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What The September, 2017 Revelation 12 Sign Tells Us

By Tim McHyde / October 26, 2016

Revelation 12 describes a heavenly sign of a ’woman clothed with the sun’ at the time of Jesus’ birth. An earlier theory gaining popularity states that the same constellation sign is coming Sept 23, 2017 and not ever again for a hundreds of years. Is it right? What does mean - the rapture, the tribulation, or abomination of desolation or what? Let’s examine the evidence and understand an epidemic of theories like this better...

Revelation 12 In The Sky Again?

I decided to write this article after several people asked me regarding speculation that September 23, 2017 is prophetically significant. For example, one person sent me a link to an article entitled, "What Is The Revelation 12 Sign In 2017 Telling Us?" with the following question:

In two years, there will be what seems to be exactly what Revelation 12 is picturing in the constellations. This is extremely rare, even more rare than the blood moon tetrads. I think this has only happened one other time in history, which is at the birth of Jesus. What do you think this says, if it's too late for the 70th week to have started?

Ahh, the "it's very rare" card... It's fitting he mentions the four blood moons/tetrads theory because rarity was the main argument of legitimacy for that theory, too. Many people believed in the four blood moons based on that rarity rationale. However, once the last blood moon passed, the theory was relegated to the same trash heap that all invented prophecy theories do. They all fail to predict anything specific in any specific timeframe because men cannot accurately predict the future, even when improvising from a Biblical basis.

What about this one? Is it being "even more rare" rare enough to make it significant and worthy of belief? Let's take a look.

Revelation 12 - September 2017 Theory

Although it does not give credit, the article referenced above is just another take on previous Revelation 12 speculation. I first saw it in a Scottie Clarke video in 2013 on his "Eternal Rhythm and Flow" YouTube channel and website. (I was informed by Mark Chiswell that Luis Vega put out the theory earlier.)

Whoever originated the theory, what it gets right is that the constellation of Virgo (the virgin) fits the heavenly woman spoken of in Revelation 12:1:

Revelation 12:1 — And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

The woman being clothed by the sun with the moon at her feet makes sense literally when you understand the woman as Virgo the constellation. Every year somewhere from mid-August through mid-September the sun is mid-body to Virgo and the new crescent moon is at the bottom of Virgo. It literally happens in the sky just as Revelation 12 depicts.

But what about her "crown of twelve stars?" According to Clarke there are nine stars from the constellation Leo above. The other three stars are supplied by a conjunction in Leo of Venus, Mars, and Mercury, aligned with Regulus. And "Scott has looked for this formation in other years and cannot find it"(!).

Problem #1: Ignoring The Very Next Verse

There are many problems with this theory we can talk about. The very first is one is typical to these theories and another one it has in common with the blood moon and shemitah theories. It's ignoring the context. Look at the very next verse tying the Woman sign to a birth:

Revelation 12:1-2 — 1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.

If we doubt that the birth is meant literally, the next few verses dispell that. They show Satan wants to kill the baby who is clearly identified as a very well-known person in history and to Christians:

Revelation 12:4-5 — 4...And the dragon [Satan] stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. 5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne

This "man child" that comes from the woman is clearly showing the birth of Jesus. Who is also the one righteous person destined to rule all nations (Rev 19:16) in history and who has ascended to heaven (Jn 3:13) as verse 5 also says.

As you can see, the context of the woman of Rev 12:1 connects it directly to the birth of Jesus in the first century. Jesus' mother was Mary, a righteous woman of Israel. This is what the Woman fully represents, the righteous church, founded through Israel in 30 AD.

"Revelation Can Only Cover Things 'After This', Not In the Past" / Revelation 4:1!

Some doubt that Mary is the woman giving birth, confused over a past event being found in a prophecy book like Revelation.They often note how John records early on in the book that an angel told him would be shown things "that must happen after this" (Rev 4:1). They expect this rules out anything in Revelation happening before John's time (90AD), such as Mary giving birth to Jesus (1 B.C. supposedly).

My response to that is twofold. First, it does not say "I will ONLY show you things coming after." The exciting part to mention is of course the future things, but it does not preclude showing other things, too. Secondly, the Book is a Book of revelation, not "future prophecy." There is much in the past that is a mystery which humanity needs revelation on, including the key players of the righteous vs Satan and the work of Christ. This revelation from the past establishes the characters for the future part of the revelation. In other words, for John to be shown the key things in the future, some explanatory revelation of the past is appropriate and reasonable to facilitate that.

Anyway, scholars have found that the sky on September 11, 3 BC to show the exact picture of Revelation 12:1, pointing to the birth of Christ on that day:

The Star of Bethlehem conjunctions before 3 BC led the Magi to depart in time to come see the baby Jesus. For more on Jesus birth in Rev 12 and the Star of Bethlehem before that, see Ernest Martin's excellent free book on the.

Clarke's theory, like all invented prophecy theories, depends on taking a verse out of its context and re-purposing it to serve some new theory. When you ignore the context of a verse, you are set up to misinterpret it. That's how you turn a solid reliable Bible prophecy into an unreliable quasi-biblical man-made prophecy interpretation.

Is it any wonder that all predictions based on this approach fail?

Problem #2: Adding to the Bible

For me the next problem is how Clarke has added elements to the biblical text that are not there, allowed for by problem #1 in ignoring verse 2 and 5.

When he says this may be the rapture or second coming you would rightly ask, where does it say this in Revelation 12? Nowhere. It's added.

Why do we tolerate people adding to the Bible? Especially when it plainly warns in the same book against doing that (Rev 22:18-19). I understand why. It's mainly because they sound authoritative. Appearing on video helps. Putting your ideas in images helps. Also we assume they know more than us and who are we to disagree with someone who studies more than us?

It would do us well to remember that we're called in NT to question and judge what those in the church proclaim, even when prophets (1 Cor 14:29), proving or disproving them by Scripture (Acts 17:11). This is what I did above with my first objection to the theory.

Problem #3: The Woman's Crown Already Has 12 Stars

I think Scottie Clarke was so excited to find something "extremely rare" to combine with a Bible prophecy (namely, those three planets appearing in Virgo) that he missed something huge. There are already always twelve stars crowning Virgo, depending who you ask it is either the constellation called "Berenice’s hair".

Ernest Martin in his book The Star That Astonished the World cites the twelve stars as follows:

And note: Professor Thorley who reviewed the first edition of my work has shown that there are exactly twelve stars surrounding the head of Virgo as we see them from earth. And indeed there are. If one will look at Norton’s Star Atlas, twelve visible stars will be seen around Virgo’s head. They are (according to astronomical terminology): (1) Pi, (2) Nu, (3) Beta (near the ecliptic), (4) Sigma, (5) Chi, (6) Iota — these six stars form the southern hemisphere around the head of Virgo. Then there are (7) Theta, (8) Star 60, (9) Delta, (10) Star 93, (11) Beta (the 2nd magnitude star) and (12) Omicron — these last six form the northern hemisphere around the head of Virgo. All these stars are visible and could have been witnessed by observers on earth

Either way, there is no need for a "rare" conjunction of three planets to fill out the crown of twelve stars.

Problem #4: "It's Extremely Rare" Is Not Scriptural

It's worth noting that something being rare does not make it miraculous or divine or prophetically significant. Yes, miracles are rare and sometimes rare events are significant. But rare events like conjunctions are not miraculous or supernatural. They happen quite naturally, as rare as they are.

The Bible does not tell us to look for rare events or rare signs in the heavens or rare signs of the rapture in the heavens. Some will say in response "what about the Star of Bethlehem? Wasn't that a unique event they spotted in the sky and acted on?"

It's true that the Star of Bethlehem must have been a rare event. It had to be for the Magi to see it and know it was the time to pick up and travel hundreds of miles to meet Jesus. But I can assure you they did not travel all that way because they saw something rare or unique in the sky and decided what it meant like our modern Christian prophecy speculators do (justifying this by taking Genesis 1:14 out of its "day, month, year/calendar signals" context to make it about a "heavenly billboard of prophetic signs").

They must have had some authentic prophet tell them exactly what to look for in the sky and exactly what it meant: the Messiah's birth. If I knew a sign in the sky meant the Son of God was on earth, I'd make the trek to meet him, too.

To be sure, the Magi had much more revelation about Christ's birth sign in the sky than we have recorded in Revelation 12 written after the fact, coupled with some kind of weird speculation like this Rev 12 - Sept 2017 theory offers.

Let's not fall for the unscriptural rarity argument for a prophecy theory.

Problem #5: The Sun Does Not "Clothe the Woman" on Sept 23, 2017

As the picture above shows, the position of the sun does not match Rev 12:1 which says the sun clothes the woman. As the image above shows, the sun is over her left shoulder. For the sun to clothe the woman, it would be on her body. Not at her head like the crown; not at her feet like the moon. In the middle where her body is; where clothing goes.

If you want to see what it should look like, compare that to the picture of the sky on September 11, 3 BC when (I and many think) Jesus was born:

9-11-3bc

How could Scott Clarke miss this? I think the proximity of the timing of the conjunction of those planets to the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShanah was too tempting to pass up. He stretched the definition of "clothed with the sun" to include Rosh Hashanah in his rapture theory, a huge rapture magnet always.

Problem #6: Rosh HaShanah Is Not Biblical

By doing so, Clarke makes the same mistake that Jonathan Cahn, Mark Biltz, John Hagee and so many pretrib rapture theorists have made. They take Rosh HaShanah to be significant prophetically when it's just as much a manmade invention as their own theories are.

Rosh HaShanah means literally "head of the year" in Hebrew. It's a two day holiday celebrated by the Jews on the first and second day of the 7th lunar month as their new year's day.

It's not found in the Bible, except where it informs Israel that another month six months earlier (Aviv 1) shall be the "head of the months" (Rosh Chodashim) (Ex 12:2). In other words, the Jewish Rosh HaShanah breaks Scripture by declaring a New Year's day in the Fall.

Worse, this invented holy day masks the real holy day of start of the 7th month: Yom Teruah/Day of Trumpets. Despite having the same date, these days hardly ever coincide. That's because they use different calendars. The Jewish calendar is based on precalculated starts to the months, much like the Gregorian calendar. The Biblical calendar uses the sighting of the crescent moon to determine months and leap months added when the barley is still not mature at the end of the 12th month. (The first month of the year requires ripe barley for the wave sheaf ceremony mentioned in Leviticus 23:11-12). This results in the true first day of the 7th month (Day of Trumpets) coming in most years a day or two after Rosh HaShanah is celebrated as the first day of the 7th month.

In other words, when the rapture really does come on Day of Trumpets (1Cor 15:52=Rev 11:14-19) it will be a day or two past when people watching Rosh HaShanah are looking.

So you see, Rosh HaShanah is certainly not worthy of adjusting ones prophecy theories to. But I will grant that it sounds good to most people who have not studied how the Jewish calendar has corrupted the biblical calendar.

So...What Does It Mean?

In the end, what does this September, 2017 sign tell us? If this event is only a sign because a Christian says so, then it tells us more about Christians than it does about when to expect the rapture or anything else prophetic.

What we have is once again is another example of how Christian prophecy students can't seem to resist taking something from Scripture and combining it with something extrabiblical they subjectively and/or arbitrarily view as significant. A Jewish holiday. A (brief) historical pattern of economic downturns. A rare conjunction. Or three more blood moons. =)

Therefore, this Sept 2017 "sign" only tells me that the speculation engine of Christianity is still alive and well. In fact, as someone who has been interested in prophecy since before the Internet broke out in 1995, I can tell you that speculation is increasing. More theories catch on, spread and worry people than ever before. (September 2015 saw two different biblical prophecy theories converge, a first in my recollection.)

It will either make you fed up with prophecy or make you wiser--in both cases faster than ever before. =)

Oh, and by the way, several people have mentioned a fear of dismissing rapture dates, citing the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the desire to have "oil in their lamps" when the time came. However, as this article on the Ten Virgin Parable shows, it has nothing to do with being ready by being open minded to prophecy date setting!

Now, if you want to know what Revelation is really predicting through the woman, see my article on the 144,000 and the Woman.

If you liked this article, you will LOVE my book, Know the Future, a comprehensive, literal explanation of end time prophecy read by over 25,000 people since 2005.

It explains more on prophecy than all this site's articles combined and is up-to-date in its 8th edition, in both softcover and ebook. Note: By buying my book you not only bless us both (yourself with understanding and me with support), but you also bless others with the new articles you enable me to write.

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About the author

Tim McHyde

Tim is the author of this site (since 1999) and the book Know the Future that explains Revelation literally at last--including the key event of Wormwood (Rev 6-8). To read more from Tim and not miss a single new article, sign up for his free newsletter below.

19 comments
loren martell - November 27, 2016

PRAISE YHWH!!!
Come quickly YAHSHUA…
PRAISE YHWH!!!

Reply
R. Wiesinger - December 9, 2016

Could the ‘Sign of the Woman’ in Revelation 12 represent the heavenly sign indicating both the First and Second Coming?

Verse 2 and verse 5 points to the birth of Jesus the Messiah from the ‘woman’ representing both Israel and Miriam while verse 5 also alludes to the Ascension of Jesus followed by verse 6 which would appear to point to the Jewish nation fleeing to Selah/Petra (the wilderness) at the half way point (1,260 days) of the seven year faux peace covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27.

Side note: Regarding the ‘gathering of the elect’ recorded in Matthew 24:31, I would have to hold to the ‘post-trib’ interpretation as Jesus Himself had prefaced this event with His remark ‘Immediately, after the tribulation……’ (Matthew 24:29).

It appears you’re not ‘pre-trib’ as well, so that is something we share in biblical eschatology.

I’m on a quest to study and better understand this ‘Sign of the Woman’ in Revelation 12 as well as other eschatological topics. As I read and (best as I can) understand it, the early portion of Revelation 12 just doesn’t seem to merely point to the First Coming alone.

I’m not given in to dogmatism regarding the more difficult biblical passages dealing with eschatology, so I’m analyzing the interpretations of other believers who subscribe to a conservative theological position. And so I am humbly seeking to understand the ‘end-times’ prophecies more fully as it appears the times we live in – Beginning of Sorrows? – could very well possibly/probably be those ‘end-times’ written in scripture so long ago.

Just to clarify, right now I hold to my interpretation that the ‘Sign of the Woman’ signifies both the First Coming and the approaching Second Coming.

In the context of both the First and Second Coming, verse 6 points to the ‘woman’ (Mary/Israel) fleeing to ‘the wilderness’, which for Mary was Egypt following the birth of Y’shua; but for Israel will be Selah/Petra upon the son of perdition entering the third Temple, which will occur at the half way point of the seven year faux peace covenant – a UN resolution to create Palestine, divide Jerusalem and allow Israel to build their third Temple on the north side of the Muslim Dome of the Rock Shrine in accordance with Revelation 11:1-2?)

I believe this ‘Sign of the Woman’ could very well mark the time of the signing of the faux peace covenant written in Daniel 9:27 or the halfway point of the Daniel 9:27 covenant.

The Second Coming of Jesus would occur after the tribulation of those 1,260 days. Daniel 12:11-13 also provides some interesting information in possible relation to the Second Coming.

Reply
    Tim McHyde - December 12, 2016

    Revelation 12 is completely chronological in context. The end times begins in verse 7 with Satan being cast out by Michael (yet future). Therefore, there is no space in there for the sign shown at the beginning at the birth of Yeshua to happen again, in the end times at his second coming. It’s just speculation that says this. Also, we have elsewhere in Revelation and Matthew 24 the signs of Jesus’ coming. No need to insert it into this special chapter.
    Now is not yet the “beginning of sorrows” Jesus spoke of because we are not seeing “earthquakes in all places” yet. See http://escapeallthesethings.com/sign-of-jesus-coming-end-age for more on that.
    Also there is no “peace treaty” anywhere in Bible prophecy. That’s more speculation ignoring context. See http://escapeallthesethings.com/antichrist-myths
    Hope this helps.

    Reply
      B.W. - January 1, 2017

      Thank you for your work on the subject. I am also trying to figure out the Revelation 12 Sign, but which also seem to point to the future. Then;
      Have you ever though of a celestial body – brown dwarf – planet X (9) – Niburu between earth and sun for three dark hours on the day Jesus died on the cross followed by eathquakes, – as the great read dragon ? Could it be the same “planet” during time of Joshua when the sun appeared to stand still (gravity) with more people killed by meteors than in battle ? It seems that “The winged destroyer” is a highly real body ref. Sky News, RT-News, China B. News.
      Picture after 7 min. 10 sec. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxmUnhJqcEI
      Could it be that Jupiter, the king planet, will be hit by planet X after it leave Virgo ?
      How then do you view Israel in Bible prophecy ref. to UNESCO vs. Mt.Moriah
      and UN against settlements in Judea and Samaria ?
      Then man has turned the colours of the rainbow against God celebrating same sex marriage when braking the very circle of live ref. Days of Noah ?
      It seems that the wrath of the Lamb is to be poured out and shall we not be delivered as the church of Philadelphia ( the early church fathers believe in rapture as Polycharp, Ireneus ) ?

      – For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as …” Isaiah 62.1

      “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home ….” Council of the League of Nations which UN failed in 1947 in spite of UN art. 80

      Reply
Douglas Hamp - December 31, 2016

Hi Tim,

I would like to invite you to be on my show, The Awakening Report to talk about your book

Sincerely,

Doug

Reply
    Tim McHyde - December 31, 2016

    Would be happy to after I finish a few pressing matters with my website.

    Reply
Robert DeHaan - January 1, 2017

Once again you answered the context of the Revelation 12 and the September 23,2017 theory as some have tried to make it a true prophetic event. I have found when I come across something such as this, the Holy Spirit seems to direct me to you for Scriptural clarity. Thanks be to Our Father for His covenantial promises to those who seek the Truth. Have a blessed 2017 and I look forward to your continued ministry to the body of believers.

Reply
Pastor Rich - January 5, 2017

Tim,

I am new to your site and have been looking closely at Rev. 12 and 23-Sept/17 as well. Have you done any level of research into a Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel, stated as a 12th Century writer from Regensberg, Germany?

Some writers suggest a connection of the two.

With thanks,

PR

Reply
Prince - January 12, 2017

Dear Tim,
Also seeking clarification. What I don’t follow is why God will show John a vision of the first coming/birth of Christ in Revelation 12. When the book is all about things that are about to happen.

I also don’t get your view on Rev 12. Can you expose and not only refute?

God Bless.
Prince

Reply
    Tim McHyde - January 12, 2017

    Prince, I’ve updated the article with a new subheading under problem #1 to explain why there is “revelation” on both the past and the future in the Book of “Revelation.” Also see a new conclusion paragraph linking to the article explaining the Rev 12 prophecy.

    Reply
vader Jakob - January 16, 2017

As I understand it, “the Man Child” spoken of in Rev 12:5 cannot be Jesus of Nazareth, given the fact Jesus Christ was not “snatched away or taken by force “(Gr: harpazo) to the Father in Heaven . Compare with 1 Thess 4:17.

Reply
    Tim McHyde - January 17, 2017

    Vader, Who says Jesus was not taken by God to heaven? I don’t see anything in Luke about his departure that would clearly contradict the word harpazo. It says, after all, Luke 24:51 “While he was blessing them, he left them and was TAKEN UP into heaven” (!).

    The rest of Rev 12:5 “And she brought forth a man child, who is to shepherd all the nations with a rod of iron” leaves no doubt that this man child is Christ. The combination of features is too distinct to admit of doubt, it is the one who will feed His flock like a shepherd (Isaiah 40:12), who is to have, not His own people, but all nations as His inheritance (Psalm 2:7-9), and whose rule over them is to be supreme and irresistible.

    Reply
wray boughner - January 19, 2017

Hi, is this about the time we possibly might be seeing planet x (nibriu) aproching to pass between the sun and earth.

Reply
Mary - February 15, 2017

I’m mostly just confused about ONE of your comments…this…” More theories catch on, spread and worry people than ever before. ” What on earth would “worry” a Christian about the Rapture????? I have been a Believer since I was 5 years old and have LONGED for His appearing ever since. I have never in my life understood how any TRUE Believer could NOT long for His appearing. In fact, it is a COMMAND in Scripture! We should be looking forward to it and longing for it with great anticipation! If we are not, then we must seriously question where our affections are. Now, before a billion people jump on and say, “what about non-Christians, don’t you care about them????” OF COURSE I care about the, I have shared Christ with others for years now, I care deeply, I have sobbed over the lostness of family and friends, but none of that is going to change who is going to be saved….and none of that makes me long to remain in the fallen world for even one second longer than the Lord decides I must.

Reply
    Tim McHyde - February 15, 2017

    Mary,

    First, my statement you quoted refers to prophecy theories in general, not just this one. Even this one is not specific to the rapture, but is also interpreted as tribulation, second coming or other things. Hence the worry even about Sept, 2017.

    Second, even if it was just the rapture, as a person who talks to lots of believers, I can tell you many believers have doubts about their salvation in general or at least at certain times in their life. “What if the rapture comes when I’m not ready?”, they worry.

    I hope you can see that not everyone is as blessed as you with confidence and excitement about the rapture or the next rapture date theory.

    Tim

    Reply
      Mary - February 15, 2017

      Oh, I guess I can see that if you are someone who believes in two plans of salvation: saved by grace, kept by works. That makes sense then. Thankfully I know that works are most definitely an evidence of someone who is truly saved but nothing in me (no righteousness on my part) is what I’m trusting in for salvation, but in the finished work of Christ on the cross. But now that you explained it this way, yes, I get it. None-the-less we are supposed to love His appearing and even John, at the completion of writing Revelation said, “even so, come Lord Jesus!” I pray others will GET excited about it! Thanks for helping me to understand how they may not be.

      Reply
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