Revelation 12 Sign: Video

A video update to my article Revelation 12 Sign? published on May 22, 2017:

Advertisements

What is the difference between the rapture and the second coming?

Are there any differences between the rapture of the church and Jesus Christ’s second coming? Are these the same event? Or are they two separate events? Before we can analyze this and answer the question, let’s define the rapture.

The Rapture

The rapture of the church is believed to be a future time when Christ will return to the earth and gather His church, the believers. The word “rapture” is not found in Scripture, but this does not take away from its truth. For example, the word “trinity” is not found in Scripture, but of course we believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one Godhead. So where does the term “rapture” come from?

The Greek word for “rapture” is harpazō, which is found in Strong’s Concordance here:

ἁρπάζω harpázō, har-pad’-zo; from a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications):—catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).

“Rapture” comes from the Latin word rapio, which is the translation of the Greek. Another term used to describe the event of the Rapture is the “snatching away” or “catching away.”

Proponents of the rapture cite the following verses to support their belief:

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” – 1 Corinthians 15:51–55

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18

Do the above verses justify the belief in a completely separate event from Christ’s second coming?

Rapture vs. Second Coming

Many believe that there is no such event as the rapture. Instead, the only future event left to come is Christ’s second coming to earth and the ushering in of eternity. However does the Bible support this claim? Are there any differences in the text that would support the belief of a separate gathering of believers known as the rapture? Let’s take a look. Below are several differences outlined in Scripture between the rapture of the church and Christ’s second coming:

Where is Christ?

  • At the rapture: Believers will meet the Lord in the air.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17

  • At the second coming: Christ descends to the earth on the Mount of Olives.

“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” – Zechariah 14:2–4

How are people removed from the earth?

  • At the rapture: Jesus takes believers from the world.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17

  • At the second coming: Angels gather the elect.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” – Matthew 24:29–31

Who’s taken?

  • At the rapture: Believers are taken and the unbelievers are left.

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:17

  • At the second coming: The wicked are taken and the believers are left.

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” – Matthew 24:37–41

When does Jesus come?

  • At the rapture: Jesus comes to rescue believers before the tribulation (i.e. Daniel’s 70th week).

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:9–10

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” – Revelation 3:10

  • At the second coming: Jesus comes after the tribulation to defeat Satan in the Battle of Armageddon and begin His millennial reign on Earth.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” – Matthew 24:29–30

What are the signs?

  • At the rapture: There are no signs given prior to the rapture.

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” – Romans 13:11–12

“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” – Philippians 4:5

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” – Titus 2:11–13

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” – Revelation 3:11

  • At the second coming: There are many signs that precede the second coming.

“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars . . . For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places . . . Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold . . . And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains . . . For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be . . . For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect . . . Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” – Matthew 24

Who is judged?

  • At the rapture: There are no mention of trials, tribulation, or judgment: only promise and encouragement.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16–18

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25

  • At the second coming: There are trials, tribulations, and judgment.

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” – Zechariah 14:2–4

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left . . . And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” – Matthew 25:31–32, 46

When are the dead resurrected?

  • At the rapture: The resurrection of the dead in Christ takes place after Christ descends, but before those alive are taken. Both those dead and alive meet Christ in the air.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16–18

  • At the second coming: The resurrection of the dead in Christ (tribulation saints) takes place after Christ defeats His enemies, the beast and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire, and Satan (the dragon) is cast into the bottomless pit. Then the dead in Christ (tribulation saints) come alive and meet Christ on Earth.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war .. . And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS . . . And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh . . . And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” – Revelation 19–20

Conclusion

It is clear that the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ are two separate events. The rapture of the church, the appearing of our savior in the clouds, is our blessed hope (Titus 2:13). As we await His near return, what are we to do as instructed by the Apostle Paul?

“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Does “no one knows the day or hour” still apply today?

When discussing the timing of end-time events, one of the most highly cited verses of Scripture is Matthew 24:36:

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” – Matthew 24:36

This well known verse is memorized by many and often applied regarding the timing of the rapture of the church. The question must be asked: to what time is this verse applying? Was Jesus referring to the rapture of the church? Or was Jesus referring to His second coming? We must interpret Scripture consistent with its context.

It is important to understand that the rapture of the church and the second coming of Christ are two completely separate events. For example at the rapture of the church, believers will meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Whereas at Christ’s second coming, Christ will descend to earth on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).

To understand the context of Matthew 24:36, it is important to understand how this verse fits with the immediate context as well as the entire chapter. Matthew 24:36 begins with “but of that day.” What day is being referenced? Look at the preceding verse:

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” – Matthew 24:35

Given the context, it appears “that day” referenced in verse 36 is the day that heaven and earth pass away. This is not the rapture of the church.

What about the rest of Matthew 24? It is important to understand who was speaking and to whom they were speaking. Jesus’ disciples had asked Him the following question:

“Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” – Matthew 24:3

Were the disciples (Jews) asking Jesus about the rapture of the church? They couldn’t have been. At that point in time, there was no knowledge about a rapture or a church. Jesus had not died yet. So what “coming” were they referencing? The Jewish disciples were asking Jesus about His future reign as king of Israel (i.e. His second coming).

How can we be sure of this interpretation? Consider the following:

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” – Matthew 24:13–14

Is enduring unto the end the way of salvation for the church today? Are we saved by the “gospel of the kingdom?” No, we are not. We are saved and judged by Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 2:16). When will the gospel of the kingdom be preached? When will people have to “endure unto the end” to be saved? During the tribulation, when the refusal of the mark of the beast will result in martyrdom (Revelation 13:15-18).

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” – Matthew 24:15–16

When is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel? In the middle of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:27). Daniel’s 70th week is also known as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). This is a reference to the tribulation period, a time when God goes back to dealing with His people (the Jews). The Jewish people will be forced to flee the antichrist into the mountains.

“The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 24:50–51

Is there “weeping and gnashing of teeth” at the rapture of the church? No, there is not. “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” is a reference to being cast into hell (Luke 13:28) which does not occur at the rapture.

Lastly, it is important to remember that Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 24:36 pre-ascension. Revelation 1:1 tells us that the Father revealed certain things to His Son, who then revealed them to an angel and John.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” – Revelation 1:1

The contents of the Book of Revelation were revealed to John after the ascension of Christ. This is important to keep in mind when understanding Matthew 24:36.

Conclusion

Considering Matthew 24:36 does not apply to the rapture, do I personally believe that believers will know the day or hour of the rapture of the church? According to Scripture, it seems possible. However, Scripture is definitely clear believers will know when we are in the season:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6

“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” – Revelation 3:3

NOTE: Notice the inverse of the above verse. “If therefore thou shalt watch, I will not come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt know what hour I will come upon thee.”

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25

 

What is the “Revelation 12 sign”?

In the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation, John writes of a “great wonder in heaven.” He goes on to describe what he sees: a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars. The book of Revelation as a whole is full of vivid imagery, and for centuries it has been a mystery. However, is it possible that we are on the verge of witnessing one of these signs unfold as described by John? Here is the text:

“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.” – Revelation 12:1–2

Before we get into looking at the sign, we must first review what God’s word has to say about the sun, moon, and stars. We also must clarify any misconceptions about biblical astronomy.

In Genesis, what did God say about the sun, moon, and stars?

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” – Genesis 1:14

One of the first reasons God placed the lights in the firmament of the heaven was for “signs.” Signs in the heavens are there for specific reasons, such as direction or warning. Remember the star of Bethlehem that is called to memory every Christmas season? The wise men knew a king had been born. How? Because of the sign in the heavens.

Satan, the master deceiver and father of lies, has confused biblical astronomy with a modern counterfeit known as astrology. It is important to understand the distinction between the two and realize that biblical astronomy is clearly a part of Scripture. Take a look at some excerpts from the book of Job:

“Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” – Job 9:7–9

“Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” – Job 38:31

In several places in the book of Job, several constellations are mentioned. The fact is that God made all of the stars and the constellations.

Now that we understand God’s creation and purpose of the sun, moon, stars, and constellations, let’s look at two constellations in particular: Virgo and Leo:

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 2.22.43 PM.png

In the bottom-left quadrant of the above screenshot we see the constellation Virgo, which is representative of a virgin woman. In the top-right quadrant we see the constellation Leo, which represents a lion. The constellation Leo consists of nine stars.

On September 23, 2017, the constellations Virgo and Leo are in the following configuration:

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 3.01.37 PM.png

The above screenshot reveals an interesting pattern. The constellation Virgo (the woman) is “clothed” with the sun, as it is just above her shoulder. The moon is at her feet  and above her head is the constellation Leo, which consists of nine stars. However on September 23rd, an extremely rare alignment occurs. The planets of Mars, Mercury, and Venus align with Leo to provide the “crown” of twelve stars to the woman.

Coincidence?

To make things a bit more interesting, let’s consider the role Jupiter plays in this equation. In Revelation 12:2, the woman is described as travailing in birth. Jupiter, commonly known as the “king star,” entered into the “womb” of the woman (the abdomen boundary lines) on November 19, 2016. After going into retrograde motion (basically a loop) in the abdomen of Virgo, Jupiter will exit the “womb” of the woman on September 9, 2017: 42 weeks exactly. What is the normal human gestation time? 37 to 42 weeks.

Coincidence?

This begs a question: so how rare of an alignment is this? Many researchers have spent countless hours of work using astronomy data to calculate if any alignment such as this has ever occurred or will ever occur again. Considering that Jupiter is only in Virgo every twelve years, it wasn’t too difficult to plot out the coordinates of the relevant stars and check for alignment. The data was checked for thousands of years in the past and thousands of years in the future, and this alignment was not found to have occurred or will occur in the future.

As if it could not get any more interesting, let’s examine the Jewish feasts ordained by God. There are seven: four spring and three fall.

Spring Feasts:

  • Passover (fulfilled by Jesus’ cruxifixction)
  • Unleaven Bread (fulfilled by Jesus’ burial)
  • First Fruits (fulfilled by Jesus’ resurrection)
  • Pentecost (fulfilled by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost)

Fall Feasts:

  • Trumpets (unfulfilled)
  • Day of Atonement (unfulfilled)
  • Tabernacles (unfulfilled)

The 2017 Feast of Trumpets is September 21–22, 2017, just as this sign is coming into alignment.

Coincidence?

Conclusion

We know that God’s word is perfect and infallible. We also know that the sun, moon, and stars are incorruptible by man. From our understanding, it appears that the alignment described in Revelation 12 will occur on September 23, 2017. However, I encourage you to do your own homework and decide for yourself. Is this just a big coincidence? Time will tell.

What could the alignment mean? Many have speculated, but the truth is no one knows with certainty. In the words of the Apostle Paul, let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6).