Secular academics love to push the idea that ancient civilization was lacking in education, in writing, in the arts, in the sciences, etc. I heard one such individual bemoaning the fact that it was impossible for ancient civilizations to have been able to plot the paths of the sun or moon, much less the stars.
But no one with any common sense could dispute the antiquity of the signs of the Zodiac or the constellations, nor could they question the accuracy of the ancient star names. Modern astronomers have preserved and still use the ancient names of over a hundred of the principal stars which have been handed down.
David wrote in Psalms 19 “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handwork. We are told that the heavens contain a revelation from God; they prophesy, they show knowledge, they tell of God’s glory and set forth His purposes and counsels. The Book of Job written 2,000 years before Christ mentions the Zodiac as well as the names of several stars and constellations. In Psalm 147:4: David writes that not only does God know the number of stars, He named them. They are mentioned in numerous Old Testament books.
If you look at history and tradition, you will discover that the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac are the same, both as to the meaning of their names and their order in all the ancient nations of the world. Cassini commented in his History of Astronomy, “It is impossible to doubt that astronomy was invented from the beginning of the world; history, profane as well as sacred, testifies to this truth.” Nouet, a French astronomer, infers that the Egyptian Astronomy must have arisen 5,400 B.C. Ancient Persian and Arabic traditions ascribe its invention to Adam, Seth and Enoch. Josephus asserts that it began in the family of Seth. Dr. Budge of the British Museum reminds us that the “Babylonians were a nation of star-gazers, and that they kept a body of men to do nothing else but report eclipses, appearances of the moon, sunspots,” etc. Aratus, a poet, wrote Diosemeia (The Divine Signs) around 270 B.C. explaining all the signs and constellations, not as they were seen in his day, but as they were seen some 4,000 years before which only serves to prove that he obtained this information was ancient manuscripts. His poem was quoted by the Apostle Paul in his address at Athens on Mars’ Hill (Acts 17).
The word Zodiac itself is from the Greek word derived from a primitive root through the Hebrew Sodi, which in Sanscrit means “a way.” Its etymology denotes “a way,” or step, and is used of the way or path in which the sun appears to move amongst the stars in the course of the year.
Virgo, the first sign in the ancient zodiac, represents the month in which Christ was born. In ancient Hebrew Virgo was called Bethulah, “the virgin.” In Arabic she is called “a branch.” These two words were connected in the Latin name, Virgo. The sign contains 110 stars, the brightest of which has an ancient name, handed down to us in all the star-maps, in which the Hebrew word Tsemech, used exclusively of the Messiah, is preserved. Al Mureddin, a star in her arm bearing a branch means “who shall come down” or “who shall have dominion.” It is also known as Vindemiatrix, a Chaldee word meaning “the son,” or “branch who cometh.” The first constellation in Virgo, Coma, whose ancient name is Comah, means the “desired or the longed for,” and is pictured as a woman with a child in her arms. The ancient Eyptian name was Shes-nu, “the desired son.” Abu Masher, an ancient Arabian astronomer of the 8th century wrote that the Persians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians teach that this constellation was a young woman whose Persian name denotes a pure virgin sitting on a throne, nourishing an infant boy “having a Hebrew name, by some called IHEUS, which in Greek is called Christos [Christ].”
Libra, Mozanaim in Hebrew, means the “scales weighing,” and is associated with Levi. Its name in Arabic is Al Zubenna, “the purchase or redemption.” In Coptic it is Lambadia,”the branch.” Crux, the constellation of the cross whose Hebrew name was Adom, means “the cutting off.” The Southern Cross was just visible in the latitude of Jerusalem at the time of the birth of Christ. Since then, through the gradual recession of the Polar Star, it has not been seen in Northern latitudes.
Scorpio, whose Hebrew name is Akrab, means “the conflict.” The Coptic name is Isidis meaning the “attack of the enemy, or oppression.” The Arabic name is Al Akrab which means “wounding him that cometh.” We see a gigantic scorpion trying to sting the heel of a mighty man who is struggling with a serpent.
Sagittarius in Hebrew is Kesith “the archer”, and in Arabic Al Kaus, “the arrow.” It tells the story of the triumph of the Coming One. Its brightest star Naim in Hebrew means “the gracious one.” and in Arabic it is called Al Naim, “the gracious one”. Another star Nehushta in Hebrew means “the going or sending forth.” and in ancient Akkadian it is called Nunki which means “Prince of the Earth.” The constellation of Draco, in Hebrew Dahrach, means “to tread” and in Greek “trodden on.” In the Zodiac of Denderah it is shown as a serpent under the fore-feet of Sagittarius and is named Her-fent “the serpent accused.”
Capricornus, the goat, in all ancient Zodiacs has a fish’s tail. In Egypt it is a half goat/half fish called Hupenius, meaning “the place of the sacrifice.” In the goat we have the atoning sacrifice and in the fish, the people for whom the atonement is made. The Hebrew name is Gedi, “the kid” and in Arabic Al Gedi, “the kid or cut off.” The three constellations set forth the death of the sacrifice and of His living again. Sagitta (the arrow) in ancient Hebrew is Sham, “destroying” or “desolate,” signifying redemption is of God. Aquila, the eagle signifies the pierced, wounded Savior, and Delphinus, the Dolphin, signifies the dead one rising again.
Aquarius is the water bearer; the living waters of blessing poured forth for the redeemed. It has been from the beginning a man pouring forth water into the mouth of a fish. We read in Numbers 24:7 “He shall pour the water out of His buckets, and His seed shall be in many waters, and His King shall be higher than Agag, and His kingdom shall be exalted.”
Pisces, is represented as two large fish bound by a band, the ends of which are fastened to their tails. The ancient Egyptian name is Pi-cot Orion, or Pisces Hori, meaning “the fishes of Him that cometh. The Hebrew name is Dagim the fishes, the multitudes who should enjoy the blessings of the Redeemer’s work. One of the constellations in Pisces is Cepheus, the crowned king. In the ancient Denderah Zodiac his name is Pekuhor, “this one cometh to rule.” The Greek name Cepheus is from the Hebrew word for the branch.
Aries, the ram or lamb, means in ancient Hebrew Taleh, “the lamb.” and in Arabic Al Hamal, “the sheep, gentle merciful.” Its chief star is El Nath, the “wounded, slain.” Another star is called Al Sheratan, “the bruised, the wounded.” Aries also contains the great Sea-monster Cetus, “the great enemy bound,” the largest of all the constellations. The Denderah Zodiac calls it Knem, “subdued” pictured as a monstrous head trodden under foot.
Taurus, the bull, signifies the Messiah, the coming judge of all the earth. The most common ancient Hebrew name was Shur, from a root which means both coming and ruling. The cluster of stars known as Pleiades, means the congregation of the judge or ruler, which is taken from the Greek Septuagint as the translation of the Hebrew Kimah, which means the heap or accumulation as used in Job. Another group of stars on the face of the bull are the Hyades, the congregated. The first of the three constellations, Orion, “the coming prince,” in the ancient Denderah Zodiac is Hagat meaning “he who triumphs.” Another is Auriga, “the shepherd,” seated upon the milky way holding on his shoulder a she goat.
Gemini, the twins, in the ancient Denderah Zodiac is Clusus meaning “the place of Him who cometh.” The old Coptic name was Pi-Mahi, “the united” as in brotherhood and in Hebrew the name is Thaumin, “united.” The more ancient star names point us to Him of whom they testify; His twofold nature of God and man.
Cancer, the crab, was represented in the ancient Denderah Zodiac as a Scarab, or sacred beetle, or Klaria. We do not have the original picture of the sign, nor anything like it. The crab depiction does not agree with the names of its three constellations or its stars, which develop the truth. What is now called Ursa Minor is “the Lesser Flock;” Ursa Major gives us “The Sheepfold and the sheep;” while Argo “the ship” shows the travelers and pilgrims brought safely home. North and South of the nebula Praesepe are two stars which Orientalists speak of by an ancient name Asellus, meaning an ass. They had Asellus Boreas and Asellus Australis, the northern and southern ass, which can easily be connected to the Tribe of Issachar whose tribal standard (flag) was two asses.
Leo is the lion of the tribe of Judah, reaching the end of the Revelation. In the ancient Denderah Zodiac he is treading upon the head of the snake [Satan]. Leo’s feet are over the head of Hydra, the great serpent, ready to crush it. A second constellation is Crater, the “cup of wrath” poured out upon mankind; and the third is Corvus, the bird of prey ready to devour the serpent.
The original pictures of the Zodiac were designed to preserve, expound and perpetuate the one first great promise of God in Genesis 3:15, that all hope for man and creation was bound up in a coming Redeemer; born of a virgin, who would be wounded by the great enemy, Satan , but who would, in the end, destroy him.
Source: The Witness of The Stars by E.W. Bullinger, first published in 1893, and The Companion Bible