Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.”
Let’s take a trip back in time six years or ago to the year 2017. As many of you remember, there was much ado about the so-called September 23rd “Revelation 12 Sign” amongst many within our community. At the time I was still writing for the Omega Letter, and although I wasn’t swept up in any of the constellation hype of that day, I remember getting dismayed by the response by the so-called establishment ministries on “our side” for simply dismissing it out of hand as ‘astrology.’ I remember writing about ‘our side's response to this by saying:
…and if we are really being honest with ourselves, we would realize that 99% of the world thinks we Christians are already crazy for even believing in the Bible in the first place, and to an even greater degree, the Rapture. Why then are many respected prophecy teachers, experts, commentators, and pastors so quick to form a circular firing squad on our own at the first whisper of something they don’t understand?
And regarding the meat of the September 23rd phenomenon, which is the representation of the Church symbology in Revelation chapter 12, I concluded:
For my sense of well-being, if men like John Darby and H.A. Ironside could hold this view, and I have tremendous respect for their biblical knowledge and understanding, why is it so difficult for others to do the same? Is it because chapter 12 is nestled snuggly in the middle of chapters 6-19, for which many Pre-Tribulation scholars, pastors, and even I, had cordoned off as “tribulation territory?”
In conclusion, I wrote...
Have many within the Watcher community (become) guilty of becoming the very things we so often rail against? Are we becoming like the skeptics and mockers out there who ridicule everything they don’t understand?
Mixed feedback from our already tiny community came in the form of pats on the back and also quiet condemnations from those disagreeing with me. Regardless, my sentiments today remain the same as they did then...it would be prudent of us to wait and see how these things play out. Remember, Joseph's dream didn't immediately come to pass, but would, with 100% certainty, become fulfilled in the subsequent generations.
Now, you might be wondering why I’m bringing up a six-year-old story. The reason is that the entire August-September 2017 time frame (as well as that of the preceding years' blood moon tetrad, and other astronomical events leading up to that time), reminded me of something else…of Christmas.
It reminded me of what the star of Bethlehem must have appeared like to those people alive during Christ’s birth who didn’t understand what was happening. They looked up and saw this strange star for presumably as much time as it took the Wise Men to arrive there (days/weeks), and looked on with curious puzzlement. Now, to the Wise Men traveling from the east, it meant something specific: it was the sign that the ‘One born king of the Jews’ had finally arrived. To everyone else, it must have just appeared as a strange, out-of-place, celestial body.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matt. 2:1-2
The story goes that Wise Men from the East (most likely Parthian magi and astrologers) traveled a great distance to come and present gifts to the newborn king. Now, Parthia, formerly known as Persia, had been conquered by the Greeks several centuries earlier. But before the Greeks, the Persians had conquered the Babylonians. The Babylonians had been home to the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar, who at one point, began killing all his wise men and their families for not being able to both tell him the dream he dreamt, as well as its interpretation…that was until a young Jewish slave came along and did just that (Dan.1:18-2:13).
The very interesting and often untold backstory is that after intervening on behalf of the wise men by both telling King Nebuchadnezzar his dream, as well as interpreting it, these wise men then became loyal to Daniel. After all, he not only saved their lives but their families as well. After Daniel was made number two in the kingdom (right under Nebuchadnezzar), he would have, over the course of his service there, taught these same wise men many things about his Jewish faith and religion (i.e., the Old Testament). In that, he would have shared with them the promise of a coming Messiah.
No doubt, Daniel would have begun in the book of Genesis, but pausing in chapter forty-nine, he would describe the patriarch Jacob’s blessings to his twelve sons, who would become the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. When Jacob came to bless Judah, he gave him an interesting prophecy. (see here for more detail)
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
Daniel would have almost certainly taught them the passage in Numbers 24:17, where the prophet Balaam prophesied that this same scepter would be accompanied by the sign of a Star (of which these wise men would one day follow) to know exactly where this One-born King of the Jews would be found.
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult
Furthermore, after many years, Daniel would come to receive the Seventy Weeks prophecy from the angel Gabriel (Daniel 9:24-27). Together with their understanding of the age requirements in Numbers and Leviticus (i.e., the age of thirty for temple service as found in Numbers 4:3-47), these loyal wise men (or magi) would have dutifully passed this knowledge down through subsequent generations of their offspring and would have had a decent understanding of when this Jewish king was set to arrive. In summary:
1. They (the wise men) knew who this special person was and that He was one born king of the Jews (Gen. 49:10)
2. They knew what to look for, in that a special star would mark His arrival (Num. 24:17)
3. They knew roughly when to be looking by taking Daniel’s Seventy Weeks prophecy and backing up thirty years (Dan. 9:24-27)
4. They knew where to look (in Judaea) and more specifically, around Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
5. They knew why this Messiah was coming (Dan. 9:24)
But who else understood all that?
Apparently, no one else understood this since the wise men were the only ones there paying homage. The people who should have known, i.e., the Sadducees and Pharisees who served King Herod, neither connected the prophetic dots nor believed the prophecies that they did know (Matt. 2:3-6) since they butchered its interpretation. The star should have been an obvious sign to those who had the Old Testament because it clearly marked the key details about the arrival of their Messiah.
The Sun and Moon
According to Scripture, the sun and the moon still have their own respective roles to play in the closing moments of this age in which we now live. Aside from providing the terrifying signs of the end itself (Joel 2:31, Matt. 24:29, Luke 21:20, Acts 2:20, Rev. 6:12, Rev. 8:12, Rev. 12:1), the sun and moon also serve as a permanent reminder that God's covenant with the nation of Israel is unbreakable.
Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name):
“If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the Lord, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever.”
While the anomalous, yet seemingly benign September 23rd, 2017 “Revelation 12” constellation didn't result in apocalyptic results on said day, it might still have some future mystery to reveal to us. Even still, that event did not come alone. The month prior, on August 21st, 2017, another cosmic phenomenon occurred. This was the cross-continental full solar eclipse whose ‘path of totality’ began in Salem, Oregon, and ended in Charleston, South Carolina.
Even more intriguing is that this celestial phenomenon was not a one-off. Seven years later, on April 8th, 2024, another full solar eclipse is projected to once again cross the US, but this time starting in Mexico and crossing the US northeasterly to Canada forming an "X". The “X” as it were, ominously marks the spot in central Missouri, just to the right of the exact geographical center of the US (the exact center is actually Agra, Kansas). Interestingly, or perhaps divinely ironic, is that in the age of cancel culture, it is as if the universe is sending the United States a message that, it too, is about to be canceled.
But does it actually mean that? If there is a divine message, what is it intended to reveal to us? Given all the existential problems that are already plaguing the United States and given our total absence in the pages of Bible prophecy, it might well mean this is a sign from God that America’s days are numbered. I don't know, but it is worthy of further investigation. Don't just take my word for it, the wisest man who ever lived once wrote,
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Thus, in summarizing all of my above points, it is to say, just because we don’t understand something doesn’t mean we should automatically dismiss it out of hand. How many of us foresaw the total global lockdowns and events of 2020? None of us which I am aware of. It caught us all by surprise. And while half of our camp was quick (and eager) to throw wet blankets on the other half for ‘looking up’ and wondering what these strange cosmic events meant in 2017, we should all be more like Bereans and search these things out to see whether these things were so (Acts. 17:11).
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
In divine contradistinction, this verse has been the ‘go-to’ verse of choice for naysayers and skeptics alike for millennia. As discouraging as it appears on the surface, its purpose was necessary to temper the tendencies of believers to not prematurely chase after every sign and symbol as their sole ticket out of our earthly trials and tribulation. Furthermore, it would be the "proof text" to disavow any false teachers and prophets claiming to know exactly when that day would be.
However, once you get past the cursory reading of the passage, the main issue with continuing to use it as the catch-all verse is that later, revelatory passages seem to conflict with it. Scripture, as given to the Apostle Paul and even Jesus Himself seems to indicate that while we cannot know the specific day or hour of the Rapture, church-age believers in the latter generations should know the general time frame (the season) of His return.
But first, let us take note of what Jesus doesn’t say; “But of the day and hour no one knows or will ever know anything about the time of the end.”
Much to Rick Warren's chagrin, the above passage was written in the present tense and thus indicates the truth of what was known at that point in time (pre-Calvary). Many decades later, as indicated in Revelation 1:1, Jesus was given the full Revelation (apocalypse=unveiling) at some point after His death, resurrection, and ascension. This was what the Apostle John (then imprisoned on Patmos) was given in 95AD, to bear witness to and write down.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.
In Revelation chapter one, Jesus Christ received the ‘Revelation’ from the Father, in which, He (Jesus) gives to an angel to give to John. John was then instructed to record and give to all the churches. In the military, we called this a ‘chain of custody’ and denote the serious nature of the message. Beginning this ‘Revelation ’Jesus reveals His true glorified form to John, nearly killing him. After restoring the elder John, Jesus then describes how the book is to be understood (Rev. 1:19). It is to be read as the things ‘he has seen’ (chapter 1), the things ‘which are’ (chapters 2-3) and the things ‘to come after’ (chapters 4-22). In chapters 2-3, Jesus gives John the seven letters to the seven churches. To the fifth church (Sardis) Jesus gives a stark and sobering warning:
Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:3 (my emphasis)
Contrasting that verse with Matthew 24:36, the opposite of not knowing what hour He will come is knowing the hour He will come. How could the church at Sardis be held accountable for knowing something that was unknowable? This then supports the passage in Hebrews 10:25 in that we will see the Day approaching.
…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Heb. 10:25 (my emphasis)
Well, if we truly had no way of knowing anything concerning our Lord’s return, both Hebrews 10:25 (the Day) nor Rev. 3:3 (the hour) couldn’t be true. In other words, how can we see the Day approaching if we had no way of knowing what or when that Day was? How could Sardis (now representing mainline protestant Christendom) be held accountable for knowing the hour, if they had no way to understand when that hour was? The Apostle Paul includes a similar theme in this epistle:
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 (my emphasis)
As we draw closer to ‘that Day’ (i.e., the day of Christ), we would be wise to take all things into consideration and test them against Scripture before dismissing them out of hand. Let us not be like the blinded Pharisees and Sadducees of Christ’s first advent, who missed the sign of His arrival (the star of Bethlehem) and whom He held personally responsible for not knowing the hour of their visitation (Matt. 16:1-4).
How much more will we be held accountable? We have both the Old and New Testaments; the full canon of God’s word. We have national Israel restored back to her ancient homeland. We have all of history at our fingertips. Now, we have the signs in the sun, moon, and stars, as well as the convergence of all these other signs piling on top of each other. How much more will we be held accountable for at least knowing the season of His return? Either these cosmic events are epochal coincidences, or they are intentionally designed to herald the end of our age…but they cannot be both.
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:24-27 (my emphasis)
The purpose of this article, as is with all my work, is simply to point to the nearness of the Blessed Hope in the sincere belief that it would encourage the saints and simultaneously provoke the unbeliever into actions leading to salvation. Nevertheless, while we watchfully remain in this season of hope, we must always temper our hope against the hype by staying in the word of God and testing everything by it. In the meantime, we are to be wise as serpents, and gentle as doves (Matt. 10:16) and always resisting the temptation of becoming the pharisaical gatekeepers of what is or is not worthy of investigation.
Our blessed hope has never been in a date or an event but in the God-Man Christ Jesus. When I hear so-called theologians and clergy try and dismiss the Rapture of the Church as a distraction from Jesus, I'm struck by their profound ignorance as if the Rapture was something distinct from Jesus. The Rapture of the Church is Jesus. It is believers being gathered together for the first time in two millennia, and meeting Christ in the air to go and be with Him forever more. For if our hope is not rooted in Christ and His soon return to fix this broken planet, then what is our hope?
Is it in a political party or in a political movement?
Is it in the hope that organized Christendom will make the world better by our own efforts?
Is it that this world will continue on ad-finitum into some unknowable and undefinable future?
Is it simply in the belief that after death we spend eternity in the clouds as a whispy spirit playing a harp?
No, our hope is not rooted in some idealized wishful thinking but it is a tangible, realistic certainty that the creator and sustainer of this universe will come back to us just like He promised (John 14:1-3, 1 Thess 1:10, 5:9, Rev 3:10, etc.). Furthermore, we must be physically transformed from our temporal, sinful, mortal bodies, to immortal, redeemed, and glorified bodies to live where Christ lives (1 Cor. 15:51-56, Romans 8:28-30, John 3:1-3).
While this hope in glory is only made possible through His death, burial, and resurrection, it doesn't just stop at redeeming us eternally from the consequences of sin and the ravages of death. This hope, as Paul states in Romans 8, will lift the curse from all of creation. It seems, aside from all of the signs we are getting here on the earth (Israel's miraculous national rebirth, Gog-Magog alignment, technological advancements, the global meteoric rise in the spirit of antichrist, etc.) that God is using creation itself (including the sun, moon, and stars) to give us signs that we are approaching the end.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Romans 8:19-22
God will use the judgments found in Revelation 6-18 in the purging process of creation itself like a kind of divine terraforming. We see these "birth pangs" in the form of natural disasters and calamities increasing in both frequency and intensity. With regards to the Rev 12 "sign" and the past and upcoming solar eclipses (and other astronomical events), while many of these stand-alone events may not point to anything specific in and of themselves, when we step back and look at the bigger picture, it appears they are, once again, serving as harbingers heralding the end of our age.
Again, let us not be like the blinded Pharisees of Christ's day who couldn't see what was in front of them. Rather, let us be like the Wise Men from the east who found their hope in looking up and seeing from afar the things that herald the soon return of our Lord and Savior. The King of kings, Christ Jesus.
Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”