A few years ago, a unique and rare occurrence of sky events went mostly unseen and/or ignored by the inhabitants of planet earth. Did ‘the wise understand’ as foretold by the old Magi star observer himself, Daniel the Prophet? Remember, God speaks even if no one listens!
So what is Daniel talking about when he says, ‘the wise shall understand’ at the time of the end (Daniel 12:9-10)? By ancient definition, a ‘wise man’ was a Magi. Daniel ‘the wise man’, the Chief Magi of Susa, the old Jewish Star Gazer deported to Babylon at the tender age of 11, is talking about astral events that broadcast God’s ‘appointed times of visitation’.
Thus, ‘the wise’ are astronomical observers, not astrologers. Knowing how to read and understand God’s appointment calendar is what enables ‘the wise’ to do exploits before the upcoming time of visitation.
… in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. [Jer 8:12] … in the time of their visitation they shall perish. [Jer 10:15] … because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation. [Jer 46:21] … woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation. [Jer 50:27] … in the time of their visitation they shall perish. [Jer 51:18] … and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. [Luke 19:44]
Seems like a warning, eh? Jesus fulfilled the Spring Jewish Festivals precisely to the day on the Jewish Calendar. Will He do so again at the ‘Fall Festivals’ on the Jewish calendar?
Back to a couple years ago…a Comet called ISON arrived and became brilliant in the night sky around Thanksgiving holiday 2013. Some thought that it might be become brighter than the moon if it did not breakup as it headed toward earth. Some even speculated that this was to be the prophesied WORMWOOD Star. This heavenly event captured the world’s imagination and highlighted the idea that a similar but more significant event may in fact be prophesied by the Bible.
It pays to know your astronomy and the prophetic calendar dear Bible reader.
The Heavens Declare God’s Glory
First, Consider that Jesus was upset with the nation of Israel because they didn’t know the timing of His visitation, the event of his coronation as ‘Kng of Israel’ at their temple. Will the Lord be even more upset with the Church if we don’t have a clue about the timing of His 2nd coming?
Here is what God told David.
Psalms 19:1-5 ESV The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Sidebar: E.W. Bullinger was obsessed with discovering the meaning of the Star Language of God. In his book, “The Witness of the Stars”, Bullinger analyzed Psalm 19 and declared that he found a ‘structure and an intelligent order of words’ within it. Bullinger concludes that “we are emphatically told (by Psalm 19) that the heavens contain a revelation from God; they prophesy, they show knowledge, they tell of God’s glory, and set forth His purposes and counsels.”
Calendars and Constellations
So let’s begin with God’s calendar, which the Jews of Qumran believed was central to tying together all aspects of the Levitical Priesthood. Is it a LUNAR or a SOLAR calendar?
First and foremost, God’s calendar is SOLAR with Lunar elements. But you might say,
“Why then do the Rabbis of Judaism use a LUNAR calendar?”
“The Pharisees and corrupt Priests of the Seuclid (198BC) and Maccabean (175BC) era changed the Temple worship according to the Greek/Babylonian Lunar Calendar after gaining control in Jerusalem. “
After the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, it became clear that the Zadokite Priests of Qumran used a Solar Jubilee Calendar just as Moses and Aaron did after they received the Law from God on Sinai (1409BC). These authentic Priests from the family of Aaron, separated themselves from the Temple cult in Jerusalem after it was corrupted by Hellenized rulers. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has brought the vanquished Qumran Priests back to life with their Jubilee Calendar that ordered the Temple ritual when they were in control.
The Jubilee Solar Calendar of Qumran consists of 52 weeks, 4 seasons of 91 days each, 12 months, for a total of 364 annual days. Each year, this calendar loses it’s calibration by 11/4 days (3651/4 – 364 = 11/4). On a Sabbatical year (7th Year where the land lies fallow), one extra week is added to the Jubilee calendar to insure that the Equinoxes and Solstices are adjusted to the actual position of the earth relative to the sun (leap sabbatical year). Moderns do the same with the Gregorian calendar, where we add an extra day to February (leap year) every four years to accommodate the 1/4 day loss of calibration.
On the ancient Temple Mount, the Eastern Gate was positioned precisely toward the Sun by King Solomon (960BC). This precise positioning permitted light to shine through the Gate onto the Temple Doors that faced eastward, at sunrise on the Spring and Fall Equinoxes (90 degrees east). This occurred just as the sun rose over the Mount of Olives to the east (March 20/21 in the Spring, September 21/22 in the Fall). This in essence made the Temple a calendric sun dial, a solar calendar concept that enabled the Temple Priesthood to fulfill the festival requirements of the Law.
This clever architectural design also permitted the Priests to observe the position of the Sun throughout the year, as it moves along the horizon north (higher azimuth from spring through summer) and then reverses itself and travels south (lower azimuth from fall through winter). This changing path of the sun is called the ‘ecliptic’, a semicircular arc the Sun draws across the sky.
As stated, at the Spring and Fall Equinoxes the Sun appears in the same 90 degree position east as it rises over the Mt. of Olives. However, the invisible star field behind the Sun has its own movement. This star field moves new patterns behind the Sun monthly as the earth continues it’s annual journey through the Solar system even though locked in it’s elliptical orbit around the sun. These star field patterns are called constellations.
Each month the Sun hides a different constellation of stars. (Note: The sun appears to travel exactly one diameter width to the left, the north, each month, before reversing itself after summer solstice [solstice means ‘extreme edge’] and travelling south toward winter solstice). As we know, the Sun hides 12 constellations of stars along it’s path over the course of it’s annual movement. For example, at the Spring Equinox in Jesus’ day, the first constellation hiding behind the Sun was ‘Aries the Ram’. It’s really there but unseen, being obscured by the brightness of the sun’s light, rendering it invisible at sunrise.
Although there are 48 ancient constellations identified (moderns have identified 88), only 12 are considered in the Zodiac. Why? These 12 constellations are in closer proximity (within 20 degrees) to the Sun’s ecliptic path (explained below) and are thought to traverse this path throughout the year, like companions.
When a new constellation of the Zodiac arrives behind the sun with each new month, it is commonly said that ‘the Sun is in a new doorway’. Thus, there are 12 portals, constellations, each arriving in sequence by Solar month of the year (not Lunar month), even though the Sun is found in redundant positions on the horizon as it appears to move higher and lower (longer/shorter days) from Spring through Winter. (Note: This is a key point. The sun occupies 7 monthly visual positions over the Mt. of Olives annually, exactly one sun width each, redundantly positioning itself twice in 5 of the 7 positions, eg. the sun occupies the same visual position at Spring and Fall Equinox, yielding 12 hours of daylight and darkness…but it first hides ‘Aries’ constellation in Spring and then ‘Libra’ constellation in Fall).
It would be easy to become confused here and associate the 12 doors (constellations) with 12 paths or ecliptics of the sun. In reality, there are only 7 major paths of the Sun’s ecliptic (let’s call them ‘candlesticks’) with the middle candlestick representing the position of the sun during the Spring and Fall equinoxes. Recall that the doors are the 12 Zodiac Signs (Mazzaroth Job 38:31-32) that make their appearance behind the sun as the earth travels through the Solar system; 12 star fields (doors, signs), 7 paths (ecliptics).
Here is a list of star constellations (Signs) that appear as seasonal portals behind the 7 candlesticks of the Sun, along with the month names and dates according to the Jubilee and Gregorian Calendars, during the time of Jesus Christ. Note that these constellations have shifted somewhat since that time and Pisces now overshadows half of the month of Nissan 1 (starting with vernal equinox) in our modern festival calendar due to what is called axial procession shift.
We can obviously appreciate that the Zodiac constellations are in a 26,000 year rotational cycle where each constellation takes it’s turn as the vernal equinox sign, advancing like a 12 toothed gear in a watch. [Recall the 1960’s pop song, ‘Dawning of the age of Aquarius’ in reference to the next sign emerging at equinox in this rotational cycle, 2500AD.]
In prescribing the 7 festivals Israel was to celebrate and practice, God ordained each festival during specific times of the year, as prescribed in the Solar Jubilee Calendar (Note: Hanukah festival is not found in the Old Testament Canon but was added during the time of the Maccabees after the cleansing of the Temple in 164BC, following the first abomination of desolation) . What is interesting about the 7 festivals is that they were given to Moses on Sinai (same latitude as Egypt) during the Exodus, but they perfectly match the Holy Land’s agricultural seasons even though Palestine is at different latitude than Sinai.
The festivals in Nissan are SPRING festivals and the festivals in Tishri are FALL festivals. Pentecost seems to stand alone and is found 50 days after Passover in the month of Sivan. It was on Pentecost that Moses received the Law on Sinai (thus linking festivals to God’s revelation). After the Exodus, Israel discovered that Pentecost is also a ‘wheat harvest’ festival where the crops planted in winter are harvested prior to the advent of fall harvests. In essence, Pentecost is a midpoint that divides the festival calendar, separating Spring and Fall celebrations.
It now is clear that the Jubilee Solar calendar was a Sowing and Reaping calendar where the constellational portals dictated when to plant and when to harvest. These are important agricultural concepts God tied to His worship celebrations at the Temple. One might say that God participates with man at these ‘thanksgiving points’ in His generous provision for man.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 KJV To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Hosea 10:12 KJV Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
But the Jubilee calendar did more than prescribe agricultural activity and Temple worship. It also dictated when the Levite Priests were to serve at the Temple in Jerusalem, according to their 24 divisions or courses. Recall, David divided the Priests by family and the sons of Zadok (the high Priest family) were positioned and ordained by Solomon to oversee the entire Priesthood service. These sons of Zadok then published the ‘course schedule’ calendar, much like Pastors schedule their pulpits. This 24 week ‘course calendar’ then scheduled all the Levite families who were to serve at the Temple in Jerusalem, week by week, one family per week. This ‘course calendar’ was also found at Qumran perfectly synchronized with the Jubilee Solar Calendar.
Let’s review and summarize what we know about the Jewish Calendar and Festivals so far:
- The compromised Priesthood of the Seuclid/Maccabees era (the New Testament Sadducees) had incorporated the Lunar Calendar system of the Greeks/Babylonians into Temple worship/festivals once they had replaced the Qumran Priests and took control of the ‘High Priesthood’.
- The Jubilee Solar Calendar of Qumran is the Mosaic calendar that was kept in sync with the Vernal Equinox by the Sun Dial arrangement of the Temple and Eastern gate, perfectly in line with the rising of the eastern sun.
- The 12 constellations are star field arrangements that hide behind the 7 positions of the Sun as it traverses seasonally from Spring to Summer to Fall to Winter, one month at a time, following it’s 7 ecliptic paths. The rise of precisely positioned constellations therefore signal to men when to plant crops and when to begin a new month. E.W. Bullinger believed that each constellation told a Biblical story in star language corroborated by scripture.
- The Qumran Jubilee Calendar was fixed for the purpose of celebrating God’s festivals in the proper annual order and for assigning the 24 courses of Levites and Priests to their weekly duties at the Temple. The ‘High Priest’ family was responsible for publishing this ‘course calendar’.
- Daniel declared that being ‘wise’ in the endtime would require an understanding of star observation, as Magi in his day understood them. This is not an astrology concept, but a festival/worship concept.
Astral Events, Times of Visitation
Astral events that occur within the star field constellations on festival days signal Divine ‘times of visitation’ and thus, worship. Here is the basis for this idea.
Matthew 2:1-2 ESV Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Imagine if the corrupt Priests of Jesus’ day, then under Roman dominion versus Greek Seuclid influence, had the same wisdom as the Magi. When Jesus arrived at the Temple on Nissan 10 in 33AD for coronation as Israel’s King, it was an appointed ‘time of visitation’. According to Psalm 118, the Temple Priests should have been thankful and shouted ‘Save Now, Hosanna, God save the King’! But they did not. They were not wise (authentic) and disrespected the King of Kings, denying Jesus coronation.
1 Kings 1:39 KJV And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.
2 Chronicles 23:11 KJV Then they brought out the king’s son [Jehoash, 8th King of Judah, 835BC], and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king [God save the king – יחי המלך yechi hannmelech; May the king live! So the words should be translated wherever they occur].
Now consider mankind today, obsessed with star trek and fictitious myths of visiting aliens. Are we wise? Are we willing to make Jesus King of our own lives? We have Hubble telescopes but yet it seems the only star an unbelieving planet will get to see is a ‘death star’.
Revelation 8:10-11 KJV And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
Jeremiah 9:15 KJV Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.
Gerardus D. Bouw, Ph. D. in his white paper “Wormwood”, theorizes that since the term wormwood refers to a bitter or poisonous plant, specifically “apsinthos, that is, absinthe wormwood” in Revelations 8:11, and that a star falling would likely be an asteroid or comet … the most reasonable scenario being a comet, since they could have a chemical makeup that would make the waters bitter and poisonous and would have to break up by some means, “in order to fall on deep sources of water and rivers, the object cannot be in one piece when it arrives in the atmosphere.” [source: wikipedia]
Considering Dr. Bouw’s wormwood idea, note that Comet ISON visited our visual sky immediately after the Fall Festivals of 2013. ISON was recently discovered by Russian Astronomer, Vitali Nevski (note, Nevski discovered ISON on Tishri 1 2012 according to the Solar Jubilee Calendar [Sept 21, 2012, Fall Equinox]). This Comet was expected to be brighter than the moon by Winter Solstice 2013 (Dec 21, 2013). Some thought that this Comet was a broken off piece of the ‘Great Comet’ of 1680AD and was in fact be ‘Wormwood’. This idea may re-emerge should a similar comet visit earth in the near future.
In Tishri (Sept 21, 2013), ISON passed through the constellation Leo, passing near Leo’s brightest star Regulus (heart of the lion) and then passing near the planet Mars in the night sky. In Heshvan (October-November), ISON became even brighter and it passed near another bright star, Spica (Tsemech, the Branch) in the constellation Virgo, and another planet, Saturn.
In Kislav [November 28, 2013], ISON reached perihelion, its closest distance to the Sun in its elliptical orbit. Because it did not remain intact, it did not become brighter than the full Moon, visible in daytime like the ‘Great Comet of 1680’. The great comet displayed its tail, visible from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (a tail of a comet appears to point toward a specific geographic location visually). The tail of the comet when appearing to the naked eye, gives the impression that it is pointing toward a specific location on the horizon. Since the timing of the arrival of ISON was identical to the ‘Great Comet’, many believed it was a broken portion of the mammoth dirty ice ball of 1680, yet on its own 333 year cycle. This caused the end time thinkers to consider Biblical prophecy in the light of astronomy.
Like Dr. Bouw, one end time writer speculated that Wormwood is a literal star (comet) that will pass through our solar system. Further, that Wormwood will be responsible for creating Lunar and Solar eclipses due to its close approach to planet earth (Lunar Eclipse = Blood Moon…sun darkened, moon turns to blood). Finally, this worrisome writer (I am not naming him for a specific reason) believed that Wormwood would strike an earth ocean, send streams of polluted water into the air that will cause acid rain to contaminate rivers and streams making fresh water scarce, it’s impact causing incredible tsunamis and earthquakes, and finally kissing planet earth like a billiard ball, accelerating earth’s rotation and velocity through space, introducing a new Solar orbit that shortens the days and years.
Will another comet like ISON fulfill the Joel 2:31 prophecy (quoted by Peter’s Pentecost sermon) which is obviously linked to Revelation 6:12. Note the phrase ‘pillars of smoke’ as an accurate description of a comet’s tail.
Joel 2:30-31 KJV And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
Acts 2:20 KJV The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
Revelation 6:12-14 KJV And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
Back to the Constellations
E. W. Bullinger in his book, “Witness of the Stars”, notices that the constellations VIRGO and LEO are companions in the sky. Further, Bullinger observes that the ‘Sphinx of Egypt’ is a chimera, composed of a head of a woman and a body of a lion, Virgo and Leo.
In the Egyptian Temple of Khnum at Esna, is found a Zodiac relief with a Sphinx planted exactly between the Constellations of Virgo and Leo. As this Zodiac picture matched the ceiling sculpture of the Denderah Temple chiseled out and moved to Paris by Napoleon, Bullinger became convinced that the Egyptians began their year with the Summer Solstice within the Constellation Virgo the Virgin. To Bullinger, the story of REDEMPTION was printed in the stars, beginning with the Virgin (Virgo) birth of Jesus and ending with the victorious triumph of the Lion of Judah (Leo) upon His second coming to Israel.
It is a great miracle that a people can retain their identity after being deported and assimilated among so many different cultures and lands over 2,600 years. Yet, there is a Hebrew nation in the Middle East again, living in the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In modern Israel, 10% of the population currently is considered religious with the remainder being secular. Yet they all follow a Jewish calendar and celebrate the Weekly and Annual Festivals that God prescribed to Moses in Leviticus 23. God knows how to preserve a people and He always keeps His appointments.
A few days after ISON’s breakup on February 15, 2013, Astral events struck the planet again thus causing men to open their Bible’s yet again. Meteors struck Russia and San Francisco within 1 day of each other. Further, the earth missed a close encounter (only 17,000 miles) with an asteroid the size of a shopping center. Were these remnants of ISON’s breakup?
God speaks visually with the heavens in scripture, but is anyone listening?