Any article on the meaning of the signs of Rev 12 is speculation. As long as we realize that, it is worth looking at the options.
Signs of Rev 12
This is the third article in our series about the sign of the woman of Rev. 12 that might have occurred Sept. 11, 3 BC at the birth of Jesus and might re-occur on Sept 23rd of this year. This sign has generated all sorts of end time hysteria.
In our first article we examined a number of different opinions on whether it is a sign or not, including the opinions of bible scholars Joel Richardson (no), Michael Heiser (3 BC, yes), and Fisher Man (probably yes).
In our second article, we looked at an interpretation of Rev. 12 that shows it is really two parallel prophecies, one from the first century and one from the end times.
I recommend you read BOTH articles prior to reading this one as they provide a lot of background information.
Are the Signs in Rev. 12 Astronomical End Time Signs?
As we have discussed in all previous articles, we don’t know if the signs were ever astronomical in nature, let alone if the signs of the first century will repeat in the end times. This is entirely speculation on everyone’s part – both ways. We just can’t be sure.
Second, based on our interpretation of Rev. 12 from the previous article, we notice the sign of the woman from Rev. 12:1-2 is not repeated in the end time portion of the prophecy. So even if the signs of the Woman and the Dragon were astronomical signs in the first century, this casts doubt on whether the sign of the woman will be repeated. So, I believe all of us need to hold the upcoming astronomical sign of Sept. 23rd with a healthy does of skepticism.
It is better to test what events happen on the earth around the sign and judge in retrospect if it means anything or not.
Possible Meaning of the Sign of Rev 12
There have been several suggested meanings of the sign of the woman occurring on Sept. 23
- The rapture of the church
- The beginning of the Tribulation (70th Week of Daniel)
- The beginning of the birth pangs
- The beginning of the 7 years of plenty/7 years of famine
- The beginning of an Iranian invasion of the Middle East
Although “nothing” is the most likely meaning, I’d like to remind you all of the Star of Bethlehem sign from June, 2015 (See this article). A conjunction of Jupiter and Venus occurred in June 2BC that was spectacular and many have associated it with the Star of Bethlehem. Another nearly equally spectacular conjunction of these planets occurred only days after the US Supreme Court made its historic decision legalizing Gay Marriage. Was this coincidence or providence? We don’t know, obviously, but there has been a steady downward spiral of increasing anti Christian/pro Gay bias since that time. Was the Star of Bethlehem conjunction a “sign” back in June, 2015? Maybe.
The same can be said for the repeat of the Sept. 3 BC sign that will occur this year. If events surround it that take us down a path, it can have meaning even without it being something of earthshaking importance like the beginning of the Tribulation. It can be a “sign of the times.” A sign of the times encourages us to live diligently for our Lord in repentance and humility. A sign of the times is a reminder that Jesus is coming, and coming soon.
Although God can do anything he wants, the rapture of the church is VERY unlikely to happen on or about Sept. 23rd. We discussed the reasons that Rev. 12 does not portend the rapture in THIS ARTICLE.
As many of you know, we have chosen to mail copies of Rapture: Case Closed? to the 1000 top leaders of the church around Sept 23 to coincide with any possible disappointment over the rapture not occurring. Hopefully when the rapture does not occur, the leaders will be motivated to study proper rapture timing.
Birth Pangs and the Tribulation
There has been much speculation about whether this sign will begin the birth pangs of the Tribulation. This makes some sense because Rev. 12:1-2 speaks of the woman crying out due to birth pangs.
What sort of events might we look for that would indicate the beginning of the 70th Week?
- An agreement to divide the land of Israel (a two state solution) in exchange for peace.
- An agreement that permits Israel to rebuild a Temple
- The rise of false prophets in Israel or Islam
- The rise of an enigmatic world figure
I realize that the president’s son-in-law is in the middle east right now trying to negotiate a deal of some sort. If we see a deal of this magnitude negotiated by the end of October, I would seriously consider whether we are in the 70th Week. However, my personal opinion is that it is “too soon” for the 70th Week to begin. We will discuss this at more length in future articles and I will present biblical reasons why I think this way, but suffice it to say that it is my opinion that we are at least 6 to 7 years away from the earliest start of the Tribulation. HOWEVER, I could easily be wrong. This is just opinion.
Beginning of the 7 years of Plenty/7 years of Famine
Some have theorized that Joseph’s seven years of plenty and seven years of famine will be repeated in the end times. If this sign is marking the beginning of a 14 year period there would be no earthly signs coinciding with it so this would not be provable one way or the other.
Sign of the Woman Summary
In summary, all of us should take the sign of the woman seriously in terms of preparing ourselves for what is to eventually come on the earth. At a minimum, we should take it as a “sign of the times.”
However, if events occur within the next month that are of scriptural importance, perhaps we should rethink the sign as having specific prophetic importance.
SIGN OF THE DRAGON
Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. (Rev. 12:3-4)
This sign does have a corresponding event in the end times. This makes it more likely to me that an astronomical sign might appear in the end times, and the sign fits really well with those events.
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Rev. 12: 7-8)
So it appears that if this sign does appear in the skies, it might coincide with the casting down of Satan and his angels. As we saw in the previous chapter, this is most likely at the midpoint of the 70th Week.
What Would the Sign of the Dragon Look Like?
An internet search of possible astronomical signs associated with the sign of the Dragon reveals nothing that really makes sense with the Biblical account. However, Fisher Man, who gave us the video on the sign of the woman in the first article, gives the most logical opinion of a possible sign that I’ve seen in the following video.
I have a number of comments on this video. First, is a point that Fisher Man does not bring up. Look at the picture above. Doesn’t the Serpent handler remind you of the restrainer of 2 Thess. 2? This leads me to believe that if there is an astronomical Sign of the Dragon, this might be the location in the sky to look.
However, I have a number of questions about whether or not this sign takes place in October:
- It lacks the 1/3 of stars falling from heaven. The explanation that the tail extends over a 1/3 of the sky, doesn’t quite fit the biblical account of the sign. Now if a significant meteor shower occurs on Oct. 13-16 (none is expected), I will sit up and take notice.
- The explanation of 10 horns also seems somewhat forced. It seems unusual that the moving planets that first appeared as a crown of stars in the sign of the woman then become “horns” in the second sign less than a month later. Additionally the horns seem to be disconnected from the rest of the body.
- This interpretation depends on the number of stars in each constellation, with variable numbers of stars possible depending on star maps.
All of this is mute, of course, if something of biblical significance occurs during this period. If an agreement to divide the land and provide for a new temple is drawn up; I will pay more attention to the sign. As it stands, we are a month away from this period of time and no discussion of such an agreement is in the media.
Future Sign of the Dragon
Although it is doubtful that a Sign of the Dragon will appear in the sky within the next 30 days, one might appear at the midpoint of the Tribulation period when Satan is thrown down by Michael. It is highly doubtful that we would be able to identify this sign in advance, but it is possible.
Although astronomical signs of Rev 12, the Woman and Dragon, in the fall of this year are interesting and have caught the public’s attention, it is doubtful they mean anything at this point. However, if biblical prophecies begin to be fulfilled in the next 30 days, all of us should straighten up and take notice.