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The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world. Psalm 19:1-4 (HCSB) The instruction of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise. The precepts of the LORD are right, making the heart glad; the commandment of the LORD is radiant, making the eyes light up. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are reliable and altogether righteous. They are more desirable than gold — than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey — than honey dripping from the comb. Psalm 19:7-10 (HCSB) Before those inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote the scriptures, Almighty God had already etched the revelation of his plans and purposes in the starry sky. Generation after generation of God-fearing men pointed their children to the heavens to explain the divine saga. When the time was right,

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God gave the Holy Bible to his people, and linked it to the ancient sidereal revelation.

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Revelation in the Stars
The Sidereal and Written Word

© C.L.Peppler 2007

Full book available at

www.chrispy.co.za

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Revelation in the Stars

© C.L.Peppler All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other – except for brief quotations in printed or electronic reviews or books without the prior permission of the author.

Published by Chrispy Publications, 348 Beverley Estate, Concourse Crescent, Lonehill, 2191

ISBN 978-0-620-39944-9

All scriptural quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New International Version of the Bible. Printed and bound by: Interpak Books, Pietermaritzburg

6 www.chrispy.co.za

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Acknowledgements
I have not produced this book alone. Over the years several scholars have researched and written on similar subjects, and I am indebted to them. The Elders of the Village Church have allowed me time to research and write. Michael Smith subedited and proofread the manuscript. Natalya Bassani produced the cover artwork and design. My wife Patricia provided the practical support which enabled me to focus. Thank you all so very much.

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Contents
............................................................................1 ...........................................................................2 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world. Psalm 19:1-4 (HCSB).................2 The instruction of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise. The precepts of the LORD are right, making the heart glad; the commandment of the LORD is radiant, making the eyes light up. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are reliable and altogether righteous. They are more desirable than gold — than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey — than honey dripping from the comb. Psalm 19:7-10 (HCSB)................2 Before those inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote the scriptures, Almighty God had already etched the revelation of his plans and purposes in the starry sky. Generation after generation of God-fearing men pointed their children to the heavens to explain the divine saga. When the time was right, God gave the Holy Bible to his people, and linked it to the ancient sidereal revelation. ............................................................................2 Revelation in the Stars.........................................5 Preface...............................................................10 The Sidereal Gospel...........................................13 Chapter One: Introduction................................13
Popular Understanding ......................................... .....................15 Astrological Absurdities..................................................... ..........16 Modern Astrology is scripturally invalid.......................................22 Traces of the Zodiac in Scripture................................................23 The Tabernacle and Tribes......................................................... .25

9 References in the Book of Acts....................................... ............26 The Antiquity of the Zodiac.........................................................28 The Abraham connection............................................ ................29 Jewish Zodiacs................................................... ........................30 ............................................................................................ .......31 The Concept of a Sidereal Gospel................................. .............31 Early traces in Genesis................................................ ...............33 Psalm 19........................................................................... ..........37 Other works on this subject................................................... ......38

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Preface

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have something fascinating to share with you. It is that God inspired his ancient people to record the story of time and eternity on the parchment of the night sky. I have more to share with you. God keyed the enigmatic last book of the Bible, the Revelation of John, to this saga in the stars. He linked the sidereal word and the scriptural word. Even if Moses composed the book of Genesis as early as 1400 BC, what record did those prior to him have of God’s purposes and plans? The ancients must have had an oral tradition concerning what God revealed to them. However, without a written record, how did they manage to pass down an accurate rendition of this knowledge? You must have played that game communications lecturers are so fond of, where the audience whispers a simple message from one person to another. After they have passed the message through a dozen or so ears, the facilitator asks the last recipient to speak out the message as she has received it. He then reads out the original message, and everyone laughs at how distorted the final version is. Here is a viable solution to the problem of how a verbal message maintained its integrity over thousands of years. The stars do not change their positions relative to each other. Although over the millennia, they appear to wheel majestically in the heavens, yet their position relative to one another

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remains the same. They form a network of fixed points, which people of all ages can easily use to portray a complex message. Think of those jointhe-dots pictures children love. Imagine a father standing with his son under the canopy of the night sky. “Look my son, do you see that bright star there?” He gestures with his finger. “Yes, Father”. “Well, imagine a line connecting it to that other star below it. Do you see what I mean?” “Yes, Father”. “Good, now take that line across to the right…” The explanation continues until the father eventually says, “What does it represent, my son?” “It looks like a giant ‘X’ on its side, Father, but the vertical is longer than the horizontal.” “Exactly my son, it’s called the northern cross. Let me tell its story”. What a simple yet effective method of ensuring that illiterate people could carry the message of God’s purposes and plans down from generation to generation. Only God could have thought of that! Yet, about three thousand years ago, after humanity had become literate, God inspired men to record the message in writing. So, what real value is there to us now to know that prior to the Bible, God wrote his story in the stars? There are two major reasons why the message in the stars is still important. Firstly, it provides atheists and agnostics with powerful evidence of God’s existence, plans, and purposes. The second reason is that the message in the stars provides us with new and better ways of understanding parts of the Bible, especially the book of Revelation. I have written this book in two parts. The first part deals with the validity and the meaning of the

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message in the stars. In this section, I also show how the star gospel appears in many parts of the Bible, not just in Revelation. However, I have devoted the second part of the book to interpreting the book of Revelation, using the message in the stars as a key hermeneutical tool. Discovering and decoding the message in the stars is not a simple matter, because Satan has corrupted the original story considerably. He has influenced people down through the ages to change the names and configurations of the constellations, to read the story from the wrong starting point and in the wrong direction, and to alter the ancient names assigned to key stars. He has even corrupted the entire system into fortunetelling astrology. You are probably aware that Hebrew is written from right to left using an alphabet of twenty-two letters. Imagine if someone took a key piece of Hebrew literature, erased some letters of the alphabet, and instructed that people should read the literature from left to right, and from the bottom up. What kind of sense would the message make? Well, Satan has corrupted the message in the stars just as badly! It has taken me more than two decades to gather all the information for this book, but the task has fascinated and inspired me. I hope and pray that as you read this work the Holy Spirit will fill you with awe and wonder at the greatness of God. I also hope that you will better understand the book of Revelation, and so be able to apply it and teach it.

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The Sidereal Gospel
Chapter One: Introduction

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his is a book about the constellations. More specifically, it is about the ancient message they depict. It is not about modern astrology or anything occult. It is about how the stars declare the glory of God. It is about ancient history, astronomy, and the Gospel. It is about how an understanding of the Zodiac and its purpose can unlock parts of scripture long mystifying to most of us. It is a story of discovery and enlightenment. It is an important story. This book is also about the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Many commentators have remarked on the incomprehensibility of much of this mysterious book. However, if we reference it to the revelation in the stars, then we can appreciate most of its previously hidden meaning. Whilst several others have written on the message in the stars, I am aware of only a few who have dealt with the sidereal construction of the book of Revelation. So, this will be a major contribution I hope to bring in this work. Before going any further, I need to explain the terms sidereal and

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zodiac, as I will use them many times in this book. Sidereal simply means ‘relating to the stars’. So, Sidereal Gospel essentially means ‘star gospel’. The Zodiac is a part of the sky containing the major star constellations. It is a narrow band in the heavens in which the apparent movements of the major planets, Sun, and Moon take place. It divides into twelve sections named after the major constellations in each section. So then, the Zodiac is an imaginary band in the heavens around the Earth, lying within eight degrees on either side of the apparent path of the Sun’s annual motion relative to the stars. From our position on Earth, the Sun, Moon and major planets appear to travel along this pathway. This ‘path’ through the heavens is the elliptic, and it divides into twelve divisions of thirty degrees each. These twelve divisions constitute the signs of the Zodiac. Each has a name and an image superimposed over the major stars in that particular sector of the heavens. In each of these twelve divisions there are three other constellations, commonly called Decans. Each star sign therefore consists of four constellations, each represented by a picture of a person, animal, or some inanimate object.
The glyphs represented are a sort of shorthand used to identify the twelve major constellations. For instance, represents the constellation of

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Since ancient times, men of learning have used the forty-eight constellations of the Zodiac as a sort of celestial map. Modern astronomers still use this system as a convenient way of cataloguing and locating stars and deep space objects. However, most people are not trained astronomers, and to the average person the word ‘Zodiac’ has a very different association… Astrology.

Popular Understanding
To the uninformed, the word Zodiac evokes images of crystal balls and Tarot cards, and is usually associated with astrology. Most people think the word ‘Zodiac’ derives from the Greek word for life, zoë. This is because of the various animals and other forms depicted in most zodiacs. However, the word is more likely to derive from the Hebrew word zodi, which means ‘a way’. At some time, quite far back, linguists incorporated this Hebrew root into the Greek word, zodiakos. This word translates into English as ‘the path’ or more literally, ‘the way of steps’. It refers to the path the sun appears to take through the twelve steps making up the circle of the heavens known as the Zodiac. Interestingly, the early Christians were called the people of The Way (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 23, 24:14, 22). The popular association of the Zodiac is with astrology. This pseudo-science purports to classify human characteristics and to predict the future. The basic idea behind astrology is that the sun,

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moon, and planets interact with each other within a particular Zodiacal sign to influence each person at the time of their birth. Practitioners of astrology believe this interaction determines human character and temperament, and forms a pattern for each individual’s future. I do not believe this. This book is definitely not about astrology. Over the years, many people have tried unsuccessfully to justify astrology from a scientific perspective. All attempts I have read fall short. This is because astrology's underlying presuppositions are logically and scientifically insupportable. Consider the following.

Astrological Absurdities
Modern astrology is suspect on a number of grounds: • The number of signs assigned to the Zodiac by astrologers differs between ten and fourteen, depending on historic period or interpretive method. There is therefore inconsistency over time and culture. The result is much like telling someone using a Jewish calendar that all people born in January are alike. The Jewish calendar has different months starting on different Julian calendar days. The statement just would not make any sense.

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The calendar periods assigned to the signs of the Zodiac originally coincided with the actual location of the constellations in the night sky. That was several thousands of years ago. Now, the time periods originally associated with the signs bear no relationship to the current positions of the constellations they purport to represent. For instance, whilst Sagittarius is now associated with November/December, a thousand years ago it was associated with different months of the year because its constellations were located in different parts of the heavens. The precession of the equinoxes causes this phenomenon. The Earth wobbles much like a slowly spinning top, and its axis prescribes a huge imaginary circle in the heavens. So, from Earth’s vantage, the constellations appear to revolve. We have discovered several new planets since the original formulation of the astrological method. Despite this, astrologers continue to use only the original seven (actually five, plus sun and moon). A main astrological contention is that the planets exert a gravitational pull on the human baby at birth. This, they say, sets up the conditions which determine character and destiny. Scientifically, the gravitational pull of close objects, such as mountains or even very large trees, is far greater than that of even the nearest planet. Even if we apply the theory of gravitational attraction to the moment of conception, rather than birth, the

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environmental problematic. •

factors

would

be

just

as

Statistically, it is a simple matter to show that the more than 250 000 babies born each day on planet Earth do not all share the same characteristics, let alone the same destiny. Even twins, born within minutes of each other, often have very different personalities, pursue different careers, and end their lives entirely differently. The configurations of the actual constellations are in most cases inconsistent with the shapes and forms they represent. For instance, look up at the constellation of Bootes and try to find the actual shape of a man holding a sickle in his upraised hand. Here is a depiction of the portion of night sky that contains Bootes; see if you can spot him.

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OK, here he is on the next page…

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The actual star configurations just do not naturally suggest most of the shapes ascribed to them. Therefore, it is illogical to claim that the stars portray pictures which represent human characteristics. If you are an agnostic and approach things from an essentially scientific perspective, then what I have already pointed out should cause you to doubt the validity of astrology. If you are a Christian, then there is an even more telling

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argument against the main principles of astrology. The Bible contains stern prohibitions against it.

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Modern Astrology is scripturally invalid
There are two main branches of astrology:

Predictive Astrology stands on the underlying belief that the sidereal bodies control the destinies of men. Determinative Astrology holds that the stars and planets determine who we are.

Both of these philosophies violate the important scriptural revelation that God, not the stars, influences the nature and destinies of men and women. Yet despite his sovereign will, he has granted humans a meaningful degree of discretion. The idea that we are puppets on the end of cosmic strings is both unscriptural and offensive to human dignity. The scriptures also plainly condemn astrology. Consider the following: Deuteronomy 4:19 ‘And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars -- all the heavenly array -- do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshipping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven’. (See also 2 Kings 23:4-5) Isaiah 47:12-15 ‘Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have laboured at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those

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stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by. That is all they can do for you -- these you have laboured with and trafficked with since childhood. Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you’. Acts 7:42-43 ‘But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: ‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Babylon’. Yet, despite such condemnations, references to the names of some of the constellations are indeed in the Bible. So we can conclude that the Zodiac, in itself, is not the problem; the way humankind uses it is the real offence.

Traces of the Zodiac in Scripture
The names of certain constellations appear a number of times in the Bible. Consider the following: Job 38:31-32: ‘Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion?

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Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out Arcturus with its satellites?’ Amos 5:8: ‘He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns blackness into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land -- the Lord is his name.’ Job 9:9: ‘He is the Maker of Arcturus and Orion the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.’ The Pleiades is the name given to a cluster of stars in the shoulder of the constellation Taurus. The constellation Orion is also in the sign of Taurus. Although the NIV translates Job 38:32 as ‘The Bear with her cubs’, it gives an alternate translation as ‘Leo’. Young’s Literal Translation has transliterated the Hebrew word used as ‘Ayish’. Holman’s translates the word as ‘Aldebaran.’ The only reason I can see for some translations having ‘The Bear’ is the traditional terminology used at the time of translation. Certainly, a heavenly body is in view here, but we do not know if it is a planet, star, or constellation. I will show later on in this book that the images of bears (Ursa Major and Minor) are a corruption of the pictures originally assigned to these constellations. Job 26:13: ‘By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent.’ There is no real scholarly consensus on what ‘the gliding serpent’ is, but the reference here could quite feasibly be to the constellation of Hydra. Almost all Zodiacs portray this particular

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constellation as a huge serpent occupying about one third of the Zodiacal circle.

The Tabernacle and Tribes
There is another fascinating reference to the prominence of the Zodiac in the life and worship of the people of Israel. Josephus, a first-century AD Jewish historian, wrote, concerning the furniture in the Tabernacle, that the seven lamps of the Menorah, the seven-armed lamp, symbolized the planets. He also stated that the twelve loaves on the Table of Shewbread represented the Zodiac circle. This is what he wrote; ‘This part of the temple therefore was in height sixty cubits, and its length the same; whereas its breadth was but twenty cubits: but still that sixty cubits in length was divided again, and the first part of it was cut off at forty cubits, and had in it three things that were very wonderful and famous among all mankind, the candlestick, the table [of shew-bread], and the altar of incense. Now the seven lamps signified the seven planets; for so many there were springing out of the candlestick. Now the twelve loaves that were upon the table signified the circle of the zodiac and the year;’ (Josephus: Wars of the Jews, Chap. 5, para. 5) Josephus also wrote that the High Priest’s garments and adornments represented the constellations;

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‘Each of the sardonyxes declares to us the sun and the moon; those, I mean, that were in the nature of buttons on the high priest's shoulders. And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the Zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning.’ (Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Chap. 7, para. 7) There is also some evidence for the tribes of Israel having the signs of the Zodiac emblazoned on their standards. Josephus was a Jewish general conscripted by the Romans around AD 70 to act as their Jewish historian. There is no reason to think that his interpretation of the temple furnishings and the High Priest’s garments did not reflect the thinking of the Jewish theologians of his time. Both the references in Job and Amos, and the writings of Josephus, reveal that the planets and stars featured significantly in the Jewish religious worldview. This overflows into the New Testament witness.

References in the Book of Acts

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Acts Chapter 7 verses 39 to 43 record Stephen’s speech to the Jewish ruling council (Sanhedrin) as follows: ‘But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. They told Aaron, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt — we don't know what has happened to him!' That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honour of what their hands had made. But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: "Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Babylon…’ I have read many explanations of why the Israelites wanted to worship a golden calf. The most obvious understanding is to associate it with ‘the worship of the heavenly bodies’ and the reference to ‘the star of your god Rephan’. It is obvious, at least to me, that the golden calf was part of the worship of the stars, the heavenly bodies. Taurus is a Zodiacal sign representing a bull. A star cluster known as the Pleiades appears in the shoulder of this constellation. Both Taurus and the Pleiades were well known to the Egyptians and played significant roles in their worship system. Concerning the star

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mentioned in Acts 7, scholars of antiquity generally believe the star of Rephan to be the planet Saturn. To the ancients, planets were merely wandering stars. So, the Golden Calf idolatry had to do with the Egyptian deities they ascribed to the constellation of Taurus and the planet Saturn. Whilst the ancient Jews knew the Zodiac, its origins date back even further.

The Antiquity of the Zodiac
Archaeologists discovered the earliest known graphical depiction of the Zodiac in the ceiling of the ancient temple at Denderah in Egypt. The Egyptians built the temple of Hathor, in which the Zodiac was located, in c.125 BC, or according to the antiquities scholar Fagan, in 137 BC. However, the positions of the planets indicated in this Zodiac are consistent with the night sky of about 4 500 years ago. That means the Zodiac was already in use at least before 2500 BC. In the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Seti I, archaeologists found a relief they dated as c.1290 BC. This relief shows the star Sirius rising as the marker indicating the start of the Sothic (ancient Egyptian) calendar. From the data displayed, Fagan calculated that the year represented was 2767 BC.

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Researchers have found Zodiac depictions in the archaeological digs of many ancient cultures. Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Babylonian, Arabian, Chinese, Mexican, Indian, and Hebrew cultures all made use of some form of Zodiac. Many of the names of actual stars have Arabic or Babylonian origins, and so it is likely that the Zodiac had its origin somewhere in the Near East. Unfortunately, the first order research trails get cold sometime around 410 BC. Therefore, most current literature concerning the Zodiac derives from Greek and Babylonian records of the fifth century BC. Historians are undecided about the original intended use of the ancient Zodiacs. Most think the ancients used them to indicate both agricultural seasons and the timing of religious observances. There is no evidence for the use of Zodiacs as predictive tools before the fifth century BC. Even then, the predictions made from zodiacal readings concerned nations and epochs, and were not personal prognostications.

The Abraham connection
The book of Genesis records how Abram (God had not yet changed his name to Abraham) travelled from Ur in Babylonia to make his eventual home in Palestine. Flavius Josephus refers to the Chaldean astronomer Berosus as mentioning Abram when he wrote that ‘in the tenth generation after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans a man righteous and great, and skilful in the celestial science.’ It is quite likely that Abram exported astronomy and

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the Zodiac from Babylonia to the Promised Land. This could account for the several Old Testament allusions to zodiacal signs. Josephus gives the reason for Abram leaving Ur as religious persecution. He believed Abram had concluded that there was but one God and creator of all things. Josephus held, in fact, that astronomy predated Abram and that Enoch had first introduced it. Perhaps Abram refined or adapted an age-old stellar identification system and then exported it first to Palestine and later to Egypt. Zodiacs appear to predate Abram, and so he most probably was working with an existing system. If Josephus was correct, then Abram would have been working with Enoch’s astronomical scheme. The latest historical research indicates that Zodiacs appeared almost simultaneously in Babylonia, Assyria, and Egypt. Significantly, Abram left Babylonia (Ur of the Chaldees), stayed for a season in Haran, just north-west of Assyria and, after a period in Palestine, ended up in Egypt. Could he have been the one who introduced the Zodiac and its mysterious message to these three great nations? The evidence is scant yet compelling.

Jewish Zodiacs
Several synagogues in Israel contained Zodiacs. Today, you can see some of them in the ruins and reconstructions of synagogues in the Holy Land. Many have theorized about why they were there. The most widely accepted theory is that the Jews

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adopted Astrology from the Greeks, but reinterpreted the planets to represent angels and not gods. The idea here is that Palestinian Jews of around Jesus’ time had moved away from the taboo of graven images, and had adopted the symbols and art of the Hellenized world to express their religion. This could be partially true, although unlikely considering the religious zeal of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. A more reasonable explanation is that the Zodiac had an ancient place in Jewish mystical tradition. Abraham was the spiritual father of the Jewish faith, and I have already made the point that he could well have been the one whom God used to convey the sidereal gospel first revealed to Enoch. Moreover, I believe the Zodiac was not merely an astrological map or agricultural calendar. Mystical Jews would have embraced it as an encoded story of God’s providence and salvation plan.

The Concept of a Sidereal Gospel
It is my belief that, in the most ancient times, God placed a huge picture story in the heavens. This star story, this sidereal gospel, predated the written record, the scriptures. Its purpose was to reveal to humankind the divine plan for the ages. I further contend that and interpretation of astrology. Instead of purposes in the stars, the devil corrupted the use these heavenly signs into reading God’s plans and men and women now try to

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determine their personality traits and destinies from those same stars. I use the word ‘gospel’ in its linguistically qualified sense. The word means ‘good news’, and the story depicted in the heavens is indeed good news to those who will believe it. It is the story of God’s great plan of redemption and reconciliation. Salvation came through Jesus Christ alone, and the scriptures constitute the witness to this great salvation. But remember, the Zodiac constitutes a record preceding the written revelation of the scriptures. Its value to us is that it both authenticates the biblical record and helps us to understand previously veiled parts of the Bible. Why did the ancient stargazers assign names to the constellations which in most cases bear little resemblance to their visual configurations? Look up at the night sky towards the constellation of Virgo, for instance. See if you can discern any particular female form in the star configurations. To see a woman in that constellation requires more than imagination, it requires a code. The logical answer to the question I have posed is that someone superimposed the images upon the star formations. In other words, someone used the bright stars in each constellation as points to ‘draw’ a picture on the canvas of the night sky. As I have already pointed out, the stars do not change their location relative to each other, and so this sort of ‘join-the-dots’ picture would remain unchanged over time. In this way, one generation after another could pass on a story sketched in pictures on the heavens. Read Psalm 19:1-6 in this light.

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‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.’ I do not want to rush into this revelation. Rather, I want to build up the concept of a sidereal gospel, not from Psalm 19, but from the very beginning of the Bible.

Early traces in Genesis

‘And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.’ (Genesis 1:14-15)

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The ‘lights in the expanse of the sky’ are obviously stellar objects, stars. According to this passage, God placed these stars in the heavens for three stated purposes, other than that of shedding reflected light on the Earth during the night hours. The New American Standard Version of the Bible phrases this part of verse 14 as, ‘and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.’ I will comment on these in reverse order. Firstly, days and years. Due to the inclination of the Earth on its axis, the stars appear to move slowly across the heavens as the year progresses. Different constellations appear on the eastern horizon at dawn in different months of the year. The ancient civilizations based their calendars on these stellar positions. Egypt, for instance, divided their year into twelve thirty-day periods, each presided over by a particular constellation. The second stated purpose given in verse 14 is to mark the seasons. Even before the formalization of a calendar in Egypt, the periodic flooding of the river Nile was associated with the position of the stars and major planets. The heavenly configurations acted as an annual marker for the different agricultural seasons. The word signs in verse 14 is a translation of the Hebrew word oth, meaning ‘things to come’. Jeremiah 10:2 uses this same word where it has, ‘This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them.’ According to Keil and Delitzesch, ‘The signs of heaven are unwonted phenomena in the heavens,

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eclipses of the sun and moon, comets, and unusual conjunctions of the stars, which were regarded as the precursors of extraordinary and disastrous events.’ This is the current view concerning the meaning of the word ‘signs’ in this passage of scripture. However, it is just as feasible that the heavenly ‘signs’ refer to the constellations of the Zodiac and the story they convey. I find the next step in the construction of the concept of a sidereal gospel in the account of the tower of Babel in Genesis Chapter 11. Some historians believe the tower of Babel was a Ziggurat, a stepped pyramid. On top of this was a temple to the starry host, complete with a Zodiac. Josephus wrote that astronomy originated with the family of Seth, and he claimed that Enoch made provision for the preservation of this knowledge by building two ‘pillars’ (Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Chap.12, para. 3), one of brick and the other of stone, to contain the whole of the predictions of the stars. The Tower of Babel was made of baked bricks, and the Great Pyramid of Egypt was made of cut stone. Lieut-Gen. Chesney researched and excavated the ruins of Babylon and reported as follows: ‘About five miles S.W. of Hillah, the most remarkable of all the ruins, the Birs Nimroud of the Arabs, rises to a height of 153 feet above the plain from a base covering a square of 400 feet, or almost four acres. It was constructed of kiln-dried bricks in seven stages to correspond with the planets to which they were dedicated: the lowermost black, the colour of Saturn; the next orange,

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for Jupiter; the third red, for Mars; and so on. These stages were surmounted by a lofty tower, on the summit of which, we are told, were the signs of the Zodiac and other astronomical figures; thus having (as it should have been translated) “a representation of the heavens” instead of 'a top which reached unto heaven.’ 1 Could it be that the ancients corrupted this repository of knowledge into a temple of worship to the starry host? Could modern astrology, with its focus on godless determination and prediction, have had its birth here? Did this cause God's anger, the destruction of the tower and the scattering of the nations? Evidence, as in most things regarding antiquity, is scant, and so we need to rely quite heavily on logic and a sense of right fit. On this basis I believe that it is reasonable to answer ‘yes’ to all three questions. Next, I ask you to consider Genesis 3:15, which reads, ‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’ We know this verse as the ‘proto evangeli’, the first Gospel, with the woman's offspring being Jesus and the serpent’s offspring being the devil.

1

Quoted from E.W.Bullinger’s book ‘Message in the stars’

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Now, right near the centre of the ancient star chart of the heavens, the Zodiac, is a picture of a man, commonly called Hercules, with his foot upon the head of a snake named Draco. The ancient name for the man was not Hercules but Bau, meaning ‘who cometh’, and the brightest star, situated in the man’s head, is named Ras Al Gethi, meaning ‘The head of him who bruises’. The name Draco is from the Greek and means ‘trodden on’, and its brightest star is Thuban, which means ‘the subtle one’. Thuban used to be the polar star some 4 700 years ago. You might know this star by its more common name of Alpha Draconis. There is another star in the very head of Draco called Al Waid, meaning ‘who is to be destroyed’. Both the picture and the star names depict the proto evangeli; an ancient dragon under the foot of a mighty saviour figure. It is clear, is it not? The one who comes, tramples, and crushes the serpent, the subtle one who is to be destroyed, Satan, is … Jesus! Now I need to take you once more to Psalm 19.

Psalm 19
This Psalm is in two parts. The first part (vv. 1 - 6) speaks of the heavens declaring the glory of God and the skies proclaiming the work of his hands. The second half of verse 4 together with verse 5 describes the sun’s apparent movement along its zodiacal course through the sky. The psalm equates the arrangements in the heavens to a

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message from God declared to all of humanity. Just to make sure we do not miss the point, the second half of the psalm speaks of the written revelation of God in the scriptures. Is it stretching the meaning of the psalm to say that its message is that God has given us the good news, the Gospel, of his purposes both in the heavens and in the Bible? Did God present humanity with a sidereal gospel before he caused the scriptural gospel to be composed? You know by now that my answer to the first question is ‘no, I don’t believe it is unreasonable to interpret the psalm in this way’, and to the second question is ‘yes, I believe that a sidereal gospel existed before the Bible was composed’. It is time to consider other literary works on the subject of a Sidereal Gospel.

Other works on this subject
I sometimes read books on this sort of subject, where the author presents a body of knowledge as though he or she were the first to discover it. I do not want to give you the impression that I am the first to investigate the concept of a sidereal gospel. There have been a number of books published on this subject from 1970 to date, but most of them take their material from a book entitled ‘Witness of the Stars’ by E.W.Bullinger written in 1893. Some eleven years earlier, Joseph A. Seiss published his book ‘The Gospel in the Stars’. Both he and Dr Bullinger leaned heavily on research by Frances Rolleston published in 1863 under the title ‘Mazzarorth – The Constellations’. Dr Bullinger

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acknowledged both Seiss and Rolleston in the preface to his first edition, and stated that his work was an effort to ‘set forth, in a more complete form, the witness of the stars to prophetic truth, so necessary in these last days.’ More recently, William D. Banks produced a book based largely on the research of Frances Rolleston entitled ‘The heavens declare…’ (1985). His bibliography contains references to works on the same theme by Dent (The Testimony of the Stars), Rolleston, Seiss, and Bullinger. My interpretation of the data differs substantially in several places from that of these scholars. I have also added many insights and conclusions not included in their works. More recently, three scholars have published their research into an astronomical and astrological interpretation of the book of Revelation. In 1997, Jacques M. Chevalier published ‘A Postmodern Revelation – Signs of Astrology and the Apocalypse’. In 2000, Bruce J. Malina and John J. Pilch published ‘Social-Science Commentary on the Book of Revelation’. Both works are essentially humanistic in orientation, but they do open the door to serious academic research into the astronomical coding of the book of Revelation.

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