Witness of the Stars
E. W. Bullinger
The First Book
The Redeemer (His First Coming)
"The sufferings of Christ"
The Sign Sagittarius
The Redeemer's triumph
This is the concluding chapter
of the first great book of this Heavenly Revelation; and it is occupied wholly
with the triumph of the Coming One, who is represented as going forth
"conquering and to conquer."
The subject is beautifully set
forth in the written Word (Psa 45:3-5)--
sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty,
[Gird Thyself] with Thy glory and Thy majesty,
And in Thy majesty ride propserously,
Because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness;
And Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies;
Whereby the people fall under Thee."
John, in his apocalyptic vision,
sees the same mighty Conqueror going forth. "I saw (he says) a white horse,
and He that sat on him had a bow,...and He went forth conquering and to
conquer" (Rev 6:2).
This is precisely what is
foreshadowed in the star-pictured sign now called by the modern Latin name Sagittarius,
which means the Archer.
The Hebrew and Syriac name of
the sign is Kesith, which means the Archer (as in Genesis 21:20).
The Arabic name is Al Kaus, the arrow. In Coptic it is Pimacre, the
graciousness, or beauty of the coming forth. In Greek it is Toxotes,
the archer, and in Latin Sagittarius.
There are 69 stars in the sign,
viz., five of the 3rd magnitude (all in the bow), nine of the 4th, etc.
The names of the brightest stars
Hebrew, Naim, which means
the gracious one. This is exactly what is said of this Victor in the same
Psalm (45), in the words immediately preceding the quotation above:
poured into Thy lips;
Therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever."
Hebrew, Nehushta, the going
or sending forth.
We see the same in the Arabic
names which have come down to us: Al Naim, the gracious one; Al Shaula, the
dart; Al Warida, who comes forth; Ruchba or rami, the riding of the
An ancient Akkadian name in the
sign is Nun-ki, which means Prince of the Earth.
Again we have the picture of a
Centaur as to his outward form, i.e. a being with two natures. Not now far
down in the south, or connected with His sufferings and sacrifice as man; but
high up, as a sign of the Zodiac itself, on the ecliptic, i.e. in the very path
in which the sun "rejoiceth in his going forth as a strong man."
According to Grecian fable, this
Sagittarius is Cheiron, the chief Centaur; noble in character, righteous
in his dealings, divine in his power.
Such will be the coming Seed of
the woman in His power and glory:
of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness;
Therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy
Psalm 45:6, 7
In the ancient Zodiac of
Denderah he is called (as in Coptic) Pi-maere, i.e. graciousness, beauty of
the appearing or coming forth. The characters under the hind foot
read Knem, which means He conquers.
This is He who shall come forth
like as an arrow from the bow, "full of grace," but "conquering
and to conquer."
In all the pictures he is
similarly represented, and the arrow in his bow is aimed directly at the heart
of the Scorpion.
Thus ARATUS said of Cheiron:
golden stars he stands refulgent now,
And thrusts the scorpion with his bended bow."
In this Archer we see a faint
reflection of Him who shall presently come forth, all gracious, all wise, all
powerful; whose arrows shall be "sharp in the heart of the King's
shoot at them with an arrow;
Suddenly shall they be wounded.
So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves;
All that see them shall flee away.
And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God;
For they shall wisely consider of His doing.
The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in Him;
And all the upright in heart shall glory." Psalm 64:7-10
coming! let Creation
From her groans and travail cease;
Let the glorious proclamation
Hope restore, and faith increase.
Christ is coming,
Come, thou blessed Prince of peace."
This brings us to the first of
the three constellations or sections of this chapter, which takes up this
subject of praise to the Conqueror.
LYRA (The Harp)
Praise prepared for the conqueror
13. Lyra (the
"Praise waiteth for thee, O
God, in Zion" (Psa 65:1). And when the waiting time is over, and the
Redeemer comes forth, then the praise shall be given. "We give Thee thanks,
O Lord God, the Almighty, which art, and which wast, because thou hast taken to
Thee Thy great power, and didst reign" (Rev 11:17, RV). "Let us be
glad and rejoice and give honour unto Him" (Rev 19:7). The Twenty-first
Psalm should be read here, as it tells of the bursting forth of praise on the
going forth of this all-gracious Conqueror.
shall rejoice in Thy strength, O LORD;
And in Thy salvation how greatly shall He rejoice!...
Thine hand shall find out all Thine enemies;
Thy right hand shall find out all that hate thee...
Their fruit shalt Thou destroy from the earth;
And their seed from among the children of men.
For they intended evil against Thee;
They imagined a mischievous device which they are not able to perform,
Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back
(Heb. Margin, "set them as a butt"),
When Thou shalt make ready Thine arrows upon Thy strings
[And shoot them] against the face of them.
Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength;
SO WILL WE SING AND PRAISE THY POWER."
Psalm 21:1, 8, 10-13
Beautifully, then, does the
harp come in here, following upon the going forth of this victorious
Horseman. This Song of the Lamb follows as naturally as does the Song of Moses
in Exodus 15:1--"I will sing unto the LORD, for He hath triumphed
Its brightest star, a, is
one of the most glorious in the heavens, and by it this constellation may be
easily known. It shines with a splendid white lustre. It is called Vega,
which means He shall be exalted. Its root occurs in the opening of the
Song of Moses, quoted above. Is not this wonderfully expressive?
Its other stars, b and g,
are also conspicuous stars, of the 2nd and 4th magnitude. b is called Shelyuk,
which means an eagle (as does the Arabic Al Nesr); g is
called Sulaphat, springing up, or ascending, as praise.
In the Zodiac of Denderah, this
constellation is figured as a hawk or an eagle (the enemy of the serpent) in
triumph. Its name is Fent-kar, which means the serpent ruled.
There may be some confusion
between the Hebrew Nesher, an eagle, and Gnasor, a harp; but there
can be no doubt about the grand central truth, that praise shall ascend up
"as an eagle toward heaven," when "every creature which is in
heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that is in
them," shall send up their universal song of praise: "Blessing, and
honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto
the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen" (Rev 5:13,14).
And for what is all this
wondrous anthem of praise? Listen once again. "Alleluia *: Salvation, and
glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God; for TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS ARE
HIS JUDGMENTS...And again they said Alleluia" (Rev 19:1-3).
blessed hope" before us,
Let no HARP remain unstrung;
Let the coming advent chorus
Onward roll from tongue to tongue,
"Come, Lord Jesus," quickly come.
* This is the
first time that the word "Alleluia" occurs in the New Testament, and
it is praise for judgment executed.
Where is its first occurrence
in the Old Testament? In Psalm 104:35, where we have the very same solemn and
the sinners be consumed out of the earth,
And let the wicked be no more.
Bless thou the LORD, O my soul,
HALLELUJAH (Praise ye the LORD)."
This brings us to--
ARA (The Altar)
Consuming fire prepared for his enemies
14. Ara (the
Here we have an altar or burning
pyre, placed significantly and ominously upside down! with its fires burning and
pointing downwards towards the lower regions, called Tartarus, or the
abyss, or "outer-darkness."
It is an asterism with nine
stars, of which three are of the 3rd magnitude, four of the 4th, etc. It is
south of the Scorpion's tail, and when these constellations were first formed it
was visible only on the very lowest horizon of the south, pointing to the
completion of all judgment in the lake of fire.
In the Zodiac of Denderah we
have a different picture, giving us another aspect of the same judgment. It is a
man enthroned, with a flail in his hand. His name is Bau, the same name
as Hercules has, and means He cometh. It is from the Hebrew Boh,
to come, as in Isaiah 63:1--
"Who is this
that cometh from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah."
This is a coming in judgment, as
is clear from the reason given in verse 4--
"For the day
of vengeance is in Mine heart,
And the year of My redeemed is come.
And I looked, and there was none to help;
And I wondered that there was none to uphold;
Therefore Mine own arm brought salvation,
And My fury, it upheld Me."
Isaiah 63:4, 5
The completion of judgment,
therefore, is what is pictured both by the burning pyre and the Coming One
enthroned, with his threshing instrument.
In Arabic it is called Al
Mugamra, which means the completing, or finishing. The Greeks
used the word Ara sometimes in the sense of praying, but more
frequently in the sense of imprecation or cursing.
This is the curse pronounced
against the great enemy. This is the burning fire, pointing to the completion
of that curse, when he shall be cast into that everlasting fire "prepared
for the devil and his angels." This is the allusion to it written in the
midst of the very Scripture from which we have already quoted, Psalm 21, where
we read in verse 9 (which we then omitted)--
make them as a fiery oven in the time of Thine anger:
The LORD shall swallow them up in His wrath;
And the fire shall devour them."
This brings us to the final
scene, closing up this first great book of the Heavens.
DRACO (The Dragon)
The old serpent, or the Devil, cast down from Heaven
15. Draco (the
Dragon cast down)
Each of the three great books
concludes with this same foreshowing of Apocalyptic truth. The same great enemy
is referred to in all these pictures. He is the Serpent; he is the Dragon;
"the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan" (Rev
12:9). The Serpent represents him as the Deceiver; the Dragon, as the Destroyer.
This First Book concludes
with the Dragon being cast down from heaven.
The Second Book concludes
with Cetus, the Sea Monster, Leviathan, bound.
The Third Book concludes
with Hydra, the Old Serpent, destroyed.
Here, at the close of the First
Book, we see not merely a dragon, but the Dragon cast down! That is the
point of this great star-picture.
No one has ever seen a dragon;
but among all nations (especially in China and Japan), and in all ages, we find
it described and depicted in legend and in art. Both Old and New Testaments
refer to it, and all unite in connecting with it one and the same great enemy of
God and man.
It is against him that the
God-Man--"the Son of God--goes forth to war." It is for him that the
eternal fires are prepared. It is he who shall shortly be cast down from the
heavens preparatory to his completed judgment. It is of him we read, "The
great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which
deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out and his angels 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" (Rev 12:9,10).
It is of him that David sings--
"God is my
king of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth...
Thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces." Psalm 74:12-14
Of him also the Spirit causes
Isaiah to say, "In that day, shall this song be sung in the land of
"In that day
the LORD, with his sore, and great, and strong sword,
Shall punish leviathan the piercing (RV, swift) serpent,
Even leviathan that crooked serpent;
And he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." Isiah 26:1; 27:1
This is exactly what is
foreshadowed by this constellation of Draco. Its name is from the Greek,
and means trodden on, as in the Septuagint of Psalm 91:13--"The
dragon shalt thou trample under feet," from the Hebrew Dahrach, to tread.
In the Zodiac of Denderah it is
shown as a serpent under the fore-feet of Sagittarius, and is named Her-fent,
which means the serpent accursed!
There are 80 stars in the
constellation; four of the 2nd magnitude, seven of the 3rd magnitude, ten of the
The brightest star a (in
one of the latter coils), is named Thuban (Heb.), the subtle. Some
4,620 years ago it was the Polar Star. It is manifest, therefore, that the
Greeks could not have invented this constellation, as is confessed by all modern
astronomers. It is still a very important star in nautical reckonings, guiding
the commerce of the seas, and thus "the god of this world" is
represented as winding in his contortions round the pole of the world, as if to
indicate his subtle influence in all worldly affairs.
The next star, b (in the
head), is called by the Hebrew name Rastaban, and means the head of
the subtle (serpent). In the Arabic it is still called Al Waid,
which means who is to be destroyed.
The next star, g (also in
the head), is called Ethanin, i.e., the long serpent, or dragon.
The Hebrew names of other stars
are Grumian, the subtle; Giansar, the punished enemy. Other (Arabic)
names are Al Dib, the reptile; El Athik, the fraudful; El Asieh, the bowed
And thus the combined testimony
of every star (without a single exception) of each constellation, and the
constellations of each sign, accords with the testimony of the Word of God
concerning the coming Seed of the woman, the bruising of His heel, the crushing
of the serpent's head, "the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which
"From far I
see the glorious day,
When He who bore our sins away,
Will all His majesty display.
A Man of Sorrows
one He was,
No friend was found to plead His cause,
As all preferred the world's applause.
beneath sin's awful load,
For in the sinner's place He stood,
And died to bring him back to God.
But now He waits,
with glory crowned,
While angel hosts His throne surround,
And still His lofty praises sound.
To few on earth
His name is dear,
And they who in His cause appear,
The world's reproach and scorn must bear.
Jesus, Thy name
is all my boast,
And though by waves of trouble tossed,
Thou wilt not let my soul be lost.
Come then, come
quickly from above,
My soul impatient longs to prove,
The depths of everlasting love."