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ASTROLOGY - Fact... or Superstition?
Plain Truth Magazine
September 1965
Volume: Vol XXX, No.9
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ASTROLOGY - Fact... or Superstition?
William F Dankenbring   
Church of God

Member Since: 1957
Ambassador College: 1963
Office: ACE

Master of Arts Degree from Ambassador.

Do the stars and planets have a mysterious influence on human destiny? Is astrology Biblical? What does GOD say about modern-day astrology?

   STAR READING is plain buncombe," declared Dr. Harlow Shapley of the Harvard observatory. "The stars have as little influence on our daily lives as tea leaves."
   And yet according to latest estimates astrology has about eighteen million American devotees not to mention other millions in Britain. Besides, another thirty million read the astrological columns in daily newspapers or buy copies of the latest astrological magazines!
   Why the boom in astrology?

Astrological Claims

   One leading astrologer proudly claims, "Astrology is the key that opens the door to all Occult knowledge. It is the key that unlocks the mysteries of man's being; his why, whence and whither."
   What is the TRUTH about astrology?
   Is it based on fact? Or is it superstition a deliberate FRAUD to bilk millions of their hard-earned money?
   Do the heavenly bodies really govern the lives and destinies of men and nations upon the earth? Does astrology predict man's character, his love life, business deals, marriages, farming, and even surgical operations?
   Or is it, instead, a satanic deception foisted upon a gullible world? Is it a HOAX, conjured up by crackpots, cranks and bunco crooks? Where did astrology originate? What does the BIBLE have to say about it?
   Make no mistake the Bible does reveal its origin. It also reveals the ultimate FATE of astrology and astrologers!

It's Big Business

   Astrology in the United States is BIG BUSINESS! American astrologers gross more than $250 million a year! Addicts of this philosophy include not merely the uneducated and ignorant. Everywhere housewives, businessmen, senators, presidents seek their advice.
   In the United States, at least 100 movie stars consult their favorite astrologers before taking a new role. Even stock market speculators look to the stargazers for prognostications!
   Adolph Hitler had as many as five astrologers advising and counseling him. He sentenced one, Karl E. Kraft, to death in a concentration camp for giving "bad advice." Hitler's other stargazers were not able to foresee or predict the inglorious FALL of the Third Reich!
   Perhaps one million Americans today could be called "hard-core cultists" who religiously run their lives by planetary timetables and star schedules. Some devotees will pay $100 to consult their favorite astrologer!
   According to one practitioner, the United States is undergoing an astrological RENAISSANCE! Some of the world's leading astrologers live and work in the United States, running astrological columns in 1000 newspapers with a combined circulation of over 40 million readers. America has become a veritable twentieth-century BABYLON!
   But America is not alone. European countries have long had flourishing schools of the ancient cult of astrology. England, France, and Germany are centers of that pseudo-science. And Asia teems with multiple millions of star struck superstitious stargazers!
   In India almost every Hindu marriage is based on the horoscope. Candidates for political office judge their election chances by consulting the astrologers. In Sikkim in the high Himalayas astrologers are the strongest single political power.
   Astrologers, diviners, witches and magicians sometimes have entertaining, but useless, powers. But they, like the Egyptian magicians who contended with Moses and Aaron of old, are powerless against life's problems (Ex. 8-9).

The Facts

   First, consider these pertinent facts about astrology. The whole structure of astrology revolves around the "zodiac" an arbitrarily arranged belt in the heavens 16 degrees broad. It includes the paths of the moon and the principal planets. It has as its middle line the sun's path called the ecliptic. The zodiac, according to astrologers, has twelve divisions (or signs), each 30 degrees long, marked off eastward from the vernal equinox. The names of these divisions were originally the names of the constellations groups of fixed stars within them.
   But no longer so! About 2000 years ago the artificial signs of the zodiac and the constellations coincided. Today the signs have separated about 30 degrees from their corresponding constellations. The sign of Aries, for instance, is now in the constellation of Pisces!
   This means that the astrologers' horoscopes are OUT OF DATE!
   But they seem either to be unaware of the fact or they simply don't care. In casting their horoscopes, they imagine the sky is arranged as it was 2000 years ago!
   Not only do astrologers use a false horoscope, out-dated 2000 years, with the constellations placed in the wrong signs of the zodiac but their predictions have, alas, usually failed miserably.
   Several books on astrology declare that persons born under the sign of Libra from September 24 to October 23 should have musical ability. However, the psychologist Farnsworth looked up the birthdates of 1498 musicians and found fewer were born under Libra than any other sign except Scorpius! Fact is, Libra and Scorpius were tied for last place! Astrologers could not have made a worse choice for musical talent than Libra!

Babylonian Origin

   Where did astrology begin?
   The worship of the stars is almost as old as man. Early astrologers identified the planets with their pagan gods. They believed the planets had powers similar in character to those powers attributed to the gods, whose names they bore. Thus the planet Mars was named after the pagan "god of war," and was believed to influence wars and struggles upon the earth. Mercury, the speediest planet in circling the sun, was named after the pagan god "Mercury," the "messenger of the gods," the so-called fleetest of the gods, who had wings on his heels.
   Today, perhaps astrologers do not claim the planets are gods, but they still attribute the same identical mystical influences to them! There is little difference!
   Astrology had its renewed beginnings soon after the universal deluge in Noah's time. When men began to repopulate the earth, the arch-apostate Nimrod arose and attempted to marshal all mankind under his personal dominion. Nimrod, the Bible reveals, "... began to be a mighty one in the earth" (Gen. 10:8). Moffatt has this verse, "Ethiopia produced Nimrod, the first man on earth to be a DESPOT." The beginning of his kingdom or EMPIRE was "Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar" that is, the ancient land of BABYLON!
   After the sudden death of Nimrod, his wife Semiramis attempted to hold his kingdom together by art and craft. She claimed Nimrod had been a god, instituted secret worship of him, and began the "Babylonian mysteries." Nimrod, she claimed, had gone to heaven and was represented by the constellation "Orion" the "Hunter," for he had been a "mighty hunter before [or, against] the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD" (Gen. 10:9).
   Semiramis, his one-time wife, therefore claimed to be the "Queen of Heaven." This was the Babylonian ORIGIN of astrology!
   From the time of Nimrod, the religion of Babylonian astrology grew and spread. Hundreds of years later it was still intricately involved in the religion of Babylonia! During the days of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians were still fascinated by the study of the stars. When king Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by a dream, he commanded to call "... the magicians, and the ASTROLOGERS, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams" (Dan. 2:2).
   By this time the astrologers were able to predict eclipses. Their study of the heavens had become, in many ways, an exact science. But their speculative conclusions were utter nonsense. They thought they could foretell the future by their observations of the stars. Five planets were considered especially fateful regarding the destinies of men. The names of the five most important Chaldean gods were applied to those five stars.
   By Roman times long after the Roman Empire had superseded the Chaldean astrology made its influence felt in Rome. Astrologers built up a strong practice there, and the Babylonian names for the stars were altered to suit Roman tastes. Thus the planet Marduk became Jupiter, Nabu became Mercury, Ishtar (the Babylonian name for Semiramis) was changed to Venus (the "Queen of Heaven").
   A brief and concise description of the ancient Babylonian astrology and its origin is given in Langer's Encyclopedia of World History. We read: "When Babylon became a great metropolis and the capital of an empire, its god Marduk [another name or title for Nimrod, the chief pagan deity] acquired a new importance and, by being identified with Enlil and assuming his functions, such as the creation of the world, he became the supreme god of the pantheon and was later called Bel, Lord, a Semitic designation of Enlil [referred to throughout the Bible as BAAL, the sun-god]. 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" (page 26).
   Notice! All these different practices were commonplace in ancient Babylonia! The Babylonians were noted for their magic, interpreting omens, sorcery, and astrology!
   And the practice of astrology the observance of the stars, believing they guide and influence human life is still widely observed and highly regarded TODAY! Amazing!
   But what difference does it make?

What God Says!

   To human beings, it might not make any difference whatsoever. Some might think astrology is merely a "play toy." Nothing to worry about nothing to be concerned about.
   But it DOES make a difference to GOD! Notice, now, what the Word of God has to say about the practice and observance of astrology and kindred cults!
   God says, through the prophet Jeremiah: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn NOT the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the SIGNS OF HEAVEN; for the heathen are dismayed at them" (Jer. 10:2).
   Astrologers regard and become fearful of the signs of the heavens. But God says we are NOT to follow their ways! But of the false gods, the gods of astrology, God says, "But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities" (v. 8). Foolishness and vanity that is what God calls the worship of the stars!
   Think for a moment! How utterly absurd it is to believe that chunks of rock, hardly visible millions of miles away, can exercise influence on human beings! How foolish to believe that gaseous orbs, which are barely perceptible in the night sky, can alter human life, affect the destinies of nations, and determine whether a man should become a singer or a carpenter!
   How insane!
   What does Almighty God say about this absurd, satanic deception? "Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves," God tells His people, "... lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the STARS, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them..." (Deut. 4:15, 19). God forbade such absurd, hideous idolatry!
   Notice further! God commanded His people, "If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing His covenant, and hath gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, EITHER THE SUN, OR MOON, OR ANY OF THE HOST OF HEAVEN, which I have not commanded; And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die" (Deut. 17:2-5).
   How seriously God regards these things! They are no "mere trifle" with Him!
   God further commanded His people Israel, in ancient times, "When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt NOT LEARN to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times {astrologer}, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times [astrologers}, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do" (Deut. 18:9-14).
   Almighty God, the TRUE Creator God of the entire UNIVERSE the God who created and made the heavenly bodies, the stars and planets unequivocally CONDEMNS the false worship of ASTROLOGY!
   God condemns all the occult, mysterious rites of the ancient Babylonians and other heathen. God condemns divination, augury, sorcery, witchcraft, fortune-telling, palm-reading, consulting with mediums, and the other pagan practices which came out of Babylon including the pretension to foretell future events by present occurrences, the prediction of great political or physical changes from the aspects of the planets, eclipses, motions of the clouds that is, ASTROLOGY!
   These pagan practices are outright abominations in God's sight! Looking to the stars and planets to understand the future, instead of to God's Holy and inspired Word and letting the inert stars instead of God's law rule one's life is putting the creation before the Creator.
   Yet, ancient Israel fell into this idolatry. They rejected God's laws and statutes that bring peace, prosperity and happiness. They followed the way of the heathen round about them. "And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal" (II Kings 17:16). For this reason God cast Israel out of their land and sent them forth into captivity. "Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only" (v. 18).
   But even Judah later fell into this idolatry. Manasseh, king of Judah, after God had sent Israel into captivity, built altars for Baal, made a grove,... and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them" (II Kings 21:3).
   In the days of Josiah there was a temporary revival of the truth of God in the land. This zealous king cleaned the land of idolatry. We read that he "... put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets [note: marginal reading, the twelve signs, or, constellations], and to all the host of heaven" (II Kings 23:5).
   Nevertheless, the people did not really repent. They sank once again into idolatry and forsook the commandments of God, and God sent Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, against Judah to punish her and carry the people into captivity!

Modern-day Sins

   Sadly, history is repeating itself. Once again God's people our nations today are plunging into the same, age-old sins and idolatries. Once again people are worshiping on the day of the sun-god Baal Sunday. Once again witchcraft is making a comeback even in Britain; people are looking to mediums to learn their fates. And, once again, astrology is captivating millions of deceived, deluded followers!
   And once again, unless people repent and turn from these sins God is going to punish His people, and send them into captivity!! It is time to wake up to the truth! God will not be mocked. He will not quibble. Sin will be punished!
   What will be the FATE of those people who persist in practicing astrology?
   God declares to this present Babylonish world this present pagan system, "Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast labored from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the ASTROLOGERS, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee." "Behold," God thunders, "they shall be as stubble; the FIRE shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame..." (Isa. 47: 12-14).
   Speaking of this evil system with its diabolical practices, God's Word declares: "Therefore shall her PLAGUES come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly BURNED WITH FIRE: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her" (Rev. 18: 8).
   What about those people who wish to obey God who wish to escape these plagues and woes? God says, "Come OUT OF HER, my people, that ye be NOT partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues"! (Rev. 18:4) God commands us to come OUT of this world's pagan practices, idolatries! We are not to participate in "the way of the heathen"!
   Those who persist in astrology, and the other practices of paganism, will have their part in the second death the lake of fire! (Rev. 21:8) Perhaps it does not make much difference to certain people but it makes a LOT OF DIFFERENCE to God!

What About YOU?

   Do you follow certain of its precepts? Don't be too sure for some do, without realizing it!
   Some people, for instance, believe the success of their crops depends upon planting by the phases of the moon and the signs of the zodiac. Some won't plant on "blooms day" because of the unfounded fear that they will have myriads of blooms that produce nothing.
   Notice, Christ Himself defined the natural factors that govern crop production. He mentioned soil types, manure, weather, and weeds (Mat. 13:3-8; Luke 13:6-9). He said nothing of astrology! God's Word also shows that the man who obeys God and keeps His commandments including the commandment about tithing is the man who will be blessed with successful crops and a bounteous harvest (Deut. 28:113; Mal. 3:8-11).
   Some have wondered, though, about Genesis 1:14. Here God declared: "... Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." Does this verse condone, or support astrology? Not at all! God's Word, the Bible, does NOT contradict itself (John 10:35).
   True, the sun and moon divide the night from the day. These "lights" are for signs for dividing seasons, days, and years. The sun and moon are necessary for figuring calendar computation not for purposes of astrology! The word "seasons" in this verse deals, not with crops, but with the observance of God's annual Holy Days. God's Holy Days are to be observed in their proper seasons (Lev. 23:4).
   God appointed the moon as a sign for the seasons (Ps. 104:19). In God's calendar, each month begins with a new moon. Thus the new moon in Jerusalem is the "sign" or "signal" of the beginning of a new month.
   The moon does affect gravity and generate ocean tides because of its closeness to earth. And it has some little influence on human and animal emotions. But even the moon does not determine the success of agriculture, business, or other endeavors. The stars and planets, being so far away they appear as specks, have no influence even on gravity and the tides.
   Interpreting moon phases is not the way to determine when to plow and plant. Obeying God's laws, as outlined in the Bible, is the ONLY true way to success, prosperity, and abundant blessing! Astrology does not hold the answers to the BIG questions of life why we were born, where we are going, or why the earth is threatened by universal destruction. But the Word of God DOES! Astrology is a satanic deception palmed off on the world by deluded men. Although it may occasionally predict the future with accuracy, due, not to the system involved, but to lucky guessing or to demon influence ultimately it will fail and it will NOT bring ultimate success. Neither can astrology deliver its practitioners or adherents from the judgment of Almighty God who condemns this vile practice!
   Where do you stand? When God's plagues are poured out on a God defying, rebellious world, will you suffer along with the sorcerers, liars, and astrologers? Will you suffer the excruciating plagues God will POUR upon the seat of this world's governments? (Rev. 16)
   Or will you be one of those under God's divine protection because you have surrendered your life to God, for Him to use, as He chooses to do? Where will you stand? Only You can determine the answer!

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Plain Truth MagazineSeptember 1965Vol XXX, No.9
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