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Is “the woman”, Virgo?

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Research Paper

January 29, 2017

Concerning the Rev. 12 Great Sign and astronomical events on September 23, 2017.  Scottie Clarke has done a remarkable work on this; moreover, understanding the historical description of Virgo reconciles the question of, “Is the woman, Virgo.”  The question to ask concerning Rev. 12 is, “What Woman?  Who is this Woman, and is she Virgo?”

Proponent: Scottie Clarke https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsa5IqNLzmFDegks07EuLyq1Z-gfB5vMY

Biblical references: Genesis 1:14, Psalms 19:1-5, Job 9:9 & 38:31-32, Amos 5:8, Revelation 12.

Scottie Clarke holds to the view that in Revelation 12:5 the phrase”caught up” is in reference to the Rapture of the Church.  How does one know that the male child is representative of the Church?  Revelation 12:17 inferences this correlation by saying, ”went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.“  Clarke cites the following historical sources for the interpretation that the woman represents’ Israel and the male child represents’ the Christian Church: G. H. Pember (c. 1876) .pdf (online version– see page 467) and this Michael Svigel article.  At least a dozen other well-known theologians and pastors such as John Nelson Darby, Harry Ironside, William Kelly, William Blackstone, David Wilkerson, and Chuck Missler have taken this view.  Furthermore, the word translated as caught up in the Greek is “harpazo” that is exclusively used in regards to the rapture doctrine that is applied to the Church.  This interpretation is not what is being debated here, nor the astronomical event of September 23, 2017.  Rather, what is being considered here is the Zodiacal and planetary correlations to the Great Sign.  I pose the question, can one equate or represent the woman as Virgo?  If the woman is not Virgo, then one cannot interpret the celestial event as being the Great Sign, the logic must flow.

Problem:  Scottie Clarke is purporting that the woman of Revelation 12 is Virgo.  This research paper is bringing to light a potential problem with the above theological interpretation of the Revelation 12 Great Sign as associated with the celestial observations.  While the astronomical events of September 23, 2017, are factual, the Virgo aspect is not a real association, that is, there is no real Virgo depiction in the heavens; thus it poses a theological problem.[0]  The other problem is that Virgo imagery is depicted as holding wheat; whereas, in Revelation, the woman is depicted as a mother.  One must beg the question for Clarke’s interpretation of Rev. 12, “Is astrology (mythology or mystic) being mixed with astronomy (secular science), and possibly being misunderstood as astronomy?”  A distinction of astrology and astronomy should be made.  The Bible explicitly condemns astrological divination (See: Isaiah 47:13; 2Kings 23:5).  Clarke’s premise hinges upon the Virgo woman.  Clarke then goes on to correlate the Virgo woman is the woman in Rev. 12 and her child as being the Church that is caught up or raptured.

The same association must be true with regards to the male child representing the planet Jupiter and the garland/crown of twelve stars representing the constellation Leo, of which problems I address in addendums A and B at the bottom of this article.

Constellation Virgo

Constellation Virgo

The Bible says we are not to look for a sign, yet the Bible also makes reference to terrestrial and celestial signs that we should be aware of in regards to prophecy.  One has to beg the question; Is it possible that God might use an astrological depiction to reveal a prophetic event?  Is this fulfilling Genesis 1:14, and or simply a means in which God is reaching man at man’s level, written at a time of limited astronomical knowledge more commonly then referred to as astrology? Might there be a historical aspect of astrology that is not mythological or mystic that can be used in understanding or correlating the woman of Revelation 12?

It should be noted that there are other eschatological interpretations, for example, that the woman is in reference to Jesus’s mother, Mary, and or it is a supernatural event.  However, this essay is not debating what interpretation is correct but, rather, performing the role of a Berean (Acts 17:11) and historian by only presenting, assessing, and evaluating the problem above.

A look at astrology:

It was the astronomer Johannes Kepler, with the discovery of planetary motion, that are we able today to calculate the position of celestial bodies.  It is with these principles that the program Stellarium uses for its calculations.  Interestingly, Kepler was a devout Christian who attended seminary.

Historically, it is reasonable to state that astrology (telling of the stars), to a degree, was astronomy (a study of heavenly bodies) for the ancients based on their limited knowledge.  Later, astrology became perverted by man, influenced by Satan, over time far back in history.  Yet, is there an aspect of astrology (say a pictorial Zodiac image) that is simply a means of describing an astronomical constellation?  Astrology directly has to do with calculating future events.  Modern astronomy has dismissed, and rightfully so, the mythological or mystical perversions but continues to calculate the heavenly bodies and refer to the constellation names.  Some have asserted that the Gospel is presented in the stars, but this essay is not going to be concerned with addressing that topic.

Astrology became perverted in the following two predominant ways:  Kabbalistic astrology, while not biblical, associates the Mazzaroth with birth-months that point to character traits.  Whereas, pagan astrologers, while condemned in Scripture, use horoscopes to depict planetary placements to influence daily activities.  Then there is the Greek and Roman mythological gods associated with the constellations as well.

This would be similar to the animal entrail divination of pagan Greek Mythologies.  Likewise, it is similar in practice to the Jewish High Priest’s Urim, Thummim, and breastplate, only this was truly of God.  On the other hand, the Bible makes reference to some constellations and Mazzaroth (Zodiac), even referencing that He created them.  See: Genesis 1:14, Psalms 19:1-5, Job 9:9 & 38:31-32, Amos 5:8, Revelation 12.

Tablet of the stars of the heavens.

Tablet of the stars of the heavens.

The zodiac, in its simplest form, is a pictorial circular belt of 12 equal sectional divisions of star constellations within 8° on either side of the ecliptic including apparent positions of the sun, the moon, and most familiar planets.  At a point in Sumerian history, figures were given to depict these constellations: (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) as evidenced in Tablet of the stars of the heavens long before the Apostle John wrote Revelation.[1]

The Torah says this concerning the zodiac:

“The early Sages divided the ninth sphere, which surrounds everything, into twelve parts.  Each part was given a name appropriate to the pattern of stars it contains.  The names of the Zodiac symbols are:  Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Saggitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.”[2] (Torah 3:6)

Thus, this is something the Apostle John would have been aware of.  Imagery ignites the imagination, and God uses this kind of vivid imagery throughout Revelation.

Historical written descriptions of Virgo:

My research is not concerned with the mystic or mythological aspects of Virgo, neither does it appear that Scottie Clarke is applying such in his interpretation or understanding, rather, he is correlating the constellation of Virgo to the Great Sign.  The question lies in whether or not the woman can be interpreted as Virgo based on features.

I researched the word Virgo in ancient texts, and they revealed written descriptions providing details of the Virgo depiction.  In all ancient texts, it is clear that Virgo is a woman (female).  My research results, in the cited ancient texts, revealed specific references to the “feet of Virgo,” “Virgo’s hair,” and the “garment of Virgo” denoting those features with Zodiac figure or imagery depictions of Virgo, and corresponded with the depiction in Revelation12.[3], [4], & [5]  In Revelation 12 it makes specific mention of “a woman clothed” and “her feet.”[6]  Interestingly, the sun is near the tip of her hair and clothing when viewed in Stellarium on the 9/23/17 date, see this citation.[7]  Consequently, it is plausible that originally she (Virgo) was depicted with very long hair covering much of her body.  Whatever the case, what are the odds of all these specific references and only these specific references being found in regards to how Virgo was depicted?  That is, I did not find references to her nose or hands, but only the very same bodily descriptions described in the Bible.  This is certainly indicative of a correlation of information or knowledge being transmitted over the years, and something God would know of concerning man’s imagination of Virgo.

Virgo is depicted as having three differing roles: maternal (fertility), harvester (grain), judicial (scales).  Barry Setterfield’s study of the star names that make up Virgo, denoted that rather she had a maternal role.[8]

The word Virgo is not in the Bible, and the Virgo depiction is not an astronomical reality, that is you don’t see a woman in outer space; however, based on:

  1.  the Revelation 12 contextual association “in heaven” dressing “the woman” in a metaphor of similar astronomical events (the sun, the moon, twelve stars) occurring on September 23, 2017.
  2.  the above historical descriptive references (feet, garment, hair, woman) of Virgo concur along with the maternal role while having also had a representation of virginity.

This seemingly and potentially may be alluding to the woman as being the constellation Virgo.  Yet, theologically this is not unequivocal since a portion of the premise (Virgo) is extra-biblical.  Pastor JD Farag provides a good approach theologically: https://youtu.be/GyC4q1ob7fA

However, based on ancient texts, I can unequivocally conclude that the historical descriptions of Virgo are that of a woman whose features are consistent with the features of the woman in Revelation 12.  While the human features are common, the interesting find was that the ancient texts and Revelation make the same specific and exclusive references.

Addendum A:

Is the “male child,” the planet Jupiter?

It should be noted that the word Jupiter is not mentioned in Revelation 12 and the planet Jupiter does not look like a man-child.  However,  Etymology and ancient texts confirm the planet Jupiter is named after the mythological god. (Citations too numerous to list here.)  In Roman mythology, Jupiter (Zeus, Grk.) was a supreme or king god, not only male but is specifically and more commonly depicted as an adult “man” (with fatherly references) in regards to his humanness.  There are ancient textual references of Jupiter having been “born” of a “female” as well as being a “child.”  Jupiter’s mother was Ops (Rhea, Grk.), not Virgo; however, there are similarities and possible origin correlations as to the goddesses over the varying ancients’ narratives.  That is, the story lines may cross over the varying ancients, which I suggest has happened, as perversions, seen based on similarities.  For example, there is a relief of Rhea riding a lion; this is similar to that of Leo the lion crowning Virgo’s head.  More detailed and extensive research of the varying ancient cross over relationships could reveal much more information.

Summary: Etymology and ancient texts connect the planet Jupiter to the mythical god.  Jupiter (the god) is historically depicted as a “man,” having been a “child,” that was “born” of a “female.”  It is, therefore, logical to conclude that a “man-child” of the biblical narrative could represent the planet Jupiter as explained by Scottie Clarke.

Conclusion:  Therefore, based on ancient texts, I can unequivocally conclude that the historical descriptions of the planet Jupiter and mythical god are representative of one another.  Furthermore, the god Jupiters’ textual description, includes that of a “man” whose humanness depicts the traits of being “born” as a “child” from a “female.”  This is consistent with the Revelation 12 “man child” who likewise is to be “born” of a “female.”  Whether it is representative of Christ and or the Christian Church is left for interpretation, nonetheless plausible.

Addendum A source: Too many historical documents verify this information than I care to list here.

Addendum B:

Is the “garland/crown of twelve stars,” the constellation Leo?

First, it should be noted that the word Leo is not in the Bible and the constellation Leo looks like a Lion, not a garland or crown. However, among the ancients, Pliny the Elder wrote a book titled The Natural History. In it, he describes the mythological origin of the presentation of crowns. As he describes this, he says that crowns were “never given to an individual… [rather] upon his country” (Perhaps a nation, Israel, 12 tribes?). He reports that “this people has more varieties of crowns than those of all other nations put together.” He associates it with achievements in battle, as well as signifying liberty and triumph. He explains that Ivy leaves were especially given to the “gods of heaven.” He cites as his source, Pherecydes (an ancient Greek cosmogonist none the less), as saying that among those mythical gods that were awarded a garland or crown, was Leo. This possibly provides an indirect association for representing Leo as the “crown” in Revelation 12:1.

At best, Leo is correlated with the garland/crown of 12 stars by associating the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and 12 tribes of Israel; however, this is a matter of biblical interpretation and not historical correlation.  Also, there were 12 apostles.  Historically, the only association could be, as mentioned in the paragraph above, is that Leo is referenced in an ancient text as having been crowned.  If a correlation cannot be made with Leo, then neither can it be associated with the celestial alignment on September 23, 2017.  One has to consider that Revelation 12 is painting a celestial picture and the question is, is it literal and where or what is that picture?  Among all the celestial correlations, Leo is the most difficult to make arguments for representation of the Garland/crown of 12 stars.

Addendum B Source: 1) Jewish Concepts: The Lion, Jewish Virtual Library, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-lion-in-judaism, and 2) Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book 16 Chap. 4 THE ORIGIN OF THE PRESENTATION OF CROWNS. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0137:book=16:chapter=4&highlight=leo

In a nutshell, I have some reservations yet at the same time, I find the “Great Sign,” as associated with September 23, 2017, quite plausible, and many potentially convincing aspects to it.  Also, read my associated article: Jesus is expected to rapture His Church, when?

John DiCesare, Historian

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[0] Soothsayers of the Second Advent. http://scatteredsheepreport.blogspot.com/2017/01/soothsayers-of-second-advent.html

[1] Is There a Gospel in the Stars? http://www.setterfield.org/stargospel.html#virgo

[2] Maimonides: The Laws and Basic Principles of the Torah. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/rambam-yesodei-hatorah.txt

[3] The story of Icarius who entertained Dionysus: Eratosthenes in his Erigonê. Page search Ctrl-F “Virgo”: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:2008.01.0219:section=9&highlight=virgo

[4] Vitruvius Pollio, The Ten Books on Architecture. Page search Ctrl-F “Virgo”: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0073:book=9:chapter=3&highlight=virgo

[5] Jami (1414-1492 CE): Joseph and Zuleika, c. 1470 CE. Page search Ctrl-F “Virgo”:  https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/1470jami1.asp

[6] New King James Bible https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+12&version=NKJV

[7] Is There a Gospel in the Stars? http://www.setterfield.org/stargospel.html#virgo .  Stellarium  http://www.stellarium.org/

[8] Is There a Gospel in the Stars? http://www.setterfield.org/stargospel.html#virgo

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Written by johnsbibleblog

January 29, 2017 at 10:06 AM

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