|Courtesy LDS Media Library|
One prophecy about the time leading up to the Second Coming that appears again and again is a sign from the heavens. Isaiah mentions it:
For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (Isaiah 13:10; compare Isaiah 24:23.)
As does the prophet Joel:
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining . . . . The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. (Joel 2:10,31; see also Joel 3:15.)
Ezekiel also adds:
And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God. (Ezekiel 32:7–8.)
The Savior also spoke of this prophecy just days before His crucifixion, death, and resurrection:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. (Matthew 24:29; compare Mark 13:24–25 and Luke 21:25.)
And modern scripture repeats the refrain:
But, behold, I say unto you that before this great day shall come the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and there shall be greater signs in heaven above and in the earth beneath. (D&C 29:14; compare D&C 34:9 and D&C 88:87.)
There are several things that come to mind readily that could contribute to this phenomena. For example, the sun and moon could be obscured by smoke from a fire or there could be a solar or lunar eclipse.
If we dig a little deeper, though, it appears that this sign will actually accompany the Lord’s coming. Section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants sheds this additional, compelling light:
And so great shall be the glory of his presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withhold its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places. (D&C 133:49.)
This verse indicates that it will be the glory of His presence that will obscure the light of these orbs, that He himself will eclipse the light of the sun and moon, and hurl the stars around the sky. This seems quite fitting when we remember that another heavenly sign: a new star appeared when He was born (see, for example, Matthew 2:2, 9, 10, Helaman 14:1–7, and 3 Nephi 1:15–19).
In conclusion, the prophet Micah adds this spiritual insight:
Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. (Micah 3:6.)
Once again, we can only speculate on exactly how these things will manifest themselves, but if we continue to prayerfully study the scriptures, we’ll be better prepared to grasp these heavenly signs when they actually happen.