Jesus and Prophetic Language
In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus has been predicting the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple when he uses imagery strikingly similar to Isaiah.
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (Mark 13:24-25).
Has Jesus all of a sudden shifted from talking about the destruction of the temple to describing the end of the world? Not at all. Jesus is talking about the end of the Jewish world. The Jewish leaders will be overthrown and the Jewish world will come to an end with the destruction of the temple.
John and Prophetic Language
The apostle John gives a similar description.
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind” (Revelation 6:12-13).
John’s language has been taken by many to be a description of the end of the world. However, this is not the end of the world, but the end of a world, namely, the end of the Jewish world.
Thus, we need to be careful about passages that seem to describe the “end times.” They are probably describing the end of a nation or an era rather than the end of the universe.