Thursday 29 December 2011

The False Prophet?

 ...and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them...(Dan 7:20-21)

The False Prophet is one of the primary antagonists of the Book of Revelation, and alongside the Dragon and Beast, forms part of the "unholy trinity" - the antithesis of the Triune Godhead presented throughout the Apocalypse as the One seated on the Throne, the Lamb and the Seven-fold Spirit. The False Prophet is depicted as anti-Elijah type figure who paves the way for the coming of the Beast/Antichrist to "make his paths straight". Although the storyline cycle concerning the appearance of the Beast/Antichrist precedes the narrative concerning the False Prophet, this should be considered as for thematic reasons rather than a proper chronological ordering. The Beast is introduced first to highlight his prominence amongst the persons of the unholy trinity.
There are many other indicators in both public Revelation and private revelations which suggest that the False Prophet is a precursor to the Antichrist. If we begin by looking at the Bible, the fact that the role of the False Prophet deliberately echoes characteristics of the prophet Elijah - such as calling fire down from heaven (see 2Kings 1), suggests that just as Elijah prepares the way for the coming of the Messiah, so too would the False Prophet, or "anti-Elijah", prepare the way for the coming of the Antichrist.
The beast from the sea and the beast from the land described in the Apocalypse (who represent the Antichrist and False Prophet respectively) are modelled on the Old Testament mythological creatures Leviathan and Behemoth. But the imagery of the beast from the land/False Prophet in Revelation also contains an allusion to the narrative of the Ram and He-goat in Dan 8, which tells of the rise of the "Little Horn" that would persecute the people of God. If we compare both passages side-by-side below, we can see that the Book of Revelation's depiction of the land beast is derived from this section of Daniel:

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. (Rev 13:11-15)

 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
 As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
 Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. (Dan 8:1-11)

In a style typical of the Apocalypse, the source material in the Old Testament is given a new twist, and the figures of the Ram and He-goat are combined into the person of the land beast/False Prophet, who has two horns like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. Daniel's parable of the Ram and He-goat undoubtedly originally referred to the rise of Alexander the Great and the divsion of his empire at his death. As such, the "Little Horn" described here represents Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who subjected the Jewish people to a fierce bout of persecution before the Maccabean revolt.
The Apocalypse uses this template of historical events to build upon its portrayal of the False Prophet - the end-time figure who precedes the Antichrist and constructs an image resembling the reality of the seven-headed and ten-horned sea-beast which is still to come.
In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that the image fashioned by the False Prophet in honour of the beast from the sea is to be identified with the beast with ten horns described in Dan 7 - from which arises the Little Horn who persecutes the people of God before their kingdom is restored to them. I go on to further suggest that the False Prophet of the Book of Revelation is one and the same person as the Little Horn of Dan 7-8. So just as the Antichrist is prefigured in the Roman emperor Nero - the first persecutor of Christians (hence the equation of the number 666 with his name), so too is the False Prophet prefigured in Antiochus IV Epiphanes - the ultimate persecutor of Jews in antiquity.
As I argued in the previous post Daniel and the Jewish Restoration, this particular portion of the Book of Daniel appears to have been a prediction of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, after the Holocaust claimed the lives of almost six million Jews.

“Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’
(Dan 7:19-27)

The only end-time restoration of a kingdom belonging to the people of God after a period of persecution this passage could refer to is the long prophesied revival of the land of Israel. This interpretation would thus then make Adolf Hitler the Little Horn of the Book of Daniel and the False Prophet of Revelation, who is modelled after Antiochus Epiphanes - the ultimate persecutor of Jews in antiquity.
The prophecies of Our Lady of La Salette also suggest that Hitler is the forerunner of the Antichrist described in Scripture. The later versions of the secret mention a forerunner to the Antichrist:

"A forerunner of the Antichrist, with his troops gathered from several nations, will fight against the true Christ, the only Savior of the world. He will shed much blood and will want to annihilate the worship of God to make himself be looked upon as a God." (1879 version)

The original secrets of La Salette unearthed from the Vatican archives in 1999 also refers to the coming of an Antichrist type figure no later than 100 years from when the visions were first received by Melanie and Maximin in 1846 - which at the very latest then would take us to the year 1945 - the year Hitler claimed his own life:

That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.
(See the earlier post Our Lady of La Salette)

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich also predicted the date of the Second World War, and related it to events described in the Apocalypse:

In the centre of Hell I saw a dark and horrible-looking abyss, and into this Lucifer was cast, after being first strongly secured with chains; thick clouds of sulphurous black smoke arose from its fearful depths, and enveloped his frightful form in the dismal folds, thus effectually concealing him from every beholder. God himself had decreed this; and I was likewise told, if I remember rightly that he will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000. The dates of many other events were pointed out to me which I do not now remember; but a certain number of demons are to be let loose much earlier than Lucifer, in order to tempt men, and to serve as instruments of the divine vengeance. I should think that some must be loosened even in the present day, and others will be set free in a short time.

And of course 60 years before the year 2000 takes us to the year 1940 - the beginning of the Second World War. Some commentators see parallels between this prediction and the Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII. But while the prophecy of Pope Leo focuses on the increase of Satan's power during a set period of time, it seems that Blessed Emmerich's primary concern is dating the outbreak of the Second World War - which may be considered to be the apex of Satan's power in the 100 years allotted to him. The above prophecy of Blessed Emmerich also echoes the rise of the locusts from the Abyss described in Rev 9 - which I have earlier argued was fulfilled in the invention of military aircraft at the turn of the 20th century (see The Apocalyptic Locusts).

The Second Secret of Fatima also appeared to link the Second World War with apocalyptic events:

The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

The Second Secret here refers to the unusual aurora borealis which was visible throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere - an occurrence which took place just before the outbreak of the war. Many viewed this event as an omen warning of the horrors to come. In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that the World Wars of the 20th century were the "wars and rumours of wars" which Jesus foretold would take place before his Second Coming:

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
(Matt 24:6-8)

If Hitler is to be equated with the False Prophet/Little Horn, then the ten horns of Daniel's beast would thus refer to the ten nations of the Axis Powers during the Second World War - Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Croatia and Thailand. And if we are to accept this interpretation, it gives us a key to unlock the meaning behind many other portions of the Book of Revelation - such as the meaning of the Four Horsemen, and how both the Apocalypse and the Book of Daniel appear to have foretold the Jewish Holocaust (which I will discuss in future posts).
At the same moment the False Prophet was coming to power as the most influential person on the planet in January 1933, Our Lady was appearing at Beauraing in the very same month to the humblest of individuals - poor European children of no influence whatsoever who would be greatly affected by the war.
Just as the False Prophet is modelled after Antiochus IV Ephiphanes, so it seems that the Antichrist is be modelled after the most notorious persecutor of Christians - the Emperor Nero. Does this suggest that there will be a future persecution of Christians still to come under the Antichrist? A persecution similar in nature to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust? Or are we already enduring an invisible persecution in the present Great Apostasy - a persecution which seeks to destroy our souls rather than our physical bodies? The present situation is vastly more destructive to the Christian faith than any physical act of persecution could ever hope to accomplish. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. But when the persecution of Christianity takes place invisibly, through social engineering via the medium of modern communications technology, then it becomes a lot more insidious indeed.

Friday 23 December 2011

Mega-tsunami Prophecies in the Book of Ezekiel?

The prophet Ezekiel, by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel

As we have already partially discussed in a previous post, the Book of Ezekiel also appears to predict the destruction of a kingdom by massive coastal flooding at the end-time. But there is another passage in Ezekiel which specifically links this event with the battle of Armageddon. Before we go on to discuss the important passage which connects the eschatological earthquake and collapse of mountains with the battle of Armageddon, we'll first recap the other material in the Book of Ezek which prophesies this event - specifically Ezek 26 and the announcement of the destruction of Tyre - a passage which is closely connected to the description of the fall of Babylon in the Book of Revelation:

...therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. They shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers, and I will scrape her soil from her and make her a bare rock. She shall be in the midst of the sea a place for the spreading of nets, for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD...
(Ezek 26:3-6)

And they will raise a lamentation over you and say to you,“‘How you have perished, you who were inhabited from the seas, O city renowned, who was mighty on the sea; she and her inhabitants imposed their terror on all her inhabitants! Now the coastlands tremble on the day of your fall, and the coastlands that are on the sea are dismayed at your passing.’
“For thus says the Lord GOD: When I make you a city laid waste, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I bring up the deep over you, and the great waters cover you, then I will make you go down with those who go down to the pit, to the people of old, and I will make you to dwell in the world below, among ruins from of old, with those who go down to the pit, so that you will not be inhabited; but I will set beauty in the land of the living. I will bring you to a dreadful end, and you shall be no more. Though you be sought for, you will never be found again, declares the Lord GOD.”
(Ezek 26:17-21)

This passage in the Book of Ezekiel is often highlighted by critical scholars as a prime example of a "failed prophecy", since Tyre withstood the seige laid against it by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in the 6th century BC - which ended in a comprimise. However the fact that Rev 18 bases much of its details concerning the fall of Babylon on this portion of Ezekiel suggests that it has a futurist layer of interpretation:

And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more...
(Rev 18:19-21)

Could Ezekiel's prophecy of the destruction of Tyre in the sea have been based on an eschatological vision of the devastation of a future nation, which the prophet symbolically saw as a nation in his own day? The same nation St. John refers to as "Babylon" in the Book of Revelation? The prophet Ezekiel used metaphorical language to describe Nebuchadnezzar's sack of Tyre, comparing the attacking armies to tidal waves engulfing the city, which was an important port on the Mediterranean trade routes. Is it possible that this metaphor looks beyond the immediate context of the seige of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar (which ended peaceably) to the future destruction of a nation by the sea in the eschatological age? The use of the typology of Ezek 26 by the Book of Revelation certainly suggests that this is the case. The Bible often gives cities symbolic names in order make an association with shared thematic properties. For example the name of the city in which the Two Witnesses of Rev 11 are martyred is symbolically referred to as "Egypt" and "Sodom", because God caused a hail of fire to rain down on both of these locations:

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

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and beast and every plant of the field, in the land of Egypt.” Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail.
(Exod 9:22-26)

 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
(Gen 19:24-28)

Compare the above passages with the description of gathering of the forces of Gog and Magog around "the camp of the saints and the beloved city" in Rev 20, which are also destroyed by fire falling from the sky:

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

The above attack of "the beloved city" by Gog and Magog is a direct allusion to Ezek 38-39, and recapitulates the battle of Armageddon described in Rev 16:14-16 and 19:19. This passage would then correspond to the place "where their Lord was crucified" in Rev 11:8 above.

Jesus' words concerning the punishment of Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment also refers to the above passage in Ezekiel concerning the destruction of Tyre by the sea. Interestingly, it is coupled here with the end-time punishment of Sodom:

Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”
(Matt 11:20-24)

We can find a passage closely related to Ezekiel's pronouncement of judgment upon Tyre in chapter 23 of the Book of Isaiah, which also issues an oracle prophesying the destruction of Tyre and Sidon. And again we find the a metaphor of the sea coming against this maritime city, which is listed amongst the strongholds of Canaan:

He has stretched out his hand over the sea; he has shaken the kingdoms; the LORD has given command concerning Canaan to destroy its strongholds.  (Isa 23:11)

The Book of Revelation also draws inspiration from this oracle against Tyre in Isaiah for its depiction of the whore of Babylon, and how the harlot-city will be repaid double for its sins:

In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: “Take a harp; go about the city, O forgotten prostitute! Make sweet melody; sing many songs, that you may be remembered.”
At the end of seventy years, the LORD will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.
 (Isa 23:15-17)

Compare this passage with the relevant portion of the Apocalypse below:

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. (Rev 18:4-6)

So the Book of Revelation  undoubtedly bases its portrayal of the whore of Babylon on the metaphorical destruction of Tyre in the sea described in Ezekiel and Isaiah.
Perhaps even more importantly however is a later passage in Ezekiel which directly connects the eschatological earthquake and the throwing down of mountains with the onslaught of the battle of Armageddon:

But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord GOD, my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord GOD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
(Ezek 38:18-23)

This passage helps to compliment its equivalent section in the Apocalypse, and gives a few additions which help to flesh out a fuller picture of this event:

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.
(Rev 16:17-21)

Whilst the Book of Revelation moves directly from the collapsing (or "fleeing") of mountains to the plague of hail and fire falling from the sky, the Book of Ezekiel gives us a further insight into this passage by showing that it is the battle of Armageddon - Gog and Magog, that will cause fire to come down from heaven to consume the enemies of God.

See also the related posts:
The Fall of Babylon
The Casting Down of Mountains

Tuesday 20 December 2011

The Two Towers and the Sixth Seal

"Opening of the Sixth Seal", by Francis Danby

The opening of the sixth seal of the Book of Revelation is one of the most symbolically laden sections of the entire book. It combines, concentrates and expands upon a number of themes which recur throughout the Apocalypse, and acts as the central hub for the eschatological astronomical phenomena that form such an  important part of the book.  As we shall see, this passage may also be of paramount importance in recent history. In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I note a curious statement from the current Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisco Bertone, which seems to connect the Third Secret of Fatima with the "signs in the sky" spoken of at the opening of the sixth seal of the Book of Revelation - I'll take a quote from the relevant part of the book below:

Upon returning from celebrating the funeral mass of Sr. Lucia in February 2005, Cardinal Bertone was asked about the interpretation of the Third Secret in the journal La Republica. As part of his response, he gave the following statement: "prophecy must always be interpreted: It is enough to think of the Apocalypse, of the signs in heaven. Have these perhaps not already been seen with the airplanes that toppled the Twin Towers?" [La Republica, 17th Feb, 2005: cited in Socci, A. The Fourth Secret of Fatima p119] 
It is highly unlikely that Cardinal Bertone would think that the "signs in heaven" spoken of in the Apocalypse would symbolise the plane attacks on 9/11 alone. As we have already seen, the "signs in heaven" described in the Book of Revelation are unmistakably astronomical in character, and would undoubtedly be recognised as such by an expert in theology. There is simply nothing in the Apocalypse that would even remotely describe the attacks on 9/11. Yet the timing of the events of 9/11 in the year 2001 are remarkably close to the "signs in heaven" we have already suggested occurred between the years 1999-2000. Could these musings of the Cardinal Secretary of State contain an insight into the content of the hidden part of the Third Secret?

If the Third Secret did openly explicate that the fall of Satan or struggle between the Dragon and the Woman adorned with the Sun would occur at the turn of the millennium, it would be extremely difficult to maintain that such an event had occurred without some form of physical evidence. And unless someone knew what kind of evidence they were looking for, it would be easy to overlook the astronomical and geophysical events which occurred around this time. It would therefore be natural to connect such phenomena with 9/11, which was undoubtedly the most significant event of that general time period. (Unveiling the Apocalypse pp190-191)

So why would the Vatican Secretary of State, effectively the second-in-command of the Roman Catholic Church, connect the Third Secret of Fatima with the sixth seal of the Book of Revelation and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre?
As I noted in my previous post Signs in the Sky, each of the signs of the eschatological astronomical phenomena described at the opening of the sixth seal in Rev 6 all occurred at the turn of the millennium. An earthquake centred on the site of ancient Asia Minor - the location of the seven churches to which the Book of Revelation is addressed, a total eclipse of the Sun, a total lunar eclipse causing the moon to turn blood red, a meteor storm which occurs once every 33 years, as well as a rare alignment of planets, all took place between the years 1999-2000.

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes". (Joel 2:30-31)

Since the Apocalypse tells us that the sealing of the saints takes place after the opening of the sixth seal, this implicitly suggests that the fulfillment of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast is also timed to occur in this same time period - which was specifically foretold by Fr Stefano Gobbi to be the era in which the mark of the Beast would be implemented (see the earlier posts The Mark of the Beast, and Fr Gobbi on the Mark of the Beast). The mark of the Beast is an antithetical parallelism of the sealing of the saints, and reflects on earth in microcosm the marcosmic events of the heavenly sphere.
Numerous prophecies, such as those of La Salette, and Pope Leo XIII, have also pointed to this date as either the moment of the coming of "a monster to disturb the peace", the coming of the Antichrist, or the time period of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - when the Woman adorned with the Sun would crush the head of the Serpent (see the earlier post Our Lady of Assuit). And when we look at the imagery of Rev 12 in more detail (the portion of the Apocalypse which describes Satan being cast to earth - see The Fall of Satan), we can see that it is in fact a dramatisation of the eschatological astronomical phenomena which occurs at the opening of the sixth seal.

It perhaps then not mere coincidence then that the most important and world-changing event of recent history also occurred in this same general time period - that of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. The reprecussions of the 9/11 attacks, and the divide they have created between the Western and Arab worlds, are deeply significant in the shaping of world politics today, and may yet have future implications which we cannot yet foresee.

For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the LORD of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.
(Isa 24:18-23)

If we compare the above passage in Isa 24 with the opening of the sixth seal in the Book of Revelation, we can see that they both refer to the same events. Isaiah mentions here an earthquake, and relates it to the punishment of the "host of heaven" - which is to be equated with the stars falling to earth in Rev 6, as well as the dragon sweeping a third of the stars from the sky in Rev 12. Importantly the Book of Isaiah also includes reference to phenomena which sounds similar to a solar and lunar eclipse: "the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed". Compare this with the opening of the sixth seal described in the Book of Revelation below:

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. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev 6:12-17)

There also appears to be some connections here to Isa 51, which refers to the stirring up of the sea - which could be another reference to the mega-tsunami threat:

I am the LORD your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar - the LORD of hosts is his name.
And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’
Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering.
(Isa 51:15-17)

And another mention of the earth "reeling from its place" is based on an oracle declaring judgment on Babylon given in Isa 13, which also contains reference to the eschatological battle:

The sound of a tumult is on the mountains as of a great multitude! The sound of an uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathering together! The LORD of hosts is mustering a host for battle. They come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, the LORD and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come! Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every human heart will melt. They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.
(Isa 13:4-13)

It is interesting to note that there is another portion of the Book of Isaiah related to this material which mentions "sealed books" and the collapse of "towers":

And the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed. When men give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” And when they give the book to one who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” he says, “I cannot read.”
(Isa 29:11-12)

Compare this with the opening of the seven seals in the Book of Revelation:

And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Rev 5:2-5)

Shortly after the passage in Isaiah mentioning the "sealed book", we are then given a passage which describes the collapse of towers together with other allusions to the events at the opening of the sixth seal:

And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the LORD binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;
his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire; his breath is like an overflowing stream
that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.
You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.
(Isa 30:25-30)

The Hebrew word for "towers" here is migdalim - the same word used for the description of the building of the tower of Babel in Gen 11.  Another passage in the Book of Isaiah connected with the sixth seal of Revelation (compare for example the shared themes of hiding in caves and holes) also mentions the bringing down of mountains and high towers on the Day of the Lord:

For the LORD of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up - and it shall be brought low; against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; against all the lofty mountains, and against all the uplifted hills; against every high tower, and against every fortified wall; against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft. And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. And the idols shall utterly pass away. And people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth. (Isa 2:12-19)

In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that the opening of the sixth seal occurred during the turn of the millennium, and was heralded by each of the astronomical signs described in Rev 6. Could the above material help to explain Cardinal Bertone's otherwise bizarre words concerning the "signs of heaven" described in the Apocalypse and his connection of them to the Twin Towers attacks when asked about the Third Secret?
As I note in the book, the fact that Sr. Lucia specifically linked the Third Secret to chapters 8-13 of the Book of Revelation suggests that there is more to the message of Fatima than has been revealed so far. Chapter 8 of the Book of Revelation is where we find reference to the "huge mountain, burning with fire" being thrown into the sea, which I have linked to the threat of a future mega-tsunami posed by the collapse of Cumbre Vieja (see the earlier post Mega-tsunami). Could this explain the words attributed to Pope John Paul II at the Fulda conference that the Third Secret describes the oceans rapidly covering vast sections of the earth, resulting in the deaths of millions? (See John Paul II - The Third Secret and a Prophecy of a Mega-tsunami?) And we should also take note that chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation solely concerns the mark of the Beast.
If the Third Secret does contain a reference to the "signs in heaven" spoken of in the Apocalypse, then it is possible that it also contains a specific date relating to the turn of the millennium, explaining why it has been suppressed since the 1960's (See The Fourth Secret of Fatima).
If the events of 9/11 are indeed related to the opening of the sixth seal of the Book of Revelation, did they act as a harbinger of future events to befall the USA? It seems that each of the astronomical phenomena that took place at the opening of the sixth seal are inextricably connected to the Second Coming of Christ, and will possibly reoccur around this particular moment - which will this time cause "mountains and islands to be removed from their places", setting in motion a chain of events which will see the downfall of the eschatological world empire known as "Babylon".

In the post The Third Secret of Fatima and the Angel with the Flaming Sword, I attempt to show some further connections between the secrets of Fatima and the events of 9/11.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Daniel and the Jewish Restoration

Moses viewing the Promised Land, by Fredric Edwin Church

The belief that the restoration of the modern State of Israel was prophesied in Scripture is well known. There are various passages throughout the Bible which necessitate the existence of the nation of Israel at the end-time. The Book of Ezekiel for example speaks of a gathering of the scattered peoples of Israel during the "latter years" - which is biblical parlance for the end-times.

After many days you will be mustered. In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. (Ezek 38:8)

Perhaps the most famous prophecy of the Jewish restoration is to be found in the Gospels. When Jesus cursed the fig-tree, it was understood to represent the Jewish nation in Palestine, which would wither away due to their rejection of Christ - the "stone that the builders rejected" (Pslam 118:22):

And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. (Matt 21:19)

After the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish revolt led by Simon Bar Kochba, Jerusalem was levelled by the Roman Empire and turned into the pagan city Aelia Capitolina. There would be no significant Jewish presence in the land of Palestine until the formation of the Zionist movement during the 19th century. Yet while Jesus cursed the fig tree, causing it to wither, he made a promise during his Olivet discourse that the fig tree would once again put forth its leaf before His Second Coming:

"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates". (Matt 24:32-33)

As I show in Unveiling the Apocalypse, there appears to be another prophecy of the Jewish restoration contained in the Book of Daniel:

"As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.'" (Dan 7:15-18)

Although there may be some preterist elements in this portion of the Book of Daniel, the primary focus of the narrative is undoubtedly set at the end-time. Like the Book of Revelation, Dan 7 shifts its settings between the Second Coming (the appearance of the apocalyptic "Son of Man"), the Last Judgment, and the restoration of a kingdom to "the saints of the Most High".
For the original author of the Book of Daniel, the "saints of the Most High" referred specifically to the Jewish people, and on one level this was a prediction of the victory of Judas Maccabus over the Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes, which once again gained independence for the Jews in the Holy Land. So on a futurist perspective, does this indicate that the "saints of the Most High" still refers to the Jewish people at the end-time? If so this would be yet another biblical prophecy of the end-time Jewish restoration, and would help give us a critical insight into a large portion of the Book of Daniel, helping us to identify some of its key figures - including the four beasts and the infamous Antichrist-type figure known as the "Little Horn". As we shall discuss in a future post, there are many similarities between this figure and the "False Prophet" of the Book of Revelation, which suggests that they refer to one and the same individual.
So the existence of the modern State of Israel, which came into being in 1948 (exactly 1,260 years after construction began on the Dome of the Rock - see my earlier post The Abomination of Desolation) appears to be in some way preordained. It is certainly one of the most destabilising elements in current world politics, with the present tensions between the Arab and Western worlds revolving chiefly around the Israeli problem. Like the mythical phoenix, this once defunct nation has risen from the ashes of the Holocaust in a flame of fire - a fire which threatens to consume the planet.
The Bible tells us that the last great battle fought by humankind will be fought in Israel on the plains of Megiddo and the valley of Jehoshapat (which means "God judges") - the location of Armageddon. A future invasion of Israel by the surrounding Arab nations which would become almost inevitable without the protection offered by its chief ally - the United States of America. If America was toppled from its superpower status by the devastating effects of a mega-tsunami, Israel, and the rest of the world, would find itself in a dire situation indeed.

Monday 5 December 2011

Our Lady of Light and the Apocalyptic Nativity

During the season of Advent, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect some more on the significance of the apparitions of Our Lady in Egypt (affectionately known to believers as Our Lady of Light), and their remarkable paralells to the vision of the Woman adorned with the Sun described in the Book of Revelation. Despite being witnessed on an unprecedented scale by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of individuals, these apparitions have been widely overlooked by the Western media, and indeed by many Catholics. The apparitions of Our Lady of Light, which have occurred from April 1968 to the present (the most recent of which being in October 2011 - see my earlier post Our Lady Appears in Egypt Again) are the only known precedent of the category of visions known in Catholic theology as visio sensibilis (an actual physical manifestation) to be witnessed on such an extraordinary scale. (You can find many excellent articles detailing these apparitions at the Zeitoun website, Miracle Hunter, and Medjugorje USA, amongst others).
The only other Marian apparition witnessed on a comparable scale is that of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, which again is to be differentiated from those of Our Lady of Light in the fact that the Virgin  Mary could only be seen by the three shepherd children. Instead of receiving visions of Our Lady, the crowds at Fatima witnessed the Sun spinning and dancing in the sky at the Cova de Iria .The Miracle of the Sun itself may have been a combination of unusual weather phenomena with the visio imaginativa class of vision (which whilst fully visible to the seer, these apparitions are perceived only through the mind's eye), since there was a small minority of people who could not see what the rest of the crowd were experiencing.  We must also keep in mind that the numbers of those who have witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady of Light far outweigh the estimated 70,000 people present during the Miracle of the Sun.
Despite being officially recognised as authentic by the local Cardinal Patriarch, the fact that Our Lady chose to appear over Coptic churches in Egypt, rather than Catholic churches elsewhere in the world has baffled some commentators, and can perhaps explain the lack of adequate devotion to these apparitions amongst Catholics.  It seems that many have failed to recognise the true significance of these apparitions lies above all in their timing and location. The Virgin Mary chose to appear over Coptic churches for two very simple reasons - firstly because she is re-tracing the steps of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt (and the vast majority of churches in Egypt are Coptic, especially those in locations associated with the sojourn of the Holy Family), and secondly, that despite not being in full communion with Rome, they show that Our Lady has deep love and respect for the Coptic Church, which like the rest of Oriental Orthodoxy, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Church, offers a great devotion to her.
While some have recognised that Our Lady is in some way re-enacting the journey of the Holy Family during their flight into Egypt, none (to my knowledge) have went on to ponder the primary reason for their escape into the Egyptian wilderness and attempt to re-apply the same conditions to a modern context; or compare them with the account of Woman adorned with the Sun given in Rev 12 - which is basically the story of the nativity seen through an apocalyptic lens. 
The main and indeed only reason that the Holy Family fled into Egypt, was to escape from King Herod, who in an attempt to quash any potential Messianic usurpers to his throne, had ordered the massacre of any infants in the vicinity of Bethlehem under two years of age:

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.
(Matt 2:13-21)

If we compare the above passage in the Gospel of Matthew with the account of the Woman adorned with the Sun in Rev 12, we can see that this portion of the Book of Revelation is an apocalyptic version of the story of the nativity:

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

This portion of the Apocalypse is recapitulated again after a brief interlude describing the "War in Heaven" between the archangel Michael and Satan, who is cast from the heavenly throne room to earth:

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. (Rev 12:13-17)

The equation of the Woman adorned with the Sun with the Virgin Mary is a long standing tradition in the Catholic Church, as is attested by the various icons (such as Our Lady of Guadalupe) which depict her as arrayed with the radiance of the Sun, a crown of stars, and with a cresent moon at her feet. This asssociation has recently been re-affirmed by Pope Benedict XVI during his address honouring Our Lady at the feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8th December 2011 (see here).

The Crescent Moon under the feet of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The "horns" of this crescent shape most likely represent Satan, who positions himself at Our Lady's feet in an attempt to devour her offspring. But ultimately Our Lady is the one who crushes the Serpent's head. The word Guadalupe is thought to be taken from the Aztec Nahuatl word Coatlaxopeuh (pronounced "quatlachupe") which means "the one who crushes the serpent".

The seven-headed dragon which positions itself at the woman's feet, ready to devour her child upon birth represents Herod's intentions to destroy the Child Jesus after his birth in Bethlehem. Herod's attempt to kill Our Lord at birth is also hinted at again later in the chapter, when the serpent pours out flood waters to sweep away the Woman and Child. To escape from this threat the Woman is given the "two wings of the great eagle" and escapes into the wilderness for a "time, times and half a time", or three and a half years - which according to Coptic tradition is exactly the length of time the Holy Family sojourned in Egypt. According to this tradition, after the Holy Family reached Assiut (the location of the apparitions in the year 2000), they turned back to re-trace their journey in the Egyptian wilderness, and when they reached Gabal Dranka (the location of the apparitons during the year 2001) Joseph recieved his dream telling them to go back to the land of Israel. This has led many commentators to suggest  that the year 2000 was the turning point of this re-enactment of the flight into Egypt, with the apparitions now making the homeward journey.

The backdrop of Egypt is doubly significant, as this is the location of the original "slaughter of the innocents" as recounted in the Book of Exodus, which acts as a precusor to Herod's massacre of the infants of Bethlehem:

 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land...”

 ...Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.” (Exod 1:8-10; 22)

And then again later in the Book of Exodus, we are told how the angel of death, or "Destroyer" as he is called in the original Hebrew (which recalls the Destroyer - "Apolloyon" or "Abaddon" of Rev 9), kills the Egyptian firstborn:

 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you...
(Exod 12:21-23)

 ...At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. (Exod 12:29-30)

It is also interesting to note that the Greek word used for "place" in Rev 12 - topos, is used elsewhere in the New Testament with the meaning of "temple" or "sanctuary". So the passage in Rev 12 could also be translated as "But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the temple where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time" - a translation which certainly evokes imagery of the apparitions of Our Lady of Light, which to date have almost exclusively occurred over church buildings.

So once we have determined that the primary reason for the the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt was the "slaughter of the innocents", we can see that this heavenly re-enactment of the nativity was to announce to the world that it was about to partake in a modern day "slaughter of the innocents". I will post a quote from my book Unveiling the Apocalypse on this subject below:

Just as the original flight of the Holy Family into Egypt was necessitated by an act of mass infanticide, these apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Egypt began to appear amidst the backdrop of what was the beginning of the greatest act of infanticide the world has ever known – the legalisation of abortion. The year in which the apparitions in Zeitoun first occurred was a pivotal moment in process behind the legalisation of abortion. The Abortion Act in the UK came into effect during April 1968, the same month the apparitions began to take place. This year also saw President Lyndon Johnson's Committee on The Status of Women publishing a report calling for a repeal of all abortion laws in the US. The implementation of the UK Abortion Act was the major turning point in international abortion law, and was soon to be followed by a host of other nations. By mid-1969 ten US states had loosened their abortion laws, including Colorado, North Carolina, California, Georgia, Maryland, Arkansas, Kansas, Delaware, Oregon and New Mexico. Abortion on demand was eventually established after the US Supreme Court deemed individual state bans on abortion to be unconstitutional following the Roe v Wade case in 1973.
In France, women seeking an abortion began to travel to the UK to have the procedure after the Abortion Act came into effect in 1968. The relative ease of travelling to the UK to procure an abortion would lead to France revising its own abortion laws, and abortion was finally legalised in France in 1975.
Therefore the appearances of the Virgin Mary in Egypt occurred at the exact moment the floodgates in abortion law had been opened. Was this a heavenly response to the blood of millions of innocents crying from the ground? (Unveiling the Apocalypse

Marian apparition often occur before periods of great upheaval. Perhaps most famously, Our Lady appeared at Fatima just before the rise of communist Russia - with the miracle of the Sun on the 13th October 1917 directly coinciding with the October Revolution which saw the Bolsheviks rise to power within a month. The other Church approved apparition at Beauraing and Banneux, in Belgium during the years 1932 and 1933 respectively appeared just before the rise to power of Hitler, who was made chancellor of Germany on 30th January 1933 - the same month when the first apparitions at Banneux occurred on the 15th. The apparitions at Kibeho, Rwanda, between 1981-1989 prophesied the Rwandian genocide, which was to claim the lives of an estimated 800,000 people in 1994, including one of the visionaries - Marie Claire. While the significance of the apparitions at Zeitoun are thought by some to be related to the Six Day War of 1967, it is much more likely to concern the legalisation of abortion, given the above background context. The fact that the Six Day War took place before these apparitions would also indicate that the Zeitoun apparitions were not related to this event, since all the other apparitions appeared before the events occurred. Our Lady first began to appear at Zeitoun on 2nd April 1968, and the UK Abortion Act was brought into effect just weeks later on 27th April.
Now that the apparitions of Our Lady of Light are in the process of making the return journey, we are left to reflect upon Matthew's quote of Hosea 11:1: "Out of Egypt I called my Son". During the season of Advent, the Church looks not only to the first coming of Christ, but it also focuses on His Second Coming. The birth-pangs of the Woman adorned with the Sun indicates that the Second Advent is near. Could these apparitions, which appear to be the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy of the Woman adorned with the Sun, signal that God is calling his Son out of Egypt to return to His earthly homeland?

See also the related posts:

Our Lady of Egypt
Our Lady of Assiut
The Woman Adorned with the Sun
The Fall of Satan
The Year of the Dragon
Signs in the Sky

Friday 2 December 2011

The Eschatological Earthquake (Part II)

As we have already discussed previously, there are numerous links throughout Scripture with the Second Coming, eschatologlical earthquake and the destruction of the eschatological empire referred to as "Babylon". These various connections appear to indicate that this earthquake is in some way responsible for the downfall of "Babylon" - the ruling world power at the end-time (see the earlier post on The Eschatological Earthquake), which in turn leads us to question how this could be possible.  As I have argued before throughout this blog and in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: Prophecy in Catholic Tradition, the Bible repeatedly states that the this "empire" will be destroyed by a burning mountain being thrown into the sea (see the earlier post The Casting Down of Mountains for a comprehensive list of Scripture passages connected to this event). The volcano Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands presents just such a threat to the east coast of the Americas, which scientists warn could collapse into the Atlantic during its next eruption, producing a "mega-tsunami" that will obliterate the various cities of the eastern seaboard (see Mega-tsunami). But what possible association could there be between this eschatological earthquake and the eruption of Cumbre Vieja? 
Recently, the combined research of various geophysicists around the world has shown that large earthquakes can trigger volcanic eruptions: 

Scientists using NASA satellite data have found strong evidence that a major earthquake can lead to a nearly immediate increase in regional volcanic activity. The intensity of two ongoing volcanic eruptions on Indonesia's Java Island increased sharply three days following a powerful, 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the island in May 2006. The increased volcanic activity persisted for about nine days. 
"During this period, we found clear evidence that the earthquake caused both volcanoes to release greater amounts of heat, and lava emission surged to two to three times higher than prior to the tremor," said study lead author Andrew Harris, University of Hawaii, Honolulu. The research was recently published in the American Geophysical Union's Geophysical Research Letters.
While scientists have long debated whether earthquakes can trigger new volcanic eruptions, this study linked an earthquake to enhanced volcanic activity at two ongoing eruptions that were being closely monitored by satellite-based sensors on a daily basis.
ScienceDaily (Apr. 10, 2007)

Volcanic activity in the Canary Islands is affected by the movement of the African tectonic plate, and it is thought that a smaller fault line runs through the islands, which act as a vent during times of major seismic activity, allowing magma to escape to the earth’s surface. Think of shaking a can of soda then dropping it on stony ground – the increased pressure within will cause the agitated liquid to sprout out from the weakest point in the can.
We can gain some insight into volcanic activity in the Canary Islands by examining the latest eruptions at El Hierro, which are still ongoing. The increased magmatism below the Canary Islands appears to be related to the 5.2 magnitude earthquake in Spain on May 11th 2011, which hit the town of Lorca. A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Canaries the day after, at El Hierro on May 12th. The Lorca earthquake occurred along the fault line that is associated with volcanic activity in the Canaries.

The above diagram shows the seismic activity along the North African and South Eurasian fault lines in a 24-hour period between May 11th – 12th in 2011. The recent volcanic activity at El Hierro is thus produced by the movement of the African tectonic plate, and is symptomatic of the wider seismic activity along this faultline, which in addition to the Lorca earthquake in Spain, has also produced the recent earthquakes in Turkey.

As we can see from the diagrams above, the land of Israel is situated between the dividing fault lines of the African, Eurasian and Arabian plates. So if there was a major earthquake centred on Jerusalem (which the Book of Revelation predicts will be the greatest earthquake known to human civilisation) caused by the shifting of the African plate, this could create a surge of magma across the entire faultline that would seek to escape through the volcanic vents on the Canary Islands, thus setting in motion a chain of events that would cause the collapse of Cumbre Vieja, and consequently see the destruction of the east coast of the Americas.

The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. (Rev 16:17-20)

As we noted before, the passage which reads "And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found" can also be translated from the original Greek as "the whole island fled away, and no mountains were to be found" (see the earlier post The Fall of Babylon), which conjures imagery of a lateral volcanic collapse.
Of course the whole process wouldn't be instantaneous. The process of magma and plate movements beneath the earth's crust is slow, and there could be months between this earthquake and an eruption in the Canary Islands. So the collapse of Cumbre Vieja wouldn't come without warning.

Jerusalem is situated on the Jordan Rift Valley - home of the Dead Sea and the lowest land elevation on earth, which is an area of intense seismic activity, and recent research by the Geological Survey of Israel has shown that the Old City is most at risk from any future earthquakes:

Researchers used computers to map Jerusalem's topography, geology, soil and the Old City's subterranean labyrinth of cisterns and tunnels. Most at risk, the report says, is the Old City and the 11-acre elevated plaza housing two major mosques, including the gold-capped Dome of the Rock...
About half a dozen major earthquakes have hit the city over the last thousand years, Bein said, and archaeologists have found evidence of the damage. The last big earthquake in the area was in 1927, when a magnitude 6.3 quake centered near Jericho, about 15 miles to the east of Jerusalem, killed more than 200 people...
Some Israeli scientists have warned that another major earthquake appears likely to strike the Holy Land in the next 50 years.
The Great Rift Valley runs for 3,000 miles between Syria and Mozambique and passes through the Dead Sea, below Jerusalem's eastern hills. The fault line was caused by the separation of African and Eurasian tectonic plates 35 million years ago, a split that weakened the Earth's crust.
About 35 miles to the north, another fault line cuts the land east to west from the Mediterranean port of Haifa with the West Bank towns of Jenin and Nablus before reaching the Jordan River.
"This is a very active area which may produce a large earthquake once in a while," Bein said.
Two weeks ago, a small 3.7 magnitude earthquake was measured in the Dead Sea region but caused no damage.
The Bible recounts a number of earthquakes here. Some scholars reckon a quake may have been behind the shower of brimstone and fire that engulfed Sodom and Gomorrah. (by Jason Keyser, Associated Press, 2004 see the full article here)