by E.W. Bullinger

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Chapter 3 | Table of Contents | For Signs and Seasons

The Witness of the Stars
E. W. Bullinger

The Third Book
The Redeemer
(His Second Coming)
"The glory that should follow"

Chapter IV
The Sign Leo (The Lion)
Messiah's consummated triumph

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39. Leo (the Lion)

Here we come to the end of the circle. We began with VIRGO, and we end with LEO. No one who has followed our interpretation can doubt that we have here the solving of the Riddle of the Sphinx. For its Head is VIRGO and its Tail is LEO!

In LEO we reach the end of the Revelation as inspired in the Word of God; and it is the end as written in the heavens.

BAILLY (Astronomy) says, "the Zodiac must have been first divided when the sun at the summer solstice was in 1o Virgo, where the woman's head joins the Lion's tail."

As to its antiquity there can be no doubt. JAMIESON says, "the Lion does not seem to have been placed among the Zodiacal symbols, because Hercules was fabled to have slain the Nemean Lion. It would seem, on the contrary, that Hercules, who represented the Sun, was said to have slain the Nemean Lion, because Leo, was already a Zodiacal sign. Hercules flourished 3,000 years ago, and consequently posterior to the period when the summer solstice accorded with Leo" (Celestial Atlas, p. 40).

There is no confusion with this sign. In the ancient Zodiacs of Egypt (Denderah, Esneh) and India we find the Lion. The same occurs on the Mithraic monuments, where Leo is passant, as he is in Moor's Hindu, and Sir William Jones's Oriental Zodiacs. In Kircher's Zodiacs he is courrant (running); in the Egyptian Zodiacs he is couchant (lying down).

In the Denderah Zodiac he is treading upon a serpent, as shown in Mr Edward Cooper's Egyptian Scenery.

Its Egyptian name is Pi Mentekeon, which means the pouring out. This is no pouring out or inundation of the Nile, but it is the pouring out of the cup of Divine wrath on that Old Serpent.

This is the one great truth of the closing chapter of this last Book. It is

THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH AROUSED FOR THE RENDING OF THE PREY.

His feet are over the head of Hydra, the great Serpent, and just about to descend upon it and crush it.

The three constellations of the Sign complete this final picture:

1. Hydra, the old Serpent destroyed.
2. Crater, the Cup of Divine wrath poured out upon him.
3. Corvus, the Bird of prey devouring him.

The Denderah picture exhibits all four in one. The Lion is presented treading down the Serpent. The Bird of prey is also perched upon it, while below is a plumed female figure holding out two cups, answering to Crater, the cup of wrath.

The hieroglyphics read Knem, and are placed underneath. Knem means who conquers, or is conquered, referring to the victory over the serpent. The woman's name is Her-ua, great enemy, referring to the great enemy for which her two cups are prepared and intended.

The Hebrew name of the sign is Arieh, which means the Lion. There are six Hebrew words for Lion, * and this one is used of the Lion hunting down his prey.

*1. Gor, a lion's whelp.
  2. Ciphir, a young lion when first hunting for himself.
  3. Sachal, a mature lion in full strength.
  4. Laish, a fierce lion.
  5. Labia, a lioness.
  6. Arieh, an adult lion, having paired, in search of his prey (Nahum 2:12; 2 Sam 17:10; Num 23:24).

The Syriac name is Aryo, the rending Lion, and the Arabic is Al Asad; both mean a lion coming vehemently, leaping forth as a flame!

It is a beautiful constellation of 95 stars, two of which are of the 1st magnitude, two of the 2nd, six of the 3rd, thirteen of the 4th.

The brightest star, a (on the Ecliptic), marks the heart of the Lion (hence sometimes called by the moderns, Cor Leonis, the heart of the Lion). Its ancient name is Regulus, which means treading under foot. The next star, b, also of the 1st magnitude (in the tip of the tail), is named Denebola, the Judge or Lord who cometh. The star g (in the mane) is called Al Giebha (Arabic), the exaltation. The star d (on the hinder part of the back) is called Zosma, shining forth.

Other stars are named Sarcam (Hebrew), the joining; intimating that here is the point where the two ends of the Zodiacal circle have their joining. Another star has the name of Minchir al Asad (Arabic), the punishing or tearing of the Lion. Another is Deneb Aleced, the judge cometh who seizes. And another is Al Dafera (Arabic), the enemy put down.

What can be more expressive? What can be more eloquent? All is harmony, and all the names unite in pointing us to what is written of "the Lion of the Tribe of Judah."

And why is Messiah thus called? Because it is applied to Him in Revelation 5:5 in connection with His rising up for judgment: and because the Lion is known to have been always borne upon the standard of Judah, whether in the wilderness (Num 2) or in aftertimes.

In Israel's dying blessing the prophetic words foretold of Judah:

"Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies;...
Judah is a lion's whelp;
From the prey, my son, thou art gone up.
He stooped down, he couched as a lion,
And as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?"
Genesis 49:8, 9

In the prophecy of Balaam (Num 24:8,9), we read:

"He shall eat up the nations his enemies,
And shall break their bones,
And pierce them through with his arrows,
He couched, he lay down as a lion,
And as a great lion; who shall stir him up?"

The same testimony is borne by the Prophet Amos:

"Will a lion roar in the forest when he hath no prey?
Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he hath taken nothing?...
The lion hath roared, who will not fear?"
Amos 3:4, 8

When "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" is roused up for the reading, the Spirit describes the scene in Isaiah 42:13:

"The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man,
He shall stir up jealousy like a man of war;
He shall cry, yea, roar;
He shall prevail against His enemies."

And this is what is meant and included when the Elder says for John's comfort, "the Lion of the Tribe of Judah hath prevailed," and hence, is "worthy...to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Rev 5).

Whether we look, therefore, at the primeval Revelation in the heavens, or at the later Revelation in the Word, the story is one and the same.

And what we see of Leo and his work in both, we find developed and described in the three constellations of the Sign.

1. HYDRA (The Serpent)
The old serpent destroyed

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40. Hydra (the Serpent)
Crater (the Cup)
Corvus (the Raven)

The time has at length come for the fulfilment of the many prophecies pictured in the heavens: and in its three final constellations we see the consummation of them all in the complete destruction of the Old Serpent, and all his seed, and all his works.

It is the special work of the Messiah, as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," to trample it under foot.

It is pictured as the female serpent (Hydra), the mother and author of all evil. Hydra has the significant meaning, he is abhorred!

It is an immense constellation extending for above 100 degrees from east to west, beneath the Virgin, the Lion, and the Crab. It is composed of 60 stars; one of the 2nd magnitude, three of the 3rd, twelve of the 4th, etc.

The brightest star, a (in the heart of the Serpent), is sometimes called by the moderns Cor Hydrae on that account. Its ancient name is Al Phard (Arabic), which means the separated, put away. Another is called Al Drian, the abhorred. Another star is named Minchar al Sugia, the piercing of the deceiver.

There can be no doubt as to what is taught by the constellation of Hydra, nor is it necessary to quote the Scriptures concerning the destruction of the Serpent. We pass on to consider the second.

2. CRATER (The Cup)
The cup of divine wrath poured out upon Him

40hydra.gif (103864 bytes)

40. Hydra (the Serpent)
Crater (the Cup)
Corvus (the Raven)

"God is the Judge.
He putteth down one, and setteth up another,
FOR IN THE HAND OF THE LORD THERE IS A CUP,
And the wine is red; it is full of mixture,
And He poureth out of the same:
But the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out and drink them."
Psalm 75:8

"Upon the wicked he shall rain snares,
Fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest:
THIS SHALL BE THE PORTION OF THEIR CUP."
Psalm 11:6

This is no fabled wine-cup of Bacchus; but it is "The cup of His indignation" (Rev 14:10); "The cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath" (Rev 16:19). This is what we see set forth in this constellation. The Cup is wide and deep, and fastened on by the stars to the very body of the writhing serpent. The same stars which are in the foot of the Cup form part of the body of Hydra, and are reckoned as belonging to both constellations.

This Cup has the significant number of thirteen stars (the number of Apostacy). The two--Al Ches (a), which means the Cup, and (b)--determine the bottom of the Cup.

3. CORVUS (The Raven)
The birds of prey devouring the serpent

40hydra.gif (103864 bytes)

40. Hydra (the Serpent)
Crater (the Cup)
Corvus (the Raven)

Here is the final scene of judgment. We have had Zeeb, the Wolf; now we have Oreb, the Raven. Her-na is its name in the Denderah Zodiac. Her, means the enemy; and Na, means breaking up or failing. That is to say, this scene represents the breaking up of the enemy.

There are nine stars (the number of judgment) in this constellation. The bright star a (in the eye) is called Al Chibar (Arabic), joining together, from the Hebrew Chiba (Num 23:8), which means accursed. This star, then, tells of the curse inflicted. The star b (in the right wing) is called Al Goreb (Arabic), from Hebrew Oreb, the Raven. A third star is named Minchar al Gorab (Arabic), and means the Raven tearing to pieces.

This brings us to the end. There is nothing beyond this. Nothing remains to be told. We know from the Word of God that--

"The eye that mocketh at his father,
And despiseth to obey his mother,
The ravens of the valley shall pick it out."
Proverbs 30:17

We remember how David said to the Giant Goliath--a type of this enemy of God's people--"I will smite thee, and take thy head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth" (1 Sam 17:46).

When the great day of this judgment comes, an angel standing in the sun will cry "to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come, and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great" (Rev 19:17,18).

And after these awful words shall be fulfilled, in the closing words of the prophecy of Isaiah, Jehovah foretells us how--

"They shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me;
For their worm shall not die,
Neither shall their fire be quenched;
And they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."

This is the teaching of the whole Sign of LEO! It is all summed up in Jeremiah 25:30-33

"Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say unto them,
The LORD shall roar from on high,
And utter His voice from His holy habitation;
He shall mightily roar upon His habitation;
He shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes,
Against all the inhabitants of the earth.
A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth;
For the LORD hath a controversy with the nations,
He will plead with all flesh;
He will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD of hosts,
Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation,
And a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth
Even to the other end of the earth;
They shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried;
They shall be dung upon the ground."

Here is the conclusion of the whole matter! Here is the final triumph of the Son of Man in the consummated victory of the Seed of the woman: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (Rev 5:12).

"O what a bright and blessed world
This groaning earth of ours will be,
When from its throne the tempter hurled,
Shall leave it all, O Lord, to Thee!
But brighter far that world above,
Where we, as we are known, shall know;
And, in the sweet embrace of love,
Reign o'er this ransomed earth below.
O blessed Lord! with longing eyes
That blissful hour we wait to see;
While every worm or leaf that dies
Tells of the curse, and calls for Thee.
Come, Saviour! Then o'er all below
Shine brightly from Thy throne above,
Bid heaven and earth Thy glory know,
And all creation feel Thy love."

Man has ever sought to rob Christ of His glory. He has long since done his best to obliterate His name and His work from the Revelation which had been written in the stars of light. When He humbled Himself, and came as the promised Seed of the woman, men "saw no beauty in Him that they should desire Him." And these were religious men. It was religious men, not the common rabble, whom the Old Serpent made use of to wound Him in the heel. The Devil could not touch Him himself; he must use them as his instruments; and it was only religious men that could be so used.

It was the "chief priests and scribes," men learned in the Scriptures, whose very knowledge of the Word was used to compass His death amongst the babes at Bethlehem (Matt 2:4-6).

It was the same priests and scribes who were used to put Him to death, and give the long-prophesied wound in the heel.

Religion without Christ is enmity against God! Knowledge of the Scriptures where the heart is not subject to Christ, and where Christ is not seen in them, is powerless and lifeless. It is true of the Scriptures, as it will be of the heavenly Jerusalem--"THE LAMB IS THE LIGHT THEREOF" (Rev 21:23).

The Church of Rome has been used of the great enemy to rob the Lamb of God of His promised glory. JEROME, in his Latin translation of the Bible (405 AD), wrote "ipse," HE, in Genesis 3:15, as the "bruiser of the serpent's head." And, in spite of the fact that JEROME himself so quotes it in his commentary, and that it is masculine in all the other ancient translations of the Bible, Rome has first corrupted JEROME's Vulgate by changing the "e" into "a," and putting "ipsa" (she) instead of "ipse" (He); then she has so translated this corruption and perpetuated this perversion in various languages! So that in all her versions, in her pictures and statues, in the decree of Pope Pius IX, which promulgated the dogma of the "immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary," this lie of the Old Serpent has been foisted on unnumbered thousands of deluded souls, who have thereby been deceived into putting Mary in the place of Jesus; the "co-Redemptress" in the place of the Redeemer; the creature in the place of the Creator; the woman in the place of the woman's Seed;--until the outcome is reached by emblazoning, in huge gilt letters, on the outside of a large church in Rathmines, Dublin, "MARIAE PECCATORUM REFUGIUM," to Mary the Refuge of Sinners!

So complete has been the success of the subtlety of the Serpent, that he has beguiled thousands of Protestants to unite in circulating these corrupted versions as the Word of God, thus giving currency to the Devil's lie. This is done on the plea of expediency, in order that these versions might come to many as Protestant truth instead of Popish error; but thus misleading those who were seeking for light, while confirming Papists in their darkness.

But through all the "wisdom of the Serpent" we can detect his lie. It is very thinly veiled, and the Old Serpent has not succeeded in blinding the eyes which the Spirit of God has opened. True, we see in all Rome's pictures and statues the foot of Mary on the Serpent's head, but the foot is not coming down, nor is the head crushed! Rather is the woman's foot resting on its head; and the woman herself supported by the Serpent.

The whole system of Mary-anity is thus seen to be the outcome of the Serpent's wisdom in opposition to the true Christ-ianity.

How different are the primeval star-pictures of the heavens. There, the club is lifted up, the foot is coming down, yea, the foot is actually planted upon the enemy, treading the Scorpion under foot.

Rome may corrupt the words of the Book, but she cannot touch the stars of heaven! The Devil himself cannot move them from their places. He may choose and use his servants and agents for corrupting the Scriptures written in the Book, but he cannot change the Revelation of the stars.

There,--no woman's foot is seen upon the Serpent's head! There,--no woman usurps the place of the all-glorious Redeemer!

In Ophiuchus we see HIM in dread conflict with the Serpent, and we see HIS foot upon the Scorpion's heart (SCORPIO). We see HIM, the Risen Lamb (ARIES), binding Cetus, the great Monster of the Deep; we see HIM in the glorious Orion, whose foot is coming down on the enemy's head (Lepus); we see HIM in the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (LEO), about to tread down that Old Serpent (Hydra) the Devil; we see HIM in the mighty Hercules, who has His foot on the head of the Dragon (DRACO), and His up-lifted club about to inflict the long-threatened blow; we see HIM crowned in Cepheus, with all His enemies subdued, and His right foot planted upon the Polar Star!

True, we do see a WOMAN in this heavenly and Divine revelation; for there are four women. Two are connected with the REDEEMER, and two with the REDEEMED. The Redeemer is seen in the one (VIRGO) as the "promised Seed"; in the other (Coma), He is seen as the child born, the Son given. The redeemed are represented in one as a captive chained (Andromeda), with no power to wage conflict with an enemy, but a prey to every foe; in the other (Cassiopeia), she is enthroned, with no necessity for conflict. For with one hand she waves the palm of a victory which another (Perseus) has wrought on her behalf, while with her right hand she is preparing and making herself ready for "the marriage of the Lamb."

Thus pure and undefiled is this primeval fountain of Divine truth. Thus harmonious is it with the written Word of God. And He who gave them both to enlighten a dark world which lieth in the power of this wicked one, has filled both with one subject--"The sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow."

These are set forth by the Holy Spirit in a double sevenfold expansion of the prophetic promise of Genesis 3:15, giving seven steps in His humiliation and seven in His glorification (Phil 2:5-11 *).

* The passage consists really of two members, each of which is arranged as an introversion, where the subject of 1 corresponds to 7; 2 corresponds to 6; etc.

CHRIST JESUS

  1. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery (a thing to be grasped at and held) to be equal with God;
  2. But made Himself of no reputation (Gr. emptied Himself).
  3. And took upon Him the form of a servant.
  4. And was made in the likeness of men:
  5. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself.
  6. And became obedient unto death,
  7. Even the death of the cross.

WHEREFORE

  1. God also hath highly exalted Him,
  2. And given Him a name which is above every name:
  3. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
  4. Of things in heaven,
  5. And things on earth,
  6. And things under the earth;
  7. And that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

"Come, then, and, added to Thy many crowns,
Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,
Thou who alone art worthy! It was thine
By ancient covenant, ere Nature's birth;
And Thou hast made it Thine by purchase since,
And overpaid its value with Thy blood.
Thy saints procalim Thee king; and in their hearts
Thy title is engraven with a pen
Dipp'd in the fountain of eternal love.
Thy saints proclaim Thee king; and Thy delay
Gives courage to their foes, who, could they see
The dawn of Thy last advent, long desired,
Would creep into the bowels of the hills,
And flee for safety to the falling rocks."

********************

"Come, then, and, added to Thy many crowns,
Receive yet one, as radiant as the rest,
Due to Thy last and most effectual work,
Thy Word fulfilled, the conquest of a world."
(Cowper.)

Chapter 3 | Table of Contents | For Signs and Seasons

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