Luke 21:25-28 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
For thousands of years throughout history men have used the position of the sun and stars in the sky to give reliable and accurate information about their location in time and space. There is something very stable and constant about the Universe that enables us to draw up accurate daily tide charts for years to come, and to predict accurately what time the sun will rise or set on any particular day in Sydney. Scientists can provide helpful information about past events, such as the birth of Jesus, from astronomical data.
Of course, the Creator of the Universe is free to interrupt the regular pattern of things to suit his sovereign purposes from time to time, such as when the sun ‘stood still’ and the moon ‘stopped’ for a whole day in the time of Joshua (Joshua 10:13), or when the ‘shadow went back ten steps’ in the time of King Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:8, 2 Kings 20:11).
When Jesus, the One ‘for whom and by whom’ the Universe was created (Colossians 1:16), was dying on the cross to bear the punishment for man’s sin, it is not surprising that the regular pattern for the universe was impacted (Mark 15:33), and he warns us that we are not to be surprised to experience similar astronomical disruptions when he returns in power. Yes, the celestial turmoil at that time will be an immensely frightening experience for everyone who has remained in rebellion against God and his revelation of himself in his Word and in the Lord Jesus Christ. But for all who have humbly and contritely turned to him in repentance-and-faith it will be a time of immeasurable joy and celebration because they will recognise that, at last, “[their] redemption is drawing near.” “Great God, what do I see and hear: the end of things created! The Judge of all the earth comes near on clouds of glory seated; and at his cross I view the Day when heaven and earth shall pass away, and thus, prepare to meet him!” (W.B.Collyer).