I have really hesitated whether to even write or comment on all the uproar over the prophetic implications of today’s date. I would venture that “September 23, 2017” has become the hottest Google search item in the last few weeks. Why wouldn’t it be, when headlines like the following are all over the internet? Will The World End on September 23, 2017? The Apocalypse Will Begin on September 23rd! And my favorite … The End 2017: Watch This Video Before It’s Too Late!
I want to be clear that there are many serious-minded Bible scholars who reverently look to the Book of Revelation as they proclaim their prophecies. I do not mean to mock them. But there are as many New Agers and Astrology enthusiasts who mix their theories with just enough Bible components to cause confusion and inaccurate predictions. It is my goal to present a simplified, yet informative overview of the topic.
Let’s talk about what CAN BE verified and SHOULD BE considered. First of all, it is important to note that Astronomy and Astrology are not the same thing. Astrology is the study of the relationship between planets and celestial objects and human affairs. In other words, a person looks to the planets and stars for their identity, instead of to God, the Creator of the heavens. God is missing from the relationship equation. Astronomy, on the other hand, is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. What is the difference, and is there a relationship to God in Astronomy? If you are studying the planets and stars (instead of worshipping them), then [if you are willing], you can hear the voice of God … When God created the heavens and the earth, He said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,” — Genesis 1:14.
So, fast forward to all the conversation about what is going on in the heavens right now, and specifically, surrounding September 23rd. Astronomers point out that during this time frame, (on September 23, 2017), the moon appears under the feet of the Constellation Virgo. The Sun appears to precisely clothe Virgo, and the nine stars of the constellation Leo, along with the three planetary alignments of Mercury, Venus and Mars, combine to make a count of 12 stars on the head of Virgo. Many Bible prophecy “experts” see this phenomenon as the fulfillment of Revelation 12:1-2: And a great sign [warning of an ominous and frightening future event] appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child (the Messiah) and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. They believe that this signifies the Second Coming of Jesus, connecting this verse with Jesus’s mention of birth pangs and His warning of the signs that proclaim His return and the beginning of the Tribulation in Matthew 24: But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].
Now, consider all the speculations over the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the weather phenomena, the flooding in Europe, and all the conspiracy theories about the “rogue” planet coming perilously close to earth. This phenomenon is known variably as “Planet X” or “Niburu”, which some theorize could be what the Bible calls “Wormwood”, which makes its appearance when the third angel sounds his trumpet in Revelation 8: and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water—the name of the star is Wormwood. All these events coming together at this time is fueling lots of conversations among Christians and non-Christians, alike.
I will tell you that there are many different concepts floating around about these prophecies, and by no means, is the Church in agreement. Chief among the points of contention is when one believes the Rapture of the Church takes place. There are many who are believing that if this is indeed the beginning of the Tribulation, then the Body of Christ will be raptured any moment. Others aren’t so pre-occupied with declaring the day or the hour, because as Jesus said, But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. BUT, let us not forget that God, Himself, said in Genesis, Chapter 1, that the sun, moon, and stars, [and constellations] are to be useful signs for marking the seasons. So, is there any Biblical justification for tying seasons to Jesus’s return?
Let me begin by saying in Genesis 1:14, that word “seasons” is the Hebrew word môed”, meaning “a festival; an assembly convened for a definite purpose; the appointed place of meeting”. It is very important to note that this is the same Hebrew word God uses when He speaks to Moses about His established Feast Days. It is also valid to point out that the “season” of the Spring Feasts of the Lord coordinate with the First Coming of Christ — He died on the Feast of Passover (as our sacrificial lamb, delivering us from the bondage of sin); was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread (born without sin, He is our Bread of Life); He rose on the Feast of Firstfruits (as the first fruit of the Harvest of Souls); and 50 days later, on what we call Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks of the Whole Harvest) He sent the Holy Spirit to write God’s Laws on the hearts of new Believers, for a harvest of souls.
If you need it summarized more than that, here it is in a nutshell …. Christ died on Passover, was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and was resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits! To carry on His Plan of Salvation, God sent the Holy Spirit to write His commandments on the heart of Believers on the day of the Feast of Pentecost, which commemorated the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai nearly 1500 years before. Now that Law is written on our hearts. That all happened [precisely, I might add] in the season of the Spring Feasts.
Therefore, we should also be mindful of the “season” of the Fall Feasts, because God, Himself, said He made the seasons as useful signs. So, what do the Fall Feasts foreshadow? The Bible tells us that the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) celebrates the return of the King (as Messiah) and the Rapture of the Church of Believers. It is known as the “Day of the Lord”. The next Feast day is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and it is a day of repentance and recognition that Jesus sacrificed His life for ours. It most likely also represents a future Day of Judgment for all mankind. Finally, the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) shows us that Yeshua is our Tabernacle (our sanctuary) as we celebrate our deliverance from this sinful world. It is also a “feast of ingathering” of the fall harvest, which is symbolic of Yeshua’s gathering the faithful to Himself in the Millennial Kingdom. So you can see, that the Fall Feasts are a time of rehearsal for His Second Coming, and a time of great expectation. So in light of all the focus on this September, the question becomes, “Will He come on this year’s Fall Feasts?”
But that is always the question … Yes, we don’t know the day or the hour (as Jesus makes clear), but I believe we are to know the seasons, so that we will not be caught unawares. That’s why we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, For you yourselves are fully aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
So, here is another link to the “signs in the heavens” and the pregnant woman in labor (as represented by the constellations of Virgo and Leo at the present time). You can see how everyone is getting excited about what they see going on in the heavens. For the first time, in a long time, both the heavens and the Feast Days are aligning. But here is what you need to know about my personal opinion … I put more stock in the Return of Jesus according to the Feast Days than I do according to the stars and the constellations. And in 2017, the Feast of Trumpets (in which the angels will announce His Second Coming) is the ONLY Feast of The Lord in which the arrival is dependent upon the confirmed sighting of the new moon [in Jerusalem] before it can officially begin. For that reason, there are always two days alloted and considered to be “one long day”. In 2017 this Feast is held on the 21st and 22nd of September. So, if you are reading this blog on the 23rd, we may be witnessing the constellations of Virgo and Leo coming into alignment, but the Feast of Trumpets has passed.
Does this mean that all this hoopla is over nothing? Not necessarily. There are certainly signs in the heavens that match Biblical descriptions. But we must not get so focused on them that we take our eyes off God’s “appointed times” that have already signified [so accurately] Christ’s First Coming. Let us earnestly contemplate the blessings of having God show us His planned redemption for those who have faith in His Son. And let us search the Scripture for all the references to the Feasts and how Jesus celebrated them. They are appointed times, set forth by Jehovah God, for all His people to meet with Him and see that each holy Feast Day is a picture of Jesus and His redemptive work on behalf of all mankind. Let us look upon these Fall Feast Days, and their prophetic nature, with praise and thanksgiving.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God”.