Tomorrow’s sun eclipse will remind me of what Jesus predicted about his yet future return. He explained in his Olivet Discourse, shortly before his death, that his return from heaven would not be gradual but instantaneous. For he said, “as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24.27 NRSV; cf. Luke 17.24).
Jesus further predicted of that time, “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24.29-30 ESV; cf. Mark 13.24-26).
So, the sun will darkened, perhaps something like tomorrow’s eclipse. However, I doubt it will be an eclipse. But what did Jesus mean by “the sign of the Son of Man”?I believe the sun will be darkened immediately prior to Jesus’ return. Thus, the entire earth will be very dark all around the globe. Then people will see in the sky only the clouds upon which Jesus is riding. Those clouds will shine very brightly, somehow being the Shekinah glory of God. As they near the earth over Jerusalem, I believe those clouds will form into the shape of a cross, and that will be the sign of Jesus’ coming. That is why “the tribes of the earth will mourn.” I suspect this refers more precisely to the twelve tribes in the land of Israel. For, the word here translated “earth” is ges in the Greek, which can mean either “earth” or “land.” This will be visually by far the most dramatic event the world has ever seen. When I wrote my book Warrior from Heaven, I had a graphics artist draw this scene as I envisioned it. This image became the front cover of my book.