Biblical astrology

Together with Gen 1:14-16, the biblical basis for astronomy and astrology is set forth by Psalm 19, a fact first pointed out in the modern era by by Frances Rolleston in her book MAZZAROTH; or, the CONSTELLATIONS (London, 1862).

Let’s have a look at this psalm. The verse numbering in the KJV follows the Greek Septuagint, in which the preface To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David is not given a separate verse number. Here we go:

  1. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
  2. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
  3. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
  4. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
  5. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
  6. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

Verse 2 tells us that the heavens are giving us instruction. What is this knowledge?

We know from Genesis 1:14 that the first purpose for which God created the stars was for signs.

In verse 4b we read about the ecliptic – the line through which the sun passes – and by implication the zodiac.

In verse 4a, Their line is gone out through all the earth, the Septuagint has Their voice is gone out through all the earth. Now there are many reasons for divergences of these texts. Sometimes these are changes made by the the Jews to important proof texts in the Old Testament, meaning that the Greek Septuagint – translated from Hebrew before Christ – is sometimes more accurate than the modern Masoretic Hebrew, compiled after Christ. To give one example, Psalm 110 makes no sense at all in the modern Hebrew.

According to both Spurgeon (1871) and Calvin (1557) this very verse is used as a proof text by Paul in Romans 10:18. Paul writes:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
– Romans 10:17b-18 (KJV)

Has the text been deliberately altered? Well, no I don’t think so. The TSK commentary on Romans 10:18 has this:

Similar to this elegant accommodation of these words, is the application of them in a passage of Zohar, Genes. f. 9. These words are the servants of the Messiah, and measure out both the things above, and the things beneath.

Calvin thought that this meant a line of writing, visible in the heavens. He goes on to point out that Romans 10:18 could not apply to the words of Jesus, which had not yet gone out to the whole world. What then had already gone out to the whole world? Calvin says the glory of God as depicted in the heavens and fulfilled by Jesus, but Paul implies more: that the message of the gospel had already been depicted in the heavens.


~ by scalambra on March 12, 2011.

One Response to “Biblical astrology”

  1. One of my favourite of all Psalms along with 27 and 86. Paul’s implication that the message of the gospel had already been depicted in the heavens accords well with his Gnostic inclinations.

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