by Sherri Langton
“Should I move the account to Merrill Lynch?”
“Should I go out with the person I met through e-mail?”
“Should I have stayed in bed this morning?”
Millions of people all over the globe woke up this morning and asked themselves these questions, or similar ones. Something within them wants to know the future. For no more than the price of a daily newspaper or the click of a mouse button, these people attempt to discover how to live their lives by the stars — better known as astrology.
What Is Astrology?
Astrology is an ancient pseudo-science. It was founded on the Babylonian theory that the planets and stars correspond, or have a sympathetic relationship, with the earth and everything on it — including man. In the original scheme, according to author Troy Lawrence, gods (the sun, moon, and Venus) ruled the zodiac. The moving planets were interpreters of divine will, and the fixed stars acted as agents or modifiers of that will. 1
Still today, the inquisitive part of human nature wonders what will happen next and how to best prepare for it. In writing about former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s use of an astrologer, writer Al Seckel commented, “For the most part, people visit astrologers and psychics to put stability back into their complicated and uncertain lifestyles. In addition, many people need help in their decisionmaking process and therefore turn to people who will tell them what they want to hear” (Santa Monica News, 1988).
In one of the Bible’s psalms, David tells us:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard (Psalm 19:1-3).
Do the heavens declare God’s glory? What is the “speech” that the day utters and the “knowledge” that the night reveals? Or could it be that those millions of stargazers are right after all?
According to Lawrence, the stars do not influence our lives. He devotes more than a third of his book, The Secret Message of the Zodiac, to the real story of the stars: Jesus Christ, the “glory” that the heavens declare. Lawrence’s research has revealed that the original names of the stars were Hebrew. Their “speech” and “knowledge” actually tell of the Messiah.
For example, Virgo is called Bethulah (virgin) in Hebrew. Lawrence says Virgo actually pictures the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of a virgin being with child and giving birth to a Son named Immanuel, or God with us (see Matthew 1:23).
After an exhaustive analysis of the Mazzaroth (signs of the zodiac) and their decans (sub-signs), Lawrence concludes that the original message and purpose of the constellations have been lost to astrology. 2
Looking at news events, it’s not hard to see how far we’ve strayed from Psalm 19:1-3.
In the early nineties, Elizabeth Clare Prophet made headlines with her faithful flock, the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT). Their attention-getting drama was based on an astrological forecast that the world would be destroyed on April 23, 1990. According to Church astrologer Murray Steinman, on this date the world would enter a twelve-year dark cycle ‘of the return of mankind’s negative physical karma'” (The Denver Post, March 25, 1990).
In March 1990, 3,000-5,000 faithful packed their bomb shelters in Livingston, Montana, where Prophet and church members lived. Prophet ordered a prayer vigil for March and April to aid them as April 23 approached. But nothing happened.
What Did Joan Say?
More sobering stories of astrology were publicized in 1988 and were revived last year when Hillary Clinton admitted talking to Eleanor Roosevelt. San Francisco astrologer Joan Quigley published evidence that Ronald Reagan did follow her stargazing advice for seven years of his presidency.
In her book What Does Joan Say?, Quigley reveals that Nancy Reagan called upon her to schedule events during most of Reagan’s administration. Quigley painstakingly calculated the President’s astrological charts, and day by day pored over them to decide (among other things) the starting times for take offs and landings of Air Force One, press conferences, debates, summit meetings, and both short and long-term trips. 3
In Quigley’s opinion, she was the quiet brains behind every success in seven of Reagan’s eight White House years. 4
Al Seckel differs. He says that the fee paid to Quigley ($5000 per consultation) would have been worthwhile had her predictions been “specific and accurate. For instance, she should have warned that the seals on the Space Shuttle Challenger were about to result in a major disaster or there would be a disastrous Mexican earthquake or that the Russians would shoot down a Korean airliner. Or did these predictions just come under the heading of another ‘bad’ day?” (Santa Monica News, 1988).
In the late nineties, astrology continues to hold the fascination of the masses. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Internet.
On one Web site, simply titled Astrology, Yanaar Lee has written an article entitled “For the Skeptic.” He writes, “[Astronomers] still see a separate Universe out there somewhere that is basically indifferent and unrelated to their own lives. . . .
“New world view is showing that the human individual is ever interconnected with the Universe. . . . Astrology is, by definition, person-centered. The human individual is always at the center of the astrological Universe. From this perspective, the Universe is anything but indifferent about the individual. The Universe builds the individual according to a map of its own special evolutionary design.”
The Bible and Astrology
We have read what various people have said about astrology and its supposed benefits. But what does the Bible say on the subject?
First, the Scriptures speak against astrology; nowhere do they praise it. God spoke these words through Isaiah the prophet many centuries ago:
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 these things that shall come upon you. 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! (Isaiah 47:13, 14).
Second, the Bible urges us to praise God; it never tells us to elevate His creation. The biblical writers marveled at the stars because they represent part of God’s creative genius. Therefore, the focus of praise is on God as Creator (Psalm 89:5, 11; 96:5; 102:25). In fact, the heavens themselves praise God: “Let them [the heavens] praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created” (Psalm 148:5).
Who Holds the Future?
The question, then, is this: If we can’t rely on astrology to tell us the future, where can we go?
We must go to God. He has a deliberate divine design for each of us that He planned long before we were born. Contrary to Lee, we are not interconnected with the universe; it has no part in designing our future. Psalm 139:16 draws the picture.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
There are other clues in Psalm 139 of God’s design. Many unconscious details in our everyday lives are under His watchful eye. No matter where we are now or will be in the future, He is personally involved — not the universe!
You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. . . . If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me (vv. 2-4, 9, 10).
Interpreting a Dream
The Bible is packed with stories of people — kings, leaders, prophets, apostles — who called on God for guidance and wisdom about the future. They needed to know the right course of action, the right words, and the right timing.
Nebuchadnezzar, a king in ancient Babylon, is a good example. He had a disturbing dream about the future that the most potent sleeping pill couldn’t remedy. So he summoned the wise men (including astrologers) to interpret the dream (Daniel 2:1, 2).
The hitch was that these wise men had to tell the dream to the king before interpreting it. If they failed, it was “lights out”; if they succeeded, they would receive gifts, awards, and great honor (vv. 5, 6).
The wise men, shall we say, started to sweat it (vv. 10, 11). But Daniel, one of God’s prophets, had already built a reputation of knowledge and wisdom ten times better than the magicians and astrologers. And he had the ability to interpret visions and dreams (1:17, 20).
When Daniel got word of the king’s command, he went straight to God. God knew His plans for Nebuchadnezzar and how He would fulfill them. So the prophet urged his friends to pray that God would reveal the dream to him (vv. 17, 18).
What confounded the wise men presented no challenge to God. That night, in answer to prayer, He revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel in a vision. Daniel was brought before the king, told him the dream, and correctly interpreted it. In the prophet’s own words of praise:
He [God] gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him (vv. 21b, 22).
We too can seek God through prayer about our future.
Just before His death, Jesus told His disciples that He would not leave them as orphans; God would send another Helper (John 14:18, 26). This Helper is the Holy Spirit.
When we pray, we become partners with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works with us in our weaknesses and understands the prayers we can’t put into words (Romans 8:26, 27). Although we cannot fully understand how, the Spirit conforms our prayers to God’s plans. Our job is to be open to whatever God wants, and do it.
Unfortunately, God’s directions are not set off in bold type in our favorite Bible translation. It would be much easier to read “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6, NIV), followed by a specific answer: “Go to Princeton”; “Marry your high school sweetheart”; “Sell the house in January.” Although we lack concrete answers, the Holy Spirit does personalize the Scripture to our lives. And we have God’s peace to assure us we’re walking in the path He has already prepared.
The prophet Amos sums it up best:
Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name (Amos 5:8, KJV).
- Troy Lawrence, The Secret Message of the Zodiac, p. 10.
- Ibid., p. 19.
- Joan Quigley, What Does Joan Say?, p. 12.
- Ibid., p. 77.
A version of this article appeared in the October `90 issue of the Bible Advocate magazine.
Scripture quotations were taken from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
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