Thursday, 13 July 2017

St. Michael's Lent, the 2017 Solar Eclipse, and the Angel of the Sixth Seal



The Stigmatization of St. Francis of Assisi

There is yet another striking coincidence concerning the date of the upcoming solar eclipse on 21st August, 2017 involving a 40-day period of penance in Catholic tradition. As we have already noted, the fact that this eclipse takes place on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock recalls the First World War eclipse of 1914, which not only fell on the date of 21st August, but also directly crossed the site of ancient Nineveh, recalling the sign of Jonah mentioned by Christ during his discourse on the binding of Satan. In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I use this fact to bolster the hypothesis that the opening of the scroll of the Apocalypse by the Lamb of Revelation (the entire focus of the silent Knock apparition itself) took place at the turn of the 20th century, at the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power foretold in the vision of Pope Leo XIII, setting in motion a chain of events which would lead to the Second World War, the Jewish Holocaust and restoration of Israel. This in turn has paved the way for the future conversion of the Jews, which must take place before the Second Coming of Christ.

According to the biblical chronology established by St. Bede the Venerable (who was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1899), we can determine that this period of the unbinding of Satan occurred at the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers - which consisted of a prophetic week of millennia beginning from the biblical date of Creation. So Pope Leo XIII's vision of the convergence of a host of demons upon the Eternal City of Rome directly parallels the armies of Satan surrounding the camp of the saints at the end of the thousand years described in Rev 20:

When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea. (Rev 20:7-8)

(For a more in-depth analysis, see the recent posts The Sign of Jonah and the Binding of Satan, Pope Leo XIII and the Unbinding of Satan, and Our Lady of Knock and the Opening of the Sealed Book.)

We have already noted how the 2017 solar eclipse occurs 40 days before the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), on 29th/30th September, 2017. According to Jewish tradition, the month of Elul marks a 40-day period of repentance before the feast of Yom Kippur, and was the time during which Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai after the incident of the Golden Calf, in order to prepare for the reception of the second set of tablets containing the Decalogue.

Given the fact that the date of Yom Kippur this year falls on the feast of St. Michael and the Archangels (Michaelmas), there is yet another disparate period of 40 days of repentance coming into play around the time of the solar eclipse, this time rooted in a long-standing Catholic tradition. Although it is not widely celebrated today, there is a custom in Catholicism dating back to the Middle Ages known as St. Michael's Lent, which was a 40-day period of fasting in preparation for the feast of Michaelmas, lasting from the Solemnity of the Assumption on 15th August to Michaelmas on 29th September. We should note that while the period of St. Michael's Lent actually extends to 45 days, it is still held to be a symbolic 40-day fast in keeping with Lent itself. If we are to count 40 days back from Yom Kippur/Michaelmas on 29th-30th September this year, we arrive at the date of the solar eclipse itself on the Feast of Our Lady of Knock, 21st August, 2017, rather than the Solemnity of the Assumption.

While the practice of St. Michael's Lent has largely fallen out of use today (being kept only by a few Franciscan groups), it was vastly more popular in medieval times. The most famous adherent of St. Michael's Lent was St. Francis of Assisi, who practised this custom annually. Indeed, St. Francis received his stigmata while he was on spiritual retreat to observe St. Michael's Lent on Mount La Verna (Alverna) with three of his Franciscan brothers. The Stigmatization of St. Francis occurred when he received a vision of a crucified seraph, and although the exact date was not stipulated by his earliest chroniclers, it was said to have taken place around the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on 14th September, 1224, just two years before his death. The Stigmatization of St. Francis was commemorated in a feast day of its own on 17th September, before being removed from the General Calendar in 1969. However, as we shall see, there is good reason to believe that St. Francis actually received the stigmata on the 15th of September - the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (which commemorates when the Blessed Virgin partook of the suffering of her Son).

Below is an excerpt from St. Bonaventure's Legenda Minor:

Two years before Francis, the faithful servant of Christ, gave his soul back to God, he was alone on the top of Mt. Alverna. There he had begun a fast of forty days in honor of the archangel Michael and was immersed more deeply than usual in the delights of heavenly contemplation. His soul became aglow with the ardor of fervent longing for heaven as he experienced within himself the operations of grace.
As he was drawn aloft through ardent longing for God one morning near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and was praying on the mountainside, he saw what appeared as a seraph with six bright wings gleaming like a fire descending from the heights of heaven. As this figure approached in swift flight and came near the man of God it appeared not only winged but also crucified. The sight of it amazed Francis and his soul experienced joy mingled with pain. He was delighted with the sight of Christ appearing to him so graciously and intimately and yet the awe-inspiring vision of Christ nailed to the cross aroused in his soul a joy of compassionate love.
When the vision vanished after a mysterious and intimate conversation it left Francis aglow with seraphic love in his soul. Externally, however, it left marks on his body like those of the Crucified as if the impression of a seal had been left on heated wag. The figures of the nails appeared immediately on his hands and feet. The heads of the nails were inside his hands but on top of his feet with their points extending through to the opposite side. His right side too showed a blood-red wound as if it had been pierced by a lance, and blood flowed frequently from it. Because of this new and astounding miracle unheard of in times past, Francis came down from the mountain a new man adorned with the sacred stigmata, bearing in his body the image of the Crucified not made by a craftsman in wood or stone , but fashioned in his members by the hand of the living God.
(Legenda Minor of St. Bonaventure, de Stigmatibus sacris, 1-4; ed. Quaracchi, 1941; pp202-204)

Many commentators have debated whether or not Gal 6:17 suggests that St. Paul had bore the stigmata, and tradition in the Early Church is silent on this matter. So the Stigmatization of St. Francis of Assisi is widely regarded as the first instance of this miraculous phenomenon in recorded history.

The fact that St. Francis had borne the five visible wounds of Jesus on his own body led the Church Doctor St. Bonaventure to conclude that he should be associated with the angel of the sixth seal in the Apocalypse, who bears "the seal of the Living God":

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea, saying, “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.” (Rev 7:1-3)

Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (future Pope Benedict XVI) explains St. Bonaventure's prophetic interpretation of the stigmatization of St. Francis of Assisi in his 1971 book The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure:

Even more important, however, is another event - the Stigmatization - which stood as something unique and unparalleled; it all but cried out for an interpretation. Such an interpretation offered itself on the basis of Apoc. 7, 2. Had not the seal of the living God - the figure of the crucified Christ - been impressed on the body of the Saint? Does not the image of the Apocalypse acquire here its real coloration and significance? As for the full actuality and the moving probability of this interpretation, this was to come in the encounter of this event with the entirely independent prophecy of the Abbot of Fiore who had in brilliant words predicted the coming of the angel with the seal of the living God. He had seen in this angel the novus dux de Babylone and the universalis pontifex sanctae Hierusalem. He would receive "full freedom for the renewal of the Christian religion". In view of the amazing coincidence of the particular factors, it is no longer surprising that the identification of Francis with the angel of the Apocalypse should have become an historico-theological axiom of practically unimpeachable certitude.
(Ratzinger, J. The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure, p35)

St. Bonaventure departed from the mainstream Patristic view that the Elijah to come was to be a literal return of the biblical prophet from heaven, by associating St. Francis himself with this figure. As Fr. Ratzinger states:

Francis had called himself the "Herald of a great King." Taking this as a point of departure, Bonaventure sees Francis as the eschatological praeco Dei, as the resurrected John the Baptist. The word "Herald," which was originally used without any theological significance, easily provides a bridge to a new theological interpretation in which the word is applied to one who in fact is a "Voice crying in the desert." This one is the Herald of the Kingdom of God which has come upon us. From here, a further connection is obvious: The Lord Himself had called John the returned Elias (Mt. 11, 1; also Mk. 9, 12ff., and Lk. 1, 17). Consequently the two figures remain related to each other forever.
For this reason, when Francis has been designated as John the Baptist, it is only natural that he should be seen as Elias as well. The two names are used interchangeably to express the same idea.
But this alteration of names is not without significance, for the name of Elias points more clearly to an eschatological dimension than does the name of John the Baptist. The prophecy of Malachy, which was so important in the New Testament, was connected with the name of Elias, and not with that of John. "Behold, I send you the prophet Elias, before the great and terrible day arrives..." (Mal. 3, 23). From this citation, it is fully clear what Bonaventure means when he says: In Francis, Elias has appeared.
(Ratzinger, J. The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure, pp32-33)

While it has subsequently become apparent that St. Francis could not possibly be one of the Two Witnesses of Rev 11 - the Elijah to come, as St. Bonaventure appears to suggest, it certainly seems plausible that the great saint of Assisi prefigures this eschatological restorer of the Church. In fact, as we shall see, it appears that the Stigmatization of St. Francis provides us with an essential interpretative key for understanding the prophecy of the angel of the sixth seal, who is commissioned to mark the inhabitants of the earth with the seal of God at the end-time - symbolising the future restoration of the Church by the Two Witnesses.

In Rev 7:2, we are told that the angel of the sixth seal ascends from "the rising of the sun". The symbolism of the east here, as the location from where the angel ascends from "the rising of the sun" is the same as which lent itself to the ancient practice of ad orientem worship, with a focus on the new dawn at the return of Christ. However, the fact the angel of the sixth seal arises from within the sun itself alludes to a later passage in the Apocalypse, concerning the angel seen standing in the sun, who issues the summons for the eschatological banquet and the battle of Armageddon:

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. (Rev 19:17-19)

As I have argued in the previous post The First World War and the Angel Standing in the Sun, the above passage concerning the summons to the eschatological banquet and the angel seen standing in the sun appears to be the key point of scriptural allusion in the occurrence of the Miracle of the Sun on 13th October, 1917. When we look to the origins of this passage concerning the eschatological banquet in the Book of Ezekiel, we find that this event is described in the context of the restoration of the land of Israel after the rise of Gog and Magog at the end of the Millennium of Rev 20:

“As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord GOD. “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies' lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”
(Ezek 39:17-29)


So, the passage in Rev 19 which describes the angel standing in the sun calling for the eschatological banquet is recapitulated again in Rev 20, when the armies of Satan encompass the City of God at the end of the thousand years. The fact that the root Old Testament material here found in the Book of Ezekiel combines the rise of Gog and Magog at the end of the thousand years with the future restoration of Israel is greatly important to understanding the true significance of the historical events which unfolded at the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power/"little while" of the Apocalypse.

When we turn back to examine the passage concerning the angel of the sixth seal in greater detail, we find that this figure is responsible for the cessation of hostilities first unleashed during the appearance of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse during the opening of the sealed book. The forces of chaos are temporarily restrained by four angels in order to allow for the sealing of the saints:

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea, saying, “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.” (Rev 7:1-3)

The four angels who hold back the destructive forces symbolised by the "four winds of the earth" are one and the same as the Four Living Creatures, who restrain the appearance of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse until the opening of the seven seals. These are the four cherubim that were seen by the Prophet Ezekiel at the Chebar Canal, a tributary of the River Euphrates - the location where the four fallen angels are bound in Rev 9:

Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. (Rev 9:13-15)

As Fr. Ratzinger points out, St. Bonaventure took careful note that the sixth figure in each of the series of septets found in the Apocalypse were all interrelated:

As regards their content, the seven series of seven in the Apocalypse are identical with one another according to the view of Bonaventure. Each one points to the same thing in a different way; namely, the seven-staged course of church history. Consequently, the sixth figure of each series offers a new insight for the solution of the problem of the future. This interpretation of the various schemata leads to surprising results for Bonaventure, and often gives him cause to point out to his listeners the wonderful harmony of Scripture.
(Ratzinger, J. The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure, p26)

So, it is no coincidence that the  location of the River Euphrates once again resurfaces during the appearance of the angel with the sixth bowl plague, who, like the angel seen standing in the sun in Rev 19, is predominately involved with the assembling together of the nations of the earth for the Battle of Armageddon. 

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.  (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)  And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
(Rev 16:12-16)

As I have previously argued at some length in the post Our Lady of Mount Carmel: The Visions of Fatima and the Battle of Har Megiddo, the prophetic significance of the visions seen by the shepherd children of Fatima during the occurrence of the Miracle of the Sun not only recalls the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel (prefiguring the ministry of the Elijah to come), but it also heavily alludes to the Battle of Armageddon, since Mount Carmel is itself the "Mount of Megiddo" - which is the meaning of the Hebrew word Armageddon (Har Megiddo). So it is surely beyond coincidence that the shepherd children saw the Virgin Mary appear as Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the Miracle of the Sun on October 13th 1917, within a month of the publication of the Balfour Declaration calling for a Jewish national homeland in Palestine; or that the Battle of Megiddo in 1918 took place just under a year later, the consequences of which led to the land of Palestine falling under the British Mandate, which eventually resulted in the birth of the modern state of Israel in 1948.

Sr. Lucia describes the vision of Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the Miracle of the Sun as follows:

We reached the holmoak in the Cova da Iria. Once there, moved by an interior impulse, I asked the people to shut their umbrellas and say the Rosary. A little later, we saw the flash of light, and then Our Lady appeared on the holmoak."What do you want of me?"
"I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honour. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes".
"I have many things to ask you: the cure of some sick persons, the conversion of sinners, and other things..."
"Some yes, but not others. They must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins."
Looking very sad, Our Lady said:
"Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended."
Then, opening her hands, she made them reflect on the sun, and as she ascended, the reflection of her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself.
Here, Your Excellency, is the reason why I cried out to the people to look at the sun. My aim was not to call attention to the sun, because I was not even aware of their presence. I was moved to do so under the guidance of an interior impulse.
After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel.
(Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, pp172-173)

Of course, the significance of Armageddon can not be confined to the Battle of Megiddo in 1918; since the primary layer of interpretation here relates to events which unfold at the end of the world itself. Prophetically important historical events have a tendency to repeat themselves in cycles of microcosm/macrocosm however, and the events which occurred at the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power foreshadow those that will recur in the future. The tendency of prophecy to repeat itself in fractal-like patterns is of especial significance to us here, in the fact that the feast
day of the second-most famous stigmatic in history besides St. Francis himself - St. Padre Pio, is celebrated on 23rd September - the date of the occurrence this year of what has become known as "the sign of Woman Clothed with the Sun".

One of the signs associated with the War in Heaven at the end of the period of Satan’s unbinding is that of a Woman adorned with the sun, with the moon at her feet, crowned by 12 stars, crying out in the travails of child-birth. On 23rd September 2017, a unique heavenly sign will appear in the constellation Virgo which corresponds exactly with the description of the Woman Clothed with the Sun. (See Patrick Archbold's excellent article on this upcoming phenomenon here). The constellation Virgo will have the sun rise directly behind it, with the moon at its feet, crowned by twelve stars (the nine stars of Leo, as well as a conjunction of the planets Mercury, Venus and Mars). Nine and a half months previous to this event (the gestation period of a late-term baby), Jupiter, the king planet had entered the womb of Virgo on 20th November 2016 (the feast of Christ the King). Jupiter will exit from the “womb” of Virgo, or be “born” on the exact day of the appearance of this sign corresponding to the vision of the Woman Clothed with the Sun.

This event will take place 33 days after the Great American solar eclipse on August 21st 2017 – the feast of Our Lady of Knock. The United States has not witnessed a solar eclipse crossing its entirety from coast-to-coast since 8th June, 1918 – towards the end of the First World War. So, while the First World War opened with a solar eclipse over Nineveh, it closed with a solar eclipse over America, the like of which has not been seen in almost 100 years. This pattern of Nineveh/American eclispes is echoed at the other end of the "little while" given to Satan, once we taken into consideration the total solar eclipse over Nineveh at the end of the second Millennium on 11th August 1999 - the feast of St. Clare of Assisi, who was sometimes titled alter Franciscus (another Francis), because of her insistence of a strict adherence to the rule of St. Francis by the Order of Poor Clares. 
However it is in St. Padre Pio himself whom we find the greatest parallel to St. Francis of Assisi; as not only did he bear the five visible wounds of stigmata, but he was also Christened Francesco Forgione before taking the name of Pius when joining the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (a Franciscan order). If anyone other than St. Clare of Assisi deserves the title of alter Franciscus, it is St. Pio of Pietrelcina; and if anyone else in history prefigures the angel of the sixth seal the same way in which St. Francis did for St. Bonaventure, we find it in this great Italian mystic who also bore "the seal of the Living God".

Just over a month after the American solar eclipse of 1918 took place, St. Padre Pio offered himself up as a victim soul as a means of petitioning for the end of the First World War on 27th July, 1918. A few days later, between 5th-7th August 1918, St. Pio experienced a transverberation during a vision of Christ, who pierced his side with a flaming lance, leaving a physical wound. On 8th August 1918, the Allies began the Hundred Days Offensive, which ultimately resulted in the declaration of the Armistice on 11th November, 1918.

St. Padre Pio experienced another vision of the Wounded Christ on 20th September 1918, after which he was permanently left with the five visible wounds of the stigmata, in the most renowned example of this phenomenon since St. Francis of Assisi himself. This was timed to coincide with the Battle of Megiddo, which began on 19th September, 1918 (the feast of Our Lady of La Salette). The Battle of Megiddo was the Allies' final offensive of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War, and took place between 19th-25th September 1918. The resounding victory of the Allied forces here directly led to the British Mandate over Palestine, and ultimately resulted in the birth of the modern state of Israel in 1948. We should also note that it was during a canonical coronation of Our Lady of La Salette on August 21st 1879 that the Blessed Virgin appeared at Knock. And when she appeared at La Salette, the Blessed Virgin took the form of Our Lady of Sorrows, which was also displayed during the vision of the Miracle of the Sun in 1917.

In Rev 12, the sign of the Woman Clothed with the Sun, who is crowned with 12 stars, alludes to the birth of the people of Israel from the Twelve Tribes of the sons of Jacob, as seen in Joseph's prophetic dream:

He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”  (Gen 37:9)

The eleven stars bowing down to Joseph, along with the Patriarch himself, form the Twelve Tribes of Israel, to whom the angel of the sixth seal is sent to inscribe with the Seal of God:

And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” (Rev 7:4-12)

The great sign seen in heaven  in Rev 12- the sign of the Woman adorned with the sun, recalls the words of the Prophet Isaiah concerning the asking for a sign either as "deep as Sheol" or as "high as heaven", which is given as a virgin conceiving and bearing a Son:

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa 7:10-14)

So as well as foretelling the birth of Christ from the womb of the Blessed Virgin, this sign of a Virgin conceiving and bearing a son could also be seen "as high as heaven", alluding to the "great sign seen in heaven" itself. The cries of the Woman in the anguish of childbirth also echoes a later passage in Isaiah concerning the rebirth of the land of Israel:

“Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son.
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”says the Lord; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.” (Isa 66:7-11)


This parallels Jeremiah's prophecy of the rebuilding of "virgin Israel" following the Babylonian captivity (which foreshadows the restoration which must take place at the end of time):

Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall take your tambourines, and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit. For there shall be a day when sentinels will call in the hill country of Ephraim: “Come, let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.”
(Jer 31:4-6)

The fact that St. Padre Pio was stigmatized at the very start of the Battle of Megiddo - which would eventually lead to the rebirth of the land of Israel, does appear to factor into understanding the significance of the prophecy of the angel of the sixth seal, which must be viewed through the prism provided by the example of St. Francis himself. While the symbolism of the angel of the sixth seal cannot be confined to the events of the stigmatization of St. Francis and St. Padre Pio alone, they both seem to provide an essential interpretative key to understanding the future implications of this figure, whom St. Bonaventure equated with the Elijah to come. We are told that the angel of the sixth seal appears from the "rising of the sun", which is recapitulated by the angel seen standing in the sun in Rev 19, who calls for the gathering together of the armies of the earth during the eschatological banquet. As we noted earlier, Ezek 38-39 tells us that the eschatological banquet takes place during the restoration of Israel and rise of Gog and Magog, which according to Rev 20 occurs at the end of the "thousand years", or Sabbath Millennium.

If the prophecy of the angel of the sixth seal rising from the sun in Rev 7 and the angel seen standing in the sun in Rev 19 are indeed related to the Miracle of the Sun itself, then the fact that Padre Pio experienced his stigmatization less than a year later, towards the end of the First World War, appears to suggest that these events are closely connected. Indeed, the end of the First World War was a central component of the second secret of Fatima: "The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI." Given that St. Padre Pio's request to offer himself up as a victim to achieve the end of the war was accepted by heaven through his transverberation and conferral of the stigmata, we can only be left to conclude that his ministry was an extension of Fatima itself. It is this aspect of the life of St. Padre Pio that we can see the various affinities with the angel of the sixth seal, which is worth revisiting here again:

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on earth or sea or against any tree. I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to damage earth and sea, saying, “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.”
(Rev 7:1-3)

The four angels who hold back the four winds of the earth parallels the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are restrained by the Four Living Creatures until the opening of the sealed scroll by the Lamb of Revelation. As I have already argued at length in my book, the opening of the scroll with seven seals is the catalyst which sets the entire events of the eschaton into motion, and is recapitulated in Rev 20 by the unbinding of Satan to seduce the nations of at the four corners of the world into gathering for war at the end of the thousand years.

When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, in order to gather them for battle; they are as numerous as the sands of the sea. (Rev 20:7-8)

So the release of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are represented in Rev 20 by the nations at the four corners of the earth, which are one and the same as the four angels bound at the River Euphrates to kill a third of "the people" in Rev 9:14-15. When we examine this in light of several other passages in the Old Testament, we can determine that it is a third of the Jewish people that is set to be destroyed by these four angels, rather than a third of humanity. The exact location of their release is given as the intersection of the Chebar Canal/Khabur River on the River Euphrates, which is found at modern Deir ez-Zor - the site of the single largest concentration camp during the Armenian Genocide, which was perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey from 1915 onwards, at the very beginning of the First World War. So many corpses were deposited in the River Khabur by the Ottomans that their skeletal remains actually shifted the course of the water (see here).

It was at this scene of utter destruction that the Prophet Ezekiel witnessed his vision of the resurrection of the people of Israel from the valley of dry bones in Ezek 37, which symbolises the restoration of Israel following a state of devastation described during the release of Gog and Magog in Ezek 38-39. The Armenian Genocide is widely recognized by historians as providing Nazi Germany with the blueprint for annihilating a third of the world's total Jewish populace during the Holocaust.

The havoc that is unleashed upon the world by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is temporarily suspended by the angel of the sixth seal to allow the inhabitants of the earth to be sealed with the mark of God upon their foreheads. Those who do not bear this mark are killed by the locusts which emerge from the abyss in Rev 9, when it is opened by the angel holding the key at the end of the thousand years in Rev 20:1. When we compare this passage with its origins in Ezek 9, we find that it is the inhabitants of Jerusalem without this mark that are slain by the locusts of Revelation during a new Passover of the Jewish people.

While the activities of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse being temporarily suspended by the angel of the sixth seal is chiefly concerned with the events that take place at the end of the period of Satan's unbinding, it appears that this event is reflected in microcosm at the end of the First World War through the intervention of St. Padre Pio. These prophetic events ripple outwards, extending to the end of time, when the angel of the sixth seal will mark the inhabitants of the earth with the seal of God during the New Pentecost. But just as the peace brought about after the First World War proved to be only a temporary lull before the storm brought about during the rise of Nazi Germany, the time of quiet brought about by the shout of the angel of the seven thunders after the sounding of the sixth trumpet will be similarly short-lived before the arrival of the Antichrist. As St. Bonaventure states:

"... no one knows how long that time of great peace will last since "when they said 'Peace and security,' then suddenly destruction came upon them" (Matt 24:21). The seventh time or age, that of quiet, begins with the shout of the angel who "swore through Him who lives forever and ever that there would be no more time; but in the days of the seventh angel the mystery of God will be completed" (Rev 10:6-7).In the sixth age three things take place - excellence of victory, excellence of teaching, and excellence of the prophetic life.... In this age there ought to come a life through an order which will possess the prophetic life. This age is double. Just as in the Lord's Passion there was first light, then darkness, and then light, so it is necessary that first there be the light of teaching and that Josiah succeed Hezekiah, after which came the tribulation of the Jews through their captivity. It is necessary that one ruler, a defender of the Church, arise. He is either still to come or has already come. (He added: Would that he has not already come!) After him will come the darkness of tribulations..."

It was said to the angel of Philadelphia, the sixth angel: "He who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who opens and no man closes, closes and no man opens, says this - 'I know your works, and behold I have placed an open door before you'" (Rev 3:7). (And he said that now for the first time the understanding of Scripture would be given and that the revelation, or key of David, would be given to a person or a large group, but I think rather to a large group.)
In the seventh age we know that these things will take place - the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the city, and the granting of peace. Likewise in the coming seventh age there will be a restoration of Divine worship and a rebuilding of the city. Then the prophecy of Ezekiel will be fulfilled when the city comes down from heaven (Ezek 40); not indeed that city which is above, but that city which is below, the Church Militant which will then be conformed to the Church Triumphant as far as possible in this life. Then will be the building and restoration of the city as it was in the beginning. Then there will be peace. God alone knows how long that peace shall last.
(St. Bonaventure, Collation 16:17-19. Translated by McGinn, B. Visions of the End, pp199-200)

As St. Augustine taught, the period of the unbinding of Satan will be followed by another period of binding in order to allow the goods of the strong man to be plundered during the Second Coming of Christ, when the Lord will come like a thief in the night:

And if this shall be so, his binding is to be spoken of as preceding, that there might follow a spoiling of him both bound and loosed; for it is of this it is said, Who shall enter into the house of the strong one to spoil his goods, unless he shall first have bound the strong one?
(St. Augustine, City of God, XX:8)

So when we look to the significance of the upcoming appearance of the heavenly sign that will take place on 23rd September, 2017 (the feast of St. Padre Pio), it seems to be chiefly centred around the ministry of the angel of the sixth seal, who is prefigured in the persons of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Padre Pio. A ministry which must take place in a time which is situated at the end of the period of Satan's unbinding. Could the appearance of this sign corresponding to the Woman clothed with the sun in Rev 12 signify the end of the "little while" during which Satan is released upon the world? It appears to be doubly significant that one of the scriptural allusions in Rev 12 points to Jesus' words in the Gospel of John concerning the travail of a woman, which is made in the context of a "little while" during which Christ would no longer be seen:

 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’?  Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. (John 16:16-23)

While the Gospel is veiled during the period given to Satan, obscuring the light of Christ, we will eventually be allowed to witness the glory of the Risen One at the end of this "little while", when the angel of the sixth seal will mark the people of the world with the seal of the Living God.

Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Rev 14:6-7)


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Blood Moons Pastor Speaks on Nineveh Eclipses Theory



The famed "blood moons Pastor", Mark Biltz, has spoken out on my theory concerning the Nineveh eclipses and the sign of Jonah in order to draw attention to an idea he discusses in his book God's Day Timer, concerning the 40-day period of repentance in the run-up to Yom Kippur. In a YouTube video which first appeared online on 29th November 2016, Biltz covers various subjects I had published on a blog post just three weeks previously (found here), concerning the Nineveh eclipses and a possible link to the upcoming solar eclipse of 21st August, 2017. Although he doesn't specifically mention my work during the course of his presentation, he cites some of the material covered in my article verbatim, and follows a long trail of logic which was already established by me just weeks earlier. So, although he fails to credit this material to me in his presentation (possibly for the sake of brevity), it is obviously based on my blog post. You can find the video below:




In April 2017, Biltz published an article in World Net Daily (WND) covering the link between the 2017 solar eclipse, the First World War eclipse and the Bur-Sagale Eclipse at the time of Jonah, which has since been updated to acknowledge my discovery of the importance of the Nineveh eclipses. Because of the huge audience of WND, this material concerning the Nineveh eclipses is now widely circulating online. (You can find Biltz's WND article here).

In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, the significance of the Nineveh eclipses is used as supporting evidence for my theory concerning the unbinding of Satan at the end of the Millennium described in Rev 20, which St. Augustine of Hippo believed would take place at the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers. Using the biblical chronology established by St. Bede the Venerable, and later revised by James Ussher, we can determine that the end of the Sabbath Millennium took place to coincide with the millennial anniversary of the birth of Christ, during the Great Jubilee Year of the Incarnation in 2000, which was preceded by one of the most widely witnessed solar eclipses in human history on 11th August 1999 - the path of totality of which crossed the site of ancient Nineveh. I argue that this event is linked to the "Sign of Jonah" mentioned by Christ, which was made in the immediate context of the binding of Satan:

An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! (Mark 12:39-41)


In my book, I note that in addition to symbolising the three days of Christ's Passover, the three days of the "Sign of Jonah" represents the passing of three millennia, following the precept outlined by St. Peter:

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. (2Pet 3:8)

This in turn is connected to the words of the Prophet Hosea:

After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. (Hos 6:2)


I deliberately omitted any mention of the significance of the upcoming 2017 eclipse in my book, since I did not want to distract from the importance of the Nineveh eclipses in relation to the period of the unbinding of Satan, which was bookended by solar eclipses occurring over the site of ancient Nineveh in 1914 and 1999. This is coupled with the fact that I believe that for now at least, America will in fact be spared from the threat of any chastisement this year, just as the ancient Ninevites were also saved from the threat of God's judgment. It seems preordained that enough will be done to spare America from any possible chastisement, possibly through enough influential people like Pastor Biltz drawing enough attention to the significance of this eclipse for the American people to adorn "sackcloth and ashes", just as the ancient Ninevites did. In fact, Fr. Richard Heilman overseen a "Nineveh 90" program of fasting and repentance to spare any possible chastisement that this may be in store this year, which was conducted by thousands of Catholics.

If anything, I expect the significance of this year rather to involve the earth swallowing the flood which issues from the mouth of the Dragon in Rev 12, which symbolises the end of the period of Satan's unbinding, and is reflected in the story of the repentance of the Ninevites. It is the rescue of the Woman Adorned with the Sun which appears to be reflected in the remarkable celestial occurrence on 23rd September 2017 (covered by Patrick Archbold here).  Following the line of logic first outlaid by St. Augustine, the end of the period of Satan's unbinding takes place during the proclamation of the Gospel to all peoples, which must take place before the arrival of the Antichrist and Second Coming of Christ.

In the presentation he makes on his YouTube channel and on the related WND article, Pastor Biltz goes into significant detail about how the ministry of the Prophet Jonah can be dated to coincide with the timing of the Bur-Sagale eclipse over ancient Nineveh, and how this ties into the First World War Eclipse, which also crossed Nineveh on the date of 21st August.

I first stumbled upon the significance of the Nineveh eclipses in 2013, when a commentator on my blog writing under the name "Federal Expression" mentioned the fact that the point of greatest eclipse of the total solar eclipse of July 1999 was centred on the site of Ocnele Mari, in Romania (you can find this post here). This piqued my interest, and I decided to trace the path of totality of this solar eclipse, which I found directly traversed the site of Mosul/Nineveh. I immediately connected this to the “sign of Jonah” mentioned by Christ.

In the first edition of my book, published in 2011, I had theorized that the solar eclipse of 1999 was part of the Signs in Heaven described at the opening of the sixth seal in Rev 6, which is comprised of a total solar eclipse (the sun turning to sackcloth), a lunar eclipse (the moon turning to blood), a significant meteor shower and an earthquake. I had noted that each of these events had transpired at the turn of the millennium, with the solar eclipse of 1999 (which was one of the most widely witnessed in human history), the Leonid Meteor Storm of November 1999 (which is the most prolific of all meteor showers, and recurs every 33 years), the first blood moon of the new millennium in January 2000, and the Izmit earthquake of 1999, which occurred in Turkey just days after the path of totality had crossed nearby. I later discovered the fact that Izmit was the site of ancient Nicomedia, from where the Emperor Diocletian promulgated his edict against Christians. Following an otherwise bizarre statement of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who linked the Signs in Heaven described in the Apocalypse to the attacks on the World Trade Center, I also later proposed that he had meant the appearance of “blood, fire and columns of smoke” which is said to accompany the appearance of these signs in Joel 2:30-31:

I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.


My discovery that the path of totality of the 1999 solar eclipse had crossed the site of ancient Nineveh was thus greatly important to me, since this event already figured prominently in my research. The fact that Christ’s mention of the appearance of the “Sign of Jonah” being given to a wicked generation was made in the immediate context of the binding and losing of Satan was of major significance to my research, since I had already proposed that period of the unbinding of Satan described in Rev 20 was one and the same as Pope Leo XIII’s prophecy of the period of Satan’s greater power - which is thought by Catholics to have involved a 100-year period which started at the beginning of the 20th century. Many Catholics associate the beginning of this 100-year period of Satan’s greater power with the apparitions at Fatima in 1917, and I had personally advanced the theory that the opening of the abyss at the end of the “thousand years” was marked by the appearance of the apocalyptic locusts of Rev 9 (the invention of military airplanes at the start of WWI), and a “star falling to earth”, which I connected to the Tunguska event of 1908. So the fact that the First World War Eclipse of 1914 also directly crossed the site of ancient Nineveh at the beginning of the period of Satan’s greater power is one of the most important discoveries I present in my book.


In the comments section of the blog post where I made the Nineveh link to the 1999 solar eclipse, the commentator "Federal Expression" also drew my attention to the existence of the inscription found at Kizkapan Cave, which shows two figures laying down their weapons during the occurrence of a total solar eclipse. Just earlier in that same day, I had been researching about the eclipse of Thales of Miletus (which this inscription is believed to represent), which occurred over the site of an ongoing battle between the warring Medians and Lydians, leading to a truce being declared. I thought that this event contained some parallels to the biblical story of the repentance of the Ninevites, stating at the time: “The Medians and the Lydians laying down arms could symbolise the repentance of Nineveh”. I thought that if the occurrence of a total solar eclipse near the site of ancient Nineveh could be dated to the ministry of Jonah, this would account for exactly why the Ninevites were so receptive to the preaching of Jonah upon his arrival. So I was completely astonished when I discovered that one of the most famous eclipses in history – the Bur-Sagale Eclipse, could be accurately dated to the ministry of Jonah, and that this had passed over the site of ancient Nineveh. The fact that the inscription found in Kizkapan Cave contains stylised imagery which was associated with the half-man half-fish demigod Oannes/Adapa is further proof that this stelae is a record of the repentance of the Ninevites during the occurrence of the Bur-Sagale Eclipse, as the people of Nineveh would have made a connection between the story of Jonah and the whale with that of Oannes (which is also etymologically similar to the name of the prophet himself), and thus commemorated this eclipse in an inscription which bears motifs associated with this particular deity.

The fact that the solar eclipse of 2017 also takes place on August 21st thus stood out for me, as this is the date when the Knock apparitions took place, which I had previously argued symbolised the opening of the seven seals by the Lamb of Revelation (see here). So it was from there that I drew the parallel to the eclipses at Nineveh in relation to the timing of the 2017 eclipse that was picked up by Pastor Mark Biltz. Biltz makes an interesting contribution of his own on this subject, concerning the significance of the forty day period preceding Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) during the month of Elul, which according to Jewish tradition, is related to the forty-day period between when the Israelites committed idolatry with the Golden Calf to God's forgiveness being granted when Moses was once again given the tablets of the Decalogue. So this ties in perfectly with the timing of this solar eclipse 40 days before the Feast of Yom Kippur and the words of the Prophet Jonah: “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”.


As I have already noted, the feast of Yom Kippur also happens to be one of the central features of the Third Secret of Fatima, which describes two angels gathering up the blood of the martyrs and sprinkling it on the souls of those making their way to heaven. This imagery explicitly evokes the sprinkling of the sacrificial blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant by the Jewish High Priest on the Feast of Yom Kippur, as is detailed in the Book of Leviticus. Not only does the feast of Yom Kippur occur exactly 40 days after the “sign of Jonah” eclipse on 21st August, 2017, but it also occurs on the Feast of St. Michael – the angel with the flaming sword seen in the Third Secret of Fatima. The story of the repentance of the Ninevites therefore appears to be in some way connected to the vision of the Third Secret, when the hand of the angel with the flaming sword is stayed by Our Lady to allow for a period of penance:

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart

Stephen Walford has published an excellent article on Vatican Insider, providing us with a detailed synopsis of his book Heralds of the Second Coming. In this article, titled The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart: The Light from the East is Dawning, he deftly tackles the problem of millenarianism in contemporary Catholicism, besides covering a host of other interesting topics on the subject of eschatology, with a particular emphasis on the prophetic charism of the papacy. You can read the full article here, or by clicking the link above.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Our Lady of Fatima and the Conversion of the Jews



Today, May 13th, 2017, marks the centenary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to the three shepherd children of Fatima, Servant of God Lucia Santos, and St. Jacinta and St. Francesco Marto. Pope Francis will celebrate the extraordinary level of heroic virtue displayed by these little children by canonising the two siblings who succumbed in childhood to the worldwide Spanish Flu pandemic. It is well known that the timing of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima was intimately related to the rise of the Soviet Union - the first time in history where the atheistic ideals of Marxism had achieved realisation within the theatre of global politics. This point in time, when the millenarian ideal of secular messianism had came to full fruition, anticipates the reign of the Antichrist, when humanity will be deceived into glorifying itself "in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh" (CCC 675), and embrace a form of totalitarianism that falsely promises to establish an earthly utopia. So it can rightly be said that Our Lady appeared at Fatima in order to oppose the introduction of this militantly atheistic regime in anticipation of what the Catechism calls the "deception of the Antichrist". In doing so, Our Lady was fulfilling her perpetual role encapsulated in the Protoevangelium, wherein she must be continuously invoked to crush the head of the Serpent.

I would like to use this post to highlight another lesser-known theme which pervades the imagery and timing of the various apparitions received by Sr. Lucia, which provides us with a better insight into the true meaning of the Third Secret of Fatima. This theme revolves around the destiny of the Jewish people, and the role the Jews have to play in the Parousia, which both Scripture and the Catechism informs is suspended until the future conversion of the race chosen by God to bring about the redemption of the world.

The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all". (CCC 674)

We first find the most overt reference to the future conversion of the Jews in Sr. Lucia's 1929 Tuy apparition, where she was shown a vision of a cross of light. Sr. Lucia described this vision as follows:

(June 13, 1929). I had requested and obtained permission from my superiors and my confessor to make a holy hour from 11:00 p.m. to midnight, from Thursday to Friday of each week.

Finding myself alone one night, I knelt down near the Communion rail, in the middle of the chapel, to recite the prayers of the Angel, lying prostrate ... Feeling tired, I got up and continued to recite them with my arms in the form of a cross. The only light was that of the [sanctuary] lamp.

Suddenly, the whole chapel lit up with a supernatural light and on the altar appeared a cross of light which reached the ceiling. In a clearer light, on the upper part of the cross, could be seen the face of a man with His body to the waist, on His chest a dove, equally luminous; and nailed to the cross, the body of another man. A little below the waist [of Christ on the cross], suspended in the air, could be seen a Chalice and a large Host, onto which some drops of Blood were falling, which flowed from the face of the Crucified One and from the wound in His breast. Running down over the Host, these drops fell into the Chalice.

Under the right arm of the cross was Our Lady with Her Immaculate Heart in Her hand ... (She appeared as Our Lady of Fatima, with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames) under the left arm [of the cross], in large letters, like crystalline water which flowed over the altar, forming these words: "Grace and Mercy". I understood that the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal.

Then Our Lady said to me: ‘The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.’


I rendered an account of this to my confessor, who ordered me to write down what Our Lord willed to be done. (Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, pp198-199).

As I demonstrate at some length in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, this vision which chiefly centred on the same mysterious cross of light discussed by the Early Church Fathers and several mystics, including St. Faustina Kowalska, which is expected to appear shortly before the last day to announce the imminent return of Christ. This is one and the same as the "Sign of the Son of Man" mentioned by Jesus during His Olivet discourse, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem looking upon the "one whom they have pierced" in Zech 12:

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. (Zech 12:10-11)

The Church Doctor St. John Chrysostom relates how that it is the eschatological appearance of this great cross of light that will ultimately result in the conversion of the Jews immediately prior to the Second Coming of Christ:

Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven; Matthew 24:30 that is, the cross being brighter than the sun, since this last will be darkened, and hide himself, and that will appear when it would not appear, unless it were far brighter than the beams of the sun. But wherefore does the sign appear? In order that the shamelessness of the Jews may be more abundantly silenced. For having the cross as the greatest plea, Christ thus comes to that judgment-seat, showing not His wounds only, but also the death of reproach. Then shall the tribes mourn, for there shall be no need of an accusation, when they see the cross; and they shall mourn, that by His death they are nothing benefited; because they crucified Him whom they ought to have adored. Do you see how fearfully He has pictured His coming? How He has stirred up the spirits of His disciples? For this reason, let me add, He puts the mournful things first, and then the good things, that in this way also He may comfort and refresh them. And of His passion He suggests to them the remembrance, and of His resurrection, and with a display of glory, He mentions His cross, so that they may not be ashamed nor grieve, whereas indeed He comes then setting it forth for His sign. And another says, They shall look on Him whom they pierced. Therefore it is that they shall mourn, when they see that this is He.
And forasmuch as He had made mention of the cross, He added, They shall see the Son of Man coming, no longer on the cross, but in the clouds of Heaven, with power and great glory.

(St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew LXXVI)

So in being shown this vision of a cross of light accompanied by the outpouring of the words "grace" and "mercy"(following the scene described in Zech 12), God was revealing to Sr. Lucia that the future conversion of the Jews was an essential component of the message of Fatima. Scripture tells us that the future conversion of the Jews will be brought about through the ministry of the Elijah to come - the one who must restore all things before the Second Coming of Christ.

"Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things" (Matt 17:11)

"Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.  He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse." (Mal 4:5)

There was a consensus among the Church Fathers that the above words of the Prophet Malachi referred to the future conversion of the Jews, which St. Paul told us would follow in the immediate wake of the "fullness of the Gentiles" being brought into the Church. For example, St. Augustine of Hippo informs us:

After admonishing them to give heed to the law of Moses, as he foresaw that for a long time to come they would not understand it spiritually and rightly, he went on to say, And, behold, I will send to you Elias the Tishbite before the great and signal day of the Lord come: and he shall turn the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of a man to his next of kin, lest I come and utterly smite the earth. Malachi 4:5-6. It is a familiar theme in the conversation and heart of the faithful, that in the last days before the judgment the Jews shall believe in the true Christ, that is, our Christ, by means of this great and admirable prophet Elias who shall expound the law to them.
(St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX:29)

So, according to both Scripture and Tradition, the conversion of the Jews will be brought about by the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man foretold in Zech 12, which in turn is in some way inextricably linked to the culmination of the ministry of the Elijah to come. The reference to the wailing at Megiddo in Zech 12 concerns the death of the good King Josiah, who was killed during the battle of Megiddo in 606BC. We can find the next parallel between Our Lady of Fatima and the prophetic ministry of Elijah in her appearance as Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the Miracle of the Sun. 

After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel. (Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, pp172-173)

The primary historical and religious importance of Mount Carmel is in connection to the prophet Elijah, given that this was the location of the legendary battle between the champion of Yahweh and the prophets of the Phoenician deity Baal Melqart. Indeed, this contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal appears to have been the symbolic archetype for the battle of Armageddon foretold in the Book of Revelation. The word Armageddon is derived from the Hebrew Har Megiddo - the "mountain of Megiddo". A curious aspect of this phrase is that there is no "mountain" in the immediate vicinity of Megiddo, which is in fact situated on a plain at the foot of Mount Carmel. The actual fortress town of Megiddo was situated on a small mound (or Tel) on the plain of Megiddo, strategically located at the head of the Carmel Ridge, overlooking the Valley of Jezreel. The section of hills behind Tel Megiddo (called the Menashe mountains) are actually a lower eastern extension of Mount Carmel. So the most likely point of reference for the "mountain" of Megiddo, is in fact Mount Carmel - the location of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:20-40. It is here that Elijah emerged victorious over the prophets of Baal, and successfully managed to steer the wayward Israelites back to orthodox praxis.

So by appearing as Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the close of the vision experienced by the shepherd children during the Miracle of the Sun, the Blessed Mother was alluding to the prophetic ministry of Elijah and the conversion of the Jews - which would once again be brought into focus during the her vision of the cross of light at Tuy in 1929. It seems to be beyond coincidence that the Miracle of the Sun had taken place just before the publication of the Balfour Declaration calling for a Jewish national homeland in Palestine; or that the Battle of Megiddo in 1918 took place just under a year later, the consequences of which led to the land of Palestine falling under the British Mandate, eventually resulting in the restoration of the land of Israel in 1948. Could it be that Our Lady had chose to appear at Fatima at this moment in history not only to warn of the dangers of the spread of Communism, but also to indicate the opening of the path that would eventually lead to the conversion of the Jews, and consequently, to the Second Coming of Christ?

The secrets of Fatima were predominantly concerned with the impending onslaught of the Second World War, which ultimately resulted in the extermination of one third of the world's total Jewish population in the concentration camps of the Third Reich. It was through the perpetration of this most unspeakably heinous act that eventually led to the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948, when paralleling the Resurrection of Christ, the Jewish people eventually emerged victorious on the other side of their collective crucifixion. For the modern Jewish people, the path to the Promised Land was truly the way of the cross. But it seems that the restoration of Israel was preordained, since it was only through once again establishing themselves in the Holy Land that will eventually allow for the Jews to witness the great sign of the cross appear over Jerusalem, when they will confess Jesus as the true Messiah as a result of the ministry of the Elijah to come.

Another factor which attests that the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima do indeed point forward to the future conversion of the Jews and the Second Coming of Christ, is the timing of the various visions given to Sr. Lucia at key moments leading up to the restoration of Israel. We have already noted that the Balfour Declaration almost immediately followed the Miracle of the Sun. It is quite remarkable then, that Sr. Lucia's vison of the cross of light on 13th June, 1929, immediately preceded the Great Wall Street Crash that took place just a few months later in October 1929. This event, which brought about the Great Depression, was the primary catalyst for the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, who like his historical precursor Antiochus IV Epiphanes, savagely persecuted the Jews before the Holy Land was eventually restored to them:


As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom. (Dan 7:21)


The moment Hitler was elected as Chancellor of Germany on 30th January, 1933, was preceded just days earlier by another Church approved Marian apparition - that of Our Lady of Banneux, which occurred in Belgium on 15th January, 1933. The next known major apparition received by Sr. Lucia took place at the height of the Second World War itself, at Tuy in January 1944, when she was instructed to write down the contents of the Third Secret by the Blessed Virgin. Details of this apparition have only recently came to light, when the Portuguese version of Sr. Lucia's biography A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary was published by the Carmel of Coimbra in 2013. It is in this vision that we find yet another veiled reference to the prophecy of Zech 12, which appears to expand on the significance of the vision of 1929:

Towards 16:00 hours on January 3rd, 1944, in the convent’s chapel, before the Tabernacle, Lucia asked Jesus to let her know His will: ‘I then feel that a friendly hand, affectionate and maternal, touches my shoulder.’

It is ‘the Mother of Heaven’ who says to her: ‘be at peace and write what they command you to, but not that which you were given to understand about its meaning,’ intending to allude to the meaning of the vision that the Virgin herself had revealed to her.

Right after – says Sr. Lucia – ‘I felt my spirit flooded by a light-filled mystery which is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of the flame-like lance which detaches, touches the axis of the earth and it [the earth] shakes: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, rivers and clouds leave their bounds, they overflow, flood and drag with them into a whirlpool, houses and people in a number unable to be counted; it is the purification of the world from the sin it is immersed in. Hatred, ambition, cause destructive wars. Afterward I felt in the increased beating of my heart and in my spirit a quiet voice which said: ‘in time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. Heaven in eternity!’ This word, ‘Heaven,’ filled my heart with peace and happiness, so much so that, almost without realizing it, I continued to repeat for some time: Heaven, Heaven!’

That is how she was given the strength to write the Third Secret. 


The key event described in this vision is the eschatological earthquake mentioned in various places throughout the Bible, which is paired here with the occurrence of a devastating tsunami. This vision confirmed a theory that I had proposed in the first edition of my book, published in 2011 - that a purported "hidden text" related to the Third Secret of Fatima was directly concerned with the words of St. John Paul II at Fulda, Germany, in 1980:

"On the other hand, it should be sufficient for all Christians to know this: if there is a message in which it is written that the oceans will flood whole areas of the earth, and that from one moment to the next millions of people will perish, truly the publication of such a message is no longer something to be so much desired."
(As reported in the journal Stimme des Glaubens, on October 1981)

In the first edition of my book, I also forwarded the hypothesis that the occurrence of the eschatological earthquake could set in motion a chain of geophysical events that will eventually lead to the eruption of the volcano Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands (the "great mountain, burning with fire" described in Rev 8:8); producing a mega-tsunami that will devastate the East Coast of the Americas. As I attempt to demonstrate in the second edition of my book, the exact location of this "burning mountain" is described in the Book of Enoch, which is known to have influenced several of the writers of the New Testament. When we study the relevant portion of the Book of Enoch in light of its roots in Greek mythology, we can determine that it does indeed refer to a volcano based in the Canary Islands. The section of the Book of Zechariah which was associated with the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man by the Early Church Fathers is also closely linked with the occurrence of the eschatological earthquake. A reference to this event can be found at the very start of Zech 12, and it is expanded upon in more detail later in chapter 14.

The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. (Zech 12:1-2)

After the scene depicting the inhabitants of Jerusalem looking on the "one whom they have pierced", the Prophet Zechariah then describes the opening of a fountain for the cleansing of the sins of Israel - the future conversion of the Jews. 

On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. (Zech 13:1)

Zechariah then moves on to his vision of the shepherd being struck - a Scriptural passage which has often been associated with the martyrdom of the pope described in the Third Secret of Fatima:

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me," declares the Lord of hosts. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. (Zech 13:7-8)

Then in the following chapter, the Prophet Zechariah provides further detail on the occurrence of the eschatological earthquake and the opening of the fountain to cleanse the sins of Israel (which pours forth from the pierced side of Jesus):

Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. (Zech 14:3-9)

It is tempting to connect the above passage to the Second Coming itself, given the mention of God's feet touching the Mount of Olives - the place where Jesus ascended into Heaven. However, given the fact that we are told that this event has further consequences within history itself, we are forced to conclude that this verse should not be interpreted literally, and may be considered as one and the same as the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man mentioned earlier in Zech 12. The Church teaches that the Second Coming of Christ will only occur at the very end of human history, coinciding with the General Resurrection of the dead; while the event described in the Book of Zechariah is clearly concerned with the future conversion of the Jews. The light foretold to appear in the eventide therefore must be one and the same as the great cross of light spoke of by the Church Fathers and numerous mystics, including Sr. Lucia's 1929 Tuy apparition. So the vision of the earthquake and tsunami that Sr. Lucia saw while she was instructed to write down the contents of the Third Secret in 1944 was a prophetic extension of the vision of 1929, informing us that these apparitions, together with the Third Secret itself, form a visionary triptych based on chapters 12-14 of the Book of Zechariah. A section of the Bible which revolves around the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man and the Jews' recognition of Jesus as their promised Messiah.

Given the fact that the various apparitions received by Sr. Lucia occurred at key moments in Jewish history - the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and subsequent rise to power of Hitler in 1933, this strongly suggests that the Jewish Holocaust was a central feature of the message of Fatima, and will play a significant role in the future redemption of Israel. Indeed, in his book The Last Secret of Fatima, Cardinal Tarcisco Bertone relates how Sr. Lucia highlighted the importance of the Jewish Holocaust had in interpreting the Secret of Fatima itself:

Giuseppe De Carli:

What value can prophecy such as Fatima possibly have if it doesn't mention the Shoah, the extermination of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis? Why is the prophecy so lopsided? But now even the hypercritical are satisfied. A recently published booklet for the use of pilgrims to Fatima contains a sort of spiritual diary written by Sister Lucia at the request of the then general of the Carmelite Order, Anastasio Ballestrero, who went on to become cardinal archbishop of Turin. In this diary, Sister Lucia adds an interesting---sensational?---coda to the second part of the message, which predicts that World War I is about to end and warns that another war may break out during the ponificate of Pius XI.
"The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI." In what sense would it be worse? Sister Lucia asks. "In the sense that it would be an atheistic war that attempted to exterminate Judaism, which gave the world Jesus Christ, Our Lady, the Apostles, who transmitted the Word of God and the gift of faith, hope, and charity. The Jews are God's elect people, whom he chose from  the beginning: 'Salvation is from the Jews.'" This passage is surprising. Lucia wrote these words in 1955. The text was then sent to Rome by order of Paul VI, where it ended up forgotten in the Vatican Archives (where else?). I won't swear to this, but Sister Lucia's words do sound as if they could be a completion of the Secret as a whole...

Card. Bertone:

What you are saying is something of a surprise to me. They certainly do introduce a new aspect of our topic. They also give us a better insight into how interaction with the supernatural worked in Sister Lucia's life. The words referring to the extermination of the Jews are italicized and appear in quotation marks. This means that Sister Lucia considered them to have a prophetic meaning. So they may be part of the interpretation of the Secret, or perhaps they are a further development of it. In 1955, knowledge about the Shoah was still pretty shaky. It would have been even more confused in a place like Coimbra, where Lucia entered Carmel on March 25, 1948. The horrific discovery of what the Nazis had done, and the ensuing debate about the Holocaust that shook the world's conscience, happened only afterward...
(Card. Bertone, The Last Secret of Fatima, pp85-86)

We should note Sr. Lucia's quotation of Christ's words in John 4:22: "Salvation is from the Jews". This passage of Scripture has historically been associated with the future conversion of the Jews, which both St. Paul and St. Peter inform us must take place before the Second Coming of Christ.
As I have previously discussed at some length in the post Our Lady of Fatima and the Jewish Holocaust, the fact that the Blessed Virgin appeared to the shepherd children adorning a yellow star appears to have been in a symbolic act of solidarity with her fellow Jews. The presence of this star, accompanied by the fact that Our Lady always appeared to the shepherd children on the 13th of each month, strongly alludes to the Jewish feast of Purim and the biblical story of Esther (whose name means "star"). The feast of Purim celebrates the victory won on the 13th of the Jewish month of Adar, when Esther, the Jewish Queen of Persia, rescued her people from destruction at the hands of the evil Haman, who wanted to kill all the Jews living in the Achaemenid Empire. Purim is celebrated each year on the 14th of Adar, the day after Esther achieved victory over Haman by exposing his plot to her husband, the King of Persia. It is worth noting that Sr. Lucia died on the 13th of February, 2005 - the month in the Gregorian calendar which corresponds to that of Adar. Taken together, this strongly suggests that the intercession of the Blessed Mother was involved in the rescue of the Jewish people from total extermination by Nazi Germany and the creation of the modern State of Israel - which was proclaimed on 14th May, 1948 - the day after the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

The future conversion of the Jews during the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man over Jerusalem was only made possible through the gathering of the Jews to the land of Israel in the wake of the Holocaust. It is this appearance of a great cross of light over Jerusalem, paired with the ministry of the Elijah to come, that effects the conversion of the Jews. As St. Paul tells us in Rom 11, the conversion of the Jews will come in the immediate wake of the fullness of the Gentiles during the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Christ informs us that the end of the world will follow immediately after this:

And this gospel of the kingdom swill be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:14)

The Antichrist will then put to death the very person who effects the conversion of the Jews - the Elijah to come. Once the testimony of the Elijah to come is complete, "turning the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers", the Antichrist will then bring about the martyrdom of the Two Witnesses:

And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. (Rev 11:7-8).

The Apocalypse informs us that the eschatological earthquake which splits apart the city of Jerusalem in Zech 14, will occur during the resurrection of the Two Witnesses:

And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
(Rev 11:13)

The reason the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the Miracle of the Sun thus appears to be referencing the victory of the Prophet Elijah over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel by calling down fire from heaven, restoring Israel to the true worship of God. The calling down of fire from heaven is what was indicated by the movements of the Sun on October 13th, 1917, once again recalling the words of the Prophet Malachi:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. (Mal 4:5)

Although the shepherd children saw the hand of the angel with the flaming sword being stayed by Our Lady to allow for a period of penance and conversion, the 1944 Tuy vision shows that it will eventually be allowed to strike the earth, and bring about the eschatological earthquake and subsequent destruction of Babylon in the tsunami caused by the "great mountain, burning with fire" being thrown into the sea:

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.
(Rev 16:17-19)

Following the words of St. Paul in Rom 11:15 "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?", the Prophet Daniel informs us that the words of his book concerns the future destiny of the Jewish people, and that the moment of their deliverance will ultimately lead to the General Resurrection of the dead at the end of time:

At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Dan 12:1-2).

Immediately after the conversion of the Jews, which takes place once the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in, the Antichrist will then rise up from the abyss to bring about the final Passover of the Church foreseen in the Third Secret of Fatima. As the Church Doctor St. Robert Bellarmine affirms, the preaching of the Gospel to the ends of the world must take place before the Antichrist will finally be revealed to the world at the end of time:

Many false suspicions and errors exist in regard to... the time of the coming of Antichrist both among Catholics and heretics. Yet with this distinction, Catholics know that Antichrist is not coming until the end of the world (which is true), but some err in that they think the end of the world
is nearer than it really may be. On the other hand, the heretics err in the fact
that they think Antichrist is coming long before the end of the world and that he really already has come. (Antichrist (de Controversiis) Chap 3)

Yet, because our adversaries do not admit this reasoning (nor is it now the time to deduce from their own principles), we will prove it from the testimonies of the Fathers. Thus Hilary, explains these words of Matthew: “The Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world, and then the consummation will come.” Clearly he teaches that Antichrist, which he calls the abomination of desolation, is not going to come unless the preaching of the Gospel will precede him throughout the whole world. St. Cyril, Theodoret, and St. John Damascene teach the same thing with eloquent words, and besides, the same is gathered from the text because the Gospel says that before that greatest and last tribulation shall come, the Gospel must be preached such as it was not before nor will be afterward. The Fathers and above all, St. Augustine, teach that the persecution of Antichrist is meant by such a tribulation.."
(St. Robert Bellarmine, Antichrist (de Controversiis) Chap 4)

After a brief period of peace is given to the world to allow for a time of penance and conversion during the proclamation of the eternal Evangel to the ends of the earth, St. Paul warns us that sudden destruction will then soon follow, which will take the form of the final persecution of the Church by the Antichrist:

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 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. (1Thes 5:1-3)

This follows the sequence of events described by Christ:

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)
As the Catechism states, it is only through enduring this last persecution of the Church under the Antichrist that the Church will truly experience its ultimate triumph - a triumph which is rooted in the way of the Cross:

Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh (CCC 675)

The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.
(CCC 677)

The scene of the final persecution of the Catholic Church described in the Third Secret of Fatima shows that we are set to follow in the path of the Shoah of the Jewish people, once they have accepted Christ as their true Messiah. Just as the Jews only regained entrance to the Promised Land through their collective crucifixion, the Church can only fully emerge victorious over its enemies by undergoing its own Passover. The victory over the Beast of Revelation can only be achieved through the endurance and perseverance of the saints, once our robes have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb:

And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God. (The Third Secret of Fatima)

Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation. (Rev 13:7)

If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Rev 13:10)

These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 7:14)

As soon as the Bride has adorned itself with the pure white garments won through the blood of the martyrs, it will be ready to meet the Groom. It is then that the appearance of the Antichrist will be brought to nothing by the Parousia of Christ, in order to fully establish God's Kingdom on earth during the New Creation:

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. (2Thes 2:8)

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure...
(Rev 19:7-8)

It is this future reality that the Church must endure which Pope Francis alludes to today in his prayer to Our Lady of Fatima, whose words concerning the "column of light" refers to the shepherd children's mirror-like vision of the "immense light that is God" - a vision which is intimately connected to the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man:

In the joy of the Gospel, we will be the Church robed in white,
the whiteness washed in the blood of the Lamb,
blood that today too is shed in the wars tearing our world apart.
And so we will be, like you, an image of the column of light
that illumines the ways of the world,
making God known to all,
making known to all that God exists,
that God dwells in the midst of his people,
yesterday, today and for all eternity.