“Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.
He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with his arm.
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.”
The third and final decan of Taurus is Auriga, The Gentle Shepherd. In stark contrast to the fierce bull and Orion, the mighty warrior, He is the great Shepherd who tenderly cares for his sheep.
He is pictured as holding a ewe with his left arm. On that same arm are are two young lambs, one of which is looking back at the fierce Taurus, the other up into the face of the Shepherd.
In his other hand, he is holding a pair of reins, corresponding to the bands of Pisces under the control of Aries. This links the two stories together like two bookends, painting a picture of the One who holds the reins, guiding and protecting the Fish people. This is a distinct change! God’s people are now pictured as sheep, being higher forms of life, rather than fish, which only act on instinct.
The Good Shepherd.
Of all the portrayals of Jesus in the scriptures, the Good Shepherd of the sheep is by far the Holy Spirit’s favorite. It should come as no surprise that there should also be such a picture in the night sky.
Why the shift from fish to sheep to describe God’s people? Because they are a higher form of life, indicating there has been spiritual growth. Think about it: Fish are attracted by the most basic of needs: Food.
In order to catch them, all you have to do is trick them by a dangling a worm on a hook to throw them into the boat. This is how we all came to Christ. We didn’t even know we needed a Savior. He had to draw us to Himself.
Some “Fish” are harder to hook and fight a lot more than others but, eventually, they get caught. The ones that do break the line and swim away, however, are free to be food for larger sea life.
Like the opening scripture declares, this Shepherd is both good and gentle. The ewe, being female, is a picture of the Church. The young, weak, and innocent lambs demonstrate how gently He deals with even the weakest of believers. Though some may look back at the frightening sight of the charging Taurus in fear, there is no need to fear any evil for they are safe in the Shepherd’s arms.
Unlike fish that are simply caught, however, sheep follow their Shepherd willingly, though they are often described as “Dumb.” Why? Because they often either do things that are not good for them or that are unsafe. But…..there is one thing they do very well: They know the voice of their Shepherd and will NOT follow another.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” Psalm 23:4
Jesus says of Himself, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own,” in John 10:14.
The Greeks saw this gentle One in the night sky but didn’t know what to make of the Shepherd. They were accustomed to “gods” of their own making that were often very angry and quite vengeful. So though they recognized Auriga, they didn’t understand him.
He is the One Who laid down His life for the sheep. The tip of one of the horns of Taurus piercing His right heel depicts this self sacrifice on behalf of His sheep.
Ancient Names For The Sign.
In the opening passage, the word used for “Shepherd” is “Auriga.” Because the concept of ”Shepherd” didn’t quite fit the narrative of the ancient Greeks they called him, “Haeniocho: The Driver, or The Charioteer.” They may have seen the reins in his right hand and assumed he was driving a wagon of some sort.
It’s interesting to note that the British to this day call him “The Wagoner,” most likely because the Latin meaning of the name, “Auriga,” means “The Conductor of the Reins.” No doubt, the English got the idea that this figure drove a chariot from the reins he held in his hand. Like the ancient Greeks, they also did not make the connection of his reins to the Bands of Pisces. They simply thought they had something to do with a horse’s rein.
Now let’s look at the names of the stars to see if they answer the question: “Is it a Shepherd…..or is this a Charioteer?”
Ancient Names Of The Stars.
“Capella,” the star at the top of the figure above, is the brightest star in this figure. It means, “She goat,” and comes to us from Latin. It actually has a Hebrew root word, “Capra,” meaning “Atonement.” Atonement means “Covering,” as in “covering for sins.”
The Hebrew name for this star is “Alioth: The Ewe or she goat.” It is a picture of the Good Shepherd removing the reins from her neck, setting her free to be with or “In Him.” HALLELUJAH!
The next star in order of magnitude, located in the Shepherds right bicep, bears a name from a people from whom we have not yet heard: The Chaldeans: “Menkalinon,” meaning “The Band” or “Chain of The Goats or Ewes.” The lambs Auriga is holding are free and safe from all attacks of the enemy in His arms.
There are two Arabic-named stars that further advance the shepherd theme. The first, “Maaz,” means “The flock of goats or kids.” That brings to mind the verse in Luke 12:32 which says, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
The next Arabic-named star is “El Nath: The wounded or The slain.” You’ve seen this star name in two other constellations: Aries and Taurus. God reiterates in our Shepherd the great sacrifice and price that was paid to obtain our freedom.
Another star bearing an Arabic name is “Aiyuk.” It means “Wounding in the foot,” as Jesus’ foot was bruised in crushing the head of the serpent, again reminding us that we are bought with a price.
As usual, the Egyptian take on this is quite enlightening. Their name for this constellation is “Turn: The Sceptre, The Power.” They pictured “Turn” as carrying a scepter. The upper part of this scepter is the head of a lamb, but the lower part is in the form of a cross.
The animal’s head depicts His coming again; but it is the Egyptian view of the cross that is most startling! Bear in mind, now, that crucifixion as a form of execution was not in use at the time these stars and figures were named. They could only have known to call them by these names by Divine revelation.
To the Egyptians from earliest history, they saw the cross as having something to do with immortal life of the One to come. In hieroglyphics underneath this figure on the temple walls of Denderah’s temple is a name that identifies “Turn” as “One who subdues or tames.” Pretty descriptive!
It seems pretty clear that this figure in the night sky is indeed a gentle shepherd and not a charioteer.
We’ll learn even more about this wonderful story in the next major constellation, “Gemini.” You may follow the link below to continue this series: