The Revelation 12 Sign is an apocalyptic belief heralding the time of Jacob’s Trouble also known as the Tribulation Period may begin on 9/23/17 promoted by a number of people and news organizations, which states that a literal fulfillment of the prophecy given in Revelation 12:1-2 will occur on September 23, 2017 over Jerusalem.
This passage of Scripture in the Christian Bible describes “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.” (NIV). Many people worldwide believe that an astronomical alignment involving the constellations Virgo and Leo, the sun, moon, and planets Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter occurring in September 2017 will fulfill this prophecy word-for-word.
The Revelation 12 Sign may coincide with the High Holy Day of Rosh Hashanah on the Jewish calendar, which is also called the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the Fall Feasts and its timing is traditionally based on the visibility of the new moon, which in 2017 is expected to either begin 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, in this case marking the end of the year 5777 (sometimes abbreviated to the significant number ‘777) and the beginning of 5778. The Feast of Trumpets in Jewish tradition is believed to be a day when the dead will be resurrected and judgment will begin while Christians believe the period describes the tribulation period found in the book of Revelation.
The complete astronomical alignment occurs on September 23, 2017 over Jerusalem. Shown below are the eight key elements involved in the Revelation 12 Sign:
Interpretations of Revelation 12 vary, but the general consensus of some people suggests that the September 2017 alignment is the Great Sign which is described in this passage of Scripture: that the woman represents the nation of Israel, which they believe is about to enter into a multi-year period of Tribulation, and the male child represents the global Church, which might be raptured to Heaven before the Tribulation period begins according to Revelation 12:5.
Many proponents say that in order for people to escape before this impending judgment on the world and be “raptured”, they must accept that the Christian Messiah Jesus Christ died for their sins, rose again, and is the only means of being reconciled to God. These views are shared by all of the major proponents of the Revelation 12 Sign.
It has also been pointed out by Revelation 12 Sign proponents that a number of eminent biblical scholars support their particular interpretation of Revelation 12, including John Nelson Darby, Harry Ironside, and more recently Dr. Michael Svigel.
The apocalyptic symbol of a woman in labor is found throughout Jewish and Christian Scriptures, which proponents suggest is evidence of the September 2017 alignment’s importance in prophecy. These particular Scriptures 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
According to Isaiah 66 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 (such as Gentile Tribulation Saints and the 144,000), the dragon, since he cannot devour the raptured Church, persecutes the woman’s other children spoken of later in Revelation 12.
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!
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.
No doubt someone could go diving into the history books to scrounge up some events from 1827, 1483, 1293, and 1056 that the September skies of those years supposedly foretold. That’s the way it is with astrology. A person reads his or her daily horoscope and finds that it says “obstacles will be placed in your path today.” Then, that person picks those instances of getting stuck in traffic, or in a long line at the grocery store, or wherever, and says “hey, that horoscope was right,” when, of course, we all encounter such things every day.
It is true that astrology — reading the heavens for signs — is something astronomers used to believe was valid (or, my guess is that many of them pretended to believe it was valid, because it paid the bills). But astrology has been found to have no more scientific basis than Harry Potter’s wand. It doesn’t work (something that does not seem to hinder its popularity). If astrology had anything going for it, astronomers would not need to go begging for money to fund astronomical research. We could just use our astronomical knowledge to divine which way the stock market was going, invest accordingly, become “astronomically” wealthy, and fund astronomical research from our surplus.
As it is, watching the heavens for signs of what is to come is a waste of time. And it is doubly a waste of time because “signs in the sky” appeal, for some reason, to all sorts of people out there — all of whom can use Stellarium to find this or that momentous “sign” signifying whatever they want to signify.
And that is why astronomers ignore the seemingly momentous celestial arrangement of September 23, 2017, and talk instead about black holes or whatnot.
Bottom line: From the standpoint of astronomy, there’s nothing unique or unusual about the sun, moon and planets – or the constellation Virgo – on September 23, 2017, despite claims on the Internet of a unique and significant celestial event, supposedly “mirroring” the Bible’s Book of Revelation. In the past 1,000 years, this same event has happened at least four times already, in 1827, 1483, 1293, and 1056.