The Chilean Miner Rescue
13th October 2010
The Chilean Miner Rescue
On the 5th August 2010, a mine collapsed in the Atacama Desert of Chile in South America trapping 33 miners. The extraordinary ordeal of these ordinary men, separated from their families, captured the hearts of the world and commanded the attention of the global media. On the 13th October 2010, 69 days later and beginning just after midnight, all 33 miners were lifted-up, in quick succession, from their rocky tomb (just over) 2000 feet below the surface. This victory over death was witnessed by the world.
The symbolism of this escape is of biblical proportion. The rescue of these men truly typifies a dispensational event of the highest order. The number associated with this rescue (‘33’) was the age of Jesus at His physical resurrection from death. Just as Jesus rose from a rocky tomb aged 33, so would all believers in Messiah be raised, future from now, at the Rapture. Those 33 miners, who were constrained to die, signified this future event (of the Rapture) when they rose to life through 2000 feet of rock (symbolic of 2000 bible years).
The biblical meaning of the number ‘33’ speaks of the ‘living witness’ of those believers who are physically alive. The Apostle John (who wrote John's Gospel) sets the important example of the testifying disciple or the disciple who bore witness and the Greek word for ‘I bear witness’ or ‘testify’ is the verb ‘martureo’ (μαρτυρέω – Strong’s number 3140) appears in John's Gospel precisely 33 times. The modern English word ‘martyr’ is derived from this Greek word – a martyr being someone who does not compromise but remains true to his or her testimony of Christ, even to the point of death.
John 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
In this way, the Chilean Miner Rescue holds a deeper meaning beyond that of resurrection and relates to the ‘witness’ of the church. The initial contact with the miners symbolised a restoration of a ‘disconnect’ between the Body of Christ and the Head (Jesus). For the miners this disconnect was caused by a collapsing mine. For the Body of Christ this disconnect is caused by an insufficient or incomplete witness. Consider the backbone or spine of a human being because it contains 33 vertebrae. The backbone protects the spinal cord through which the brain or the head communicates with the rest of the body. In the human body, the spine ensures the integrity of the message carried through the nervous system. When that integrity is compromised, the message from the head is garbled and the body is paralysed. The Apostle Paul used the human body as a metaphor for the relationship between Jesus (the Head) and the church (the body). It follows that when the witness or testimony (the 33 vertebrae) of the church is compromised, the messages from the Head are hindered or impeded and the fellowship (or intimacy) between the body and Head is weakened. The Apostle Paul spoke of this weakness regarding the bread and the wine (which typify the full witness of the Gospel).
1 Corinthians 11:29-30 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
A witness or testimony which is not only the truth but the whole truth, is critical for maintaining and protecting full spiritual communion between the body and the Head. It is fundamental to the ongoing spiritual life of the church, without which there is a partial ‘disconnect’ or weaker fellowship.
Discovery Day and the Flesh of Jesus
The 17th day (22nd August 2010) after the mine collapsed was ‘discovery’ day. A ‘searching’ drill-bit miraculously located the men when it broke into one of their tunnels. Until that moment the miners were disconnected, and they picture the Body of Christ with a broken backbone. At day 17, however, the ‘33’ were re-connected with their head (the surface teams) and communications were restored. It would be another 52 days before the men would be lifted out of the mine, however, this 17th day connection (for the miners before they were raised), is highly symbolic and represents a fresh communion with the Head before the church is raised.
Biblically, the number ‘17’ represents Messiah in the flesh. This meaning is derived, in part, by understanding Joseph received a tunic from his father aged 17 (Genesis 37:3) and Adam also received a tunic of flesh from his heavenly Father. Both these tunics represent the ‘tunic’ of flesh which the divine Word (Jesus) would receive when He became flesh. As such, the number ‘17’ represents the ‘flesh of Jesus’ which must be spiritually consumed (continually) for communion and fellowship.
Before day 17, the Chilean miners were disconnected and out of communications with the surface. In the same way the Body of Christ, without the pure, pristine apostolic truth of the Bread of Life (John 6:48), is out of communion with the Head. At ‘17’, however, communications were restored for the miners; the same is true for the Body of Christ, who consume the flesh of Jesus.
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
John 1:1 and the Days of the Rescue
The glory is in the detail and the demarcation of 17 and then 52 days, before their escape to the surface, associate this highly symbolic rescue with John 1:1 because the original Greek of John 1:1 contains precisely 17 Greek words and 52 Greek letters (including iota subscripts). The English translation of John 1:1 is as follows:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The original Greek of John 1:1 is shown in the diagram below. The iota subscript of the second word is shown as a separate letter at the end of the word to make counting the letters easier.
In the words of Greg Hall, who was the engineer credited with accomplishing the rescue, “The (rescue) hole could not be drilled. It was a miracle”.
The numerical association of this rescue with John 1:1 (as seen above in the number of days) is a fascinating link, that it was God who intervened favourably in the rescue of these men. This same God Who is also the Word and Who also gives life.
The rescue of the 33 Chilean Miners was a remarkable global sign and a ‘witness’ to the following fact: if Jesus died and rose again, so too will God bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
The original Greek words for ‘Jesus died’ in the above verse have a numerical value of 33 x 33.
The picture below is of the note which the men attached to the drill bit on discovery day ‘17’. This handwritten note (received at the surface with great excitement) informed the rescue team that the men were alive. The message contained 33 characters (including the spaces).
Discovery, on day 17, was the 22nd August 2010, which is the last day of the 33rd week of 2010.
The rescue shaft had a radius of 33 centimetres.
The spiritual leader of the group, Jose Henriquez, who was nicknamed ‘the pastor’, had been married for 33 years and had worked in the mines for 33 years.
The numbers in the final date of rescue can be written 13/10/10 where 13 + 10 + 10 = 33.
The average temperature in the mine was 33° Celsius.
If the number ‘153’ represents the numerical completeness of the Bride of Christ (which began at Pentecost with the ‘120’ people in the house in Jerusalem in Acts 1:15), what number would God use to indicate the end of the Christian Age?
The answer is ‘33’ because 120 + 33 = 153. See the diagram below.
Remember that Rebecca, the wife of Isaac and a strong type of the Bride of Christ, has a numerical value of ‘153’ in the original Greek of Romans 9:10 and this is the only time that Rebecca is mentioned in the whole of the New Testament.
The 33 Chilean Miners represent the ‘living witness’ of the Bride of Christ to the whole world and their rescue is a global sign of the impending rescue of the completed Body of Christ at the Rapture.
The number ‘120’ not only marks the beginning of the Christian Dispensation because of the number of disciples present in the house in Jerusalem at Pentecost (the corporate birth of the church – Acts 1:15), it also speaks of the ‘dead in Christ’. This is because Moses lived 120 years and as the recipient of the Law, Moses typified the Law. These 120 years of Moses picture the duration of the ‘strength of death’ (for believers) through the legal charge of God’s Law which kills. Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land and died at 120 just as all believers are constrained by death until 120 Jubilees are completed at the end of the Christian Dispensation.
The following diagram shows the number ‘153’ as a triangle split between the physically dead in Christ (‘120’) and the physically alive in Christ (‘33’) who are the living witness. (For more details about the number ‘120’ and the importance of triangles, please read Unlocking the Biblical Watch of Messiah's Return.)
Pope Leo 13th (XIII) and the Miracle of the Sun at Fátima
This sign of the Chilean Miner Rescue was pre-empted by two other signs which both occurred on the same day of the year, namely the 13th October.
First, Pope Leo 13th (XIII) – another ‘13’ – had a ‘dread vision’ of the end times for the church. This vision was given on 13th October 1884 and is detailed in a separate section below.
Exactly 33 years later to the day (of this vision given to Pope Leo), on 13th October 1917, a major miracle was witnessed by tens of thousands at Fátima in Portugal. This supernatural event was spread out over precisely 153 days. The Virgin Mary had appeared to three children (aged 7, 9, and 10) on their way home from tending a flock of sheep on 13th May 1917 and Mary had told the children that she would reappear to them on the 13th day of the next six months. These six months culminated on the 13th October 1917 which was 153 days later. Lucia (the oldest child) was told by Mary during one of these appearances that at the final appearing of Mary, there would be a miracle.
The point is this. These three signs and miracles, namely the vision of Pope Leo 13th (XIII), the Miracle of the Sun and the Chilean Miner Rescue all occurred on the same day of the year, the 13th October. A coincidence perhaps? Unlikely, because the biblical numbers within these events (namely ‘33’ and ‘153’) – regarding the end times for the church – are too specific (and significant) to be together by chance.
Who cannot be moved by the vivid symbolism of the ‘33’ Chilean Miners raised to life through 2000 feet from a rocky tomb at midnight, speaking of the raising of the body of Christ at the Rapture? Could the miracle of the ‘sun’ which ‘danced’ [for joy] and ‘came out of heaven’ towards earth represent the ‘sun of righteousness’ (Malachi 4:2) coming to earth at the Rapture to collect His bride the Body of Christ?
Malachi 4:2 But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.
Does not the vision of Pope Leo 13th (XIII) line up with our day? God has validated and authenticated these events with His biblical numbers to alert those who are watching for His return. As it happens, these numbers are just the ‘headline’ symbolism to draw the spiritually living church to a more detailed watch. For those who long to go deeper, the Lord has embedded a beautifully elegant pattern of greater detail within scripture itself. The pattern is called the ‘prime-fulfilment’ pattern which is explained in several audio studies here and the subsequent watch is explained in the book Unlocking the Biblical Watch of Messiah’s Return.
The Fátima Miracle
The story of a famous miracle in Fátima, Portugal, began in May 1917, when three children (ages 7, 9, and 10) claimed to have encountered the Virgin Mary on their way home from tending a flock of sheep. The oldest girl, Lucia, was the only one to speak to her, and Mary told the children that she would reappear to them on the 13th day of the next six months. She then vanished.
The children soon told their parents, and while some in the village didn’t believe their tale, others did — and told more people. As the weeks and months passed, more and more of the faithful made pilgrimages to Fátima, where the children claimed to receive Mary’s visits. Still no one else saw the Virgin Mary; instead, the gathered adults would stand riveted as Lucia took the lead and began to describe her visions.
It was Mary’s final appearance on 13th October 1917 that became the most famous. An estimated 70,000 people attended the site, anticipating the Virgin’s final visit and with many fully expecting that she would work a great miracle. As before, the figure appeared, and again only to the children. Identifying herself as ‘the Lady of the Rosary’, she urged repentance and the building of a chapel at the site. After predicting an end to the war [World War 1] and giving the children certain undisclosed visions, the lady lifted her hands to the sky. Thereupon Lucia exclaimed, “the sun!” and everyone gazed upward as the weather cleared, having rained since dawn and the sun came out
The following eyewitness accounts give a credible description of the events of that day (13th October 1917):
Everyone Could Look at the Sun Without Pain or Blinding of Retina
“It was a remarkable fact that one could fix one’s eyes on this brazier of light and heat without any pain in the eyes or blinding of the retina. I …saw it [the sun] as a disc with a clean-cut rim, luminous and shining, but which did not hurt the eyes. It appeared clear, rich and bright, having something of the lustre of a pearl … I felt it to be a living body … It looked like a glazed wheel made of mother of pearl …”
The Sun ‘Danced’
“The sun’s disc did not remain immobile. This was not the sparkling of a heavenly body for it spun round upon itself, it made a whirl.” Also, “It spun like a fire wheel, taking on all the colours of the rainbow … It looked like a ball of snow, revolving upon itself.” According to Ti Marto, the father of Jacinta and Francisco (the younger two of the three children), “at a certain moment the sun seemed to stop and then began to move and dance … however, the sun stopped, only to begin its strange dance all over again after a brief interruption, whirling upon itself, giving the impression of approaching or receding.” This ‘dance’ was repeated three times during the course of the 10-minute-long miracle.
The Colours of the Rainbow in Succession
With the ‘Dance of the Sun’ something else began to happen. The landscape, and everything in it, began to take on, in succession, all the colours of the rainbow. Dr. Garrett testifies, “during the solar phenomenon … there were changes of colour in the atmosphere … I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon, I saw everything an amethyst colour. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same colour … soon I heard a peasant who was near me shout out in tones of stupefaction: “Look, that lady is all yellow”! And in fact, everything both near and far had changed to yellow. People looked as if they were suffering jaundice … my own hand was of the same colour.” The exact same report came from another witness, Maria do Carmo, “The sun took on all the colours of the rainbow. Everything took on the same colours: our faces, our clothes, the earth itself.”
Everybody’s Clothes Were Dry
Then the final miracle. Fr. Lourenço: “this enormous multitude was drenched, for it had rained unceasingly since dawn. But – though this may appear incredible – after the great miracle everyone felt comfortable, and found his garments quite dry, a subject of general wonder … the truth of this fact has been guaranteed with the greatest sincerity by dozens and dozens of persons of absolute trustworthiness, whom I have known intimately from childhood, and who are still alive .” We have it from Dr. Pereira Gens that, “I still remember the delicious sensation that this warm caress of the sun gave me … I [felt] my clothes almost dry now, although they were all wet a few moments ago.”
This whole event which took about 10 minutes, has become known as the ‘Miracle of the Sun’.
Pope Leo 13th (XIII) Dread Vision of God and Satan (13th October 1884)
One of the most important events in the last 500 years of the Roman Catholic church is known as the Vision of Pope Leo 13th (XIII).
There are several accounts of this vision during which Pope Leo 13th (XIII) heard God and Satan conversing. The gist of the conversation was that Satan told God that he could destroy the Church, to which the Lord told him to go ahead. Satan replied that he needed more time and more power. The Lord asked how much time and how much power. Satan answered that he needed 100 years and greater power over the people of the earth and according to one account, God gave Satan the time and the power.
Importantly for this discussion, Pope Leo’s vision took place on 13th October 1884.
Pope Leo 13th (XIII) was so shaken by his vision that he reportedly passed out, and some thought that he had had a stroke or a heart attack, until he himself was able to explain what had happened.
Pope Leo 13th (XIII) subsequently composed a prayer to the archangel Michael, which was prayed after each Mass at the foot of the altar (until Vatican II changed it). This composed prayer of Pope Leo 13th (XIII) went as follows: “Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle; be our defence against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him and do you, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
As already mentioned, the timing was significant. 33 solar years (to the day) after this vision, on the 13th October 1884, was the miracle of Fátima on the 13th October 1917.
None Were Lost and the Witness of the Tee Shirt
None were lost in this extraordinary rescue of the Chilean Miners in 2010, just as none will be lost of those given to Messiah:
John 6:39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up at the last day.
As a mark of divine intervention, on the day of their rescue, each miner was wearing a special tan coloured tee-shirt which had Psalms 95:4 printed on the back (in Spanish):
Psalms 95:4 In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also.
Moreover, this same tee-shirt had the name ‘Jesus’ displayed on the left arm. The following verse in the Book of Daniel encapsulates the work of God in this rescue:
Daniel 6:27 He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth…