Astrology has been around for centuries, many looking to the interpretation of the stars for answers to themselves, others, and future events. The Bible has much to say about the stars which are God’s handiwork.
What does the Bible say about astrology? The Bible shows God does not want us to participate in astrology. It’s considered a form of divination that is forbidden in Scripture. God commands the Israelites to not worship the stars in 2 Kings 17:6. Each time they worshipped the stars, judgment followed. Further examples can be found in Isaiah 47:12-15, Jeremiah 14:4, and Leviticus 19:26,31
We can see God’s power and majesty through his creation. But that does not mean we are to look to them as our guild; we are to look to the Word of God for wisdom and direction.
To look further into what the Bible says about astrology, we must first know the definition of it. Then we can have a better idea of what we’re talking about.
What Is Astrology?
Astrology is the study of the heavens (sun, moon, planets) 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.
For thousands of years, humans have been looking to the natural world for answers. Astrology is looking to the stars to give an explanation to questions, and interpretation or meaning of oneself and future events.
The basic idea of astrology is to try and predict future events through distant stars and heavenly bodies.
Astrologist and director of Citizen Science at the NASA Space Science Education Consortium says,
We don’t really know who first came up with the idea for looking at things in nature and divining influences on humans. There’s some indication that cave art shows this idea that animals and things can be imbued with some kind of spirit form that then has an influence on you, and if you appease that spirit form, then you will have a successful hunt.
That was taken over by the idea of divination, where you can actually look at things in nature and study them carefully, such as tea-leaf reading.Astronomer Sten Odenwald
As Christians, to what point should we stop ourselves from looking too far into astrology? Is it wrong to look into it even if you don’t feel like you’re a full on astrologist yourself?
Let’s look to the Word of God to find out.
The Bible Uses the Word Divination
When the Bible talks about those practicing foretelling future events and discovering things secret or obscure by the aid of superior beings (other than God), or by other than human means (like the stars), it most often uses the word, divination.
Astrology is specifically studying the position of the stars to interpret as humans aid in discovering one’s self and/or future events of self or others. Divination includes other things beyond astrology, as well as includes astrology itself.
Astrology is a divination art that teaches that the relative positioning in the sky of the Sun, Moon, and planets has an influence upon individuals and upon the course of human affairs.
Astrology is included in the practice of divination. Other forms of astrology, say that the stars manifest the divine will of a god or gods while others rely on a view of a mechanistic universe.
What the Bible Says About Astrology/Divination
In the first mentions of astrologers in the Bible, God is speaking to the people of ancient pagan Babylon. Middle east archaeology says this is where astrology first originated in the nation of Babylon (now called the country of Iraq).
Back then they used cuneiform tablets to keep to depict horoscope charts from the 5th Century BC and earlier.
To see what the Bible says about zodiac signs click here.
Old Testament Passages About Astrology
One of the first direct mention of practicers of astrology in the Bible is found in Isaiah 47:12-15.
Babylon’s Struggles With Astrology
This chapter in Isaiah is talking about how Babylon was brought low, why they were brought low, and how not even the powerful astrologists and sorceries could save them.
You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you.Isaiah 47:13
A challenge was given to the astrologers, but not even they could save the Babylon people.
But before we get into this challenge, I’ll give you a little background of what was happening in the previous verses.
- The first few verses in this chapter have Babylon referred to as a woman. Isaiah pictures proud Babylon as a humiliated woman, who “shall no more be called tender and delicate.”
- God, the Redeemer, and the Holy One of Israel explains why he is angry with them. The fear of the Lord is placed in the heart of prophet Isaiah and he sees that God will take vengeance on this enemy of God’s people.
- Babylon thought that she conquered Judah and Jerusalem through their own power. But Babylon didn’t see that they conquered them because God was angry with His people, and only used Babylon as an instrument of His work. God says, “You didn’t know that I had given them into your hand.”
- Babylon was blind in their actions and way of life, and now Babylon is shown to be proud — taking credit for what God allowed. When Babylon should have shown mercy to God’s people, they continued to harm them.
- For all these reasons, God promised to humble Babylon. Babylon was rebuked for their pride and arrogance. The Lord reminds them that he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.
A challenge was then given to the stargazers and sorcerers of Babylon.
Stand now with your enchantments, And the multitude of your sorceries, In which you have labored from your youth—Perhaps you will be able to profit, Perhaps you will prevail. You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, And the monthly prognosticators. Stand up and save you from what shall come upon you.
Behold, they shall be as stubble, The fire shall burn them; They shall not deliver themselves. From the power of the flame; It shall not be a coal to be warmed by, Nor a fire to sit before! Thus shall they be to you. With whom you have labored,
Your merchants from your youth; They shall wander each one to his quarter. No one shall save you.Isiah 47:12-15
God challenged the sorcerers of Babylon to save the people from His judgment. After all, if they had real spiritual power, they should be able to. Instead, their weakness in the face of God’s judgment would be exposed.
But not only could the sorcerers of Babylon not deliver others from God’s judgment, but they also couldn’t even deliver themselves. The fire of judgment would come upon them.
False religion may seem to offer the warmth of ‘helpfulness’, but it is not a fire to sit by, rather a fire which will burn up, a furnace of destruction. (Motyer)
The end of this portion of Scriptures says, no one shall save you. This is true for all who will not find their salvation in the Lord; if you will not look to him to be saved, then certainly no one shall save you.
Though astrologists and sorceries may have power, they have nothing in comparison to the Lord of Hosts who will judge all people according to what they have done. This is a scary thought because all have done wrong in the sight of the Lord. But this is why Jesus came to be a human sacrifice for the propitiation of our sins.
And Jesus is an example of how we should live, and what we should stay away from.
God’s chosen people, the Israelites were called to live in a way that reflected the Lord.
Back when the Israelites were going into the land God was leading them to, they were surrounded by pagans and pagan practices. Divination is what the pagans used to have in communication with their gods. God said this is something that has nothing to do with me, it only leads to you believing and honoring these false gods.
In the book of Leviticus, laws were given to call the Israelites to holiness.
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.Leviticus 19:1-2
The idea behind the word holy is “separate.” As it is applied to God, it describes God’s apartness. This means that God is different than man and from all others. He is different in His being and different in the greatness and majesty of His attributes.
He has righteousness unlike any other; a justice unlike any other; a purity unlike any other – and love, grace, and mercy unlike any other.
Because humans are made in the image of God, they can follow in His steps and also be holy. In this context, Israel was to be different, separate from the nations, the peoples, around them.
Laws were in place to insure separation from pagan practices.
You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying… Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.Leviticus 19:26, 31
A soothsayer “has reference to astrological-type divination, predicting the future or seeking guidance through the stars, planets, clouds, or weather.”
This is also considered a “prognostication of favorable times for specific forms of action.” This was predicting lucky days or favorable times as an astrologer or others might do.
Pagans often employed divination and sorcery to try to determine what events would soon transpire. Divination and sorcery were widespread in the ancient Near East, particularly in Mesopotamia and Egypt.Rooker
In today’s world, astrologers and those seeking horoscopes often consider themselves spiritual people or even those who might be on their path to God. But this is causing them to go in the opposite direction.
God gave a command to reject all the occult practices of the Canaanites.
When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.Deuteronomy 18:9-12
The Enduring Word Commentary explains this passage a little further:
- You shall not learn: God knows that many people have a natural curiosity regarding the occult, and that curiosity often leads them to gain knowledge God commands them to leave alone.
- Anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire: This refers to the debased worship of the Canaanite god Molech, to whom children were sacrificed by burning.
- Or one who practices witchcraft: The word witchcraft here seems to be a broad word, describing a variety of occult activities. Basically, anything that makes contact with the demonic or dark spiritual world.
God took sorcery and the practice of witchcraft very seriously saying that those who were sorceress should be put to death.
“You shall not permit a sorceress to live.Exodus 22:18
Even though God hated this, some still indulged in these practices.
In Jeremiah, it talked of false prophets who practiced divination.
And the Lord said to me: ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them.’ They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.Jeremiah 14:14
Practicing divination was done by some of the Israelites who struggled with this sin. It is noted as one of the reasons for Israel’s exile.
They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.2 Kings 17:17
The Book of Micah
The book of Micah anticipates a future time (one that was already partially fulfilled in the Babylonian exile and return)but fulfilled ultimately in the Great Tribulation and restoration of Israel.
In Micah’s prophesies, he used the Assyrians as an example of any pagan nation or empire against God’s people. Though the enemies of God’s people would come against them, under God’s blessing leaders will raise against them.
Micah announces that Israel will be humbled by foreign powers, and “even her judges will bear insults.”
God said he would cut off your strongholds… your sorceries… your carved images… your sacred pillars (Micah 7:10-15).
And I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more tellers of fortunes;Micah 5:12
Once Zion is restored, the Lord will not allow any of the idolatries Israel once indulged in. Instead, He will cut off all of those things which are intrinsically evil (sorceries and sacred pillars).
God explains that these future nations will need to walk in purity before him. “I will execute vengeance… on the nations that have not heard (v 15).
The book of Micah predicts the coming time where Jesus will become a man, born as a baby in Bethlehem. It says that God would raise up a great Ruler (Jesus in the flesh) from a humble place – Bethlehem and that those who follow him would be expected to walk in purity.
Even though many disobeyed God in the Old Testament time, some were still faithful to Him and chose to follow God despite the people around them.
The Book of Daniel
Daniel and his friends were known for following God and being friends of God.
There is a specific event in the book of Daniel and life of Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, where the king is disturbed from a dream that he had.
Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.Daniel 2:2
He sought all of the highest sorcerers and astrologists, anyone to interpret his dream, but they all said that none could.
Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation.Daniel 4:7
Surprisingly, none could interpret his dream so he called Daniel and with God’s help, he was able to tell the King exactly what went on with the meaning behind it.
The Kings dream:
- Featured a huge statue of a man
- Its head was “made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly, and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay” (Daniel 2:32-33).
- Then a rock-cut “not by human hands” (Daniel 2:34) hit the foot of the statue, and the whole image “became like chaff on a threshing floor,” while the rock “became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).
Daniel’s interpretation (given to him by God):
- The statue represents a series of kingdoms, each less glorious than the one before, as indicated by the decreasing value of the metals.
- Daniel identifies Nebuchadnezzar as the head of gold, stating that God had given Nebuchadnezzar much power (Daniel 2:37-38).
- The next kingdom to arise will be inferior to Babylon, as will the next. “Finally, there will come a fourth kingdom, strong as iron. . . . It will crush and break all the others” (Daniel 2:40).
- Finally, the feet of mixed clay and iron “will be a divided kingdom” (Daniel 2:41). During the time of this final world empire, the “rock” will smash them all to bits, a prediction that “God . . . will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44). All previous earthly kingdoms will be brought to an end.
He realized the sin of Israel and sought mercy.
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying,
“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules… All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice.Daniel 9:3-5
These previous passages showed God’s power over the astrologist’s power, and how God did not want the King to consult these people. God himself would provide clarity and answers instead.
The Tower of Babel
Christians have different ideas as to why they believe that the Tower of Babel in the Old Testament was being built. Some believe that the people were building a tower for the purpose of worshipping the heavens.
This would mean that the people were practicing the art of astrology rather than worshipping God.
Others believe that the process of building was for protection from another flood, or to be build to be tall enough to reach God. Others believe it was built because the people were wanting to make a name for themselves; for their own fame and glory.
And they said, Come, let us build a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.Genesis 11:4
What we do know is they wanted one government to rule over all, and God did not want that. If it had anything to do with worshipping the heavens or stars, I’m not sure.
The Tower symbolized their own efforts to settle a land rather than to fill the earth as was God’s command.
New Testament Passages About Astrology
There is much in the New Testament about not going back to previous sins, and looking to the Lord for wisdom, not other things. We see in Acts a story of a girl who was possessed by a demon or several demons.
The Demon Possessed Girl
A slave girl was practicing fortune-telling for the people who owned her, making them money.
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.
She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days.
Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.Acts 16:16-24
We can see she was able to do this because the demons gave her supernatural insight into the lives of others.
“Today, much of what fortune-tellers and psychics do is only a money-making sham. But when it is true and has a supernatural origin (as opposed to clever, insightful guessing), there is no doubt that it is inspired by demons” (Enduring Word Commentary).
This girl searched for Paul and followed him. She shared her testimony of what the demons were doing through her. Paul cast the demon out, and she was healed.
Saul Consulted a Medium
In 1 Chronicles it explains why God turned the Kingdom over from King Saul to David.
So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.1 Chronicles 10:13-14
The Bible says it was a spiritual reason why he was disobedient to the Father. It was his unfaithfulness to the Lord. He consulted a medium for guidance, not the Lord.
When a human being is called of God to service, there is always given to that one the guidance of God, in direct spiritual communication. If there be disobedience, this guidance is necessarily withdrawn.
Then, the forsaken man or woman, craving for supernatural aid, turns to sorcery, witchcraft, spiritism; and the issue is always destructive.Morgan – Enduring Word Commentary
Believers Struggling in Sin
In Acts further down from the passage of the slave girl, some believers struggled with the sin of practicing magic. God commanded they get rid of and burn anything that might have anything to do with this.
Also, many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.
And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.Acts 19:18-20
Some believe what they did was in secret, so it was crucial they came confessing and telling their deeds.
These books and scrolls full of magic charms, amulets and incantations were well known in Ephesus, and they were valuable.
The value of fifty thousand pieces of silver today has been estimated at anywhere between $1 million and $5 million.
If one is involved in any of these practices, Christians must do this also today, removing books, images, computer files, statues, charms, games, or whatever else might have connection with demonic spirits.
They should also destroy them so they are of no use to others.
The end of this passage says,”The word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.” This shows that the end result was worth coming forth. The work in Ephesus and the region of Roman Asia moved on from this, and continued in ministry in a remarkable way.
Paul Cautions Believers
Paul talks about what the “works of the flesh” are. And warns us not to do these things.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.Galatians 5:19-21
We must know now what to stay away from because what might seem innocent or good may do us more harm than not. Paul warns Christians that Satan himself disguises himself as light.
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.2 Corinthians 11:14-15
In 2 Corinthians 33 it talks about those who were using fortune-telling and sorcery, and were considered evil in the sight of the Lord.
And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.2 Corinthians 33:6
Over and over, throughout the whole Bible God is clear that doing these things, and using resources such as fortune-telling, and sorcery is considered evil in the eyes of God.
Still, people have questions and want to know to what extent we shouldn’t involve ourselves.
How Stars Were Used To Lead People In Scripture
The pagan king’s new astrology (what was considered medicine at the time) considered the wise people who would give counsel to the kings or rulers.
They had studied the movement of the stars (they didn’t know about planets back then). They thought the movement of the planets in a regular pattern, had a meaning.
They thought they were either the gods or homes of gods. They would start noticing certain patterns and believe something was happening, telling the king.
God used the Magi’s, who were probably Persians when God directed them to where Jesus was born. God used the Magi’s in one particular instance where they were interested in watching the skies. God gave them a sign to draw them to Jesus.
This star, that appeared out of nowhere, named Shekinah meaning the Glory of God first drew them to Herod, and then straight to where Jesus was.
The star “rested over the dwelling place of Jesus.” The glory of God was resting over the Temple in the Old Testament and in the New, it says that Jesus came to the Tabernacle among us (1 John 1).
They worshipped Jesus and in Matthew, the whole book is talking about bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, says that they worshipped God when this happened.
The Magi’s weren’t using astrology (interpreting anything) in this instance, they were following a supernatural light that lead them to Jesus.
Why God Doesn’t Want Us Involved In Astrology
The Bible is clear that the practices of astrology/divination, magic, sorcery, and fore-telling, are considered evil displeasing the Lord. The Bible says to stay or turn away from every evil thing that could entrain us.
Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.1 Peter 3:18
We should not be imitators of evil, but of good.
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.3 John 1:11
God does not delight in evil.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.Psalms 5:4
We are to bring to light the “unfruitful works of darkness.”
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.Ephesians 5:11
We also are to know that the whole world (those not in Christ) are currently in the power of the evil one.
We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.1 John 5:19
Because of this, we should expect that others would be involved in these things or other evil things.
But followers of Jesus are not of this world. We are to hold fast to what is good.
Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.Romans 12:9
God created us to have passions and a purpose. He wants to give us answers to life’s questions. Not from the heavens, stars, planets, or people’s interpretation of them, but from His Word directly.
When it comes to identity and understanding ourselves, we must go to Scripture. If we know the Bible and God’s redemptive plan for humanity, everything makes more sense.
Our eyes are opened to the reality of human sinfulness, God’s holiness, and the victory that Christ can bring us right now.
We can know that we are nothing apart from God.
To the world, this sounds crazy and even inhumane because we want to think of ourselves as people with the ability to do and tap into anything. And with the enemy, there is power to a certain degree.
That doesn’t last long and is only for this earth. By serving anything but God, only leads to harming oneself more.
When we are in the Word and know that God is the one who can bring us true indescribable peace, the Lord transforms how we see the world. When we begin to understand our Creator more, it is only then we can understand ourselves and others more.
Seek Wisdom From God
As we see from the book of Daniel where it references astrologers serving at the court of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:27, 4:7), the royal astrologers of the Babylonian court put to shame by God’s prophet Daniel (Daniel 1:20) and were powerless to interpret the king’s dream (Daniel 2:27).
God forbade the children of Israel to worship or serve the “host of heaven” (Deuteronomy 4:19). And when they did, their worship of the stars brought God’s judgment every time.
In the New Testament Passages, Paul refers back to Old Testament Scriptures where he confirmed that men of God were displeasing the Lord when involved with these things.
Scripture declares we should only seek God for guidance in our lives. We shouldn’t turn to astrology.
When it comes to humans having the desire to gain wisdom, we must go to the Lord, the Creator of all.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.James 1:5
God promises that he will give it to you. We must remember that the Lord of the heavens and earth is way more powerful, and wise, with all authority than people’s interpretation of the placement of the stars.
Through the Bible, and Spirit of the Lord, He will teach us where we should go.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…John 16:13
As Christians, and as crazy as it sounds, we are called to die to ourselves. Our old self is crucified in Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
With astrology, you’re turning to creation (the sun, moon, and stars) rather than the creator (God) to be your guild.
God promises He will guild you. We are to simply submit to the authority of God, resisting the devil who tries to disguise himself, and he will flee from you.