The Heavens Declare: constellations as prophecy

The Heavens Declare: constellations as prophecy


1. Virgo & Libra
2. Scorpio & Sagittarius

3. Capricorn & Aquarius
4. Pisces & Aries

5. Taurus & Gemini
6. Cancer & Leo



The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. — Ps 19:4

This eight-part series is taken from the second chapter of my
The Serpent in Babel, an examination from a biblical perspective of the most ancient myths. The data in large part are from the works of Seiss and Bullinger, as cited in the notes. The graphics that are meant to accompany the text are not available to me at this time - not scanned. So:

Astrology — the study and effective wor­ship of the stars — was a post-Flood develop­ment. In the pre-Flood world, for tech­nical reasons which I discuss in The Pillars of Hea­ven, the daytime sky was perpetual­ly shrouded with the pall of overcast, so that the sun was seen only as a brief red disk at dawn and dusk. Not only a fitting symbol of the curse of the Fall, but also the reason there was no rainbow. The night sky was clear, but conditions in the thicker, wetter atmo­sphere greatly reduced the number of visible stars, and dimmed those which could be seen. After the Flood, the struc­ture of the atmosphere was simply different, and the sun was seen high over­head for the first time since the Fall. Noah no doubt gazed in wonder at the bril­li­ant new night sky, with its stars flashing like fire and ice.

It seems that the constellations and the stars which com­prise them origi­nal­ly preserved a truth, which became corrupted in exactly the same manner by which the Trini­ty and the Cruci­fixion were also corrupted. We know explicitly from Luke that there was prophecy from the very beginning of mankind (Lk 1:69, 70; Acts 3:21). So it is clear that the Gospel (the prophesied life of Jesus Christ) was known to the pre-Flood patri­archs, including his birth by a virgin, his crucifix­ion, his resurrection, his ascend­ing the throne of creation, his judgment and his eternal reign. It seems that these prophesied events where depicted in the primal constellations.

What human artist composed our postulated prophetic mosaic of stars? Baleus says that Adam “was the first that discovered the motions of the celestial bodies . . .[1] Likewise, in China “the first man, named Pwanroo, is said to have been pro­duced soon after the period of emptiness and confu­sion, and that he knew intuitively the relative proportions of heaven and earth . . .[2] Accord­ing to Josephus, it was antedilu­vian prophets such as Seth and Enoch who “were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies and their condition and indications.[3] Eusebius, citing the Jewish Eupole­mus, says that Abraham taught that in Babylon, Enoch was hailed as the author of the constellations; Origin says that by Enoch's day the signs had already been composed. These godly patri­archs, it is maintained, com­posed the messianic prophecies into an orderly se­quence and assigned each epi­sode to a constel­lation as a mnemon­ic device. In the ancient atmo­sphere, stars dimmer than magnitude four could not be seen from the planet's sur­face,[4] so that the constel­lations were drawn upon a clean can­vass, rather than the cluttered sky of our mod­ern nights.

The Babylonians are clear and unanimous in affirming that the constel­lat­ions were not merely produced by the mingling of nature with imagination. The fifth tablet of the Creation Epic says that not only the stars, but the constellations were of divine origin. The images were counted as prophecy, “for in those ages it was generally believed that the heavenly bodies gave, by their appearance and positions, signs of events which were coming on the earth.[5] Aristotle[6] knew that the pagan religion of astrology was a per­version, its true meaning lost; what it remembered was merely "the re­mains of ancient wisdom", to which had been added much nonsense, "added after the mythical style". Cicero translated Aratus as saying the “signs are measured out, that in so many descriptions divine wisdom might appear. The author of Excerpts of Theodotus states that “The stars do no degree exert influences, but indicate what is, and will be, and has been.[7] The Arabian scholar Albumazer said that awareness of the zodiac was universal, and reported that many have “attribut­ed to it divine and prophetic virtue.[8] Maimonides said his forefathers had taught that the zodiac was of divine authori­ty, and it is said that in De Universo, Albertus Magnus wrote that “all the myster­ies of the Incarna­tion, from the Conception on to the Ascension into heaven, are shown us on the face of the sky and are signified by the stars.[9] Even the German schol­ar Johann Neander (d. 1850 ad) recognized that the pagan images were “the fragments of a tradition, which transmit­ted the knowl­edge of divine things possessed in the earliest times.[10] This con­fused, broken tradition was imposed upon the constella­tions. On the other hand, in modern estimation these images are generally held in ill repute. For exam­ple, Herschel called them “puerile and absurd, “uncouth figures and outlines of men and monsters usually scribbled over celestial globes and maps.[11]

No one would dispute the fact that the actual out­lines of the constella­tions bear little or no objective resemblance to the images associated with them; the constel­la­tions were not made by connecting the dots. This arbi­trariness tells us that the images where im­posed artificially onto the night sky, ei­ther random­ly over the centuries, or accord­ing to a plan. I maintain the latter. Yet al­though the meaning imputed to them has been cor­rupted, the images and the order of the con­stel­lations are common throughout the world. The idea that the zodiac was designed not by pagans but by prophets of God is truly peculiar, and is no doubt a quite unset­tling assertion. As for its correct­ness, in a moment I will summarize the evi­dence,[12] and ev­ery­­­one will have to judge for himself. Under­stand — modern, pagan, popular "astro­lo­gy" will be uninformed of the most an­cient ele­ments of these images. Only diligent schol­ar­ship orig­inally uncovered them.

The apostle Paul tells us (Rom 10:17‑18) that all mankind has heard the word of God. How? “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. Who is it who speaks "their sound" and "their words" regarding the things of God? Proph­ets? Well, Paul is here quoting Ps 19:4, where we read,The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma­ment shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line [sound] has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. It is the heavens, the day and the night, which declare the word and the knowl­edge of God.

Is this declaration just the general reve­lation of crea­tion, of the glory and power and character of God? Or does it contain the spe­cific, the spe­cial revelation, the gospel of salvation? The structure of Psalm 19 has the first six ver­ses dealing with the revelation in the heav­ens, and the next five with the reve­la­tion of the Law. The Law is the literal scrip­ture of the Bible — ink on pages. I sug­gest that the hea­vens are anoth­er medium, an­other canvas, not of letters but of stars, not of words but of images, made to tell the same story of redemp­tion con­tained in the Bible. Remember what the "glory" of God truly is: the Messiah. And just as modern cultic groups twist the words of the Bible, so the astrological cult of the pagans of Babel twisted the images assigned to the constella­tions. Thus, the root of the word zodiac de­rives not from the Greek zao, "to live" (making it a sort of zoo in the sky), but rather from the semitic zoad, "a way" or "going by steps" as of Jacob's Ladder.

The heavens were scat­tered with stars not only to mark the turning of the seasons, by the slow rolling of sidereal light across the sky, but also to give signs (Gen 1:14). "Seasons" here does not refer to weather, but in Genesis always means "cy­cles" or "returns" (as in 17:21, 18:14, and 21:2 — that is, the ‘coming’ of God). As for "signs", this word means that the stars should bear a meaning beyond that of their natural state. Biblically the word is used to mean a physical symbol of some sort (as with the mark of Cain, Gen 4:15, or the flags of the tribes, Num 2:2), or a showing of power (as a work of a prophet, Deut 4:34, 11:3). While the stars are certainly works, signs, of God's power, yet is there a more visual and evoca­tive signifi­c­ance? Jer 10:2 states, “And be not dismayed at the signs of the heav­ens, for the heathens are dismayed at them. If this refers to constel­lations rather than disas­ters, I suggest it does not mean "pay no heed to the pagan inventions", but rather "don't be confused by the pagan distortions".

Along similar lines, Job says of the creative power of God that (26:13) “By His spirit He hath garnished the heavens. "Garnish" means adorned, but this word may have the further meaning of a summons and warning.[13] By His Spirit — the Spirit of inspiration — prophets have decorated the starry sky, gathering and recasting the stars as grim or joyful portents, illustrating the Way of Truth.

God has not only numbered, but named the stars (Ps 147:4; Is 40:26, 13:10; Amos 5:8). In the book of Job, several con­stel­lations are mentioned. Job lived 400 years after the events at Babel, and as a monotheist and one who knew of his Redeemer (Job 19:25), he was a recipient of the true religion. And even as he affirms that he worshipped only God, and not the sun or the moon (Job 31:26), he calls by name the zodiac (38:32, see 2K 23:5) and several of its constellations — the Bear, Ori­on, and the Pleiades (9:9), and Draco (24:13; the twins of Gemini are referred to in Acts 28:11). Even Abraham, as a monothe­ist, is said by Josephus to have instructed the Egyp­tians in the correct study of the stars; he did this precisely 200 years after the con­fusion of Babel.[14]

The Hebrews knew the zodiac as the Mazzaroth, which means "divided" or "apportioned"; the latter rabbis called the zodiac by the similar name, Mazzaloth. The importance of the twelve signs of the Mazzaroth is implied by the fact that each of these signs was assigned to one of the twelve tribes of Israel. We may discover this not only from the dream of Joseph, with its sun, moon, and twelve stars (Gen 37:9), not only from the Revelation of John, with that same sun and moon, and those same twelve stars (Rev 12:1), not only from the blessing of Jacob (Gen 49) and of Moses (Deut 33), but also from the stan­dards, the emblems on flags, of the tribes (Num 2:2). In some cases, the link is obvious, as with Judah, the lion; but others are more arcane, and we will see the con­nection as we discuss each constel­lation. In any case, it seems utterly irrelevant to read of the arrange­ment of the camp of Israel around the Tabernacle, down to the very numbering of each tribe; but if we recognize the evan­gelical intent of this arrangement, it ceases to be irrelevant and springs to life

In short, the tribes of Israel were arranged around the Tabernacle into the shape of the cross. To the east, the foun­da­tion of the cross started with Judah closest to the Taber­nacle (symbolized by Leo the lion — con­sider the cheru­bim with the head of a lion, in Eze 1:10; Rev 4); further out stretched Issa­char (Cancer the crab); and furthest away, Zebulun (Virgo the vir­gin). To the south, starting the left arm of the cross, was Ruben (the man, Aquarius — symbolized by the cheru­bim with the head of a man); then came Simeon (Pi­sces the fish), and finally Gad (Aries the ram). To the west, at the head of the cross, stretched the two tribes of Joseph (Taurus the bull — symbol­ized by the cheru­bim with the head of a bull); closest to the Ark was Ephra­im, and next Manasseh, as the twin horns of the bull; fur­thest out was Ben­jamin (Gemini, another ‘duo’). To the north, the right arm of the cross started with Dan (Scorpio — sym­bol­ized by the cheru­bim with the head of an ea­gle, de­stroyer of "creeping things"); next came Asher (Sagittar­ius the archer), and then Naphtali (Cap­ri­corn the goat). Finally, in the center, ten­ding the Ark of the Law and the al­tar, was Levi (given the remain­ing sign, Libra the scales [of jus­tice], also depicted as an al­tar). We can even know the pro­por­tions of this cross, by con­sider­ing the census data pro­vided (Num 2): in round num­bers, each arm of the cross was 15 units (a unit being about ten thou­sand fami­lies), the base 18 units, and the head 10 units. This infor­ma­tion is summa­rized in the figure, which is to scale regarding the width of the "arms" and the length of the "post" [this posting distorts the scale]; the numbers in the figure represent the order of the constel­lations within the Mazzaroth — the zodi­ac. We will look at similar corre­spondences after we have considered more ba­sic matters








































If the Mazzaroth had its ori­gin in the proph­ets of God, what do its images mean? — what story is told? The Gospel. In order to demon­strate this, let's move through the 12 major signs and the three minor constel­lations associated with each (the ‘decans’, mean­ing "parts"), and the associat­ed individual stars. The story may be divided into three "books" (of the First Com­ing, the Redeemed, and the Second Coming — each starting with pro­mise and ending with vic­tory), with each book con­taining four "chapters" (major constella­tions).

The correct story embedded in the heav­ens does not start at Aries, the first sign of the pagan zodiac. Rather, the Book of the First Coming starts, fittingly, at Vir­go, the vir­gin. This fact is attested to by “the best authorities,[15] and was preserved, for exam­ple, in the Egyptian temple of Esne, where a sphinx, with the head of a woman and the body of a lion, stands as the punctuation between Virgo and Leo. (‘Sphinx’ can be taken to mean "to bind closely togeth­er", telling us that the end is the beginning — the true subject of Vir­go, the Child of the virgin, is the same as the Lion.

[1]. In J.A. Seiss, The Gospel in the Stars (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, first reprint­ed 1972), p. 150.



[4].Jack H, The Pillars of Heaven, ch. 5.

[5].Smith and Sayce, The Chaldean Account of Genesis, in Seiss, p. 12.

[6].Metaphysics, x. 8.

[7].Excerpts of Theodotus, or Selections from the Prophetic Scriptures, § LV, in ANF, vol. 8, p. 49.

[8].These two quotations cited in Seiss, p. 11.

[9].G. Karch, The Chaldean Star-Bible (1883); quoted in Seiss, p. 182.

[10].Quoted in E.W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars [link to online text] (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publi­ca­tions, 1967; reprinted from the 1893 edi­tion), p. 60.

[11].In Seiss, p. 5.

[12].This information is taken from Bull­in­ger and Seiss. I have in this chapter fol­lowed them very close­ly, and used virtually all of their data. In turn, aside from various antiquarian authors, these scholars mainly used the work of the Arab Albu­mazer (c. 850 ad), and of the Tartar prince Ulugh Beigh (c. 1420 ad), and also the ancient Egyp­tian zodiacs pictured at Dendera and Esne.

[13].Seiss, p. 21.

[14].See my works on chronology, Most Ancient Days and The Days of Brass and Iron.

[15].Seiss, p. 27.


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