Sun, moon, and stars

Looking at the pericope for this Sunday (Luke 21:25-36), I couldn’t help but wonder if the “signs in the sun, moon, and stars” was a reference to Israel/the Church. I’m thinking primarily of the image of the Lady in Revelation 12:1,

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

This is an image of Israel, the Old Testament Church, pregnant with the Messiah, whom the Dragon (Satan) immediately tries to destroy after his birth. Don’t know if it has merit, but perhaps someone more educated than me could develop the significance in light of the rest of the pericope.


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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3 Responses to Sun, moon, and stars

  1. Past Elder says:

    The rest of the pericope varies. In the West, traditional Roman usage assigns this passage to the first, not the second, Sunday in Advent, where it combines with the same Romans 13:11-15 to announce the dual nature of the season, the historical waiting for the Incarnation and the present waiting for the Second Coming, both of which to vindicate the Psalm Introit that those who trust in the Lord shall not be confounded.

    The second Sunday of Advent is considered in traditional Roman usage to emphasise hope, and uses Matthew 11:2-10, which we will use on the Third Sunday for Joy (Gaudete) where Rome used John 1:19-28 which we use on the Fourth Sunday.

    So depending on who you follow there is no connexion between Luke 21:25-36 and Romans 15:4-13 and the Isaiah Introit at all!

    Romans is concerned with the inclusion of the Gentiles in the promise to Israel and the Luke passage points to the historical completion of redemption, which will take place amid tribulation, so while I don’t think Luke saw what John saw, nonetheless both speak directly to the persecution Christians and Christianity will experience until the Second Coming.

    Which late night musings hardly make me more educated than you, so perhaps better comments will follow.

    PS — I’ve never understood how our readings for Advent and the Roman ones came to be a week off from each other.

  2. Rev. Benjamin Mayes says:

    From Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy, p. 438. “The Lutheran and the Anglican churches agree in the choice of Lessons following the ancient Comes and the Lectionary of Charlemagne. The Roman Church later pushed back the Gospels for the Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays and interchanged the Epistles for the Third and Fourth Sundays. In the latter case this was done to establish a parallel between the Third Sunday in Advent and the Fourth Sunday in Lent.”

  3. Past Elder says:

    Thank you, Pastor Mayes. I’ve incorporated the information into the Advent post on my blog, with credit to you.

    As our usage is the older, it appears to be the wiser too. The Roman pericope gives the Philippians passage as both the Introit and the Epistle for Gaudete. There’s a logic to that. But the older usage seems more profound — that the joy that breaks into the penitential and preparatory season with Gaudete is not an illusion or real but momentary, but an essential component as we advance, recapped and amplified in the following and final Sunday in Advent and distinguishing it from Laetare in Lent.

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