The Witness of the Stars, Chapter II
The First Book,
The First Book The Redeemer
(His First Coming)
“The sufferings of Christ”
Chapter II The Sign Libra
Arabic Constellation “The Undefended Maiden” Libra Below.
In the first chapter of this book we saw that this Coming Seed of the woman was, among other things, to give up His life for others.
The second chapter is going to define and develop the manner and object of this death.
The name of the Sign, together with its three constellations and the names of the stars composing them, give the complete picture of this Redemption.
The Sign contains 51 stars, two of which are of the 2nd magnitude, one of the 3rd, eight of the 4th, etc.
The Hebrew name is Mozanaim, the Scales, weighing. Its name in Arabic is Al Zubena, pruchase, or redemption. In Coptic, it is Lambadia, station of propitiation (from Lam, graciousness, and badia, branch). The name by which it has come down to us is the Latin, Libra, which means weighing, as used in the Vulgate (Isa 40:12).
Libra contains three bright stars whose names supply us with the whole matter. The brightest a (in the lower scale), is named Zuben al Genubi, which means the purchase, or price which is deficient. This points to the fact that man has been utterly ruined. He is “weighed in the balances and found wanting.”
“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him;
For the redemption of their soul is costly, And must be let alone for ever.”
Psalm 49:7, RV
“Surely men of low degree are vanity (Heb. a breath), And men of high degree are a lie;
In the balances they go up;
They are altogether lighter than vanity” (Heb. a breath). Psalm 42:9, RV
This is the verdict pronounced and recorded by this star Zuben al Genubi.
Is there then no hope? Is there no one who can pay the price?
Yes; there is “the Seed of the woman.” He is not merely coming as a child, but He is coming as an atoning sacrifice.
He is coming for the purpose of Redemption! He can pay the price which covers! Hence in the upper scale we have another bright star with this very name Zuben al Chemali–THE PRICE WHICH COVERS! Praised be God! “They sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy…for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed…to God by thy blood” (Rev 5:9). This is the testimony of b, the second brightest star! It has another name, al Gubi, heaped up, or high, telling of the infinite value of this redemption price.
But there is a third star, g, below, towards Centaurus and the Victim slain, telling, by that and by its name, of the conflict
by which that redemption would be accomplished. It is called Zuben Akrabi or Zuben al Akrab, which means the price of the conflict!
There is, however, some reason to suppose that Libra is a very ancient Egyptian corruption, bringing in human merit instead of Divine righteousness; “the way of Cain” instead of the way of God. In the more ancient Akkadian the months were called after the names of the signs, and the sign of the seventh month is the sign that we now call Libra. The Akkadian name for it was Tulku.
Tul means mound (like dhul and dul), and ku means sacred; hence, Tulku means the sacred mound, or the holy altar.
Not only is the name and its meaning different, but the teaching is infinitely greater and more important, if we may believe that the original picture of this sign was not a pair of scales, but the representation of an holy altar. This would agree still better with the three constellations which follow.
The names of the stars would also be more appropriate, for it is the Sacrifice of Christ which they foreshadowed, and here it was that the price which covered was paid, and outweighed the price which was deficient. What that price was to be, and how it was to be paid, and what was to be the result in the Person of the Redeemer, is set forth in detail in the three sections of this chapter by the constellations of The Cross endured, The Victim slain, and The Crown bestowed.
CRUX (The Cross) The cross endured
The Hebrew name was Adom, which means cutting off, as in Daniel 9:26 “After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.” The last letter of the Hebrew alphabet was called Tau, which was anciently made in the form of a cross. This letter is called
Tau, and means a mark; especially a boundary mark, a limit or finish. And it is the last letter, which finishes the Hebrew alphabet to this day.
The Southern Cross was just visible in the latitude of Jerusalem at the time of the first coming of our Lord to die. Since then, through the gradual recession of the Polar Star, it has not been seen in northern latitudes. It gradually disappeared and became invisible at Jerusalem when the Real Sacrifice was offered there; and tradition, which preserved its memory, assured travellers that if they could go far enough south it would be again seen. Dante sang of “the four stars never beheld but by the early race of men.” It was not until the sixteenth century
had dawned that missionaries and voyagers, doubling the Cape for the first time, and visiting the tropics and southern seas,
brought back the news of “a wonderful cross more glorious than all the constellations of the heavens.”
It is a small asterism, containing only about five stars, viz., one of the 1st magnitude, two of the 2nd, one of the 3rd, and one of the 4th. Four of these are in the form of a cross.
Long before the Christian Era this sign of the Cross had lost its true meaning, and had been perverted in Babylon and Egypt as it has since been desecrated by Rome. The Persians and Egyptians worshipped it. The cakes made and eaten in honour of the Queen of Heaven were marked with it. This heathen custom Rome has adopted and adapted in her Good Friday cakes, which are thus stamped. But all are alike ignorant of what it means, viz.,
“IT IS FINISHED.”
“IT IS FINISHED.”
“IT IS FINISHED.”