The Witness of
E. W. Bullinger
The First Book
(His First Coming)
"The sufferings of Christ"
The First Book is
occupied with the PERSON of the Coming One. It covers the whole ground, and
includes the conflict and the victory of the Promised Seed, but with special
emphasis on His Coming. The book opens with the promise of His coming, and it
closes with the Dragon cast down from heaven.
The Sign Virgo
The Promised Seed of the woman
1. Virgo (the
Here is the commencement of all
prophecy in Genesis 3:15, spoken to the serpent: "I will put enmity between
thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head,
and thou shalt bruise His heel." This is the prophetic announcement which
the Revelation in the heavens and in the Book is designed to unfold and develop.
It lies at the root of all the ancient traditions and mythologies, which are
simply the perversion and corruption of primitive truth.
VIRGO is represented as a woman
with a branch in her right hand, and some ears of corn in her left hand.
Thus giving a two-fold testimony of the Coming One.
The name of this sign in the
Hebrew is Bethulah, which means a virgin, and in the Arabic a
branch. The two words are connected, as in Latin--Virgo, which means a
virgin; and virga, which means a branch (Vulg. Isa 11:1).
Another name is Sunbul, Arabic, an ear of corn.
In Genesis 3:15 she is presented
only as a woman; but in later prophecies her nationality is defined as being of
the stock of Israel, the seed of Abraham, the line of David; and, further, she
is to be a virgin. There are two prominent prophecies of her and her seed: one
is connected with the first coming in incarnation, Isaiah 7:14 (quoted in
virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
And shall call his name Immanuel."
The other is connected with His
second coming, leaping over the sufferings and this present interval of His
rejection, and looking forward to His coming in glory and judgment, Isaiah 9:6,
7 (quoted in Luke 2:11 and 1 :32, 33).
"For unto us
a child is born,
Unto us a son is given; *
And the government shall be upon His shoulder;
And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government there shall be no end.
Upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom,
To order it, and to establish it
With judgment and with justice
From henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
* Here, the fact of
His humiliation, together with this long period of His rejection, is leaped
over, and the prophecy passes on at once--over at least a period
of 1893 years--to this "glory which should follow."
It is difficult to separate the
Virgin and her Seed in the prophecy; and so, here, we have first the sign VIRGO,
where the name points to her as the prominent subject; while in the first of the
three constellations of this sign, where the woman appears again, the name COMA
points to the child as the great subject.
Virgo contains 110 stars,
viz., one of the 1st magnitude, six of the 3rd, ten of the 4th, etc.
ARATUS thus sings of them:
Bootes feet the Virgin seek,
Who carries in her hand a glittering spike.
Over her shoulder there revolves a star
In the right wing, superlatively bright;
It rolls beneath the tail, and may compare
With the bright stars that deck the Greater Bear.
Upon her sholder one bright star is borne,
One clasps the circling girdle of her loins,
One at her bending knee; and in her hand
Glitters that bright and golden Ear of Corn.
Thus the brightest star in VIRGO
(a) * has an ancient name, handed down to us in all the star-maps, in
which the Hebrew word Tsemech is preserved. It is called in Arabic Al
Zimach, which means the branch. This star is in the ear of corn which
she holds in her left hand. Hence the star has a modern Latin name, which has
almost superseded the ancient one, Spica, which means, an ear of corn.
But this hides the great truth revealed by its name Al Zimach. It
foretold the coming of Him who should bear this name. The same Divine
inspiration has, in the written Word, four times connected it with Him. There
are twenty Hebrew words translated "Branch," but only one of them (Tsemech)
is used exclusively of the Messiah, and this word only four times (Jer 33:15
being only a repetition of Jer 23:5). Each of these further connects Him with
one special account of Him, given in the Gospels.
* The stars are known
by Greek letters and sometimes by numbers, &c. Alpha (a) denotes a
star of the first magnitude; Beta (b), the second, and so on.
This plan was originated by Bayer in his Uranometria, 1603. The star Alpha,
as seen in the New Great Equatorial Telescope recently set up at Greenwich, is
now discovered to be really a double star, though it had hitherto
always appeared to be one.
(1) Jeremiah 23:5
--"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, That I will raise unto David a
righteous BRANCH (i.e., a Son), And a KING shall reign and prosper." The
account of His coming as King is written in the Gospel according to Matthew,
where Jehovah says to Israel, "Behold thy KING." (Zech 9:9; Matt 21:9)
(2) Zechariah 3:8--"Behold
I will bring forth my SERVANT the BRANCH." In the Gospel according to Mark
we find the record of Jehovah's servant and His service, and we hear Jehovah's
voice saying, "Behold my SERVANT." (Isa 42:1)
(3) Zechariah 6:12--"Thus
speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the MAN whose name is the
BRANCH." In the Gospel according to Luke we behold Him, presented in
"the MAN Christ Jesus."
(4) Isaiah 4:2--"In that
day shall the BRANCH of JEHOVAH be beautiful and glorious." So that this
Branch, this Son, is Jehovah Himself; and as we read the record of John we hear
the voice from heaven saying, "Behold your GOD." (Isa 40:9)
This is the Branch foretold by
the star Al Zimach in the ear of corn.
The star b is called Zavijaveh,
which means the gloriously beautiful, as in Isaiah 4:2. The star e,
in the arm bearing the branch, is called Al Mureddin, which means who
shall come down (as in Psa 72:8), or who shall have dominion. It is
also known as Vindemiatrix, a Chaldee word which means the son, or
branch, who cometh.
Other names of stars in the
Subilah, who carries. (Isa
Al Azal, the Branch. (As in Isa 18:5)
Subilon, a spike of corn. (As in Isa 17:5)
The Greeks, ignorant of the
Divine origin and teaching of the sign, represented Virgo as Ceres, with
ears of corn in her hand.
In the Zodiac in the Temple of
Denderah, in Egypt, about 2000 BC (now in Paris), she is likewise represented
with a branch in her hand, but ignorantly explained by a false religion to
represent Isis! Her name is called Aspolia, which means ears of
corn, or the seed, which shows that though the woman is seen, it is
her Seed who is the great subject of the prophecy.
Passing to the three
constellations anciently assigned to the sign VIRGO, we come to what may be
compared to three sections of the chapter, each giving some further
detail as to the interpretation of its teaching.
(The Woman and Child)
The desired of all nations
2. Coma (the
The first constellation in VIRGO
explains that this coming "Branch" will be a child, and that He should
be the "Desire of all nations."
The ancient name of this
constellation is Comah, the desired, or the longed for. We have
the word used by the Holy Spirit in this very connection, in Haggai
2:7--"The DESIRE of all nations shall come."
The ancient Zodiacs pictured
this constellation as a woman with a child in her arms. ALBUMAZAR * (or ABU
MASHER), an Arabian astronomer of the eighth century, says, "There arises
in the first Decan **, as the Persians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians, and the two
HERMES and ASCALIUS teach, a young woman whose Persian name denotes a
pure virgin, sitting on a throne, nourishing an infant boy (the boy, I
say), having a Hebrew name, by some nations called IHESU, with the signification
IEZA, which in Greek is called CHRISTOS."
* A Latin translation
of his work is in the British Museum Library. He says the Persians understood
these signs, but that the Indians perverted them with inventions.
** The constellations
are called Decans. The word means a part, and is used of the
three parts into which each sign is divided, each of which is occupied by a
But this picture is not found in
any of the modern maps of the stars. There we find today a woman's wig!
It appears that BERENICE, the wife of EUERGETES (PTOLEMY III), king of Egypt in
the third century BC, when her husband once went on a dangerous expedition,
vowed to consecrate her fine head of hair to Venus if he returned in safety. Her
hair, which was hung up in the Temple of Venus, was subsequently stolen, and to
comfort BERENICE, CONON, an astronomer of Alexandria (BC 283-222), gave it out
that Jupiter had taken it and made it a constellation!
This is a good example of how
the meaning of other constellations have been perverted (ignorantly or
intentionally). In this case, as in others, the transition from ancient to more
modern languages helped to hide the meaning. The Hebrew name was COMA (desired).
But the Greeks had a word for hair, Co-me. this again is transferred to
the Latin coma, and thus "Coma Berenice" (The hair of
Berenice) comes down to us today as the name of this constellation, and
gives us a woman's wig instead of that Blessed One, "the Desire of all
In this case, however we are
able to give absolute proof that this is a perversion.
The ancient Egyptian name for
this constellation was Shes-nu, the desired son!
The Zodiac in the Temple of
Denderah, in Egypt, going back at least 2000 years BC, has no trace of any hair,
but it has the figure of a woman and child.
Even Shakespeare understood the
truth about this constellation picture, which has been so long covered by modern
inventions. In his Titus Andronicus he speaks of an arrow being shot up
to heaven to the "Good boy in Virgo's lap."
The constellation itself is very
remarkable. Others contain one or two stars of the first or second magnitude,
and then a greater or less variety of lesser stars; but this is peculiar from
having no one very bright star, but contains so many stars of the 4th and 5th
magnitudes. It contains 43 stars altogether, ten being of the 4th magnitude, and
the remainder of the 5th, 6th, etc.
It was in all probability the
constellation of Coma in which "the Star of Bethlehem"
appeared. There was a traditional prophecy, well-known in the East, carefully
preserved and handed down, that a new star would appear in this sign when He
whom it foretold should be born.
This was, doubtless, referred to
in the prophecy of Balaam, which would thus receive a double fulfilment, first
of the literal "Star," and also of the person to whom it referred. The
Lord said by Balaam (Num 24:17),
come * a star out of Jacob,
And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel."
* I.e., come forth
(as in the RV). At is rendered in Genesis 3:24 "There shall come
forth a star at or over the inheritance or possessions of Jacob," thus
indicating the locality which would be on the meridian of this star.
Thomas Hyde, an eminent
Orientalist (1636-1703), writing on the ancient religion of the Persians, quotes
from ABULFARAGIUS (an Arab Christian Historian, 1126-1286), who says that
ZOROASTER, or ZERDUSHT, the Persian, was a pupil of Daniel the Prophet, and that
he predicted to the Magians (who were the astronomers of Persia), that when they
should see a new star appear it would notify the birth of a mysterious
child, whom they were to adore. It is further stated in the Zend Avesta
that this new star was to appear in the sign of the Virgin. Some have supposed
that this passage is not genuine. But whether it was interpolated before or
after the event, it is equally good evidence for our purpose here. For if it was
written before the event, it is evidence of the prophetic announcement;
and if it was interpolated after the event it is evidence of the historic
The Book of Job shows us how
Astronomy flourished in Idumea; and the Gospel according to Matthew shows that
the Persian Magi, as well as others, were looking for "the Desire of all
New stars have appeared again
and again. It was in 125 BC that a star, so bright as to be seen in the
day-time, suddenly appeared. It was this that caused HIPPARCHUS to draw up his
catalogue of stars, which has been handed down to us by PTOLEMY (150 AD).
This new star would show the latitude,
passing at that time immediately overhead at midnight, every twenty-four hours;
while the prophecy would give the longitude as the land of Jacob. Having
these two factors, it would be only a matter of observation, and easy for the
Magi to find the place where it would be vertical, and thus to locate the very
spot of the birth of Him of whom it was the sign, for they emphatically called
it "His Star." There is a beautiful tradition which relates how, in
their difficulty, on their way from Jerusalem to find the actual spot under the Zenith
of this star, these Magi sat down beside David's "Well of Bethlehem"
to refresh themselves. There they saw the star reflected in the clear water of
the well. Hence it is written that "when they saw the star they rejoiced
with exceeding joy," for they knew they were at the very spot and place of
His appearing whence He was to "come forth."
There can be little doubt that
it was a new star. In the first place a new star is no unusual
phenomenon. In the second place the tradition is well supported by ancient
Christian writers. One speaks of its "surpassing brightness." Another
(IGNATIUS, Bishop of Antioch, AD 69) says, "At the appearance of the Lord a
star shone forth brighter than all the other stars." IGNATIUS, doubtless,
had this from those who had actually seen it! PRUDENTIUS (4th century AD) says
that not even the morning star was so fair. Archbishop TRENCH, who quotes these
authorities, says "This star, I conceive, as so many ancients and moderns
have done, to have been a new star in the heavens."
One step more places this new
star in the constellation of COMA, and with new force makes it indeed "His
star"--the "Sign" of His "coming forth from Bethlehem."
will it be "the sign of the Son of Man in heaven" (Matt 24:30) when He
shall "come unto" this world again to complete the wondrous prophecies
written of Him in the heavenly and earthly Revelations? *
* It ought also to be
noted that in the preceding year there were three conjunctions of the planets
Jupiter and Saturn, at the end of May and October, and at the beginning of
December. Kepler (1571-1631) was the first to point this out, and his
calculations have been confirmed by the highest authorities. These
conjunctions occurred in the sign of PISCES: and this sign, according to all
the ancient Jewish authorities (Josephus, Abarbanel, Eliezer, and others), has
special reference to Israel. The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn,
they hold, always marked the occurrence of some even favourable to Israel;
while Kepler, calculating backwards, found that this astronomical phenomenon
always coincided with some great historical crisis, viz.: the Revelation to
Adam, the birth of Enoch, the Revelation to Noah, the birth of Moses, the
birth of Cyrus, the birth of Christ, the birth of Charlemagne, and the birth
Thus does the constellation of
COMA reveal that the coming "Seed of the woman" was to be a child
born, a son given.
But He was to be more: He was to
be God and man--two natures in one person! This is the lesson of the next
CENTAURUS (The Centaur)
The despised sin-offering
3. Centaurus (the
It is the figure of a being with
two natures. Jamieson, in his Celestial Atlas, 1822, says, "On the
authority of the most accomplished Orientalist of our own times, the Arabic and
Chaldaic name of this constellation is Bezeh." Now this Hebrew word Bezeh
(and the Arabic Al Beze) means the despised. It is the very word
used of this Divine sufferer in Isaiah 53:3, "He is DESPISED and rejected
The constellation contains
thirty-five stars. Two of the 1st magnitude, one of the 2nd, six of the 3rd,
nine of the 4th, etc., which, together with the four bright stars in the CROSS
make a brilliant show in southern latitudes.
The brightest star, a (in
the horse's fore-foot), has come down to us with the ancient name of Toliman,
which means the heretofore and hereafter, marking Him as the one
"which is, and which was, and which is to come--the Almighty" (Rev
1:8). Sir John Herschell observed this star to be growing rapidly brighter. It
may be, therefore, one of the changeable stars, and its name may be taken as an
indication of the fact that it was known to the ancients.
Another name for the
constellation was in Hebrew, Asmeath, which means a sin-offering
(as in Isaiah 53:10).
The Greek name was Cheiron,
which means the pierced, or who pierces. In the Greek fables Cheiron
was renowned for his skill in hunting, medicine, music, athletics, and prophecy.
All the most distinguished heroes of Greece are described as his pupils. He was
supposed to be immortal, but he voluntarily agreed to die; and, wounded by a
poisoned arrow (not intended for him) while in conflict with a wild boar, he
transferred his immortality to Prometheus; whereupon he was placed amongst the
We can easily see how this fable
is the ignorant perversion of the primitive Revelation. The true tradition can
be seen dimly through it, and we can discern Him of whom it spoke,--the
all-wise, all-powerful Teacher and Prophet, who "went about doing
good," yet "despised and rejected of men," laying down His life
that others might live.
It is one of the lowest of the
constellations, i.e. the farthest south from the northern centre. It is situated
immediately over the CROSS, which bespeaks His own death; He is seen in the act
of destroying the enemy.
Thus these star-pictures
tell us that it would be as a child that the Promised Seed should
come forth and grow and wax strong in spirit and be filled with wisdom (Luke
2:40); and that as a man having two natures He should suffer and die. Then the
third and last section in this first chapter of this First Book goes on
to tell of His second coming in glory.
(The Coming One)
4. Bootes (the
This constellation still further
develops this wondrous personage.
He is pictured as a man walking
rapidly, with a spear in his right hand and a sickle in his left hand.
The Greeks called him Bo-o-tes,
which is from the Hebrew root Bo (to come), meaning the coming.
It is referred to in Psalm 96:13:
For He cometh to judge the earth;
He shall judge the world in righteousness,
And the people with His truth."
It is probable that his ancient
name was Arcturus * (as referred to in Job 9:9), for this is the name of
the brightest star, a (in the left knee). Arcturus means He
* The ancient
name could not have been Bootes! though it is derived from, and may be
a reminiscence of the Hebrew.
** ARATUS calls him Arctophylax,
i.e., the guardian of Arctos, the flock of the greater fold, called today the
and seeming to urge on the Bear,
Arctophylax, on earth Bootes named,
Sheds o'er the Arctic car his silver light."
By some moderns he is
mistakenly called The Waggoner. Hence the allusion of Thompson:
the spacious regions of the North,
Bootes urges on his tardy wain."
scarecely does justice even to human common sense, as waggoneers do not use a
sickle for a whip!
The ancient Egyptians called him
Smat, which means one who rules, subdues, and governs. They
also called him Bau (a reminiscence of the more ancient Bo), which
means also the coming one.
The star m (in the
spear-head) is named Al Katurops, which means the branch, treading
The star e (just below
the waist on his right side) is called Mirac, or Mizar, or Izar.
Mirac means the coming forth as an arrow; Mizar, or Izar,
means the preserver, guarding.
The star h is called Muphride,
i.e. who separates.
The star b (in the head)
is named Nekkar, i.e. the pierced (Zech 12:10), which tells us that this
coming judge is the One who was pierced. Another Hebrew name is Merga, who
constellation is a very brilliant one, having 54 stars, viz., one of the 1st
magnitude, six of the 3rd, eleven of the 4th, etc.
The constellation of the Canes
Venatici (the Greyhounds), i.e., the two dogs (Asterion and Chara),
which Bootes holds by a leash, is quite a modern invention, being added by
Hevelius (1611-1687). The bright star of the 3rd magnitude in the neck of
Chara, was named "Cor Caroli" (the heart of Charles)
by Sir Charles Scarborough, physician to Charles II, in honour of Charles I,
in 1649. This is a good example of the almost infinite distance between the
ancient and modern names. The former are full of mysterious significance and
grandeur, while the latter are puerile in the extreme, almost approaching to
the comic! e.g., the Air Pump, the Painter's Easel, the Telescope, the
Triangle, the Fly, the Microscope, the Indian, the Fox and Goose, the Balloon,
the Toucan (or American Goose), the Compasses, Charles' Oak, the Cat, the
Clock, the Unicorn, &c. The vast difference can be at once seen between
those designed by the ancients and those added by astronomers in more recent
These new constellations were
added, 22 by Hevelius; and 15 by Halley (1656-1742). They were formed for the
purpose of embracing those stars which were not included in the ancient
constellations. This shows that the old constellations were not designed, like
the modern ones, merely for the sake of enabling astronomers to identify the
positions of particular stars. In this case all the stars would have
been included. The object was exactly the opposite! Instead of the
pictures being designed to serve to identify the stars, only certain stars
were used for the purpose of helping to identify the pictures!
This is another
important proof of the truth of our whole argument.
This brings us back again to
Genesis 3:15, and closes up this first chapter of the First Book (VIRGO). It
shows us the Person of the Promised Seed from the beginning to the end,
from the first promise of the birth of the Child in Bethlehem, to the final
coming of the great Judge and Harvester to reap the harvest of the earth. This
was the vision which was afterwards shown to John (Rev 14:15,16), when he says,
"I looked; and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto
the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp
sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to
Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the time is come
for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the
cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped."
This is the conclusion of the first
chapter of this First Book. Here we see the woman whose Seed is to bruise
the serpent's head, the Virgin-Born, the Branch of Jehovah, perfect man and
perfect God, Immanuel, "God with us," yet despised and rejected of
men, and yielding up His life that others may have life for evermore. But we see
Him coming afterwards in triumphant power to judge the earth.
This is only one chapter of this
First Book, but it contains the outline of the whole volume, complete in
itself, so far as it regards the Person of the Coming One. Like the Book of
Genesis, it is the seed-plot which contains the whole, all the rest being merely
the development of the many grand details which are included and shut up within
it. It is only one chapter out of twelve, but it distinctly foreshadows the
end--even "the sufferings of Christ and the glory which should
The Sign Libra
The Redeemer's atoning work, or the price deficient
balanced by the price which covers
5. Libra (the Scales)