“A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”
There has been so much written lately about the planetary alignment occuring on this coming September 23rd; search that date in Youtube and you will pull up a long list of videos talking about that subject. Some state that this alignment is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 12:1. Some call it one of the great signs and wonders in the heavens prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24. Some even use this to claim it as proof that the “Rapture” is going to occur on that date or shortly thereafter. And some also state that this alignment is no big deal. What is the truth of the matter? Let’s look at a couple of points to keep in mind when you prayerfully consider this subject.
The first thing to consider is the context of this one verse in the prophecies of the twelfth chapter of Revelation. John continues in verses 2-6 to describe the woman giving birth to a male son, “who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” and who will be snatched up to God and His heavenly throne; this is clearly meant to represent the Savior, Jesus Christ. In verses 3-4, the apostle describes another sign appearing in heaven, that of the “red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads”; this image refers to Satan and the political and economic alliance that will provide the power base for the Antichrist. The entire first 6 verses of Revelation 12 are a metaphorical description of the advent of the Messiah and the power structure of the Beast. Nowhere does it state that this sign is the announcement of the end. In fact, the remainder of the chapter describes the war in the heavens between the followers of Satan and the armies of God led by Michael the archangel, and the chapter ends with the dragon going off in a rage and waging war against the elect of God in Jesus. Trying to interpret the Bible from one verse taken out of context is a bad idea and nearly always leads to a faulty interpretation and then spiritual deception. Read everything in the Scriptures, especially the prophecies, in the light of the context of the passage where they appear.
My second point addresses those who claim that this alignment announces the imminence of the “Rapture” despite the fact that Jesus clearly said on more than one occasion that no man would know the date or time of His coming. Read Matthew 24 again and pay close attention to verses 30 and 31 to learn when Jesus will gather His elect “from one end of the heavens to the other.” This alignment does not indicate the day of Christ’s return, and if you say that it does you are falling into the same trap of predicting His return that many have fallen into in the past; even Augustine predicted that Jesus would return in or around the year 1000 AD. Some relate this to the beginning of the Jewish Feast of Trumpets, and if that is how they want to see it they are entitled to that opinion, but as yet I have been shown nothing Biblical to pronounce that this is the sign that Christ is almost here. Be careful in your interpretations.
And third, this alignment has been touted by some as a great sign in the heavens. How does this qualify as such? Remember that in the middle of this alignment will be the sun, which means that this alignment would only be above us during the day. No one will be able to see it due to the light of the sun. Only astronomers with highly specialized equipment will be able to actually view this alignment; people who have software on their computers such as Stellarium will be able to see a representation of the alignment but not the alignment itself. There are other astronomical factors that come into play but the bottom line is that if it weren’t for astronomers and people with astronomical programs and a lot of time on their hands no one would know that this alignment was even taking place. I think that to be a true sign and wonder in the heavens such as Jesus spoke of it would need to be visible to a lot of people in the way that the recent eclipse was visible to millions without relying on technology to let us know that it had happened.
So be very careful, my brothers and sisters, before you read too much into an “event”. We will be seeing many signs and wonders as Jesus prophesied; we already have been. But there are still a number of conditions “on the ground” that need to be met before the return of our Lord in power and glory, such as the reign of the Beast, the implementation of the Mark of the Beast for financial transactions, and Satan’s war against the saints. Until these signs are met we must continue patiently enduring, watching and waiting and being alert and informed. Don’t go off in a panic and sell everything and put on white robes because you think the Lord is about to return. That glorious day is very close, closer than we may think, but it is not not here yet.
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.