Preterists observe that throughout the Bible, prophecies that seem to describing the end of the world are actually describing something less than that. For example, consider Isaiah’s prophecy against
“The burden against
“Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them” (Isaiah 13:17).
The beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride,
Will be as when God overthrew
God is going to raise up the Medians to overthrow and destroy the Babylonian kingdom. However, look at how Isaiah describes this:
“For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not give their light;
The sun will be darkened in its going forth,
And the moon will not cause its light to shine” (Isaiah 13:10).
“Therefore I will shake the heavens,
And the earth will move out of her place,
In the wrath of Yahweh of hosts
And in the day of His fierce anger” (Isaiah 13:13).
It sounds as if Isaiah is describing the end of the world, and he is, in a sense. However, he is not describing the end of the physical universe but the end of the Babylonian world.
God often uses imagery of the heavens to describe nations. The sun often refers to kings. The moon refers to the queen, and the stars refers to other leaders. This goes back to Joseph’s dream.
“Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me’” (Genesis 37:9).
The sun is Jacob. The moon is Leah. The eleven stars are his brothers.
Thus, when Isaiah writes that the heavens are shaken and the sun, moon, and stars are darkened, he is saying that