Many Christians seem wary about studying the sun, moon and stars. Many of us have become so repulsed by astrology that it seems better to ignore the heavens all together rather than risk being associated with that garbage. Skeptics of the Rev 12Sign often play upon this fear and falsely associate any study of the heavens with the term, failing to draw a distinction between Astrology and Biblical Astronomy.
I understand the apprehension to a point. When I first learned about the ‘Great Sign’ I had to study the Bible just to confirm that it was ok to study this topic. Rick Larson talks about going through this process himself in the introduction to his famous Star of Bethlehem presentation. When sharing the Rev 12 Sign with others, it is good to keep in mind that we must draw a clear distinction between looking at the stars in a way that will draw us closer to Jesus, and in a way that will lead us away from Him. It is critical to do this early on because this apprehension has become so prevalent among our Christian brothers and sisters today and is the primary stumbling block keeping them from looking into this sign.
Additionally, keep in mind that prior to the 1900’s, when the sun went down the stars came out in all their glory. Nowadays electricity, street lights, and an array of entertainment options have greatly diminished the stars impact on our daily lives. For thousands of years the constellations were used for everything from navigation to the sharing of the Gospel. In short, for the vast majority of human history the stars were greatly appreciated by mankind. Now they are an afterthought. In fact, back in 1994 in Los Angeles during a blackout, the 911 operators were flooded with calls from frantic citizens baffled by the “cloud of light in the sky”. Little did they know they were seeing the beauty of our Milky Way for the first time.
Similarly, some of us need to see the beauty of the stars in the Bible for the first time. This post intends to do just that… serve as RESOURCE and a GUIDE to “Stars and Constellations” in the Bible. I have broken this study down into key 7 Facts, using Scripture to back up each statement. I pray this blesses you and becomes an often used resource in your evangelism and studies.
Note on August 7th: A companion study to this article has now been posted titled: “Woman in Labor” In The Bible. Check it out to get further Biblical backing regarding Revelation 12 Sign.
Fact 1: God Made The Stars.
We all know that God made the stars. If God made them we should not be afraid to study them. I know this is basic, but we must start here. God made them. They are OK to look at. You are much less likely to be deceived looking up at the heavens than down at your iPhone! We are told to look up (Luke 21:28)… so not doing so is actually the position which is out of line with Scripture.
Genesis 1:1 (God made them…)
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:14-18 (God made them… and it was good.)
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,
and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.
And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.
And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Psalm 33:6 (God made every single starry host.)
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
Isaiah 40:26 (Not only did He create each one and guide each one, but He NAMED them all!)
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Fact 2: Stars Are In The Bible… A Lot.
I could fill up this page with verses about the stars. In my ESV Comprehensive concordance the a form of the word “star” is used 105 times. Stars are an integral part of Gods creation, along with the sun, moon and planets (aka wandering stars). Not only are the stars ignored outside, but they are even more forgotten about inside the pages of the Bible. Here is a small sample of verses to get reacquainted.
Gen 15:5a (God told Abram to look up and number the stars…. similar to what we are doing!)
And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.”
Psalm 147:4-5 (Another verse showing that God names the stars. They are important to Him.)
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
Jer 33:32 (Even before telescopes the Bible described innumerable stars.)
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant…
Matt 2:10 (If the ‘Wise Men’ rejoiced when looking at the stars, wouldn’t we be wise to do so?)
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
1 Cor 15:41 (Paul clearly appreciated the heavens… why shouldn’t we?)
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
Daniel 12:3 (The stars are painted in a positive light here as well.)
And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Rev 12:1 (A GREAT sign… in the sky, with the Sun Moon and Stars! More on this later…)
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown oftwelve stars.
Other supporting verses: Ps 8:3-4, Rev 8:12, Joel 3:15
Fact 3: God Named The Constellations And Guides Their Path.
God clearly made the stars and they are in the Bible a lot, but what about the constellations? As soon as we start talking about those then it must be astrology right? Wrong. God Himself uses the Mazzaroth (Hebrew word for the 12 Signs Constellations) as an example of His power. In fact He is the one who brings them out and guides them! If you doubt the importance of the constellations, look at the huge effort Satan has put in counterfeiting Gods original message to mask them from us. Sadly, he has been so successful that now most Christians refuse to look up at the stars for fear of being associated with astrology.
Job 38:31 (Look at the verbs in this verse, astronomers have confirmed that the Pleiades is gravitationally bound, while Orion is unstable. This knowledge has been in the Bible since the beginning, yet astronomers just recently ‘discovered’ it.)
Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?
Job 9:9 (Here is at least 4 separate a constellations listed in a single verse! The Pleiades and Orion are my personal favorites.)
who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
Amos 5:8 (Again, God is given credit for not just making the Stars, but the constellations as well.)
He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name;
Other supporting verses: Jer 31:35-36, Isaiah 13:10, Isaiah 26:13
Fact 4: The Heavens Communicate Information
Psalm 19 is a critical chapter to dive into when you are interested in learning more about Biblical Astronomy and the purpose of the heavens. In it the Psalmist compares the heavens to the Law/ Torah. Both reveal knowledge, both are forms of communication. The heavens are the universal language… available to all people. They are also God’s time clock. They are for signs, and signs convey messages and information. Look at the words used to describe the heavens in this amazing Psalm…
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
Fact 5: The Stars were made for SIGNS
On the very first page of our Bible God tells us about the purpose for creating the lights in the heavens. The very first thing He says is that they were made for SIGNS. Signs provide information. They can guide us, warn us, inform us. Sometimes signs have flashing lights on them if they are really important. In the Bible you could consider the word “great” to be those flashing lights as we see in Rev 12:1. We would be wise to watch for signs, especially GREAT signs. Were should we look? Probably in the place He says they will be… in the heavens!
Genesis 1:14 (First reason listed SIGNS. Second reason… seasons, aka appointed times/feast days.)
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signsand for seasons, and for days and years,
Luke 21:25a (Jesus Himself told us there would be signs using the sun, moon and stars)
And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,
Revelation 12:1 (It’s called a Great sign… God doesn’t waste words! )
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
Other supporting verses: Matt 24:30, Rev 12:3. Rev 15:1, Luke 21:11, Jer 10:2, Joel 2:30
Fact 6: We Are Not To Worship The Stars
We are Christians, not astrologers… our study of the stars is really a study of Him who made the stars. We are watching because He told us to watch in this location. We should not glorify a sign or the constellations, we should only glorify Christ. We must place our faith not in the sign or in the heavens, but in Him who made the heavens! Faith placed in anyone or anything other than Christ Himself will lead to disappointment. The stars are awesome, and the Rev 12 Sign is an exciting study, but let us all be sure to keep our focus and hearts in the correct place so we do not stray into astrology or idolatry, sins that plagued people of the past and are still prevalent today.
Deut 4:19 (The heavens should draw us closer to God, not away from Him)
And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
Deut 17:2-5 (God forbids worshipping the sun, moon and stars… Worship HIM alone.)
If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, in transgressing his covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones.
Isaiah 47:13-14 (Astrology is not Biblical. Let the Bible guide your study of the stars and trust Biblical prophecy to teach you about the future things that will come upon us.)
You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you.
Job 31:26-28 (Don’t not let the spendor of the heavens entice you away from the spendor of the Creator)
if I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand, this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for I would have been false to God above.
Other supporting verses: 2 Kings 23:5, Ezek 8:16-17, Jude 25, Rev 22:9
Fact 7: The Revelation 12 Sign is an Astronomical Event
In this verse we read about a great sign in heaven… the original word for heaven here means sky. The context tells us it is an astronomical event because it uses specific terms like sun, moon, stars which are in the sky of course. We know it is an alignment because it gives specific locations for these things and says the sign “appeared”. In other words, its not always up there but formed at some point in time. It gives us enough unique factors so that we can narrow down the specific day of this appearance which seems to be unique in all known history.
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.
In closing, I believe this should give you a firm foundation to stand on when Biblically studying the heavens. There is so much more that could be shared however. Books have been written about how the Stars conveyed the Gospel Message. Amazing videos and images are out there showing the majesty and power evident in the cosmos. But if the verses above aren’t enough I will leave you with this 22 minute clip from Chuck Missler. If I have failed perhaps Chuck can hammer this point home:
It is ok for a Christian to study the stars!! (Click to Site)