Signs in the Sky

The Return of the King  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  51:15
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Last week we started a series called Return of the King. Jesus told us in the final chapter of Revelation that he is coming soon.
Let me go back over the highlights from last week real quick. We talked about 7 signs coming from the nation of Israel that signal that Jesus is preparing to return soon.
One of them was that in 1948, He brought the nation of Israel back together, in fulfillment of Ezekiel 37.
Another was that the nation would be born in a single day. Which it was, in fulfillment of Isaiah 66:8.
Since that day, Israel has been a “cup of staggering” to surrounding nations, in fulfillment of Zechariah 12:2.
In 1967, God gave Israel control of the Temple Mount, in fulfillment of Revelation 11:1.
And their capital city, Jerusalem, in fulfillment of Luke 21:24. According to Luke 21:24, Jerusalem would be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. And on June 7, 1967, the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled. If retaking Jerusalem wasn’t enough.
In 2018, the United States, followed by many other nations, recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of the Jewish homeland.
And we learned that, in order for the Temple to be cleansed, it requires the sacrifice of a Red Heifer. Israel had not seen a red heifer for over 2,000 years. But on August 28, 2018, not one, but two red heifers were born.
Jesus could return soon. However, we have a lot to learn before he does. For the next few weeks we are going to walk through the events of the final decade or so of planet earth. But before we do that I want to walk you through one more set of signs that tell us the end may be near.
If you have your Bibles with you today, go to Luke chapter 21. I want to begin reading at verse 24.
The disciples ask Jesus a question. They asked, “And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place? Verse 24 was his answer. He said...
Luke 21:24 NIV
24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Then he points them to the sky and says...
Luke 21:25 NIV
25 “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.
Psalm 19:1 NIV
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19 is saying that God is constantly communicating from the heavens. Look up on a cloudless night and you get a sense that there is a marvelous maker behind all we see. God is communicating in the sky all the time. And sometimes His communication is more specific and direct than others.
What Jesus is saying in Luke 21 is, “Towards the time of my return, I’m going to be sending you signals, using the sun, the moon, and the stars as My communication device.”
So, the question you might have is how?
When Jesus came the first time, God used the stars to forecast Jesus’ birth. Remember the wise men?
Here is the story of the Wise Men following the star. In September of the year that we know as 3 B.C., the planet Jupiter passed over the top of a star named “Regulus.” It then passed back over Regulus two more times over the next few months. This is what’s called a “crowning.” Jupiter crowned Regulus in the constellation of Leo.
So, here is some interesting information for you to follow with this. Jupiter is called “The King Planet.” Regulus is called “The King Star.” And Leo is called “The King Constellation.”
Between late 3 B.C. and mid 2 B.C., the King Planet crowned the King Star in the King Constellation. King, King, King.
The wise me of Persia were astronomers. They saw this happen and knew exactly what it meant. Before television, people did a lot more watching of the stars. It was their nightly entertainment. So, when these eastern astronomers saw a crowning of the King by the King in the King, they gathered up gifts and mounted their camels and followed the star on its westward migration, which led them to Israel.
As they followed this planet, Jupiter, the King Planet, it came so close to the planet Venus, that the two looked like they merged in the night sky. If Jupiter is called the King Planet, Venus is called the Mother Planet. This merger took place inside the constellation of Virgo. Virgo represents Virgin.
This conjunction of the biggest star in the sky and the brightest star in the sky not only signaled something was up between the mother and the king, but their combined light produced what appeared to be the brightest star in the sky during the wise men’s lifetime.
Do you see how the heaven’s can tell a story, or signal an event?
That’s what Jesus is talking about in Luke 21 when He says, “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars...”
So, we just read how God announced His son’s first coming through the stars, and He is announcing the second coming of His Son by forecasting it int he stars today.
How is this happening? Go to Matthew 24, which is a parallel passage to Luke 21, Jesus gets much more detailed about these heavenly events. That is what we are going to look at for the rest of this message today.
Matthew 24:29 NIV
29 “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.’
This verse describes 4 events that will occur. These events will foreshadow the end of days. One is, “The sun will be darkened.” That happens during a solar eclipse. A second is, “The moon will not shed its light.” That happens during a lunar eclipse. A third is, “Stars will fall from the sky.” That sounds like a meteor shower, or maybe a series of comets. And the fourth is “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” “The power of the heavens” are angels and demons, so this may be some sort of spiritual event that takes place.
We may not be able to understand everything illuminated in this verse, but let me tell you what we do know. And here’s where you want to start taking notes.
According to Jewish tradition, solar eclipses are signals about the Gentile nations, and lunar eclipses are signals about the Jewish nation.
Jesus says that after the distress of all the things He’s already talked about in Matthew 24—things like wars and rumors of wars, nations rising up against nations, false prophets appearing on the scene, a rise in lawlessness, and the love of many growing cold. He says “after these things have started to take place, you can expect to see a significant solar eclipse.” Maybe more than one.

Sign #1 - There will be Solar Eclipses

Remember, I am not a prophet, but I do read my Bible and I do read the news. If you can remember back a few years ago, on August 21, 2017, our nation spent an entire day tracking a total solar eclipse that crossed over the United States from one shore to the other, moving from the west to east. The last time there was a full continental eclipse over out nation was on June 8, 1918.
You have heard about what happened then. The Spanish Flu happened to hit our nation, causing a lot of sickness. That flu pandemic infected 20% of the world’s population. It resulted in 675,000 American deaths, and somewhere around 40 million deaths worldwide.
Before the 1918 solar eclipse, there was another solar eclipse that spanned our entire nation. That eclipse took place on November 30, 1776. You know what happened then? 17,000 Americans died during the Revolutionary War, and we were a much smaller nation then, so that’s a big number.
Here are a couple of interesting things about our most recent solar eclipse:
The eclipse hit landfall near Salem, Oregon at the same moment sunset occurred in Jerusalem, Israel. So the sun disappeared in America and Israel at the same time.
Five days after the eclipse, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Port Aransas, Texas. In the Basque language, Aransas means, “sitting on thorns.” The word, “Aransas” was named by a Basque shepherd who, in 1740 believed he saw the Virgin Mary “sitting on thorns” there. During Hurricane Harvey, the entire area was “sitting on the thorns of a disaster.”
Hurricane Harvey was projected to make landfall in Corpus Christi, Texas. Corpus Christi was spared from that hurricane though. “Corpus Christi” means, “the body of Christ.”
Some pastors in Texas believe that God was sending us a message: that as the world will be sitting on thorns during the end times period, the great storm of judgment will be diverted from the body of Christ, and we will be spared.
So, our first continental solar eclipse as a nation took place in 1776. The second in 1918. The third, just 4 years ago. Would you like to guess when the next solar eclipse will happen?
It is coming a little under four years from now - on April 8, 2024, which is the last day of the Jewish calendar, and exactly two weeks before the Jewish holy day of Passover - which is the time when Jews would be selecting their lambs for sacrifice, if they had a Temple to sacrifice them in.
The 2017 eclipsed traveled west to east. The 2024 eclipse will travel east to west. It’s crossing point with the 2017 eclipse will mark an “X” over the Untied States in a little village in southern Illinois, called “Makanda.” “Makanda’s nickname is “The Star of Egypt.” In the New Testament, it was the Star of Egypt that heralded the first coming of the Messiah.
All of this may be coincidence, but I believe God is trying to tell us something. Solar eclipses are signs about Gentiles. Lunar eclipses are signs about the Jews. Matthew says, “the sun will darken, and the moon will not shed its light.” So towards the end of time, there will be solar eclipses, and the second sign.

2. There will be Lunar Eclipses

Look at what God says through the prophet Joel in Joel 2:30-31
Joel 2:30–31 NIV
30 I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 31 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
The moon looks like it turns red during a solar eclipse, and for that reason, a total lunar eclipse is called a “blood moon.”
Four times over the last 500 years, there have been four blood moons that fell on four Jewish holidays over a two-year period of time. Four blood moons lining up like that is called a “tetrad.”
The first tetrad happened in 1492 and 1493 under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. We tend to think of 1492 as the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But lunar eclipses are signs for the Jewish nation, and for the Jews, 1492 has a different significance. 1492 was the year Ferdinand and Isabella kicked them out of Spain. From that time on, they had no place to call home. It was the beginning of the re-gathering of the Jews that eventually resulted in Israel being reborn as a nation in their own land.
The second tetrad happened in 1949 and 1950. We learned last week that Israel held their national independence day in May of 1948, but it took them another nine months to get a government up and running. So this second tetrad signaled the coming back together of the Jewish nation.
The third tetrad happened in 1967 and 1968. At Israel’s rebirth, she controlled only half of the city of Jerusalem. But during the Six Day War of 1967, it regained East Jerusalem, and for the first time since 70 A.D., Gentiles were no longer trampling the Holy City. The Jews controlled it themselves.
The most tetrad took place in 2014 and 2015. Many believe that this tetrad signaled the beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple, which hasn’t happened yet, but is being seriously prepared for by several groups in Israel.
Jesus’ third sign from the sky that we read about in Matthew is that, “the stars will fall from the sky.”
Not sure, but I believe He is saying meteors or comets.

3. There will be Meteors or Comets

Meteors are impacting us every day. A huge one exploded over Russia in 2013, setting off a blast that was 30 times more powerful than the Hiroshima Bomb.
And the fourth sign from the sky is that...

4. The Powers of the Heavens will be Shaken

Honestly, I don’t know what that one means, so it might be happening right now, it might be happening soon, or it might not happen for a long, long time.
Jesus continues His description of the end times in verse 30 by saying,
Matthew 24:30–31 NIV
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
So, there are three more signs to come.

5. The Son of Man will Come on Clouds of Heaven

6. There will be Angelic Trumpeting

7. He will Gather the Elect

From the four corners of the earth. The angels who accompany Jesus will be playing shofars. A shofar is a ram’s horn, not a brass trumpet.
Unlike a brass trumpet, a shofar is made our of bone, so it’s sound doesn’t carry far. This is why, on Rosh Hashanah, which is also known as, “The Feast of Trumpets,” 100 shofars are blown in relay-fashion, starting with four trumpeters, facing the four directions of the compass, on the four corners of the Temple. Their blasts will be relayed by blasts in the distance, passing forward the news that the New Year is here to the whole nation—or at Jesus’ return, to the whole world.
David could you please come forward and show them what a shofar looks like and could you blow it for them.
After giving these signs in Matthew 24, Jesus gives some application.
Matthew 24:32–47 NIV
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
Jesus’ seven signs in the sky are followed by seven warnings to us.

1. Those who are Looking Will See the Signs

So, keep watching for the signs. That is why I am doing this series, so that you know what the signs you are looking for.

2. Jesus will Return Within that Generation

“This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place.”
We don’t know how long a generation is. It might be 20, 40, or 80 years. And we don’t know if the countdown began in 1948, or 1967, or 2018, but I believe the countdown has begun.

3. He will Come on a Day No One Knows

Most scholars believe that “no one knows that day nor the hour,” in which Jesus will return, because that’s what He said here in verse 36. But Messianic believers have started to teach us that there is a holiday called “The day no one knows.”
All Jewish holidays are timed by the lunar calendar. Most holidays start a few days or weeks after the first of the month. But one holiday starts on the first day of the month. And since the first day of the month is determined by the new moon, the holiday can’t be declared until the new moon is sighted. So, in Jewish tradition, two witnesses are required to watch the last of the moon disappear on the last day of the year, and when these witnesses see what is called “The horns of the moon”—the last little slivers of the moon’s light, they report to the Chief Priest that the new moon is upon us. At that moment, he declares the holiday.
No one knows when the holiday will start until the Chief Priest declares. So, the Jews nickname for “Yom Teruah,” which means, “a day of blowing,” “the day no one knows.” Yom Teruah happens on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Warning #4 - Those Who are not Looking Will NOT be Ready

He says, they’ll be eating and drinking, just like people did in the days of Noah. Right up until it started raining. Those who aren’t looking for the return of Christ most likely don’t know Christ, so our job is to help them get ready by telling them about he good news of Christ.

5. We Should be Constantly Watching for Him

Some translations say, “be alert.” Others say, “Keep Watch.” This means that we are to keep watching all the time for signs that He is near.

6. He Told Us to be Ready

We are to be ready for Jesus’ return at any moment.
So, how do we make sure we are ready for Jesus’ return.
Matthew 24:46–47 NIV
46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
A servant who is ready is a servant who is doing his or her job. This means actively serving the Lord through prayer and service and sharing their faith.
Warning #7 is a description of the reward you’ll receive for being ready.

7. Those Doing Their Job When He Returns will Reap a Great Reward

He says that servants will be “put in charge of all the masters possessions.”
God is up to something in this world. He is building a community. And, it’s a community of people who are related to Him by faith, or one another in love, so that He can bless us, and through us bless the world.
The community is almost complete, but not quite. Our job is to be faithful lovers and sharers, and tithers to fund ministry and prayers to fuel ministry. That’s what it means to be ready when He comes.
Let me give you one last scripture today as we close. It is found in 1 Peter 4:7-11
1 Peter 4:7–11 NIV
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
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