Astrology and the Bible

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QUESTION: Is astrology in the Bible? Is it a sin to consult horoscopes?

ANSWER: We need to first define horoscopes and astrology before delving into the Bible. Horoscopes offer advice to people regarding what may happen to them in the future. Astrology is the study of the heavens (sun, moon, planets, etc.) and their motions under the assumption that they influence events and human activities on earth.

Unlike astronomy, which is the scientific study of the universe, astrology is based on a person's interpretation and the meaning they read into what they observe. The basic idea of astrology, which is to try and predict future events through distant stars and other heavenly bodies, began in ancient Mesopotamia.

Although the Encyclopedia Britannica states that astrology first occurred in the third millennium B.C. other reference works disagree. The encyclopedia quotes a warning, based on the stars, given to King Ashurbanipal of Assyria in the 7th century B.C. which states, "The planet Venus is approaching the constellation Virgo. The appearance of the planet Mercury is near. Great wrath will come."

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Horoscopes are related to astrology in that they attempt to predict a particular person's future based on the time they were born and the movement of the heavens at a particular time period. The word itself is derived from the Greek meaning "one who observes the hour." Our current form of horoscopes is really a Greek addition to earlier ideas, such as seeing the sun's path in the sky move through the twelve houses of the zodiac. As an interesting side note, God's word alludes to the zodiac in Job 38:32.

Multiwavelength Crab Nebula
Multiwavelength Crab Nebula
This Nebula was first observed in 1054 A.D.

The idea that heavenly bodies control our destiny, rather than a God who is the Creator of all things, is an ancient delusion. Augustine, the famous Catholic theologian and philosopher who lived when Rome was in decline, and Cicero, the pagan orator of the Roman Republic, made a point of attacking this belief.

Although the Bible does not use the word astrology, it does refer to its practice. For example, the book of Daniel references astrologers serving at the court of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:27, 4:7). As one would expect, the belief that anything other than the true God steers the destiny of man is rejected in Scripture.

What few people realize is that the Bible considers the practice of astrology, or consulting the heavens for guidance regarding future actions and events, as a form of sorcery (Leviticus 19:26 - 28, 31, 20:6). God directly warned ancient Babylon about trusting in astrology when he said, "You are exhausted by the multitude of your counsels; now let the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save you from these things that shall come upon you" (Isaiah 47:13, HBFV).

Ancient Israel was also warned not to indulge in astrology, "There shall not be found among you [any one] . . . that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch . . . " (Deuteronomy 18:10, KJV). A person who is an 'observer of times' is someone who superstitiously pronounces some days as lucky and others as unlucky.

Astrology and horoscopes do nothing more than pretend to foretell future events based on the absurd idea that celestial bodies, billions of miles away, can have some sort of magical impact on earth. They both should be completely avoided as they are a waste of time! The Bible states in this regard, "Do not learn the way of the heathen, and do not be terrified at the signs of the heavens; for the nations are terrified at them. For the customs of the people are VAIN (worthless, useless) . . ." (Jeremiah 10:2 - 3).

Additional Study Materials
What power did the witch of Endor possess?
Can black magic be used for good?
Do rock crystals possess magic?
How old is the earth?

Adam Clarke's Commentary
Encyclopedia Britannica
Holy Bible, a Faithful Version
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)
Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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