Under his rule, the population of
All the while he kept astrologers busy reading the stars to predict the future. By doing so, he, and the rulers who followed him, believed they could maintain their control forever.
Actually, we may take the ability to make accurate predictions as one criterion of truth. If there is a close correspondence between words spoken and subsequent events, then we may affirm those words as true.
The prophet Isaiah had these words to say about Babylon’s rulers and their astrological advisors:
Isaiah’s words were true. The words of the astrologers weren’t. Cyrus of Persia led an army which swept away Babylonian power just as Isaiah had foretold.
There is a cautionary tale in this for us. We might have the impression today that our pollsters, prognosticators, and experts, using the latest computers and statistical models, predict the future far more accurately than astrologers ever did. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Major events continue to surprise them and us. Even weather forecasts for the next 24 hours remain remarkably inaccurate.
Let us take this as an encouragement to listen anew to the one true god who assures us even today: From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them...(Isaiah 48:6b-7a, NRSV).
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