Here in Part 2 of this paper we continue Section 2, which deals with Matthew 24:15, 21, 22, 29-31, starting with Matt. 24:29.
MATTHEW 24:29. "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." As I mentioned, I believe that most of the light coming from the sun and moon will be blocked out by the large amounts of smoke and dust generated during the very intense warfare of the short great tribulation. (Wars using nuclear weapons could be quite "short.") Notice that verse 29 says, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days [referring to the days of the short great tribulation spoken of in verses 21, 22; in the Greek the same noun for "tribulation" is used in verses 21 and 29]...."
As I mentioned, it is significant that the smoke and dust generated during the warfare of the short great tribulation will undoubtedly block out (most of) the light coming from the sun and moon. (Revelation 9:2 confirms that it is Biblical to speak of the sun being darkened by smoke.) I also mentioned that Joel 2:30, 31 are a very important cross-reference. Joel 2:30b refers to the warfare of the great tribulation with the words "blood, fire [and even mentions] and columns of smoke." (Smoke is also mentioned in Rev. 9:17, 18, verses that also speak of the warfare of the great tribulation.) Then Joel 2:31 says, "The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and awesome day of the LORD [Yahweh] comes." I believe Joel 2:31 speaks of the same darkening of the sun and moon as Matt. 24:29. What little light from the moon that is visible on the earth will apparently have an ominous red coloration, like blood. (On the moon becoming like blood, cf. Rev. 6:12.) Note that Joel 2:31 shows that the darkening of the sun and moon serve as a sign of the coming of the Lord to judge the world. ((For further discussion on Joel 2:30, 31, see pages 151-153 and 156-158 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." Also see Article #4 of my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture"; the article is available individually on this Christian article site.))
Another important cross-reference for this same darkening of the sun and moon is Rev. 6:12, with 6:12-17. Revelation 6:12 says, "...the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood." And the following verses show that these things will happen in conjunction with the coming of the day of judgment, which will officially begin when the Lord Jesus returns. ((On Rev. 6:12-17, see pages 23, 24, 153, and 301-303 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." See my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 and Article #4 of "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture." "Revelation Chapter 6" and "The Mid-Week Rapture #4" are available on this Christian article site.)) Quite a few other verses include darkness in conjunction with the day of the Lord (cf., e.g., Isa. 13:6-16; Joel 2:10, 11; 3:12-17; Amos 5:18-20; 8:7-10; Zeph. 1:14-18; and Acts 2:19, 20, which quote Joel 2:30, 31.)
I don't believe there is any possibility that Hagee's viewpoint that the four total lunar eclipses (the four blood moons) of 2014 and 2015 and the total solar eclipse of 2015 will fulfill (or even partially fulfill) the darkening of the sun and moon (or the moon's becoming like blood) pictured here in Matt. 24:29 (or in Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20; Rev. 6:12). As I mentioned, a big part of my motivation to write this paper was to disagree with Hagee's viewpoint regarding the fulfillment of the darkening of the sun and moon in these verses. Hagee didn't mention Rev. 6:12 in his book.
(I'll quote the last words of Matt. 24:29 again here) "And the STARS [my emphasis] will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." Satan's kingdom will be greatly shaken at that time, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. For one major thing, Rev. 12:4, 7-9 show that Satan and his angels will be cast down to the earth right in the middle of the seven-year period, and significantly, Satan's angels are called STARS in Revelation chapter 12. This helps us understand the meaning of these words here in Matthew 24:29 (and Rev. 6:13) about the STARS falling from the sky. Satan's angels will be cast down to the earth with him when he is cast down right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.
MATTHEW 24:30. "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky [[On "the sign [of Christ's coming]," see Matt. 24:3. Jesus warned us in verses 4, 5, 23-27, for example, that there will be false Christs, false prophets, and false signs and wonders, and that we must be very careful. The primary sign we need to be looking for is Christ's appearing in the sky with power and great glory. He will not come/appear some other way. The power and great glory of His appearing will apparently be all the more spectacular in contrast with the existing darkness.]], and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn [[They will mourn because judgment day has come. Cf. Rev. 1:7; 6:15-17; Matt. 16:27; and 2 Thess. 1:6-9. All is not negative, however, for all the people left on the earth after the rapture (as you would assume from verses like Matt. 24:37-41). Many will become Christians after the rapture, very much including the repentant, elect, end-time remnant of Israel. Beyond that, God will leave a multitude to enter the millennial kingdom (probably a billion people, or more) who are not part of (and never will be part of) God's true Israel; they are called "the nations" in Rev. 15:3, 4; 20:3. They can be called the remnant of the nations.
Although there will be some rebelling on the part of some of these people from the nations, or at least on the part of some of their offspring (especially see Rev. 20:7-10; cf. Isa. 65:20; Zech. 14:16-19); those who don't rebel will end up in God's eternal kingdom (see Revelation chapters 21, 22).]], and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory." For a start, see number 12 on page 16 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." (He will come with the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, and the rapture will take place at that time.) These words derive from Dan. 7:13, 14, which are discussed in some detail on pages 75-83 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." The adjective "great" could be taken with both "power" and "glory." Note Mark 13:26: "And then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory."
Some other verses that speak of Christ's coming with (great) power are Psalm 110:3; Luke 21:27; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:43; Phil. 3:20, 21; 2 Thess. 1:9 (here Paul mentions "the glory of His power"); 2 Pet. 1:16; Rev. 11:17; and 12:10. Some other verses that speak of His coming with (great) glory are Matt. 16:27; 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 21:27; and 2 Thess. 1:9.
MATTHEW 24:31. "And He will send forth His angels [[Some other verses that speak of Christ coming with the angels are Matt. 13:30, 39, 41, 49; 16:27; 25:31; Mark 8:38; 13:27; Luke 9:26; 1 Thess. 4:16 (This verse just mentions "the voice of the archangel"; cf. Jude 1:9; Rev. 12:7); 2 Thess. 1:7; Jude 1:14 (see the NIV); and Rev. 12:7.]] with A GREAT TRUMPET AND THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other." The first order of business for Christ, after He has returned and cast down the devil and his angels, will be the gathering to Himself in the sky (the rapture) those who have been waiting for, and loving, His appearing (cf., e.g., 1 Thess. 1:9, 10; 2 Tim. 4:8). Apparently the casting down of Satan and his angels and the rapture will be essentially simultaneous.
It is important to see that this is the same trumpet we see in 1 Cor. 15:52 (which speaks of the resurrection and glorification of the believers who will have died before the Lord Jesus returns, and the glorification of the believers who are still alive on the earth when He returns, at the sounding of the "LAST TRUMPET"); in 1 Thess. 4:16, 17 (which speaks of the return of Christ and the resurrection and rapture with the clouds at the sounding of the trumpet of God, and the voice of the archangel); and in Rev. 11:15 (which speaks of God/Christ beginning to reign [the reign includes the salvation of His elect and the judgment of His enemies] at the sounding of the seventh and LAST TRUMPET of the book of Revelation). ((See numbers 11-15 on pages 15-17 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." For a discussion on this resurrection (including the question regarding who will be resurrected at this time), see under Dan. 12:2 on pages 159-161 of my book. On 1 Cor. 15:50-52 see my paper on 1 Corinthians chapter 15 on this Christian article site. On 1 Thess. 4:16-18 see Article #9 of my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture"; on Rev. 11:15 see Article #17 of my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture"; those articles are available individually on this Christian article site. Revelation chapters 11-13 are discussed in some detail in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture."))
Second Thessalonians 2:1 is an important cross-reference, "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our GATHERING TOGETHER [my emphasis] to Him." The Greek noun ("episunagoge") translated "gathering together," which is only used twice in the New Testament, was derived from the verb used in Matt. 24:31 ("episunago"), which is translated "they will GATHER TOGETHER [my emphasis]." The Greek noun ("parousia") translated "coming" in 2 Thess. 2:1 is also used in Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, and 39 (and in quite a few other verses of the New Testament). Those who hold the pre-week rapture viewpoint typically agree that 2 Thessalonians 2:1 includes the rapture, but they deny that Matt. 24:31 includes the rapture. As I mentioned, I am quite sure that Matt. 24:31 includes the rapture too. ((Second Thessalonians 2:1-12 are discussed in the last chapter of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." These verses are extremely important on the end times. Second Thessalonians 2:1-5 are discussed in Article #3 of my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture" and 2 Thess. 2:9-12 in Article #13.))
The last words of Matt. 24:31, "from the four winds [which is like saying "from the north, south, east, and west"], from one end of the sky to the other [that is, from every place on the earth under the sky]" mean worldwide. See Mark 13:27.
Gathering the Repentant Elect End-Time Remnant of Israel. In the verses that speak of the end-time gathering (saving) of the people of Israel, the remnant of the nation Israel are spoken of, but it seems clear that many Gentiles will also be converted to Christ after the rapture and become part of God's born-again family, even as we Gentiles who become Christians in the days before the rapture are grafted into God's true Israel (cf. Rom. 11:17-24). ((See under "Further discussion to help show that the Christian church is part of God's true Israel and part of the seed [offspring] of God's true Israel" on pages 315, 316 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," and see under Rev. 12:17b on pages 323, 324.))
I believe the great trumpet of Isa. 27:12, 13 is also in view here in Matt. 24:31. God will begin to gather (save) the repentant, elect, end-time remnant of the nation Israel on the earth at the time of Christ's mid-week return, but they will not become Christians until after the rapture. ((See number 14 on page 17 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture"; see on Mic. 5:3-6 (pages 251-254); on Zech. 9:11-10:12 [The trumpet of Zech. 9:14 probably refers to this same mid-week trumpet pictured in Matt. 24:31] (pages 196-202); on Zech. 12:1-14:5 (pages 221-231); on Rev. 11:13 (pages 288, 289); on Rev. 11:19 (page 304); on Rev. 12:6 (page 317); and on Rev. 12:12-17 (pages 321-324). The discussion of Rev. 7:1-8 (pages 176-179) is also quite relevant, and many other verses also deal with the end-time salvation and gathering of the end-time remnant of Israel, including Deut. 30:1-10, espec. verse 4; Isa. 11:11-16; Jer. 23:1-8; 30:1-11, 18-22; 31:1-40; 32:36-44; 33:1-26; Ezek. 20:33-44; 34:1-31; 36:1-38; 37:1-28; Hos. 2:14-23; Joel 2:32-3:21 (Joel 2:32-3:2 are discussed on pages 156-158 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture."); Mic. 2:12, 13; 7:14-20; and Rom. 9:27-29; 11:25-32. Many of these passages are also discussed in my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture" that is available on this Christian article site. (The passages that are discussed in that paper are listed at the beginning of that paper on my internet site.) Also see the papers that discuss selected eschatological passages on the books of Psalms, Isaiah, and Jeremiah on my internet site.))
Christ will also ultimately gather the nations into God's eternal kingdom, as discussed briefly above under the mourning of Matt. 24:30 (cf., e.g., Rev. 21:1-22:3). They are part of God's elect; as Rev. 21:27 shows, their names are in the Lamb's book of life (they are saved through His atoning death), but apparently they will always be distinct from God's true Israel. For one thing, true Israel will be reigning.
3. JOEL 2:30-32.
JOEL 2:30. "I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire, and columns of smoke." The "blood, fire, and columns of smoke" go with warfare, which is (I believe) the warfare of the short great tribulation (of Matt. 24:21, 22), which will come to pass just before the Lord Jesus returns and the day of the LORD [Yahweh] begins. (On the name "Yahweh," see under Joel 2:32 below.) Significantly, Joel 2:31 goes on to mention the coming of the day of the LORD [Yahweh]. The day of the LORD [Yahweh] will officially begin when the Father sends His Son back to the earth to save and to judge.
JOEL 2:31. "The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD [Yahweh] comes." This speaks of the same darkening of the sun and moon (or the moon becoming like blood) that is spoken of in Matt. 24:29 (and other verses). As we have discussed, the smoke and dust generated during the intense warfare of the short great tribulation will block out most of the light coming from the sun and the moon. Remember that Matt. 24:29 speaks of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (referring to the days of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22) and just before the Lord returns, as pictured in Matt. 24:30, 31.
It is significant that Joel 2:30 mentions "columns of smoke" and Rev. 9:17, 18 (in verses that speak of the warfare of the sixth trumpet, which is the same as the warfare of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22) specifically mention "smoke." Technically the sun itself won't be darkened, but most of the light coming from the sun will be blocked out before it reaches the surface of the earth. Revelation 9:2 demonstrates that it is biblical to speak of the sun (and air) being darkened by smoke.
Joel 2:31 says the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. When the Lord Jesus returns and the day of the Lord begins, it will be dark. Many verses speak of the day of the Lord as a day of darkness. We should briefly discuss one minor detail. Matthew 24:29 speaks of the moon not giving its light, but Joel 2:31 speaks of the moon being turned into blood. I believe it is rather clear that Matthew 24 and Joel 2 are speaking of the same event. (This is a widely accepted viewpoint, including John Hagee.) What little light that is visible coming from the moon will apparently have an ominous red coloration, the color of blood. Revelation 6:12, which is speaking of the same event, says the "whole moon became like blood."
JOEL 2:32. "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD [[Let's stop for a minute to discuss the word LORD. The Hebrew has "Yahweh," which is a very important name for God that is used over 6,500 times in the Old Testament. The NASB shows that the Hebrew noun behind the word LORD here is Yahweh by using four capital letters for the word LORD. Many other translations follow this same procedure, including the KJV, NKJV, and the NIV. See my paper "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son" on the meaning of the glorious name Yahweh that God picked for Himself.]] Will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape [[This is one of many places where we read of the escape of the repentant, elect, end-time remnant of Israel. They will escape being blown away during the great shaking that will take place during the days of the short great tribulation. They will be here to receive the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to Jerusalem in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, not long after the rapture. They will be living on the earth when Antichrist is reigning throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week, and there will be many martyrs (cf., e.g., Dan. 7:21, 25; 12:7; Rev. 13:5, 7), but it will all work out for the glory of God and for their good.]], As the LORD [Yahweh] has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD [Yahweh] calls." The survivors are the repentant, elect, end-time remnant of Israel.
4. REVELATION 6:12, 13. We are given a brief look at the arrival of judgment day when the Lord Jesus breaks the sixth seal on the super-important scroll of Revelation chapter 5 in Rev. 6:12. The scroll cannot be opened until the seventh and last seal has been removed at Rev. 8:1. See my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site. See Revelation chapter 6, part 2 on this Christian article site.
I'll quote part of what William Hendriksen said under Rev. 6:12-17 ("More than Conquerors" [Baker, 1982], pages 107, 108). "The sixth seal...introduces the judgment day. It describes the one great catastrophe at the end of this age. [[This "one great catastrophe" won't be finished in the fullest sense until after the millennium and the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennium. Hendriksen, now deceased, held the amillennial (no millennium) viewpoint.]] The dread and terror, the awe and consternation of that day is pictured under the twofold symbolism of a crashing universe and a thoroughly frightened human race. The terror of that day refers, of course, only to the wicked. ...
What we have here is a symbolic picture of the terror of judgment day. The symbol, taken as a whole, teaches just one lesson, namely, that the final and complete effusion of God's wrath upon a world that has [rejected God the Father and His Son and] persecuted the Church will be terrible indeed. ... ...we do not deny, of course, that there will be a most thorough-going dislocation of the heavenly bodies and a rejuvenation of the universe, in connection with the end of this present age. Scripture clearly teaches this (2 Pet. 3:10, 12, etc.). Neither do we at all deny that also our present passage refers to this fact (cf. Matt. 24:39 [24:29]). But the main point of our passage is this: it stresses the terror of the day of wrath for the wicked. The dissolving elements, earthquake, falling stars, etc., add terror to the picture."
(I'll begin to quote Rev. 6:12) "I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake [[I believe it would be better to translate "a great shaking." This great shaking probably includes the intense shaking of the short great tribulation, which will come to pass under the sixth trumpet, that will darken the sun and the moon, and it undoubtedly includes the shaking pictured in Rev. 6:13, 14. It apparently also includes all the shaking that will take place throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week as God shakes the world in judgment. On the shaking of judgment day, cf., e.g., Isa. 2:19, 21; 13:13; 24:19, 20 [Isaiah chapter 2; 13:6-13; and chapter 24 are discussed in a verse-by-verse manner, along with many other passages, in my eschatological paper on Isaiah on my internet site.]; Hag. 2:6, 7, 21; and Heb. 12:26-29. On this great shaking, also see under Rev. 16:18-20 in my paper that deals with Rev. 14:6-19:21 on my internet site. See parts 3 and 4 of that paper on this Christian article site on those verses.]]; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood [[See Joel 2:30-32; Acts 2:20-22; and Matt. 24:29-31. As we have discussed, the large amounts of smoke and dust generated by the very intense warfare (probably nuclear) of the short great tribulation will apparently block out most of the light coming from the sun and moon. We see this warfare in Joel 2:30; Matt. 24:21, 22; and Rev. 9:13-21 (and other places).]]; (13) and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. [[The stars here apparently refer first, and foremost, to the angels of Satan, who will be cast down to the earth with their leader (from their present privileged position in heavenly places) right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week. See Rev. 12:4, 7-9. The third of the angels who follow Satan are cast down to the earth right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week; those angels are called "stars" in Rev. 12:4. This is a major feature in God's end-time judgment of the world. ((See pages 15, 313, 317-319 of "The Mid-Week Rapture" on these verses; they are discussed in less detail in Article #4 of my "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture" on my internet site; the article is available individually on this Christian article site.))
Matthew 24:29 is another important cross-reference for the stars falling at the time of Christ's return with the clouds of heaven, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet, right in the middle of the seven-year period. I'll quote the second half of Matt. 24:29: "and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken." Satan's kingdom will obviously be greatly shaken at the time he and his angels are overpowered and cast down to the earth. (Matthew 24:29 is discussed above in this paper.) Also see Isa. 34:4. I should point out that the "host of heaven" in Isa. 34:4 refers to the stars.
We should probably also think of literal falling stars here in Rev. 6:13; Matt. 24:29; etc. This present natural/physical world must ultimately pass away/vanish to be replaced by God's new heaven and new earth (cf., e.g., Matt. 24:35; Rev. 20:11; 21:1).
We will go on to Section 5 of this paper in Part 3, "Some Technical Details Regarding the Four Blood Moons in 2014 and 2015 and the Total Solar Eclipse in 2015."