13. Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord
Next—after the Great Tribulation—there are to be dramatic astronomical signs in the heavens visible to everyone on earth. “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).
God really will intervene in human affairs! And He will even intervene with nature and show this generation that there is a real God. Even after the modern nations of Israel go into captivity, God will not be through yet. Though our nations have professed to being “Christian,” they are in fact filled with deceit, vanity, avarice and violence.
Notice: “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind” (Revelation 6:12–13).
Here are incredible parts of a crescendo leading up to Christ’s return. Almost like a vast fireworks display in the evening sky, we will literally see the transition from the Great Tribulation to intensified punishments directly from God on any who are still unrepentant in defiant rebellion against their Creator. Notice verse 17: “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
The six seals outlined here describe the same events that Jesus had told His disciples would occur at the end. As the seals are opened we first find false prophets; second, wars; third, famines; fourth, disease epidemics; fifth, a Great Tribulation (including the martyrdom of the saints). The sixth seal is the heavenly signs. In Joel 2, we also see that the heavenly signs occur before the great and terrible Day of the Lord. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord” (v. 31). We already saw in Matthew 24 that the heavenly signs come after the Great Tribulation. What yet remains before the Kingdom of God can be fully established?