Just a warning from the start. This post will be continuing my theme on stars. I have previously mentioned that this is a deep rabbit-hole, but there will be some respite as I skirt over the moon and sun. (This is where I would insert a smiley face, but we are too grown-up here on The Unexpected Cosmology.)
So, returning to my thoughts on how YHWH plainly showed us how we should observe and follow His ways which are indicated in the skies above us through His heavenly Mazzaroth; let us take a look at how humans have perverted YHWH’s plans for us.
A great perspective on how humans have over time changed what YHWH set in place in Genesis Chapter One regarding the signs and seasons can be seen in this comment from my trusted chronological study bible: “To completely separate the Israelites from the worship of God in Jerusalem, Jeroboam even began a new priesthood. In Israel’s covenant the Levites were assigned as priests for the nations worship (Num. 3:5 – 10), but Jeroboam appointed non-Levitical priests, causing the Levites to flee to Judah (1 Kin. 12:31, 2 Chr. 11:14, 15). He even inaugurated separate feasts (1 Kin. 12:32). By encouraging the worship of the golden bull Jeroboam hoped to keep the hearts of his people from returning to King Rehoboam, the grandson of David (1 Kin. 12: ₂₆Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now, the kingdom might revert to the house of David. ₂₇If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, their hearts will return to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah; then they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.”).
We see a connection with what Jeroboam did to influence the people to fall away from YHWH’s appointed times, when we read this section from Michael Heiser’s book ‘Reversing Hermon’:
“The ‘gates of hell’ incident (Matthew 16:13-20) in Jesus’ ministry is familiar to most Bible students. However, the geography is unfortunately ignored, an oversight that prevents us from understanding the impact of what Jesus said and did in a region theologically tethered to the Watchers [fallen angels]. The events of Matthew 16:13-20 took place in Caesarea Philippi, a city located in the northern part of what had been called Bashan, at the foot of Mount Hermon. Jesus asked the disciples a famous question, “who do people say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus followed with this:
Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not be able to withstand it. (Matthew 16: 17-18)
This passage is among the most controversial in the Bible, as it is a focal point of debate between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The former argue that Peter is the rock upon which the church is established and thus the passage makes Peter the leader of the original church (and the first pope). Protestants insist the rock is a reference to God on analogy of passages like 1 Corinthians 10:4.
Both of these traditional understandings are incorrect. The reference to the rock is the place where they are standing – Caesarea Philippi at the foot of Mount Hermon. The apostate King Jeroboam built an idolatrous worship centre there (1 Kings 12) and the city adopted the worship of Baal practiced by the Canaanites since the days of Joshua in their city Baal-Gad (Joshua 11:17; cp. Judges 3:3). In Jesus’ day, Caesarea Philippi was also called Panias, having been dedicated to the worship of Pan.”
From what I have shown in the passages above, it can be clearly seen how through one man’s (Jeroboam’s) influence, a whole people were deceived into idolatrous worship which carried on in one form or another in that very same place up until the time of Yeshua and then after that time. And, this is only one example of how humankind has strayed from the path set by YHWH through His heavenly signposts: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens … and let them be for signs and seasons.
We have two examples in the Second Part of the bible (otherwise known as the New Testament*) which speak about how the fallen angels/watchers spoken of in the First Part of the bible (otherwise known as the Old Testament*) were punished by YHWH for their disobedience (Genesis 6:2 and onwards through the bible). * The bible is one Big book, a continuous story – but I am going off topic… To continue. These references can be read about in Jude 1:6 and 2 Peter 2:4, which I will show you in a moment. However, it can be seen that these two verses are more fully explained in the Book of 1 Enoch Chapter 21, where not only are the angels and their punishments spoken of but also a group of seven stars who undergo punishment for transgressing the commandment of the Lord. Stars are punished! Could stars be more than what we believe they are if they can punished for not doing their job of being for “signs and seasons”? Hmm, you probably know the answer to that one.
Returning to the verses from Jude and 2 Peter, Joseph Benson’s bible commentary summarises these for us:
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 1:6)
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment (2 Peter 2:4)
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate — Or, as the clause may be rendered, their first dignity, or principality, (see on 2 Peter 2:4) namely, the dignity or principality assigned them; but left their own habitation — Properly their own by the free gift of God. The apostle’s manner of speaking insinuates that they attempted to raise themselves to a higher station than that which God had allotted to them; consequently, that the sin for which they were and are to be punished, was pride and rebellion. He hath reserved — Delivered to be kept; in everlasting chains under darkness — O how unlike their own habitation! Everlasting chains is a metaphorical expression, which denotes a perpetual confinement, from which it is no more in their power to escape, than a man, who is strongly bound with iron chains, can break them. Unto the judgment of the great day — Elsewhere called the day of the Lord, and emphatically that day. In our Lord’s description of the general judgment, he tells us that the wicked are to depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; which implies that these wicked spirits are to be punished with the wicked of mankind.
Ellicott further explains:
2 Peter 2:4: The angels that sinned. — Better, the angels for their sin: it gives the reason why they were not spared, and points to some definite sin. What sin is meant? —St. Jude is somewhat more explicit (Jude 1:6); he says it was for not keeping their own dignity–for deserting their proper home; and the reference, both there and here, is either to a common interpretation of Genesis 6:2 (that by “the sons of God” are meant “angels”), or, more probably, to distinct and frequent statements in the Book of Enoch, that certain angels sinned by having intercourse with women–e.g., Enoch vii. 1, 2; cv. 13 (Lawrence’s translation). — Hence St. Peter uses it as an argumentum ad hominem against them, and St. Jude, recognising the allusion, adopts it and makes it more plain; or both writers, knowing the Book of Enoch well, and calculating on their readers knowing it also, used it to illustrate their arguments and exhortations, just as St. Paul uses the Jewish belief of the rock following the Israelites.
Ellicott, we can see, states that both Peter and Jude knew about the Book of Enoch and referenced it in the verses we have been looking at. This makes me think that there must be some validity in the use of the Book of Enoch and I return to the stars who transgressed and what we actually read in Enoch is this:
1,2 And I proceeded to where things were chaotic. And I saw there something horrible: I saw neither 3 a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible. And there I saw 4 seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. Then 5 I said: ‘For what sin are they bound, and on what account have they been cast in hither?’ Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me, and was chief over them, and said: ‘Enoch, why 6 dost thou ask, and why art thou eager for the truth? These are of the number of the stars of heaven, which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, 7 the time entailed by their sins, are consummated.’₅
So, while stars can actually work against YHWH in some way, I would say that they have been doing so for a long time and to this very day. I have spoken about the Mazzaroth in a previous post on The Unexpected Cosmology where I explained YHWH’s use of the stars in the sky as signs to humankind as opposed to the use of astrology, a pagan practice of reading the stars. It is notable that stars and planets (I prefer wandering stars) are more often than not given names which are synonymous with the pagan gods of the Greeks and Romans…so in a way the stars are still given to transgressing YHWH’s set plan and, more particularly, the wandering stars mentioned in Jude 1:13. Oh, yes, and those wandering stars have a habit of crossing the sky in differing circuits month by month and causing astrologers to note their movements and gain insight and predictions about forthcoming events. So many times YHWH warns His people to stay away from fortune tellers and those practicing divination and who use the stars as a way to prophesize.
“And beware not to 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.”
Jeremiah gives a clear warning:
Thus says the LORD, “Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them.” (Jeremiah 10:2); “For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Do not let your prophets who are in your midst and your diviners deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams which they dream. ‘For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD.”
But our journey takes us further…
When YWHW placed the sun, moon and stars in the firmament, He gave them specific jobs: to give light in the day and at night, to establish times of day and night, times in the week, the month and the year. When we gaze up in the sky, we notice the movement of the sun during the day and we notice the movement of the moon with its phases and stars at night.
We read in the Book of Enoch:
For the signs and the times and the years and the days the angel Uriel showed to me, whom the Lord of glory hath set for ever over all the luminaries of the heaven, in the heaven and in the world, that they should rule on the face of the heaven and be seen on the earth, and be leaders for the day and the night, i.e. the sun, moon, and stars, and all the ministering creatures which make their revolution in all the chariots of the heaven. (1 Enoch Chapter LXXV).
In addition, scholars over time have realized that not only do the heavenly bodies indicate signs and seasons which we link to YHWH’s feast days and Sabbaths, but they also paint a picture in the skies about YHWH’s plans for us.
Gerardus D. Bouw, in his book Witness of the Stars, reviews astronomical traditions and writings dating back almost to the Flood around 2300 B.C., if not earlier. He writes:
These traditions associate the constellations with a message that a redeemer will come to deliver his bride from the clutches of a wicked one. The wicked one usually appears in the form of a serpent or some monstrous beast. The hero rescues the bride at the cost of his life, which may include being swallowed by the monster for three days and nights. Yet the hero is regurgitated or resurrected and becomes king, marries the fair damsel, and wins himself a kingdom which he rules with his bride reigning beside him as queen…
The foundation for the theory of the witness of the stars is that God, when he created the stars for signs and for seasons, formed the constellations and placed into their arrangement an account of his plan for the redemption of man, which is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ…The theory continues that God instilled in Adam that knowledge, and thence to Seth who is held by many of the ancients to be the first astronomer. Others regard Adam as the first. Over the millennia, the interpretation of the constellations has become secularized among the Gentiles, and corrupted by Cabbalistic teachings among the Jews.
Plainly, what was seen as the Mazzaroth in the Hebrew bible (and mentioned in Job 38:32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?) and meaning ‘garland of crowns’ referring to the constellations, has over time been corrupted into what is now termed as astrology using the zodiac. Again, I have written about this in a previous post where with particular reference to 17 Fish – The Bible and the Stars which further explains the gospel story mentioned above by Bouw.
But just in case you missed my point, Chuck Missler further explains:
The Mazzaroth has nothing to do with astrology or any attempt to tell our futures based on the stars. Rather, the Mazzaroth is a tool that uses the stars to tell a story. The Hebrews knew their constellations. They were not to worship the stars, but the first chapter of Genesis states that when God created the heavenly bodies, He did so for several reasons. He said, “…Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” It is amusing to see planetarium shows still spreading the notion that the various pictures associated with the constellations were ancient imaginings taken from the arrangement of the stars. If you have carefully explored that conjecture, it is easily discarded as fanciful and absurd. Have you ever tried to visualize a “lady chained to a chair” in the bent-W known as Cassiopeia? One can see Draco as a serpent-dragon winding and bending between the Big and Little Dippers, but Sagittarius looks more like a teapot than an archer. And yet, the names of the constellations tend to be consistent, with small variations, throughout different cultures around the world… I suggest that the names of the stars and the constellations originally had meaning to Adam, Seth, and Enoch—that they were created to serve as a mnemonic, a memory tool, to tell a very important story. The story they tell has significance to all of us, so much so that it was corrupted in a temple at Babel and became the distorted soothsayer’s tool we see today in astrology.
Once again satan has corrupted what YHWH has set in place by making humankind believe that the stars in our skies are just representing mythological, fanciful notions which can be manipulated to show us possible futures in our increasingly hedonistic, atheistic world. But listen to His words and know that it is YHWH who is and who always has been in control:
“You alone are the LORD You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.”
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
I pray that we would have an understanding of what YHWH is telling us in his heavenly skies and that we would not be duped by what humankind is trying to make us believe about what we are seeing. We need this heavenly insight now more than ever!