I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
Truly, we live in exciting times prophetically speaking. We live in a time when all of the signs of prophecy are aligning in one generation. All of the players, if you will, are on the field. I am of the firm belief that ours is indeed the generation that will witness the rapture of the Church, with the world experiencing the awful events of the Great Tribulation period. Now, in saying that I am well aware that past generations of Christians have also believed this. In fact, I became a Christian in October of 1972. That is forty-five years ago, and for all of these years I have heard it preached that Jesus is Coming soon. I entered the ministry on November 23, 1980, and for almost thirty-seven years I have been proclaiming the soon Return of our Lord. As I write these words however, believers are still here, and Jesus has not returned.
Throughout the history of the Christian Church, believers have eagerly and expectantly awaited the Lord’s Return. Starting in A.D. 30 until the present day there have been predictions of the return of the Lord, or the “end of the world.” For example:
- In A.D. 30: Many Christians looked at the Lord’s words in Matthew 16:28 and Matthew 24:34 to mean that Jesus would return in their generation.
- About A.D. 60: Many believers who had received the Apostle Paul’s epistles, taking their words literally, firmly believed that the rapture would occur during their lifetime. Some of Paul’s statements would seem to imply he believed this.
- About A.D. 90: Clement predicted that the world could end at any moment.
- In the second century prophets and prophetesses of the Montanist Movement predicted that Jesus would return sometime during their lifetime and set up the New Jerusalem in the city of Pepuza in Asia Minor.
- In A.D. 365: A man by the name of Hilary of Poltiers, announced that the end would happen that year.
- 375 to 400: Saint Martin of Tours, a student of Hilary, was convinced that the end would occur sometime before A.D. 400.
- A.D. 500: This was the first year with-a-nice-round-number-panic. The anti-pope Hippolytus and an earlier Christian academic by the name of Sextus Julius Africanus had predicted Armageddon at about this year.
- A.D. 968: An eclipse was interpreted as a prelude to the end of the world by the army of the German emperor Otto III.
- A.D. 1000: Many Christians had predicted the end of the world on this date.
Jumping ahead in history just a bit (although there have been many apocalyptic predictions down through the centuries),
- 1792: was the year calculated as the end of the world by some believers in the Shaker Movement.
- 1794: Charles Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, thought that the end would occur that year.
- 1830: Margaret McDonald predicted that Robert Owen would be the Antichrist. Owen helped found New Harmony, IN.
- 1843: William Miller, founder of the Millerite Movement, predicted that Jesus would return on March 21st of that year.
- 1844: when Jesus did not return on that date, he predicted the new date of October 22nd 1844. In an event now referred to as, “The Great Disappointment”, many Christians sold their property and possessions, quit their jobs and prepared themselves for the Second Coming. Nothing happened, and the day came and went without incident.
- 1850: Ellen G. White, founder of Seventh Day Adventism, made many predictions of the timing of the end of the world. All of which failed.
- 1881: Mother Shipton (1488 – 1561), a 16th Century mystic predicted the end of the world, “The world to an end shall come; in eighteen-hundred and eighty-one.”
- The Jehovah Witnesses have predicted 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975, and 1994, all years that they predicted some prophetic event to occur on, all of which have failed.
- 1919: Meteorologist Albert Porta predicted that the conjunction of six planets would generate a magnetic current that would cause the Sun to explode and engulf the earth on December 19th of that year.
Also, who can forget Edgar Whisenant’s., “88 Reasons Why Jesus will Return in 1988”? Then of course there is the late Harold Camping who predicted the rapture would occur on September 6, 1994. When that failed he revised the date to September 29th, then to October 2nd of that year. He later predicted the rapture on March 31st, 1995. His final prediction was for May 21st, 2011, with the Lord taking approximately 3% of the world’s population to Heaven, with the end of the world following on October 21st. Of course we know how that all turned out.
Why am I sharing all of this? Am I saying we should not expect the Lord’s Return? Should we not expectantly and longingly be looking for the catching away? Absolutely! I say with John the revelator, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” I love His appearing! Every follower of Messiah Jesus should as well. What I am cautioning you about however is trying to predict exactly when He will come. None of those predictions to date has ever panned out.
Recent history has given us the “Blood Moons” prophecy, promoted largely by Pastors John Hagee and Mark Biltz, that looked at the four “blood moon” tetrad of 2014-2015 as a sign of the Last Days, as spoken of in Joel 2, Acts 2:20, and Revelation 6:12. “Blood Moons” are basically lunar eclipses. Those which occurred in the years 2014-2015 all coincided with biblical feast days. In rabbinical thought “blood moons” (solar eclipses) portend trouble for Israel and the Jewish people. The interesting thing about the 2014-2015 tetrad was that only one of them, the last one, was even visible in Israel. I think we can say that while the 2014-2015 tetrad was not the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel or Revelation, it certainly could have been a precursor of coming prophetic events.
Then of course there was Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s, “The Mystery of the Shemita”. The shemita comes every seventh year on the Jewish calendar, and is basically the sabbath year. Cahn in his book documented throughout history how the shemita cycle either brought release and blessing, or reversal, loss, and destruction, all depending on the obedience or rebellion of His people. In American history many cataclysmic events have occurred in connection with the shemita cycle, including the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Many were looking for economic collapse in America at the end of the shemita cycle 2015-2016. This did not happen. Many criticized Rabbi Cahn, calling him a, “false prophet”, even though he clearly explained he was not making a hard and fast prediction in his book. It may interest you to know that many strange things did occur in connection with the 2015-2016 shemita cycle in Israel. Evangelist Perry Stone did a very enlightening program on the application of the shemita cycle of 2015-2016 which I will link to here. As American Christians we make the mistake of assuming that all of prophecy focuses on the U.S. It does not. In fact, the primary focus of end-time prophecy is the nation of Israel, not the U.S. or any other nation. Other nations fit into prophecy in connection to how they are involved with Israel and the Jewish people. You will never understand Bible prophecy unless you grasp this fact.
Now, all we have shared up to this point has been introduction and foundation for where I am going. You may have heard, but social media and YouTube are blowing up about another prophecy that is looking to celestial events coming in September of this year. This latest prophecy is called, “The Revelation 12 Sign.” Now, what exactly is this? I will try to explain this as succinctly as I can. Before we get into the explanation of this prophecy, and its possible implications, lets take a look at the scriptural basis of the prophecy. That is found in Revelation 12:1 – 6,
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” [Revelation 12:1 – 6 KJV]
The proponents of the, “Revelation 12 Prophecy” note that in September of this year there will be an alignment involving the constellations of Leo and Virgo, with the Sun, Moon, and planets Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter all aligning in September, thus fulfilling this prophecy to the letter, or so they say. So where did all of this come from?
There is some ambiguity as to when this alignment was first discovered, but on April 7, 2011, William Tapley’s channel ThirdEagleBooks published a video entitled “Stellarium” giving the 2017 date of the sign and explaining how the planetary alignment that year matched the text of Revelation 12 better than a 2011 alignments which he said three earlier videos from other people had mentioned.
A few months later, on July 30, 2011, Scott Clarke from ERF Ministries posted a video on YouTube describing the alignment, which many Christians worldwide have now come to believe is the Revelation 12 Sign. In 2012 Unsealed World News suggested that the purported sign might be connected to the rapture of the Church, though they have repeatedly stated that the exact date of the rapture is unknown and might happen sometime before or after September 23rd. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revelation_12_Sign]
In this particular interpretation and view of John’s vision of Revelation 12, they say that the “woman” is the constellation Virgo, and the, “crown of twelve stars”represents the nine stars of the constellation Leo, in conjunction with Mercury, Mars, and Venus. In this alignment the Moon appears to be under the “feet”of the constellation Virgo in September 2017 and the Sun will be passing through the constellation, which they say is what is meant by the “woman” being clothed with the Sun. Are you following? I know this gets pretty involved.
The second verse of Revelation 12 speaks of the “woman” being, “…with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” Some suggest this will be fulfilled because the planet Jupiter will be traversing the constellation after having undergone what is known as, “apparent retrograde motion.” What in the world is that? Stated simply, it is the motion of a planet moving in opposite direction to other planets within its system. So, after entering what they perceive to be Virgo’s “womb”, Jupiter exits the lower part of the “womb” 42 weeks later, which of course is the approximate length of human gestation (normal gestation periods lasting between 37 to 42 weeks).
This gets, in my opinion, even stranger. It was also discovered that the apparent retrograde (remember our explanation of this term above), of Jupiter in the “womb” of Virgo was preceded by C/2017 E1, or the Comet Borisov, referred to as, “The Conception Comet.” This comet traveled from the “loins” of the constellation Leo to the “womb” of the constellation of Virgo just before the entrance of Jupiter into the “womb.” Some proponents of the Revelation 12 Sign are suggesting that this comet represented the divine insemination of the “woman”, which subsequently produced the “male child” (Jupiter). This will be the comet’s only trip, by the way, through our solar system as it is not a solar orbital.
The Revelation 12 Sign will coincide with the High Holy day on the Jewish calendar of Rosh Hashanah, the “Feast of Trumpets.” Interestingly enough, it is the only of the seven feasts of the Lord in which, “no man knows the day or the hour” when it will begin because its start is marked by the appearing of the new moon, thus signaling the beginning of the religious year on the Jewish calendar. “Rosh” is Hebrew for head, so Rosh Hashanah is the “head” or beginning of the year. In 2017 this is expected to begin either on the evening of September 21st and end on the evening of the 22nd (if the 2% illuminated moon is sighted) or begin on the evening of the 22nd and end on the evening of the 23rd when the sign is fulfilled. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year celebration, this year marking the end of the year 5777 (sometimes shortened to 777), and the beginning of the year 5778. The Feast of Trumpets is believed in Hebraic understanding to be a day when the dead are resurrected and judgment begins. Many Christians, yours truly included, see the Feast of Trumpets as representing the rapture of the Church, which will include the righteous dead being raised, and living saints being “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air.
The interpretations of the Revelation 12 Sign may vary a little, but the general consensus goes like this:
The “woman” represents the nation of Israel (which I would agree)
The “male-child” represents the global Church
The “great red dragon” poised to devour the “child” is Satan
In this view the “woman” Israel gives birth to the “male-child”, the Church. The “great red dragon”, Satan, stands ready to devour the “male-child” as soon as it is “born”. God then catches the “male-child”, the Church, up to His throne in Heaven, whereas the “woman” Israel, enters the Great Tribulation period.
The proponents of this view like to point out that a number of eminent biblical scholars have held to their interpretation of Revelation 12, including John Nelson Darby, Harry H. Ironside, and more recently Dr. Michael Svigel.
It should be noted that the symbol of a woman in labor is found in several places in both the Hebrew Bible (the Tanach or Old Testament), and the New Testament, which proponents of the Revelation 12 sign see as the sign’s prominence in prophecy. These particular passages include, Isaiah 13:6 – 13; Isaiah 26:17 – 21; Isaiah 66:7 – 11; Jeremiah 30:4 – 11; Jeremiah 49:23 – 27; Micah 5:3; Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8; and 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
In the Isaiah 66 reference above the birth of the “man-child” occurs before the “woman” travails in labor and pain. Proponents argue that the rapture is the marvel spoken of by Isaiah in the above passage – the man-child representing the Church that will be born before Israel enters the Tribulation. Since the woman apparently has other children according to Revelation 12 (Gentile Tribulation saints and the 144,000), the dragon, since he cannot get to the raptured Church, persecutes the woman’s other children spoken of later in Revelation 12.
Now, what do we make of all of this? Is this planetary alignment the sign (wonder) spoken of in Revelation 12:1 – 6? Will the Church be caught-up to meet the Lord sometime before or shortly after September 23, 2017? No one really knows the answers to any of these questions. I can tell you, this view of Revelation 12 has as many opponents as it does proponents. I am not a proponent, but I will not set myself as an opponent either. I think this is a, “wait and see” situation. I think we should approach this not necessarily as skeptics, critics, or certainly not mockers; but respectfully, reverently, and prayerfully. We should live our lives looking for the Lord’s Return, whenever it is. We should be living in such a way that we are ready for the trumpet sound, and the appearing of our Lord. This is not a time to hold on to bitterness, unforgiveness, or unconfessed sin. No matter when He comes, I can tell you on the authority of God’s Holy written Word, Jesus is Coming! Are you ready?
I had only wanted to dedicate one post to this, but next time I want to revisit Revelation 12, and take a look at where I see this “sign” fitting into the prophetic end-time scenario.
Join us then if you can.
Until next time,
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson