While both make predictions regarding future events, there is a profound difference between a prophet and an astrologer.
The prophet is an emissary of GOD, devoting his existence to the study of the Scripture, but also of the humankind, constantly aspiring for their own, and the entire community’s elevation, serving as a conduit for the transcendent wisdom of the Almighty. Through propitiatory direction, they shape the fate of communities, helping them navigate the complex mosaic of life between faith and hope.
The astrologer, on the other hand, is a seeker of parallel realities, and a master of cosmic patterns, offering personal insights to those who turn to the stars for guidance in their individual journeys. Trying to decode the language of the celestial bodies, which he believes provide with some clarity, “direction” to those seeking to understand their place in the vast cosmos.
While both figures are credited with the ability to predict the future, the connection between these two spiritual luminaries can be clarified by invoking the eloquence of the great philosopher Voltaire:
“Superstition stands to religion as astrology stands to astronomy, the mad daughter of a prudent mother.”
By examining their roles through their words, we can deepen their contributions to the human experience and thus gain a deeper appreciation for the way they touch the hearts and minds of those seeking directions for knowledge.
In going their separate ways, the prophet and astrologer offer comfort and meaning to countless individuals, each in their own way. Through their predictions, they weave the threads of hope, faith and understanding, ultimately guiding the human spirit toward enlightenment, self-discovery and personal growth.
Astrology traces its origins from Chaldea (the old Babylon and present-day Iraq) where scientific observations of astral movements were complemented by theories concerning the influence of celestial bodies on human life. Thus, the birth of each individual was associated with the influence of a star belonging to a specific constellation. In ancient Egypt, astrology acquired the connotations of a true science, and later the Greeks and Romans also regarded it as such, using it to determine personality traits and predict future events based on the alignment of stars and planets.
The simplest form of astrology uses the 12 signs of the zodiac and the date of birth to make such predictions. However, many experienced astrologers argue that the use of the sun signs is too general and inaccurate. To provide more detailed predictions, they use the position of the sun and planets on the date, place and time of birth. Popular horoscopes based on sun signs offer absolutely vague descriptions, adaptable to most people.
Astrologers and psychics make general statements, leaving the interlocutor to interpret them, and focus on the individual’s reaction to provide increasingly specific predictions. Inaccurate predictions are then soon dismissed, inducing the illusion that the medium is actually endowed with paranormal powers.
The criteria to evaluate a prophecy’s authenticity is the accuracy obtained without prior knowledge; the Old Testament messianic prophecies are a clear example. However, astrologers and psychics resort to common manipulation techniques to make their predictions. Reliability in astrology can only be attributed to data and observations gathered from the medium. Science has shown that the alignment of celestial bodies does not affect human nature in any way. Ultimately, astrologers and psychics do not pass the legitimacy test.
So what is the difference between a prophet and an astrologer? If listening to an astrologer is so wrong for the Bible, then why are we allowed, (and actually commanded) to listen to the prophet?
The astrologer predicts a person’s fate based on his personality, nature or spiritual composition, and in his message ‘it is implied that a person cannot change; his nature is defined, and this determines his future.
The role of the prophet, on the other hand, is to admonish, to inspire a person to come out of his nature, to free himself from his destiny, and to understand that there is no barrier to spiritual growth that cannot be destroyed. The astrologer limits a person, while the prophet liberates him.
In Holy Scriptures
When Nineveh was saved, Jonah was terribly upset. Initially, he had tried to escape his mission precisely because he feared that GOD would not destroy the city, jeopardizing his reputation as a truthful person. No one would ever trust his word again, so GOD was angered by Jonah’s anger precisely because he had completely missed the point of the prophecy. He did not realize that if his prediction was successful, his mission would fail, for the prophet’s mission is not to define a person’s destiny, but to tell him that he can change and become a new person.
Although we are no longer in an era that proliferates prophets, as in the past, we must take the “Signs” to heart. Listen to the “message,” ignore our inner astrologer and listen to our inner prophet. The greatest obstacle to growth, both spiritual and material, is the voice within us telling us that after all these years we know who we are, we know our strengths and weaknesses, we know where we will succeed and where we will fail, what we can hope for, and what we should not even dream of.
The commandment to listen to the prophet, in the portion of the Book Shoftim (Book of Judges), is read in the Jewish liturgy during the month of Elul, the month of introspection and repentance leading up to the New Year. The book of Jonah is read on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, because as we prepare for the New Year, we must listen to the voice of prophecy. We must understand that whatever our nature is, we cannot and must not allow it to limit us. We must understand that GOD gives us the power to overcome limitations, to change and become the person we know we should be.
“Let no one among you be found passing his son or daughter through fire, nor practicing divination, omens, spells or necromancy, using mediums or magicians, nor consulting the dead. For he who does these things is in abomination to the Lord, and for these very abominations the Lord your God casts out these nations before you.”
(Deuteronomy 18, 10-12 )
In this passage the importance of relying only on GOD and His teaching stands out, avoiding pagan and abominable practices that lead man away from the right path and divine grace.
“You shall not eat bloody meat, nor shall you resort to incantations or omens.”
(Leviticus 19, 26)
These practices are contrary to GOD’s will and should be avoided in order to maintain an authentic relationship with the Lord and live according to His commandments.
“You are weary from the multitude of your counsels! Therefore let the astrologers, those who watch the heavens, the soothsayers who watch the stars and who every month announce to you what is about to happen to you! Behold, they are like straw; fire will devour them; they will not save their lives from the power of the flame; there will not be a coal left for them to warm themselves, nor a fire to sit on.”
(Isaiah 47, 13-14)
Relying on astrologers and soothsayers is vanity, for their power is ephemeral and incapable of offering the true guidance and protection that only GOD can provide.
“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the Gentiles; be not afraid of the signs of heaven: for the Gentiles are afraid of them.”
(Jeremiah 10, 2)
Believers are not to follow the practices of the pagan nations, and not to fear their omens, but to trust in the Lord’s guidance and protection.
“I will extirpate from your hand the incantations, and there shall be no more soothsayers among you.”
(Micah 5, 12)
GOD’s promise is to cleanse His people of pagan practices, such as spells and diviners, to bring them into a closer and more authentic relationship with Him.
“He made His son pass through fire, practiced magic, auspices and spells, and consulted necromancers and diviners. He gave himself over to doing what is evil in the eyes of the Lord, to provoke His indignation.”
(2 Kings 21, 6)
Resorting to occult practices that are far from GOD’s teaching lead to estrangement from the Lord, and this biblical passage emphasizes the importance of remaining faithful to GOD’s commandments and avoiding all forms of idolatry.
“My hand shall be against the prophets who have false visions and who speak lying oracles; they shall not be in the council of my people, they shall not be enrolled in the book of the house of Israel, they shall not return to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”
(Ezekiel 13, 9)
We must call attention to GOD’s action against false prophets who use hidden practices and lies to deceive the people. Divine justice will punish those who try to divert the people from the truth and the right path, emphasizing the importance of following the true teachings of GOD.
There is one last very important consideration to mention: Both the prophet and the true astrologer do not base their service on the pursuit of material gain. No one who truly serves GOD, Creation, Being or the Cosmos will ever ask for money in exchange for their knowledge. On the contrary, the prophet completely rejects money and so does the true astrologer. Anyone who seeks advice and needs clear directions will find them without having to spend a single cent. If you do not know a truthful prophet or astrologer, you can always turn to a wise family member, a sincere friend or send a message here at the AbrahamicStudyHall. Wisdom and spiritual guidance should never be tied to money, since truth and enlightenment, are goods that are as valuable as they are absolutely unencumbered by the mere materiality of a payment. They should be shared freely and unconditionally, always.