THE HEAVENS DECLARE
Our Creator is a God of super-abundant generosity. Look at the universe and the world around you. His generosity is evident. He has given us more than enough air to breathe. He has given us water to waste. He has given us an earth with resources vast and unlimited. We have the moon to stimulate our romantic impulses and to decorate the night sky. In addition to the sun and moon, God has provided the dazzling planets for our wonder. Then He unselfishly filled the shimmering heavens with myriad's and multitudes of countless twinkling stars. He could have given only a few hundred stars, but our super-abundant God MORE than filled the vast entities of space with them.
From time immemorial, man has been fascinated by the beautiful and awesome spectacle of the stars of heaven and has sensed that they tell a tale of might and power far beyond the scope of human reason. Centuries before the birth of Jesus, the sweet singer of Israel penned these words of inspiration and truth: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork" (Ps. 19:1). "Listen," he says with eyes upraised, "the stars are talking!" Can you not picture him now as he gazed upward and watched Orion, the hunter, climb over the hills of Moab on the eastern horizon, followed soon after by his dog, in which shone brilliant Sirius, the most luminous star in the heavens. Poet and plowman, astronomer and artisan, civilized and savage have alike agreed that there is a testimony in the fact of the heavens that reason cannot refute.
Long milleniums ago, God said, "Let there be light!" With that command a universe of raging infernos called stars came into existence, and have been transferring their energies into limitless energy-containing systems ever since. Even today, the seeming myriads of stars and nebulae continue to be a breathtaking and inspiring panoply. When you go out and look up to the sky on a clear dark night, when the heavens look like dark blue velvet, and the stars like diamonds, it seems as though there were no end to the number of twinkling points of light. You would think that it was quite impossible to count the starry hosts, and that it would be just about as easy to count the grains of sand on the seashore. Really, however, there are not really so many stars to be seen with the unaided eye as you would imagine. They have often been counted, and the result is that the number of stars that an ordinary eye can see at any one time is somewhere about 2,000. If you have very keen eyes, you may be able to see another 500 or so; but there are not many people who can see 2,500 stars, and if you can see 2,000 you do fairly well.
By contrast, the Bible states in Jer. 33:22 that "the host of heaven CANNOT BE NUMBERED." During the thousand's of years before Galileo's invention of the telescope, such a statement was considered to be either false or at least a gross exaggeration. The stars uncountable? The universe, they said, was too small to contain that many stars! However, using such giant telescopes as the "200 inch" on Mount Palomar in California, astronomers have estimated that there are billions of billions of stars in the visible universe. More specifically, astronomers estimate that their number is equal to 1,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 or one sextillion. Is this an uncountable number? That is the number that can be seen through the telescopes! But as far as man can see the universe stretches on and on into infinity- he has never discovered its outer perimeter. We therefore conclude that the term "uncountable" is indeed a very appropriate description of the number of stars in the universe. Yet in Ps. 147:4 we read that "GOD telleth the number of the stars; HE calleth them all by their names." God is not only able to number the stars- these billions of billions of blazing suns- but He calls each of them by name--He has ascribed a nature, a power, a purpose to each!
To get some idea of the vastness of the universe...the star known as "Alpha Hercules" is more than 2,400,000,000 miles across. It is so huge that our own sun, together with the earth (at its distance of about 93 million miles from the sun) could be placed 25 times IN A ROW across the middle of this super giant star. To fly through this star from one end to the other (if it were possible!) at 25,000 miles per hour your rocket would take 11 years! What distances! What a GOD! Psalm 19 well says, "The heavens declare the glory of God." The stars shine on in their glory as in the beginning. Milleniums and cycles have gone by, kingdoms have arisen and slowly passed away. Yet the stars' brightness is not dimmed, nor their force abated. The dew of youth still seems fresh upon them. No faltering motion reveals the decrepitude of age. These shine on in undiminished glory through all the ages of time.
THE HEAVENS SPEAK
During those star-studded nights above the plains of Judea, David looked into the heavens and there beheld the vast glittering band of stars making up our Milky Way. He was awed and knew there had to be boundless power, intelligence, and purpose behind it all He was transfixed. He so identified with that purpose that it became his passion. Everywhere he looked he could see the stamp of the divine Creator. He exclaimed in words of inspiration that sprang up from within his spirit: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world (Ps. 19:1-4).
The italicized words "there is" and "where" in verse three are not in the original manuscripts. While the King James Version says, "There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard," the translators added these words supposedly to improve the meaning of the text. The marginal reference reads, "Without these their voice is heard." In other words, although there is no audible voice or sound, the message is so clear that all may recognize it. Rotherham correctly translates the passage, "There is no speech, and there are no words- unheard is their voice! Yet through all the earth hath gone forth their voice, and to the ends of the world their sayings."
What did David know of the heavens and how they express the glory of God? What does David mean when he says that every day speaks to him and to us? What does he mean when he declares that every night is a showing forth of knowledge? To whom does he refer when he says that there is no place on earth where the language or speech of man is spoken that "their voice is not heard"? Surely there is something more indicated here than a mere wonder on David's part evoked by the immensity and grandeur of the star-lit sky When we read the whole passage and mark its structure, and note the words employed, we are emphatically told that the heavens contain a revelation from God; they prophesy, they teach knowledge, they tell of God's glory, and set forth His purposes and counsels. The heavens do not speak English, yet they speak to every Englishman and every American. The heavens do not speak French, but they speak to every Frenchman. They do not speak Spanish, yet they speak to every Spaniard. They speak in every language to every people. And they speak and reveal the majesty of God's great plan and purposes to His creation. Upon the blue sapphire of the firmament is spread a sheet of royal paper written all over with the wisdom and power of God. This book of creation is not sold in bookstores, but it is to be read by everyone who lifts his eyes up to heaven.
The Companion Bible tells us that all the verbs in the second half of Ps. 19 are ASTRONOMICAL in nature. Furthermore, it points out that "declare" means to "rehearse" and the Hebrew verb implies repetition, thus indicating to "continually rehearse." "Uttereth" means to "continually pour forth, to tell forth, or PROPHESY." "Line" means "rule or direction." "Words" is from a Hebrew word used most often in the book of Job and means "instruction." A free translation goes like this: "The heavens continually rehearse the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day pours forth, tells forth, and prophesies, and night unto night shows, imparts and teaches knowledge. There is no speech, and there are no words- their voice is unheard- yet their rule and direction is gone out through all of the earth, and their words, their teaching, their instruction to the end of the world." Yes, precious friend of mine, the starry heavens are constantly telling and prophesying their message to man. They reveal marvelous knowledge, and their testimony is universally heard, yet without a spoken word. All this indicates something far beyond the simple wonder of the stars as dazzling objects twinkling majestically against the inky blackness of the night sky.
May God almighty grant the spirit of wisdom and revelation unto all who read these lines. PICTURES speak in every language, and this significant fact was recognized by the Psalmist as in spirit he stated that the heavens declare a Divine meaning, in universal language, to all people, everywhere. Almighty Lord! in whom dwelleth the wisdom and knowledge of the universe, may our hearts be filled with the holy assurance that the starry hosts shining in the night skies above us are like a glorious PICTURE BOOK which God has placed wide open above us. It is full of wonderful things, glorious beyond words, for us to see and learn about Himself and His great and stupendous plan for us. Truly we are "made in His image and likeness" (Gen. 1: 27), and are destined to "grow up into Him in all things" (Eph. 4:15), developing the same qualities of character and the same capacity of wisdom and know]edge and power as He Himself possesses. The star-studded heavens at night and the blazing sun shining by day are in fact GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY visible from every land and nation over the world. Over the whole earth and from ships on the far-flung seas people can peer at this marvelous book and seek to discover the lost meanings now almost forgotten by mankind. Day by day and night by night they beam down upon us from the Father of lights- our heavenly Father' s Lesson Book-describing His character and the unspeakably glorious plan of creation and redemption which from the dawn of history He has ordained for the world.
THE SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS
Important perspectives are founded in the starry host of heaven, and, scripturally rooted in Gen. 1:14. Some years ago our daughter took an aptitude test to discover her career abilities, or what she is best at. She came across questions that were expressed in this way: "A group of four things are set before you; three of them have something in common and one of them seems out of place. Find the one that does not belong." How about a little test right now. In the first chapter of the Bible we read, "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also" (Gen. 1:16). Again, "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years' (Gen. 1:14). Of the four things set before us in this verse did not one of them seem strangely out of place? Some one is asking, "What four?" Notice again: "...and let them be for SIGNS, and for SEASONS, and for DAYS, and YEARS." Does one of them seem out of place? It would be obvious to everyone with even an elementary knowledge of astronomy that the heavenly bodies have a great deal to say about our YEARS, our DAYS and our SEASONS. But what about the relationship of the celestial bodies to that word SIGNS? How are they SIGNS? What is a SIGN? Perhaps the best way to answer our question is by answering another question first. What precisely is the purpose of a "sign"? Is it not to bear a message? To give information? To tell a story which is of importance to the one who put up the sign? If so, then let us observe that this verse is saying that God placed the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens to tell a story, to declare a word of utmost importance.
The word for "signs" as found in Gen. 1:14 is OTH in the Hebrew. A sign is a mark to indicate something greater than the mark itself. Musical notes are symbols, or signs, to the pianist sitting at his instrument. If the pianist interprets the notes together in proper sequence, then the audience hears what the creator of the music intended when he wrote the composition. Likewise, the heavens are signs, as notes on a sheet of music. If we interpret the signs in the heavens correctly, then we can understand and appreciate the symphony of God's creation from the beginning to the end. Signs in the heavens can also be compared to notes of music in another way. As the pianist plays a concerto, the music, like a constant revelation, is heard in its proper sequence. Similarly, "signs" in Gen. 1:14 mean that the heavens are the unfurling of God's revelation to man. In other words, the heavens tell the story of things to come--they PROPHESY!
To SPIRITUALLY comprehend the creative record, we must
admit that God intended these orbs of light as expressions of some special
teaching; something different and higher far than what is naturally deductible
from them. Stop there for just a minute. Ask yourself what the inspired Psalmist
means when he says that every day SPEAKS to him and to us. What does he mean
when he declares that every night is a showing forth of KNOWLEDGE? From the dawn
of the ages God almighty, omniscient, and immutable, charted the course of ALL
THINGS. The heavens in their grandeur and majestic purposes were all designed as
a fiery script by the moving finger of God. The increasing light and revelation
of each one was planned with infinite care to display its own part in the
spectrum of eternal truth that heaven and earth and things under the earth might
rejoice together in the [...missing end of sentence... -- T]
ENDS OF THE AGES BECAUSE OF THE EVERLASTING FULLNESS OF HIM who everywhere fills the universe with Himself. Glory to His name!
THE PICTURES IN THE HEAVENS
It is my deep conviction that these "signs" were designed as a pictorial presentation of the great plan and processes of God in creation and redemption--a symbolic portrayal of the grand drama of history as it unfolds through the dealings of God with mankind throughout the vast ages of time. Are there indeed "pictures" in the heavens? There exists in the ancient writings of virtually all nations on earth a description of the major stars or constellations in the heavens which are known as the "signs of the Zodiac," of which there are twelve. Historians have delved into the history and origin of the Zodiac and none has discovered its beginning. Whatever source we go to--whether it be Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Persian, Arabic, Chaldean--the same signs were held throughout the world--and the farther back we go, they are always there! It predates all other sciences, all political systems, and all religions. It is older than the Flood, the Great Wall of China, the Egyptian Pyramids, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Law of Moses, the temples of Greece, the tablets of ancient Babylon, or the Ark of the Covenant. Regardless of how far you go back, there is a remarkable phenomenon: All nations had the same twelve signs, representing the same twelve things, placed in the same order. Archaeologists, historians and antiquarians have searched the dustiest libraries, uncovered the oldest tablets, ciphered the most difficult hieroglyphics, and have failed to discover how it is that in nations all over the world the same signs exist. The Persian and Arabian traditions all ascribe the Zodiac to Adam, Seth and Enoch. Josephus in his writings asserts that the Zodiac originated in the family of Seth, the righteous line from Adam to Noah. He also writes that Adam, Seth and Enoch made two pillars of stone on which they described the whole prophecy of the stars. This they did to preserve this revelation from being destroyed in the flood (Book 1, Chap. 1-3).
Just what is the Zodiac? It is a band of stars that appears to encircle the earth. These stars are clustered in groups called CONSTELLATIONS. The Zodiac consists of 12 divisions--12 constellations or groups of stars--and each group is perceived in the shape of men, women, animals, monsters, objects, etc. Each group bears a name and is called a "sign". These constellations change their positions in the heavens with the change of the seasons. If the stars could be seen in the daytime the sun would appear to move through a series of constellations, entering a new one each month. This "highway" through the sky is called the Zodiac. Modern atlases list them in the following order: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.
Kenneth Fleming has written: "The word 'zodiac' comes from the Greek 'zodiakos,' meaning A CIRCLE. It is often assumed that the connection is with animals (living creatures, from the Greek 'zoe', to live, and in English 'zoo', etc.). However, the root meaning of 'zodiakos' has nothing to do with living creatures, but instead comes from a primitive root 'zoad', denoting A WAY or A PATH or GOING BY STEPS. In this connection it is used of the way along which the sun appears to move through the stars in the course of twelve months. This course is repeated every year as the apparent position of the sun returns to almost the exact spot that it occupied on the same date a year before. So the path through the sky in which the sun travels (or appears to travel) is called the zodiac and is divided into twelve segments" --end quote.
GOD AND THE ZODIAC
Let's turn our attention to a little cluster of stars in our own galaxy sometimes called the Seven Sisters, or the Pleiades. If you have a good pair of binoculars, you will see not seven stars, but dozens and with an average telescope, hundreds of stars. Now, some groupings or constellations of stars are actually vast distances apart, but appear as a group because they are located in a common direction of the sky. But there are other star groupings which are actual star clusters, and the Pleiades form such a cluster. Now notice a very interesting text in the Bible. It is a remarkable fact that it's in the book of Job, which is the oldest book in the Bible, going back to approximately 2150 B.C., which is before the Patriarch Abraham was called; 650 years before Moses and the Law; over 1,100years before Homer wrote his Odyssey and Iliad it is in the book of Job that we have reference to this Stellar Revelation. In chapter 38 God finally breaks in and speaks to Job and his false comforters. He says to them, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" (Job 38:3].-33).
We see here a reference to the constellations of Orion, Pleiades, and Arcturus. Also in the book of Job there is reference to Cetus, the sea monster (Leviathan), and to Draco, the great dragon. And remember -- this is GOD speaking! And the almighty Creator speaks of the "sweet influences" of Pleiades, the "bands" of Orion, the "seasons" of Mazzaroth, the "ordinances" of the heavens, and the "dominion" of these constellations in the earth! Each of these powers and influences of the constellations over the earth are indicated by God Himself as FACT! I would draw your attention to Job 38:32 wherein we have one of the most unusual key words in all of scripture. The word itself is found only in Job 38:32 where Yahweh asks His upright servant, "Canst thou bring forth MAZZAROTH in his season?" Mazzaroth is a Hebrew word which means THE CONSTELLATIONS OF THE ZODIAC! Blessed be God! the scriptures are not silent concerning the antiquity and authenticity of the Zodiac and its constellations. And God did not leave it to others to speak for Him--He authenticated them Himself. Long before the mysteries of Babylon, the myths of ancient Greece, or the gods and goddesses of the pagans, God almighty, omniscient and immutable acknowledged His glorious plan and power set forth in the heavens! The Amplified Bible reads, "Can you bind the chains of the cluster of stars called Pleiades, or loose the cords of the constellations of Orion? Can you lead forth the SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC in their season? Or can you guide the stars of the Bear with her young? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish THEIR RULE upon the earth?" The constellations of the Zodiac are also mentioned in Job 9:9, Isa. ]3:10. Amos 5:8, etc.
The Zodiac is the earliest revelation to mankind from his Creator. Each of the twelve signs pictorially represents a prophetic event--an aspect of the progressive unfolding of the dealings, plan and purpose of God in the grand scheme of creation and redemption. Each sign portrays a dimension of SPIRITUAL REALITY wrought out, first of all, in the life of our blessed Forerunner and Head, Jesus Christ; secondly, in the life of each individual believer; and finally, collectively and corporately in the people of God.
For example, the first sign is Virgo. This group of stars is associated with the picture of a young woman with an ear of wheat in one hand and a branch in the other hand. In Hebrew she is called BETHULAH, which means "virgin," just as VIRGO, from Latin, means "the virgin." The wheat and the branch in her hands denote fruitfulness- offspring. It will not be difficult for any man to see that this is a picture right out of the Bible--A VIRGIN BRINGING FORTH A SEED! In that long ago Eden the almighty Father spoke the first promise of a Redeemer to the erring man and his wife when He gave the blessed assurance, "And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between THY SEED and HER SEED; IT shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). This "seed of the woman" is the first prophecy of the coming into the world of the Saviour who would "bruise the head of the serpent." Historically this is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, living, dying, and rising again in triumph over death, hell and the grave, opening up the wellspring of eternal salvation to all who would believe. Spiritually it is the Son of God birthed in us, brought forth unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ out of our own "virgin" relationship with God.
"For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present YOU as a CHASTE VIRGIN to Christ" (II Cor. 11:2). To be a virgin means to be pure, undefiled and separated unto our Lord. God is creating the desire in a people in this hour to be truly VIRGIN in their desires toward Him. We have known what it is to be conformed to the course of THIS WORLD. Then we have known what it is to trust Christ as Saviour while remaining entangled in all the wretched defilement of a corrupt babylonish church system. But God is calling forth in these days a glorious body of Christ who, because of the quickening of the Holy Spirit, is desiring to be VIRGIN--separated only and completely unto her glorious Lord, unto intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Him. How lightly we sometimes take the purposes of God in us! It is one thing to be washed in the blood, freed from all our past sins, and quite another thing to truly be VIRGIN in our desires to keep ourselves only unto the Lord for union with Him. As we follow on to know Him separation comes from everything of the flesh, the world, and the devil, and from every vestige of entanglement with the harlot system of religious Babylon, the abomination of the earth.
Glorious indeed and full of wisdom and creative design is the fact that your relationship to Christ as a "virgin" is ordained to forerun your manifestation to the world as a "son". As in the natural, so in the spiritual; the virgin relationship bears the feminine characteristics of modesty, gentleness, tenderness, love, sensitiveness, dependence and obedience, whereas the sonship relationship bears the characteristics of the masculine nature Aggressiveness, boldness, strength, valor, authority, power and dominion are among the traits of the masculine sex. Hence the Lord calls the CHURCH a virgin, but to the OVERCOMER He says, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My SON. To HIM will I give POWER over the nations: and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron. To him that OVERCOMETH will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with MY FATHER in His throne" (Rev. 21:7; 2:26-27; 3:21). The mighty, eternal and indisputable truth is that THE S-O-N IS ALWAYS BORN OF THE V-I-R-G-I-N! Just as the blessed firstborn Son was born of a virgin, so is it through the vehicle of a PURE AND UNDEFILED SOUL (virgin) that the MIGHT AND DOMINION OF THE SPIRIT (son) is manifested, expressed and revealed unto creation. This is a true principle in God that I hope no earnest saint of God who reads these lines will miss! I cannot emphasize too forcefully, or too carefully, that the power and glory of SONSHIP will never come forth from the man or woman of God who has not first become truly VIRGIN in their soul life.
Now since we have seen that HISTORICALLY the virgin bringing forth the Son is Jesus born of Mary, the virgin of Nazareth; and SPIRITUALLY it is the Son of God (spirit) birthed (brought into manifestation) out of the transformed life through the virgin soul; let us also see that PROPHETICALLY it points to the manchild of Revelation 12, that glorious company of the corporate, many-membered Christ, the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD for whom all creation is in travail and who shall deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption.
The risen and ascended Lord descended in a vision of glory on the lonely isle of Patmos, and there meeting His startled disciple, John, gave him a communication concerning the Church, commanding him to write it in a scroll and send it to the seven Churches in Asia. With wondering eyes John stood transfixed as in spirit he saw a great wonder in heaven, "A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And she bought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne" (Rev. 12:1-2,5).
As John beheld and pondered this divine mystery, soon thereafter he beheld another wonder altogether as startling as the first. "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy...and the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev. 17: 1-5).
"Come hither; I will show unto thee..." These words take on new depth of meaning when we understand that in the book of Revelation the word "come" always signifies AN INVITATION TO REVELATION. The whore and the sun-clad woman are two women; the invitation goes forth to come and see by the spirit what they mean; and I do not hesitate to tell you that it requires a REVELATION FROM GOD to see either! The Church of Christ is called a MYSTERY. She is presented as a virgin. She is called a bride. Finally, she is presented as a city, the New Jerusalem, the city of peace and righteousness and divine order. This scarlet clad woman is called a MYSTERY. She is not a virgin, she is an harlot. She is not a promised wife, she is the paramour and mistress of the kings of the earth. Finally, she is that great city which is called Babylon, the city of confusion and filthiness and the denial of divine order. As to Babylon, John adds, "When I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I WILL TELL THEE THE MYSTERY OF THE WOMAN...the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. The waters are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues...and the woman which thou sawest is that great city (a corporate people), which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:7).
These prophecies present two broadly contrasted WOMEN, identified with two broadly contrasted CITIES, one reality being in each case, doubly represented, as a WOMAN, and as a CITY; the harlot and Babylon are one; the glorious sun-clad woman and the heavenly Jerusalem are one. May the Spirit of the living God enlighten the eyes of all who read and give understanding, giving abundantly of the spirit of wisdom and revelation that each may be enabled to discern and easily differentiate between that VIRGIN CHURCH without spot or wrinkle, which Jesus Christ is preparing for Himself, and that filthy HARLOT SYSTEM, full of names of blasphemy, with her multiplied sects and denominations, who seduces the inhabitants of the world with the unspeakable lie that she is, herself, the bride of Christ. One would certainly think that God's people would respond to the invitation to revelation whereby the Spirit says, "COME HITHER, and I will show you," and that they would look with anointed eyes and readily see the difference between the virgin and the harlot, but such is not the case. Would God that all men could now see the hidden mystery of Christ and the Church! Would God that all men could see the hidden mystery of the virgin sun-clad woman who delivers the man child! Would God that all men could see that this hidden mystery has nothing to do with that tradition-ridden system which all men everywhere believe to be THE CHURCH.
Three are three companies. The Scarlet-Clad Woman (harlot), the Sun-Clad Woman (virgin) and the Manchild (sons of God). Some precious people, because they have separated from some Babylonish denomination and come out of the church systems SUPPOSE that this was the "mother church" birthing them into sonship. This, my beloved, is WRONG! The "mother" of the manchild is NOT THE HARLOT CHURCH SYSTEM but that VIRGIN CHURCH made up exclusively of a people clothed with the glory of Christ (sun), crowned with the stars of God's governmental authority, and having the cold, imitative, reflective light (moon) of ceremony, ritual, tradition and doctrine put under foot. When the Spirit calls, "Come out of her, My people" this is not His call to sons. This is His call urging a people to come out of the defilement's of Babylon and be CLEANSED--that they might by the washing of regeneration become a VIRGIN unto Christ. And it is this VIRGIN COMPANY that shall deliver to this sin-cursed world a MANCHILD, a MALE CHILD, a full redemption company of saints, overcomers, partakers of the divine nature, grown up into the fullness of Christ, filled with His pure and holy nature, embued with His glorious mind, invested with His omnipotent authority and power, the many-membered "seed" of the many-membered "woman" which shall "bruise the head of the serpent" as he conquers death, dethrones Satan, blesses and rules the nations and liberates the whole vast groaning creation from the bondage of sin, sorrow, corruption and death. And should some unenlightened reader still entertain the mistaken notion that Jesus Christ alone is the "seed of the woman" who "bruises the head of the serpent" I would point you to the wonderful promise of the Lord Jesus Himself through His apostle Paul, "And the God of peace shall BRUISE SATAN UNDER Y-O-U-R FEET shortly" (Rom. 16:20). Jesus is the Head of that promised seed, even as we are the body.
Aratus, in 270 B.C., in one of the lines of his poem says, "Beneath Bootes' feet the virgin seek." This is a reference to the constellation Virgo, and everywhere in every language, it is very clear that is not merely a woman, but a virgin. On the Zodiac she is bound beneath the feet of the constellation Bootes. In one hand she holds a branch and in the other hand a sheaf of wheat. As the spirit of revelation and understanding floods our minds, we are left without question as to the meaning of all of this. Our Lord Jesus said, "I am the vine, YE are the BRANCHES: He that abideth in me and I in him, the same BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT" (Jn. 15:5). A number of times in the scripture the many-membered body of Christ is called "the Branch": "Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH" (Zech. 6:12). So we have a two-fold testimony: the virgin is going to bring forth the Branch which will be the Seed of the woman; and also, I think, a confirmatory of this, that the brightest star in Virgo is called A1 Zimach, which means in Arabic, "the branch"--a picture of the coming of Christ and the sons of God!
It is a most blessed thing that the word "seed" is used of the Redeemer. Why did the Lord tell the ancient serpent that the SEED of the woman would bruise his head? Why did He use the word seed? Why did He not say simply that the man who should come from the woman would bruise the serpent's head? But it was to be "the seed," the seed of the woman. The truth is that seed is not only the product of some other life before it, but seed is also that which REPRODUCES ITSELF and its kind many fold from generation to generation. What the Lord was really saying is this: When men would see Jesus the Saviour come forth into the world from the body of the virgin Mary, at that time they would see only Jesus the Christ, but there would be more, MUCH MORE to Christ than what men would see in that day. A multitude as the sand of the sea and the stars of heaven was to follow in His likeness, born of the same seed, matured into the same image and stature, who would be the "sons of God" even as He is a Son of God, and these would not be merely many sons, but many sons to form ONE CHRIST, each one having the seed of life in himself. Jesus Himself prophesied of this "many-membered seed" when He said, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (Jn. 12:24).
My hope is that as you go out and look at the starry skies above, you will be impressed anew and afresh. As we proceed with this series, you will become amazed at the God who hath writ on high these things for all the world to see. For surely His voice hath gone unto the ends of the earth, and the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are plainly seen, as God has placed these constellations which He brings forth with His own hand in its season, pictures of the great creative and redemptive plan of God wrought out through the ages. Can we not see by the Holy Spirit that God has given from the very beginning, the story of His salvation from which all ancient mythologies and ancient traditions have come. They are describing the salvation that would be wrought by Christ Jesus and ministered through His body of sons, which was given by God to Adam in the Garden of Eden. The very beginning of the revelation of Jesus Christ to the world is called the PROTO EVANGELIUM, or the first evangel, the first Gospel, which was that the Seed of the woman would destroy the seed of the serpent. "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" (Rom. 1:20). Yes, the heavens declare the glory of God! Their words, their teaching, their instruction, their message go into all the That message is found in the star-pictures, the gallery of the heavens which God gave.
Someone says, "But isn't the Zodiac PAGAN? Isn't it the basis of heathen astrology and associated with the false gods and goddesses of Babylon and Greece?" My brother and sister, the Zodiac indeed BECAME corrupted, as the hand of sinful man ever corrupts every blessed thing that comes forth from the hand of God pure, holy and undefiled. As I have pointed out, the Zodiac pre-dates Babylon and Greece and all the gods and mythologies of the pagans. There can be no question but that the Gospel glows in these heavenly constellations with all the glory of the stars themselves. Every sign and symbol, with the progressive unfolding of their wisdom and truth, is deeply rooted in the pages of God's other divine witness- the holy scriptures. It is evident that after the original meaning of the constellations became lost, the nations in their ignorance invented stories and meanings from their imaginations. The heathen, in their blindness, could not understand the celestial story and did not know how to interpret the foreshadowing. But in the light of God' s revelation in the scriptures, and through Christ and the quickening of the Holy Spirit of Truth, we are now able to understand the meaning of it all.
It is true that astrology uses the signs of the Zodiac in a corrupted form and on a lower plane, but it is not true that astrology invented them or originated them. Most of the error in the religious realms is merely the high and holy truth of God brought down to a lower level, understood carnally rather than spiritually. The failures and sins of men do not disannul the truth of God, neither do their misuses and perversions of His gifts disprove their divine source or holy intent. The perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the blinding darkness of static creeds, dogmas, ritual, ceremony, and tradition comprising the abominations of the harlot church system does not prove Jesus of Nazareth an imposter nor the testimony of His holy apostles and prophets undivine or untrue. And if the ancients in like manner have perverted these primeval records in the stars, and turned their portrayal of God's beautiful plan of redemption into an instrument of damning superstition, and developed a bloody paganism out of a primitive revelation, what is it except the depravity of the carnal mind, but by no means discrediting the wisdom and love and glory of God in the divine original?
The MAZZAROTH--the signs of the Zodiac--are bought forth each night by the skillful hand of God. These constellations were sprinkled by His hand across the sky as He garnished the heaven's and created the figures which we now know as the figures of the Zodiac. They tell a glorious tale of creation and redemption, a glorious revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has written this with His own hand; He has created the stars; He has named and numbered and ordered them. As there are twelve Patriarchs and twelve tribes of Israel and twelve apostles of the Lamb and twelve gates and foundations in the New Jerusalem, so there are twelve chapters in the celestial story-book. The WORD which begins in SPIRIT, in the invisible realm, was spoken to create the "things which are made" and to leave these created things as a visible testimony that the natural man may find God, and to call men, as the prophets did, to the knowledge of God and the abundance of life, glory, and victory in Him. The reality that lies behind what is commonly known today as horoscopes and behind the common signs of the Zodiac is an original revelation designed by God --a revelation not of pagan mythology or superstitious powers, but of the wonderful truths of God's grand and glorious plan of the ages through His anointed Christ, written in the very stars of heaven. In these twelve celestial signs we have enshrined for us like jewels in a precious display, the twelve great heavenly laws or principles which we are to pass through and master while we walk 'our fore-ordained path on this planet. Each one of the twelve signs embodies a Kingdom of Heaven principle taught in symbol and ritual under the Old Testament administration. It points to a wonderful progression as we begin in Genesis with the promised seed of the woman (Virgo) and end in the book's Revelation with LEO, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah! Just as the sun passes through each of the twelve signs in the course of a year, so must we experientially partake of the reality of each sign in our progressive transformation into His likeness.
Do you know that one reason God's children do not hunger and thirst after righteousness and follow on to be conformed into the image of the Son, is because they have not taken the steps that went before? With the things of God, there is a progression just as there is in any school; and if we do not take the first steps, we shall not take the last steps. Every lesson we skip or neglect, we shall have to go back and learn before we shall be able to go on; for every advance step is a foundation for the next advance step. The reason that many of God's children have never advanced into higher realms in the Spirit is because they have not taken the steps as they came to them. They have not perfectly endured or appropriated that which God called them to pass through, in order that they might reach this place of perfection and glory and power in Him. Some of God' s people try to leap into the full strength and dominion of Leo; but if they have this experience granted them, it is only when they have taken the first steps of cleansing, death to self, judgment, obedience, overcoming, praise, etc. set forth under the signs that go before. Ah, this is the Zodiac- the WAY, the PATH, the journey into the fullness of God BY STEPS!
We have often chuckled over the humorous predicament of the captain of a small sailing vessel who made a voyage with one green hand. Alert and willing, this embryonic sailor was induced to steer the schooner the first night at sea. Before retiring to his cabin below, the captain pointed to a star and said to his amateur helper, "Keep that star right in front of your mast and you will be on the course. If anything happens call me." Some time later he was awakened by a pounding on the deck and he hastily arose to see what the trouble might be. As he thrust his head up the companionway, the inexperienced sailor called buoyantly, "I say, captain, pick me out another star, we passed that one !"
There have perhaps been other people both before this man and since, who thought that they had gone beyond the signs and portents that God had set for their guidance, but like this simple fellow, they were merely off their course. If men do follow the stars, they have guides that never waver. They mark the highway back to Father's house, back to the throne-room from whence we came, onward and upward into God. Praise His wonderful name!
THE TWELVE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC DEPICTING GOD'S PLAN AND PROCESS OF REDEMPTION
1. VIRGO, the Virgin: A young woman bearing a branch in her right hand and an ear of corn in her left. The "seed" of the woman is to bring the Saviour. Christ (spirit) birthed out of the virgin soul. The sons of God brought forth from the sun-clad woman, the virgin bride of Christ. As Mary brought forth her first-born Son while still a virgin, so the virgin bride brings forth the manchild company before her ultimate consummation of marriage.
3. SCORPIO, the Scorpion: the figure of a gigantic, poisonous, and deadly insect, with its tail and sting uplifted in anger, as if striking. The sting of sin and death via the carnal mind that infects every man.
4. SAGITTARIUS, the Archer: the figure of a horse with the head of a man with a drawn bow and arrow pointed at the Scorpion. Christ coming into the life as Warrior, conquering and to conquer. The commencement of the process of overcoming.
5. CAPRICORNUS, the Goat: the figure of a goat sinking down in death, with the hinder part of its body terminating in the vigorous tail of a fish. Redemption through death and resurrection. Life out of death. The fellowship of His suffering leading to the power of His resurrection.
6. AQUARIUS, the Water-bearer: the figure of a man with a large urn, the contents of which he is in the act of pouring out in a great stream from the sky. The Sent One who would pour out waters of blessing, the life of the Spirit on the earth in the former and latter rain. Rivers of Living Water from the innermost part of our being. The outflow of His life.
7- PISCES, the Fishes: the figures of two large fish in the act of swimming. Christ, Head and body, the two fish that would be multiplied, a symbol of God' s grace going out to all the world.
8. ARIES, the Ram or Lamb: the figure of a strong sheep, with powerful curved horns, lying down in easy composure, and looking out in conscious strength over the field around it. The Lamb in the midst of the throne; the nature of the Lamb perfected in the enChristed, overcoming all things.
9. TAURUS, the Bull: the figure of a powerful bull, in the attitude of rushing and pushing forward with great energy. Christ coming in judgment, as a refiner's fire. The righteous judgments of Cod committed to the saints of the Most High.
10. GEMINI, the Twins: two human figures closely united. The Son and the sons. The King of kings and Lord of lords. The lords of the Lord and the kings of the King. Christ reigning in and through His body.
11. CANCER, the Crab: the figure of a crab, in the act of taking and holding on with its strong pincer claws. The power of the Kingdom of God. The glory of being "in Christ." The little flock secure in Him attaining the goal of His fullness.
12. LEO, the Lion: the figure of a great rampant lion, leaping forth to rend, with his feet over the writhing body of Hydra, the Serpent, which is in the act of fleeing. The Lion of the tribe of Judah prevails. The Serpent defeated. Christ in us is Victor. The Serpent flees. The battle ends. Victory is secure!