in visible form to accomplish them. – The Book of Psalms, new translation, vol. i. p. 186, 1876 (Biblical Apocalyptics, p. 25)

Foy Wallace (1966)
“The signs in the heavens, the darkening sun and falling stars, refer to the falling of Jewish dignitaries, casting down of authorities and powers, long established, and signified the darkness that settled upon the Jewish state.  The sun of Hebrew temple was darkened, the moon of the Jewish commonwealth was as blood, the stars of the Sanhedrin fell from their high seats of authority.”  (The Book of Revelation, TX: Wallace, 1966, p. 354)


Oded Irshai (2003)
“Although the priests’ status had diminished since (and because of) the destruction of the Temple, they nonetheless represented the most significant era of the Jewish past, its cultic age, which every Jew prayed would return.” (Cultures of the Jews: A New History, p. 193)

“This priestly mystical literature has strong echoes of the Dead Sea scrolls from nearly half a millennium earlier.  The paytanim lamented that the status of the priesthood was lowly because the Temple was still in ruins, and they expressed profound yearning for its reconstruction.” (Cultures of the Jews: A New History, p. 197)

Relative Passages of Scripture:

Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

Other Stars Falling, Heavens Shaking in OT and NT

Isaiah 13:

9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

Isaiah 34:

4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.

Ezekiel 32:

7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.
8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.

Hebrews 12:

26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

Revelation 6:

13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

(Note: Fall On Us, and Hide Us)

15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Luke 23:28-30:

28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

Hosea 10:8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.

  Date: 04 Feb 2010
Time: 12:17:33

Although Matt 24:29 appears to be an end-time prophecy by Jesus,it merely reflects the thinking of his time,when scribes actually thought stars could fall to earth,because the earth was believed to be the center of the universe. This concept is at work in chapter one of the Genesis creation story where the earth is created before the sun,moon,and stas. Stars cannot fall from the heavens. In deep space there is no up and down. This statement found in both Matthew and Mark reflects the lack of scientific understanding rampant at that time. Regretably,these statements
bring into serious question the divinity of Jesus himself. It is doubtful that a divine being responsible for the creation of the universe,and who set into place the natural laws that govern it would have made such a statement. The laws of gravity decree that the body with the greater mass will have the greater gravitational force,thus stars do not fall toward planets (Earth),planets fall toward stars (Sun). It is unfortunate that such scribal ignorance has been transposed to Jesus,which is common in biblical texts. It is statements such as these that cast a long shadow of doubt across the credibility of the entire biblical texts.

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