Story in the Stars

Discovering God's Design and Plan for Our Universe


By Joe Amaral

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An in-depth look at the powerful story and symbolism behind God’s unique design of our universe.

Thousands of words have been written about the first ten words in the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” a simple and profound statement that has ignited a firestorm of debate and controversy. People often only focus on the “how” and “when” of creation, but Story in the Stars explores the “why.” Why did God create such a vast universe? Why did He choose the sun and moon to light our paths? Why did He design images with stars in the night sky?

The Bible is very clear when it states that God created, named, and positioned all of the stars of the universe in their place in a very specific way-a way that tells us the greatest story ever to be told. In Luke 21:25 Jesus says, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.” Signs are meant to point us towards something: Jesus. Story in the Stars takes an in-depth look at the Bible and all the signs God mapped out through constellations, planets, and even the way the Earth is tilted. We are uniquely designed by God, and He loves us so much that He ensured a way for all inhabitants of the earth, through all of time, to see the messages of salvation and redemption that He painted in the stars.



In the beginning God created

the heavens and the earth.

—Genesis 1:1

TENS OF THOUSANDS of words have been written about the first ten words in the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Ten simple words that have ignited a firestorm of controversy and much debate. Since the dawn of time, people have endeavored to interpret and understand this opening statement of the Bible and learn the truth about our origins on this planet and in the universe.

It’s absolutely amazing when you stop and think about it. We the human race have spent thousands of years trying to figure out this opening line of the Bible. It just goes to show you how much greater, grander, and wiser God is than us! It’s no wonder there have been thousands upon thousands of books written about the Bible and about faith in general. If we get stumped on the first ten words, imagine the challenge of beginning to understand and decipher the remaining 783,127 words of Scripture.

What, Who, When, Where, or Why?

People generally get stuck on two questions about the opening verse of Genesis. The first question centers around the “when” of the text and the second is focused on the “how.” When did God create the heavens and the earth? A quick internet search will produce a plethora of possibilities and theories.

For some, the earth was created approximately five thousand years ago. This number is based upon the names and genealogies that are found in the book of Genesis. It’s definitely a possibility. The problem with this view is that you have to assume that Adam and Eve were created instantly and only five days after the creation of the universe. To be fair and reasonable, you have to account for the possible passing of time from when the earth was inhabitable for humans and from the time Adam took his first breath. Sure, only five days could have passed, but five eons could have also easily passed. This book by no means makes any attempt to settle the argument of the age of the universe, but the elephant in the room must be addressed.

For others, the earth was created billions of years ago. This, too, is a possibility. To better understand the Bible’s opening statement, it’s important to remember who wrote it. Its earthly author was Moses. This is almost an absolute certainty, as most scholars agree on Mosaic authorship. Who was Moses? When did he write this? Where was he when he wrote it? How did he get the information? These are very important questions that are seldom asked by the reader when trying to unravel the intricacies of the creation account. However, they are very important because they will help us establish a better framework of understanding.

Moses was the great leader of the Hebrew people, but we must remember where he spent the first part of his life: Egypt. There was nothing Hebraic or Jewish about Egypt. Being found and adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter afforded him an incredible position that came with great prestige and privilege. The pharaoh at the time did not have a legitimate male child to take the throne after him. Moses, having been adopted into that family, became the legal heir to the throne. He would have received a pharaoh’s education.

This means that Moses would have studied military tactics, ancient Near East philosophy, and religion. He would have learned mathematics, reading and writing, and, of course, astronomy and astrology. You don’t have to dig too far into ancient Egyptian culture to discover that it was deeply steeped in astrology and religious mysticism. This belief system drove them to build the impressive and massive system of pyramids. It fueled their interest in the afterlife and what happened to the soul beyond the grave. We see this in the meticulous construction of the pharaohs’ tombs and burial chambers.

Ancient Egyptian mythology has been preserved both in manuscripts and through hieroglyphics found in caves and chambers. Egyptology reveals a great curiosity about the cosmos and its creation. The ancient Egyptian god Khnum is said to have fashioned creation in the same manner as a potter fashions clay—slowly but surely molding and shaping the clay into the image or shape desired. This is very important information to consider when we are attempting to understand why Moses selected certain words over others in his creation account.

Strong’s Concordance is the go-to concordance that Bible scholars use when they want to find the original Hebrew or Greek word and its meaning. The fifth word of the opening verse of the Bible is the word created. The Hebrew word used there is bara (see Strong’s number H1254). It means “to shape, to form, or to fashion.” The nuance of the word bara is not to create all at once but rather to set creation in motion. To fashion an object, and to take the time to perfect it.

Think of it this way. Even the tallest trees in the world—sequoias, a kind of redwood tree found in Northern California—grow to over 350 feet tall and yet begin with a seed that fits in the palm of your hand. Everything the tree would need over time was present at the very beginning. So, too, in the beginning, everything that was necessary for the creation of the universe could have been present from the very start. Today it’s known as the “Big Bang.”

I know, I just lost some of you. You hear that term and you think it’s a secular explanation for the beginning of the cosmos. But what if I told you that wasn’t the case? What if I told you that, historically, the Big Bang Theory was a Christian perspective that was used to explain the beginning of space and time? In fact, in 1927, it was a Belgian Roman Catholic priest named Georges Lemaître, who was also an astronomer and physics professor, who noted the expansion of the universe. That is to say, he was the first to observe that deep-space objects such as galaxies were moving not only away from each other but from a single point in space. Lemaître’s observations ultimately led to the theory known today as the “Big Bang.”

Eventually, several other notable scientists and observable, empirical evidence corroborated his theory. Initially, the scientific community rejected Lemaître’s theory because it confirmed the first three words of the Bible: “In the beginning.” Before this theory, many in the world of science and cosmology hypothesized that the universe never had a beginning, that it had always existed. But this new evidence confirmed that there was a beginning, and that the Bible got it right. Somewhere along the journey, the term Big Bang became secular in nature. What was once a beloved discovery and victory for the church became a negative term, and those who declared faith in it were scorned as blasphemers and heretics. It’s amazing what time can do. Time can heal all wounds, but it can also cause some of them.

It’s a Big Universe

No matter which side of the spectrum you are on—young earth or old earth—we can all agree on the vastness of the universe. The truth is that we will never truly be able to understand how vast it really is. We can read all the facts and see all the pictures we want, but our human brains cannot fathom the reaches of the galaxy. We don’t even understand the size of our planet, never mind the solar system. We can’t even comprehend the size of our own star, the sun! How’s this for some mind-blowing sun trivia: we could fit 1.3 million Earths inside of the sun! The sun makes up 99.86 percent of the total mass of the solar system, and yet it’s called a “dwarf” yellow star. A dwarf! There are stars in the observable universe that are much, much larger than our own sun. For example, the largest detected star, to date, is VY Canis Majoris, which is Latin for “Big Dog.” You could fit 9.3 billion of our suns in it! You can’t even imagine it, can you? I know I can’t.

NASA conservatively suggests there are anywhere from one hundred billion to four hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone! That means there are about one hundred billion planets. It all seems so overwhelming. We hear these staggering numbers and our brain goes numb from trying to take it all in.

Let’s start with something a little closer to home, something we may have a better chance of wrapping our heads around. Let’s forget about the hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy and focus on one: the nearest star to us. It’s called Proxima Centauri, and it’s a mere 4.22 light-years away. That doesn’t sound too bad. Four is a small number. It should be fairly simple to understand its distance. Well… it doesn’t sound like a lot, but of course, it is. That 4.22 light-years translates into forty trillion kilometers, or about twenty-five trillion miles. Some calculations suggest that at current rocket speeds, it would take us 137,000 years to get there, and that’s just one way!

We haven’t even left our own galaxy yet! Initially, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope estimated that there were approximately one hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe. But new data collected in 2016 by NASA now put that number at ten times greater—over one trillion galaxies! How’s your head doing? My mind reels as I continue to research and discover more and more data about our universe. I’m trying, but I know I’m failing to convey how vast the universe really is.

So let’s take another bite-sized look at things. We’re unable to fathom hundreds of millions of galaxies, so let’s look at just one. Let’s look at the closest galaxy to us, Andromeda. It’s considered to be the big-brother galaxy of the Milky Way. Our galaxy is 100,000 light-years wide, while Andromeda is approximately 220,000 light-years across—just over twice our size—yet it houses over a trillion stars, compared to our four hundred billion. Andromeda lies a mere 2.5 million light-years away from us, which, compared to the size of the universe, is right across the street. If we could travel at the speed of light, which is three hundred million meters per second, it would take us 2.5 million years to get there. Proxima Centauri at 137,000 years doesn’t seem too far, does it?

The data above are precisely the reason why this is not a book about the when or how of creation. Hundreds of books on the subject have already been written by people who are much more qualified than I am. They are readily available, and if that area of research interests you, then go for it.

My area of interest and the focus and purpose of this book is to ask the question “Why?” Why create so many planets, stars, and galaxies? What purpose could they possibly serve? That’s what I’ll explore in the remaining pages of this book. Yes, we’ll get theological and philosophical, but the answer is much simpler than all of that. The answer may surprise you. In fact, the answer is you! He made it all for you, and for me. As we will see, God went to extreme lengths to create, plan, and position all the heavenly bodies in the night sky. He did it to tell you a story. He placed a story in the stars—the story of faith, salvation, and redemption.



And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.”

—Genesis 1:14

SOME SIGNS ARE region specific, while others are universal. I remember traveling through Australia in 2014 and seeing Kangaroo Crossing signs everywhere! That’s an example of a region-specific sign. If you’ve seen them anywhere else, let me know. I’ve traveled to several countries around the world. I’ve been to Israel over forty times, and all throughout Southeast Asia, Europe, Mexico, and the UK, and it didn’t matter which country I was in, I saw some universal signs. The most prominent was the stop sign. It didn’t matter what language the sign was in. In fact, in some countries, there was no writing at all. As soon as I saw that red octagon, I instantly knew it was a stop sign. Not only did I recognize what the sign was, but I also knew what to do. I had to stop. That’s it. No explanation or guidance was necessary. This is an example of an objective sign. You don’t need to wonder about the meaning of a stop sign. The answer is clear and it is final.

Signs are put in place to either tell us something or point us toward something. A speed limit sign on the highway is an example of a sign that’s there to tell us something. A sign on the highway may tell us to turn right up ahead because it’s pointing us toward something, such as the destination that we have in mind.

That’s exactly what God has done with creation. Genesis 1:14 tells us that God created the sun, moon, and stars to serve as signs. Just like natural signs, God’s heavenly signs are there to tell us something and to point us toward something or, in this case, toward someone! God’s signs are also objective. Later in this chapter we will be looking at whom these signs point to, but right now I want to address what the signs are and whom they are for.


As I said at the end of the Introduction, you are the reason God made the signs. He put them there because He loves you and He wanted to make sure that every single person who ever lived, no matter where or when, regardless of age or language, would be able to see and understand the signs. After all, the Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9b, “Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

His desire is and always has been for every single person who has ever lived to be in a right relationship with Him. He wants you to have eternal life. Having you with Him for all eternity is so important that He fashioned the entire universe to serve as a sign for you. Imagine that, if you can. Remember the massive universe I described in the introduction? Yeah, that one. He carefully created and planned it with extreme precision. He planned it to align with very specific dates and times throughout history.

Let’s go back to the opening verse of Genesis 1:14. The “lights in the vault of the sky” described here refer to the sun, the moon, and the stars. They definitely serve a practical function. They divide the day from the night. They mark the days of the month. They basically serve as a celestial calendar. In ancient times, several cultures relied on the motion and phases of the moon to know when to plant and harvest their crops. But the text is telling us that they serve an even greater purpose. Unfortunately, we often miss this meaning because of the poor English translation.

A Word about Translation

English is a very restrictive and limited language when it comes to translating. As a person who comes from a Portuguese background, I have seen this countless of times throughout my life. So often the original meaning is lost when translating from Portuguese to English or vice versa. This is what we see happening here.

The greater purpose that the sun, moon, and stars serve is to mark “sacred times.” In English, it takes two words to convey the meaning of the original Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:14, which is moed. When read properly, the text tells us that the sun, moon, and stars serve as signs to mark moeds. So here’s the million-dollar question: What in the world is a moed?

In Hebrew, moed refers to the holy days mentioned in the twenty-third chapter of the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. The holy days are also known as the seven Feasts of the Lord. In our vernacular they are: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. These seven annual festivals were instituted by God as holy or sacred times. Although the English translation gets the words right, it fails to convey the significance of the holy days and what they represent.

In essence, God said He would use celestial objects to serve as signs during these holy days. So it should be no surprise to see celestial signs during events like Passover or Tabernacles. They just show that God is doing exactly what He said He was going to do. As we will see, all throughout history, God has marked holy days with remarkable signs and wonders. For instance, to God, Passover is a sacred time, so He marks it with celestial activity: the first night of Passover is always marked by a full moon. This was so that the ancient Israelites would know exactly when the feast began.

Blood Moons

There was a lot of attention given to what the media called a tetrad of lunar eclipses during the years 2014 and 2015. These lunar eclipses are often referred to as “blood moons.” This is how some of the ancient cultures described a lunar eclipse. The term has taken on an ominous association and meaning.

Lunar eclipse. Illustration by Karen Amaral.

As we all know, it takes the earth approximately 365 days to go around the sun once. During a lunar eclipse, the earth comes between the sun and the moon so that the moon receives no direct light from the sun; the earth is essentially blocking the incoming light that would normally give the moon the bright color we are used to seeing. During a total lunar eclipse, also known as a blood moon, the moon moves fully into the earth’s shadow, which is called the umbra. The umbra gives off the earth’s natural red hue. From our perspective, the moon transitions from the bright white we normally see to a reddish-orange color. If you’ve ever seen one, it’s easy to understand why the ancients would refer to it as a “blood moon.”

The blood moon tetrad of 2014–2015 garnered a lot of attention. Books were written. Documentaries were produced. Sermons were preached. The supposed common denominator of this tetrad, it was said, was that it was a rare phenomenon and carried with it a doomsday type of message. Surely it must have been a bad omen that marked imminent destruction. I don’t know what year you are reading this book in, but I’m fairly confident that the world is still spinning, the sun is still shining, and life is going on as it has for some time now.

All people had to do was go back to Genesis 1:14. Of course there were blood moons during Passover and Tabernacles—it’s exactly what God said would happen. The danger of not having the Bible at the center of all our celestial interpretations is that we rely on human ideas. And as far as I am concerned, that’s a very dangerous thing to do.

Blood moons and planetary alignments are normal and natural. That doesn’t mean they’re not special or important. More often than not, God uses the ordinary when creating the extraordinary. We see this throughout Scripture. Look back at the Exodus story of the Israelites. All ten plagues seem supernatural at first glance, but as we look at them more closely, we see that all God did was simply put His “super” on the “natural.” From frogs to locusts to darkness, He used the nature that He had created for His purposes. That’s precisely what we see with the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Jesus and the Zodiac

Blood moons and full moons have always occurred and will always occur during feast days because that’s when they are supposed to happen. God’s system to mark these days with celestial objects has been tested and proven with the passing of time. Even Jesus understood this principle. He talks openly about it in the Gospels, but somehow, we have missed it. We have been missing it for over two thousand years. It’s now time to understand what He said and why. Consider the words of Jesus: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars” (Luke 21:25). Okay, I don’t think you read that properly, so let’s read it again. Jesus—the Messiah—said, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.”

I know you have read this before. I did, several times, as a seminary student during a Gospels course. I read it as a Bible teacher and as a pastor who had to prepare a new sermon every week. It wasn’t until God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, opened my eyes and illuminated this passage to me that I began to understand. When I got ahold of what Jesus was saying and connected it to what God said in Genesis 1:14, it all started to come together. It was like this ancient, massive puzzle was starting to make sense. The pieces were literally falling into place. When Jesus said that the sun, moon, and stars would make a sign, it was like a gigantic lightbulb went off in my head. The signs He was speaking of were the constellations in the night sky!


On Sale
Oct 30, 2018
Page Count
224 pages

Joe Amaral

About the Author

Joe Amaral has traveled the world many times over as a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker as an Itinerant Minister. Joe has also served as host and director of a weekly TV program on Israel and its history. He is the author of Understanding Jesus and What Would Jesus Read?, and also acted as the daily host of Canada’s longest-running daily TV show 100 Huntley Street. Having served as the Teaching Pastor of PORTICO Community Church in Mississauga, Joe inspired congregations to better know Jesus and His teachings by having a deeper understanding of the world and time in which Jesus lived. Amaral founded the Christian Research Group in 2018.

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