The Book of Revelation
I can’t think of any book in the Bible that is so well-known (in name) by both believer and unbeliever alike, while at the same time the least read or understood.
For example: If ten people were asked where in the Bible we find the term Antichrist, I would (safely) surmise that eight of them would answer … in Revelation. However, the only book that refers to this despicable man as the Antichrist is the epistle of I John. Other titles of this false messiah (little horn, ruler, king, worthless shepherd, man of lawlessness, beast) are found in Daniel, Zechariah, II Thessalonians, and Revelation.
Here is an easier question: Is the Book of Revelation about the future? Yes, I realize; that is one of those “duh” questions. But not as rhetorical as you might think.
Which begs the next question: Is Revelation exclusively future tense? The fact that I even asked this question probably gives cause to pause. If you didn’t know for sure, you’d probably answer that it isn’t solely future merely because I asked the question! And you would be right. But just barely. So, then, do you know what passages in Revelation are past tense? Let’s make it simpler —there are only two.
Other than the present-tense dynamics of Chapters 1, 2, & 3 and a reference to the woman (that great city—Rome) that rules (present tense at the time Revelation was written) the kings of the world (Revelation 17:18), the Book of Revelation is almost entirely future tense; except for the two past-tense passages that we’re going to examine. Consequently, it’s natural to view and process everything in the book as taking place in the (still) future, beginning with Chapter 4. For that reason, it’s also easy to miss (more like skim over or actually dismiss) the significance of the past-tense events.
Because nearly the entire book of Revelation pertains to the Tribulation, Second Coming of Messiah, the Millennium, and post-millennial Eternity, the vast majority of prophecy students have overlooked the evidence that the beast of Revelation (Antichrist) had already lived and died before John’s vision of the beast.
Until November, 2008, I, too, had failed to catch the startling significance of the angel’s explanation to John in Revelation 17. It was a disclosure that led to rediscovery of what most 1st through 4th century Christians knew all along … the identity of the Antichrist.
One of the Two Past-Tense Passages (Revelation 17:7-11a)
Said the angel to John: “…I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit … And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, italics for emphasis on the past tense portion of this passage).
(See Revelation 17:3-6 for Description of the Woman and the Beast)
Besides Jesus revealing to John, “…the mystery of the seven stars … and the seven gold lampstands” in Chapter 1, there’s only one other meaning that is explicitly exposed in Revelation. The disclosure relates directly to (identity of) the beast. In Chapter 17 it is the discovery of the “mystery” of the beast and the woman. In Chapter 13 it is the “meaning” of the number and, therefore, name of that same (Antichrist) beast. Moreover, the angel encourages John and all readers to ascertain the identity of the beast AT THAT PRESENT TIME.
In Revelation 13:18 the meaning can be “solved” with Hebrew gematria—counting by the alphabet. Six hundred and sixty-six is the equivalent spelling of Nero Caesar, from Greek to Hebrew. In Revelation 13:14 the angel tells John of the beast, “…who was fatally wounded and then came back to life” (One of three times in Chapter 13 where John is told the beast had recovered from his fatal wound).
And three times in Revelation 17, we’re told the same thing. Except this time the angel elaborates even more by confirming that the beast had already lived and died before John saw the beast from the isle of Patmos in the first century! Which invalidates the prevailing view that a modern-day born Antichrist will be killed during the Tribulation, then arise from the dead.
After telling John that the beast he had just seen “was once alive but isn’t now” (verse 8), the angel again states:
“The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer, is the eighth king. He is like (Greek word is ek, which means from, one of, out of) the other seven…” (Revelation 17:11, parenthesis mine).
Before that John is told that the seven heads of the beast, “…also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief” (Verses 9-10).
Here we see another past tense phrase: “Five kings have already fallen.” All this and more is explained in great detail in my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved. As well as in many Eye of Prophecy articles under the category of Antichrist.
The Birth Contractions Are Getting Stronger
The second set of past tense events in Revelation is found in Revelation 12:1-5. Before we examine that passage, let’s review the words of Messiah, himself. In what is called the Mount of Olives discourse, the longest narrative of which is found in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said:
“Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come” (Matthew 24:7-8).
In Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up … Redemption is Near Part I & Part II (published 7-11 & 7-18-15), I listed and discussed in some detail twelve prophetic signs and developments of the 20th and 21st centuries—six pertaining to Israel and six to the rest of the world—that clearly show we’re in the last (Omega) generation cited by the Lord in Matthew 24:34.
In addition to two titanic world wars, there have been dozens of smaller wars and ethnic clashes in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Concerning natural disasters, here is an excerpt from Part II of the above cited articles (in italics):
Our Lord mentions just two (famines and earthquakes), but the implication is unmistakable that he is referring to natural disasters of all kinds. The unbelievable increase in the frequency and severity of natural catastrophes in the last hundred years far exceed proportionally what happened in the nineteen centuries before that.
In general (all kinds), five of the top ten natural calamities of all time have occurred in the 20th and 21st centuries. That’s fifty percent in the last one hundred years alone! Likewise, five of the top ten earthquakes through the ages have occurred in the 20th & 21st centuries. Or expanding that to the top twenty-five deadliest earthquakes of all time, fourteen have taken place in the last hundred years or so. Of the ten deadliest tornadoes recorded, eight have occurred in this and the last century.
*Note: Since those articles were written, we’ve witnessed more huge hurricanes and earthquakes such as the one below that struck Mexico City recently:
Near the end of that article, I summarized:
What is different now from then is that all twelve have synchronized with a frequency and magnitude never seen before. With intensity that really can’t get much more extreme or enhanced than it already is. Together they have formed a combustible concoction ready to spontaneously ignite. The accumulative impact of these flash point prophecies fits precisely with the Lord’s comparison to childbirth, all in a generation’s time.
Here is the list of the twelve in a handy concise format. Check each one to see if they either have been fulfilled or if they have reached or nearly reached their optimum and maximum flash point.
- Rebirth of Israel as a Sovereign Nation, 1948
- Recapture of Jerusalem in the June, 1967 Six-Day War
- Jerusalem, a Heavy Burden to the Nations
- The 3rd Rebuilt Temple
- Israel’s Phenomenal Agricultural Accomplishments
- Modern-Day Alignment of Gog/Magog Nations against Israel
- National and Ethnic Wars in the 20th & 21st Centuries
- Amazing Increase of Natural Disasters
- Moral & Spiritual Decline & Intense Persecution of Christians
- False Messiahs & Prophets
- Unequaled Increase in Quantity and Speed of Transportation and Information
- Unprecedented Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the World
The Second Past-Tense Passage in Revelation
We’ve already examined one of those two passages … Revelation 17:7-11. With the last part of verse 8 referring to the future reappearance of the Antichrist beast from the Abyss at the outset of the Tribulation, AFTER he had already lived and died. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now.
Here is the other passage (Revelation 12:1-5):
“Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth” (Revelation 12:1-2).
(Depiction of the Other Woman in Revelation … The Good One, As Opposed to the Woman On the Beast)
“Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:3-5).
First, we’ll scrutinize the history of these events of great significance. Later we’ll examine a display in the sky taking place today, September 23rd, 2017—the same day that the Eye of Prophecy article you are reading was posted. Some say that this spectacle is related to the first event of great significance mentioned in the first two verses of Revelation Chapter 12. Does it or doesn’t it?
Let’s begin with the meaning of the metaphorical images.
“…I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth” (Revelation 12:1-2).
The woman represents Israel, specifically the physical existence of the Jews and corporate entity of the nation Israel. This application is reinforced by the twelve stars depicting the twelve tribes of Israel. The woman is “clothed” with the sun that materially symbolizes the rest of the world—the Gentile nations, which (until 1967) had enveloped and overshadowed Israel for some 2,600 years. But the sun also represents the spiritual light as foretold by the prophet Isaiah. God says about his Messiah: “…You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).
The prophet Malachi refers to Messiah as the “Sun of Righteousness,” who will bring healing, but only after “the day of judgement” of the wicked (Gentile nations). See Malachi 4:1-2.
The moon is also Israel, but more specifically a spiritual representation of the Jews, as exemplified by the seven appointed festivals of Israel and other new moon celebrations (see primarily Leviticus Chapter 23). As you may or may not know, the Jewish calendar consists of 30-days based entirely on the moon’s cycles. Whereas, all Gentile nations measure and track time with a solar calendar. All references to days, months, and years in Scripture relate to the Jewish lunar calendar. Those dates can then be matched up to the Gregorian calendar.
The woman (Israel) is in the throes of intensive labor pains, preparing to give birth to Messiah. These labor pains essentially began when Babylon destroyed the Jewish Temple in 586 B.C. and ended the Levitical Sacrificial System for a period of time—to begin the Lord’s intended transition from the Mosaic Covenant of Law to the New Covenant of Grace. The contractions reached a peak during the birth, life, and especially the death of Jesus Christ. The labor pains portrayed in this scene are a historical review of the first coming of Messiah Jesus.
The Red Dragon:
“…I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads” (Revelation 12:3).
Although correlation of the woman, sun, moon, and stars to what/who they represent requires a fairly good measure of Bible study and familiarity with Jewish and Gentile history, the identity of the dragon is given to us later in verse 9: “This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan…”
Have you ever wondered or even thought about the difference in the location of the crowns on the dragon and those on the Antichrist beast in Revelation 13:1? You’ll find few, if any, commentaries on this variance.
“Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns” (Revelation 13:1).
Both Satan (as a dragon) and Antichrist (as a beast) are portrayed with seven heads and ten horns. Satan is shown with crowns on the seven heads of the dragon. Antichrist (Nero) is seen with crowns on the ten horns of his bestial image.
The explanation: Although Antichrist is the composite beast of Revelation 13 & 17, he is also one of (from, out of, belonging to) the seven heads. These heads were seven Roman Caesars (including Nero) who ruled in the first century. Thus, Nero is equivalent to the other six in rank—all Roman emperors. The ten horns of the beast are the ten kings who will give their kingdoms (crowns) to Nero during the Tribulation, upon his astonishing reappearance from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8). Nero will exercise direct authority over them.
However, crowns are shown on the seven heads of the dragon, not the ten horns. The seven heads of the dragon are the same Roman Emperors of the Roman Empire—Satan’s 4th Gentile empire (following Babylon, Persia, and Greece) allowed by God for the express purpose of accomplishing his plan for Israel, and also for the nations. Likewise, the ten horns seen on the dragon are the same ten horns depicted on the Antichrist beast (ten kings of the tribulation period). However, Nero will control the ten horns (crowns of the kings) of the tribulation; whereas, Satan exercised direct authority over the heads (crowns of)—seven Roman emperors, including Nero, during the first century.
One-Third of the Stars:
“His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:4).
The stars represent one-third of the angels who joined Satan in his ancient revolt against God. When Satan was evicted from his heavenly residence, those “fallen angels” were also banished from heaven and—because of Satan’s direct authority over them—assigned to the earth by the devil.
Satan has permission to be in God’s presence and only then on special occasions (see Job 1). There is no indication in Scripture that other fallen angels can access heaven (God’s throne) itself. However, they can come and go on the earth and in hell if they choose. The Lord banished the excessively wicked of these fallen angels to the Abyss, to be released only during the Great Tribulation (See Jude 1:6 & Revelation Chapter 9).
We get a vivid picture of Satan standing in front of the woman, ready to devour her baby beginning with King Herod’s vicious murder of Bethlehem’s children. Then Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, and the satanic influence over Judas to betray Jesus. Culminating with the Jewish religious leaders (children of the devil as Jesus called them … John 8) handing Jesus over to the Romans to be crucified.
The Son’s Ascension to Heaven in Preparation for His Rule of the Nations:
First to state that: The “baby … son … child” in Revelation 12 are not figurative expressions. They refer directly to Messiah Jesus; “…a child born to us, a son given to us” (Isaiah 9:6). Born of a Virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
“She (Israel in general but also the Jewish Virgin Mary in particular) gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5, parenthesis mine).
Notice the wording: Was to rule indicates that the appointed birth of the child/son (which includes the entire life, death, and resurrection of Jesus) would not immediately result in setting up the Kingdom of God on earth. That would come later … upon the return of Messiah.
First things first: “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be made whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
To Mary’s fiancée, the angel announced: “…Joseph, son of David … do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Then to the Jewish virgin, the angel Gabriel said: “Don’t be afraid, Mary … for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:30-33).
In contrast to the angel’s appearance to Joseph with an emphasis of Jesus bringing salvation, the announcement to Mary (the woman representing all of Israel) corresponds with Revelation 12 … the Son who would rule the nations. It would be the Kingdom of God headquartered in Jerusalem governing the nations after Israel’s final restoration. A plan that began with God choosing Abraham to be the ancestor of the Jewish people, through whom Messiah would bring redemption to Israel and the whole world (John 4:22).
It was necessary for Jesus to return to heaven in his resurrected eternal body, awaiting God’s fulfillment of his plan to redeem people from every nation and language because they believed and received Messiah Jesus as personal Savior.
“The child” would be “snatched away” from the dragon as a preview and prototype of believers being caught up (Rapture, I Thessalonians 4) to meet Jesus in the air, sparing us from the Great Tribulation. Jesus’ work on earth was finished when he arose from the dead. By returning to heaven and sending the Holy Spirit in his place to indwell all believers, the Kingdom of Heaven (in the hearts of men and woman all over the earth) would spread much wider and more rapidly. Jesus had already defeated Satan and death. His ongoing battle with the devil would be waged from heaven, with the Lord’s final victory over Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet realized upon his glorious return.
The Book of Revelation is a panoramic view of the Tribulation, Second Coming, Millennium, and Eternity. The first part of Revelation 12 is a brief but equally epic review of what John termed significant events. In just five verses, they encompass Israel’s history and destiny (physically and spiritually) to bring Messiah (the very Son of God) to Israel and the whole world, and Satan’s devilish design to prevent Messiah from completing God’s purpose for the human race.
Beginning with verse six of Revelation Chapter 12, we are moved forward into the coming Great Tribulation. There we see the devil’s vile, but vain, effort to once again destroy Israel and vent his wrath against the tribulation saints (both Jew and Gentile).
“And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus” (Revelation 12:17).
An Event in the Heavens Occurring On September 23rd, 2017
In the Eye of Prophecy article, Hurricane Harvey & A Year of Prophetic Milestones (2017) posted 9-9-17, we looked at a possible correlation between the total eclipse of the sun on August 21st and Hurricane Harvey that struck four days later. Then, the probable connection between Harvey and other devastating hurricanes in America over the past three decades with (failed) attempts by the United States Executive Staff to force a one-sided peace agreement on Israel. Also covered were prophetic milestones of the 20th and 21st century directly related to the 100-year and 70-year generations defined in Scripture and the 50-year Jubilee—all pertaining to Israel’s rebirth as a nation and the Day of the Lord occurring at the end of the final (Omega) generation. Our generation!
What is this event taking place on September 23rd, 2017—today, if you are reading this article on its posted date? You may or may not have heard about it.
It is an unprecedented astronomical configuration in the zodiac constellation of Virgo, initially determined (discovered) in 2011. One that will appear only in the sky over Israel.
(*Note: Concerning another “end-of-the-world” date setting prediction associated with a meteor or a planet called Nibiru allegedly striking the earth on September 23rd, all I’m going to say on that subject is: Nonsense! It didn’t happen in May, 2003 as predicted. Nor during the Mayan-calendar omen of 2012, which also came to nothing. Those foolish predictions are not related to the Virgo Constellation event).
To explore the potential implications of the Virgo Constellation alignment, Kade Hawkins—founder of the website Prophecy News Watch—put together a four-part video series entitled, The Great Sign.
Although I have not seen these videos, I have read the preview and listened to the trailer. To some extent, it would appear that the interest level of this solar and planetary phenomenon is akin to the extraordinary attention given to the tetrad of blood moons which took place on the dates shown below:
Two well-known pastors and authors, Mark Biltz and John Hagee, wrote extensively about those blood moons before they took place. After the first of those moons, I joined in with an Eye of Prophecy article entitled (of course) Blood Moons, posted 4-19-14 … but with more of a cautionary approach. Here is an excerpt from that article, including the below sub-title in bold (in italics):
Fortunately, neither Pastor Biltz nor Pastor Hagee dogmatically claim that one of these events will be the day when Christ raptures the Church. And, that’s good, because no one knows the day or hour of our Lord’s return. To select any one of the four days would be just another attempt to “guess” even though the guess may be on a significant date, such as those that comprise the tetrad. As said, one of those days has already come and gone (April 15th), without an event of huge consequence happening to/in Israel or, for that matter, anywhere in the world.
Connections between Rapture, Festivals, Moons, End Times?
Personally, I think it would be great if the Rapture would occur on one of these very important festival dates. Especially September 28th … my birthday. Kidding, but not entirely! But all of us who passionately long for the return of our glorious Savior Jesus Christ know full well that ANY day (the sooner the better) would be a wonderful day! Alongside of the triumphant return of Christ to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem to set things right throughout the entire earth, the Rapture of believers in Christ will be the most spectacular event of all time. Not necessarily the most important (that belongs to the day that our Lord arose from the dead), but arguably the most stunning.
Then later in that article, I summarized with:
The Joel prophecy of what is clearly a one-time moon turning to blood-red and giving no light event, preceded by the sun (completely) darkened doesn’t fit with 2000 years of periodic lunar eclipses in which the moon is described as a “blood moon.” However, these blood moon lunar eclipses have been a harbinger and a forerunner of what will take place during that great and terrible day of the Lord. And, in God’s sovereignty and emphasis on holy days that he established for the nation of Israel, blood moon tetrads have been linked with milestones in Israel’s history, and very well may do so again. And, as much as I (and many of us) would like to see the Rapture take place on one of these glorious festivals (holidays, meaning Holy Days), I’m equally convinced it will not.
Instead, the Rapture will most likely take place on some “ordinary” day far removed from such days as Passover, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Christmas, Resurrection Sunday, Purim, or any other vitally important day that we might revere and celebrate. Why on earth would I say something so anticlimactic, so over-the-top, so uninspired, so uneventful, so … well, so, negative!?
What is the basis for such a conclusion? This premise is based on what Jesus, himself, said. Most of us know the passage; in fact, we’ve just referred to it, i.e. Matthew Chapter 24 (and 25). Many of you will recognize the verse. Here it is: “You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44, italics for emphasis).
…To further emphasize and reinforce his statement that no one knows the hour or the day of his return, Jesus gave us another strong clue. He will return (on a day) when we least expect him to arrive. There are 365 days in the year (360 if you use the Hebrew calendar). If we rely heavily on what Jesus is telling us, then combine it with all the other end times passages, I think we can safely assume (predict) that he will not take us home in the Rapture on any holiday of great importance to us or to the Jews. Besides, the only prophecy remaining for the church, itself (the body of Christ consisting of both Jews and Gentiles) is the Rapture. This prophecy has no bearing whatsoever on all the predictions pertaining to Israel and the Jews, such as the physical and spiritual restoration of Israel as a people and a nation.
Thus, I believe it is a mistake, at least a miscalculated presumption to claim or even to speculate beyond mere possibility that blood moon tetrads (lunar eclipses) have a direct correlation with the Rapture of the Church.
(Back to Today’s Article)
Were the blood moons important? Is the once in a “blue moon” alignment of the sun, moon, and planets in the Virgo Constellation over Israel also meaningful? Yes, to both questions; but as applied to and in the context of what Jesus, himself said in his amazing answers to the disciple’s questions, “…Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).
“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken … So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:25-28).
In The Great Sign series, Kade Hawkins again draws on views expressed by Mark Biltz. Here are some excerpts from Kade’s pre-program article with statements from Mark Biltz or Scripture in quotation marks (in italics):
On that day, the sun will be in the constellation Virgo (known as the virgin). The moon will be below the “feet” of the constellation. Additionally, Venus, Mars and Mercury will be above the constellation. As the constellation Leo has nine stars and will also be above Virgo’s head, the alignment can be interpreted as a “crown” of 12 stars.
Revelation 12: 1-2 reads: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”
Kade Hawkins’ article continues:
“The woman clothed with the sun is the constellation Virgo and represents the nation of Israel,” he explained. “The 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Interestingly, the constellation Leo, the lion, which is above Virgo, is made up of nine stars. The lion represents specifically the tribe of Judah. It just so happens this year during the Days of Awe, three planets will join the constellation Leo making up 12 stars. Virgo will be clothed with the sun, and the moon will be under her feet, fulfilling this sign to precise detail.”
Biltz cited Luke 21:25, which says: “And there shall be strange signs in the sun, moon, and the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves.”
But why should believers care about what is happening in the sky? Isn’t looking for such signs uncomfortably close to the practice of astrology?
Biltz points out Scripture itself speaks of the importance of signs in the sky. He also says there is a critical distinction between astrology and what he calls “biblical astronomy.”
“Biblical astronomy has nothing to do with astrology,” Biltz said. “The devil likes to pervert everything God does as a way of sidelining believers. In astrology, it’s all about you and interpreting the signs in the sky about how it affects your life. In biblical astronomy, it’s all about God. It’s an entirely different focus. God even stated, the heavens are declaring the glory of God.”
Things to Ponder
I totally agree with Pastor Biltz’ distinguishing between astrology and Biblical astronomy. God even referred to constellations when he challenged Job:
“Can you direct the movement of the stars—binding the cluster of Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?” (Job 38:31-33).
We are not to set day and hour dates that the Lord will Rapture his church. But we are to recognize the signs of the last days of the end times.
Thus, I believe that today’s alignment over Israel of the sun, three planets, nine stars, and the moon is one of the “strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars” spoken of by Jesus.
But is it a fulfillment of Revelation Chapter 12? When, in fact, Revelation 12:1-5 was not a prophetic vision of the future; it was a reminder (review) of what had already taken place.
Did Revelation 12:1-2 also apply to a future event, i.e. today’s astrophysical sign over Israel?
Answer: Possibly, but unlikely. Why? Because Revelation beginning with Chapter 4 is about the (still future) post-Rapture Tribulation, Millennium, Second Coming, and Eternity. It is NOT about the pre-Rapture birth pains and signs in the heavens foretold by Jesus. The book of Revelation picks up where the Mount of Olives discourse ends. It is the Final Revelation of Jesus Christ—the Day of the Lord beginning with the Rapture.
Revelation 12:1-5 and the aforementioned verses in Revelation 17 are (parenthetical) past-tense passages called interludes that briefly interrupt the future tense continuity and sequence of Revelation. With Revelation 12 a review of historic events that had already occurred; and Chapter 17 a revelation (disclosure of the mystery of the beast) that the Antichrist had already lived and died … but would return from the Abyss.
And as indicated—with the exception of the child/son born to the woman, who is Messiah Jesus—all of the other images of Revelation 12 are figurative … representing Israel, fallen angels, and Satan. Though much of the book of Revelation is literal, there’s no solid evidence to suggest that the sun, moon, and stars are literal in this passage, i.e. representing today’s Virgo Constellation display. Even if they are literal, three planets are part of the Virgo spectacle. The planets are not stars.
Either way, it is certainly time to: Look up, for our (final) redemption is drawing near!
Regarding the Rapture: On whatever day it happens… for believers it will be the first day of the rest of our (eternal) life!