5. Taurus & Gemini
The Heavens Declare: constellations as prophecy
Joseph / Taurus (Deut 33:16-17)
Last, we find the Book of the Second Coming, dealing with triumph and completion. We find no more chains — these belonged to the First Coming.
The first chapter of this book is known to us as Taurus, the Bull, always shown as charging; it emanates from out of the Lamb of Aries, and is at the opposite end of the sky from Scorpio, so that Taurus rises as Scorpio sets. The Chaldean name was Tor, similar to the Arabic Al Thaur. The common Hebrew name is Shur (from a root meaning "coming" and "ruling"), but another is Reem, from a root meaning "pre-eminence" — cf. Ps 92:10, “My horn shalt Thou exalt like the horn of a wild ox.” The reem is, then, now identified as the extinct wild ox, of massive size, nimble, ferocious and utterly untameable; its great, spreading horns are taken as symbols for the two sons of Joseph (cf. Deut 33:17). The pagan Egyptians depicted this sign as a bull, and called it by two names: Apis ("the head" or "chief" — the "bull god"), and
The brightest stars are in the Bull's eye, called Al Debaran in Aramaic, meaning "the leader", and at the point of the left horn is El Nath (A. "wounded", as in Aries). Other stars have names meaning "belonging to the judge", "foundation", "the abundance", and "rolled around". Part of the Bull, riding on its neck, is the cluster of seven stars known as the Pleiades (from the Greek, "the congregation of the judge") — the Hebrew name is Kimah ("heap", cf. Job 9:9, Amos 5:8); these stars are called the Doves, and "sweet influences", and may be likened to the seven churches of the Apocalypse which should be salt and light to the world. The brightest star of the Pleiades is called in Syriac, Succoth ("booths"), and in Arabic, Al Cyone ("the center"). Obviously, that which "turns around" on the "center" can be said to return, to Come Again. A cluster of stars on the Bull's face is called Hyades ("the congregation"). Of the over 140 stars in this constellation, a mere 14 or so seem to have been original.
The first decan of the Bull is Orion ("the coming one", sharing the meaning with the Altar, Hercules, Boötes, and Arcturus). We have already seen that this hunter is mentioned in Job and Amos, where his name means "a strong one" or "hero". This is the most brilliant of all the constellations, and can be seen everywhere that mankind has settled. He is shown as a powerful prince in victory, with raised club, holding the severed head of a boar or lion (cf. Hercules), left foot stepping on the head of the serpent which is Lepus; he hunts to win his Bride. The hilt of his sheathed sword is in the form of a lamb. The Arabs called him by names meaning the Branch, Ruler, or Prince. In
The brightest star is in the right shoulder: Betelgeuse ("the coming of the branch"). Next is the right foot, Rigel, "the foot that crushes", then in the left shoulder, Bellatrix ("quickly coming" or "swiftly destroying"). The brightest belt star is Al Nitak ("the wounded One"), and another belt star is Mintaka ("dividing" as a sacrifice — cf. Lev 8:2); this belt was identified as "the three kings", and also as "Jacob's Rod" (cf. Is 11:1). In the leg, Saiph ("bruised") is the very word used in Gen 3:15. Several stars share names which mean "strong", "coming", and "prince", and others mean "who breaks", "treading on", and "the branch". Twenty-four of its 78 stars are original.
The next decan is Eridanus, the long "river of the Judge", shown as pouring out from Rigel, "the crushing foot" of Orion, east through the limbs of the monster Cetus, then west and south into the pit of space. Daniel () tells us that when the Judgment is set, a “fiery stream issued and came from before” the Ancient of Days; in Ps 97:3 we read that “A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His adversaries round about.” Isaiah (30:27‑33) says, “Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire: and His breath as an overflowing stream. Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared: He hath made it deep and large, the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” Indeed, even Greek myth indicates that this is a river of fire, since it was here that impetuous Phaeton fell, to be consumed by its flames. In
The third decan of Taurus had the ancient image of a shepherd — seated on the Milky Way, grasping bands, threads or reins in his right hand, and holding a she-goat on his left shoulder and two tender kids in his lap with his left hand. This image is presented biblically in Isaiah (40:10,11): “Behold, the Lord will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for Him: behold, his reward is with Him and His work before Him. He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that give suck.” The Egyptian name was Trun ("scepter" or "power"), and the image was of a man holding a scepter topped with the head of a lamb and with a cross at the bottom. The well-known Egyptian circle-topped cross, the ankh, was corrupted into a symbol of life for only the Pharaoh and his slaves; its original meaning was life for the brothers (by adoption — Rom 8, Gal 4) of Messiah the King. Thus the scepter is the cross, and also the crook of this, the Good and Chief Shepherd (Jn , 1P 5:4). It is now called Auriga (L. — "the Charioteer; in Greek, Haeniochos), presumably after the "reins"; since we find only goats, rather than horses or chariot, this latter name is obviously a late interpretation of the forgotten truth: the semitic root means "Shepherd". For what purpose are these "reins" suited? When a shepherd had in his care a lamb which would constantly stray, he would break its legs and carry it bound across his neck, where it would grow so used to his voice that it would never wander again. This is the meaning of the words of Jesus (Jn 10:4): The Good Shepherd “goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
The pre-eminent star is Capella (Latin) or Alioth (Hebrew), meaning "she-goat" and located at her heart. In the Shepherd's right arm is Menkalinon (Chaldean for "band" or "string of goats"); Maaz, another star, has a name of the same meaning, "a flock of goats". To help identify the Shepherd, for those who have not noticed a pattern yet, we find in the right foot the star El Nath, meaning "the wounded" here as in Aries; and yet another star, Aiyuk, also means "wounded". Of the 66 stars seen in the modern sign, only 12 were visible to the first patriarchs.
So in the sign of Taurus we have the swift Return of the Prince who had been wounded. We also find the mighty hero of light coming forth in judgment (Orion), the fiery river of judgment which he pours forth (Eridanus), and the Good Shepherd tending his flock ("Auriga"): judgment, punishment, and reward.
Benjamin / Gemini (Gen 49:27)
All the images of the second sign of the Book of the Second Coming have suffered a large degree of Classical corruption. The major constellation is Gemini, the Twins, commonly shown as sitting together, feet resting on the Milky Way. The Hebrew name is Thaumim, meaning "united" (cf. Ex 26:24 — "coupled" or "twinned"). This is also the meaning of the Coptic Pi-Mahi: "the united", as in brotherhood. The Egyptians retained some of the truth, calling the sign Claustrum Hor ("the place of Him who cometh"), revealed as two figures approaching hand in hand, male and female, which we take as the Lord united with his Bride; to this image is attached the hieroglyph meaning "the Coming One". The pagan Romans corrupted the original meaning entirely, and called them Castor and Pollux (patrons of navigation) — although these, shadows of Christ, were said to still storms; the figures have sometimes been identified with Adam and Eve (the Second Adam and his Bride), or sometimes shown as two goats or kids.
Greeks called these two Apollo and Hercules. Accordingly, the major star, in the head of the figure on the right, is called Apollo, which (aside from mythological associations) signifies "destroyer", "judge" or "ruler" (he is also called Castor). His knee contains a star called Mebsuta, "treading under foot". He holds a harp and an unstrung bow, signifying repose and a task completed. The second star in brightness, in the head of the left figure, is Hercules, "who comes to labor or suffer" (also labeled as Pollux, "ruler" or "judge", and by the Egyptians, Hor, or Horus, the Child); in his left foot is Al Henah ("hurt" or "afflicted"). In his right hand he is represented as holding sometimes a palm branch, or sometimes a club in a relaxed position. With his left arm he embraces his twin. At the shared hip of each is the star Waset, "set". Others stars have names meaning "the palm branch", "the spreading branch" and the "seed" or "branch". Altogether, there are 85 stars in Gemini, only 12 of them original.
In this picture, then, we have a disturbing presentation of the two natures of Jesus Christ: Lord and Servant, Judge and Victim, God and
Beneath the foot of Orion, the Coming One, is the first decan of Gemini, pictured by the Persians as a serpent; to the Egyptians it was Bashti-beki ("confounded-failing") — depicted as a bird (cf. Mt 13:4,19) tearing at a serpent. The Arabs called it Arnebeth, "the Hare", but also "Enemy of the Coming"; evidently confused by the homonym, the Romans knew this sign only by the name we have today: Lepus, the Hare. At the heart shines the eponymous star, Arnebo ("the enemy of Him that cometh"); other stars are Nibal ("the mad"), Rakis ("the chained"), and Sugia ("the deceiver"). There are 19 stars in the modern sign, 10 of which shone dimly in the ancient firmament.
The second minor constellation is known now after the irrelevant Latin, Canis Major, the Dog; the Persians more accurately called it Zeeb, the Wolf, linking it to the tearing wolf which is the tribe of Benjamin, as characterized in Gen 49:27 (perhaps the similarity between the very sound of "Benjamin" and "Gemini" is also relevant); Benjamin ("son of the right hand") was originally named Benoni ("son of my sorrow"), as Gemini contains both the Ruler (Who sitteth at the right hand of God the Father) and the Suffering Servant, the Man of Sorrow. Plutarch translated its name as "leader", and its Arabic name means "coming swiftly". Fittingly, as the Wolf it is pursuing the Hare. But more evocatively, the Egyptians called this constellation Apes ("the head"), represented as a hawk (that enemy of the serpent which is Lepus); it was also called naz in Egyptian, meaning "coming swiftly down"). This Hawk stood upon a crushing mace, and bore on its head either a double crown or the curious picture of a mortar and pestle . . . to crush the head of the serpent.
The head of this hunter — whether Hawk or Wolf — holds the most brilliant star in the sky, Sirius ("the Dog Star", and also "prince", "guardian" or "victorious", from seir, cf. Is 9:6). Whether or not intended by the authors of these names and images, the names taken together — Naz and Seir, "the Swiftly Descending Prince" — yield in Hebrew Netzer, "the Branch", whom we know as the Nazarene. That this is not totally coincidental may be inferred from the fact that Matthew () cites a prophecy totally unknown from the Bible: Jesus “dwelt in a city called
The final decan of Gemini is the twin of Canis Major — that is, Canis Minor, "the Lesser Dog". By the pagan Egyptians it was called Sebak ("conquering"), shown as a human with a tail and the head of a hawk. This minor version of its major counterpart contains the star Al Shemeliya (A. "the prince of the left hand"), complementing Sirius, which we just saw was the "prince of the right hand". The myths of this sign are confused: it was called Anubus, the hawk-headed Egyptian guide of the dead; Diana, the huntress of wild beasts; and the hound of impertinent Actæon, whom it devoured. If a link may be found between these myths, it is in the demand for justice. At the center of the constellation is the brightest star, Procyon, meaning "redemption" — probably the same star as Al Shemeliya. In the neck, the next star was called Al Gomeisa (A. "bearing for others"), and unidentified stars were called "the prince" and "who completes". Only 3 of the 14 stars were original.
So, in Gemini, just as we have the double nature of Jesus Christ represented in the principal constellation, we find a double image of the evil one in the raven and serpent of the first decan ("Lepus"), only to return to the double nature of Christ, in the Conqueror ("Canis Major") and the Redeemer ("Canis Minor") of the last two decans.
.Quoted in Seiss, p. 116.