For Some Christians, Solar Eclipse Signals Second Coming Of Christ

Does the upcoming solar eclipse signal the second coming of Jesus? In all likelihood, no, but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating that it does.

The new Testament is peppered with references to Jesus’ “second coming,” the time when Christians believe Jesus will return to Earth, the wicked will be judged, and the righteous rewarded. The Apostle Paul writes about it in his letters, and the Gospels portray Jesus speaking about it.

The upcoming solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, which will be visible over parts of North America, has brought with it a slew of predictions that Jesus might be returning sooner rather than later. I am a scholar of early Christian literature whose research focuses on how people read, understand and sometimes misunderstand biblical texts.

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 Romans interpreted its appearance and lingering presence as a sign that Caesar had ascended to the heavens and had taken a seat among the many gods of Rome. Caesar’s deification was made official by a vote of the Roman senate less than two years later.

Read the full story here.