In this series, we have been looking at the prophecies given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives. We have looked at the reason for all the natural disasters, diseases, and tension between the nations. We have seen how one by one, the prophecies given by Christ are being fulfilled. In the last issue, we looked specifically at the great earthquake prophesied by John in Revelation 6:12.
In this issue, we will deal with the rest of the prophecy given in that passage and see its connection to the same signs given by Christ. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, I encourage you to click on the prophecies tab and check out the previous articles on this subject.
The apostle Matthew records, “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 heavens shall be shaken.” Matthew 24:29. When viewing these same signs, the prophet Joel wrote, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.” Joel 2:31. And the beloved John saw in vision, “and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” Revelation 6:12,13.
First, we will deal with the sign that the sun and moon would be darkened. Has such an event already taken place? There is such an event that can fit this description, and it is known in history as “The Dark Day.”
The United States of America had just a few years prior gained their independence, and the country was beginning to flourish. As exploration of the west had not yet taken place, the majority of the population was concentrated on the east coast. To most, life seemed full of opportunity. On May 19, 1780, fear seized thousands as an oppressive darkness descended on the New England States and parts of Canada.
As many residents arose, it seemed to be just another gloomy day, but soon dark clouds rolled in, and by noon the darkness was at its peak. The sun had been darkened and would not be seen until the next day. That night the moon would also not give its light until about midnight when it was seen shining in its brilliance.
Professor Samuel Williams of Harvard College recorded many details on this event. While at Cambridge, the darkness rolled in, and thanks to his insights, we can take a more in-depth look into the magnitude and severity of this great darkness. On the depth and extent, he wrote, “In most parts of the country it was so great, that people were unable to read common print – determine the time of day by their clocks or watches – dine – or manage their domestic business, without the light of candles.” 1 In respect to the effect it had on the animals, he wrote, “the birds having sung their evening songs, disappeared, and became silent; – the fowls retired to roost; – the cocks were crowing all around, as at the break of day.” 2
The intensity of the darkness itself is worthy of notice, but the effect it had on the population was also significant. A large portion of the New England States were Protestant Christians, and many saw this as a sign that the day of judgment was at hand. In Connecticut, the legislature was in session as the darkness descended. Abraham Davenport was among those present, and his bravery is preserved to this day in a poem.
“This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord’s command
To occupy till He come. So at the post
Where He hast set me in His providence,
I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do His work, we will see to ours
Bring in the candles.” 3
Although the day of judgment did not come in 1780, another sign given by our Lord had been fulfilled.
Now we will take a look at the signs in the stars. As we saw earlier, John declared, “the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” Revelation 6:12,13. One event that perfectly fits this description was the falling stars of 1833.
Mr. Alexander C. Twining described this event as “a constant succession of fire balls, resembling sky rockets, radiating in all directions from a point in the heavens.” 4 Another described that “Their appearance was so incessant during some part of the phenomenon, that all the stars of the firmament, seemed to be darting from their places. Many persons thought a shower of fire was falling, and became exceedingly alarmed. The light was so intense, that apartments, where persons were sleeping, were strongly illuminated, and some were aroused under the apprehensions that their dwellings were in flames.” 5
What an incredible spectacle was seen that night. Although an accurate number could not be taken, it is estimated that over 200,000 stars were seen falling that night. 6 The bible could not have better described this spectacular event.
As seen earlier, these signs were to take place immediately after the tribulation spoken of in Matthew 24:21,22. In the next part of this series, we will take a further look into this time of tribulation. We will then see how perfectly these two events were timed. Both of these events had the effect that God designed for them to have. They were widely seen as signs of the near return of Jesus Christ. Many were amazed, while others feared that the day of judgment had come. Today we may look at these waymarks and see that very little time remains until we can go home with our Lord.
Written By Cory Lamming
- “An Account of a Very Uncommon Darkness, in the State of New England, May 19, 1780” Page 234, 235
- “An Account of a Very Uncommon Darkness, in the State of New England, May 19, 1780” Page 235
- The Poem “Abraham Davenport” by John Greenleaf Whittier
- The American Journal of Science and Arts, Volume 25(1833-1834), pg 365
- The American Journal of Science and Arts, Volume 25(1833-1834), pg 371,372
- The American Journal of Science and Arts, Volume 25(1833-1834), pg 389