The third Decan of Virgo still further expresses and defines the marvellous gospel story.
You will observe how, beginning with the first decan of Virgo, that we have gone from focusing on the woman to focusing on her seed.
"One of the most common, constant, and expressive figures under which Christ is presented in the Scriptures is that of the Oriental shepherd."
"And this feature of what pertains to the Virgin's Son is the particular topic of this Decan."
Christ the Shepherd
In scripture, the work of a shepherd is made applicable to men. Just as some shepherd literal sheep, some shepherd men. The idea of a shepherd is connected with being a leader, guardian, caretaker, and a strong man.
From the beginning of the gospel message, or proto-evangelium, men have characterized the coming Savior, or seed of the woman, as one who will be a shepherd in his relation to men. Lord God himself used such terminology in describing his deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. He is said to have led them like a flock of sheep or goats. He identified himself as the Shepherd of Israel. He was viewed as a herder of cattle as well.
"Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth." (Psa. 80: 1)
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want." (Psa. 23: 1)
"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." (Isa. 40: 11)
"And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them." (Eze. 34: 23, 24)
"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones." (Zech. 13: 17 & Matt. 26: 31)
"Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock." (Jer. 31: 10)
"As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day." (Eze. 34: 12)
"My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace." (Jer. 50: 6)
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?" (Eze. 34: 2)
"instruments of a foolish shepherd" (Zech. 11: 15)
"For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened." (vs. 16, 17)
"And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." (Matt. 25: 32)
"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep...and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." (John 10: 11, 16)
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep..." (Heb. 13: 20)
"For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." (I Peter 2: 25)
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (I Peter 5: 4)
"We here have the figure of a strong man, whom the Greeks named Bootes, the ploughman. But he and the so-called plough are set in opposite directions. Neither does a man plough with uplifted hand in the attitude of this figure. The name thus transformed into Greek has in it a Hebrew and Oriental root, Bo, which means coming; hence, the coming One or the One that was to come. The Greeks, failing to hold on consistently to their idea of a ploughman, also called this man Arcturus, the watcher, guardian, or keeper of Arktos, the adjoining constellation, which in all the more ancient representations is the flock, the sheepfold. Bootes is not a ploughman at all, but the guardian and shepherd of the flocks represented by what are now ordinarily called the Great and Lesser Bears; though they both have long tails, which bears never have. The brightest star in the constellation of Bootes is also called Arcturus, the guardian or keeper of Arktos, a word which in its Oriental elements connects with the idea of enclosure, the ascending, the happy, the going up upon the mountains. According to Ulugh Beigh, the ancient Egyptians called Bootes Smat, who rules, subdues, governs; and sometimes Ban, or Bo, the coming One. Al Katurops, the star on the right side or arm of Bootes, means the Branch, the Rod, and is often connected with the figure of a staff, the shepherd's crook, the traditional emblem of the pastoral office.
There can, therefore, be no doubt that we have here not a Greek ploughman, but the far more ancient Oriental shepherd, the keeper, guardian, ruler, and protector of the flocks; and that shepherd identical with the Seed of the Virgin, the Promised One, He who was to come, even "the Desire of all nations," "that great Shepherd of the sheep" whom the God of peace brought up again from the dead (Heb 13 : 20).
He also bears a sickle, which shows Him as the great Harvester; and the harvest He gathers is the harvest of souls, as where He directs his disciples to pray God to send forth laborers into His harvest. And the harvesting of souls is the gathering and keeping of the Lord's flock. The sickle and the crook thus go together as significant of one and the same idea, and show that Bootes is not the keeper of dogs and hunter of-bears, but that promised Saviour who was to come to gather in the harvest of souls and "feed His flock like a shepherd."
Christ the Reaper
"I looked; and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God." (Rev 14:15-19)
"Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great." (Joel 3: 13)
"Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." (Psa. 37: 1-3)
"In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it." (Isa. 22: 25)
Christ is the chief Reaper, employing angels who are also call reapers (Matt. 13: 30, 39). These, under his authority and guidance, will "separate" the wheat from the tares, the children of God from the children of the wicked one. He not only reaps himself, but he insures that all, both good and bad, receive (reap) his due. This connects his office of a Reaper with that of being Judge.
"I sent you (preachers of the gospel) to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours." (John 4: 38)
"the joy in harvest" (Isa. 9: 3)
"when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm" (Isa. 17: 5)
"the harvest is the end of the world" (Matt. 13: 39)
"Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather them." (Jer. 9: 22)
"him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest" (Jer. 50: 16)
"For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come." (Jer. 51: 33)
"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." (Jer. 8: 20)
Bootes (Christ) the Strong Man
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him (Gideon), and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour." (Judges 6: 12)
"Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot..." (Judges 11: 1)
"And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth...and his name was Boaz." (Ruth 2: 1)
"Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep." (I Sam. 16: 18, 19)
"arrows are in the hand of a mighty man" (Psa. 127: 4)
"the sword of a mighty man" (Zech. 9: 13)
"Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race." (Psa. 19: 5)
"Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself." (Psa. 80: 17)
"For she (harlot) hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her." (Prov. 7: 26)
"A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength." (Prov. 24: 5)
"Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?" (Matt. 13: 54)
"The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies." (Isa. 42: 13)
"No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house." (Mark 3: 27)
"The star e (just below the waist on his right side) is called Mirac, or Mizar, or Izar. Mirac means the coming forth as an arrow; Mizar, or Izar, means the preserver, guarding.
The star h is called Muphride, i.e. who separates.
The star b (in the head) is named Nekkar, i.e. the pierced (Zech 12:10), which tells us that this coming judge is the One who was pierced. Another Hebrew name is Merga, who bruises.
The constellation of the Canes Venatici (the Greyhounds), i.e., the two dogs (Asterion and Chara), which Bootes holds by a leash, is quite a modern invention, being added by Hevelius (1611-1687). The bright star of the 3rd magnitude in the neck of Chara, was named "Cor Caroli" (the heart of Charles) by Sir Charles Scarborough, physician to Charles II, in honour of Charles I, in 1649. This is a good example of the almost infinite distance between the ancient and modern names. The former are full of mysterious significance and grandeur, while the latter are puerile in the extreme, almost approaching to the comic! e.g., the Air Pump, the Painter's Easel, the Telescope, the Triangle, the Fly, the Microscope, the Indian, the Fox and Goose, the Balloon, the Toucan (or American Goose), the Compasses, Charles' Oak, the Cat, the Clock, the Unicorn, &c. The vast difference can be at once seen between those designed by the ancients and those added by astronomers in more recent times.
These new constellations were added, 22 by Hevelius; and 15 by Halley (1656-1742). They were formed for the purpose of embracing those stars which were not included in the ancient constellations. This shows that the old constellations were not designed, like the modern ones, merely for the sake of enabling astronomers to identify the positions of particular stars. In this case all the stars would have been included. The object was exactly the opposite! Instead of the pictures being designed to serve to identify the stars, only certain stars were used for the purpose of helping to identify the pictures!
Summary On Virgo
"It is no part of my design in these Lectures to enter upon the exposition of all that is implied and expressed in the various symbols applied to Christ, except so far as necessary to show that what is written in the Scriptures is likewise written on the stars. And in so far as this first sign and its Decans are concerned, I think it must be admitted that the result is very marvellous. Ill must be the mind and dull the apprehension which cannot detect identity between God's sign in the text and this sign in the heavens. Are they not of a piece with each other, and hence from one and the same divine source? Here is the woman whose Seed was to bruise the Serpent's head. Here is the great Virgin-born, the divine Child, whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, of the increase of whose government and peace there is to be no end. Here is the prostrate one, deceived by Satan into sin and condemnation, but holding hopefully to the promised Seed, the most illustrious in the sphere of humanity, the vigorous, beautiful, and goodly Branch, as the particular joy and consolation of fallen man. Here is the Desire of all nations, the great Coming One, reseating the fallen who cherish and joy in Him. Here is His double nature in singleness of person, the " God with us" held forth in holy prophecy, the Seed of the woman, who is the Son of God. Here is the Rod, the Branch, on whom was to rest the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, who should judge the poor with righteousness and reprove with equity, and smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and slay the wicked with the breath of His lips. Here is the God-begotten Healer, Teacher, Prophet, the heroic Destroyer of the destroyers, yet despised and rejected of men, stricken, smitten, and afflicted, consenting to yield up his life that others might have immortality, and thereupon reappearing on high, clad in power and majesty, as the strong and everlasting Ruler, Guardian, and Shepherd of his flocks. These are among the most essential and most precious things of our faith. The Gospel is nothing without them. Yet this is but one of twelve such signs, each equally full, vivid, and to the point. God never does things by halves. What He once begins He always completes. We have seen the first of these signs. It bears with it the internal as well as the external evidences of what Maimonides says the ancient Fathers affirmed, to wit: that it has come from the Spirit of prophecy. And if God inspired the framing of these signs, we may expect to find the rest as rich and telling as this opening of the series, each amplifying the other, till all the sublime wonders of redemption stand revealed upon the sky.
Meanwhile, let us believe and hold fast to the fact, so joyously fore-announced by the prophet, and so vividly inscribed upon the stars as the hope and trust of man, that a virgin has conceived and brought forth a Son, who verily is what Eve supposed she had when she embraced her first-born—even "a man, the Lord," Immanuel, God with us. Let us rejoice and be glad that unto us a Child is given, even that Seed of the woman appointed to bruise the Serpent's head and be the everlasting Shepherd and Guardian of His people. Let us see in Jesus the great Healer, Teacher, and Prophet, even God in humanity, who was to come, and who, though despised and rejected of men, hated, condemned, and pierced, still lives in immortal glory and power as the true Arcturus, to give repentance, remission of sins, and eternal life to as many as accept Him as their Lord and Saviour. And, in this faith established, let us be all the more quickened in our interest and attention in tracing the whole story as it shines upon us in oui darkness from God's everlasting stars.
Titles of Christ in Virgo (and Decans)
1. The Seed (heavenly or divine, and human)
2. The Branch (or fruit)
3. The Coming (Sent) One, he who will "come down"
4. The Son of God and Man (virgin's son)
6. The One to Rule
7. The Desired One
8. The Shepherd (Guardian)
9. The Despised
10. The Pierced
11. The Reaper
12. The Beautiful Lord.
13. The Mighty One (Conquerer)
14. The Judge and Avenger
15. The Redeemer (Restorer)
16. The Mediator or Peacemaker