A Sun-Clothed Woman — Rev. 12:1-2
1And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2And she was with child, and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
The prophet Yoɦanan is here being shown something that happened in the past in this vision about the birth of Messiah. The figurative language is a parable or a cipher to be decoded. The great sign in heaven is a woman. We should note that “in heaven” means in space where the sun, moon, and stars are. The word “sign”, אוֹת is first mentioned in Gen. 1:14, where it is explained, “Then they will have been for signs and for appointed times, and for days, and years.” The woman is the constellation Virgo. This is an autumn seasonal sign when the sun conjuncts with it. The sun is also said to be in it in the autumn, or in front of it. The stars of the constellation of Virgo are lost in the glare of the sun at this time of year. Virgo is drawn or imagined as a woman, but the name is specifically virgin woman in Latin. It is called Beƫulah in Hebrew, which means a maiden—a never married woman. This word is a synonym for virgin, but less clinical. The clinical Hebrew word for virgin is almah. Virgo is the greatest of the constellations which mark the course of the sun, just as the text says, “a great sign.” This is because it is the largest. Of all the ecliptic constellations it is the second largest. The largest constellation is Hydra, but this one does not lie along the ecliptic course of the sun, and it is only slightly larger. Twelve of the constellations are like signboards (signs, אוֹתוֹת) for the year, and the sun is the marker. The sun moves into a new constellation almost every month. In September the sun lies in front of the constellation of Virgo. So this sign is giving us the seasonal date of Messiah’s birth.
Now when the sun is in a constellation sign its glare keeps the stars from being seen. However ancient astronomers back to Persian times knew exactly which stars the sun was in conjunction with even though they could not see past the sun. They determined this by observing the constellation at night in another season and then calculating the sun’s position when it moved into the sign. We must consider that Yoɦanan is seeing with the eyes of the Ruaɦ Elohım in the vision, and that though the constellation is clothed with the sun, he is enabled to see it and selected stars at the head of it. The stars are there, but he only is shown twelve. There are really many more than twelve stars. He is only shown twelve stars because the stars are supposed to give an additional message to the reader. These stars are the twelve tribes of Yisra‘ɛl. So we see a second message layered in with the astronomical sign—a message about Yisra‘ɛl. Later in the passage, we also see that the woman is more than just a constellation.
The position of the moon is given under the feet of the woman. In order to appreciate this we have to know at what angle this sign is typically viewed. As viewed from earth near sunset at the start of the feast day the vision appears like this simulated image. The atmosphere setting for the Stellarium 0.14.1 software has been turned off in the simulation. Otherwise the glare of the sun would fill the whole constellation. This makes the metaphor “clothed with the sun” sensible. The position of the moon on three days is as follows:
8/30 after sun sets The Moon is under the hip
and not visible.
8/31 after sun sets New Moon first visible
(Tishri 1) under feet and legs
9/1 after sun sets Moon under empty space
(Tishri 2) between Libra and Virgo
The correct position is for sunset 8/31, which is the beginning of Yom Teruah, a Scriptural feast day, also called Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets. The sun only covers (“clothes”) the constellation Virgo in the fall and this recurs every year. Likewise when the moon is near the sun to the east of the sun then it is likely to be a new moon. The line up with the legs shows that it is a new moon. I should note that in Hebrew and also the Greek used by the Jews that the word “feet” also means “legs.”
The line up of the moon as described does not occur nearly as well in other years, and in some years not at all. This is because the sun varies its location in the constellation as the new moon day moves back and forth about 30 days. And often the locations are not ideal.
Here, at the left, we see the September 11, 3 BC date proposed by Ernest Martin in his book The Star that Astonished the World, formerly called The Birth of Christ Recalculated. This time the new moon is not directly under the feet. If you draw an altitude line up from the moon it will miss the stars marking the feet of Virgo. Another item of note is that Jupiter is missing from the picture. This was the star that the Magi said they saw in the rising. In the 2 BC scene Jupiter is about to do a helical rising on 9/1/2 BC. This is one of the meanings of the star seen in the “rising.” To the Magi it means a royal birth.
There is an equally, if not more serious problem with the 3 BC date than the missing star. And this has to do with the timing of the priestly divisions. In fact, the problem is fatal. We have seen with the 2 BC date that there is exactly enough time from July 14th 3 BC to Tishri 1, 2 BC for five months, one day, and then 266 days from there to the birth of Messiah. However, going back a year moves the priestly divisions back two cycles or 48 weeks. This means that the eighth division came off duty on Sabbath August 11, 4 BC. Since a year is about 52 weeks, the divisions shift one month each year. Working around from August 11, 4 BC five months, one day, and then 266 days will take us well past Sept 11, 3 BC The Julian date of August 12, 4 BC is: 1720186.
1720186 + 29.5 x 5 + 1 + 266 - 1 = 1720600 = Sept. 30, 3 BC. The Sept. 11, 3 BC date, therefore, is 19 days short. This means that Messiah’s birth would have to be premature by some two weeks and five days. But Luke 2:6 assures us that Miryam reached the term date,
the days were fulfilled. Since the days were fulfilled, the Messiah could not have been born before the term date. The days are fulfilled when the due date is reached. It is true that many women do not reach the due date, and others go past it. But Luke 2:6 assures us that the due date was reached. Luke’s remark about there being no room in the inn also implicitly tells us that she did not go over the due date either. One night in an animal barn is enough, and had the baby not been born Yosɛf would have found better accommodations.
A B C D E
Yōḥanan Yĕshūa Yōḥanan Yĕshūa Farthest
Conception1 Conception2 birth1 birth2 Limit
Method Service 1st off A+29.5*5+1 A+266 B+266-1 +75
CRS Abijah-1st 1719346 1719494.5 1719612 1720767.5 1719834.5
Apr 25,6 BC Sep 21,6 BC Jan 16,5 BC Jun 12,5 BC Aug 26,5 BC
We see that in 4 BC the new moon of the 7th month occurs in the constellation of Libra. Backing up to 9/21/4 BC makes the moon invisible to the naked eye. If we go back to Tishri 1, 5 BC (9/3/5 BC) things are back in the right places as in 2 BC. I have not shown an image of this year, but it is similar to the Tishri 1, 2 BC shot above. Let us now look at the priestly division dates just above for the 5 BC dates. We see that the birth would fall on June 12, 5 BC or up to August 26, 5 BC if delays are allowed. But this is still short of the Revelation 12:1-2 synchronism date for this year! (9/3/5 BC). The priestly divisions, when taken in conjunction with the Revelation sign show us that Tishri 1, 2 BC is utterly unique in satisfying all the constraints. If we go the other direction and look at the 1 BC date of Tishri 1, (9/18/1 BC), then the new moon is again off in the constellation of Libra! We see that the Tishri 1 date is 1 week ahead of the 9/1/2 BC date. We must allow an 8 week drop back for two years in the divisions. The difference is 7 weeks. This means that there must be seven weeks of delays to connect the division of Aνıyah to Messiah’s birth. This and the attending difficulties with Herod’s death and the 15th year of Tiberius rule it out also.
In the following chart the first number is the Julian date of John’s conception, one day after the end of service for the division of Aνıyah. The second Julian date represents moving forward to the birth of Messiah by 5 months, 1 day, then counting 266 days, i.e.
5 x 29.5 + 1 + 266 - 1 = 413.5. This is rounded up to 414. The next number represents the delay needed to reach Tishri 1 for that year. A negative number means that the calculation is already past Tishri 1. A delay of less than 0 is rated as fatal. So also a delay of more than 75 days. The maximum delay is 84 days since any date is never farther from a given division service than 84 days.
John +414 Delay Tishri 1 Year Division Test Rev. 12 Test
1721194 1721608 +65 9/ 7 = 1721673 1 AD with 65 day delay Exact
1720858 1721272 +47 9/18 = 1721319 1 BC with 47 day delay Moon under Libra
1720522 1720936 0 9/ 1 = 1720986 2 BC Exact Exact
1720186 1720600 -19 9/11 = 1720581 3 BC Fatal Error Moon just missed left toe
1719850 1720264 -36 9/23 = 1720228 4 BC Fatal Error Moon under Libra
1719346 1719760 +83 9/3 = 1719843 5 BC Fatal Error Exact
1719043 1719457 +31 9/14 = 1719488 6 BC with 31 day delay Exact
I should remark on the significance of the the delays. The 47 day delay for 1 BC means that almost 7 weeks have to be accounted for. Four weeks may be gained by putting the annunciation on the last day of the sixth month of Elıshaνą. The due date was reached while they were in Bɛt-leɦem (Luke 2:6). It is unreasonable to make the child more than a day overdue. This means the rest of the delay must be an assumed delay between the annunciations to the two women. In this case that would be about 8 or 9 days for each. The 65 day delay for the 1 AD date is even more unreasonable. Of course we are given year data in Luke 3:1 and 3:23 which point to 2 BC exactly, and 3 BC marginally. Herod was dead by the Passover of 1 BC, so the 1 BC birth date is also out. 3 BC is ruled out by the divisions. This leaves the only choice as 2 BC.
Interpreting the Parable of Rev. 12:1-2
The simple astronomical explanation given above corresponds to all the details in the passage. The constellation of virgo is a woman who is clothed with the sun in the fall and under her feet was the new moon, and there are at least twelve stars near the head. The constellation is a sign. It is also a great sign. At the time of the sign the women was in labor to give birth. And the only year that matches the sign exactly, and exactly with the priestly divisions is 2 BC on August 31. Yet, most amazingly, and most incredibly, almost everyone in the Christian world hastens to DENY that this is what the sign means. Like the Pharisees of old, they search the Scripture for the truth, and they miss it when it is right in front of them. There is a reason for this explained by Matthew:
10And the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11And he answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens, but to them it has not been granted. 12Because whoever holds fast, to him will more be given, and he will have an abundance, but whoever does not hold fast, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13Therefore I speak to them in parables, because while seeing they do not perceive, and while hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand. 14And in their case the prophecy of Yesha‘yahu is fulfilled, which says, ‘Hearing you shall hear, but no, you would not understand. And seeing you shall see, but no, you would not see.’ 15‘Because the heart of this people is dull and their ears hardly hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes, and might hear with their ears, and their heart should understand and should return, and I shall heal them.’ 16But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. 17Amɛn indeed! I say to you, that many prophets and just men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
This is fairly harsh, but it is true. Yeshu‘a has his reasons, and he stated them in part here. Messiah did not just tell parables himself while on earth. But through the Spirit he tells parables in the Scripture. There are quite a number of chronological ciphers both in the Torah and Prophets and also in the Apostolic Writings (a.k.a. New Testament). Revelation 12:1-2 is one of them. Parables make it easy to run away from the deeper message of the text. This is what is Messiah calls seeing but not seeing. But parables also require some thinking work to be done on the part of the faithful. Even Messiah’s own disciples had to ask questions about the meaning of his parables. And he explained them. We have to ask and to seek the answer from him also and his Ruaɦ (Spirit) will give us the answer or confirm it.
There are many deceivers and false teachers in the world, especially of the higher critical type, and there is also the all powerful force of peer pressure caused by traditions that were put in place by people without ears to hear. These traditions and the pressure they cause is a great stumbling block to understanding Messiah’s parables. They come from both Judaism and Christianity, and they can trip up even the most sincere of the faithful if they do not ask and do not test. The reason I have found answers is that after reading the accepted answer on many things, I have asked Messiah if it is so. I have learned to test things from my independent point of view without relying on tradition. I have also come to know my self point of view is insufficient to discover truth deliberately hidden. I really do not think I would have gotten any of these answers, however, if I had not first believed what Messiah said about the Torah and Prophets in Matthew 5:17-19, and put it into practice. No one is perfect, of course, but there is a big difference between listening to the big things in Scripture, and hardening one’s heart against it.
Revelation 12:1-2 is what I would call a layered messianic text. Hosea 6:1-3 is also a LMT. Messianic Psalms are often LMTs. There is nothing fancy about this terminology as I just invented it. What it means is that the text appears to be talking about two things at once. When the Ethiopian Official was reading Isaiah 53, he asked Philip if the prophet was talking about himself or someone else. Rabbinic Jews since RASHI (a.k.a. Rabbi Shlomo Yitsɦaqı) think the passage is talking about Israel. This sort of confusion applies also to LMTs. The passage appears to be talking about Israel, but then it appears to be talking about Messiah also. Probably the example closest to Revelation 12:1-2 is Hosea 6:1-3.
The Hosea passage might have three layers, but for now we will focus on just two. Yăhwɛh is speaking in Hosea 5:14, it seems, about Yisra’ɛl. But it seems he is talking about himself also, because he says,
I I I will tear. I will go. I will bear, and I am not delivering. At the same time he is judging Yisra’ɛl, he is speaking of Messiah. Messiah will be torn. Messiah will go into death. Messiah will be delivered from suffering. The next verse says,
I will go. I will return to my place until when they become guilty. Then, they will have sought My face. In their distress they will seek me at deep dawn! When did the disciples seek Messiah out? It was at deep dawn that they went to the grave. But the prophecy is also speaking of Israel. In fact, interpreters would insist that it is speaking only about Israel. The passage has nothing to do with the man from Nazareth they would say. Looking at the next verse what do we find?
Go on. We should return unto Yăhwɛh, because he himself has torn. Therefore then, he will heal us. He is made smitten. Then, he will bind us. He will cause us to live after two days. On the third day he will raise us up, and we will live before his face. So let us know. Let us pursue knowing Yăhwɛh. His going forth is fixed at deep dawn.
Now I hope you do not miss this. He is talking about Israel being revived, but he is also talking about Messiah dying and being revived on the third day. The prophecy is LMT. There is a layer talking about Israel’s guilt and punishment, but there is also a layer talking about Yăhwɛh putting the equivalent of his fist through the barn door because he is so hurt by sin. He has diverted our suffering to his own Son, or that is a portion of the suffering we deserve has fallen on him. If only you would be guilty he says, then I will heal you and forgive you. Now there is much more that can be said about this prophecy, but I cannot get carried away from the point. The point is that Messiah is hidden like treasure in the midst of a LMT. As one reads many Scriptures one begins to see a pattern. One of these patterns is Israel-Messiah identification. That is, when the text is talking about Israel, it is also talking about Messiah. And Revelation 12:1-2 is just like one of these texts.
Interpreters are all too willing to say that the woman in Revelation 12:1-2 is only Israel. It is true that the women represents Israel, but it isn’t only Israel. The woman bears Messiah, and so it is appropriate to equate her with the virgin Miryam. And also as there is a deep temporal truth in the Hosea passage about the third day, so also there is a deep temporal truth in Revelation 12:1-2! And like the third day motif this temporal truth is one of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. To get it, it is necessary to understand the layered meanings in the text. And a good deal of Messianic Prophecy is like this. Don’t let anyone deceive you by saying that a text only has the one of the more obvious meanings. That is a broken method of interpretation, and it will only lead to denying Messiah. For the unbelieving Rabbis have applied the “only” argument over and over again to deny Messiah his place. The truth is that the most key of information about Messiah, even to the point of objective facts about his birth, his death, and is resurrection, are revealed in parables. To have eyes to see, we must give up our assumption that a text has only one meaning, and we must spot teachers who insist that a text has only one meaning as their sole argument against accepting the secret that is taught in the text.
I can hear the complaints of others already about how subjective this seems to them. I will tell you this. Take all the subjective texts and add them together and you will end up with objective undeniable truth. But if anyone takes their own subjective interpretations and adds them to many texts and then they try to add them all together then they will only obtain a grand mess of things in which nothing is confirmed.
One of the myths commonly repeated by Christians is really effectively a major argument for 25 December. This is the claim that no one knows the exact date, or that no one can know the date. What is left when belief in this argument is accepted? What is left is tradition, and tradition says the birth was in the winter. So arguing that the date is unknown or unknowable becomes the argument of the supporters of the tradition. This they constantly argue and repeat. Now if someone fails to understand the point of a parable, either because they believe something contrary to the point or because they do not apply themselves to the point, then because no point is perceived or because the wrong point is believed, and there is little evidence other than their belief for it, they end up claiming that Scripture does not make the point or say anything about the point they missed. They end up believing tradition based on peer pressure. And believe me, the peer pressure among Christians to mark 25 December is extreme, and especially comes from women who feel celebrating Christ’s birth on 25 December is a religious duty, or from having happy memories attached to the date. If it does not come from that source, then peer pressure comes from other people who treat anything except 25 December as divisive, and they make sure that any other theory is surrounded by bitter argument. So by saying no one knows the date, yet by hinting that 25 December is what they accept, they rely on tradition to make the point while avoiding investigating the truth at all.
Aɦaz was an unbelieving king of Judea. But he was told that the house of Daυıd would be given a sign as high as heaven even though they did not want to hear it. And the sign given is the virgin birth so exactly marked by the appointed time and the signs in heaven. But Aɦaz’ house missed the sign because he wanted to imitate the religion of Assyria. And so also, Christians miss the sign because they cling to a false tradition.
Star of Bethlehem researcher Dwight Hutchinson made some unfortunate remarks in The Lion Led the Way by about Rev. 12:1-2, which serve to illustrate the ongoing misinterpretation of the passage, on pages 283-285, third edition. He does acknowledge a debt to me for explaining that Ernest Martin’s claim that παιδον and βρεφος meant toddler and infant respectively was a false claim (pg. 355, note 28). Martin’s chronology of a two year span between the birth of Messiah and the visit of the Magi depended on this error. The time between the birth and the visit was in fact only four months. Hutchinson has brought together a good deal of useful information, though I seriously disagree with the way he has used it to form his conclusion which supports the December 25th error. I am indebted to him for putting me onto the research of Greswell and the Varro coins.
The Revelation 12:1-2 sign is a death blow to December 25. The sign lines up exactly with the date of his birth on 8/31-9/2 2 BC, the new moon day, the day of Trumpets, and the exact term date of Messiah, confirmed by the priestly division of Aνıyah. Furthermore, as I will explain in another section, the star rose in the dawn on that morning in what is called a heliacal rising, within a narrow range of dates for first sightings of Tzedeq (the Hebrew name for Jupiter). The text is conclusive proof that the biblical feast day has been neglected and a false tradition promoted in its place.
Since I wrote one chapter in The Resurrection Day of Messiah, I have revised quite a number of things about the priestly divisions and the birth of Yoɦanan. Like Martin led me astray for a while with the infant vs. toddler argument, so Roger T. Beckwith led me astray with his erring version of the priestly divisions. I discovered Thomas Lewin’s explanation of the continuously rotating divisions, and was able to establish a biblical basis for it. As a result the time line of Yoɦanan’s conception has shortened to an exact fit. Elısheνa conceived on the new moon of Aν. Five months and one day, on the sixth new moon, Miryam conceived on the new moon, the sixth day of Hanukkah. Six is the number of man, and the sixth day is the day the first Adam was created. So also the sixth day was the day that the second Adam was conceived. (It was also the third day, so that he was born on the third day, died on the third day, and rose on the third day.) From this date to 9/1/2 BC there are exactly 266 days which exactly fits Luke 2:6 and the implication of his statement that no place was found in the inn for them before the child was born.
Contrary to Hutchinson’s implications (pg. 283), Messianic Jews are not the only ones who believe Messiah was born in the fall. A long line of non-Jewish scholars have believed this also. And even if their arguments for it were short of the whole truth, they were always as good or better than arguments for December 25th. And whenever they connected his birth to the fall feasts, they were a good deal more faithful to the interpretation of Scripture than their opponents. So I have to say, that even before today, the arguments for 25 December did not hold of then, and they do not hold up now. It is just a tradition. And now we know it is a false one.
I need to repeat once more that understanding the time line depends on understanding and accepting the teaching in the Torah and the Prophets. It was made that way by the Almighty on purpose. That is why things like priestly divisions and feast day connections are so important.
Hutchinson warns us:
The Bible does not actually say that the Messiah had to be born on any particular holy or special day.
The Lion Led the Way, pg. 284
This is called a straw man argument. Of course it does not say he had to be. But he was. Such an assumption is not needed to prove what we've already proven. He goes on to espouse the virtues of kings born in humble places, which I admit are so, if the point is that the king is the pauper who has disguised himself to go among his people. Hutchinson asks us,
Did God really want trumpets to be sounding on the day of Jesus’ birth, perhaps on the Day of Trumpets? I ask in return, if he had not wanted that, then why did he send an angelic host in connection with the birth to sing glory to the Almighty! And is a humble date necessary for the King of kings to be properly humble? King Saul showed us what it meant to be falsely humble when he should have acted like a king. As it was, Messiah died on the Passover with the lambs, and rose on the Sabbath, on the day of first fruits. And he will return on the Day of Atonement, and he sent the Spirit on the day of Shavuot!
Do you remember those pictures they show kids of a chart with four animals, three breeds of dog and one cat, and they ask the child which animal does not belong? The cat. Christians solemnize Christmas more than any other event or day, except maybe Easter. They are showing a date is pretty important to them. The missing piece IS the connection of Messiah’s birth to the holy day Yom Teruah (day of blowing, shouting). My point is not to make them feel particularly bad about Christmas, but to make them feel bad about missing the Scriptural Holy Day. I really dislike seeing it sidelined, and look forward to the day when the whole community of the faithful will join in unity.
God informed the shepherds about the birth of Jesus, but he did not inform the chief priests. He says he informed the Magi instead. He did inform the Magi in a round about way, but to say he did not inform the priests is false. The Magi went straight to Jerusalem and announced it to them. And they should have known the answer based on Daniel 9 that the Messiah would have to be born about then. At least one person in the Temple knew. That’s because he was listening. By the way, a lot of other Magi were not listening, and were not among those who sought the Jewish Messiah. It seems a lot more Jews are listening now than before. The point is that the Almighty uses the appointed times in the Torah and the Prophets to get his people to listen. They are memorials of his interventions in history. Therefore, we are to remember everything He does in connection with them. That is the message of the calendar. The calendar is more a key to understanding Messiah’s appointed times that it is
a key to understanding the wise men (Lion, pg. 284).
I mentioned before the tradition that a person is supposed to be born and die on the same date. The Romans made much of the fact that Augustus was born on August 19 and died on August 19. It was the going superstition for famous people. It is related to the superstition of Rabbi Yose that a good day attracts good and a bad day attracts evil (Seder Olam). The Temple was destroyed the first time on 9-10 Av, and also the second time, but is this a cause to be superstitious about the date? Of course not. The fasts will become days of rejoicing. Yet, Hutchinson writes this,
Perhaps the old tradition mentioned earlier is true. If Jesus was conceived during the Passover festival and died at Passover three decades later, then in his very conception his Jewish roots, heritage and culture were much more important than many of us has suspected. Yes, this conception time line was based on superstitious thinking so well expressed by the Rabbi also also by the Romans. It is just that the birth was switched to conception to make it work. And then it joined with its non-Jewish source among the nations. The superstitious belief led to December 25 as the birth day, nine months after March 25. Do we really want to base our chronology on superstitious alignments? Do we really want to say no one knows and then speculate based on number games. Give me objective truth and nothing else.
The sun was in the constellation of Virgo during the month of Tishri (September-October). On the Day of Trumpets in 3 BC the moon was at the feet of the woman, but the constellation of Virgo would have been visible. The setting sun would have hidden the entire constellation (pg. 285). I think he knows about the Sept. 1, 2 BC date. He has to since he read my book. But we will settle for what he says. Elsewhere in the Lion book he makes the point that the Magi would have known the sun was in conjunction with Regulus on July 29th, 3 B.C. when he puts the heliacal rising of Jupiter, even though all of Leo and Regulus (the star Melech) was lost in the sun’s glare. Yet, here, he offers the fact that the constellation of Virgo is hidden in the glare of the sun as an objection. Is not that what the passage states, “clothed with the sun?” Anyone would have a hard time seeing the woman clothed with the sun. This can hardly be an objection, especially since the sign was seen in a vision. And Hutchinson himself apparently does not regard it as an objection for the Magi’s observations.
In his attempt to undermine the clear astronomical message of the sign in Rev. 12:1-2, Hutchinson correctly states that the 12 stars could not be seen. But there are at least 12 stars there, and the reason only 12 are seen in the vision is that there is a further layer of meaning to the passage than just the astronomical sense, namely the 12 tribes of Israel. It does not matter which twelve stars were seen. The stars did not have to brighten. Only the eyes of the seer had to be extended by the vision.
He then relates the vision of Yosɛf’s dream of 11 stars and the sun and moon bowing down to him, and suggests that we are to understand Revelation solely as a metaphor since his dream was a metaphor. But this begging the question. He has to assume the Revelation passage is all a metaphor in order to interpret it as all a metaphor. As it turns out there is a real sign in heaven, that is a great sign, that is a virgin woman, that was clothed with the sun, that had the moon under her legs, that has 12 stars at her head, and this alignment is exactly right for 9/1/2 BC when the star appeared out of the sun exactly the right amount of time after the conception of Yoɦanan on 1 Aν, 3 BC (July 13-14). And she holds a seed in her left hand and a Branch Rod in her right, two potent symbols of the Biblical Messiah. I really have to conclude that the Almighty arranged this sign by working through the traditions of ancient stargazers.
[…] If you will not confirm your support, yea you will not be supported.’ Then Yăhwɛh repeated what he spoke to Aɦaz, saying, ‘Ask for yourself a sign from Yăhwɛh your Almĭghty, making it deep unto She’ol or making it high as heaven.’ Then Aɦaz said, ‘I will not ask, and I will not test Yăhwēh.’ Then he said, ‘Listen up please O house of Daυıd! Is it beneath you to ask what exhausts men that you will also exhaust my Almĭghty! So my Adonaı himself will give to you a sign: behold the virgin is pregnant and bearing a son. Then, you all will have called his name: Immanu’ɛl.’
What did Aɦaz do afterward?
Then Aɦaz the king went to call upon Tiglaƫ Pıl’eser, king of Ashur in Damascus. Then he saw the altar which was in Damascus. Then Aɦaz, the king, sent unto Urıyah the priest the design plans of the altar, even its blueprints according to all its workings. Then Urıyah the priest built the altar according to all which Aɦaz the king had sent from Damascus. Thus Urıyah the priest had made it onward Aɦaz the king’s coming from Damascus.
2 Kings 16:10-11.
So he proved faithless and imitated the plans of a foreign nation, replacing the altar Yăhwɛh had planned with a strange altar that who knows who planned. December 25th is exactly that. It replaces the correct worship of the Almĭghty on his holy days with an alien worship that to this day we cannot tell exactly who planned it. And we do not have to say who invented that day. It is enough that it detracts from Yom Teruah.
But his son Hızqıyahu was not so faithless. He put his support on Yăhwɛh Almĭghty and asked for a sign:
Then Hizqıyahu said to Yesha‘yahu, ‘What is the sign that Yăhwēh will heal me, therefore, I will have ascended on the third day the house of Yăhwēh?’ Then Yesha‘yahu said, ‘This is the sign for you from Yăhwɛh that Yăhwɛh will perform the word which he has spoken to the king. Shall the shadow go up ten steps or return ten steps?’ Then Hızqıyah said, ‘It will have been easy for the shadow to stretch out ten steps—not that the shadow should return backwards ten steps. Then Yesha‘yahu the prophet called to Yăhwɛh. Then the shadow returned on the steps which had gone downward on the steps of Aɦaz backwards ten steps.
2 Kings 20:8-11.
There it is, a sign from heaven that caused the light to reverse its direction so that the shadow made by the setting sun going up the stairway reversed its direction and went down the stairway as it did when the sun approached noon. And a sign within the sign, the sign of the third day that all would be well in the end, which is the sign of the resurrection of Messiah. It is an objective unmistakable sign. It is not a sign over which we must say that we have no idea when or how it happened. The sign of his birth was literally set in heaven.
Hutchinson states the truth he apparently does not support:
However, the text is more complex than simply giving a birth date based on the position of the sun and moon in Virgo.
Lion, pg. 285
Truer words have never been written. The text gives the birth date and much more. The divine birth was for the salvation of the 12 tribes of Israel, which is the reason for focusing on just 12 stars. The woman bore a male child who will rule all nations with a rod of iron. The male child is identified as Messiah by the allusion to Psalm 2:9. She was in labor to bear when the sign occurred on August 31, 2 BC. Then on December 29th and perhaps the 30th also (Sheνat 2) the Dragon used his agent Herod to try to murder the Messiah as his soldiers combed the countryside of the district of Bɛƫleɦem. That day must have gone down as a day of mourning for Jews many years afterward, but because it was related to the Messiah by the Netsarım the connection was changed to Herod’s death.
The Dragon has seven heads and ten horns. So the parable continues in another direction. The ten horns are ten kings, and the seven heads are seven kingdoms, really seven empires that tried to devour Israel, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and Mecca. Five had fallen when Yoɦanan wrote, Rome was, and Islam was yet to come. The Dragon will rule over an eighth kingdom for 42 months, which is yet future. One of the five will be revived, and the Dragon will make his throne there. He sweeps along those angelic powers in heaven that are loyal to him down to earth in the future. But meanwhile he tried to devour the Messiah soon after he was born. The Messiah died for the sins of the world, and then was caught up to the throne of the Almĭghty. And the woman fled into the wilderness.
At this point the meaning of the woman symbol changes from the virgin to Israel. It changes from referring to Messiah’s birth to referring to the plural seed of the woman. But you have seen this was done before. Messiah has suffered on behalf of Israel. Messiah represents Israel in the face of all the other fallen powers in heaven. Therefore, as he is raised on the third day, so all Israel is to be raised on the third day (Hos. 6:1-2). This double layered symbolism is the method of prophecy. It is a two edged sword and a parable for those with ears to hear.
The woman fled into the wilderness. Or in the sense of the prophetical perfect, really a future perfect, “Then the woman will have fled into the wilderness.” In Yoɦanan’s day (ca. AD 90) the faithful Jews had fled to Pella, and the events of AD 66 to AD 70 were a fulfillment of Daniel 9:26, and a type of the end. But the end is still to come, and a more exact fulfillment of the prophecy is in the future, in which the 1260 days will be an exact period. At that time, Messiah will defeat Satan and his messengers, and they will loose their place in heaven. Then the Dragon will pursue Israel, but a place of safety will be provided.
So the passage teaches many things at once. To understand it, we must put Scripture with Scripture. The astronomical sense of the passage is not in a vacuum, but the way has been prepared for it by the careful exact writing of Luke and the story of the Magi in Matthew. It is no doubt that the Netzarım, who remained faithful to the Law and the Prophets, as well as who confirmed their faithness to Messiah, knew the date of his birth, and handed it down until the oral tradition was crushed by false teaching. Therefore the parable and the puzzle pieces were carefully encoded into Scripture so that all nations would obtain them so that the problem may be solved in the end time. For when the problem is solved many are convinced and many are unwillingly convinced, and the cold war between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of Satan suddenly flares up into a raging hot war. The time for grace ends, and the time for judgment comes. The grace has not run out yet, and more glorious is the ministry of forgiveness than the ministry of judgment. It is not I who brings judgment, but Christianity departs from the faith before I have even taken the risk of turning some of them into rebels. So by convincing all some might be saved.
Whoever asks for a sign will be given it in parables. Whoever has ears will hear it objectively. Whoever to holds fast will be given more. Whoever does not hold fast, even what he has will be taken from him. Messiah said that an evil and adulterous generation asks for sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Yonah. This is not to say that no other signs will be given, but in order to understand those other signs we have to understand the nature of the sign of Yonah, how the third day theme is told in terms of a chronology enigma that can only be unraveled by listening to the Law and the Prophets. The signs are told in parables so that the day of grace does not end too soon. The evil generation asks for an instant sign the kind of sign that is simply sensational and takes no effort to understand. Let me warn you. The devil can do those kinds of signs. His power is great and in heaven, and the extent he is allowed to use it is only limited by Messiah, who is waiting for men to hear his words, and to choose whom they will be loyal to. It is not too late. The enemy stands at the gates ready to overthrow every institution of God. Tradition will not support you spiritually in good times, and it will not serve you in evil times. If a remnant of any nation repents, God can keep back the holocaust for another generation. If not he can rescue the few to another place. Whoever relies on tradition will not be supported and will fall. Whoever relies on the Word will be saved.