How does the zodiac principle relate to the Bible if they do and was the
system of the zodiac developed before the Bible? Also , many people
believe that the repetition of specific numbers i.e 7 , 3 , 40 , 12 are
related to the zodiac.Who influenced who in this subject?


The idea of the zodiac goes back at least to the time of ancient Babylonia
and Sumeria, which puts it at 2000 BC or earlier. The Babylonians were
the first to definitely recognize the difference between the planets and
the stars. They were the first that we know of who definitely practiced
what we would call astrology today, although it is hard to prove exactly
what kinds of religious practices were around earlier than this time.

Obviously you know that astrology and use of the zodiac system to
influence life decisions is not acceptable in Christianity. I do not see
any possibility of confusion on this. I assume your question is about
history, not about Christian doctrine.

About the use of numbers, it is going to be hard to ferret out who
influenced whom. The number 12 is the number of months (defined as the
time the moon goes through one cycle) in a year. This is a “natural”
number for human beings to use to define time and to count things. I
assume you know that the Babylonians use the number twelve rather than ten
to keep track of things. In fact, they used a base 60 (12 x 5) counting
system. I assume all this stemmed from the number 12 which comes from the
lunar year.

Of course, the number 12 is important in Judaism as well. There were 12
tribes and Jesus chose 12 apostles. The number of saved is 144,000 in
Revelation (12 x 12 x 1000). Did the Jews borrow the use of 12 as a
symbolic number from their neighbors in Mesopotamia? I guess that the
answer to this is yes! Was it just an historical accident that there
were 12 sons of Jacob and 12 tribes, or did God cause it to happen that
way in order to emphasize the symbolic meaning of the number 12? Did God
cause the moon to go around the earth 12 times per year in order to create
the symbolism of the number 12? Or did he just use a number which existed
already as a convenience? Such questions are very interesting, but they
are speculative. We are incapable of reaching definite decisions about
such things.

About the use of the number 7 as a symbol of completeness and also as the
number of days in a week, I am less certain. One source I read speculated
that the religious significance of the number 7 stems from the seven
important heavenly bodies: sun, moon Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and
Mars. Knowledge of the five planets goes back to the Babylonians and
Sumerians, who were also the first to use the number seven to count time
that we know of, so this is possible but as far as I know this is a bit

Of course, you know that the Bible writers, and therefore God as well, use
the number 7 to count time. Seven is the number of days in a week as well
as the number of days of the creation week. It is the number representing
completeness or perfection in the Bible (Daniel 4:23, Daniel 9:25, Mark
8:6,20, Revelation 1:4, Revelation 13:1 and dozens of other passages could
be used to show this). Here is the question. Did the Bible writers and
therefore God borrow the number seven, already in use by Near Eastern
religion, or did it arise independently from God in the Bible? I am going
to guess that God incorporated the use of the number seven into Judaism
and Christianity and adopted the use of this already symbolic number for
his purposes.

What are the implications for Biblical inspiration? I am not sure. To
me, whether God created the world with the number 12 already there or
whether he incorporated the number from nature and used it to teach us a
spiritual lesson is not an important distinction, so I do not feel we need
to decide this matter. Besides, I do not think we will be able to be
sure. Probably this is a place for faith in the wisdom of God to come
into play.

John Oakes, PhD

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