End times eclipse? Monday, August 21, 2017 and Matthew 24:29?


According to some, eclipses may be among some of the signs that are mentioned with reference to the end times. However, though they don't often make the news, eclipses are very common; there are a minimum of four eclipses per year and as many as seven. On average, approximately 240 solar eclipses and 380 lunar eclipses occur worldwide each century.

Since eclipses can be calculated down to the very minute of when they shall occur, it is very doubtful that Matthew 24:29 is a reference to just any ordinary eclipse; as no one knows the time of the coming of the Lord (Matt 24:36).

In the Old Testament, we observe an emphasis on astronomical imagery (Gen 1:14) over and over again, as referring to the judgment of specific nations (e.g. Babylon [Isa 13:10]; Edom [Isa 34:4]; Egypt [Ezek 32:7-8]; Israel [Amos 8:9]; Judah [Joel 2:10], et. al.). Since the sign in Matthew 24:29 occurred during "this generation" (Greek, he genea haute) - that is of the original audience (Matt 24:34; Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32; cf. Matt 23:36; Luke 11:50) - proper interpretation dictates that Jesus is using similar 'sun, moon, star' imagery to depict Jerusalem's fall in 70 A.D. (cf. Hag 2:6-9; Heb 12:25-29).

The Bible teaches that we should always be ready for Christ's return (2 Pet 3:11-12; cf. Matt 25:1-13). If we do this, there isn't any need to fixate on the timing of end-times events based upon other phenomenon (cf. Matt 24:23; Mark 13:21; Luke 17:23, etc.).

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).