Was September 23rd, 2017 the Beginning of the End?

Christian numerologist David Meade wrote a book in which he predicts that September 23rd, 2017, would reveal a harbinger of The End (rapture, tribulation, etc.). Specifically, he predicts that the prophecy of Revelation 12 would begin to be fulfilled on that date. Revelation 12:1-2 reads as follows:

“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.”

Meade purports that the astrological convergence of the Zodiac constellation of Virgo with Leo and several planets that took place on September 23rd, 2017 fulfills this prophesy. He also talks about the so-called “Planet X” and a number of other things, but the crux of his conclusions hinge on the validity of his prediction about Revelation 12.

Here are four reasons why this prediction is silly.

  1. While at first glance, the astrological conditions on September 23rd do indeed look like something similar to Revelation 12:1-2, Meade claims this is a unique event. This is simply false. The movements of the stars and planets take place in an orderly fashion following the laws of nature that God created. This so-called “unique” convergence is in fact not unique at all. Astronomers agree that it has taken place at least 4 times just in the past millennium (1056, 1293, 1483, and 1827). What took place on September 23rd was not only a natural event, but one that recurs. Even if Meade is right in his belief that Revelation 12:1-2 speaks of the astrological convergence in question (he’s not—see below), there is no textual reason in Revelation 12 that would lead us to suspect that THIS occurrence is the one being referenced, as opposed to one in the past or one yet in the future.
  2. Revelation 12:1 speaks of a “great sign in the heavens.” Does a natural, predictable astrological event count as a “great sign?” It seems to me that in the Bible, signs in the heavens are not natural, recurring, predictable events. Consider the Christmas Star. This event was new, it was unexpected, and it was supernatural.  To say “the stars will look like this on this date” doesn’t require prophesy, it just requires math.  That is not a “great sign.”
  3. Here is the big one: accepting the validity of Meade’s claims requires us to accept the validity of astrology. For him to be correct, it would mean that Revelation 12 is fulfilled not just in the predictability of the stars, but in the Zodiac specifically. Never in Scripture do we see any validation of the veracity of the Zodiac, nor astrology on the whole. No other Biblical prophecies find their fulfillment in the Zodiac. No positive Biblical character ever praises the trustworthiness of astrology. Quite the contrary, astrology is ALWAYS repudiated and rejected. Not only is astrology portrayed as untrue, but it’s condemned as being pagan and completely contrary to God. Consider those in the Bible who practiced astrology—the Egyptian wise men, the Babylonian wise men, the Persian wise men, Simon Magus, etc. All of these were clearly portrayed as contrary to God—they played for the other team. When Simon Magus came to faith in Jesus, the first thing he did was burn his astrological charts! The wise men who came to see the newborn Jesus appear to have been practitioners of astrology, but it is precisely the inability of astrology to predict the Christmas Star that leads them to believe that something truly divine is taking place—astrology is predictable, that star is supernatural, we have to go see this! The idea that the astrological events of September 23rd, 2017 fulfill the prophesy of Revelation 12 runs completely counter to the entirety of Scripture. But Meade would have us believe that despite astrology being evil, we can nonetheless use it to predict Biblical prophecy? That idea is heretical. [Warning, Nerd Reference: Using the Zodiac to interpret Biblical prophecy would be like Frodo deciding it’s okay to use the One Ring to try to fight Sauron … it’s simply not possible, as Gandalf insisted, “The ring is altogether evil.”]
  4. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus states “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Despite this, there have been Christians who insist that we can in fact predict the time of Christ’s return. Some might say “we don’t know the date or the hour, but we know the month!” Is that really what Jesus meant in Matthew 24? People who are obsessed with these things have quite simply lost the plot. Nowhere in Scripture are we called to do our best to figure out when the end will be … rather, Jesus says we shouldn’t even bother with that. What we are called to do is make disciples, advance the Kingdom of God, heal the sick, pray for God to send out more workers into the harvest fields, and we are called to GO.

It is my opinion that this and most other end-times rhetoric is at best a complete waste of time. Worse, it distracts Christians from the things that Jesus told us we should be doing. But rather than following Jesus’ commands, some Christians prefer to be seduced into apocalyptic fantasies, squandering the time, treasure, and talents God has given them to make a real impact for the Kingdom. My brothers and sisters, this should not be so.

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