24 ¶ But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. 25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. 26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
There are a couple of references to the sun being darkened in the book that deals mostly with the Tribulation, the Book of the Revelation of St. John (Rev. 6:12; 9:2). In the Old Testament there is Joel 2:10; 31; 3:15. It is, of course, also referenced in the companion verses in Matthew 24, particularly verse 29.
Stars are likened to angels in Rev. 1:20. Does the “stars of heaven” refer to an astronomical disaster or a spiritual one? Could these stars be Satan’s third?
Revelation 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
In the same chapter in Revelation there is this connection with verse 4.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
So, now, if you spiritualize the “stars of heaven” you could be justified in spiritualizing the sun and moon in the verse before it, some would say. They might say that the sun is a reference to God’s goodness and justice not being seen or being blocked and the moon a reference to His church being completely removed, therefore unable to reflect His light. Or, you might just say that these are a reference to astronomical catastrophe, or even both, as many verses in the Bible have been shown to have multiple applications.
And who are the “powers of heaven” to be shaken?
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Here it is made clear that the next time Christ returns it will not be as a gentle rabbi or teacher, a Nazarene from a humble village, but as the God of Heaven. This is the essence of Christian doctrine, that Jesus Christ was and is God.
I would recommend reading Revelation, chapter 19, for a clear image of Christ’s triumphant return. This is when Jesus Christ, who declared to Pontius Pilate that His kingdom was, at that time, not of this world (John 18:36), will take over the kingdoms of the earth as shown further back in Revelation.
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Verse 27 seems to be a reference to a third translation, this time of the Jews in the Great Tribulation that have believed on Christ. See Revelation 11:12 and note that the phrase “Come up hither (here)” is repeated three times in the Bible; in Proverbs 25:7 for Old Testament saints with the corresponding verse in;
Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
In Revelation 4:1 when John is caught up or translated to heaven as representative of the church, and here in 11:12. As Jesus is speaking to beard-wearing, Temple-going, Sabbath-observing, pork-abstaining Jews you would expect Him to mention only their translation. Other evidence of three translations include the reference to Enoch, who, as a type of the church, was translated in Genesis 5:24 but referenced three times in Hebrews 11:5.
Notice that Jesus is referring to all of this in the future so the historicist model of Revelation, that it has happened already through history, is either wrong or can be viewed as correct in type along with the futurist model of Revelation’s events being yet to come as part of the common Biblical practice of multiple applications. This is even more proof of God’s supernatural inspiration in the multi-level application of verses to seemingly unrelated events. It is also dangerous, depending on the spiritual state and relationship with Christ of the interpreter. Be careful. Think through this and pray about it. Draw conclusions you are led to by the Holy Spirit your teacher, and your faithful reading of God’s words in His Book.