A sign of the 2nd coming of Christ? The meaning of the 2024 eclipse

 April 7, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A lot has been written, and a lot more has been speculated, about the significance of solar eclipses, and specifically, the eclipse looming on Monday, April 8.

Many perceive it as a sign in the heavens, perhaps linked to the biblical "second coming" of Christ, and the end of the age.

But an article by Eric Vanden Eykel, an associate professor of religious studies at Ferrum College and a self-described "scholar of early Christian literature," suggests the Bible itself debunks that, as the authors writing about such events "share a sense that the timing of 'the end' is ultimately mysterious and unknowable."

That means, he explains, "attempting to predict such timing by means of things like eclipses is, at the very least, not terribly 'biblical.'"

He explained the coming eclipse likely does not provide any signal about the second coming.

"But that hasn’t stopped people from speculating that it does," he explained in an article that appeared at StudyFinds.org.

The New Testament has many references to Jesus' return, he said.

He said, "Religious theories surrounding this eclipse are part of a larger pattern of attempts to find meaning in astronomical events that goes back thousands of years."

He said, "One of the more famous examples from the ancient world of people finding meaning in the skies occurred in 44 B.C.E., when a comet appeared in the skies over Italy just four short months after the assassination of Julius Caesar. Roman authors Pliny the Elder and Suetonius claimed that the comet was visible for about a week and that it was so bright, it could be spotted in the late afternoon."

Many at the time thought that was a sign Caesar had "ascended to the heavens and had taken a seat among the many gods of Rome."

He pointed out in 2020 there was speculation about a planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn and their connection to the "Star of Bethlehem."

Making such assumptions sometimes has turned out poorly, as 39 members of a Heaven's Gate cult committed suicide in 1997 when they adopted the belief that there was a spacecraft hidden in the tail of the Hale-Bopp Comet that was coming for them.

One of the triggers for speculation about the coming eclipse is that its path will form a cross when combined with the path of an eclipse in 2017, he said.

But he said that's happened before, and the idea that such events are evidence of an imminent return doesn't have foundation.

He noted, after all, solar eclipses happen several times a year, usually, and while the "second coming" is undeniably a topic among New Testament authors, there is little unanimity among that group of scholars regarding "the end."

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