Wednesday 12 September 2018

Our Lady of Knock, Jacob's Ladder and the Short Time of Satan

When Pope Francis visited Ireland for the World Meeting of Families in August 2018, his visit to the shrine of Our Lady of Knock coincided with one of the most remarkable attacks on a pontiff by a high-ranking member of the Catholic hierarchy in recent Church history. Archbishop Vigano, the former papal nuncio to the United States, had alleged that Pope Francis played a pivotal role in covering up the sexual abuse scandal surrounding Cardinal McCarrick, and called on the Holy Father to abdicate from the papacy. 

As we shall see, the fact that this accusation against Pope Francis was timed to directly coincide with his visit to the shrine of Our Lady of Knock appears to be of major prophetic importance concerning the end of the period of Satan's greater foreseen in the vision of Pope Leo XIII. The whole point of Satan's period of greater power is framed so that at the conclusion of this diabolical assault against the Church, the Devil could then stand before Christ's representative on earth and point to the stains that have sullied the papal cassock. The role of "Devils advocate" in this instance, as a figure within the Church who would point to these stains, seems to have been undertaken by Archbishop Vigano. 

Throughout the course of my previous research on this subject, I have attempted to explain how the symbolism of the Knock shrine heavily alludes to a scene in the Divine Throne Room described in the third chapter of the Book of Zechariah. Alongside the story of Job and the description of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the thousand years in Rev 20, Zech 3 forms the immediate scriptural basis for the vision of the period of Satan's greater power foreseen by Pope Leo XIII. One of the most striking images of Zech 3 is that of the High Priest Joshua being accused by Satan in the Divine Throne Room - which is the primary location suggested by the symbolism of the Knock apparition itself.

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD was standing by.

And the angel of the LORD solemnly assured Joshua, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”
(Zech 3)

The above vision of the sullied robes of the High Priest Joshua (representing the pope as Pontifex Maximus) being removed and replaced with clean garments described in the Book of Zechariah is also heavily alluded to in St. John Bosco's March of the 200 Days: 

Things follow too slowly upon each other, but the great Queen of Heaven is at hand; the Lord's power is Hers. Like mist She shall scatter Her enemies. She shall vest the Venerable Old Man with all his former garments. There shall yet come a violent hurricane. Iniquity is at an end, sin shall cease, and before two full moons shall have shone in the month of flowers, the rainbow of peace shall appear on the earth. The great Minister shall see the Bride of his King clothed in glory. Throughout the world a sun so bright shall shine as was never seen since the flames of the Cenacle until today, nor shall it be seen again until the end of time...
(Biographical Memoirs)

I have written about the importance of the 1879 Irish apparition in relation to the Divine Throne Room before in the post The Prophetic Symbolism of Our Lady of Knock, and its significance plays a key role in my book as a marking point of the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals - which I argue is specifically linked with the beginning of the short time given to Satan at the end of the "thousand years" described in Rev 20. In turn, I linked the short time of Satan described in the Apocalypse with Pope Leo XIII's famous vision of the period of Satan's greater power, which began at the turn of the 20th century, and concludes around our own time.

It will be worth recapping the most important aspects of my material on Our Lady of Knock before moving on to take on board some new considerations which also help to bolster my theory that this apparition is directly associated with the period of Satan's greater power - which was announced to Pope Leo XIII between 5-7 years after this apparition took place. The Knock apparition itself clearly alludes to the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals described in Rev 5, since it is central focus lies on the Lamb of Revelation, with an image of St. John (the author of the Apocalypse) directing the attention of his audience to an open book he holds in his hands (the scroll of Revelation?). In Rev 5, the Lamb is permitted to open the scroll sealed with sevens, which sets in motion the events of the Apocalypse itself - beginning with the unleashing of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

As I argue at length in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, the release of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who are summoned fourth by the Four Living Creatures, is recapitulated later in the Book of Revelation by the four angels who are bound at the River Euphrates in order to kill a third of "the people". Once we compare this verse with the various other scriptural allusions contained in this passage, we find that it is a third of the Jewish people who are to be killed by the appearance of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (see the earlier post on this subject here).

As I demonstrate in the book, it is quite likely that Pope Leo XIII had himself connected his famous prophetic vision of a period of greater power being given over to the Devil with the period of the unbinding of Satan described in Rev 20. Furthermore, it is quite likely that Pope Leo XIII also connected his consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the year 1899 with the impending period of Satan's greater power. Pope Leo XIII had himself described this consecration as the "greatest act of my pontificate", and took this action in direct response to a request made by Christ to Bl. Mary of the Divine Heart. Below is a short excerpt from Wikipedia concerning the events which eventually led to the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

On June 10, 1898, her confessor at the Good Shepherd monastery wrote to Pope Leo XIII stating that Sister Mary of the Divine Heart had received a message from Christ, requesting the pope to consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart. The pope initially did not believe her and took no action. However, on January 6, 1899, she wrote another letter, asking that in addition to the consecration, the first Fridays of the month be observed in honor of the Sacred Heart. In the letter she also referred to the recent illness of the pope and stated that Christ had assured her that Pope Leo XIII would live until he had performed the consecration to the Sacred Heart. Theologian Laurent Volken states that this had an emotional impact on Leo XIII, despite the theological issues concerning the consecration of non-Christians.

Pope Leo XIII commissioned an inquiry on the basis of her revelation and Church tradition. In his 1899 encyclical letter Annum sacrum, Leo XIII decreed that the consecration of the entire human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus should take place on June 11, 1899. In the encyclical Leo referred to the illness about which Sister Mary had written, stating: "There is one further reason that urges us to realize our design: We do not want it to pass by unnoticed. It is personal in nature but just as important: God the author of all Good has saved us by healing us recently from a dangerous disease."

Pope Leo XIII also composed the Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart and included it in the encyclical. Pope Pius X later decreed that this consecration of the human race performed by Pope Leo XIII be renewed each year.

According to St. Augustine, there were two possible interpretations of the duration of the Millennium. St. Augustine viewed that starting point of both possibilities as beginning from the original binding of Satan, which was won by Christ on the Cross of Calvary. The second suggestion made by St. Augustine is the line which is usually associated with amillennialism - that the binding of Satan would last for a symbolic thousand year period lasting from the time of Christ right up until near the end of the world. St. Augustine's first suggestion is a lot more specific though, and can even be used to determine the general time period in which the unbinding of Satan would take place. The first proposal forwarded by St. Augustine (indicating that he gave this interpretation precedence) was that the binding of Satan won by Christ on the Cross would last until the time of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers, when he would be released for his "little while".

The Early Church Fathers were convinced that the biblical chronology yielded a prophetic significance relating to a "Great Week" of millennia. St. Peter had described the timing of the end of the world in the context of a day being equated with a thousand years, which taken to its natural conclusion, would point to a prophetic week of millennia:

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Pet 3:3-8)

Many Church Fathers had proposed that the timing of the Sabbath Millennium (or sixth millennium in the biblical chronology) could potentially be used to establish the date of the return of Christ. St. Augustine put an additional twist on this concept, and forwarded the novel suggestion that the timing of the Sabbath Millennium was instead actually related to the "thousand year" period mentioned in the Apocalypse concerning the period of the unbinding of Satan:

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.

Now the thousand years may be understood in two ways, so far as occurs to me: either because these things happen in the sixth thousand of years or sixth millennium (the latter part of which is now passing), as if during the sixth day, which is to be followed by a Sabbath which has no evening, the endless rest of the saints, so that, speaking of a part under the name of the whole, he calls the last part of the millennium— the part, that is, which had yet to expire before the end of the world— a thousand years; or he used the thousand years as an equivalent for the whole duration of this world, employing the number of perfection to mark the fullness of time
. (City of God XX:7)

Here, St. Augustine opines that the end of the “thousand years” mentioned in Rev 20 may be equated with the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers. This view was subsequently largely overlooked, since many of the Church Fathers held that the Sabbath Millennium would come to an end circa AD500, at the end of a six thousand year period after the biblical date of creation determined by the chronology of the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament (the LXX). As the original various dates calculated for the end of the Sabbath Millennium circa AD500 came and went without any possible applications for this first interpretation, St. Augustine’s second proposal (that the thousand years symbolises an indefinite period extending from the time of Christ to the unbinding of Satan towards the end of the world), became the most widely accepted version of the amillennialist approach.
However, writing in the 8th century, the Church Doctor St. Bede the Venerable noted that the reckoning of the biblical chronology yields a vastly different result when using the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible, differing by a period of around 1,500 years from the date of creation (Anno Mundi). St. Bede proposed that this version of biblical chronology, which he used to revise the date of creation to circa 3952BC, was the most accurate, since it was derived from the “Hebrew truth” of the original Jewish Bible, rather than its Greek counterpart. St. Bede’s method for determining the chronology of the Hebrew Bible was further refined by the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher, who working from the various genealogies given in the Bible, established the date of creation to 4004BC.

If we view the primary value of this date to be prophetic in nature (rather than providing us with a literal date for creation), this revised version of the biblical chronology has enormous implications for St. Augustine’s first suggestion concerning the meaning of the end of the “thousand years” in Rev 20 and how this ties into the patristic idea of a Sabbath Millennium. It puts the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the “thousand years” directly within the scope of Pope Leo XIII’s vision of the Devil being granted a time of greater power in order to test the Church.

Given the fact that St. Bede the Venerable was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII at the turn of the 20th century on Nov 13th, 1899, it invites us to ponder whether this action was linked in any way to this saint’s influence on the revision of the Anno Mundi calendar. The prophetic implications of Bede’s chronology cannot be overstated. Not only did it recalibrate the timing of the conclusion of the Sabbath Millennium to the modern era, but once combined with St. Augustine’s hypothesis presented above, it could also be used to indicate that the period of the unbinding of Satan would begin to unfold in the modern era. Is it possible that Pope Leo XIII was aware of these implications? If the Holy Father had interpreted his famous vision within the context of the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the thousand years in Rev 20, we could conclude that his raising of St. Bede to the status of Church Doctor on the very eve of the 20th century was a deliberate action intended to reflect his influence on determining the prophetic significance of the Sabbath Millennium to fit in with this exact timeframe.
The timing of the appearance of the Knock apparition in such close proximity to Pope Leo XIII's vision of the period of Satan's greater power is also noteworthy in itself.  As we shall see, the Knock apparition has additional layers of depth which connects it directly with one of the primary scriptural influences which is alluded to in the vision of Pope Leo XIII.

Very few attempts have been made to explain the symbolism of the Knock apparition, which is ripe in apocalyptic imagery. One of the major interpretative keys to understanding the symbolism of the Knock apparition is the depiction of the angels ascending and descending upon the Paschal Lamb. This imagery is directly lifted from the dream vision experienced by the Patriarch Jacob, who saw a ladder reaching up to heaven with angels ascending and descending upon it:

Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel,[d] but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” 
(Gen 28:10-22)

In the Knock apparition, the imagery of Jacob's Ladder was substituted by the Lamb of God, showing that the gateway to Heaven is only made possible through the Paschal Sacrifice won on the Cross at Calvary. The account of Jacob's pillow is already important in Irish folklore, due to the claims that Jacob's pillow stone was brought to Ireland by the Prophet Jeremiah, and was linked to the Stone of Scone. According to some apocryphal accounts usually associated with British Israelitism, Jacob's pillow stone was used to crown the kings of Ireland before being brought to Scotland by Robert the Bruce in the 13th century. The legends concerning Jacob's pillow being brought to Ireland are most likely of little or no importance to the understanding the links between the Knock apparition and Jacob's dream however. Instead of looking to obscure Irish legends for explaining the imagery of the Knock apparition, we find that the most salient motifs are rooted elsewhere in Sacred Scripture, most notably in Rev 5 and Zech 3 - the latter of which forms one of the primary scriptural sources for the prophetic vision of Pope Leo XIII (alongside the story of the Prophet Job).

In Rev 5, there is a strong allusion to the significance of the mysterious stone with seven eyes described in Zechariah 3, in the fact that the Lamb of Revelation also bears the curious attribute of seven eyes (which represents the sevenfold spirit). So the Lamb of the Apocalypse is undoubtedly associated with the stone with seven eyes described in the Book of Zechariah, and it is this capacity which can see the area of overlap between the Lamb and the stone of Jacob's pillow in the Knock apparition.

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 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.”

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped
(Rev 5)

With its vision of angels ascending and descending upon the Lamb of God, the Knock apparition thus ties together the stone of Jacob's pillar with the stone with seven eyes in Zech 3 - which is further revealed as representing the Lamb with seven eyes in Rev 5. The cues provided by the Knock apparition thus provides us with an interpretative key to understanding the opening of the seven seals described in the Apocalypse, which is recapitulated in the period of the unbinding of Satan described in Rev 20. The material contained in chapter 3 of the Book of Zechariah concerning the bringing forth of the stone with seven eyes therefore provides us with several additional insight into the unfolding of prophetic events during the short time of Satan, which is focused on the sullied robes of the Pontifex Maximus and Satan's accusations being levelled against Christ's Vicar on earth.

As I have already explained in the post Pope Benedict XVI on the Chronology of Apocalyptic Events, the soiled garments of the Jewish High Priest Joshua in Zech 3 is alluded to in the visions of St. Hildegard of Bingen. Here the defilement of the Church in the period of apostasy towards the end of time was represented pictorially as stains on the gown of the Bride of Christ, and Pope Benedict XVI specifically linked these visions with the modern sexual abuse crisis and certain comments made by Sr. Lucia on the significance of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima:

We were all the more dismayed, then, when in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime.

In this context, a vision of Saint Hildegard of Bingen came to my mind, a vision which describes in a shocking way what we have lived through this past year. “In the year of our Lord’s incarnation 1170, I had been lying on my sick-bed for a long time when, fully conscious in body and in mind, I had a vision of a woman of such beauty that the human mind is unable to comprehend. She stretched in height from earth to heaven. Her face shone with exceeding brightness and her gaze was fixed on heaven. She was dressed in a dazzling robe of white silk and draped in a cloak, adorned with stones of great price. On her feet she wore shoes of onyx. But her face was stained with dust, her robe was ripped down the right side, her cloak had lost its sheen of beauty and her shoes had been blackened. And she herself, in a voice loud with sorrow, was calling to the heights of heaven, saying, ‘Hear, heaven, how my face is sullied; mourn, earth, that my robe is torn; tremble, abyss, because my shoes are blackened!’

And she continued: ‘I lay hidden in the heart of the Father until the Son of Man, who was conceived and born in virginity, poured out his blood. With that same blood as his dowry, he made me his betrothed.

For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests. They tear my robe, since they are violators of the Law, the Gospel and their own priesthood; they darken my cloak by neglecting, in every way, the precepts which they are meant to uphold; my shoes too are blackened, since priests do not keep to the straight paths of justice, which are hard and rugged, or set good examples to those beneath them. Nevertheless, in some of them I find the splendour of truth.’

And I heard a voice from heaven which said: ‘This image represents the Church. For this reason, O you who see all this and who listen to the word of lament, proclaim it to the priests who are destined to offer guidance and instruction to God’s people and to whom, as to the apostles, it was said: go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15)” (Letter to Werner von Kirchheim and his Priestly Community: PL 197, 269ff.).

In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal.

Now notice the similarities here between the words of the Holy Father and those of Sr. Lucia during her interview with Fr. Fuentes:

Sister Lucy also told me: "Father, the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin. And the devil knows what it is that offends God the most, and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls. Thus the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God, because in this way the devil will succeed in leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them."

"That which afflicts the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Heart of Jesus is the fall of religious and priestly souls. The devil knows that religious and priests who fall away from their beautiful vocation drag numerous souls to hell. The devil wishes to take possession of consecrated souls. He tries to corrupt them in order to lull to sleep the souls of laypeople and thereby lead them to final impenitence. He employs all tricks, even going so far as to suggest the delay of entrance into religious life. Resulting from this is the sterility of the interior life, and among the laypeople, coldness (lack of enthusiasm) regarding the subject of renouncing pleasures and the total dedication of themselves to God."

A connection between these words of Sr. Lucia and St. Hildegard's vision of "filth" within the Church clearly seems to have been on Pope Benedict's mind here, since he uses basically the same themes and symbolism during his visit to Fatima in 2010:

"As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice."

Cardinal Ratzinger again alluded to St. Hildegard's writings describing the current state of the Church as a woman whose garments are soiled in his famous Way of the Cross sermon in 2005, just before he ascended the papacy:

"Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of His Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words!
How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the Priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency!" 

"Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church... You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all."
The soiled garments of the Jewish High Priest being replaced in Zech 3 (who in an eschatological context represents the figure of the Roman Pontiff) should thus be compared with the visions of St. Hildegard of Bingen, which are intimately related to the purification of the Church at the end of time. However the stains on the garments of the Bride of Christ in St. Hildegard's visions and on the Pontifex Maximus in Zech 3 represents the sins of priests, and do not reflect the sinfulness of the pope being accused, or indict him in any way for heresy (which would contradict the doctrine of indefectibility). In fact the accusations levelled at the visible head of the Church by the Devil are a satanic deception aimed at destroying the Church from within - a deception which is rebuked by the Archangel Michael, after which the time of purification begins.

The fact that this recent accusation against Pope Francis by Archbishop Vigano occurred at a time when the Holy Father was making pilgrimage to an apparition site representing the Divine Throne Room depicted in Rev 5, which is in turn intimately connected with the prophecy of Zech 3 and the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals is surely replete with prophetic significance. 

It is no coincidence that Christ's discourse on the binding of the "strong man" occurred in the immediate context of the appearance of the "Sign of Jonah" in Matt 12 (which originally took the form of a total solar eclipse over ancient Nineveh just before Jonah's arrival into the city). Or that the start of the First World War at the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power coincided with the appearance of yet another solar eclipse crossing the site of ancient Nineveh on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, on 21st August, 1914. The fact that the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers was preceded by a century of genocide foretold in the vision of Pope Leo XIII leaves us with little room for doubt that the siege of the camp of the saints at the end of the thousand years mentioned in Rev 20 began to unfold at the opening of the 20th century.

The current age of apostasy we are enduring is the fruit of Satan's unbinding at the end of the thousand years, during which he has managed to blind the minds of unbelievers to the truth of the Gospel (2Cor 4:4), and the love of many had grown cold because of the increase of evil (Matt 24:12). This evil has manifested itself most prevalently within the Church itself in the form of the clerical sexual abuse scandal, which has turned baptised Catholics away from the pews en masse, and sullied the wedding gown of the Bride of Christ.

Now just over a year on from another total solar eclipse which took crossed America on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, on 21st August 2017 - the centenary year of Our Lady of Fatima, one of the most shocking accusations against a reigning pontiff by a high-ranking prelate in the Catholic Church took place at the site of the Knock apparition - which represents the Divine Throne Room seen in Zech 3. This accusation has rocked the Catholic Church in America, and is symptomatic of the wider rebellion that is being plotted against the Holy Father by many high-ranking officials in the Church hierarchy. Just as the sullied robes of the Jewish High Priest are removed and replaced with fresh linen after Satan makes his accusation against him, we can only hope and pray that we are on the cusp of the purification of the Church which is promised to take place before the coming of the Antichrist. 

As Pope Francis has himself addressed the bishops yesterday, on 11th Sept 2018:

“In these times, it seems like the 'Great Accuser' has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people. The 'Great Accuser', as he himself says to God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, 'roams the earth looking for someone to accuse'. A bishop’s strength against the 'Great Accuser' is prayer, that of Jesus and his own, and the humility of being chosen and remaining close to the people of God, without seeking an aristocratic life that removes this unction. Let us pray, today, for our bishops: for me, for those who are here, and for all the bishops throughout the world.”