The Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio has just aired a report discussing recent sightings of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Northern Iraq (see here for the full broadcast). These apparitions, which occurred over the town of Alqosh on the night of Wednesday, January 21st, 2015, have been compared to those of Our Lady of Zeitoun in Egypt, given that they are apparently to be classed under the rare category of visio sensiblis, whereby they are fully visible to all present, and can even be captured on camera. Information on these apparitions are rather scarce at the moment, as given the current situation in Iraq with the scourge of ISIS, reporters are very thin on the ground. Drew Mariani's guest Jeff Gardener, visited the scene shortly after and compiled a series of eyewitness reports and was given some photographs of the apparitions themselves. It appears that the Blessed Virgin was seen in the sky, fully visible to the masses on the ground, over the Assyrian Christian town of Alqosh, which is one of the only regions in this part of Northern Iraq that has not succumbed to the threat of ISIS.
A common theme throughout the apparitions of Our Lady of Zeitoun, and other related apparitions in Egypt was that the location and timing of the apparitions themselves were a key component in conveying their true significance. The apparitions in Egypt have all occurred in locations associated with the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt to escape from King Herod's Slaughter of the Holy Innocents. The main appearances of Our Lady of Zeitoun also first began to coincide exactly with the legalization of abortion in the United Kingdom in April 1968, which paved the way for this policy to be adopted throughout the Western Hemisphere (see my earlier post on this subject Our Lady of Light and the Apocalyptic Nativity). So the central "message" of these apparitions were a warning that humanity was about to commit a new "Slaughter of the Innocents" on a massive, worldwide scale.
An interesting feature of these recent apparitions in Northern Iraq is that they were centred on the town of Alqosh (Elkosh in ancient Hebrew), which was the hometown of the biblical Prophet Nahum, which lay just a few miles north of the city of Nineveh:
An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies... (Nahum 1:1-2)
While little is known of the Prophet Nahum himself, the central thrust of this book focused on the impending destruction of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, much like the Prophet Jonah. Only while the Ninevites to whom Jonah preached circa 786-746BC repented and were spared, when Nahum issued his oracle warning of the imminent destruction of Nineveh around 615BC, the city soon met its ultimate downfall at the hands of the Medes and Babylonians.
The timing of this recent apparition seems to be of great importance here, as the site of ancient Nineveh now houses the city of Mosul, which was taken last year by ISIS, who set about the destruction of the tomb of the Prophet Jonah on July 24th, 2014. Does this new apparition augur the destruction of the city of Mosul as Divine Retribution for this desecration? The apparitions took place at the start of a US led operation, backing Kurdish forces to take back the city of Mosul, which began on this exact date - 21st January, 2015.
As we have noted on several posts previously, the site of ancient Nineveh lay in the path of the 1999 solar eclipse, which I argue in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse, was part of the "signs in heaven" foretold in the Book of Revelation, which include a total solar eclipse, accompanied by an earthquake, as well as a total lunar eclipse, a meteor shower, and the appearance of a sign involving "blood, fire and columns of smoke" (see the earlier post "Signs in the Sky").
Another interesting link between the 1999 solar eclipse to the apparitions of Our Lady in Egypt can be found in the fact that the apparitions of Our Lady of Assiut in the Great Jubilee Year 2000 on August 17th, occurred on the exact anniversary of the Izmit earthquake, which took place in Turkey on 17th August, 1999 - just days after the eclipse had also passed by this area on August 11th before moving on to transverse the site of ancient Nineveh. The location of Izmit itself was 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 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 (first published at the turn of the millennium on 24th June 2000).
It is of some import here that the city of Nineveh was founded by the biblical King Nimrod, who according to tradition was the builder of the Tower of Babel. As I have argued at some length in the previous post The Angel of the Seven Thunders, the miraculous reversal of the confusion of tongues at Pentecost, pointed to the significance of the story of the Tower of Babel and how this event would figure once again in the Second Pentecost. We have also noted in this post the connection between the "blood, fire and columns of smoke" quoted by St. Peter at Pentecost in Acts 3 as being part of the "signs in heaven", and how this ties into the events of 9/11 at the turn of the millennium, which were accompanied by the astronomical signs which took place on the millennial anniversary of the birth of Christ (prefigured by the Protoevangelium and the crushing of the head of the Serpent). It seems of some importance here then that the events of the destruction of the Twin Towers have directly led to the current situation at the site of ancient Nineveh, with the occupation of Mosul by ISIS.
For the Prophet Nahum, the impending destruction of Nineveh by the Babylonians was a sign of the restoration of the glory of Israel, which according to Catholic eschatology, refers to the future conversion of the Jews before the Second Coming of Christ, prophesied by St. Peter at Pentecost:
The scatterer has come up against you. Man the ramparts; watch the road; dress for battle; collect all your strength. For the LORD is restoring the majesty of Jacob as the majesty of Israel, for plunderers have plundered them and ruined their branches. (Nahum 2:1-2)
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. (Acts 3:19-21)
Also worth noting here, in relation to the nature of the reddish colour of this apparition, is that immediately after the above verses in the Book of Nahum, concerning the Lord restoring the majesty of Jacob after the destruction of Nineveh, we are told that the soldiers of God (the angels?) are clothed in scarlet during this episode:
The shield of his mighty men is red; his soldiers are clothed in scarlet. (Nahum 2:3)
The fact that the 1999 solar eclipse passed through the site of ancient Nineveh at Mosul prompts us to compare this to the "sign of Jonah" mentioned by Christ.
The path of totality of the 1999 solar eclipse passed directly through the city of Mosul (spelt here as Al-Mawsil, just north of Baghdad - see here for a larger image)
When we look to the Gospels concerning the "sign of Jonah", which Jesus stated would be sent to a "wicked generation" (that of the Great Apostasy?), we find that this prophecy was made in the immediate context of the binding of the "strong man" and the casting out of Satan - which is directly related to the timing of the establishment of the Kingdom of God during the ministry of Christ (as was forwarded by the amillennialism of St. Augustine), the "signs in heaven", the "little while" given to Satan at the end of the millennium in Rev 20, and Satan being thrown down from heaven in Rev 12:
Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 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. (Luke 11:14-32)
The above passage from the Gospel of Luke fits perfectly with the chronology of eschatological events laid out in the Apocalypse. When the crowds ask Jesus for a "sign from heaven", he responds by stating that the fact that he is able to cast out demons means that the Kingdom of God has already been established in their midst, and that the "strong man" has been bound to enable Christ to plunder his goods. Christ goes on to allude to the unbinding of Satan at the end of the millennium, when he states that the evil spirit who has been cast out returns with seven other spirits more evil than itself, leading to a state of affairs that are even worse than before. The seven evil spirits accompanied by an eighth refers to the rise of the Beast with seven heads from the sea, with the beast itself forming an eighth "king" who rises from the bottomless pit at the end of the thousand years:
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. (Rev 17:8)
As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. (Rev 17:11)
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. (Revelation 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)
As I have argued at length elsewhere, the "little while" of Satan during his unbinding at the end of the millennium to gather the nations of the world for war is the same as the 100 years of Satan's greater power in the Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, and began at the turn of the 20th century. The fact that the 1999 solar eclipse took place precisely at the end of this 100 year period, after Pope Leo's consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899, suggests that the casting out of Satan from heaven by the Archangel Michael, described in Rev 12 during the struggle of the Woman Adorned with Sun against the Dragon, occurred during the turn of the millennium. This also appears to be alluded to in the account in Luke, when a woman in the crowd interjects with an exclamation which contains the kernel of the Ave Maria: "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!":
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. (Rev 12:1)
It is at this point that Jesus informs those present asking for a "sign from heaven" that they would instead be given the "sign of Jonah". It is perhaps of some significance here then that the total solar eclipse of 1999 took place at the dawn of the third millennium after the birth of Christ, which appears to be symbolized by Jonah spending three days in the belly of the "great fish" - which represents the rise of Leviathan as the seven headed beast of the Apocalypse:
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.
And of course according to St. Peter, a thousand years is the equivalent of a day in the eyes of God, who wishes for all to attain repentance during the Second Pentecost:
But 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 Pet 3:8-9)
Whatever the case may be, these recent reports of the Blessed Virgin Mary near the site of ancient Nineveh, in the hometown of the Prophet Nahum (who prophesied that the destruction of this city would be a sign of the future conversion of Israel), suggests that the significance of the events at the turn of the millennium has ongoing repercussions that are still felt today, and will have a profound impact on the future.
At the beginning of January, the Daily Mail had reported that ISIS were threatening to destroy the historic 2,700 year-old city walls and gates of ancient Nineveh (one of the most important archaeological sites in Iraq), if the Iraqi army attacked the city (see here). These are the very walls and gates of ancient Nineveh that the prophets Nahum and Jonah would have laid their eyes on as they entered the city.
The Adad Gate in Ancient Nineveh
The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies; fire has consumed the bars of your gates. (Nahum 3:13)