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The Celestial C-Section: A Defense Of The Revelation 12 Sign

A reader recently asked a question that many of us have probably wondered about: if The Revelation 12 Sign occurs on September 23rd, why does it appear that the male child (Jupiter) is born two weeks earlier on September 9th?

It's a good question that appears to have a Scriptural answer.  Not only an answer to the objection, but further confirmation and evidence of the precision and significance of this September's sign.

In Revelation 12:1-2 the sign is described with all of its simultaneous details: the sun, the moon, the crown of twelve stars, and the woman in labor.  The text explicitly says that the woman is undergoing travail and labor pains at the time the sign occurs.

In verse 5, the male child is born and then quickly raptured to Heaven.  You would logically think that she gave birth to the child after the labor pains described in the first two verses, but there is a huge prophetic clue suggesting something else is going on.

The male child "she brought forth" in verse 5 is called huion arsen in the Greek.  Huion is masculine, but is modified by the neuter word arsen.  This is a grammatical error because huion should only be modified by another masculine word.  How could God's Word contain such an obvious and basic grammatical mistake?

The answer is that God's Word makes no mistakes.  Every jot and tittle has its perfect purpose, including here in Revelation 12:5.

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic, but was later translated into the Greek version we now know as the Septuagint.  The Septuagint does contain a few errors because it is only a translation of the original text.  This exact same error with huion arsen is contained in the Septuagint's version of Isaiah 66 and it just so happens that the topic at hand in Isaiah 66 is the same as Revelation 12: a woman in labor (Zion or Israel per the text) giving birth to a male child.  However, in Isaiah 66 the male child is a corporate entity, not an individual.  A nation.  Since the text tells us plainly that the woman is Zion, it would seem evident she is not giving birth to herself.  There may be parallels here to the rebirth of Israel in 1948, but I believe the nation she gives birth to is the Church.  In 1 Peter 2:9 the Church is called a holy nation.

And here is the answer to the puzzle from Isaiah 66:7-8:

Before she goes into labor,
   she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her,
   she delivers a son.
Who has ever heard of such things?
   Who has ever seen things like this?
Can the earth be made to bring forth in a day
   or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
   than she gives birth to her children.

The birth in Revelation 12 is a special birth, a miraculous birth.  A birth that takes place in reverse order, contrary to the normal order of things.  The baby is born before the woman has labor pains.  This is exactly what we see happen in September 2017.  You might call this a celestial c-section performed by the Divine Physician Himself.

In Isaiah 66:8 above you can see the that the earth is said to bring forth.  This leads us into further confirmation because this appears to connect directly to Isaiah 26, a prophecy that contains the same picture of labor, a miraculous birth that represents the resurrection and is described as the earth giving birth.  Furthermore, the context is the Tribulation and what appears to be a prophecy of the rapture of the Church.  See for yourself in Isaiah 26:17-21:

As a pregnant woman about to give birth   writhes and cries out in her pain,
   so were we in your presence, Lord.
We were with child, we writhed in labor,
   but we gave birth to wind.We have not brought salvation to the earth,
   and the people of the world have not come to life.

But your dead will live, Lord;
   their bodies will rise—
let those who dwell in the dust
   wake up and shout for joy—
your dew is like the dew of the morning;
   the earth will give birth to her dead.

Go, my people, enter your rooms   and shut the doors behind you;hide yourselves for a little while   until his wrath has passed by.See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling
   to punish the people of the earth for their sins.

The author of this prophecy is the Jewish prophet Isaiah.  He says the pregnant woman is "we" - the nation of Israel, which had been tasked by God with bringing salvation to the earth.  They failed.  Notice that the woman gives birth to wind after her labor pains.  In September 2017 the sign occurs on the 23rd, two weeks after the birth.  In Revelation 12:1-2 the pains are simultaneous with the sign, yet Isaiah 26 tells us the woman only gives birth to wind after her labor pains.  Her womb is empty!  The baby was already born via miraculous delivery.  This is exactly the order we see in September - a birth before the sign.  The baby is born and delivered before the Tribulation comes.

I want to challenge the rebuttals of the Revelation 12 Sign presented by Joel Richardson, Tim McHyde, Dr. Danny Faulkner, and others.  I've carefully studied each of their attempts to disprove the significance of the alignment on September 23, 2017, and through their rebuttals I find even further confirmation of the uniqueness and significance of the alignment.  To be clear, I'm not doing this for argument's sake.  And I also leave open the possibility I could be mistaken somewhere in my interpretation.  However, I think their readers/followers will be grossly misled if they don't research each of their claims for themselves.  Study their claims for yourself to see if these things be true (Acts 17:11).

I'm not going to address each and every claim here because I've already covered each rebuttal in great detail.  I'll simply list the claim and link to the specific answer.

1. Date setters have always been wrong because they rely on subjective calculations, interpretations, and star charts.

It's true that date setters have always been wrong.  It's also true that they've relied on subjective calculations (such as the perceived length of a biblical generation in the case of 1988 predictions or lackluster interpretations of Old Testament chronology in the case of Harold Camping).

However, this argument overlooks the inherent strength of what I and others are suggesting.

For starters, there is no calculation or interpretive spitting in the wind involved here.  The alignment simply is what it is.  I didn't invent it.  Scottie Clarke didn't invent it.  It's God's own sun, moon, and stars in an alignment that is arranged precisely how Revelation 12:1-2 describes.

Everyone mentions Stellarium - perhaps this is just some coincidental quirk with how Stellarium displays things, they say.  Yet the alignment has nothing to do with Stellarium.  Stellarium is just one of many astronomy programs that show the exact same thing.  The alignment would still occur in the sky whether we knew about it or not.  Virgo has been the only woman constellation in the ecliptic since time immemorial.  Likewise, Leo is the only constellation above her head.  Ancient Israel, Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and Persia all had similar depictions and placements of Virgo and Leo.

Secondly, William Miller, Ellen White, Edgar Whisenant, and Harold Camping all had one significant thing in common that Richardson and others are overlooking: they were individuals presenting a private interpretation of prophecy (see 2 Peter 1:20).  They had many followers, but no peer review - in fact what peers they had were telling them they were off their rockers.

Our friend Scottie Clarke first discovered the alignment in 2010 or 2011, but independent of him, I and dozens of others studied the Scriptures for ourselves, studied the skies, and arrived at the exact same conclusions.  You can certainly find multiple people to agree to just about every doctrine out there, but the fact that the Bible repeatedly says a matter is established by multiple witnesses would seem to differentiate the Revelation 12 Sign crowd from Miller, White, Whisenant, Camping, and others.

Thirdly, it would seem that we now have the clearest, most demonstrable biblical sign since the rebirth of Israel and yet most of us watching refuse to set a specific date for the rapture.  Almost all of us admit we could be wrong, we're not prophets, we're just speculating - a level of measured confidence and hesitation not seen with the aforementioned Miller, White, Whisenant, Camping, and others.  That should tell you something.  In fact, I've never seen or experienced this kind of mutual and sophisticated Scriptural study leading to broad agreement on a specific prophetic event occurring in the present.

Lastly, previous "date setters" had something else in common that differentiates them from those of us watching this sign.  They were all predicting the date of the rapture of second coming.  It was an unobservable event they were predicting.  We're not predicting the exact day of the rapture or second coming.  We're predicting the exact day of a specific biblical sign that may or may not coincide with an immediate prophetic event.  The sign is observable - even today.  You can open just about any astronomy software and see it for yourself.

2. The vast majority of conservative evangelical scholars disagree with this new interpretation of Revelation 12.

I'm generally of the opinion that Christians should submit themselves to the teaching of spiritual authorities.  I think this is something the modern Church is sorely lacking.  Everyone wants to go their own way these days in violation of the wisdom given in Proverbs 18:1.

That being said, this argument has three major flaws:

First, an argument from authority is widely regarded as a logical fallacy because it avoids the actual question.  The question isn't what do the majority of conservative evangelical scholars think?  The question is, does the Bible describe a sign in the sky that occurs on September 23, 2017?  The answer to the question stands or falls on its own evidence.

Second, a lot of thanks is due to the Reformers, especially Luther and Melanchthon for restoring early Church teaching on soteriological doctrines such as sola fide, sola scriptura, and the priesthood of all Believers.  However, the Reformers largely carried over Augustinian eschatology from the Catholic Church.  They continued the beliefs of prophetic allegorism and Replacement Theology.  The issue at the time wasn't eschatology, it was soteriology.  That was the issue that the Holy Spirit through indwelt Believers tackled at the time.

Yet now we are nearing the end of the age and eschatology is of the utmost importance.  Is it any wonder that in the century leading up to the rebirth of Israel, the reemergence of early Church dispensationalism, pre-tribulationism, and premillennialism took hold?  Christian scholars began studying the Word and seeing that prophecy is not just fuzzy allegory.  It is full of concrete, literal, tangible meaning just as the prophecies of Christ's first coming were.

The reason that many/most supposedly conservative scholars still believe that Revelation 12 is just a retelling of ancient history is because they overlook numerous differentiating details and their eschatology is still heavily colored by Roman Catholic allegorism.

Third, it's misleading to suggest that the majority of conservative evangelical scholars disagree with the specific interpretation of the astronomical alignment on September 23rd because only a very small handful have addressed it.  When presented with the clear astronomical evidence alongside the clear contextual and Scriptural evidence, who is to say what some of them might think?

3. Revelation 12 is obviously about Jesus' first coming.

There are no doubt parallels.  I don't want want to dismiss those similarities, but at the end of the day we have to read the Scriptures for what they say, not what we think they mean.  Is this not the same problem some have with suggesting Ezekiel 38 and Armageddon are the same battle?  The details?  Revelation 1:1 declares the content of the book to be future, although Revelation 1:19 presents a caveat (probably for the preceding few verses or chapters 1 through 3).

Revelation 12:1-2 describes an actual alignment in the sky complete with sun, moon, and stars.  The passage never defines this as a parable or allegorical dream or vision.  It has prophetic meaning, but it is first and foremost a real alignment in the sky.  I write about this in more detail here.

The contextual details are simply different than Christ's first coming.  The dragon is explicitly defined as satan and not Herod within the passage itself (Revelation 12:9).  The male child undergoes rapture and not ascension - two different words in Greek with two very different meanings.  The child is raptured before the woman flees into the wilderness, which indicates the wilderness journey is obviously not the same one undertaken by Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in Egypt.  No mention is made of the death or resurrection of the child, which would surely be key details if the male child only represented Christ.  And as a matter of fact, there is scholarly consensus that the woman represents Israel and the dragon also represents satan's entire earthly system based on overwhelming contextual evidence.  The timing of the dragon sweeping a third of the stars out of the sky in verse 4 as it stands ready to devour the child is also evidently a future event based on verses 7 through 9 and Daniel 12:1-2.  Lastly, there are at least seven contextual considerations that suggest the child is the Church.

4. Leo plus Mercury, Mars, and Venus cannot be the crown of twelve stars (e.g. the twelve stars are below Leo, Coma Berenices contains the twelve stars, Leo already has twelve stars, etc).

Borrowing from my article Ten Questions To Ask Yourself:

In every known depiction of the constellation Virgo, whether ancient or modern, her head is near the star called Zavijava and there is one and only one constellation above her head - the constellation Leo the Lion. Leo is also visible in the ancient Jewish mosaic of the Mazzaroth.

Sources differ on how many stars constitute any given constellation, so which source do we listen to?

For starters, any large constellation like Leo is going to have dozens and dozens of visible stars. If the crown consists of all the visible stars in a given area above Virgo's head, then Revelation 12:1 could never be fulfilled - she could never have a crown of twelve stars. We can deduce from this alone that we're only looking for a meaningful grouping of stars above her head and that only leaves the constellation Leo. Some have suggested the constellation Coma Berenices is her crown of twelve stars, but this constellation is definitely not on her head and it only has three main stars.

As far as which source to listen to regarding the number of stars in Leo, both ancient and modern sources differ one from another. Ancient Egypt differed from ancient Babylon which differed from ancient Greece and so forth. Some ancient and modern sources even show Leo with thirteen or fifteen stars - too many to be the crown.

In my research I discovered that this dilemma is easy to resolve. The most prevalent depiction (by far) shows Leo with nine stars. You can find this nine-star depiction in virtually any astronomy software except for Google Sky (Stellarium, Starry Night, Neave, among others). The nine-star arrangement is found in the Western sky culture, which is considered to be the most common and traditional arrangement of the constellations. Additionally, the nine stars in question are found in all the various arrangements from all the different sources. In other words, the common denominator across all depictions of Leo are these nine stars.

Since we can pretty emphatically say that Leo is the only object that can be the crown and it cannot have more than twelve stars if it is the crown, then nine stars is definitely the best and most universally understood number of stars within it. That leaves three missing stars. Planets are the only solution to these three missing stars because the Bible also calls them stars. The five visible planets are also very, very bright from earth's perspective compared to most regular stars, so they stand out significantly.

The five visible planets are Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. Jupiter has already been identified as the male child, so that means three of the stars in Virgo's crown must be from those remaining four. You're not left with many options!

5. Virgo is not clothed with the sun on September 23, 2017.

Borrowing from my article The Revelation 12 Sign Compendium:

This is FALSE. Several people have pointed out that the disc of the Sun rests on the shoulder of Virgo rather than over her midsection. This is evidence, they say, that the woman is not clothed with the Sun. As far as the astronomical alignment is concerned, this is the only point that can withstand any scrutiny, but it doesn't ultimately hold water for several reasons:

First, from the perspective of an earth-based observer, the Sun itself is significantly smaller than the constellation Virgo and so regardless of where the Sun is positioned, the woman could never be fully clothed with the Sun if the disc itself is in view in Revelation 12:1. Even if the disc rested over Virgo's midsection, it would only cover a small portion of her torso. On September 23rd, 2017, the Sun clothes the woman's shoulder, which in my opinion is just as significant as any other part of her body. You can see the vast difference in apparent size between the constellation Virgo and the Sun below, and why its location within the constellation makes no difference:

Second, the Greek word for "Sun" in Revelation 12:1 is ἥλιον, transliterated hēlion, which is Strong's 2246 - hélios. The word can carry several meanings: the Sun, the rays of the sun, sunlight, and daylight. Ancient Greek didn't have different words for these four meanings as we do in English, so hélios carries other connotations beyond just the literal meaning of "Sun". The use of the word in the Septuagint with its definite article in 2 Samuel 12:11 is perhaps a good example of this where the idea is "broad daylight" - τοῦ ἡλίου. The Revelation 12 Sign not only appears in its fullness over Israel during the day on September 23rd, but because the Sun is in the area of the constellation, the woman appears fully "clothed" in the Sun's rays.

Third, and lastly, arguing that the disc of the Sun doesn't "clothe" the woman is an impossible standard. Virgo is the only constellation in the biblical Mazzaroth that represents a woman and out of 88 constellations in the sky, one of only three that represent women. Of those three, it is the only one that the Sun moves through - hence Virgo being part of the Mazzaroth - the twelve constellations that lie along the Sun's ecliptic. For this reason, if John's vision was of a literal sign in the sky (which is what the text in Revelation 12:1 plainly says), Virgo is the only possible constellation in the entire sky that could symbolize the woman. The Sun's ecliptic is exactly the same every year and the only time the Sun ever enters the torso of Virgo is when it passes just behind the angle formed by Spica as seen below:

The image above shows the deepest possible point in the constellation that the Sun traverses (the red line is the Sun's unchanging path every year). The Sun will never hover over Virgo's neck or chest, or be centered anywhere in the quadrangle of the constellation's womb, nor will it ever cover her legs, so "clothed with the Sun" must simply mean that the Sun is passing through the constellation as it does every Fall for a little over one and a half months. You can test this yourself using any astronomy software - whether you choose 3000 BC or 3000 AD makes no difference. It is interesting to note that if you bisect Virgo into two equal parts, the Sun's position on September 23rd, 2017 is about as close as the Sun ever gets to being perfectly centered over the constellation. "Clothed in the Sun" probably also draws on the connotations mentioned in the second point above, which is that the woman is clothed in sunlight or the rays of the Sun.

In September 2017 we see a perfect match with John's prophecy.

6. The Church is not mentioned in Revelation 12.

Borrowing again from The Revelation 12 Sign Compendium:

This is FALSE. Many watchers are making the connection between the Revelation 12 Sign and the rapture based on the male child's possible corporate identity as the Body of Christ - the Church. A number of detractors dismiss this possibility, but in my opinion the evidence is simply too powerful to ignore and even if the astronomical alignment on September 23rd is not the Revelation 12 Sign, I would still argue that the man-child in Revelation 12:5 is meant to represent the Church in union with Christ. Here are the reasons:

First, it is repeated ad infinitum by detractors that the Church is the bride of Christ and thus the man-child cannot represent the Church. This is a very exegetically weak argument for several reasons.

For starters, the Church is called a man in Ephesians 2:15. There are a number of metaphors for the Church in Scripture besides a bride. The most common is actually Christ's body (e.g. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 12:12-13, 25-27; Romans 12:4-5; Colossians 1:18, 24, 2:19, 3:15; Ephesians 4:4, 11-13). And what might come as a shock to some, the Church is never explicitly identified as the bride of Christ. The closest you can come to that analogy is in 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Ephesians 5:22-24. In the Ephesians passage the Church is likened to a bride in that that the Church is subject to Christ who is the head, but the Church is not said to actually be the bride. The only explicit reference to Christ's bride is found in Revelation 21:2, 9-10. The bride is the city of New Jerusalem, which is revealed after the millennial reign of Christ. New Jerusalem has characteristics from both Israel and the Church, with gates named after the sons of Jacob (men who died long before Christ's first advent), and foundations named after the Twelve Apostles. Zion, which is a prophetic term for heavenly Jerusalem, is likened to a woman in labor in Isaiah 66:8, so in a certain sense it is really Zion, the mother of all the saints both pre- and post-Christ, that is the wife of the Lamb. We need to remember that bride is just one analogy of many for the Church, just as body is. The Church is just as often compared to a temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5).

Second, the Apostle John makes a grammatical error in Revelation 12:5 when he modifies the masculine huios (son) with the neuter word arsen. If you believe that God's Word is infallible, then you're only left with one option: John made this mistake intentionally. And sure enough, his use of arsen appears to come directly from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 66:7-8 where we see the same imagery of a woman in labor with a male child. Isaiah 66:8 gives the male child an unmistakable corporate identity - he is a nation born in a single day. 1 Peter 2:9 says the Church is a holy nation.

Third, Revelation 12:5 says that the male child "will rule all the nations with an iron scepter". This is an important clue. There is no question that this phrase relates to Christ as can be seen in Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 19:14-15. However, Revelation 2:26-27 unmistakably gives the promise to "rule with an iron scepter" to the Church, as well. There is no way to get around verse 27 - Christ, in union with His Church, will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

Fourth, the corporate identity of the male child preserves the symbolic pattern of Revelation 12: the woman is Mary and Israel, the dragon is satan and his kingdom, and the child is Christ and His Church.

Fifth, the use of harpazó in Revelation 12:5 is a huge clue. Harpazó is the same word used for "rapture" or "caught up" in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and means a sudden removal by force. Jesus' ascension was never once described using this word and in fact the Apostle John himself (the author of Revelation) calls Jesus' ascension anabainó in John 20:17 - meaning to go up, ascend, or rise. When Jesus ascended to Heaven He had already conquered death and sin. He was in absolutely no danger from anyone. The Bible says He left not to escape satan, but because it was beneficial for the Church (John 16:7). There is simply no way to reconcile the context of Revelation 12:5, which is a sudden snatching away by force from the imminent danger of the dragon, with Jesus' ascension.

Sixth, Revelation 12 is significantly placed right in the middle of the book and is an interlude presenting a broad overview of Christ's first coming all the way up to the end of the Tribulation: Christ's birth, the gestation and birth of the Church, the war in Heaven, the rise of antichrist's kingdom (seven heads and ten horns), Israel being pursued by the dragon during the first-half of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:13), Israel being miraculously protected by God for the last-half of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:14), and even satan's pursuit of the Tribulation Saints once he realizes he can't touch the divinely protected Jews (Revelation 12:17).

Seventh, I firmly believe that the early Church was dispensational, premillennial, and pretribulational. However, with the rise of Augustinianism, the Church went through a 1,400-year hiatus where prophecy tended to be mistrusted and allegorized. The founders of modern dispensationalism who re-popularized the pre-trib rapture such as Darby and Ironside found Revelation 12:5 to actually be the chief proof-text of the pretribulational rapture of the Church. By the early 1900s, this proof-text was largely forgotten by pre-trib proponents and arguments in favor relied primarily on secondary evidence, which led to the rise of mid-trib, pre-wrath, and post-trib views in the Evangelical churches. I find it fascinating that around the same time the Revelation 12 Sign was first spotted using astronomy software (sometime in 2011 or 2012), a number of scholars, such as Michael Svigel, re-discovered the use of Revelation 12:5 as the chief pre-trib proof-text. The timing is impeccable.

In addition to the seven points above, there is an eighth piece of evidence, which is that the raptured child in Revelation 12:5 is called teknon, rather than huios.  Jesus was always called huios, which is the proper and honorable name for son, except on a single occasion when Mary found Jesus in the Temple at the age of 12.  It would be highly unusual and out-of-place for John to call Jesus teknon here, yet that is the exact word we see.  It is a more familiar, less honorable word.  Elsewhere John uses teknon to refer to us, the Church as the children of God (1 John 1:12, 3:1-2, 10).

7. The alignment in September is not unique because the sun and moon are in Virgo every year and Jupiter is in Virgo every 11 or 12 years.

At the heart of all of these attempts to disprove The Revelation 12 Sign is the argument that this alignment is really not anything special.  This is where I feel that Richardson, McHyde, Faulkner, and others are missing the mark.  The uniqueness and precision of the September alignment is its greatest strength.  It's not enough that the moon and sun are near Virgo once a year.  It's not enough that Jupiter passes through Virgo's womb every 11 or 12 years.  Every condition in the text has to be met and that is what is unique about the alignment on September 23rd.

The woman must be clothed with the sun.

The woman must have the moon under her feet.

She must have a crown of exactly twelve stars.

She must be pregnant and give birth.  Pregnancies only happen in wombs and they last 37 to 44 weeks.  It's not enough for Jupiter to just pass through Virgo or retrograde nearby.  It needs to stay in her womb in a way that pictures a pregnancy.

There have now been three separate, extensive studies to see if this alignment has occurred before or will occur again to test the claim of September 23rd's uniqueness.  Scottie Clarke literally took 7,000 screenshots, one for each of the six thousand previous years and one for each of the next one thousand years and found no matches.  Mark Chiswell used an algorithm for a similar length of time and found no matches.

I ran across another study by John Bell that used a precise algorithm to find only those years where close matches occurred.  His study was even more extensive, ranging from 6000 BC to 4306 AD - a 10,305 year period!  He found only nine other close matches besides 2017 and none of them perfectly fit the text.

I've decided to put together a chart showing every close match or suggested match that I've run across in addition to Bell's matches to show you how incredibly unique and precise the alignment in September 2017 is.  I've personally investigated each claimed match to see which of the conditions they meet.  There are four essential conditions and I've added "Birth Before Labor" as a fifth, possible condition.  If our interpretation of Revelation 12:5, Isaiah 66, and Isaiah 26 is correct, then that also becomes an essential condition.

Moon under feet. In my investigation I discovered that having the moon under Virgo's feet is rarer than I first thought.  This actually does not happen every year unless you want to argue that the moon simply passing by the constellation is sufficient.  Because of the wobble of the moon's apparent path through the sky, in many years the moon is very far from Virgo's feet and when it crosses the imaginary line demarcating the bottom of her feet, it has actually left the constellation Virgo and entered the constellation Libra.  It's not anywhere near her feet.

Crown of 12 Stars. The crown of twelve stars was the most difficult condition to judge because of the frequent ambiguity.  September 2017 has the most perfect and clear alignment of the crown in this entire list, but other years arguably had a crown of twelve stars, too.  For example, 2705 BC at first glance looks like it only has ten stars, yet  if you look above Leo you'll see Mars and Venus.  Venus is closer to Cancer than it is to Leo, though.  To complicate things further, Saturn is right over Virgo's face near the sun.  It's not really on her head, so should it be counted?  To judge these ambiguous years I apply some reasonable rules.  The first is that a planet must be closer to Leo than Cancer to be counted.  The second is that close conjunctions of planets in Leo or close conjunctions with Regulus are maybes because it's unclear if they could be easily distinguishable from earth.  The third is that a planet must near the top of Virgo's head or higher.

Pregnancy. The pregnancy condition, which Revelation 12:1-2 itself gives, was easy to judge.  I found this to be the condition that really makes September 2017 stand out.  Many times Jupiter undergoes retrograde before or after it passes Virgo's womb.  In these cases it passes right through in under two months.  Definitely not a pregnancy.  Other times it undergoes retrograde in Virgo's womb, but its retrograde path takes it very far outside the womb, so again - no pregnancy.  When I closely investigated each of these claimed alignments, I was actually able to eliminate the 3915 BC date, which I had previously suggested was a perfect match in other articles.  The baby is far outside the womb for half of the pregnancy!

Clothed in Sun. The sun passes by Virgo every year, so this is the one condition each claim met.

Birth Before Labor.  This condition was simply determined by Jupiter's presence inside or outside the four-star quadrangle that most consider to be Virgo's "womb" at the time of the claimed alignment.

From what I can tell, over a 10,000 year period, 2017 is the only year that fits the text.  That's pretty astounding if you think about it.  Leaving the fifth maybe condition aside, there were only three near-matches in over 10,000 years: 3974 BC, 3915 BC, and 2705 BC.

I want to finish this article with a couple of concerns that I have about some of my fellow watchmen in the Bible prophecy community.

First, when we started Unsealed seven years ago we held tentatively to the pre-wrath view of the rapture because that's where, at the time, we felt like the evidence led us.  It wasn't our pet theory.  We just wanted to study the Scriptures for ourselves and see what was true and what was false.  That was in the days when the ENP treaty, Javier Solana, and the WEU was all the rage.  Yet as the years went by and we studied diligently, our understanding of the Scriptural evidence led us in a very different direction.  When it comes to a non-salvific issue like eschatology, an area of study prone to much disagreement and ambiguity, it seems like Christians are far too quick to carve out personal territory and far too slow to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Word, and other Believers' voices.  This is especially true of leaders in the community because they've often written books or tied their name to a theory.  Once they've made that internal commitment it seems that no amount of scrutiny or pleading from other Believers or the Word will change their opinion.

Consider the post-trib authors out there who are simultaneously making a living selling survival supplies or books.  Suggesting a different eschatological understanding might seem like an attack on their "territory", affecting even the living they make.  Yet if they do not have the heart of a Berean who daily studies to see which claims are true and which are false, then in effect they've inoculated themselves from truth.  If there is something unscriptural about one or more of their teachings then it becomes impossible for them to see it since they've already made the decision that whatever it is they're teaching is unchallengeable truth.  This is a dangerous path to walk.  Not only for them, but for their followers, as well.  

This doesn't just affect the post-trib side.  It can affect the pre-trib and even the "pan-trib" sides as well.  Pre-tribbers (like me) can be just as prone to carve out territory as anyone else.  Some have carved out the territory of "imminency" and defend it so profusely that they take it to such an extreme as to suggest that God Himself has yet to appoint a specific date for the rapture and second coming.  No signs of any kind precede the rapture they say.  Yet what about Israel's rebirth?  What about the conquest of Jerusalem?  Both of these things happened in our lifetimes and our parents' lifetimes and it seems plainly evident they had to happen before the Church is called home.  Certainly Jesus said "no man knows the day or the hour", but what was the context?  The rapture?  The second coming?  The end of the world one thousand years later?  An exegetical argument can be made for any of those three, yet Scriptures also say that for watching Christians the rapture or the second coming will not come as a thief or be a surprise (1 Thess. 5:1-4, Revelation 3:3, Matthew 24:42-44).

For pan-tribbers there is a certain line of thinking where only the unknown is considered Scriptural.  Christians and scholars disagree, so it's futile for me to pick a side or study more diligently myself.  What if that thought itself is untrue?  What if through more careful study of God's Word you can figure it out - or at least learn more about the topic?

My concern here is especially directed towards pastors and leaders of large or well-known ministries.  Don't just defend your territory.  Don't just play it safe.  Study God's Word as if it was the first time you opened the book.  Consider that even after years and years of study you might know less than you think.  Perhaps there's a greater reward in Heaven for diligent Scriptural study and humility then there is for Facebook followers and book sales.

Also, though we might be wrong in regards to the September sign and the other numerous things that seem to be converging this year, consider for just a moment the possibility we might be right and you didn't bother to even entertain the possibility.  You dismissed it out of hand for one reason or another without really handling the specific claims and interpretations we're making.  That's just astrology.  That's just gobbly-gook.  No man knows.  No different than any other failed prediction.

It seems like it's easy to say Jesus is coming soon in fuzzy ambiguity.  Not so easy to say He might possibly be appearing before a sleeping Church in four or five months or even sooner.

I'm careful to acknowledge that I and others are only speculating based on our fallible, human understanding of God's Word and I do not know the day or hour of the rapture or second coming.  That said, I also have eyes to see that many other Believers are independently seeing the same thing, including its Scriptural significance, and that would seem to make this a whole different ball game then Miller in 1844, Whisenant in 1988, Camping in 2011, or Cahn in 2015.

Second, I've been witnessing a disturbing trend where some individuals and ministries are profiting off of The Revelation 12 Sign.  Some have even plagiarized this very site because a lot of what is known about the sign is from Unsealed.  There are even some new ministries springing up with new books and DVDs to sell you.  Personally I find this heartbreaking.  It's one thing to solicit voluntary donations to support a ministry.  Pastors are paid through voluntary donations after all (tithes and collections).  It's another thing to take God's Word and sell it like a commodity.  I'm all for others using and sharing our materials.  I'm not even particularly concerned about credit.  I am concerned when what we intended to be shared freely with the Church and the world is repackaged and sold for profit.

Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. - Matthew 10:8

I'm not the judge and I certainly don't know every individual's or ministry's motivation, but I think it's unscriptural and unbiblical to sell God's Word for a profit.  And for those considering purchasing their materials, I can assure you they are not offering you anything new.  You don't need their books and DVDs.  Everything you need to know about the upcoming sign you can learn for yourself by opening your Bible and reading what it says.

9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.
- Acts 8:9-21

Hats off to Scottie Clarke, Daniel Matson, Adam Fink, Jaco Prinsloo, Greg Lauer, our own Greg, Jeff E, Matt P, Barry Scarbrough, Steven Sewell and others for feeding the flock for free in wisdom and humility.  Let's continue to watch humbly, patiently, and prayerfully, not forgetting the mission.  Let's also not forget to pray for discernment.  

If The Revelation 12 Sign does not occur in September, please LORD, show me now, because it doesn't seem to me that you've shown me yet.

This post first appeared on UNSEALED - World News | Christian News | Prophecy, please read the originial post: here

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The Celestial C-Section: A Defense Of The Revelation 12 Sign


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