The mystery of the seven stars

It’s winter here in New Zealand and Matariki, the Maori New Year.  Matariki is marked by the appearance of the Pleiades Star Cluster.  In the night sky, the Pleiades can be spotted with the naked eye as a dim cluster of stars above Orion’s left shoulder.

Matariki-southernFor the Maori, Matariki literally means “eyes of God” (Mata Ariki) or “little eyes” (Matariki.)  They’re not far wrong, for the prophet Zechariah, writing about his vision of a lampstand with seven lamps, tells of the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth.

“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” Zechariah 4:10

Job 38:31-32 declares that only the Lord can ‘bind the chains of the beautfiul Pleiades’ and bring them forth in their season.

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?  Can you loosen Orion’s belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Job 38:31-32 

Interestingly, the Pleiades are gravitationally bound together in a cluster.  How did Job know that?

The Pleiades star cluster means ‘the congregation of the judge or ruler.’

In the first chapter of Revelation, the Pleiades are not mentioned – but Jesus reveals himself holding seven stars in His right hand whilst standing amongst seven churches, which are portrayed as the seven lampstands.

 “He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Revelation 1:16

He explains the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:20

One star in the Pleiades is sometimes not visible leaving only six to be seen by the naked eye.  Another interesting thing is that the Lord threatened to remove the Church of Ephesus’s lampstand from it’s place if it doesn’t repent and do the things it did at first. Revelation 2:5

The seven stars are in the constellation of Taurus.  They roughly correspond to the shape of the seven churches which lay in front of the Taurus mountain range, a great mountain chain running parallel to the Mediterranean coast in what is now Turkey.

That might explain why the Lord wrote the letter to those churches and not the others.  The seven churches include two comparatively small towns, Thyatira and Philadelphia, while larger churches are passed by.

Like the sanctuary Moses made, are the seven stars and seven churches a type and shadow of the congregations in heaven?

Reflection Nebula, Pleiades

Reflection Nebula in Pleiades

The stars are there to reveal light, to give knowledge.  Each constellation tells us a story.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Silently, the night sky pours forth speech; night after night the constellations and stars reveal knowledge.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4

Although much meaning has been lost, the ancient language of the stars and constellations is still there, buried and fragmented in the legends of the world.  It’s like a forgotten song which far off voices still sing.

The Pleiades and Orion are mentioned three times in the Bible – in Job 9:9, Job 38:31, and Amos 5:8.  If they’re mentioned three times, it’s meant to get our attention.

Jesus is holding the seven stars, and God tells us in Amos 5:8 to seek Him.

“Seek him that made the seven stars and Orion, and turned the shadow of death into the morning, and made the day dark with night: that called for the waters of the sea, and poured them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name …”  Amos 5:8 KJV


Links:
Notes on Revelation, Seven Stars
Astronomy, the Heavens Declare His Glory
THE 7 CHURCHES OF ASIA
The Congregation, The Pleiades, Our Hope Hidden in Christ
Matariki


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Heavenly creatures

Do you believe there are animals in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Let’s imagine we can have a peek in the Kingdom from the Bible. 

Here’s the throne of God, with a floor of sapphire, and encircled by an emerald rainbow.
In front of the throne on what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the centre, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.” Revelation 4:6

Covered with eyes?  I can’t really picture it.  The creatures described in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 aren’t like anything we have on earth.

Perhaps God has tried to show us with the peacock!

peacock-new-zealand_10933_990x742

The Hebrew word for eyes is ‘ayin‘ which represents consciousness – the idea of seeing and watching as well as knowledge.  Do we not see it in the eyes of our animals?  Before the throne of God, I can imagine their innocent eyes reveal intelligence and spiritual insight.

These creatures are in the midst of the throne so we can see that God has his companion creatures, just as we do.

The living creatures are of four types, and of four in number.  Four is the “earth number,” for they have something to do with the earth.

The creatures on earth wait in hope for the children of God to be revealed.  “They wait in eager expectation for children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19.

Animals have a soul.  God had given his creatures breath, “ruach”, a soul – just as man has been given breath, a soul.  “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:10

Does God care about our animals?  I’d say yes, for he writes that a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” (Proverbs 12:10). He cares about us all.

He knows if even a sparrow falls.  He watches over them.  Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  Matthew 10:29

job-12-10-cat-550x320

The animals belong to God, and he knows each one.  “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.”  Psalms 50:10-11

It says in Revelation 4:11 that God created all things, and they were created for his pleasure.

Although the creatures are God’s, God placed them under Adam’s dominion.  After the fall of man, all creation suffered when the Earth came under a curse.

Job, the oldest book in the Bible deals with suffering.  Job spoke of the life of the creatures and the breath of all mankind being in God’s hand.  He said, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you.”  Job 12:7-10

Cat in arms of JesusThe creatures can’t tell us, but they have this hope of being released from suffering. They’re looking forward to the day when they can join us in the new Kingdom, where there will be no more death or suffering.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Romans 8:19-22

Adam named the creatures.  When Adam, or mankind is restored, all creation will be restored along with man.  They will be brought into a world where they can live as God intended.

The wolf will live with the lamb, 
the leopard will lie down with the goat, 
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; 
and a little child will lead them.  
Isaiah 11:6

If you’ve lost a pet, I hope this comforts you.

Cat & Psalm 23