Monday, 21 August 2017

Elul and the 40 Days of Repentance

Vision of St. Benedict, by Cosmas Damian Asam Bavarian (1735). This painting is thought to have been based on the total solar eclipse of 13th May, 1733.

Today, the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, marks the occasion of the Great American Eclipse of 2017. As long time readers of this blog will know, for the past several years, I have associated the sign of Jonah spoken of by Christ with the advent of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh - specifically with that which occurred on 11th August 1999, at the turn of the third millennium. In the first edition of my book, published in 2011, I argued that this event, together with the Izmit earthquake which occurred a few dates later on 17th August 1999, the peak of the 33-year cycle of the Leonid Meteor Storm in November 1999, and the first blood moon of the new millennium on 21st January 2000, all formed the sequence of events described at the opening of the sixth seal:

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. (Rev 6:12-13)

The 1999 solar eclipse also passed directly through the site of ancient Nineveh, at the dawn of the third millennium. This echoes the "three days" aspect of the sign of Jonah, following the thousand year/day equation made in 2Pet 3:8-9:

"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."

The 1999 solar eclipse also was followed by each of the other signs mentioned at the opening of the sixth seal, and concluded with the events of 9/11 (the "blood, fire and columns of smoke" mentioned in Joel 2:30). So the last solar eclipse to pass through Nineveh was part of a sequence of heavenly signs which augured the chastisement of America.

The hypothesis which I originally presented concerning the sign of Jonah and a potential connection to the Great American Eclipse of 2017 in a blog post published on 4th November, 2016 (see here). My sign of Jonah/Bur Sagale eclipse/First World War eclipse observation has now went viral, thanks to its widespread proliferation by several extremely popular Protestant end-times preachers, most notably Pastor Mark Biltz. The core argument I presented in this post was that the original sign of Jonah took the form of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh, how this ties in with the First World War eclipse on 21st August, 1914, and how this appears to announce a 40-day period of repentance associated with the Great American Eclipse of 2017. At the time, I was unaware of a connection between the 40-day period of repentance in Jewish tradition beginning in the Hebrew month of Elul.

It seems that Pastor Mark Biltz had picked up my article after it was circulated to tens of thousands of readers by Michael H Brown's website Spirit Daily, and a few weeks later, he issued a video presentation incorporating my ideas on the Bur Sagale eclipse and how this ties in with the First World War eclipse over Nineveh into his material on the 40-day period of repentance beginning in Elul. Somewhat frustratingly, either through negligence or for some other motivation, Pastor Mark Biltz has to date not divulged to his audience that I am the source of the idea concerning the connection between the Bur Sagale, WWI and American eclipses. I have fully documented how I made these discoveries throughout this blog throughout the course of many years. In fact, the way in which I made these discoveries was covered in the comments section of my early blog post Signs in the Sky (which, I now note in retrospect was published on 15th August 2011 - the Solemnity of the Assumption and the start of St. Michael's Lent).

I hold no animosity towards Pastor Biltz for not revealing the source of his ideas on the Sign of Jonah/Great American Eclipse equation. Indeed, I must thank him. For now my ideas concerning the Bur Sagale eclipse, the First World War eclipse and the sign of Jonah has reached an audience of potentially millions. For example, the below video by Pastor Steve Cioccolanti has been publically endorsed by Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Lotz Graham, and has racked up almost 1,000,000 views since it was issued three weeks ago.

This video summarizes my theories concerning the sign of Jonah. My primary concern is that the people of American recognize the need to repent at this exact moment in time in relation to this solar eclipse - a message which is now being spread to a number I could have never hoped to have achieved by myself. So thank you, Pastor Biltz, for doing all the legwork for me.

Below is another post from two years ago which also discusses the significance of the sign of Jonah in relation to the 1999 solar eclipse, tied into the appearance of an alleged apparition which took place at the site of Alqosh in Iraq on Jan 21st, 2015 (the feast day of Our Lady of Zion and anniversary of the first blood moon of the new millennium, which took place in the midst of the blood moon tetrad sequence discovered by Pastor Biltz himself). This was the hometown of the Prophet Nahum, who also foretold the destruction of Nineveh.

The Recent Marian Apparitions in Northern Iraq and the Sign of Jonah

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: 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.
(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.