In Mark 13: 25 there is “And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.” Here Jesus said stars of heaven shall fall….  According to astronomy and science stars will not fall but asteroids can fall, and when I google the idea some websites say stars shall not fall on earth.  Some say this passage meaning less.  But others point out that shooting stars will fall but there is a difference between a star, a shooting star and an asteroid. So what is Jesus actually referring to when he talks about falling stars from heaven? Does the star represents a real star that we see at night time? Can you please give a scientific explanation of this from astronomy of the actual meaning of that statement? Thank you


The language in Mark 13:25 is what is known as apocalyptic.  This style of literature is used much in Jewish writing, both in the Bible and in extra-biblical writing. In apocalyptic writing, the author uses very dramatic pictures symbolically to represent something that is happening.  Most often it is about a time when God comes to either save or to judge his or other people.  There are dozens of examples of this in both Testaments.  For example, in Acts 2:17-21 Peter quotes Joel 2:28-32, describing “wonders in the heavens… The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood…” This is not to be taken literally.  There is much apocalyptic language in Revelation, of course, but there is similar apocalyptic language in Ezekiel 37, with the Valley of Dry Bones (a prophecy of the restoration of Israel) and Ezekiel 38 with Gog and Magog. Daniel has apocalyptic visions, and there is quite a bit of apocalyptic language in Isaiah and Zechariah. The visions of the Four Horns and the Four Craftsmen or the Man With a Measuring Line in Zechariah are all to be taken symbolically, not literally.

All or nearly all scholars will agree that Mark 13:25 is just such an apocalyptic passage. In fact, it is a quote from apocalyptic language in Isaiah 13:10 and Isaiah 34:4.  We should not look for any sort of literal fulfillment of Mark 13:25.  This is not about an asteroid or a comet or a meteorite.  Jesus is talking here about the events of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 in apocalyptic terms which his Jewish hearers would definitely understand.  They would not have taken the comment about the sun, the moon and the objects falling from the sky literally, but they would have assumed that this is “the Day of the Lord” when God comes in judgement, which is exactly what happened when Jerusalem was destroyed.

John Oakes

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