Icon of the Three Holy Youths
As I explain at some length in the new edition of my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, when Our Lady of Fatima revealed the frightening vision of hell to the three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria on 13th July, 1917, it was clearly intended to parallel the story of the Three Holy Youths in the Book of Daniel, and at the same time tie this narrative into the description of the lake of fire given in the Apocalypse:
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to
establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace"...
In the First Secret of Fatima, the shepherd children symbolize the Three Holy Youths of
the Book of Daniel, who were able to walk unharmed inside King Nebuchadnezzar's
blazing furnace due to the protection of an angel who appeared alongside them. Only in
the vision of the First Secret, the angel is represented by the Blessed Virgin. By basing
itself symbolically on the story of the Three Holy Youths in Dan 3 and combining this with
the description of the lake of fire in the Book of Revelation, the first part of the Secret of Fatima deliberately recalls the fate of those who worship the image of the Beast in Rev 13, who are thrown into the sea of fire, and serves to act as a warning against participating in idolatry.
The imagery of the sea of fire in the First Secret is directly lifted from the lake of fire described in the Apocalypse. The lake of fire standing before the throne of God is described
in the Book of Revelation as the place of punishment for those who have worshiped the
image of the Beast and accepted its mark:
"And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships
the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will
drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will
be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of
the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest,
day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of
its name.” (Rev 14:9-11)
In the book of Daniel, we are told that the Three Holy Youths were thrown into a blazing furnace under the orders of Nebuchadnezzar for refusing to worship a golden image that he had erected in the plain of Dura, just outside of the city of Babylon:
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors,
the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to
the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning
fiery furnace.” Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe,
and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoever does
not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said
to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound
of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you
out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the
golden image that you have set up.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed
against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times
more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to
bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king's order was urgent
and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell
bound into the burning fiery furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar
answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses
laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon. (Dan 3:1-30)
By alluding to the Three Holy Youths of the Book of Daniel who refuse to worship Nebuchadnezzar's golden image in the context of imagery presented in the Apocalypse concerning the fate of those who worship the image of the Beast, the vision of the First
Secret subtlety informs us that the contents of three parts of the Secret of Fatima does
indeed concern chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation. This portion of the Apocalypse was singled out by Sr. Lucia to be of particular importance to the interpretation of the visions seen by the shepherd children. There is a scholarly consensus that the passage concerning the image of the Beast in the Apocalypse is primarily based on the erection of a golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar described in Dan 3. Just as those who refuse to pay homage to the image of the Beast are killed in Rev 13:15, we are told in Dan 3 that those who refused to worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar were to be executed by being thrown into a blazing furnace. To further reinforce the link with Rev 13, the dimensions of Nebuchadnezzar's statue is 60 cubits by 6 cubits, which prefigures the number that is assigned to the Beast itself - 666.
The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is further elaborated upon in the Deuterocanonical work The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Holy Children - which helps to elucidate its striking parallels with the First Secret of Fatima.
The Deuterocanonical material of the Book of Daniel concerning the story of Bel and the Dragon is also reflected in narrative concerning the image of the Beast in the Apocalypse. Both of these narratives share the overarching theme of a pagan idol which is seemingly brought to life. While the False Prophet "breathes life" into the image of the Beast so that it has the ability to talk and identify those who refuse to worship it, singling them out for persecution, the prophets of Bel attempt to deceive the inhabitants of Babylon into believing that the idol of Bel was really alive through the use of religious charlatanry.
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)
The image of the Beast described in the Apocalypse is directly based on the ancient automata that were frequently incorporated into pagan idols in order to give them a semblance of life, and they were sometimes even used to issue oracles through simple gestures made by operating an elaborate mechanism through the use of water or steam and a system of gears
and levers. In Greek mythology, the inventor Daedalus (the father of Icarus) was thought to have used the "magical" properties of quicksilver in order to install voices into moving
statues he had crafted, and the workshop of the god Hephaestus was said to have been filled with automatons who served him. But the use of automatons in antiquity was not just the
stuff of legend. The ancient Greeks and Romans had the ability to construct relatively sophisticated automated devices such as the Antikythera mechanism, and their use was
fairly widespread by the time St. John wrote the Apocalypse.
So the image of the Beast described in Apocalypse is directly based on the example of
ancient automata, and is said to possess some kind of artificial intelligence which allows it
to detect and identify those who refuse to participate in its worship. Once we transpose this imagery onto a modern template, we can only be left to conclude that the automated device
symbolized by the image of the Beast is some form of contemporary computer.
If we look back to the exact date when Sr. Lucia first wrote down the first two parts of the Secret of Fatima in her Third Memoir in August 1941, we find that this was timed to
directly coincide with the creation of the world's first programmable computer - the Turing-complete Z3 system devised by Konrad Zuse, which was unveiled in Berlin on May 12th 1941. Given the fact that the First Secret of Fatima is so closely associated with the
story of the Three Holy Youths and the image of the Beast described in the Apocalypse, it appears to be beyond coincidence that Sr. Lucia would have been prompted to put these secrets to writing at the exact moment the first modern computer was introduced to
the world. We now know that the Third Secret was only first put to writing as the result of
an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Sr. Lucia in 1944. So it is quite probable that the composition of the first two parts of the Secret were similarly prompted by a private revelation.
Given the fact that the development of the Z3 computer was sponsored by the Nazi government for potential military applications, these findings can be used to further
establish the true identity of the False Prophet as Adolf Hitler. As I attempt to show at some length in the book, this interpretation is also strongly suggested by Daniel's various prophecies concerning the 1,290 and 2,300 days in relation to the timing of the restoration
of Israel after the persecution of Daniel's people by the "Little Horn". In the Book of Daniel, the "saints of the Most High" (i.e. the Jews) only have the Holy Land restored to them after they persecuted by the Little Horn, in a model which closely follows the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV before the Maccabean revolt.
While the timing of the publication of the first two parts of the Secrets of Fatima strongly suggests that modern computer technology is in some way related to the image of the Beast described in the Apocalypse, we can be fairly confident that the ultimate significance of this prophecy still lies in the future. The construction of the image of the Beast was first incited
by the False Prophet, who deceives humanity into fashioning this idol for the Beast. But its fullest potential will not be reached until the Antichrist comes to power. It is then that the Antichrist will exploit this technology to its fullest extent, making it impossible for anyone
to buy or sell without its use under the watchful gaze of the image of the Beast itself, which
is used to identify those who refuse to worship it by its own volition. This not only suggests that the image of the Beast possesses some sort of artificial intelligence, but also
that it has the capabilities of mass surveillance of the public - something much akin to how the worldwide web is already being exploited by the world's governments.
It is tempting to suggest that during the age of the Antichrist, computer technology will have reached the point where the worldwide web acts as one massive singular superintelligence, which has a direct window into each of our own homes, constantly monitoring our behaviour. This prospect is a truly frightening tool for any dystopian government to have at
its disposal, and we can be certain that any future world dictator would seek to use this technology to suit his own agenda, using it to automatically select any enemies of the regime for elimination, just as the image of the Beast can "speak" and cause those who refuse to worship it to be slain (Rev 13:15). And just as Nebuchadnezzar's golden image acts as the prototype for the image of the Beast and measures 60 x 6 cubits, the acronym of the
worldwide web - www, directly transliterates from Hebrew as the letters waw waw waw - which has the numerical equivalence of three sixes - 6-6-6, lending us a further insight into
the true metaphysical nature of this technology.
The single most dangerous prospect of developing an artificial superintelligence is that we may be in the process of creating an idol in the truest sense of the word - one that has the potential to amass "godlike" powers here on earth. In doing so, there is the possibility that
we creating a vessel that could be some way inhabited or driven by a separate preternatural intelligence with an agenda of its own. The creation of an artificial superintelligence is vaunted by the transhumanist movement as the first step in an intelligence explosion that
will lead to the creation of artificial eternal life. However it is exactly such hubris that
causes the arm of the angel with the flaming sword to descend to earth in order to protect
the way to the Tree of Life.
Paralleling the imagery of the Three Holy Youths standing unscathed in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, we are told that those who have conquered the Beast and his image by laying down their lives stand upon the sea of fire untouched by its unending flames singing the Song of Moses:
And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing [upon] the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of
God, and the song of the Lamb... (Rev 15:2-3)
This stands in direct contrast against those who worship the Beast and his image in Rev 14:9-11, who are cast forever into the same lake of fire that was seen by the shepherd
children in the first part of the Secret of Fatima. The primary theme of the Song of Moses contained in Deut 32 is a warning against participating in idolatry, which has a
renewed significance directed against those who worship the image of the Beast, warning
of God's judgement being meted out by the descent of the sword seen in the Third Secret:
For I lift up my hand to heaven and swear, as I live forever, if I sharpen my flashing sword
and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and will
repay those who hate me. (Deut 32:40-41)
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... (The Third Secret of Fatima)