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The Witness of the Stars
E. W. Bullinger
The First Book
(His First Coming)
"The sufferings of Christ"
The Redeemer's atoning work, or the
balanced by the price which covers
5. Libra (the Scales)
In the first chapter of this book we saw
that this Coming Seed of the woman was, among other things, to give up
His life for others.
The second chapter is going to define
and develop the manner and object of this death.
The name of the Sign, together with its
three constellations and the names of the stars composing them, give the
complete picture of this Redemption.
The Sign contains 51 stars, two of which
are of the 2nd magnitude, one of the 3rd, eight of the 4th, etc.
The Hebrew name is Mozanaim, the Scales,
weighing. Its name in Arabic is Al Zubena, pruchase, or redemption.
In Coptic, it is Lambadia, station of propitiation (from Lam,
graciousness, and badia, branch). The name by which it has come
down to us is the Latin, Libra, which means weighing, as
used in the Vulgate (Isa 40:12).
Libra contains three bright stars whose
names supply us with the whole matter. The brightest a (in the lower
scale), is named Zuben al Genubi, which means the purchase,
or price which is deficient. This points to the fact that man has
been utterly ruined. He is "weighed in the balances and found wanting."
"None of them can by any means redeem his
Nor give to God a ransom for him;
For the redemption of their soul is costly,
And must be let alone for ever."
Psalm 49:7, RV
"Surely men of low degree are vanity (Heb.
And men of high degree are a lie;
In the balances they go up;
They are altogether lighter than vanity"
(Heb. a breath).
Psalm 42:9, RV
This is the verdict pronounced and recorded
by this star Zuben al Genubi.
Is there then no hope? Is there no one
who can pay the price?
Yes; there is "the Seed of the woman."
He is not merely coming as a child, but He is coming as an atoning sacrifice.
He is coming for the purpose of Redemption!
He can pay the price which covers! Hence in the upper scale we have
another bright star with this very name Zuben al Chemali--THE PRICE
WHICH COVERS! Praised be God! "They sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy...for
Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed...to God by thy blood" (Rev 5:9). This
is the testimony of b, the second brightest star! It has another
name, al Gubi, heaped up, or high, telling of the infinite
value of this redemption price. But there is a third star, g, below,
towards Centaurus and the Victim slain, telling, by that
and by its name, of the conflict by which that redemption would
be accomplished. It is called Zuben Akrabi or Zuben al Akrab,
which means the price of the conflict!
There is, however, some reason to suppose
that Libra is a very ancient Egyptian corruption, bringing in human merit
instead of Divine righteousness; "the way of Cain" instead of the way of
God. In the more ancient Akkadian the months were called after the names
of the signs, and the sign of the seventh month is the sign that we now
call Libra. The Akkadian name for it was Tulku. Tul means
mound (like dhul and dul), and ku means sacred;
hence, Tulku means the sacred mound, or the holy altar.
Not only is the name and its meaning different,
but the teaching is infinitely greater and more important, if we may believe
that the original picture of this sign was not a pair of scales, but the
representation of an holy altar. This would agree still better with
the three constellations which follow.
The names of the stars would also be more
appropriate, for it is the Sacrifice of Christ which they foreshadowed,
and here it was that the price which covered was paid, and outweighed the
price which was deficient. What that price was to be, and how it was to
be paid, and what was to be the result in the Person of the Redeemer, is
set forth in detail in the three sections of this chapter by the constellations
of The Cross endured, The Victim slain, and The Crown
CRUX (The Cross)
The cross endured
6. Crux (the Cross)
The Hebrew name was Adom, which
means cutting off, as in Daniel 9:26 "After threescore and two weeks
shall Messiah be cut off." The last letter of the Hebrew alphabet was called
Tau, which was anciently made in the form of a cross. This letter
is called Tau, and means a mark; especially a boundary
mark, a limit or finish. And it is the last letter, which finishes
the Hebrew alphabet to this day.
The Southern Cross was just visible in
the latitude of Jerusalem at the time of the first coming of our Lord to
die. Since then, through the gradual recession of the Polar Star, it has
not been seen in northern latitudes. It gradually disappeared and became
invisible at Jerusalem when the Real Sacrifice was offered there; and tradition,
which preserved its memory, assured travellers that if they could go far
enough south it would be again seen. Dante sang of "the four stars never
beheld but by the early race of men." It was not until the sixteenth century
had dawned that missionaries and voyagers, doubling the Cape for the first
time, and visiting the tropics and southern seas, brought back the news
of "a wonderful cross more glorious than all the constellations of the
It is a small asterism, containing only
about five stars, viz., one of the 1st magnitude, two of the 2nd, one of
the 3rd, and one of the 4th. Four of these are in the form of a cross.
Long before the Christian Era this sign
of the Cross had lost its true meaning, and had been perverted in Babylon
and Egypt as it has since been desecrated by Rome. The Persians and Egyptians
worshipped it. The cakes made and eaten in honour of the Queen of Heaven
were marked with it. This heathen custom Rome has adopted and adapted in
her Good Friday cakes, which are thus stamped. But all are alike ignorant
of what it means, viz., "IT IS FINISHED."
In Egypt, and in the earliest times, it
was the sign and symbol of life. Today, Romanists use it as the
symbol of death! But it means
life! Natural life given up,
and eternal life procured. Atonement, finished, perfect, and complete;
never to be repeated, or added to. All who partake of its benefits in Christ
now, in grace, by faith "ARE made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph 2:13),
and of them Jesus says, "He that heareth my voice, and believeth on Him
that sent me HATH everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment; but
IS PASSED from death unto life" (John 5:24). So perfect and complete is
the work which Jesus finished on the Cross that we cannot seek to add even
our repentance, faith, tears, or prayers, without practically asserting
that the work of Christ is not finished, and is not sufficient!
The Hebrew names of this constellation--Adom
and Tau--rebuke our Pharisaic spirit, which is the relic and essence
of all false religions, and points to the blessed fact that the Sacrifice
was offered "once for all," and the atoning work of Redemption completely
finished on Calvary.
"Tis finished! the Messiah dies!
Cut off for sins, but not His own;
Accomplished is the sacrifice,
The great redeeming work is done."
In the ancient Egyptian Zodiac of Denderah
this first Decan of LIBRA is represented as a lion with his tongue hanging
out of his mouth, as if in thirst, and a female figure holding a cup out
to him. Under his fore feet is the hieroglyphic symbol of running water.
What is all this but "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" brought down "into
the dust of death," and saying "I am poured out like water...my strength
is dried up" (Psa 22:13-18) "I thirst" (John 19:28) "and in my thirst they
gave me vinegar to drink" (Psa 69:21)?
The Egyptian name of this Lion, however,
points to his ultimate triumph, for it is called Sera, that is,
This brings us to--
LUPUS or VICTIMA (The Victim)
The victim slain
7. Lupus (Victima the Victim Slain)
Its modern name is Lupus (a wolf),
because it looks like one. It may be any animal. The great point of this
ancient constellation is that the animal has been slain, and is
in the act of falling down dead.
Its Greek name is Thera, a beast,
and Lycos, a wolf. Its Latin name is Victima, or Bestia
(Vulg. Gen 8:17), which sufficiently indicates the great lesson. This is
confirmed by its ancient Hebrew name, Asedah, and Arabic Asedaton,
which both mean to be slain.
More than 22 of its stars have been catalogued.
None of them are higher than the 4th magnitude; most of them are of the
5th or 6th.
True, He was "by wicked hands crucified
and slain," but He is slain here by the Centaur, i.e. by Himself! To make
it perfectly clear that it was His own act (without which His death would
lose all merit), He uttered those solemn words "I lay down my life for
the sheep...No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have
power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:15-18).
He "offered Himself without spot to God." "He put away sin by the sacrifice
of Himself" (Heb 9:11,26).
In the ancient Zodiac of Denderah He is
pictured as a little child with its finger on its lips, and He is called
Sura, a lamb! In other pictures He has, besides, the horn of a goat
on one side of His head. All this pointed to one and the same great fact,
viz., the development and explanation of what was meant by the bruising
of His heel! It meant that this Promised Seed of the woman should come
as a child, that He should suffer, and die upon the Cross, for
"He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter;
And as a sheep before her shearers is
SO HE opened not his mouth."
Hence, the constellation prefigures a silent,
willing sacrifice--Christ Jesus, who, "being found in fashion as a man,
humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
Cross" (Phil 2:5-8).
3. CORONA (The Crown)
The crown bestowed
8. Corona (the Crown)
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted
Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow."
This is what is foreshown by this concluding
section of the second chapter. Each chapter ends with glory. As in the
written Word of God, we frequently have the glory of the Second Coming
mentioned without any allusions to the sufferings of the First Coming,
but we never have the First Coming in humiliaton mentioned without an immediate
reference to the glory of the Second Coming.
So here, the CROSS is closely followed
by the CROWN! True, "we see not yet all things put under Him, but we see
Jesus...for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour" (Heb
Yes, "the crowning day is coming," and
all heaven shall soon resound with the triumphant song, "Thou art worthy...for
Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood" (Rev 5:9).
The shameful Cross will be followed by
a glorious crown, and "every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
"Mighty Victor, reign for ever,
Wear the crown so dearly won;
Never shall Thy people, never
Cease to sing what Thou hast done.
Thou hast fought Thy people's foes;
Thou wilt heal Thy people's woes!"
The Hebrew name for the constellation is
Atarah, a royal crown, and its stars are known today in the East
by the plural, Ataroth!
Its Arabic name is Al Iclil, an ornament,
It has 21 stars: one of the 2nd magnitude
and six of the 4th. It is easily known by the stars J, b, a, g, d
and e, which form a crescent.
Its brightest star, a, has the Arabic
name of Al Phecca, the shining.
Thus ends this solemn chapter of LIBRA,
which describes the great work of Redemption, beginning with the Cross
and ending with the Crown. The Redeemer's work of Atonement is most blessedly
set forth, and He alone is seen as the substitute for lost sinners.
"What wondrous love, what mysteries
In this appointment shine!
My breaches of the law are His,
And His obedience mine."
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