The Day And The Hour Revealed?
I've mentioned before how astonished I am at what seems to be a convergence of opinion among students of Bible prophecy regarding the Revelation 12 Sign and its significance. I find this fascinating because I've never seen this sort of consensus among watchers before regarding specific signs and dates. In times past, dates that were set have come and gone because it was usually lone rangers espousing them: Harold Camping, Edgar Whisenant, William Miller, Ellen G. White, and to a certain extent in recent times - John Hagee and Jonathan Cahn. Dr. David Reagan had a very perceptive thing to say about these failed theories:
Two final observations. First, beware of Lone Ranger interpretations of prophecy that are not widely shared. God does not reveal the meaning of prophecy only to a person or two. 2 Peter 1:20 says, “no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.” Private and peculiar interpretations like the recent “Pre-Wrath Rapture,” usually make a big initial splash and then fade quickly when submitted to critical review.
To be clear, Reagan was specifically addressing the new theory of an Islamic antichrist and revived Ottoman Empire espoused by Joel Richardson and Walid Shoebat, but his observations extend to other facets of Bible prophecy theories.
I certainly thought something significant could happen around the 2014 and 2015 blood moons, but there was little consensus or clarity in the watching community regarding what that something might be... the rapture? The beginning of the Tribulation? Psalm 83? And which blood moon? The first? The second? The third? The fourth?
Many of us had a deep sense that God was trying to get our attention and sure enough He did. Before the blood moons, only a very few in the Church were "looking up" at the heavens - some of this "looking up" was inspired by Rick Larson's 2007 documentary, The Star of Bethlehem. Yet as the blood moons began occurring and similar lunar eclipse patterns were found around significant dates in Jewish history, Christians began to realize God wasn't joking when He 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 appointed times, and for days and years. - Genesis 1:14
There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. - Luke 21:11
There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. - Luke 21:25
Christians watching for Jesus' return were now aware of the prophetic significance of the seven appointed times of the LORD (from Leviticus 23) and also that God was communicating prophetic events to us through the heavenly luminaries. The blood moons served their purpose. And don't forget all the crazy things that actually did happen in September of 2015 around the time of the final blood moon: a freak sandstorm in Israel, lightning striking Mecca and killing 111, huge earthquakes, Pope Francis at the U.N. and addressing the U.S. Congress, the 2030 Agenda coming to fruition, the Knife Intifada, and Russia invading Syria. Prophetic events did indeed happen, which stunned those of us watching, and those events served as a template of sorts for what is still to come: a rapture like lightning, world-rending earthquakes, Ezekiel 38, a false prophet, and a covenant with many.
Scottie Clarke had discovered the September 2017 alignment back in 2011, and we at Unsealed confirmed its significance as a perfect and literal match with the sign described in the twelfth chapter of Revelation back in 2012. So if indeed this is the sign John saw, God was not just revealing it to one person. It was not the convoluted theory of any one person or sect. A number of other watchers began seeing the same thing from a broad range of Evangelical backgrounds (and even a few Catholics). Now, truth be told, we first thought this sign would find its fulfillment in the middle of the Tribulation per traditional commentaries on interpreting the symbols in Revelation 12, yet as I suspect Daniel 12:4 was alluding to - prophetic knowledge increased - and an abundance of material from early-Dispensationalist scholars in the 19th century came to light that had been neglected for a century showing that not only was Revelation 12 describing the rapture of the Church, but Revelation 12:5 was the chief proof text of the pre-tribulational rapture because of the enormous weight of contextual considerations and also the use of the Greek word for "rapture" as opposed to the Greek words used for Jesus' ascension.
Perhaps because of an averse reaction to the blood moons being perceived as a failed sign, or perhaps because of spiritual darkness or pride, or perhaps even because it doesn't neatly fit with some of the preconceived notions found in the post-tribulational, pre-wrath, or preterist views of Bible prophecy, a massive cacophony of arguments have been presented against its significance. Not primarily by the secular crowd or the "no one knows" Christian crowd as in times past, but by the watching community itself. We're living in strange and unprecedented times.
Perhaps this was God's plan to draw greater attention to the sign and its significance. As watchmen have answered various objections raised against it we've mutually discovered a number of interesting things as a result:
1. The September 23rd alignment truly is unique in the history of mankind, with the exception of a similar alignment in 3915 BC. Scottie Clarke, Mark Chiswell, and others have independently confirmed this. Chiswell used an algorithm and found no matches going 6,000 years back and 1,000 years into the future. Clarke literally took 7,000 screenshots (one for each Fall when the Sun is in the constellation Virgo) and found nothing. I've been personally sent numerous supposed examples of matches in years past and not one of them held up to scrutiny: twelve stars, but no male child, or Jupiter in the womb, but no crown of twelve stars, or Jupiter far outside the womb and only in the womb for a month or two, or that the moon was far from Virgo's feet or not under her feet at all. As I've weeded through all these supposed examples, it has only increased my confidence in the incredible precision of the alignment on September 23rd. You can read about some of these other supposed alignments here under the Claims And Critiques section or just open up any astronomy software and look at the next closest matches yourself:
1827 AD - 1.5 month gestation, 10 stars in crown, the moon is in Libra (too far away), and Jupiter is still in the womb
1483 AD - 1.5 month gestation, 10-12 stars in obscure crown, the moon is far away and separated by Saturn, and Jupiter is still in the womb
1293 AD - 1.25 month gestation, 12 star crown + Uranus, shows conception, but not the birth of Jupiter
1056 AD - 1.25 month gestation, 12 star crown, but Venus obscures Regulus, and the moon is very far away
70 AD - No male child, and Venus and Jupiter are nearly indistinguishable in the crown
3 BC - No crown of 12 stars, no male child, and the moon is very far from Virgo's feet
2. The sign finally makes sense of the prophetic image of the woman in labor found all throughout Scripture and connects the dots in Genesis 3:15-16, Jeremiah 4:31, Jeremiah 30:4-11, Isaiah 26:17-21, Isaiah 66:7-11, Micah 5:3, Matthew 24:8, Mark 13:8, John 16:19-22, Galatians 4:24-31, 1 Thessalonians 5:3, and Revelation 12. It has been right under our noses for two millennia. The woman consistently represents Jerusalem and/or Israel and her Son of Promise is Christ and the Church.
3. The contextual evidence for the male child being the Church (with Christ as its head) is surprisingly powerful. In fact I now see the evidence as overwhelming and have yet to be presented with a successful rebuttal. You can see for yourself here under the sections The Significance and Claims And Critiques. You can also explore this evidence further here, here, and here.
For example, the claim that the Church is never identified as a man and only as a bride is oft repeated, but completely false. The Church is twice called a man in Ephesians (2:15 and 4:13) and a bride is actually a lesser used symbol compared to the analogies of Christ's body and the spiritual temple. As a matter of fact, the only explicit reference to Christ's actual bride is found twice in Revelation 21. His bride is New Jerusalem, a city with equal aspects of Israel and the Church (twelve gates named after the twelve sons of Jacob and twelve foundations named after the Twelve Apostles).
Old Testament passages make pretty clear that Israel and Judah were also God's bride (Jeremiah 3, 31:31-33, Isaiah 54:5, 62:5, Hosea 2:14-20) and though they were spiritually divorced for a time, they will again be married forever. I don't personally see Scriptural support for the Church as the exclusive bride and Israel as only "friends of the Groom" or "wedding guests". As far as I know, only the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins in Matthew 25 can be offered as support and that is, after all, a parable. Some believe that parable has modern applicability to the Church, as well.
Sometimes these biblical symbols overlap and even have layers of meaning, but if you were to ask me, I would say the simplest and clearest way to describe these terms would be that the Bride of Christ is the city of New Jerusalem containing both the Gentile Church, the Old Testament saints who had faith in the coming Messiah, and those in post-rapture Israel who will ultimately place their faith in Messiah. The Messiah is their Husband as well as ours. We are the wild branches grafted in after all. In other words, the Bride is the eternal collective of those saved by grace through faith in the Messiah. Yet we are individually called the children of God. Therefore as far as analogies go, the collective is the Body or Bride of Christ and the individuals are the children of God.
4. The sign occurs in a year filled with an incredible abundance of biblically-significant date markers: 120 years since the First Zionist Congress, 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 70 years since the U.N. mandate to establish a Jewish state, 70 prophetic years of 360-days each since the rebirth of Israel, 50 years since the Israeli conquest of Jerusalem, and 40 years since the modern peace process began. It's also a year filled to the brim with "sevens" - the very number of most prophetic significance in the books of Daniel and Revelation.
As I've said before, it amazes me that so many of our brothers and sisters are seeing the same thing even down to the minute details. I've never seen this kind of convergence among watchers before. Some believe the rapture will occur on September 23rd. Others on the 22nd or 21st or anytime between now and then. Others say it could happen at any of a few remaining conjunctions following the sign in October or November. I personally choose not to set a date, but I believe we are getting closer and I believe this sign is the great sign in the sun, moon, and stars spoken of in Revelation 12 and Luke 21:11 and 21:25.
Look up, for your redemption draws near! I leave you with this video from Jaco Prinsloo called "The Day and the Hour Revealed":