STARS (Parts 1-3)
Probably all of us have gone out on a clear night and gazed up at the stars. Perhaps we have slept out under the stars, and spent many hours studying the stars and the many constellations, and watched them as they made their circuit across the second heaven. (Tell about my experiences in the Sierra mountains, and the deserts in California).
The heavenly orbs have been a wonder to mankind since the creation of the world. When we look up at the vast expanse of heaven at night, and behold the multitude of heavenly orbs, we are made to think how great God must be to have created all of that! Truly David said, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” I believe David spent many a night sleeping under the stars when running from old king Saul.
And as we gaze upon the heavens, we are made to think how small and insignificant that we are, and wonder why God would be mindful of such minuscule creatures like us.
Well, the Scriptures have much to say about the stars. So much, in fact, that we will study the stars in three messages. This evening we will focus on some of the many attributes and characteristics of stars, and next two times we will focus in on some of the symbolism of the stars in the Scriptures.
1) First, the stars were created by God on the fourth day of creation week (Gen. 1:16-17).
The stars did not evolve over millions or billions of years. Nor did they come into existence by some big bang as the atheistic scientists say. Beloved, the naturalistic theory of origins is just speculation at very best. The fact is, the “big bang theory” is nothing more than science fiction! But the Bible teaches that God simply created the stars on creation day foru. He just spoke the word, and they were created, and set in their proper places.
2) Stars were created for a purpose.
They were created to give light by night (Genesis 1:16-17 where we read). They were created to declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-3). The stars preach their message of the glory of God in a universal language. They were also created to praise the Lord (Psalm 148:3). Astronomers say that some stars emit radio waves and their sound can be heard. Perhaps the stars literally praise the Lord! That’s not too hard to believe, is it!
3) Stars are great in number (Jeremiah 33:22).
Astronomers say there are about 5,000 stars that can be seen with the naked eye. With a small telescope you can see hundreds of thousands of stars. With high powered telescopes the number of stars are enumerable, just like the Bible says.
Astronomers estimate there are 1 x 1022 stars, or in other words, enumerable! They say there are about 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone! You know, the Milky Way, that’s the galaxy where we live. Astronomers say it is about 30,000 light years to the center of our galaxy. And astronomers say that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe! Multiply that by 400 billion stars, and you have… a lot of stars!
4) Stars differ in size and in glory (1 Corinthians 15:41).
Some stars are only several miles in diameter, while some are about the size of the earth, and others are many, many times larger than our sun. Some stars are bright and glorious, while others are dim and hardly visible. Paul compares the glory of the resurrection body with the earthly body, and also the difference between the glory of glorified saints.
We will not all share the same glory or position in the eternal state. Some will have more glory than others, depending on our faithfulness down here. God does make a difference between His people in this matter of eternal rewards. God doesn’t run the special Olympics, and not everybody wins the same prize.
5) Stars differ in color.
They range in color from red, orange, yellow, white, and blue. Likewise, the saints of God are different in color down here. Will there be different colors of saints in heaven? Well beloved, don’t be too shocked if there are! But one thing for certain, there won’t be any prejudice up there!
6) Stars differ in their distance from the earth (Job 22:12).
How high are the stars? They range from 93 million miles to our sun, to billions of light years away, so they say. How great is our God, who is everywhere present in the universe. Its amazing that God would pay special attention to this little planet earth, and that He would set His love on a bunch of microscopic sinners like us.
7) Stars all have a God given name (Psalms 147:4).
There are “zillions” of stars in the universe, and God has given everyone a name. Our God is a God of details, and all of His creation is personal to Him. And not only are the stars personal to Him, but they are also important to Him.
Beloved, all of God’s elect also have new, personal names, that He will give us. We are also important to Him. We are so important that He sent Jesus all the way down to this sin cursed earth to die on an old rugged cross for our sins!
8) The stars were established forever (Psalm 148:3-6; Jeremiah 31:35-36).
Scientists say that the stars are burning up and that one day they will all burn out. God’s Word says that the stars were established forever. Who are we to believe? If the stars cease to be, then also will the nation of Israel cease to be, according to our text in Jeremiah. It appears from the Scriptures that Israel will be around for a while yet!!! The same can also be said of the Lord’s church, and of all His saints.
9) Stars exhibit the greatness of God’s power (Psalm 8:3-4; Isaiah 40:25-31).
What a mighty God we serve, beloved! He is so great and glorious! The host in verse 26 is speaking about the stars. He brings out the stars by their number, and “calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might.”
What kind of God do we serve? He is strong in power, and not one of those enumerable stars faileth! He is the everlasting God, and the Creator of the ends of the earth. He faints not, neither does He become weary. There is no searching His understanding. And beloved, He is the One who gives power to the faint. And renews the strength of all who will wait upon Him.
10) Finally, for a long time stars have been objects of worship by idolaters (Genesis 4:1-4).
This is probably the beginning of the signs of the Zodiac and of star worship. The Encarta encyclopedia says “It is believed that the zodiacal signs originated in Mesopotamia as early as 2000 BC. Mesopotamia is the place where the city of Babel was built, and 2,000 BC is about the time the Tower of Babel was built.
The article goes on to say “The Greeks adopted the symbols from the Babylonians and passed them on to the other ancient civilizations. The Egyptians assigned other names and symbols to the zodiacal divisions. The Chinese also adopted the 12-fold division… Independently, the Aztec people devised a similar system.”
The Zodiac was a precursor to the Greek pantheon of idol gods. That is what Paul was up against when he preached the “unknown God” on Mars Hill.
Beloved, the modern day astrologers and fortune tellers who worship the stars, are no different than the ancient Greek and Babylonian idolaters.
God warned His people against worshipping the stars (Deut. 17:2-5). God pronounced judgment upon His people who worshipped the stars (Jer. 8:1-2).
Let those who name the Name of Jesus flee from idolatry!!! Don’t read the horoscopes in the newspapers. Stay clear of astrologers, and palm readers, and fortune tellers.
God hates all these, and He doesn’t want His people meddling with them!
In conclusion, from the stars we can see the greatness, and power, and glory of God. We can see His eternality, and His infinite wisdom. We can see His sovereignty, and His infinite mercy.
Beloved, our God is a great God. He is a God that we can trust with all of our souls for all time and eternity! Do you trust Him this evening?
Stars in the Scriptures, are sometimes used symbolically of persons. Stars may represent a person’s glory and greatness. Stars can also represent purity, or power, or popularity. With these attributes of stars in mind, we want to notice three stars this evening that are symbolic of three blessed persons that are revealed in the Scriptures.
1. First and foremost, we want to see God’s Star, the glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
There are several verses of Scripture that refer to Jesus Christ as a star, or as the sun, which is our star! Jesus is the Sun that arose in salvation (Isaiah 9:2, 60:1-3; Matthew 4:15-16). Consider the purity, and power, and glory, of this Star in salvation.
A special star appeared at Christ’s birth as a sign of His coming. (Matt. 2:1-2, 9). What better sign could God have given to announce the birth of His Son, than a brilliant star to show forth His glorious coming into the world.
Of His own self Jesus said “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Today He is the spiritual light of the world, and one day He will be the physical light thereof (Rev. 21:23).
Jesus is the Star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17). This is the prophecy of Balaam concerning the great King and Ruler that would come out of Israel, who is none other than Jesus Christ. This Star is the greatest and most glorious of all stars, for he would come forth out of Jacob, God’s chosen people and nation. The Star of Jacob is the most powerful of all stars. He one day will smite all nations. That is what Balaam meant by the children of Sheth.
He is the Sun of Righteousness and the Day Star, who will rise in the day of the Lord when He comes again (Mal. 4:2; 2 Peter 1:19). Yes, beloved, Jesus is the bright and morning star (Revelation 22:16). The morning Star rose the first time to save His people from their sins. And He shall rise the second time to smite the nations, and to put down all rebellion in the earth, and to rule and reign in righteousness. We need to be looking for and anticipating the rising of this Star.
What about the popularity of this Star. He is not very popular to the world, but He is popular to you and me who are saved. How about to you tonight? One day He will be the most popular Star of Heaven and earth, when He reigns as King of Kings from the throne of David in Jerusalem. And beloved, to this Star every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
2. Secondly, the holy angels are referred to as stars (Job 38:7).
Like the stars, angels are created beings (Psalm 148:1-5; Col. 1:16). Like the stars, angels are glorious beings (Matt. 28:2-4). Like the stars, the heavenly angels are pure and holy. Angels also give spiritual light and special direction to men, as we saw this morning from Acts 8.
Angels are also mighty in power. Only two angels destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and they will execute God’s wrath during the great tribulation period.
The angels appear to be popular now, to all those who worship them and collect them on their mantle pieces. But if they really knew the heavenly angels, they would be in fear for their lives at the mere thought of their presence. The angels of God represent His righteousness and holiness, and therefore like God, they hate sin and all those who love sin and rebel against their God.
3. The redeemed are also likened to stars (Genesis 22:15-18; Jeremiah 33:22).
They are like stars for number. How many redeemed sinners do you think there are? They are a number that no man can number!
They are like stars in that they reflect the light of God’s Star, the Lord Jesus Christ into the world (Mat. 5:14; Phil. 2:15).
They are like stars because of the grace and glory of God that dwells in them.
They have stars over their churches (Revelation 1:20). Its hard to imagine your pastor as a star, but according to God’s Word he is!
There are those who are wise and turn many to righteousness, who will shine as bright stars forever and forever (Daniel 12:3).
There is the woman with a crown of 12 stars (Revelation 12:1), which is speaking of the nation Israel. Yes beloved, the twelve tribes of Israel are like brilliant stars that will shine forever as a nation in God’s eternal kingdom.
Now the saints may not be very popular down here on this sinful earth. We have been killed all the day long! But beloved, one day we are going to shine like the stars in God’s eternal kingdom.
I’m not too concerned about being popular down here in the eyes of sinners, but rather I want to be popular with God up there, and with His glorified saints and angels. That is what matters! That is what will last for eternity!
Do you know God’s star this evening? Have you seen Him rise upon this world the first time for you? Have you seen His virgin birth and sinless life that He lived while on this earth? Have you seen all the miracles that He performed, and the light of truth that He shined upon this dark world?
Have you seen Him as He was led to the cross of Calvary where He suffered, bled, and died as the sacrifice for sinners? Have you seen Him buried in that borrowed tomb, and have you seen Him rise again from the dead the third day?
Repent of your sins and wicked ways, and believe that Jesus did all of this for you, and He will save you right this very moment!
As we saw last time, stars can represent purity, power, or popularity. When a star falls from its place of purity, then it becomes a dark, evil star. Instead of brightness and light, its glory becomes darkness and evil. With these thoughts in mind, we want to notice four other stars this evening that are symbolic of four evil persons that are revealed in the Scriptures.
1. Wicked rulers are likened to falling stars.
Worldly rulers are sometimes likened to stars in the Scriptures. Through good worldly rulers, the people have light and liberty, and freedom to pursue happiness and spiritual fulfillment. Wicked rulers, on the other hand, are likened to fallen stars. They are proud and haughty boasters. They are cruel tyrants that oppress the people to accomplish their lust for power and wealth and glory. (Isa. 14:12-17).
This prophecy was primarily written against the king of Babylon, who was lifted up in his pride, and in his power, and in his wealth and glory.
The king of Babylon referred to here was probably not Nebuchadnezzar, who took Israel into captivity, but rather to Nebuchadnezzar’s son (or grandson) Belshazzar (which means Bel (or Baal) protect the king).
Belshazzar was a wicked, proud and haughty, and idolatrous heathen king. Once He was so foolish and so presumptuous that he desecrated the holy vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the house of God, and used them to praise the gods of the heathen. Notice Daniel 5:1-7.
Much could be said about this passage, but we will only notice three things.
1) Woe unto a king and to a nation, who become lifted up in their pride.
Woe to a king and nation that forget the God who made them great. Furthermore, woe to any man who is lifted up in pride.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
2) Woe unto a king and nation, who worship idols, and not the God of Heaven.
They praised the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood and stone (v. 4). Babylon was called the “golden city”. They were famous for their wealth, and for their ruthless means of obtaining it.
Does that sound familiar? Does that sound like our nation? Do not our leaders worship the god of wealth? Does not America worship the gods of wealth and materialism?
3) Woe unto a king who, in his pride, desecrates the holy things of God.
Beloved, it is one thing to be lifted up in pride, and to worship idols. But it is yet another thing to desecrate the holy things of God. God does not take this abomination lightly. He will not allow this sin to go unpunished.
Our nation was once a humble nation in her beginnings, but she has become increasingly more and more proud. She has been given over more and more to materialism and idolatry of every kind. But in recent years she has caved in more and more to desecrating the holy things of God.
There is great cause to fear for our nation. Babylon was a great empire. No one would have dreamed that she would fall in one day, as it were, but she did!!!
The United States of America is also a great nation, and no one would dream that she could fall in a day, but she will if she doesn’t turn from her pride, and her idolatry, and from desecrating the holy things of God!
Woe unto the fallen stars, to the princes of this world who lead there nations into idolatry, and desecrating the holy things of God.
I’m not a politician, but let’s be careful who we vote for. Personally, I vote for moral and spiritual issues first and foremost. It doesn’t matter a hill of beans what a man promises to do for the economy, or foreign policy, or for social issues.
If he hates God’s moral law, and the sanctity of the lives of the unborn, and the holy things of God upon which this nation was founded; if he is a proud and haughty sinner exalted against the God of Heaven and Jesus His Son; God will not bless our nation if we choose such a vile person for our leader!
2. Satan and the demons are referred to as stars (Isa. 14:12-15).
I believe that this passage is spiritually speaking of Satan, or Lucifer, which means the “son of the morning”. This is the name of Jesus Christ, the Bright and morning star. How old Satan desires to take the glory away from Jesus, to have it for his own!
Satan was so lifted up in pride that he literally tried to usurp the throne of God. Can you just imagine the creature, attempting to overthrow his Creator?
Satan is the leader of the demonic angels, who led them in their rebellion against God in attempt to overthrow His sovereign throne.
But Satan failed, and was cast out of heaven, along with his vile host of demonic angels, and were cast down to earth where they are now permitted to do their evil deeds among the sons of men for a season.
No earthly leader could even come close to fulfilling the accusations spoken of in this text. In the most real since, this could only be referring to Satan.
We said that a third of the angels fell along with Satan. Notice (Rev. 12:1-5). A third part of the stars of heaven in this text, appears to be the number of demons in the world, with Satan being the chief star among them. Here, Satan is depicted as a great dragon, showing his true nature and character.
I don’t know how many demons there are, but no doubt they are a multitude. And these are dark stars, and fallen stars, that work all manner of evil in the earth. Satan and the demons hate and persecute Israel, the woman who brought forth the Man-child (v. 13). They hated her from her conception, because they knew that she would bring forth the Man-child.
These evil spirits also hound and harass, and even possess the souls of men. They oppress and depress God’s children, especially in our weaker moments. Although they cannot possess a child of God, they can certainly work a world of havoc in our lives.
They are strong and invisible foes. We are no match for Satan, or his demonic host. We must never think that we can fight the devil and the demons in our strength as God’s people. Instead, we must draw near to God, and commit our souls to His trust, and to His keeping.
Remember, beloved, we are kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5). May we always look to His power for help, and not our own.
Satan and the demons are black stars, who are reserved, as it were, in the blackness of darkness forever, for their final judgment day when they shall be cast into the lake of fire, which the Bible says was prepared for the devil and his angels.
4. False angels of light are also like fallen stars (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
These transform themselves into the ministers of light. They look, and they talk, and appear to be holy men, pure and righteous, but inwardly they are dark stars and deceivers, who desire to destroy our souls.
They mimic the true men of God, as Satan mimics the true angels of light. They pretend to know and love the Word of God. But in reality they don’t have the Spirit of God, and know not the truth.
Be careful of these false stars beloved. They have nothing to offer you. They have no “new light” to offer, that we don’t have in God’s Word.
Like Satan and the demons, the end of these false angels of light shall also be according to their works. Let us not fall with them into their judgment.
Also, among these false angels of light are the wandering stars (Jude 1:13). These appear to be orbiting in the right direction. They appear to be leading you in the way that you should go. But before you know it, they’ve led you off course and out of the good way.
Let us be careful not to follow wandering stars, who constantly change their course, and there beliefs and their spiritual convictions.
Let us continue to follow the old paths, and to follow those stars, or ministers of God, who shine the way in these good old paths.
In conclusion, we want to briefly see the stars of God’s judgment and wrath.
Beloved, one day the stars of heaven are going to assist the judgment and wrath of God upon this wicked world. We want to notice a few passages that speak of this truth.
There are the falling stars (Matt. 24:29; Rev. 6:13). I don’t know what all of this means. I don’t believe this is speaking of the distant stars of heaven. It may be a meteorite shower, or something of that nature. But all I know is that God is going to employ the very creation of outer space that men have so long worshipped, to assist in their destruction.
There are the darkened stars (Revelation 8:12). One day the sun, moon, and the stars will withdraw their light, which speaks of God’s severe judgments (Isa. 13:10; Eze. 32:7; Joel 2:10, 3:15). The very heavenly bodies of which men have so long enquired for spiritual light, will then become darkened to them, showing even the stars’ own displeasure in man’s idolatry.
Yes, beloved, one day God’s wrath will literally fall upon this old sinful world, when the stars of heaven are called upon to judge the idolaters who bowed down themselves to worship the host of heaven.
Let us who are saved be looking for the true “bright and morning Star”, the Son of God from Heaven, who is coming for His people before the wrath of God is poured out upon the world.
We are not appointed to wrath, but unto salvation that will be revealed in that day!!!
And in that day shall the righteous shine as the stars in heaven. What a glorious day that will be!!!