The Celestial Phenomenon on Sept. 23 and Revelation 12

Stellarium screen shot, 9/23/2017

The following will occur in the daytime sky on Sept. 23rd:

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered” (Revelation 12:1-2).

As the sun envelopes the constellation Virgo (a virgin maiden in Greek mythology) the moon will cross beneath her feet. At the same time twelve stars will congregate just above her head, nine from the constellation Leo plus three visiting planets: Mercury, Venus, and Mars.* The planet Jupiter (mythological king), which had entered Virgo’s torso back on Dec. 1, 2016, will have just exited between her legs on Sept. 12th, 9 1/2 months later. (Recall that Jupiter’s entry into the constellation Leo represented the birth of a prince in Babylonian astrology and inspired the journey of the Magi).

While there should be caution and prudence in making assumptions as to what the upcoming celestial phenomenon might portend, there should be equal caution in failing to appreciate its resemblance to St. John’s apocalyptic description of the vision he experienced. I think it’s very unlikely that this is coincidental. Our omniscient God caused John to have this vision and inspired the author to describe it utilizing celestial bodies, while at the same time knowing that the corresponding astronomical formation would occur for the first time on Sept. 23, 2017. He also knew that it would be during the centenary celebrations of Our Lady of Fatima.

What also suggests that this formation might herald something important is the transcendent nature of St. John’s portrayal; the symbolism is extraordinary and pan-historical. Catholic Biblical scholar Peter Williamson explains that it portrays Mary as the personification of the whole of salvation history:

“On the one hand, the woman of this vision symbolizes the faithful people of God of the Old and New Testaments. On the other, she is Mary, the mother of the Messiah and for that reason the most exalted member of the human race after her son.”

“The image of the sun, moon, and stars are drawn from Joseph’s dream in Gen. 37:1-7, where they represent his father, mother, and brothers, the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel. The woman thus symbolizes Israel, who in the Bible is often personified as a woman…”

“…Finally, the woman is the Church, whom God cares for during her time in the wilderness in this world, and brings forth other children” (Rev. 12:17).**

That this image is soon going to be re-created in the heavens is momentous in itself.

Following John’s description of the “woman clothed with the sun” he records a series of events:

  • The woman gives birth, and the Child (the Messiah) is taken up to heaven (vs. 5).
  • The woman flees to the desert “where she had a place prepared by God” (vs. 6).
  • A war in Heaven breaks out between Satan and the demons and Michael and the angels (vs. 7).
  • Satan is ejected from Heaven (vs. 9).
  • The serpent  pursues the woman (vv. 13-16).
  • The serpent leaves the woman and prepares to pursue her offspring (the persecutions of the Antichrist, vv. 17-18).

Many scholars consider most of these events as overlapping and occurring concurrently, representing the age of the Church; others interpret these as sequential events. From a broader perspective, however, the prophetic message of chapter 12 is pretty clear, a description of the Church, symbolized by the woman, entering the “eschaton”, the period of history when the mission of the Church approaches its end. It would make sense that the celestial sign on September 23, a perfect complement to St. John’s description, to be a herald of the arrival of that era.

The timing of this, occurring during the centenary of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun, may also suggest it’s the harbinger of a response to the disregard of Our Lady’s requests. An astute observation by Catholic journalist points in this direction. Writing about the significance of the upcoming astronomical phenomenon, Patrick Archibold recalled a communication from Our Lord received by Fatima seer Sister Lucia in 1931:

“Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My requests, they will follow him into misfortune.”

Archibold explains that on June 17, 1689 Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, following Christ’s direction, implored King Louis XIV to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. This was never accomplished and exactly 100 years later, to the day, King Louis XVI was stripped of authority when the Third Estate declared itself the sole authority to conduct the affairs of France. The Revolution had commenced; the King would be executed four years later and the Catholic Church would suffer despoliation and persecution.

God gave the French 100 years to comply with his requests and Lucia is telling Church authorities that they will have the same. The 100-year period of the Fatima apparition concludes on Oct. 13, 2017, the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, the same month that the pope is headed to Sweden to celebrate the Reformation. If that day passes without a significant event that would suggest that a difficult time for the Church lies ahead, perhaps we should all breathe a sigh of relief.

*I highly recommend downloading Stellarium, a free program that allows one to view space from anywhere and on any day. Its re-creation of what will occur on Sept. 23 is striking.

**Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015, pp. 205-220.

..rjt

St. Hildegard’s Unsettling Vision of the Bride of Christ

the-five-beasts_html_5a05a0e9
Bride of Christ, Scivias, Book III, vision 11, chapter 13

It is generally agreed that the illuminations which accompany Hildegard’s Scivias (Rupertsberg Manuscript) were either sketched and painted by her, or produced under her supervision. The image of the Church as a Bride appears periodically throughout her visionary work. In Book III, Vision 11, chap. 13, which immediately follows her description of the era of the Grey Wolf, she describes the vision that corresponds to the illumination here:

“And I saw again the figure of a woman whom I had previously seen in front of the alter that stands before the eyes of God, …but now I saw her from the waist down. And from her waist to the place that denotes the female, she had various scaly blemishes, and in that latter place was a black and monstrous head.”

The Bride who appeared in an earlier vision only from the waist up is now seen fully complete, which reflects that the last days have arrived. Importantly, Hildegard adds that by this time the Church will be “…replete with the full number of her children” (Chap. 13); it will have completed her mission of evangelization. Continue reading “St. Hildegard’s Unsettling Vision of the Bride of Christ”

The Vatican Bank May Be Running Out of Time

In canon lawyer Ed Condon’s recent article critical of the Pope’s actions against the Knights of Malta, he makes an astute observation about possible unintended consequences:

The disregard for the mutually sovereign relationship between the Holy See and the Order sets a precedent in international law, which will now lurk under the Secretariat of State’s dealings with other governments like an unexploded bomb.

Cardinal Parolin should prepare to see today’s actions cited as legitimate precedent when the IOR, commonly called the Vatican Bank, finds its sovereign independence under renewed pressure from other countries or international bodies. [emphasis mine]

With respect to the bank, one has to ask just how long the Italian government’s going to tolerate this institution? While the current pontiff had promised to clean up Vatican finances, he recently ordered Archbishop Becciu to abruptly cancel an outside audit of the bank by PricewaterhouseCooper. According to journalist Edward Pentin, it was over the issue of transparency: Continue reading “The Vatican Bank May Be Running Out of Time”

Is the Sign of Jonah Hanging Over Today’s Church?

jonah7
The Prophet Jonah Before the Walls of Nineveh, Rembrandt

In 2010, Msgr. Charles Pope penned an article entitled “What is the Sign of Jonah and Has it Come Upon Us“. He focused on the Lucan version of the story, exploring the history of Jonah’s encounter with the Ninevites to come up with a deeper meaning for the “sign”. This eventually leads him to wonder if there is a similar threat which is directed at Western society today and the Church in particular, offering his own words of warning. Much has changed since 2010 and in revisiting this article Monsignor’s words seem almost prophetic.

The passage from St. Luke:

“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here” (Luke 11:29-32).

Continue reading “Is the Sign of Jonah Hanging Over Today’s Church?”

Killing Sodom and Gomorrah

sodom1
Sodom was saved?

In a speech presented at the World Youth Day in Poland, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, General-Secretary to the Italian Bishop’s Conference, recounted the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in a way that irritated Father Z. The bishop had concluded the story at the end of Genesis 18, the dialogue with Abraham,  saying, “…The city [Sodom] is saved because some righteous ones are there, even though a few of them.” I would have guessed that the bishop may have accidently misstated himself, but he repeats again in the next line “the city was saved”. Genesis 19, which concludes the story with the destruction of Sodom, was omitted.

This should not come as a complete surprise. It was and is still commonly taught in the universities that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was a legend, along with the Tower of Babble, creation story, Noah’s Ark, etc. Since elements of many of these stories can be found in the mythological literature of other Ancient Near Eastern religions, it was assumed by many Biblical scholars that by the time they were written down, the Hebrews had simply adapted these fables to their unique monotheistic conception of God. Particularly for older theologians, like Bp. Galantino, interpreting these Biblical accounts literally would be naïve, thus leaving them open to creative interpretations or to be disregarded as anachronistic and irrelevant to today’s world.

ebla1
Ebla Library

With respect to Sodom, however, proof of its existence appeared in the 1980s. An archaeological site in present day Syria had uncovered a Middle Bronze Age city-state named Ebla. In it they found a library containing tablets that included geographical guides, and a list of cities that included Sodom.

In fact, archaeologists might have actually found Sodom in the Southern Jordan Valley, a Middle Bronze Age site known as Tall El-Hammam. One of the archaeologists working on the project, Steven Collins, concluded it was Sodom based on information from the book of Genesis:

“Theorizing, on the basis of the Sodom texts, that Sodom was the largest of the Kikkar [the Jordan ‘Disk’, or ‘well-watered plain’ in the Biblical text] cities east of the Jordan, I concluded that if one wanted to find Sodom, then one should look for the largest city on the eastern Kikkar that existed during the Middle Bronze Age, the time of Abraham and Lot. When we explored the area, the choice of Tall el-Hammam as the site of Sodom was virtually a no-brainer since it was at least five to ten times larger than all the other Bronze Age sites in the entire region, even beyond the Kikkar of the Jordan.”

He sees evidence of a sudden abandonment of the city and no subsequent re-population of the area for 700 years. He notes also that the site,

“…included a large monumental complex in the lower city/tall, remains of a mudbrick palatial structure in the upper city/tall (called the ‘red palace’ because of the color of the mudbricks due to a fiery conflagration).”

While evidence of destruction by fire is common to Near East archaeological sites, bsodom3roken pottery shards have been found that were melted down by a heat level that would have to have been much higher than that of a normal fire, even a kiln.

lot's wife
Lot’s wife

Less likely the site of Sodom is an area on the west side of the Dead Sea traditionally called the Mountains of Sodom and the Cave of Sodom. It’s a desolate area primarily comprised of salt. How this area came to be identified with Sodom is not clear; there are no remains of a city in the area. However, since it is on the coast of the Dead Sea, there are many pillars of salt, many of which eerily take on a human-like form. One in particular is even commonly referred to as Lot’s wife.

Bishop Galantino naturally prefers to talk to the kids about God’s mercy (Genesis 18), but is it helpful to ignore His judgment (Genesis 19)? Doesn’t the former necessarily imply the latter? The sin of Sodom was that as a sovereign city-state it had legitimized sexual behaviors that were contrary to divine natural law. But isn’t that exactly what sovereign Western states are doing today by means of their courts and governmental authorities? At some point following this Year of Mercy could the West experience a Year of Judgment?

…rjt

Contraception and the Guilt of Homicide

lightningSt. Hildegard wrote that in a period of time that precedes the Antichrist the Catholic Church will be punished for many sins, noting three in particular: fornication, rapine (theft or plunder), and murder (Scivias Book III, Vision 11, Chapter 13). The case for the first two as being present today isn’t difficult to make: the clerical sex abuse of children is probably the worst sexual scandal in Church history, and the well-documented troubles of the Institute for the Works of Religion (the Vatican Bank) should be a cause of embarrassment and anger for all Catholics (see Gerald Posner’s recent book, God’s Bankers). But what about homicide?

The murder accusation could be made for a number of reasons, like supporting an unjust war or the uncovering of murderous intrigues within the higher levels of the hierarchy. The latter likely only occurs in mystery novels and the former isn’t very conceivable; on the question of war the Church seems to be moving in the direction of pacifism.

But what about the refusal of Church authorities to enforce the its prohibition on the use of artificial birth control? Continue reading “Contraception and the Guilt of Homicide”

The Era of the Grey Wolf is Fast Approaching: New Link

I added a new link to my blogroll: GalliaWatch. The subtitle to the blog reads, “The countdown for France has begun. Stay au courant” (well-informed). The blog author, Tiberge, scours the French press for information on the social demise of France as well as the rest of Europe. Many of the translations provided by the author would be difficult if not impossible to find elsewhere. Also, the author sorts out the truth since much of what comes out of the European media is biased, heavily redacted, or outright misleading, as was demonstrated by the recent censorship and spin regarding the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults of women by Muslim immigrants.

The blogger’s focus is on the islamification of Europe but also reports on incidents of persecution of Christians and attacks on churches. It’s a front-row seat for viewing the emerging new historical era: the era of the Grey Wolf.

The Five Beasts of Saint Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society is primarily a study of history from 1870-present, alongside an analysis of St. Hildegard’s vision of five symbolic animals, representing five separate eras of time preceding the Antichrist. I contend that four of these eras have already transpired. The final era is symbolized by the Grey Wolf; this era lies ahead, perhaps within decade. Hildegard’s explanation of the symbolism of the Grey Wolf does not suggest a single nation or ethnicity, but Europe in general (I did, however, see a clear connection of Hildegard’s description of the wolf to Islam). Continue reading “The Era of the Grey Wolf is Fast Approaching: New Link”

5 Reasons Why Western Europe Will Lose the Battle Against Islamic Extremism

1. REFUSAL BY AUTHORITIES TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND DEAL EFFECTIVELY WITH CRIME IN IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES .

nogo1
England

A major debate erupted earlier in the year over the existence of “no-go zones” in a number of European cities. These are dangerous neighborhoods primarily populated by Muslim immigrants that even the police avoid. The following description of no-go zones near Paris comes from an article in the New Republic:

“The word banlieue (“suburb”) now connotes a no-go zone of high-rise slums, drug-fueled crime, failing schools and poor, largely Muslim immigrants and their angry offspring.”

Worried about a drop in American tourism, the Mayor of Paris threatened to sue Fox News over reports about these zones in Paris. Fox retracted. Nevertheless, in an earlier post, I reported in detail how dangerous Paris can be and how hesitant the authorities are in responding to Muslim immigrant crime.

It’s a problem all over Europe. The following rare admission comes from the Chief Constable of the Police Directorate Osnbrück, Germany, regarding these sorts of areas:

“Every police commissioner and interior minister will deny it. But of course we know where we can go with the police car and where, even initially, only with the personnel carrier. The reason is that our colleagues can no longer feel safe there in twos, and have to fear becoming the victim of a crime themselves. We know that these areas exist. Even worse: in these areas crimes no longer result in charges. They are left ‘to themselves.’ Only in the worst cases do we in the police learn anything about it. The power of the state is completely out of the picture.” (Link)

Refusing to acknowledge a social problem doesn’t make it disappear. A bias toward multiculturalism in the European pressrooms only support this. Continue reading “5 Reasons Why Western Europe Will Lose the Battle Against Islamic Extremism”

Is Paris No Longer Safe for Jews (or Christians)?

demonstration1A recent article in Vanity Fair profiled a retired French police commissioner from Paris, Sammy Ghozlan, who is a Jew born and raised in Algeria. He runs the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, an organization that he funds himself. The article notes that there were 851 anti-Semitic acts in France during 2014 (in 2013 there were 453). Gozlan notes that the dramatic increase in violence and terrorism is directly connected to the influence of the Islamic State:

“The country’s counter-terrorism forces are now desperately trying to cope with what is commonly called the ‘third wave of anti-Semitism’ in modern France. The first wave, coming from the far right, morphed into the neo-Nazi crusades of the 1990s. …The second wave came from the far left—rooted in pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel attitudes. …The third wave has been propelled by the recent rise of ISIS, has metastasized via thousands of Web sites and social media, and, in France, has become homegrown and home-schooled among a vulnerable population of young Muslims.”

Continue reading “Is Paris No Longer Safe for Jews (or Christians)?”

Rising Social Tensions and St. Hildegard’s Vision of the Last Days

book (2)I recently received an e-mail from someone who had just finished reading my book, The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society, stating that it “…sent chills down my spine”. The reason it can have that effect on readers is due to the compelling case the book presents which demonstrates that four of the five symbolic beasts, representing a succession of historical eras preceding the Antichrist, may have already occurred. If readers agree with the book’s assessment of recent history in light of St. Hildegard’s vision, then they will conclude that the events marking the fifth era are likely to be experienced by them, which also includes you and me, our children and grandchildren. An era, as described by Hildegard, that would indeed send chills down your spine.

Each of the five eras also reflect a particular social evil as symbolized by its respective beast. For example, the second era, the Yellow Lion, is an epoch engulfed in militarism and malice (1914-1945); the third, that of the Pale Horse, is identified with licentiousness and hedonism (1948-1991). The fourth is the current historical era that began after the collapse of the Soviet Empire. The fifth one, the era of the Grey Wolf, the only era left before the arrival of the Antichrist, is described as a time of extreme civil violence and economic disparity. Today, certain “signs of the times” suggest that this era may not be too far off. Hildegard portrays it as a period of class warfare and revolution (in another chapter she adds that it will include persecution of Christians):

“And the last is like a grey wolf; for those times will have people who plunder each other, robbing the powerful and the fortunate. …And they will divide and conquer the rulers of those realms” (Book 3, Vision 11, chapter 6) [Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, translated by Columba Hart and Jane Bishop. The Abby of Regina Laudis: Benedictine Congregation Regina Laudis of the Strict Observance, Inc. Paulist Press, 1990.]

riotToday we often hear concerns about income inequality and a growing “wealth gap” in America. 20% of the total income earned in the U.S. goes to the top 1% of income earners, which is double what it was a few decades ago. The distribution of wealth, however, is 10 times more unequal, with the top .01% of the population (160,000 people) owning the same amount of wealth as the bottom 145,000,000. Historically, these are recurring economic realities and there are numerous studies that demonstrate what effects they can have on a nation. One is an increase in violent crime, particularly murder. We’ve seen this in a number of American cities today like Baltimore and St. Louis. British researcher Richard Wilkinson argued that it wasn’t a nation’s overall wealth or lack thereof that determined its level of social diseases like crime, violence, mental health etc., but its level of income disparity. doorIf he’s correct, and should this inequality continue to worsen, so also will American society. This may explain why wealthy people in New York City are building safe rooms in their apartments and adding 1400 lb. doors.

A recent historical study concluded that income inequality can also lead to civil war, adding, however, that there are always other factors involved, like extreme distrust in government or a high unemployment rate. One doesn’t need to be an historian to recall some famous examples of this: the French Revolution, Russian Revolution, American Revolution, and more recently, the “Arab Spring”. Is America today headed toward a similar end? The answer is probably no, at least not for the moment. Those other factors that historically can lead to civil war, like high unemployment, extreme distrust of the government, repressive laws, etc., are not at a level that would suggest a potential revolt. The unemployment rate is currently 5.5% (though, unlike Europe, the U.S. conveniently refuses to count as unemployed those who have given up looking for work, in which case it would be about 11%).

spain1On the other hand, looking at Europe, the unemployment rate in Spain is 23%, it’s over 12% in Italy and France, and 26% in Greece. Youth unemployment is a staggering 51% in Spain, 43% in Italy, and 24% in France. There is also a high level of distrust of the government in Spain, Portugal, and an alarming level of mistrust in Italy.

The upshot of all these studies is that parts of Europe and America may be ticking social time-bombs. In a previous post I discussed the consequences of rising interest rates in America. Countries that are deep in debt like the U.S., U.K., Italy, Spain etc. are only able to service their debt because of extraordinary interventions by central banks to force interest rates down to the lowest level they’ve been since usury laws were enforced in the Middle Ages. greece1Should the banks lose control of rates and they start to rise, triggering a rise in inflation, many governments would quickly find themselves insolvent. In my view, this is mathematically unavoidable. In Tunisia, inflation and rising food prices were the straws that broke the camel’s back, setting in motion the events that led to the “Arab Spring”. The era of the Grey Wolf, particularly in Europe, strikes me as only a crisis away from its own “Spring”. Changes are coming.

Keep an eye on interest rates.

In her book, Scivias, St. Hildegard writes in far more detail about the world during the era of the Grey Wolf.

…rjt

book
Amazon.com

HOME