September 23, Revelation 12 and the Rapture

September 23 is quickly approaching! Is anyone in your church panicking about the supposed prophetic event that will take place on that day?

You may be surprised to find that there are people in your congregation who are worried, because a great many self-anointed “prophets” have been proclaiming that the end of the world is just a few months away.

Many website and videos are promoting what is being hyped as the biggest prophetic event in 2000 years: the fulfillment of a sign in Revelation 12:1-2. According to some astronomers, on September 23, 2017 the sun will be in the constellation Virgo, (“a woman clothed with the sun.” v. 1). The moon will be at the feet of Virgo, (“with the moon under her feet,” v.1). The nine stars of the zodiac constellation Leo, plus the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars, will be at the head of Virgo, (“and on her head a crown of 12 stars,” v.1). The planet Jupiter will be in the center of Virgo, and as the weeks pass after September 23, Jupiter will exit Virgo to the east, past her feet, (“being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.” v.2). Jupiter is the largest of the planets, the “king” so, (she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron.”

Many so called prophecy experts have concluded that this celestial super sign fits the requirements of Revelation 12 indicating the Rapture of the church will occur on or near September 23, 2017. (See an Answers in Genesis explanation and refutation of the September 23 controversy at While it’s not surprising that this prediction has thrown Biblically illiterate people into a frenzy, what is shocking is that people from conservative, Bible-believing churches – who should know better – have bought into the hype as well.

For example, several months ago a member of another church called me, saying he was on the verge of quitting his job and selling his house to hunker down and await the fateful event. As I began to research and speak to others about this event specifically, and end times generally, I sensed an alarming amount of fear, anxiety, discouragement, and general unrest regarding the times in which we live, even among Bible-believing Christians. I have also sensed a great uncertainty and fear with pastors approaching this subject. Sadly, the man’s pastor could not answer his question and sent him to me. This exchange highlights how unprepared some shepherds are to teach on the subject, and how serious the consequences can be for the uniformed sheep they are leading.

Why the Lack of Teaching on End Times?

Perhaps no other subject of the Bible has provoked greater fascination or led to more speculation than  apocalyptic eschatology. It has profound mysteries, symbolism, predictions, and language that are unparalleled in the rest of Scripture. As a result, many feel it is too confusing, controversial, and generally irrelevant in light of more “important doctrines.” In his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren openly discouraged readers from studying prophecy. “When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism,” Warren wrote, “He said in essence, ‘The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I’ve given you. Focus on that!” Adding to this, a growing number of New Age church leaders such as Brian McLaren and Tony Jones are teaching Preterism — that the prophecies and predictions in Matthew 24 and Revelation had already been fulfilled by 70 A.D. So with all these incorrect and contradictory teachings, people are confused, desperate, and hungry for biblical truth.