Bible Question:

What does the Bible teach about astrology and the zodiac? Genesis 1 says the stars are for signs (zodiac). Job 38:31 has the only untranslated term in the Bible . . . mazzaroth which means zodiac. Jeremiah 10:2 shows the heathen were confused about the zodiac. The 12 sons of Jacob in Genesis 49 match the zodiac signs. Why is this hidden from us?

Bible Answer:

The Bible teaches that God has made everything and sustains the entire universe (Colossians 1:17). He has made the sun, moon and all the stars. That is the message of Genesis 1:16; Psalm 8:3; 148:3 and Jeremiah 31:35.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained . . .
Psalm 8:3 (NASB)

Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Psalm 148:3 (ESV)

Psalm 147:4 says that God knows how many stars He has created and He has given them names. Genesis 15:5 implies that the stars are too numerous for us to count but that is not true of the Creator.

Constellations Were Created By God

Design of The Stars

The Bible states that the stars form constellations. For example, Job 38:32 refers to constellations and its season. One cannot view all constellations in the night sky since they are only visible at during certain seasons. That is the message of the verse and it refers to one of the constellations.

Can you lead forth a constellation in its season,
And guide the Bear with her satellites? Job 38:32 (NASB)

Some claim that the Hebrew word for constellations in this verse is untranslatable or unknown. However, the Hebrew lexicons published by the Hebrew scholars of Harris, Archer, Waltke and VanGemeren disagree stating that we know it refers to the stars or constellations.  The Harris, Archer, Waltke lexicon is a two-volume set. The VanGemeren Hebrew lexicon spans five volumes. Both provide in-depth explanations of Hebrew words. Here are the two quotes from these scholars,

Massarot occurs only in Job 38:32. Meaning dubious. Perhaps it refers to a particular star or constellation.[1]

. . . the word mazzarot . . . is just a variant spelling of [mazzal]. The l/r variation does occur in Sem. Languages, and the LXX transliterates both occurrences as mazourtoth . . . All in all, either zodiacal constellations or planets (which only appear in the zodiac) would fit the data. Driver (1956, 4-8), in fact, opts for a distinction between the two words, suggesting mazzalot means planets and mazzarot, zodiacal circle.[2]

Therefore, we conclude that mazzarot refers to constellations, including the planets in those constellations. That is, God designed the constellations also. This fact is also supported by the following passages,

Who commands the sun not to shine,
And sets a seal upon the stars;
Who alone stretches out the heavens
And tramples down the waves of the sea;
Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades,
And the chambers of the south;
Who does great things, unfathomable,
And wondrous works without number. Job 9:7-10 (NASB)

Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
Or loose the cords of Orion? Job 38:31 (NASB)

These two verses along with Amos 5:8 reveal that God designed the constellations.

Purpose of The Stars

Genesis 1:14 reveals that God created the stars with a purpose. Just as the sun and moon were designed to give light so also the stars are to give light and provide signs and indicate seasons.

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Genesis 1:14-15 (NASB)

The seasons would be the winter, spring, summer and fall. Also, the stars would provide constellations for the purpose of ship guidance. The sun, moon and stars will provide a sign at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. They will be shining as if someone had flipped a light switch off. Then at evening they will shine again.

But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29-30 (NASB)

In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. Zechariah 14:6-7 (NASB)

That is, stars provide signs and light to the earth. But do these signs include messages from the constellations?

The Claim – Zodiac Has a Christian Message

The stars were designed into constellation to provide signs and light, but do the constellations include special meaning revealed in the zodiac? The answer is no since the zodiac is simply man’s assignment of names and significance to God’s masterpiece.  Books have been published that claim to provide spiritual significance to the zodiac. One such book titled, “Bible Astronomy – How The Heavens Declare The Glory of God” states that “Bible Astronomy” presents and exalts the Lord Jesus Christ.”[3] Additionally, James Kennedy published, “The Real Meaning of the Zodiac.’ He states,

I have related some of the tremendous amount of historical evidence showing that what is now known as astrology is a pagan corruption of an original revelation given by God and drawn by His hand. The Maaaroth – the signs of the zodiac – are brought forth each night by God. They were sprinkled by His hand across the sky as He garnished the heavens and created the figures which we now know as the figures of the zodiac . . . They tell a glorious tale of redemption, a pictorial representation of the first promise of the Gospel, the protevangelium.[4]

Both authors claim that the Virgo zodiac refers to the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14) and then they extend this to refer to Jesus Christ and His two natures.[5] It is true that the constellation is denoted by a virgin. [6] However, there is no biblical support for such a claim. Neither one provides any scripture that supports the concept that the zodiac Virgo refers to Mary and subsequently to Jesus Christ. The same is true for any assumptions that there is a relationship between the twelve sons of Jacob and the zodiac signs. Such assumptions  are just plausible creativity which cannot be supported by scripture.

Astrology Is Condemned

While astronomy is the natural science related to the study of the stars, astrology is divination of the stars for the purpose of determining future human affairs and terrestrial events. The current interpretations of the meanings of the zodiac as given by both ancient and modern astrologers must be rejected since God rejects astrology and those who practice it.  For example, Isaiah 47:13 refers to astrologers.

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.
Isaiah 47:13 (NASB)

Then in the verses 14-15 God condemns them.

Behold, they have become like stubble,
Fire burns them;
They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame;
There will be no coal to warm by
Nor a fire to sit before!
So, have those become to you with whom you have labored,
Who have trafficked with you from your youth;
Each has wandered in his own way;
There is none to save you.
Isaiah 47:13-15 (NASB)

In Deuteronomy God provides the principle that astrologers are to be avoided.

When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to   imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you.  You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 18:9-13 (NASB)

And beware not to 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. Deuteronomy 4:19 (NASB)

It should be noted that Jeremiah 10:2 refers to worship of the stars in the heavens by the nations of the world. Then the following verses states that they worship idols. That is, God warns the Israelites to not follow the habits and customs of the nations surrounding them.

Further the book of Daniel provides evidence that astrologers are frauds and do not have any insight into the future. For example, Daniel 2 gives an account of wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners who tried to interpret the dream of a king but they could not. But a prophet named Daniel was able to give the correct interpretation.

Conclusion:

Human astrology is to be avoided by Christians and non-Christians. The meanings assigned to the zodiac are simply the product of the astrologers’ creativity. There is no biblical support for any interpretation of the zodiac, contrary to that postulated by some well-intentioned Christian writers. Any form of astrology is to be avoided.

References:

[1] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 498.

[2] Willem A. VanGemeren. International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis. Zondervan Publishing. 1997, vol. 2, p. 612.

[3] Aleta John. Bible Astronomy. Publisher unknown. 1974.. Forward and Acknowledgments.

[4] James Kennedy. The Real Meaning of the Zodiac. Coral Ridge Ministries. 1989., pp. 125-126.

[5] Aleta John. Ibid. p. 8. and James Kenney, Ibid. p. 20.

[6] Zodiac Signs Virgo Sun Sign. September 25, 2017. (www.astrology.com/article/zodiac-signs-virgo-sun-sign.html)

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