An apparent image of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has been discovered in the stars by a historical researcher on the day He is believed to have died.
According to a press release published by the Christian Newswire, an illustration released on Monday depicts the planets Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter, Earth and Venus aligned on an orrery model to form what looks like Jesus Christ on the cross "with the head, the hands spread out and the legs together in accurate positioning, rotation and on a galactic scale."
Additionally, Saturn's rings bear striking resemblance to the crown of thorns placed on Christ's head at the time of his death. Most notably, the two "hands," Uranus and Jupiter, spin in opposite directions as do the two 'feet,' represented side-by-side by the planets Earth and Venus.
"Those planets rotate as opposites or mirrors, like your left and right hand and your feet," said Miguel Antonio Fiol, the researcher who made the discovery.
The press release notes that the date of the alignment is also uncanny, as it is the day commonly viewed as that of Jesus' actual crucifixion, April 3, 33 A.D.
"More than a few studies have pinpointed that date based on the Bible, calendars, astronomical conditions, even geology," said Mr. Fiol.
While researching a manuscript, Mr. Fiol reportedly came across the planetary formation using "multiple heliocentric orrery models to study the date of Jesus' death via a top-down view of the solar system."
"Even at first glance I knew it looked like the crucifixion," Mr. Fiol stated. "But it took time to uncover all the incredible parallels."
The researcher also emphasized that such findings are highly unusual, as the alignment appears to have occurred only six times between the year 0 and 2000 A.D., equivalent to once every 333 years.
"It's hard to put it into the coincidence category," Mr. Fiol told the Gospel Herald in an emailed statement. "This unique alignment happened for only a month in 33 A.D. and then not again for 600 years. So rare is it that models show me it won't happen again from now until around the year 2900."
Mr. Fiol, who reportedly spent years researching historical figures, works and symbols to find patterns and underlying meanings, says his findings are verifiable but acknowledges others may not interpret them the same way.
"People will see what they want to see though I think coincidence is a hard argument," he said. "It's like spotting Jesus on a Reuben or any kind of sandwich, either you see it or you don't."
Mr. Fiol told the Gospel Herald that his unique discovery has undeniably expanded his view of God: "Along with other findings, I've been able to understand that our history, our universe is interconnected. Is it God that connects it all together?"
While the authenticity of images of Jesus Christ spotted in nature and other unusual areas is often debated, Jesse Winkler, lead pastor of Westview Church in San Diego, told The Christian Post last year that he believes "God can do whatever he wants whenever he wants by whatever means he wants and there is nothing that can hinder him."
"The scriptures make it clear that we live in the age of redemption whereby God is revealing the Son (Jesus) to people on the earth. He does this in both word and deed," said Winkler.
"That means he reveals Jesus through preaching and teaching the gospel as well as works which includes the miraculous, supernatural workings of God."
However, Winkler also told the news outlet that such claims of images are difficult given that no one is sure what the historical Jesus looked like.
"When it comes to an image of Jesus it's tough because nobody has or knows of a true image of Jesus today. But that doesn't mean that God can't put an image of what people think Jesus looked like wherever he wants and use it in people's lives however he wants," said Winkler.
"So I believe in a limitless God that can and will use whatever means he wants to glorify Jesus and draw all people to him."
To read Mr. Fiol's in-depth explanation of his discovery, click here.