GOOD SHEPHERD CHURCH SEMINARY
ASTROLOGY AND THE BIBLE
SIGNS IN THE STARS
Objectives; By the end of this Module you should;
- Know about the Star of Bethlehem
- Have knowledge about Jesus' preaching about the stars
- Be able to discuss references to stars in the Old Testament
- Have knowledge about prophecy in the Book of Revelation
- Be able to speak with knowledge about the science of the stars
1. Signs in the stars
2. Star of Bethlehem
3. Bright Morning Star
4. Star of rephan
5. Why are stars so important?
6. A Star will rise out of Israel
1. SIGNS IN THE STARS
Jesus spoke of the science of signs in the stars when He preached that there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.
He has foretold that a time will come when nations will be in turmoil, and will suffer anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea [Luke 21;25].
In current times, some are hesitant about the science of the stars.
It is important to know that the Bible is filled with references to astrology.
The study of the stars was a respected and widely practised discipline in Bible times.
God created stars - whirling pools of hydrogen, helium gas and mystery - and wove into them the ability to be used as portents of prophecy and signs of the impending Kingdom of God.
Jesus went on to explain that after the signs in nature, the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of Heaven will be shaken [Mark 13;25].
Then the Son of Man will come in a cloud with power and great glory [Luke 21;25-27].
Jesus thus points to the science of the stars as a testimony and sign in the sky of His Final Coming as Emperor of All.
This will be the time of the great Judgement of lucifer and his followers, who will then be finally banished from the realms of the just.
Their final banishment will ensure they will never again be able to weave terror, deceit, sin or heartbreak again.
Their choice in rejecting relationship with God - after many centuries of God giving chance after chance for reconciliation - will be formally ratified.
The Grace of God will be removed from them forever.
It is a tragic story of a Father's love for His own, who rejected Him; and Who at last is forced to accept the decision as irrevocable.
2. STAR OF BETHLEHEM
The Star of Bethlehem was a sign from God signaling the Birth of His Son as gift to earth.
The three Magi, Persian Astrologer-kings, were able to read the portents regarding the coming Birth of the Messiah from this same star.
In AD 1600, Johannes Kepler believed that this star was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which occurred at the end of Pisces.
Jupiter is the planet of kings, and Saturn is the planet that rules the Jewish people.
Thus the sign of the star gives us the King of the Jews.
This conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is most infrequent, and occurred in 7 BC - the time when it is thought Jesus was actually born.
3. BRIGHT MORNING STAR
Jesus Himself in the vision to John tells us that one of His names of honour is that of Morning Star.
The stars - such a sign of portent and mystery in the sky - figure as a symbol of the Messiah.
'I, Jesus, have sent you my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendent of David, the bright Morning Star. [Revelation 22;16].
The sign of Jesus Christ being born to a woman from earth is also to be read in the Book of Revelation. This sign symbolises the great war that Jesus Christ's birth began on earth - that of beginning the great push back against the rule satan had instituted upon earth.
'And a great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant, and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven; an enormous great dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who 'will rule the nations with an iron scepter'. And her child was snatched up to God and His Throne.' [Revelation 12; 1 - 5].
The woman is popularly held in this vision to be Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
The symbolic vision speaks of the events that occurred to threaten Jesus' life at His birth.
His Mother - the luminous Mary - carries a crown of twelve stars.
She is honoured as the Mother of the Stars.
In the Bible, stars often symbolise created beings of God.
The twelve stars around the Mother's head in the Revelation vision are held to symbolise the twelve disciples, the leadership of the Church.
Mary thus symbolises - in this vision - the Ark of the Covenant.
The unborn Child preparing for birth within Her is God Incarnated as human.
Mary is the symbol of the Church of God upon earth; the Sanctuary within whom God dwells - led by the twelve stars of leadership.
This vision discussed in Revelation is both deeply spiritual and meaningful.
The dragon is lucifer, or satan - the fallen angel.
This created being was thrown out of heaven after his bid to usurp the Throne and Kingdom of God.
It is believed that the vision shows a full third of the angels had joined his revolt and were thrown out of heaven with him.
When lucifer fell to earth, he apparently decided that if he couldn't be master in heaven, then he would be master of those he had tricked out of their favoured relationship with God by a lie.
So - assisted by his fellow revolutionaries, the stars dragged to earth who became demonic beings - he set up a kingdom and rulership upon earth.
This had disastrous consequences.
It is worthwhile noting that at times people blame God for tragic occurrences upon our planet.
It must be remembered that humanity's ancestors turned away from God and His original plan for us.
God did not initiate the severence in the loving relationship.
It would be correct to realise that it is indeed lucifer and his fallen stars who originates much of the discord upon earth.
4. STAR OF REPHAN
Stephen spoke of the star of rephan, another name for moloch or baal.
This being is understood to be a fallen angelic spirit..
Children were burned alive to this image.
When Stephen was speaking in his defence prior to his execution, he made reference to the words of the Prophet Amos who had spoken of this form of worship.
'You took up the tent of moloch, and the star of your god rephan, the images that you were made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.'[Amos 5;26/ Acts 7;43].
Thus star gods were made and worshipped in place of the true worship of God, the Bright Morning Star.
Jesus identified Himself as the Morning Star.
Satan is also known as the morning star.
He was apparently the most beautiful and powerful creation by God, the highest among the hierarchy of angels ever created.
This immense being given untold abilities by God and was known by the phrase of honour 'the morning star'.
The Prophet Isaiah attest to this in his divinely inspired vision and words,
'How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!' [Isaiah 14;12].
Isaiah was referring to satan as the morning star, and to his fall from heaven.
Satan, one of the most powerful of God's angels was a bright morning star before his turn to evil.
He is - to his rage and continual anger - a created being from the Most High God, emphatically not the Most High God Himself.
Jesus the Lord, the original Morning Star and Light of the World, is self-existent in His Divine Form before all time.
So; the Morning Star in his Divinity created the morning star from the boundless limits of His Love.
The tragedy is, the fallen morning star has lost all glory, and has now become demonic; the most pitiable - yet dangerous - of beings.
5. WHY ARE STARS SO IMPORTANT?
In Old Testament times, travellers received their guidance for travel - especially by sea - by using their knowledge of the stars.
The reason for this is because the stars are constant.
Navigators tell us that there is one star in the night sky which does not appear to move.
This is the North Star, or Polaris.
This star is of significance in plotting travel when using the stars for guidance.
Stars, their constellations and behaviours were essential in moving safely from region to region, from sea to port.
Stars and their science were deeply respected in Biblical times.
Stars are also a great comfort to us.
Whether our lives are stormy, peaceful, going through change or settled into a routine, the one great given is that we can go out into the night and see the peaceful constancy of the stars God made.
Stars are a symbol of our lives.
Peaceful and twinkling from a distance, appearing small in stature, they are in reality exploding masses of vibrant energy with a dynamic future.
Stars are formed in nebulae, interstellar clouds of dust and gas [mostly hydrogen].
These stellar nurseries are abundant in the arms of spiral galaxies.
The stars undergo gravitational collapse and compress to form a rotating gas globule.
This globule is then cooled by emitting radio waves and infrared radiation.
It is compressed by gravitational forces and also by shock waves of pressure from supernova.
Further developments occur, with a star living for billions of years.
This process is symbolic of our lives.
We are born, wondrous creations and live within the nursery of the arms of carers.
We undergo growths, pressures and experience both outward and inner forces that necessitate change. Further developments occur, and we become mature; then age.
And then the wonder of God's Plan for us unfurls.
We transform into another life form - an eternal life form- and are given the option of accepting eternal honour as the son or daughter of God. The destiny put before us is to be one of the stars of His firmament within the heavens.
As the spirits of angels sang with joy at the creation,
'When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God [the angels] shouted for joy ...'
so we too have been invited to be a star and an heir of God.
6. A STAR WILL RISE OUT OF ISRAEL
Jesus the Lord was prophesied as the Star which would rise out of Israel.
'I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near. A Star will come out of Jacob, a Scepter will rise out of Israel.' [Numbers 24;17].
That Star has arisen, and we are in the process of becoming stars through the honour of His Birth, Passion, Death and Resurrection for us.
At times people are concerned whether they should use divination, be ruled by the planets, and make all decisions according to zodiac signs.
All decisions are safely carried out through turning to the Divine in prayer.
God is the Ruler of the Universe; all is known to Him and cared for by Him.
Problems can be taken to Him; He will listen.
There is great beauty in God's creation, and His planets, stars and constellations form part of that wondrous tapestry.
However, they are His creation. Not our creators.
There is no doubt from what we have explored in the above Biblical texts that stars and constellations are used by God in giving signs to us.
There is also no doubt that they are but signs, not God Himself.
So, it is best when we are seeking guidance and leadership to turn to the Source of Grace, the Source of Knowledge; God.
Let us put our trust in the Lord; and communicate with Him regarding our needs, dilemmas and future by the means of prayer.
Each of us has been given a unique gift of spirituality and wisdom in our souls.
Let us not give this gift away, but nurture it through prayer and relationship with the Divine.
Then in eternity we, too, shall shine like stars before the Star Who rose out of Israel.
'Those who were wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.' [Daniel 12;3].
Image by Rev Catherine