The Bible’s use of cataclysmic symbolism to represent the destruction of national, political, and religious orders

Interestingly enough, when we allow scripture to interpret scripture, the Bible’s use of cataclysmic cosmic symbolism in order to represent the destruction (or: end) of a national, political, and religious order becomes very apparent, as is the fact that such symbolism should not be taken literally, as if there were to be a soon-coming cosmic cataclysm.

For example, Joel (2:28-32) tells us: ““And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.”

When the Holy Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost St. Peter (Acts 2:14-21) proclaimed: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

Isaiah (13:10) describes the destruction of Babylon: “For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.”

Isaiah (34:4) speaks of God’s judgement upon the nations as: “All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree.”

Ezekiel (32:7-8) describes the destruction of Egypt: “When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord GOD.”

Jesus (Matthew 24:29) describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish religious/political order: “Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”

St. John (Revelation 6:12) tells us: “I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red”

This cataclysmic cosmic symbolism is the way the prophets spoke of the end of a national, political, and religious order (Babylon, Egypt, Jerusalem) and is the way in which the writers of scripture represent this destruction to us throughout Bible (both Old and New Testaments).

“Apocalyptic language indicates the fate of nations — As Nahum described the fall of Nineveh, he used apocalyptic language: “The mountains quake before Him, the hills melt, and the earth heaves at His presence” (Nah. 1:5). When Joel talked about the “last days” of Israel as a nation he said, “the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31). And when Jesus Himself talked about Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70 He said, “immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matt. 24:29). Thus, apocalyptic language generally describes the fate of nations under the sovereign hand of God. When you see apocalyptic language in Scripture, it is a good idea to look carefully for a nation under judgment from God.” See: “Apocalyptic Language — Can We Understand It?” @ http://edgewoodcoc.org/apocalyptic_language.htm

Dr. Joe Morecraft speaks on the fall of Jerusalem during AD 70 just as it was predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24. See: VIDEO – The Fall of the Temple of Jerusalem with Dr. Joe Morecraft

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About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
This entry was posted in Bible, Eschatology, history, Literary Theory, Society, Symbolism, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Bible’s use of cataclysmic symbolism to represent the destruction of national, political, and religious orders

  1. Irene Belyeu says:

    Thank you for this interesting and informative article. I believe you will be interested in reading my book REVELATION IN CONTEXT. After much research, I have adopted the Preterist view. My teachings and commentary may be found at http://www.revelationincontext.blogspot.com. May you be blessed.

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