Friday, 10 February 2017

Pope Leo XIII and the Unbinding of Satan



St. Margaret Mary Alacoque adoring the Sacred Heart alongside Bl. Mary of the Divine Heart

With the upcoming celebration of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in May 2017, there is a greatly renewed interest amongst many Catholics in a famous prophetic vision purportedly granted to Pope Leo XIII, in which he came to understand that Satan would soon be granted a period of greater power. According to a number of accounts stemming from highly reputable sources in the Vatican, Pope Leo XIII received this vision near the cusp of the 20th century - a century which saw war and genocide being unleashed on an unprecedented scale, bringing about a general increase of lawlessness which eventually led to the decline of the Catholic Church. The duration of this period of Satan’s greater power was generally understood to last for 100 years, an extent of time which many came to associate with the 20th century itself. However, the crux of this prophecy lies in the fact that the period of Satan’s greater power is only finite in nature, and as soon as it elapses, we should expect the amount of evil in the world to return to normal pre-20th century levels.

As the 21st century progressed, it became evident that there was no tangible sign of the decline of Satan’s increased power at the end of the 20th century. Instead, immorality continued to rapidly slide in tandem with the decreased influence of the Church. In fact, rather than seeing a reduction of evil since the end of the 20th century, many exorcists have reported a massive spike in demonic activity in recent years, leading to calls for the training of more diocesan exorcists in order to meet with the level of demand for exorcisms.

In order to explain this apparent discrepancy, while still upholding the validity of the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, many Catholics subsequently connected this 100-year period with the celebration of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. So instead of beginning at the start of the 20th century itself, this period of Satan’s increased power is presumed to have been marked by the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, which directly coincided with the rise of Soviet Communism.

One of the major factors for this shift in the anchor point of this prophetic timeline lies in the fact that during an apparition of Christ to Sr. Lucia at Rianjo, Spain in 1931, Our Lord had compared the request to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the request given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque concerning the consecration of the France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – which similarly consisted of a time-frame involving a 100-year period.

Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My requests, they will follow him into misfortune. It is never too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.

We can find yet another reference to the request given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words:

They did not wish to heed My request! Like the King of France they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors in the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was originally given this request on 17th June, 1689, and exactly 100 years later, after a series of French kings had refused to acknowledge this request, the Third Estate rose up against the Monarchy on 17th June, 1789, stripping King Louis XVI of his legislative powers, setting into motion the terrible events of the French Revolution. So the requests of consecration to the two hearts of Jesus and Mary appear to be intimately connected with a period extending over a 100-year time-span. The connection made between the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque has led many to conclude that the expiration of this 100-year period may be met with some form of terrible chastisement if no attention is paid to these requests, just as what happened with the King of France.

While the threat of chastisement always remains a possibility, the true significance of the end of the period of Satan’s greater power lies in the hope for the restoration of the Church, which can only happen once the grip of the Devil’s increased influence over world affairs is finally broken. It is this hope that was alluded to by Pope Benedict XVI while on pilgrimage to Fatima on 13th May, 2010:

We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162).

At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.

The above words of Pope Benedict XVI have been used to further bolster the idea that the significance of the centenary of Fatima in 2017 is in some way related to the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the end of the period of Satan’s increased power. The theme of the horrors of the 20th century is certainly prevalent in this homily, and there appears to be a possible allusion to the prophecy of Satan’s greater power when the Holy Father states that at this moment in history humanity had succeeded in “unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end…”

Throughout the course of this article, we will attempt to further draw out the thought of Pope Benedict XVI on the significance of the centenary of Fatima in 2017 in relation to the possible fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In addition, we shall also determine if this can shed any further light on the central hypothesis I forward in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church – namely that the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII should be directly identified with the unbinding of Satan foretold to take place at the end of the Millennium in the Apocalypse:

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Rev 20:1-3)

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. (Rev 20:7-8)

In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I show how there are a remarkable number of widely varying considerations which all indicate that Pope Leo XIII’s vision of the period of Satan’s greater power is one and the same as the unbinding of Satan mentioned in the Apocalypse. According to the amillennialist eschatology of the Church Doctor, St. Augustine of Hippo, the binding of Satan took place during Christ’s death, His descent into Hades and His Glorious Resurrection from the dead. As the Catechism points out, Christ Himself had described this unique event as the “Sign of Jonah” – a phrase which is used in the immediate context of Christ’s discourse on the binding of Satan in the Gospels:

It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood. Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life, announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of Jonah," the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day… (CCC 994)

The amillennialist interpretation of the Apocalypse provided the working basis for the historical development of several key doctrines of Catholic eschatology, such as the doctrine of purgatory and the dogma of the immediate resurrection of the soul after death during the particular judgment. In addition, it has also influenced the development of the Creed, the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh at the Last Day and the Church’s teaching on the nature of the Kingdom of God.

According to St. Augustine, there were only two possible legitimate amillennialist interpretations of the Millennium:

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man — meaning by the strong man the devil, because he had power to take captive the human race; and meaning by his goods which he was to take, those who had been held by the devil in various sins and iniquities, but were to become believers in Himself. It was then for the binding of this strong one that the apostle saw in the Apocalypse an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he laid hold, he says, on the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,— that is, bridled and restrained his power so that he could not seduce and gain possession of those who were to be freed.

Now the thousand years may be understood in two ways, so far as occurs to me: either because these things happen in the sixth thousand of years or sixth millennium (the latter part of which is now passing), as if during the sixth day, which is to be followed by a Sabbath which has no evening, the endless rest of the saints, so that, speaking of a part under the name of the whole, he calls the last part of the millennium— the part, that is, which had yet to expire before the end of the world— a thousand years; or he used the thousand years as an equivalent for the whole duration of this world, employing the number of perfection to mark the fullness of time
. (City of God XX:7)

While his first suggestion concerning the duration of the Millennium remains mostly forgotten, it actually has a considerable degree of merit in relation to the exact timing of the prophetic vision of Pope Leo XIII. Here, St. Augustine opines that the end of the “thousand years” mentioned in Rev 20 may be equated with the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers. This view was subsequently largely overlooked, since many of the Church Fathers held that the Sabbath Millennium would come to an end circa AD500, at the end of a six thousand year period after the biblical date of creation determined by the chronology of the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament (the LXX). As the original various dates calculated for the end of the Sabbath Millennium circa AD500 came and went without any possible applications for this first interpretation, St. Augustine’s second proposal (that the thousand years symbolises an indefinite period extending from the time of Christ to the unbinding of Satan towards the end of the world), became the most widely accepted version of the amillennialist approach.

However, writing in the 8th century, the Church Doctor St. Bede the Venerable noted that the reckoning of the biblical chronology yields a vastly different result when using the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible, differing by a period of around 1,500 years from the date of creation (Anno Mundi). St. Bede proposed that this version of biblical chronology, which he used to revise the date of creation to circa 3952BC, was the most accurate, since it was derived from the “Hebrew truth” of the original Jewish Bible, rather than its Greek counterpart. St. Bede’s method for determining the chronology of the Hebrew Bible was further refined by the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher, who working from the various genealogies given in the Bible, established the date of creation to 4004BC.

If we view the primary value of this date to be prophetic in nature (rather than providing us with a literal date for creation), this revised version of the biblical chronology has enormous implications for St. Augustine’s first suggestion concerning the meaning of the end of the “thousand years” in Rev 20 and how this ties into the patristic idea of a Sabbath Millennium. It puts the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the “thousand years” directly within the scope of Pope Leo XIII’s vision of the Devil being granted a time of greater power in order to test the Church.

Given the fact that St. Bede the Venerable was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII at the turn of the 20th century on Nov 13th, 1899, it invites us to ponder whether this action was linked in any way to this saint’s influence on the revision of the Anno Mundi calendar. The prophetic implications of Bede’s chronology cannot be overstated. Not only did it recalibrate the timing of the conclusion of the Sabbath Millennium to the modern era, but once combined with St. Augustine’s thesis presented above, it could also be used to indicate that the period of the unbinding of Satan would begin to unfold in the present age. Is it possible that Pope Leo XIII was aware of these implications? If we can find any evidence that the Holy Father had interpreted his famous vision within the context of the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the thousand years in Rev 20, we could conclude that his raising of St. Bede to the status of Church Doctor on the very eve of the 20th century was a deliberate action intended to reflect his influence on determining the prophetic significance of the Sabbath Millennium.

Thanks to the research of academics such as Kevin Symonds (the author of the excellent book Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael), we now be fully confident that the Holy Father did in fact experience this event, and that it was also accompanied by a vision which directly parallels the scene of the encirclement of the camp of the saints described in Rev 20. Symonds notes that in his Pastoral Letters for Lent, published in 1946, Cardinal Giovanni Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano related how the origins of the Prayer to St. Michael were explained to him by the private secretary of Pope Leo XIII, Msgr. Rinaldo Angeli:

It wasn’t for naught that the most wise Pontiff, Pope Leo XIII, whose superior intelligence and certainly not narrow-minded or small spirit, himself wrote that beautiful and powerful prayer, and then ordered its recitation by all priests after the celebration of the Holy Mass…

And that part of the prayer – “who prowl about the world” – has an historical explanation, which has been shared numerous times by the Holy Father’s most faithful Secretary, who was very close to him throughout most of his pontificate, Msgr. Rinaldo Angeli. Pope Leo XIII truly had a vision of demonic spirits, who were gathering on the Eternal City (Rome). From that experience – which he shared with the Prelate and certainly with others in confidentiality – comes the prayer which he wanted the whole Church to recite. This was the prayer which he recited (we heard this many times in the Vatican Basilica) with a strong, powerful voice, which resonated in an unforgettable way in the universal silence beneath the vaults of the most important temple of Christianity. Not only that, but he wrote a special exorcism, which is found in the Rituale Romanum (c.3, Tit.XI) with the title “Exorcismus in Satanam et angelos apostaticos”. The Pontiff recommended to the Bishops and Priests that these exorcisms be recited often in their Dioceses and in their parishes, by the priests who had received the proper faculties from their Ordinaries. However, to set a good example, he recited it himself frequently throughout the day. In fact, another Prelate familiar with the Pontiff used to tell us that even on his walks through the Vatican Gardens, he would take out a small book – worn with much use – from his pocket and repeated his exorcism with fervent piety and deep devotion.

(Cardinal Nasalli, cited in Symonds, K. Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael pp25-26)

This vision of demonic spirits converging upon the city of Rome is clearly intended to symbolise the encirclement of the camp of the saints by the forces of Satan at the end of the Millennium described in the Apocalypse:

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city... (Rev 20:7-9)

As St. Augustine elaborates, the camp of the saints represents the Church itself, which is beset by the forces of Satan during the period of his unbinding:

The words, And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city, do not mean that they have come, or shall come, to one place, as if the camp of the saints and the beloved city should be in some one place; for this camp is nothing else than the Church of Christ extending over the whole world. And consequently wherever the Church shall be—and it shall be in all nations, as is signified by the breadth of the earth,— there also shall be the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and there it shall be encompassed by the savage persecution of all its enemies... (City of God, XX:11)

Given how closely Pope Leo’s vision parallels this portion of the Apocalypse, it is entirely feasible that the Holy Father had also made this connection in light of his mystical experience, and related it to the encirclement of the camp of the saints at the end of the Millennium. The historical circumstances that the Church was facing at the time the Prayer to St. Michael was composed was indeed strongly evocative of the encirclement of the camp of the saints at the end of the thousand years. Ever since the Italian Army had reached the Aurelian Walls on 19th Sept 1870 (the feast of Our Lady of La Salette), placing the city of Rome under a state of siege, the forces of Satan (inspired by the principles of Freemasonry) had quite literally encircled the camp of the saints. So again, it is not entirely unreasonable that Pope Leo XIII would have interpreted the contemporary problems facing the Church in line with the scene described at the end of the thousand years in Rev 20.

Some of the primary figures involved in the Italian nationalist movement, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, were prominent Freemasons, and within the Vatican hierarchy itself, it was widely believed that the annexation of the Papal States was part of a wider Masonic plot to destroy the Catholic Church. Pope Leo himself had vigorously condemned Freemasonry in his 1884 encyclical Humanum Genus, wherein he specifically compared the binary opposite entities of the Church and Freemasonry as the two cities described by St. Augustine - the City of God and the city of the Devil:

The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, "through the envy of the devil," separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God.
This twofold kingdom St. Augustine keenly discerned and described after the manner of two cities, contrary in their laws because striving for contrary objects; and with a subtle brevity he expressed the efficient cause of each in these words: "Two loves formed two cities: the love of self, reaching even to contempt of God, an earthly city; and the love of God, reaching to contempt of self, a heavenly one."(1) At every period of time each has been in conflict with the other, with a variety and multiplicity of weapons and of warfare, although not always with equal ardour and assault. At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour
. (Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus)

According to St. Augustine himself, the two cities would only come into such open confrontation at the end of the thousand years, during the unbinding of Satan, when “Gog and Magog” set out to assemble the nations of the earth for war:

And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed from his prison, and shall go out to seduce the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, and shall draw them to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. This then, is his purpose in seducing them, to draw them to this battle. For even before this he was wont to use as many and various seductions as he could continue. And the words he shall go out mean, he shall burst forth from lurking hatred into open persecution. For this persecution, occurring while the final judgment is imminent, shall be the last which shall be endured by the holy Church throughout the world, the whole city of Christ being assailed by the whole city of the devil, as each exists on earth. (City of God XX:11)

In my book, I attempt to show how the appearance of “Gog and Magog” at the end of the thousand years should be identified with the figures of the False Prophet and Antichrist, rather than being four separate eschatological antagonists who bookend the Millennium (as is proposed in the millennialist interpretations of the Apocalypse).

Given that Pope Leo XIII appears to have interpreted contemporary events in light of St. Augustine’s meditations on the final confrontation between the two opposing cities at the end of the Millennium, it would follow that he would have personally understood his prophetic vision to be related to the period of the unbinding of Satan described in the Apocalypse.

We can find further evidence that the Holy Father made such a connection in the later 1890 “Exorcismus” prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII, which demonstrates that he had perceived that Satan had now “risen up terribly” during this particular moment in history. A phrase which is certainly highly suggestive of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the thousand years:

Behold the ancient enemy and murderer has risen up terribly! Transformed as an angel of light he goes about at large with a whole troop of wicked spirits and attacks the earth, there to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, and to steal souls destined for a crown of eternal glory, that he might afflict and destroy them in everlasting death.
(Pope Leo XIII “Exorcism against Satan and the Apostate Angels”, cited in Symonds, K Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael, p63)

This particular portion of the exorcism prayer was obviously directly influenced by the vision recounted to Cardinal Nasalli by Msgr. Angelli. Only now we are presented with the additional insight that Satan had “risen up terribly” against the Church. Given the fact that Pope Leo had most likely understood his prophetic vision as being explicitly related to the short time granted to Satan described in the Apocalypse, it is quite possible that his elevation of St. Bede to the status of Church Doctor on the very eve of the 20th century was an intentional act, aimed to highlight the prophetic importance of the patristic idea of the Sabbath Millennium. This would be doubly significant if he was aware of how St. Augustine had originally proposed that the unbinding of Satan would take place towards the end of the Sabbath Millennium, and how the significance of St. Bede’s recalibration of the Anno Mundi calendar reapplied the interpretation of this prophecy to the modern age.

It is surely beyond coincidence then that Pope Leo XIII chose to issue his encyclical Annum Sacrum announcing the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 25th May, 1899 – the feast day of St. Bede the Venerable. Given the fact that the Holy Father was preparing to proclaim St. Bede a Doctor of the Church just a few months later, it would seem that his choice of this saint’s feast day to announce the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was quite deliberate. If not, it was a striking coincidence that still augurs a level of prophetic significance. However, once we take into consideration that one of St. Bede’s most lasting contributions to Western culture was in the area of biblical chronology (indeed it was due to his influence that we use the Anno Domini calendar today), it is quite likely that this was an intentional act, since it accords with the central theme of his encyclical Annum Sacrum (which means “Holy Year”), pertaining to the significance of the turn of the century.

Pope Leo had called the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus “the greatest act of my pontificate”, and it appears that he viewed this solemn action as a way of providing a counterbalance to the grave perils that awaited the Church in the following century. As we have already seen, the 100-year period alluded to by Sr. Lucia was itself rooted in a request for a consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, when Christ had appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. If Pope Leo had understood his vision to be related to a similar 100-year period, it is quite likely that his choice of the feast day of St. Bede for announcing the consecration of the world to the Sacred of Heart was yet another deliberate act, intended to nod towards St. Augustine’s teaching on the Sabbath Millennium.

Pope Leo XIII had performed the consecration of the world to the Sacred of Jesus in direct response to his correspondence with Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, who had received several apparitions of Our Lord while staying at the Covenant of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Porto, Portugal. During these apparitions, Christ had instructed Blessed Mary to send a letter to Pope Leo XIII to request the consecration of the entire world to His Sacred Heart, which was sent by her confessor on 10th June, 1898. Pope Leo was sceptical at first, and initially refused to pay heed to this request, apparently due to the theological difficulty presented by consecrating non-Christians. Undeterred, Blessed Mary sent the Holy Father a second letter, this time mentioning a serious illness the pope was suffering, and assured him that he would live to perform the consecration. The fact that Leo XIII was subsequently healed from his illness had a profound impact upon the pontiff, who made sure to include mention of it in his encyclical:

"There is one further reason that urges us to realize our design; We do not want it to pass by unnoticed. It is personal in nature but just as important: God the author of all Good has saved us by healing us recently from a dangerous disease."
(Pope Leo XIII, Annum Sacrum, 25th May, 1899)

Pope Leo established a theological commission into the apparitions of Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, and quickly set about preparing to meet Our Lord’s demands concerning the consecration. Blessed Mary died on the vigil of the Feast of the Sacred Heart on June 8th, 1899, at the age of 35, just three days before Pope Leo eventually carried out the consecration on June 11th.

We are left to ponder why the unbinding of Satan would occur at the beginning of the 20th century, rather than at the end of the Sabbath Millennium itself (circa 2000 according to Ussher’s chronology, or 2047 using St. Bede’s methodology)? According to St. Augustine, the period of the unbinding of Satan would occur at the very end of the “thousand years” during which Christ reigns with the saints, and should be included within this timeframe itself, rather than occurring immediately after it. St. Augustine pointed out that if the unbinding of Satan took place after the “thousand years” were over, this would suggest that Christ’s reign was finite in nature, and would effectively cease at the close of the Millennium during the appearance of “Gog and Magog”. We should take note here however that St. Augustine himself believed that the short time of Satan would only last for the duration of the reign of the Antichrist, for the vastly reduced period of three and a half years. He most likely would have baulked at the suggestion that the short time of Satan would in reality be substantially longer than three and half years, since he knew full well the dangers that would be presented to the Faith during this time.

Though this time is brief, yet not without reason is it questioned whether it is comprehended in the thousand years in which the devil is bound and the saints reign with Christ, or whether this little season should be added over and above to these years. For if we say that they are included in the thousand years, then the saints reign with Christ during a more protracted period than the devil is bound. For they shall reign with their King and Conqueror mightily even in that crowning persecution when the devil shall now be unbound and shall rage against them with all his might…

But assuredly the victorious souls of the glorious martyrs having overcome and finished all griefs and toils, and having laid down their mortal members, have reigned and do reign with Christ till the thousand years are finished, that they may afterwards reign with Him when they have received their immortal bodies. And therefore during these three years and a half the souls of those who were slain for His testimony, both those which formerly passed from the body and those which shall pass in that last persecution, shall reign with Him till the mortal world come to an end, and pass into that kingdom in which there shall be no death. And thus the reign of the saints with Christ shall last longer than the bonds and imprisonment of the devil, because they shall reign with their King the Son of God for these three years and a half during which the devil is no longer bound. It remains, therefore, that when we read that the priests of God and of Christ shall reign with Him a thousand years; and when the thousand years are finished, the devil shall be loosed from his imprisonment, that we understand either that the thousand years of the reign of the saints does not terminate, though the imprisonment of the devil does—so that both parties have their thousand years, that is, their complete time, yet each with a different actual duration approriate to itself, the kingdom of the saints being longer, the imprisonment of the devil shorter.
(City of God XX:13)


St. Augustine’s reckoning of the duration of the short time of Satan failed to take into account Christ’s words in the Olivet Discourse that before the appearance of the Antichrist there would be a succession of “wars and rumours of wars” leading to a departure from the Faith, after which the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth would take place. It is only after the Gospel has been preached to the all nations during the renovation of the Church by the Two Witnesses that the Antichrist appears.

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
(Matt 24:3-16)

Once we take into consideration that the period of the unbinding of Satan would encompass all of the events described in the Olivet Discourse, rather than being confined to the reign of the Antichrist, a much longer period of time is required. This would thus explain why the unbinding of Satan would have taken place around 100 years before the proposed date for the Sabbath Millennium had transpired, rather than occurring after the “thousand years” had elapsed – since the period of Satan’s unbinding takes place within the Millennium itself – at its very climax.

In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I attempt to show how the unbinding of Satan at the end of the Millennium recapitulates the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals at the beginning of the Book of Revelation, when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are sent out to gather the nations of the world for war. This means that it is all of the events described in the Apocalypse and Olivet Discourse that should be incorporated into the span of the short time of Satan, rather than just the time of the Antichrist.

With this combined evidence, it thus appears quite likely that Pope Leo had interpreted his prophetic vision in light of the unbinding of Satan described in the Apocalypse. But what exactly occurs at the end of the short time of Satan? And should it be linked with the celebration of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima later this year? There definitely appears to be some sort of sensus fidelium that has developed concerning the significance of this centenary year. Many Catholics are fearful that this year will bring some form of chastisement. While this is always possible, the words of Christ in the Olivet Discourse gives us the best sense of how this period will end.

Even though Jesus had warned the disciples that the love of many would grow cold due to the increase of lawlessness during this period, He also offered a sense of hope, in that the one who endured to the end would be saved, when the Gospel would be proclaimed to all nations before the end of the world. St. Augustine himself thought that the end of the period of the unbinding of Satan would see his powers to inhibit the spread of the Gospel once again restrained.

For in accordance with this true saying that order is observed— the strong one first bound, and then his goods spoiled; for the Church is so increased by the weak and strong from all nations far and near, that by its most robust faith in things divinely predicted and accomplished, it shall be able to spoil the goods of even the unbound devil. For as we must own that, when iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold, Matthew 24:12 and that those who have not been written in the book of life shall in large numbers yield to the severe and unprecedented persecutions and stratagems of the devil now loosed, so we cannot but think that not only those whom that time shall find sound in the faith, but also some who till then shall be without, shall become firm in the faith they have hitherto rejected and mighty to conquer the devil even though unbound, God's grace aiding them to understand the Scriptures, in which, among other things, there is foretold that very end which they themselves see to be arriving. 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? (City of God XX:8)

For St. Augustine, the whole purpose of the binding of Satan by Christ during His Sacrifice on the Cross was in order to allow the spread of the Gospel:

The devil, then, is bound and shut up in the abyss that he may not seduce the nations from which the Church is gathered, and which he formerly seduced before the Church existed. For it is not said that he should not seduce any man, but that he should not seduce the nations— meaning, no doubt, those among which the Church exists— till the thousand years should be fulfilled,— i.e., either what remains of the sixth day which consists of a thousand years, or all the years which are to elapse till the end of the world…
Now the devil was thus bound not only when the Church began to be more and more widely extended among the nations beyond Judea, but is now and shall be bound till the end of the world, when he is to be loosed. Because even now men are, and doubtless to the end of the world shall be, converted to the faith from the unbelief in which he held them.
(City of God XX:7-8)

The fact that Satan appears to have now retrieved his ability to blind the minds of unbelievers to the truth of the Gospel, bringing about the decline of the influence of the Church, is perhaps the best witness to the possibility that we are currently enduring the period of Satan’s unbinding at the end of the world. When Pope Benedict XVI further clarified his now famous prayer concerning the year 2017 in an interview with Peter Seewald, he further emphasized that his hope was that forces of evil would once again be restrained at this time:

I said that the “triumph” will draw closer. This is equivalent in meaning to our praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom. This statement was not intended—I may be too rationalistic for that—to express any expectation on my part that there is going to be a huge turnaround and that history will suddenly take a totally different course. The point was rather that the power of evil is restrained again and again, that again and again the power of God himself is shown in the Mother’s power and keeps it alive.
The Church is always called upon to do what God asked of Abraham, which is to see to it that there are enough righteous men to repress evil and destruction. I understood my words as a prayer that the energies of the good might regain their vigor. So you could say the triumphs of God, the triumphs of Mary, are quiet, but they are real nonetheless. (Light of the World, pp165-166).

So while we may reasonably expect that the power of Satan will once again be restrained after the period of his unbinding, there will always remain a significant level of evil in the world, just as evil continued to exist after the Devil was defeated by Christ’s Sacrifice on Calvary. As Pope Benedict XVI pointed out during his pilgrimage to Fatima in 2010: "The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world." Here, the Holy Father attempted to pre-empt against any millenarian misinterpretation of his words concerning the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by alluding to Christ's parable of the wheat and tares, which the Lord stated must exist side-by-side until the Last Judgement at the end of the world (Matt 13):

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (Matt 13:25-30)

The binding of Satan takes place to allow the spread of the Gospel, rather than to allow for the creation of a millenarian-style earthly utopia, as is advanced by certain fringe groups within Catholicism, spearheaded by Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi. As the Catechism states, the pilgrim Church on earth must suffer the travails of the present age until the end of the world:

"Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God." (CCC 671)

While we can certainly hope that the Gospel will once again be effectively proclaimed to all nations to allow the restoration of the Church, the end of the world will immediately follow on from this event after the appearance of the Antichrist, as was affirmed by Christ in the Olivet Discourse. To distort the promises of Our Lady of Fatima into a future millenary “era of peace” is to venture into the heresy of millenarianism.

The Apocalypse tells us that towards the end of his period of power, the Devil is then thrown down to earth with a third of the angelic host, after being defeated in heaven by the Archangel Michael. Scripture informs us that this event is accompanied by the appearance of the Signs in Heaven. As I explain at some detail in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, all of these signs occurred at the turn of the millennium in order to mark the moment Satan is cast down to earth with his army of fallen angels. This event explains the incredible rise in demonic activity in recent years noted by several prominent Catholic exorcists. It also helps us to understand that the flood issued forth from the mouth of the Dragon in an attempt to sweep the Woman away is actually false prophecy issued through false demonic apparitions and manifestations described by St. Paul:

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions. (2Cor 13:14)

The fact that the idea of a millenary “era of peace” on earth during a period of blissful harmony is a staple of these false apparitions leads us to conclude this flood poured forth from the Dragon is related to this false prophecy; and it is intended to prevent the Catholic faithful from fully understanding the truth contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition. Instead, the Devil wants to present the faithful with the temptation of a millenarian utopia – an idea which the Catechism rejects as the deception of the Antichrist:

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. The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (CCC 675-676)

But this flood will now soon be swallowed up by the earth, when the Woman Adorned with the Sun will finally be given the two wings of a great eagle (representing the Two Witnesses), to flee to a place in the wilderness:

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle to fly from the presence of the serpent to her place in the wilderness, where she was nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. Then from the mouth of the serpent spewed water like a river to overtake the woman and sweep her away in the torrent. But the earth helped the woman and opened its mouth to swallow up the river that had poured from the dragon’s mouth. And the dragon was enraged at the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Rev 12:13-17)

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Fr. Giulio Mancinelli on the Conversion of England


1677 painting of Giulio Mancinelli published in Vita magni servi Dei P. Julii Mancinelli


In the last post, Christ Declared the King of Poland, we had noted how the crowning of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa as Queen of Poland by King John II Casimir in 1656 was made in direct response to private revelations received by Servant of God Giulio Mancinelli, a much respected Jesuit missionary who flourished between 1537-1618. Given the fact that the private revelations of Giulio Mancinelli were so integral to the crowning of the Black Madonna (an event which would later tie in with the subsequent role Poland played in attaining victory during the Battle of Vienna), it should be worth taking in consideration some of the other lesser known private revelations recorded by this mystical priest. Especially in light of the recent proclamation of Christ as the King of Poland by both the state and Church authorities between 19th-20th Nov, 2016 - which parallels the request to crown Our Lady as Queen of Poland, which was initially given to Fr. Mancinelli by the Blessed Virgin herself.

While on a mission to England in 1608, Fr. Mancinelli reported that he had been visited by angels, who revealed to him the future destiny of this country in a series of visions:

"He beheld regions laid waste by all kinds of tempests, and so desolated by thunder, lightning, rain, hail, hurricanes and dreadful earthquakes that their wretched inhabitants knew not whither to flee for safety; even the caverns of the earth afforded no refuge. Being thus beyond all human help, the Father saw them at length with one accord prostrate and crying to God for mercy; he next heard this voice from Heaven: "It is not so much your sins as the enormities of your kings and rulers that has brought you to this condition, and subjected you to such severe punishments. But now know ye that I will deal with you in mercy, and raise your Church to a dignity that it has never heretofore attained. You shall win over the Turks and heretics under my protection, and with manifest prodigies from heaven such triumphs and victories that will astonish the rest of Europe. Lastly, the central sanctuary of the world, which I first established in Jerusalem, and which at present hallows the city of Rome, shall be placed in your midst, so that all surrounding nations shall congratulate you on your happiness. These special blessings shall be bestowed upon you for the sake of the eminent merits of the saints of this kingdom, and the hardships and the sufferings they have undergone for My sake."
(Jesuit Annual Letter of 1605. "Copie of a revelation made to Father Julius Mancinelli, S.J., concerning the success of the Kingdome of England")

This vision of the conversion of England ties in quite well with the original secret of La Salette given to Maximin Giraud, which similarly foretells that it is this event that eventually leads to the re-evangelisation of the world:

France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted.

Fr. Mancinelli's prophecy of the conversion of England after it has been struck by a series of calamities also shares many affinities with a famous prophecy made by St. Malachy:

Ireland will suffer English oppression for a week of centuries, but will preserve her fidelity to God and His Church. At the end of that time she will be delivered, and the English in turn must suffer severe chastisement. Ireland, however, will be instrumental in bringing back the English to the unity of Faith.

Although much doubt surrounds the authenticity of the other more well known list of popes attributed to St. Malachy, no such misgivings exist concerning this particular prophecy, which was uncovered in Clairvaux Abbey in the late 17th century, when the Benedictine scholar Dom Jean Mabillon was conducting research into the writings of St. Bernard. As a personal friend of St. Bernard, St. Malachy had spent some time at Clairvaux Abbey during his first pilgrimage to Rome, and had died there while making a second journey to the Eternal City in 1148.

When we compare Fr. Mancinelli's vision with the prophecy of St. Malachy, we can be almost certain that the chastisement which he saw afflicting England should be equated with its involvement in the wars of the 20th century, since we are told that its punishment was set to take place after Ireland was delivered from English oppression. The seven centuries of the English oppression of Ireland mentioned by St. Malachy extended from the Norman conquest in the late 12th century to the creation of the Irish Republic following the War of Independence in 1921.

During his famous "Second Spring" Sermon, Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman, also commented on the prophetic role of England, which has been historically regarded as the "Dowry of Mary":

And others, also, his equals or his juniors in history, whose pictures are above our altars, or soon shall be, the surest proof that the Lord's arm has not waxen short, nor His mercy failed,—they, too, are looking down from their thrones on high upon the throng. And so that high company moves on into the holy place; and there, with august rite and awful sacrifice, inaugurates the great act which brings it thither." What is that act? it is the first synod of a new Hierarchy; it is the resurrection of the Church.
O my Fathers, my Brothers, had that revered Bishop so spoken then, who that had heard him but would have said that he spoke what could not be? What! those few scattered worshippers, the Roman Catholics, to form a Church! Shall the past be rolled back? Shall the grave open? Shall the Saxons live again to God? Shall the shepherds, watching their poor flocks by night, be visited by a multitude of the heavenly army, and hear how their Lord has been new-born in their own city? Yes; for grace can, where nature cannot. The world grows old, but the Church is ever young. She can, in any time, at her Lord's will, "inherit the Gentiles, and inhabit the desolate cities."
"Arise, Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and a mist the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see; all these are gathered together, they come to thee; thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side." "Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For the winter is now past, and the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land… the fig-tree hath put forth her green figs; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come." It is the time for thy Visitation. Arise, Mary, and go forth in thy strength into that north country, which once was thine own, and take possession of a land which knows thee not. Arise, Mother of God, and with thy thrilling voice, speak to those who labour with child, and are in pain, till the babe of grace leaps within them! Shine on us, dear Lady, with thy bright countenance, like the sun in his strength, O stella matutina, O harbinger of peace, till our year is one perpetual May. From thy sweet eyes, from thy pure smile, from thy majestic brow, let ten thousand influences rain down, not to confound or overwhelm, but to persuade, to win over thine enemies. O Mary, my hope, O Mother undefiled, fulfil to us the promise of this Spring. A second temple rises on the ruins of the old.
(Cardinal John Henry Newman, The Second Spring, preached July 13th, 1852, in St. Mary's, Oscott, in the first Provincial Synod of Westminster. See here for the full text)

So the conversion of England is definitely a major theme in Catholic prophecy. An interesting original feature of Fr. Mancenelli's vision is that it appears to make the rather bold claim that the papacy will one day be relocated to England itself, which at first, seems rather incredulous. However, once we take into account the various prophecies which foretell that the pope will one day be forced to flee Rome, and indeed the visions of Blessed Elena Aiello, who saw Russian flagstaffs flying above the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, it is quite within the realms of possibility that the Church hierarchy would attempt to find sanctuary in another country if Italy was invaded by a power that will eventually be openly hostile to Catholicism (most likely under the auspices of the Antichrist himself). And if England is by this stage once again restored to the Catholic Faith, then the relative safety that the island of Britain provides against foreign invasion due to its geographical location may just clinch it as one of the most attractive places in Europe to provide refuge for the papacy.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Christ Declared the King of Poland


Christ the Pantocrator, a mosaic found in the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey


In order to mark the end of the Year of Mercy on 20th Nov, 2016, during the Solemnity of Christ the King, a rather remarkable event took place in Poland on 19th Nov, when the Polish government, together with the Church hierarchy officially recognized Christ as the King of Poland (see here for more details). The Jubilee act of the reception of Christ as King and Lord was then repeated the following day throughout every parish in Poland on Nov 20th. This initiative, which was undertaken by the Polish bishops conference, seems to have been intended as a largely prophetic gesture linked to the Divine Mercy devotion, and the initial impetus for this symbolic action can be firmly attributed to certain private revelations given to Servant of God Rosalia Zelkova in the early 20th century.

Rosalia Zelkova was apparently shown a vision wherein Christ had demanded that He should be enthroned as King by the Polish nation in order to spare the country from an impending war. A detailed account of Rosalia's life and visions can be found here, but for the sake of brevity, it should suffice to quote just a select few of the private revelations quoted on this website dedicated to the Servant of God below:

'If Poland wants to save herself, she must proclaim Jesus as her King through the Act of Enthronement. It must be carried out by the whole nation, and in particular by the state and church authorities, who should conduct the ceremony on behalf of the nation.'

In March 1938 Rozalia was instructed by the internal voice: 'A sacrifice must be made for Poland, for the sinful world (...), for the horrendous sins committed by the Polish Nation. God intends to punish them and it is only my Heart where Poland can find salvation.'

Despite numerous efforts, the enthronement was not celebrated in Poland. A few months before the outbreak of the Second World War, Rozalia had another vision revealing the tragedy which Poland would experience and at the same time a promise that if Poland's government celebrated the enthronement, the war would be prevented. 'By the end of February 1939, Rozalia wrote, Our Lord revealed to my soul the following image in time, when I was offering to Him our Country and all the nations of the world. I saw in my soul the Polish-German border all in flames from Silesia to Pomerania. The vision was really terrifying and it seemed to me the fire would burn down the world. After a time, the fire spread over Germany and nothing was left of the present Third Reich. Then I heard a voice in my soul and felt certain that what I heard would truly happen:

"My child, the war shall be horrible and it shall bring about destruction (…). Poland's sins and crime are numerous and grave. God's Justice wishes to punish this nation for the sins of unchastity, homicide and hatred. However, Poland can be saved if I am proclaimed as her King and Lord by means of the enthronement, not only in some of the regions but in the whole country and, most importantly, by the government. The proclamation must be affirmed with rejection of sin and return to God (…). Poland can be saved only by Me."

In July 1938, Rozalia had a prophetic vision and received instruction concerning a distant for her yet for us now quite immediate future. She wrote: 'I was brought to a high mountain on which I saw a sphere similar to the globe yet of a much bigger size. I examined it with great interest. Geographically, it was the globe. I recognized parts of the world and particular countries. All of the sudden, a dignified figure of a man appeared in front of me. I do not know who he was. The person approached me and started a conversation. He said: "This is the globe", and told me to name and define borders of different parts of the world and particular countries. When I answered his questions, the person spoke to me in a grave and solemn voice:

"My child! God shall send a terrible punishment for sins and crime committed by people in the whole world. God's Justice cannot endure those misdeeds. Only those countries shall persevere where Christ will reign. If you want to save the world, the enthronement must be celebrated (…) in all the countries and nations around the globe. It is the only way in which one may be rescued. Countries and nations who do not recognize that need and submit to the reign of the sweet love of Jesus shall disappear from the face of the earth forever. Remember that, my child, they shall perish and shall never exist!!! (…) Remember, child, the matter of such importance must not be overlooked or forgotten. (…) The enthronement must be carried out in Poland."

Rozalia recollected that she offered herself to Jesus out of love to Him, to suffer deeply in the first place for the sake of Poland, and then for Germany, Russia, Spain and the whole world. At that moment the person took her hand and led her to the other side of the globe. He pointed to the United States of America and Australia and said with pain: 'Didn't Christ suffer also for those souls? Aren't they saved with His Most Sacred Blood? You should include them, my child, in particular America.'

He went on convincingly: 'Every effort must be made in order to carry out the enthronement. That is the final that Jesus' love makes for people at the end of days!' 'I asked him with fear whether Poland would endure. The person answered: "Poland shall not perish unless she recognizes Christ as King in every sense of the word, that is unless she accepts God's Law, the law of His love. Otherwise, my child, she shall not persevere." Finally, he said to me: "I say this to you once again, my child, that only those nations shall not perish who will be submitted to Jesus' Heart through the enthronement, who will recognize Him as their King and Lord. A horrible disaster shall come on this world, he said, as you will soon see." 

 'Suddenly, a terrible bang could be heard. The globe cracked. Enormous fire broke out and disgusting lava flew out as if from a volcano, completely destroying all countries which had not recognized Christ. I saw destroyed Germany and other Western European countries. I turned with terror to the person for help and he said: "Do not fear, child," and he put his hands on my shoulders. I asked him: "Is this the end of the world, and the fire and lava, are these hell?" He replied: "This is not the end of the world or hell, but a horrible war which shall complete the destruction." The Polish borders were left inviolate, Poland persevered. The unknown person also said to me: "Countries under Christ's reign and subjected to the power of His Sacred Heart shall become extremely powerful and there shall be one Fold and one Shepherd."

 'Upon these words everything disappeared. On the following day, after the Holy Communion, I asked Lord Jesus about the meaning of that vision. I was instructed: "Child, this is what shall happen if people do not return to God. The moment of enthronement must not be delayed in Poland."

The fact that the Church hierarchy in Poland has responded in such a remarkable fashion to these private revelations indicates a high level of approval. They echo the visions of St. Faustina herself, who just before the outbreak of the Second World War foreseen that there would be "a war, a terrible, terrible war", and of course the Second Secret of Fatima:

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. 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. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays.

This act of enthronement finds its historical antecedent in the enthronement of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Poland on April 1st, 1656. After it had been invaded by Sweden and Russia, Poland had enthroned the Blessed Virgin during an elaborate ceremony conducted by the Polish king  John II (Jan) Casimir. This action was made in response to the Polish victory made the previous year during the siege of Jasna Góra Monastery, which housed the Black Madonna of Częstochowa. The victory of Jasna Góra, which repelled a Swedish assault upon the monastery in 1655, was directly attributed to the intercession of Our Lady won through the miraculous icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, and marked a key turning point in the war against Sweden.



The Black Madonna of Częstochowa at Jasna Góra Monastery

The victory at Jasna Góra prompted John II Casimir to crown the Black Madonna of Częstochowa Queen of Poland, which was made in response to private revelations given to Servant of God Giulio Mancinelli, a Jesuit missionary who was born on the ominous date of Oct 13th 1537.

On Aug 14th, 1608 Fr. Mancinelli reportedly experienced a vision of the Virgin Mary whilst living in Naples, who asked him: "Why do you not call me Queen of the Polish? I greatly love this kingdom and I am going to do great things for it, because a peculiar love for me burn within its sons."
This was followed by two other apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Fr. Mancinelli in 1610 and 1617, where she also referred to herself as "Queen of the Polish".

Each of the above private revelations concerning the coronation of Jesus and Mary as sovereigns of Poland recall the famous words recorded in St. Faustina's diary:

As I was praying for Poland, I heard the words: I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming.”
(The Diary of St. Faustina, 1732)

After the enthronement of the Blessed Virgin as the Queen of Poland in 1656, this nation would go on to play a pivotal role in the defence of Christian Europe against the threat of Islam during the Battle of Vienna, which took place on 12th Sept, 1683. The Ottoman Turks had been laying siege to the imperial city of the Holy Roman empire for two months, and it was verging on the brink of collapse when the Polish King John III Sobieski came to its rescue on the ominous date of Sept 11th, and at 4.00 am on the morning of 12th Sept, the Battle of Vienna began. Before John Sobieski set out to rescue Vienna spearheading the Holy League, he had stopped to pray at the shrine of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa at Jasna Góra, and during a Mass held on the eve of the battle, which was presided over by Blessed Marco d'Aviano, he once again entrusted himself to the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, whose image he carried in a gorget.


King John III Sobieski of Poland, bearing a gorget of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa


The resounding victory of John Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna was one of the greatest turning points in European history, and not only saw a permanent end to the Islamic expansion into Europe, but also enabled the Holy Roman Emperor to reclaim Hungary, and over the course of the next centuries, the threat of Ottoman Turkey gradually began to wane until its eventual collapse in 1918. Writing to Pope Innocent XI in the aftermath of the battle, Sobieski acknowledged that the victory belonged to God alone, stating "Veni, vidi, Deus vicit" ("I came, I saw, God conquered"). The importance of the victory at the Battle of Vienna is held in direct comparison with that of Lepanto, which saw an end to the naval threat of Ottoman Turkey on 7th October, 1571. And like its naval counterpart, which is commemorated by the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on 7th October, the Battle of Vienna was also marked by the institution of a feast day - The Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is celebrated on 12th Sept.

This feast was extended to the universal Church calendar by Pope Innocent XI in 1684 in order to commemorate the Battle of Vienna, and continued to be practiced until the liturgical reforms made in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. The Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary was struck from the General Roman Calendar by controversial reformer Annibale Bugnini in 1969, but was reinstituted by Pope St. John Paul II in 2002, in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center, when the date of this feast day gained renewed significance. We can be almost certain that the Holy Father made this symbolic action in direct response to the events of 9/11, when the West once again faced a great confrontation with the Islamic world. He beatified Marco d'Aviano shortly after in 2003 - the Capuchin friar who was instrumental in organising and energizing the Holy League against the Ottoman Turks during the Battle of Vienna. There is also some evidence which suggests that Sr. Lucia had made a connection between these events in the immediate aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attack, which she appears to have communicated directly to St. John Paul and Cardinal Tarcisco Bertone.

In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I go into some detail to show how Cardinal Bertone's musing that the events of 9/11 may be connected to the appearance of the Signs of Heaven described in the Bible (made upon his return from presiding over the seer's funeral Mass), was in fact rooted in some information conveyed to him by the seer of Fatima herself. Information which was most likely originally communicated to the pope immediately after the destruction of the Twin Towers. At the time, there were rumours circulated by Inside the Vatican that Sr. Lucia had sent a letter to Pope St. John Paul II immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Citing anonymous sources from within the Carmelite order, traditionalist newspaper The Remnant published yet another rumour that Sr. Lucia had received a new apparition of the Virgin Mary on October 7th, 2001 - the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary - which rather aptly, also reflects the struggle between the Arab and Christian worlds, since this feast commemorates the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, when vastly outnumbered Catholic forces triumphed over the Ottoman fleet.  

The alleged new revelation was supposedly to ask for prayers to prevent an impending "blood bath", and seems to be partially based on the fact that the Carmel of Coimbra did indeed hold to a 24 hour period of prayer on 7th October, 2001. At least one Carmelite convent had confirmed that it had received a letter from the Association of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, dated to 13th September, 2001 (just two days after 9/11), calling on the Carmelite order to unite with Sr. Lucia in praying for peace in the world on 7th October - the Feast of the Holy Rosary

Given the close association between the Feast of the Holy Rosary with the Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin, which both commemorate great Marian victories, it is interesting to note that the recognition of Christ as the King of Poland by the Church and government authorities on Nov 20th, 2016 was preceded the previous month by yet another lightning strike on the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica on Oct 7th, 2016 - the Feast of the Holy Rosary.

It is also worth taking into consideration that one of his last actions before dying on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday on 2nd April, 2005, Pope St. John Paul II offered up a new crown to be presented to the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, accompanied by a crown for the Infant Jesus, in a possible allusion to the future enthronement of Christ as King of Poland urged by Rosalia Zelkova. As the Vatican website states: "The crowns of gold of the Virgin and Child were offered and blessed by St. John Paul II on 1 April 2005, shortly before his death." (see here). The reason these crowns were offered to the Madonna and Child on 1st April was in order to mark the anniversary of the enthronement of the Blessed Virgin as Queen of Poland by King John II Casimir on 1st April 1656.

The fact that the enthronement of Christ as King of Poland took place at the close of the Year of Mercy on Nov 20th is also significant in the fact that it coincided with the "conception phase" of the so-called "Rev 12" sign that began on this exact date, and culminates 9 and a half months later on Sept 23rd, 2017 (see here for more details). Are these two events related? If so, it would tie in with the conclusions drawn on my previous post The Sign of Jonah and the Binding of Satan, which mulled over the possible significance of a solar eclipse that will take place over America on Aug 21st, 2017, the Feast of Our Lady of Knock (which announced the opening of the seals of Revelation), and the exact date that a solar eclipse crossed the site of ancient Nineveh at the beginning of World War One on Aug 21st, 2017. Given these parallels with the "sign of Jonah" mentioned by Christ in the Gospels, I had mused over the possibility of some sort of chastisement that may take place unless an act of repentance is made, and that it may indicate that America is the "new Nineveh" involved in this sign. Could this be a call to repentance?

Given that St. John Paul II had seemingly drawn a connection between the events behind the institution of the Feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin and the terrorist attacks on 9/11, it is interesting that the private revelations given to Rosalia Zelkova concerning the enthronement of Christ as King of Poland similarly have a particular focus drawn on America:

Rozalia recollected that she offered herself to Jesus out of love to Him, to suffer deeply in the first place for the sake of Poland, and then for Germany, Russia, Spain and the whole world. At that moment the person took her hand and led her to the other side of the globe. He pointed to the United States of America and Australia and said with pain: 'Didn't Christ suffer also for those souls? Aren't they saved with His Most Sacred Blood? You should include them, my child, in particular America.'

If the events of 9/11 were indeed a "harbinger" of a worse fate still to befall America, as was suggested in the highly popular book by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, then it would follow that Rosalia Zelkova's focus on a need for prayer for America means that it is this nation in particular that would suffer the most from the chastisement she saw, which appears to involve a volcanic eruption:

I say this to you once again, my child, that only those nations shall not perish who will be submitted to Jesus' Heart through the enthronement, who will recognize Him as their King and Lord. A horrible disaster shall come on this world, he said, as you will soon see." 
 'Suddenly, a terrible bang could be heard. The globe cracked. Enormous fire broke out and disgusting lava flew out as if from a volcano, completely destroying all countries which had not recognized Christ.

If this volcanic eruption is one and the same as the Cumbre Vieja event - the "great mountain, burning with fire" being thrown into the sea in Rev 8:8, then we can see why America would be singled out for particular need of prayer.

However this particular event is not something that we need to worry about happening in the immediate future, since the destruction of "Babylon" takes place just before the rise to power of the Antichrist.  And the ministry of the Two Witnesses to restore the Church, proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth and bring about the conversion of the Jews must take before the Antichrist ascends to power. So it is certainly much too soon to expect the destruction of the dominant eschatological world power referred to as "Babylon" - which is part of the Great Chastisement itself, and should be equated with the cataclysm seen in Sr. Lucia's 1944 Tuy apparition. Given that the process of the restoration of the Church by the Two Witnesses is yet to unfold, this particular chastisement must still lie many years in the future. Due to the fact that the prophecies of Rosalia Zelkova are so closely associated with the events of the Battle of Vienna, it would appear that this chastisement is also in some way connected to a confrontation with the Islamic world.

A few Catholic prophecies suggest that there will also be a "minor chastisement" that will take place before the restoration of the Church, which unlike the Great Chastisement, is conditional in nature. Could it be the events of this "minor chastisement" that will potentially take place next year? This is difficult to tell, since the secrets of Fatima appear to suggest that the "minor chastisement" should be equated with the events of the Second World War. The conditional nature of the Second World War mentioned in the Second Secret was further clarified by a statement made by Blessed Jacinta on her deathbed. We can compare each below:

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. (Second Secret of Fatima)

If men will repent, God will pardon them, but if they do not amend their lives, there will come upon the earth the most terrible chastisement ever known. (Blessed Jacinta Marto)

It seems that the events of this conditional chastisement, described by Bl. Jacinta as the "most terrible chastisement ever known", were already fulfilled in the Second World War. Is this conditional chastisement one and the same as the minor chastisement? It is difficult to know for sure, and there are some particular components of the prophecies of the minor chastisement which do not fully align with the events of World War II. As Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out in his theological commentary in The Message of Fatima, the future is not unchangeably set, and it would appear that there are still a number of ways in which these prophecies can unfold, depending on how humanity reacts as a whole to God's call for repentance.

There is a particular component of the Third Secret of Fatima which suggests that the world will be able to avoid the occurrence of a major chastisement through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, when the shepherd children were shown a vision in which the flames emanating from the sword of the angel are quenched by the rays of light which emanate from the hands of Our Lady:

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!'.

This image reflects that of the Miraculous Medal, which shows Satan being crushed under the feet of the Woman Adorned with the Sun, and appears to allude to the period of peace promised in the Second Secret. During the canonization Mass of St. Faustina, St. John Paul II appears to have associated the arrival of the period of peace with the Divine Mercy devotion itself:

Jesus told Sr Faustina: "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy" (Diary, p. 132). Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked for ever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third.
(Pope John Paul II, Mass in St Peter's Square for the Canonization of Sr Mary Faustina Kowalska, April 30th, 2000)

So is it possible that when faced with the threat of chastisement, humanity will eventually repent due to the occurrence of some remarkable form of Divine intervention? In her famous interview with Fr. Fuentes, Sr. Lucia stated that just before God is about to chastise the world for its sins, he will provide one last extraordinary means of salvation, by reluctantly sending His Blessed Mother to convince the world of its impending doom:

"Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but She made me understand this for three reasons."

"The first reason is because She told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the final battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat. Also, from now on we must choose sides. Either we are for God or we are for the devil. There is no other possibility."

"The second reason is because She said to my cousins as well as to myself, that God is giving two last remedies to the world. These are the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. These are the last two remedies which signify that there will be no others."

"The third reason is because in the plans of Divine Providence, God always, before He is about to chastise the world, exhausts all other remedies. Now, when He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever, then as we say in our imperfect manner of speaking, He offers us with ‘certain fear’ the last means of salvation, His Most Holy Mother. It is with ‘certain fear’ because if you despise and repulse this ultimate means, we will not have any more forgiveness from Heaven, because we will have committed a sin which the Gospel calls the sin against the Holy Ghost."

These words of Sr. Lucia strongly suggests that just before the arrival of a future chastisement, there will be another major Marian apparition to announce the coming destruction, and allow the world to embrace a period of penance. This appears to be directly associated with the proclamation of the Gospel to all nations before the end of the world, when the flood poured forth from the mouth of the Dragon is swallowed up by the earth just before the final persecution of the Antichrist:

The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
(Rev 12:15-17)

If the appearance of the remarkable astronomical configuration that began on Nov 20th, 2016 is in some way connected to the prophecies of Servant of God Rosalia Zelkova (on which date one of the most important of these requests was fulfilled), then it would seem that these private revelations are also linked to the culmination of this sign, which concludes on 23rd Sept, 2017 - just days before the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun on Oct 13th, 2017.

It seems that the only way that we can know for sure in advance if the world is faced by the threat of a major chastisement next year (as many Catholics currently believe), is if it announced beforehand by the appearance of a Marian apparition on a scale comparable to those of Our Lady of Fatima.



Friday, 4 November 2016

The Sign of Jonah and the Binding of Satan




With the Iraqi army currently undertaking an operation to take back the city of Mosul from ISIS, it is somewhat timely to discuss the importance of the Sign of Jonah in relation to Christ's discourse on the binding of Satan in the Gospels. The city of Mosul is situated on the site of ancient Nineveh - the location which is the central focus of the story of the Prophet Jonah, who was told by God to travel to the capital of Assyria to announce its impending destruction. As I detail in the new edition of my book, Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, some theologians have forwarded the hypothesis that the reason the inhabitants of Nineveh were so receptive to Jonah's message of doom was because a solar eclipse had taken place over the city at around the same time the prophet had arrived to announce its fate.

The path of totality of the Bur-Sagle Eclipse, which is one of the most famous solar eclipses in ancient history, occurred just north of Nineveh on 15th June, 763BC during the reign of King Ashur-Dan III of Assyria, and was recorded for posterity in the Assyrian Eponym Canon - a series of cuneiform tablets discovered in the 19th century. 


The path of totality of the Bur-Sagale Eclipse of 763BC

We know that the Prophet Jonah was a contemporary of King Ashur-Dan III because of a brief mention of him in the Second Book of Kings, which places his prophetic ministry during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel:

In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.
(2Kings 14:23-25)

According to the chronology established by E.R. Thiele, Jeroboam II was sole ruler of Israel between the years 782-753BC, placing Jonah's active ministry to this time period; while Ashur-Dan III was king of Assyria between 772-755BC. Given the fact that this solar eclipse was one of the most noteworthy events to occurred during the reign of Ashur-Dan III, it has prompted many theologians to suggest that the occurrence of the Bur-Sagle eclipse was the primary reason why the Ninevites were so keen to repent upon hearing Jonah's message of doom - a curious reaction which is left unexplained in the Book of Jonah itself. The Assyrian chronicles inform us that a plague had broken out in the city of Nineveh just a few years before the eclipse in 765BC, which was soon followed by an internal revolt which began during the very same year that the eclipse occurred - a series of events which would undoubtedly have been attributed to the wrath of the gods.

It therefore seems quite possible that when the Prophet Jonah had arrived in the midst of these calamities announcing the imminent destruction of Nineveh, the inhabitants were only too eager to listen - especially if his entrance into the city had been timed to coincide with the appearance of a total solar eclipse. As I attempt to show in the book, the appearance of the Prophet Jonah in Nineveh may have been recorded in an ancient inscription found in a cave in Kizkapan (or "Qyzqapan") near the city of Sulaimaniya in Iraq, around 200 miles away from Mosul/Nineveh itself.


The engraving in Kizkapan cave shows two figures laying down their weapons making gestures of peace, which takes place underneath the figure of a man depicted within the symbol of the sun undergoing an eclipse. The Russian archaeologist Igor Diakonov has proposed that this inscription records the total eclipse predicted by Thales of Miletus in 585BC, which according to Herodotus, had interrupted a battle between the Medes and Lydians at the Halys River in Asia Minor, which immediately led to the declaration of a truce between the warring factions. As such, Diakonov has suggested that Kizkapan Cave is actually the tomb of the Median emperor Cyaxares, who ruled during the Battle of Halys. However, Diakonov bases this idea largely upon the fact that the Eclipse of Thales is one of the only known instances of a solar eclipse eliciting such a dramatic reaction from its observers. But when we take the events behind the story of Jonah into consideration, we are presented with an alternative explanation for the origin of this relief, since it largely comprised of a similar set of circumstances. And when we study this inscription in closer detail, we can see that it is clearly based on a much older design that had originally incorporated imagery connected to the Mesopotamian mythological figure Oannes, who has been closely associated with the Prophet Jonah himself.

Once we compare the centre-piece of Kizkapan Cave with a well known scene of even greater antiquity found in Mesopotamian culture, we can be certain that the primary inspiration of this engraving is based upon the legendary figure of Oannes/Adapa. Although it has a unique style of its own, introducing a few idiosyncratic motifs that can only be found here, the inscription at Kizkapan Cave is virtually identical to a much older scene found elsewhere in Mesopotamian culture which predominately features the figure of Oannes/Adapa.


A scene found on an ancient cylinder seal featuring the "fish-man" Adapa/Oannes standing below the winged solar deity Shamash/ adoring a sacred tree, who is presumably accompanied by one of the other of the seven sages who were of similar appearance



As we can see from the pictures above, the posture of the two figures above is exactly the same as that found on the older relief depicting Oannes/Adapa, and is similarly situated directly below a figure within a sun-disc. The only major differences are that the figures shown at Kizkapan are not attired with the fish-garb usually associated with Oannes and the seven Apkallu, or Mesopotamian sages, and instead of holding a basket, they are apparently in the act of placing down their bows with their attention diverted to paying homage to the gods instead. Also the sun-disc at Kizkapan is quite clearly shown to be in eclipse, with the corona visible underneath the figure holding a scroll-like object.



There has been a long-standing association between the Prophet Jonah and the mythological figure of Oannes, not only because the two names are so similar from an etymological point of view, but chiefly because this deity was depicted as a man adorning fish-like garments, almost as if he is emerging out the fish itself. The Babylonian historian Berossus describes Oannes as a half man, half fish creature below:

A man, or rather a monster, Half man and half fish, coming from the sea, appeared near Babylon; he had two heads; one, which was the highest, resembled that of man, the other that of a fish. He had the feet of a man, and the tail of a fish; and his speech and voice resembled that of a man: a representation of him is still preserved. This monster dwelt by day with men, but took no food; he gave them knowledge of letters, arts, and sciences; he taught them to build towers and temples; and to establish laws; he instructed them in the principles of geometry; taught them to sow, and to gather the fruits of the earth; in short, whatever could contribute to polish and civilize their manners. At sun set he retired to the sea, in which he passed the night. There appeared likewise others of the same species.”

According to Mesopotamian mythology, Adapa/Oannes was a mortal man and a son of the god Ea, and was instrumental in bringing the arts of civilisation to humanity. In a further parallel to the story of Jonah and the fish, we are told that while Adapa was out fishing one day, his boat was overturned by Ninlil, the personification of the South Wind. Indeed, the similarities between the story of Jonah and the figure of Oannes run so deep, that many commentators have erroneously proposed that these legends were originally inspired by the events surrounding the Prophet Jonah himself. This misconception is recounted in the Wikipedia article concerning Jonah:


Biblical scholars have speculated that Jonah may have been in part the inspiration behind the figure of Hannes in late Babylonian mythology. The deity name "Oannes" first occurs in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal (more than a century after the time of Jonah) as Uanna or Uan but is assimilated to Adapa, a deity first mentioned on fragments of tablets from the 15th or 14th century BC found in Amarna in Egypt. Oannes is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing humanity instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man—a detail that, some biblical scholars suggest, is not derived from Adapa but is perhaps based on a misinterpretation of images of Jonah emerging from the fish. (See here)



However the various myths concerning the figure of Adapa predate the ministry of Jonah by several centuries, and can be traced as far back as the 14th century BC. Although the connection between the events behind the story of Jonah and the figure of Oannes would not have went unnoticed by the Assyrians themselves, and it is quite probable that the ancient Ninevites would have associated the appearance of the prophet emerging from the fish with the myth of Adapa. It is even possible that the later name "Oannes" used for Adapa is itself derived from Jonah, because of this close association.

Given the fact that the engraving found in Kizkapan Cave is based upon earlier imagery associated with Adapa/Oannes, it makes it more likely that this relief depicts events which took place during the Bur-Sagle Eclipse of 763BC, rather than the Eclipse of Thales. As such, the two figures laying down weapons may represent a cessation in hostilities during the revolts that were unfolding in Nineveh, which were recorded as taking place around this time by the Assyrian Eponym Canon. Actions which were prompted by the appearance of the eclipse itself, and a prophet who emerged out of a fish to announce the destruction of Nineveh.

Given the possibility that the repentance of the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah can be attributed to the Bur-Sagle Eclipse, we have some grounds to suggest that the original "sign of Jonah" consisted of the appearance of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh. When we look to Christ's statement concerning the appearance of the "sign of Jonah" to a wicked and perverse generation, we find that these words were made immediately after His discourse on the binding of the strong man - which according to St. Augustine of Hippo, is an integral component of the prophecy of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years" mentioned in Rev 20:

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man — meaning by the strong man the devil, because he had power to take captive the human race; and meaning by his goods which he was to take, those who had been held by the devil in various sins and iniquities, but were to become believers in Himself. It was then for the binding of this strong one that the apostle saw in the Apocalypse an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he laid hold, he says, on the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,— that is, bridled and restrained his power so that he could not seduce and gain possession of those who were to be freed. (St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX:7)

So in relation to the sacrificial death of Jesus and His resurrection on the third day, the "sign of Jonah" harks back to the three days the prophet spent in the belly of the fish. An event which foreshadowed the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ - which in turn brought about the binding of Satan.

But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks 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 great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
(Matt 12:39-41)

Therefore as well as pointing us towards the significance of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh, the "sign of Jonah" is also intimately connected to the binding and unbinding of Satan.

It is surely beyond coincidence in this regard that the start of the First World War was marked by a total solar eclipse which directly traversed the site of ancient Nineveh in Mosul, Iraq on 21st August, 1914. The World War I Eclipse crossed over the battlefields of war-torn eastern Europe before making its way down towards Nineveh - an event which took place on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, a Marian apparition which appears to have announced the imminence of the opening of the seven seals by the Lamb of Revelation.


The path of totality of the eclipse of 21st August, 1914

Moreover, the path of totality of the solar eclipse of August 11th, 1999 had similarly crossed the site of ancient Nineveh at the turn of the millennium. A solar eclipse which I argue in some depth was part of a sequence of events linked to the "signs in Heaven" foretold throughout Sacred Scripture, which mark the moment when Satan is thrown down to earth in great fury by the Archangel Michael, after which he sends out a flood which threatens to sweep away the Church. The fact that the "sign of Jonah" appeared at the dawn of the third millennium after the birth of Christ parallels the three days the prophet spent in the belly of the fish, and the three days of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, since according to the words of St. Peter:

...do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
(2 Peter 3:8-9)


The path of totality of the solar eclipse of 11th August, 1999

In order to further heighten the significance of this event, the 1999 solar eclipse had occurred on the exact day that a rare "Grand Cross Alignment" took place, when the planets of the solar system were arranged to take the form a cross - the ultimate sign of the defeat of Satan.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
(Psalm 19:1)

This ties into the recent observation made by researcher Miguel Antonio Fiol, that the planets had arranged to take the form of a crucifixion scene on the most likely date of the death of Jesus - 3rd April, 33AD.


As Christian Newswire reported back on 31st August, 2015:

In an illustration (hi-res version) released today to the public, the planets Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter, Earth and Venus align on an orrery model to form what looks like Jesus on the cross with the head, the hands spread out and the legs together in accurate positioning, rotation and on a galactic scale. Indeed, even Saturn's rings can be viewed as representing the "halo" or "crown of thorns."
Moreover, and perhaps most noteworthy, is the date of the alignment, the day commonly viewed as that of Jesus' actual crucifixion, April 3, 33 A.D. (See here for more).


A few days after the total solar eclipse passed through central Turkey on 11th August, 1999, a massive earthquake struck the city of Izmit in this region on 17th August, 1999, killing more than 17,000 people. The location of Izmit itself is highly significant in the fact that this is the site of ancient Nicomedia - the location where the Roman Emperor Diocletian issued his first Edict against Christians on February 23rd AD303, beginning the Great Persecution. The emperor Diocletian had shifted his seat of governance from Rome to Nicomedia, which he made eastern capital of the Roman Empire in 286AD. So Nicomedia was in essence the very nerve centre of the most severe persecution of Christians in antiquity. The Diocletianic Persecution saw the most intense attack against Christians established throughout the majority of the Roman Empire, and in many ways reflects the coming Great Persecution of Christians under the Antichrist, which was foreseen in the Third Secret of Fatima. Immediately before the appearance of the signs in Heaven at the opening of the sixth seal, the Apocalypse presents us with a vision of those who were martyred for their testimony to Christ calling out for justice:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.  When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.
(Rev 6:9-13)


The fact that the epicentre of this earthquake was concentrated upon the very base of operations of the Great Persecution helps us to further establish that the 1999 solar eclipse was part of the signs in Heaven described in the Apocalypse. It is interesting to note that there was a repeat of a the "Grand Cross Alignment" that occurred on 11th August, 1999 just a few days later between 17th-18th August, when the planets once again assembled in the form of a cross in a slightly different form at the very moment this earthquake occurred within the confines of ancient Nicomedia.

Yet again, it is surely beyond coincidence that the "sign of Jonah" (in the form of a total solar eclipse occurring over the site of Nineveh) had appeared not only at the very dawn of period of Satan's greater power foreseen by Pope Leo XIII, at the beginning of the First World War, but also just before the Great Jubilee Year of the Incarnation at the start of the third millennium AD. A date which is closely associated with the promises of the Protoevangelium, when the head of the ancient serpent is trampled under the feet of the Woman Clothed with the Sun.

As I detail in the book, the turn of the millennium was accompanied by a number of phenomena which can be directly equated with the signs in Heaven - the 1999 solar eclipse followed by the Izmit earthquake in August, the recurrence of the 33 year cycle of the Leonid Meteor Storm in November (the most prolific of all meteor showers), followed by the first blood moon of the new millennium on the feast of Our Lady of Zion on Jan 21st 2000. In addition to this, after an interview with Sr. Lucia in the immediate wake of 9/11, Cardinal Tarcisco Bertone was left to conclude that the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 were also part of the "signs in Heaven" - which can only be equated with the "blood, fire and columns of smoke" included among these signs in Joel 2:30-31 and Acts 2:19-21: 

I will show wonders 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 awesome day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. (Joel 2:30-32)

The signs in Heaven are the visible signs which herald the eschatological expulsion of Satan from Heaven at the expiration of the "short time" given to him at the end of the thousand years, when the Devil is cast down to the earth with a third of the angelic host. Throughout the Bible, these signs are associated with casting down of Satan to earth, in passages such as that found in Ezek 32:

You consider yourself a lion of the nations, but you are like a dragon in the seas; you burst forth in your rivers, trouble the waters with your feet, and foul their rivers. Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will throw my net over you with a host of many peoples, and they will haul you up in my dragnet.
And I will cast you on the ground; on the open field I will fling you, and will cause all the birds of the heavens to settle on you, and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you.
I will strew your flesh upon the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcass. I will drench the land even to the mountains with your flowing blood, and the ravines will be full of you.
When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you,
and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord GOD.

(Ezek 32:2-8)

Once Satan realises he has been cast down to the earth, he sends forth a flood from his mouth in order to sweep the Woman away. Many Catholics believe that the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima next year will in some way be involved in the end of the period of Satan's greater power, which would correspond to the next event which must follow in the sequence of the Divine drama - when the flood issued from the mouth of the serpent is finally swallowed up. It is therefore quite remarkable that there will be another "great sign seen in heaven" that will appear during the course of the year 2017 which also harks back to the significance of Rev 12. A sequence of astronomical events which are set in motion in just a few days time at the conclusion of the Year of Mercy on Nov 20th, 2016 - the feast of Christ the King, and peaks on 23rd September, 2017. As the widely respected Catholic writer Patrick Archbold notes:

On November 20, 2016, an astronomical event begins that will last nine and a half months, culminating in startling concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12. While I am not an astronomer, all my research indicates that this astronomical event, in all its particulars, is unique in the history of man.

On November 20, 2016, Jupiter (the King planet) enters into the body (womb) of the constellation Virgo (the virgin). Jupiter, due its retrograde motion, will spend the next 9 ½ months within the womb of Virgo. This length of time corresponds with gestation period of a normal late-term baby.

After 9 ½ months, Jupiter exits out of the womb of Virgo. Upon Jupiter’s exit (birth), on September 23, 2017, we see the constellation Virgo with the sun rise directly behind it (the woman clothed with the sun). At the feet of Virgo, we find the moon. And upon her head we find a crown of twelve stars, formed by the usual nine stars of the constellation Leo with the addition of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

That is a truly remarkable and, as far as I can determine, unique series of event with a startling degree of concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12.
(Read the full article here)

Just before the conclusion of this astronomical event on 23rd Sept, 2017, another remarkable total solar eclipse will take place. And just like the solar eclipse which occurred at the start of World War One (at the beginning of the period of the unbinding of Satan), this event will also transpire on Aug 21st, 2017 - the Feast of Our Lady of Knock. While it is difficult to know for sure if this event has any real prophetic significance, the fact that it will take place at the end of the period of Satan's greater power foretold in the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, and that it so close to the Rev 12 sign that occurs on 23rd Sept, 2017, prompts us to ponder whether this solar eclipse is part of the "sign of Jonah" sequence that began on Aug 21st, 1914. Only instead of appearing over the location of ancient Nineveh, this solar eclipse is concentrated entirely upon America, and the path of totality can only be seen across the central United States.


If this solar eclipse does have any significance in regard to the "sign of Jonah" which appeared on Aug 21st, 1914 and was repeated on Aug 11th, 1999, then we are left to consider if this may suggest that America is the new Nineveh that is being called to repentance. The fact that 40 days onward from this event brings us into October - the month of the Holy Rosary, within which takes place the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun on Oct 13th, 2017, recalls the words of Jonah himself:

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. (Jonah 3:4-5)

Furthermore, the fact that this eclipse takes place during the Feast of Our Lady of Knock may further suggest that the events of 2017 have something to do with the opening of the seven seals by the Lamb of Revelation. As I attempt to show in the book, the events which take place during the opening of the first six seals of the Apocalypse have already taken place, and these events are one and the same as that which unfolds during the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years". It is only the opening of the seventh seal that is yet to occur. Is it possible that the opening of the seventh seal will only take place at the end of the period of Satan's greater power? When we look to the Book of Revelation, we find that there some interesting parallels between the opening of the seventh seal and the vison of the angel in the Third Secret of Fatima, who threatens to strike the earth with his flaming sword:

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.
(Rev 8:1-5)

The angel with the golden censer here is the same as the angel who "has authority over the fire" who calls for the harvest of the earth in Rev 14:

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
(Rev 14:17-19)

Could this portend the threat of some sort of chastisement that America will have to suffer next year, unless it is brought to repentance? It is difficult to know for sure, since without any "revealed" knowledge this purely involves speculation. But the coincidences surrounding the sign of Jonah and the significance of the year 2017 are certainly stacking up, especially since the site of ancient Nineveh in Mosul is faced with such dire circumstances in the immediate approach of the ominous date of Nov 20th, 2016. This seems to be yet another facet to a puzzle which is gradually falling into place in the run-up to the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.

It is interesting to note that the significance of the planetary alignment that will occur on 23rd Sept next year involves a particular portion of Rev 12 that specifically relates to the birth of the "male child":

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. (Rev 12:1-6)

While the preterist interpretation of the "male child" is undoubtedly Jesus Himself, some modern commentators, such as Fr. Herman Kramer, have suggested that the futurist interpretation of the figure behind the "male child" may involve a pope as the Vicar of Christ on earth - possibly the Angelic Pope of Catholic prophecy. An alternative explanation is that it refers to the coming of the Great Monarch, who as a Davidic type figure is similarly foretold to "rule all the nations with a rod of iron". The Devil seeks to destroy the male child as soon as he is "born", which may be a metaphor for when he first assumes power. We should note that this event only takes place once the Devil has been cast down to the earth with a third of the angelic host, since the Dragon sweeping down a third of the stars and casting them to earth in Rev 12:4 above is recapitulated again in Rev 12:9, when we are told that Satan is thrown down alongside his angels by the Archangel Michael:

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Rev 12:7-9)

After Satan and a third of the angelic host has been cast to earth, he attempts to devour the male child as soon as he is born, just as King Herod sought to destroy Christ during the massacre of the Holy Innocents. Again, this passage is recapitulated in Rev 12:12-16, when we are told that once Satan realises he has been cast down to earth, he attempts to destroy the Church with a flood before it can be renewed by the Two Witnesses, who are symbolised by the "two wings of the great eagle":

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. (Rev 12:12-16)

So the birth of the male child and the Woman being given the "two wings of the great eagle" in order to flee to a sanctuary provided for her in the desert are synchronous events, both involving the restoration of the Church before the final persecution of the Antichrist.

Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. (Rev 12:17)

Given the fact that the astronomical sign of 23rd Sept, 2017 reflects the birth of the "male child" of Rev 12, we can conclude that the potential significance of this event relates to the restoration of the Church by the Two Witnesses, which can only take place once the powers of Satan are yet again restricted following his period of unbinding. As St. Augustine of Hippo states:

And yet the verse of the Gospel will not be untrue, Who enters into the house of the strong one to spoil his goods, unless he shall first have bound the strong one? For in accordance with this true saying that order is observed— the strong one first bound, and then his goods spoiled; for the Church is so increased by the weak and strong from all nations far and near, that by its most robust faith in things divinely predicted and accomplished, it shall be able to spoil the goods of even the unbound devil. For as we must own that, when iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold, Matthew 24:12 and that those who have not been written in the book of life shall in large numbers yield to the severe and unprecedented persecutions and stratagems of the devil now loosed, so we cannot but think that not only those whom that time shall find sound in the faith, but also some who till then shall be without, shall become firm in the faith they have hitherto rejected and mighty to conquer the devil even though unbound, God's grace aiding them to understand the Scriptures, in which, among other things, there is foretold that very end which they themselves see to be arriving. 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 of Hippo, City of God XX:8)

If the solar eclipse which takes place over America next year is indeed part of a wider sequence of events which pertains to the sign of Jonah, the binding of Satan and the opening of the seven seals, we can only hope that this will see the end of the period of Satan's greater power, and that any threat of chastisement that may loom with the ominous date of 13th Oct, 2017 can be averted through public repentance, so that the hand of the angel with the flaming sword may be stayed through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin:

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!'. (The Third Secret of Fatima)