Tonight, the Milky Way is high in the sky. The ancients called it the highway to heaven.
The Milky Way is our name for the milky-looking bank of stars which form the spiral galaxy in which our solar system resides. The Milky Way completely encircles us, like the way of the sun in the zodiac (meaning "the way"), but at a much higher angle. It crosses the way of the sun at the center of the galaxy, on the border of Sagittarius (the archer) and Ophiuchus (the serpent held), and at the outermost point in the galaxy at the border of Gemini (the united) and Taurus (the bull).
God's grace is the theme of the highway to heaven. Beginning at its most southerly point in Centaurus (the despised one), we are reminded of God's promise to send the sacrificial seed of woman, given in Genesis 3:15 and pictured in Centaurus's zodiacal constellation Virgo (the virgin). Thus, the promise of Virgo, the first sign of the way of the sun, also marks the beginning of the highway to heaven. And, like the way of the Sun, the Highway generally moves sequentially through the signs of the Zodiac from that point.
Crux, the Cross of Libra, comes next as the instrument of God's grace makes its first appearance. Following Crux comes Scorpio (the scorpion) and Ophiuchus (the serpent held) picturing man's rebellion. Then Sagittarius (the archer), sign of Christ's advent, Aquila (the eagle) from Capricorn (the goat) sign of Christ's suffering and resurrection, and Cygnus, the northern cross, from Aquarius (the water pourer) sign of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, mark Christ's victory over sin at His first coming. The most northern point on the highway, Cepheus (the crowned king) in Pisces (the fish), the sign of the church, pictures Christ enthroned in heaven during the church age as He has been since He ascended from the Mount of Olives in 30 A.D.
The promise of His return to the Mount of Olives comes into focus as the highway turns south, or back to Earth. It moves through Perseus (the breaker) signifying deliverance from evil and Cassiopeia (the enthroned woman), promising the restoration of Israel, in Aries (the ram) which promises Christ's victory. Auriga (the shepherd) in Taurus (the bull) and Taurus itself show God's protection of His people when Christ returns. Gemini (the united) and Orion (coming forth as light) in Taurus picture Christ's rule in the millennium. Finally, the highway ends at Argo (the ship) in Cancer, (the holding place) the sign of heaven, as the new Jerusalem comes to earth and we are home at last.
Constellations from all of the signs of the way of the sun are contained in the highway to heaven, with the notable exception of any of the constellations associated with Leo (the lion). The absence of any Leo constellations is explained by the fact that Leo is actually a picture of God's judgment, commonly known as hell. The highway to heaven does not include a detour to hell.
The Milky Way sits high in the southern sky, with its center almost due south of the zenith in the early evening. It stretches from Scorpio, on the southwestern horizon, to Perseus on the northeastern horizon. It is best viewed away from the light pollution of the cities, but a pair of binoculars is indispensable so you can see the many amazing details of the Milky Way.
So catch a ride on the highway to heaven tonight.
Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.