2017’s been a weird year, no two ways about it. The sun was blotted out in the United States. A former reality television star is president. An R-rated killer clown movie broke a bunch of box-office records. Russia is definitely up to something. Yes, it’s been an odd one and according to a least a few hyper literalist biblical theorists, it will also be the last. According to them, September 23 is going to mark the end of the world or, at least, the beginning of the end.
It all has to do with a little bit of astronomy and a … creative, let’s say, reading of Revelations 12.[lborder]
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.[/lborder]
Like a lot of Revelations’ prophesies, the specifics of what’s going on here aren’t exactly clear. But if you ask a few theorists, according to NPR, this is all an astronomical sign, referring to “an alignment in the sky peaking on Sept. 23, whereby Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter will be around the constellations of Virgo and Leo, together with the sun and moon. Sept. 23 is when Jupiter leaves Virgo after being there for a while.”
The theory is this. The constellation Virgo is the woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.” The constellation Leo is the twelve stars (three of which are actually Mars, Mercury and Venus but let’s just go with it). On the 23rd, Jupiter will orbit out of Virgo — a sort of “birth,” if you will. You can watch a true believer detail it in this YouTube video, if you’re so inclined.
There’s also something involving a supposedly undiscovered planet known as “Planet X” or “Nibiru” which would be the dragon in this scenario, and Israel. There’s even a new documentary airing that will address the theory, as well as getting some perspectives from astronomers and scientists who have a slightly different take on what it all means (i.e. “nothing”). Here’s the trailer.
Given current global tensions, the notion of the world going to pot out of the blue may not seem as ludicrous as it has in past iterations of “The End Is Near!” sandwich board-decked doomsayers. Nevertheless, people using some combination of the Bible, astronomy, historical record gymnastics and just a little bit of reading between the lines have very little answer for Jesus’ words in Matthew, which constitute some of the most explicit end times language in the entire Bible: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”