"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven…" - Matthew 24:30
The "sign of the Son of Man" is a particular alignment of the sun, the moon, stars and planets that is described in Revelation 12:1-2. It will appear in the sky above Jerusalem on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Jesus told us that there would be signs in the sun, moon and stars (Luke 21:25) and He told us to watch. Some may think I am now a "date-setter." I beg to differ. The Father set this date by His own authority (Acts 1:7), and while this was concealed from the early disciples, the increase of knowledge prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 12:4) and some diligent study (Proverbs 25:2) has enabled us to discern when this sign will occur. Many people will be surprised on that day. You may choose to do nothing with this information, but at least now you know.
Now you know.
The rest of this article explains the sign and the scriptural basis for my conclusion. My earnest hope is that you, dear reader, will realize the lateness of the hour and will commit yourself totally to the Lord Jesus Christ. If your Christianity has been more of a hobby than a life-transforming experience, you need to return to Christ. "Be zealous and repent!" (Rev. 3:19) None of your "stuff" will matter when you see Jesus Christ face to face in September. Or sooner, if persecution of Christians becomes more fierce and your faith costs your life.
There are three celestial signs described in the book of Revelation: the sign of the woman, the sign of the dragon, and the sign of seven angels. We are concerned with the first, which is described in Revelationi12:1-2
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
The woman is Virgo, one of the signs of the Mazzaroth. She is "clothed with the sun" which is not unusual. The sun is in Virgo every year at about the time of the autumnal equinox. We also read that the moon is under her feet. Again, not at all strange; the moon usually appears under or near the feet of Virgo about ten days before the moon is full.
Next, we see a garland of twelve stars on her head. This is where it gets interesting. To explain, I refer you to research by my friend Daniel Matson, whose work I quote:
On September 23, 2017 there are four planets in the vicinity that complete the sign and its ultimate uniqueness. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter play their parts. Above the head of Virgo is the constellation Leo. In Leo at this time there will be Mars, Venus, and Mercury. With Leo being a constellation of nine principle stars, the three wandering stars make it twelve at this time. Thus the garland of twelve stars is upon the woman.
It is the presence and location of Jupiter that converts the "sign of the woman" to the "sign of the Son," and it is the presence of three "wandering stars" in Leo that completes the sign that John saw and described.
What Does It Mean?
The meaning of this sign emerges quickly when other scriptures that discuss these phenomena are reviewed. That review follows, but the conclusion is this: the day of the Lord's judgment is about to begin. Not "maybe" or "someday" or "nobody knows." Not "it probably won't be so bad" or "I have a safe haven and lots of food and water stored up." God hates sin with a holy hatred, and He is about to display His wrath. Planet Earth is about to experience sudden destruction. (1 Thess. 5:3)
Please stop reading and let that sink in!
Lot got a "heads up" warning that Sodom was about to be destroyed. His family thought he was joking (Gen. 19:14). But he wasn't joking… and neither am I. There are compelling reasons for believing the day of judgment is about to begin.
First, consider Matthewi24:29-31
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (emphasis added)
In this passage, we see there is a period of tribulation. This is mentioned in Matthew 24:9 and it maps to the 5th Seal (Rev. 6:9-11). After the tribulation, there are four specific things that happen just before this sign appears: 1) sun will be darkened, 2) moon will not give its light, 3) stars will fall from heaven, and 4) powers of the heavens will be shaken. During normal daylight, the stars and constellations are not visible because the light from the sun overwhelms them. However, if the sun is darkened, we can expect to see the constellations clearly. When the sun is darkened, the moon will also be darkened because the moon creates no light of its own; it only reflects sunlight. The "stars" and the "powers of heaven" are related, and we will explore that relationship shortly.
A second scripture to consider is Isaiahi13:9-11
Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light. The sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. 11 "I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. (emphasis added)
Again, the sun and moon are darkened. Stars and constellations will not give their light (Note: we will see that it's not ALL the stars.) And now we see why: this is the beginning of the Day of the Lord, when God will begin His judgment on the earth. God is going to destroy its sinners from it. He will display His righteous wrath. ALL sinners on earth will be "in the crosshairs." For all those who suggest that if God were good, He would not allow evil, they are about to see the answer. Life on this planet is about to become truly frightening, and there will be no place to hide. Do you have a plan?
Also in chapter 24 of Isaiah, beginning at verse 19:
The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. 20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut. Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. 21 It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. 22 They will be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison. After many days they will be punished. 23 Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed… (emphasis added)
This is a truly frightening passage. This does not present a local earthquake along some fault line. This is an off-the-charts shaking of the entire planet. Mankind is about to find out how much God hates sin. This passage also introduces the Divine Council into the discussion, here referred to as the "host of exalted ones" and combined with, but differing from, the "kings of the earth."
In Joel, chapter 2 we read of an invading army that breaches the walls of Jerusalem:
10 The earth quakes before them. The heavens tremble, the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness. 11 The Lord gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it? (emphasis added)
Here we have an earthquake, an invasion of Israel, the heavens trembling, and the sun, moon and stars becoming dark. Peter cited this passage at the beginning of the "church age" and he spoke prophetically of its end:
19 I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' (emphasis added)
A complete picture of what to expect is beginning to emerge. Some final details are provided in Revelationi6:12-17
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
Taken together, the following picture emerges:
War in Heaven
As frightening and cataclysmic as this appears, it is actually a small part of a much larger conflict. We need to remember that the rebellion against God and His created order predates Adam. Popular theology sees Heaven as a serene place where our loved ones who have died are enjoying peace and rest as they look down on us. But the truth is that there is conflict in Heaven, and when the rapture happens, Satan and his followers will be at war:
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. — Revelationi12:7-9
Satan and his angels are the "falling stars." As noted previously, the "host of exalted ones" (Isaiah 24:21) will be punished; the "powers of the heavens shall be shaken." (Matthew 24:29)
The study of the Divine Council and their role in the end times is beyond my scope, but I will include this final verse, in case this is new to you.
All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. 5 For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment. — Isaiahi34:4-5
This is the same language we saw in Revelation 6:13-14. The spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places are malevolent spiritual beings. They will be cast out of the hyper-dimensional heavenly realm. The Divine Council, as a ruling body, will be dissolved. Jesus Christ Himself will begin exercising all authority, and we will reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12). This is probably at least part of the reason why Satan and his demon followers hate men as much as they obviously do. They are being fired and we are getting their jobs. This should also energize and encourage us as we face these final months of escalating tribulation.
There is much more that could be said on these topics, but I tried to front-load this article with the most critical information, which I will repeat here: