Message from Rev. Thornley
2 Timothy 4:3, NIV: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
What is a star worshipper? It is anyone who dabbles in the world of astrology under the guidance of an astrological priest or priestess. In other words those who are into star signs and horoscopes. Some may ask how can that be seen as worship? It is quite simple really because astrological prediction falls into the realm of religion. Astrologers, those who cast the so called horoscope, will vehemently deny this and say it has nothing to do with religion. The Oxford Dictionary defines religion as – system of faith and worship – human recognition of superhuman controlling power – effect of this on conduct – conversion to such beliefs. The person who casts the horoscope, the astrologer, is in effect the “priest” standing between the people and the stars interpreting what they are suppose to be saying. The daily horoscope readings in newspapers and magazines are much like tracts for “faith” for daily living only the “faith” here is empty. The moment one acknowledges a supernatural power outside of oneself, seemingly having some control over ones life, that is a form of religion. One might say that Christian worship is submission to God through Jesus. For the horoscope reader it is submission to the stars through the astrologer. All this applies equally to lucky charms, four leaf clovers, horse shoes, the traditional rabbits foot or any other item considered item to be “lucky.” Think of the saying “thank your lucky stars” it comes from astrology. Whatever these things mean – there is no doubt that it is submission to powers other than to God.
So what is astrology? Today astrology is seen as a pseudo science and is often called the pseudo sister of astronomy. The two should not be confused. Astronomy, not astrology, is a legitimate science. Astrology had its beginnings some 5000 years ago in ancient Babylon which is modern day Iraq. It started out as a science with people observing the movement of the heavenly bodies and also noting the changes in the seasons. From the moon they began calculating the weeks and months and began to believe that these bodies must have some influence on human lives. Later the sun, moon and the five known planets became seen as deities each owning a piece of the heavens. These became known as houses which later became the signs of the Zodiac. The word Zodiac comes from the Greek word ZODIAKOS which means pertaining to animals. The Zodiac is really an imaginary belt circling the earth. If one was in space and looked back at the earth it would not be seen because the star patterns would be different. The star signs are made up from the patterns of stars as viewed from earth with the naked eye. The modern telescope disrupts these signs with stars which were not seen before and in effect these patterns no longer exist. A man asked his friend, “What is your star sign? He answered, “Dinosaur.” “Dinosaur! But that doesn’t exist.” “Neither do the others,’’ said his friend. In early astrology all predictions were made with the idea that the earth was the centre of the solar system and predictions are made in much he same way today from a geocentric point of view. We in fact live in a heliocentric system – everything revolves around the sun. It is interesting to note that since those far off days several new planets have been discovered and they are not taken into account. Uranus 1781, Neptune 1845, Pluto 1930 and there have been many more since then. Astrology is a total contradiction of common sense. It is absurd to believe that man who is the most intelligent creature on the planet could be controlled by something less significant than himself. What does the Psalmist say of him? Psalm 8:4. What are human beings, that you think of them; mere mortals, that you care for them? Yet you made them inferior only to yourself; you crowned them with glory and honor. You appointed them rulers over everything you made; you placed them over all creation: sheep and cattle, and the wild animals too; the birds and the fish and the creatures in the seas. O Lord, our Lord, your greatness is seen in all the world! Astrology pictures man as a plaything of the stars which rule over every facet of his life. Can one really believe that inanimate objects like rocks, planets and stars can really control ones personal destiny? Just imagine a prayer to these astral deities. “Our volcanic fathers who are in the heavens, your conflicting wills be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
What does the Bible say? Astrologers say that God gave the heavenly bodies as signs. That’s true but not the signs they’re thinking of. Genesis 1:14. And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night and them serve as signs – to mark the seasons, days and years!” These are the signs God has created, not signs controlling your future or destiny. If we have any doubt we can cross reference Genesis 4:19 with Deuteronomy 4:15 -19. In this latter book, chapter 4 :15, we see that the writer is talking about idolatry. Verse 15 You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 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. If we look to the astrologer and the horoscope to determine one’s future then we are into astro worship and idolatory. One does not have to sing hymns or wave hands about to worship. Worship is within oneself and if we acknowledge that these lumps of rock, the planets and balls of fire have some power over us then we are bowing down to powers that are not of God and that is idolatry. Someone said to me “The universe has been good to me.” The universe can do nothing for you but the One who created the universe can do everything for you according to His will. Paul in his letter to the Romans 1:25 writes, “They exchange the truth about God for a lie – they worship and serve what God has created instead of the Creator Himself who is to be praised forever. Amen. Trying to read the stars scattered about the sky is no different to the sangoma or witchdoctor scattering bones on a mat trying to determine ones destiny. Several years ago a white man in KZN qualified as a sangoma and instead of bones he used astrology or the signs of the Zodiac to determine a persons needs. The black sangomas were most impressed and said he is a true sangoma – we use bones he uses the stars. The clearest word comes from the great prophet Isaiah. He was writing at a time when the Jewish people were in captivity in Babylon – the very heart of astrological superstition. They were being enticed into idolatry through astrological worship, sorcery and magic incantations and had turned away from God. Isaiah 47: 12-15 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror.13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out. Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. 14 Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. These are not coals for warmth; this is not a fire to sit by. 15 That is all they are to you—these you have dealt with and labored with since childhood. All of them go on in their error; there is not one that can save you. There is no fellowship or salvation here. As we begin moving toward the New Year, which will be with us soon enough, many will begin looking to horoscopes, astrologers and fortune tellers to try and find out what the future holds for them. In Isaiah 8:19 we read, “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists who whisper and mutter – should not a people enquire of their God? These people have nothing to offer but false doctrine. There is no salvation to be found here. Our future, yet unknown, lies firmly in the hands of God. Therefore, take to heart Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him And He shall direct your paths. I close with these words by Albert B Smith.
I know who holds the future , And I know he holds my hand; With God things don’t just happen ev’rything by Him is planned. So as I face tomorrow with its problems large and small, I’ll trust the God of miracles, Give to Him my all!
Rev Ralph R. Thornley.