The Witness of the Stars
The Sign Aries (The Ram or Lamb)
The blessings of the redeemed
consummated and enjoyed
24. Aries (the Ram)
This Second Book began with the Goat dying in sacrifice, and it ends with the Lamb living again, "as it had been slain." The goat had the tail of a fish, indicating that his death was for a multitude of the redeemed. In the two middle Signs we have had these fishes presented to us in grace, and in their conflict. We come now to the last chapter of the book: and, as we have seen, like each of the other books, it ends up with victory and triumph. Here we are first shown the foundation on which that victory rests, namely, Atonement. Hence we are taken back and reminded of the "blood of the Lamb."
This is pictured by a ram, or lamb, full of vigour and life; not falling in death as CAPRICORNUS is.
In the Denderah Zodiac its name is Tametouris Ammon, which means the reign, dominion, or government of Ammon. The lamb's head is without horns, and is crowned with a circle.
The Hebrew name is Taleh, the lamb. The Arabic name is Al Hamal, the sheep, gentle, merciful. This name has been mistakenly given by some to the principal star, a. The Syriac name is Amroo, as in the Syriac New Testament in John 1:29 "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." The ancient Akkadian name was Bara-ziggar. Bar means altar, or sacrifice; and ziggar means right making; so that the full name would be the sacrifice of righteousness.
There are 66 stars in this sign, one being of the 2nd magnitude, two of the 4th, etc.
Its chief star, a (in the forehead), is named El Nath, or El Natik, which means wounded, slain. The next, b (in the left horn), is called Al Sheratan, the bruised, the wounded. The next g (near to b ), is called Mesarim (Hebrew), the bound.
How is it there is no conflicting voice? How is it that all the stars unite in one harmonious voice in testifying of the Lamb of God, slain, and bruised, but yet living for evermore, singing together, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Rev 5:12)?
This rejoicing connected with the Lamb shines faintly through the heathen perversions and myths: for HERODOTUS tells us how the ancient Egyptians, once a year, when it opened by the entrance of the sun into ARIES (TAURUS then marked the Spring Equinox), slew a Ram, at the festival of Jupiter Ammon; branches were placed over the doors, the Ram was garlanded with wreaths of flowers and carried in procession. Now the sun entered ARIES on the 14th of the Jewish month Nisan, and another lamb was then ordered to be slain, even "the LORD's passover"--the type of that Lamb that should in the fulness of time be offered without blemish and without spot. Owing to the precession of the equinoxes, the sun, at the time of the Exodus, had receded into this sign of ARIES, which then marked the Spring Equinox. But by the time that the antitype--the Lamb of God, was slain, the sun had still further receded, and on the 14th of Nisan, in the year of the Crucifixion, stood at the very spot marked by the stars a, El Nath, the pierced, the wounded or slain, and b, Al Sheratan, the bruised or wounded! God so ordained "the times and seasons" that during that noon-day darkness the sun was seen near those stars which had spoken for so many centuries of this bruising of the woman's Seed--the Lamb of God.
Was this design? or was it chance? It is far easier to believe the former. It makes a smaller demand upon our faith; yes, we are compelled to believe that He who created the sun and the stars "for signs and for cycles," ordained also the times and the seasons, and it is He who tells us that "WHEN THE FULNESS OF TIME WAS COME, God sent forth His Son" (Gal 4:4), and that "in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom 5:6).
1. CASSIOPEIA (The Enthroned Woman)
The captive delivered, and preparing for her Husband, the Redeemer
25. Cassiopeia (the Enthroned Woman)
In the last chapter we saw the woman bound; here we see the same woman freed, delivered, and enthroned.
ULUGH BEY says its Arabic name is El Seder, which means the freed.
In the Denderah Zodiac her name is Set, which means set, set up as Queen. ALBUMAZER says this constellation was anciently called "the daughter of splendour." This appears to be the meaning of the word Cassiopeia, the enthroned, the beautiful. The Arabic name is Ruchba, the enthroned This is also the meaning of its Chaldee name, Dat al cursa.
There are 55 stars in this constellation, of which five are of the 3rd magnitude, five of the 4th, etc.
This beautiful constellation passes vertically over Great Britain every day, and is easily distinguished by its five brightest stars, forming an irregular "W."
This brilliant constellation contains one binary star, a triple star, a double star, a quadruple star, and a large number of nebulae.
In the year 1572 Tycho Brahe discovered in this constellation, and very near the star k (under the arm of the chair), a new star, which shone more brightly than Venus. It was observed for nearly two years, and disappeared entirely in 1574.
The brightest star, a (in the left breast), is named Schedir (Hebrew), which means the freed. The next, b (in the top of the chair), likewise bears a Hebrew name--Caph, which means the branch; it is evidently given on account of the branch of victory which she bears in her hand.
She is indeed highly exalted, and making herself ready. Her hands, no longer bound, are engaged in this happy work. With her right hand she is arranging her robes, while with her left she is adorning her hair. She is seated upon the Arctic circle, and close by the side of Cepheus, the King.
This is "the Bride, the Lamb's wife, the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem," the "partakers of the heavenly calling."
He who has redeemed her is "the Lamb that was slain," and He addresses her thus:
"Thy Maker is thine husband;
"Thou shalt be a crown of beauty in
the hand of the LORD,
"The LORD hath appeared of old (or
from afar) unto me, saying,
Can we close our eyes to the testimony of these scriptures--that Israel is the Bride of the Lamb? When we have all these, and more, why should we read "the Church" into thse ancient prophecies, which was the subject of a long-subsequent revelation, merely because (in Eph 5:25) Christ's love to His Church is compared to a husband's love for his wife? "Husbands, love your wives, even AS Christ also loved the Church." There is not a word here about the Church being His wife. On the contrary, it reveals the secret that the Church of Christ is to be the mystical "Body of Christ," part of the Husband in fact, "One new man" (Eph 2:15)! whereas restored Israel is to be the Bride of this "New Man," the Bride of Christ, the Lamb's wife! Blessed indeed it is to be united to Christ as a wife to a husband, but glorious beyond all description to be "one" with Christ Himself, part of His mystical Body.
If men had only realised the wondrous glory of this mystery, they would never have so wrongly divided the Word of Truth by interpreting Psalm 45 of this Mystical Christ. If we "rightly divide" it, we see at once that this Psalm is in harmony with all the Old Testament scriptures, which must be interpreted alike, and can be interpreted only of Israel however they may be applied.
Having spoken of the Godhead and glory of this King (faintly and in part foreshown by Cepheus), the Holy Spirit goes on in the latter part of the Psalm to speak of the Bride--the Queen:
"At Thy right hand doth stand the
Queen in gold of Ophir,
Then shall she sing her Magnificat:
"I will greatly rejoice in the
This, then, is the truth set forth by this enthroned woman. The blessing founded on Atonement, and the Redemption wrought by the Lamb that was slain, result in a glorious answer to Israel's prayer, "Turn our captivity, O LORD" (Psa 126:4): when they that have "sown in tears shall reap in joy," and the LORD shall loosen her bonds, and place her enthroned by His side.
This, however, involves the destruction of her enemy, and this is what we see in the next section.
26. Cetus (the Sea Monster)
When John sees the New Jerusalem, the Bride, the Lamb's wife (Rev 21:10), Satan has been bound already: for we read, a few veses before (20:1-3) "I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, that Old Serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him [and kept him bound] a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled."
This is what we see in the second section of the chapter--the second constellation in ARIES.
The picture is that of a great sea-monster, the largest of all the constellations. It is the natural enemy of fishes, hence it is placed here in connection with this last chapter, in which fishes are so prominent.
It is situated very low down among the constellations--far away towards the south or lower regions of the sky.
Its name in the Denderah Zodiac is Knem, which means subdued. It is pictured as a monstrous head, trodden under foot by the swine, the natural enemy of the serpent. The hawk also (another enemy of the serpent) is over this figure, crowned with a mortar, denoting bruising.
It consists of 97 stars, of which two are of the 2nd magnitude, eight of the 3rd, nine of the 4th, etc.
The names of the stars interpret for us infallibly the meaning of the picture.
The brightest star, a (in the upper mandible), is named Menikar, and means the bound or chained enemy. The next, b (in the tail), is called Diphda, or Deneb Kaitos, overthrown, or thrust down. The star o (in the neck) is named Mira, which means THE REBEL. Its names is ominous, for the star is one of the most remarkable. It is very bright, but it was not till 1596 that it was discovered to be variable. It disappears periodically seven times in six years! It continues at its brightest for fifteen days together. M. Bade says that during 334 days it shines with its greatest light, then it diminishes, till it entirely disappears for some time (to the naked eye). In fact, during that period it passes through several degrees of magnitude, both increasing and diminishing. Indeed its variableness is so great as to make it appear unsteady!
Here, then, is the picture of the Great Rebel as shown in the heavens. What is it, as written in the Word?
The Almighty asks man:
"Canst thou draw out Leviathan with
a fish hook?
But he whom man cannot bind can be bound by the Lamb, and He is seen with "the Band" that has bound the fishes, now in His hands, which he has fastened with a bright star to his neck, saying,
"Behold, I have taken out of thine
hand the cup of trembling,
"Behold, the LORD cometh forth out
of His place
"For God is my king of old,
And this Second Book closes by revealing to us this glorious "Breaker."
27. Perseus (the Breaker)
Here we have set before us a mighty man, called in the Hebrew Peretz, from which we have the Greek form Perses, or Perseus (Rom 16:13). It is the same word which is used of Christ in Micah 2:13. When He shall surely "gather the remnant of Israel" (v 12), it is written--
"THE BREAKER is gone up before
This is what is pictured to us here. We see a glorious "Breaker" taking His place before His redeemed, breaking forth at their head, breaking down all barriers, and breaking the heads of Leviathan and all his hosts. In His right hand He has His "sore, and great, and strong sword" lifted up to smite and break down the enemy. He has wings on His feet, which tell us that He is coming very swiftly. In His left hand He carries the head of the enemy, whom he has slain.
In the Denderah Zodiac His Name is Kar Knem, he who fights and subdues.
It is a beautiful constellation of 59 stars, two of which are of the 2nd magnitude, four of the 3rd, twelve of the 4th, etc.
Their names supply us with the key to the interpretation of the picture.
The star a (in the waist) is called Mirfak, who helps. The next, g (in the right shoulder), is named Al Genib, which means who carries away. The bright star in the left foot is called Athik, who breaks!
In his left hand he carries a head, which, by perversion, the Greeks called the head of Medusa, being ignorant that its Hebrew root meant the trodden under foot. It is also called Rosh Satan (Hebrew), the head of the adversary, and Al Oneh (Arabic), the subdued, or Al Ghoul, the evil spirit.
The bright star, b (in this head), has come down to us with the name Al Gol, which means rolling round.
It is a most remarkable phenomenon that so many of these enemies should be characterised by variable stars! But this head of Medusa, like the neck of Cetus, has one. Al Gol is continually changing. In about 69 hours it changes from the 4th magnitude to the 2nd. During four hours of this period it gradually diminishes in brightness, which it recovers in the succeeding four hours; and in the remaining part of the time invariably preserves its greatest lustre. After the expiration of this time its brightness begins to decrease again. Fit emblem of our great enemy, who, "like a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8); then changing into a subtle serpent (Gen 3:8); then changing again into "an angel of light" (2 Cor 11:14). "Transforming himself" continually, to devour, deceive, and destroy.
This brings us to the conclusion of the Second Book, in which we have seen the Redeemed blessed with all blessings, delivered out of all conflict, saved from all enemies. We have seen their Redeemer, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," "the Conqueror," "the King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
This is the Revelation recorded in the heavens. This is the prophetic testimony inspired in the Book. And this is the heart-cry prompted by both:
"Come, Lord, and tarry not,
Come, for Thy saints still wait;
Come, for creation groans,
Come, for Thine Israel pines,
Come, for thy foes are strong;
Come, for the good are few;
Come, in Thy glorious might;
Come, and make all things new,
Come, and begin Thy reign