The people at the Christian prophetic news service Unsealed.org believe "End Times" events are near or even here and that signs pointing to them abound.
While not endorsing their viewpoint, CBN News thought it’d be interesting to hear what Unsealed has to say about the August 21st eclipse and related events.
They're Not 'Stating and Dating'
Gary Ray wrote about them for Unsealed.org in “The Divine Message of the August Eclipse.”
He’s quick to insist he and his colleagues aren’t predicting specific days for prophesied events like the Rapture or Tribulation. He said he understands people’s leeriness about folks who do that.
“I think people are understandably concerned that we would be setting dates and kind of making a whole bunch of hullabaloo about nothing,” Ray stated.
"But I tell people that we’re not saying that the Rapture or the Second Coming is going to happen at such-and-such a date. We’re just saying that the Lord multiple times commanded His people to watch. And He gave signs for a reason. If He didn’t want us to pay attention, He wouldn’t have given signs.”
Ray believes there’s meaning in the names of several places the total eclipse will pass directly over.
Sun Goes Dark in Oregon as Sun Sets in Jerusalem
“The first major town it’s going to cross is Salem, Oregon. If you recall, there was the priest called Melchizedek who was from Salem, which a lot of scholars think was the original name for Jerusalem. Salem is the shortened version of Jerusalem,” Ray explained. "So just the fact that the first major town it’s going to cross is called Salem I think should at least get our attention that God’s trying to say something about Jerusalem and Israel and what’s coming."
In fact, on August 21st, the moment the eclipse first hits America and the sun goes dark is the same moment the sun will set — or go dark, you could say — on Jerusalem.
The coming of the baby Jesus to earth was heralded by a sign in the heavens, the Star of Bethlehem that the wise men, or Magi, followed to His birthplace.
“The names of these cities that the eclipse crosses almost tell us to pay attention,” Ray pointed out. "One of the next towns it crosses is called Weiser, Idaho. Weiser is German for ‘wise man.’ Another town is Caspar, Wyoming, and ‘Caspar’ is the Chaldean traditional term for ‘Magi’ or ‘wise men.’ Other towns: there’s Jackson, which means ‘son of John,’ and John Day."
They're Saying "Look Up"
Ray concluded, "Again, these names are almost pointing to the apostle John, who wrote the Book of Revelation, and also the wise men. And I think they’re all saying ‘look up' because God is doing something and He wants the Church to pay attention."
Folks at Unsealed are wondering if the August 21st eclipse is pointing towards what they call the Revelation 12 Sign - an event coming September 23rd where it appears the constellation Virgo will line up — they say — just right for the first time in history with 12 stars and planets, the sun, the moon and Jupiter to fulfill a biblical prophecy in Revelation 12:1-to-5.
Those scriptures begin “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head."
A Clue the Rapture Is Near?
They say Virgo in late September appears to be a woman giving birth to a male-child, represented by the planet Jupiter, that will come out of the constellation at that time. And they believe that man-child is a type for the Church and this could be a sign the Rapture is coming.
Ray explained, “Why we would think it might signal the possible nearness of the Rapture is actually verse 5. Revelation 12:5 says that the male child is caught up to heaven. And the word for ‘caught up' is ‘harpazo' in the Greek, which is the same word used in First Thessalonians 4:17 for the Rapture of the Church."
Those at Unsealed.org think it's no coincidence the August 21st eclipse across America starts in Oregon and finishes where it does in South Carolina and comes 33 days before the Revelation 12 Sign.
Ray revealed, “It actually starts in the 33rd state and ends exactly at the 33rd parallel in South Carolina. And the eclipse is exactly 33 days before the possible Revelation 12 Sign."
Those three 33s add up to 99, and interestingly enough, it's 99 years since the last total solar eclipse crossing the U.S.
By the way, not all Christians who study the heavens are buying the Revelation 12 sign. A writer in a recent Charisma News commentary called the lineup of all the stars, planets, moon and sun around Virgo not rare, but “far too common.”
Meanwhile, in just seven years another total solar eclipse will cross America, which George Washington University astronomer Bethany Cobb Kung thinks is just simply a wonderful opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to the 2024 eclipse that will also pass over the continental U.S.,” she said. "And I do plan to try to go see the totality for that one.”
But Ray and his colleagues wonder if there’s meaning in the fact the path of this August 21st eclipse and that one seven years later will form a huge cross over America.
“Just the fact that there would be two total solar eclipses in the most powerful, most influential, most prosperous Gentile nation on earth is very significant,” Ray suggested.
"Egypt Egypt Egypt!"
Unsealed’s staffers find significance in the names where the paths of those two eclipses will cross seven years apart, which is also the length of time the Bible indicates the Tribulation will last.
“Where the eclipses meet is in southern Illinois. And if you’re from that area, you know it’s called ‘Little Egypt.’ And the precise town where the paths meet is Makanda. And the old motto for that town was ‘the Star of Egypt.’ It’s interesting. It’s almost like God’s saying ‘Egypt, Egypt, Egypt!’ What could that mean?” Ray asked rhetorically.
He wonders if it’s a warning that the plagues that hit rebellious Egypt when it wouldn’t free God’s chosen people will come to earth again in the days of Tribulation.
“If you go back to the Book of Exodus and look at the 10 plagues, seven of those 10 plagues are repeated on a worldwide scale in the Book of Revelation,” Ray explained.
The Creation Points to the Creator
But if you don’t buy any of these are prophetic or biblical signs of things to come, a science-centered pastor like Hugh Ross says you can still believe the heavens are pointing to God Himself.
This trained astronomer thinks the fact our giant sun and much smaller moon are placed at just exactly the right distances to appear to fit over one another precisely to create a total solar eclipse shows God’s fine-tuning design. And the fact that mankind exists now during the one time where the moon isn’t too close or too far away.
As Ross put it, "God created us human beings at that one moment in the history of the Earth where we can witness total solar eclipses."
Ross and his fellow scientists at Reason to Believe showcase ways the facts of science back up faith in a Divine Creator.
Ross stated science shows the makeup, mass and position of the moon and all nine of the planets, asteroid and comet belts of this solar system are precisely calibrated to sustain life on this planet.
"The entire solar system has been highly fine–tuned to make possible the existence of advanced life here on earth,” Ross contended.
"Reasons to Believe” researchers have compiled hundreds of ways the entire Milky Way galaxy is fine-tuned to sustain life here. The odds of all those characteristics just coming together by coincidence?
“We actually calculate the probability that the 854 features that we list could be fine-tuned without the supernatural intervention of the Creator God of the Bible to make advanced life possible here on planet earth,” Ross explained. "And that probability we calculate must be much less than one chance in 10 to the 1,050th power. “
He concluded, "That’d be roughly equivalent to someone here in California winning the California lottery 150 consecutive times where they buy just one ticket each time.”