The 2017 Revelation 12 sign/Possible end of the Church age?

If I were to write everything I know for sure about this September 2017 configuration of constellations, planets, the sun and the moon, which strongly resemble the “great sign in the heavens” that John described in Revelation chapter 12, this would be a really short post, because I know almost nothing about it with 100% assurity, at least not at the time of this post in June of 2017. But for my theories, and a description of others’ theories about this, below is what I recently posted on my Facebook account.  Or you could save a lot of reading time and watch multiple videos about this on Scott Clarke’s Youtube channel.  I don’t agree with all his conclusions, most notably that he seems about 99.99% sure that the rapture will be on September 23rd 2017 (although I hope he’s right).  But I think I’ve given the topic a fair look and description.  Here’s what I posted:

I wanted to throw this out there one more time, now that it’s sort of mid-event. I mentioned this a couple/few months ago and to me it’s fascinating. It’s probably a big bore to some people, a non-event to others (and those may end up correct), or it might be seen as alarmist by others. But I hope that some will find it interesting. Anyway, there’s a celestial event that in some ways has been happening since last December 2016, but it really culminates this coming September 2017, and it appears to be an exact match to the “great sign in the heavens” that John saw and that’s recorded in Revelation 12:1-2: “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. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.” This obviously has some sort of prophetic meaning, and likely a dual-prophetic meaning, one looking back, and one looking forward, and I’ll get to all that. But while it’s a prophetic image, the verse clearly says this is something seen in the heavens, and these verses may be describing this upcoming alignment of two of the constellations, 4 of the planets, the sun, and the moon, and it’s a configuration that hasn’t happened in 6000 years, since approximately the garden of Eden (or possibly exactly when Adam and Eve were in the garden, according to at least one researcher), and it won’t ever happen again after this coming September 2017, at least not as far forward in time as they’ve run the astronomical software looking for it. Here’s how what John saw may be playing out in the heavens: The constellation Virgo is the woman. By mid-September, the sun will be “clothing her” at her shoulder. The moon will come to her feet by September 23rd. Also at that time, 3 planets(aka “wandering stars”) will have lined up between Virgo’s head and the 9-star Constellation of Leo, which is always at Virgo’s head, essentially “crowning” her with 12 stars. And in September, Jupiter, which will have been retrograding around in the “womb” of Virgo for 9 months, at that point will be exiting her hip area. And that all culminates when a new moon is at the feet of Virgo on the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashana) of 2017…one of the prophetic feasts that is yet to be fulfilled. It may turn out to be a non-event, but with that kind of rarity, and with it looking like such a good match to a description of a biblically prophetic heavenly sign, it just seems smart to at least take a look at it, and if it hits home with you, make sure you’re spiritually prepared for what it might mean. If nothing happens, nothing happens. And to be fair, within the Christian world, there’s definitely a camp that believes nothing at all will happen. Many aren’t touching it at all …probably the really wise ones (unlike me). But a small few are coming out pretty hard against it. I love watching Prophecy Watchers with Gary Stearman, and I’ve learned a lot from him and his guests, but he’s definitely in the camp that doesn’t believe this 2017 alignment is what John saw. I don’t see how anyone is able to take such a hard line on either side of it. Some believe it is dating the rapture, and are putting their reputations on the line by saying as much. Others completely blow it off. I have no idea, so for now, I’m in the middle, but with so much other end times prophetic activity, I have a strong hope that the September configuration is what John saw. I think it’s worth looking at for sure, and to believe it marks something significant happening this year would certainly line up with the season we seem to be in. Joel Richardson is another well known Christian who believes the sign is meaningless – well in terms of it being what John saw and wrote of in Revelation. He’s best known for his two books claiming the antichrist will come out of the Islamic world – I’m not convinced of that, but I listened to one of his books and I respect his research, even if I think his conclusions lack enough evidence. But he has really mocked people who believe this heavenly event is significant, and I’ll get a little more into his take on it later.
I was recently writing a more detailed description of the Revelation 12 sign, and how it compares to, and may play into other last days and rapture passages from Scripture, but well before I was finished, I was already at 60 pages in Microsoft Word, and decided that even the few people who are actually interested in this sort of thing wouldn’t read it because it was just too much. So I started over, thinking I’d break it down to just the essentials, and the same problem happened– it got too long too fast. There’s just no way to hit and expand on all the points I’d like to make on this thing and keep it short, but I’m hoping the third time’s the charm – so this post, while it’s still gonna be long, is the most brief description I can give of it and do the topic any justice, and then it also includes my personal thoughts on what it might mean to us or what events it may be pointing to. But unlike the guy who actually discovered the sign back in 2011(Scott Clarke), who himself seems 99.99% convinced the rapture of the church will happen on that day (September 23rd, 2017), I think there are multiple other possibilities. Even if it’s a true sign, and even if this celestial configuration is the actual “Revelation 12 sign”, it could be pointing to something that’s still out in the future, as signs generally do, and not necessarily be dating a significant event. At the other end of the spectrum, even if this September event turns out to be THE very “Revelation 12 sign” that John saw, there’s evidence that significant events (and perhaps THE most significant event) related to it could happen days, weeks or even months prior to its culmination in September. So, at the risk of being accused of crying wolf, that’s why I feel the urgency to point people’s attention to it one more time…just in case this is the real deal. The entire world is in a precarious position war-wise, geo-politically, financially, health-wise, natural disaster-wise, etc….basically all the things that Jesus pointed to as “the beginnings of birth pangs”. And as we can see, the Revelation 12 sign is a picture of a pregnancy and a birth, which to me should draw a little more attention to what’s happening in the sky right now. Of course this doesn’t mean that the birthpang-like events in the world right now are necessarily something we should connect to the possible heavenly pregnancy playing out above us at the same time, but it COULD be a match, and to me, it’s something to zoom in on and research. Jesus said that when we see all these things BEGIN to take place, we should look up, because our redemption is drawing near.
Standard disclaimers I give when writing about end times events: First off, I’m not an expert or a scholar, and my 2 cents worth may be over-pricing my opinion on this, or many other subjects. I’m not predicting anything, but only observing, thinking through it all, and sharing my thoughts. Secondly, I’m married and have four kids, and we’re not quitting work or school, and not selling the house and heading out to the mountain top to catch the J-train just yet. We’re not stopping any future plans because of events that could possibly be pointing to the soon end of this current age, and I’m not suggesting anyone else run for the hills or hunker down either. Life is moving on, and I’m looking forward to continuing to watch my kids grow and do. There’s no reason that as long as life CAN go on normally, that it shouldn’t go on as usual. If you’re a Christian, as long as the eternal is your primary focus, we should live our lives. No one knows for sure when our time is up here, and plenty of people in every generation have found reasons to believe they were the terminal generation and that Christ was about to open the door to heaven. And so far, they’ve all been wrong. I always feel like I need to say all that because I don’t want to discourage any young folks (or older folks) from their pursuits, even if some piece of evidence that we’re late in the game here rings true. Believing we might be right at the tip end can have a fatalistic effect on your overall outlook and motivations if you’re not careful, and it’s sort of a difficult balance – definitely something I’ve struggled with.
Well, I’ve been talking end times for 2 or 3 years on Facebook because I personally think we’re getting really close, and I thought a lot of significant markers were lining up in late September 2015 – Astronomically, there was the rare 4 blood moon Tetrad that stretched over 2014 and 2015, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of converging events that seemed to be pointing to something prophetic, maybe even the rapture – no sense repeating it all. But obviously, nothing like what many of us hoped for ended up happening, although the birth pang-type events have only continued to increase over these last couple years. And again in 2016, there were less markers and signals than in 2015, but it still seemed like a potential high watch time, so I wrote about it again, and it came and went, and we’re still here. So I won’t be shocked if the Fall of 2017 comes and goes like Fall 2015 and 2016 did. On the other hand, neither of those years had a heavenly sign, that not only falls on an unfulfilled feast day, but seems to be an exact match to a prophetic picture from the book of Revelation. And it’s possibly a once in 6000-year unique event. So given that marker, and given the overall state of the world geo-politically and otherwise, things may hit a boiling point, even in the next few days or weeks and we could be called home well before September, or find ourselves deeper into the birthpangs, and find life NOT going on as normal. There’s just no way to know for sure, but there’s no reason to ignore the signs of the times either. Jesus reprimanded the religious people of His own day for being great at forecasting the weather, but poor at interpreting the “signs of the times”. Because of time-based prophecies in the book of Daniel, any student of what we now call the Old Testament at that time should have known that the Messiah was among them, but they turned a blind eye.
I do want to defend the 2015 warnings a little too before I get into all the 2017 signals. I don’t think those consecutive blood moons were insignificant, just because the rapture didn’t fall in there somewhere. That was extremely rare, it would still qualify as “signs in the heavens” – another end times signal, and in fact every time in history that happened, where there were 4 consecutive lunar eclipses that all fell on biblical feast days, something significant happened with the nation of Israel either the year or so before, or the year or so after. We’re still in that “or so after” period since that blood moon tetrad.

Last thing I want to quickly address before I start on the Revelation 12 sign, because it’s gonna play into some of the hypotheticals later, is one aspect of the rapture doctrine, just very generally. Most of us have been taught that it could happen at any moment – that it’s “immanent”. I was raised on that idea, and I’ve never ruled it out 100%, and most of the bible teachers and preachers I listen to and learn from still hold that position, even with the large “Hebrew roots” movement that’s in Christianity right now, and which has many of us taking a closer look at the purpose of the 7 biblical feasts. I’m certainly not gonna tell someone who believes in the immanency of the rapture that they’re wrong. But there is so much evidence that it will fall on one of two very significant (and yet unfulfilled) prophetic feast days. (Called “Feasts of the Lord” in Scripture, and generally these festivals are thought of as more of a Jewish thing, but they’re actually not confined or defined that way in Scripture…but I’ll come back around and hit that topic). And believe it or not, it doesn’t violate anything Jesus said about no man knowing the day or hour to believe the rapture might fall on one of the festivals, and I could give at least 4 reasons why I can say that(and I actually did in a longer version of this) but doing things like that is what keeps making this so extremely long, so I’m going to refrain, and if anyone wants to discuss that, or any other aspect of this, I love talking and writing about it, so message me, or whatever. I’d also like to get into detail on the 7 prophetic festivals in this post, and why they’re important for even non-Jewish believers in Christ to pay attention to (and again, in the long version, I did). But to keep this post from turning into another extreme reading marathon that no one will touch, I’m just gonna throw some of the facts out there, and also some hypotheticals and opinions, without near as much explanation and defense as I’d like to give. I do plan to finish the longer more detailed version of this at some point and post it on my website. …if I’m able(hopefully, I’m not)…because the first of those two feasts which has a high potential as a rapture time is Pentecost, and this year it’s just days away, from May 30th to June 1st. Pentecost 2017 will more than likely come and go like the last almost two thousand annual Pentecost celebrations have. But there’s too much potential for significant events this year for me not to look at this as another “high watch time”. Shortly I’ll explain how a May/June Pentecost could play into this, even if the September sign is in fact the biblical Revelation 12 event. It’s a pretty cool little mini-study if you’ve never looked into Pentecost as a picture of the redemption and rescue of the Gentile bride of Christ at the wheat harvest time.
Oh, there’s one more disclaimer I need to make before I can talk about stars, constellations, the movement of the planets among them, and the possible meanings thereof, because that can be mistaken for astrology. Genesis chapter 1 gives several reasons why God made the sun, moon, and stars, and “for signs” was reason #2 of 5. And reason #3 of 5 is: “For seasons”. And it’s actually not a reference to the 4 seasons. That Hebrew word being translated as “seasons” is the same word translated as “feasts” in other places, as in “feasts of the Lord”, and the word means “appointments”. Those feasts are yearly rehearsals for a future event when the literal appointment and culmination takes place, and the evidence of this is that Jesus fulfilled the first three of them, in order(Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits) on the very days they had been being rehearsed annually for centuries, in His death, burial, and resurrection. And God takes credit for the constellations as well in Scripture, and is also said to “know the stars by name”. I’ve been listening through a series study (online) of the constellations that a pastor from the Birmingham area has been offering, and it’s mind-blowing. In the past, I’ve heard Christians take the major constellations and tell the gospel story through them, but I thought maybe they were just being creative and taking something the secular world created, and turning it into something positive. I had that totally backwards. Not only do the twelve major constellations have a meaning, they each have 3 “assisting” constellations to help tell some aspect of the gospel story. And going even deeper, the ancient names of the very stars that make up the constellations have meanings that point to Jesus we well. It’s too much to try to summarize it. If you want me to point you to that study, message me. But the secular “Zodiac” and its use as a predictor of events in our personal lives because of our “signs”, is a total hijack of something God created to tell the greatest story, long before there was written language. And it’s likely what David referred to when he wrote in Psalm 19:1-4 that “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun…”. So looking to the heavens for signs is completely biblical, since that’s one of the things they were created for, and especially when we’re considering a sign that appears to be a match to something called “a great sign in the heavens” in Scripture.
Ok, moving on….

Revelation 12:1-6: 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. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

Up until a year or so ago when I began hearing about the September 2017 sign, I’d always heard this passage interpreted as a picture of Mary, the virgin, giving birth to Jesus. The dragon that’s waiting to devour the child as soon as it’s born has generally been interpreted as Herod trying to kill the infant Jesus. And then it speaks of the child being caught up to the throne of God, and this has been interpreted as Jesus’ ascension to heaven after his earthly life and ministry, about 40 days after His resurrection. Those who doubt the September event is a match to Revelation 12 would say this is the ONLY meaning of that passage. I think it’s possible that we could take what John wrote that way, on one level of interpretation. Plenty of things in Scripture have dual meanings though, and when you really examine the language of Revelation 12, you find that it’s actually not a great match to Jesus’ first coming and ascension. Not only that, Revelation 1:1 stated that what would follow were prophesies of the future – things that would soon take place, not pictures of the past. So clearly there’s something else being prophesied here. At best, in only a vague way could it be a look back to the birth, life, and ascension of Jesus. Too many things don’t match well, and some don’t match at all. By the way, I need to give credit where it’s due. Later on I’m going to do some personal speculating on possible Pentecost significance and other ways that some of the more prominent and well known people who are talking about this sign might be over-looking some things. But for right now, I’m mostly repeating other peoples’ work and study on it. Scott Clarke, who discovered it, has done more work on digging up the potential meanings of the images than anyone else I’ve seen, and while I disagree with him that the rapture is locked into September 23rd, I think he’s otherwise done a great job in identifying who the woman and the child are in John’s vision, and not just that – much more. He’s done years of research and has hours of video available about this on his website and YouTube. I’ll give a few links to some of his videos, but the reason I’m writing additional information, and not ONLY giving links to his work is because I don’t necessarily agree with his ultimate conclusion, although the rapture COULD of course fall on the date the sign culminates in September. He claims to not be a “date setter”, all the while implying that there’s just virtually no way September 23rd 2017 is not the rapture. But outside of that, his analysis of the sign seems spot on, so for now I’m just piggybacking on his work, and essentially repeating it. At the physical level, the woman is the constellation Virgo. Wait, did I already go through this above?? Anyway… By September 23rd 2017, the sun will be “clothing her” at her shoulder, and the moon will be at her feet. 3 planets (called “wandering stars”) will join the 9-star constellation Leo which is always at Virgo’s head, essentially then “crowning” her with 12 stars. And back in December 2016, the planet Jupiter entered the “womb” of Virgo, traveled toward her hips, but then retrograded, and will soon turn back again toward her hips, and exit in September, 9 months after entering, a normal human gestation period. And Jupiter is the “striped and wounded” “King” planet, possibly playing a role in the heavenly play as Christ, who was “wounded for our transgressions”, who is King of Kings, and it’s “by his stripes that we are healed”. And we’ll look at it in more detail later, but if Jupiter is in fact the child in the womb of the woman Virgo, even if it’s a picture of Christ, it can be a picture of the Church as well, since we’re said to be “in Him” and we’re the “body of Christ”.
Well I guess this is as good a place as any to discuss Joel Richardson’s take on it. His main argument is that this alignment just isn’t all that rare. But the only way he can legitimately come to that conclusion is by re-defining the crown that’s mentioned. He disagrees with the idea that the crown of 12 stars John referred to in his vision is comprised of the constellation Leo plus three planets that come and line up perfectly between it and the head of Virgo. He points out that there is a dim cluster of stars that is always at the head of Virgo, and that it has been considered Virgo’s crown in some ancient cultures’ records. The sun is briefly at the shoulder of Virgo every Fall, so that part actually isn’t all that rare. It happens every year. And then much less often, but occasionally, the moon is at the feet of Virgo while the sun is also at her shoulder. I’m not sure how rare that is, to be honest. And then Jupiter is on approximately a 12-year cycle, but I’m almost positive that this doesn’t mean it makes this 9 month retrograde action in the upper body area of Virgo every 12 years. That’s two different cycles, and I think their conjunction is much more rare. And if you know anything about odds, you know that as you continue adding variables, the likelihood of an event that involves all of them shrinks exponentially. So even if all of these events have a low to moderate rarity individually, it’s when they all come together that makes it potentially a very rare occurrence. But it really comes down to just what exactly the crown is…. Is it a cluster of stars that’s always there like Richardson believes? If so, that part of this is not rare. It’s there all the time. But if the 12-star crown mentioned is in fact Leo plus three planets that happen to line up at just the right time when all the other pieces of the puzzle are lining up, we’re down to the once in 6000 year event. And it’s actually a once for all time event if you want to get more technical, because when it happened 6000 years ago, it wasn’t the same 3 planets that lined up to make the 12-star crown. I’ve heard some researchers say that if you wind the software back 7000 years, you’ll get this exact alignment, and who knows, maybe it happened 7000 years ago. But regardless of how old we think the earth is (and I’m not getting in on that argument), the majority of Christians believe there have only been about 6000 years of human history, so if that’s the case, no one would have been there to observe it 7000 years ago. But I found something else, outside of Clarke’s research, that I think may add a little more weight to the Leo+3 planets-as-crown theory. Often when you see the phrase “In that day” in the bible, it’s a reference to last days or end times. It may be purely coincidence and have nothing to do with this sign at all, but Isaiah 28:5 reads: “In that day the LORD of hosts will BECOME A CROWN of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people.” Jesus, our Lord is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, in Scripture. In the constellation world, Leo is a picture of the Lord. And I think it’s interesting that in the Scott Clarke assessment of this picture, the Lion “becomes” the crown, with the help of assisting planets, and that’s just what that verse said….that in that day, the Lord would BECOME a crown. Well I’m not here to say who’s right and who’s wrong in their assessment of what the crown of Revelation 12 consists of, or what the overall sign is and what it means. I’m just pointing it out, and making the case that there’s enough here to not just blow it off as meaningless and common, as Joel Richardson, Gary Stearman, and other well-known Christian teachers have for the most part, at least in terms of it being rare, and indicating anything to do with the rapture of the Church.
Moving on with Clarke’s research into who and what is being representing when John sees this vision…. He believes, and makes an excellent case that the woman is the nation of Israel, and the child is the Church, the body of Christ, and that the birth, and specifically the child being caught up (harpazo:raptured) to God’s throne(Rev 12:5), is a picture of the rapture of the Church. (Here’s a link to one of his videos that deals with that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGkaSXIrss0 ) And just as the head normally comes out before the body in birth, so it has here, as Jesus has already been not only literally born of an Israelite woman, but has been borne up off the earth to heaven – of course with about 2000 years separating the delivery of the Head (of the Church, as Christ is called), and the delivery of the Body (of Christ, as believers are called). It’s very feasible to imagine the rapture of the church as a birth out of the nation and faith of Israel, and I’ll come back to some verses in Isaiah 66 that may specifically refer to it. In every way, our Christian faith is born out of Israel/Judaism, and to think of the Church being born out of Israel as what’s being pictured in John’s vision is completely possible. I was recently debating a guy over this idea. The individual I was in disagreement with claimed that the church is NEVER described as being birthed out of Israel, and that Christians are only described as being “adopted into” the family of God and “grafted into” the Vine. I totally get that, and agree. But first of all, the church, faith-wise, coming out of the faith of Israel and also the Church Body being born out of Israel in the rapture sense, are corporate matters, while the grafting in and adoption of believers into the family of God is an individual case-by-case faith matter. I think he was comparing apples and oranges. And what I was never able to get him to see, is that ALL of these are only symbolic pictures, not literal. Just as the Christian nation isn’t literally “born out of” Israel, there are also no literal “adoption papers”, and there is not a literal “vine” that we’re literally grafted into. We the Church are born out of Israel in the same sense of that old saying “Necessity is the mother of Invention” or “Out of Necessity, Invention is born”…or you could get creative and combine those two versions of that old saying, as my wife does, and get: “Out of Necessity, the mother of Invention is born”, which I’ve tried to tell her would make Necessity the grandmother of Invention, not the mother, but she still doesn’t believe me…She cracks me up. So while nothing was literally “born” out of anything, necessity certainly gives rise to invention. And the Jewish faith gave rise to the Christian faith. The faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is actually the same faith that we, the Church, claim. We just acknowledge the Messiah who came and fulfilled countless prophecies in His first coming, and most Jews are either secular and not looking at all, or are still looking for the first coming of the Messiah. The New Testament tells us that everything that happened in the Old Testament was “for us”, the believing New Testament Church. And there’s literally no end to discovering the typing, pre-figuring, symbolism, foreshadowing, or whatever term you want to use, for the ways the Church, and the gospel of Christ were born out of those times and stories, and the nation they encompassed. It’s our heritage. Heritage and inheritance, are essentially the same thing. And who do you inherit things from? Your family – your ancestors. And we call Abraham “our Father”. Israel, Judaism, that culture, those stories, and most of all, the Jewish Savior, and His promise to redeem us out of the earth just before all hell breaks loose here are our Head and our inheritance. God teaches through object lessons. There’s really no debating that fact. Here’s just a few that demonstrate what I’m trying to say: *God offering coverings made from animal skins to Adam and Eve, representing that blood must have been shed in order to cover their shame and neediness, a precursor to us “putting on Christ” after He shed His blood for us. *Abraham being asked to offer up his son Isaac (and him being willing to do it), as a foreshadowing of God offering up His own Son and Jesus being willing to be sacrificed. *On the day of that offering, Isaac carried the wood for the sacrificial fire on his back as they headed up the mountain, and that symbolized Christ carrying the wooden cross up the hill to Calvary, to be sacrificed. *At the moment that Abraham was willing to plunge a knife into his son, an angel stops him (because it was a faith test, all along, to see if he was willing to sacrifice his only son through Sarah) and the Isaac-as-Christ type is over when they find a ram caught by it’s horns in thorns, which is available for them to sacrifice. This ram now becomes the type of Christ who would one day wear a crown of thorns on His head. *When the Israelites were hungry in the wilderness and God sent the bread from heaven, that was another picture of Christ. In John 6:47-51, Jesus said that He is the bread from Heaven, that if anyone will “eat of”, they will gain eternal life. *When the Israelites were thirsty in the wilderness, God told Moses to strike the rock, and when He did, water rushed out of it. Jesus is that rock, who was struck, for us, and He offers us the living water that comes from His life and sacrificial death, and anyone who takes it will be saved. *When serpents had moved into the Israelite camp and were striking people, God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and raise it on a pole, and that everyone who would look to it would be healed. Jesus later identified Himself with this when He said that just as Moses held up the bronze serpent, He too would be lifted up in order to draw all men to Himself (a reference to Himself on the cross) and all who look to Him for salvation are saved. *Jesus compared Jonah’s time in the belly of a great fish to His brief time in the grave. *Then just think of all the pictures of faith that Paul gave us in Hebrews chapter 11 (the “Hall of Faith”)…all Old Testament stories, primarily Jews/Israelites, with a couple references to those who preceded the formation of the Jewish nation, and a reference to the Gentile Rahab…demonstrating even before the advent of Christ that saving faith isn’t only for the Jews. So there’s absolutely tons of symbolism of how Jesus’ and His Church are predicted, prefigured, and foreshadowed through the stories and actions of the Hebrews, the Jews. Signs God gives are pictures of the future, and we, the Church, come out of Israel/Judaism. It’s just a fact. Actually, while I’m not totally on board with the more extreme elements of the “Hebrew roots movement”, it’s really all one faith, that was always there pointing to a coming Messiah. Most Jews have simply not recognized Him, and more open access to the good news is available to Gentiles because of this. And Scripture indicates that they have been temporarily blinded to this reality, for the sake of drawing in the Gentiles.
Let’s take a look now at ways the Revelation 12 passage doesn’t match very well with the story of Christ’ first coming, but does in fact match up with other end times events such as the beast kingdom that Daniel wrote of, and the rapture of the Church, which Paul wrote of, and the escape of the woman(Israel) to the wilderness for 1260 days. In fact, that last one is a major identifier of the woman being the nation of Israel, but it isn’t until the mid-point of the 7-year time of Jacob’s trouble (which is yet a future event) that Israel flees from Jerusalem into surrounding areas for 3 ½ years. And this is verified in other places in Scripture.

This seven-headed ten-horned beast is exactly how Daniel saw the final end times world power, and it does not fit Herod, of Jesus’ day. It has been thought for a long time that this final beastly world kingdom must be a “revived Roman empire”. It might, but there are actually other ways to interpret it, but because they’re not really relevant to this post, I’m not going to speculate on that here. Regardless, it’s an evil and worldly kingdom, no matter where its base is. And it doesn’t live in the sky, even though John said he saw it as “another sign…in the heavens”. It’s possibly the constellation Hydra, which is near Virgo, and in some renditions is a 7-headed serpent (and the Greek word being translated as “dragon” in Revelation 12 is defined by Strong’s as “a fabulous kind of serpent”). It’s also possible it’s a reference to the constellation Ophiuchus. NASA did something strange last year. They added a 13th constellation to the Zodiac, changing many people’s “signs”. Who even knew that was something NASA was in charge of? I was a Taurus, and now I’m an Aries. Feels the same. But anyway, they added Ophiuchus, the snake handler, and in the artist renditions, the large snake he’s holding is right at the feet of Virgo. It doesn’t have 7 heads, but I suppose it’s another possibility for what John saw in the heavens. Oh, and that may work fine that it only has one head, because another line of thinking on the 7-headed beast, is that there has always been a beast kingdom, and that the different heads aren’t simultaneously there, but that this represents a flow, and that the final one would be the 7th. Not sure on all that. But it is interesting to me that the snake handler constellation was added so near in time, to when this sign is culminating. And if you’re wondering the same thing I was when I first heard about NASA doing that, the constellation was already there; it just wasn’t part of the Zodiac until 2016. And there are other theories on what heavenly object or occurrence represents what John saw when he spoke of the dragon. I’d love to get into Jaco Prinslee’s research and what he believes is happening in space that will represent this serpent, but it’s just too much for this post. But whatever is playing out in the heavens is a picture of what is playing out on the earth. Or at least it’s a picture of what WILL play out on earth at some point. Let’s look at other ways this event John describes does not seem to match up perfectly to the virgin birth of Christ. He says “a woman, clothed with the sun.” The word being translated from Greek as ‘woman’ isn’t the same term used for “virgin” or “young woman” in Scripture. The Strong’s Concordance definition of the term John used is “a woman, specifically a wife”. God calls the nation of Israel His wife, in Scripture, so just keep that in mind as we move ahead. And while He loves her dearly, at times He also calls her an adulterous wife, who goes whoring after the Gentile nations. Keep that in mind as well because I think it is significant in verifying who the child is that is being birthed in the heavenly play.

So this wife/woman is in pain (which could easily match up with the always troubled nation of Israel) and crying out in pain as she is about to give birth. That’s when we see the dragon appear, again, as an exact match to the final world kingdom that Daniel envisioned. Revelation 12:4 says the dragon’s tail swept a third of the stars from the sky and flung them to the earth. This has been most often interpreted as a throwback vision of when Satan deceived a third of the angels and convinced them to rebel against God and follow after his plan. And I wouldn’t argue against that. It’s also possible that it indicates that the world is about to be inundated with other worldly evil, right at the tip end of the Church age or the beginning of the final 7 years before Christ returns to set up His millennial kingdom. Some very reputable Christians believe there’s going to be an “alien deception” – Fallen angels either masquerading as beings from other worlds here to help, or even here to harm,….seems far-fetched, but I can’t rule out anything when God says in Scripture that He’s one day going to send a strong delusion on the earth. Or it could certainly also mean that a lot of fiery debris is about to come falling to the earth. Any one, or all three of those, or something else altogether could be being indicated here. We just don’t know for sure at this time. But other places in Scripture speak of fire and brimstone falling to the earth right at the last days.

So what’s the evidence that the child born in the Revelation 12 vision is the Church? (if you didn’t watch the video I gave a link to above) Well, in the first layer of meaning, I think it’s generally agreed upon that the child is Jesus himself, being born, not only from the Jewish nation of Israel, He Himself being a Jew, but specifically from a virgin(Virgo), and it’s interesting that Jupiter entered(impregnated) Virgo from her side back in December 2016, and not in the typical manner, just as Mary wasn’t impregnated in the typical manner. But it’s important to remember that while this is happening in Virgo(the virgin), John didn’t use that word most often used to describe a virgin or young girl, so the heavenly picture can have multiple layers of meaning, and John is speaking of something different, or at least in addition to, that first meaning, so I’m going forward on the premise that the woman is Israel, not the virgin Mary. This could of course be wrong, but I haven’t heard a better theory yet. Although Gary Stearman might, I don’t think Joel Richardson even argues against that particular interpretation. His beef is more with the rarity of the alignment and against the idea that it points to the rapture at or near the time of the alignment. There’s a strong correlation between her being said in Revelation to go into the wilderness for 1260 days(3.5 lunar/prophetic years) and where the book of Daniel talks about the antichrist breaking the 7-year covenant at the mid-way (3.5 year) point, forcing the Jews to flee, which is what Jesus is likely referencing in Matthew 24:15-16 when He says:
So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
And this woman going into the wilderness for 1260 days to be nourished just doesn’t have any match to what happened after Christ ascended into heaven. This is a sign for the future. It all seems to work together very well, so from this point, that’s the assumption I’m building on. And therefore, if the woman in the heavenly play is Israel, and if over her lifetime, she has gone whoring after Gentile nations, as God her Husband has accused her of, would it be all that strange that she is having a Gentile baby? (and even this of course plays into God’s ultimate plan to offer salvation to all the world, not just his Jewish “chosen people”). Well that’s the theory on who the woman and child are but the child being born is not just Gentiles in general. It is Gentiles who have come to Christ by faith. Oh, and by the same token, it’s not just Gentiles who have come to faith in the Lord, but ethnic Jews who also have accepted Christ. In general, relatively few Jewish people have accepted that Jesus Christ was and is in fact their promised Messiah as of yet, but some have (often called Messianic Jews), and they of course would be part of that group (the believing Church) that is raptured away.

The dragon – the beast kingdom is sitting there just waiting for this child to be born out of the woman, so it can devour it, according to verse 4 of Revelation 12. But we see the child is “snatched up to God and to His throne” right before that can happen. The Greek term being translated as “snatched up” is (HARPAZO in Greek) and is the same one that Paul uses when he is speaking of the rapture, the “catching away” of believers to heaven. Concerning the different layers of meaning in this heavenly sign, this isn’t how Jesus’ ascension into heaven was described at all when he was “taken up” (ANAPHERO in Greek) before them. Also, I searched every place the word “harpazo” appears in Scripture and the only time this term is applied to Jesus wasn’t at His ascension, but was when in John chapter 6, after one of His food multiplication miracles, we’re told that Jesus perceived that they would come and “take Him by force” (harpazo) to try to make Him king before it was time, and He therefore slipped away to the mountains. And this is why many of us who are looking at this thing believe the child being born out of Israel is the Church – because it is said to be raptured up to God, as we know believers will be one day, according to the promises of God through Paul (and Jesus). But some have argued against this woman being Israel and the child being the Church. The most common argument is that this one birthed can only be Jesus because it is called “a son, a male child, who will rule the nations with an iron sceptor”. I don’t agree with all of Scott Clarke’s conclusions, but when it comes to identifying this “male child”, I’m going to lean on his work. The common argument against his conclusion is that the Church is “the bride”, and therefore female, and can’t be this “male child”. They would also point out that the passage says He will rule with an iron scepter, and there are other Scriptures that indicate this is what the Lord, who was male, will do. Well, Clarke demonstrates how the Church is called by many terms in Scripture, and in only one of those is female. And he also pointed to the letters that Jesus dictated to the churches through John:

Revelation 2:26-27 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and HE WILL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.

This is Jesus speaking and making promises of what is in store for those who persevere, so He can’t be speaking of Himself only as ruling with a rod of iron. In this passage, we see that we, the overcoming Church, will have authority, in and with Christ, to rule over the nations with an iron scepter (rod). So the child being male, and ruling with an iron rod certainly doesn’t rule out it being the Church, and in fact it seems to be more of an evidence that it is in fact the Church that’s being spoken of, given this clue from Revelation 2.

Well, here’s where I’m kindof going out on my own, and away from Scott Clarke’s or anyone else’s research. I found some interesting passages in the last chapter of Isaiah while studying, and I think they may play into this September sign of this pregnancy. I need to reiterate that they MAY play into this. I have no idea. It’s only speculation, but I think it’s sensible speculation. Isaiah 66:7 says “Before she travailed, she gave birth. Before her pain came, she was delivered of a male child”. It’s possible that this is a reference to the same pregnancy that Revelation 12 refers to, and that this is the same male child as well. Lots of ‘if’s here, but if that’s the case, then it looks like the child could be a premie. In other words, the rapture/birth could happen before the presumed birth date over in September because this verse speaks of the delivery happening before the final pains of giving birth. Scott Clarke has a different view on how Isaiah 66 may play into this than I do. He believes that the “pain” referenced here is the entire 7-year “tribulation” time which begins right after the rapture/birth of the Church. And he may be exactly right. It’s all just speculation. The next verse has more possible clues. Isaiah 66:8 asks “Who has ever seen such a thing?”, so it seems that it’s referencing something that’s never happened before (like the rapture??). Also in verse 8, it reads “Will a nation be born in a day?”. If you’ve been around the main stream of Christian bible prophecy for a while (Gary Stearman, Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe…those guys, and others), then you’ve probably heard that this is a reference to the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948. I respect all of those guys, and it may well be. Or it may have a dual meaning. Or it may not mean that at all. Just on a whim several weeks ago, I looked up the Hebrew word being translated as “be born” in that part of verse 8, and the Strong’s concordance has several possible meanings, but they all essentially mean “give birth”, not “be born”. Obviously those things happen at the same time…being born, and giving birth. But they are different things, and happen to two different people. If we plug in the primary Strong’s definition, it would read, “Will a nation GIVE BIRTH in a day?” ….not “Will a nation BE BORN in a day?”. And that gets back to what so many of us are thinking the Revelation 12 sign may be a picture of: a nation, Israel, giving birth to the church, but not just in the sense that we descended from Israel, but that we’ll ascend, and be borne up to the throne of God, as Revelation 12 says. But then, what’s behind this idea that the delivery/deliverance happens “before her pain came”? Again, maybe Clarke is correct and “her pain” is the entire 7-year tribulation. But when Jesus spoke of birth pang events when answering questions about the end of the age, after giving a list of things, He specifically said these are the “beginnings of birth pangs”. I think that’s another possible clue, that we, the church, won’t be here to experience the FINAL birth pangs, but only the BEGINNINGS of them. But I found even more evidence. And this is where I came up with a theory about the rapture that I’ve never heard anyone present before…and that in itself may should have been a reason to ignore it. But it actually makes pretty good sense. When Paul spoke of the rapture – of the Church being caught up, he specifically described it as being caught up to meet the Lord in the air (which would be either the atmosphere or the 2nd heavens-space). This is a little different than where the male child of Revelation 12 is caught up to. In Revelation, it says “caught up to God, and to His throne”. When I thought about that, it made me start wondering if maybe “the rapture”, this thing that I, and I assume most others, have always imagined as a singular event, actually has two phases. First phase: We’re caught up to meet the Lord in the air/2nd heavens. Phase two: We’re caught up again from there to God and His throne. There’s actually more evidence of that. In Matthew 24:31, Jesus said that right after the sign of the Son of Man appears, the angels will be sent forth to gather the elect. First of all, I think this Revelation 12 sign is a great candidate for the “sign of the Son of Man” since at one level at least, it’s a picture of a virgin giving birth. And while Jesus is also the Son of God, what makes Him the Son of Man as well is that he was born of a woman and while fully God, was also fully man. So I’m not saying that the sign of the Son of Man that Jesus referred to is one and the same as the Revelation 12 sign. But it’s a definite maybe. The more notable thing though about this gathering of the elect by the angels is where they gather from. They gather the elect “from the heavens” according to Matthew 24. If we’re gathered FROM the heavens, wouldn’t we have to first BE in the heavens to be gathered from? Seems reasonable to me, especially with Paul saying that it’s to the heavens that we’re caught up to meet the Lord. He clearly didn’t say that we’d be caught up to God (the Father), or to His throne, or to the 3rd heaven – just into the air. So that gets into why I think that even if this September 23rd sign is literally what John spoke of in Revelation, and even if it is marking A rapture date, it might be marking that second phase when we’re caught up FROM the air and to the throne of God, and not the first phase where we’re caught up to meet the Lord IN the air. And if that’s the case…If we’re literally out there in the air or space for some period of time, that opens up Jaco Prinslee’s theory and gives it a little more validity. He believes the dragon is a brown dwarf star, perhaps with it’s on planets, that’s part of our solar system, but on such a massive eliptical orbit, that it rarely comes near the sun, and he believes it’s going to collide with Jupiter. Maybe it’s not Jupiter (which is only representing the Body of Christ) that the dragon is going to collide with, but maybe it is going to literally try to devour the Body of Christ. That’s what the verse says…that the dragon is waiting there to devour the child as soon as it is born (born=raptured???). Lots of if’s and maybe’s, but the verse means something, and any of these are possibilities. And Prinsloo isn’t the only one talking about this thing, called by many names: Planet X, Nibiru, Nemisis, the red dragon (an Oriental name for it which sounds like the Revelation 12 description), Planet 9, Planet 7X, and so on. There’s actually some decent evidence it’s out there and approaching, including a couple references by NASA in 1983 and 1994,(as well as biblical references to something called “wormwood” hitting the earth) but who knows. Long story short though…we simply don’t know the day or hour…even if this September is the pinnacle of prophecy, and the marker of what Scripture calls our “blessed hope”. So not only might the Revelation 12 sign in September be legitimate, but pointing to something yet out in the future, it could be legitimate and yet have a key factor (our redemption) days, weeks, or months ahead of time. This would fit with the Isaiah passage saying that before her pain came, she delivered a child. And it would fit well with Jesus telling us that it will come at a time we don’t expect, because even many of those who are very in tune to the late hour we seem to be living in, and always watching for signs, have their eyes glued to September 23rd 2017. We may not be here by then, or we may be here long after that date. Oh, and Isaiah 66:8 also rhetorically asks: “Will the earth bring forth in a day?”. That again sounds like a first phase rapture where we’re borne up off the earth and into the air. There’s another possibility when looking at a 2-phase or 2-part rapture. Paul said that the “dead in Christ” (those who were believers at the time of their death) will rise first, and that then after that, those of us who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet them in the air. (1 Thes. 4:16). I’ve always assumed those two things would happen just seconds apart, if even that long, but I guess it’s possible that the “bringing forth of the earth” is a reference to resurrection of the dead in Christ who have been buried in the earth. And then we who are alive and remain may join them at a later date. I think that’s less likely than my other theory that all believers, dead and alive, will be caught up first to the air, and then later from the air to the throne of God. But who knows? Both theories could obviously be wrong. I’ll say it like one of my favorite pastors, Mark Batterson: “As soon as I’m omniscient, I’ll let you know”.

Well these are just theories. But I think they’re as plausible as any other, although I can’t rule out the Joel Richardsons and Gary Stearmans either. Maybe those guys are right, and this September isn’t rare, and maybe we’re still well away from the end of the Church age. But does it feel like that? Doesn’t it feel like things are coming to a head? Every single thing that Jesus called the beginnings of birth pangs is poised to happen at the drop of a hat. They’re actually all happening now, but just more isolated and localized than they probably will when the time is here.

Well that covers what the Revelation 12 sign is and how it may be playing itself out this coming September, and it also covered why I believe the rapture could happen even before the sign culminates, even if in fact this coming September’s skies are what John saw in his vision. But I think it’s important to keep in mind that there are reputable Christians in public ministry who look at all the same information and don’t see this year fulfilling Revelation 12 at all. Those opinions can be respected, while still having hope and expectation the this year is a Revelation 12 match and we’re about to go to the place Jesus said he was going to prepare for us. And I mentioned this briefly earlier, but there’s another side to the coin as well. Let’s just say that this coming September’s alignment of stars and planets is in fact what John saw. And to me it’s intriguing that it falls on Rosh Hashana, which is a yet unfulfilled feast which has long been thought by prophecy students to be the feast the tribulation would begin on in some future year. But generally signs precede what they signal. If you’re riding down the road and there’s a sign, it’s telling you about something that’s still further down the road…not something that’s right there where and when the sign is. So it’s possible that this is THE sign, yet the September 23rd date is insignificant – it’s maybe all just a reminder that we’re getting closer. On the other hand, you don’t usually see a road sign 6 years in advance, as is the case with this 2011 discovery. So there’s that.

There’s so much more I’d like to get into on this, but I feel like very few if anyone at all has read this far, and sorting through all my other thoughts on this and making it into something readable is going to be some work. So if you’ve made it this far, and want to hear more, comment or message me, and I’ll keep going. But the last thing I’m going to do in this post is just give you more specifics on why I’m personally taking this September event seriously as a possible fulfillment of the Revelation 12 sign, and also a possible fulfillment of “the sign of the Son of Man” that Jesus referenced. And it involves what I believe are some problems in terminology that create most of our disagreements within Christianity about when the rapture is, in relation to the “tribulation” period, so it’s gonna probably step on some toes. I don’t think Christians will be on earth during that 7-year period where most of the events of Revelation take place. In one sense, that makes me “pre-trib”, like probably 80% of Christians are. But I think we’re mistakenly calling that 7-year time period “the tribulation”. The only thing Jesus ever called “the tribulation” was the beginning of birthpangs, which He referred to as “the tribulation of those days”, and I think there’s strong biblical evidence that the Church is still on earth during those days. Additionally, Jesus said that when we see the abomination of desolation that Daniel spoke of stood in the Holy Place (which is to happen in the middle of that 7-year period), that there would at that time be “great tribulation” such as had never been on the earth or ever would be again. But saying there would be great tribulation at that time isn’t the same thing as naming the 2nd half of that period “the great tribulation” as we’ve done. The true “tribulation” period, the time where a series of pre-birthpang or early birth pang events happens doesn’t have any particular time frame to happen in, but it happens just before the rapture and just before the 7 year “time of Jacob’s trouble”, which is a more biblically accurate name for it. I could back this up with tons of evidence if I wanted to write 10 more pages, but I don’t. But IF the rapture is in fact slated to be on or around that September 23rd date, and only God knows whether it is or isn’t, I think we’re guaranteed to see those birthpang events happen between now (Late May 2017) and September…basically it could be a rough Summer. And on the other hand, if nothing out of the ordinary happens over this Summer, I’m gonna be a lot less expectant of anything prophetic happening in September. But if the wars and rumors of wars keep ramping up…if there’s greater and greater financial breakdowns (and we’re seeing it in isolated places now), if there’s more breakouts of new strains of this or that bug, or others we’ve known of making a comeback (also something that’s been in the news a lot even in just the last few days), then look up because our redemption is getting really close. Part of the birth pangs is Christian persecution as well. And like the other precursor events, that’s also already happening now in isolated areas, but will likely become more widespread right before our redemption. I used to really dread the thought of being alive during anything like that. And I think a lot of Christians probably feel the same way. In fact, I think that’s why so many have tried to doctrinalize those Matthew 24 events into something that happens to so-called “tribulation saints”(people who get saved during that 7-year period) AFTER the rapture, instead of just before it …or others have taken the preterist view and said that all that prophecy was fulfilled way back just after the time of Christ. But Scripture actually frees us from worrying about persecution. God will give the grace to deal with that when and if the time comes. When the disciples were pulled into court and beaten for spreading the gospel, they came out of that rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ, and instead of going underground, actually went right back to preaching, as they’d just been warned not to. When Paul and Silas were imprisoned, they didn’t mope, but were singing praise songs. And Paul gave multiple accounts of the trouble that came on him because of what he was doing – the snakebite, the ship wrecks, starving at times, the beatings and being left for dead, and so on. And he never quit but kept on going, by God’s grace. And Jesus, finding a way to pray for those who were literally crucifying Him. And it might be easy to say “Well He was God, so He had a little different perspective”…but then there’s Stephen, the first martyr, who while being stoned for preaching Jesus as Messiah, had the grace to pray for the forgiveness of those who were killing him, and at that time saw the sky open up and got a vision of Jesus standing there to receive him. So I think all those are stories that were recorded so that we won’t worry about the possibility of persecution. If it comes to that, it’ll be ok, and God will use it. And of course none of this may happen in our lifetimes, or it may happen, and yet persecution misses us, or maybe it doesn’t miss. Whatever happens, Jesus is there through it, and after it, and for all eternity.

Well I know that addressing this entire subject of end times can sound like gloom and doom, and if you don’t know Christ as your Savior yet, it is. But if you do, it’s not, because it’s only going to get really dark for a short time right before it gets really awesome. I hope this post alerted people to the astronomical event happening later this year that may or may not be the Revelation 12 sign, and gave some varying perspectives on what it might mean scripturally, while at the same time not coming across as a prediction. That was my goal anyway. God Bless

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