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:

The Pleiades: Seven Sisters | David Rives
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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The fading flower …

Shortly after my last post where I asked “Who wants to live forever?” my mother passed away.  For most of her life she grappled with the highs and lows of bipolar disease.  She’s free of her demons at last. 

My memories of her when she was bipolar aren’t good, but in between times she had a happy, sunny nature.  And that’s how I want to remember her.

I’ve made a youtube video of the powerpoint I prepared for the funeral, showing scenes from her life, which I and my family feature in.

It’s here if you want to see it.  The music is “Who am I?” by Casting Crowns.

It brings to mind the scripture that God has compassion on us mortals – who are here today and gone tomorrow, just like the grass and flowers.  That’s why Jesus wept at the grief of Lazarus’s sisters.

As a father has compassion on his children
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.”  Psalm 103:13-19

I wasn’t sure of how things were with her and God.  He gave me a story to tell her on the last occasion she had a serious heart attack, which I wrote here.

superscript_seven_u2077_icon_256x256God gave us a sign that she’d gone to be with him.  Seven is the number of rest, and she’d entered his rest, dying at 7pm on the 7th day of the 7th month, aged 77.

He explains about that rest in Hebrews 4;

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest … Hebrews 4:9

I recommend reading the whole passage from Hebrews 4:1-11.

SeriousFaith_ImagesREST

Hebrews 4:1-10 The Promise of Rest

So now I know what can go on my mother’s headstone; “At rest.”  Two simple words that say so much.