I would say the biggest explanation ahead of its time was not by the rabbis, but by the Torah, steadfastly defended by even the most rational rabbis in the face of prevailing secular thought. Up until 1929 (and perhaps even as late as 1949), the leading view in astronomy was that we lived in a steady-state universe with no beginning and no end. People often talk about the clash between Big Bang theory and ma'asei bereshit, but in fact they are much more in line with each other than the prevailing secular theories up until that point.
For those numerologists out there, Tehillim 147:4 "He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. ד. מוֹנֶה מִסְפָּר לַכּוֹכָבִים לְכֻלָּם שֵׁמוֹת יִקְרָא:" With 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, there are 22! = 1.1x10^21 possible permutations, pretty close to the number of stars in the observable universe (if shin and sin are counted separately, as they should be, you get 23! = 2.6x10^22, even closer to the "correct" number) [as an interesting aside, this is remarkably close to the number of grains of sand on the beach: 5x10^21 according to some estimates]
And for my favorite, which doesn't really count as preceding modern science, but is cool anyways, Tehillim 148:3 "Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all stars of light. ג. הַלְלוּהוּ שֶׁמֶשׁ וְיָרֵחַ הַלְלוּהוּ כָּל כּוֹכְבֵי אוֹר:" Isn't "stars of light" redundant?? NO! there must also be stars of darkness, i.e., black holes!
I'm not really a big kabbalist, but from what I understand of the sefirot, it is conceptually very similar to our modern particle physics theories of symmetry breaking.