Friday, 11 August 2017

The Great American Eclispe and the Sign of Jonah



Now that the appearance of the Great American Eclipse is upon us, I thought it would be worth condensing all the relevant material I have written on this subject over the past year into a single post. This will allow new readers a quick catch-up, but should also be worth recapping for those who have already read the previous posts, since it will be interspersed with some important new material.

I have previously argued that this impending total solar eclipse appears to be part of a wider sequences of eclipses associated with the Sign of Jonah mentioned by Christ in relation to the binding of the "strong man", which in turn is closely connected to the period of the unbinding of Satan foretold in Rev 20:1-10 and the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII. This series of eclipses is primarily concentrated on the site of ancient Nineveh, in Mosul, modern Iraq - the city the Prophet Jonah was sent to warn of an impending chastisement. The beginning of the First World War, which many Catholics believe augured the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power foreseen by Pope Leo XIII, was marked by a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh on the exact same date as the forthcoming eclipse, on 21st August, 1914 - the feast day of Our Lady of Knock.

The vision of Pope Leo XIII is itself primarily based on the trials of Job described in the Old Testament, in which Satan was allowed to test the faith of God's servant. It is therefore interesting to note that Job's initial response to Satan's period of testing is couched in language highly reminiscent of a solar eclipse, and the symbolism of the birth of a "man-child" mentioned by Job here ties us into the significance of the Rev 12 sign on Sept 23rd, 2017. Here, Job curses the day he was born, wishing for the daylight to be enveloped in darkness, and calls for the rising up of Leviathan from the abyss (an event which Rev 20:7 tells us will take place at the end of the "thousand years"):

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. Job said: “Let the day perish in which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man-child is conceived.’ Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, or light shine on it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds settle upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. That night—let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. Yes, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry be heard in it. Let those curse it who curse the Sea, those who are skilled to rouse up Leviathan. Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none; may it not see the eyelids of the morning—because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, and hide trouble from my eyes. “Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? (Job 3:1-11)

There are a number of striking parallels here to Rev 12, wherein the seven-headed beast that rises up from the abyss seeks to devour the male-child as soon as he is born. So it appears that Job's lament provides us with an interpretative key to understanding the symbolism of Rev 12 in relation to the period of Satan's testing of the Church at the end of the Millennium of Rev 20 - which Pope Leo XIII envisaged as a century of the Devil's greater power beginning at the dawn of the 20th century.

As I detail in the new edition of my book, Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, some theologians have speculated that the inhabitants of Nineveh were so receptive to Jonah's message of doom because of a total solar eclipse that 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-Sagale 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. 

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 have occurred during the reign of Ashur-Dan III, it has prompted many theologians to suggest that the occurrence of the Bur-Sagale 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.

Given the possibility that the repentance of the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah can be attributed to the Bur-Sagale 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 (see my earlier post on this subject Our Lady of Knock and the Opening of the Sealed Book).

An illustration depicting the World War One Eclipse unfolding over war-torn Europe, shown in a contemporary issue of The Graphic


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)

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, accompanied by several other events which fit the description of the signs in Heaven mentioned throughout Scripture. 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.

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)

33 days 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 a convergence of the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur with the date of Michaelmas on 29th September, 2017, gives us further pause for thought, recalling 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. (Jon 3:4-5)

It has been noted by Pastor Mark Biltz that this solar eclipse is timed to coincide with a 40-day countdown in Jewish tradition, pointing to the significance of the feast of Yom Kippur, which is preceded by a 40-day period of prayer and fasting in the month of Elul. According to Jewish tradition, the month of Elul marks a 40-day period of repentance before the feast of Yom Kippur, and was the time during which Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai after the incident of the Golden Calf, in order to prepare for the reception of the second set of tablets containing the Decalogue. This year, Yom Kippur coincides with the date of Michaelmas on Sept 29th, which is also preceded by a separate 40-day period of fasting kept in Catholic tradition known as “St. Michael’s Lent”. Indeed, it was while keeping this tradition on Mt. Alverna that St. Francis of Assisi received his stigmata. So these two separate traditions concerning a 40-day period of penance each appear to be related to the significance of the Great American Eclipse forty days earlier, and echo the words of the Prophet Jonah himself: “Forty more days, and Nineveh will be overthrown”. (Jon 3).

The fact that the convergence of these 40-day periods of penance occurs so near the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun invites us to seek meaning for this coincidence within the text of the Third Secret of Fatima itself. When we do so, we find that the vision of the Third Secret is framed around the sprinkling of the blood sacrifice made by the Jewish High Priest on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, which took place once a year on the feast of Yom Kippur.

And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins.
(Lev 16:14-16)

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!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Tuy-3-1-1944.
(The Third Secret of Fatima)

Although he is not explicitly named, the Archangel Michael figures prominently in the Third Secret as the angel who threatens to strike the earth with his flaming sword, issuing the threefold cry of “Penance, penance, penance”. Could this call to repentance point to the convergence of these separate 40-day periods of penance before the feast of St. Michael on the very centenary of the apparitions at Fatima itself? The fact that these periods of penance immediately follow a solar eclipse patterned after the original “sign of Jonah”, warning of the chastisement of Nineveh in forty days gives us pause for thought. A warning which now seems only too real, with the recent ramping up in tensions between America and North Korea. However, there is room for real optimism in a point of comparison between the Third Secret and the story of the repentance of the Ninevites, as we are told that the hand of the angel with the flaming sword is stayed by the rays which emanate from the hands of Our Lady, in order to allow for a period of penance, which must take place before the unfolding of the via Crucis of the Church. 

Is this the period of penance foretold in the Third Secret? It is difficult to know for sure, but the fact that these convergences are occurring on the centenary of Fatima certainly warrants our attention, and our prayers. Just as God promised to Abraham that He would spare Sodom if even a tiny fraction of its inhabitants were found to be righteous, the Third Secret appears to be telling us that the Heavenly Father is willing to act with such a similar gesture of Mercy, so long as the need to repent is recognized by the righteous few. As to what course of action we can take, Fr. Richard Heilman is spearheading a 54-day Novena starting on the Solemnity of the Assumption, 15th August, 2017 - the start of St. Michael's Lent, lasting through to the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun itself on 13th October, 2017 (for more details see his post Striking Phenomena during this Centennial Year of Fatima). This seems to be as good a place as any to start our means of reparation. 


Thursday, 13 July 2017

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



The Stigmatization of St. Francis of Assisi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Blood Moons Pastor Speaks on Nineveh Eclipses Theory



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




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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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