I'm noticing the number is going up on how many Manhattan storefronts are occupied by psychics and astrologers, some of whom rent from the toniest of addresses in town.


Walking by these places, you see some seemingly unlikely types either entering and exiting. I recently witnessed two very polished, well-dressed, middle-aged businessmen coming out of a psychic center on 9th around 45th St.


Another time it was a young married couple struggling to get their baby stroller into the narrow door of a card-reader on 9th Avenue somewhere in the 30s. They looked like the kind of clean-cut family you might see in a Land's End catalogue.


As the paganization of our culture continues its current onslaught, I'm guessing we'll see more and more parallels to the heathenistic society of the Apostle Paul's day.


According to "The Abingdon Bible Commentary," first published in 1929, "The world of Paul's day was full of it—spiritualism, fortune-telling, necromancy. Rich men had their private astrologers, and poor men had recourse to magicians."


In the article by theology professor F. J. Rae, he explains that while "the old polytheism was still present in rural districts and still a vital faith," it was no longer "held by the educated."


"In its place more educated cultivated men tried to sustain their souls on philosophy," writes Rae. "The Stoics and the Epicureans were the principal philosophic sects. And these we meet on Paul's visit to Athens (Acts 17:16). But in a time like that, a time of religious decline, with the old religion gone and no new one come, superstition is always rife."


A lot of people don't know this, but the obtaining of information from the stars dates all the way back to Adam and pre-Flood civilization.


Even Josephus, the Jewish historian, confirms that the zodiac originated with Adam, Seth and Enoch and was taught by oral tradition.


Astrology represents a satanic perversion of God's original program of revealing revelation through "writing" in the stars before the written Word of God.


"Before the Flood, Adam and the early Believers understood the Word of God, not from the written page, but in the stars," says Oklahoma preacher Les Feldick in an audio study on his website (lesfeldick.org). "They had an intrinsic knowledge of the constellations and all these things that was the Word of God written in the stars. But, as the human race degenerated, Satan took that which was spiritually perfect, adulterated it, and turned it to his own purposes so that when we get here to the Tower of Babel, this knowledge of the stars is turned into something that we call now, 'of the spirit world; of the occult,' and the horoscope and everything associated with it is not of God, but of 'The Counterfeiter, The Adversary.' "


The Tower of Babel from Genesis 11 represents the origination point for all pagan religions. It was in this process of erecting a city landmark in the land of Shinar (the area of present-day Iraq and site of Babylon) some 200 years after the Flood, that God confounded the one language shared by all the earth's people, confusing their tongues to force a work stoppage that then led to everyone being "scattered abroad," as God intended.


Amazingly, archaeologists years ago found the remains of the ancient tower. What they discovered at the tower's top were the 12 signs of the zodiac!


This makes perfect sense since the idea behind the tower was for sinful men to reach the realm of the gods (fallen angels aligned with Satan) and a high structure (said to have approached an elevation of 660 feet with its top chapel) gave them a better vantage point to both study and worship the stars, sun and moon.


One major key to understanding the origins of the zodiac can be found in Job 38, in which God asks Job, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? Or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven?"


"The word Mazzaroth means 'the 12 signs' and is a reference to the 12 signs of the zodiac," says my pastor, Richard Jordan (Shorewood Bible Church, Rolling Meadows, Ill.) in a study I have on tape. "God put the constellations in the heavens up there and they're divided, they've got names to them and they also have divisions to them. They have a number involved in them and that number, the number 12, is associated with the  nation Israel."


As Joseph's dream account goes in Gen. 37:9, "And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me."


"Now the sun is his daddy, the moon is his mama and the eleven stars are his brothers," explains Jordan. "Jacob had twelve sons, so eleven of them would be the other brothers and Joseph would be the twelfth. There are 12 sets in the thing and each one of those constellations up there corresponds to one of the tribes of Israel down on the earth."


These twelve sections that the heavens are divided into compare to the zodiac and the zodiac is the degrees of steps that mark the stages of the sun's path through the heavens. It's an arbitrary division and design.


"The signs of the zodiac are arbitrarily designed pictures in the sky," says Jordan. "You can't just look at it and look up there and make any rhyme or reason out of why they did it the way they did it. The reason it's arbitrary is because there's a doctrine being depicted. The pictures they drew teach the doctrine."


So what's the doctrine? Jordan goes about explaining it this way:


"The first sign of the zodiac is a virgin and the last sign is a lion. God made a promise of a Redeemer. In talking to the serpent (Satan), He said in Gen. 3:15, 'And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'

"God promises the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ. In the first coming of Christ, He’ll come as the seed of the woman, the virgin. And Satan will bruise his heel. Then there will be a tremendous conflict—the other signs of the zodiac in there—and then Christ will come and bruise Satan's head. That’s the Second Coming of Christ and at that time He’s the lion of the tribe of Judah. So you have Him beginning as the virgin and ending as the lion."


The beginning of the cycle is the promise of a Redeemer, then there's the conflict of the ages in between, and, finally, there's the coming of the Messiah—the coming of the deliverer in the lion.


Egypt's Sphinx, which originally was the head of a woman and the body of a lion, is a memorialization to the ancient pagan understanding of the zodiac, obviously representing its beginning and ending.


"You wouldn't know where to start and end these signs if they just went around and around, so they have the beginning and the ending in the Sphinx and that's what the thing memorializes," explains Jordan. "Now there's only five people in history who knew anything about that outside the Word of God, since the stuff was lost, but that's what it's all about.

"My point to you is that in the heavens there is a witness that teaches the doctrine people at that time had. They had the information. And they’re coming along here in human history, in Genesis 1-11, and they've got the information and understand what it is, but then they reject it and they corrupt that revelation from God written in the stars and pervert and, as a result, God gave them up to walk in their own ways."


When the Apostle Paul says in Romans 1 that “God gave them up,” he’s referring dispensationally to this specific time period in Genesis 11 with the Tower of Babel.


 "He just let them go right on there jolly-well way," says Jordan. "He said, 'If you want to do it your way, then just go ahead,' and that decision was made right there."


The result, as we all know, is God called out Abraham to set up Israel and He made covenants and promises with Israel alone as he left the gentiles to walk in darkness.


The people had made the darkness and chose the darkness, rejecting the light God gave them. His response, therefore, was, "Okay, you don't want me; I'll just leave you," and he left them in their darkness.


As the famous passage on astrology in Isaiah 47 reads,

"Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.
"Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.
"Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee."