Various ones who profess Christianity participate in astrology. Some believe that there are passages in the Bible that support being involved in astrology and that those verses that seem to condemn it are misinterpreted.
Does the Bible encourage astrology? What does the Bible actually teach? What is astrology? How does astrology differ from astronomy? What is the origin of astrology? Were any earlier professors of Christ associated with it? Does astrology predict the future? Proponents of astrology claim that it provides people with information that can guide them, protect them, bring success, predict the future, and help them understand better themselves.
Should Christians participate in astrology or should they fear to do so?
This article will address those issues and will begin with comments from some who believe that Christians should participate in astrology.
There was a book written in the 1647 by William Lilly titled "Christian Astrology." The book was not related to Christianity and it is commonly believed that the author added the term "Christian" to reduce potential criticism that he was advocating a form of witchcraft.
But throughout the ages, various ones have tried to indicate that it was acceptable for Christians to engage in astrology and the Catholic seer Nostradamus regularly used forms of astrology in his divinations.
In the 21st century, one can find various professors of Christ who practice astrology and teach that it is biblical.
Here is something from Carmen Turner-Schott:
I once worked for a devout Christian who was a little leery of me because she had heard of my interest in astrology. She knew I was notorious for incorporating it into my counseling sessions with teens and families. One day she approached me and said, “I was teaching Sunday school for the first time this weekend and I was shocked when I found out that the three wise men were astrologers.” I remember smiling as she asked me if I would look at her natal chart...
Many Christians are opening up their minds to things that they have never dreamed of before. According to a recent study, nearly 30 percent of Catholics stated that they believed in astrology. Among white evangelicals there was 13 percent that professed a belief in astrology...
Many are turning to astrology as a tool because of its accuracy and the comfort that they find from it. They tell me that astrology validates their experiences and even explains why certain painful experiences happened to them. Many Christian clients of mine even tell me that they feel more connected to God and their Christian faith after having an astrological consultation...
I feel that astrology was a tool created by God for us to understand ourselves better and to use as a spiritual tool. I feel that there are many biblical verses that support astrology. As a Christian, I focus on what Jesus taught. Christ himself talked about the importance of astrology when he said in Luke 21:25, “There shall be signs in the sun, moon, and stars.”...
The verses in the Bible that condemn astrology can actually be interpreted in many different ways.
(Turner-Schott C. Astrology from a Christian's Perspective Signs in the Sun, Moon and Stars. http://astrology.about.com/od/thehistoryofastrology/a/christianastro.htm viewed 07/10/13)
The verses in the Bible that condemn astrology, which are shown later in this paper, actually do condemn astrology. Since those passages do condemn astrology that is how they should be interpreted.
Other writers have claimed:
The Bible is filled with references to astrology. This is because astrology was widely accepted as truth in Biblical times. Christians who believe that astrology is Satanic would be surprised to learn that the Bible is filled with astrology and even Jesus himself made numerous references to astrology...One of the great astrological stories in the Bible is the story of the star of Bethlehem..."There shall be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars." - Jesus Christ, Luke 21:25 (Astrology in the Bible. Copyright 2007 Near-Death Experiences & the Afterlife. http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen13.html viewed 07/10/13).
Throughout the Christian Bible, both Old and New Testaments, the number twelve is a prominent number. The twelve Disciples of Christ, the twelve sons of Jacob (better known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel), the twelve layers of precious stones in the foundation of heaven or the New Jerusalem...Some Astrologers have likened the symbology of the Moon to that of Mary, the Virgin Mother. Others have seen the Moon as Jesus or God. I personally agree that in accordance with the description of what the Moon is to represent, Mary is associated with the Moon. (Starr. Tiara, Christian Astrology...The Signs of the Disciples. © 2001 Astarotology, Inc. http://www.angelfire.com/stars2/astarot/V1I12/disciples.html viewed 07/10/13)
The Bible has references that condemn astrology and endorse astronomy. And Jesus Himself never made a favorable reference to astrology, but did towards astronomy. Yet, others seem to wish to believe otherwise. Furthermore, the view that the moon represents "Mary" (such as in Revelation 12:1) was not the opinion of early church writers, including Catholic ones. This was a later and false development. And just because there were 12 initial apostles and 12/13 tribes of Israel does not in any way prove a connection to the zodiac.
Followers of a universally recognized apostate/heretic who professed Christ named Marcus (see Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? ) seemed to adopt some aspects of astrology. The sun and the zodiac circle were important to the Marcosians:
They maintain, then, that first of all the four elements, fire, water, earth, and air, were produced after the image of the primary Tetrad above, and that then, we add their operations, viz., heat, cold, dryness, and humidity, an exact likeness of the Ogdoad is presented. They next reckon up ten powers in the following manner:— There are seven globular bodies, which they also call heavens; then that globular body which contains these, which also they name the eighth heaven ; and, in addition to these, the sun and moon. These, being ten in number, they declare to be types of the invisible Decad , which proceeded from Logos and Zoe . As to the Duodecad , it is indicated by the zodiacal circle, as it is called; for they affirm that the twelve signs do most manifestly shadow forth the Duodecad , the daughter of Anthropos and Ecclesia...The sun also, who runs through his orbit in twelve months, and then returns to the same point in the circle... Also the circumference of the zodiacal circle itself contains three hundred and sixty degrees (for each of its signs comprises thirty); and thus also they affirm, that by means of this circle an image is preserved of that connection which exists between the twelve and the thirty. Still further, asserting that the earth is divided into twelve zones, and that in each zone it receives power from the heavens, according to the perpendicular [position of the sun above it], bringing forth productions corresponding to that power which sends down its influence upon it, they maintain that this is a most evident type of the Duodecad and its offspring. (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses, Book I, Chapter 17, Verse 1) .
The eucharistic host resembles a circle: it is likely an astrogical symbol or a sun-deity symbol. Marcus himself had been a disciple of Valentinus, who Polycarp of Smyrna denounced when he visited Rome.
Of course, just because someone claims that Jesus is Lord or that the Bible teaches something does not mean that they are Christian. And the fact that a number of Catholics and Protestants do believe in astrology is a clear indication that they are not truly Christian, but only those who claim to be so. Notice what Jesus taught about those who falsely claim to be His followers:
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:21-23)
Those who endorse astrology and claim Christianity are basically endorsing false prophecies in the name of Jesus.
How can we be so sure?
Because the Bible teaches to avoid astrology and trust in God and His word.
Before getting to some of those passages that oppose astrology, I would like to address the main points that the pro-astrology Christian claimants tend to make.
While it is true that the "wise men" in Matthew 2:1-12 saw a sign in the sky, the reality is that the Bible taught that there would be a star to look for in Numbers 24:17. Looking for a particular star or something that the Bible teaches will happen in the sky is the prudent use of astronomy not astrology. Astrology is developing predictions that the Bible does not discuss based upon human interpretations of planetary alignment and normally the date and time of one's birth.
The wise men did not do that, nor did Jesus when He pointed to signs in the heavens to look for just prior to His return.
While various ancient astronomers often engaged in astrology, there was then and now a difference between astrology and astronomy.
To try to make this clear, let's notice the difference between the two:
astrology: the study of the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars, and the skill of describing the expected effect that some people believe these have on the character and lives of people (Definition from Cambridge Dictionaries Online. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/astronomy, viewed 7/10/13)
astronomy: the scientific study of the universe and of objects that exist naturally in space, such as the moon, the sun, planets, and stars (Definition from Cambridge Dictionaries Online. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/astrology, viewed 7/10/13)
Astronomy, logically noticing what happens in the sky, is endorsed by the Bible. Astrology, trying to make predictions on the sky's affect on human beings, is not.
They are not the same, yet some try to get Christians to think that they are.
Notice some of what Jesus and His followers taught about astronomy:
1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, "When it is evening you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red'; 3 and in the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed. (Matthew 16:1-4)
29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29-30)
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord (Acts 2:20).
Jesus did not teach that humans were to see how the position of heavenly bodies would affect them based upon their birth (astrology), but to notice that God would use certain signs in the heavens to show weather or His return. That is a use of astronomy, not astrology.
The Bible shows that the children of Israel had involvement with astrology and that God would punish them for it. Notice a passage in Amos:
26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, whose name is The God of hosts. (Amos 5:26-27, KJV)
Now what does this mean? Notice what some commentators have reported (bolding in source) about this:
Moloch and Chiun. Moloch means king, answering to Mars (Bengel); or answering to the Sun (Jablonski); or answering to Saturn, the same as "Chiun" (Maurer)...In an Arabic lexicon, Chiun means austere; so astrologers represented Saturn as a planet baleful in his influence...
Your images, the star of your god. R. Isaac Caro say all the astrologers represented Saturn as the star of Israel.
(Amos 5:25-26. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
The children of Israel had astrological practices that God condemned them for. Because they turned aside from Him, the New Testament shows that He let them turn to the worship of heavenly bodies:
42 Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:
'Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,
O house of Israel?
43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
And the star of your god Remphan,
Images which you made to worship;
And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.' (Acts 7:42-43)
Obviously, that is NOT something God wants His faithful to now do.
The children of Israel were warned not to pay attention to astrology as the heathen did.
19 And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. (Deuteronomy 4:19-20)
By changing one's actions based upon what a horoscope says, one is serving the stars which God clearly tells people not to do.
2 Thus says the Lord:
"Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them. (Jeremiah 10:2)
Now, the above is not saying not to pay attention to weather patterns, as Jesus Himself endorsed that:
Nor is it saying that there cannot be any signs in the heavens to ever pay attention to from a prophetic perspective, as Jesus said to notice specific occurrences in the heavens before He returns:
What the Bible was warning about was to rely on astrological and similar interpretations of the heavens to affect your life or future.
The Bible condemns astrology, not astronomy. Notice a biblical purpose for various heavenly bodies:
14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15)
2 "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Exodus 12:2)
4 'These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord's Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. (Leviticus 23:4-6)
The Bible clearly teaches that the heavenly bodies are involved with the seasons (including holy days) and that is part of why they were made. But signally the start of Spring or Fall for example, is not the same as suggesting that there is hidden meaning in the stars related to your date of birth.
Astrologers will not save you:
13 You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels;
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
And the monthly prognosticators
Stand up and save you
From what shall come upon you.
14 Behold, they shall be as stubble,
The fire shall burn them;
They shall not deliver themselves
From the power of the flame;
It shall not be a coal to be warmed by,
Nor a fire to sit before!
15 Thus shall they be to you
With whom you have labored,
Your merchants from your youth;
They shall wander each one to his quarter.
No one shall save you. (Isaiah 47:13-15)
If you want direction, trust in God:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
4 "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:4)
One is to trust God and His word, not some pagan-inspired horoscope.
Voice of America reported the following:
Sri Lankan Election Upset Brings New Scrutiny to Astrological Forecasts
NEW DELHI—January 13, 2015
In Sri Lanka, it was not just the country’s powerful president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who suffered a debacle when he was unexpectedly trounced in last week’s elections. His astrologer, who had confidently forecast a certain win for him, has also quietly stepped away from the limelight in a country where faith in star power is high.
When former President Rajapaksa called elections two years ahead of schedule, it was not just on the basis of political calculations. He was also given the go-ahead by his trusted astrologer of over 30 years, Sumandasa Abeygunawardena. Calling Rajapaksa an “invincible personality and a blessed man”, he forecast that he would win a great victory.
In the days preceding the January 8 vote, Abeygunawardena maintained that the election date was “immensely fortunate for Mr. Rajapaksa.” And in the run up to the election, astrologers confidently predicted on state run television that nothing would stop a Rajapaksa victory.
Rajapaksa is a firm believer in astrology. While most politicians in the country share that belief, many observers noted that the former president had an excessive dependence on astrology.
“It became talked about quite openly and a matter of public discussion. Apparently the astrologer had said it was a good period for him and he should not delay it, the date was set according to some astrologer’s prediction, his time of handing over the nomination paper, everything was determined by an astrologer,” said Harini Amarasuriya, who teaches at the social sciences faculty at Sri Lanka’s Open University.
But all calculations – planetary and political – were thrown into disarray when Maithripala Sirisena defected from Rajapaksa’s party, and cruised to victory after bringing together a disparate opposition.
The turn of events was unexpected. When Rajapaksa had called the election, there was no credible opposition to a leader once known as the strongman of Sri Lanka.
Now, Rajapaksa’s shock defeat has put the man who was called the “royal astrologer” in the line of fire. Abeygunawardena has given up his official car and resigned from the directorship of a state-run bank, which were just some of the privileges bestowed on him. His credibility has taken a huge hit.
The astrologer told AFP that he knew Rajapaksa was doomed to lose, but did not have the heart to tell him. Defending himself, he said that even the French seer Nostradamus had some incorrect forecasts.
Millions of people in South Asia believe that the movement of planets has a deep influence on their lives. Marriage dates and auspicious events are decided as per the calculations of horoscopes, which are made on the basis of the time, place and date of birth.
However, the high profile astrological error made in Sri Lanka’s election has triggered a debate on star power.
“This is a country that has a lot of these kind of beliefs going on a day to day basis. But this time, because this is such a high profile thing, it is also getting a lot of flak and I think that is a reasonable thing to happen. Because you cannot have a situation, where a country in this time of the 21st century, cannot really doing something this serious, depending this much on something like astrology,” said Sasanka Perera, a Sri Lankan anthropologist and heads the Social Sciences Faculty at the South Asian University in New Delhi.
Harini Amarasuriya pointed out that politicians in Sri Lanka appear to put greater faith in astrology than most other people.
“Where it become such a big thing with politicians is also where there is a lot of insecurity about their position. When you are in those kind of positions, it is a very isolating place to be in, and you kind of cling to these kind of mystical practices in order to get some sense of security,” said Amarasuriya. http://www.voanews.com/content/sri-lanka-election-upset-brings-new-scrutiny-to-astrological-forecasts/2596106.html
So astrology failed in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the astrologer on the one hand is claiming he was a liar and on the other hand said it was okay to be wrong. Well, it is not okay to lie:
8 … sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8)
And astrology is wrong. However, many still believe in it.
Is astrology scientific? Notice the following:
Some expectations generated by astrology are so general that any outcome could be interpreted as fitting the expectations; if treated this way, astrology is not testable. However, some have used astrology to generate very specific expectations that could be verified against outcomes in the natural world. For example, according to astrology, one's zodiac sign impacts one's ability to command respect and authority. Since these traits are important in politics, we might expect that if astrology really explained people's personalities, scientists would be more likely to have zodiac signs that astrologers describe as "favorable" towards science.1 If used to generate specific expectations like this one, astrological ideas are testable.
Relies on evidence? In the few cases where astrology has been used to generate testable expectations and the results were examined in a careful study, the evidence did not support the validity of astrological ideas.2
1In fact, physicist John McGervey did this study and found no bias towards particular signs. Hence, the results did not support the validity of astrological explanations. You can read about this study in McGervey's book "Probabilities in Everyday Life."
2For example: Carlson, S. 1985. A double-blind test of astrology. Nature 318:419-425.
(Astrology: Is it scientific? http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/astrology_checklist viewed 07/10/13)
While astrologers dispute the validity of parts of studies that tend to disprove it, the reality is that the astrological zodiac is not something from God that humans are to use to predict the future. Even if astrology do get anything right, they do not advocate the way of God and should not be listened to:
1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’–which you have not known–’and let us serve them,’ 3 “you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
Despite occasional lip service, astrologers do not teach nor endorse God's ways. God’s ways work, astrology truly does not.
While astrology can sometimes seem correct, it often has failed scientific tests:
It Has Failed Repeated Attempts At Validation
1. Test by Carlson. "Study after study has failed to support claims that astrology can predict the future or offer insights into personality," said Shawn Carlson, a physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories in Berkeley, California. He added, "There is absolutely no merit to the basic claims that astrologers make." Carlson made one of the most recent attempts to test the power of the stars. He asked 26 respected astrologers to match the personality profiles of 265 people with their astrological charts. They were right only about a third of the time, which is about the same as chance.(3)
2. Test by Barth & Bennett. James Barth and James Bennett, Economists at George Washington University, examined the horoscopes of tens of thousands of men who had reenlisted in the Marine Corps. They were looking for a trend among soldiers that favored astrological signs ruled by Mars, the god of war. However, they found instead an equal number of men who were born under the influence of Venus, the so-called planet of love.(4)
3. Test by Silverman. Psychologist Bernie Silverman of Michigan State University tested the effect of astrological compatibility on marriages. He surveyed astrologers across the country on the compatibility of the twelve Zodiac signs. In studying, 2,978 marriage and 478 divorce records in Michigan, Dr. Silverman found couples whose marriages were made in horoscope heaven united and split up just as frequently as those who were not astrologically compatible.(5)
4. Test by McGervey. In another experiment, physicist John McGervey of Case Western Reserve University in Ohio looked up the birthdays of 16,634 scientists listed in "American Men of Science" and 6,475 politicians named In "Who's Who in American Politics." Astrological theory would suggest that these non-average Americans would tend to cluster more among certain signs and certain personality types. However Dr. McGervey found as many Virgos, defined astrologically as weak leaders, as any other sign.(6)
5. Test by Culver. Astronomer Roger Culver of Colorado State University decided to determine whether astrological signs were related to such physical traits as bicep size, baldness, blood type, freckles, weight, neck size, etc. Were Leos more likely to go bald or Gemini to wind up ambidextrous? He found no trends among the 300 volunteers.(7)
6. Test by Gauquelin. The French psychologist Michel Gauquelin undertook a statistical test of personalities of people born under various signs of the zodiac. In this massive study, he listed 50,000 character traits that typified 16,000 famous people. Gauquelin then labeled each trait according to the appropriate astrological sign. One trait might be characteristic of a Leo, another of a Pisces, and so forth. Finally he looked to see which sign the person was actually born under. He found no correlation between personality traits and the sign a person was born under.(8)
7. Other Scientific Considerations. Astrology fails to adequately answer a number of other important questions. What is the mechanism the planets use to exert their influence over men? Supposedly we are affected by the gravitational pull of the heavenly bodies at the exact moment of our birth. However, this is absurd! At least this is the opinion of Andrew Fraknoi, executive officer of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in San Francisco, an international scientific and educational organization. "The (gravitational) pull of the obstetrician is six times that of Mars," said Fraknoi. He also pointed out that the hospital building in which a person is born has 500,000 times the gravitational pull of Mars.(9) So much for the supposed gravitational influence of the planets!
Another fact must also be pointed out. Everyone's astrological "sign" is wrong! The Zodiac charts were set more than 2,000 years ago, but since then the position of the Earth relative to other heavenly bodies has shifted. The earth is spinning on its axis, wobbling like a top, completing one great loop every 26,000 years.(10) The constellations are no longer in the same relative viewing positions they were in when the Zodiac charts were devised. "In effect, all of the constellations have moved," said Fraknoi. "This puts the signs of the Zodiac off by one whole sign."(11) Astrologers have stuck with tradition, even though their maps of the heavens are out of step with reality. Thus, right now everybody is reading the wrong horoscope!
Its Claim to Analyze Character Is Deceptive
We are fascinated by astrology's claim to be able to reveal a person's character. However, the system is especially deceitful and manipulative in this regard. Astrologers tell people what they want to hear. This classic technique is used by salesman, hypnotists, advertising experts, and not a few preachers. Psychologist Ray Hyman said, "To be popular with your fellow man, tell him what he wants to hear. He wants to hear about himself. So tell him about himself. But not what you know to be true about him. Oh, no! Never tell him the truth. Rather, tell him what he would like to be true about himself!"(12) This is the key to manipulating other people. The human mind is more willing to accept what is would like to believe rather than what evidence indicates is the truth. As an example, Hyman cites the following astrological analysis:
Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other time you are introverted, wary and reserved. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. You pride yourself on being an independent thinker and do not accept others' opinions without satisfactory proof. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety, and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. Disciplined and controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. . . While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a strong need for other people to like you and for them to admire you.(13)
Sound familiar? Does it describe your personality in any way? This spiel was first used in 1948, composed mostly from a news stand astrology book. Statements that supposedly would describe people born under various signs were combined together. This pitch is designed to apply to everyone but not seem that way. In a controlled study, psychologists gave a group of college students a detailed psychological questionnaire and then made a detailed analysis of each student. They gave the students a copy of their customized analysis and a copy of the fake psychological sketch found above. The students were then asked to identify which was which. Fifty-nine percent of the student thought the fake sketch was a more accurate description of their personalities.(14) (http://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume34/GOT034263.html#N_3_ viewed 01/15/15)
The last one shows why some people believe in astrology. Sometimes, it feels right to them--even when it is wrong or 'lucky.' The Prophet Jeremiah labeled the human heart "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9)--people can deceive themselves and allow themselve to be deceived by Satan and his devices, including astrology.
Astrology is not right even when it 'feels right.'
Astrology does not come from the God of the Bible. God says that He can tell the future:
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, 'My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,' (Isaiah 46:10)
23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:23)
6 "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
'I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.
7 And who can proclaim as I do?
Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,
Since I appointed the ancient people.
And the things that are coming and shall come,
Let them show these to them. (Isaiah 44:6-7)
The Bible also teaches that God reveals His secrets, not through astrologers, but His prophets:
7 Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21, KJV)
Astrologers are not God's prophets (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God) nor do they advocate truly obeying God as His prophets have always done.
So, what is the origin of astrology? Here are some comments about that:
The Stars and Planets
As the Babylonian creation myth, the Enuma Elish, clearly shows, the stars and planets were believed to be the signs of the most powerful gods, and in some cases were actually gods themselves.
Naturally, since the stars and planets were viewed as divine, or symbols of divine action and power, they became the objects of careful observation by the divination priests. Eventually, detailed records of the movements and positions of the planets were kept. These records and calculations based upon them became the foundation for not only astronomy, but astrology as well.
Because the Babylonians and Assyrians believed the heavenly bodies were representative of the gods, their positions and movements were obviously of great significance to life and events on earth. We know that by about 700 B.C., the planets, including the sun and moon, were being carefully watched by the Assyrians for their impact on the life of the king. Numerous letters and state records tell us of warnings by the priests for the king to be careful, or to have rituals carried out to attempt to avoid the predicted disaster.
Other astronomical omens were favorable to the king but unfavorable to foreigners. Langers' Encyclopedia of World History shows that the earliest development of astrology was associated with Babylonian magic and divination:
The most characteristic and influential features of Babylonian religion, aside from its mythology, were the elaborate systems of magical practices (incantations) and the interpretation of omens (divination), particularly the movements and position of the heavenly bodies (astrology), the actions of animals, and the characteristics of the liver of sacrificial victims (p.26).
The Babylonians were also the inventors of the zodiac. Their astronomers divided the heavens into sections in order to tell time at night as well as seasons of the year. At first there were some 36 sections or areas, corresponding to various stars or constellations. Later this number was reduced to 12, or one constellation for each month of the year.
Some of the Babylonian constellations or "signs" bore the same names as they do today. Thus the Babylonian "bull of Anu" is the constellation (or sign) Taurus; "the Great Twins" are the constellation Gemini; “the lion" Leo; “the Scorpion" is naturally Scorpio. Other signs, however, were given different names by Greek astrologers some centuries later; the "modern" names for the signs of the zodiac arc actually Greek or Latin.
Most, if not all, of the constellations of the Babylonian zodiac were mythological figures which we read about in the great Babylonian myths and epics. For instance the “bull of Anu" was sent by the goddess Ishtar to punish the hero Gilgamesh. The planets and the stars as well were considered divine beings: the god Shamash was the sun, the planet Venus (Babylonian Dilbat) was the "star" of the goddess Ishtar.
By about 450 B.C., the planets, stars, and zodiac were all put together into one cosmic system of the gods that supposedly controlled or influenced an individual's life here on earth.
The First Horoscopes
Not coincidentally, it is just about this time that we have the first known horoscopes. These horoscopes, found inscribed on clay tablets in Babylonian cuneiform characters, were cast at the moment of birth, just as modern horoscopes are cast. And like modern horoscopes, they tell the exact positions of the planets in the zodiac and how they will influence the life of the newborn individual.
The first known horoscope dates to the year 410 B.C. It is found on a clay tablet now kept at Oxford University. It reads:
Month Nisan, night of the 14th ... son of Shumausur, son of Shuma-iddina, descendant of Deke, was born. At that time the moon was below the Horn of the Scorpion. Jupiter in Pisces, Venus in Taurus, Saturn in Cancer, Mars in Gemini; Mercury, which had set for the last time was still invisible ... Things will be good for you (Journal of Cuneiform Studies, 1952, p. 54).
Several other horoscopes, quite similar in form to this one, are known from about the same time. It is plain from these records that astrological horoscopes, applied to human individuals at birth, were a Babylonian invention.
The Greek Connection
By about 400 B.C., Greek scientists and philosophers were traveling throughout the Mediterranean world. Especially during and after the time of Alexander the Great, the Greeks began to learn of the beliefs and science of the Babylonians, Egyptians, and others. With the help of the Babylonian priest Berossus, whose treatise on astrology reached Greece about 250 B.C., they took over and modified the Babylonian system of astrology. The Greeks even kept many of the names for the astrological signs; to others they gave new names. However, it was clearly recognized that the astrological predictions and interpretations were still based on pagan Babylonian mythology.
In the first century B.C., the Greek historian Diodorus wrote the following about the astrology of the Chaldeans:
Under the course in which the planets move are situated, according to them, thirty stars, which they designate as “counselling gods”; of these, one half oversee the regions above the earth and the other half those beneath the earth, having under their purview the affairs of mankind and likewise those of the heavens . . . . Twelve of these gods, they say, hold chief authority, and to each of these the Chaldeans assign a month and one of the sign of the zodiac, as they are called. And through the midst of these signs, they say, both the sun and moon and the five planets make their course . . . (Diodorus, II, 30, 30).
The Greek astrologers greatly modified and embellished the astrological system that the Chaldean divination priests had devised. They organized astrological methods into a complex scheme of houses, aspects, signs, and planets, with dozens, if not hundreds, of rules and variations. (Rockhold S. OMENS? DIVINATION? HOROSCOPES? THE ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY. The Plain Truth, November 1976, pp. 12-14)
The earliest known astrological records date back to Babylon, 1645 BC, and the earliest horoscope to 410 BC. Astrology's origins can also be traced to several other locations and cultures, including Egypt, which developed sophisticated timekeeping and calendar science; Greece, where Ptolemy authored influential astrological and astronomical texts; and Rome, where many of the most learned men -- including two emperors -- were astrologers who wrote laws and counseled citizens based on the stars...
Despite the seemingly easy relationship between astrology and science, however, astrology began to lose popular credibility when myriad predictions about the great conjunction of 1524 failed to "come true."
As the scientific revolution surged and astronomy gained respect, astrology and various other arts fell by the wayside. Many individuals still practiced the art, however, and astrology enjoyed small revivals in England in the 1700s and 1800s. But it wasn't until the birth of Princess Margaret in 1930 that astrology once again found widespread popularity. That year, the London Sunday Express ran an astrological profile of the princess to celebrate her birth -- and so began the modern newspaper horoscope column. (History of Astrology by Astrology.com September 21, 2010. http://www.astrology.com/history-astrology/2-d-d-279653 viewed 07/10/13)
So, the Babylonians appear to have been the human source of astrology and the first horoscopes. It is of a side interest to note that what may be the first horoscope told of something happening on the 14th of Nisan. The 14th of Nisan is the biblical Passover, and yet modern times, most who profess Christ and speak English observe Easter Sunday instead, which was named after the Babylonian goddess Ishtar.
After the London Sunday Express began to run horoscopes in 1930, its popularity in the Anglo-lands emerged. Despite the fact that around 80% of daily newspapers contain horoscopes, astrologers themselves tend to dismiss the "predictions" in them as not sufficiently astrological to rely on. Yet, millions regularly read horoscopes and sometimes change their lives because of them.
How is astrology supposed to work? And does astrology work? As shown earlier in this article, scientific studies have disproved astrology.
Astrology, as most commonly believed, is supposed to work because of some type of influence the position of the stars and other heavenly bodies have upon a person at the moment of their birth. This influence results in an astrological chart, which is also called a natal horoscope. Some astrologers believe that this happens because of planets, stars, and/or other heavenly bodies, whereas some others suggest more mystic causes. Either way, as a general rule, astrologers teach that from the moment of first breath, your destiny has been somewhat permanently impressed upon you.
Does that make any sense?
Notice also the following:
Does astrology have a rational scientific basis? Is there any conceivable way that the celestial location of stars, planets, and nebulae at the time of one’s birth could influence an individual’s personality, health, marriage, career, and a host of other personal events?
The accompanying article shows that the origin of astrology lies in pagan superstition. But does astrology work?
Until the sixteenth century, the earth was believed to be the center of the universe, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars revolving around this all-important center of activity.
But the heliocentric universe of Copernicus (1543) dethroned the earth. And since then, the advance of astronomical knowledge has relentlessly pushed the earth farther and farther from any privileged position in the cosmos. The sun, too, has been demoted to an inconspicuous suburb in a rather unexceptional galaxy in a relatively small group of galaxies in a universe of uncounted billions of stars.
In such a universe, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe the heavens were created to have a specific influence on the earth and on individual humans in particular. How would such an influence occur? Through gravity? Radiation?
The immense distances counted in the universe – usually measured in light years – ruled any such influences. The gravitational attraction of the doctor standing at the delivery table will be far greater than the gravitational influence of any star or galaxy on a new-born baby.
And the radiation from even the brightest star will be thousands of times weaker than a single light bulb in the delivery room.
The conclusion seems inescapable: No known force emanating from the constellations of the heavens could be expected to exert a unique, life-long influence on anyone. (Ginskey RA. Does Astrology Work? The Plain Truth, November 1976, pp. 12-13)
And why the time of birth? Is the air of the first breathe or something somehow influenced by the heavenly bodies? Preposterous!
Though some act otherwise, the Bible shows astrologers simply do not know who to interpret messages from God.
In the time of Daniel, an attempt was made by the King Nebuchadnezzar to involve astrologers in figuring out what his dream was and then interpreting it. They were unable to do so:
1 Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. 2 Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. (Daniel 2:1-2)
10 The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, "There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. 11 It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." (Daniel 2:10-11)
27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: 29 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. 30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
31 "You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 "This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all — you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold — the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure." (Daniel 2:27-45)
Notice that a prophet of God, not any astrologer, was who provided the information.
While some will say that the astrologers could not do so because King Nebuchadnezzar did not tell them the dream (which in the one above he did not), the astrologers also could not tell what a prophetic dream meant when they were told it:
4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. 5 I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6 Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. (Daniel 4:4-8)
Daniel then provided the interpretation (Daniel 4:19-27).
Later, King Belshazzar saw the now legendary "handwriting on the wall" and the astrologers could not help him either:
5 In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 6 Then the king's countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. 7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, "Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom." 8 Now all the king's wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. 9 Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.
10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, "O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father — your father the king — made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation." (Daniel 5:5-12)
13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, "Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. 16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom."
17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, "Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. 21 Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.
22 "But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.
25 "And this is the inscription that was written:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
26 This is the interpretation of each word. Mene: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 Tekel: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 Peres: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians." 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. (Daniel 5:13-29)
As a rule, astrologers do not know how to interpret God's prophetic messages.
One should not consult their writings to attempt to discern supposedly what will happen to one based upon the date of their birth.
Actually, birthdays are an important holiday for astrologers, and this may be one of the reasons that the Jews did not celebrate birthdays, nor did the early Christians (for details, see Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?).
The Bible condemns astrology. The Bible in no way endorses it. Yet, some who wish to muddy up the waters try to claim that references to astronomy in the Bible are the same as references to astronomy.
They are not. References to astrology are overwhelmingly negative, whereas as that is not the case for biblical references to astronomy.
The Bible has the "sure word of prophecy" (2 Peter 1:19) and God uses His prophets (Amos 3:7) and other servants (Acts 8:30-35) to help interpret it. Never does the Bible endorse the use of astrologers or similar prognosticators.
The Bible teaches that God is to be trusted and that the word of God is to be trusted. Heed what the Bible says and stay away from astrology.
We are to trust God and not rely on astrology.
Thiel B. The Bible and Astrology Should Christians avoid participating in astrology or did God inspire it? http://www.cogwriter.com/bible-astrology.htm COGwriter (c) 2013/2014/2015 0115
Back to home page