THERE SHALL BE SIGNS IN THE SUN

Pastor K. Kirkland, Valdez Apostolic Church, Valdez, Alaska 

Nov. 5, 2003

Inhabitants of earth should be paying attention to signs in the heavens. They are very prominent in endtime bible prophecy. We are going to explore in this article the strong possibility that even now things are going on in the heavens, in particular the sun, that are harbingers of things to come. Jesus said, "And there shall be signs in the sun... Luke 21:25


 

COSMIC CALAMITIES ON THE DAY OF THE LORD

The Old Testament prophets spoke often about the "day of the Lord." Please note the role cosmic calamities play in it: 

Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. Isa. 13:9-11

And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. Joel 2;30, 31.

The book of Revelation describes it also:

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal...and the sun became as black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood...For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Rev. 6:12, 17

The prophet Isaiah said the name of the Lord is coming on that day (Jesus is the one who is coming. His name is God's name), at which time the sun's light will be seven fold brighter. Since the moon reflects the light of the sun, it too will be proportionately brighter:

Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days... Behold the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire. Isa. 30:27, 28

COSMIC SIGNS DURING THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Not only the day of the Lord, but scripture indicates cosmic, or astronomical, calamities will already be affecting the earth PRIOR to the day of the Lord. Jesus said there will be fearful signs in the heavens, signs that will be increasing in intensity, culminating in a crescendo at the second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the tribulation. Great changes going on in the heavens will produce great changes on earth, terrifying tidal waves, "the sea and the waves roaring." One can just imagine the perplexity of scientists, and world leaders, trying to figure out what to do with this. Our world has come to believe that science and technology can handle just about anything, well, get ready science and technology, you've got perplexing challenges ahead! "Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity:"

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with  perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after the things coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Luke 21:25-27.

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 the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matt. 24:29, 30.

The book of Revelation confirms this, it tells us that the sun will be affecting the earth even before the day of the Lord. During the plagues of the great tribulation some will blaspheme God because of it. Refusing to admit it is the hand of God, and the fulfilling of bible prophecy, they will not repent:

And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which had power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. Rev. 16:8, 9

While others will repent. They too will be in the great tribulation and feel the effects of the sun's increased heat. Revelation depicts them in a post-tribulation setting, gathered before the throne of God, having suffered from hunger, thirst, and the sun:

...these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Rev. 7:14-17.

The increased light and heat from the sun is seven fold by the time the day of the Lord gets here. However, as we have seen from these passages, people will have suffered from the effects of the sun even before the day of the Lord. 

THE SUN IN A FRENZY?

How far away are we from these days? According to Zephaniah, it may be nearer than we think. God HASTENS  the day of the Lord along. And since the tribulation precedes it, the tribulation also:

The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly... Zeph. 1:14

How near? Please take notice of the following newsclips from the late October - early November period of 2003:

"Another spectacular eruption on the surface of the Sun."

"It's headed straight for us like a freight train," said John Kohl, a solar astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass."

"Scientists observed the biggest such explosion in 30 years shortly before 6 a.m. EST Tuesday. It produced a particle cloud 13 times larger than Earth."

"The resulting geomagnetic storm could be ranked among the most powerful of its kind and last for 24 hours.
one scientist called it 'the strongest flare we've seen in the past 30 years.' A gigantic solar flare exploded from a sunspot on the sun's surface yesterday at 5:54 a.m. EST, blasting energy and matter into space and sending billions of tons of hot gas and charged particles straight toward Earth at almost 5 million mph."

"The sun is hitting Earth with a one-two punch. One geomagnetic storm struck the planet yesterday, and another one is hard on its heels and arriving this afternoon both of these solar 'burps' were aimed at Earth."

"As the sun continues to storm, a spectacular new flare erupted Tuesday. NOAA space weather forecasters categorized the flare, which occurred at 6:10 a.m. EST, as an X-17 with a full Coronal Mass Ejection or CME. The region producing this flare is 13 times larger than Earth."

"Commenting on the solar events of the past few days John Kohl of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the US, said: 'It's like the Earth is looking right down the barrel of a giant gun pointed at us by the Sun...and it's taken two big shots at us.'" "The Sun is really churned up. The timing of two very large X-class flares aimed directly at the Earth, occurring one right after another, is unprecedented." "I have not seen anything like it in my entire career as a solar physicist. The probability of this happening is so low that it is a statistical anomaly."

The Sun cut loose with three severe flares in less than 24 hours through Monday morning, bringing to nine the number of major eruptions in less than two weeks.

Scientists have never witnessed a string of activity like this.

"I think the last week will go into the history books as one of the most dramatic periods of solar activity we have seen in modern time," Brekke, deputy project manager of the SOHO spacecraft, told SPACE.com.

No scientist can recall nine X-class flares ever occurring in a 12-day period.

11/5/03 Sun produces monster solar flare... The Sun has unleashed its largest recorded solar flare, capping 10 days of unprecedented activity.

Powerful solar flares are given an "X" designation. Last week there were X7 and X10 events that took place back-to-back. Tuesday's flare went off the scale; researchers say it was "well above X20". A precise description is difficult because some monitoring satellites were briefly blinded by the scale of the event.

Even so, experts say the Tuesday event must have been the most powerful ever recorded, surpassing the X20 flares of 2 April 2001 and 16 August 1989.

Yet, thanks to the vast 93 million mile distance between us and the sun, the only effect to earth was a sharp increase in  electro-magnetic disturbances. Moreover, scientists tell us this is only periodic solar storm activity, coming later than it is supposed to in its eleven year cycle. No doubt, we will be hearing similar scientific explanations for solar phenomena  during the tribulation. 

But scientists are not unanimous in their explanation of why all this is happening. Others would take issue with the explanation above. Here is what they say about it:

Wed Oct 29 2003 10:05:09 ET
SUN IN FRENZY SINCE 1940

"German scientists who have created a 1,000-year-record of sunspots said Wednesday they discovered the Sun has been in a frenzy since 1940 and this may be a factor in global warming...
The research, based on the quantities of the isotope beryllium 10 found in ice bores from Greenland and the Antarctic, challenges the belief that carbon dioxide from cars and coal fires and other greenhouse gases are the only cause of recent warmer climates."

According to these scientists, there is more to this than just the sun's eleven year cycle, it is part of a pattern of increased solar storm activity ongoing since 1940. Moreover, it may be the real cause of the "global warming" that we have been hearing so much about. Maybe there is something to all this global warming talk. Can the sun actually be heating up?

Everyone agrees our weather is changing. Here in Alaska, for instance, our winters have gotten milder and milder, less snow each winter causing our glaciers to melt at an increased rate. I, for one, have been uneasy with the environmentalist explanation, that the dramatic changes in our weather has been due to mere carbon dioxide emissions. Something is fundamentally wrong with their prognosis. Increased heat from the sun itself makes more sense - especially so to post-tribbers who take seriously the biblical command to be alert, to "watch." While the world sleeps on in their unbelief, in spiritual night, those who are "of the day" see endtime prophecy beginning to unfold: 

1 Thessalonians 5                                                                                                                                      .
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

This could very well be what we will see more and more of, gigantic explosions on the face of the sun, the "sun in frenzy," the earth receiving more and more heat from the sun the closer we get to the day of the Lord.  

MILLENNIAL CONDITIONS

Bible prophecy indicates that solar activity will reach a judgmental crescendo at the end of the tribulation at the second coming of Jesus Christ (the day of the Lord). After which, during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, the bible tells us peaceful conditions will prevail on the earth . Many prophetic passages indicate that it will be most notably a time of prolific agricultural blessing. Caused by a much warmer sun than we now experience. It is apparent that God will cause the solar activity that is judgmental at the second coming, to be transformed into a source of tremendous agricultural blessings afterwards.

Isaiah gives us a picture of Armageddon, "the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall," in Isa. 30:25. A picture of endtime judgments and plagues centered in the land of Israel. Retribution brought on Israel because of their long, obstinate rejection of Jesus Christ, and their acceptance of the antichrist, the beast, as the messiah of Israel, with his capital located at Jerusalem. From which he will rule the endtime apostate one world government. After Israel is judged, "the stroke of their wound," the sun becomes a blessing, and the LORD binds up the thousands-of-years-long breach between himself and them: 

Isaiah 30
23 Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.
24 The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan.
25 And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.
26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

Similarly in chapter 27, Isaiah spoke of judgment followed by great agricultural blessings in the land of Israel. They both take place "in that day," the day of the Lord. The judgment described is the destruction of the beast and punishment of Satan. "In that day," the "the dragon from the sea" is slain, and "Leviathan that crooked serpent" is punished:

Isaiah 27                                                                                                                                                    1  In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea..
2 In that day...
6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

The book of Revelation sheds more light on these verses, it confirms what we see here. Judgment followed by a time of great blessings. Please compare the following scriptures in your bible. First, compare Rev. 13:1, the beast that rises up out of the sea, or the antichrist, to "the dragon from the sea" of Isa. 27:1. Revelation says the beast is destroyed at Armageddon, Rev. 19:20, cast alive into the lake of fire, while "that old serpent," Satan, is imprisoned in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, Rev. 20:1-3. In Isaiah 27:1 the dragon, or the beast, is slain, with Satan, or the serpent, not being slain, but only punished. This agrees with what we see in Revelation taking place at Armageddon, and at the beginning of the millennial reign in Revelation. One is slain, the other punished. According to Revelation 20, after the beast and Satan are dealt with, comes the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ on this earth, or the millennial reign. At the end of which, Satan, too, is cast into the lake of fire, Rev. 20:7-10.   

Joel describes the same sequence, Armageddon and second coming of Christ (Joel 3:1-17), followed by great agricultural blessings "in that day," the day of the Lord. The poetic language he uses, the mountains shall drop down with new wine, hills flowing with milk, undoubtedly conveys to our minds a picture of great agricultural blessings:

Joel 3:18  And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.

Amos uses the same sort of poetic language:

Amos 9:13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.

According to Isaiah 51, the millennial will be a restoration back to garden of Eden like conditions, or the garden of the LORD, a time of great agricultural blessings:

Isa. 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

PAPIAS

We find it significant that one of the oldest post-Apostolic writings of church history is a testimony to this very thing, prolific agricultural blessings in the millennial. It is found in a fragment of Papias. Who was Papias? Ireneaus (120 - 202 AD), one of the most important early writers, wrote of him. He said Papias (70 - 155 AD) was a hearer of the Apostle John, and an associate of the martyr Polycarp. Irenaeus had only fragments of Papias's writings. Here, in fragment four, is Papias' controversial statement: 

"The days will come in which vines shall grow, having each ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in every one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give five-and-twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, `I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me.' In like manner, [He said] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear would have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour; and that apples, and seeds, and grass would produce in similar proportions; and that all animals, feeding then only on the productions of the earth, would become peaceable and harmonious, and be in perfect subjection to man."

Papias was speaking of the millennial reign, for the fragment goes on to say:

"These, then, are the times mentioned by the prophet Isaiah: 'And the wolf shall lie down with the lamb,' etc." (Isa. 11:6-9).

Now, those who who follow Amillennial theology, which does not allow for an earthly millennial reign after the second coming, make poor Papias the butt of their jokes. They say his prophecy is not in keeping with New Testament spirituality, it teaches worldly materialism. Yet no one accuses Irenaeus of this. He, himself, taught a future earthly millennial reign after the second coming, moreover, far from ridiculing Papias's statement, he made himself responsible for it. 

Irenaeus' endorsement of Papias for a future millennial reign after the second coming is a strong one, for he uses the testimony of someone who claimed to have heard it from no less than the Apostle John himself. 

As to it's seeming exaggerated agricultural conditions, even some premillennialists say this is a bit over the top, it must be some sort of Hebraic prophetic hyperbole that Papias employed to get his point across, they say. Perhaps partly so. However, for someone as myself who has lived in areas of the world like Alaska, where we have almost non-stop daylight in the summer, "the land of the midnight sun," he doesn't have so much trouble believing how increased sunlight as prophesied for millennial times could cause such agricultural conditions. Alaskans can testify to what a lot of extra sunlight can do, even this far north. Especially those who have gardens. Seeing the incredible vegetables that we have grown in our own garden has been a prophetic revelation. I can readily see how a world with such increased daylight as Isaiah 30:26 predicts, could result in such millennial blessings. 

A FEW DISCLAIMERS 

We made this statement at the start of this article, "We are going to explore in this article the strong possibility that even now things are going on in the heavens, in particular the sun, that are harbingers of things to come." Note the words "strong possibility." Just how God chooses to use the sun in the days ahead may not be as per the "sun in frenzy" scenario that we have been emphasizing. Perhaps the "sun in frenzy" will calm down, I rather think not - it fits the endtime scenario too closely. Yet, there are other things that can happen to our solar system that can produce the same effects. Such as something out there, yet unforeseen by our telescopes, disrupting the serene orbit of the earth around the sun - causing the earth to veer in its orbit scorchingly close to the sun.

On our interpretation of the current solar disturbances, I claim no scientific expertise, though I have read books by those whose profession is to inquire after such celestial matters.  

One thing for sure, we do well by paying attention to signs in the heavens. Jesus did tell us to watch. We do need to stay abreast of things happening in our times. Especially things that have prophetic significance. As ANYTHING GOING ON IN THE SUN surely is. The unprecedented stormy conditions on the face of the sun currently taking place certainly fits that category. 

One last point. The scriptures say the coming cosmic calamities will not be solar, or sun and moon, affairs only. Even the stars are part of it. It remains to be seen the full extent of exactly what Jesus meant when he said the "powers of heaven" will be "shaken."   

K. Kirkland, Pastor - This article is Copyright 2003, All rights reserved.

 

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