Monday, 28 August 2017

The Canary Islands and the Seven Burning Mountains of Enoch

A 17th century icon of Elijah and Enoch displayed in the Historic Museum, Sanok, Poland

In light of recent events, I thought that it would be a good time to post a sub-chapter of my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church for all to read. I think this offers definitive proof that the "great mountain, burning with fire" described in Rev 8:8 is located in the Canary Islands. This sub-chapter continues on from a portion of the book which notes that the Apocalypse draws inspiration from the myth of Atlantis to describe the fate of the eschatological world power referred to as "Babylon":

The allusions to the myth of Atlantis in the Apocalypse goes much further than this however.  We have already noted how Babylon’s attribute of being set upon seven hills was originally intended to connect it with Imperial Rome in the preterist layer of interpretation, and that the use of this epithet identifies it as the current dominant world power.  However, the primary inspiration for the seven hills upon which the prostitute is seated is found in the seven burning mountains of the Book of Enoch, which are described as being situated in a location at the ends of the earth which has been reserved as a prison for the fallen angels:

I saw there seven stars like great burning mountains, and to me, when I inquired regarding them, the angel said: “This place is the end of heaven and earth: this has become a prison for the stars and the host of heaven”.  (1Enoc 18:13-14)

The Book of Enoch is thought to have been written sometime between the 2nd-1st centuries BC, and while it was never included in the Christian canon, its content was well known to Jews living at the time of Christ.  As the noted Enochian specialist R.H. Charles points out: “1Enoch has had more
 influence on the New Testament than has any other apocryphal or pseudepigraphic work”.  The Book of Enoch is explicitly quoted in the Epistle of St. Jude, and clear allusions to Enochian material are made in 1Pet 3:19-20 and 2Pet 2:4-5.  Its influence is also apparent in many other places throughout the New Testament, and as Charles demonstrates, the author of the Apocalypse uses material found in the Book of Enoch to formulate many of its key phrases. So the Book of Revelation shows a clear dependence on this influential apocalyptic text, and as we shall discuss in more detail in a later chapter, the seven stars that Christ holds in his hand in Rev 1:16-20, which are described as “the keys to Death and Hades”, can only fully be understood in light of material which can be traced back to St. Jude’s use of the Book of Enoch in his epistle.  

Over the course of the first three centuries of the Early Church, the Book of Enoch was regarded as authoritative by several Early Church Fathers, including St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Tertullian.  However, it was composed too late to have been included in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Old Testament where the Deuterocanonical works are found, and its inclusion in the Hebrew canon was suppressed by the Jewish Council of Jamnia (Yavneh) circa 90AD. Tertullian attributed the rejection of the Book of Enoch by the Council of Jamnia to its content of several prophecies pointing to Christ.  By the 4th century AD, when the Christian canon was finally being codified, the Book of Enoch fell out of favour in the Early Church because of a perceived (but misplaced) association with the plethora of Gnostic texts that were by then in wide circulation, and it subsequently fell into almost complete obscurity.  Indeed, St. Jerome noted that the Epistle of St. Jude itself was even called into question due to its quotation of the Book of Enoch.   Its claims to antediluvian antiquity, while initially accepted by figures such as St. Irenaeus and Tertullian, were later regarded as being too fantastical, and gave rise to some misgivings that this book was spurious in nature.  However, the genre of the Book of Enoch itself was overlooked (as it still is in some circles today), and many commentators failed to appreciate that instead of trying to mislead its audience into believing that it was actually the work of an antediluvian prophet, the author used this figure as a literary device in order to communicate several key prophecies which held eschatological import.  As the author himself explicitly states at the beginning of his work, the visions that he was presented with took the form of a parable which is addressed to a remote generation living during the tribulation of the end of days:

The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said--Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is for to come.  (1Enoc 1:1-2)

Writing in the 2nd-1st centuries BC, the author was shown a vision of himself assuming the role of the Prophet Enoch, which was used to explain the unfolding of future events through the medium of a prophetic parable; and like the sealed words of the Book of Daniel, the significance of this vision was only meant to be fully realised towards the end of the world.  The style in which the Book of Enoch presented itself led to these words becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, and as a result of a negative trend in the 4th-5th centuries AD, the Book of Enoch totally disappeared from view in the Western Church, until it was eventually rediscovered in Abyssinia by the explorer James Bruce, who arrived back in Europe with three copies of the Ethiopic version of the text in 1773. So while this writing was excluded from the canon during the formative years of the Early Church, and does not have the inerrant status of Sacred Scripture, the Book of Enoch was certainly considered to be an authoritative text by several writers of the New Testament itself, and as such, some of its content must be regarded as being genuinely prophetic in nature.  Indeed, given the fact that the Book of Enoch provides us with the key to interpreting the various portions of Scripture which use its material as their primary source, it becomes apparent that this writing is one of the most important extrabiblical texts when it comes to understanding the eschatology of the New Testament. As such, the portion of the Book of Enoch which mentions seven burning mountains in relation to the location of the place of the imprisonment of the fallen angels holds considerable value for unravelling the true meaning of the imagery of the harlot seated upon seven hills in the Apocalypse.  This section of the Book of Enoch is deeply influenced by the story of the binding of the Titans in Tartarus detailed in Greek mythology.  Indeed, Tartarus itself is explicitly referenced over the course of the next two chapters, where we are told that these fallen angels are under the subjugation of the Archangel Uriel:

Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus.  (1Enoc 20:2)

The seven burning mountains that stand at the end of the earth, which are identified with the location of Tartarus, singles out the particular fate of the Titan Atlas.  Atlas was one of the chief leaders of the Titans during the war against the Olympians, and was given the special punishment of being condemned to stand at the ends of the earth in the far west of the known world, in order to hold up the sky for eternity at the gates of Tartarus.  He was identified with the Atlas Mountain range in northwest Africa, and gave his name to the Atlantic Ocean (which means “sea of Atlas”) and Atlantis itself (which means “island of Atlas”).  The Titan Atlas features in the eleventh labour of Hercules, when the fabled hero was tasked to steal the golden apples from Hera’s orchard in the Garden of the Hesperides, which were said to grant immortality once eaten.  On his way to Garden of the Hesperides, Hercules was said to have encountered Atlas standing at the ends of the earth, and offered to hold up the sky to relieve him for a while, if he would fetch the apples for him in return.  There are some intriguing parallels here with the Tree of Life and the Garden of Eden, especially given the fact that the tree which bore the golden apples of immortality was guarded by the serpent-like dragon Ladon, which was the Greek equivalent of the seven-headed water dragon Lotan in Canaanite mythology.  The Book of Enoch bears a striking resemblance to this story, in its depiction of the path to the Garden of Eden being guarded by Leviathan and Behemoth:

And on that day were two monsters parted, a female monster named Leviathan, to dwell in the abysses of the ocean over the fountains of the waters. But the male is named Behemoth, who occupied with his breast a waste wilderness named Dûidâin, on the east of the garden where the elect and righteous dwell, where my grandfather was taken up, the seventh from Adam, the first man whom the Lord of Spirits created. And I besought the other angel that he should show me the might of those monsters, how they were parted on one day and cast, the one into the abysses of the sea, and the other unto the dry land of the wilderness. And he said to me: ‘Thou son of man, herein thou dost seek to know what is hidden.’ (1Enoc 60:7-10)

According to Greek mythology, Atlas was the father of the Hesperides, the nymphs of the evening who tended an Eden-like garden in the far western corner of the world at the edge of the world ocean (Oceanus), beyond the Pillars of Heracles and at the end of the Atlas Mountain range.  The Pillars of Hercules were identified with the Rock of Gibraltar and Jebel Musa, opposing mountainous peaks standing on either side of the closest point between Spain and Morocco, across the straits of Gibraltar, and was considered to be the place where Atlas stood in order to hold up the sky.  The Garden of the Hesperides was closely associated with the realm of Elysium, which according to the Greek poet Homer, was found at this same location, at the western edge of the earth.  By the time of the poet Hesiod, Elysium was connected with the semi-mythical Isles of the Blessed, otherwise known as the Fortunate Isles, or the White Isle, which were believed to be ruled over either by the king of the Titans, Cronos, or Rhadamanthys, the judge of the dead in the Underworld.  The Fortunate Isles were considered to be the abode of the heroic dead, who were granted access to the White Isle after being reincarnated on the fields of Elysium three times.  Elysium itself was thought to be a winterless paradise adjacent to the White Isle, on the border of Hades:

And they live untouched by sorrow in the Islands of the Blessed along the shore of deep swirling Okeanos, happy heroes for whom the grain-giving earth bears honey-sweet fruit flourishing thrice a year, far from the deathless gods, and Kronos rules over them; for the father of men and gods released him from his bonds. And these last equally have honour and glory.
(Hesiod, Works and Days)

The Isles of the Blessed were most commonly associated with the Canary Islands during the classical period, since their description in Greek mythology points towards this exact                              location, and the minutiae of the details provided in various sources match the climate and topography of this archipelago.  The seafaring Greeks and Phoenicians were believed to have explored at least as far as the Canary Islands, and their knowledge of this location is thought to have been integrated into their respective mythologies.  The Canaries are the first island chain beyond the Pillars of Hercules that any Greek explorers would have stumbled across, especially if they had kept close to the coast of North Africa for safety and to replenish much-needed provisions.  Indeed, the Canary Islands was mostly likely be the furthest point along the North African coast that ancient seafarers would have ventured, since the punishing conditions of the Sahara Desert lay immediately to the south.  As such, the White Isle ruled over by Cronos at the far edge of the western world is usually identified with Mount Teide in Tenerife, a high volcano which is often capped with snow. (On an interesting side note, Mount Teide is the main symbol of the island of Tenerife itself, and somewhat ominously, its coat of arms of depicts the Archangel Michael appearing over the volcano, which is shown spewing forth flames.)  The ancient Greek historian Strabo fleshes out some detail on the account of the Isles of the Blessed given in Homer’s Odyssey, and not only equated it with the Garden of the Hesperides, but also explicitly identified it as being in the exact location of the Canary Islands:

[Homer was] informed through his inquiries of so many expeditions to the outermost parts of Iberia, and learning by hearsay about the wealth and the other good attributes of the country (for the Phoenicians were making these facts known), in fancy placed the abode of the blest there, and also the Elysian Plain, where Proteus says Menelaus will go and make his home: “But the deathless gods will escort thee to the Elysian Plain and the ends of the earth, where is Rhadamanthys of the fair hair, where life is easiest. No snow is there, nor yet great storm, nor ever any rain; but always Oceanus sendeth forth the breezes of clear-blowing Zephyrus.” For both the pure air and the gentle breezes of Zephyrus properly belong to this country, since the country is not only in the west but also warm; and the phrase “at the ends of the earth” properly belongs to it, where Hades has been “mythically placed,” as we say. And Homer’s citing of Rhadamanthys suggests the region that is near Minos, concerning whom he says: “There it was I saw Minos, glorious son of Zeus, holding a golden sceptre, rendering decisions to the dead.” Furthermore, the poets who came after Homer keep dinning into our ears similar stories: the expedition of Heracles in quest of the kine of Geryon and likewise the expedition which he made in quest of the golden apples of the Hesperides — even calling by name certain Isles of the Blest, which, as we know, are still now pointed out, not very far from the headlands of Maurusia [Morocco] that lie opposite to Gades [Cadiz].
(Strabo, Geography III:2.13)

It is evident that the story of the Fortunate Isles was conflated with the myth of Atlantis, and that the lines between this location are blurred with that of Tartarus, the place the Titans were kept in bondage.  Both Tartarus and the Isles of the Blessed were considered to be under the dominion of the Titan Cronos, who lends his name to one of the seven classical planets, since his direct equivalent in the Roman pantheon was the god Saturn.  The Book of Enoch explicitly states the seven burning mountains also represent seven stars:

And there I saw seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. Then I said: ‘For what sin are they bound, and on what account have they been cast in hither?’  Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me, and was chief over them, and said: ‘Enoch, why dost thou ask, and why art thou eager for the truth? These are of the number of the stars of heaven, which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, the time entailed by their sins, are consummated.’  (1Enoc 21:3-6)

According to Plato, as well as being the appellation of a Titan, Atlas was also the name of the first of the ten kings of Atlantis, who were five sets of twins born to the god Poseidon – which is highly reminiscent of the ten kings represented by the ten horns of the Beast of Revelation.  In a further connection to the imagery of the Beast of the Apocalypse, the island of Atlantis itself was also said to have been divided into seven interconnecting circles:

And of these, some refer the analysis to the fixed stars and planets: so that they assume the Athenians as analogous to the fixed stars, but the Atlantics to the planets. They likewise say, that these stars fight on account of the opposition in their circulation, but that the fixed stars vanquish the planets on account of the one convolution of the world. Of this opinion, therefore, is the illustrious Amelius, who vehemently contends that this must be the case, because it is clearly said in the Critias, that the Atlantic island was divided into seven circles.
(Proclus, Commentary on Plato's Timaeus, Book 1)

So in a direct parallel to the whore of Babylon riding the Beast with seven heads and ten horns, Atlantis was a land divided into seven parts, ruled by ten kings.  The tale of Atlantis has also been associated with the now lost harbour city of Tartessos, which was also said to be located somewhere beyond the Pillars of Hercules, most likely on the Iberian Peninsula itself, near Cadiz. Even though the original site of the city of Tartessos remains unknown, there is an abundance of archaeological evidence which confirms the existence of a wealthy Tartessian culture in southern Spain.  Some historians believe that Tartessos was destroyed by a tsunami, and there have been convincing attempts to identify it with the biblical city of Tarshish, which had sea trade links with ancient Phoenicia and Israel.  Although it is extremely unlikely that the fate of Tartessos provided the inspiration for the myth of Atlantis, since this city only disappeared from historical record around the 5th century BC – which is much too late to have influenced the development of this story, which was by then already in wide circulation.  But it is worth noting that the name Tartessos is etymologically similar to Tartarus itself, which may suggest that this city may have derived its name from its proximity to the traditional location of the Underworld.  In Semitic thought, Tartarus was equated with the Abyss which held the primeval waters beneath the earth, which burst forth from the deep during the time of Noah’s Flood:

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.  (Gen 7:11)

The Book of Enoch conflates the story of the Titans with that of the fallen Watchers – the rebellious angels who fathered the race of giants known as the Nephilim, which is mentioned immediately before the Flood narrative in Gen 6:

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.  (Gen 6:1-4)

According to the Book of Enoch, the fallen Watchers were confined at the end of the earth amidst seven burning mountains, and the place of their imprisonment was associated with the location from which the fountains of the deep poured forth during the time of the Flood:

And after that he showed me the angels of punishment who are prepared to come and let loose all the powers of the waters which are beneath in the earth in order to bring judgement and destruction on all who abide and dwell on the earth. And the Lord of Spirits gave commandment to the angels who were going forth, that they should not cause the waters to rise but should hold them in check; for those angels were over the powers of the waters.  (1Enoc 66)

And He will imprison those angels, who have shown unrighteousness, in that burning valley which my grandfather Enoch had formerly shown to me in the west among the mountains of gold and silver and iron and soft metal and tin. And I saw that valley in which there was a great convulsion and a convulsion of the waters. And when all this took place, from that fiery molten metal and from the convulsion thereof in that place, there was produced a smell of sulphur, and it was connected with those waters, and that valley of the angels who had led astray mankind burned beneath that land. And through its valleys proceed streams of fire, where these angels are punished who had led astray those who dwell upon the earth.  (1Enoc 67:4-7)

Just as the Garden of the Hesperides was home to the golden apples of immortality, the Book of Enoch states that the seven burning mountains lie at the entrance to the location of the Tree of Life, which is protected by the angel with the flaming sword:

And from thence I went to another place of the earth, and he showed me a mountain range of fire which burnt day and night. And I went beyond it and saw seven magnificent mountains all differing each from the other, and the stones thereof were magnificent and beautiful, magnificent as a whole, of glorious appearance and fair exterior: three towards the east, one founded on the other, and three towards the south, one upon the other, and deep rough ravines, no one of which joined with any other. And the seventh mountain was in the midst of these, and it excelled them in height, resembling the seat of a throne: and fragrant trees encircled the throne. And amongst them was a tree such as I had never yet smelt, neither was any amongst them nor were others like it: it had a fragrance beyond all fragrance, and its leaves and blooms and wood wither not for ever: and its fruit is beautiful, and its fruit resembles the dates of a palm. Then I said: ‘How beautiful is this tree, and fragrant, and its leaves are fair, and its blooms very delightful in appearance.’ Then answered Michael, one of the holy and honoured angels who was with me, and was their leader. And he said unto me: ‘Enoch, why dost thou ask me regarding the fragrance of the tree, and why dost thou wish to learn the truth?’ Then I answered him saying: ‘I wish to know about everything, but especially about this tree.’ And he answered saying: ‘This high mountain which thou hast seen, whose summit is like the throne of God, is His throne, where the Holy Great One, the Lord of Glory, the Eternal King, will sit, when He shall come down to visit the earth with goodness. And as for this fragrant tree no mortal is permitted to touch it till the great judgement, when He shall take vengeance on all and bring everything to its consummation for ever.  (1Enoc 24; 25:1-4)

So the setting of the seven burning mountains in the Book of Enoch appears to act as some sort of nexus between heaven and hell, which is the location of both the entrance to the Abyss and the way to the Tree of Life itself.  This is somewhat similar to the ancient Greek understanding of the afterlife, where the gateway to the fields of Elysium and Tartarus are both found at the entrance to the Underworld, which lies in the west at the ends of the earth, beyond the Pillars of Hercules.  This may reflect the fact that as well as being home to the original paradise, the Garden of Eden was also the location of Satan’s primordial fall from grace as well as the Fall of Man:

You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  (Ezek 28:12-16)

In his commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, the neo-Platonic philosopher Proclus Lycaeus mentions the existence of “seven islands sacred to Persephone” located in the “outer sea” (the Atlantic Ocean), whose inhabitants had passed down their ancestors’ knowledge of Atlantis:

That an island of such nature and size once existed is evident from what is said by certain authors who investigated the things around the outer sea. For according to them, there were seven islands in that sea in their time, sacred to Persephone, and also three others of enormous size, one of which was sacred to Hades, another to Ammon, and another one between them to Poseidon, the extent of which was a thousand stadia [200 km]; and the inhabitants of it—they add—preserved the remembrance from their ancestors of the immeasurably large island of Atlantis which had really existed there and which for many ages had reigned over all islands in the Atlantic sea and which itself had like-wise been sacred to Poseidon. Now these things Marcellus has written in his Aethiopica. 
(Proclus, Commentary on Plato's Timaeus, p. 117.10–30, trans. Taylor, Nesselrath.)

Persephone was the queen of the Underworld, and the fact that these seven islands in the Atlantic were said to be dedicated to her further suggests that this location is in some way associated with the entrance to Hades.  According to Greek lore, the goddess Persephone was the subject of the affections of Hades, who wanted to take her for his spouse and resolved to drag her off into the Underworld by bursting through the earth, creating a rift between worlds.  The location of the abduction of Persephone was thus considered to be an entrance to the Underworld itself.  Adherents of the Eleusinian mystery cults who sought secret knowledge about how to gain passage to the Isles of the Blessed followed initiation rites dedicated to Persephone.  As we can see from its borrowing of Hellenistic terminology, the visions described Book of Enoch closely follows the Greek concept of Tartarus and the Fortunate Isles in describing the vicinity of the seven burning mountains as the abode of both of the Tree of Life and the Abyss.  In chapter 23 of the Book of Enoch, we discover that the seven burning mountains which stand at the location where the fallen Watchers are bound in the Abyss are also situated in the exact same place as Elysium and the Isles of the Blessed – at the western edge of the known world:

From thence I went to another place to the west of the ends of the earth. And I saw a burning fire which ran without resting, and paused not from its course day or night but ran regularly. And I asked saying: ‘What is this which rests not?’ Then Raguel, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered me and said unto me: ‘This course of fire which thou hast seen is the fire in the west which persecutes all the luminaries of heaven.’  (1Enoc 23) 

Immediately after seeing the location where the fallen angels were imprisoned in the west at the end of the earth, the author of the Book of Enoch once again describes the seven burning mountains in chapter 24, only this time he goes on to state that it is also where the Tree of Life is located.  Further details are provided about the location of Tartarus in Enoc 67, where we are told that as well as being situated in the far west beyond a “great valley” (which should probably be equated with the Pillars of Hercules), it also lies near mountains containing precious metals which are usually associated with the land of Tarshish, which is usually identified with Tartessos:

And He will imprison those angels, who have shown unrighteousness, in that burning valley which my grandfather Enoch had formerly shown to me in the west among the mountains of gold and silver and iron and soft metal and tin.  (1Enoc 67:4)   In the Bible, Tarshish is described as a faraway land at the opposite end of the Mediterranean Sea, possessing great mineral wealth containing rare metals that were held in great value in the ancient Levant, and was a primary exporter of the exact same materials mentioned above – gold, silver, iron, tin and “soft metal” or lead: Tarshish did business with you because of your great wealth of every kind; silver, iron, tin, and lead they exchanged for your wares.  (Ezek 27:12)

The Ancient Greek historian Ephorus described the land of Tartessos as being rich in some of these same commodities, stating that there was “a very prosperous market called Tartessos, with much tin carried by river, as well as gold and copper from Celtic lands”. (Ephorus of Cyme, cited in Freeman, P.M. “Ancillary Study: Ancient References to Tartessos”, Celtic from the West, (Oxbow Books, Oxford, 2010) p. 322.)  And it can be attested from the archaeological evidence that the Tartessian culture in the Southern Iberian Peninsula was indeed extremely rich in these very mineral deposits, as well as proof of their trade links with ancient Phoenicia.   So judging from the internal evidence, we can establish that the seven burning mountains seen in the Book of Enoch not only lay at a point in the far west of the known world, but also they were situated near the “mountains of gold and silver and iron and soft metal and tin” that was associated with the land of Tartessos/Tarshish in the Iberian Peninsula.  In chapter 76 of the Book of Enoch, we are provided with the further detail that the            seven burning mountains are also seven islands located in the “great sea” (which is one and the same as Oceanus/the Atlantic Ocean):

Seven great islands I saw in the sea and on the earth. Seven in the great sea.  (1Enoc 76:8)

Given that the position of these islands is described as being in the Atlantic, at the far west of the known world near the site of Tarshish/Tartessos, combined with the fact that they are also clearly identified with the location of Tartarus and the Isles of the Blessed, we can firmly establish that these seven burning mountains are one and the same as the seven volcanic islands of the Canary archipelago – Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.  One of which, the Apocalypse tells us will be thrown into the sea in order to bring about the destruction of “Babylon”.  The waste wilderness of Dûidâin, which Enoc 60:8 states lies to the east of the garden should therefore be equated with the Sahara Desert, which lies to the immediate east of the Canary Islands.  It is of immense significance then that the Book of Enoch identifies these seven volcanic islands with the site of the Tree of Life, and also as the location of the waters of the Abyss, which gushed forth to inundate the earth during the Flood. The Book of Enoch also has a clear influence on the Second Epistle of St. Peter, where we find that the only place in the New Testament which mentions the word Tartarus is similarly associated with Noah’s Flood:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into [Tartarus] and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them
to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. 
(2 Pet 2:4-10)

As we have already seen, chapters 66-67 of the Book of Enoch describe how the angels of punishment who reside in the Abyss unleashed “all the powers of the waters which are beneath in the earth in order to bring judgement and destruction on all who abide and dwell on the earth” during the Flood.  However, the above passage also contains an eschatological dimension related to the “day of judgement”, and closely follows the formula outlined in the Gospel of Luke:

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.  (Luke 17:26-30)

So the Second Petrine Epistle provides us with a bridging connection between this passage in Luke’s Gospel and the Book of Enoch, which states that the location of the imprisonment of the fallen Watchers is the source of the world’s chastisement by flood:

I saw that valley in which there was a great convulsion and a convulsion of the waters. And when all this took place, from that fiery molten metal and from the convulsion thereof in that place, there was produced a smell of sulphur, and it was connected with those waters, and that valley of the angels who had led astray mankind burned beneath that land. And through its valleys proceed streams of fire, where these angels are punished who had led astray those who dwell upon the earth.  
(1Enoc 67:5-7)

Only in the Gospel of Luke, we are told that these events will once again be played out at the end of time.  While the promise of the Noahide Covenant remains in force, and God will never again fully destroy the world by flood (Gen 9:11), there will be another major inundation which takes place towards the end of the world which will destroy the prevailing world power before the rise to power of the Antichrist.  After this, the earth will finally be consumed in flames, just as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone raining down from heaven.  So according to the formula set down in the Gospel of Luke, the final chastisement of humanity is comprised of two parts, and while the events of the Great Chastisement are set in motion by a massive flood, the sins of the world will only finally be cleansed through a baptism of fire.  We should note here that the Book of Enoch does not necessarily identify the Canary Islands as the actual site of the original Garden of Eden however, since rather curiously, it describes the location of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as lying in another garden in the east:

And beyond these, I went afar to the east, and I saw another place, a valley full of water. And therein there was a tree, the colour of fragrant trees such as the mastic. And on the sides of those valleys I saw fragrant cinnamon. And beyond these I proceeded to the east. And I saw other mountains, and amongst them were groves of trees, and there flowed forth from them nectar, which is named sarara and galbanum. And beyond these mountains I saw another mountain to the east of the ends of the earth, whereon were aloe trees, and all the trees were full of stacte, being like almond-trees. 3. And when one burnt it, it smelt sweeter than any fragrant odour. And after these fragrant odours, as I looked towards the north over the mountains I saw seven mountains full of choice nard and fragrant trees and cinnamon and pepper. And thence I went over the summits of all these mountains, far towards the east of the earth, and passed above the Erythraean sea and went far from it, and passed over the angel Zotîêl. And I came to the Garden of Righteousness, and saw beyond those trees many large trees growing there and of goodly fragrance, large, very beautiful and glorious, and the tree of wisdom whereof they eat and know great wisdom.  (1Enoc 30-31, 32:1-3)

So while the Book of Enoch states that the entrance to the Underworld and the way to the Tree of Life lies in the far west, the location of the original Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is placed at some point in the east.  It would thus appear that by placing the way to the Tree of Life among the seven volcanic islands of the Canary archipelago, the Book of Enoch highlights that this location is of a prophetic, eschatological concern, rather than dealing with actual historical realities.  By guiding us towards a certain prophetic truth which was tapped into by Greek myths about the Isles of the Blessed and the entrance to the Underworld, the Book of Enoch
emphasizes the importance of this location in relation to the significance of the way to the Tree of Life and the angel with the flaming sword who stands guard to protect it. It was obviously almost impossible for the Apocalypse to explicitly identify America as the eschatological world empire known as Babylon, since it was written well over a thousand years before its discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1492.  But by closely identifying Babylon with the myth of Atlantis, the Book of Revelation provides us with the exact location of this future world empire.  This nation, which is set to be destroyed in the sea just like the fabled Atlantis, is a continent which lies beyond the pillars of Hercules at “a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean”, and in size it is “larger than Libya and Asia together”.  As we can see from the original account of the myth of Atlantis given in Plato’s Timaeus, this is an almost exact description of the location and size of America itself:

For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, ‘the pillars of Heracles,’ there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.
(Plato, Timaeus 24e–25a, R. G. Bury translation, Loeb Classical Library)

By inviting us to compare the seven heads of the Beast on which the harlot is seated to the seven burning mountains seen in the Book of Enoch, the Apocalypse not only provides us with the exact location where judgment would be meted out on “Babylon”, but also the precise form this judgment will take.  Now that we have narrowed down the location of the “great mountain, burning with fire” described in Rev 8:8 to one of the seven volcanic islands in the Canary Islands, we can safely identify the eschatological “Babylon” as the world superpower which lies within the boundaries of the Atlantic basin that would be the most affected by a lateral volcanic collapse in this area of the world, which once again, can only be America.

(Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, pp304-325)

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Ischia Earthquake, the Solar Eclipse and Our Lady of Zaro

As readers of this blog will know, I rarely write about current claims of Marian apparitions, and haven't done so in the past several years. This is a matter of prudence on my behalf, because I feel that many such claims are false, and prefer to wait until such phenomena has been approved by the Church. Of course, I don't rule out the possibility that some of these contemporary claims of apparitions are in fact genuine, and fully expect that very many cases are indeed legitimate. Does this mean that we should completely ignore any such claims? Obviously not, since it took years before the Church officially approved the appearances of Our Lady of Fatima to the three shepherd children. If devotion to Our Lady of Fatima had been ignored from the start because it was unapproved, then it could never have grown in the way it had. Such an attitude risks stifling popular piety and "quenching the Spirit":

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. (1Thes 5:19-21)

My rule of thumb has always been that if God wants us to pay attention to a particular claim of modern apparitions or private revelations is that He always sends extraordinary signs. It seems very likely that such a sign has now been given concerning the claims of apparitions by the alleged seers of Ischia, whose devotion is known locally as Our Lady of Zaro. I am reluctant to focus so much on an unapproved private revelation, but considering how this ties into what I have been speculating about for the past few months now, concerning the potential significance of the Great American Eclipse in relation to the sign of Jonah, I simply cannot now ignore this new development. Especially if there is urgent need, as seems to be the case here; since there is a good possibility that a chastisement is coming at the end of St. Michael's Lent, unless there is serious repentance - if the connection between the solar eclipse to the sign of Jonah rings true. If God is trying to tell us something right here and now through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, then it seems only prudent to examine these details further.

The patron saint of Ischia is the wonder worker St. John Joseph of the Cross, who was born on the island on the Solemnity of the Assumption, 15th August 1654 (which also marks the start of St. Michael's Lent). Apparently, St. John Joseph made many prophecies, which I will try to research further down the line. Some of his miracles were associated with St. Januarius, whose blood failed to liquefy during the ceremony in December last year in the neighbouring city of Naples, portending a significant event to come this year. If these alleged apparitions are indeed genuine (as this remarkable coincidence appears to indicate), then they are surely in honour of this great saint. It is noteworthy that the Bishop of Ischia established the theological commission to study these apparitions on the Solemnity of the Assumption in 2014. A fact which shows that the ongoing phenomena here is being taken very seriously by the local Church authorities. In my own discernment, I think these apparitions are very likely to be genuine.

I have written about the various prophecies made by the seers of Ischia previously here, and speculated that their vision of a volcano and an island being thrown into the sea warns of the threat posed by Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands, which many geophysicists believe could suffer a lateral collapse during its next eruption. If this were to happen, it would generate a mega-tsunami that could completely devastate the East Coast of the Americas.

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Ischia towards the end of the Great American Eclipse at 18:57:51 UTC. The path of totality ended on American soil in South Carolina at 18:48:59 UTC. So just nine minutes after the end of an eclipse that appears to announce a possible chastisement on America, an earthquake occurred on an island which is the site of an alleged Marian apparition which apparently foretold the events of 9/11 and the collapse of an island into the sea following a volcanic eruption.

The official website dedicated to Our Lady of Zaro found here lists the principal prophecies as pertaining to the destruction of the Twin Towers during 9/11, and also of the collapse of an island into the sea after a volcanic eruption. While the below prophecy does indicate a connection with the tragic events of the attacks on the World Trade Center in the vision of the collapse of skyscrapers, the fact that the seers also seen the Statue of Liberty lying broken in pieces suggests that the ultimate fulfilment of this prophecy lies in the future, and the scene of devastation in New York City is connected with the resulting tsunami generated by the collapse of the island into the sea:

"I saw skyscrapers coming down, then I saw the Statue of Liberty shattered and I realized that it was New York ." (Simona Patalano)

So it would follow that the above vision is actually an extension of the other given to Simona:

"I saw an island and a volcano erupting, people trying to escape but could not and the island was swallowed up by the sea ."  

I have argued at some length that the Statue of Liberty is intimately connected with the prophecy of the Angel of the Seven Thunders, which also represents St. Michael striking the earth with his flaming sword, as was foreseen in the visions of Our Lady of Fatima.

It is worth noting that a predominant theme in the messages of the seers of Ischia this year is that of Our Lady holding an open scroll, which appears to be related to the scroll sealed with seven seals described in the Apocalypse. For example, in the last message given to the seer Simona before the earthquake took place on 8th August, 2017, we find a vision of the Blessed Virgin holding a scroll:

I saw Our Mother: she had baby Jesus in her arms; Mother had a white dress, a white veil on her head and a crown of twelve stars: the mantle on her shoulders was blue and went down to her feet, in her left hand she had a scroll. The baby Jesus had a white tunic, a crown on his head, in his right hand a small globe of the world with a cross above it, and in his left a golden scepter.
Around them there were a myriad of small and large angels wearing white tunics, with golden belts around their waists; their wings were large and majestic, some of them were on their knees in front of Our Mother and Jesus and were honoring them with incense; all the angels were singing the Gloria in an amazing and marvelous chorus.
(Message to Simona, 8th August, 2017)

The above message was a continuation of a vision given to Simona at the start of the year bearing the same motif of Our Lady shown with an open book in her hand:

I saw Mother: she was dressed in a rosaceo dress and a green mantle, a white veil and queen's crown on her head, a roll in her right hand, and an open book she left in her left; she looked away from the book and looked at us and smiled, but his eyes were sad and full of tears. Her feet were bare and leaned on the world.

Praised be Jesus Christ

"Dear children, I love you immensely, I know you all and I call you each by name.
Pray my children, pray.
Children, all that I have been announcing to you is going to be fulfilled, the times are ripe. "
(As she said so I saw a big black cloud approaching the world beneath her feet and as a swarm of mosquitoes invade the world and there are earthquakes, famines, diseases, disasters and wars falling into every part of the world, serious pain and suffering.
Then Mother with a gesture closed the book she had in her left hand and covered the world with her mantle and everything went off leaving only peace.

(Message to Simona, January 26th, 2017)

As I have detailed at some length in the post Our Lady of Knock and the Opening of the Sealed Book, the Knock vision is primarily concerned with the opening of the scroll of the Apocalypse by the Lamb of Revelation. So it is significant that the earthquake here would occur on the Feast of Our Lady of Knock, in the immediate wake of the eclipse. While there were not many casualties during this earthquake on 21st August, a lot of the buildings on the island took significant damage. The most notable of which was the destruction of the Church of St. Michael, known locally as the "Church of Purgatory", because of a Latin inscription above the door reading as follows: "Quos purgans ignis cruciat his hell levamen exoptans Agnellus D'Ascia usque parí Templum, quos haec rura tenent hanc extulit aedem tortisque and fiamma elatis purgante dicavit."

I have suspected for some time now that the destruction of churches during earthquakes denotes some form of spiritual warfare, and points to invisible realities occurring on a preternatural level. Indeed, it was one of the reasons that I headlined my previous post with a painting of the Vision of St. Benedict by Cosmas Damian Asam Bavarian, since I felt that the destruction of the Monastery of St. Benedict in Norcia last year, on 30th October, 2016, was itself some sort of prophetic sign which accompanied a clustering of such events during the same month (the entirety of which is dedicated to the Rosary), including another lightning strike on St. Peter's Basilica on 7th October - the Feast of the Holy Rosary.

When I came across this painting of St. Benedict enraptured during a vision symbolised by a total solar eclipse, I felt compelled to use it in light of the events of the collapse of the Monastery at Norcia. St. Benedict was famed for his struggles against Satan, so the symbolism of the destruction of the Monastery of St. Benedict is the same that which is imbued in the collapse of the Church of St. Michael.

The collapse of the Church of Purgatory in Ischia during the earthquake is not only reminiscent of the destruction of the Monastery of St. Benedict, but these events are also strikingly similar to the words of the alleged visionary Angela in her latest message on 26th July, 2017:

“My daughter, please pray together … (While praying together with Mother, she showed me scenes of abominations, wars, violence, and facades of churches that collapsed. Then I saw the Holy Father, Pope Francis, was in kneeling in front of Jesus and praying intensely.)
Finally Mother said to me: “I heal and kiss my pilgrims, and I especially bless the priests here.”
“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I have amassed a wealth of credible evidence that the “burning mountain” being thrown into the sea in Rev 8:8 is one and the same as the seven burning mountains described in the Book of Enoch, which was known to have been a source used by several of the writers of the New Testament, including St. John himself. These seven burning mountains feature in Greek mythology as the Isles of the Blessed, and can be positively identified as the Canary Islands. One of the recent visions given to the seers in June 2017 contains a rather detailed description evoking the imagery of the escutcheon of Tenerife, which details St. Michael holding a shield and flaming lance, striking a volcano.

This afternoon Mother came across dressed in white. Even the mantle she had on her head and wrap it was white. Her chest had a heart of flesh surrounded by thorns. She had a queen's crown on her head, in her right hand a long white crown of light that came almost down to her feet. Under her feet was a long water course. To the right of Mother there was St. Michael the Archangel, like a great leader, with a long spear in his right hand and on his left a large shield.
Mother was sad. (Message given to Angela on June 26th, 2017)

This volcano depicted in the escutcheon of Tenerife represents Mount Teide, the snow-capped peaks of which is why this island was known as the White Isle in Greek mythology - one of the Isles of the Blessed and one of the seven burning mountains described in the Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch states that these seven mountains standing at the edge of the known world in the West was the location of the primordial Abyss, where the Watchers were bound, and marked the exact spot from which the waters beneath the earth emerged to inundate the earth during Noah's Flood - recalling the words of Christ:

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matt 24:37-39)

It just so happens that an earthquake swarm occurred at Mount Teide in Tenerife on 5th October last year, around the same time as the collapse of the Monastery of St. Benedict, igniting fears that the volcano would erupt. I noted the symbolism of the escutcheon of Tenerife in a blog post I published last year here, noting how it is eerily similar to Sr. Lucia's 1944 Tuy vision, in which she was instructed by Our Lady to commit the contents of the Third Secret to writing:

I felt my spirit flooded by a light-filled mystery which is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of the flame-like lance which detaches, touches the axis of the earth and it [the earth] shakes: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, rivers and clouds leave their bounds, they overflow, flood and drag with them into a whirlpool, houses and people in a number unable to be counted; it is the purification of the world from the sin it is immersed in.

I want to make it absolutely clear here that I do not in any way expect the threat posed by Cumbre Vieja to be in any way imminent. In fact, I have repeatedly stated that I believe that this event still lies much further in the future, after the Gospel is proclaimed to the ends of the earth during the period of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima. This will only take place after the world has been given the final grace seen in the Third Secret, when the hands of the Archangel Michael is stayed by the rays emanating from the hands of the Blessed Mother to allow for a period of penance, which parallels the earth swallowing up the flood which threatens to the destroy the Church in Rev 12:

The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Rev 12:15-17)

As Sr. Lucia told Fr. Augustin Fuentes in 1957, before God is about to punish the world for its sins, he always sends His Blessed Mother first as a last means of salvation:

" the plans of the Divine Providence, when God is going to chastise the world He always first exhausts all other remedies. When He sees that the world pays no attention whatsoever, then, as we say in our imperfect way of talking, with a certain fear He presents us the last means of salvation, His Blessed Mother.

If we despise and reject this last means, Heaven will no longer pardon us, because we will have committed a sin that the Gospel calls a sin against the Holy Spirit. This sin consists in openly rejecting – with full knowledge and will – the salvation that is put in our hands."

It is only after the world once again rejects Christ after it has been given this last means of salvation in the appearance of His Blessed Mother that it will meet the events of the great chastisement. We are only shown this horrific fate of chastisement in order to bring us to repentance, just like the ancient Ninevites:

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; 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: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'.
(The Third Secret of Fatima)

Monday, 21 August 2017

Elul and the 40 Days of Repentance

Vision of St. Benedict, by Cosmas Damian Asam Bavarian (1735). This painting is thought to have been based on the total solar eclipse of 13th May, 1733.

Today, the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, marks the occasion of the Great American Eclipse of 2017. As long time readers of this blog will know, for the past several years, I have associated the sign of Jonah spoken of by Christ with the advent of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh - specifically with that which occurred on 11th August 1999, at the turn of the third millennium. In the first edition of my book, published in 2011, I argued that this event, together with the Izmit earthquake which occurred a few dates later on 17th August 1999, the peak of the 33-year cycle of the Leonid Meteor Storm in November 1999, and the first blood moon of the new millennium on 21st January 2000, all formed the sequence of events described at the 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 1999 solar eclipse also passed directly through the site of ancient Nineveh, at the dawn of the third millennium. This echoes the "three days" aspect of the sign of Jonah, following the thousand year/day equation made in 2Pet 3:8-9:

"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. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

The 1999 solar eclipse also was followed by each of the other signs mentioned at the opening of the sixth seal, and concluded with the events of 9/11 (the "blood, fire and columns of smoke" mentioned in Joel 2:30). So the last solar eclipse to pass through Nineveh was part of a sequence of heavenly signs which augured the chastisement of America.

The hypothesis which I originally presented concerning the sign of Jonah and a potential connection to the Great American Eclipse of 2017 in a blog post published on 4th November, 2016 (see here). My sign of Jonah/Bur Sagale eclipse/First World War eclipse observation has now went viral, thanks to its widespread proliferation by several extremely popular Protestant end-times preachers, most notably Pastor Mark Biltz. The core argument I presented in this post was that the original sign of Jonah took the form of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh, how this ties in with the First World War eclipse on 21st August, 1914, and how this appears to announce a 40-day period of repentance associated with the Great American Eclipse of 2017. At the time, I was unaware of a connection between the 40-day period of repentance in Jewish tradition beginning in the Hebrew month of Elul.

It seems that Pastor Mark Biltz had picked up my article after it was circulated to tens of thousands of readers by Michael H Brown's website Spirit Daily, and a few weeks later, he issued a video presentation incorporating my ideas on the Bur Sagale eclipse and how this ties in with the First World War eclipse over Nineveh into his material on the 40-day period of repentance beginning in Elul. Somewhat frustratingly, either through negligence or for some other motivation, Pastor Mark Biltz has to date not divulged to his audience that I am the source of the idea concerning the connection between the Bur Sagale, WWI and American eclipses. I have fully documented how I made these discoveries throughout this blog throughout the course of many years. In fact, the way in which I made these discoveries was covered in the comments section of my early blog post Signs in the Sky (which, I now note in retrospect was published on 15th August 2011 - the Solemnity of the Assumption and the start of St. Michael's Lent).

I hold no animosity towards Pastor Biltz for not revealing the source of his ideas on the Sign of Jonah/Great American Eclipse equation. Indeed, I must thank him. For now my ideas concerning the Bur Sagale eclipse, the First World War eclipse and the sign of Jonah has reached an audience of potentially millions. For example, the below video by Pastor Steve Cioccolanti has been publically endorsed by Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Lotz Graham, and has racked up almost 1,000,000 views since it was issued three weeks ago.

This video summarizes my theories concerning the sign of Jonah. My primary concern is that the people of American recognize the need to repent at this exact moment in time in relation to this solar eclipse - a message which is now being spread to a number I could have never hoped to have achieved by myself. So thank you, Pastor Biltz, for doing all the legwork for me.

Below is another post from two years ago which also discusses the significance of the sign of Jonah in relation to the 1999 solar eclipse, tied into the appearance of an alleged apparition which took place at the site of Alqosh in Iraq on Jan 21st, 2015 (the feast day of Our Lady of Zion and anniversary of the first blood moon of the new millennium, which took place in the midst of the blood moon tetrad sequence discovered by Pastor Biltz himself). This was the hometown of the Prophet Nahum, who also foretold the destruction of Nineveh.

The Recent Marian Apparitions in Northern Iraq and the Sign of Jonah

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Great American Eclispe and the Sign of Jonah

Now that the appearance of the Great American Eclipse is upon us, I thought it would be worth condensing all the relevant material I have written on this subject over the past year into a single post. This will allow new readers a quick catch-up, but should also be worth recapping for those who have already read the previous posts, since it will be interspersed with some important new material.

I have previously argued that this impending total solar eclipse appears to be part of a wider sequences of eclipses associated with the Sign of Jonah mentioned by Christ in relation to the binding of the "strong man", which in turn is closely connected to the period of the unbinding of Satan foretold in Rev 20:1-10 and the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII. This series of eclipses is primarily concentrated on the site of ancient Nineveh, in Mosul, modern Iraq - the city the Prophet Jonah was sent to warn of an impending chastisement. The beginning of the First World War, which many Catholics believe augured the beginning of the period of Satan's greater power foreseen by Pope Leo XIII, was marked by a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh on the exact same date as the forthcoming eclipse, on 21st August, 1914 - the feast day of Our Lady of Knock.

The vision of Pope Leo XIII is itself primarily based on the trials of Job described in the Old Testament, in which Satan was allowed to test the faith of God's servant. It is therefore interesting to note that Job's initial response to Satan's period of testing is couched in language highly reminiscent of a solar eclipse, and the symbolism of the birth of a "man-child" mentioned by Job here ties us into the significance of the Rev 12 sign on Sept 23rd, 2017. Here, Job curses the day he was born, wishing for the daylight to be enveloped in darkness, and calls for the rising up of Leviathan from the abyss (an event which Rev 20:7 tells us will take place at the end of the "thousand years"):

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. Job said: “Let the day perish in which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man-child is conceived.’ Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, or light shine on it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds settle upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. That night—let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. Yes, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry be heard in it. Let those curse it who curse the Sea, those who are skilled to rouse up Leviathan. Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none; may it not see the eyelids of the morning—because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, and hide trouble from my eyes. “Why did I not die at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? (Job 3:1-11)

There are a number of striking parallels here to Rev 12, wherein the seven-headed beast that rises up from the abyss seeks to devour the male-child as soon as he is born. So it appears that Job's lament provides us with an interpretative key to understanding the symbolism of Rev 12 in relation to the period of Satan's testing of the Church at the end of the Millennium of Rev 20 - which Pope Leo XIII envisaged as a century of the Devil's greater power beginning at the dawn of the 20th century.

As I detail in the new edition of my book, Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, some theologians have speculated that the inhabitants of Nineveh were so receptive to Jonah's message of doom because of a total solar eclipse that had taken place over the city at around the same time the prophet had arrived to announce its fate. The path of totality of the Bur-Sagale Eclipse, which is one of the most famous solar eclipses in ancient history, occurred just north of Nineveh on 15th June, 763BC during the reign of King Ashur-Dan III of Assyria, and was recorded for posterity in the Assyrian Eponym Canon - a series of cuneiform tablets discovered in the 19th century. 

We know that the Prophet Jonah was a contemporary of King Ashur-Dan III because of a brief mention of him in the Second Book of Kings, which places his prophetic ministry during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel:

In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.
(2Kings 14:23-25)

According to the chronology established by E.R. Thiele, Jeroboam II was sole ruler of Israel between the years 782-753BC, placing Jonah's active ministry to this time period; while Ashur-Dan III was king of Assyria between 772-755BC. Given the fact that this solar eclipse was one of the most noteworthy events to have occurred during the reign of Ashur-Dan III, it has prompted many theologians to suggest that the occurrence of the Bur-Sagale eclipse was the primary reason why the Ninevites were so keen to repent upon hearing Jonah's message of doom - a curious reaction which is left unexplained in the Book of Jonah itself. The Assyrian chronicles inform us that a plague had broken out in the city of Nineveh just a few years before the eclipse in 765BC, which was soon followed by an internal revolt which began during the very same year that the eclipse occurred - a series of events which would undoubtedly have been attributed to the wrath of the gods.

Given the possibility that the repentance of the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah can be attributed to the Bur-Sagale Eclipse, we have some grounds to suggest that the original "sign of Jonah" consisted of the appearance of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh. When we look to Christ's statement concerning the appearance of the "sign of Jonah" to a wicked and perverse generation, we find that these words were made immediately after His discourse on the binding of the strong man - which according to St. Augustine of Hippo, is an integral component of the prophecy of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years" mentioned in Rev 20:

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man — meaning by the strong man the devil, because he had power to take captive the human race; and meaning by his goods which he was to take, those who had been held by the devil in various sins and iniquities, but were to become believers in Himself. It was then for the binding of this strong one that the apostle saw in the Apocalypse an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he laid hold, he says, on the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,— that is, bridled and restrained his power so that he could not seduce and gain possession of those who were to be freed. (St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX:7)

So in relation to the sacrificial death of Jesus and His resurrection on the third day, the "sign of Jonah" harks back to the three days the prophet spent in the belly of the fish. An event which foreshadowed the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ - which in turn brought about the binding of Satan.

But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
(Matt 12:39-41)

Therefore as well as pointing us towards the significance of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh, the "sign of Jonah" is also intimately connected to the binding and unbinding of Satan.

It is surely beyond coincidence in this regard that the start of the First World War was marked by a total solar eclipse which directly traversed the site of ancient Nineveh in Mosul, Iraq on 21st August, 1914. The World War I Eclipse crossed over the battlefields of war-torn eastern Europe before making its way down towards Nineveh - an event which took place on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, a Marian apparition which appears to have announced the imminence of the opening of the seven seals by the Lamb of Revelation (see my earlier post on this subject Our Lady of Knock and the Opening of the Sealed Book).

An illustration depicting the World War One Eclipse unfolding over war-torn Europe, shown in a contemporary issue of The Graphic

Moreover, the path of totality of the solar eclipse of August 11th, 1999 had similarly crossed the site of ancient Nineveh at the turn of the millennium. A solar eclipse which I argue in some depth was part of a sequence of events linked to the "signs in Heaven" foretold throughout Sacred Scripture, which mark the moment when Satan is thrown down to earth in great fury by the Archangel Michael, after which he sends out a flood which threatens to sweep away the Church. The fact that the "sign of Jonah" appeared at the dawn of the third millennium after the birth of Christ parallels the three days the prophet spent in the belly of the fish, and the three days of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, since according to the words of St. Peter: not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
(2 Peter 3:8-9)

It is surely beyond coincidence that the "sign of Jonah" (in the form of a total solar eclipse occurring over the site of Nineveh) had appeared not only at the very dawn of period of Satan's greater power foreseen by Pope Leo XIII, at the beginning of the First World War, but also just before the Great Jubilee Year of the Incarnation at the start of the third millennium AD, accompanied by several other events which fit the description of the signs in Heaven mentioned throughout Scripture. A date which is closely associated with the promises of the Protoevangelium, when the head of the ancient serpent is trampled under the feet of the Woman Clothed with the Sun.

The signs in Heaven are the visible signs which herald the eschatological expulsion of Satan from Heaven at the expiration of the "short time" given to him at the end of the thousand years, when the Devil is cast down to the earth with a third of the angelic host. Throughout the Bible, these signs are associated with casting down of Satan to earth, in passages such as that found in Ezek 32:

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)

Once Satan realises he has been cast down to the earth, he sends forth a flood from his mouth in order to sweep the Woman away. Many Catholics believe that the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima next year will in some way be involved in the end of the period of Satan's greater power, which would correspond to the next event which must follow in the sequence of the Divine drama - when the flood issued from the mouth of the serpent is finally swallowed up. It is therefore quite remarkable that there will be another "great sign seen in heaven" that will appear during the course of the year 2017 which also harks back to the significance of Rev 12. A sequence of astronomical events which are set in motion in just a few days time at the conclusion of the Year of Mercy on Nov 20th, 2016 - the feast of Christ the King, and peaks on 23rd September, 2017. As the widely respected Catholic writer Patrick Archbold notes:

On November 20, 2016, an astronomical event begins that will last nine and a half months, culminating in startling concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12. While I am not an astronomer, all my research indicates that this astronomical event, in all its particulars, is unique in the history of man.

On November 20, 2016, Jupiter (the King planet) enters into the body (womb) of the constellation Virgo (the virgin). Jupiter, due its retrograde motion, will spend the next 9 ½ months within the womb of Virgo. This length of time corresponds with gestation period of a normal late-term baby.

After 9 ½ months, Jupiter exits out of the womb of Virgo. Upon Jupiter’s exit (birth), on September 23, 2017, we see the constellation Virgo with the sun rise directly behind it (the woman clothed with the sun). At the feet of Virgo, we find the moon. And upon her head we find a crown of twelve stars, formed by the usual nine stars of the constellation Leo with the addition of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

That is a truly remarkable and, as far as I can determine, unique series of event with a startling degree of concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12.
(Read the full article here)

33 days before the conclusion of this astronomical event on 23rd Sept, 2017, another remarkable total solar eclipse will take place. And just like the solar eclipse which occurred at the start of World War One (at the beginning of the period of the unbinding of Satan), this event will also transpire on Aug 21st, 2017 - the feast of Our Lady of Knock. While it is difficult to know for sure if this event has any real prophetic significance, the fact that it will take place at the end of the period of Satan's greater power foretold in the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, and that it so close to the Rev 12 sign that occurs on 23rd Sept, 2017, prompts us to ponder whether this solar eclipse is part of the "sign of Jonah" sequence that began on Aug 21st, 1914. Only instead of appearing over the location of ancient Nineveh, this solar eclipse is concentrated entirely upon America, and the path of totality can only be seen across the central United States.

If this solar eclipse does have any significance in regard to the "sign of Jonah" which appeared on Aug 21st, 1914 and was repeated on Aug 11th, 1999, then we are left to consider if this may suggest that America is the new Nineveh that is being called to repentance. The fact that 40 days onward from this event brings us into a convergence of the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur with the date of Michaelmas on 29th September, 2017, gives us further pause for thought, recalling the words of Jonah himself:

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. (Jon 3:4-5)

It has been noted by Pastor Mark Biltz that this solar eclipse is timed to coincide with a 40-day countdown in Jewish tradition, pointing to the significance of the feast of Yom Kippur, which is preceded by a 40-day period of prayer and fasting in the month of Elul. According to Jewish tradition, the month of Elul marks a 40-day period of repentance before the feast of Yom Kippur, and was the time during which Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai after the incident of the Golden Calf, in order to prepare for the reception of the second set of tablets containing the Decalogue. This year, Yom Kippur coincides with the date of Michaelmas on Sept 29th, which is also preceded by a separate 40-day period of fasting kept in Catholic tradition known as “St. Michael’s Lent”. Indeed, it was while keeping this tradition on Mt. Alverna that St. Francis of Assisi received his stigmata. So these two separate traditions concerning a 40-day period of penance each appear to be related to the significance of the Great American Eclipse forty days earlier, and echo the words of the Prophet Jonah himself: “Forty more days, and Nineveh will be overthrown”. (Jon 3).

The fact that the convergence of these 40-day periods of penance occurs so near the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun invites us to seek meaning for this coincidence within the text of the Third Secret of Fatima itself. When we do so, we find that the vision of the Third Secret is framed around the sprinkling of the blood sacrifice made by the Jewish High Priest on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, which took place once a year on the feast of Yom Kippur.

And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins.
(Lev 16:14-16)

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; 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: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. 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' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
(The Third Secret of Fatima)

Although he is not explicitly named, the Archangel Michael figures prominently in the Third Secret as the angel who threatens to strike the earth with his flaming sword, issuing the threefold cry of “Penance, penance, penance”. Could this call to repentance point to the convergence of these separate 40-day periods of penance before the feast of St. Michael on the very centenary of the apparitions at Fatima itself? The fact that these periods of penance immediately follow a solar eclipse patterned after the original “sign of Jonah”, warning of the chastisement of Nineveh in forty days gives us pause for thought. A warning which now seems only too real, with the recent ramping up in tensions between America and North Korea. However, there is room for real optimism in a point of comparison between the Third Secret and the story of the repentance of the Ninevites, as we are told that the hand of the angel with the flaming sword is stayed by the rays which emanate from the hands of Our Lady, in order to allow for a period of penance, which must take place before the unfolding of the via Crucis of the Church. 

Is this the period of penance foretold in the Third Secret? It is difficult to know for sure, but the fact that these convergences are occurring on the centenary of Fatima certainly warrants our attention, and our prayers. Just as God promised to Abraham that He would spare Sodom if even a tiny fraction of its inhabitants were found to be righteous, the Third Secret appears to be telling us that the Heavenly Father is willing to act with such a similar gesture of Mercy, so long as the need to repent is recognized by the righteous few. As to what course of action we can take, Fr. Richard Heilman is spearheading a 54-day Novena starting on the Solemnity of the Assumption, 15th August, 2017 - the start of St. Michael's Lent, lasting through to the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun itself on 13th October, 2017 (for more details see his post Striking Phenomena during this Centennial Year of Fatima). This seems to be as good a place as any to start our means of reparation.