“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: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven” (Mat. 24:29-30).
The words of the Lord in Matthew 24 begin with a private conversation on the Mount of Olives where the disciples asked Jesus to tell them what the sign of His coming and the end of the world would be. What proceeded was a response concealed in prophetic symbols, one of which is the darkening of the sun, moon and stars.
The message of these luminaries concerns the appearing of Christ and the dominion of the Kingdom of God in the lives of all His people. It concerns the passing away of the old heavens of man’s order and the dawning of the new heaven of God’s rule by the Spirit.
The new heaven refers to the spiritual condition where only the light of the Lamb illuminates our earth (Rev. 21:23). The divine light of Christ is rich and multifaceted in its meaning. It stands for life, for truth, for purity, for understanding, for wisdom and for whatever is pure, holy, glorious, good and beneficial. In the supreme sense, light signifies the nature and character of God. All the attributes and qualities of light are encompassed in God, for God is light (1 Joh. 1:5). Thus God is Himself the reality and glory of the new heaven and the new earth.
It is the dawning of God’s light in the Day of the Lord in each of our experience that causes all the luminaries of the old heavens to pass away.
Today humanity has gathered for itself numerous luminaries that light its earth. These include the luminaries of politics and its political leaders, sports and its sports stars, popular culture and its musicians, actors and media personalities, academia and its professors and philosophers, religion and its religious teachers and others.
You will notice that people’s thoughts, beliefs, interests and conversations often revolve around what illuminates their earth. And each walks under the influence of those lights which dominate and govern their heaven.
Whatever the luminaries, all lights are summed up in scriptures as the sun, moon and stars. The sun (ruling powers in the system of the world), the moon (the lifeless routines, pseudo light of ceremonies, of laws, of rituals, of ordinances, or habitual practices) and the stars (individuals that have risen to prominence in the various spheres of influence) are the leading lights which rule the earth and to which multitudes look for inspiration and direction.
Today there is also an abundance of luminaries in the religious sphere. The church system with its hierarchy, its outward ordinances, its forms, its ceremonies and programs has instituted leading lights which have prominence among the saints. Ministers and worship leaders have become major personalities, celebrities, VIPs exalted in the heart of the saints occupying the rightful place of the Morning Star.
The destruction of Jerusalem by fire serves as a foreshadowing of the passing away of this system with all its luminaries. In 70AD the Roman army led by Titus lay siege to the city and burned it to the ground. They left Jerusalem and the temple in such ruins that historians claim that anyone who came to the city would not believe that it had ever been inhabited.
When the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the religious rule and the system of Jewish hierarchy was destroyed with it – the sun that illuminated that order was darkened. The religious practices of the temple ended. There was no more sacrifices, no more washings, no more incense, and no more re-filling of the candlesticks and the table of showbread. All religious practices and ceremonies ceased – the moon reflected its light no more. The priests, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees fell as stars from their high and exalted places in men’s hearts.
Such is the fate of the old order of religion and the system of the world as they go through the same fiery judgment of God. But before they are darkened out there, in the all-encompassing and collective sense, their authority and influence will first be darkened within His elect.
Praise God, for the trumpet is sounding! The voice of revelation is going forth and it is awakening a people who have begun to walk in the light of the Lord’s countenance.
Following up on the words of Jesus, John recounts the events of the darkening of these luminaries among the sons of God. As the forth trumpet is sounded, John sees that: “a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened” (Rev. 8:12).
This great event witnessed by John bespeaks the dealing of God among those called and chosen as elect of God in whom the passing away of the old heavens takes place first. Theses are the firstfruits in whom the work of God serves as a sign of the full and complete work to follow. Thus, later in the vision John witnesses the New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ cleansed of all that defiles her heavens: “the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light” (Rev. 21:23-24).
Every figure, system, organization, nation or ideology that has been elevated over men will surely be usurped by a superior Light. Such is the rule and dominion of Christ and the Kingdom of God over all other kingdoms (Dan. 2:44).
Our heavenly Father has given us a glorious Light in Christ, it is a new mind, a new understanding, a new heart, a new spirit, a new identity, a new nature. This glorious light that has risen in our heart is the Lord Himself who has come within us to bring forth a complete illumination of His glory in the light of truth, life and reality in the Spirit!
However, we are not only to walk in the light of the glory of the new heaven but we are to be the very conduits of this glorious light to those who dwell in darkness of the old heavens. This is the ministry of the sons of Light and sons of the Day.
It was said of Daniel: “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him” (Dan. 5:11). Who else but Christ could be this light, understanding and wisdom found in Daniel? Christ in us, the Sun of Righteousness, is even now arising within ushering the experience of the new heaven, darkening every order of man from having any rule or dominion over our lives. Amen!