21:25 “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, 1 and on the earth nations will be in distress, 2 anxious 3 over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. 21:26 People will be fainting from fear 4 and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 5
1 sn Signs in the sun and moon and stars are cosmic signs that turn our attention to the end and the Son of Man’s return for the righteous. OT imagery is present: See Isa 13:9-10; 24:18-20; 34:4; Ezek 32:7-8; Joel 2:1, 30-31; 3:15.
2 tn Grk “distress of nations.”
3 tn Or “in consternation” (L&N 32.9).
4 tn According to L&N 23.184 this could be mainly a psychological experience rather than actual loss of consciousness. It could also refer to complete discouragement because of fear, leading people to give up hope (L&N 25.293).
5 sn An allusion to Isa 34:4. The heavens were seen as the abode of heavenly forces, so their shaking indicates distress in the spiritual realm. Although some take the powers as a reference to bodies in the heavens (like stars and planets, “the heavenly bodies,” NIV) this is not as likely.