Pt. 33 - The Sun, Moon and Stars

Friday, 13 January 2012 22:12
Revelation_Seal_6-2“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 late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling 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 every slave and every free man 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 stand?” (Revelation 6:12-17)

If you like biblical symbolism, it doesn’t get any thicker than this.  In fact, there is so much going on in this passage that we‘ll cover it in more than one post so that nothing is missed.  These events are far too important to gloss over because it’s quite possible that they are not that far off in our future.

When Jesus speaks forth the sixth seal judgment, nothing will ever be the same again, and that’s both good and bad depending on what you believe and who you believe in. This ketubah judgment represents a point of no return for mankind since God’s redemptive plan will now require the expulsion of Satan and his angels from heaven. This will begin the time of extraordinary terror on earth that Jesus warned of;

“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.”  (Luke 21:25-26)

When these “heavenly bodies” are shaken and purged from the heavens and thrown to the earth, men will indeed faint from terror, because these ’bodies’ are the fallen angels that will now roam the earth openly, as in the days of Noah.  But take heart, because Jesus continues His narrative by speaking of the redemption of his saints that will shortly follow;

"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.”  (Luke 21:27-28)

Visions are Symbolic

Everywhere we look in the Bible, the visions and dreams of the patriarchs, kings and prophets were loaded with symbolism that was often so bizarre that the visions themselves defied logic. They simply could not be interpreted literally, and instead, each had to be interpreted symbolically. This is why I find it disturbing that so many end times scholars insist on interpreting the Revelation literally at every turn. They are missing the point. The truth is just the opposite because the Revelation was given to Daniel in a vision, and all visions in the Bible had to be interpreted through the lens of biblical symbolism.

To make my point, let’s consider how the sun, moon and stars were interpreted in past visions and dreams in the Bible. Consider Joseph’s dream from chapter 37 of the book of Genesis, where Joseph described to his family how the sun, moon and 11 stars had bowed down to him;

Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (Genesis 37:9)

If we took this dream literally, we would have something that we simply could not understand, because these celestial bodies simply cannot bow down to a man. However, if we view this dream through symbolic lenses, then we could correctly discern that Joseph had dreamt about how his father, mother and 11 brothers would bow down to him in the future. And it is this precise interpretation that Joseph's own father arrived at;

When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” (Genesis 37:10)

Jacob clearly understood this dream to be symbolic, not literal. And from Joseph’s dreams to Pharaoh’s dream of seven fats cows and seven emaciated cows, to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a large statue, or to any of a number of other visions or dreams contained in the Bible, the one thing they all had in common was that they could NOT be interpreted literally. In each instance they had to be interpreted symbolically. So when we consider the vision in the book of Revelation, we simply cannot make this same mistake. Instead, we have to apply the symbolism that is already laid out in the Bible, and let the chips fall where they may.

A Great Earthquake

The prophetic earthquakes contained in the Bible have a symbolic component that must be understood for this vision to make sense.  A bit later in the Revelation we will read about two beasts “out of the sea” and “out of the land”, and these terms are used with the same type of symbolic elements in mind.

In the former example, “the sea” represents the portion of mankind that is always in motion and sometimes chaotic.  Additionally, the sea represents undrinkable briny water that stands in stark contrast to the ‘living water’ of the gospel message, which all can drink. In reality, this is a parable about the true word of God verses a caustic alternative.

In the latter instance, the term “the land” denotes the world society that is generally at rest, but occasionally in a state of upheaval, and this upheaval is symbolized by an earthquake.  So when the sixth seal describes a “great earthquake”, it is describing a great shaking or upheaval in the foundations of world society, which frankly we can see building even now.

EarthquakeBased on recent events around the world and in the Middle East in particular, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before the powder keg goes off. And that is precisely what will be happening at this point in the Revelation, because the supernatural will finally be exposed for all mankind to see. The great deception of the antichrist will now increase in intensity, causing a shaking of world society in a way that has not been seen since before the great flood. And as the Revelation progresses, we will see an increasing intensity in these earthquakes that signals an increasing disruption of society, exactly as the Bible prophesied for the last days.

With all of this in mind, the content of the sixth seal prophecy makes it fairly obvious that we are viewing yet another symbolic event that we should not interpret literally. Clearly, stars cannot fall to the earth because that would mean the end of the earth, and the moon cannot turn to blood if it is a literal moon, nor will the sun turn dark because that would mean no light, no heat, and subsequently a completely frozen earth. However, if we view this prophecy in symbolic terms, the sun, moon and stars are symbolic of the gospel, the law, and the angels in heaven. So let’s take these celestial bodies one at a time and see what we can make of this symbolism.

The Sun and the Gospel

Sun_2In biblical symbolism the sun often represents the word of God and faith, however it also serves as an indirect symbol of God. The analogy is simple enough to understand; in the physical world the sun is the source of all light and without it we would be in physical darkness, while in the spiritual world the word of God is the source of all light and without it we would be in spiritual darkness. With this in mind, we can see that when the sun turns black like sackcloth in this vision, it means that the gospel message of God will somehow become occluded. And I think I know how that will happen, based on a study of Islamic eschatology.

Muslims have long held that the books of Moses have been corrupted through the centuries by Jews and Christians in order to elevate their position over that of Islam. Accordingly, they believe that Muslims were the chosen people of God, not the Jews, and that all of the promises God made to the Jewish people were actually made to them instead. However, they choose to ignore the fact that today’s Hebrew texts are essentially letter-for-letter the same as the ancient texts found in the Dead Sea Scrolls…..by a Muslim no less. So instead of being corrupted, the Bible has been preserved over several millennia with uncanny accuracy. 

Despite this elephant in the room, one of the goals of Islam is to supplant the Jewish people in all walks of life, even to the point where Islamic eschatology calls for the Muslim messiah, called the ‘Mahdi’, to come on the scene with a NEW Torah in hand in order to set the record straight;

“Ad-Dani said that he is called the Mahdi because he will be guided to a mountain in Syria from which he will bring forth the volumes of the Torah with which to argue against the Jews and at his hands a group of them will become Muslim.”  (Izzat and Arif) 

From this we can see that Satan intends for the Mahdi to go to Syria in order to produce a counterfeit copy of the Torah, which he will use claim that the Judeo-Christian Bible is a counterfeit. This is all part of the great deception whose intent will be to separate men from God and from Jesus, and instead steer them towards the antichrist. In those days the true word of God will be purged from the lands of Islam and replaced by a false gospel, and that is why “the sun” of the gospel message will symbolically turn dark.

Sun_EclipseThe fact that this symbolic sun will turn black “like sackcloth” is a reference to how much this turn of events will grieve God as he watches this powerful delusion steer men away from God and his Christ. And the fact that this sackcloth will be made of “goat hair” is also significant, since this is a reference to the fallen angel ‘Azazel’ that became the symbol and the namesake of the ‘scapegoat’ tradition held on the Day of Atonement. For more background on that symbolism refer to the ‘Azazel’ post that is coming soon in the 'Current Events' section on this site. But for now, just know that the rise of this false gospel message will mean the destruction of the true gospel message in the Holy Land, as predicted by the prophet Amos;

“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.”  (Amos 8:11-12)

The Moon and The Law

MoonJust as the sun represents the Gospel and faith, the moon reflects the Law and works, and also has a physical vs. spiritual analogy. In the physical world the moon has no light of it’s own, and can only reflect the light of the sun, while in the spiritual world the Law also has no light of it’s own, and can only reflect the light of the Gospel. So when the whole moon turns “blood red” in the end times, it is symbolic of the death of the Law of Moses, again confirming that Judaism and the Law will be under full assault at that time. This death of the law was even prophesied in the book of Daniel with the following statement about the antichrist;

"He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time." (Daniel 7:25)

Moon_BloodThe “set times” that he will attempt to change are the set times of the Festivals of God along with all the Jewish feast and fast days. These will be terminated in favor of Islamic festivals and traditions, once again signaling the death of the Law, symbolized by the moon. He will also seek to change “the laws” found in the Torah in favor of Islamic Sharia Law.  And when he changes the festivals and enforces Sharia, even the righteous will be forced to live by “his faith“ in those days;

“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous will live by his faith….” (Habakkuk 2:3-4)

This echoes the book of Revelation, which states that the antichrist or ‘beast’ as he is sometimes called will literally be worshipped by all of mankind except for Christians that know their true God;

“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast - all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)

The Stars as Angels

The Bible often uses stars to symbolize angels, and that is what we have in view in the sixth seal. In chapter one of the Revelation we learned that the “seven stars” in God’s right hand were the seven angels of the seven churches (Revelation 1:20), and later in the Revelation we will find that even Jesus calls himself “the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16). But even before that during the creation of the world, the angelic “morning stars” sang together in praise of God; 

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7)

So the precedent for a certain class of angels to be portrayed as “stars” is quite clear.  And it’s interesting that morning stars are distinguished from other angels in this passage from Job, since this implies a hierarchy where the morning stars are higher in magnitude or ‘brighter’ than the rest of the angelic host. And one of these morning stars was Lucifer, who according to the prophet Isaiah will be cast down and ultimately sent to the pit;

Morning_Star"How you have fallen from heaven, O 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 heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit." (Isaiah 14:12-15)

This is a prophecy about what will happen in the end times when the devil and his angels are cast down from heaven, and that event is just ahead in the trumpet judgments. But right now many of his fellow “morning stars” are apparently being shaken and are already falling to the earth. And this brings up another interesting aspect of the term “morning star”, or more specifically “O Morning Star, son of the dawn” as it is used in Isaiah 14 above.

Islam_SymbolIn the Hebrew language this phrase is 'Heylel ben Shakhar', where ‘Heylel’ is interpreted as ‘Lucifer’ or ‘light-bearer’ or ‘Morning Star’, depending on which version of the Bible you have. Of course 'ben' means ’son of’ in Hebrew, while 'Shakhar' can be interpreted as ’morning’ or ’dawn’ or ’crescent’. It is often interpreted as ‘dawn’, however when we consider this name in light of Islamic eschatology, it’s clear that this name means “Morning Star, son of the Crescent”.  And in fact, this is precisely what is displayed on Islamic flags throughout the world, as shown in the adjacent illustration.

When we really begin to dig, we can take this observation even further by identifying who the son and father are, and it’s fairly clear in the Bible who those players will be.  But we’ll wait until the ‘fifth trumpet’ post for that explanation. For now it’s enough to identify that Satan has planned for his own ‘trinity’ by counterfeiting a ‘son’ and even a ‘spirit’.

The Lawless One

When we consider why it is that all mankind will worship this antichrist when he arrives, we only have to look at the miracles that he and his fallen angels will perform in those days. When these “stars in the sky” fall to earth they will perform the counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders described by the Apostle Paul; 

“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Miracles will speak loudly to those that do not know their God or what his word says about the end times. When these angels descend to the earth and begin to perform their signs and wonders, the powerful delusion spoken of by Christ will be in full swing and many will be deceived. And for those that believe this deception will not happen until the rapture of the church occurs, please refer to what Paul said in 2Thessalonians just before this passage about the "lawless one";

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2Thessalonians 2:1-4)

Here the Apostle Paul makes it quite clear that the gathering of God’s saints in the rapture will not take place until the antichrist is revealed. And it appears that God even gives us the method of his revealing, when he steps into the Temple to declare himself as God. So this anti-christ or instead of-christ will also be known as the lawless one or Torah-less one. And he will be without Torah because he will be spreading a false Torah in it's place.

NEXT WEEK:

Don't miss next week's post, because we’ll examine the unusual coming signs in the sun, moon and stars that may signal the soon return of Jesus for his saints.


comments  

 
0 #4 BrazenLaver 2013-10-10 08:37
BTW! Great Website. I agree with your analysis that the sun, moon and stars are symbolic and it is, but their is so much more my friend. You have even claimed it yourself by explaining that the earthquakes are literally! My friend they are both symbolic (Heavenly realm) and literally (physically). Look Up for our redemption draws near!
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+1 #3 Rachel 2012-01-18 10:10
Thank you so much. These in depth studies are a blessing.
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+1 #2 Mike 2012-01-16 13:07
Rachel, you won’t find ‘shakhar’ describing a crescent shape in most Hebrew dictionaries. Normally it describes 'the dawn' or 'morning', and it can alternately describe the 'morning star' or even 'venus'. But it's Hebrew root word also describes a number of related items, and the crescent or crescent moon, which is 'saharon' in Hebrew, is one of them. Judges 8:21 and Isaiah 3:18 both describe crescent-shaped ornaments, and here the word 'saharon' is used, or 'saharon-eem' in the plural.

In the same way, 'heylel' is literally interpreted 'light bearer' or 'shining one', and yet by extension we also get 'Lucifer' or 'morning star' even though those are not the most direct literal interpretations of heylel.

Some of these extensions go back to shared words and meanings in the Aramaic and Arabic languages, since both are related to Hebrew. It makes for some difficult study at times, and while Strongs is a great reference tool that I use frequently, it cannot possibly convey all of the potential meanings or implications of an individual word.

For what it’s worth, the dictionary I use is Webster’s New World Hebrew Dictionary, but I have found that it rarely gives all of the possible alternatives. Then again, I haven’t found a reference yet that is all-encompassing. This is why I tend to rely on those that are better versed in paleo-Hebrew. The ancient form of the language always provides the most insight into these meanings.
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0 #1 Rachel 2012-01-16 11:04
Thank you for posting these studies. They have truly been eye-opening. I have a question regarding the crescent. My Strong's concordance doesn't show 'Shakhar' as 'crescent', but I've heard of this before. Judges 8:21 refers to crescent ornaments in the ESV, but not in the KJV. It is not in the Strong's either. Is there a good Hebrew dictionary that you can recommend?
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