Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Pope St John Paul II: The Spark from Poland



The prophecy of the "spark from Poland" which would prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ is one of the most well known private revelations given to St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), the Apostle of Divine Mercy.

“As I was praying for Poland, I heard the words: I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming.” 
(The Diary of St. Faustina, 1732)

For obvious reasons, many Catholics believe that this prophecy was fulfilled by elevation of Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to the pontificate as Pope John Paul II in 1978. Pope St. John Paul II, who was raised to the altars on Divine Mercy Sunday, 27th April 2014, alongside Pope St. John XXIII, was undoubtedly the world's greatest devotee of St. Faustina's private revelations concerning Divine Mercy.
But what is the exact meaning of the prophecy of the "spark from Poland"? And in what way could Pope St. John Paul II have prepared the world for the Second Coming of Christ?

In order to understand the meaning of St. Faustina's prophecy of the "spark from Poland", it is first necessary to reflect upon this private revelation in the context of its relationship to the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday itself. St. Faustina had been told by Christ that she was to prepare the world for His Second Coming, and that she would do so by establishing the devotion of Divine Mercy:

You will prepare the world for My final coming. (Diary 429)

Jesus had told St. Faustina that before His final Coming in Glory to pronounce God's judgment upon the world, there would come the "Day of Mercy":

Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. (Diary 1588)

When we look at some similar entries in St. Faustina's Diary, it becomes evident that the "Day of Mercy" is inextricably linked with the formal extension of the Feast of Divine Mercy to the universal Church calendar, which first took place during the canonization Mass of St. Faustina, as part of St. John Paul II's initiatives for the Great Jubilee Year 2000. In the entries below, for example, we can see quite clearly that St. Faustina viewed the coming of the "Day of Mercy" as one and the same as the inauguration of the Feast of Divine Mercy itself:

“Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity… tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.” 
(Diary 965)

“I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” 
(Diary 699)

So according to St. Faustina, the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy throughout the entire Church would occur shortly before the final Coming of Christ in glory, to signify a final act of God's infinite grace, by allowing an outpouring of His mercy upon the world. Jesus said to St. Faustina that the Day of Mercy would be a "sign for the end times",  which would take place shortly before the coming of the Day of Justice:

Speak to the world about My mercy... It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy.  (Diary 848)

For St. Faustina, the coming of the Day of Mercy was closely associated with the arrival of the Second Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on humanity during the Last Days, allowing the Gospel to be proclaimed throughout the entire world before the Second Coming of Christ.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Matt 24:14)

The institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy took place on April 30th, 2000, when Pope John Paul II bestowed the Polish nun with the honour of being the first saint of the new millennium, with the intention to highlight the deep significance of this event. In his own words, the Holy Father had stated that his canonization of St. Faustina as the first saint of the new millennium was an intentional act designed to draw attention to the importance of the inauguration of the Feast of Divine Mercy:

Sr Faustina's canonization has a particular eloquence:  by this act I intend today to pass this message [of Divine Mercy] on to the new millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know ever better the true face of God and the true face of their brethren.
(Pope John Paul II, Mass in St Peter's Square for the Canonization of Sr Mary Faustina Kowalska, April 30th, 2000)

On March 23rd, 1937, St. Faustina recorded that she had received a vision that the Feast of Divine
Mercy would be celebrated throughout the Church. She saw large crowds celebrating the Feast of Divine Mercy in her local chapel, and that the same celebration would also take place in Rome presided over 
by the Pope. She recorded that the "crowd was so enormous that the eye could not take it all in. Everyone was participating in the celebrations" (Notebook III, 1044). This of course came to pass during her canonization mass in St. Peter's Square in the year 2000, at the same time the basilica of the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Krakow was being constructed at the site of her local chapel between the years 1999-2002. This basilica was in turn consecrated by St. John Paul in 2002.
St. Faustina appears to have had an accurate intuition as to the exact timing of when the institution 
of the Feast of Divine Mercy would eventually take place, as after the first Mass when the Divine Mercy image was first displayed on the Octave of Easter (Low Sunday), St. Faustina conveyed a particular delight that it took place at the conclusion of the Jubilee of the Redemption in 1935:

Sunday, April 28, 1935. Low Sunday; that is, the Feast of The Divine Mercy, the conclusion of the 
Jubilee of Redemption. When we went to take part in the celebrations, my heart leapt with joy that the two solemnities were so closely untied.
(Diary, 420)

Given that the first Mass celebrating Divine Mercy took place during the Jubilee of the Redemption (celebrating 1950 years since the Redemption of the human race), it was particularly apt that the
Feast of Divine Mercy was extended throughout the whole Church on the Great Jubilee Year of the Incarnation, celebrating 2000 years since the Eternal Word of God became Flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The timing of Pope St. John Paul II's inauguration of the Feast of Divine Mercy during the Great Jubilee Year was thus a deliberate act intended to highlight the prophetic importance of the private revelations of St. Faustina in relation to the turn of the millennium. As the Holy Father explicitly stated himself, the symbolism of his actions during the Great Jubilee of the Incarnation was intended to be "a prophecy of the future".

Dear Brothers and Sisters, it is especially necessary for us to direct our thoughts to the future which lies before us. Often during these months we have looked towards the new millennium which is beginning, 
as we lived this Jubilee not only as a remembrance of the past, but also as a prophecy of the future.
(Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, Jan 6th, 2001)

The importance of the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy was clearly linked in the mind

of St. John Paul II to the realization of the era of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima. 

As he pointed out during the canonization Mass of St. Faustina:

Jesus told Sr Faustina:  "Humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy" (Diary, p. 132). Through the work of the Polish religious, this message has become linked for ever to the 20th century, the last of the second millennium and the bridge to the third. 
(Pope John Paul II, Mass in St Peter's Square for the Canonization of Sr Mary Faustina Kowalska, April 30th, 2000)

Pope St. John Paul II understood that the coming of the era of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima could not be fully realized until the the Church had embraced the message of Divine Mercy. During a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Merciful Love in Collevalenza, Italy, in 1981, shortly after the failed attempt on his life, St. John Paul II recalled how from the very beginning of his Petrine ministry he felt that promoting the message of Divine Mercy was a particular task entrusted to him by God. At the same time, he was also clearly reflecting upon this mission in relation to the significance of first apparitions of Our Lady to the shepherd children of Fatima on the fateful date of May 13th:

A year ago I published the encyclical Dives in Misericordia. This circumstance made ​​me come today to the Shrine of Merciful Love. With this I would like to reconfirm the presence, in some way, the message of the encyclical [concerning Divine Mercy]. I would like to read it again and again to pronounce it.
From the beginning of my ministry in the See of Peter in Rome, I felt this message as my particular task. Providence has assigned me in the situation of man, the Church and the world. You could even say that precisely this situation assigned me as a task that message before God, which is Providence, which is inscrutable mystery, the mystery of Love and Truth, Truth and Love. And my personal experiences this year, associated with the events of May 13, as part of their order me to shout: "misericordiae Domains, quia non sumus consumpti" ["Because of the Lord's mercy we are not consumed"]( Lam 3:22).
(Pope John Paul II, Angelus, Collevalenza, 22 November 1981)

The connection between the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy and the promises of Our Lady of Fatima in the mind of St. John Paul II were also made clearly manifest in his actions during the Great Jubilee Year, as just two weeks after he had extended Divine Mercy Sunday to be observed by the whole Church on 30th April, 2000, he beatified two of the shepherd children of Fatima, Francesco and Jacinta Marto on May 13th, 2000, whilst also announcing his intent to publish the Third Secret of Fatima.

During a recent address, Pope Francis shared his belief that we were already living during the "time of mercy" spoken of by St. Faustina, and appears to date the beginning of this period to around the time of St. John Paul II's consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984: 

“I am sure of this. It is not only Lent; we have been living in a time of mercy for the past thirty years or more, up to today.”  
Pope Francis, Exhortation on Mercy to Roman Priests, March 6, 2014

The fact that Pope Francis is very specific in this time frame (thirty years), clearly points to the 1984 consecration, the fruits of which is widely recognized by Church leaders to have led to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Within a year of this consecration, Mikhail Gorbachev was made General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, whose reformist policies of Glasnost and Perestroika inadvertently paved the way for the revolutions of 1989, which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Pope St. John Paul II is himself widely credited as the single greatest influence in the downfall of the Soviet Union, as he was the primary inspiration for the Polish Solidarity movement, which having forced Gorbachev to implement his reforms, eventually led to the outbreak of the 1989 revolutions that began in Poland itself. And without the collapse of the Soviet Union, there would be absolutely no hope for the future conversion of Russia, which Our Lady of Fatima had promised as the ultimate fruit of the era of peace. It is during era of peace/Second Pentecost that the Bride prepares itself for the Coming of the Bridegroom by becoming purified in the fire of the Holy Spirit.
We can see from these examples alone how St. Faustina's prophecy of the "spark from Poland" that prepares the way for the final Coming of Christ was fulfilled in the life and ministry of Pope St. John Paul II. According to St. Faustina herself, this prophecy is also intimately related to the "Day of Mercy" which takes place before the coming of the Day of Judgement, so it could not be any more fitting that it was St. John Paul II who presided over the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy during the Great Jubilee Year. The importance of the connection between St. John Paul and this feast day was made even more explicit in the fact that he passed away on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, 2nd April, 2005.
The Holy Father had alluded to the prophecy of the "spark from Poland" himself, when during his Mass at Victory Square in Warsaw, Poland, 1979, he prayed that the Holy Spirit would descend and transform the face of "this land":

"And I cry—I who am a Son of the land of Poland and who am also Pope John Paul II—I cry from all the depths of this Millennium, I cry on the vigil of Pentecost:
Let your Spirit descend.
Let your Spirit descend.
and renew the face of the earth,
the face of this land."
(Pope St. John Paul II, Mass in Victory Square, Warsaw, 2nd June 1979)

During the canonization Mass of St. Faustina, St. John Paul further implied a connection between the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday and the eschatological outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Second Pentecost, by looking to the prophetic symbolism behind the original events that took place on this day. 

"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever" (Ps 118: 1). So the Church sings on the Octave of Easter, as if receiving from Christ's lips these words of the Psalm; from the lips of the risen Christ, who bears the great message of divine mercy and entrusts its ministry to the Apostles in the Upper Room:  "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you... Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (Jn 20: 21-23).
Before speaking these words, Jesus shows his hands and his side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in his heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity. From that heart Sr Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that heart and illuminating the world:  "The two rays"Jesus himself explained to her one day, "represent blood and water" (Diary, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, p. 132).
(Pope John Paul II, Mass in St Peter's Square for the Canonization of Sr Mary Faustina Kowalska, April 30th, 2000)


Divine Mercy Sunday was also traditionally known as "St. Thomas Sunday", because this was the day on which the Risen Lord showed the doubting Apostle the wounds on His hands and the wound in His side from which the blood and water had flown. As St. John Paul points out, it is at this moment, when the Risen Christ showed the Apostles His wounds, he simultaneously promises them the Holy Spirit, and grants them the power to forgive sins - which is the very essence of the message of Divine Mercy.



 A copy of the original Divine Mercy painting by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski, oversaw by St. Faustina

‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
(John 7:38-39)

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
(1 John 5:6-8)

Just as doubt in Christ reached a crescendo at the millennial anniversary of the Incarnation of Christ (during an age which can only be associated with the Great Apostasy foretold in Scripture), Jesus appears to us in the form of the Divine Mercy image, which, showing us the wound in the side of Christ, invites us to once again believe in Him. By formally extending the Feast of Divine Mercy to be celebrated by the whole Church during the Great Jubilee Year of the Incarnation, Pope St. John Paul II made a bold prophetic action which served to highlight his intuition that this was a pivotal moment in world history, and served to express his hopes that the new millennium would usher in the new Springtime of the Church, during the era of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima. The Holy Father alluded to the relation between the imagery of Divine Mercy and the coming of the era of peace during the canonization Mass of St. Faustina:

"as the Apostles once did, today too humanity must welcome into the upper room of history the risen Christ, who shows the wounds of his Crucifixion and repeats:  Peace be with you!"

When we take into consideration the other major prophetic action taken during the Great Jubilee Year, when St. John Paul II once again consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in unison with the bishops of the world on 8th October, 2000, we are reminded of St. John Bosco's prophetic dreams of the Two Pillars and the March of the 200 Days. 
In his Dream of the Two Pillars, after two sets of "meetings" which represent the First and Second Vatican Councils, Don Bosco sees a pope who is "gravely wounded" by his enemies. While many have linked this part of the dream to the assassination attempt on Pope St. John Paul II in 1981, this interpretation fails to take into account the fact that the March of the 200 Days points to the year 1999 for the fulfillment of the prophecy of the pope who anchors the barque of St. Peter between the two pillars. Each of the four hundred days in this prophecy represents a month, giving a total of 33.333 years, and calculating from the close of the Second Vatican Council in December 1965, this brings us up to the year 1999 (see the post St. John Bosco and the Turn of the Millennium for more information on this topic). This means that the pope who secures the barque to the two pillars of devotion to the Eucharist and the Immaculate Virgin at the turn of the millennium must be St. John Paul II. If this is correct, then the Dream of the Two Pillars gives an exact sequence of the popes who lead the Church following the Second Vatican Council, up until the turn of the millennium. The pope who is "gravely wounded" by the enemies of the Church after Vatican II would be Pope Paul VI, whose pontificate encompassed the cultural revolution that has resulted in the massive decline in the influence of the Church in modern culture - the beginning of the Great Apostasy. The pope who is killed by the enemies of the Church would therefore be Pope John Paul I, who many believe was the victim of a sinister assassination plot. Unfortunately, the truth surrounding John Paul I's sudden death is now almost impossible to ascertain. The mention of the unusually rapid series of papal conclaves may allude to 1978 as the "year of three popes", due to this exceptionally short 33 day pontificate. 
It should be worth taking a look at the Dream of the Two Pillars again in full:

“Imagine yourself to be with me on the seashore, or better, on an isolated rock and not to see any patch of land other than that under your feet. On the whole of that vast sheet of water you see an innumerable fleet of ships in battle array. The prows of the ships are formed into sharp, spear-like points so that wherever they are thrust they pierce and completely destroy. These ships are armed with cannons, with lots of rifles, with incendiary materials, with other firearms of all kinds, and also with books, and advance against a ship very much bigger and higher than themselves and try to dash against it with the prows or burn it or in some way to do it every possible harm.
“As escorts to that majestic fully equipped ship, there are many smaller ships, which receive commands by signal from it and carry out movements to defend themselves from the opposing fleet. In the midst of the immense expanse of sea, two mighty columns of great height arise a little distance the one from the other. On the top of one, there is the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, from whose feet hangs a large placard with this inscription: Auxilium Christianorum—”Help of Christians”; on the other, which is much higher and bigger, stands a Host of great size proportionate to the column and beneath is another placard with the words: Salus Credentium—Salvation of the Faithful.
“The supreme commander of the big ship is the Sovereign Pontiff. He, seeing the fury of the enemies and the evils among which his faithful find themselves, determines to summon around himself the captains of the smaller ships to hold a council and decide what is to be done.
“All the captains come aboard and gather around the Pope. They hold a meeting, but meantime the wind and the waves gather in storm, so they are sent back to control their own ships. There comes a short lull; for a second time the Pope gathers the captains around him, while the flag-ship goes on its course. But the frightful storm returns. The Pope stands at the helm and all his energies are directed to steering the ship towards those two columns from whose summits hang many anchors and strong hooks linked to chains.
“All the enemy ships move to attack it, and they try in every way to stop it and to sink it: some with books and writings or inflammable materials, of which they are full; others with firearms, with rifles and with rams. The battle rages ever more relentlessly. The enemy prows thrust violently, but their efforts and impact prove useless. They make attempts in vain and waste all their labor and ammunition; the big ship goes safely and smoothly on its way. Sometimes it happens that, struck by formidable blows, it gets large, deep gaps in its sides; but no sooner is the harm done that a gentle breeze blows from the two columns and the cracks close up and the gaps are stopped immediately.
“Meanwhile, the guns of the assailants are blown up, the rifles and other arms and prows are broken; many ships are shattered and sink into the sea. Then, the frenzied enemies strive to fight hand to hand, with fists, with blows, with blasphemy and with curses.
“Suddenly the Pope falls gravely wounded. Immediately, those who are with him run to help him and they lift him up. A second time the Pope is struck, he falls again and dies. A shout of victory and joy rings out amongst the enemies; from their ships an unspeakable mockery arises.
“But hardly is the Pontiff dead than another takes his place. The pilots, having met together, have elected the Pope so promptly that the news of the death of the Pope coincides with the news of the election of the successor. The adversaries begin to lose courage.
“The new Pope, putting the enemy to rout and overcoming every obstacle, guides the ship right up to the two columns and comes to rest between them; he makes it fast with a light chain that hangs from the bow to an anchor of the column on which stands the Host; and with another light chain which hangs from the stern, he fastens it at the opposite end to another anchor hanging from the column on which stands the Immaculate Virgin.
“At this point, a great convulsion takes place. All the ships that until then had fought against the Pope’s ship are scattered; they flee away, collide and break to pieces one against another. Some sink and try to sink others. Several small ships that had fought gallantly for the Pope race to be the first to bind themselves to those two columns. Many other ships, having retreated through fear of the battle, cautiously watch from far away; the wrecks of the broken ships having been scattered in the whirlpools of the sea, they in their turn sail in good earnest to those two columns, and having reached them, they make themselves fast to the hooks hanging down from them and their they remain safe, together with the principal ship, on which is the Pope. Over the sea their reigns a great calm.”





If this interpretation is correct, the pope anchoring the barque of St. Peter to the two pillars of devotion to the Eucharist and the Immaculate Virgin at the turn of the millennium, must be a reference to the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy and the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during the Great Jubilee Year. The Feast of Divine Mercy is essentially Eucharistic in character, with its emphasis on the blood and water which issued from the side of Christ as the source of the outpouring of God's mercy.

The blood and water issuing from Christ after His side is pierced with a spear is traditionally linked with the prophecy of Zechariah, which also has an eschatological context that foreshadows the future conversion of the Jews during the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit:

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
(Zech 12:10)

On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
(Zech 13:1)

By directing our attention to the blood and water which was poured out from the side of Christ, the image of Divine Mercy recalls the Eternal Sacrifice of Jesus commemorated during Mass in the Holy Eucharist; and at the same time also points forward to the future conversion of the Jews (the "house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem"), which the Catechism states must take place before the Second Coming of Christ.



The pope securing the barque of St. Peter to the pillar bearing the Blessed Sacrament in St. John Bosco's prophetic dream appears to depict the Holy Father anchoring the Church to the devotion of Divine Mercy. The smaller column bearing the statue of the Immaculate Virgin may indicate that the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during the Great Jubilee Year was of lesser importance at this particular time, given that the same ceremony was already performed previously in 1984. But it is still possesses a sufficient level of significance to warrant a place of honour in Don Bosco's dream, especially since it fulfilled the request to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary given to Blessed Alexandria Maria da Costa, whose feast is celebrated on Oct 13th - the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. The "light chains" which the pope uses to anchor the barque between the two pillars would thus be the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the First Saturdays Devotion.
The fact that St. John Paul II celebrated the Great Jubilee Year by performing such highly symbolic actions was intended to highlight the prophetic significance of the millennial anniversary of the Incarnation of the Word of God in the womb of the Immaculate Virgin. The Book of Revelation presents the Blessed Virgin Mary as the new Eve, and uses the story of the nativity to demonstrate how the fall of humanity is reversed by a woman conceived without sin, who crushes the head of the Ancient Serpent by bearing God Himself into the world. It is the Incarnation of the Word which signals Satan's ultimate defeat on the Cross.

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.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God".
(Rev 12:1-10)

It is interesting to note the timing of the recent blood moon on 15th April, 2014 (the first of a much vaunted tetrad series of lunar eclipses which fall on Jewish feast days) in proximity to the recent canonization of Pope St. John Paul II on 27th April, 2014. This tetrad of blood moons certainly appears to be of some prophetic significance, in the fact that it recalls the words of Scripture: "The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes" (Joel 2:31). But it fails to take into account the fact that the Bible details a very specific combination of astronomical events, all of which occurred at the turn of the millennium, leading up to the Great Jubilee Year of the Incarnation. This includes an earthquake, a total solar eclipse, a total lunar eclipse, and a meteor shower, as well as the appearance of the "sign of the Son of Man", which like the Star of Bethlehem, appears to be a planetary conjunction:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn...
(Matt 24:29-30)

A series of astronomical events which the Book of Ezekiel informs us are related to the casting out of Satan from heaven, which states that when the "dragon in the seas" is cast to the ground by God, the estchatological astronomical phenomena would appear:

When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord GOD.
(Ezek 32:7-8)

Note that the above mention of the "mourning" at the appearance of the "sign of the Son of Man" mentioned by Jesus during His Olivet Discourse is directly connected to the same passage in the Book of Zechariah referenced by the image of Divine Mercy:  "when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child" (Zech 12:10). It is perhaps of some significance then that the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy during the Great Jubilee Year, on 30th April, 2000, took place just days before the planetary conjunction of all seven classical planets known to the ancients, which occurred on 5th May, 2000, which in turn was just days before the beatification ceremony of Francisco and Jacinta Marto on 13th May, when Pope St. John Paul II announced his intention to publish the Third Secret. We have already discussed how this event may have been related to the "sign of the Son of Man" in the post The Seven Wandering Stars and the Heads of the Dragon.
This rare planetary conjunction was preceded in the previous year by one of the most widely witnessed total solar eclipses in human history - that of 11th August, 1999, whose path of totality not only crossed one of the most densely populated areas on earth, but also directly through Turkey, near the city of Izmit, where a 7.6 magnitude earthquake took place just six days afterwards, on 17th August, 1999, killing 17,000 people.
Turkey also happens to be the site of ancient Asia Minor - the location of the seven churches to which the Book of Revelation was addressed, including the site of Pergamon, which the Apocalypse states is "where Satan's throne is" (Rev 2:12). So here we have two of the "signs in heaven" taking place within an incredibly close time frame - an earthquake and the sun turning black "like sackcloth", both centred upon the location to which the Apocalypse was originally addressed.

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.
(Rev 6:12-13)

Then in November 1999, there was the occurrence of the Leonid Meteor Storm, the most prolific of all meteor showers, which takes place every 33 years (which recalls what is traditionally believed to be the duration of the life of Christ). This was quickly followed just two months later at the very start of the new millennium and the beginning of the Great Jubilee Year of the Incarnation, by the appearance of a blood moon on Jan 20th, 2000 - the anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of the Miracle to Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne in 1842 (which prefigures the future conversion of the Jews). The institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy took place just over three months later, followed by the aforementioned rare planetary conjunction of the seven classical planets. The very next year brought the world-changing events of 9/11, which as we have already argued in the previous post The Angel of the Seven Thunders,  is connected to the "blood fire and columns of smoke", which Joel prophesied would accompany the "signs in heaven" during the eschatological outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. 
“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. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.
(Joel 2:28-32)

As I argue in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse, chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation is a dramatization of the eschatological astronomical phenomena, which means that the appearance of this series of astronomical signs heralds the casting down of Satan from heaven by the Archangel Michael. The Red Dragon standing under the Woman's feet represents a blood moon, since the horns of the crescent moon is traditionally associated with the Devil. Such symbolism is incorporated into famous icons such as Our Lady of Guadeloupe, where the crescent moon under the feet of the Blessed Virgin evokes the words of the Protoevangelium:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
(Gen 3:15)



The Dragon standing under the Woman's feet also represents the total solar eclipse at the opening of the sixth seal, which turns the Sun as "black as sackcloth". The third of the stars being swept from the sky by the Dragon's tail symbolizes the stars falling to earth; while the seven heads, which we are told bear "blasphemous names", appears to refer to the seven classical planets, which are named after pagan gods. So an alignment of the seven classical planets is also alluded to in Rev 12.
The appearance of this unique and highly specific collection of astronomical signs points to the precise moment in history when Satan is cast down to the earth by the Archangel Michael, following which, the Devil transfers his great power and authority to the Antichrist - who is represented by the Beast which rises from the sea:

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
(Rev 12:12)

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.
(Rev 13:1-2)

Once the head of the Serpent has been crushed by the Woman Adorned with the Sun, the fatal head wound inflicted upon Satan appears to be healed when the Antichrist rises to power on earth:

One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
(Rev 13:3-4)

We can find further Scriptural evidence that these eschatological astronomical signs portend the defeat of Satan in heaven, by studying chapter 24 of the Book of Isaiah - which explicitly states that the darkening of the Sun and Moon at the end-time marks the exact moment when God punishes the rebellious angels during the war in heaven:

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 24:21-23)

Once Satan is defeated in heaven, and cast down to the earth, he drags the rebellious angels down with him, who number a third of the heavenly host. The above passage in Isaiah states that during the appearance of the signs in heaven, the fallen angels would be gathered together as prisoners in the pits of hell, where they would have to wait for a period of "many days" before their final punishment would be meted out during the Last Judgment. This same eschatological episode is referenced in the Second Epistle of St. Peter and the Epistle of St. Jude:

God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment...
(2 Peter 2:4)

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day...
(Jude 1:6)

In relation to this, it is interesting to note that the greatest point of eclipse on 11th August, 1999, was concentrated exactly on a town in Romania called Ocnele Mari, which translates from Romanian as "Large Prison" or "Large Pit". It seems beyond mere coincidence that an astronomical event which can be associated with the signs in heaven that herald the casting down of Satan (described by Isaiah as the gathering of "prisoners in a pit") should be directly centred on a location called "Large Prison/Pit". And that in turn, this event should take place during the millennial anniversary of the Incarnation of Christ, which is so closely associated with the promises of the Protoevangelium (that the Woman will crush the head of the Serpent), and the "Apocalyptic Nativity" described in chapter twelve of the Apocalypse.

During her interview with Fr. Fuentes, Sr. Lucia stated that not only are we in the "last times of the world", but also that we were right on the cusp of a final and decisive battle between the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Devil.

"Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world, but She made me understand this for three reasons.
The first reason is because She told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the final battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat."


When we return to review the implications of St. John Bosco's prophetic Dream of the Two Pillars in respect to the above considerations, it is worth noting that the primary basis of this vision is rooted in the historic naval battle fought at Lepanto in 1571, the outcome of which Catholics attribute to the intercession of Our Lady of Victory. Pope St. Pius V had asked all of Europe to pray the Rosary with the intention for the victory of the Holy League against the Ottoman Turks, who were threatening to overrun the whole of Western Europe. After the Catholic forces secured a resounding victory over the Ottoman fleet, St. Pius V instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, to be held each year on 7th October, which is still celebrated today as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
A vital key to interpreting St. John Bosco's Dream of the Two Pillars and the March of the 200 Days can be found in his architectural plans for the Church of Mary Help of Christians in Turin, which were based on his prophetic visions. They show not only that the visions were indeed based on the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, but also dates the "new triumph of the Madonna" shown in the Dream of the Two Pillars as taking place at some point in the 20th century - which means that the fulfillment of this prophecy must be already in the past.

...additional work on the Church of Mary Help of Christians was in progress. Each of the two belfries flanking the facade was to be surmounted by an angel, nearly eight feet tall, fashioned from gilded wrought copper, according to Don Bosco’s own plan. The angel on the right held a banner…bearing the word “LEPANTO” drilled in large letters through the metal, while the one on the left offered…a laurel wreath to the Blessed Virgin standing atop the dome.
In a previous design, the second angel too held a banner on which the figure “19” was drilled through the metal followed by two dots. It stood for another date, “nineteen hundred,” without the final two numbers to indicate the specific year. Though ultimately, as we have said, a laurel wreath was put into the angel’s hand, we have never forgotten the mysterious date which, in our opinion, pointed to a new triumph of the Madonna. May this come soon and bring all nations under Mary’s mantle.
(Lemoyne, Biographical Memoirs IX, p276)

The two angels bearing banners here are the same as that seen in St. John Bosco's March of the 200 Days. The date originally depicted in the banner of the second angel was given as 19.., but was then replaced with a laurel wreath (representing victory) being presented to the Blessed Virgin - which symbolized the time of this great Marian triumph. If we cross-reference the date presented in St. John Bosco's architectural plans with his March of the 200 Days, then the obscured date given as "19.." must be the year 1999.


Another intriguing aspect in relation to this can be found in the mysterious motto ascribed to Pope St. John Paul II in the prophetic list of popes attributed to St. Malachy,  De Labore Solis "From the labour of the sun" or "from the eclipse of the sun" - which is highly evocative of the prophecy of the labour of the Woman Adorned with the Sun described in Rev 12. Does this motto suggest that the prophecy of the Woman Adorned with the Sun was fulfilled during the pontificate of St. John Paul II? Writing in a commentary on the Apocalypse first published in 1955, Fr. Herman Kramer had suggested that the portion of Rev 12 which mentions the Woman giving birth to a male child who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, is in fact a prophecy of a particular pope.
If Fr. Kramer's insight on this matter was correct, then it is most likely that the pope referred to in this prophecy was in fact Pope St. John Paul II, as he was the residing pontiff when the eschatological astronomical phenomena foretold in the Bible actually took place. Furthermore, Fr. Kramer also muses whether that the Dragon standing under the woman's feet so that he could devour her child as soon as he was born could refer to an assassination attempt on the pope, which of course would fit in with the pontificate of St. John Paul II exactly:

She brought forth a male child who is destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron. The pope elected is virile and fearless. He is the one destined by Providence to overthrow the schemes of the dragon...
The clause, "that he might devour her son", does not necessarily mean assassination...
(Fr. Herman Kramer, The Book of Destiny, p285)

The Woman's child clearly survives the Dragon's attempt to devour him, following its Scriptural precedent in the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents. A rather unsettling aspect of this interpretation is that it could potentially identify Russia in some way with the Great Red Dragon, since in all likelihood, it was the KGB who engineered the assassination attempt on St. John Paul II, because of his destabilizing influence within Poland itself. This recalls the words of Sr. Lucia herself, who warned that:

“Russia will be the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation ...”

Pope St. John Paul II claimed that it was "a mother's hand" which guided the path of the bullet on that fateful day, on May 13th, 1981, saving him from the assassination attempt. This event was almost certainly the same that was prophesied in the original Church approved versions of the secrets of La Salette given in 1846:

The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time...
(Secret given to Melanie Calvat)

If we are to correlate the prophecies of La Salette with St. John Bosco's prophetic Dream of the Two Pillars, then the pope who "is persecuted" is most likely John Paul I, and the "pontiff that nobody expects" who arrives to bring about the coming of the "great peace" before the turn of the millennium must be Pope St. John Paul II:

Before all that arrives, great disorders will arrive, in the Church, and everywhere. Then, after [that], our Holy Father the Pope will be persecuted. His successor will be a pontiff that nobody expects.
Then, after [that], a great peace will come, but it will not last a long time. A monster will come to disturb it.
All that I tell you here will arrive in the other century, at the latest in the year two thousand."
(Secret given to Maximin Giraud)


Returning to Fr. Kramer's suggestion that the male child of the Woman is in fact a pope, the prediction that he is "to rule all the nations with a rod of iron" would then refer to Pope St. John Paul II's role in the spectacular dissolution of the Soviet Union, which imploded almost completely peacefully between the years 1989-1991:

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 12:4-6)

In relation to the prophecy of the "spark from Poland", the Polish people themselves often point to a prophetic poem composed by Juliusz Slowacki in 1848, which foretells the coming of a "Slavic Pope" who prepares the way for the Second Coming of Christ: 


Here comes our Slavic Pope to the rescue,
Brother of mankind.
Angel batallions dust off his throne with
Whisks made of flowers,
While he pours lotion onto our bosom,
Pontiff benign.
He will distribute love like a warlord
Passes out arms;
His strength sacramental will gather the cosmos
Into his palms.
Then will he send glad tidings to flutter
Like Noah’s dove:
News that the spirit’s here and acknowledged,
Shining alone.
And we shall see part nicely before him
The sky above.
He’ll stand on his throne, illumined, creating
Both world and throne.
His voice will transform the nations to brethren.
Burnt offerings
Circle the spirits in their march toward
Their final goal.
Strength sacramental of hundreds of nations
Will help our king
See that the spirits’ work overpowers
Death’s mournful toll.
The wounds of the world shall he cleanse, and banish
Rot. pus and all–
He will redeem the world and bring to it
Both health and love.
He shall sweep clean the insides of churches
And clear the hall,
And then reveal the Lord our Creator
Shining above.




Friday, 9 May 2014

The End of the World: What Catholics Believe



My latest work, The End of the World: What Catholics Believe, has just been published by The Catholic Truth Society (CTS), the publishers to the Holy See in the United Kingdom. It is yet to be made available on Amazon, but can already be purchased directly through the CTS website itself (I'll let readers know when it becomes available on Amazon as well). This CTS booklet traces the development of Catholic eschatology through history, and examines why some interpretations of Scripture in relation to the end-times were rejected by the Early Church, whilst outlining the position that was eventually embraced by Catholicism. In particular, it addresses the central problems posed by millenarianism in its many modern forms, and illustrates in some detail why this position is forcefully condemned by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
This short text covers a wide range of topics, ranging from the end-times literature of the Bible, to discussing the errors of Joaichim de Fiore and the Spiritual Franciscans, before moving on to the modern "Age of Mary", which was anticipated by St. Louis de Montfort during the 18th century.
The CTS blog Catholic Compass, has kindly posted an interview with myself, and an extract of the booklet itself:

Our summer titles are now available covering a wide and varied range of subjects. Here on CTS Compass, we have been speaking to some of the authors of those titles to find out a bit more about them and their books. Today we publish an interview with blogger, expert and first-time CTS author Emmett O’Regan on his book, The End of the World: What Catholics Believe.
(Read the full interview, as well as a generous extract from the text itself, here)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Angel of the Seven Thunders




St. Bonaventure and the Angel, by Francisco de Zurbaran (1629)


The duration of the era of peace foretold to take place immediately before the coming of the Antichrist, is one of the topics contemplated by the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, who linked the beginning of this period to the shout of the angel of the seven thunders:

"no one knows how long that time of great peace will last since "when they said 'Peace and security,' then suddenly destruction came upon them" (Matt 24:21). The seventh time or age, that of quiet, begins with the shout of the angel who "swore through Him who lives forever and ever that there would be no more time; but in the days of the seventh angel the mystery of God will be completed" (Rev 10:6-7).
In the sixth age three things take place - excellence of victory, excellence of teaching, and excellence of the prophetic life.... In this age there ought to come a life through an order which will possess the prophetic life. This age is double. Just as in the Lord's Passion there was first light, then darkness, and then light, so it is necessary that first there be the light of teaching and that Josiah succeed Hezekiah, after which came the tribulation of the Jews through their captivity. It is necessary that one ruler, a defender of the Church, arise. He is either still to come or has already come. (He added: Would that he has not already come!) After him will come the darkness of tribulations..."

It was said to the angel of Philadelphia, the sixth angel: "He who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who opens and no man closes, closes and no man opens, says this - 'I know your works, and behold I have placed an open door before you'" (Rev 3:7). (And he said that now for the first time the understanding of Scripture would be given and that the revelation, or key of David, would be given to a person or a large group, but I think rather to a large group.)
In the seventh age we know that these things will take place - the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the city, and the granting of peace. Likewise in the coming seventh age there will be a restoration of Divine worship and a rebuilding of the city. Then the prophecy of Ezekiel will be fulfilled when the city comes down from heaven (Ezek 40); not indeed that city which is above, but that city which is below, the Church Militant which will then be conformed to the Church Triumphant as far as possible in this life. Then will be the building and restoration of the city as it was in the beginning. Then there will be peace. God alone knows how long that peace shall last.
(St. Bonaventure, Collation 16:17-19. Translated by McGinn, B. Visions of the End, pp199-200)

In the above text, St. Bonaventure connects the coming of the era of peace to the idea of a "seventh age" of the Church, which was a common interpretation of the meaning of the seven oracles addressed to the Churches of Asia Minor found in Rev 2-3. This in turn was partially based on the earlier tradition of a "Great Week" or "Sabbath Millennium" discussed by the early Church Fathers, which proposed that the whole of human history would consist of a week of millennia corresponding to the seven days of creation - in accordance with the words of 2Pet 3:8: "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Using the chronology given in the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament, many early Christians, such as St. Hippolytus, calculated the date of creation to around the year 5,500BC, which placed the end of the Sabbath week of millennia at around the year 500.
However a completely different chronology can be found by using the original Hebrew version of the Old Testament, which yields a difference of 1,500 years. This alternative chronology was used during the 2nd century AD by Rabbi Jose ben Halafta to date the creation of the world to 3761BC, and this is still the date given for creation using the Anno Mundi system in modern Judaism. During the 17th century, Anglican Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh used the chronology given in the Hebrew Bible to calculate the date of creation as 4004BC  - meaning that the seventh millennium of the "Great Week" actually began around the year 1996. If we are to interpret the significance of the Sabbath Millennium in relation to the more obvious symbolism of the Anno Domini calendar however, the primary point of reference would be naturally shifted to align with the turn of the millennium.
Although it must be noted that the seven ages of the Church discussed by St. Bonaventure is different from the idea of a prophetic week of millennia, they start to make a lot more sense once we reapply his meditations on Scripture to parallel this much older view of the Sabbath Millennium. St. Bonaventure states that the "time of quiet" during the seventh age, or the "time of great peace" would begin with the shout of the angel holding the little scroll in Rev 10:

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
(Rev 10)

Angel of the Revelation, by William Blake


St. Bonaventure's contention that the "time of great peace" which takes place at the start of the seventh age would be marked with the shout of the seven thunders is noteworthy in the fact that the sound produced by the angel here is described as being like a "roaring lion". In the earlier post The Third Secret of Fatima and the Angel with the Flaming Sword, we have already discussed how the prophecy of the angel of the seven thunders can be connected to the terrible events of 9/11. We shall discuss this in some more detail shortly below. The link between the shout of the angel of the seven thunders and the attacks on the World Trade Centre recalls some remarkable private revelations given to Venezuelan mystic Maria Esperanza (1928-2004), who was proclaimed a Servant of God by Bishop Paul Bootkoski in 2010. The following material is taken from Catholic author Michael H. Brown's website Spirit Daily:

It was Venezuelan mystic Maria Esperanza -- whose cause for sainthood is now under investigation by the diocesan tribunal -- who in December of 2000 claimed to Spirit Daily that enemies were on American soil -- one of them a "small" enemy -- and planning to strike. Our headline: "World-known mystic Maria Esperanza warns U.S. of foreign danger, sees world 'saddened' in a short while, is concerned with the Mid-East, the Pope, and two nations." She was warning of two foreign "powers," one that she described as small, the other larger, acting in such a way as to provoke America. "The United States has to be very careful," she stated. "It has to act with a lot of prudence." As her son-in-law and interpreter explained to us at the time (ten months before September 11), "She feels in her heart that there is a certain big thing that is about to happen." He went on to say that a heaviness in her heart indicated something was on the way. She repeated this warning while in New Jersey that following March of 2001. It would be something that "will shake the world."
Then, in mid-August of 2001, her family sent Spirit Daily a fax warning that the event of which she had been speaking was about to occur -- which, of course, it did, less than three weeks later. The exact date: August 25 at 9:35 p.m. The fax said the event would occur in "three weeks or three months." It happened 17 days later.
In the frenzied day after 9/11, Maria -- who happened to be in northern Manhattan on September 11, during a long stay in the U.S.! -- said she saw a "roaring lion" behind the attacks. This is before the world knew of Al Qaeda. It later turned out that Osama means "lion." Years before, in the 1990s, she had described to pilgrims a vision she had of two large towers in New York on fire and collapsing...
(Read the full article here).

This particular insight, which appears to link the events of 9/11 with the sound of the "roaring lion" at the shout of the angel holding the little scroll, would further strengthen my hypothesis that the attacks on the Twin Towers during the turn of the millennium are directly related to the "blood, fire and columns of smoke" described by the prophet Joel. In the Book of Joel, it is prophesied that a number of visible signs would accompany the eschatological outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Second Pentecost:

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
“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. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.
(Joel 2:28-32)

The view that the events of 9/11 are related to the "signs in the heaven" predicted in the Bible, is apparently shared by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who upon returning from officiating Sr. Lucia's funeral Mass in Feburary 2005, stated to journalists during an interview with the Italian daily newspaper La Republica newspaper that: "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) 


The portion of the Apocalypse that the then Secretary of the Congregation of Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) was referring to during this interview is the signs in heaven that occur at opening of the sixth seal:

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.
(Rev 6:12-13)

The signs in heaven are also mentioned by Christ during His eschatological discourse on Mt. Olivet:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn..."
(Matt 24:29-30)

This begs the question whether the connection between 9/11 and the "signs in heaven" was merely the personal musings of the Secretary of the CDF here, or whether this interpretation has been widely discussed within the highest circles of the Vatican hierarchy. Although the reference to the "blood, fire and columns of smoke" is omitted in the Apocalypse as part of the events which unfold at the opening of the sixth seal, we are prompted to compare this passage with its scriptural precedents in order to flesh out a fuller picture. When we do so, we can safely conclude that the "signs in heaven" consist of the following events:

A powerful earthquake
A total solar eclipse (the Sun becoming black like sackcloth)
A total lunar eclipse (or blood moon)
A great meteor shower
The appearance of the mysterious "sign of the Son of Man"
Some sort of major disaster which involves "blood, fire and columns of smoke"

As we have already discussed at some length in the post Signs in the Sky, all of these events occurred at the turn of the millennium (or the beginning of the Sabbath Millennium according to the chronology of the Hebrew Bible) - which can be linked to the start of the "seventh age" that St. Bonaventure believed would be inaugurated by the shout of the angel holding the little scroll (which sounds like a lion roaring).

We have noted in a previous post that a bridging connection between the angel of the seven thunders and the angel of the Third Secret of Fatima can be found once we examine the exact portion of the Old Testament which is alluded to in Rev 10. The motif of the angel raising his hand to heaven to swear an eternal oath in Rev 10:5 is directly lifted from Deut 32, which provides the additional detail that it is this same angel who holds the flashing, flaming sword which protects the way to the Tree of Life - the angel seen in the Third Secret of Fatima:

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)

In the Third Secret of Fatima, the flames spewed forth from this sword which threaten to consume the world are temporarily quenched by the rays of grace that emanate from the hands of the Blessed Virgin, in order to allow a time of penance to take place before the final Passover of the Church - a period which should be equated with the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

 ...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; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘PenancePenancePenance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it'...

The imagery here is clearly based on that of the Miraculous Medal, which shows rays of light emanating from the hands of the Blessed Virgin, and the head of the Ancient Serpent being crushed underneath her heel. The focus of the wrath dealt out by the sword is now directed away from humanity, and is aimed at the head of the Adversary instead. Although the head of the Serpent is metaphorically crushed under the heel of the Woman Adorned with the Sun (in order to indicate who is ultimately responsible for his defeat - in accordance with the Protoevangelium of Gen 3:14), it is the Archangel Michael who is tasked to deal the fatal blow to the Enemy.


Archangel Michael Hurls the Rebellious Angels into the Abyss, by Luca Giordano (c.1666)

The fact that the angel of the seven thunders in Rev 10 is based on the angel holding a sword swearing an eternal oath in Deut 32, helps us to identify both figures as St. Michael - the angel who delivers the fatal head wound to the Ancient Serpent when he is cast out from heaven.
The imagery of the angel holding the open scroll is clearly modeled on one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - the torch-bearing Colossus of Rhodes. The Colossus was thought to have similarly stood with one foot on the land and one foot on the sea, largely based on the fact that the ancient dedication poem to the statue mentions its dominion "over land and sea" twice:

To you, o Sun, the people of Dorian Rhodes set up this bronze statue reaching to Olympus, when they had pacified the waves of war and crowned their city with the spoils taken from the enemy. Not only over the seas but also on land did they kindle the lovely torch of freedom and independence. For to the descendants of Herakles belongs dominion over sea and land.
(Anthologia Graeca 4, 171 H.)

The oldest representations of the Colossus of Rhodes in works of art always present the posture of this statue as standing with one foot on the land and one on the sea, holding aloft a blazing torch (which in visual terms readily evokes the imagery of a "flaming sword"). The depiction of the statue standing with one foot on the land and one on the sea was intended to symbolize the Rhodians' military superiority over both land and sea. St. John would have been thoroughly acquainted with the story of the Colossus, since a particularly strong tradition informs us that he stayed for some time at the nearby coastal city of Ephesus, and the Apocalypse itself was composed on Patmos, one of the neighbouring islands to Rhodes.


The Colossus of Rhodes, from The Book of Knowledge, The Grolier Society, 1911


The Statue of Liberty, designed by the French Freemason Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was directly modeled on the Colossus of Rhodes, and incorporates not only the same torch-bearing motif, but was also based on the presumed dimensions of the ancient wonder of the world. Bartholdi feminised his version of the colossus as a personification of liberty, and drew on similar themes found among the imagery of the goddesses of ancient mythology. Most notably, we find that the characteristics of the Statue of Liberty closely parallels that of the Greek goddess Hecate. As well as sharing the rays which form an aureole around her head, the goddess Hecate is similarly depicted in ancient art as bearing a torch. 




The Hecate Chiaramonti, which resides in the Vatican Museums





Hecate wearing a crown of rays

Hecate was closely associated with the Egyptian goddess Isis and her counterparts in the Mesopotimian pantheons as the goddesses Ishtar/Inanna/Astarte. These were in turn derived from the same archetype as the goddess Semiramis - the legendary wife of king Ninus, who Greek historians identified as the eponymous founder of Nineveh.



As early as the Clementine literature, which dates to circa 300-400AD, Ninus was equated with the biblical king Nimrod, who the Book of Genesis tells us was also the founder of Nineveh:

Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
(Gen 10:8-12)

In the mythology of ancient Assyria, the goddess Ishtar was the daughter of Ninurta, the god of Lagash - who has also been identified by scholars with the biblical king Nimrod. An interesting aspect of the Assyrian goddess Ishtar/Astarte, and her Sumerian counterpart Inanna is that her symbols in ancient art were the lion, and an eight pointed star which represented the planet Venus (the Daystar or Lucifer). Ishtar/Inanna was the goddess of erotic love (not marriage) and promiscuity, and because of her unpredictable nature, she was also associated with war and chaos. According to an ancient Sumerian text known as the Hymn to Inanna:

"She stirs confusion and chaos against those who are disobedient to her, speeding carnage and inciting the devastating flood, clothed in terrifying radiance. It is her game to speed conflict and battle, untiring, strapping on her sandals."



The Sumerian goddess Inanna, depicted alongside her symbols, the lion and an eight-pointed star representing Venus


The Assyrian goddess Ishtar, shown standing on two lions  

Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the text of the Old Testament itself, both Jewish and Christian tradition hold that it was king Nimrod who was responsible for constructing the Tower of Babel after the flood. The purpose of this tower was to reach heaven itself, but ultimately wrought the disunity of mankind as a result of the confusion of languages:

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.” So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
(Gen 11:1-9)


The story of king Nimrod, which appears immediately after the narrative of Noah's flood in the Bible, may also be alluded to in the fact that there are clouds and a rainbow above the head of the angel of the seven thunders (Rev 10:1), since these are the visible signs of the Noahic covenant:

I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. 
(Gen 9:13-15)

When viewed together as a collective whole, the imagery of the angel holding the little scroll thus not only alludes to the Colossus of Rhodes, but it also foreshadows the symbolism of the goddesses of ancient Mesopotamia which would be incorporated into the Statue of Liberty - goddesses who were represented by the symbol of a lion and Venus/Lucifer, and who were closely associated with the story of king Nimrod and the building of the Tower of Babel.
The imagery of the angel holding the open scroll in Rev 10 is further reflected in the fact that the Statue of Liberty similarly clutches on to a tabula ansata - a tablet bearing dovetail handles which resembles an open scroll.




An ancient tabula ansata bearing a Greek inscription. The handles indicate that the text is an open scroll containing an authoritative proclamation

The legs of the angel of the seven thunders being like "pillars of fire" further recalls  the "blood, fire and columns of smoke" listed by the Book of Joel as one of the signs in heaven during the eschatological outpouring of the Holy Spirit.



A further link to the confusion of languages can be found during the events of the original Pentecost, when one of the principal signs of the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the apostles together with the Blessed Virgin in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, was the miracle of speaking in tongues.



The Confusion of Tongues, by Gustave Doré

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
(Acts 2:1-12)

The miracle of speaking in tongues was in effect a reversal of the confusion of tongues which took place at the building of the Tower of Babel in Gen 11. This unique miracle symbolized the fact that God was now ready to reunite all of humanity through the proclamation of the Gospel. At Pentecost, mankind had now indeed reached the heavens; but it was not accessed by a tower constructed through his own inflated sense of self-determination - which presumes that the creation can ascend to the throne of the Creator. The only tower through which humanity could truly reach the gates of eternal paradise was that which was opened by the sacrifice of the Lamb - the eternal Word of God who humbled Himself to become incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin.
At the construction of the Tower of Babel, which acted as a sort of "anti-Pentecost", bringing division to humanity, the uncompleted tower itself was left intact, and the punishment for this act of hubris was the confusion of languages. Pentecost itself miraculously reversed this confusion of languages as a sign of the restoration of unity in humanity in Christ (who is the Light brought to the gentiles), at the very birthday of the Church. The only tower to reach the heavens during this episode was Jesus Himself, who had allowed entrance to the Kingdom of God through His Death and glorious Resurrection. It seems apt then that the beginning of the Second Pentecost, which will eventually unite the scattered people of God under one shepherd, was marked by the destruction of towers in the presence of a statue which invokes the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, whose mythology is inextricably bound with the story of king Nimrod.
This is not to say that the terrorists of 9/11 were acting on behalf of God, or that those who lost their lives on that dreadful day were deserving of punishment. This truly was an unspeakable evil, committed by twisted fanatics whose only destiny is the road to eternal punishment. But God sometimes permits evil to happen to fit the purposes of His overall plan for creation. This is not only to make us aware of His anger, but as a Father who chastises His children to prevent them from coming to greater harm.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
(Rev 3:19)

The events of 9/11 serve as a warning, not only to America, but to the entire "Christian" West, of a worse punishment to come if we do not amend our ways, and depart from this current state of apostate secularism.

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...
(Rev 18:4-6)

The immediate winning over of "about three thousand souls" at Pentecost, described in Acts 2:41, appears to foreshadow and balance out the almost exact number of three thousand souls that were lost during the attacks on September 11th.

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
(Acts 2:37-41)

So the immediate flood of 3,000 converts at Pentecost appears to have been a prophetic sign itself, reflecting the 3,000 people who would be tragically lost at the start of the Second Pentecost.

When we look at the context in which this imagery is used throughout the rest of the Bible, we can gain a further insight into the significance of the shout of the angel holding the little scroll. The noise produced by the angel in this vision - the sound of a lion roaring, is particularly important. The symbolism of a roaring lion is used in the First Epistle of St. Peter to describe how Satan roams the earth in search of prey:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
(1 Pet 5:8)

Could this be a further reference to the casting out of Satan from heaven, when he is thrown down to the earth by the Archangel Michael? The imagery of the Devil prowling around back and forth on the earth in search of prey is used in the Book of Job - the text that forms the basis for the Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII  (which also points to the significance of the turn of the millennium, as the end of the period of Satan's greater power).

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
(Job 1:6-12)

After Satan has been granted his period of greater power, or the "little while" of Rev 20:3, he is no longer tolerated to stand in the heavenly throne room in order to accuse humanity, but is thrown down to the earth, whereupon he pursues the Woman Adorned with the Sun with renewed vigour:

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
(Rev 12:7-12)

Although this text is based on the events of Lucifer's primordial fall from grace, it is also clearly eschatological in nature, and concerns events that will only occur towards the end of the world. Even though Satan had already fallen from grace and earned his place in the abyss, he was still permitted to flit between earth and the heavenly throne room, and bring the sins of humanity before God in order to accuse them (as is evidenced by the Book of Job). But the Book of Revelation informs us that this situation is only tolerated up to a certain point, and towards the end of time, Satan is cast from heaven down to the earth, upon which he rises in the form of the seven-headed water dragon, variously known in ancient mythology as Levithan, Rahab, Tiamat or Lotan.
It is when Satan is cast from heaven down to the earth that the head of the Serpent is crushed under the feet of the Woman, and the Archangel Michael deals the head of the Dragon a fatal blow with his flaming sword:

In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.
(Isa 27:1)

The Book of Job describes this moment in context with the appearance a number of the signs in heaven - the covering of the face of the full moon (i.e. a lunar eclispse), and also the trembling and astonishment of the "pillars of heaven":

Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering. He stretches out the north over the void
and hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them. He covers the face of the full moon and spreads over it his cloud. He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at his rebukeBy his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab. By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
(Job 26:6-13)

In comparing the Egyptian Pharaoh to the Devil, the Book of Ezekiel similarly informs us that the casting down of Satan to earth at the end-time is marked by the appearance of the signs in heaven - solar and lunar eclipses; in a passage which also contains echoes of the eschatological banquet described Rev 19:17-21:

“Son of man, raise a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him:
“You consider yourself a lion of the nations, but you are like a dragon in the seas; you burst forth in your rivers, trouble the waters with your feet, and foul their rivers. Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will throw my net over you with a host of many peoples, and they will haul you up in my dragnet.
And I will cast you on the ground; on the open field I will fling you, and will cause all the birds of the heavens to settle on you, and I will gorge the beasts of the whole earth with you. I will strew your flesh upon the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcass. I will drench the land even to the mountains with your flowing blood, and the ravines will be full of you. When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord GOD.

(Ezek 32:2-8)

An earlier passage in Ezekiel also describes the wicked Israelite royalty in a similar fashion, and speaks of the destruction of cities at the sound of a roaring lion:

He prowled among the lions; he became a young lion, and he learned to catch prey; he devoured men, and seized their widows. He laid waste their cities, and the land was appalled and all who were in it at the sound of his roaringThen the nations set against him from provinces on every side; they spread their net over him; he was taken in their pit. With hooks they put him in a cage and brought him to the king of Babylon; they brought him into custody, that his voice should no more be heard
on the mountains of Israel.
(Ezek 19:6-9)

The same theme is taken up in the Book of Amos, which as well as mentioning disaster being visited to a city at the roaring of a lion and the sounding of a trumpet, adds the detail that God will also reveal his secrets to those who serve him at this time - which parallels the sealed words of Scripture described in the Book of Daniel, (which is alluded to by St. Bonaventure above):

Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?“For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. The lion has roaredwho will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?”
(Amos 3:6-8)

The portion of the Book of Daniel which mentions that its words are sealed up until the end of the world similarly describes the defeat of Satan by the Archangel Michael at the end-time, and states that it will be at this moment that the prophet's people will be delivered. This is the end-time conversion of the Jews during the Second Pentecost, which St. Paul tells us will ultimately bring about the General Resurrection of the Dead (which takes place after the Second Coming and destruction of the earth by fire):

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream, “How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?” And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished. I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.
(Dan 12:1-10)

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
(Rom 11:11-15)

It is noteworthy that the angel the prophet Daniel sees in this vision also raises his  hand to heaven to swear an eternal oath, which indicates that this is the angel holding the little scroll - the scroll which is sealed up with seven seals. This should thus be equated with the "sealed book" mentioned in Dan 12. It is perhaps no coincidence in this regard that the Third Secret of Fatima was first published at the turn of the millennium - which I believe is a vital key for interpreting Scripture (the key of David mentioned by St. Bonaventure?).
The fact that the scroll held in the hands of the angel of the seven thunders is open, indicates that the seven seals mentioned earlier in Rev 5 has by this stage now already been opened. The text then enigmatically acts as a sort of "feedback loop" here, and the open scroll of the seven thunders is sealed again, and sent hurtling backwards in time to be opened by the Lamb in Rev 5 - an act which sets the events of the Apocalypse in motion, when the nations of the earth are gathered together for battle by the Devil at the beginning of his period of greater power, during the appearance of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

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.
(Rev 20:7-8)

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 24:7-8)

The opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals is equivalent to the "little while" given to Satan, when many shall fall away from the faith because of the widespread chaos that ensues.

...because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
(Matt 24:10-12)

At the end of the "little while" given to Satan, the Devil is cast from heaven down to the earth, upon which he continues his pursuit of the Woman, and transfers his great power and authority to the Beast which rises up from the sea. Although the fatal head wound dealt to the Dragon when he was cast out of heaven seems to be healed, it will ultimately bring about his complete demise - when the appearance of the Antichrist is brought to nothing by the Second Coming of Christ:

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.
(Rev 13:1-3)

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
(2Thes 2:8)

Just as the Gospel was allowed to be spread during the first Pentecost, after Christ had bound the strong man to plunder his goods, so too will the Gospel be able to spread once more during the Second Pentecost, when the powers of Satan are restricted again when the head of the Serpent has been crushed. Indeed it is only by studying the events of the first Pentecost that we can gain a sense of what to expect during the Second Pentecost. Evil continued to exist after the first Pentecost, even though Christ had defeated Satan once and for all by His Death on the Cross, descent into Hell, and glorious Resurrection from the dead. Evil continues to exist after Satan is thrown down from heaven to earth at the end of his period of greater power. As Pope Benedict noted during his interview with journalists during his pilgrimage to Portugal in 2010: "The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world". Evil will persist in the world right up until Satan is finally thrown into the lake of fire, along with the Antichrist and False Prophet, during the Last Judgment.
In fact if anything, the level of spiritual warfare intensifies once Satan has been cast down to the earth, as the Church is now positioned to face its greatest enemy, when Satan gives his great power and authority to the Antichrist. Whilst the heavens can rejoice in the fact that the Gospel may now once again be spread, the inhabitants of the world are warned to be prepared for even worse times, since the Devil has now come down to them in great wrath:

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
(Rev 12:12)

As Pope John Paul II once famously declared during a trip to America before he was elected to the chair of St. Peter:

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think the wide circle of the American Society, or the wide circle of the Christian Community realise this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the antichurch, between the Gospel and the antigospel, between Christ and the antichrist. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously.
(Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, Address at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 1976)

When Satan is cast down to the earth, his powers are once again reduced to the level they were before he was granted his "little while". This allows the Gospel to be spread during the Second Pentecost. But the very people responsible for bringing about the new Springtime of the Church - the Two Witnesses, are put to death by the Antichrist during the final Passover of the Church:

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)

This directly parallels the events which took place after the first Pentecost. Although the Church was flourishing when Gospel was first spread to the gentiles, it also was constantly beset by persecution - a scenario which eventually culminated in the deaths of Ss. Peter and Paul under the Roman Emperor Nero (the precursor to the Antichrist). The era of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima should therefore not be confused with the end of all evil on earth. This is an event which belongs solely to the world to come during the new creation. It is the spiritual peace found in embracing Christ that is granted to the world at this time, not the end of evil itself. There will always be tribulation in the world.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)

While not everyone will accept the Gospel during this time, the eschatological outpouring of the Holy Spirit will bring in the "fullness of the gentiles", leading to the conversion of the Jews:

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
(Rom 11:25-27)

Since the above evidence suggests that the casting down of Satan from heaven took place at the turn of the millennium (marked by the appearance of the signs in heaven), we are prompted to look for further evidence that this truly did signal the beginning of the age of the Second Pentecost. While this age still obviously needs to come into full fruition, the Holy Spirit may already be sent out into the world to accomplish the new Springtime of the Church. We have to keep in mind that the Holy Spirit works invisibly to bring about the restoration of the Church, and He does so by inspiring each of the individuals who make up the Church on a personal level. Given that this involves a gradual, rather than immediate process, the work of the Holy Spirit is not always going to be immediately obvious to us. Yet it may be possible to find some tangible evidence that the Holy Spirit is already operating in a mysterious, invisible manner to restore the Church, in a way that is fully consistent with the eschatological outpouring of the Spirit described in the Book of Joel.
Since the turn of the millennium, there has been reports of thousands of Muslims turning to Christ after He had appeared to the them in dreams. This new phenomenon, which has been dealt with in several recent books, such as Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World, by Tom Doyle, directly echoes Joel's prophecy of the eschatological outpouring of the Holy Spirit: "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions (Joel 2:28). The remarkable feature of this phenomenon is that it is centred on the turn of the millennium itself. While there were relatively few such conversions that took place before the turn of the millennium, we find that an explosion of these conversion stories have surfaced after the events of 9/11 further polarised the Western and Arab worlds.



One further connection between the events of 9/11 in relation to the eschtological outpouring of the Holy Spirit described in the Book of Joel, is found in the Book of Isaiah, which similarly forwards a paradox that juxtaposes a time of great disaster (this time the "falling of towers") with the Second Pentecost:

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.
(Isa 30:25-26)

The brightening of the Sun and Moon is used in a figurative sense here, to describe the interior illumination which takes place during this period, when people will be able to clearly see the Light shining out of the darkness to the gentiles. An event which is spoken of in the preceding chapter, which also mentions the opening of the sealed book in relation to the conversion of the Jews at the end-time:

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.”...

...In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel...

“Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale. For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
(Isa 29:11-12; 18-19; 22-23)

The seven-fold increase of the Sun foretold in the Book of Isaiah is also alluded to in a prophecy made by St. John Bosco, which foretells that the appearance of the "rainbow of peace" (also seen behind the Angel of the Seven Thunders) will take place "before two full moons shall have shone in the month of flowers":


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...

The vesting of the "Venerable Old Man" of Lazio (a term which St. John Bosco frequently uses for the pope) with his former garments, alludes to the Book of Zechariah, when Joshua the high priest (who is a template for one of the Two Witnesses) is dressed in pure vestments after the captivity in Babylon (which symbolises the Great Apostasy):

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.
(Zech 3:1-5)


This takes place when Satan is rebuked by God for accusing the high-priest, which recalls both the story of Job and the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII. The rebuking of Satan at this point would therefore be equated with his casting out of heaven by the Archangel Michael. The above prophecy of St. John Bosco is directly related to his March of the 200 Days:

It was a dark night, and men could no longer find their way back to their own countries. Suddenly a most brilliant light shone in the sky, illuminating their way as at high noon. At that moment from the Vatican came forth, as in procession, a multitude of men and women, young children, monks, nuns, and priests, and at their head was the Pope.
But a furious storm broke out, somewhat dimming that light, as if light and darkness were locked in battle. Meanwhile the long procession reached a small square littered with dead and wounded, many of whom cried for help.
The ranks of the procession thinned considerably. After a two-hundred day march, all realized that they were no longer in Rome. In dismay they swarmed about the Pontiff to protect him and minister to him in his needs.
At that moment two angels appeared, bearing a banner which they presented to the Supreme Pontiff, saying: "Take the banner of Her who battles and routs the most powerful armies on earth. Your enemies have vanished: with tears and sighs your children plead for your return."
One side of the banner bore the inscription: Regina sine labe concepta [Queen conceived without sin], and the other side read: Auxilium Christianorum [Help of Christians].
The Pontiff accepted the banner gladly, but he became distressed to see how few were his followers.
But the two angels went on: "Go now, comfort your children. Write to your brothers scattered throughout the world that men must reform their lives. This cannot be achieved unless the bread of the Divine Word is broken among the peoples. Teach children their catechism and preach detachment from earthly things. The time has come," the two angels concluded, "when the poor will evangelize the world. Priests shall be sought among those who wield the hoe, the spade, and the hammer, as David prophesied: 'God lifted the poor man from the fields to place him on the throne of His people.'"
On hearing this, the Pontiff moved on, and the ranks began to swell. Upon reaching the Holy City, the Pontiff wept at the sight of its desolate citizens, for many of them were no longer. He then entered St. Peter's and intoned the Te Deum, to which a chorus of angels responded, singing: Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. When the song was over, all darkness vanished and a blazing sun shone. The population had declined greatly in the cities and in the countryside; the land was mangled as if by a hurricane and hailstorm, and people sought each other, deeply moved, and saying: Est Deus in Israel [There is a God in Israel].
From the start of the exile until the intoning of the Te Deum, the sun rose 200 times. All the events described covered a period of 400 days.

As we have already noted in the previous post, St. John Bosco's Prophecy of the Turn of the Millennium, Fr. Frank Klauder has shown how the prophecy of the March of the 200 Days points to the significance of the Great Jubilee Year:

1. The four hundred "days" refer to four hundred months, or thirty-three-and-a-third years;

2. The two hundred "days" refer to sixteen and a half years;

3. The first "brilliant light" before the beginning of the procession or march refers to Vatican Council II, which ended in 1965;

4. The "furious storm" that broke out refers to the controversies that arose after the council;

5. The end of the first two hundred "days" or sixteen-and-a-half years, brings us to 1982, when the Pope visited Fatima, one year after the attempted assassination on his life. At that time, speaking, in the third person the Pope said:

"Today John Paul II reads the message of Fatima again, with trepidation in his heart, because he sees how many people and societies-how many Christians have gone in the opposite direction to the one indicated in the message of Fatima. Sin has made itself firmly at home in the world, and the denial of God has become widespread in the ideologies, ideas, and plans of human beings."

Before concluding his talk, the Pope recited a prayer, called "apocalyptic" by the New York Times, as follows:

"From famine and war, deliver us.

From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.

From sins against the life of man from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.

From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.

From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us.

From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us, deliver us.

May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of Hope." 

It was at this time that John Paul renewed the consecration of the world and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, having invited the bishops of the world to join him in a collegial manner and thus complying completely with one of the requests of the Fatima message. Two years later, in 1984, he repeated the same consecration. Events thereafter (1989) witnessed the collapse of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe.

6. The end of the four hundred "days" brings us to 1999. In that year two full moons occur in the same month, as also in 1988, when there were two full moons in the month of May, as a prelude to the events of 1989.

7. The splendid era of peace, with which "the first prophecy" ends refers to the era of peace promised by Our Lady at Fatima, and which is being gradually prepared by the papal initiatives for the third millennium.

(See full text here)


The prophecy of the March of the 200 Days in relation to the turn of the millennium is therefore made doubly significant in the fact that it is based on the exact portion of the Book of Isaiah which mentions the "falling of towers" at the time of the new Pentecost, when the Sun shines forth seven times brighter - which has not been seen since the time of the first Cenacle in the Upper Room in Jerusalem.
As for our previous suggestion that the events of 9/11 may have been discussed by the Vatican hierarchy as being related to the signs in heaven spoken of in the Bible, we know for certain that Bl. Pope John Paul II connected the eschatological outpouring of the Holy Spirit prophesied by Joel, which is identical with the new Springtime of the Church, to the Great Jubilee Year at the turn of the millennium - which he has called "the hermeneutical key of my pontificate":

"As the third millennium of the redemption draws near, God is preparing a great springtime for Christianity, and we can already see its first signs"
(Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 1990)

"What these Popes have accomplished during and since the Council, in their Magisterium no less than in their pastoral activity, has certainly made a significant contribution to the preparation of that new springtime of Christian life which will be revealed by the Great Jubilee, if Christians are docile to the action of the Holy Spirit."
(Pope John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 1994)

I cry from all the depths of this Millennium, I cry on the vigil of Pentecost:
Let your Spirit descend.
Let your Spirit descend.
and renew the face of the earth,
the face of this land.
(Pope John Paul II, Mass in Victory Square, Warsaw, Poland, 2nd June 1979)

It is this new Springtime of the Church, when the branches of the fig tree puts forth new shoots, that will prepare the Bride for the coming of the Groom. And as Christ has told us, the generation who witnesses this glorious Springtime will not pass away until the completion of all things:

“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. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
(Matt 24:32-35)