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Sermon No: 40113-CAN THE STARS BE USED TO TELL THE FUTURE



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SERMON TOPIC: CAN THE STARS BE USED TO TELL THE FUTURE

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 21 September 2018

Topic Groups: ASTROLOGY, FALSE RELIGION, OCCULT

Sermon synopsis: What does the Bible say about astrology, the zodiac and divination in general? What do we make of the Magi who saw Jesus' star in the East? Can the stars be used to foretell the future, or is this to be avoided - together with the other forbidden occult practices?

Gen 1:14 “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years.”

Some have taken the above verse to indicate a tacit approval of astrology in Scripture. Others assert that while modern astrology is a corruption of something originally good, God has written the gospel story in the zodiac.
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CAN THE STARS BE USED TO FORETELL THE FUTURE?

What does the Bible say about astrology and the zodiac?

Can the stars be used to foretell the future?

Gen 1:14 “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years.”

Some have taken the above verse to indicate a tacit approval of astrology in Scripture.

ASTROLOGY

At its simplest, astrology is the study of correlations between events on earth and events in the zodiac. A person’s character and destiny is believed to be influenced or predetermined based on the star-sign under which they were born.

A constellation is a group of stars that forms an imaginary outline or meaningful pattern on the celestial sphere, typically representing an animal, mythological person or creature, a god, or an inanimate object. 1

1 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Constellation">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Constellation

ASTROLOGY

Constellation of Taurus

The ecliptic is a great circle on the celestial sphere representing the sun’s apparent path during the year. The zodiac is an imaginary band in the heavens centred on the ecliptic that encompasses the apparent paths of all the planets and is divided into 12 constellations or signs each taken for astrological purposes to extend 30 degrees of longitude.

Astrology is based on the assumption that the positions of the moon, sun, and stars affect human affairs and that one can foretell the future by studying the stars. 1

A horoscope is a diagram of the heavens, showing the relative position of planets and the signs of the zodiac, used for foretelling events in a person’s life or for advice for future behaviour based on such a diagram. 2

1 "http:// www.yourdictionary.com/ ">http:// www.yourdictionary.com 2 "http:// dictionary.com/ ">http:// dictionary.com

ASTROLOGY

The Bible also teaches that God arranged the stars into recognizable groups that we call constellations. The Bible mentions three of these: Orion, the Bear (Ursa Major), and “the crooked serpent” (most likely Draco) in Job 9:9; 26:13; 38:31-32; and Amos 5:8. The same passages also reference the star group Pleiades (the Seven Stars). God is the one who “fastens the bands” of these constellations; he is the one who brings them forth, “each in its season.” 1

Job 38:32 (ESV) Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children?

The term “mazzaroth” is believed by many to be a reference to the twelve constellations of the zodiac.

1 "https:// www.gotquestions.org/ astrology-Bible.html">https:// www.gotquestions.org/ astrology-Bible.html

ASTROLOGY

Job 38:32 (NASB) “Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites?”

The word itself is a hapax legomenon (i.e., a word appearing only once in a text) of the Hebrew Bible. “Mazzaroth” is traditionally (following LXX) left untranslated (ABC, ACV, AKJ, ASV, BBE, BIB, ESV, GNV, HNV, JPS, K21, KJG, KJR, KJV, NAB, NKJ, NRS, NWT, RSV, RWB, TMB, TNK, UPD, WEB, YLT, LXE, ZIK).

But it is often translated “constellations” (NASB, NIV, CJB, CSB, DBY, NET, ERV, GWN, LEE, LIT, MKJ, NAU, NIB, TNV, WEV) or "stars" (CEV, NCB, NIR, NLV, TEV)

Some modern English Bible translations render it as “zodiac” (AMP, CJB, EMP, LEE).

ASTROLOGY

Mazzaroth (מַזָּרוֹת) literally means “a garland of crowns” but the context in Job is that of astronomical constellations. It may be related to the similar word “mazalot” (מַזָּלוֹת).

2 Kings 23:3-5 He did away with the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the surrounding area of Jerusalem, also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations [mazalot] and to all the host of heaven.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), in Yiddish, the term “mazalot” came to be used in the sense of astrology in general, surviving in the expression “mazel tov,” meaning “good luck.” 1

1 "http:// www.jewishencyclopedia.com/ articles/ 2051-astrology">http:// www.jewishencyclopedia.com/ articles/ 2051-astrology

ASTROLOGY

God “determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (Psalm 147:4). The stars serve as a testimony to the handiwork of God (Ps 19:1).

Men are without excuse because of the glory of creation.

Rom 1:18-20 (NIV) The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

ASTROLOGY

But man rejects the Creator and worships creation instead.

Rom 1:25 (NIV) They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.

This is true in the case of the constellations. People put their faith in the stars, instead of the creator of the stars.

Deut 4:19 (NKJV) 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.

ASTROLOGY

But the cosmos should awaken our wonder at God’s power, majesty and infinitude and rather lead us to acknowledge the Creator of the heavens.

What did God mean when he said “let them be for signs”?

The heavenly bodies are “for signs and for seasons, and for days and years” (Gen 1:14). They serve to keep track of time and to mark the seasons e.g. day and night, months and years.

Psalm 104:19 “He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.” 

E.g. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks used the zodiac to measure the beginning of spring.

TIME MEASUREMENT

They are also signs in the sense of navigational markers, and throughout history men have used the stars to plot their courses around the globe. E.g. The star Polaris, often called the “North Star”, is treated specially due to its proximity to the north celestial pole. When navigating in the Northern Hemisphere, special techniques can be used with Polaris to determine latitude or gyrocompass error. 1

1 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ List_of_selected_stars_for_navigation">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ List_of_selected_stars_for_navigation

NAVIGATION

The selected stars for navigation are often used for sextant observations

But they also serve as prophetic signs. E.g. The birth of Jesus was marked by the appearance of a star in the East.

PROPHETIC SIGNS

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him. [Matt 2:2, NASB]

Did the Magi come from Babylon? There were magi in Babylonia. The Babylonians were noted astronomers, well ahead of their time, and studied the night sky intensely, and would have almost immediately noticed the appearance of the Christmas Star. There was a strong Jewish influence in Babylon due to their capture, and the fact that a number of Jews stayed in Babylon after the Exile in the 6th Century, BC. 1

Ancient papers located in 1925 in the School of Astrology in Babylon contain a clearly marked reference to a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces which was visible for five months in the year 7 BC. Some think this is what God used for the Christmas Star. 1

1 "http:// www.main.nc.us/ graham/ mcclung/ Wise%20Men.html">http:// www.main.nc.us/ graham/ mcclung/ Wise%20Men.html

BABYLONIANS?

The word “magi” is of Persian origin. According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484–c. 425 BC) the Magi functioned as priests under the Achaemenian Persians (6th - 4th cent. BC).

If the Magi were Persians, why would they be looking for the king of the Jews? Remember that the Jewess Esther was married to the king of Persia and we read in Esther 8:17 that “many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them”.

So the Persian Magi may even have been Jewish in religion, if not in ethnicity and as religious leaders were probably exposed to the Jewish Scriptures. The prophet Daniel had also prophesied that the Messiah would come 483 years after the Persian king gave the command for Jerusalem to be rebuilt (Daniel 9).

PERSIANS?

WERE THE MAGI BELIEVERS?

They came from far to seek out the Messiah (Matt 2:1-4).

They rejoiced at the birth of the King of the Jews (v.10).

They worshipped Jesus and presented him with gifts (v.11).

God speaks to them in a dream (v.12).

They endanger their lives to protect the Christ-child (v.12).

WERE THEY BELIEVERS?

WHY WERE THE MAGI LOOKING FOR A STAR?

Jacob had prophesied in Gen 49:10, “The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”

The sceptre is a royal symbol and this was seen as being evidence that the Messiah King would come from the tribe of Judah.

1st century Jewish writer Philo referred to Balaam as a magus. Interestingly Balaam had prophesied in Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a sceptre will rise out of Israel.”

In the 2nd century Irenaeus links this prophecy by Balaam to the Magi.

Therefore there is one and the same God, who was proclaimed by the prophets and announced by the Gospel; and His Son, who was of the fruit of David’s body, that is, of the virgin of [the house of] David, and Emmanuel; whose star also Balaam thus prophesied: “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a leader shall rise in Israel.” But Matthew says that the Magi, coming from the east, exclaimed “For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him;” and that, having been led by the star into the house of Jacob to Emmanuel, they showed, by these gifts which they offered, who it was that was worshipped… (Adversus Haereses, III, 9:2)

THE BETHLEHEM STAR

The conjunctions of the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in 7 and 6 BC, believed by some to be the Bethlehem star, occurred in the constellation of Pisces.

Ancient astrologers believed that the area of the sky designated as Pisces contained signs pertinent to the Hebrew nation. Jesus was born on the cusp of the Age of Aries and the Age of Pisces. 1

Jupiter is called “tsedeq” in Hebrew, a term also applied to the Messiah in Jer 23:5. 2

It is possible that the Magi, blending their heavenly observations with a knowledge of OT prophecies about a Messiah, saw this as the sign of the Messiah’s birth?

1 "http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Christianity_and_astrology">http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Christianity_and_astrology 2 Jer 23:5 (NIV) … I will raise up for David a righteous (tsedeq) Branch…

THE BETHLEHEM STAR

Is this an endorsement on the current practice of using astrology to foretell the future?

While Jesus’s birth was proclaiming by the appearance of a star, it was not foretelling his birth – it was announcing it – he had already been born. Observing a prophesied sign is not the same as trying to divine the future. Divination is trying to see the unknown.

We’ve been told in the Bible what to expect and told that this will be heralded by signs in the heavens. E.g. Jesus spoke of prophetic signs in the heavenly bodies leading up to his Second Coming.

Luke 21:11 (NIV) “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”

PROPHETIC SIGNS

PROPHETIC SIGNS

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. [Luke 21:25-26 (NIV)]

Josephus noted that the destruction of Jerusalem and it’s Temple in AD 70 (foretold by Jesus) had seemingly been heralded by a sign in the heavens.

While they did not attend, nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation. But like men infatuated, without either eyes to see, or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star, resembling a sword, which stood over the city: and a comet, that continued a whole year. 1

1 The Jewish War, Book VI, ch 5:3

PROPHETIC SIGNS

The sixth seal (which many believe marks the Rapture) is accompanied by the following heavenly signs.

Rev 6:12-14 (NIV) I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

PROPHETIC SIGNS

Isaiah and Joel also speak of the Day of the Lord being accompanied by signs in the heavens.

Joel 2:30-31 (NIV) I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

PROPHETIC SIGNS

Isa 13:9-10 (NIV) See, the day of the Lord is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.

PROPHETIC SIGNS

Rev 12:1 (NIV) A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

One Preterist website proposes the celestial woman may be interpreted using an astrological framework. 1

1 In Elul, the sixth month of the Hebrew calendar, the constellation Virgo, the virgin, is in the sun. According to Luke 1:26, it was during this month that the angel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary to announce the birth of the Messiah. On one day of that month, the moon is under her feet. Revelation 12:1-2 implies that Christ was conceived on the day in which the moon sits at Virgo’s feet. After the Christ child was born, there was a war in heaven and Satan was cast to the earth. "https:// revelationrevolution.org/ revelation-12-a-preterist-commentary">https:// revelationrevolution.org/ revelation-12-a-preterist-commentary

REVELATION 12

The woman is pursued by a dragon, who in this view is identified as yet another zodiacal sign (Hydra). 1

A similar assertion was recently made by some equally misguided Futurists, who speculated that 23 Sept 2017 was an astrologically and prophetically significant day in the light of the Rev 12 prophecy.

On this date, the sun was in the constellation Virgo (the virgin), along with the moon near Virgo’s feet. Additionally, Jupiter was in Virgo, while the planets Venus, Mars and Mercury were above and to the right of Virgo in the constellation Leo.

1 Ibid - Verse 3 says that another sign appeared in the sky. This sign is an enormous red dragon. The dragon of these two verses is the constellation Hydra.… The Hydra or leviathan lies directly underneath Virgo as if preparing to consume her offspring.

REVELATION 12

Websites promoting this as a prophetic sign state that there are nine stars in Leo, but with the addition of the three planets (which appear as bright stars), these form the crown of 12 stars.

Some claimed that this was a very rare event (allegedly only once in 7,000 years) and that it supposedly is a fulfilment of the Rev 12 vision. But Dr. Danny Faulkner (PhD in Astronomy from Indiana University) , a researcher for Answers in Genesis, noted that it isn’t unusual to find the moon near Virgo’s feet - as it happens every month.

The Rev 12 woman gives birth to a manchild many associate with Jesus. On 23 Sept 2017 Jupiter was also near what is supposed to be the “womb” of Virgo, so it was said to represent the manchild. We already noted that Jupiter has Messianic connections based on Jer 23:5.

REVELATION 12

Danny Faulkner

But Jupiter appearing in the part of Virgo corresponding to her womb (along with the sun in Virgo and the moon at her feet) happens every 12 years or so, based on the fact that Jupiter’s orbit of the sun is a 12-year cycle. As such, in 2005 a similar occurrence took place, although it was not lauded for any prophetic significance.

Regarding the crown of 12 stars, Faulkner dismisses this as well, pointing out that Leo actually has more than nine stars. In fact the popular Stellarium software used on websites to illustrate these events displays the additional stars in Leo (which conveniently are not connected by the somewhat arbitrary lines constituting the heavenly woman). He deduces that “since the claim that Leo has nine stars is false, the assertion that the addition of the three planets brings the total number of stars in Leo to 12 is false too”.

REVELATION 12

Commenting on the supposed rarity of having these additional three planets in Leo at the same time that Jupiter is in Virgo, Faulkner notes that while it isn’t that common, it has happened many times over the past 6,000 years.

So Sept 2017 came and went without appearing to have had any real prophetic significance.

In reality, this passage is a clear allusion to Joseph’s dream in Gen 37 and the woman is a prophetic symbol of Israel.

SOURCE: "https:// www.amazon.com/ Tale-Women-Part-profile-Antichrist-ebook/ dp/ B07DCBQCYY">https:// www.amazon.com/ Tale-Women-Part-profile-Antichrist-ebook/ dp/ B07DCBQCYY

REVELATION 12

Some have also taken the “let them be for signs” (Gen 1:14) to indicate that God has placed in the Zodiac a picture of the plan of salvation.

Thus before mankind had the written Word of God, within the stars God wrote the Gospel in symbolic pictorial language manifesting the path to eternal life.

They claim that modern astrology is a perversion of something that originally fulfilled a godly purpose.

GOSPEL IN ZODIAC?

The following verse is used as a proof text that God’s plan of salvation is in the zodiac.

Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Of course, the above verse could simply mean that God displays his power by the vastness of the heavens and their majesty.

GOSPEL IN ZODIAC?

Proponents of this “gospel in the zodiac” view say that these signs of redemption are only understood correctly if they are viewed in their proper order. As they form a circle, the problem is in knowing where the start and end points are.

The promise of the Seed in the first book of the Bible (Genesis) is seen in the constellation Virgo (the virgin).

The promise of the triumphant Lion of the Tribe of Judah, seen in the last book of the Bible (Revelation), is displayed in Leo (the lion).

So the true zodiac is believed to begin with Virgo and end with Leo.

GOSPEL IN ZODIAC?

Some scholars like Anglican clergyman, E. W. Bullinger (1837–1913) believed that this was the main purpose of the Sphinx, with the head of a woman (Virgo) and the body of a lion (Leo) to indicate the start and end of the zodiac as intended by God to show prophetic signs.

Confirmation of this is claimed to be found in an ancient zodiac dating back to 2000 BC or before. Called the zodiac of Dendereh, it was found on the ceiling of the portico of the temple of Esneh in Egypt. In this zodiac between the signs of Virgo and Leo a picture of the Sphinx is placed. This seems to confirm the starting and finishing points for the zodiac.

GOSPEL IN ZODIAC?

Relief from the temple of Esneh

1 "https:// christiananswers.net/ q-eden/ edn-c019.html">https:// christiananswers.net/ q-eden/ edn-c019.html

Constellation

Picture

Interpretations

Virgo

Virgin

Virgin Mary

Libra

Scales

Sin must be paid for

Scorpius

Scorpion

Sin brings death

Sagittarius

archer

Demonism

Capricorn

Goat-fish

Earth corruption

Aquarius

Water pourer

Living water or Noah's flood

Pisces

Fish

God's remnant

Aries

Ram

Sacrifice

Taurus

Bull

Resurrection

Gemini

Twins

Christ's dual nature

Cancer

Crab

Gathering of redeemed

Leo

Lion

The King

GOSPEL IN ZODIAC?

The idea of seeing the gospel message in the stars was popularized by the writings of E.W. Bullinger and J.A. Seiss during the 1800s. 1

Early writings on this subject went into great detail regarding different parts of the constellations, so that practically every star was assigned a special meaning. 1

The gospel message may well have been purposely written in the skies by the Lord. In that case, perhaps the star signs served as memory aids before Scripture was available. 1

1 "https:// christiananswers.net/ q-eden/ edn-c019.html">https:// christiananswers.net/ q-eden/ edn-c019.html

GOSPEL IN ZODIAC?

Bullinger also interpreted the creatures appearing in the book of Ezekiel and Revelation 1 as the middle signs of the four quarters of the Zodiac, with the Lion = Leo, the Bull = Taurus, the Man = Aquarius (man pouring water) and the Eagle = Scorpio (arguing for Scorpio having previously been called the Eagle).

1 Rev 4:7 The first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.”

But where did the study of the stars (both astrology and astronomy) originate?

According to Josephus it was the descendants of Seth who first studied the heavenly bodies:

He [Adam] had indeed many other children, but Seth in particular… Now this Seth, when he was brought up, and came to those years in which he could discern what was good, became a virtuous man; and as he was himself of an excellent character, so did he leave children behind him who imitated his virtues… They also were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order. 1

1 Josephus, Antiquities, Book 1 , ch 2.3

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

According to the extra-Biblical book of Enoch, this seems to be a reference to Enoch in particular.

… and she bare him a son … and he called his name Enoch. And he was the first among men that are born on earth who learnt writing and knowledge and wisdom and who wrote down the signs of heaven according to the order of their months in a book, that men might know the seasons of the years according to the order of their separate months… 1

Based on the Biblical injunction against divination, these references are more likely to simply be to the study of the motions of the planets, similar to our modern astronomy, rather than astrology with its predictive nature.

1 Book of Enoch 8.3

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

In fact in the same book of Enoch, the Watchers (i.e. the fallen angels of Genesis 6) stand accused of revealing to mankind the following before the Deluge:

Amezarak taught all those who cast spells and cut roots, Armaros the release of spells, and Baraqiel astrologers, and Kokabiel portents, and Tamiel taught astrology, and Asradel taught the path of the Moon. 1

In this context it is clearly the study of stars for the purpose of divination that is being referred to and it is referenced in a negative light.

Thus while some claim that the ancients made no distinction between astronomy and astrology (the predictive form), the Book of Enoch does precisely that.

1 Book of Enoch 8.3

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

After the Flood, the extra-Biblical Book of Jubilees has Kainam (Cainan), the son of Arphaxad and grandson of Shem, discovering the illicit astrological teachings of the Watchers – a practice viewed as sinful and which is disapproved of by Noah.

And he found a writing which former (generations) had carved on the rock, and he read what was thereon, and he transcribed it and sinned owing to it; for it contained the teaching of the Watchers in accordance with which they used to observe the omens of the sun and moon and stars in all the signs of heaven. And he wrote it down and said nothing regarding it; for he was afraid to speak to Noah about it lest he should be angry with him on account of it. 1

1 Book of Jubilees 8:3-4

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

Later the Book of Jubilees has Abraham’s father, Nahor, being taught astrology (which is often associated with the Chaldeans) by his father, Serug.

And she bare him Nahor, in the first year of this week, and he grew and dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees, and his father taught him the researches of the Chaldees to divine and augur, according to the signs of heaven. 1

Serug is likewise mentioned in the passage as being under the influence of Mastema, 2 the chief of the demons 3 (former Nephilim spawned by the Watchers).

1 Book of Jubilees 11:7 2 Ibid. 7:4-5 And the prince Mastêmâ exerted himself to do all this, and he sent forth other spirits, those which were put under his hand, to do all manner of wrong and sin, and all manner of transgression, to corrupt and destroy, and to shed blood upon the earth. For this reason he called the name of Sêrôh, Serug, for every one turned to do all manner of sin and transgression. 3 Ibid. 10:1-11

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

Jubilees has Abraham rejecting the religion practiced in Ur of the Chaldees because of both idolatry and astrology.

… Abram sat up throughout the night on the new moon of the seventh month to observe the stars from the evening to the morning, in order to see what would be the character of the year with regard to the rains, and he was alone as he sat and observed. And a word came into his heart and he said: All the signs of the stars, and the signs of the moon and of the sun are all in the hand of the Lord. Why do I search (them) out? If He desires, He causes it to rain, morning and evening; And if He desires, He withholds it, And all things are in his hand.’ And he prayed that night and said, ‘My God, God Most High, Thou alone art my God…’ 1

1 Book of Jubilees 12:16-19

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

Josephus records something similar regarding Abraham. He notes that “Berosus mentions our father Abram without naming him, when he says thus: ‘In the tenth generation after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans a man righteous and great, and skilful in the celestial science.’” He also notes Abraham’s subsequent rejection of the Chaldean astrology.

… for he was the first that ventured to publish this notion, That there was but one God, the Creator of the universe; and that, as to other [gods], if they contributed any thing to the happiness of men, that each of them afforded it only according to his appointment, and not by their own power. This his opinion was derived from the irregular phenomena that were visible both at land and sea

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

 as well as those that happen to the sun, and moon, and all the heavenly bodies, thus: - “If [said he] these bodies had power of their own, they would certainly take care of their own regular motions; but since they do not preserve such regularity, they make it plain that in so far as they co-operate to our advantage, they do it not of their own abilities, but as they are subservient to Him that commands them, to whom alone we ought justly to offer our honour and thanksgiving.” For which doctrines, when the Chaldeans, and other people of Mesopotamia, raised a tumult against him, he thought fit to leave that country; and at the command and by the assistance of God, he came and lived in the land of Canaan. 1

1 Antiquities Ch 7.1

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

The Sibylline Oracles (Book iii, 265-278) refer to the Jews as “pious men…who are progeny of righteous men”.

For they have no concern about the course Of the sun’s revolution, nor the moon’s, Nor wondrous things beneath the earth, nor depth Of joy-imparting sea Oceanus, Nor signs of sneezing, nor the wings of birds, Nor soothsayers, nor wizards, nor enchanters, Nor tricks of dull words of ventriloquists, Neither do they astrologize with skill Of the Chaldeans, nor astronomize; O For these are all deceptive, in so far As foolish men go seeking day by day Training their souls unto no useful work 1

1 "http:// www.sacred-texts.com/ cla/ sib/ sib05.htm">http:// www.sacred-texts.com/ cla/ sib/ sib05.htm

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

Kings in the ancient world often consulted “wise men” to interpret dreams, omens, signs and the stars.

Gen 41:8 In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men (ḥăḵāmehā;) of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

Exodus 7:11 Pharaoh then summoned wise men (la-ḥăḵāmîm) and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts:

Daniel 2:1-2 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams… So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed… [Collectively called “wise men” (ḥakkîmê) in Dan 2:12]

ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY

Some leaders have resorted to occult practices for guidance. These include reading the entrails of animals, consulting psychics or astrologers.

Ezekiel 21:21 For the king of Babylon will stop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek an omen: He will cast lots with arrows, he will consult his idols, he will examine the liver.

The Nazis employed the services of Swiss astrologer, Karl Ernst Krafft, after he successfully predicted an assassination attempt on Hitler. 1

1 See "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Karl_Ernst_Krafft">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Karl_Ernst_Krafft

Karl Ernst Krafft

ACCURACY

MI5 were so concerned that, for a time, they hired the services of astrologer Louis De Wohl, possibly to second-guess what Krafft was advising the Nazis. In May 1941 De Wohl was sent on a propaganda mission to America to contribute to astrological magazines and newspapers which at the time were using articles by astrologers favourable to Germany. He later assisted in forging copies of Krafft’s magazine Zenit German and other astrological magazines dropped over Germany and ‘foretelling’ the destruction of U-boats. 1

1 SOURCE: "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Karl_Ernst_Krafft">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Karl_Ernst_Krafft & "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Louis_de_Wohl">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Louis_de_Wohl

Louis De Wohl

ACCURACY

Krafft was convinced that the prophecies of Nostradamus boded well for the Third Reich (clearly not true) and was set to work to decipher Nostradamus by Goebbels, who hoped to give it a pro-Nazi spin. Krafft may have influenced the timing of Hitler’s ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union against the better judgement of his generals. He boasted to friends that he mentioned that the time for an attack on the USSR was some way off. 1 So Kraft was not consistently accurate.

When he wrote to a senior official predicting that British bombs would soon destroy the Propaganda ministry in Berlin (this happened), the letter was passed on to the Gestapo who viewed it as treasonous. He was incarcerated and later died en route to the Buchenwald concentration camp. 1

1 Ibid

ACCURACY

The Biblical test for a prophet is:

Deut 18:22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

Astrologers fail the above test hopelessly.

Ezek 13:3,6 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! ... Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, “The LORD declares,” when the LORD has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled.

ACCURACY

Astrology was considered a scholarly tradition until the end of the 17th century, where emerging scientific concepts in astronomy, such as heliocentrism, undermined its theoretical basis. It subsequently lost its academic standing and became regarded as a pseudoscience. 1

Empirical scientific investigation has shown that predictions and recommendations based on these systems are not accurate. 2

Yet despite this, in the 20th century, astrology gained broader consumer popularity through the influence of regular mass media products, such as newspaper horoscopes. 1

1 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ History_of_astrology">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ History_of_astrology 2 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science

ASTROLOGY

A poll of 46 female university students in England conducted in 2000 found that 100% knew their star sign and 85% agreed that it fitted their personality. 70% read their horoscopes regularly with 15% saying that they would alter their behaviour due to material they read in horoscopes. 89% find out the star signs of people they have relationships with and 13% said they would consult an astrologer before getting married or settling down. 1

Most major newspapers have a horoscope column. But more surprising is the fact that many Christians read their horoscopes. According to a Harris Poll in 2009, 21% of born-again Americans “believe” in astrology.

1 "http:// www.susanblackmore.co.uk/ Articles/ Correl01.htm">http:// www.susanblackmore.co.uk/ Articles/ Correl01.htm

ASTROLOGY

How can the movement of planets have any bearing on your life or personality? What about babies born one or two months prematurely? Does their personality or destiny change depending on what day they came out of the womb?

One problem with horoscopes is that they are all so general and vague that they can apply to almost anyone born at any time of the year. Augustine (354-430) believed that the determinism of astrology conflicted with the Christian doctrines of man’s free will and responsibility, and God not being the cause of evil, but he also grounded his opposition philosophically, citing the failure of astrology to explain twins who behave differently although conceived at the same moment and born at approximately the same time. 1

1 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Christian_views_on_astrology">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Christian_views_on_astrology

PROBLEMS

Astrologers often avoid making verifiable predictions, and instead rely on vague statements that let them try to avoid falsification. Across several centuries of testing, the predictions of astrology have never been more accurate than that expected by chance alone. One approach used in testing astrology quantitatively is through blind experiment. When specific predictions from astrologers were tested in rigorous experimental procedures in the Carlson test, the predictions were falsified. All controlled experiments have failed to show any effect. 1

1 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science

PROBLEMS

Scientist and former astrologer Geoffrey Dean and psychologist Ivan Kelly conducted a large-scale scientific test, involving more than one hundred cognitive, behavioural, physical and other variables, but found no support for astrology. A further test involved 45 confident astrologers, with an average of 10 years' experience and 160 test subjects (out of an original sample size of 1198 test subjects) who strongly favoured certain characteristics in the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire to extremes. The astrologers performed much worse than merely basing decisions off the individuals’ ages, and much worse than 45 control subjects who did not use birth charts at all. 1

1 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science

PROBLEMS

A meta-analysis was conducted, pooling 40 studies consisting of 700 astrologers and over 1,000 birth charts. Ten of the tests, which had a total of 300 participating, involved the astrologers picking the correct chart interpretation out of a number of others that were not the astrologically correct chart interpretation (usually three to five others). When the date and other obvious clues were removed, no significant results were found to suggest there was any preferred chart. 1

1 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science

PROBLEMS

In 10 studies, participants picked horoscopes that they felt were accurate descriptions, with one being the “correct” answer. Again the results were no better than chance. 1

In a study of 2011 sets of people born within 5 minutes of each other (“time twins”) to see if there was any discernible effect, no effect was seen. 1

Quantitative sociologist David Voas examined the census data for more than 20 million individuals in England and Wales to see if star signs corresponded to marriage arrangements. No effect was seen. 1

1 "https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science">https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Astrology_and_science

PROBLEMS

Your Zodiac sign corresponds to the position of the sun relative to constellations as they appeared more 2,200 years ago! Babylonian astrologers, and later the Greeks, originally determined Zodiac signs by which constellation the sun was “in” on the day you were born. 1

However, a phenomenon called precession (the wobble in the Earth’s axis caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon to the Earth’s equator) has altered the position of the constellations we see today and has resulted in a shift of the zodiac constellations. 1

This means that the signs have slipped one-tenth — or almost one whole month — of the way around the sky to the west, relative to the stars beyond. 1

1 "https:// www.livescience.com/ 4667-astrological-sign.html">https:// www.livescience.com/ 4667-astrological-sign.html

PROBLEMS

For instance, those born between March 21 and April 19 consider themselves to be Aries. Today, the sun is no longer within the constellation of Aries during much of that period. From March 11 to April 18, the sun is actually in the constellation of Pisces! 1

Even if the astrological signs were stable, there’s no evidence the stars have anything to do with people's day-to-day existence. One 2006 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences used data from more than 15,000 people and found no relationship between date of birth and personality. 1

1 "https:// www.livescience.com/ 4667-astrological-sign.html">https:// www.livescience.com/ 4667-astrological-sign.html

PROBLEMS

Divination is the attempt to foretell the future by use of:

Astrology, horoscopes, numerology, crystal balls

Tarot cards, cartomancy (like Tarot but using regular playing cards)

Palm reading, phrenology (using the shape of the head)

Psychics, clairvoyants, fortune tellers

Throwing bones, reading animal entrails

Fortune telling using dice, dominoes, coconuts, snail shells, yarrow sticks

Tasseography (divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds or wine sediments)

SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS

Divination is expressly forbidden in Scripture.

Lev 19:26b Do not practice divination or seek omens.

It is a sin of rebellion:

1 Sam 23:1 For rebellion is like the sin of divination…

It will cause God to abandon you:

Isa 1:6 You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans.

Divination was one of Manasseh’s sins which provoked God to anger (2 Kings 21:5-6) and it was one of the reasons that Israel was exiled (2 Kings 17:16-18)

SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS

Those who practice it are an abomination to God.

Deut 18:10-14 (ESV) There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.

SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS

The wise men of Egypt could not match the God-given understanding of Joseph.

Gen 41:8 … so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

The same was true of the diviners and royal astrologers of the Babylonian court, who were put to shame by God’s prophet Daniel and his three godly friends.

Daniel 1:20 (KJV) And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS

No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days… [Dan 2:27-28 (ESV)]

The stars do not control human destiny - God does. The future is revealed by God, not astrologers:

The Bible is extremely exclusivist as regarding theology. Any source of supernatural revelation outside that of God is forbidden.

Lev 20:6 (NIV) “I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.”

Micah 5:12 (NASB) “I will cut off sorceries from your hand, And you will have fortune-tellers no more.”

Astrology is likewise condemned:

Jer 10:2 (NIV) … “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them.”

SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS

Should we look to the stars for guidance - or should we consult the maker of the stars? The Bible tells us that counsel from astrologers will only wear you out:

Isaiah 47:13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.

God foretells the judgement of astrologers.

Isaiah 47:14 Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. These are not coals for warmth; this is not a fire to sit by.

SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS

Can we predict the future other than what God has told us?

James 4:14a Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.

God has told us all we need to know of the future in the Bible. The knowledge of the future belongs to God.

Deut 29:29 (ESV) “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS

Our wisdom comes from God, not the stars (James 1:5).

James 1:5 (NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

The Word of God, the Bible, is our guide through life.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

SCRIPTURAL PROBLEMS

How seriously should we take the warnings in Scripture?

1 Chron 10:13-14 says that “Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.” (ESV)

Don’t play with divination (fortune-telling) - not even out of curiosity - “for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord” (Deut 18:12) and “the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this” (Deut 18:14).

Finally “those who practice magic arts” have no place in the New Jerusalem (Rev 22:15).

CONCLUSION

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ("http:// www.lockman.org/ ">www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quotations taken from the ESV:

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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