by John P. Pratt
Reprinted from Meridian Magazine (Dec. 5, 2001)
©2001 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.
|1. Star Names|
|2. Four Angels|
In Part I of this two-part article, we discussed the four cornerstone constellations in detail and concluded that they symbolized four aspects of the life of Christ, as well as the four principal tribes of Israel. Now let us consider the symbolism of the four bright royal stars which they contain. Even as the source of the constellations was described in the Book of Enoch as having been revealed by an angel, so also was the key to understanding the symbolism of the four royal stars revealed to Enoch.
"I beheld another splendour, and the stars of heaven. I observed that he called them all by their respective names. . .
"I inquired of the angel, and he explained to me secret things, What their names were. He answered, A similitude of those has the Lord of spirits shown thee. They are the names of the righteous who dwell upon the earth, and who believe in the name of the Lord of spirits for ever and ever." (Enoch 43:1-2).
This is indeed has been a great secret: The stars are named for the Lord's faithful servants. Enoch mentions that he saw that there are seven principal stars (Enoch 18:14) and shortly after lists the names of seven angels (Enoch 20). Using the key of star naming, we can infer that those seven stars are most likely named for the seven principal angels, all of whom at some time have lived or will live on the earth (D&C 130:5). Enoch also notes that four of those seven angels are the most important; they are called the "presiding angels" in this article. Similarly, there are four stars which were the most important to the ancients and known as the four "royal" stars. As we shall see, there is ample information available to deduce the identity of all four of the noble and faithful servants of God whom these stars represent.
Enoch tells us,
"I beheld the celestial stars come forth. I numbered them as they proceeded out of the gate, and wrote them all down, as they came out one by one according to their number. I wrote down their names altogether, their times and their seasons, as the angel Uriel, who was with me, pointed them out to me. He showed them all to me and wrote down an account of them. He also wrote down for me their names, their regulations and their operations." (Enoch 32:2-3).
Thus, Enoch was shown all the governing stars and learned their names. Now let us turn to identifying the four angels represented by the four principal or "royal" stars. These stars are first, Regulus, the bright star at the heart of the Lion. The second star is Antares, the red star at the heart of the Scorpion, and also in the foot of the Serpent Bearer. The third star is Fomalhaut, the bright star both in the head of the Southern Fish and also in the stream of water being poured out by the Water Bearer. The fourth royal star is Aldebaran, the flaming red eye of the white Bull.
The Prophet Enoch had a vision of the throne of the Lord of Spirits. He saw that there were four angels, one on each of the four sides, each praising and blessing the Lord of Spirits. He also beheld myriads of other people (Enoch 40:1-7). This vision was very similar to that of John in the Book of Revelation, who saw beasts on the four sides of the throne which were like a lion, a calf, a man, and a flying eagle (Rev. 4:7). The angel tells Enoch not only the names of these four presiding angels, but also their responsibilities:
"After this I besought the angel of peace, who proceeded with me, to explain all that was concealed. I said to him, Who are those whom I have seen on the four sides, and whose words I have heard and written down? He replied, the first is the merciful, the patient, the holy Michael.
"The second is he who presides over every suffering and every affliction of the sons of men, the holy Raphael. The third who presides over all that is powerful, is Gabriel. And the fourth, who presides over repentance, and the hope of those who will inherit eternal life, is Phanuel. These are the four angels of the most high God" (Enoch 40:8-9)
Thus we are given the names of the four presiding angels and also their duties. The duties of Michael are not mentioned here, but they were given earlier in the Book of Enoch. Enoch was told that Michael presides "over human virtue, commands the nations." (Enoch 20:5.)
Here we are explicitly told that these four presiding angels are associated with the four sides of the throne of God. The association of the four directions with the four cornerstone constellations of the Lion, the Eagle (with Serpent and Scorpion), the Water Bearer, and the Bull was discussed in detail in Part I: the red Lion is associated with the East, the black Scorpion with the North, the blue Stream of the Water Bearer with the South, and the white Bull with the West. Now we are told the names of the angels associated with each, and also told that the stars are named for the faithful servants of God. Thus, we can deduce that these four angels are not only associated with the cornerstone constellations, but more particularly with the four royal stars which they contain.
Before attempting to identify just who the four angels are, let us note one other Biblical prophecy which clearly ties the four colors of the four directions to four angels:
"And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
"In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;
"And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.
"Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?
"And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
"The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country." (Zechariah 6:1-6)
Here we again see the four directions associated with four colors of horses, similar to the vision of John (Rev. 6:2-8), reviewed in Part I. This time, however, the association with the four spirits of heaven is explicit, as well as with the directions. Black is identified with north and grisled with south, agreeing with the conclusions of Part I, where grisled is substituted for blue, as was "pale" in John's vision. The white horses, which should go west, instead follow the black going north probably symbolizing Joseph's tribes accompanying Dan's to the north countries.
Let us now proceed to identify which angel goes with which star, and also what the names of the angels were when they lived on the earth as men. Let us now consider each angel in the order given by Enoch.
Presiding Archangel. Michael is identified in scripture as the "archangel" (Jude 1:9, D&C 29:26), meaning that he presides among the seven holy angels. The Book of Enoch explicitly states that he presides: "Michael, one of the holy and glorious angels who were with me, and who presided over them" (Enoch 24:4). He is often numbered as the seventh angel (D&C 88:112), but he is the chief angel even as the seventh president of the quorum of seventy presides over the others (D&C 107:94). The fact that Michael presides is an indication that Michael is associated with the Lion, the King of Beasts, who presides over the four cornerstone constellations.
The Prince. Michael is also referred to as the great "Prince" who will stand up for his people in the latter days (Dan. 10:21, 12:1). Michael's title of "Prince" is confirmed in modern revelation (D&C 78:16). The title Prince is consistent with Michael's role as described by Enoch as commanding the nations (Enoch 20:5). Jesus Christ is the King of Kings, but Michael is apparently next in command under him as the Prince.
Thus, the first of the four seems to clearly be that Michael is at the heart of the lion, being Regulus, the Prince.
Michael: Adam. The scriptures explicitly identify Michael as being the same as Adam, the first man created and the father of the entire human family, the Ancient of Days (D&C 27:11). That identification was known even to Adam himself and to the faithful of his day. Here is the account of the appearance of the Lord at the great conference in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, near the end of Adam's life:
"And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.
"And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.
"And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation." (D&C 107:54-56)
Thus, there is no question that Michael is Adam. Many symbolic details fit perfectly with this identification. The name Michael, "Like Unto God" is reminiscent of the fact that Adam was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Another clue is that the name "Adam" means "red," and red is the color associated with the Lion. Adam also presides over the nations as the father of nations, even as Michael commands the nations. The star Regulus represents Adam.
Raphael: Enoch. There are some indications both in the Book of Enoch as well as in constellation symbolism that Raphael is indeed most likely Enoch.
One is that in the Book of Enoch, usually when the four are mentioned together, the order is: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Phanuel. What order are they in? It is not the priesthood order, because Gabriel stands second to Michael in priesthood authority as we will see in the next section. It may be chronological order of their birth, which argues for Raphael being Enoch. It may also be the order of the four in the circle of the zodiac, which also would argue for Raphael being the Serpent Bearer.
Another indication that Raphael is Enoch might be found in the unusual name for Enoch, the "Wild Man" (Moses 6:38). That seems like a strange name for a man who is also called a "seer" in the same verse. Why was he called the wild man? The name perfectly fits the constellation of the Serpent Bearer, who is wrestling a serpent. The other men in the constellations have milder occupations, such as a king, a charioteer, and a hunter. But a serpent wrestler might easily be called a wild man.
Perhaps the best witness that Enoch is Raphael is found in the Book of Enoch itself. Enoch records that the Lord commanded the angel Raphael to deliver a judgment to the fallen angel Azazyel for his wickedness:
"Again the Lord said to Raphael, Bind Azazyel hand and foot; cast him into darkness. . .All the earth has been corrupted by the effects of the teaching of Azazyel. To him therefore ascribe the whole crime." (Enoch 10:6, 12)
The clue that Raphael is really Enoch himself is that it is Enoch who delivers this condemnation to Azazyel. A few chapters later Enoch himself fulfills the charge that Raphael had been given. First, he tells Azazyel of the great sentence pronounced against him: "Then Enoch, passing on, said to Azazyel: Thou shalt not obtain peace. A great sentence is gone forth against thee." (Enoch 13:1). Azazyel and his followers then beg Enoch to petition the Lord for forgiveness for them. Enoch does so, but he reports back to Azazyel,
"Judgment has been passed upon you: your request will not be granted you. From this time forward, never shall you ascend into heaven; He has said, that on the earth He will bind you, as long as the world endures." (Enoch 14:3-4)
While this is not solid proof, it appears that the charge given to Raphael of condemning Azazyel was apparently fulfilled by the Prophet Enoch. Thus, we have an indication from the Book of Enoch itself that Raphael is Enoch.
Understanding the identity of Enoch as Raphael, who is identified with the color black, may be a clue to understanding how color is sometimes used in scripture. For example, the Kingdom of God in the latter-days is represented in the Book of Enoch by a great white bull with black horns (Enoch 89:47). Why black horns? Perhaps it represents the fact that the city of Enoch will return and join them (Moses 7:63).
Power. The angel told Enoch that Gabriel presides over "power". Which of the four cornerstone constellations does that indicate? The blessing of Reuben told him that he represented "the excellency of power" (Gen 49:3). We saw in Part I of this article that Reuben was associated with the Water Bearer, who in turn is the symbol used by the Lord when speaking of the saints being "endowed with power" (D&C 38:32, 43:16, 105:11). Blessings would be poured out upon them (D&C 110:9), even as the river is being poured out by the Water Bearer onto the head of the Southern Fish. Thus the word "power" seems to have very specific meaning. If this identification is correct, then Gabriel is to be associated with the star Fomalhaut, located both in the head of the Southern Fish and also in the stream being poured out upon it. Fomalhaut come from the Arabic words for "the Fish's Mouth," but it's proper location is probably nearer the top of the head.
But who is Gabriel?
Gabriel: Noah. The scriptures do not identify Gabriel directly, but the Prophet Joseph Smith did. He declared, "...Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in this day, and to him was given the dominion."
Here we also learn the important concept that Gabriel is second in authority to Michael, which fact is not mentioned in the Book of Enoch, nor elsewhere, to my knowledge. Being second in authority would also tie Gabriel to the Water Bearer because that constellation is in the position opposite of the Lion in the zodiac. Even as the "12" on a clock (the Lion) dominates because it marks the hours, so also does the "6" (the Water Bearer) rank second because it marks the half hours. The Scorpion and the Bull mark the quarter hours, so they rank below the Lion and the Water Bearer.
The role of Gabriel as the Elias who is to restore the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ fits perfectly with the imagery of the Water Bearer who brings the living water. Truth will "flood" the earth in the last days. Moreover, Noah is also associated with water flooding the world physically. Some L.D.S. authorities have proposed, based on the above scriptures, that it was Noah who was the Elias who came to the Kirtland temple to restore the keys of the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham (D&C 110:12).
Thus, Noah, the number two man in priesthood authority throughout the history of the earth, is apparently represented by the star Fomalhaut.
First, Enoch was told us that Phanuel "presides over repentance, and the hope of those who will inherit eternal life" (Enoch 40:9). In a way, that clue alone really narrows down the prospects. After all, how many men is history have a legitimate claim to be the one who presides over the hope of all who will inherit eternal life?
The third clue is the location of the bright star in the constellation. Aldebaran, which means "the Follower," is located at the eye of the Bull. The eye is often the symbol of a seer. In Part I we discussed how the star's location in the figure is important: Regulus as the heart of the Lion representing emotions, Fomalhaut in the head of the Southern Fish representing the mind, and Antares as the heart of the Scorpion representing judgment and strength. This constellation is identified with Joseph of Egypt, who was a great seer.
Who then could fit the description of being a great seer who would lead the Kingdom of God in the last days to gather Israel, and upon whom the hope for eternal life for even those in past ages would depend? Could it be anyone other than the Prophet Joseph Smith?
Phanuel: Joseph Smith. The Prophet Joseph Smith was known even by name to his ancestor Joseph of Egypt, who prophesied that a "choice seer" would be raised up in the last days from his seed to restore the gospel (2 Nephi 3:6-21). The Bull was associated with the tribe of Joseph, and Joseph Smith is identified as being a literal descendent of Joseph of Egypt. In addition to being the great Seer, he founded the Kingdom of God, which the white Bull represents so graphically in the prophesies of Moses and Enoch. He follows the other prophets chronologically, just as does the Bull, and prepares the way for the return of Adam, the Prince, at Adam-ondi-Ahman (D&C 116), as well as for the return of the Savior, the King of Kings.
The strongest argument supporting the proposal that Phanuel is Joseph Smith is his presiding over the "hope of those who would inherit eternal life." It was through his ministry that the great temple work was established to provide the required ordinances for all those who have lived through the ages, who had not a chance to receive them during their mortal life. Consider just how much the Prophet Joseph Smith did for the salvation of mankind:
"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient time, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood" (D&C 135:3).
It has not always been clear to me how the Prophet Joseph Smith could be second only to Christ in accomplishments for the salvation of mankind, and yet below both Adam and Noah in priesthood authority. Now the Book of Enoch and the constellation symbolism together resolve that apparent dilemma admirably. The key is that the "salvation of men" was a special priesthood assignment to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Even though other angels ranked above him in priesthood authority, they had other specialties such as commanding the nations.
We have the recorded testimony of all four of these angels. All of them bore witness of Jesus Christ who has been known unto mankind as the Savior of the World from the beginning of time. Adam taught his children to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Moses 6:55 7:1). The following table includes some of their testimonies in their own words.
"Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God." (Moses 5:10)
"Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost" (Moses 8:24)
"...this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created..." (D&C 76:22-24).
"I saw the Lord and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations." (Moses 7:4)
First Presidency of the Earth? The four cornerstone angels may constitute a priesthood First Presidency of the earth throughout history, with Adam as President, Noah as first counselor, Joseph Smith as second counselor, and Enoch as secretary. If that is correct it would explain why Enoch is called the "Scribe of Righteousness" by the Lord (Enoch 12:5, 15:1): He may be the secretary of the presiding quorum over the earth. It would also suggest what some of the assignments for the other three might be. When Adam was on the earth, the continents formed one land and he presided over the entire earth. Noah, the first counselor, might well be assigned to the Eastern Hemisphere, and the Prophet Joseph Smith to the Western Hemisphere. If Enoch is the quorum secretary, it would also explain why it was Enoch who recorded the great prophecy of Adam at Adam-ondi-Ahman (D&C 107:56-57): it was his priesthood assignment to record the prophecies of his quorum president. And it would explain why the Prophet Joseph Smith never stated who was third in the priesthood authority over the earth, after Adam and Noah, because it is he himself.
Note that there is a similar assignment in the First Presidency of Heaven, which includes the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Book of Abraham, Facsimile 3, Fig. 1). While the Father presides over all, one special assignment of the Son, who is a counselor in that presidency, is clearly "the salvation of mankind." The Holy Ghost has a very different assignment, which includes witnessing and spiritual communication. Thus, the similarity of the roles of Jesus Christ and of Joseph Smith becomes more clear because they are apparently both counselors in a presidency and they have the same assignment. Both needed to be martyred, and both were sacrificed as lambs going to the slaughter. It has been proposed that the deaths of both were represented by the daily ritual sacrifice of two lambs according to the law of Moses (Num. 28:3-8), the one in the morning representing Jesus Christ and the sacrifice near the end of the day representing Joseph Smith.
The relationships of the four cornerstone constellations and stars discussed in both the first part and this concluding part of this article are summarized in the following table.
|Tribe of Israel||Judah||Joseph||Reuben||Dan|
|Tribe Name Means||Praised||Increased||Behold a Son||Judge|
|Blessing||Lion||Wild Ox||Power, Water||Serpent|
|Balaam's Prophecy||Lion||Wild Ox||Pour out water||Break bones|
|Horse Color||Red||White||Grizzled, Pale||Black|
|Aspect of Life||Emotional||Spiritual||Mental||Physical|
|Symbol of Aspect||Heart||Might||Mind||Strength|
|Angel Name Means||Like Unto God||Face of God||Man of God||God is Healer|
|Angel's Duties||Commands Nations||Salvation||Power||Healing|
|Star Name Means||Prince||Follower||Mouth of Fish||Like Ares|
|Star Symbolizes||Adam||Joseph Smith||Noah||Enoch|
|Gospel Story||Millennial King||Gather Israel||Bless Church||Conquer Death|
|Christ's Role||King||Lord of Hosts||Teacher||Judge/Healer|
In summary, what began as a simple observation that the constellations might actually declare the glory of God (Psalms 19:1), has led to discovering an incredibly rich and multi-leveled symbolism of the organization of the priesthood, the roles of some of the key prophets, and above all, an understanding of how the heavens witness of Christ. As we begin to understand the depth of information contained in these constellations, we might exclaim with Enoch,
"I blessed the Lord of glory, who had made those great and splendid signs, that they might display the magnificence of his works to angels and to the souls of men; and that these might glorify all his works and operations; might see the effect of his power; might glorify the great labor of his hands; and bless him forever." (Enoch 35:3)