Search in ARCHIVES


Revelation Revisited Constellation Orion

Some things are still a mystery

Revelation Revisited Image

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. But is all of the Bible so simple that even a little child can understand it?

Well, the central message of the Good News of Salvation in and through the Lords Jesus Christ is indeed simple to receive, yet far from simple to fully understand. for instance, just how the alienated and mortally flawed spirit of a human being is regenerated is a profound mystery. And how God can be a triune being existing simultaneously in three personages, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is mysterious beyond words. What is more, how He, in and through the Holy Spirit can indwell a regenerated human being is incomprehensible to even the cleverest person.

In Revelation Chapter Ten we encounter a mystery that may not be unlocked in our life-time, if ever. ‘When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.” The Seven Thunders themselves are enigmatic but we can understand something of what John is referencing here. The key issue however, is that we do not know what they said; their message is a mystery to us. And what is more, there is nothing in the rest of Revelation, or anywhere else in the Bible for that matter, that reveals what was said.

Jesus, in Himself and by virtue of what He said and did, is the clearest revelation of the Triune Godhead to humanity, yet even He sometimes spoke mysteriously. Matthew chapter thirteen contains seven parables of the Kingdom of Heaven. The first three are given to the masses in an outdoor setting and the last four to his disciples in an indoor setting. After delivering the first of these parables to the crowd the disciples ask Jesus why he speaks in such obscure language. His reply is that “The knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them” (Matthew. 13:11). So, what Jesus was teaching in the form of parables was a mystery to all who were not enlightened by him. In addition to this, He pointed the disciples to things which they were never going to understand in their life-times. For instance, when they asked him when he could return to herald in the end of the world, he replied; “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). Wow! In His humanity even Jesus did not know the exact time of His return to earth. in his humanity Jesus did not know the exact time of his return to earth.

The AdamiStar chart referenced in Revelationc  root of sin is the desire to know everything, but if we did, would we not be gods? God’s ways and thoughts must be higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), for He is God and we are not. Equally, if the Bible is truly the inspired written Word of God then it must contain elements of mystery.

Now, to the particular mystery referenced in Revelation 10. I have already introduced and started to develop the idea that John was using the astronomy of his day as a device for writing what the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to record and the Seven Thunders is another example of this. One of the most well-known constellations is Orion (marked 1 in the image), pictured as holding a scroll in one hand, the head of a lion in the other, and his one foot is planted on the ‘sky river’ Eridanus (2). Just to his right and slightly above him is the constellation Taurus (3), the bull, which symbolises something very dark and sinister that I will explain when we get to Revelation chapter 13. In the shoulder of the constellation of Taurus is a group of seven stars (number 4 in the graphic) known as the Pleiades (Job 9:9). John apparently uses the constellation Orion to represent the mighty angel of Revelation 10 and the Pleiades to represent the message of the Seven Thunders, but this still does not shed any light on the message itself; it is a mystery. In fact, the angel then utters the words, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:6-7).The Bible does indeed contain mysteries because it is genuinely God-breathed,so

The Bible does indeed contain mysteries because it is genuinely God-breatherd, so our task when we come to the Bible is to diligently seek to understand what we can and to marvel at the mysteries that we cannot yet fathom. I find this both exhilarating and freeing.
I study the written Word of God with an expectation of revelation within the limitations of my understanding, yet with the deep comfort of knowing that it is God alone who reveals and enlightens what He is pleased to make known.

In my next post I plan to write about the ‘end days’ indicated by the angel’s prophetic words in chapter 10:6-7.


Some things are still a mystery Read More »

Star constellations

Ghost riders in the sky

My last regular Revelation Revisited post before Christmas concerned the second of the Woes described in Chapter Nine, and I asked you to consider the following graphic:


Ancient star chart

If you have not yet caught up to where we are in the book of Revelation, please have a look at the video overview on the website HERE or YouTube HERE. You can also view the summary as a pdf HERE
Some readers might have recognised the constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpio and others may have wondered if I had been smoking my socks. 🙂  I have already mentioned in this series that there is strong evidence that John keyed his inspired writing to the astronomical constellations as seen from his location in the Northern hemisphere. The use of a Sky Map identifying the visible stars in the night sky dates back to at least 2500 BC and there is abundant evidence that the ancient Mesopotamians made use of it to calculate seasonal occurrences. However, they also believed that it portrayed divine purposes and thus contained insights into the progression of the history of nations. For them, the science of astronomy was intertwined with their religious belief system.

The ancients regarded the southernmost constellations, as observed from locations such as Babylon and Jerusalem, as the gateway to a dark spiritual underworld. Scorpio, as its name suggests, is the great scorpion of the heavens. This arachnid appears in the scriptures in a number of places as a symbol of danger (Deuteronomy 8:15, Ezekiel 2:6). The Lord Jesus used it to depict demonic evil when he said to his disciples, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:18-20). In the book of Revelation Chapter Nine, the scorpion features in aspects of the demons that rise up from the pit of Hell – the First Woe.

The constellation to the left of Scorpio is Sagittarius, the Centaur, half man half horse, with a drawn bow in its hands. With the exception of Chiron, the centaurs of Greek mythology were barbarous beasts given to drunkenness, debauchery, and rape and this would be a good description of what demons do. The book of Revelation describes a Second Woe, the horde of demons released by the sixth angel, as horses and riders.

Right at the bottom, the southernmost border of the Star Chart, is the small constellation Ara, pictured as a small upside-down altar of some sort. The Greeks had a goddess named Ara, and she was the personification of destruction and revenge. The Hebrew words Aram and Mara incorporate the same root and mean ‘utter destruction’ and ‘a curse’. I have already noted in my previous post (found HERE) that the second demonic plague of Revelation Chapter Nine, pictured as grotesquely mutated horses, is connected in some way to the Altar of Incense (Revelation 9:13) which we know from Revelation 8:3-4 is a symbol of prayer and worship. Revelation 9:20 strengthens this connection by declaring that the victims of these invading demons are caught up in idolatrous worship.

“But wait, there is more” as the Home Channel gizmo salesmen are famous for saying; Pictured in the Star Chart, just above Scorpio, is a depiction of a man with a huge snake in his hands. They represent the intertwined constellations of Serpens and Ophiuchus, which in Aramaic are called ‘The accursed reptile and the strong one’. The Greek construct for Ophiuchus is Æsculapius and the historian Hislop describes Æsculapius as the Epidaurian snake which the Romans worshipped along with fire as the child of the sun. He records the story that in a time of deadly pestilence this ‘god’ boarded a ship and traveled from Epidaurus to Rome and that when it slithered off the ship the plague stopped. The ancient Aramaic name itself means ‘the instructing snake’, and the inhabitants of Pergamum worshipped it as a healing and enlightening deity (see Revelation 2:12-17).

So here in the depictions of five of the southernmost constellations is a graphical presentation of the Woes of Revelation Chapter Nine. From this point on in our journey through the book of Revelation it is going to become increasingly obvious that John used the constellations of the night sky as a key device.
In my next post I want to deal with Revelation Chapter Ten, The Angel and the Little Scroll’. In preparation for this you might like to answer the question, ‘What is the little scroll in the angel’s hand’? Until then …



Ghost riders in the sky Read More »

Revelations in the stars

27 banner


How did the ancient Israelites preserve and pass down God’s revelation to them before they had writing?

Writing seems to have appeared in the time line of history around 3,200 BC, but the Jewish calendar starts with the year 3761 BC, so for at least 500 years the Israelites had no reliable way of communicating God’s ‘words’ to later generations. Word of mouth, father to son story telling is the most likely way that knowledge was passed down, but this is susceptible to corruption and personal interpretation. Something more reliable was needed and that ‘something’ was the starry night sky. I explain this concept fully in my book “Revelation in the Stars”, but in short the idea is that the ancients linked their ‘knowledge stories’ to the fixed constellations in the night sky. They did this by identifying the pictures these star configurations suggest and then weaving their stories around these images. The wise men and women of one generation could point to these star pictures and tell the knowledge story associated with it. In this way the divine revelation could be passed down through the generations with little distortion or loss of content.

27 picThis star-linked verbal record preceded the biblical revelation and so we should expect to find traces of it in the books of the Old Testament… and we do. Consider the following:

Job 38:32-33 “Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens?”

Amos 5:8 “he who made the Pleiades and Orion...”

Job 9:9 “He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south’”.

Job is most likely the oldest book of the Bible and the references to an astrological connection continue right through to the last book of the Bible. Revelation Chapter Four contains some tantalizing pointers to what later chapters develop more fully.

From our vantage point on earth, the stars appear to wheel around the dome of the night sky, and the fulcrum (pivot point) of this rotation is the North Star, also known as the Polar Star. This star marks the apparent ‘center’ of the heavens. Its name is Cynosura, and it lies in the constellation of Ursa Minor, directly under the foot of the constellation Cepheus, the king. Most sky charts show Cepheus as a bearded man seated as if on a throne. He wears a crown and has a royal robe drawn about him. Ursa Minor is shown in modern star charts as a bear with an extraordinarily long tail, but in ancient charts this constellation is pictured as a mountain range. In ancient times God was thought to rule from his throne on The Sacred Mountain (See Isaiah 14:13). Revelation 4 starts with a vision of “a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it”. (Revelation 4:2).

Four ‘living creatures’ feature in the vision of the heavenly tabernacle/throne room and they are covered with eyes which in ancient times would signify many stars. These ‘creatures’ could well indicate or be based on the four ‘royal’ stars of ancient times, which were said to rule the four ‘corners’ of the heavens (N, S, E and W). According to most sources, they are Regulus in the constellation of Leo; Antarus in the constellation of Scorpio; Al Debaran in Taurus; and Markab in Pegasus.

The coincidence between these stars within their constellations and the description of the four Living Creatures is not perfect, but it is extremely close. The first Living Creature was like a lion, and Regulus is in the constellation of Leo, the lion. The second creature was like an ox, and Al Debaran is in the constellation of Taurus, the bull. The third creature had a face like a man. Antarus is in the constellation of Scorpio, but the ancient Babylonians referred to this constellation as the man-scorpion, and pictured it with the head of a man. The fourth creature was like a flying eagle, and here the coincidence is not as strong because Markab is in Pegasus, commonly pictured as a flying horse; not an eagle but a winged creature nevertheless.

So, the first ‘level’ of revelation in Chapter Four is the disclosure of the centrality and supremacy of God. The second reveal is that the Tabernacle of Moses is a simple physical model of spiritual reality and that this model is lifted into another dimension in Revelation Four. The Tabernacle is a model and the description in Revelation is an expanded portrayal, yet reality is so much greater and more mysterious. The third unveiling in Chapter Four is that the book of Revelation is keyed to the ancient verbal truth stories hung on the starry ‘pegs’ of the constellations of the night sky.

It is very easy to get lost in the details of this marvelous book, so I strongly recommend that you take a moment to re-read the overview I gave you a while ago.

In my next post I am going to open up the wonderful Gospel message of Chapter Five – you will be amazed, once again, at how Jesus shines through the chapters of Revelation with such clarity and glory.

Revelations in the stars Read More »

About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.