Friday, June 17, 2011

The Stars of the Bible

Blog Purpose
Understanding the “stars of the Bible” provides the key elements to understanding God’s purpose for man and unveils the major events prophesied to occur before Christ returns.  This blog will unravel some of these elements and provide an explanation of the falling stars that will take place in the future.
Common Definition
The visible stars in heaven have always been a major curiosity for man.  We wonder about their nature and the mysterious dance they perform for us night after night.  Our fascination with the stars has been recorded in books and pictures from many ancient cultures.  Today, modern science has unveiled much of mystery behind their luminosity and movement, but we still refer to stars in the same way the ancient cultures used the term.
The actual definition of star or stars is based on how it is used in context.  Our present day definition for star ranges from the astronomical meaning of a self-luminous mass of gas to a graphical design on many of our flags.  Another common definition for star is to refer to an artistic performer (movie star) or athlete whose leading role or performance is acknowledged.  Stars are also used in astrology as part of the constellations of the zodiac. 
Bible reference to star or stars
1.       The most common knowledge of stars in the Bible refers to their creation by God.
a.        Gen 1:16  And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

b.        Gen 1:17  And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,

c.        Gen 1:18  and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

2.        God compares Abraham’s descendants to the stars of heaven and then gives the descendants a warning about obeying the law and honoring Him.

a.        Gen 15:5  And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."

b.        Deu 28:58  "If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God,

c.        Deu 28:62  "Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven for multitude, because you did not obey the LORD your God.

3.       Stars were also used in a dream given to Joseph.  In this case, stars in the dream referred to his eleven brothers.  This is one of the first examples where God uses objects in the heavens to symbolically represent people.

a.       Gen 37:9  Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."

In a vision given to John in Revelations, the same symbols are used to describe the descendants of Israel represented by a woman, where the twelve stars are the twelve tribes of Israel.

b.      Rev 12:1  And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

c.       Rev 12:2  and she was with child; and she cried^ out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

4.       God also warns us not to worship the sun, moon and stars like ancient cultures.  Even the Jews were guilty of worshiping the sun at their temple.  Some people serve the stars by letting the constellations control their lives and future (astrology).

a.        Deu 4:19  "And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
b.        Ezek 8:15  And He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man? Yet you will see still greater abominations than these."
c.        Ezek 8:16  Then He brought me into the inner court of the LORD'S house. And behold, at the entrance to the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs to the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east; and they were prostrating themselves eastward toward the sun.

d.        Isa 47:12  "Stand fast now in your spells And in your many sorceries With which you have labored from your youth; Perhaps you will be able to profit, Perhaps you may cause trembling.

e.        Isa 47:13  "You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you.

f.         Isa 47:14  "Behold, they have become like stubble, Fire burns them; They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame; There will be no coal to warm by, Nor a fire to sit before!

5.       In Old Testament prophecies about the coming day of the Lord, the Bible talks about a day when the heavens will be covered so that the sun, moon, and stars will not be visible.

a.       Isa 13:9  Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it.

b.      Isa 13:10  For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises, And the moon will not shed its light.
c.       Ezek 32:7  "And when I extinguish you, I will cover the heavens, and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, And the moon shall not give its light.

d.      Ezek 32:8  "All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you And will set darkness on your land," Declares the Lord GOD.
e.      Joel 2:10  Before them the earth quakes, The heavens tremble, The sun and the moon grow dark, And the stars lose their brightness

f.        Joel 3:15  The sun and moon grow dark, And the stars lose their brightness.

This same event is described in New Testament prophecy with more detail about the size of the dust cloud covering one third of the earth.

g.       Rev 8:12  And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten, so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

6.       In the New Testament, Christ’s disciples asked what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age.  Christ responded with the same answer given in the Old Testament, but He added the explanation for the cause of these great signs.  The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light as a result of the stars falling from the sky.

a.       Mat 24:29  "But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken,

b.      Mat 24:30  and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.
c.       Mat 24:31  "And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

d.      Mark 13:25  AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.

e.        Mark 13:26  "And then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory. Luke 21:25  "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,

7.       More details about a similar event are provided in the book of Revelation.  The writer (John) describes a vision of major catastrophes that occur on earth before Christ returns. 

a.       Rev 6:12  And I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;

b.      Rev 6:13  and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.

c.       Rev 6:14  And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

d.      Rev 6:15  And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;
Theologians that apply a literal interpretation have always viewed these events as natural catastrophes resulting from meteorites falling to earth, since we have always referred to them as falling stars.  But in the last 50 years, man has developed the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).  As the re-entry vehicles enter the atmosphere at high speed, the heat shield glows like a falling star.  The picture below shows a typical example of a time exposure shot of an ICBM test of Peacekeeper re-entry vehicles at the Kwajalein Atoll.  All eight dummy warheads were fired from one missile (Wikimedia Common Picture).  This new knowledge of manmade falling stars leads to a new interpretation of the end time events that are prophesied in the Bible.  The details of this new interpretation will be presented in future articles at this blog site.

8.       The Bible uses “stars” to identify the prominent personalities or major players that have an influence on mankind and the events that occur on earth.  In prophecy, the major players are referred to as stars that usually bring divine guidance from God to the people on earth.

a.       The first player to influence mankind was the angelic being known as Satan.  In a prophecy given to Ezekiel, the history and future outcome is described for a covering cherub created by God.  This passage correlates well with other scriptures about Satan.  He was created by God to provide a covering in the Garden of Eden.  But his history of opposing God’s purpose is documented throughout the Bible. 

                                                         i.            Ezek 28:12  "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

                                                        ii.            Ezek 28:13  "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared.

                                                      iii.            Ezek 28:14  "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

                                                       iv.            Ezek 28:15  "You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created, Until unrighteousness was found in you.

                                                        v.            Ezek 28:16  "By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire.

                                                       vi.            Ezek 28:17  "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you.

                                                     vii.            Ezek 28:18  "By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade, You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you.

                                                    viii.            Ezek 28:19  "All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified, And you will be no more."'"
He deceived Adam and Eve into disobeying God and losing their eternal life.

                                                         i.            Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
                                                        ii.            Gen 3:2  And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
                                                      iii.            Gen 3:3  but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'"

                                                      iv.            Gen 3:4  And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die!
                                                        v.            Gen 3:5  "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

In a prophecy given by Isaiah, Satan is identified as the star of the morning.  The prophecy states the same as Ezekiel 28 that he will be thrown down from heaven to earth because he has weakened the nations through his internal violence.  This prophecy about Satan being thrown to earth is also repeated in Revelation chapter 12.  The event of Satan being cast out of heaven like a star falling to earth is viewed by John in Revelation 9.  Satan is indeed a major player against God’s purpose for earth.

                                                               i.      Isa 14:12  "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!

                                                              ii.      Isa 14:13  "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.

                                                            iii.      Isa 14:14  'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'

                                                            iv.      Isa 14:15  "Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.
                                                              v.      Rev 12:7  And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war,
                                                            vi.      Rev 12:8  and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.
                                                           vii.      Rev 12:9  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
                                                         viii.      Rev 9:1  And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him.

a.       The most important star in the Bible is Jesus Christ.  Early in the Bible, He was prophesied to come through the nation of Israel as a star from Jacob.     

                                                         i.            Num 24:17  "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, And a scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.

While on earth, Jesus was proclaimed to be the light of the world and He would bring in new truths from God about forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

                                                         i.            Luke 1:78  Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us,

                                                        ii.            Luke 1:79  TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace."
                                                      iii.            John 8:12  Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life."
                                                      iv.            John 9:5  "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

After Christ’s death and resurrection, His disciple, Peter, confirms that he and others heard God proclaim from heaven that Jesus was His beloved Son.  Peter reminds them that Jesus will return as the morning star.  In Revelation, Jesus also makes this a promise to the one who overcomes and keeps His deeds until the end.  In the Old Testament, Malachi states that the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings for the righteous.  Finally, in one of the final statements in the Bible, Christ states that He is the bright morning star on earth replacing Satan who was the star of the morning.

                                                         i.            2 Pet 1:17  For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased"—
                                                        ii.            2 Pet 1:18  and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
                                                      iii.            2 Pet 1:19  And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
                                                      iv.            Rev 2:26  'And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;

                                                        v.            Rev 2:27  AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father;
                                                      vi.            Rev 2:28  and I will give him the morning star.
                                                     vii.            Mal 3:18  So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
                                                   viii.            Mal 4:1  "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, "so that it will leave them neither root nor branch."
                                                      ix.            Mal 4:2  "But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

                                                        x.            Mal 4:3  "And you will tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing," says the LORD of hosts.
                                                      xi.            Rev 22:16  "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."

b.      In John’s first description of Christ in the book of Revelation, he sees Him standing in the middle of seven golden lampstands with seven stars in His right hand.  Christ explains the mystery of the seven stars and seven lampstands.  The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.  The Greek word used for angels is “aggelos” and can be interpreted as messenger rather than angel.  It is more reasonable to believe that Christ is asking John to write to the human messenger (overseer) of the churches rather than a spirit creature.  The Greek word use for churches is “ekklaysia” which simply means an assembly.  It usually refers to a religious assembly; however, it can also refer to a non religious assembly.  The context of the letters to the lampstands indicates that Christ is addressing both Christian and non Christian people.  The context also identifies specific prophecies for some lampstands that occur only when Christ returns to earth.  Therefore the concept of the seven lampstands is a greater mystery than assuming they are seven nonexistent churches in Turkey.  This subject will be developed more thoroughly in a future blog.  The important point to note at this time is that the seven messengers held in Christ’s right hand will play an important role on earth before Christ returns.
                                                                  i.      Rev 1:16  And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
                                                                 ii.      Rev 1:20  "As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

d.      The final stars of the Bible are not recognized as important by the world today.  We tend to promote movie stars and athletic stars and elevate them to a place of honor.  We even have yearly awards to identify their accomplishments.  But the real stars of the Bible are those who are bondservants of Jesus Christ and trust in His provision of grace for forgiveness of sins.  Their importance will finally become visible to the world after their resurrection from death.  In the Old Testament, the angel tells Daniel they will shine brightly like the stars after they are resurrected. 
                                                                  i.      Dan 12:2  "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
                                                                 ii.      Dan 12:3  "And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
After the resurrection described in Revelation, these bondservants of Christ will be given a unique physical quality.  They will shine brightly forever and ever.
                                                               iii.      Rev 22:5  And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever.
Note:   Bible were verses taken from “New American Standard Bible” by The Lockman Foundation, 1975