Summary: “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” (Psalm 147:4)
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” (Psalm 147:4)
My buddy Roger called last week. He wanted to share a new software program with me; “Stellarium.” Stellarium is a star watching program. You tell it where you live and it takes you to a grassy meadow (supposedly right outside your door) and shows you the sky. If it’s daytime, you can even ‘turn off the lights’ and view the stars that daylight is hiding in the real sky. You can speed up time and watch the starry skies pass over head. You can rotate perspective to view the north, east, west or south skies. You can move to Australia and view the night sky from Adelaide or Sydney. You can even travel to the moon and watch the stars from a lunar landscape.
After dark I like to take a look at the screen, and then walk outside to see if I can find the real constellations in the real sky. It’s a pretty neat little program if you like to watch the stars and don’t know much about what you’re looking for. Best of all, it’s free. You can download Stellarium at www.stellarium.org.
Ever wonder why we have such a fascination with the stars? I mean, it’s not like we don’t already have our hands full with stuff here on earth. There’s survival, getting to work on time, paying the mortgage, making sure the kids do their homework. And then there’s Disneyworld, the Grand Canyon and HBO. Why bother with the stars?
Who cares if Betelgeuse (yeah, there’s really a star named “Betelgeuse” and it’s really pronounced beetle-juice) is 427 million light years away from earth or that it’s so big that if you stuck it in the middle or our solar system its surface area would take up the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and go a ways toward Jupiter.
Betelgeuse is a long ways away and big beyond our ability to comprehend; but who cares? Why should man be so hung up on the stars? Not only have we tried to count them and name them, we’ve connected the dots and turned them into constellations … and we’ve turn the constellation into picture stories - Orion, the hunter; the Pleiades, the seven sisters; Ursa, the bear. This fascination with the stars begs the question; “Is there something more to the stars than just far away pinpoints of light in the night sky?”
I started doing a little digging in my favorite book to see what He says about the stars. What I came up with surprised me. The word star (or stars) is mentioned 67 times in the English Standard Version Bible; it’s about the same in the KJV – 66, with a wildcard “stargazers” thrown in. That doesn’t count “heaven,” “heavenlies,” “celestial bodies,” or “sun.”
God created the universe and the universe has a lot of stars in it, so it’s not a shock that the Bible mentions them 67 times. Here’s the shocker: more than half of the “star” references in the Bible are directly associated with a persona. That is, more than half of the references refer to somebody, not something.
Isaiah 14:12 speaks of Satan: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn!”
Does scripture really relate heavenly bodies to heavenly bodies – personalities not of this world? Or is this just a poetic way of speaking that really doesn’t mean anything literally?
Let’s find out.
The book of Revelation describes a vision of the apostle John where he saw “someone, ‘like the son of man’” and “in his right hand he held seven stars ….” (Revelation 1:16) The one “like the son of man” tells John, “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches ….” (Revelation 1:20)
Revelation goes on to describe other heavenly bodies, personified stars, as it unfolds the final fate of man. “The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood.” (Revelation 8:10-11a)
“And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.” (Revelation 9:1)
Here’s my favorite: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Wow. Jesus refers to Himself as the “bright morning star.” Maybe there’s something more to the stars than just being faraway night-lights.