Prophecy Article
Expanded Internet Edition - April 1, 2000 

The Massing of the Planets

By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 2000

Read the accompanying Newsletter for April 2000

The Holy Scriptures forbids (and condemns) the use of Astrology in trying to understand matters dealing with your own life or in the present and future affairs of political leaders or nations on this earth (Isaiah 47:12,13). That art is really a false religion based on Babylonian and heathen doctrines that have misused the "signs of the heavens" that Christ Jesus mentioned in Luke 21:11. True, there are prophecies of "great signs in the heavens," but these are visible signs that all people on earth will be able to observe and they are not dependent upon the regular motions of the celestial bodies to interpret them. Such visible signs that astounded the ordinary people in the past (and have astonished even secular astronomers today) occurred in the 18 months’ period surrounding the birth of Christ Jesus into the world. There will be future signs of this nature (and even new ones like exploding stars in certain parts of the sky) that will signal events of the End-Time, but the simple movements of the heavenly bodies that astrologers depend on each day for their predictions are NOT what the Holy Scriptures are talking about. We do not need to rely on such celestial cycles for information because God is the one who is so powerful that He can (and on occasion does) "change the times and the seasons" (Daniel 2:21). God can thwart all the prophetic schemes of the pagan astrologers by changing the regular cycles that they depend upon. But what about the near future?

There is a major alignment of the visible planets on the far side of the Sun that will happen on May 5, 2000. The Internet is alive with two sets of conclusions being discussed. The normal astronomers (which I am glad we have to give balance to all matters dealing with celestial events) are downplaying the phenomenon while contrarily, some astrologers and some Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious people see dire consequences emerging either on that day or in the days soon following. We are having a Y2K frenzy all over. The last such conjunction of several planets on one side of the Sun was back on February 4, 1962 along with an eclipse of the Sun. What was the consequence of that day? I bet there is not one of you who can remember the day having any prophetic significance about the End-Time. The same thing will happen (or NOT happen) on May 5, 2000. And as far as a more intense gravitational pull being exerted by the planets on the earth, it would have the same gravitational effect on the earth as a single 747 airplane flying 35,000 feet over the earth (and there are about 500 individual 747’s flying over earth at any given time). Indeed, it is silly to believe that such a planetary alignment could have any effect whatever in a natural or gravitational sense.

Having said that, it is still a fact that in the first chapter of Genesis (verse 14), God did state that he has provided the celestial bodies to be "for signs [symbols or wonders], and for seasons, and for days, and for years." But also remember who the type of person is who seeks after such things? Christ said that it was "an evil and adulterous generation that seeketh after a sign" (Matthew 12:39). When some Pentecostals put up a billboard or a banner that says to come to their meetings and "expect signs and wonders," Jesus said that only an evil and adulterous generation does such tactics. They should NEVER display such things to attract people to religious services. But the celestial signs that God provides to His people are NOT to show them any future direction they should go or what people should now worship. The heavens are there to show people how God has directed the celestial motions that were established many millennia ago (long before any of us was born) and that God can motivate the heavenly cycles with combinations of celestial bodies in spectacular visible relationships that will astound people on earth for their precision and symbolic locations in the heavens. [For a full view of the importance of the astronomical signs with biblical writers, read my book The Star that Astonished the World about Jesus’ birth. Those "signs" were spectacular indeed.]

In regard to "signs" for the End-Times, there is biblical teaching that we should be aware. The Christian should not make a specialty of trying to seek out "signs" and to interpret them. Christ said only an adulterous generation seeks such things. Yes, that is precisely what the New Testament teaching demands in the matter of interpreting "signs." The fact is, the "signs" that God will give to us on earth will be so obvious and reasonable that there will be little doubt even among secular minded astronomers [I mean professional scientists, NOT religious "astrologers"] that something important and significant is intended by the occurrences. These types of visible "signs" are destined to be given to the earth in the near future (Luke 21:11), but the "Massing of the Planets" on May 5, 2000 is NOT one of those events.

There is a principal teaching of the New Testament about "signs" and the "interpretation of signs" that I want to relate to all of you as we enter this period known as the End-Time. Christ said that "signs" are intended by God as a follow-up to confirming Gospel teaching, NOT a means to lead a person (or persons) to a new knowledge of the truth of the Gospel. Note what Christ told the apostles just before He returned to heaven. "And these signs shall follow them [lag behind them] that believe…. And they [the apostles] went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with SIGNS following" (Mark 16:14,20). Now, there were a few visions that were given to direct people into a certain direction or environment (remember the Macedonian that Paul saw in vision saying "Come over unto Macedonia and help us" – Acts 16:9). Note that once when Paul reached into a pile of sticks to fetch some kindling to start a fire, a serpent latched onto his hand. Paul flung the venomous serpent into the campfire and what followed? Paul suffered not the slightest injury from the venom of the snake (Acts 28:3-6). This shows how the miracle or "sign" confirmed the power and authority of Paul’s apostleship. The "sign" followed his actions. It is putting the cart before the horse to do otherwise. The "sign" is not to get one to believe in Christ or to lead on to the truths of the Gospel. It is to follow as a matter of vindication and to confirm those in the faith to those who already believe (Mark 16:14,20). Outward "signs" should not be advertised to bring people to a meeting. Note that when the Magi (the Wise Men) finally came to Herod looking for the Christ-child, the "signs" from the star had already been given to them and they simply "followed" the "signs" (it went before them – Matthew 2:9) and then the star pointed out the place where the Messiah had been born 15 months earlier (verses 10,11). But what about the alignment of the planets on May 5th?

If there is anything to this coming "Massing of the Planets" in God’s prophetic design regarding the End of the Age, it means we should follow the course of events from that day forward and view them within the background of political affairs that will begin to happen in earth starting with that time. Perhaps in ten years (or maybe twenty) we will be able to "look back" at that date and see an important event that occurred that the world would not have realized was important, but it finally became very significant. In my view, this is worth watching and monitoring. But to say catastrophic events will occur on that day is NOT what Christ or the prophets meant in the Scriptures. The next ten to twenty years are important ones in the countdown to what the Bible calls the End of the Age. Watch for impending events. Exciting times are on the horizon.

Ernest L. Martin

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