September 23 this year is set to mark the beginning of the apocalypse, according to several conspiracy theorists and doom-mongers.
The ‘Rapture’, set out in the Book of Revelation, will see ‘worthy’ Christians lifted into heaven by Jesus, while those remaining will be left to face the end of the world.
Now, an apocalyptic theory known as Revelation 12 Sign predicts the Rapture will soon be fulfilled with the appearance of ‘a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.’
Conspiracy theorists think an astronomical alignment involving the constellations Leo and Virgo, along with various other planets will fulfill this prophecy word-for-word.
The Rapture is the second coming of Jesus Christ as prophesied in John 14:1-3 where those who have lived ‘sin free’ lives meet the Lord.
Proponents of the outlandish theory say the women mentioned in the prophecy represents the constellation Virgo, while the crown of stars represents Leo.
According to websites promoting the dooms day theory, it will take place in two parts, with a seven-year-long period of tribulation in between, during which the Antichrist will bring destruction upon Mankind.
However, the theory is only loosely based on actual Bible scripture and largely dismissed by the wider Christian community.
Those who do believe in the Rapture attribute their beliefs to two specific Bible scriptures.
According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, the heavens will open during the end of days, with God lifting those who are alive ‘into the clouds’.
And 2 Peter 3:10, says: ‘But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.’
Nonetheless, a belief in the Rapture prophecy does not mean an acceptance of the Revelation 12 Sign theory for many Christians who refute the astrological interpretation.
The theory was originally purported by William Tapley, an American YouTube Channel owner who published the first video about the alignment entitled ‘Stellarium’ in 2011.