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Libra: Paid In Full
Witnessing Tools
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Wendy Wippel

Ancient cultures named Seth and Enoch as the original authors of the zodiac, invented (per Josephus) as a way to preserve the memory of God’s plan of salvation for all generations to come. Virgo gave us the son, promised in Genesis that would save his people from their sins.  Libra fills in the details of how that happens.

Libra is the second constellation in the zodiac which in ancient cultures (as reflected in Egyptian depictions), started with Virgo. As a reminder, each sign of the zodiac was made up of three separate constellations, called decans. 

The Hebrew name for Libra is Mozanaim, which means “scales” or weighing”.

(If I say I weigh 100 lbs, by the way, I’m using lbs as an abbreviation for Libra, which in ancient Latin also meant “weighing” or “scales.”)

(If I say I weigh 100 pounds, by the way, I’m also lying. But let’s move on. )

In Coptic (semi-ancient Egyptian) Libra’s name was “Lambadia", meaning, “the giving of propitiation”, propitiation defined by the Mirriam-Webster dictionary as “an appeasement, typically an atoning sacrifice”.

Coptic was a relatively late language (i.e., after Christ), so maybe Coptic Christians gave Libra that name after the fact?

Nope. And here’s why: Libra is a fairly faint constellation consisting of a total of 51 stars, none that are of first magnitude as far as brightness. Three are second magnitude. Two of these, Zubenelgenubi and Zubenelschemali, are a double star. The names of these two stars come from ancient Arabic and therefore predate the New Testament by many years, possibly millennia.

Zubenelgenubi means, “purchase price deficient”.

In other words, in 2015 vernacular, “insufficient funds”.

Why would  Zubenelgenubi mean “insufficient funds"? (Remember, God named the stars (Psalm 147:4

The Scriptures tell us:

“Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life.”  (Psalm 49:7 ESV) 

Psalm 42 elaborates:

On God rests my salvation and my glory…God is a refuge for us. 9 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.

The scales, in ancient times, were also called balances, because you balanced the desired weight on one side of the scale with a known weight on the other side. (You might have had experience with these balances in chemistry or biology labs.)

Both rich men and poor men, in these balances, rise up. In other words, they weigh nothing. Worth nothing, in terms of their ability to participate in their own redemption.  Tekel, in other words (Daniel 5:27): "They  have been “weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” None of us can buy back our own soul, because we are riddled with our sin.  We have insufficient funds.

But here’s where we build on Virgo.  Enter the atoning sacrifice:  Jesus, the Messiah.  He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  I John 2:2

And that’s exactly what the name of the second double star, Zubenelschemali (which, remember, reflects,  in whatever  language the original name was translated into, the name God originally gave it (Psalm 147:4), reflects!

Zubenelgeli and Zubenelschemali, double stars, both begin with Zubenel, “the price”.

Zubenelschemali means “the price that covers”.  As in” love covers all sins”. Jesus, our propitiation, so loved the world that He gave Himself, God’s only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes on Him could have eternal life. He, and only He, was the price that could cover. 

The three constellations that make up Libra clearly expound on the costs involved in paying the price.

The first decan is Crux, the cross.  In the ancient Egyptian depiction of this Zodiac at Denderah, the cross is represented as a lion with its tongue hanging out as if panting for water, a haunting, age-old prophetic echo of both,“I thirst” (John 19:28) and Psalm 22: "My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death." (Psalm 22:14-15).

The second decan, known both as Lupus and Victima, pictures a sacrifice:  a victim slain, traditionally pictured as an animal in the act of falling dead. The Hebrew name (Asedah) and the Arabic (Asedaton) both mean, “to be slain”. Many of the very ancient zodiacs actually picture the slain animal as a lamb.

Intriguingly, however, the zodiac at Denderah includes a boy holding a finger to his lips. Again, seemingly, an echo of scripture, specifically Isaiah 53:

He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and opened not his mouth.  (Isaiah 53:7)

The third decan is Corona, the crown.  And the crown’s connection to the victim slain is laid out for us in Hebrews: 

Jesus was, “for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor”.  With His death, He was the price sufficient that eradicated our debt of sin.  He balanced the balances.  To make it just a little more interesting, Libra covers the time of the fall equinox, where daytime and night are perfectly balanced as well. (Job 38:32 tells us that God calls the constellations out at their appointed seasons.)

One more thing:

The constellation of Libra is also home to the star HD 140283, more popularly known as Methuselah. Curiously, although according to physicists the Big Bang that initiated the formation of the universe happened 13.7 billion years ago, Methuselah appears to be nearly a billion years older.

Space.com, incredibly, observes that the star called Methuselah “clearly existed before the universe came into being.”

No idea how they explain that scientifically.

But it is interesting that Libra, the Zodiac sign that lays down God’s plan of salvation, contains a star that scientists claim existed before creation itself, since The Scriptures tell us that that sacrifice was planned before the creation of the world (I Peter 1:20), and that the Savior was slain from the foundation of the World. (Revelation 13:8)

Our God is an awesome God.

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: The Apple of His Eye

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