Recall, from C-1, P-I, this quote:
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 display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world (Psalm 19:1-4),
as well as,
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 men are without excuse (Rom. 1:20).
Most people probably do not realize that the signs of the zodiac in the night sky actually are a picture conveying stories of the spiritual warfare taking place in the heavenlies throughout the ages and of the redeeming salvation God has provided for us. These stories depict elements of God’s Gospel Plan, which He has put into action, to achieve His great purpose: separating the (saved) portion of Creation that willingly can love and submit to Him forever from the (unsaved) part that will not or cannot love and accept Him.
God has named all the stars and constellations (Job 38:31,32; Isa. 40:26). We can discern this unique witness to His Plan by understanding the original meanings of the ancient names for the stars and the constellations. (Satan cleverly has twisted this into a deceptive counterfeit, that is, astrology—seeS-2). Following are but a few of the constellations and stars which have been a part of nations’ histories back to antiquity. Why the major constellations have meant the same things to virtually every empire in history is not understood completely by archæologists and historians. I see it simply as a revelation to all of humankind of God’s glorious Plan.
At the beginning of the “Gospel Zodiac,” the Virgo Constellation depicts a virgin woman holding a branch in her right hand and wheat seed or corn in her left. “Virgo” means “virgin” in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Arabic. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14). (“Immanuel” means “God with us.”) Also, Luke wrote that “...God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26,27). The angel said to her, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus” (1:31).
There are many references to the “Branch” in the Bible (see “names for and attributes of the Messiah”: C-3, P-I). These are a few: “In that day, the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious...” (Isa. 4:2a); “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him...” (11:1,2a); and “...I am going to bring my servant, the Branch” (Zech. 3:8b).
Finally, reference to the “seed” (or “offspring”—see “the ‘Seed’”: C-6, P-III) is found when God cursed the crafty serpent (the devil) who had deceived Eve and Adam: “...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and hers...” (Gen. 3:15a). The seed of the devil (Matt. 13:38c,39a; John 8:44a) is anyone who does Satan’s will and rebels against the Seed of the woman—the “Messiah” (Anointed One) or “Branch”—sent by God.
The first minor constellation within Virgo, called Coma, pictures a woman (the virgin—Isa. 7:14) with her child (9:6) in her lap. “Coma” means “the desired one.” This child, the Messiah, will be “...the desired of all nations...” (Hag. 2:7b) when He appears again at the end of this age.
Therefore, Virgo and Coma portray a virgin who would produce a seed which would become the Branch, or Messiah, the ultimate desire of the world. This desired one would be the Son of God.
The Libra Constellation represents scales which are weighing two things of unequal weight. “Libra” means “the scales, weighing” in Hebrew. To King Belshazzar and everyone at his banquet appeared fingers of a hand (which I believe was that of the pre-human Jesus) which wrote a message on the wall: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN” (Dan. 5:5,25). No one knew what it meant. Then Daniel pointed out to Belshazzar how he had failed to humble himself, had set himself up against the Lord of heaven, and had not honored the God who held in His hands the king’s life and his ways (5:22,23ad). Next, Daniel told the king what the inscription meant: “MENE” meant “God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end” (5:26b); “TEKEL” meant “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting” (5:27); and “PARSIN” (or “UPARSIN” = “and PARSIN”) meant “Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (5:28). “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom...” (5:30,31a).
One star, in the lower scale of Libra, is Zuben al Genubi, which means “the price deficient” in Arabic. This demonstrates the heavy weight of mankind’s pride and sins on God’s scale; like Belshazzar, we all have been “weighed” and “found wanting” (or “lacking”). However, another star, in the upper scale, is Zuben al Chemali, which means “the price which covers.” This indicates the paying of the price to cover and remove sins, by the Messiah (Christ), to create a balance and ultimately to bring those who humble themselves into the presence of God the Father. Only humility can defeat pride, but not one of us has enough humility to overcome his/her own pride completely. Therefore, only through the humility of Christ can the effects of sin be neutralized, because none of us can perform enough good deeds to pay for his/her own transgressions.
In Libra the first minor constellation, Crux (or the Southern Cross, as it is seen only in the Southern Hemisphere), pictures the means by which the Christ (who covers or counterbalances our sins in Libra) would be “cut off” or killed. “Crux,” in Hebrew, is Adom, which means “cutting off”; even the means of the Messiah’s death—crucifixion—was prophesied in the stars. Isaiah wrote of the Messiah as being “...cut off from the land of the living...” (Isa. 53:8c); and the angel Gabriel, speaking to Daniel, said, “...the Anointed One will be cut off...” (Dan. 9:26a—see “Gabriel’s prophecy to Daniel” and “Messiah killed; time count stopped”: C-11, P-II).
The Scorpio Constellation represents a scorpion with a curled up tail ready to strike the heel of a man, Ophiuchus (a minor constellation in Scorpio), who is about to crush the scorpion’s head with his other foot. As stated before (see “Virgo and Coma” earlier in this segment), God cursed Satan for tempting Eve and Adam and told him that there would be enmity between his offspring and the virgin’s offspring. God added “...he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel...” (Gen. 3:15b). This scene is referred to as Akrab in Hebrew: “the conflict” or “the war.”
Dr. D. James Kennedy says of Gen. 3:15, “It is the Proto Evangelium, the first evangel, or first preaching of the gospel.” He adds,
Everywhere in the Scripture people are referred to as having come from a man. Only Christ is the seed of a woman, and the seed of the woman will “bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This means that Satan was going to bruise the heel of Christ, bringing about His death on the cross. But He [Christ] would rise and totally and eternally destroy Satan. This is the first gospel and this is what the pictures in the sky signify.
“Ophiuchus,” in Hebrew, is Afeichus, meaning “serpent held.” Not only is Ophiuchus about to crush the scorpion’s head, but he is holding tightly onto a serpent who is gazing at the “Northern crown” (Corona Borealis), looking to obtain this great prize. As E. W. Bullinger puts it,
In Scorpio, we see merely the effort to wound Ophiuchus in the heel; but here [in Ophiuchus] we see the effort of the serpent to seize THE CROWN, which is situated immediately over the serpent’s head, and to which he is looking up and reaching forth.
The contest is for Dominion! It was the Devil, in the form of a serpent, that robbed the first man [Adam] of his crown; but in vain he struggled to wrest it from the sure possession of the Second Man [Jesus]. Not only does he fail in the attempt, but is himself utterly defeated and trodden underfoot.
The Sagittarius Constellation represents a centaur, a binary creature with the body of a horse and the torso and head of a man, holding a drawn bow and arrow. This being has two “natures” and portrays the coming Messiah (Christ), who also has two natures: God and man. His arrow is aimed directly at the center of the scorpion (representing the devil or a demon—Rev. 9:3,5b) in Scorpio. The scorpion is about to be pierced and destroyed (Psalm 45:5a; Luke 10:19a).
This centaur will be likened by some to the image of a man on a horse in John’s depiction: “I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest” (Rev. 6:2). However, I feel this is an erroneous comparison. Notice that John’s rider of the white horse holds only a bow, but no arrow is mentioned. Many (myself included) instead believe this latter horse and its rider to be representative of a counterfeit Christ who, when he comes at a certain point in history (at the beginning of the 70th Week), will feign a conviction to global peace (see “identity of the end-time ruler”: C-11, P-III; and “Antichrist’s rule”: C-12, P-III, S-1). Only the true Christ can bring real peace. Without an “arrow,” this substitute Christ (or Antichrist) initially 1) will appear peaceful and 2) will be unable to claim immediate sovereign rule over the world—his ultimate goal.
On the other hand, the real Messiah, at His physical advent (see “physical return of Jesus”: C-12, P-IV, S-1), will have an “arrow,” as described by Zechariah: “Then the Lord will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning” (Zech. 9:14ab). Therefore, I believe the centaur depicts another white horse with its rider, also described by John: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war” (Rev. 19:11). The latter is the real, genuine Christ—God and man in one—coming in glory (Matt. 25:31) and with great might and power.
Consider this song by Miriam, the sister of Moses: “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea” (Exo. 15:21). I see this “horse and its rider” as being not only representative of the Egyptian mounted troops drowned in the Red Sea (14:28a) but also prophetic of the future counterfeit Christ who will be overcome by the Lord, the real Christ. Instead of being “hurled into the sea,” though, the future pseudo-christ will be “...thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur” (Rev. 19:20c—see “lake of fire; fiery furnace”: “references to hell”: C-14, P-II).
At the end of the Zodiac, the Leo Constellation represents a lion with his front claws about to come down on the head of a snake, Hydra (a minor constellation), to crush it. A lion denotes the tribe of Judah, from whose line the Messiah or Christ—who ultimately would be triumphant over the hydra or devil—would come: “You are a lion’s cub, O Judah.... The scepter 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” (Gen. 49:9a,10); and, “See, the Lion [a reference to the Messiah] of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed” (Rev. 5:5b).
Jesus of Nazareth was a descendant of Judah, Jesse, and King David through His step-father, Joseph (Matt. 1:3,6,16), and through His mother, Mary (Luke 3:23,31-33). Note: in Luke 3:23, “son of Heli” actually is “son-in-law of Heli,” where Heli is Mary’s father.
More details on how the astrological signs in the visible night sky represent the true battle in the unseen heavenlies can be found in E. W. Bullinger’s book, The Witness of the Stars (found in most Christian bookstores), or in another book by D. James Kennedy, The Real Meaning of the Zodiac (which may be ordered from D. James Kennedy, P. O. Box 40, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33302). Suffice it here to say that Jesus Christ is the “son of the virgin,” the “Branch,” and the “seed of the woman” in Virgo; and He is the “desired of all nations” in Coma. He is the “price which covers” (us) in Libra, and He died (for us) on the “cross” in Crux. He is the serpent-holder in Ophiuchus (within Scorpio), the two-natured “God-man” in Sagittarius, and the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” in Leo. On the contrary, Satan (or a demon) is the “scorpion” and the “serpent” in Scorpio and the “hydra” in Leo.
Jesus, the Messiah, already has overcome the evil of the devil. He will give the same power to anyone who believes that He has the Authority both to overcome and to provide us with the same capacity to do so (Luke 10:17,19). And anyone who has put his/her trust and faith in Him ultimately will be victorious.
Satan’s counterfeit of God’s Gospel message in the sky is Western (as opposed to Oriental) astrology, the “art” of predicting the influence of the planets and stars on the future affairs or destinies of people and nations. Swami Sivananda, an American-born Hindu, declares,
Astrology is an effective psycho-spiritual analytical tool...as the Aquarian Age unfolds, and man’s understanding of himself and the cosmos becomes more manifest and creative, astrological truths will permeate the interrelated social order of the world.... Astrology is essentially religion. And the betrayer of religion is answerable to a power beyond this world (Swami Sivananda, Passing Moments in Eternity, Sept. 1970, pp. 14-15).
We supposedly can “discover our fates” through horoscopes (diagrams representing the configurations of the stars and planets at any given time) which have been assembled and studied by astrologers. Countless multitudes read their horoscopes in newspapers everyday. In reality, though, the entire future is known only to God. He has allowed and does allow aspects of the future to be known to people—but only by biblical prophets (2 Pet. 1:20,21) and through words of knowledge and wisdom by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8—see “gifts of the Holy Spirit”: C-6, P-IV). Any astrological practice or consultation is disapproved of by God (2 Kng. 17:16-20; Isa. 47:13,14; Jer. 8:1,2, 19:13).
John Ankerberg and John Weldon state the following concerning what astrology contends is “man’s basic problem and its solution”:
Most astrologers believe the problem of man is that he is out of harmony with the divine forces and energies of the universe. He must become united with this harmony. And therefore, for many astrologers, salvation is not forgiveness from sin (most astrologers do not believe in sin in a biblical sense) but rather an enlightenment as to the underlying divine pattern they say governs the universe. “Salvation” is becoming aware of the powerful effect of these celestial patterns. Many astrologers believe that through a “higher consciousness,” which is supposedly a joining with the divine evolutionary “impulse,” that this will eventually bring a mystical Oneness with what they call “God” or ultimate reality.
In truth, harmony with God entails having a relationship directly with the personal, knowable Creator of the universe—the God of the Holy Bible. Astrology, essentially, is ascribing god-like characteristics to and worshiping of the heavenly bodies, which God has created, instead of communing with the God who made them (that is, worshiping “the Creation” rather than “the Creator”—Rom. 1:25).
And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven (Deut. 4:19).
Assigning divine attributes and influences to the sun, moon, and stars—or to any created things—rather than to their Divine Maker is like praising, honoring, and extolling Beethoven’s symphonies instead of Beethoven himself for composing them or Rembrandt’s masterpieces instead of Rembrandt for painting them. Why would anyone worship any of God’s creations? To know God is to know the Creator of all creations. What could be better and more fulfilling than that?
As many as 75% of astrologers believe in reincarnation. Ankerberg and Weldon add,
Reincarnation teaches that over many lifetimes men will die and come back to life and eventually evolve back into the state of their original oneness with God. Astrology is seen as a guide and a tool to enlighten men during each life to avoid adding more karma, thus quickening the day when they will attain their true divine nature.
Contrarily, the Bible teaches that “...man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment...” (Heb. 9:27). Each of us is merely “...a passing breeze that does not return” (Psalm 78:39b). In other words, after we die, there is no “second” (or “third” or “fourth”) chance to “get it right” with God. We must receive or reject God’s forgiveness and means of salvation in this lifetime.
Many people think they have lived before, in previous lives. They accurately can recount detailed information about the places in which they claim to have dwelled and the people they say they knew. I believe the explanation is simple. These people receive into their minds information from, and/or are actually possessed by, demonic spirits. These spirits are extremely knowledgeable and enlightened about places and people of the past, as they have existed since before mankind was created. This information is transferred deceptively to uncountable numbers of persons, erroneously causing them to believe that they have “lived before.”
The major world religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as “New Age,” hold reincarnation as a primary belief. This is based upon the assumption that the universe oscillates (explodes outward from a point, expands, contracts back to a point due to gravity, and explodes again) indefinitely, with each period being a few billion years. Thus, everyone’s spirit has a virtually unlimited amount of time in which to reach a “state of enlightenment.” I wonder, however, how many people who embrace these concepts realize that it has been proven scientifically within the past few decades that the universe, as it slowly expands outward, does not have enough mass to provide the internal gravity required to stop the expansion and pull it back into a point again.
A fact of which many who follow horoscopes are not aware is that the signs of the zodiac actually are one step behind what they were when Ptolemy developed the zodiac system. This is because the earth gradually is “wobbling,” similar to how a top wobbles as it is slowing down. It takes about 26,000 years for the earth to wobble once. During that cycle, the north pole points to consecutive points around a great circle in the northern sky; this phenomenon is referred to as the precession of the equinoxes. So the present North Star (Polaris) was not the North Star 2,000 years ago, at which time a different star (Vega) was closer to due north.
Each year on March 21, when astrologers say that the sun is in Aries, it really is in the constellation Pisces, although it was in Aries on that date 2,000 years ago. Those who think they are Libras actually are Virgos, most Cancers in fact are Geminis, and so on. This alone should be enough to convince anyone that astrology is not a legitimate science. Yet most astrologers today do not seem to recognize the precession of the equinoxes phenomenon. Those who do recognize it and those who do not refute the accuracy of each others’ horoscopes—which, in both cases, are scientifically invalid.
“Old” and “New” Astrological Signs of the Zodiac
“Old” (“Tropical”) Zodiac
“New” (“Sidereal”) Zodiac
Another problem with astrology is that it has been and still is based upon Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos. This assumed that the earth is the center of the universe (an erroneous idea stemming from the concept, influenced by Satan, that “man is ‘god’ and so everything must revolve around him”) and that there are 7 planets in our solar system (when there really are at least 9, though the planetary status of Pluto now is in question). If nothing else annuls the false notion that astrology has its basis in science, this certainly does.
Finally, astrological predictions have a low fulfillment rate compared to the Bible, which so far has a perfect record. Even the “great” Nostradamus’ success record paled significantly when compared to the flawless predictions in the Bible. This is because not even Satan (who misleads mankind with uncountable deceptions) knows things which are going to happen for certain. He can make educated guesses about them—often better than we can—but not better than God, Who alone knows the entire future, because He is not bounded by time; He created time for us (see “purpose of time”: C-15, P-I).
On the other hand, there are thousands of fulfilled prophecies given to us in the Bible, the directly inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Furthermore, much about the future, including a great deal of the “70th Week”—the final 7-year period of this age (seeC-12)—can be known from the Scriptures. Dr. Larry H. Poland notes,
Approximately 40 percent of Scripture was predictive prophecy when it was written, and approximately four-fifths of that prophecy has been fulfilled—just as it said it would be. This provides a rather substantial test base for evaluating the accuracy of biblical prophecy on empirical grounds.
He adds that “...the remaining ‘unfulfilled fifth’ of biblical prophecy is rapidly being converted into current events here at the end of the second millennium A.D.”
Concerning the practice of reading the stars to know our future, Robert A. Morey says that
...the stars’ function is to “declare the glory of God” and “to show his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1); not to guide the destiny of man. It is idolatry to ascribe to the stars that which belongs only to the God who created them. It is sheer folly to look to the stars instead of to the Scriptures.
Satan’s angels and demons have used the deception of astrology as a counterfeit to deflect people away from the Gospel message and to blind them to God’s Truth. Astrology, simply, is a contorted aberration of the Gospel message revealed in the stars of the heavens. But, for people “wise” enough not to fall for the fallacies and myths of astrology, there are numerous other ways used by the powers of darkness to turn us from the Light of Jesus. We should be aware of such means, as well as of spiritual courses of actions to which we have access for the purpose of protecting ourselves and others against them. These things will be discussed in the next chapter.
Proceed to Chapter 10
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Copyright © 1998– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D. Most rights reserved.