Shaking the Powers of Heaven: A Total Solar Eclipse and Adventist Eschatology

On Aug 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will envelop most of the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico in partial darkness, while a narrow, 70-mile strip from Oregon to South Carolina will experience “totality” for approximately 2.5 minutes.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

As a young boy I was a VERY , fascinated listener to my Pastor’s explanations of these astronomical phenomena, and especially the Orion prophecy , as the pathway through which Jesus would return to smite the wicked on earth . I noticed that my mother would strive to get the Pastor to have Sabbath dinner with us on the day of such sermons, and I could hardly eat due to fear that my chewing food may cause me to miss a word here, or a nuance there.My father sometimes let the Pastor sit at the head of the table on such occasions, but he was a man who though not a college graduate, was a “ROAD SCHOLAR” hahaha, that is a person very wise in the ways, words, and actions, of people . He did not believe in Mrs White as a special prophet from God , and as a salesman he did not believe that Pastors as such had greater morality than members, having been told by customers of Pastors’ adultery and having seen one in the act itself when he went to collect payments.But he and especially my MOM believed in the latter day astronomical prophecies esp since the so=called “falling of the stars " phenomena. I was REQUIRED to believe and act in accordance with SDA doctrine While I lived in his house, but he said that the day I moved out on my own, I was free to believe and act as I wanted, since then the argument would be between myself as an adult man, and God himself as to the fate of my soul. That said , during and after college I investigated the matters I read and was taught from the Bible and from Sabbath school Quarterlies and so on.The Bible, I concluded is a " hard to read” collection. In the matter of Jesus’ second coming through Orion etc, I was assisted by reference to the" PESHER" much touted by Dead Sea Scroll scholars. This is a device of interpretation, as for the context of when Jesus said he was coming again he was referring to an event DSS scholars say, (perhaps mistakenly???) referring to his marriage. ALL Jewish dynastic families were required to marry a woman from the virgins (an order of the tribe of Dan)in order to leave descendants to take over the (Davidic) throne,and the Jerusalem Temple as High priest and so on when independence was achieved and there was a “David” on the throne and a "Zadok"or “Aaron” in the Jerusalem temple. They were only able to have sex with their in the month of December . The dynast would stay until she missed two menstrual periods then leave to go back to the celibate life at the monastery at Qumran. The place names at Qumran were named after Jewish religious history…“Egypt”, “The Garden”, “The Kingdom of Heaven”, “Judea”, and so on. The Chief Levite was nicknamed “CLOUD” after the cloud which led their ancestors. So when They could return to their wives after three years if a girl was born or after six years if a boy was born. So the dynast would return to the celibate life by returning to the Monastery (that is The Kingdom of Heaven) and he could “come again” to his wife after three or six years as the case may have beenThese double meanings of words and even very hidden in parables were a practice of the Jews to hide real events from hostile occupiers during millennia of occupations. This even saved the life of Jesus for when the Magi told Herod that they were seeking to pay tribute to the newborn king of the Jews who had been born in Judea, Herod slyly massacred the newborns in the REAL Judea not knowing the pesher about the cave called Judea on the Qumran plateau. When Joseph fled to Egypt it did not mean he crossed hundreds of miles across dangerous desert, with a new mother sitting side-saddle, it simply meant he hid in a cave called Egypt at Qumran, and so on.

In 1935, ( the year before I was born ), seismologist Charles Francis Richter developed a scale, for measuring earthquakes: the Richter scale.

The now distantly remote Lisbon earthquake (1755 ), the "dark day " ( 1780 –
now attributed to smoke from extensive forest fires ) and the " falling of the stars " ( 1833 ), were all cosmic events, hightlighted during my childhood, as portents of Christ’s Second Coming.

Now, in my eighty first year, these events grow increasingly remote, and therefore somewhat far fetched forewarnings.

Earthquakes of equal or greater Richter magnitude have subsequently occurred since the Lisbon calamity

Numerous meteoric showers have evidenced themselves and innumerable " dark days " have occurred due to solar eclipses, most visible only over oceans, since two thirds of the earth’s surface is water covered.

The forthcoming eclipse is only notable because it will be visible by many millions, coast to coast, over the United States.

Yes, since I am only one hour’s drive from the band of total darkness, I will,drive down to see it. But I am informed that the travel time may be more like four hours due to the crush of other anticipated viewers.

With modern science and internet notifications making these previously "magical " cosmic events more mundane, they no longer have huge eschatological import.


Thank-you very much for this truth about some things that have been hallmarks of Adventist “signs” chasers. with the endorsement of EGW we were lied to about the dark day in 1780, and the stars falling in 1833. How long before the aura that surrounds 1844 will fall?


The sky and everything in it, used to be a complete mystery. Who could have imagined that the stars in Orion are perhaps lightyears from each other and not a part of any belt, when viewed from the other side of the Milky Way. But, even today, people need conformation of their beliefs - anything that will give them hope of life, everlasting. Take away 1844, and where will the “faithful” go?


It is funny how our childhood fantasies still persist.One of my late aunts believed that after her husband died he was in Heaven and could see her and others. It never seemed to occur to her that one cannot see any great distance and given the size of the universe heaven must be very far away if indeed all the cosmos circles the throne of GOD.

Many believe in gods and devils and honest politicians but its all imagination


It seems to me that the real power of these astronomical phenomena is their element of surprise. Science has now not only explained them, but can also predict them. So when this latest phenomenon occurs, the only people who will be either rejoicing in the anticipation of immediate translation, or calling for the rocks and mountains to fall on them, are the uneducated. I suspect it was ever thus…


Ladies & Gentlemen, welcome to the greatest Ink Blot show on earth also known as the “SDA Eschatology.”


Enjoy the splendor and majesty of the eclipse. The call of biblical eschatology is not to have a generally accepted theory that adds up; rather, for us is for God’s people to be prepared and equip ourselves for what lies ahead in life. Those seeking to make a theological landmark as a result of this eclipse are going to be disappointed. Unfortunately, I hear and read a lot about theology by consensus. Our eschatology is about trusting in Jesus first and foremost. We are not trusting in whatever hot idea or eclipse is on hand today. As students of God’s word we must have our expectations based on real biblical reality and in faith, so when something comes our way, whether it is a blessing or a problem, or a theory we can take it, examine it, handle it with excellence, learn, and grow from it. A word of both encouragement and caution to us who rely on the study of prophecy and believe in a biblical eschatology, from the Apostle Paul, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God…. that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…. but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head” (Eph. 4:13-15). We should remember that the Seventh Day Adventist Church, thus far has refused to enforce any creed about eschatology. The preference has been to accept as Christian any person who believes in the visible return of Jesus Christ. So while, personally, we may have very definite views concerning eschatology, our motto should be: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."
Enjoy the eclipse!