The End-game of September 2017?
By Dr. Dan Willis
There is much conjecture surrounding all the rhetoric centered upon September 23, 2017. This is a time, according to many astrologers, that there is a star and planet alignment that hasn’t been seen in over 7,000 years. The question everybody wants answered is: Is this the end of the world? Allow me to clarify. Even is this is the beginning of what the Bible calls “The Day of the Lord”, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Secondly, I have a question: Is it true? Has the alignment really not been seen for over 7,000 years? And if so, does it match up with Revelation 12, and what does it have to do with The Day of the Lord?
On September 23, 2017, the sun will be in the zodiac constellation Virgo- “a woman clothed with the sun”. The moon will be at the feet of Virgo-“with the moon under her feet”. The “nine” stars of the zodiac constellation Leo, plus three planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars), will be at the head of Virgo- “on her head a crown of 12 stars”. The planet Jupiter will be in the center of Virgo, and, as the weeks pass after September 23, Jupiter will exit Virgo to the east, past her feet, so to speak- “She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth”. Jupiter is the largest of the planets, the “king” of the planets, so to speak- “She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod”.
Professor Chris Graney, is an astronomer, who is professor of physics and astronomy at Jefferson Community & Technical College in Louisville, Kentucky. He writes for EarthSky.org:
First, in one year, thanks to the Earth’s annual orbit, the sun travels the entirety of the ecliptic, and thus passes through every one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac. The sun is in Virgo every September.
Second, in one month the moon goes through its cycle of phases, and travels the entirety of the ecliptic, and thus passes through every constellation of the zodiac-all owed to the period of the moon’s orbit being one month. Therefore there is always a day or two every year when the sun is in Virgo and the moon is just to the east of Virgo (just past the “feet”).
So, the celestial “woman clothed with the sun with the moon at her feet” is as common in September as is the U.S. holiday of Labor Day.
But what of the crown of 12 “stars,” comprised of three planets and the nine stars of Leo? The response to this question is another question- why nine stars in Leo? There are many more than nine stars in Leo. Those nine are just brighter ones that are often depicted as comprising the general outline or shape of the constellation. But in fact there are scads of stars in Leo and surrounding the “head” of Virgo.
And not all depictions of Leo show those nine as its outline. Some show the outline of Leo as consisting of 10 stars, for example. That would give Virgo a crown of 13 stars here!
Two depictions of Leo outlined with 10 or 11 stars rather than 9. The depiction on the left is from an astronomy book for children; the depiction on the right is from an old National Geographic atlas. Image via Christopher M. Graney.
And yes, multiple planets being at Virgo’s head while Jupiter is in Virgo’s center and the moon is at Virgo’s feet is somewhat unusual. But it is not that unusual. The period of Jupiter’s orbit is a little less than 12 years, and therefore Jupiter will be in Virgo (with the sun there, too, and the moon at the feet) once every 11 or 12 years.
So the sun in Virgo, the moon at Virgo’s “feet”, and Jupiter in the constellation are regular occurrences. This leaves the planets at the “head” (the number depending on the number of stars granted to Leo) as the determining factor in making a “momentous” celestial arrangement. Indeed – while various Internet sources speak of the specific celestial arrangement here as being “unique in human history” or “once in 7,000 years” – in fact, it is not unique to September 23, 2017.
This basic arrangement happened before – in September 1827, in September 1483, in September 1293, and in September 1056. These are all shown at the end of this post. I only searched back one thousand years, from 2017 to 1017 – there are undoubtedly other examples outside of that time period, and probably a couple examples that I missed within that time period.
Revelation Chapter 12: As I’ve taught many times before, Chapters 12-19 in Revelation are a rerun of 6-11. A number of great signs and occurrences are witnessed in this chapter, each having to do with the horrendous judgement that is enveloping the earth, including the persecution being directed against Israel. These include: a great wonder (vs.1), a great dragon (vs. 3), great wrath (vs. 12), and two wings of a great eagle (vs. 14).
Revelation pictures 4 different women. 1- Jezebel, the high priestess of paganism 2:20; 2- the scarlet woman, the high priestess of apostasy that we will see in Chap. 17; 3- the Lamb’s wife, the representative of the true Church which is raptured and awaits the wedding feast (19:7); and 4- the woman in the text before us. This woman pictured must be Israel. The birth of the woman’s (Israel) son is predicted by Isaiah in 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 a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born 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.”) Dispensational Premillennialists, and Amillennialists have always identified the woman as the nation of Israel. There are several reasons given to support this interpretation.
The woman is clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and twelve stars. These symbols are drawn from Genesis 37:9–11, in which Joseph has a dream of the sun and moon symbolizing his father and mother, and stars representing his brothers, which bow down to him. The moon under her feet alludes to God’s promise of dominion, and the crown of twelve stars pictures royalty and relates to the 12 tribes of Israel. The Old Testament’s prophets referred to Israel as a “woman” (Isaiah 54:5-6; Jeremiah 4:31; Micah 4:9-10). The woman flees into the wilderness where she is nourished for 1260 days, the equivalent of three and a half years or forty-two months (Remember Rev. 11:1-3).
These terms are used prophetically in Scripture either for the first half or the last half of the “Seventieth Week of Daniel,” in Daniel 9:24-27. In the latter part of the seventieth week, a remnant of Israel will flee into the wilderness to escape the persecution of the Antichrist, who is called “the son of destruction,” “the lawless one,” and “whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan”, according to Paul in 2 Thess. 2:1-12. Jesus, in His teaching about the end times in the Gospels, which incidently, is called the Olivet discourse, warned the people of this time which would occur just prior to His return to set up His earthly, Millennial kingdom (Matt. 24:15-22). Further, the archangel Michael is called the guardian over the sons of Israel in Dan. 12:1. And he will arise at that time of Israel’s tribulation, as we will see in v. 7.
Now…Roman Catholics will tell you that the woman is the Virgin Mary. Catholic tradition assigns the identity of the woman to the Virgin Mary after her assumption into heaven, where she is revealed in all her glory as the “Queen of Heaven”, “Mother of God”, and “Mother of the Church”. According to this view, the woman’s “male child”, is a reference to Jesus (Revelation 12:5), since he is destined to “rule all nations with a rod of iron” (Revelation 12:5). The dragon trying to devour the woman’s child at the moment of his birth (Revelation 12:4) is a reference to Herod the Great’s attempt to kill the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:16). Through his death and resurrection, Jesus “was snatched up to God and to his throne”, as we will see in v. 5. The problem with this idea, is that none of their claims can be proven or backed up by Scripture. The woman being Israel however, can be. Hence, I defer to the Word of God. She’s Israel. And I think it will be clear as we go through this that this interpretation is accurate.
Here the woman brings forth a male-child, as we will see in v. 5, who must be Christ. Christ in His flesh came forth from Israel and at this point His adversary, Satan, is about to strike another blow. Remember Satan rebelled against God’s authority (Isaiah 14:12-14 “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” ) Remember too, that Satan has always been jealous of Jesus, and tempted Him at the beginning of His ministry, and was all over Him in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His arrest and crucifixion. The birth pains we see are likely the period before Jesus’ birth when Israel was awaiting redemption through her Savior and Messiah.
I believe that the things told to us in Revelation 12 are indeed the beginning of the “Day of the Lord. It is the foretelling of what will happen after the day that Christ raptures the Church. It is the beginning of the Great Tribulation. 3 ½ year of good times and new world alignment…following the event of thousands of people “disappearing”. But the new government will begin the end-game of world dominance through the Anti-Christ…and at some point Lucifer himself. This will result in the last 3 ½ year that Jesus said, “Will be a time such as has never been seen before”; and “…you shall not want to see it”. I also believe Revelation 12 pertains to Israel, which makes complete sense, as we know Lucifer will gather his armies and march on Israel. This will usher in the 2nd Coming of Christ and the Battle of Armageddon…which is the beginning of The Millennial Reign. Looking to science, I think it is clear that this phenomenon on September 23, 2017, may not be something that occurs very often, but it has indeed occurred before. Plus, I don’t think Revelation 12 has anything to do with astrology or cosmology. If it did, we might have some idea through science, when Christ might rapture His Church. Obviously, we are forgetting one thing when we subscribe to this: Christ said no one except the Father knows the hour.
Since we can’t know the time, why would God, Whom controls all things, give us signs in the galaxy that the hour is upon us? He wouldn’t. Jesus said just be ready. He also told us that these things that happen aren’t the event, but the “birth pains” before the event. I don’t doubt that the changes we’ve seen on the earth, coupled with the degradation of society, as well as the calamities that have been happening are indeed synonymous with the birth pains that Christ spoke of. Clearly we are heading toward that time rapidly. Remember the Jesus said it will come “as a thief in the night”. So I can only say this: People get ready…Jesus is coming soon.
Dan Willis is the Senior Pastor at Free Life Community Church in Terre Haute, Indiana. He can be contacted at: Dan.Willis@FreeLifeCC.com