Home / Commentary / Matthew / Matthew Chapter 24 / Matthew 24:29-31
Verses covered in this passage:
Jesus finishes the answer to the second question, about the sign of His coming. Jesus will gather His elect, shake the powers of the heavens, and come to earth on the clouds of glory. He will be seen by those on the earth, and the tribes of the earth will mourn.
Jesus finishes answering the second question, What will be the sign of your coming? The sign, or visible evidence of Jesus coming will not occur until after the tribulation of those days. Jesus is referring back to verse 21, where Jesus references a great tribulation of time unparalleled in all the history of the earth. This great tribulation will occur after the sign spoken of in Daniel the prophet regarding the abomination of desolation (verse 15). The sign of Jesus’ coming will occur immediately after the tribulation of those days. Jesus refers to the Daniel 12:11 occurrence of the term abomination of desolation, which indicates the time of tribulation will last thirty days more than three and a half years, or 1,290 days. It then says there will be a special blessing for those who “keep waiting and attain to the 1,335 days.” It could be that Jesus statement that His return will be immediately after the tribulation of those days falls on or near the 1,335th day. It could also be that many of the other predicted signs occur during the time between the end of the great tribulation on day 1,290 and day 1,335.
Also immediately after the tribulation of those days and prior to Jesus’ return there will be substantial cosmic disturbances. First, the sun will be darkened. The prediction of the darkening of the sun is referred to in a number of Old Testament passages, including: Is 13:10; 24:23; Ezek 32:7; Joel 2:10, 31; 3:15f; Amos 5:20; 8:9; and Zephaniah 1:15. The New Testament book of Acts 2:19-20 also speaks of the sun being darkened, quoting the Old Testament book of Joel 2:30-31, which says:
I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
This particular prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified, and is referenced by the Apostle Peter in a sermon explaining to the Jews what they are witnessing at that time, when the Holy Spirit is being poured out. It is not unusual for prophecies to be fulfilled more than once however, as with the prediction of the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, which clearly had to have two fulfillments.
But the New Testament book of Revelation also predicts the darkening of the sun. Revelation was written by the Apostle John in his old age, so clearly predicts an event occurring well after Jesus ascended. In Revelation 6:12-17, God’s judgment proceeding from the breaking of the “sixth seal” includes a prediction that the sun will become “black as sackcloth of hair.” Revelation 6:12-17 also describes “the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.” This is a similar description to verse twenty nine.
Now Jesus will answer the first question: When will these things happen?
29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.