Today, the average adult cannot tell the names of the stars or the constellations that map out our night sky. Some can point to the North Star and make out the Little Dipper, but that is about the extent of it. However, if we look back several generations, to a time when there were no streetlights and no TVs, we find that most ancient civilizations, including the Mayans, were very aware of the cosmos and its religious connotations.
What is remarkable about the constellations, is that they were virtually the same in every civilization. Few cultures went out on their own and proposed a group of stars under the symbol of a different animal. And when they did, it was only a minor change. For example, Cancer, seen today as a Crab, was once depicted as a Scarab Beetle in ancient Egypt. Libra, seen in most Zodiacs as a Scales, was depicted in ancient Babylon as a Lamp. Ancient China invented a few extra constellations, but for the most part, the constellations showed little change among the varied ancient civilizations. As the languages were changed, some names were changed, but there are still enough stars bearing the same names to show a single star chart for all nations. Though separated by thousands of miles, with no means of communication, Virgo was always a virgin and Leo was always a lion. This shows that at one time, all people lived together and saw continuity among the constellations.
Furthermore, no single group of people made up the constellations for all the other people on the planet. If so, then at least some of the constellations would be different. You’ve heard that if you get two theologians together, you have three opinions? Well, if men were given the task of mapping out the night sky, they could have never reached consent. The constellations as we know them had to be the product of Deity and imposed upon the population for religious purposes.
The fact that the constellations depict the Gospel story points back to the fact that God was definitely involved in preparing the symbols to conform to the Bible. Genesis 1:14 tells us, “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs …” Notice that the verse is located in the very first chapter of the Bible. That makes the constellations very meaningful in the scheme of things. And, as we shall see in these studies, the story starts with Bethlehem and the First Advent of Christ; and concludes with Leo and His Second Advent.
The twelve major constellations, along with their thirty-six sidereal sidepieces, present the original drama of the ages in the form of what I call a three-act play. Act One is presented in the first four major constellations — Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. It began in Bethlehem with the birth of the “Seed” of the woman, and established His conflict with Scorpio — the “seed” of the serpent.
Act Two of this great drama is presented through the constellations of Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries. These signs, together with their smaller constellations or sidereal sidepieces, explain not so much the person of the Redeemer, as the results of His redeeming work, particularly in relationship to the people who are redeemed, whose symbol is a fish.
The curtain rises with a very unlikely actor on the stage. It is a dying goat with the lively tail of a fish. This strange creature offers a profound 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 the lively tail of the fish represents the believers of the Church Age. It is important to note that the goat appears to be dying with its head bowed and its leg folded, while the fish 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.”
SagitaThere 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 about 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 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.” 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 Australis, the Southern Fish — the first of three sidereal sidepieces. The fish 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.” This represents carrying the Gospel message around the world. Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth” (Acts 1:8).
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. 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 ascanbeseenintheconstellationCygnus. 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.”
In the ancient Mazzaroth, Pisces is shown as two fish with their tails tied together by a band. The constellation with its sidereal sidepieces represents a vast body of believers who have received the water of life down through the centuries. There are two fish, one horizontal and the other vertical. We should note that Pisces was the symbol of Israel and adopted by early Christianity. It is entirely possible that the horizontal fish represents Israel, the earthly Chosen People, while the vertical fish represents a heavenly people. The symbol of Christianity has always been the ish. The disciples became the first fishers of men and following them are the great soul winners of history.
In John 21, our Savior stood on the shore of Galilee early in the morning to inquire of the disciples if they had caught any fish. At His request, they pitched their nets on the other side of the ship and brought to shore 153 fish. The story appears to be a prophetic indication of Gentile Christianity gathered during the dispensation of Grace.
Pisces is represented by two fish that are bound together with an attending sidereal sidepiece called the “Band.” Note that the band is connected to the neck of Cetus, the sea monster. Believers are bound to this world system, awaiting the day when our Savior (as seen in Aries) will come to break the bands and set us free.
The second sidereal sidepiece to the constellation Pisces is Andromeda — the chained woman. It is the view of a woman with fetters upon her wrists and ankles. Andromeda means, “the assembly.”
She is fastened down so that she is unable to rise. It is the same picture as is given by the fettered fish. She represents that vast assembly of believers — the Bride of Christ. We await the coming of our bridegroom to break the fetters and set us free.
The third sidereal sidepiece is Cepheus — the crowned king. Cepheus is the figure of a glorious king wearing his royal robe and having on his head a crown of stars. On his right shoulder shines a star called Al Deramin meaning, “the quickly returning.” In the middle of the constellation shines the star Al Phirk, which means “the redeemer.” In the left knee is still another star called Al Rai, which means “the shepherd.” The word Cepheus means “the royal branch, the king.”
Pisces, then, with its three sidereal sidepieces tells the story of the Bride of Christ bound in the chains of diversity, awaiting that day when the King, our great Bridegroom, will come to set us free and take us home.
The whole story, however, cannot be found in Pisces alone. The next major constellation is Aries, which, along with its sidereal sidepieces, must be considered in order to fully understand the message found in Pisces. The band that holds the two fish together is attached to the neck of Cetus, the sea monster. At the same time, however, the leg of Aries appears to break the bands. Elnath, the brightest star in the constellation means “the wounded, or slain.” The name Aries means “chief” or “head.”
Andromeda, the chained woman in the constellation Pisces, is set free by Perseus, a sidereal sidepiece to Aries. Andromeda then becomes Cassiopeia, the enthroned queen in the constellation Aries, who is married to Cepheus, the enthroned king in the constellation Pisces.
Aries is the fourth major sign in Act Two of the great drama. The four major constellations of Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries, give a picture of the blessings of salvation. Capricorn represents Christ, the sacrificial head of the Church. Aquarius represents Christ who pours out His Spirit upon all who believe. Pisces represents that vast body of believers who receive the Water of Life, and Aries represents Christ as the Lamb of God that “… taketh away the sins of the world.”
The first sidereal sidepiece to Aries is Cassiopeia, pictured as a woman sitting upon a throne. With her left hand she is fixing her hair and with her right hand she adjusts her robes. She seems to be making herself ready for her upcoming marriage to King Cepheus who sits nearby upon his throne. She is the Andromeda whose chains have been broken to set her free.
The second sidereal sidepiece is Perseus. He is pictured as a strong soldier with a helmet on his head and a great sword in his right hand. In his left hand he carries the head of Medusa (his adversary) dripping with blood. Medusa means “the trodden under foot.”
The principal star in its head is called Al Ghoul meaning, “the evil spirit.” Another star is called Rosh Satan meaning, “the head of Satan.” Each hair in the head of Satan is shown as a snake. The whole picture is that of Satan being wounded in his head.
Perseus is a picture of Christ, the great hero who comes to Andromeda, breaks her chains and sets her free. The word Perseus means “the breaker.” This is the same word used by Micah, the prophet, when referring to the future Messiah: “The breaker is come up before them … and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them” (Micah 2:13).
The final sidereal sidepiece to Aries is Cetus, the great enemy subdued and bound. Cetus is the largest of all the constellations in the sky. It lies to the south of the ecliptic, which places him on the hell side of the starry heavens rather than on the heaven side, for God sits in the “sides of the north.”
There is a star in the neck of the monster called Mira. It means “rebel” and fits very well the character of the constellation — picturing Satan as the enemy and first rebel against God. The brightest star in the head is called Menkar. It means “the bound or chained enemy.”
He is that Leviathan rising out of the sea in Revelation 13. Just as we are freed from this world system by a pre-tribulation rapture and resurrection, Cetus rises to establish the kingdom of the Antichrist.
Cetus, the sea monster, concludes Act Two of our three-act drama by being bound and chained. In Act One, our Savior is seen saving us from the penalty of sin. In Act Two, He can be seen saving us from the power of sin. As we shall see next month, Act Three will show the Savior saving us from the presence of sin.