The Gospel in the Stars: Part 1
By J.R. Church on July 17, 2011
Long before men perverted the message of the constellations and established ancient idolatry, God named the stars and set them in the heavens for signs:
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14).
The book of Job predates the writing of Genesis. Though it is part of the Bible, it was written about a man who lived before Moses. Job had no written Bible. The Bible this ancient pilgrim read consisted of a series of constellations that appeared in the night skies high above the earth.
There are references to these constellations in the book of Job, along with an explanation of why they appear as they do in the heavens. Job 26 tells us that the “crooked serpent” is one of God’s leading characters in this drama of the ages and that these constellations — these “pillars of heaven” — make up the “parts” of God’s “ways”:
“The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.
“By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.
“Lo, these are parts of his ways … (Job 26:11,13-14).
These verses explain that the constellations were devised to teach early man about God’s plan for redemption. In the writings of his five famous books, Moses noted that the sun, moon, planets and stars were given for “signs” (Genesis 1:14).
In The Gospel in the Stars, Joseph Seiss wrote: “For ages this whole field has been almost entirely left to a superstitious and idolatrous astrology, which has befouled a noble and divine science and done immeasurable damage to the souls of men. But we here find it claimed to be a sacred domain laid out of God in the original intent of Creation itself.”
Cicero, in translating the account of the constellations by Aratus, says, “The signs are measured out, that in so many descriptions divine wisdom might appear.”
Dr. Adam Clarke says of the ancient Egyptians, “They held the stars to be symbols of sacred things.” It is well known that “astronomy was the soul of the Egyptian religious system. The same is equally true of the Chaldeans and Assyrians.”
Albert Barnes once wrote: “There can be no doubt that Job refers here to the constellations,” and that “the sense in the passage is, that the greatness and glory of God are seen by forming the beautiful and glorious constellations that adorn the sky.”
The constellations were known and studied as far back as the earliest civilizations known to exist. The Sphinx that guards the Great Pyramid of Giza, with its woman’s head and lion’s body, testifies to the ancient existence of the constellations. The Zodiac is part of every ancient culture – the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians. Yet, before them all, Job confirmed that God had garnished the heavens with “pillars” — including the “crooked serpent” — and that they represent the “parts of his ways.”
The Characters in the Drama
The “serpent” mentioned in Job 26:13 is one of the leading characters noted in Job’s Mazzaroth (Zodiac). The various constellations that refer to the serpent are:
Draco – a dragon curled around the northern polar star and whose tail covers a third of the circle of the heavens.
Cetus – the Leviathan or sea dragon.
Scorpio – the seed of the serpent.
Hydra – the many-headed dragon, whose tail also covers a third of the ecliptic path of the sun.
The Hebrew term used for “crooked” actually refers to a “fleeing” serpent. Among the various serpent figures in the Zodiac, Hydra is the only one seen trying to get away from the lion, who pounces on his head; the bird, who eats his flesh; and the bowl of wrath being poured out upon him. Therefore, Hydra appears to be the “fleeing serpent” referred to in this most ancient of Old Testament books.
Job knew about the story God had placed in the stars. It is the story of the conflict between the Seed of the woman (Virgo) and Scorpio, the seed of the serpent. The son of Virgo is none other than the Son of God, while Scorpio points to the Antichrist.
Christ is depicted in the constellations in various ways. The first and last constellations tell the story of the Savior. They are Virgo – who bears the Son of God and Leo – the Conquering Lion who comes to destroy Hydra, the many-headed Dragon. The story begins in Bethlehem and ends with the King of kings returning to conquer the old serpent who brought such ruin to the human race.
Job does not give a detailed account of the Zodiac, but refers briefly to those constellations that deal with the final judgment. He is asked about certain objects in the constellation of Taurus. It is quite remarkable that the conversation lands on this particular series of stars and sidereal sidepieces in Taurus because this is the constellation that deals with the “Day of the Lord.” Note that God refers to a group of stars called the Pleiades and the constellation of Orion, both found in and around Taurus. Then Job refers to Arcturus (KJV), whose name in Hebrew is Ash ahg “bear,” a clear reference to Ursa Major; and finally to the “chambers of the south”:
“Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
“Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
“Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number” (Job 9:8-10).
Before we look at these, let us note one other passage that deals with these same constellations. Note that the ancient star chart is called by its Hebrew term, “Mazzaroth,” rather than the modern term, Zodiac:
“Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?
“Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
“Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? (Job 38:31-33)
This is a powerful statement that connects the last four constellations with a future designated time in which the mighty Orion returns to judge the world — as seen in the four concluding constellations of Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo. These are the “ordinances of heaven” that, evidently, Job did not understand.
The seven stars of Pleiades may be a reference to the seven churches of Asia. In ancient Greek mythology, Pleiades were seven sisters loved by Orion. Their astronomical positions in relation to each other are similar to the various locations of the seven cities of ancient Asia. The “sweet influences” may be a reference to the impact Christianity has had upon the world over the past two millennia.
The “bands of Orion” refers to the mighty belt of which he is invincibly girded, whose bands no one can loose. In the corrupted mythology of the Greeks, Orion walked on water; was stung in the heal by Scorpio; prepared a lake of fire for the god of fire; and out of love for the Pleiadic maiden, ridded the earth of all noxious beasts. Though corrupted, the original message is obvious. Christ displayed all of the attributes of Orion.
Taurus, depicted in the heavens as a raging bull, means “the Coming Judge.” Over a century ago, Joseph Seiss titled his chapter on Taurus as “The Day of the Lord.” The twelve major constellations, beginning with Virgo and ending with Leo, are divided into three groups of four constellations each. The first four, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius, present the First Advent of Christ. The next four, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries, tell the story of the Church Age. The final four, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, and Leo, tell of the Second Advent of Christ.
Like Job, however, we must admit ignorance when it comes to the question that God put to the ancient pilgrim: “Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (Job 38:33). We can only speculate. We know very little about these “ordinances of heaven.”
The Biblical View of the Constellations
David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God … Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” Obviously, there is a message in the heavens that we need to understand.
For centuries, astrologers have been prognosticating the future, using the zodiac and its series of planets, stars and constellations. Where did they get the idea for such a thing? What is Astrology? And, what possible connection does it have with the Bible?
We are reminded that astrology is a wicked and perverted religion. It was the idolatry of the Old Testament, and should rightly be regarded as satanic. Long before astrology was developed, however, there was an ancient astronomy that dealt with an altogether different message. Students of Eschatology need to understand that message. It is the original prophecy of the First and Second Advents of the Messiah.
If Christians could only understand the original prophetic message given in the ancient names of the stars and constellations, no one would become ignorantly involved with astrology. The truth would indeed set men free from that ancient idolatry.
According to Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian of the first century, Seth, the son of Adam, invented “that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies and their order” (“Antiquities,” Book I, Chapter 2, Paragraph 3).
Long before the development of astrology, God placed His intriguing message in the constellations. Every pagan religion throughout history is nothing more than a perversion of that original story. During the days of the Tower of Babel, wicked men perverted God’s original message and made the constellations to mean something quite different from that which God intended.
According to Genesis 1:14, God created the sun, moon, planets, and stars for four basic reasons — three of which, were to give the human race a method by which to measure time. For example, the days of our week are named after the sun, moon, and five planets.
Though the stars were basically stationary, these seven ancient wanderers were not. They moved through the heavens with precision. Sunday was named for the sun; Monday was named for the moon; Tuesday derived its name from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word for Mars; Wednesday, or Woden’s day, was named for the planet Mercury; Thursday, or Thor’s day, was named for Jupiter; Friday derived its name from an Anglo-Saxon word for Venus; And Saturday was named for Saturn.
There are twelve major constellations from which are derived the months in a year. The sun enters a different constellation each month. The moon was made to revolve for the counting of those months. In fact, the word “month” is a derivative from the term “moon.”
The stars were originally divided into 48 constellations — 12 major constellations, with 36 decans or sidereal sidepieces.
Furthermore, the stars were given certain names, many of which have survived throughout the course of history. In Psalm 147:4, we are told that God named the stars: “He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.”
And again in Isaiah 40:26, the prophet wrote: “Lift up your eyes on high and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.”
When David wrote, “night unto night sheweth knowledge” (Psalm 19:2), he must have been referring to meanings of the names of the stars. Though most people in our generation are not aware of those ancient names, David and his contemporaries were. In his native language of Hebrew, the names of the stars were commonly used in messianic prophecies.
Kenneth C. Flemming, in his book “God’s Voice in the Stars,” wrote, “God Himself is responsible for the names of the stars. He did not entrust this task to Adam, as He did in the giving of names to animals.
“During the first 2,500 years of human history, before writing became widespread, these signs in the night sky were of particular importance. They declared the glory of God as seen in the coming of the Savior” (page 23).
Where to Begin?
Since the great constellations tell the Gospel story, we must determine where our study should begin. In the idolatrous religion of astrology, the first constellation is considered to be Aries. Idolatry, however, is diametrically opposite to God’s great message of salvation. Therefore, the beginning constellation should be 180 degrees opposite from Aries. The Gospel in the stars begins with Virgo, the virgin and ends with Leo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
The ancient Egyptians designated the beginning of the heavenly series with Virgo when they constructed the sphinx, which stands to the east of the great pyramid of Giza. It shows a woman’s head on the body of a lion — indicating that the ancient star chart began with the virgin and ended with the lion. Prophetically, Virgo represents the First Coming of Christ, and Leo points to the Second Coming. The message begins at Bethlehem, and concludes with the return of Christ!
Act One of Three Acts
The story is divided into a three-act play. The first four major constellations and their sidepieces constitute Act One, and ends with Draco losing his lofty position in the northern polar region. Act Two covers the story found in Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and Aries, and ends with Cetus (the sea monster) rising out of the sea. Act Three tells the story of Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo, and concludes with Hydra (the many headed serpent) being destroyed.
The ancient star chart revolves around the story of the dispensation of Grace. There is nothing in the Zodiac about the Creation, Flood, Law, tabernacle, or temple. There is nothing in the stars to represent the great dispensations that preceded Bethlehem. The whole message woven throughout the ancient constellations gives us the dispensation of Grace. Act One tells about the Savior’s First Advent; Act Two covers the Church Age; and Act Three gives us His Second Coming.
The constellation, Virgo, was given to represent God’s promise in Genesis 3:15. It was in Eden that God spoke to the beguiling serpent: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.”
The fact that the constellation is called a virgin reminds us of Isaiah 7:14: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name, Immanuel.”
The picture of Virgo is that of a woman with a shock of wheat in her left hand and a branch in her right hand. The brightest star in the constellation is located in the seed of the wheat. The star is called Spica, a Latin word meaning “the branch.” Along with the branch in her right hand, we are reminded of Isaiah 4:2: “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious.”
In the Old Testament, our Savior is called “a rod of the stem of Jesse … a root out of dry ground.” And Zechariah called Him the “Branch.”
There are three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Virgo, making a total of four constellations. There is Coma — the Virgin with her newborn son; Boötes — the great harvestman; and Centaurus — the archer.
The word Coma means “the desired,” for the child in the lap of his mother represents the desired one, the desire of women, the desire of all nations — the long awaited Messiah.
Isaiah offers another scripture that identifies this child. He wrote:
“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Yes, the virgin of Isaiah 7:14 bears a son, Immanuel — “God with us!”
Boötes is pictured as a shepherd — bearing his rod, and as a harvestman — bearing his sickle. It is the Seed of the woman who will come to reap the great harvest. The word Boötes means, “the Coming One.” Another name for the Constellation was taken from a star in the left knee of the Shepherd. It was called Arcturus, which also means, “He cometh.”
In the ancient star chart, the Centaur is pictured as being half human and half horse. That, however, is not the original concept of the constellation. The name Centaurus simply means, “two natures.” Obviously, it referred to the fact that since the Seed of the woman was “virgin born,” he was not the seed of man. His two natures, then, represent a combination of humanity and deity. He is God clothed in human flesh and, therefore, can rightly be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.”
In Genesis 15, the story is given of Abraham and the covenant made by God with him. Genesis 15:5: “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward the heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be.”
The message written in the stars refers to the “seed” of Abraham. The telling of the stars and the numbering of the stars presents a prophetic message of the coming Savior of the world. Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of that great message. Virgo and her attending sidereal sidepieces represent the beginning of an adventure to destroy the seed of the serpent and to rescue the human race.
In the 12th chapter of Revelation she is seen clothed in the sun with the moon under her feet, giving birth to the Messiah. This tells us that His birth was on Rosh Hashanah, a time when the constellation Virgo is hidden by the sun and the new moon appears beneath her feet! Virgo represents both the house of Israel and Mary.
The next major constellation is Libra. There are two ancient stories that emerge from this constellation. The first rendering of Libra was that of a lamp — indicative of the servant lamp in the menorah. Scorpio is shown in some ancient drawings as trying to seize the lamp. The lamp denotes the nature of the “seed of the woman,” being positioned just beneath the feet of Virgo. Scorpio wants the lamp for himself. Scorpio, as we shall see, represents the “seed of the serpent.” It is the first representation of the conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.
In other cultures, Libra was depicted as a set of scales. Libra represented the condition of the human race after the fall of Adam. “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting” (Dan. 5:27). The sign of Libra has been associated with justice and order throughout the centuries. For that reason, the symbol has often been used on buildings housing courts of law and justice.
This was the message given to Belshazzar, king of Babylon. In Daniel 5:27, Belshazzar failed to satisfy the righteous demands of God: “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting.” Is that not also descriptive of the human race? We are all guilty before the great Judge.
There are two main stars in the sign of Libra, which tell the story of the prophecy. In one side of the scales, there is a star called Zuben Al Genubi. It means “the price which is deficient.” Undoubtedly, it points to the price which man might attempt to pay for redemption. There is no way one can obtain salvation through good works for the price is deficient.
On the other side of the scales, however, there is a star called Zuben Al Chemali, meaning “the price which covers.” It is a picture of the price paid by Christ for the redemption of the sinner.
The constellation, Libra, is attended by three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of the price of redemption.
Crux – The Southern Cross
The first of the three constellations related to Libra is a group of stars in the form of the Southern Cross. The ancient title is Crux. In the northern hemisphere, we cannot see the Southern Cross. It lies below the southern horizon. In the ancient star charts, by the way, the south always represented hell, and the north represented heaven. The constellation reveals the price that was paid by the seed of the woman in order to redeem mankind.
The second constellation related to Libra is known as Lupus, but the Latins called it Victima — the victim. The seed of the woman became the victim upon the cross and, in so doing, became the price that covers.
The third constellation in Libra is called Corona Borealis — the Northern Crown. It is a beautiful semi-circle of a half dozen stars located in the northern hemisphere. The story of Libra is this — man is a sinner. We are weighed in the balances of God’s justice and are found wanting. The seed of the woman, however, came to become a victim — to pay the price for our sins. He died as a substitute upon the Southern Cross that He might gain for us the Northern Crown.
The third great constellation is Scorpio. It represents a scorpion, though in some early cultures, he is depicted as a dragon or serpent. As we said earlier, in the 7th century B.C., he is shown trying to seize the lamp. Scorpio wants to be the “light of the world.” In other cultures, Scorpio is seen trying to sting the heel of the mighty Ophiuchus, who is seen in the ancient star charts wrestling with a great snake, called Serpens.
While the Scorpion is trying to wound the heel of Ophiuchus, the head of Scorpio is being wounded. It is said that the word, Scorpio, means “the Lawless One,” and as such, represents the seed of the serpent — the Antichrist.
The star in the heart of Scorpio is called Anteres. When seen in the nighttime sky, it gives the appearance of a deep red color and means, “the wounding.” While Ophiuchus is crushing the head of Scorpio, he is seen binding the serpent, who is trying to gain the northern crown. There are three sidereal sidepieces to the constellation Scorpio — Serpens, Ophiuchus, and Hercules. These help to tell the story of the conflict seen in Scorpio.
The serpent (Serpens) represents Satan, who has tried to usurp the throne of God. He is seen trying to grab the Northern Crown. He cannot do so, however, because he is being held back by Ophiuchus.
Ophiuchus is obviously a view of Christ who, though His heel is bruised in the conflict, succeeds in bruising the head of the Lawless One. In his hands he holds Serpens, keeping him from obtaining the Northern Crown.
The other hero character is Hercules. He can be seen in the star chart beating a many-headed snake with his club. The snake is shown in the branches of a tree — most likely the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Hercules is another picture of the great Redeemer.
Kenneth C. Fleming, in his book God’s Voice in the Stars, wrote that the sign of Virgo pointed to Christ as the sign of the promised Seed of the woman; the sign of Libra showed the price He paid to secure man’s redemption; and the sign of Scorpio presented the conflict He had to endure. These celestial prophecies were given in the beginning, and were confirmed and expanded in Scripture.
Finally, they were fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. Scorpio, who represents the Lawless One, is pictured as the seed of the serpent. In an ancient Egyptian Zodiac, the sign of Scorpio was represented as a monster serpent called Python. It not only represented the great conflict fought at Calvary, but also seems to have prophetic implications concerning the end-time when the Antichrist shall arise.
The fourth great constellation is called Sagittarius, appearing in the form of a centaur — half human, half horse. It is the same concept as was given in the story of Virgo. Centarus, one of the sidereal sidepieces in Virgo, represented the two natures of the Redeemer — His deity and humanity. In Sagittarius, He is both triumphant and victorious. Though He appears in the form of a Centaur, we are reminded that our Savior will return some day, riding upon a flying white horse.
The main actor in the constellation is the Archer. The Centaur, or God-man, has a great bow in his hand, with the arrow aimed at the heart of Scorpio, the enemy. Sagittarius, like the other major constellations, has three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story.
First, there is Lyra. This star group is pictured as a harp and refers to the praise — so deserved by Sagittarius. The brightest star in the constellation is called Vega. It means, “He shall be exalted.” It directs our attention to the praise from the harp. In Revelation 5:9,13, we are told that the host of heaven will sing a new song saying, “Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation” (v. 9). The host of heaven will sing, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (v. 13).
Further to the south from Sagittarius is its second sidereal sidepiece — an altar called Ara. The altar is seen upside down, with its fire poured out over the South Pole — called “the regions of outer darkness.” Here begins a cloud of stars, which runs throughout the heavens. Today, it is called the Milky Way, but in some ancient star charts, it was referred to as “the lake of fire.”
The word Ara, name of the upturned altar means, “it is finished. There is no more sacrifice for sin.”
The concluding constellation, which forms a sidereal sidepiece to the great Sagittarius is Draco — the dragon. This staging of the dragon concludes the first act in the prophetic drama.
Draco is a long winding constellation made up of stars, which wrap around the northernmost part of the hemisphere. It covers one-third of the circumference and reminds us of Revelation 12:3,4:
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven, and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads.
“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven.”
Some 4,700 years ago, the great dragon star, Thuban, was in fact the polar star. Over the centuries, however, Draco has fallen from his lofty position and has been replaced by Polaris — kicked out of heaven because he tried to usurp the throne of God.
The message seen in the ancient star chart tells a story quite different from that which astrology would have us believe. Those who would try to prognosticate the future, by use of a horoscope, are actually perverting God’s original message given in the constellations. Satan did not invent the zodiac. In fact, it is my opinion that Satan is incapable of inventing anything. He has only perverted what God originally created.
God made and named the great constellations and their stars. And the meanings of their names represent the message of redemption — from Virgo, corresponding with His birth at Bethlehem, to Leo, corresponding with His return as the “lion of the tribe of Judah” to establish His kingdom upon the earth.
Act Two of the great drama is presented through the constellations of Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries. These signs, together with their constellations, explain not so much the person of the Redeemer, but the results of his redeeming work, particularly in relation to the people who are redeemed.
The curtain rises with a very unlikely actor on the stage. It is a goat with the tail of a fish. This strange monstrosity presents a magnificent message when we understand that the goat represents the sacrificial animal used on the Day of Atonement and the fish represents that body of believers who have received life out of the death of the great sacrifice.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the sacrificial goat and believers are represented by the fish. In some ancient star charts, the goat appears to be dying with its head bowed and its leg folded, while the fish tail is living and vigorous.
There are two stars in the head of the goat that tell the story. Daneb Algedi, which means “the sacrifice comes,” and Dabih, which means “the sacrifice slain.” Note that from the dying goat comes a living fish. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that Christ is the head of the Church while, in turn, the Church represents the body of Christ — thus the head of a goat and body of a fish. When Jesus appointed His first disciples in Matthew 4:19, He said, “I will make you fishers of men.”
There are three sidereal sidepieces that help to tell the story of Capricorn. First, there is a small but ancient constellation called Sagitta — the arrow of God’s judgment against sin. It represents that which pierced the Son of God when He became the sacrifice for the sins of the world. It depicts the instrument of divine justice on Christ who took the place of guilty man.
The Psalmist wrote of it in Psalm 38:2, “Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.” Job spoke of a similar thing when he lamented, “The arrows of the almighty are within me” (Job 6:4). Every born again believer can appreciate with deep feeling that “He was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5).
The second sidereal sidepiece is Aquilla — the falling eagle. The ancient names for the stars in the constellation tell the obvious story. There is a star in the falling eagle called Al Okal, which means “wounded in the heel.”
Furthermore, the eagle is one of the symbols of Christ in the Bible. For instance, in Exodus 19:4, God spoke to Moses and the children of Israel saying, “I bear you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself.”
Kenneth C. Fleming, in his book God’s Voice in the Stars, put it this way: “The eagle seen in this constellation is consistent with what we have noted in the whole sign of Capricorn. The slain goat of the sin offering is followed by the arrow of God’s judgment and the pierced and falling eagle.”
The third sidereal sidepiece is a constellation called Delphinus. It represents a dolphin, springing out of water. It is the picture of resurrection. Our Savior died to rise again.
Furthermore, the dolphin is another creature born of water — and, may I add, water is a type of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The resurrected dolphin represents eternal life given to all who believe.
The next major constellation following Capricorn is Aquarius — the great water bearer. Our Savior identified Himself as the fulfillment of Aquarius in John 4:14. He said, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Furthermore, we can see its fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God was poured out upon believers. That is the message to be found in Aquarius. Throughout the Bible, water has been symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
The prophet Joel described it when he wrote, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).
The Apostle Peter repeated the message on the Day of Pentecost when he explained the “rushing mighty wind” and the “tongues like as of fire” that “sat upon each of them.” Yes, the message in the constellation Aquarius found its ultimate fulfillment through the Day of Pentecost.
The water bearer can be seen pouring out his water upon Pisces Austrialis, the Southern Fish — the first of the sidereal sidepieces. The fish, again, represents that which was born of water and of the spirit — that great body of believers down through the ages.
The second sidereal sidepiece in the constellation Aquarius is called Cygnus — the Swan of the Northern Cross. The constellation reveals a beautiful swan flying across the heavens, but the stars form the shape of a cross. It implies the message of “going to and fro throughout the earth bearing the sign of the cross.”
The third sidereal sidepiece is a flying white horse named Pegasus. Its message is that of the returning Christ. Revelation 19 reveals the beautiful story:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:11-13).
This is the message to be found in Pegasus. Please note, the dispensation begins with the pouring out of His Spirit upon all flesh as seen by the great water bearer. The constellation Pisces Austrinus represents that vast throng of believers who have received the water of life.
During this dispensation, it is our responsibility to go to and fro throughout the earth bearing the sign of the cross as can be seen in the constellation Cygnus. Finally, the dispensation will end with the return of Jesus Christ in power and great glory on the back of a flying white horse as seen by the constellation Pegasus.
In the shoulder of Pegasus there is a bright star called Markab. It means “returning from afar.” For more than 2,500 years the world was without a written revelation from God. The question is, “Did God leave Himself without a witness?” We are told in the Scriptures that He did not. In Romans 1:19, it is written, “That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
But how was God known? How were His invisible things — His plans, His purposes, and His councils known since the creation of the world? We are given the answer in Roman 10:18. Having stated in verse 17 that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” He asks, “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily.” And we may ask, “How have they heard?” The answer follows; “Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18).
What words? What instructions? Whose message? There is only one answer and that is the heavens! Long before there was a written Bible, there was a message written in the stars. Romans 10:18 refers to that message. It is a passage quoted from Psalm 19, the first part of which is occupied with the revelation of God written in the stars, and the latter part of the chapter with the revelation of God written in the word. This is the simple explanation of the beautiful Psalm 19:1-2:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.”
The Gospel in the Stars: Part 2
By J.R. Church on July 17, 2011
The twelve major constellations along with their sidereal sidepieces present the original drama of the ages in the form of what I call a Three-Act play. Act One is presented through the first four constellations — Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. It begins in Bethlehem with the birth of the “Seed” of the woman, and establishes his conflict with and victory over Scorpio — the “seed” of the serpent. Act Two is presented through four constellations — Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and Aries. They represent the Church Age and New Testament Christianity, whose astronomical symbol is a fish. The last four constellations, along with their sidereal sidepieces, represent the concluding act in the great drama of the ages — The Tribulation Period followed by the Second Coming of Christ. It is presented through the constellations Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, and Leo.
The sign of Taurus opens Act Three, showing us the coming of the Judge of all the earth. Taurus is pictured as a raging bull, coming furiously. Only the front half of the bull is depicted in the constellation. Where the back end of the bull would normally be drawn stands the constellation Aries, the Lamb — as if the bull is coming out of Aires. It is a magnificent picture of Christ who came the first time as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world, but will return one day bringing judgment upon the wicked.
Taurus is unlike domestic bulls. It was probably an animal that is now extinct — a ferocious relative of domestic cattle, called “Rimu” in the Hebrew Scriptures. Rimu is translated “unicorn” in the King James Version of the Bible and was thought to be a mythological, one-horned creature. However, it was more likely a large wild ox. Famous for its size and ferocity, it may have survived until the times of the Roman Ceasars, but is now extinct. The wild bull, or Rimu, was a symbol of power and rule.
Balaam, described the power of Jehovah on behalf of Israel in Numbers 23:22 when he said, “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn” (Rimu).
Taurus is the sign of coming judgment. It is the “day of vengence of our God” (Isaiah 61:20). It is a “day of wrath” (Rom. 2:5) from which we shall be delivered for “God hath not appointed us to wrath” (I Thes. 5:9). Taurus means “governer, captain, or leader.” In the shoulder of Taurus is a group of stars known as the Pleiades, meaning “congregation of the judge.”
One of three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Taurus, is the constellation Auriga. It is the picture of the Great Shepherd. He sits calmly above the rushing bull, holding a mother goat that has just given birth to a pair of kids in his lap. In the heart of the goat is a brilliant star called Capella, meaning “she goat.” A small triangle of stars near Capella is called Haedi, meaning “the kids,” and marks the two offspring of the mother goat in the lap of Auriga. It is an ancient picture of the great shepherd protecting his people from the day of wrath.
There is a bright star in the foot of the shepherd called Elnath, meaning “the wounded.” It reminds us that the coming Judge is the one who was “wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). Elnath reminds us that our Savior was to be wounded in the heel, as predicted in Genesis 3:15.
The second sidereal sidepiece is Orion, which is said to be the most spectacular and wonderful sight in the night sky. Orion is pictured as a mighty hunter with a club in his right hand. In his left hand, he holds the skin of a lion that he has killed. Orion is mentioned twice in the book of Job and once in the prophecy of Amos. Orion means “coming forth as light.”
The brightest star in the constellation is Betelgeuse, meaning “the coming of the branch.” Another star in his foot is Rigel, meaning “the foot that crushes.” In the shoulder of the constellation is a star called Bellatrix, meaning “quickly coming.” In his leg is a star called Saiph meaning, “bruised.” Again, as in every other case, we are reminded of Christ crushing the head of the seed of the serpent. Orion is obviously a picture of Christ coming in power and great glory.
The third sidereal sidepiece is Eridanus, the “river of fire,” flowing from the raised foot of Orion. It represents the method by which Christ will crush the head of the seed of the serpent. Josephus tells us that Adam received a prophecy that God would destroy the world twice — once with water and once with fire. Eridanus represents the judgment of fire. It runs across the heavens toward the south. In the river are several named stars: Archernar means “the afterpart of the river;” Cursa means “bent down;” and Zourac means “flowing.” This is a magnificent prophetic message found in the constellation Taurus. It opens the final act in this great drama of the ages flowing out upon a starlit stage — the panarama of the night sky.
The next major constellation is Gemini. In the star chart, it is pictured as a pair of twin boys. However, in the ancient Denderah Zodiac of Egypt, it was depicted as a man and a woman. In the coptic language, Gemini was called Pi-mahi, meaning “the united.” I believe it represents the Savior and His bride.
There are two stars, which mark the heads of the two people in Gemini — Castor and Pollux. These are Latin names. You may recall in Acts 28:11, the Apostle Paul traveled on a ship, “whose sign was Castor and Pollux.” Castor means “ruler or judge” and Pollux means “wounded, hurt, afflicted.” Again, we are reminded of the suffering Savior who will come one day to be united with His bride. He is destined to rule over the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Like the other major constellations there are three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Gemini. The first is Canis Major. It is depicted as a large dog and should be considered along with the second sidereal sidepiece, Canis Minor — a small dog. Over the centuries, these two constellations lost their original significance. The Greeks supposed them to be the hunting dogs of Orion when, in fact, the names of the stars in Canis Major and Canis Minor reveal that they were not originally dogs at all, but pictures of the Prince of Peace and Redeemer of the world.
The most significant star Canis Major is Sirius — the brightest star in the entire heavens. It is only nine light years away, making it one of Earth’s nearest neighbors among the millions of stars. Sirius is the most glorious star in the sky, meaning “the Prince.” It is the root word from which we derive the title, “Sir.”
Canis Minor is represented as a lesser dog. It is a small group of stars just south of Gemini. Though the original meaning of Canis Minor has long since been obscured, we can easily determine its original meaning through the bright star Procyon, meaning “Redeemer or Savior.” That is the true meaning of the constellation. Long ago, the Egyptians called it Sebak, meaning “the conquering or victorious.” Both Canis Major and Canis Minor help to tell the story of the coming conquering Redeemer.
The third sidereal sidepiece is Lepus. In the star chart it is depicted as a rabbit, but in the most ancient zodiacs, it was a snake. It is located just below Orion, the glorious prince who crushes the head of Lepus, the serpent. There is a star in Orion’s raised foot called Rigel, meaning “the foot that crushes.”
The brightest star in Lepus is Arneb, meaning “the enemy of him who comes.” There is another star called Nihal, meaning “the mad” and another star Sulya, meaning “the deceiver.” Yes, the major constellation Gemini, along with its sidereal sidepieces represents the coming Bridegroom as Prince of Peace, Savior, and Redeemer who will conquer the enemy trodden underfoot. He is coming to rapture the saints, thus keeping us from going through the Tribulation Period.
In Luke 21:25, Jesus said that the last days would be characterized by signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars. One day, our Savior will come to carry out those great prophecies found in the stars. When God created the heavens, He gave the stars certain names, the meanings of which tell the story of God’s great plan of the ages. God gave this story to Adam and his offspring. According to Flavius Josephus, Seth, the son of Adam, invented that “peculiar science which deals with the heavenly bodies and their order.”
The eleventh constellation is Cancer. It is depicted as a crab and denotes that which is born of water. This reminds us of New Testament Christianity whose symbol is that of a fish, for we have been born of water — a type of the Holy Spirit. The crab has an unusual feature. Periodically, it sheds it outer skin and comes forth with what appears to be new life. The symbol represents Resurrection of those New Testament saints, who are a part of the Rapture and accompany the translated living saints to heaven.
According to E. W. Bullinger, in his book, The Witness of the Stars, the sign of Cancer was represented in an ancient Egyptian Zodiac as a scarob beatle, but the implication was the same. In ancient Egypt, the scarob would crawl under a rock. Later, the beatle would break open the shell of its body and emerge as a beautiful winged creature to fly away. Again, the implication is that of Resurrection.
According to Kenneth C. Fleming, in his book God’s Voice in the Stars the word Cancer comes from a root word meaning “to hold or encircle.” For that reason, Fleming believes the constellation refers to an ancient eastern inn where the animals were kept for safety. In another ancient Zodiac the constellation was called Klaria, meaning “cattlefolds.” If this is the meaning of Cancer, then it is a picture of heaven — where the Shepherd keeps His sheep! That is still in keeping with the overall concept of the Resurrection and Rapture.
There are several stars in Cancer. The brightest star is Tegmine, meaning “holding;” another star, Acubene, means “sheltering or hiding place;” Ma’Alaph means “assembled thousands;” Al Himarean means the “kids or lambs;” and a cluster of stars in the middle of the constellation, Praesepe, means “multitude.” It is a beautiful view of that day when we shall be transported into heaven to stand before our Savior.
“In my Father’s house are many mansions,” said Jesus. “If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). What a magnificent promise!
There are three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Cancer. The first attending constellation is Ursa Minor, known today as the Little Dipper. Before the constellation became a dipper, it was referred to as a bear. However, the bear does not appear at all in the old Zodiacs of Chaldea, Persia, Egypt, or India. Long before the constellation became a bear, it was pictured as a sheepfold. It represents heaven, the place where the Great Shepherd keeps His sheep.
There are seven bright stars in Ursa Minor, but a total of 24, which make up the complete constellation. The seven stars remind us of the seven lamps of fire which burn before the throne of God, and the 24 stars remind us of the 24 elders in Revelation 4, which are seated around the throne of God.
The most significant star in Ursa Minor is Polaris. It is called the North Star, and we are reminded of Isaiah 14:13, which indicated that heaven was pictured in the “sides of the north.” This does not mean that heaven revolves above the North Pole. It simply means that in the ancient constellations the north represented heaven, while the south represented hell.
The Greeks called Ursa Minor by the name Arcas, from which we get words like “arctic” in English. Arcas means bear, but the root meaning is “the stronghold of the saved.”
There is a star in the constellation called Kochab, meaning “waiting for the coming;” another star, Alkaid, means “the assembled;” and yet another, Alpherkdain, means “the redeemed assembly.”
Another sidereal sidepiece is Ursa Major, which, along with Ursa Minor, seems to tell the same story. Though it is depicted as the Big Dipper, it orginally referred to “the assembled flock.” As in the case of Ursa Minor, there are also seven bright stars, which make up the constellation of Ursa Major. The brightest star is Dubeh, meaning “herd or flock;” Merach means “the flock purchased;” Phaeda means “visited, guarded, or numbered;” and Benet Naish means “the daughters of the assembly.”
It is a magnificent view of the vast assembly of believers who are reserved in heaven today awaiting the resurrection. Both Ursa Major and Ursa Minor compliment the constellation Cancer by representing the great sheepfold in heaven where the Shepherd keeps redeemed believers.
The third sidereal sidepiece to Cancer is a ship called Argo. It was the celebrated ship of the Argonauts. According to Greek mythology, its captain, Jason, recovered the Golden Fleece from the serpent. To do so, of course, he had to fight both a dragon and a giant. From the ancient mythological story we can glean the true meaning of the “old ship Zion thus sailing along.” I think it represents heavens “clouds” — possibly the celestial transportation vehicles for resurrected and translated saints. Jason could have been an ancient story of the Redeemer; the Golden Fleece is a symbol of eternal life; the dragon is symbolic of Satan; and the giant could represent the largest of all earthly wars — Armageddon.
Of the stars in the constellation, the brightest is Canopus, meaning “the possession of him who comes.” Another star, Sephina, means “the multitude.” They appear to represent the ship of our salvation. Such is the story to be found in the great constellation of Cancer.
Now we come to the end of the circle. We began with Virgo, the virgin, and we shall end with Leo, the lion. No one who has followed our study can doubt that we have here the solving of the riddle in the Sphinx, for its head is Virgo, and its body is Leo. In Leo we reach the end of the revelation as inspired in the Word of God.
The constellation is depicted as a great lion pouncing upon its prey. It is a magnificent view of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” so beautifully described in Revelation 5:5. When our Savior came the first time, He came as the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). But when He comes the second time, He shall come as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” to establish His kingdom upon the Earth.
Like the other major constellations, there are three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Leo. The first is Hydra — the many-headed serpent. It is a huge constellation extending approximately one-third the distance around the circle of the heavens, reminding us that Satan’s “tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven” (Rev. 12:4). Hydra means, “he is abhorred!” It is composed of 60 stars — a multiple of the number six. The idea with Hydra is that when one cuts off its head, two grow back in its place. He is the great red dragon known as Satan.
The second sidereal sidepiece is called Crater and is represented as a cup, bowl, or vial of God’s wrath being poured out upon Hydra. I think it is significant that the constellation is made up of 13 stars, the number of “ill omen.” It reminds us of the story in Revelation 15 and 16 where seven angels take up vials of wrath and pour them out upon the kingdom of the Antichrist.
Finally, the third sidereal sidepiece is Corvus. It is the view of a bird eating the flesh of Hydra. We are reminded of that day when the birds will come to eat the flesh of the slain on the battlefields of Armageddon.
Leo, the lion, is seen jumping on Hydra — ripping, tearing, and destroying him. Here is the conclusion of the whole matter. Here is the final triumph of the Son of God and the consummated victory of the “Seed” of the woman over the “seed” of the serpent.
So, there you have it. The constellations were named by our great Creator, and prepared to tell the story of redemption for fallen humanity. The message was given to Seth, the son of Adam. For 2,500 years, before the writing of Genesis, those early civilizations were able to study the message of God’s love and redemption. That is the message of those mysterious signs in the heavens.