One of the topics of discussion at Our Final Authority is that of God’s creation. This is what prompted this series I’m currently writing. One of our administrators, Pastor John, shared some things on the stars that had such an impact on me! I wanted to spread the blessing with you today.
One of my favorite creations of God is the stars. There are more then 300 references to astronomical objects found in the Bible. Last June, I taught an adult class in VBS on this subject.
The Bible is clear that all creation can teach us of God. The Psalmist teaches that the stars teach that they were created by the Almighty One: Psalms 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” The stars also tell us of our Creator’s character. Psalms 97:6, “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.” Because of the stars telling the story of their Creator, Paul was able to write: Romans 1:20, “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.”
The Bible has much to say about the constellations. The people of biblical days only knew of 48 constellations. Aratus gives the earliest description of these constellations in his poem Phaenomina, 270 B.C. This is the poem that Paul quotes in his sermon on Mars Hill in Acts 17:27, 28, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”
The Greek writer Homer referred to the constellations as early as 1000 B.C. Speaking of his hero Odysseus observing the starry sky as he sets sail,
There viewed the Pleiades and the Northern Team,
And great Orion’s more refulgent beam.
To which around the axel of the sky
Notice the words of Job 9:9, “Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.”
Another interesting constellation is Virgo. The Hebrew word for this constellation is Bethulah, which means virgin. The brightest star in Virgo is Spica, which the Jews call Tsemach, which means branch. This Hebrew word is used in the Old Testament to refer to the Messiah. Jeremiah 23:5, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”
The fact that the Branch is found inside the Virgin is no accident. We know that the Messiah, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Just beside Virgo is Leo the Lion. This should cause our minds to go to Revelation 5:5, “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”
Below Leo is Hydra, the Great Serpent.
Here, again, we should be brought to the book of Revelation 12:9-13, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” The fact that Leo is above Hydra alludes to the fact that Jesus is the victor over Satan. Revelation 20:2, “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,”
The Fool Loses His Belt
In the Bible, the writers mention many of the constellations that are seen in winter. The prophet Amos points our attention to two in particular. “Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.” (Amos 5:8 ).
The constellation Orion is easy to spot because of the star that marks the left foot, Rigel. Rigel is one of the brightest stars in the night sky. This star is actually 21,000 times brighter than our sun, but because of its distance from us, it appears as a dot in the sky.
In the center there are three stars that seem very close together, they are called The Belt of Orion. The star to the right is Alnitak, an Arabic word meaning “the belt.” The star in the center is Alnilam, “the string of pearls.” The star on the left is Mintaka, an Arabic synonym for “belt” or “girdle.”
In ancient times Orion was known to be a giant, a mighty man, or a great hunter. We know that the Greeks knew Orion as a great hunter because that is what Homer called him in The Odyssey. The Arabs thought of Orion as a giant, calling him Al Jabbar, “the giant.”
In the Old Testament, Orion is referred to four times in an astronomical sense. The Jews call him “lesil,” which means fool. This Hebrew word is interesting in that it does not refer to someone who is mentally deficient, but to someone who is ungodly, someone who is rebellious to God. In the book of Proverbs, the fool is referred to as someone who rejects God. Proverbs 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”
In the book of Job, God asks an interesting question, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” (Job 38:31). There are two possible interpretations for the question “or loose the bands of Orion”:
1) This may refer to Orion as being bound in his place in the sky, as a rebellious person is bound in his sins.
2) Or, it could refer to the belt of Orion. The people of that day wore cords as belts. I am amazed that modern astronomers have discovered that the three stars that compose the belt of Orion are moving in such a way as to appear as if the belt has been loosed and is falling off (see diagram). This is a proof to us of the wisdom and power of God.
Thank you, Pastor John, for this wonderful blessing! We just touched upon a few stars and constellations. The universe is vast – endless. Can you just imagine what is in store for us as we seek God in His creation? This is one way to encourage your spirit when you are down.
How wonderous are the stars You’ve made
Your Word revealed in all
A golden nugget we receive
Gazing on them as night falls