You may come across articles like this one by Steven Hall, who wrote that, “Libra is also the symbol of justice for all, so even in this one event celebrated by Christians and non-Christians everywhere, there’s a lot of astrological association to the birth of Christ, which also came long before King James decided to pull letters together and call it “the holy book.” 1https://www.yourtango.com/2019325890/12-zodiac-signs-where-find-each-bible-scriptures
Without understanding how we got the Bible (hint, it wasn’t via King James), or what it says, we can be easily deceived. It’s also important to know what the early church fathers believed. These were leaders and pastors who lived in the first and second centuries AD and were trained by or knew those who were taught by the original disciples of Jesus.
In the Bible we see references like Job 38:31-32, “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?” The Mazzaroth is the 12 signs of the Zodiac and their 36 associated constellations. In the Gospels we see where the Magi read the signs to learn about the Messiah’s birth and located Jesus.
In Hall’s article he also stated, “The three magi mentioned in the discovery of the Christ child is an easy point of reference for people who are familiar with both astrology and the Bible. They were not only magi, but star-gazers who were well-versed in astrology and used the ‘night star,’ foretelling of the birth of Christ to find his exact location.”
So how does one reconcile biblical references to what appears to be astrology with clear its prohibition of such practices (Deut 18:10-14) ?2There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, anyone who practices divination, an omen reader, a soothsayer, a sorcerer, one who casts spells, one who conjures up spirits, a practitioner of the occult, or a necromancer. Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the LORD and because of these detestable things the LORD your God is about to drive them out from before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. Those nations that you are about to dispossess listen to omen readers and diviners, but the LORD your God has not given you permission to do such things. Deu 18:10-14 NET
The fact of the matter is that God did indeed give the sun, moon and stars not just for a calendar but also for signs. The ancients understood this. This memory of how to read the signs in the heavens remained among the Hebrews for a long time. We see glimpses of it in the stories found in the Ancient Book of Jasher and Josephus.
Josephus records how seriously the ancient pre-flood believers took these signs in the heavens from God. He records the godly line of Seth created two large pillars or astrological observatories for the purpose of studying the stars and the signs. They also took steps to preserve this knowledge for future generations.
The church fathers realized the difference between looking for God’s signs in the heavens and Chaldean astrology.
“Astrology is idolatry, but the science of the Magi is different than pagan astrology.” Tertullian, Idolatry 1.9
In his book, The Pre-Flood Origins of Astrology, Dr. Ken Johnson explains how the science of the Magi is not the same as pagan astrology, as Steven Hall claims in his article cited above.
Science of the Magi
The prophet Isaiah predicted that Gentile kings would come and offer Christ gold and frankincense. Matthew recorded the fulfillment of this prophecy.
“Nations come to your light, kings to your bright light. … Camel caravans will cover your roads, young camels from Midian and Ephah. All the merchants of Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing praises to the LORD.” Isaiah 60:3, 6
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem 2 saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'” 7 Then Herod privately summoned the wise men and determined from them when the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and look carefully for the child. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well.” Matthew 2:1-8
The Greek word translated here as “wise men” is “magos.” It originally meant astrologer or occultist, but later also came to mean a high-ranking official in the Persian court. These men followed a star which in some way led them to the infant Jesus.
After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back by another route to their own country. After they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to look for the child to kill him. Matthew 2:9-13
The ancient prophet Balaam, about 1440 BC, gave a prophecy that a star would mark the birth of the true ruler of Israel.
The oracle of the one who hears the words of God, and who knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, although falling flat on the ground with eyes open: ‘I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not close at hand. A star will march forth out of Jacob, and a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the skulls of Moab, and the heads of all the sons of Sheth. Numbers 22:16-17
History of the Persian Magi
Ancient church father Julius Africanus, who lived and wrote from AD 160-240, recorded the Magi’s own account of the star of Bethlehem and Christ’s birth. This account is found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 6, under Africanus – Existent Writings.
Julius wrote that Cyrus commanded a temple be built to Juno. In this temple were many idols of various gods and goddesses made out of gold and silver with all sorts of precious stones. This temple also contained a hall of records. These Persian historical public records revealed that the king woke one night from a strange dream.
He went to the temple of Juno to inquire of the priests there. In his dream, the idols in the temple were all arguing because the statue of the goddess Page was found wearing a diadem with a carbuncle and emerald on top. A star came down from heaven and rested on the two stones of the diadem for a time, then went further and seated itself on the underside of the diadem.
A voice from heaven spoke, saying, “The mighty Son will come to you and be born of you, He who created this world below and all things therein. He is the ‘beginning and the end,’ the beginning of salvation and the end of perdition.” Then the statue of the god Dionysus stated, “Our time is over. He who is before all things has come to the realm of men, and we are merely deceivers.” At once all the idols fell down and were no more.
The magi (wise men) who were skilled in astronomy and dream interpretation stated that the goddess Page was a queen worshiped in ancient times and was long since dead and buried, but she was also the personification of the constellation Virgo, the virgin.
The diadem, in the way it was described, represented the country of the Jews, for they are made of twelve tribes. The emerald and carbuncle were two of the precious stones found in the breastplate of the Jewish high priest’s ephod. They represented the tribes of Levi and Judah, which in turn were known to represent priesthood and kingship. The star coming down from the heavens is none other than the Deity Himself, the Creator of all things.
They then brought out an old scroll which contained a prophecy about the birth of a king marked by a new star.
Church father Origin, in Against Celsus 1:60, stated that the magi had a copy of the prophecy of Balaam, found in Numbers 24, about the star coming out of Jacob. It was given to them by the great sage Daniel after the time of Cyrus’ taking the kingdom. Origin also stated, in Against Celsus 1.58, that historical records indicated that the magi were not Chaldeans, but Persians.
The magi remarked that a star had just appeared. The advice the magi gave the king was to send a delegation to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, to inquire about the new virgin-born Jewish divine king. The king did exactly that. He sent a delegation of magi who had studied the Jewish religion and had come to believe in their sacred writings. The rest of what followed in the record is the magi’s own words as to what they found.
When we came to Jerusalem, the sign of the star, together with our arrival, roused all the people. They said, ‘Why are Persian wise men here and what is this strange stellar phenomenon?’
The chief of the Jews interrogated us by asking, ‘For what purpose have you come here?’ And we said, ‘Because He whom you call the Messiah has been born.’ They did not believe us but did not dare to accuse us of anything. But they said to us, ‘By the justice of Heaven, tell us what you know about this matter.’
We answered them, ‘You do not truly believe in Him nor would you believe us even if we swore an oath. You follow your own heedless counsel because the Christ, the Son of the Most High, is born, and He is the subverter of your law and synagogues. That is why you are acting like you have been stuck with a dart, and are bitter when you hear his name and see that we have suddenly come here because we truly do believe.’
Then they took counsel together, urged us to accept their gifts, and tell to no one that such an event had occurred in their land, because it may cause the people to revolt against them. But we replied, ‘We have brought gifts in His honor, with the view of proclaiming those mighty things which we have witnessed in our country on occasion of His birth; and you dare to bribe us to conceal the things which the Divinity who is above the heavens has communicated to us, and neglect the commandments of our proper King?’
And after reconsidering, they gave the matter up. And when the king of Judaea sent for us and put to us certain questions, we acted in the same manner, until he was thoroughly enraged at our replies.
We left him accordingly, without giving any greater heed to him than to any other common person. We came to that place then to which we were sent, and saw the mother and the child, the star indicating to us the royal babe. And we said to the mother, ‘What is your name, O renowned mother?’ And she said, ‘Mary, sirs.’ And we said to her, ‘Where are you from?’
And she replied, ‘From this district of the Bethlehemites.’ Then we said, ‘Do you have a husband?’ And she answered, ‘I was only betrothed, when a certain Sabbath dawned, at the rising of the sun, an angel appeared to me bringing me suddenly the glad tidings of a son. And in trouble I cried out, “Be it not so to me, Lord, for I have not a husband.” And he persuaded me to believe, that by the will of God I should have this son.’
Then said we to her, ‘Mother, mother, all the lords of the Persians have called you blessed. Your glory is great; for you are exalted above all women of renown, and you are shown to be more queenly than all queens’. The child was sitting on the ground, being, as she said, in His second year, and having in part the likeness of His mother. She had long hands, and a body somewhat delicate; and her color was like that of ripe wheat; and she had a round face, and had her hair bound up.
We brought along with us a servant who was a skillful painter, who painted a portrait of them both which we brought back with us and placed it in our temple. It is inscribed ‘To Jove the Sun, the mighty God, the King Jesus, the power of Persia dedicated this.’
And taking the child up, each of us in turn, and bearing Him in our arms, we saluted Him and worshiped Him, and presented to Him gold, myrrh, and frankincense, addressing Him thus, ‘We gift You with Your own, O Jesus, Ruler of heaven. In no other way would things unordered be ordered, were You not at hand. In no other way could things heavenly be brought into conjunction with things earthly, but by Your descent. Such service cannot be discharged, if only the servant is sent us, as when the Master Himself is present; neither can so much be achieved when the king sends only his satraps to war, as when the king is there himself. It became the wisdom of Your system, that You should deal in this manner with men.’
And the child leaped and laughed at our caresses and words. And when we had bidden the mother farewell, and when she had shown us honor, and we had testified to her the reverence which became us, we came again to the place in which we lodged. That evening there appeared to us one of a terrible and fearful countenance, saying: ‘Get out quickly, lest you be taken in a snare.’ And we in terror said, ‘Who, O divine leader, could plot against a so heavily armed envoy?’ And he replied, ‘Herod; but get up straightway and depart in safety and peace.’
So we immediately departed and brought back home this record of what had happened in Jerusalem, and of Christ our Savior, who was made known as both God and man. To Him be the glory and the power unto the ages of the ages. Amen.”
How the Science of the Magi is Supposed to Work
From the Magi’s own story and their account presented by Matthew, we learn that the star pattern we call Virgo and the Persians called Page represented a virgin. The constellation Coma, a decan of Virgo, represents the child born of the virgin.
So if the king had this dream and a star appeared in the constellation of Coma what would be the conclusion? A divine king has been born of a virgin. Looking to Israel based on the style of the crown, the precious stones, the prophecy of Balaam, and the teachings left by Daniel, who was called the master of the magicians (magi) in Daniel 4:9 and 5:11, would mean the Messiah has just been born in Israel! So we see that each constellation and star has a name and represents a specific thing.
A conjunction, comet, or supernova in that constellation would mean that a specific thing had just occurred. One day I hope to completely understand the science of the magi and write a book on it.
Tertullian, AD 190-210, stated, in Idolatry 1.9, that astrology is simply a form of idolatry, but he believed that the science of the magi was totally different from the pagan form of astrology.
Hippolytus, AD 170-236, wrote in his Refutation of all Heresies 4.48-49, that not only does Virgo and Coma represent Bible prophecies, but the constellations of Lyra, Corona, the big and little dippers, and other constellation have prophetic meanings as well. With this in mind, how did we get from a God-ordained pattern to communicate with us to a perverted form like Chaldean astrology? It all starts with the pre-flood pagan religious system.
We must realize that astrology is a demonic deception and be wise not to succumb to its grasp. The Bible in no way supports astrology. Moreover, the science of the Magi is in no way connected to modern astrology!