Chapter 2 | Table of Contents | Chapter 4
The Witness of the Stars
E. W. Bullinger
The Second Book
"The result of the Redeemer's sufferings"
The Sign Pisces (The Fishes)
The blessings of the redeemed in abeyance
21. Pisces (the Fishes) and The Band
In this third chapter of the Second Book we come to the
results of the Redeemer's work enjoyed, but in connection with conflict, as is seen in the
last of the three sections (the constelation of Andromeda, the chained woman),
which leads up to the last chapter of the book, and ends it in triumph over every enemy.
The Sign is pictured as two large fishes bound together by
a Band, the ends of which are fastened separately to their tails. One fish is
represented with its head pointing upwards towards the North Polar Star, the other is
shown at right angles, swimming along the line of the ecliptic, or path of the sun.
The ancient Egyptian name, as shown on the Denderah
Zodiac, is Pi-cot Orion, or Pisces Hori, which means the fishes of Him
The Hebrew name is Dagim, the Fishes, which is
closely connected with multitudes, as in Genesis 48:26, where Jacob blesses
Joseph's sons, and says, "Let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the
earth." The margin says, "Let them grow as fishes do increase." It
refers to the fulfilment of Genesis 1:28, "Be fruitful and multiply." The multitude
of Abraham's seed is prominent in the pronouncement of the blessings, where God compared
his future posterity to the stars of the sky, and the sand upon the sea shore. "A
very great multitude of fish," as in Ezekiel 47:9.
The Syriac name is Nuno, the fish, lengthened out
(as in posterity).
The sign, then, speaks of the multitudes who should enjoy
the blessings of the Redeemer's work.
And here we must maintain that "the Church,"
which is "the Body of Christ," was a subject that was never revealed to man
until it was made known to the Apostle Paul by a special revelation. The Holy Spirit
declares (Rom 16:25) that it "was kept secret since the world began." In
Ephesians 3:9 he declares that it "from the beginning of the world hath been hid in
God"; and in Colossians 1:26, that it "hath been hid from ages and from
generations, but now is made manifest to His saints." In each scripture which speaks
of it as "now made manifest," or "now made known," it is distinctly
stated that it was "a mystery," i.e. a secret, and had, up to that
moment, been hidden from mankind, hidden "in God." How, then, we ask, can
"the Church," which was a subsequent revelation, be read into the
previous prophecies, whether written in the Old Testament Scriptures, or made known in the
Heavens? If the Church was revealed in prophecy, then it could not have been said to be
hidden or kept secret. If the first revelation of it was made known to Paul, as he
distinctly affirms it was, then it could not have been revealed before. Unless we see this
very clearly, we cannot "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15). And if
we do not rightly divide the word of truth, in its subjects, and times, and dispensations,
we must inevitably be landed in confusion and darkness, interpreting of the Church,
scriptures which belong only to Israel.
The Church, or Body of Christ, is totally distinct from
every class of persons who are made the subject of prophecy. Not that the Church of God
was an after-thought. No, it waws a Divine secret, kept as only God Himself could keep it.
The Bible therefore would have been complete (so far as the Old Testament prophecies are
concerned) if the Epistles (which belong only to the Church) were taken out. The Old
Testament would then give us the kingdom prophesied; the Gospels and Acts, the King and
the kingdom offered and rejected; then the Apocalypse would follow, showing how that
promised kingdom will yet be set up with Divine judgment, power and glory.
If these Signs and these star-pictures be the results of
inspired patriarchs, then this Sign of PISCES can refer to "His seed,"
prophesied of in Isaiah 53 "He shall see His seed." It must refer to
"The nation whose God is the LORD,
And the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance."
"Such as be blessed of Him shall
inherit the earth."
"The LORD shall increase you more and
You and your children,
Ye are blessed of the LORD."
Psalm 115:14, 15
"Their seed shall be known among the
And their offspring among the people;
All that see them shall acknowledge them,
That they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed."
"They are the seed of the blessed of
And their offspring with them."
The prophecy of this Sign was afterwards written in the
words of Isaiah 26:15--the song which shall yet be sung in the land of Judah:
"Thou hast increased the nation, O
Thou hast increased the nation."
And in Isaiah 9:3 (RV), speaking of the glorious time when
the government shall be upon the shoulder of the coming King:
"Thou hast multiplied the nation,
Thou hast increased their joy."
Of that longed-for day Jeremiah sings (30:19):
"I will multiply them
And they shall not be few;
I will also glorify them,
And they shall not be small."
Ezekiel also is inspired to say:
"I will multiply men upon you,
All the house of Israel, even all of it:
And the cities shall be inhabited,
And the wastes shall be builded;
And I will multiply upon you man and beast,
And they shall increase and bring fruit."
Ezekiel 36:10, 11
"Moreover I will make a covenant of
peace with them;
It shall be an everlasting covenant with them!
And I will place them, and multiply them,
And will see My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore."
Indeed, this sign of PISCES has always been interpreted of
Israel. Both Jews and Gentiles have agreed in this. ABARBANEL, a Jewish commentator,
writing on Daniel, affirms that the Sign PISCES always refers to the people of Israel. He
gives five reasons for this belief, and also affirms that a conjunciton of the planets
Jupiter and Saturn always betokens a crisis in the affairs of Israel. Because such a
conjunction took place in his day (about 1480 AD) he looked for the coming of Messiah.
Certain it is, that when the sun is in PISCES all the
constellations which are considered noxious, are seen above the horizon. What is
true in astronomical observation is true also in historical fact. When God's favour is
shown to Israel, "the Jew's enemy" puts forth his malignant powers. When they
increased and multiplied in Egypt, he endeavoured to compass the destruction of the nation
by destroying the male children; but their great Deliverer remembered His covenant,
defeated the designs of the enemy, and brought the counsel of the heathen to nought. So it
was in Persia; and so it will yet be again when the hour of Israel's final deliverance has
There can be no doubt that we have in this Sign the
foreshowing of the multiplication and blessing of the children of promise, and a token of
their coming deliverance from all the power of the enemy.
But why two fishes? and why is one horizontal and
the other perpendicular? The answer is, that not only in Israel, but in the seed of Seth
and Shem there were always those who looked for a heavenly portion, and were
"partakers of a heavenly calling." In Hebrews 11 we are distinctly told that
Abraham "looked for a city which hath foundaitons, whose builder and maker is
God" (v 10). They were "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (v 13). Strangers
are those without a home, and pilgrims are those who are journeying home:
"they seek a country" (v 14). They desired "a better country, that is, an
HEAVENLY: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for
them a city" (v 16). It is clear, therefore, that what are called the "Old
Testament Saints" were "partakers of THE HEAVENLY CALLING" (Heb 3:1), which
included a heavenly portion and a heavenly home; and all through the ages there have been
"partakers of the heavenly calling." This is quite distinct from the calling of
the Church, which is from both Jews and Gentiles to form "one body," a "new
man" in Christ (Eph 2:15). It must be distinct, for it is expressly stated at the end
of that chapter (Heb 11:40) that God has "PROVIDED (marg. foreseen) SOME BETTER THING
FOR US." How can this be a "better thing," if it is the same thing?
There must be two separate things if one is "better" than the other! Our calling
in Christ is the "beter thing." The Old Testament saints had, and will have, a
good thing. They will have a heavenly blessing, and a heavenly portion, for God has
"prepared for them a city," and we see that prepared city, even "the holy
city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of HEAVEN, prepared as a bride adorned for
her husband" (Rev 21:2). This is the "heavenly" portion of the Old
Testament saints, the Bride of Christ. The Church will have a still "better"
portion, for "they without us should not be made perfect" (Heb 11:40).
The fish, shooting upwards to the Polar Star, exquisitely
pictures this "heavenly calling"; while the other fish, keeping on the
horizontal line, answers to those who were content with an earthly portion.
But both alike were divinely called, and chosen, and
upheld. The names of two of the stars in the sign are Okda (Hebrew), the united,
and Al Samaca (Arabic), the upheld. These again speak of the redeemed seed,
of whom, and to whom, Jehovah speaks in that coming day of glory in Isaiah 41:8-10 (RV):
"But thou, Israel, My servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
The seed of Abraham My friend;
Thou whom I have taken hold of from the ends of the earth,
And called thee from the corners thereof,
And said unto thee, Thou art My servant;
I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away;
Fear thou not, for I am with thee;
Be not dismayed, for I am thy God!
I will strengthen thee;
Yea, I will help thee;
Yea, I will UPHOLD thee with the right hand of My righteousness."
This is the teaching of the Sign; and the first
constellation takes up this thought and emphasises it.
The redeemed bound, but binding their enemy
21. Pisces (the Fishes) and The Band
The band that unites these two fishes has always
formed a separate constellation. The Arabian poems of ANTARAH frequently mention it as
distinct from the Sign with which it is so closely connected. ANTARAH was an Arabian poet
of the sixth century.
Its ancient Egyptian name was U-or, which means He
cometh. Its Arabic name is Al Risha, the band, or bridle.
It speaks of the Coming One, not in His relation to
Himself, or to His enemies, but in His relation to the Redeemed. It speaks of Him
"I drew them with cords of a man,
With bands of love;
And I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws."
Hosea 11:4, RV
But it speaks also of His unloosing the bands with which
they have been so long bound.
One end of the band is fastened securely round the
tail of one fish, and it is the same with the other. Moreover, this band is
fastened to the neck of Cetus, the sea monster, while immediately above is seen a
woman chained as a captive. These both tell the same story, and, indeed, all are required
to set forth the whole truth. The fishes are bound to Cetus; the woman (Andromeda)
is chained; but the Deliverer of both is near. Cepheus, the Crowned King, the Redeemer,
"the Breaker," the Branch, is seen coming quickly for the deliverance of His
redeemed. These are the three constellations of this sign, and all three are required to
set forth the story.
Israel now is bound. The great enemy still oppresses, but
deliverance is sure. ARIES, the Ram, is seen with his paws on this band, as though
about to loosen the bands and set the captives free, and to fast bind their great
2. ANDROMEDA (The Chained Woman)
The redeemed in their bondage and affliction
22. Andromeda (the Chained Woman)
This is a peculiar picture to set in the heavens. A woman
with chains fastened to her feet and arms, in misery and trouble; and bound, helpless, to
the sky. Yet this is the ancient foreshowing of the truth.
In the Denderah Zodiac her name is Set, which means
set, set up as a queen. In Hebrew it is Sirra, the chained, and Persea,
the stretched out.
There are 63 stars in this constellation, three of which
are of the 2nd magnitude, two of the 3rd, twelve of the 4th, etc.
The brightest star, a (in the head), is called Al
Phiratz (Arabic), the broken down. The star b (in the body) is called Mirach
(Hebrew), the weak. The star g (in the left foot) is called Al Maach,
or Al Amak (Arabic), struck down.
The names of other stars are Adhil, the afflicted;
Mizar, the weak; Al Mara (Arabic), the afflicted. ARATUS speaks of Desma,
which means the bound, and says--
"Her feet point to her bridegroom
Perseus, on whose shoulder they rest."
Thus, with one voice, the stars of Andromeda speak
to us of the captive daughter of Zion. And her coming Deliverer thus addresses her:
"O thou afflicted, tossed with
tempest, and not comforted,
Behold,...in righteousness shalt thou be established:
Thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear:
And from terror; for it shall not come nigh thee."
"Hear now this, thou afflicted...
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion;
Put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem...
Shake thyself from the dust;
Arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem:
Loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought;
And ye shall be redeemed without money."
"The virgin daughter of My people is broken with a
great breach, with a very grievous blow" (Jer 14:17).
The picture which sets forth her deliverance is reserved
for the next chapter (or Sign), where it comes in its proper place and order. We are fist
shown her glorious Deliverer; for we never, in the heavens or in the Word, have a
reference to the sufferings without an immediate reference to the glory.
3. CEPHEUS (The Crowned King)
Their Redeemer coming to rule
23. Cepheus (the Crowned King)
Here we have the presentation of a glorious king, crowned,
and enthroned in the highest heaven, with a sceptre in his hand, and his foot planted on
the very Polar Star itself.
His name in the Denderah Zodiac is Pe-ku-hor, which
means this one cometh to rule.
The Greek name by which he is now known, Cepheus,
is from the Hebrew, and means the branch, and is called by EURIPIDES the king.
An old Ethiopian name was Hyk, a king.
There are 35 stars, viz., three of the 3rd magnitude,
seven of the 4th, etc.
The brightest star, a (in the right shoulder), is
called Al Deramin, which means coming quickly. The next, b (in the
girdle), is named Al Phirk (Arabic), the Redeemer. The next g (in the
left knee), is called Al Rai, which means who bruises or breaks.
It is impossible to mistake the truth which these names
teach. The Greeks, though they had lost it, yet preserved a trace of it, even in their
perversion of it; for they held that Cepheus was the father of Andromeda,
and that Perseus was her husband.
Yes; this is the glorious King of Israel, the "King
of kings, and Lord of lords." It is He who calls Israel His "son," and will
yet manifest it to all the world.
In Jeremiah 21, after speaking of Israel's restoration,
"At the same time, saith the LORD,
will I be the God of all the families of Israel,
And they shall be My people...
For I am a father to Israel,
And Ephraim is My firstborn."
As He said to Moses: "Thus saith the LORD, Israel is
my son, even my firstborn" (Exo 4:22).
Here is the foundation of Israel's blessing. True, it is
now in abeyance, but "the LORD reigneth," and will in due time make good His
"The counsel of the LORD standeth for
The thoughts of His heart to all generations."
This leads us up to the last chapter of the Second Book,
which shows us the fulfilment of all the prophecies concerning the Redeemed and the sure
foundation on which their great hope of glory is based.
Chapter 2 | Table of Contents | Chapter 4
Notes on Revelation | Judeo-Christian Research