or, The Constellations
by Frances Rolleston
Philologos Religious Online Books
"Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season?"-Job 33:32
|THE TWELVE SIGNS
AS ALLUDED TO BY JACOB IN GENESIS 49,
AND BY MOSES IN DEUTERONOMY 33
|BY JACOB, |
|BY MOSES, |
|Verse 4 |
Poured out as water
|Verse 6 |
Let not his men be few
Simeon & Levi
|Verse 5 |
|Verse 8 |
Thy Urim and thy Thummim
|Verse 9 |
A lion, &c.
|Verse 7 |
Bring him unto his people: let his hands* be sufficient for him
||Verse 13 |
He shall dwell
|Verse 18 |
Rejoice, Zebulon, in thy going out or forth
|Verses 14 and 15 |
A strong ass; he saw his resting-place, that it was good
|Verse 18 |
Issachar, in thy tents
|Verse 17 |
A serpent by the way
|Verse 22 |
He shall leap or spring (as the adder)
|Verse 19 |
A troop shall pierce him. "He shall be pierced in the heel"
|Verse 21 |
He provided the first part for himself, &c.
|Verse 20 |
The sweet influences of a king, Job 38:31
|Verse 25 |
Thy shoes shall be iron and brass
|Verse 21 |
A hind let loose, released, or sent forth
|Verse 23 |
Satisfied with favour, and filled with the blessing of the Lord
|Verse 22 |
The daughters walk before the bull
|Verse 17 |
His glory like the firstling of his bullock
|Verse 27 |
The wolf shall tear: in the morning he shall feed on the prey, in the evening he shall divide the spoil
|Verse 12 |
The beloved of the Lord shall dwell between his shoulders
Josephus informs us that the twelve tribes of Israel bore the twelve signs on their banners; and the Chaldee paraphrase, of a still earlier date, asserting the same, adds that the figure of a man was borne on the standard of Reuben, a bull on that of Ephraim, a lion on that of Judah, an eagle on that of Dan. The Targums also attribute to Dan a crowned serpent, or basilisk.
* The word equally applies to the fore-paw of an animal, as does the "arm" in verse 20.
Libra was not borne on any of the standards, Simeon and Levi being included together under Pisces, and the place of Libra and of Levi in the encampment of Israel being that occupied by the Tabernacle.
Part of these prophetic annunciations are as yet unfulfilled, some relating to the final triumph of the "King Messiah," and some to the eventual position of the tribes in the restoration of Israel to their own land. The prediction early accomplished, that the sovereignty should be vested in the tribe of Judah, was the authentication, the seal of the remaining prophecies. As surely as David the son of Jesse, of the tribe of Judah, reigned on Mount Zion, so surely unto that Shilo, that Prince of Peace, who is the root and offspring of David, will be the gathering of the nations.
|TYPES OF THE LEVITICAL LAW,
CORRESPONDING WITH THE SIGNS, OR THEIR ACCOMPANYING CONSTELLATIONS
|The paschal lamb (Se, Arab., progeny, Egypt. son),
With Aries, the ram or lamb. John 1:29 1 Cor 5:7
||The young bull, the offering at the consecration of the high priest,
With Taurus, the bull. Heb 9:11,12
|Exo 29 |
|The two goats of the day of atonement,
With Gemini, the twins, or pair. Heb 9:13,14
||The firstborn of cattle to be redeemed,
With Cancer, the redeemed possession, under the type of cattle. Col 1:15
|Exo 13:12,13 |
|The cup, or basin,
With the cup, crater, in Leo. Matt 26:39
|Exo 12:22 |
|The firstfruits of corn,
With the ears of corn in Virgo. 1 Cor 15:23
|Exo 23:19 |
|The crown of the high priest,
With the Northern Crown in Libra. Matt 27:29 Rev 14:14
||The high priest making the sin-offering
With Ophiuchus and Hercules in Scorpio. Heb 10:12
||The golden altar,
With the altar in Sagittarius. Heb 13:10
||The goat of the sin-offering,
With Capricornus. Heb 9:28
||The running water, over which the birds were one to be killed and one let go,
With Aquarius. John 3:5, 4:14
If any evidence were desired to show that these correspondences are simply from the identity of the subject, redemption by the promised Messiah, it may be found in the absence of any thing referring to the sign Pisces.
The coincidence, more or less complete, between the other emblems of the signs and the types of the Levitical law is consequent on the sameness of the subject, the Redeemer and His work. The law as given by Moses renewed, amplified, and gave additional and most solemn sanction to the first revelation, the original law of the human race.
Here, as elsewhere, it should be observed that the animals of the signs, as well as those of the Levitical law, typified not the person but the actions of Him who was to come; they came and they were sacrificed, by Divine appointment, in atonement for sin.
The first type of the Levitical law was that indicated in the emblem of the lamb or ram in the sign Aries. In that sign it was ordained that the sacred year of the Jews should begin. The new moon in that sign was called the moon or month Abib, the beginning, when the ears of corn began to swell. Then also the firstfruits were commanded to be offered in the temple: they were being so offered at the time of our Lord's resurrection. The bright star Spica, the ear of corn, in Virgo, shone on that solemn hour, when very early in the morning, while it was yet dark, the predicted seed of the woman had become the firstfruit from the dead.
If the supposition be correct that the bright star in Coma, which afterwards faded away, was Messiah's star, the star of Bethlehem, that also shone on the accomplished prophecy. The moon full among the stars of Libra, the type of the redemption now completed, might dim but would not eclipse it.
It should seem that He who seeth the end from the beginning had overruled to the purposes of prophecy the placing of these emblems in the zodiac. The emblems themselves and their ancient names may be referred to mere human wisdom in their adaptation to the predictions they were intended to transmit, but the correspondence between their purport and the place of the sun when the events so typified occurred, must be the work of the Spirit of prophecy, whether consciously or unconsciously guiding those who so arranged them. When corroborated, in the intervening ages, by the analogous types of the law, the proof that a revelation had been given, that the Lord had spoken, is complete.
The person and work of Christ it is allowed were foreshown in the types of the Levitical law; it might therefore be anticipated that the symbols of the ancient sphere corresponding with them would be again met with in the New Testament. First, of the ear of corn, the seed, our Lord makes use as typifying Himself, His death, His resurrection, and the increase of His spiritual offspring, where He thus speaks, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." The word here translated "corn" is rendered in the Hebrew New Testament by the word for seed in Genesis 3:15. The same emblem is again adopted by St. Paul as to the general resurrection. The accompanying symbol, the palm-branch, employed so often by the prophets (Isa 4:2, 11:1; Jer 23:5, 33:15; Zech 3:8, 6:12), was recognized as belonging to the expected Messiah, the Son of David, by the great multitudes who hailed His entry into Jerusalem strewing palm-branches in the way. It may be seen that each human figure in the ancient sphere carried a palm-branch. Baion, in the Greek, as in the Semitic dialects, is "which cometh." Bai is also the Egyptian name of the palm branch.
The divinely appointed emblem of the victim-Lamb was at once applied to Him whom it typified, by the voice that in the wilderness was crying, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, as "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." The victim held by the centaur, about to be pierced by the dart in his other hand, prefiguring the weapon that pierced the Lamb of God on the cross, corresponded from the beginning with the sacrifice of Abel and of Abraham, and the paschal lamb itself, which was pierced at the very moment when the Lamb of God expired, rendering all other sacrifice vain. When Christ our Passover was slain for us, the great cycle of the dispensation of types and shadows was accomplished. The very Jews themselves, who reject the one great offering their law so long prefigured, have now no sacrifice. The Levitical law, like the emblems of ancient astronomy, remains to tell to all earth's coming ages that of old the Lord hath spoken.
Two lambs were to be sacrificed for a peace-offering (Lev 23:19). Hyde on the religion of the ancient Persians, remarking that "the symbols of the twelve signs came to us from the most ancient Chaldeans and Phoenicians," adds, that "the Gemini of the Phoenicians were not human figures, but twin kids or lambs." It is therefore probable that the ancient Hebrews so figured that sign, especially as the name by which they knew it, Thaumim, is applied to kids or lambs, as in Song of Solomon 4:2.
|ON THE CHERUBIC FORMS
AS CONNECTED WITH THE EMBLEMS OF ANCIENT ASTRONOMY
|Texts where the root occurs in this sense||Hebrew Roots|
|Gen 3:24||Cherub, thus the Mighty One|
|Exo 25:18||Che, thus, in this manner||thus||Gen 32:4||hk|
|2 Sam 22:11 |
1 Kings 6:24
|Rub, the mighty||mighty||Isa 63:1||br|
|Eze 1:6||Man, Adam, the likeness||likeness||Gen 1:26||Md|
|Lion, Arieh, coming (Arab. sense) as light, a river: also, separating, rending. Psa 80:12||flood||Amos 8:8||r)|
|Ox, or Bull, Shur, coming, stepping forth||steps||Job 23:11||r#)|
|Rev 4:7||or Calf, Eglah, coming again, as circling||round about||2 Chron 4:2||lg(|
|Eagle, Nesir, caused to come down. Separating (Arab. sense)||directeth||Job 37:3||r#y|
Holy Scripture reveals to us the Divine appointment of the cherubim at the east of Eden, over the mercy-seat in the tabernacle, and in the temple of Solomon. Had this appointment not been made, it might be difficult to admit that the use of such figures as those of the constellations, afterwards corrupted to the purposes of idol-worship, could have received the sanction of those "holy prophets who have been since the world began." Coeval with these prophets the emblems of astronomy are traditionally held to have existed, and to have been invented by some of the earliest among them.
As from the cherubic faces most of the idols of the heathen can be shown to have originated, the perversion of the astral figures to the usages of idolatry cannot be urged against their intention. On the authority of the divinely ordained emblems, it may be permitted to infer the similar design and signification of those uninspired symbols that appear to have been constructed after their example.
Whatever those cherubim might be which the Lord placed at the entrance of Eden, whether angelic existences or visionary similitudes, to Adam, Seth, and Enoch they must have been well known, and by them their meaning understood. If from the cherubic forms the figures of the constellations were derived, in order to explain these, the meaning of their originals should be ascertained. It is no where explicitly revealed what these cherubic emblems were intended to typify or to teach. The ancient Jews held that the cherubim in the holy of holies referred to the coming of the God of Israel to Sinai. They asserted, however, that previously these emblems "had always been among believers, in the holy tabernacle from the beginning, when they were placed (tabernacled) before the gate of Eden": also, that they were known to Noah and Abraham. Thus may be accounted for the prevalence of these forms before the time of Moses in the sculptures of Assyria, Etruria, and Egypt. In consequence of the likeness between the figures of the Assyrian sculptures and those of the vision of Ezekiel, an idea has arisen that Ezekiel might borrow his imagery from those sculptures. But that imagery had a far earlier, a far higher origin: the similitudes there presented to the prophet had been placed at the gate of Eden, in the tabernacle of Moses, and in the temple of Solomon. When that temple was destroyed, Ezekiel was taught to describe and transmit to posterity their forms, with which, being a priest, he was well acquainted.
These symbolic figures would be to the ancient patriarchs what the types of the Levitical law were to their descendants, shadows of things to come (Col 2:17). What then did they shadow forth?
Some Christian writers have attempted to explain the four cherubic faces as showing the human nature of Christ in union with the three persons of the Triune Godhead.* By this theory the person of the Father was typified by the bull, for which there is no Scriptural authority. The person of the Son being so typified in sacrifice, this explanation seems at once set aside. By it the eagle was made an emblem of the Holy Spirit, wholly incongruous with that of Scripture, the dove. In the lion, however, they recognized an authorized symbol of the Messiah, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. To Him, and Him alone, the cherubim refer, as their forms and their name abundantly testify.
Others have tried to interpret these "cherubim of glory" of believers, or ministers of the Gospel. Have they not overlooked, that He who appointed these emblems has said, "My glory will I not give to another?" (Isa 42:8). What unprejudiced mind would not revolt from the supposition that the representations of frail, fallible, sinful mortals could be enshrined in the awful sanctuary which it was death for man to enter, save once a year the high priest, in fear and trembling? The tendency of this interpretation is not "to hide pride from man," but to feed that self-importance which grace discourages, but does not eradicate. To whom should these "cherubim of glory" refer, but to the Lord of glory? What should they declare, but that "He that cometh, will come," - the sacrifice and the sovereign?
* This interpretation has chiefly been supported by a passage in the Apocalypse, where the four living creatures having the faces of the cherubim are supposed to say (Rev 4:8,9), "Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." But it is to be observed, that "every one of them" is literally "every man of them," the pronoun referring to them being masculine and singular, while the noun, the living creatures, is neuter and plural. These men, the twenty-four elders, then praised the Lamb for having redeemed them, and to their hymn the living creatures said, Amen.
The difficulties attendant on the foregoing interpretations are avoided by that which would explain the cherubic emblems as typifying what the promised Deliverer should do, rather than what He should be: not His person, but His actions: His coming, first to suffer, to redeem; again, to judge, to reign. As shown in the human face and that of the sacrificial bull, He was to come in human nature, and to be a sacrifice for sin; as in the lion, coming to rend the prey, and the eagle descending from on high, He was, He is, to come again, to separate good from evil, to subdue all things unto Himself. When Ezekiel saw the cherubim in vision, they were coming, bringing onward the throne, above it the appearance of the Man, the second Adam, the likeness of the glory of God. In the sculptures of Assyria and Etruria, figures compounded of the cherubic forms are walking, coming, as are most of those of the constellations even as now delineated, and more strikingly so in the Egyptian sphere. "He who cometh" is the title of the promised Messiah from Genesis to Revelation. "Behold, He cometh!" was the voiceless proclamation of the herald-cherubim at the gate of Eden: "Surely I come quickly," the annunciation of the Apocalypse. "Even so come, Lord Jesus," is the reply of the believer in all ages.
We are not told whether the name cherub was appointed of the Lord, or whether Adam gave the name, as to the animals, from what the object before him indicated. This, as to the cherubim, he could only know by its agreement with the revelation he received. By the promise of the seed of the woman might be explained the face of the man; by the rite of sacrifice, that of the bull; by the second coming announced by Enoch, those of the lion and of the eagle. Other names are recorded in Scripture, as given by divine command, all expressive and containing their message in themselves; as Israel, a prince of God: there are also names, as Noah, given on account of their meanings. The name Cherub may therefore be expected to contain its own message. No explanation of it is given in Holy Writ. When first mentioned it is as the cherubim,* as if equally well known to the writer and the readers of the record.
Adam appears to have given names to the animals brought to him from the actions he saw them perform, or saw they were fitted for. These names were probably those preserved in the Hebrew, Arabic, and other ancient dialects. The animals whose faces formed parts of the cherubic images were no doubt seen and named by him. Names given by man as denoting actions, would be intelligible to man as expressing actions: figures suggesting those ideas were accordingly used in the forms of the cherubim; they spoke to man in his own language. Adam saw each of these three animals coming, with different modifications of that leading idea. Thus the bull came stepping on the earth; Arieh, the lion, sprung swiftly forward; Nesir, the eagle, came descending from the clouds of heaven.
* Genesis 3:24, where the definite article is omitted in the EV.
The four cherubic forms were early appropriated, as emblems, to the four Evangelists. To St. Matthew was given the man, because of beginning with the genealogy of the supposed father of the Messiah, whose heir he became through his mother Mary. To St. Mark was given the lion, some say because he alone mentions the wild beasts being with Christ in the wilderness. To St. Luke the ox, a sacrificial animal, as most explicit on the subject of the incarnation of Christ at his first coming to be a sacrifice for sin. To St. John the eagle, because he early relates Christ's declaration to Nathanael of the glory of the second coming. Thus Jerome and Ambrose divide them; but Augustine says he prefers "the tradition" which gave the lion to Matthew and the man to Mark. Neither of these traditions lays any claim to inspiration: their chief importance is in showing that neither the interpretation which would make the cherubic forms symbolize the Holy Trinity, nor that which would lower them to emblematize human beings, was prevalent in the primitive Church.
To the opinion that they in any way referred to the Divine Saviour, the Mighty One who should come, it has been objected that "the living creatures" in Revelation 4 "give glory" to Him that sitteth on the throne: but so does, or ought to do, man bearing the likeness of Him who made and who redeemed him. The likeness, whether in flesh or in spiritual existence, is not the reality, but the shadow; and the shadow may well bow down before the substance. Before the shadow, the image, we may not bow: in so doing, the Israelites in the wilderness, and Jeroboam in Samaria, were guilty of idolatry. These emblems were not ordained to be worshipped, but to instruct, to foreshow the two comings of Him who was to come, in whom should dwell the fullness of the Godhead bodily, as the God of Israel dwelt between the cherubim.
|SYMBOLS OF THE CONSTELLATIONS
THE TWELVE SIGNS
|Texts where so used|
|ARIES||The lamb, of innocence, meekness. Exo 12:3||Isa 53:7 |
|TAURUS||The bull, of power, rule. Exo 29:1||Psa 22:12 |
|GEMINI||Gemini, of union, entwining, twins. Lev 14:22||Song 6:6|
|CANCER||The crab or scarabaeus, of holding or binding||Gen 49:11|
|LEO||The lion, of victory. Gen 49:9||Psa 7:2|
|VIRGO||The ear of corn, of seed or offspring. Exo 22:29||Deut 26:2|
|LIBRA||The balance, of weighing. Lev 19:36||Isa 40:12 |
|SCORPIO||The scorpion, of wounding. 1 Kings 12:11||Eze 2:6|
|SAGITTARIUS||The arrow, of going forth. Psa 45:5||Zech 9:14|
|CAPRICORNUS||The kid of sacrifice. Lev 23:19||Exo 12:3|
|AQUARIUS||The water of cleansing. Lev 8:6; Isa 35:6,7; John 4:11||Isa 44:3|
|PISCES||The fishes, of multitudes. Luke 5:6; John 21:6; Matt 4:19||Eze 47:9,10|
Such are the meanings of the names, such the distinguishing qualities of the objects, such the use made of them as symbols in all times and countries. An exception, however, must be made as to the crab or sacred beetle of Egypt, the scarabaeus. The Semitic word Sartan applied to the sign is the binding, the holding fast, as the crab its prey, the scarabaeus its nest, its progeny. The foal of the ass borne on the standard of Issachar was to be bound to the vine, as the Church to the true Vine. The Egyptian scarabaeus has by some been interpreted as symbolizing the sun at the summer solstice, where in the sphere that figure is frequently placed, because it was said to pass half the year above and half below the ground; by others it has been held to typify, like the butterfly of the Greeks, the immortality of the soul, part of its existence being passed upon or under the earth, part soaring above it in the boundless heaven. In this view the scarabaeus becomes an emblem worthy of the series with which it is connected. It is often seen in Egyptian remains* ascending with expanded wings, with human figures below in attitudes of admiration, so, like the Grecian Psyche, emblematizing the human soul freed from the body, rising to celestial life and endless happiness. The resemblance of the Egyptian mummies to the chrysalis has often been noticed; and the idea of thus preserving the human body for the expected resurrection may have thence originated.**
Of the remaining thirty-six symbols, the Decans, the 1st, the 16th, and the 35th are the woman, every where a prophetic type of the Church,
* For instance, on the sarcophagus of Alexander in the British Museum.
** Herodotus was told by the Egyptian priests, that after 3000 years the dead would rise again.
|Cassiopeia||As the Church enthroned in glory.||Isa 54:11,12 |
|Virgo||As the Church in which the promised seed is born.||Isa 7:14|
|Andromeda||As the Church in bonds, from which the promised deliverer releases her.||Isa 49:24|
|Perseus||As coming to break the bonds of the Church.||Micah 2:13|
|Orion||As coming in glory||Isa 63:1|
|Auriga||As the good shepherd. John 10:11; Psa 23||Isa 40:11|
|Bootes||As the keeper of the flock. Psa 121:3||Psa 121:5|
|Ophiuchus||As the bruising the head of the enemy, receiving the wound in the heel.|
|Hercules||As the deliverer kneeling as wounded, but about to crush the head of the dragon.||Isa 53:10|
|Ursa Minor||The lesser flock, of the suffering Church, resting on the Lamb that was slain. Micah 7:14; Psa 77:20, 78:52||Luke 12:32|
|Ursa Major||The flock of after times, looking to Orion coming in glory, and following Arcturus their keeper and guardian going before. Isa 60:7; Jer 23:3||John 10:16|
|Argo||The company of the Prince, the desired, the seed.||Song 6:13|
|Southern Fish||The Church refreshed by the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit.|
|Head of Medusa||As finally subdued. Psa 68:21||Gen 3:15|
|Lepus||As trodden under foot.||Psa 91:13|
|Hydra||As with the cup of wrath resting on him.||Psa 75:8|
|Serpent||As wrestling, but overpowered.||Isa 27:1|
|Draco||As encircling the centre of the sphere.||Rev 12:4|
|Cetus||As bound, under the foot of the Lamb that had been slain.||Rev 20:2|
Each of these symbolic figures is performing a typical action, an action suited to the nature of the object it represents. The southern fish might seem to be an exception, for fishes do not drink; but water is to be drunk, and must here be considered the symbol. That of which the fish is the type, the multitude of the Church, is here shown drinking in the water of life, as promised by her Lord to the woman at the well of Samaria.
However well known may be the general forms of the twelve signs of the zodiac, they are often in some particulars incorrectly represented, thus obscuring their leading ideas; as, in heraldic terms, Aries, the ram or lamb, should be couchant, while the bull and lion should be passant. Aries should be holding in his fore-foot the band that unites the two fishes of Pisces, and also that with which the sea-monster or leviathan is bound; the bull rushing on as if overthrowing, dispersing his adversaries. In the twins, the first holds an arrow, the second a palm-branch. The crab has been hopelessly corrupted, apparently from the scarabaeus, the sacred beetle of the Egyptians, but preserving the idea of holding fast a possession. The lion is coming, leaping forth, his foot over the head of the serpent Hydra. The virgin holds in one hand a palm-branch, in the other an ear of corn. The scales should be uneven, the northern exalted, the southern depressed. The sting of the scorpion should be reverted, as in wounding; the arrow coming forth; the goat or kid sinking down, and having the body of a fish; the man pouring forth the water, standing, risen; the fishes bound together and looking different ways. These emblems, even in some of the ancient Oriental zodiacs, lose their characteristics.
Typical actions, and the representations of actions, speak all languages; of them it may well be said, there is neither speech nor language, but their voice is heard among them; and such we find in the Twelve Signs. The woman upholds the branch and seed; one scale weighing down the other; the sting of the scorpion reverting to the heel; the foot of the conqueror bruising the head; the arrow being sent forth from the bow; the victim-goat bowing down; the water being poured forth; the fishes bound together; the ram holding in his forefoot their band, and that of the enemy below, whose head he is bruising with the other foot; the head of the bull represented as rushing on; the twins entwining each other; the claws of the crab, or scarabaeus, holding the possession; the lion leaping forth to rend the prey: all being actions expressing the prophecy to which they refer.
The decans, or other constellations, also each represent an action developing or extending the meaning of that represented in the sign to which they severally belong.
- In Cassiopeia the liberated woman is setting free her hair.
- The head of Medusa is being carried as in triumph by the armed man.
- Perseus, the breaker, is breaking the bands of Andromeda, the chained woman, and carrying the head of his conquered enemy.
These actions exemplify the chief purport of the sign Aries, in which they are placed, showing that He who was Himself pierced, bruised, or broken, shall break the bonds of His Church, and bruise the head of His enemy.
- With Taurus, the ruling, Orion comes in splendour and in strength, his foot treading upon the enemy.
- Eridanus, the river of the Lord, flows on.
- Auriga, the shepherd, carries one of his flock in his bosom.
Here are expressed the victorious coming, the flowing forth, the superintending care of the Prince, the Ruler, the Shepherd of His people.
- Lepus, representing the enemy in Gemini, is trodden on by Orion, while the two dogs or wolves are coming quickly, being named.
- The Prince, and
- The Redeemer, whom they typify.
So showing the two comings of Him, who in one person is David's Lord and also his Son; and they accompany Orion, to whom they are always said to belong.
- Ursa Minor, the lesser sheepfold, whose stars revolve round the pole, the cynosure, called by the Arabs the kid, thus showing that they belong to Him on whom they wait, the Lamb of God, typified from the beginning of the world in the ordinance of sacrifice.
- In Ursa Major, the greater sheepfold, the sheep are following Arcturus, their keeper and guardian.
- Argo, the company of travelers, is following Canopus, their prince and their guide.
- In Leo, Hydra, the subdued enemy, is trodden under foot.
- The cup of wrath is poured out on him, and
- The bird of prey is seen rending his flesh.
- In Virgo the seed is borne by the woman.
- The centaur is piercing the victim.
- Bootes or Arcturus, the guardian of the flock, is going before them.
- In Libra the cross is placed under the feet of the centaur, who is coming as towards it.
- The crown above his head seems threatened by the serpent, while
- The victim is being pierced, the altar, the cross, and victim showing the price of redemption.
- In Scorpio the serpent is struggling with Ophiuchus.
- Ophiuchus is wrestling with the serpent, bruising the head of the scorpion, receiving the wound in the heel.
- Hercules kneeling from having received the wound in the heel, threatens to bruise the head of the great serpent, Draco.
- Draco, the dragon, accompanying Sagittarius in his going forth, is wreathing himself round the pole.
- The altar under Sagittarius flames as it receives the victim.
- The ascending eagle in Lyra goes forth as in triumph.
- In Capricornus the arrow of death is sent forth.
- Aquila, the falling eagle, descends as smitten.
- The dolphin is raised, lifted up.
- In Aquarius, Cygnus, the swan, is returning from afar.
- The winged horse is coming quickly.
- The southern fish is drinking in the water of life.
- With Pisces, Cepheus, the branch, as the king is firmly standing crowned on high.
- The chained woman is being liberated from her bonds.
- The enemy lies bound under the foot of Aries, which holds the band.
When it is seen that every explanation here given of the action in each emblem is borne out by the meaning of the ancient names, the unity and consistency of the original design will be made evident. So explained the emblems annexed to the stars of heaven do indeed "declare the glory of God."
"A threefold cord is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:12.
"In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." - 2 Corinthians 13:1.
The emblems, the names, and the prophecies agreeing present such a threefold cord, such witnessing.
Emblems Names Prophecies The ram ARIES, the ram, coming forth. Isa 63:1
or lamb Taleh, the lamb, sent forth. El Nath, Natik, the slain, the pierced. Gen 22:8
The bull TAURUS, the bull, coming to rule. Isa 32:1
The twins GEMINI, the twins. Thaumim, the united. The union of the Divine and human nature. Zech 6:12,13 The crab,
CANCER, holding the possession. Sartan, who holds or binds. Gen 49:11 The lion LEO, leaping forth. Arieh, rending. Ibid.
The virgin VIRGO, the virgin, or woman. Bethula, virgin. Isa 7:14 The scales LIBRA, weighing. Al Zubena, redemption. Psa 130:7,8 The scorpion SCORPIO, the conflict. Akrab, scorpion, or conflict. Isa 63:3,5 The archer SAGITTARIUS, the arrow-bearer. Kesith, archer, or bow. Al Kaus, arrow. Psa 45:5 The goat,
CAPRICORNUS, the goat, or atonement, sinking down, Gedi, the kid, cut off, (Arab. sense). Isa 53:7
The water-bearer AQUARIUS, the rising up and pouring forth of water. Isa 44:3 The fishes PISCES, the fishes, multitudes, as fish. Eze 47:9
This threefold cord of the emblems, the names, and the prophecies in which those emblems and names are found, binds, as it were, their evidence to revelation. That God has spoken admits of evidence, is open to proof. Something of presumption seems to attend seeking or even bringing forward evidence that He is. That great foundational truth we have by tradition. Once taught to look for Him, we see Him in His works; else, like those beasts of the field who are said to be deficient in the power of raising the eyes to heaven,* we might fail to recognize those traces of His Divine Presence. So witnessed to, we learn from these ancient emblems that God had spoken, had given the prophecies they embody. Could man know of himself, what is here prefigured, that One whom his co-temporaries should call "the Lamb of God" should be slain, pierced, when the sun should be in the stars they had called the lamb, the slain, the pierced? Could man of himself foresee, that fifteen hundred years before that time, and more than two thousand from the time when these emblems are known to have been in use, the people among whom that One should be born would begin to slay a lamb in every family at that precise period in every returning year?
* It is said that cows and sheep probably never saw a star, not having the muscle which elevates the eyes.
|TYPES OF THE APOCALYPSE
CORRESPONDING WITH THE EMBLEMS OF THE CONSTELLATIONS
|The Lamb who had been slain,
With Aries, Capricornus, the victim held by the centaur.
|Rev 5:6 |
|The four living creatures before the throne,
With Leo, Taurus, the man in Aquarius, the eagle above Scorpio.
|The white horse and the crowned archer,
|The golden altar,
With the altar in Sagittarius.
|Rev 8:3 |
With the serpent held by Ophiuchus.
|The woman crowned with twelve stars,
With the woman in Virgo,
With the woman in Andromeda, when fleeing from the face of the serpent;
With the woman in Cassiopeia, when as the bride, the Lamb's wife.
|Rev 12:1,5 |
|"Having on His head a golden crown,"
"On His head were many crowns,"
With the Northern Crown.
|Rev 6:2 |
It has been observed by those who would refer the origin of all religions to the constellations, that in the imagery of the Apocalypse may be traced some correspondence with the stellar symbols. With the explanation here given that these emblems typify the progressive manifestations of "the Great One," who is, and was, and is to come, this is not surprising; visions, typical forms, impressed on the eye, mental or bodily, of the seer were from the beginning made the means of conveying the knowledge of future events to the prophet who was to declare them. Those seen by Daniel are, as it were, the key, the foundation of those seen by John. Neither the beasts of Daniel nor those of the Apocalypse were real existences, but images presented to the prophet's sight. He who explained the vision to Daniel told him that the beats typified empires, and the horns kings. The distinguishing quality of the beast seems to be that it knows not God; its other characteristics depend on its form, one configuration expressing ferocity, others swiftness or voracity. The woman with wings like a stork and the four horses of Zechariah were visionary, not actual existences; so were the star-crowned woman and she who rode the seven-headed beast in the Apocalypse. Among these visions brought before St. John, some coincide with those presented to the minds of the ancient prophets, and others with the typical actions and forms of the Levitical law. The candlestick of Zechariah, or lamp-stand with seven lamps, is the forerunner of the seven seen by St. John, having no analogous figure in the constellations. The Lamb as it had been slain, in the midst of the throne, answers to Aries, Capricornus, and the victim, and to the rite of sacrifice from Abel downwards.
The four cherubic forms, as found in the four cardinal signs, are seen by John as separate living creatures, typifying the two comings of Him before whom they stand. As the man He had come, as the sacrifice He had made atonement for sin, but He was yet to come, separating good from evil, as the lion rends the prey, descending as the eagle from heaven. When both comings were future, the four symbols were united; when one was past, they were separated.
The golden altar before the throne, in the Apocalypse, responds to that below Sagittarius; the dragon whose tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, to that which wreathes around the northern pole. He that sat on the white cloud had on his head a golden crown; so Cepheus, the never-setting king of the arctic sky, is represented. The white horse on which goes forth the crowned rider, conquering and to conquer, agrees with that called Pegasus, always said to be white. The black horse, whose rider has a pair of balances, suggesting Libra, may be likened to that of Sagittarius; the red or blood-coloured horse, to whose rider was given a great sword, to the Centaur armed with a spear.
The woman equally symbolizes the Church in the constellations and in the Apocalypse. The woman crowned with twelve stars,* bears, like the virgin of the zodiac, the promised infant; she is threatened by the serpent enemy as Andromeda; as the bride adorned for the marriage supper of the Lamb, she appears in Cassiopeia the enthroned in glory. Still, though the same figure is used, the likeness is only general. The woman of the Apocalypse has no branch, no ear of corn; she is not chained in her affliction, she is not enthroned in her beatitude. The dragon of the Apocalypse is bound, he of the constellations is trodden under foot. The starry crown is vacant, while on the head of the triumphant King of kings in the prophecy are many crowns. The unity of the subject appears in the resemblance of the symbols. Those of the Apocalypse, appointed by Divine wisdom, may throw light on those used by man to transmit the revelation which had been made to him.
How could the magnificent and mysterious symbols of the Apocalyptic visions, transcendent in sublimity, unfathomed in manifold meaning, fulfilling and fulfilled, how could they be copied from the simple emblems of ancient astronomy? Who can think that these spiritually significant images could be derived from the familiar forms of the starry emblems? Such might well embody the figures of that first revelation, so concise in its world-involving vastness, so plain in its announcements of infinite and eternal import, "He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." But the future, the everlasting triumph of the risen and victorious Messiah, and the brilliant happiness of His redeemed people, required, as they have found, imagery of unearthly splendour to set forth the glories of His celestial kingdom in eternity to come.
* These twelve stars appear to represent the twelve prophetic lights symbolized by the twelve signs, and also conveyed by the names of the twelve stones of Revelation 21, when explained by the Semitic roots, as is shown in the annexed table, the references after the names of the stones being to texts in which the root is used in the sense here attributed to it.
The emblems of the constellations, their line which is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world, when read by the light of revelation, may be understood by the child in age as well as in capacity; but the brightest imagination flags, the highest human intellect fails, in attempting to follow the flights of the Apocalyptic eagle.*
* In attempting to refer the symbols of the Apocalypse to those of the Constellations, Dupuis acknowledges he can give no explanation of the chapters between the fifth and the twelfth.
|PROPHECIES OF THE MESSIAH,
CORRESPONDING WITH THE TWELVE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC AND THE TWELVE PRECIOUS STONES OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE HOLY CITY OF THE APOCALYPSE (REV 21)
|Predictions of fulfillment|
The ram, or lamb, his foot on the neck of the enemy.
As the Lamb as it had been slain, bruising the head of the enemy
Exo 12:11; Psa 110:1; Rev 5:6
Beryl, the Son. Psa 2:12 Ascended. Gen 2:6
|Gen 3:15 |
The bull as rushing on.
As subduing His enemies.
Gen 22:17; Psa 2:9, 18:47, 45:5, 110:1; Isa 11:4
Topaz, dash in pieces. Psa 2:9
|Psa 72:9 |
1 Cor 15:25
The twins, the united.
As reigning in the Divine and human nature.
Num 24:17,19; Isa 32:1; Jer 23:5, 33:15,21; 1 Cor 15:25
Chrysoprasus, the united (chain). Song 1:10 Bruising, breaking. 2 Sam 5:20
|Isa 9:6,7 |
The crab holding the possession
As possessing the reward of His sufferings, the multitudes of the redeemed.
Gen 22:17,18; Psa 2:8; Isa 40:10, 53:10,11
Jacinth, He shall possess. Gen 14:19
|Isa 40:10 |
The lion rending the enemy.
As executing judgment, separating good from evil.
Enoch, in Jude 14,15; Gen 49:8,9; Psa 21:8; Dan 12:2
Amethyst, He destroys. Psa 52:5
|Dan 7:9,10 |
The woman bearing the branch, the seed.
As the seed of the woman, the Son, the branch, coming forth.
Gen 3:15, 22:18; Isa 7:14, 9:6, 11:1; Jer 23:5; Zech 3:8,6:12
Jasper, He shall bruise and be bruised. Gen 3:15
|Matt 1, &c.|
The scales of purchase.
As redeeming, purchasing.
Deut 32:6; Job 19:25; Exo 6:6,7; 2 Sam 7:23; Psa 49:7,15, 72:14, 130:7; Isa 62:12
Sapphire, number. Deut 32:8; Psa 87:6
|Luke 1:68 |
The scorpion bruising the heel.
As paying the price of redemption, His obedience and sufferings.
Gen 3:15; Psa 40:6-8; Isa 53
Chalcedony, the affliction, Psa 10:8, of the Lord. Psa 110:1
|Luke 24:46, &c. |
1 Cor 5:7
The archer sending forth the arrow.
As going forth, and sending forth His word.
Gen 49:10; Psa 45:5, 68:11; Rev 6:2
Emerald, He that keepeth thee. Psa 121:3-5
|Matt 10:5 |
The goat, the sacrifice sinking down.
As dying, and making atonement by his death.
Gen 4:4, 22:8; Exo 12:5; Lev 16:15; Isa 53:5; Dan 9:26
Sardonyx, the Prince. Isa 9:6 The Lord. Psa 110:1 Smitten. Isa 53:4
|Matt 27, &c. |
The water-bearer, water rising in the vase, and poured forth.
As arising, ascending, and pouring out blessing.
Hosea 6:2; Psa 16:9,10, 68:18, 118:16,17; Lev 14:5,6; Isa 44:3
Sardius, the Prince. Isa 9:6 Who goes forth. Job 28:8
|Matt 28:7, &c. |
The fishes, bound together.
As uniting and upholding His Church.
Gen 15:5, 22:17, 49:10; Isa 49:6, 51:5; Psa 2:8
Chrysolyte, He binds (as in chains). Song 1:10
|Acts 2:47 |
Acts 4:33, &c.
"Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 3:11). Not the Apostles, but the revelations concerning Christ contained in the names of the precious stones, on which their names were written, garnished that foundation. The twelve stars of the crown of the woman, the Church, in Revelation 12:1, and these twelve precious stones, were alike, in that both were lights. These stones contain eleven varieties of the diamond, and one expressly typical stone, in which are united rock-crystal, which breaks other substances, and red clay, liable itself to be broken, showing forth the Divine and human nature of Christ in union. For this purpose then were these beautiful earth-stars created; they tell of light shining in darkness, incorruptible, unchangeable, everlasting; they garnish the foundations as the stars of the firmament the over-arching of the new Jerusalem, the city that hath foundations, the building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor 5:1).
Significant names were given by Divine command under the old dispensation, and St. Paul lays much stress on the "interpretation" of the name and title of Melchizedek, therefore the names here given by inspiration must be supposed also to have signification, and to be capable, by "interpretation," of imparting instruction. Twice in the Apocalypse there is reference made to the Hebrew names of things spoken of; therefore as the Greek names of these stones explained by the Greek do not seem to convey instruction, they are here referred to their Hebrew roots. So interpreted they reflect the twelve lights of prophecy transmitted by the twelve signs, the starry heralds of the coming day, whose meridian glory shone on the Holy City which St. John was privileged to behold.
PLENARY INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES,
AS CONNECTED WITH THE NAMES OF ANCIENT ASTRONOMY
In the use here made of the coincidence between the names of astronomy and the words in which the Hebrew Scriptures are transmitted to us, it is not only considered to be proved that these Scriptures were inspired, that the prophecies came in old time by holy men of God, speaking as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, but also that the words in which they were expressed were suggested to their minds by the same authority, the same divine overruling influence. The proof is to be found in the existence and accurate fulfillment of prophecy. It is further assumed that we now have those words preserved to us, with slight and unimportant variations, by means of the care taken of them by the Jews, those faithful guardians of the prophecies they failed to interpret, they having counted the number of each letter in each book, an enumeration still to be seen in their Talmudical writings. Nevertheless, as the addition of a letter in one place would compensate for the omission in another, there are variations, for the most part such as in English would be occasioned by a superfluous letter inserted or omitted, or perhaps by the addition or omission of an article or a conjunction. Seldom do any variations occur in an important passage, and none are supposed or used in the derivations here given.
Having therefore the Holy Scriptures in such a state of verbal preservation, the original meaning of the names of astronomy, of which the roots there occur, may be ascertained. It is especially confirmed when the same word or its root is found in the name of the emblem or of its stars, and in the prophecy where that emblem is used as a type.
These writings must have been in perfect preservation when Christ Himself, referring to them as of supreme authority, said "the Scripture cannot be broken," thus authenticating their verbal accuracy and plenary inspiration. Again, to the 110th Psalm, to a single word of it, and that involving a seeming difficulty, our Lord appeals, and His appeal silences His opponents. Desirous as they were to confute Him, they never thought of questioning the plenary inspiration or the correctness of their sacred books, which were then, and now are, those received by the Reformers, and alone acknowledged divine by the Anglican and other Protestant Churches. Our Lord also in many other places speaks of different books of these Scriptures as of indubitable authority; as of that of Daniel, predicting the time of His coming and the destruction of Jerusalem, in Matthew 24:15, where He quotes the precise words of the prophecy, "the abomination of desolation," the idol of the Romans, their military eagle. Thus He gives His sanction to the verbal accuracy as well as to the authenticity and genuineness of that book; a book whose importance has caused it to be attacked by those who have not fully examined its evidences, or who are unwilling to admit any evidence whatever of that supernaturality of our religion, without which it becomes a mere system of morals. Had these "Scriptures," as held sacred by the Jews and forming the Protestant canon, contained any uninspired books, or any falsehood of any kind, He who was "The Truth" must have denounced it. Frequently condemning the teaching of the scribes, He never accuses them of corrupting the Scriptures of which they were the keepers; or had any undersigned corruption stolen upon the oracles of God, He who knew all things must have seen and exposed it. Should it be imagined that in the original writings unimportant words might be left to the writer to supply, the question arises what words are unimportant. Mere human intellect, however desirous faithfully to transmit the prediction that had been indicated, might not have chosen the precise word required for the exact fulfillment of it. The accomplishment of the prophecy depended on the accuracy of every word. The Lamb of God, like that of the passover, was to be pierced, but not a bone of either was to be broken; the omnipotent and omnipresent Spirit of prophecy held the hands of the Roman soldiers; they pierced, but might not break. It may be said that these words are evidently important, but how could the unassisted mind of man discriminate between the vesture, the one mantle, and the many garments, the lot and the dividing, circumstances so apparently trifling, yet so remarkable in the fulfillment of the prediction?
In the original Scriptures not only were the words suggested to the mind of the writer by the Holy Spirit, but by superintending providence they have been most marvelously preserved, as may be seen by the vital importance of single words to the accomplishment of prophecy, the stamp and seal of revelation. The Jew is still before us "a proverb and a by-word among the nations," nor is "one stone left upon another" of the temple that its conqueror was so solicitous to preserve. The great apostasy forbids to marry, and "silly women are led captive," as its melancholy cloisters have witnessed for so many ages.
If plenary inspiration be granted, yet restricted to prophecy, it should be observed that neither the passage of which our Lord speaks as Scripture that cannot be broken, nor that of which He says David in spirit called Him Lord, is prophetic.
On any lower view of the inspiration of the Hebrew Scriptures little sympathy could be expected with the investigation of the support they afford to the theory of the prophetic import of the names and emblems of ancient astronomy. On any lower estimate of the integrity of the Hebrew text it would be difficult to account for the coincidence between those names and emblems with the words and figures found in the prophecies with which they correspond. If it be doubted whether the first revelation of God to man is recorded without failure in the written word, it will not be easily admitted that these antique symbols are indeed memorials of it. If, however, it be admitted that the original words of prophecy, written or spoken, were impressed by the Holy Spirit on the mind of the human agent, and that they have reached us without important variation, the coincidence with Scripture of the names and emblems will support their similarly prophetic signification.
The manner in which these words could be so impressed has been discussed, and the inquiry denounced as presumptuous; still analogies may have been given in the ordinary course of nature to help our conceptions of the extraordinary. Persons of fine musical ear can easily sing with a melody heard on an instrument for the first time. If about to sound a false note, there would be an inward perception of "wrong"; and the true would come with a delightful feeling of "right." So, under the Divine influence, might the tongue of the prophet, as "the pen of a ready writer," sweetly, safely flow on with the stream of inward harmony that governed it. Again, it is often alleged that there is a style peculiar to each writer of the Holy Scriptures, and that therefore the words they use could not have been given to them. Those who urge this objection seem to recognize this peculiarity in translations: it must therefore be in the ideas, not in the words. If the inspiration of the ideas be questioned, what becomes of the authority of the Bible?
Here again an illustration from the science of music may assist. The melody will be the same, though performed on different instruments. There is certainly a tone, a colouring, as it were, that distinguishes the princely Isaiah from the herdsman Amos, the lowly John from the highly-educated Paul, easier felt than defined. Or may it not be exemplified by the sunlight passing through a coloured medium, casting a different hue on the object it enlightens, but not changing its form or properties? The gold of morning on the sea does not dim the transparent brilliancy of its wide-flowing waters. The rosy hues of evening on the snowy mountain-top do not disguise the splendid purity of its wintry summits. So the light of inspiration may shine through the atmosphere of the individual mind, tinged but not obscured by its peculiarities, which may colour, but do not alter what those rays illuminate.
With the plenary inspiration and accurate transmission of Scripture the signification of the names and emblems of ancient astronomy is closely connected, not as depending on, but as bearing testimony to it. If they embody prophecy, there had been a revelation: if they correspond with the revelation recorded in Scripture, they testify to its existence and to its purport. If in subsequent prophecy are found similar ideas, often expressed in the same words, these emblems accorded with the mind of the Giver of revelation: they should therefore be valued by us as reflecting, though not directly transmitting Divine light. They may be received as the commentary of good and wise men on the preceding revelation. The only express record of that revelation is in the early part of Genesis. In this book are divisions, each commencing with nearly the same form: "These are the generations." It has been supposed that the earliest might be derived from Enoch, Seth, or even Adam. To these patriarchs the invention of astronomy has been attributed by the ancient Hebrews, Persians, and Arabians. Thus may be accounted for the coincidence of parts of the written word afterwards given by Moses, with the names and emblems of that science.
Those who treat this earliest history of man as "a myth," an allegory, violate the reverence due to the words of Him, one of whose splendid attributes, frequently claimed by Himself, is truth. His very enemies said, "We know that Thou art true." He, the manifested, the incarnate Truth, referred to this history as a fact, saying of man, "He created them male and female"; and of the enemy, that he was a murderer from the beginning, a liar, and the father of it.
Those who allege that our Lord in these allusions might accommodate His words to the prejudices of His hearers, offer Him an affront on which the consciences of His adversaries did not allow them to venture. Standing in His august presence, they were forced to admit, that teaching the way of God in truth, He regarded not the person of men. Would it have been teaching the way of God in truth, to speak of that as fact which was a fable, a myth, an allegory? Let no names of men, however influential, induce us to disparage Him who has called Himself "the way, the truth, and the life."
Our Lord Himself having thus authenticated the relation of the fall in Genesis, it is again repeatedly and more circumstantially adverted to by the Holy Spirit, speaking by the mouth of Paul. Could He, the Spirit of truth, who was to guide into all truth, make or permit such reference to a myth, an allegory? When Paul used an allegory (Gal 4), he called it such; but to this history he appeals as recognized fact. With this history the emblems of the constellations coincide; the seed of the woman and the serpent in various figures pervade the sphere; in the primary prophecy it is written, "He,"* the seed of the woman, "shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." In the emblems the seed of the woman is figured by the ear of corn held in a woman's hand, marked by a bright star called Spica, and Subilon, the ear of corn. When figured as a man, one foot is on or over the head of the serpent, the other is held up as wounded; in that of Orion is found the name Saiph,** the bruise or bruising, the very word of the written record. Thus every word must have been what it is, to account for and agree with the emblems and their names.
The proof of the plenary inspiration of the Old Testament Scriptures derived from our Lord's words, as given in the Gospels, seems to require proof of the similar inspiration of those Gospels.
* He: not only is the pronoun masculine, but what is less liable to corruption, the verb also, thus leaving the Vulgate without excuse in translating the pronoun ipsa, she. The woman's foot is no where on the serpent's head, the man's every where. See Lee's Lex.
** The rendering of Suph, the root of Saiph, as bruised, is confirmed by the two Arabic senses, stricken or wounded, and bitten; also by the corresponding Chaldee, to bruise.
Prophecy requiring verbal inspiration to display accurate fulfillment, those Gospels must have been so inspired, for they contain our Lord's predictions. He had foretold, what then seemed most improbable, the total destruction of that Temple which even the enemy was solicitous to preserve. How literally that prediction was fulfilled is well known: not one stone has been left upon another. The forewarned Christians fled over the mountains, and were saved, ere the enemies had completed "to cast a trench around the city, compassing it round, and keeping it in on every side." The failure of a single word might have marred the warning and cost those precious lives; but the Scripture could not be broken, and that Scripture was their guide. The same faithful record contains those words which give the sanction of our Lord Himself to the Jewish Canon. By the literal accomplishment of that prophecy the three first Gospels were authenticated, as verbally inspired, to their own generation; the fourth by our Lord's prediction, then also wholly improbable, that neither on the mountain of Samaria nor at Jerusalem should they worship the Father.
By the equally literal accomplishment of His other prophecies every subsequent age has received additional authentication of these books. False Christs soon arose. Mahomet coming in his own name was received. "Wars and commotions, earthquakes, famines, and pestilences" have yearly testified to the precision of the prediction and the accuracy of the record. "Heaven and earth shall pass away," but His "words shall not pass away": therefore they must have been recorded with unfailing exactness. We are told He spake many more words than are written; but all that are written He spake. We may therefore rest in the conviction, that whether it be the Scripture to which He appealed, or that in which the appeal is recorded, as He said, "The Scripture cannot be broken."
"Plenary inspiration" is here used as implying that the whole, and every word of the Original was inspired, and that every one of those words is and always has been and shall be in the world, some words being preserved in some MSS, and some in others, to be sought out by human industry and scriptural examination.
ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL
AS KNOWN TO THE ANTEDILUVIAN PATRIARCHS, AND TO THE
ANCIENT HEBREWS, AND INDICATED BY THE
EMBLEMS OF ANCIENT ASTRONOMY
It has been asserted that the immortality of the soul was not revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures, or to the early patriarchs. But what is well known is not the subject of revelation; it is referred to incidentally, and as needing no confirmation (Gen 15:15). Such references to the immortality of the soul may be pointed out, where it is said that Abraham expired, and "was gathered to his people" (Gen 25:8). His soul was gathered to the "general assembly of the first-born, of the spirits of just men made perfect,"* to Abel and to Enoch, but his body slept not with theirs; it was buried in the cave of Machpelah, where were none of the bodies of his forefathers, where only that of his wife Sarah was laid. No explanation was given, for none was needed. Those who wrote and those who read and heard knew that their God, the God of Abraham, was the God of the living; for that "all live to Him," they knew full well. In after times the Lord Himself announced, "Aaron shall be gathered to his people" (Num 20:24). There in the lonely sepulchre on the summit of Mount Hor was his body buried, in that utter solitude which still surrounds the desert mountain-top, unvisited but by the step of pilgrims from a far-off land, still testifying to its profound silence, its inviolate sanctity of seclusion. Again, the Lord said to Moses, "Die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered to thy people, as Aaron thy brother died in Mount Hor, and was gathered to his people."** So far was Moses from sharing the sepulchre of any of his fathers, that no human eye ever beheld that tomb of mystery (Deut 34:6), wherein the Lord Himself buried the exanimate corpse of His servant. Whether he appeared in the body or in the spirit, he was seen, a living person on the mount of transfiguration. In after times arose the sect of the Sadducees, whose denial of the doctrine of the existence of the spirit proves that others held it. And good reason had the disciples of Moses to hold it, for he solemnly addresses God as "the God of the spirits of all flesh," when the spirits clothed in flesh heard and trembled before Him (Num 16:22, 27:16).
As the man of the constellations typifies the human nature of the Messiah, so the woman typifies the Church, from Abel to the last of the elect of God who shall be born of woman and added to the number. The promised Messiah was to be born in or of the Church, as well as of the woman. The figure of the woman in the sign Virgo symbolizes the Church; that in the first decan, preserved in the Egyptian planisphere, the woman, the virgin-mother. The woman in Andromeda, chained and prostrate as in the bonds of death and the grave, threatened by the enemy, but about to be delivered by Perseus, the breaker of bonds, again shows forth the Church. Here she is beheld in her fallen and suffering state, subject to death, but, as her name Moselsalah indicates, to be set free from Hades, Sheol, the separate, the invisible state. Here, then, those early patriarchs, newly become subject to death, and awfully impressed by that beyond, have typified the existence of the soul through and after death; for Andromeda in the emblem is not dead, dies not in the mythic story. In Cassiopeia, the enthroned, "the daughter of splendour," the Church appears, symbolizing the all-glorious bride of the King Messiah, the assembly of the spirits made perfect, the Church beyond death and in resurrection glory.
* Hebrews 12:23. Gill says, "The people of God, 'the spirits of just men made perfect,' the souls of all the saints who had departed before him." Clarke says the same.
** Numbers 27:13. "Thou shalt lie down," in Deuteronomy 31:16; the word is so translated Job 14:12, a verse which ought to be read interrogatively: "Shall he not arise?" thus affirming, not contradicting, his resurrection. "With thy fathers," even as thy fathers: so rendered in Job 9:26, this expression referring to the body, as "gathered to thy people" to the spirit. "Thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace," Genesis 15:15, again referring to the disembodied spirit.
Whether under the starry emblem as Perseus and Andromeda, or in the mythological tale of Hercules and Hesione, the tradition is equally preserved.
The immortality of the soul and the general resurrection are implied in the prophecy of Enoch. The judgment is to be upon all, all the ungodly of all generations, when the Lord cometh with myriads of His saints.
To the patriarch Job and his contemporaries the constellations were evidently well known (Job 9:9, 38:32): as familiar objects he alludes to them, and as the great things of God, past finding out. The Divine voice again names them as beyond the rule of man: "Canst thou bind the influences of the Pleiades?" of that central group of suns which is now found to influence the whole arrangement of our nebula, round which the galaxy, the system to which our sun belongs, is believed to revolve, obeying its sweet, its gracious influences. So wonderfully are the discoveries of real science anticipated by the words of Divine revelation, words only gradually comprehended as science is gradually developed. Again, it is said, "Canst thou loose the bands of Orion?" dissolve the wonderful attraction which binds together the magnificent multitude of suns that are at last discerned in the streak of light in that splendid constellation. The creature cannot: the Creator could. He bound, and He could loose. In both these allusions the universal domination of the force of gravitation is implied. While that world-compelling law was unknown their meaning was not understood, their sublimity was unappreciated.
That the great Arab prophet Job* lived before Abraham appears to be the opinion of the greatest scholars, before the distinction between the Ishmaelitic Arabs and the original, the Hamayaritic tribes: his testimony to the patriarchal faith is therefore earlier** than that of the expression that Abraham expiring was gathered to his people. It seems, also, now a prevalent opinion that Moses wrote the two first chapters and the last of the book of Job, giving his sanction to the authority of the intermediate portion, and to the whole as inspired Scripture, that intermediate part being the composition of Job himself, under the influence of the Spirit of prophecy. Such guidance was indeed needful to such a prophecy as is admitted to be contained in the nineteenth chapter: "O that my words were now written, O that in a book they were engraven! that with a pen of iron and lead, for ever in the rock they were hewn out!" (Job 19:23) Then follow the Divine words worthy of such everlasting preservation: "For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and in the after time He shall stand on the earth, and after my awaking,*** this body destroyed, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not a stranger, fulfilled my hopes within my bosom." This rendering of the latter verse seems most agreeable to the ancient translations and the marginal corrections of the English Bible.
Whichever version is followed, the prophecy that the Redeemer should stand on the earth, the dust of the earth, remains uninjured - words indeed worthy of everduring remembrance.
* No doubt seems ever to have been entertained as to the personality of Job, and the truth of his history, till the time of Maimonides. His objections are not to the evidence of the facts, but solely to the view thence derived of the providential government of God. He finds no flaw in the historical or traditional accounts: his objections are not to the proofs, but to the thing proved. Therefore, though many other learned men have taken his view of the case, it would be set aside in any court of justice.
In the epilogue to Job in the Septuagint it is said, "Job is Jobab." That name occurs in Genesis 10:29, before the time of Abraham; another Jobab is named, Genesis 36:33, as being king, reigning in Edom, which does not apply to Job.
** According to Dr. Hales, 180 years before Abraham.
*** This word is so translated in Psalm 57:7, 8, and many other places.
Celebrated as is this testimony to immortality and resurrection, the fourteenth chapter contains what is scarcely less decisive. After describing the apparent resurrection of a withered plant by the effusion of water, the prophet follows out the analogy with the death of man (Job 14:10). "And* man shall die and shall waste away, and man shall expire, and where is he? The waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: and man hath lain down, and shall he not arise? before the failing of the heavens (Psa 102:26) shall not they awake? and shall not they arise from their sleep? O that Thou wouldst hide me in the unseen state! Thou wilt shelter me till the passing away of Thine anger! Thou wilt set to me a time, and remember me! Even if a man die, shall he live? All the days of my appointed time will I wait (trust), till my change come." By thus reading the apparent assertion in verse 12 as an interrogation, and taking verse 14 as implying an assertion, the whole analogy is carried out, and the argument becomes conclusive. Shall the plant revive, and shall not man? Yea, assuredly he shall. This persuasion was not peculiar to Job. Eliphaz (Job 15:22) says of the wicked man, "He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness." And Elihu (Job 33:28,30) comforts Job with the expectation of resurrection, when he shall be delivered from "going down into the pit," or into corruption, when God shall "bring back his soul," or person, "to be enlightened with the light of the living."
Such was the faith of Arabia, before the generation of the sons of Noah had passed away, Shem, by some identified with Melchizedek, having lived to see the birth of Isaac, and apparently the trial of Abraham.
* Not but.
The faith of Job was, then, that of the family of Seth, represented by Shem, the name of whose ancestor Methuselah* bore testimony to the revelation of life beyond death, and by Arphaxad, the last whose name transmitted the series of prophecies, from which the twelve signs were constructed.
As the history of ancient Israel proceeds, is found Hannah (1 Sam 2:6,10), poetess and prophet, incidentally declaring her faith in the resurrection. "The Lord causeth to die and to live, to go down to the grave" (Sheol, the unseen state), "and He shall raise up." That she spoke by the Spirit of prophecy is shown where she says, "He shall give strength to His King," when as yet there had been no king in Israel; and that "He shall exalt the horn of His Anointed," the power of His Messiah.
* The name Methuselah is thus to be explained: Methu, death, a collective noun with vau formative postfixed, as Penu in Penuel, Genesis 32:31. See Table XVII. Schlegel, who considers patriarchal tradition the origin of all mythology, thinks that the translation of Enoch was the natural end of man, death being not natural, but penal; also that the primitive race of men were of "giant" frame, and that by bodily strength they built the Cyclopean walls, &c. (Philos. of History.)
What can be more explicit than the testimony of David, in the sixteenth Psalm, saying, "My flesh also shall rest in hope, for Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell" (again Sheol, the unseen state)? a prediction in its primary sense belonging to Him for whom the Apostle claims it, but also applicable to every believer. In the forty-ninth Psalm it is written, "Like sheep they were laid in the grave, death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning," the morning of the resurrection. "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive me." The result of the philosophy of Solomon was, "The spirit shall return to God who gave it" (Eccl 12:7). Then, as St. Paul has said, "Esaias is very bold," when he saith (Isa 25:8, 26:19), "Death is swallowed up in victory": "Thy dead men shall live": "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."
What can be clearer, simpler, more positive, than the declaration of the prophet Daniel? To the well-known promise he adds the time, when "many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake" (Dan 12:2).
If, as has been objected, the laws of Moses were enforced by temporal and not eternal motives, so are the laws of England, so must be all human laws; for the human lawgiver cannot administer the destinies of the invisible state, nor can man behold them. If less is said of those motives by subsequent prophets than might be expected, their mission was not, like that of uninspired teachers, to recall well-known truths to the mind, but to give forth prophecy, the test and sanction of that revelation which had declared those truths. As surely as Nineveh and Babylon should fall into irretrievable ruin, so surely shall man arise, for ever freed from the power of death. As surely as Judah and Israel should to into captivity, and man into the bondage of the grave, so surely shall they be restored, and the children of men return, the sleepers in the dust of the earth awake, "some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt."
As certainly as the seed shall spring up to the harvest, so certainly shall the natural body, sown in corruption, be raised a spiritual body in incorruption. Thus, in the very image adopted by St. Paul, was shown to the first who should pass through death the hope of life and immortality beyond it, the seed, the ear of corn in the hand of the woman proclaiming to the first of redeemed transgressors, "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive."
The Apocryphal books, such as the Wisdom of Solomon, or Ecclesiasticus, even if only written by Alexandrian Jews, a little before or a little after the Christian era, show that the national belief of the Jews included the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. In the Wisdom of Solomon it is said, "God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of His own eternity" (Wisd 2:23): in Ecclesiasticus, "Of the twelve prophets let the memorial be blessed, and let their bones flourish again out of their place" (Ecclus 49:5). These writers have been called Platonizing Jews: but though Plato might teach the immortality of the soul, he knew nothing of the resurrection of the body implied in the last quotation.