Unwrapping The Earth: Matthew 24:26-35

Focus Passage: Matthew 24:26-35 (NIV)

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

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.’

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.

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.

Read Matthew 24:26-35 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Sometimes when reading passages in the Bible, my imagination takes over, wondering what the scene or event that is being described will be like. Often times, I imagine myself living at the time of this event, but in today’s passage, Jesus describes an event that has not taken place yet – at least in the way that He seems to describe it.

Four things will happen immediately after the distress of those days (days that included the persecution of God’s church):

  1. The sun will be darkened.

  2. The moon will stop shining.

  3. The stars will fall from the sky.

  4. The heavenly bodies will be shaken.

Then to conclude this traumatic, earth-shattering event, Jesus appears in the clouds, and angels gather all of His people together to be with Him.

Some scholars point to some specific days in history when the sun stopped shining, when the moon was covered up, and spectacular nights filled with falling stars. They say these events may be fulfillments of what Jesus is describing here.

However, in my probably overactive imagination, I see a different event described here. I see the setup for the climactic conclusion of earth’s history.

Currently, the earth is a round sphere floating in space. Jesus tells us that when He returns, every eye will see the event, but unless you use a series of mirrors, you cannot see all parts of a sphere, and from the sphere itself, there is not ever one stationary point in space that is visible to everyone at a single point in time. To explain it another way, if we imagine the sun as our stationary point in space, it is not visible to the half the earth that is experiencing night at this point in time, while it is visible to the half of the earth that is experiencing daylight.

So when Jesus returns, for every eye to literally and physically see Him come back, the earth’s round structure may have to change. God might have to set the stage by “unwrapping” and flattening out the surface of the world. If this is the case, what would it be like from our perspective?

  1. The sun would be darkened – if the earth unwraps with everyone facing in a direction opposite to where the sun is;

  2. The moon would stop shining – if it no longer has access to the sunlight to reflect off of (or if it too is behind the direction the flat earth is facing);

  3. Stars would fall from the sky – when we see a “shooting star”, it is a rock, or some object in space, breaking through the outer layers of our earth’s atmosphere and burning up. If the earth itself breaks apart and flattens out, I’m sure there would be hundreds, if not thousands of objects that would collide with our atmosphere and be burned up –> which would appear like shooting stars.

  4. The heavenly bodies would be shaken – not only would there be lots of burning up debris from the earth’s structure changing, every star in the sky would move and appear to change position. However, in this case perspective matters because while it looks like they are moving, we are the ones who really are moving.

In my imagination, Jesus is describing how God will set the stage for His return by unwrapping the outer layer of the earth. A “flat” earth would allow God/Jesus to return so that every eye could see Him.

So why would Jesus tell us this? In my mind, it’s for one clear reason: Jesus wants us to know that when this event happens and when the stage is set for His return, we don’t have to be afraid. When the world feels like it is breaking apart, God is still in control – and the future of all His people is safely in His hands.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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