(This article based on Matthew 24:26-35 which is included at the foot of the page )
Before we dive into this we just need to understand how to interpret some things in the Bible:
“Immediately after the distress of those days.” (Verse 29)
The teaching before this was focusing on the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and Jesus refers to it as the ‘distress of those days’, but it is also referring to the end of the world.
So when Jesus says ‘Immediately after’ we need to realise that He is now talking about the end of the world.
So why is it written like that?
When a Prophet speaks of things that are important and serious, it is often spoken of as being near and about to happen.
For example in Jude 14 it says:
“Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied: ‘See the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of His holy ones.’ “
He said ‘the Lord IS coming’ making it sound as if He had already set out and was about to arrive. And that was said well before Abraham, and even Noah!
The other thing to bear in mind is that:
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3)
All of this makes God’s Word relevant to everyone at any era, because the prophecies can speak to all with partial fulfilments until the final completion of the prophesy.
So, with that rather shortened explanation, let′s continue reading from Peter. This is an awesome description of the end of the world:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.
The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?
You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed it′s coming.
That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” (verse 10)
In a Psalm it says of the heavens and the earth:
“They will perish.. they will all wear out like a garment, like clothing You (that is God) will change them, and they will be discarded.” (Psalm 102:26)
What an amazing change there is going to be!
God will just roll up this whole universe like a piece of cloth.
It′s interesting to see the wording in Matthew where Jesus quotes from Isaiah and says:
“the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give it′s light.” (Matthew 24:29)
The moon shines because of it′s reflected light from the sun, so, when the sun will be blacked out, then the moon won′t shine.
In Genesis it speaks about God creating the world, and says:
“God made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night.
He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night.” (Genesis 1:16-18)
So, the snuffing out the light of the sun, moon and stars, signifies the putting down of all rule, authority and power, so that the Kingdom may be delivered up to God.
In the new heaven and earth, God will be all in all, there won′t be a sun to govern, God Almighty will be it′s light.
Paul speaking of Christ coming again wrote:
“Then the end will come, when He, that is Christ, hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1Corinthians 15:24)
At this time Christ will round up the Devil and his angels, and there will be no more rebellions. God will reign supreme.
Perhaps God snuffs out the created lights, so that for a moment there would be total blackness, then there would be the glorious appearance of Christ in the clouds, Him coming with great power and glory with His angels with Him.
That previous darkness would be a preview of the eternal darkness, that those who have rejected God will be sent to.
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.” (Matthew 24:30)
When Christ first came to this earth, He was a sign to be spoken against, as it says in Luke 2:34.
But at Jesus’ second coming He will be a sign that will be too powerful to ignore.
John in Revelation 1 says:
“Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him.”
The believers will look up with joy, knowing that He is their Saviour.
They have had their times of mourning over their sin and guilt, but now it is turned to joy.
Whereas the unbelievers had no serious thoughts about the error of their ways until Jesus Christ comes. Then they will mourn when it is too late.
As Mediator between mankind and God, Jesus Christ has also been given the responsibility for judging the world.
“The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son.” (John 5:22)
“God the Father has given Him authority to judge, because He is the Son of Man.” (verse 27)
May the sight of Jesus fill us with joy and not dread.
 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
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.’
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.
They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.
Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.
I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:26-35 (NIV)
Cloud image: thanks to Serif ARTGallery CD