What are the much talked of signs in the sun, moon and stars preceding the return of Jesus? There’s a danger in taking symbols with a deeper meaning and only applying a literal application.
In the Bible the heavens are a symbol of government.
The ‘heavens darkened’ means the governments of men lose their light – they rule badly. When they are thrown down they lose their power to rule.
When they are rolled up like a scroll they are replaced by God’s rule.
When ‘lucifer’ (meaning bright star) fell from heaven King Nebuchadnezzar lost his power.
Is 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God;… “I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord Almighty.“I will wipe out Babylon’s name and survivors”
Some have applied this passage to a supernatural satan rather than understanding it’s real meaning – the King of Babylon falling from power.
Some try to fit eclipses of the moon with the signs of Jesus return, yet ignore eclipses of the sun and falling stars in the same context. The deeper meaning of these events is chaos in the ruling powers of the nations centred in the Middle East.
In Joel, the context of the sun turned to darkness and the moon to blood is in the ‘day of the Lord’.
A better translation of the timing of the sun and moon being turned to blood is “in the face of” the day of the Lord.
Joel 2:1-2 The day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand— a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come. …verse 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before in the face of the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
So the time these things happen is when God’s army is seen across the mountains. The sun moon and stars are symbols for both literal Israel and also the church who replaces Israel as the light to the world – thus in Rev. 12 you have the woman clothed with all the lights of heaven. When the lights of heaven become dark in Joel it is because political Israel are going to meet their doom, and it is caused by an invasion – not a blue moon or eclipse.
Before them the earth shakes, (God’s army)
the heavens tremble,
the sun and moon are darkened, (because of God’s army)
and the stars no longer shine.
The Lord thunders (at the head of his army). Joel 2:10
Revelation 6 links the time of the great earthquake with the sun moon and stars losing their light. The great earthquake refers to the time spoken of by Zechariah when Jesus returns to the Mt of Olives and it splits in two. It is the day that Jesus becomes King over all the earth and the earthly rulers of Israel lose their power (sun and moon darkened stars fall from heaven). On this day there appears to be a literal earthquake and prolonged light – it is a day known to the Lord. It’s helpful to compare Revelation 6 with Isaiah 14 and also the symbolic language of Isaiah 51 –
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south… Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.…
The Lord will be king over the whole earth.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.
These events are talking about God’s judgments on the Kingdoms of men: see ‘Revelation – A Message for the Last Days’ https://alsowritten.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/revelation-a-message-for-the-last-days/
The light of the Kingdoms of Men will be replaced by the light of Jesus when He comes to rule in Jerusalem. Unfortunately even when God puts Jesus on His holy hill (in Jerusalem) the nations will not immediately recognise Him and will attack Him.
Psalm 2 talks of this time:
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
God laughs at the Kingdoms of Men who think they can defy the Son of God. The Kingdoms of Men are coming to an end. The signs are in the sun moon and stars as the rulers of countries are losing their ability to rule wisely and justly or to rule at all. God warns the rulers of this planet to serve Him, because the time of His judgment is coming fast and Jesus will be installed on Zion as King of the world.
For a fuller Explanation watch youtube REVELATION A Message to Israel