**UPDATE: Please check out these Resources:**
An interesting piece in the End Times Prophecy puzzle may be set to be fulfilled this fall.
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 sign was discovered using a free software called Stellarium, and has been verified by a number of people over the last 5 years or so. For a detailed discussion on the components of the Rev 12 Sign and common questions and answers, I suggest you go HERE (unsealed.org). [I *highly* recommend reading through the articles on unsealed – they are well researched, theologically sound, and pretribulational).
In 2007, Rick Larson released a documentary entitled The Star of Bethlehem. This sparked a new interest in looking for signs in the heavens using astronomy software such as Stellarium. God intentionally gave us the sun, moon, and stars to mark out the days, seasons, and years for us – they also “proclaim knowledge” (Psalm 19). Interestingly, they are also to serve as signs. “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.” Genesis 1:14-15. God placed the heavenly bodies deliberately with specific orientation, alignment, and order. God wrote the story of salvation in the stars via the Mazzaroth (which satan corrupted into what we call astrology).
In around 2008 Luis Vega discovered the Revelation 12 sign in the sun, moon, and stars using Stellarium (around the same time that the Blood Moon tetrad of 2014/15 was discovered – although I don’t personally believe that carried any significance). News of this hit the internet in 2011, and Scott Clarke took it to a new level in 2012. He viewed the heavenly alignment every fall for 6000 years, taking screenshots, and September 23, 2017 is the ONLY time this sign occurs within a 6000 year time period. His discussions can be viewed on his YouTube channel – eternalrhythymflow. Many other Bible prophecy watchers have since verified the sign in Stellarium and other astronomy programs as well (from what I understand).
There is an interesting connection here to other passages linking birth pains to the beginning of the Day of the Lord:
“Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the Lord; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God. (Isaiah 66:7-11)
For a very brief overview of the Rev 12 Sign that will be seen this fall over Israel on September 23, 2017, here is an excerpt from unsealed.org (click HERE for full article):
A Great Sign
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
The astronomical alignment that so many are now pointing to comes from a literal reading of Revelation 12:1-5, which describes a sign in the sky involving a woman who is crowned with twelve stars, clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet, and giving birth to a male child. The text itself does not describe the sign as a parable or illustration, which validates the view that this passage is in fact describing a real astronomical event visible to the inhabitants of the earth – complete with real sun, moon, and stars. Each of the elements described in the sign have significant prophetic and allegorical meaning as will be shown, but the passage itself describes first and foremost a real sign and so any accurate interpretation must begin with that premise. Lacking any evidence that the Apostle John was not describing a sign visible in the sky as the text plainly says, the burden of proof is entirely upon those who would argue that this passage is only pure allegory.
There has been much confusion over both the Hebrew and Greek words for heaven. In the Greek, the word in Revelation 12:1 is ourano with a definite article, which can be translated as “in heaven” or “in the sky.” The distinction is a big deal, because many who deny a literal one thousand-year kingdom of Christ and the earthly fulfillment of Old Testament covenant promises, will opt for “heaven” being the translation every time. The same goes for Revelation 21:1. John sees what is often translated “a new heaven” and “a new earth.” However, it may be better to translate this as “a new sky,” rather than confusing modern readers by using a word in modern English most often associated with God’s dwelling.
It is also important to note that these first five verses in Revelation 12 purposefully distinguish between two different signs. The first sign, which the text calls “a great sign”, involves only a woman in labor, and so includes Revelation 12:1-2 and Revelation 12:5. The second sign, called “another sign”, is described in Revelation 12:3-4. The signs are connected in the narrative, but their distinction tells us that they are not the same and this is the likely reason that only the first sign has been apparently identified in the Fall of 2017. A number of different explanations for the second sign have been offered, such as an as of yet unseen stellar or planetary body, but that is not the topic of this study. Our focus is entirely on the “great sign”.
There is some question as to who first made the discovery in its most primordial form, but sometime in 2011 it was observed using astronomy software that a specific alignment of constellations, planets, the sun, and moon would appear to fulfill a literal reading of Revelation 12:1-2 and Revelation 12:5. Here are each of the elements involved in the alignment:
The Constellation Virgo
Virgo, Latin for “virgin” or “maiden”, is the second largest constellation in the sky and one of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac and Jewish Mazzaroth (the constellations that the sun appears to move through during the course of the year). In most depictions it features twelve principal stars as can be seen in the picture above. Spica, along with three other stars, forms a womb-of-sorts at the center of the constellation. Virgo is universally depicted as a woman, even in the ancient Grecian, Roman, and Assyrian-Babylonian cultures and for this reason it is argued that this is the “woman” John saw in the sky. It is the only constellation in the Zodiac and Mazzaroth that represents a woman, and out of the 88 constellations in the entire celestial sphere, it is one of only three constellations that represent women (the other two being Andromeda and Cassiopeia).
Our solar system’s star is mentioned by name in Revelation 12:1 as part of the sign. It is said to “clothe” the woman. From the perspective of a viewer on earth, the sun is always much smaller than Virgo and therefore it cannot be the disc of the sun itself that clothes her in any arrangement, but on September 23rd it will rest upon her shoulder and the sign will be entirely “clothed” in sunlight during the day on September 22nd and 23rd, hiding Virgo from view.
The lunar body is also mentioned by name in Revelation 12:1, described as residing under the woman’s feet. On September 23rd, from the perspective of a viewer in the Middle East, Virgo will appear prone and the moon will appear directly under the feet of the constellation.
A Crown Of Twelve Stars
It is not uncommon for Virgo to be “clothed” in the sun and to have the moon under or near her feet – in fact it happens every year for a number of days in the Fall. It is the crown of twelve stars that John saw that really begins to set this sign apart. This is far, far more rare. The Hebrew and Greek words for “star” do not distinguish between stars as we know them today and planets. From the perspective of an earth-based observer, stars and planets look the same except that planets appear to move through the field of fixed stars. For this reason, planets were sometimes described in the ancient languages as “wandering”, but they were still called stars. Situated directly above the head of the constellation Virgo is the constellation Leo (“The Lion”), composed of nine principal stars as shown above. On September 22nd and 23rd the visible planets Mercury, Mars, and Venus will join Leo’s nine stars to form a “crown” of twelve stars on the head of Virgo.The Planet Jupiter
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is said to represent the male child that the woman is giving birth to. There seem to be some very good reasons for making this connection.
First of all, almost all commentaries on Revelation 12 throughout Church history have identified the male child in the passage with Jesus Christ (though not only Jesus Christ as will be discussed later). It seems obvious enough: on one level the woman represents Mary, the baby is Jesus, and the dragon in the second sign represents satan. The child is “caught up” to God’s throne in the passage and Jesus ascended into Heaven. Jesus will also rule all the nations when He returns as the passage describes the child as doing. A number of theories about the Star of Bethlehem have posited that Jupiter was that very star – Christ’s star. Like Christ, Jupiter is covered in stripes (Isaiah 53:5) and has a very prominent hole called the Great Red Spot, similar to Christ’s spear wound (John 19:34). Also like Christ, Jupiter “takes the blow” for us (Isaiah 53:4-6), absorbing most of the lethal comets and asteroids from the outer solar system that would otherwise strike earth.
Second, the planet is named after the king of the gods in the ancient Roman and Greek pantheons (Jupiter and Zeus, respectively). In ancient Babylonian and Germanic pantheons the planet represented the son of their respective chief deities: Marduk son of Ea, and Thor son of Odin. In other words, in the ancient world Jupiter was always associated with either the greatest male deity or that deity’s son. Jupiter is therefore frequently called the “king planet”.
Third, on November 20th, 2016, the planet Jupiter entered the womb of the constellation Virgo where it will remain for exactly 42 weeks, the precise length of a long human gestation. The 42 week gestation is interesting in light of the 42 generations from Abraham to Christ (Matthew 1:17) and the 42 months that transpire in each of the first and second halves of the Tribulation (Revelation 11:2, Revelation 13:5, Daniel 7:25, among others). A crown of twelve stars above Virgo’s head is rare, but this is rarer still. In order for Jupiter to remain in the womb for such a lengthy and precise amount of time, it undergoes an extremely rare retrograde motion in the constellation. The planet actually appears to make a giant circle within the womb during this time before exiting on September 9th, 2017. The sign in Revelation 12 completes in verse 5 after the child is born and likewise two weeks after Jupiter exits the womb, it moves down the celestial birthing canal and the complete sign is formed in the sky. It could be said that the woman is in labor for two weeks as the baby moves out of the womb and through the canal.
The great question, assuming Stellarium and all these watchers are correct, is what is the significance of this great sign? Is the sign’s appearance related to the snatching of the second child – the Church? I believe it serves as a “great sign” that our exit as the church is near, and that the age of grace is about to close. The author says it well on alittlestrength.com:
I believe the REV12 sign—a sign that will be fulfilled this September—is nothing less than the Church’s exit sign, indicating to those with ears to hear that our “exit” is coming up just ahead. I say that because just as with real exit signs on the highway, I do not believe we will ever have revelation knowledge of anything in Scripture that pins the Rapture to a certain date. In other words, the actual exit itself isn’t right there at the sign—exit signs don’t work that way. They give you some advance warning, just as many of God’s signs do. An exit sign gives you a heads up that you’re just about there and gives you sufficient time to get into the right lane and prepare to take your exit when you come to it. (SOURCE)
Will the exit be before the sign? Will it be shortly (days, weeks, months, one to several years) after? As far as the day and the hour goes, we can’t know with any certainty. God hasn’t told us clearly, for great reason! Imagine if satan and all the world knew the exact day and hour of the rapture. First of all, that would destroy the “blessed hope” for all those who came before, who knew for certain that it couldn’t be in their lifetime. Secondly, satan would be able to develop a much more detailed plan to stop it. Thirdly, people could be slack in their work for God’s kingdom, believing they had “lots of time”. It is God’s will that we all live in a state of alert spiritual readiness. This demonstrates the beauty of Biblical prophecy! It is alive! Each generation can use it for profit, but it becomes more and more meaningful as it unfolds.
The Great Sign appears over Israel September 23, 2017, which also happens to be a Saturday, the Sabbath of Return (Shabbat Shuvah literally means “Sabbath of Return,” but it is also a play on the phrase “Shabbat Teshuvah” (Sabbath of Repentance). It is the Shabbat that occurs between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and is a time for reflection leading up to the atonement of Yom Kippur. Shabbat Shuvah has two special haftarah readings, one dealing with the importance of heartfelt repentance (Hosea 14:2-10) and one praising the Creator’s mercy (Micah 7:18-20) – from http://www.jewfaq.org). .
Jupiter (the King planet) leaves Virgo September 9, 2017. The Feast of Trumpets is Sept 21-22 this year. September 21 also happens to be the last day of summer (the last date a summer harvest would be possible, before yielding to the fall season). Sept 21 is also is the date of the United Nations International Day of Peace – when people will be crying “peace and safety”.
One specific day (or hour) isn’t standing out – and it may not even be this year – but I think you get the drift that September of this year is the most interesting month that Biblical Prophecy has ever seen to date. By placing signs very close in proximity, but not giving an exact day or time, God fulfills “no one knows the day or hour”.
Astronomy, physics, time zones, Hebrew days being evening to evening… Not my strong points. But here are some thoughts I have on this (please someone correct me if my time zone / Hebrew calendar understanding is incorrect!). Remember that the start of the Hebrew month is based on the sighting of the moon, confirmed by two witnesses. (see The Temple Institute for details). The Feast of Trumpets is the only feast day that occurs on the first day of a month (1 Tishrei), making it the only feast where “no one knows the day or hour”. While the feast days are calculated based on astronomical measurements these days, the moon may not be bright enough to be visible to the naked human eye on Sept 21-22, moving it to Sept 22-23 – this would then coincide with the Great Sign. But, until that day, we won’t know. 🙂 The strongest human eye can see lunar illumination of about 6.5% (Mehran Moalem, Physics Professor and Engineer at UC Berkeley) (see How Bright for details). The moon will be about 6% illuminated on Sept 22nd (Stellarium predicts 6.4% at 7:14pm on Sept 22nd in Israel). From what I understand, this would actually be Sept 23rd in Israel, if counting the day as starting the evening before (at sunset) instead of at midnight. Thus, the Great Sign would actually appear during the latter part of the day (from memory, it’s in the afternoon) on the Feast of Trumpets (which would end at sunset on the 23rd). That’s all Israel time, so it would be earlier over here in North America since they are ahead of us.
I also find it interesting that this year is the 70th year after Israel became re-established as a nation, falling within the 70-80 year human lifespan stated in Psalm 90 – after which we “fly away”. Are we the generation that will not taste death but will fly away? I hope and pray yes!
For a discussion on how the sign might become visible during the daylight hours when it appears, a possibility may be found in the book of Amos. View article HERE
For an overview of the rapture of the church including the Rev12 sign, Feast of Trumpets, and other signs I recommend Scott Clarke’s rapture discussion. Hang in there and watch the whole thing – Part 1, Part 2.
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!