The Second Book: The Church

(The Result of His First Coming)

Capricorn: The Goat

Chapter One: The Goat of Atonement Slain for the Church

In the first book we have seen the first coming of Jesus Christ. In this second book we see the results of His First Coming, namely the Church. In Chapter One we have the Sacrifice given for the Church. In Chapter Two we have the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) given to the Church. In Chapter Three we see the Church in conflict with the enemy and in Chapter Four we see Christ’s return with the Church, but the main point of this second book is that all four chapters are, in some way, connected with fish (Matthew 4:19).

It is noteworthy that this second book opens with the Goat and closes with the Lamb because they are both animals of sacrifice. The goat as an animal of sacrifice was especially important on the Day of Atonement (see my commentary on Exodus Go – The Day of Atonement). The high priest was to lay both hands on the head of a live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – all their sins – and put them on the goat’s head. Then he shall send the goat away into the desert to die (Leviticus 16:20-22). Messiah became our sacrifice.

In all ancient zodiacs we find a goat with the tail of a fish associated with the sign of Capricorn. In the Egyptian zodiac it is seen as half-goat and half-fish, and it is there called Hu-penius, which means the place of sacrifice. In the Indian zodiac we see a passive goat being passed through by a fish. There can be no doubt about the significance of this sign. In the goat we have the transferring of sin to the sacrifice (Psalm 103:12), and in the fish we have the people for whom the sacrifice was made (Acts 2:1-41). When we come to the sign of Pisces we shall see more clearly that it points to the Church.

The Hebrew name of the sign is Gedi, the kid or the cut off. This name is the same as the Arabic Al Gedi. Capricornus is merely the modern Latin name of the sign and means goat. The two brightest stars are alpha,the kid or goat called Al Gedi, and beta,the sacrifice that comes called Deneb Al Gedi. In the first chapter of the first book we saw a woman with a branch in her right hand (Isaiah 11) and some ears of corn, pictured as the seed or offspring, in her left hand (3:15), thus giving a two-fold testimony of Yeshua Messiah. Here we see Him coming to die, but producing much fruit. Yeshua said: I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (John 12:24). The living fish proceeds from the dying goat, and yet there is only one body. That picture, which has no parallel in nature, is seen clearly in the grace of God. One day in heaven, there will be a great multitude that no one can count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They will be wearing white robes and . . . holding palm branches in their hands (Revelation 7:9). The fish shall obtain eternal life through the death of the sacrifice of the goat.

However, it is not the actual death that we see here. The first chapter in each book pictures a prophecy about the Lord. The last chapter in each book confirms the fulfillmentof that prophecy. The second chapterin each bookpresents the work of grace necessary to sustain the prophecy, while the third chaptershows the results ofthe conflictneeded to attain the final victory and triumph. Therefore, there is an A-B-B-A literary structure, where the first and last chapters picture the prophecy and fulfillment of the Messiah, while the two central chapters image the grace and conflict of Christ.

The First Book: The Redeemer (His First Coming)

A Virgo: The prophecy of the Seed of the woman

B Libra: The work of Christ accomplished in grace

B Scorpio: The work of Christ accomplished in conflict

A Sagittarius: The fulfillment of promised victory

 

The Second Book: The Church (The Result of His First Coming)

C Capricorn: The prophecy of the Coming Sacrifice for the Church

D Aquarius: The results of the work of Christ given in grace

D Pisces: The results of the work of Christ enjoyed in conflict

C Aries: The fulfillment of the return with His Church

 

The Third Book: The Messianic Kingdom (The Result of His Second Coming)

E Taurus: The prophecy of the coming Judge of all the earth

F Gemini: The Lord’s reign in grace

F Cancer: The Lord’s reign safe from all conflict

E Leo: The fulfillment of the ultimate triumph

The Church was a mystery to the righteous of the TANAKH. And the Old Covenant looks forward to the New as the New Covenant looks back on the Old. When the righteous of the TANAKH looked to the witness of the stars, they viewed these four middle constellations as the promise of His Seed (NKJ) or His Offspring (NIV) in Genesis 3:15. Before the cross, ADONAI’s channel of blessing came through Israel, but as we look at these constellations today, we view them as the Church made up of Jewish and Gentile believers (Ephesians 2:14).

Therefore, in Capricorn we must look for the prophecy of the coming sacrifice for the Church. We now come to the three constellations, which give us three pictures of the death of this sacrifice and His living again.

1. Sagitta (The Arrow): The Hebrew name is Sham, destroying or desolate. There are many other stars in the heavens with a straighter line that would have been better served for an arrow. Only two of eighteen stars in this constellation are in the same line. Why are these stars chosen? Why is the arrow placed here? The only explanation can be that the same Hand that arranged the stars also wrote the Book! This is not the arrow of Sagittarius, for it has not left his bow. That arrow is destined for the enemies of the LORD. This arrow is for the Son of God. He was stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. He was pierced for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:4-5). Christ, the sacrifice, would be pierced by this arrow. The arrow is pictured alone in the air, having been shot by the hand of God the Father. This was the will of ADONAI that Jesus came to do. Therefore, the work that the arrow accomplishes is seen in the falling eagle and the dying goat.

2. Aquila (The Eagle): Here we have an additional picture of the effect of this arrow in the pierced, wounded and falling eagle, gasping in its dying struggle. Remember: He was pierced for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5), and the names of the stars of this constellation confirm this illustration. The constellation contains 74 stars. The brightest of them, alphain the eagle’s neck), is a notable star of the first magnitude called Al Tair (Arabic), which means the wounding. The star beta (in the throat) is called Al Shain (Arabic), the bright, from a Hebrew root meaning scarlet colored as in Joshua 2:17-18. The men said to Rahab, “This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us unless, when we enter the land; you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down.” The scarlet cord represents deliverance from death.

If, on the day of judgment (see my commentary on Revelation Fo – The Great White Throne Judgment), some say: Lord, Lord, and will be turned away because their faith was false (Matthew 7:21-23), how can I be absolutely sure that my faith is genuine? The answer is found in the actions of Rahab, and the men of Jericho. They all believed alike that the God of the Hebrews had the destruction of their city in mind and they all had the faith that He was able to do it. Everyone was looking out for his or her own safety. Thus when the Israelites came to the city, the men of Jericho sought to kill the spies. Rahab also had her own safety in mind, but she chose to throw herself upon the mercy of ADONAI and trust Him fully. Only Rahab’s faith was genuine because she acted in faith (James 2:20). She hung the scarlet cord in her window, which by its color speaks of safety through sacrifice, and points to the cross where alone we have safety through His blood.

The star gamma (in the back) is called Tatated, which means wounded or torn. The star delta, signified by the letter d (in the lower wing) is named Alcair, which means the piercing, and the star epsilon (in the tail), Al Okal, has the significant meaning of wounded in the heel. Surely, God determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name (Psalm 147:4).

3. Delphinus (The Dolphin): This is the brightest cluster of 18 stars, five of which are of the third magnitude. It is easily distinguished by the four brightest, which are in the head. It is always pictured as a fish full of life and the head is always pointed upward, just as the head of the eagle is always pointing downward. The dolphin is pictured as rising up and leaping out of the sea. The message of Capricorn is thus pictured in the comparison of the dying goat, the falling eagle and the rising dolphin.

Jesus died and rose again (First Thessalonians 4:14). Apart from His resurrection, His death was meaningless. To believers, His resurrection is central to our faith. He is the firstfruits of those who have died (First Corinthians 15:20). Because He conquered death and rose again, followers of the Messiah have the confidence that since they are in the Messiah (Ephesians 1:20) they can also conquer death and the grave. This is the great prophecy about Christ in this first book. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25).

Each chapter ends in glory, therefore, this strange goat-fish, dying in its head, but living in its tail – falling as an eagle pierced and wounded by the arrow of death – springs up out of the water with the beauty of a dolphin. The only way the Church can find life is through His death.

 

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