A couple of summers ago, on two very different dark nights, I was able to view the Milky Way Dark Rift for the first time. This was something achieved quite late in my life because it is only really in the last five years that I have begun to explore YHWH’s creation in great detail and have taken more interest in what is going on above my head! The first view was from a campsite in Norfolk (England, UK) during July where there was no real light pollution and on this viewing I was not sure if I was correct in my thought that I was observing the Milky Way. Confirmation that this had, in fact, been a sighting came when I viewed the Milky Way from a beach location in Sri Lanka in September later that year. On both occasions I was unable to take a significant photograph and since then I have searched the internet for images which would inspire a painting.
In Genesis 15:5-6 – God makes Abram a great promise that his descendants will number more than all the stars in the sky. There are more than 9,000 stars visible to the naked eye around the globe, not counting the band of the Milky Way which appears to have billions of stars, but also has some very black areas where there appears to be no stars at all. It is as if someone sprinkled stardust over one area of the sky, but did not cover it. It also looks like the stars are clustered along a dark ridge, which forms a wound in the sky above us.
From his article entitled ‘Paddle the Milky Way’s Dark Rift,’ Bob King comments that: “It’s hard to look at the lack of starlight [in the Milky Way] and see it as anything other than emptiness. That’s what confounded astronomers from the 18th century onward, until E.E. Barnard and Max Wolf’s careful photographic studies in the early 20th century revealed that William Herschel’s “holes in the sky” were caused by great clouds of fine, opaque dust. For a time, even Barnard had a difficult time convincing himself of the fact: “I did not at first believe in these dark obscuring masses,” he noted in a 1919 Astrophysical Journal paper. “The proof was not conclusive. The increase of evidence, however, from my own photographs convinced me later, especially after investigating some of them visually, that many of these markings were not simply due to an actual want of stars but were really obscuring bodies nearer to us than the distant stars.””
When you look up at the Milky Way with your naked eye, it curves over you in a gentle arc. Scientists and photographers have viewed this and commented upon it. We read from the scientist Nola Taylor Redd that: “A glance up at the night sky reveals a broad swath of light. Described by the ancients as a river, as milk, and as a path, among other things, the band has been visible in the heavens since Earth first formed…Understanding the structure of the Milky Way has long been challenging. The solar system sits on the outer edges of one arm in a disk of material, and no one can see across the dense centre to the other side.”
According to photographer Michael Goh, the curve of the Milky Way can either be photographed as a straight band of stars (by looking up at the Milky Way – and taking a photograph) or by looking towards the horizon so that the Milky Way appears as an arch of stars (and thence taking a photograph from this viewpoint). This is why if you do a search for photographs of the Milky Way, you will see a variety of perspectives, all of which are technically correct.
Further to this, not everyone has the opportunity to observe the Milky Way from their location and this is due to light pollution.
A cursory look at Wiki and we read: The Milky Way is visible from Earth as a hazy band of white light, some 30° wide, arching across the night sky… The light originates from the accumulation of unresolved stars and other material located in the direction of the galactic plane. Dark regions within the band, such as the Great Rift and the Coalsack, are areas where interstellar dust blocks light from distant stars. The area of sky that the Milky Way obscures is called the Zone of Avoidance.
The Milky Way has a relatively low surface brightness. Its visibility can be greatly reduced by background light, such as light pollution or moonlight… This makes the Milky Way difficult to see from brightly lit urban or suburban areas, but very prominent when viewed from rural areas when the Moon is below the horizon. The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness shows that more than one-third of Earth’s population cannot see the Milky Way from their homes due to light pollution.
You will have noticed that I have underlined all the descriptions of the Milky Way Dark Rift observed by both scientists and laymen which seem to highlight the fact that this phenomenon is seen as an arc or arch of stars spanning across the sky. This is very much in keeping with YHWH’s creation of the firmament which spans over us; could the Milky Way be following the curve of YHWH’s firmament? You can probably guess what I think!
Having looked at insights as to how the Milky Way is viewed by scientists generally, what about biblically speaking? We know that in Genesis Chapter One YHWH said:14“Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years…He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.” So then, YHWH commissioned the stars (as well as the sun and moon) to play their part in being for “signs and seasons, and for days and years.” This is a moot point when we read the passages from both Isaiah and Revelation that tell us what to expect in the end of days: “All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall” (Isaiah) and “The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up (Revelation)…Which brings me back to the Milky Way Dark Rift. Could it possibly be that the gash-like formation in the sky which forms the Milky Way with the Dark Rift, with its clusters of stars and stardust, could be the very place where the sky might roll up one day? It is just a thought that occurred to me as I observed the star forms with my own eyes. I have more thoughts on this and another viewpoint on the stars…
All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. Isaiah 34:4
The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up,
and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Rev 6:14
In Psalm 8:3, we see that the psalmist writes: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained…” The word ordained has the following definitions:
So, from looking at these definitions we can see that YHWH ordained/ established/set up and fixed the sun, moon and stars into positions where they might do a job. The first job being to divide the day from the night, next to be for signs and seasons, and for days and years and finally, together with the sun and moon, the stars were to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.
Furthermore, in Psalm 136: 7-9 we read: To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever—The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever;The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever. Here we see that the sun, moon and stars have been given roles to play over the earth; they are to rule by day and by night, giving light upon the earth. If we look at the definition of the word rule, we see the definition as:
Putting all these ideas together, we see that YHWH ordained the sun, moon and stars to rule over the Second Heaven (above the First Heaven where the birds fly) having powerand dominion over the night and day. They have been given a job, as it were. The stars in particular were made so that they would shine brightly and fulfil YHWH’s command of shedding their light upon His creation. They were also set into position in the firmament.
Robert L. Laing writes that: Genesis 1:16–17 says that God set the stars in heaven. Astronomers have not yet discovered, but they soon will learn that stars are not racing away from us, as scientists today believe, but are fixed in space where they orbit just as we are told in the Bible verses.
But there is more to consider as we read in Psalm 147:4 – He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Here we see that YHWH gave names to each and every star (ponder, did He give individual names to each and every lion or goat or giraffe?) – so why would He give out these individual names to the stars?
Further, in Judges 5:20 we read: They fought from the heavens; The stars from their courses fought against Sisera. This reminds me of another verse in Revelation 12:7-9 where there was another battle in Heaven: “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and His Angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down — that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Looking at the two battles, could it be that perhaps the stars have something to do with angels?’
In Job 38: 7 we read: When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy…Here the stars are actually singing with great joy at YHWH’s creation. Those stars do not seem to be great gaseous inanimate orbs but, instead, participants in the glory of creation itself.
In Matthew 24 v 29, Yeshua reveals to us that: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. In Revelation 6:13 we read: And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. If the stars are what science tells us, then the stars falling in these verses would indicate that we are going to be annihilated by a mass of gaseous stars and that nothing would survive AT ALL (think Eta Carinae which science tells us is 250 times larger than our sun). Whereas, if the stars had something to do with angels, then the whole star-falling picture would make more sense. And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. This passage in Revelation 9:1 further shows us that this star was given a key and was called a HE, so one might presume that he is not a star but an angel.
In the end times, there will be a great battle on the earth which will involve the heavenly realms and through this YHWH will make His creation perfect again. Therefore, we can hold onto Yeshua’s promise in John 14:3 that: “… if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Okay, I am not done with this yet (and quite possibly will not be in this post).
I am now going to return to a task I set you, dear reader, in my previous post where I asked you to look for the word planet in your bible. At the time I ignored your protests, so it is only fair for me to give you some information to help you in your walk.
Here is your proof…
And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. 2 Kings 23 v 5, KJV
Doing a search through bible versions, I noted that some translations use the word planets in one particular bible verse (2 Kings 23:5, see above), notably in the King James Version and, because this is the version most readily accepted by bible aficionados, I decided to do research into the root Hebrew word/s used for this translation of planets. The translation in the KJV uses the Textus Receptus and the Septuagint and is also taken from the original Hebrew and Aramaic, so at face value this looks like solid evidence that what is written is accurate. However, I wondered why other translations use heavenly hosts, starry hosts, hosts of heaven, every star in heaven or constellations rather than using the word planets.
We find that in Strong’s Concordance₁ the number for wə-lam-maz-zā-lō-wṯ, found in the 2 Kings 25:23 verse is 4208, meaning “mazzalah, maz-zaw-law; appar. From 5140 in the sense of raining; a constellation, i.e.Zodiacal sign (perh.as affecting the weather): planet” [from KJV]. Here Strong’s mentions the use of planet as my version uses the KJV as the parallel bible choice.
In his book The Created Cosmos: What the Bible Reveals About Astronomy,
Danny Faulkner writes: “Another astronomical term found in Job 38:32 is “mazzaroth” [“Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? Or canst thou guide Arturus with his sons?” KJV]. The meaning is uncertain, but it likely refers to a group of constellations seen along the southern horizon at the time of Job. Mazzaroth is a transcription of the plural Hebrew noun מַזָּר֣וֹת (mazzarot), which appears only once in the Old Testament. The etymology of mazzarot is unclear and scholars are not sure exactly what mazzarot means. It likely refers either to constellations in general or to the zodiacal constellations. It may also refer to a particular star, but this is unlikely, in view of the use of the plural. A similar term, וְלַמַּזָּל֔וֹת (wə-lam-maz-zā-lō-wṯ) is found in 2 Kings 23:5 but appears merely to be an alternate spelling of mazzarot. The King James Version translates mazzarot in 2 Kings 25: 5 as “planets” though this is almost certainly incorrect, or at least too restrictive. [My addition of bible verse and underlining]
So, we find the eminent Dr Faulkner (PhD in Astronomy, MS in Physics, researcher, author, and speaker for Answers in Genesis, to name some of his credentials) does not think that the KJV translation of planets is correct. I tend to agree but then, who am I? Taking a further look at the translation of the word used in 2 Kings 25:23, I turn to the Bible Hub online translation:
וְלַמַּזָּל֔וֹת wə-lam-maz-zā-lō-wṯ and to the constellations
Conjunctive waw (and, furthermore, but), Preposition –I(with regard to),Noun masculine plural
No mention of planets here, then. But where am I going with this, you may be wondering. Well… this is what I read in Genesis Chapter One:
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
YHWH put the stars, the sun and the moon in the firmament; they were given jobs to divide the day from the night, to be for signs and for seasons, for days and years, to give light to the earth and to rule over day and night. So as to what exactly YHWH placed in the heavens (the firmament), we see that He placed the stars, the sun and the moon. It is these that the various writers in the bible refer to as we can see in the following verses:
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
He who made the Pleiades and Orion And changes deep darkness into morning, Who also darkens day into night
Who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
The EarthSky website tells us that the Pleiades star cluster – also known as the Seven Sisters or M45 can be seen from nearly everywhere on the earth. Once you have found the constellation of Orion, it can help you be sure you have found the Pleiades. Orion’s Belt are the three stars in a row in Orion and these can be easily found in the night sky.
Looking at the Bear in Job 9:9, we find that in Latin Ursa Major means “greater she-bear.” In Greek Arktos is the word for bear, hence the name Arctic, which means bearish and describes the far northern parts of the earth where the Great Bear constellation dominates the heavens even more than in the northern hemisphere. A very large constellation, Ursa Major is best known for its famous asterism or star grouping, the Big Dipper.
(Note that in these verses, and there are many more I could have used from the bible, these are stars/constellations which are being written about).
In the book of Jude there is an interesting verse which adds more to this discussion on stars and planets: “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Jude 1:13 KJV online version. ”Wandering” derives from the Greek noun πλανήτης (planétés, Strong’s 4107), and is only used in the Bible in Jude 1:13, where we can read about wandering stars. About this word we can read in Biblehub that it derives from the verb πλανάω (planáo, Strong’s 4105) with the meaning of go astray, deceive, get off course, wander or cause to wander. Notice here that the Greek translation is planáo which is obviously where the word planet/s originates from. But planets are said to be wandering stars.
We can read more about these wandering stars in the Book of Enoch and, just to justify using this book, Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch in verses 14-16 – so it is obvious that the writings of Enoch were known at the time of Jude.
James Trimm writes: The Book of Enoch recounts the fall of a group of angels, who fell from heaven and took human form in order to copulate with human women (1Enoch 6; Gen. 6). Now Chapter 41 gives a prophecy Enoch received BEFORE this fall of angels (see 1En. 39:1). At that time Enoch explains the movements of the Sun and Moon…However AFTER the fall of these fallen angels Enoch receives another revelation concerning the “stars” (The ancients counted the Sun, the Moon, and the five visible planets as “stars”):
14 The angel said: ‘This place is the end of heaven and earth: this has become a prison for the stars and the host of heaven.
15 And the stars which roll over the fire are they which have transgressed the commandment of YHWH in the beginning of their rising, because they did not come forth at their appointed times.
16 And He was wroth with them, and bound them till the time when their guilt should be consummated (even) for ten thousand years.’
(1En. 18:14-16 Trimm Translation)
What Enoch is telling us is that after the fall of the angels recounted in 1Enoch 6 and Genesis 6 the heavenly luminaries changed their motions, having rebelled against YHWH’s commandments. Whereas before the fall the Sun, Moon and stars “[did] not leave their orbit, and they add[ed] nothing to their orbit and they [took] nothing from it, and they [kept] faith with each other, in accordance with the oath by which they [were] bound together.” (41:5) yet after the fall they no longer “did come forth at their appointed times”.
From the explanation which Mr Trimm expounds, we can see a clear picture of how there is a connection between the fallen angels and the wandering stars. I would state that my view is that what we see moving in the sky is not the planets but the wandering stars and that these stars have something to do with the fallen angels; there is so much more study that can be done on this topic and I encourage the reader to look into this further. Homework! – did I tell you I am an ex-teacher?
Leaving you with a reflection, stars are significant and have been put in the heavens for a reason (to divide the day from the night, to be for signs and for seasons, for days and years, to give light to the earth and to rule over day and night). And YHWH instructed one particular star to indicate the birth of His Son!
“We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2
It is the stars that are given their roles and some are connected to the angels…