It is nearly the lunar new year, and it is always a highly anticipated season for many. Shopping malls have been playing festive tunes on loop. People are doing spring cleaning in their homes, and stocking up on new year goodies. Eye-catching decorations have been put up everywhere. Such a scene is no surprise to us, as it happens every single year. But one thing that makes each lunar new year unique from the year before is the Chinese zodiac.
The Chinese zodiac comes in 12 different animal forms, and the zodiac sign changes with each new year. The 12 animal signs are rotated in a 12-year cycle. We often see different themed decorations based on current year’s zodiac sign, and we particularly look forward to seeing the zodiac sign which corresponds to our birth year. We like to point out to the little children the different animals that appear each year. However, as Christians, we need to be wary of the deeper meaning that is often attributed to the zodiac signs.
Horoscope and zodiac signs are often used to make predictions of a person’s present and future circumstances. The Western culture has its own version of the horoscope, based on star constellations. We may have seen such horoscope predictions featured in newspaper columns. During the Lunar New Year, we may also encounter pop-up stands that feature the 12 zodiac signs, with accompanying predictions about the fortunes of each zodiac sign for the upcoming year ahead. Zodiac signs have been used to predict a person’s personality; to predict fortune or misfortune for the upcoming year; to predict compatibility with persons of other zodiac signs. As Christians, we would do well to steer clear of these things, as the Bible has warnings concerning practices of such nature.
1. Wicked Practice
Since ancient times, men have tried to use different means to predict the future, whether by the use of potions, or by observing the star constellations, or even by observing the entrails of animals. As far back as the time of Moses, such practices were already in existence. God had warned the Israelites that in the land of Canaan, the heathen nations were involved in such practices, which God labelled as “abominations” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). These abominable practices include:
Divination – the practice of predicting the future, through various means, such as casting lots
Observer of times – one who predicts the future by observing the movement of the planets, clouds etc.
Enchanter – one who predicts the future by observing the entrails of animals, snakes, and the flight of birds
Witch – one who uses drugs and potions
Charmer – one who uses spells
Consulter of familiar spirits – one who obtains advice from spirits
Wizard – one who possesses knowledge of the future and the unknown
Necromancer – one who consults the dead
In the New Testament, the above practices are not mentioned in as great detail, but it is obvious that such practices are still considered abominable before God. For example, we are instructed that those who practice witchcraft will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:20). Also, those who practice sorcery will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). Hence, Christians would do well to stay clear of such practices like fortune telling and divination.
2. Worthless Advice
Although the Bible testifies to the existence of people who practice divination and fortune telling, there is no evidence that they were ever legitimate nor accurate. In fact, God gives us sound advice if we were to encounter such practitioners (Deuteronomy 18:20-22):
A person claims to be able to predict the future
However, his prediction did not come true
Since his prediction was not accurate, he is not legitimate
Hence, we should not listen to him
Do not be deceived: those who claim to predict the future by divination or horoscope do not always get their predictions right. If a person cannot even consistently predict the future accurately, why should we trust any of his predictions? Those who profess to predict the future through various means never possessed real power. Hence, we should not waste our time on such predictions. Ultimately, we know that it is our God alone who can see the future. Whenever a prophet of God made a prophecy of the future, it always happened exactly as predicted.
3. Wayward Confidence
If we were to get caught up with zodiac and horoscope predictions, we face the peril of placing our confidence in an unworthy source. We have seen that those who make predictions based on the horoscope are not legitimate nor accurate. Hence, it would be foolhardy to put our trust in such predictions, as their advice is only going to fail us. We ought therefore to put our trust in a source that is both trustworthy and rock-solid.
As Christians, we know who that trustworthy source is: God. He alone is in control of all things. He alone can see what the future holds. Hence, we ought not turn away from God to listen to fortune tellers or horoscope predictions. Instead, we need to listen to God, and entrust our future into His mighty hand. God has given us His Word to guide our lives, and we know that the only way to build a better future for ourselves is to follow His divine wisdom (2 Peter 1:3). Even if we were to face turbulence and troubles in this life, we have this confidence, that God is still in control, and He can steer us out of the darkness and into the light (Romans 8:28).
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Wishing everyone a happy and blessed lunar new year!