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Under His Wings II


Zenith Harris Merill
Within modern society, the belief in, and practice of Astrology has become the most common of occultic practices and deceptively appears to be spiritually benign in the eyes of most people. A recent survey estimated that over 50 million Americans read their horoscopes every morning to learn what they should expect, and how they should behave that day. A daily horoscope is found in virtually every newspaper across this country.

Astrology is, however, a very ancient and occultic concept that is repeatedly condemned by Almighty God, throughout the Bible, as it was part of the first false religious system in Babylon, the original rebellion against Him, and as a false alternate religion, is the idolatrous seeking after other gods.

I have read Dr. Robert Morey's book: Horoscopes and the Christian: Does Astrology Accurately Predict the Future? Is it Compatible with Christianity? I have also read Dr. D. James Kennedy's book: The Real Meaning of the Zodiac, which quotes extensively from E. W. Bullinger's Witness of the Stars and Joseph A. Seiss's The Gospel in the Stars, as well as several others.

I have, however, as a Bible believing Christian, never read anything, anywhere, at any time, that would make me believe Astrology or Horoscopes could ever be anything but an abomination to God, and I am able to reach that conclusion with one book, the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, God's Holy Word.

Isaiah 47:13 "You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you.

Defenders of "Astrology" insist: "The word Astrologer" does not appear in the Hebrew Bible. However, Ashshaph, which is Chaldean and has been adopted into the Hebrew does, for at the time Daniel wrote, he was in Babylon.

The Babylonian word for planet is a combination of the two Babylonian words "dead sheep." Hepatoscopy is the art from which astrology arose. It is an examination or observance of the liver of a sheep brought for sacrifice. After being slain, the liver was removed and examined, assuming it to be a microcosm of the universe. There is a brass model of a sheep's liver dating back to the third century B.C. in Rome, and a clay model dating all the way back to the time of Hammurabi in Babylon.

The edge of the liver is divided into sixteen sections and they are given names of deities which occupy those sixteen sections of heaven, as the Babylonians conceived it at that time. The position which the liver fell into supposedly indicated how the gods in the outer world were going to respond to the person who brought in this sheep.
"Astrologer" does not appear. Ashshaph does. In Daniel 1:20; 2:2,10, 27" etc. Heb. 'ashshaph', an enchanter, one who professes to divine future events by the appearance of the stars.

This pursuit flourished among the Chaldeans. It was positively forbidden to the Jews in Deuteronomy 4:19; 18:10 and Isaiah 47:13."
Ver. 13. "Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels", &c.] Taken of astrologers, diviners, and soothsayers; who were never able to give any satisfactory answers to questions put to them, or to give good advice in cases of emergency; as appears from Nebuchadnezzar's consultation with them about his dream; and Belshazzar's about the handwriting upon the wall, which was the very night that the city was taken. See "Daniel 2:2,10 5:7,8,30":

"let now the astrologers"; or, "viewers of the heavens" {s}; not that look upon them, and consider them as the work of God's hands, in order to glorify him; but that examine the face of the skies, and the position of the heavenly bodies, their conjunctions with, and aspects on each other, in order to foretell what shall be below: or, "the dividers of the heavens" {t}, as it may be rendered, from the use of the word in the Arabic language; who divide the heavens into so many parts, or houses; who, as Kimchi {u}, from the same use of the word, fix and determine things according to the stars; and who next are called "the stargazers"; that look at them, and, according to their position, conjunction, aspect, and influence, judge what will come to pass among men. So Cicero observes {w}, that the Chaldeans, by their long observation of the stars, believed they had formed a science, whereby they could foretell what should happen to everyone, and to what fate he was born:

"the monthly prognosticators"; or "that make known months", or "for the months" {x}; what shall be in every month; what weather it will be, and what things shall happen; such as our almanac makers. Let these now all meet together, "and stand up and save thee from those things that shall come upon thee"; which they were never able to do; for if they could not foretell these things by their art, it could not be thought they could give any directions how to escape them, or put upon any methods that would secure from them.

{s} ^Mymv yrbwh^ "speculantes coelos", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version; "contemplatores coelorum", Vitringa.
{t} "resecuit, amputavit", Golius, Castel.
{u} Sepher Shorash. rad. ^rbh^
{w} De Divinatione, l. 1. c. 1.
{x} ^Myvdxl Myeydwm^ "cognoscere faciunt menses", Pagninus; "facientes", Montanus; "qui notas faciunt in menses", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; i.e. "praedictiones suas notificantes in menses", Cocceius; "indicantes novilunia", Vitringa.

Horoscope is Greek for "I look at the hour."

God scattered the Babylonians for the sin of Planet Worship. The tower of Babel was in seven levels, one for each of the known planets (those 5 which could be seen with the naked eye) plus the moon and sun. Each level was colored for the god it honored: Black for Saturn, which was the base, Red for Mars, Gold for the sun, etc., etc., etc. - pale yellow, blue and orange. The top level with the chapel was silver for the moon. God said "He changes not." I believe him. The very concept of Christian Astrology is therefore not a possibility to any Bible believing individual.

As for the popular term: "pure" astrology, unless the actual science of astronomy is meant, there's no way this could be less than an oxymoron, for how can a practice God has declared to be an abomination ever be free from idolatry?

For something which started in the divination of a sheep's liver to be now considered Christian, i.e., compatible with Scripture is more than a giant leap into the darkness of the occult.

The moon does exert influence on the human body, as it does on the tides of the ocean. It is a relatively short distance of 240,000 miles away. The planets however are all six thousand light years and more away. The light we see in the sky when we look at them actually shone two to three years ago. That is how long it takes for it to reach earth. Consequently, where we are seeing them is not where they actually are at present. They are able to exert no influence on us whatsoever.

It should not be necessary to point this out, but God is God, and God is the Creator of the stars. If he chooses to use a star to guide the Magi to worship His new born infant son, that is His perogative. He is not practicing Astrology when he does so, although this is another argument proponents of Astrology use.

I believe because the Magi, i.e., "Wise Men" represented the wisest (in worldly wisdom), the wealthiest and the most powerful, politically, the world could offer, it was a preview of the eventual fulfillment of "Every knee will bow" before the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings, to have them drawn by God, to worship His Son, the long promised Messiah, when He first arrived.

Does that somehow give us, His Created beings permission to use the stars and planets (or anything else) as objects of divination, in order to seek our fortune and/or personal fulfillment by using them to tell the fortune of individuals on a day by day or week by week basis, as some have claimed?

There's a leap of faith no honest person could legitimately make.

I checked out a website which was recommended to me as "Christian Astrology," but found the description of "Christian" Astrology" had so many New Age and occultic references I was totally unable to locate any basis for calling it the "Christian" section.

For Example, the phrase "Jungian Psychology" was referred to repeatedly. It is now known that Carl Jung worshipped a rooster headed god named Abraxas which dates back to the Babylonian Mysteries, and is also quite prominent in Gnostic deity... For Jung always promoted Gnostic heretical thought, and for years, he received all his knowledge, i.e., the "collective conscience" nonsense adopted into the thinking of many educators who believe themselves to be "enlightened," from a spirit guide named Philemon - a demonic companion who was so real to him, Jung left a full figure painting of him on the bedroom wall of his former home. - a slender fellow with wispy wings like a dragonfly.

"You are wearied with your many counsels; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you. Behold, they have become like stubble, fire burns them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame ...there is none to save you." Isaiah 47:13-15

Most occultists use Astrology and many astrologers practice other occult arts. Both Astrologers and occultists admit that Astrology is a pillar of occultism. The astrologer, "Sepharial," is quoted by Dr. John Ankerberg and John Weldon in The Facts On Astrology, as saying "The astrologic art is held to be the key to all the occult sciences."

God warns mankind in Deuteronomy 4:19 of the dangers of Astrology: "And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

The Complete Bible Exposition of John Gill explains that people are being warned, "lest they should have an impulse on their minds and their hearts, be inclined and drawn to the worship of them, partly by considering their splendour, glory, and usefulness, and partly by the example of others; for the worshipping of these seems to be and is the first kind of idolatry men gave into, at least it was very ancient..."

Famous witch Sybil Leek states in her book, My Life In Astrology, "Astrology is my science, witchcraft is my religion..." She calls the horoscope "a magical document." She also claims Astrology is a "vital tool" for using magic and observes its connection to Numerology, Phrenology, Palmistry and Witchcraft.

God's word confirms the connection between Astrology and the other occult arts: 2 King 21:2-3,5-6: He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. For he (Manasseh) rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the starry host of heaven and served them. Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.

Trial lawyer and philosopher Dr. John Warwick Montgomery asserts that astrology is found virtually every where occultism is to be found. Oxford educated historian Keith Thomas documents the strong links between magic, divination, astrology and witchcraft in Religion and the Decline of Magic a study of sixteenth and seventeenth century English occultism, declaring, and shows how much of occultism is actually undergirded by an astrological worldview. He also records how some medieval astrologers claimed to get their knowledge of astrology from the spirit world, mentioning a spirit named "Bifrons" which "made men 'wonderfully cunning' in the subject of astrology."

Some astronomers admit that Astrology is an occult practice. In An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present, witch Doreen Valiente observes that "Astrology... is another of the fundamentals of magic. It is studied by witch and magician alike.

Science writer and engineer Lawrence Jerome, in Astrology Disproved declares that of all the occult "sciences," astrology appears most scientific, but is really nothing more than a magical system for controlling others," and has played a role in the magical "sciences"" alchemy, black magic, the conjuring of spirits, necromancy, and even in the magical practices such as the use of talismans."

Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, informs us that according to astrology the celestial bodies exert forces and exhibit personalities that infuence people and events below. This is an ancient system of divination using the positions of the planets, moon, and stars. Astrology was developed into a system approximately 3,000 B.C, by the Babylonians, who gazed at the heavens from their ziggurats, a type of staired tower, and began to worship the individual planets, moon, sun, and stars, as gods and goddesses, attributing to them individual attributes of the Almighty God.

The Bible, in Genesis tells us the Babylonians were the original developers of astrology, however; the Chaldeans also developed astrological charting in that time period, and the horoscope or birth chart was later more fully developed by the Greeks.

Eclipse records available to Greek astronomers went back to 747 B.C., and other astronomical material about the fixed stars and planets was built up in Assyrian times as a background for an amazing theoretical systematization of Babylonian astronomy which occurred after 500 B.C. A History of the Ancient World, by Chester G. Starr, states that "the mathematical knowledge required for this seems already to have been developed in the second millennium."

"The astronomical observations were not made for purely scientific ends, but to give astrological guidance for the actions of the king. Religious rites and superstition continued to have a great place with Assyrian monarchs and nobles in their earthly achievements. Much of the daily routine of the king, 'the holy high priest and tireless caretaker of the temple... who acts only upon the trust-inspiring oracles given by Ashur, his lord, was concerned with religious ceremonies.' Thus, Astrology was a basic part of the false religious system of worship that mankind had developed at that time. The Assyrian kings attempted, with great success, to promote the general worship of their god, Ashur, adding yet another deity to the local divine forces worshiped by all peoples, with the exception of the Hebrews."

"The cycle of the agricultural year was marked by fertility rites, the greatest of which remained the New Year's festival. Divination took place not only through observation of the stars and planets but also by the inspection of sheep livers, conceived as the seat of emotions and yielding sure signs by their configuration and color. Magical occultic practice had had millennia in which to become set and constituted the backbone of medical efforts to cure the sick."

In A Ready Defense, Josh McDowell explains how the entire premise of astrology was built upon faulty information, including the number of planets in our solar system. Most astrological charts are based upon the assumption that there are seven planets in our solar system, including the sun and the moon. In ancient times, before telescopes, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto could not be seen with the naked eye, therefore, astrologers based their system upon the seven observable planets. These, they believed revolved around the earth. As we now know, however, the sun, not the earth, is the center of the solar system.

Astrology is also unscientific because of the precession or the shifting of constellations. The early astronomers were not aware of precession and therefore failed to take it into account in their system. The twelve signs of the zodiac originally corresponded with the twelve constellations of the same names. But due to procession, the constellations have shifted about 30 degrees in the last 2,000 years. This means that the constellation of Virgo is now in the sign of Libra, the constellation of Libra is now in the sign of Scorpio, and so on.

A constant source of embarrassment for astrologers is twins. Since they are born within minutes of each other, and in the same place, they should have the same destiny, howeve; the historical record shows that this is not at all the case.

To believe in Astrology, you must support the philosophy that you are either a "born loser" or a "born winner." The stars, we are being told, do not merely forecast the course of our lives, but they also cause the events to take place. They both impel and compel.

Astrology is bankrupt, both biblically and scientifically. Since it is fatalistic in its approach, it rules out the free choice of each of us, leaving man merely as a cog in the cosmic machinery. This view of reality is at odds with Scripture, which indicates all of us have both the capacity and responsibility to choose which road in life we will take.

Shakespeare wrote in King Lear, in 1605, "We make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves,and treachers by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars and adulterers by an enforc'd obedience of planetary influences."

Webster's Dictionary of Word Origins, relates that the word, disaster, was quite new at the time that Shakespeare used it to rail against astrology, (not against the stars), as it had just entered English from Middle French or Old Italian in the late sixteenth century, but Shakespeare was fond of the word, which owed its existence to astrology. Old Italian astro is 'star' a disastro was due to the negative aspects of stellar influence.

Unfortunately, when astrologers look to nature and the creation for divine wisdom or empowerment, " nature" often becomes a "smoke screen" (a disguised worldview) that allows spirits or demons to provide occultic powers to the astrologers. In Cult Watch: What You Need to Know About Spiritual Deception, by Dr. John Ankerberg and John Weldon, we are told that this power includes revelation, the "intuition" to give startling true information about a person from the horoscope. When astrologers give this kind of information, it is similar to the information spiritists receive, through spirit guides, as the astrologer is fulfilling the role of "medium," just as the spiritist does, and receives information from those whom the Bible identify as "familiar spirits."

In conclusion, Astrology rejects the biblical teaching God wrote into it, and adopts instead, occultic views which give the glory due to God alone, to His creation. As Dr. Robert Morey has said, "It is idolatry to ascribe to the stars that which belongs only to the God who created them."

Copyright 1997-2002 Zenith Harris Merrill