What does Matthew 24:29 mean?
ESV: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
NIV: "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.’
NASB: But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
CSB: "Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
NLT: Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
KJV: 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:
NKJV: “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.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has been telling the disciples that He does not want His followers to be deceived about His return to earth. False prophets and false messiahs will claim that Jesus is back, possibly out of view somewhere. Jesus has said flatly that those claims will not even be worth investigating. No one on earth will have to wonder whether Christ has come back. It will be obvious that He has returned (Matthew 24:23–28).

To demonstrate what He means, Jesus describes just how obvious it will be. These are the signs of the end of the age and Christ's return that the disciples had asked for earlier (Matthew 24:3).

Jesus sets this moment immediately after the epic struggles of "those days." This is more evidence that Jesus cannot be describing the days of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. Instead, He is pointing further forward to another period of "tribulation," a term referring to suffering and trials. That future period will be marked by dramatic and catastrophic signs in the sky. The sun will be darkened. The moon will offer no light. The "powers" of the heavens will be shaken, perhaps meaning the planets or other objects in the night sky.

Christ refers to "stars" falling, a point which raises confusion for modern audiences. It's important to remember that terms such as "star" have been given modernized definitions which did not exist in the ancient world. As a parallel, the word "bird" is used today to imply biological features such as feathers and eggs. "Fish" likewise implies scales and "cold blood." The ancient equivalents of those terms, however, did not carry those exact details. An ancient person could rightly call a bat a "bird," or a whale a "fish," simply because the definition of those terms, in that era, included those animals.

In very much the same way, Jesus is not saying that "enormous spheres of gas" will come to earth. He's referring to something we see in the night sky—just as even a modern person might speak of a "falling star" when they see certain events in the atmosphere.

Some Bible scholars say these signs should be read literally, as events that will actually take place in the sky in real time. One suggestion is that the atmosphere will be congested in some way, reducing the available light from the sun, moon, stars, and planets. Other Bible teachers speculate that these words from Jesus could be metaphors to describe massive geo-political events. Others try to combine these two possibilities to cover both viewable events in the sky and political events on the ground. Whatever happens, it will not be subtle.
Verse Context:
Matthew 24:29–31 describes the actual events of Christ's return to earth, also known as the second coming. It begins with events in the heavens, including the light of the sun being darkened and the light of the moon being lost. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear. It will be seen by all the nations of the earth, and they will mourn to see the Christ coming on the clouds of heaven with power and glory. When He arrives, He will send His angels to the four corners of the earth to gather His elect.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus makes a dire prediction about the destruction of the temple. Immediately after this, while seated on the Mount of Olives, Jesus responds to a question from the disciples. They ask when judgment will come and what signs will signal His return. Christ describes a season of unimaginable world turmoil and persecution. He points to a specific moment of defilement of the temple, at which point people should run for their lives. Jesus speaks of world-threatening tribulation which will be cut short right before He returns as King and Judge. Since nobody can possibly know when He will return, His followers must live in readiness.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has just left the temple area, after delivering a blistering criticism of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23). After predicting that the temple would be destroyed, He answers their questions about the end times. He speaks of a period when He will be gone from earth and they will be persecuted and killed. The world will be in turmoil, but the gospel will be preached everywhere. Nobody knows exactly when Jesus' return will be completed, so his followers should constantly be prepared. Jesus continues to teach on these themes in the next chapter.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 7/20/2024 6:52:45 AM
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